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Dec. 16, 2011
Dec. 9, 2011
Dec. 1, 2011

Nov. 18, 2011
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Nov. 4, 2011

Oct. 28, 2011
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Sept. 29, 2011
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Aug. 26, 2011
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May 27, 2011
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April 26, 2011
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March 31, 2011
March 25, 2011
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Feb. 25, 2011
Feb. 17, 2011
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Feb. 3, 2011

Jan. 28, 2011
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News from the Virginia Conference – April 18, 2011

Churches gearing up to help victims of Saturday tornadoes
Tornadoes, severe storms and flash flooding tore through Virginia this past weekend causing loss of life and property. Gov. Bob McDonnell has declared a state of emergency. Particularly hard hit was Gloucester County in the Rappahannock District. Asbury UMC in Foxwells near Windmill Point suffered damage to its sanctuary which has been declared unsafe by a county building inspector. Church trustees are contacting structural engineers to assess damage and possible repairs. Church members hope the newer social hall will be declared safe so they may worship in it. Bellamy UMC, Gloucester, is serving as a command center for the Red Cross and Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) that are assisting victims. Rappahannock District Superintendent Joe Carson is in contact with emergency responders.
    “I have been in contact with Conference Disaster Response leader, Bob Pihlcrantz,” Carson said. “I am certain that we will need to call in conference resources and volunteer teams eventually and perhaps UMCOR when the need is clearly identified. However, until local responding agencies establish central coordinating operations centers and make assessments, there is no way to direct UMVIM teams. We do not need volunteers right now. As is usual in these events, deployment of such teams will take a while to organize. I am working with our District Disaster Response Team Leaders to get in the local information loops and anticipate hosting teams when the time comes.”
    Carson said the best thing churches can do right now is pray, begin organizing volunteer teams for later work trips, and donate money. “We do not need donated food or clothing,” Carson said. “As is most often the case in disaster response, money is the most flexible, helpful, and easily managed gift anyone can give.”
    Donations should be sent to the Virginia Conference, P.O. Box 5605, Glen Allen, VA 23058. Checks should be made payable to “Virginia Annual Conference” with “Virginia Tornado/Storm Damage” indicated on the memo line.

Conference center to install solar panels on roof
In its continuing effort to be a role model and encourage churches to participate in the Virginia Conference Green Church Initiative, the United Methodist Center in Glen Allen will install solar panels on the roof of the building that houses conference offices. Cost of the 10 kilowatt system will be $60,000, with $20,000 each contributed by conference Trustees, Council on Finance and Administration and the Common Table. All three groups approved the plan at their spring meetings. More …

Camp Loud and Clear receives $3,000 grant
The United Methodist Committee on Deaf and Hard of Hearing Ministries has awarded a $3,000 grant to Camp Loud and Clear, a new summer camp for children who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing that will be held for the first time July 15-17 at Holiday Lake in Appomattox County. Camp Loud and Clear is supported by the Virginia Conference Common Table and Commission on Disabilities as well as Longwood University and the Holiday Lake 4-H Educational Center. Camp Loud and Clear will be the first camp in Virginia specifically designed to meet the needs of children who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing regardless of their degree of hearing loss or their chosen communication mode. For more information about Camp Loud and Clear, contact Dr. Lissa Power-deFur at or (434) 395-2972 or Jennifer Kingsley at or (434) 391-3679. Camper application can be found at

Monitors needed for 2011 Annual Conference sessions
The conference Commissions on Disabilities, Ethnic Minority Concerns and Advocacy, and Status and Role of Women will jointly monitor 2011 Annual Conference sessions. The ministry of monitoring raises awareness of how effectively all people are involved in full and equal participation in the life and mission of the Church. Goal of monitoring is to advocate gender, racial and age-level inclusiveness in the Conference’s decision-making process. Volunteers are needed to serve in this ministry. Those who are interested should be attentive to details and willing to observe at least one session of Annual Conference. All those willing to be part of this ministry must attend training on Wednesday, June 15, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at the Roanoke Civic Center. A light meal will be provided. You do not have to be a member of Annual Conference to serve as a monitor. If you are interested in serving, contact Iris Smith at For more information, contact Martha Stokes, director of Leadership and Inclusivity, at, 1-800-768-6040, ext. 154, or (804) 521-1154.

Video training class for new Church Council chairs now on Web
A video training class for new Church Council chairs is now available on the conference Web site. Click here for “Church Council Chairs: More Than Leading a Meeting” led by Martha Stokes, conference director of Leadership and Inclusivity. This 16-minute course is an orientation for new Church Council chairs that focuses on seven core responsibilities of the Church Council chair, mainly as they affect the discipleship role of the Church Council. If you have trouble with the link, go to, click on “Ministries,” then “Laity,” then “Lay Leadership Resources.”

GRACE Ministries seeks college student summer intern
GRACE Ministries has received funding for a paid college student summer intern from the ExxonMobil Community Summer Jobs Program. Grace Ministries has a short time frame in which to select the intern. The student must be hired by Friday, April 29, and begin working in early June. The ExxonMobil Summer Jobs Program requires the intern be a full-time college undergraduate who will complete the freshman year by June 2011 and will return to college full-time in the fall of 2011. Interviews will be held April 14-25. There is some flexibility with the start and end dates. For more information or questions, call the Rev. Martha Real, executive director of GRACE Ministries of The United Methodist Church, at (703) 793-0026.

Older Adult Recognition Sunday to be observed in May
In April 2008, General Conference adopted legislation inviting congregations to celebrate Older Adult Recognition Day each year during the month of May. The 2006 Virginia Annual Conference had already voted to designate the first Sunday in May as Older Adult Recognition Sunday. On Older Adult Recognition Sunday, United Methodists are invited to show appreciation and support for older adults and address the needs of older adults in the congregation and community. Click here for suggestions for this year’s recognition Sunday, developed by the Conference Older Adult Council. Or go to, select “Ministries,” then “Age-Related Ministries,” then “Older Adults,” then “Older Adult Recognition Sunday.” Click here for additional resource materials on the General Board of Discipleship Web site.

Native American Ministries Sunday is May 8
Native American Ministries Sunday is May 8. Be sure to order your free resources to promote the May 8 offering that supports Native American ministries and helps United Methodist Native American seminarians to become church leaders. More …

Register now for Change the World May 14-15
United Methodists around the world will participate in community service projects on Saturday, May 14, and neighbors will be invited to attend church services on Sunday, May 15, as part of “Change the World 2011.” Local churches can prepare now to participate in this year’s Change the World weekend. First, identify a project that makes a difference in the local or global community (or both). Then, register at and download the free flyer. Third, invite your community to get involved. Free and discounted resources are available to all churches who register. Registered churches will receive free shipping and postage from product orders placed on through May 15. More …

GrandCamp for grandparents and grandchildren to be April 29-30
GrandCamp for grandparents and their elementary-aged grandchildren will be held at Westview on the James in Goochland County April 29-30. This is an opportunity for grandparents and grandchildren to spend time together having fun, making crafts, playing games, eating s’mores, etc. Registration deadline is April 20. Click here for brochure.

Retreat for Creation’s Caretakers to be April 30 in Richmond
A retreat for Creation’s Caretakers will be held 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, April 30, at Roslyn Retreat Center, Richmond. If you are working, either as a professional or a volunteer, in any capacity involving the care and healing of God’s creation, this retreat is especially for you. Come away with God, each other, and creation to celebrate, worship, rest and replenish your souls. We will worship together, spend time with God’s creation individually and in small groups, and have conversations among ourselves, all designed to deepen our understanding and experiences of the relationships we have with God, each other, and creation; and to gain confidence, energy, and courage to be leaders in the healing of God’s creation. Cost is $40 per person, which includes continental breakfast, lunch, afternoon snacks and retreat space. Click here to register. For more information e-mail the Rev. Pat Watkins or call (703) 323-4643.

Workshop on aging and ministry in 21st century set for April 30
“Exploring the Longevity Revolution – Aging and Ministry in the 21st Century” will be the topic Saturday, April 30, at Marsh Memorial UMC in Lynchburg as workshop participants explore aging and ministry in the 21st century with the Rev. Dr. Richard Gentzler Jr., director of the Center on Aging and Older Adult Ministries for the General Board of Discipleship. Registration deadline is April 18. Cost is $15 per person. Click here for additional information, or e-mail the Rev. Randy Harlow or call (434) 239-2568.

Clergywomen’s Collective to meet May 4 at Conference Center
The Clergywomen’s Collective will meet at 10 a.m., Wednesday, May 4, at the Conference Center in Glen Allen to share scripture, song and Holy Communion. Bring a bag lunch or run to Martin's across the way. For more information, contact the Rev. ReNe'e Teague at (540) 659-2461 or (804) 357-4435.

Richmond area ‘Real Change for Real People’ workshop to be May 7
The Economic Justice Work Group of the Virginia Conference Board of Church and Society and the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy are offering regional Real Change for Real People workshops to engage United Methodists in dialogue regarding economic justice issues, including unemployment and predatory lending. These workshops will not only inform participants, but also provide opportunities to analyze and discuss deficiencies in Virginia state laws as well as empower United Methodists to become more effective in their advocacy for systemic change. Richmond area workshop will be 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, May 7, at Wesley Memorial UMC, 1720 Mechanicsville Turnpike, Richmond. Click here for more information or to register.

UMVIM mutual empowerment seminar offered May 12-14
Mutual Empowerment Seminar for United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) will be held May 12-14 at Servants in Faith and Technology (SIFAT) Training Campus near Lineville, Ala. This workshop is an invitation to mission volunteers to engage in reflection and dialogue about the impacts of volunteer service: who is impacted and how? More …

Ordering of Ministry event to be held for clergy May 15-16
Study commission findings to be proposed at the 2012 General Conference will be discussed at the upcoming “Ordering of Ministry” event May 15-16 at the Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center (VUMAC) in Blackstone. Dr. Ken Carter Jr., chair of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry Division of Ordained Ministry and member of the Study Commission on Ministry, will present the findings. Dr. Mary Elizabeth Moore, dean, Boston University School of Theology, will lead consideration of theological ramifications of these matters in light of Methodist/Wesleyan heritage. A panel composed of Carter, Moore and Bishop Charlene Kammerer will lead a discussion of the proposed changes and implications for United Methodist clergy. A .5 CEU is available. Registration deadline is May 6. More …

Young adults invited to spend 5 days relating to God, each other, earth
“Sojourn to Sacredness: A Theological Ecological Pilgrimage for Young Adults,” June 6-10, will include hiking the Appalachian Trail, canoeing on the Shenandoah River and renewing relationships with God, each other and the earth. Participants will learn low-impact and earth-friendly outdoor living skills, experience the beauty of God’s creation, learn about some of the problems creation is facing, and discuss ways the church can be part of the solution. Conversations on the pilgrimage will include scientists, environmentalists and theologians. Fee of $125 includes canoes, food, transportation to and from trail and river and camping fees. More …

School of Christian Mission to be at VUMAC July 22-24, July 25-28
The 2011 School of Christian Mission will be held at Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center (VUMAC) in Blackstone July 22-24 and July 25-28, under the theme “All Things Made New.” Spiritual Growth Study leaders include the Rev. Steve Hundley, superintendent of the Roanoke District; and the Rev. Pat Watkins, executive director of Caretakers of God’s Creation. Registration deadline is July 10. Click here for more information, including detailed brochure, registration form and class choice, or contact Louise Miller, dean of the school, at Please note that online registration will NOT be available this year.

Clergy to make pilgrimage to South Korea Oct. 26-Nov. 3
A group of clergy will travel to Bupyeong Methodist Church in Incheon, South Korea, Oct. 26-Nov. 3 under the co-leadership of the Rev. M. J. Kim, conference director of Asian Ministries, and the Rev. Young Jin Cho, Arlington District superintendent. Goal of the pilgrimage is spiritual renewal by experiencing contextual hands-on mission and ministry and by seeing the fruits of the seeds American missionaries planted a century ago. Trip is limited to 35 clergy. Room and board will be provided by the Bupyeong Methodist Church. Participants will be responsible for round-trip air fare. (As of March 17, cost was $1,425 without group discount from Korean Airlines.) For more information, e-mail the Rev. Won Un at or call (804) 929-0690. Deadline to register is June 20.

Results of Leadership Summit survey now online
Results of the Leadership Summit survey are now online. More than 920 people responded to the survey following the April 6 Leadership Summit webcast on how the church can foster vital congregations. Thousands of United Methodists tuned in to the three-hour Leadership Summit webcast that attracted more than 4,000 web connections. The survey dealt with the findings of the Call to Action Steering Team, and asked respondents the denomination's priorities. Click here for a summary of findings. For more information, visit the Leadership Summit Web site.

Presenters, videos sought for Young People’s Address
Young People’s Ministries is seeking two young people to present the Young People’s Address for the 2012 General Conference. In order to include many voices and to offer a diverse and more complete picture of young people in The United Methodist Church, the presentation will include video/pictures of ministries from around the world. Click here for information about how to apply to be a presenter and how to submit videos or pictures for the presentation.

UMW seeks to be separate church agency
The division responsible for United Methodist Women (UMW) has decided to seek denominational approval for status as a separate agency of the church. Directors of Women's Division, the organization's administrative body, unanimously voted during their April 7-11 meeting to "structurally separate" but remain "missionally connected" with the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries rather than continue as a division of the mission agency. More …

GBOPHB Launches Wespath Investment Management
The United Methodist General Board of Pension and Health Benefits (GBOPHB) has launched Wespath Investment Management, a new brand name for its institutional investment services. The investment program, named for John Wesley, enables annual conferences, United Methodist foundations and other United Methodist-affiliated institutions to make investments aligned with the denomination's Social Principles. More …

United Methodists fight floods in Dakotas, Minnesota
In recent weeks, United Methodist volunteers in the Dakotas and Minnesota have spent long hours piling sandbags to stem floodwaters along the Red River and other area bodies of water. Other church members have prepared food for hungry volunteers and distributed blankets to those in need. Bishop Deborah Lieder Kiesey has also offered a message to Dakotas Annual Conference members, reminding them that they are not alone in this fight to save people's homes. The Red River crested in Fargo and neighboring Moorhead, Minn., last weekend at more than 38 feet, the fourth-highest flood on record. More …

Exploration '11 to help young adults explore call to ministry Nov. 11-13
Some young person you know needs to hear about Exploration '11, scheduled for Nov. 11-13 in St. Louis. Exploration '11 is designed to help young adults 18- to 26-years old explore what ministry in The United Methodist Church looks like and connect with resources to respond to God's call in their lives. A previous Exploration event was part of the journey to ordination for the Rev. Jessica Fuller, a deacon serving at Crozet UMC. She will attend Exploration '11 as a representative from the Virginia Conference and will be glad to talk with anyone interested in attending. Information on the event is available online at

Agencies seek coordinator for Renewing Existing Congregations project
The General Board of Discipleship, General Commission on Religion and Race, General Council on Finance and Administration and United Methodist Communications are seeking a Coordinator for their Renewing Existing Congregations Project. The four agencies have partnered to create a new conversation in the church about what it takes to build vital ministries that reach out and embrace more people, more diverse people and more young people. They are looking for an individual with an entrepreneurial spirit, a deep love and knowledge of The United Methodist Church, an ability to build relationships across all lines of difference, and skills in communication using various forms of media. For details, visit the Virginia Conference Web site at and scroll down to "Other."

For in-depth news and features about United Methodist mission and ministry, subscribe to the Virginia United Methodist Advocate, the Virginia Conference’s award-winning monthly newsmagazine. Click here to subscribe. Or call Peggy Cribbs at 1-800-768-6040, ext. 110, or (804) 521-1110. Or e-mail


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The Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church
10330 Staples Mill Road, Glen Allen, VA 23060
P.O. Box 5606, Glen Allen, VA 23058-5606
(804) 521-1100
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