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News from the Virginia Conference – May 11, 2011

United Methodists prepare to “Change the World” this weekend
Cleaning. Building. Painting. Repairing homes. Landscaping. Raising money for worthy causes. Distributing food. Visiting shut-ins. Praying. Tutoring. Assembling disaster relief kits. Planting gardens. Serving meals. These are just some of the many ways that thousands of United Methodists are teaming up to make a positive difference — locally and globally — during the second annual “Change the World” event this weekend. Participants will do community service projects on Saturday, May 14, and neighbors will be invited to attend church services on Sunday, May 15.
     Among Virginia Conference churches helping to change the world will be Farmville UMC, Farmville; Jetersville UMC, Amelia; Windsor Hills UMC, Roanoke; Nelson UMC, Arrington; Central UMC, Staunton; Fort Grove UMC, Stony Creek; Courtland UMC, Courtland; Grace Memorial UMC, Sedley; Messiah UMC, Chesapeake; Nimmo UMC, Virginia Beach; Miles Memorial UMC, Norfolk; First UMC of Fox Hill, Hampton; Drummondtown UMC, Accomac; Melrose UMC, Lottsburg; Centenary UMC, Richmond; Mount Pisgah UMC, Midlothian; Mountain Valley UMC, Harrisonburg; Dumfries UMC, Dumfries; Burke UMC, Burke; St. Matthew UMC, Annandale; Calvary UMC, Arlington; Mount Olivet UMC, Arlington; Andrew Chapel UMC, Vienna; Great Falls UMC, Great Falls; Burnt Factory UMC, Winchester; Emmanuel UMC, Stephenson; Round Hill UMC, Winchester; and Shiloh UMC, Montpelier.
    During last year’s inaugural “Change the World” event, more than 100,000 people from over 1,000 churches hosted events and undertook projects to help others, United Methodist Communications reported. This year, interviews with participants from around the world will be available on the Rethink Church You Tube channel so that churches can use the video clips during worship services and study settings. “Change the World” was created by United Methodist Communications as part of an effort to “Rethink Church” by utilizing outreach events to make a positive difference in the world beyond the church doors. The event is based on a concept originated by the Rev. Mike Slaughter, author of Change the World: Recovering the Message and Mission of Jesus. For more information on “Change the World,” go to

Churches asked to participate in ‘All Things New’ campaign by June 12
Each Virginia Conference church has been sent a letter from Bishop Kammerer and a supply of All Things New” brochures for distribution to congregation members. These brochures, along with the videos on a DVD sent to each church Feb. 1, are resources for churches to use as part of the “All Things New” fundraising campaign.
     In addition, weekly stories from new faith communities will be posted on the conference Web site and e-mailed to pastors for inclusion in bulletins or worship announcements from May 8 through June 12.
     PLEASE NOTE: By Pentecost Sunday, June 12, each congregation is asked to receive gifts and pledges for “All Things New” and send any gifts and pledge information to Becki Stokes in the Conference Treasurer's office. Gifts and pledges should NOT be brought to Annual Conference, but the amounts reported to the Treasurer’s office will be announced and celebrated during the Annual Conference session in Roanoke. Receipt of these gifts and pledges will conclude the financial campaign for “All Things New” approved by the 2009 Annual Conference. Questions about this invitation for financial support or “All Things New” may be directed to Marc Brown, conference director of Connectional Ministries, at

170 clergy, laity train to become VocationCARE mentors
One hundred seventy clergy and lay persons in the Virginia Conference spent two days in training this week at River Road United Methodist Church in Richmond to become VocationCARE mentors. VocationCARE is a process which helps young people to identify their deepest passions, to discover how those passions intersect with the needs of the world, and then to respond to God’s call. The program helps congregations become places that foster and develop the next generation of clergy leaders. For more information about the program, contact Angie Williams, conference director of Children’s, Youth, Young Adult and Higher Education Ministries, at 1-800-768-6040, ext. 135, or (804) 521-1135 or More …

Teens Opposing Poverty expands to include all ages
Teens Opposing Poverty (TOP) (Advance Special #910), is expanding to include volunteer groups of all ages. Under the name of Together Opposing Poverty the new ministry will include families, young adults, intergenerational groups and entire congregations. The organization will retain the name of Teens Opposing Poverty for its youth-based outreach. The addition of Together Opposing Poverty reflects the current realities of the ministry. In many churches, TOP becomes an intergenerational ministry and has continued even when there was no active youth group. There also has been increased interest from groups of young adults to become involved, and a senior adult Sunday school class participates on a regular basis in the Richmond ministry. TOP currently has active ministries in Washington, D.C., and several locations in Virginia: the northern Shenandoah Valley, Richmond, Charlottesville, Lynchburg and Newport News. For more information, e-mail Steve Jennings, TOP Executive Director, at

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.

Two Early Response Training events offered May 20-21
When tornadoes, floods, hurricanes and ice storms bring destruction to our region, you can be prepared to help. The Virginia Conference and United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) are offering two Early Response Training sessions. A two-day event will be held 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, May 20, and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, May 21, at Blacksburg UMC. Register by May 12. Contact Jackie Nutter, (540) 230-8176 or, to register or for more information. A one-day session will be offered 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 21, at Sleepy Hollow UMC, Falls Church. Register by May 15. For more information, contact Tim Egan at or (703) 577-8762.

Westview on James to host music festival, 5K run
Westview on the James, a United Methodist camp in Goochland, will host a music festival and 5K run on June 4 to raise money for its Annual Fund. Shalom Farm at Westview is one of the sponsors and will be open for visits. To register for the 5K race visit To buy tickets to the music festival or to learn more about the event, go to

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 …

Gov. McDonnell to speak at June 11 VUMAC Founders Day dinner
Gov. Robert McDonnell will deliver an inaugural Founders Day address titled “Faith of Our Founding Fathers” on Saturday, June 11, at a colonial style dinner at the Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center (VUMAC) in Blackstone. His address will be followed by a debate between renowned PBS interpreters for President George Washington and Governor Patrick Henry. A hearty Southern breakfast will be available Sunday morning for guests spending Saturday night at VUMAC. Bishop Hasbrouck Hughes will deliver the June 12 Sunday morning message. For more information, call (434) 292-5308 or e-mail

Registration open for ‘Helping Hands’ children mission events
“Helping Hands,” a Virginia Conference children's mission event, will be held in four locations around the conference this summer. This event offers rising 4th- through 6th-graders a hands-on opportunity to do mission work. Kids from all over the conference join together as one "United" Methodist church making a difference in the community. The four locations are: Main Street UMC, Waynesboro area, Thursday, July 7 - Friday, July 8; Woodlake UMC, Richmond area, Thursday, July 21 - Friday, July 22; Williamsburg UMC, Williamsburg area, Monday, July 25 - Tuesday, July 26; and The Stand UMC, Petersburg area, Friday, July 29 - Saturday, July 30. Woodlake will offer an optional early start time to include on additional mission opportunity. Cost is $36 per person and includes a T-shirt, meals and snacks and overnight stay. Online and mail-in registration is now available. Go to then click on “Event Calendar,” then the date of the event you wish to attend. Direct questions to Beth Christian at or call (804) 739-4535, ext. 28.

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.

LEAD training for youth will be Aug. 5-14 in Roanoke
Registration is now open for LEAD, the new leadership training event for Virginia Conference youth that will replace the former YAC/VUMDYLA. LEAD will be Aug. 5-14 at the Salvation Army in Roanoke. Local churches and District Youth Councils are invited to select 3-5 youths who are willing to commit to this nine-day leadership immersion experience and a covenant action plan to enact newly-developed leadership skills in their districts and local communities upon return. The purpose of this event is to be more intentional about the denominational area of focus to develop principled Christian leaders for the church and world. More …

Bishop’s Convocation on Immigration to be held Oct. 1
A Bishop’s Convocation focusing on a faith-based response to the issues surrounding immigration will be held Saturday, Oct. 1, at Grace UMC in Manassas. In her “Grace Notes” column in the April 2010 Virginia United Methodist Advocate, Bishop Charlene Kammerer wrote: “Regardless of our political beliefs about immigration, the consistent message of Old and New Testament Scripture invites us to embrace the sojourner and stranger in our midst.” Plan to join Bishop Kammerer and the Commission on Ethnic Minority Concerns and Advocacy on Oct. 1. More information will be available soon.

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.

Leaders consider funding, structural changes
In an effort to promote more vital congregations, United Methodist leaders are weighing proposals that would dramatically change church funding and the denomination’s agencies. Illinois Area Bishop Gregory V. Palmer shared the proposals during the May 2-6 Council of Bishops meeting. More …

Ben Chamness elected interim bishop of Nashville area
The Council of Bishops unanimously elected retired Bishop Ben Chamness as interim bishop of the Nashville Episcopal Area, which encompasses the Memphis and Tennessee annual conferences. Chamness will serve from Sept. 1 to Aug. 31, 2012, when a new bishop takes office. He is stepping in for Bishop Richard J. Wills Jr., who is retiring a year early because of back problems. Chamness, who was bishop in 2000-08 of the Central Texas Conference, resides in Huntsville, Texas, but will move into the Nashville episcopal residence for a year.

Formula changed for distribution of MEF money to seminaries
Recently directors of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry approved changes to the formula for distributing Ministerial Education Fund (MEF) money. Beginning next year, funds received by United Methodist schools of theology will relate more directly to how many students in Master of Divinity programs are registered candidates for ordained ministry, and how many graduates have been ordained in The United Methodist Church. The directors adopted a new Ministerial Education Fund distribution formula last fall, but tweaked the formula at their spring meeting to include a portion of money to go to the schools based on the number of full-time United Methodist faculty and senior administrators. More …

GBOD offers free webinar for churches changing pastors
A free webinar for churches changing pastors, “Good-by and Hello: When the Pastor Changes,” will be offered Thursday, May 26, at 7:30 p.m. (Eastern time) by the Leadership Ministries division of the United Methodist General Board of Discipleship (GBOD). Register for this free webinar at

Native American Summer Conference to be June 24-26 at Lake Junaluska
The Native American Summer Conference, “Trail of Hope: Leaders for the Future,” will be held June 24-26 at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center. According to Cathy Nelson, interim director of the Southeastern Jurisdictional Agency on Native American Ministries (SEJANAM), the goal of the conference is “to affirm our Trail of Hope as American Indian people using Native American Spirituality and cultural traditions to train leaders, uphold biblical truths and refresh the gospel of Jesus Christ.” Featured Native American speaker and leader for the conference is Ray Buckley (Lakota /Tlingit), interim director of the Center for Native American Spirituality and Christian Study. For more information, call Anne Bridges at (828) 454-6697 or e-mail More …

African-American preaching summit to be July 13-15 at Lake Junaluska
“The Foolishness of Preaching: Words that Transform the World” will be the theme for the first-ever African-American preaching summit to be held July 13-15 at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center. The event will bring together African-American clergy to explore and experience effective sermon preparation, powerful preaching and worship as practiced by outstanding African-American preachers in The United Methodist Church. (1.3 CEUs available) For more information and registration details visit

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

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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