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To view a 2011 issue of the Virginia Conference e-Advocate, click on the date below:

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

Nov. 18, 2011
Nov. 11, 2011
Nov. 4, 2011

Oct. 28, 2011
Oct. 14, 2011
Oct. 7, 2011

Sept. 29, 2011
Sept. 23, 2011
Sept. 15, 2011
Sept. 9, 2011
Sept. 2, 2011

Aug. 26, 2011
Aug. 19, 2011
Aug. 11, 2011
Aug. 4, 2011

July 28, 2011
July 21, 2011
July 15, 2011
July 8, 2011

June 29, 2011
June 20, 2011
June 14, 2011
June 9, 2011
June 3, 2011 - Special Annual Conference Edition

May 27, 2011
May 20, 2011
May 11, 2011
May 6, 2011

April 26, 2011
April 18, 2011
April 8, 2011

March 31, 2011
March 25, 2011
March 17, 2011
March 9, 2011
March 2, 2011

Feb. 25, 2011
Feb. 17, 2011
Feb. 10, 2011
Feb. 3, 2011

Jan. 28, 2011
Jan. 20, 2011
Jan. 12, 2011
Jan. 6, 2011

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News from the Virginia Conference – August 26, 2011

Churches prepare for arrival of Hurricane Irene
Churches near the coast — particularly in the Eastern Shore and Elizabeth River Districts — are preparing for this weekend’s arrival of Hurricane Irene. Forecasters are estimating that the storm will hit Virginia as a tropical storm about 2 p.m. Saturday, and by 8 p.m. will grow back to a category 2 hurricane lasting at least until Sunday morning. Six to 12 inches of rain and category 2 hurricane force winds (96–110 mph) are expected in the Elizabeth River and Hampton Roads area. In the York River District and areas east of I-95, category 1 hurricane force winds (74-95 mph) are expected. Forecasters say hurricane force winds may be felt over the mainland almost to I-95 late into the weekend. Many congregations in the Elizabeth River District have cancelled worship services for Sunday. Robert Pihlcrantz, Virginia Conference Disaster Response Coordinator, said district and conference Disaster Response Teams have equipment in place and Emergency Response Team volunteers ready to respond to damage caused by the storm. The teams are coordinating with state and regional agencies and United Methodist Committee on Relief. “We’re as ready as we can be,” Pihlcranz said. “We’ll respond as requested by the districts.” Pihlcranz urged everyone to make preparations. “This is going to be worse than Isabel,” said Pihlcranz, referring to the 2003 hurricane. “It really should be something people are paying attention to. This is not something to be taken lightly.”

Evangelism to be topic of 5 Talent Academy Oct. 6 teaching event
“Evangelism: Best Practices,” will be the focus of the next 5 Talent Academy teaching event, set for Oct. 6 at Oak Grove United Methodist Church in Chesapeake. Unlike previous teaching events, this one will not feature a well-known expert speaker brought in from outside the conference. For this event, leadership will be drawn from churches within the Virginia Conference that are having success with their evangelism practices. Organizers are calling this a “taste and see” event, meaning that churches not currently in the 5 Talent Academy can come and see what the program is all about, and discern if they would like to participate. More …

$7,392 needed to reach Annual Conference Offering goal
To date, $192,608.56 has been collected for the Annual Conference Offering. Only $7,392 is needed to reach the goal of $200,000 to support leadership development in the United Methodist Church in Mozambique, Shade and Fresh Water programs in Brazil, Agape Christian Children’s Community Center on the Eastern Shore, and Shalom Zone: Grace Ministries in Roanoke. Contributions may still be sent to the Conference Treasurer's office, P.O. Box 5605, Glen Allen, VA 23058. Designate “Fund #5500 – Annual Conference Offering” at the bottom of your apportionment statement.

Sydenstricker UMC honored as official ‘Welcoming Congregation’
Sydenstricker United Methodist Church in Springfield (Alexandria District) has been recognized by United Methodist Communications (UMCom) as an official “Welcoming Congregation.” “Welcoming Congregations” are a select group of United Methodist congregations nationwide that meet criteria including embracing newcomers and providing opportunities in discipleship. The recognition program is part of a larger effort launched in late 2000 by UMCom, the denomination’s communications agency, to use modern technology and the common language of television to spread the good news of Christ to a world in need. Click here to learn how your church can become a “Welcoming Congregation.”

Apply now to be Calling 21 host church for summer 2012
Calling 21, the Virginia Conference young adult local church internship program, has just completed its fifth summer of hosting college student interns in churches around the conference, and plans are now being made for summer 2012. Internships last from mid-June to mid-August. Interns are housed with a host family in the congregation. The Conference Calling 21 Team interviews candidates for these internship positions, places them in churches, provides them with orientation, and provides training for host pastors. Cost to each local church is $3,000. Host churches/pastors are selected by the Cabinet and Conference Calling 21 Team. Interested in being considered? Contact Doug Forrester, Conference Calling 21 Team Leader, at or (434) 823-4420. More information can be found at

Hispanic Heritage Month begins Sept. 15
Hispanic Heritage month kicks off Sept. 15. Click here for resources including videos that can be used as sermon illustrations, study material for Sunday schools or neighborhood Bible studies, and informational pieces to help start a new understanding of immigration.

Oct. 2 is World Communion Sunday
World Communion Sunday is Oct. 2. Your participation in this Special Sunday offering is vital to developing United Methodist leaders in the United States and around the world. Your gifts provide scholarships for graduate and undergraduate students who might not be able to pursue higher education without your support. World Communion Sunday provides for three ministries: World Communion Scholarships, Ethnic Scholarship Program, and Ethnic In-Service Training Program. More …

Online Advocate premiers with September issue
Beginning Sept. 1, the Virginia United Methodist Advocate monthly newsmagazine will be made available online to those with paid subscriptions. For $20 a year, you can receive a printed copy of the magazine each month plus full online access. Those who just want to read the digital version of the magazine can purchase an ‘online only’ subscription for $10 a year. The ‘print only’ subscription will remain just $15 per year. To subscribe to the Advocate – print version, digital version or both – call (804) 521-1110 or 1-800-768-6040, ext. 110; e-mail; or click here.

Board of Ordained Ministry offers information session Sept. 12
The Virginia Conference Board of Ordained Ministry is offering an information session for laity and clergy who are interested in learning more about the board's examination process. The session will be held from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 12, at the Conference Center in Glen Allen. RSVP to

Training scheduled for volunteers to teach Disciple in prisons
The Virginia Conference has partnered with the Holston Conference to establish Disciple Bible Outreach Ministries (DBOM) of Virginia, an affiliate ministry of DBOM National, Inc. DBOM recruits, trains and equips local church volunteers for ministry in prisons, jails and youth development centers. All DBOM prison volunteers must be trained and certified for this ministry. The first two trainings for Virginia will be Saturday, Sept. 17, and Sunday, Sept. 18, at the Virginia Conference Center in Glen Allen. Click here for more information or to register, or contact Gene Mims at or (804) 733-8632.

General, Jurisdictional Conference info to be offered Sept. 28, Oct. 8
Information sessions about what happens at The United Methodist Church’s General and Jurisdictional Conferences will be led by members of the 2012 General and Jurisdictional Conference Virginia delegation 10 a.m. to noon Wednesday, Sept. 28, at Wellspring United Methodist Church in Williamsburg, and Saturday, Oct. 8, at Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Charlottesville. The same program will be presented at each location. The two-hour session will include a General Conference overview, detailed information on day-to-day schedules, practical considerations for attendees, detailed information on the legislative committee process, an overview of Jurisdictional Conference, and some suggestions on being a visitor at General Conference in Tampa and Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference at Lake Junaluska. These programs are open to all conference clergy and laity. Wellspring UMC is located at 4871 Longhill Road in Williamsburg. Aldersgate UMC is located at 1500 Rio Road East in Charlottesville. For more information, contact the Rev. Susan Garrett at or Neill Caldwell at

Kid’s Work Camp to be Sept. 30-Oct. 2 at Westview on James
Kid's Work Camp at Westview on the James in Goochland will be Sept. 30-Oct. 2. This weekend camp for 2nd- through 6th- graders focuses on outreach and mission opportunities designed just for kids and their leaders. Some projects occur on-site, but most groups will head out into the Goochland area to assist with home repair, yard work, visits to the elderly and more. Campers will worship together, play together and work together. For more information and registration form, go to

Bishop’s Convocation on immigration to be 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 recent years, U.S. society has become polarized over many political issues, including questions surrounding the current undocumented immigrant community, most of whom are Christian brothers and sisters. But global migratory pattern shifts on the horizon require the church to rethink its current position now. Slowly, the church is trying to extract itself from the political rhetoric and explore ways to “rethink church” in the midst of the ongoing cultural battle. Plan to join Bishop Kammerer and the Commission on Ethnic Minority Concerns and Advocacy for this important event. Registration deadline is Sept. 16. Click here for brochure or to register.

ARMS retreat set for Oct. 5-6 at VUMAC
Association of Retired Ministers and Spouses (ARMS) will hold a two-day retreat Oct. 5-6 at Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center (VUMAC) in Blackstone. Theme is “Celebrating Retirement Together.” Speakers will include the Rev. Dr. David McAllister-Wilson, president of Wesley Theological Seminary, and Susan Jean, attorney specializing in elder law and estate planning. Registration deadline is Sept. 29. A mailing will be going out to all retired pastors. For more information, contact Bob and Nancy Parsons at or Barbara and Gerould Ward at

Clergywomen invited to join Clergywomen’s Collective
All Virginia Conference women clergy are invited to be part of the Clergywomen's Collective. Its purpose is to encourage collegiality and empower women of every background, as they serve God through The United Methodist Church. The collective will gather at the Virginia United Methodist Center in Glen Allen from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 11; Jan. 11, 2012; April 12, 2012; and July 10, 2012. For more information, contact ReNe'e R. Teague at, (540) 659-2461, or (804) 357-4435.

‘After Hours’ weekend camp to be Oct. 28-30 at Westview on James
Westview on the James in Goochland County is offering “After Hours,” a weekend camp for 7th- through 10th-graders, Oct. 28-30. Youths will explore the light and life of Jesus in worship and Bible study and will choose from a variety of camp activities to help create their schedules for the weekend. Cost is $95 per person. This weekend is designed for individuals or groups. Call the camp office at (804) 457-4210 or e-mail Cat Holbert at for more information.

It’s not too late to get ready to walk or run ‘The Good Race’
Clergy and laity are invited to join other United Methodists in “The Good Race,” a day of participation and celebration that includes walking or running the Richmond 8K, half-marathon, or marathon, on Saturday, Nov. 12. Most training programs take 16 weeks of preparation, so it is not too late to start. Contact Allie Rosner ( or Steve Jones ( to join the group. Remember: this is not a competition – these are clergy and laity who want to encourage one another in exercise and wellness.

Book of devotions offered as free Kindle download
Sept. 11 marks the 10-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The date also marks the 10th anniversary of re-publication of “Strength for Service to God and Country,” a 1942 book of daily devotions written for World War II troops. In honor of the men and women who serve our country, the Commission on United Methodist Men is providing a free Kindle version of this historic book of daily devotions. Visit the Amazon Kindle Store between Sept. 1 and Sept. 15 to download your copy. More …

Training will be Sept. 14 for southerners to abolish death penalty
The United Methodist General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) is offering a one-day seminar on how to abolish capital punishment. The Church & the Death Penalty: Winning New Victories in the Old South will be 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14, at Lake Junaluska Conference & Retreat Center, N.C. More and more states are either repealing the death penalty or reforming it. Unfortunately, almost all executions still take place in the South. You can join religious leaders throughout the mid-South to explore, discern and take action toward the goal of abolishing the death penalty. More …

Exploration 2011 helps young adults discern call to ministry
Young adults who might be interested in ordained ministry are encouraged to attend Exploration 2011 Nov. 11-13 in St. Louis, Mo. Cost to attend is $150 until Sept. 5. After that date, cost rises to $175, and is $200 after Sept. 25. Jessica Fuller, ordained deacon, will attend as a representative of the Virginia Conference. This biennial event sponsored by The United Methodist Church provides young people with an opportunity to discern God’s call in their lives. Through plenary sessions, workshops, small groups and interactions at meal times, young people have the opportunity to hear, sense and discern if God is calling them to ordained leadership in the church. Click here for more information and to register.

Enrollment open for online Disciple Bible Study groups
Groups are beginning to take shape for the third year of Disciple Online, the online form of Disciple Bible Study. Enrollment is now open at for individuals who wish to participate in Disciple I, Disciple II, and Disciple III in an online format with others from all over. Participants follow the format of Disciple. They study the Bible on their own during the week then meet with their group members through the Internet with special software at a set day and time to review the week’s study. Churches may wish to host a Disciple Online course intended just for church members. Any trained or experienced Disciple Bible Study facilitator may be qualified as a Disciple Online facilitator in How to Become a Disciple Online Facilitator. More …

First Parish Project applications now being accepted
Applications are being taken for the Nov. 11-18 program of the First Parish Project, a support project for beginning clergy funded by the Lilly Endowment and by Hinton Rural Life Center, a mission agency of the Southeastern Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church. First Parish Project is a continuing education program aimed at developing and sustaining effective pastoral leadership in the small membership churches that average 100 or less at the principal weekly worship service. The program is open to clergy of all denominations.

Claremont School of Theology offers one-month online courses
New one-month online courses for personal and professional development will be offered beginning Oct. 17, by Claremont School of Theology. Gain valuable knowledge and skills to become a more effective community leader and learn more about the Bible and theology. Enroll now for the following affordable online courses: “Introduction to Process Theology,” “New Literary Insights into the Gospels,” “Islam in America” and “Leading in Challenging Changing Times.” For more information and to register, click here.

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 — now available in both print and digital formats. 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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