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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 – September 15, 2011

Churches preparing to become ‘Vital Congregations’
Across The United Methodist Church and the Virginia Conference, churches are preparing to become “Vital Congregations.” For this year’s charge conferences, clergy and lay leaders should begin the process of setting goals for the next four years in five key areas: Worship, Disciples, Small Groups, Mission Participants and Mission Giving. Each church will submit its goals by March 1, 2012, and goals will be presented at General Conference. Click here for more information and planning guide.

Virginia United Methodist Foundation launches new Web site
The Virginia United Methodist Foundation launched its new Web site, the end of August. This interactive Web site provides local churches and conference agencies with a wealth of free resources, including more than 300 pieces of planned giving and estate planning literature that can be used for bulletin inserts, special emphasis and stewardship campaigns. The Web site also features an electronic newsletter that the Foundation began sending to clergy and laity on Sept. 10. This weekly newsletter includes articles on current topics, donor stories and gift and estate planning suggestions. “The Foundation now offers a new service of helping local churches with capital campaigns,” said Deal Tompkins, Foundation president. “The new Web site has information about this. We are excited about these new services which we will talk about at the district workshops this fall and winter.”

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 …

Oct. 16 is Laity Sunday
Laity Sunday is Oct. 16. Theme for this year’s celebration of Laity Sunday is Disciples Transforming the World — Through Gifts. Click here for worship resources on the General Board of Discipleship Web site.

United Methodist Student Day is Nov. 27
United Methodist Student Day is Sunday, Nov. 27. Be sure to order your free offering resources for this special offering. United Methodist Student Day provides scholarships and loans for students attending United Methodist-related and other accredited colleges and universities. More …

Resource Center offers Teachers Toolbox Sept. 24
The Resource Center is sponsoring Teachers Toolbox 2011 “Taking Faith Home” Saturday, Sept. 24, 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. at Trinity United Methodist Church, Richmond. Keynote speaker is Marilyn Sharpe, principal of Marilyn Sharpe Ministries, LLC, and adjunct faculty at Luther Seminary and Concorde University in St. Paul, Minn. She is author of For Heaven’s Sake! Parenting Preschoolers Faithfully! Ten workshops will be offered. CEUs available. Registration deadline is Sept. 16. Cost is $35 and includes lunch. For information or to register, go to or call 804-358-8306 (toll-free 888-241-5132).

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. These programs are open to all conference clergy and laity. 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. Click here for brochure and registration form.

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. 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.

PAUMCS Oct. 5 event to focus on church safety, record keeping
Virginia Chapter of the Professional Association of United Methodist Church Secretaries (PAUMCS) will hold its fall training event 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5, at the United Methodist Center in Glen Allen. Training on church safety will be led by the Executive Director of the Virginia Crime Prevention Association. A session on record keeping and archiving will be led by Virginia Conference Archivist Stephanie Davis. Registration deadline is Sept. 23. Click here for brochure.

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. For more information, contact Bob and Nancy Parsons at or Barbara and Gerould Ward at

Evangelism to be topic of 5 Talent Academy on Oct. 6
“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. Deadline to register is Sept. 30. More …

District training events to be held this fall, spring
District training events will be held across the Virginia Conference in fall 2011 and spring 2012. Schedule is: Nov. 13 – Harrisonburg District; Nov. 19 – Charlottesville District, Danville District, York River District, Fredericksburg District; Jan. 7 – Alexandria/Arlington Districts; Jan. 8 – Richmond District; Jan. 14 – Winchester District; Jan. 21 – Elizabeth River District; Jan. 22 – James River District, Farmville District; Jan. 28 – Lynchburg District, Staunton District; Feb. 4 – York River District; March 17 – Eastern Shore District.

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 Teague at, (540) 659-2461, or (804) 357-4435.

Event to equip African-American congregations to be Oct. 14-15
The second in a series of events to support and equip African-American congregations in the Virginia Conference will be Oct. 14-15 at Norfolk UMC. Consultants at the event will be the Rev. Dr. Fred Allen, National Director of Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century, and the Rev. Bridgette Young, Assistant General Secretary for Campus Ministry and College Chaplaincy, Division of Higher Education at the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry. More …

Middle School Mission Weekend is Oct. 14-16
Middle School Mission Weekend will be Oct. 14-16 at Westview on the James in Goochland. Run by the Jeremiah Project, this is a great opportunity to engage middle school students in mission for a weekend and help them understand what it means to be the hands and feet of Christ in their communities. Cost is $115 per participant. Deadline to register is Oct. 3. Click here for more information and to register.

Christian educators to sponsor Oct. 20 ‘Day Apart’
Virginia Conference Christian Educators Fellowship is sponsoring “A Day Apart in Christian Education” Thursday, Oct. 20, 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. at Duncan Memorial UMC, Ashland. The Rev. David Hindman, pastor of Duncan Memorial and former campus minister at The College of William and Mary, will lead discussion from a presentation at the Florida Conference in June 2011, titled “Shift Happens: Transforming Sons and Daughters of God in the 21st Century.” Registration deadline is Oct. 14. More …

Oct. 23-24 event to offer help with Small Group Ministry
Are you looking for help with your Small Group Ministry? The Society for Wesleyan Studies' fall event may be just what you need. On Oct. 23-24, the Rev. Kevin Watson, Ph.D. candidate at Perkins School of Theology and Professor of Historical Theology at Seattle Pacific University, will help participants dig a little deeper into our Methodist heritage by “Reclaiming the Class Meeting” as a vital tool for making disciples of Jesus Christ in the 21st century. The event will be at the Roslyn Retreat Center in Richmond and will include worship and opportunities to discuss the practical challenges of small group discipleship. Click here for a brochure. More …

‘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. Click here for brochure.

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.

2012 Ministers’ Convocation set for Jan. 17-19
The 2012 Ministers' Convocation will be Jan. 17-19, 2012, at the Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center in Blackstone. Theme is "Bread for the Journey: A time for personal renewal and fellowship to regain joy and vitality in our lives and our vocation." Keynote presenter will be Wayne Muller, therapist, minister, community advocate, public speaker and best-selling author of Sabbath; A Life of Being, Having and Doing Enough and Legacy of the Heart: the Spiritual Advantages of a Painful Childhood. Click here for brochure. More …

Smith resigns as Virginia Interfaith Center CEO
The Rev. C. Douglas Smith, Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy CEO and president, is leaving to join the staff of the Montpelier Foundation as its director for the Center for the Constitution. The Rev. Charles Swadley, former chair of the Virginia Interfaith Center Board, will serve as interim CEO until a new CEO is named before the next Virginia General Assembly. Swadley is an Elder in The United Methodist Church who has a background in organizational development and faith-based leadership. He took retired status in July, leaving the pulpit at Lakeside UMC in Richmond. He and his wife, Susan, live in Henrico County.

Rethink Church offers ‘Outside the Box’ Advent sermon series
Rethink Church has released an Advent sermon series titled "Outside the Box." The series invites Christians to unwrap anew the story of Jesus' birth. It includes sermon starters, an Advent wreath-lighting liturgy, youth/young adult small group resources as well as children and family activities. The series also offers adaptive tips for including those with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. These are available for free download. The multimedia bundle includes promotional materials, video and graphics for $25. More …

News Service extends deadline for immigration survey
United Methodist News Service has extended the deadline for its survey gathering the thoughts of United Methodists on immigration. The survey will now run through Sept. 16. The survey takes about 10 to 12 minutes to complete. It includes an opportunity to comment on the issue. Take survey …

Ethnic caucuses express concerns about restructuring plan
Leaders of five groups that represent the denomination's ethnic constituencies caution that proposals to restructure the church are "too drastic." The leaders are responding to proposed legislation that would consolidate nine of the denomination's 13 general agencies into a new United Methodist Center for Connectional Mission and Ministry. More …

Wesley Seminary offers ‘Who Is My Neighbor?’ series
Wesley Theological Seminary at Mount Vernon Place United Methodist Church, 900 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, D.C., offers first Saturday fall sessions of the "Who Is My Neighbor?" series. Topics Include: Saturday, Oct.1, 9 a.m. to noon, “Is the Republican/Democrat My Neighbor?”; Saturday, Nov. 5, 9 a.m. to noon, “Is the Immigrant My Neighbor?”; Saturday, Dec. 3, 9 a.m. to noon, “Is the Homosexual My Neighbor?” $25 registration per session, $15 if registering for two or more sessions. To register, call 202-403-0962 or e-mail More …

Metro Richmond Clergy Convention set for Oct. 20
The annual Metro Richmond Clergy Convocation will be held Oct. 20 from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Richmond Hill. Local government leaders from Richmond, Henrico, Hanover and Chesterfield will address area clergy about issues and needs. The event is being co-sponsored by the School of Theology at Virginia Union University, Baptist Theological Seminary and Union Presbyterian Seminary. Richmond Hill is located at 2209 E. Grace Street. For information or to register call (804) 783-7903 or e-mail Space is limited.

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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