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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 – October 14, 2011

Conference Web site to be down on Oct. 22
From 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, the conference Information Technology staff will be doing maintenance on the Virginia Conference Web site,, and upgrading server software. During this upgrade, the Web site will be down for several hours. In addition, there will be a brief interruption in service to the and the Web sites. If you will need to download documents or obtain information from the conference Web site – including Charge Conference forms – please do so prior to Saturday, Oct. 22, in order to avoid inconvenience. The Web sites are expected to be fully operational again by Sunday morning, Oct. 23.

Open enrollment for conference health plan continues to Nov. 4
Open enrollment for the 2012 Virginia Conference Health Plan is available now and will continue until Nov. 4. This is your opportunity to make plan elections or changes to your current conference health plan options for 2012. If you want to participate in a Flexible Spending Account in 2012 or make plan changes to your current conference health plan elections, you must participate in the 2012 open enrollment. If you are not making plan changes and you do not want to participate in a Flexible Spending Account in 2012, you are not required to complete open enrollment, your current conference health plan elections will roll over to the plan year 2012. Click here to access open enrollment or access it through the conference Web site, Go to the home page and look for the 2012 Virginia Conference Health Plan Open Enrollment link. For more information, contact Nancy Blair, Virginia United Methodist Pensions office, at 1-800-768-6040, ext. 130, or (804) 521-1130, or e-mail

400+ at 5 Talent Academy hear examples of effective evangelism
More than 400 clergy and laity from 140 churches heard speakers from five conference churches tell stories of evangelism outreach and growth during the 5 Talent Academy teaching event held Oct. 6 at Oak Grove UMC in Chesapeake. More ...

Search reopened for director of Ministries with Young People
Search for the Virginia Conference director of Ministries with Young People has been reopened. The director of Ministries with Young People works as a team member with other Connectional Ministries directors under the supervision of the director of Connectional Ministries. Applications will be received through Oct. 28 with interviews being scheduled for Nov. 8. Submit cover letter, resume and three references to Marc Brown at MarcBrown@vaumc.orgClick here for full job description.

Weems to speak to General Conference delegation Oct. 22
The Virginia Conference General and Jurisdictional Conference delegation will meet from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, at Trinity UMC in Richmond. Pastors are invited to bring leaders from their church at 10 a.m. to hear Dr. Lovett Weems, director of the Lewis Leadership Center at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, share a presentation titled, “What’s Ahead for the UMC?” The presentation about the current state of the church will last 60-90 minutes with a time for questions following. In the afternoon, the delegation will vote by secret ballot on a candidate to be endorsed for bishop in the election to be held at the 2012 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference.

New Bishops’ Foundation elects officers, begins discernment
The 2011 Virginia Annual Conference voted to merge The Goodson Foundation for Homiletics, Stockton Endowment for Evangelism, and Pennel Wesleyan Heritage Foundation into one new Bishops’ Foundation to provide training for leadership development of laity and clergy in the areas of evangelism and preaching in the Wesleyan spirit. At the first meeting of the Foundation Board of Directors on Sept. 27, the following officers were elected for 2012: chair, the Rev. Bill Davidson, York River District; vice chair, Kevin Bruny, Richmond District; secretary, the Rev. David Rash, Harrisonburg District; and treasurer, Larry Broomall, Lynchburg District. Over the next few months, the board will continue to discern what the Foundation can uniquely do to support leadership development for clergy and laity in the spirit of “All Things New,” the Virginia Conference’s strategic vision. For more information about The Bishops’ Foundation, contact the office of Leadership and Inclusivity at 1-800-768-6040 or (804) 521-1100, ext. 154 or e-mail

TOPS sells Veterans Day cards to fund ministry to homeless
Teens Opposing Poverty/Together Opposing Poverty (TOPs) is launching a new program to honor veterans through customized Veterans Day cards. TOPs will send a customized card in honor/memory of the veterans in your life for a gift of $25, which funds a half day of ministry in one of the cities where TOPs is working. TOPs provides food, clothes and other essentials for survival to the homeless in Washington, D.C., Winchester, Richmond, Charlottesville, Lynchburg and Newport News and will expand soon to Roanoke and Harrisonburg. Approximately 30-40% of the homeless men in these areas are veterans. TOP volunteers go beyond meeting physical needs by also offering hope, encouragement, friendship, prayer and the good news of Jesus Christ to the people they serve. For details go to Teens Opposing Poverty is an Advance Special of the Virginia Conference.

United Methodist Student Day is Nov. 27
United Methodist Student Day is Sunday, Nov. 27. 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 …

Oct. 23-24 event to offer help with Small Group Ministry
The Society for Wesleyan Studies' fall event Oct. 23-24 will focus on Small Group Ministry. 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. A .5 CEU is available 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. Registration deadline is Oct. 20.

Conference UMW to hold annual meeting Oct. 29-30 at VUMAC
The 39th Annual Meeting of Virginia Conference United Methodist Women (UMW) will be held at the Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center (VUMAC) in Blackstone Oct. 29-30. Speaker will be Dr. Jennifer Braaten, president of Ferrum College. A registration form can be found on the Web at

Middle School, High School fall retreats to be at Eagle Eyrie
The Conference Middle School (Nov. 11-13) and High School (Dec. 2-4) Fall Retreats will be held at Eagle Eyrie in Lynchburg. The retreats will include a Youth Service Fund “walk for change” that will help youth to gain mission awareness. Churches are encouraged to recruit a college student or young adult to lead a small group. Registration fee, curriculum, training and e-briefing will be provided for all small group leaders. Cost is $115 per participant. More …

ERT training scheduled in Richmond, James River districts
United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) Early Response Team (ERT) certification training is scheduled for the Richmond and James River Districts. Courses will be taught by authorized UMCOR trainers. Registration fee is $55. Payment is due on the day of training.
8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, at Trinity United Methodist Church, 903 Forest Ave., Richmond. To register, e-mail Michele Michaelian at
8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, at Sycamore United Methodist Church, 9710 Old Stage Road, Prince George. To register, e-mail Becky Paxton at
When e-mailing, include name, address, home phone number, cell phone number, and name of your home church and district.

Register now for June 25-29 United Nations Seminar
Reservations are being accepted for the June 25-29, 2012, United Nations Seminar for young people ages 16-22. This is an opportunity to go deeper in living your faith and learning how to be a generation for change. An exploration of social justice issues and systemic causes (locally and globally), this trip to New York City will help young people ages 16-22 years old discover a passion to change the world. This seminar is sponsored by the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church. Seminars are presented for a minimum of 15 people. The goal is to register at least 15 participants by January 2012. Exact cost has not yet been determined as final details are being set, but it is estimated to be approximately $800 per person. If you are interested in participating, contact Becky Tate at as soon as possible. More …

10-Fold multimedia experience continues through Oct. 19
Through Oct. 19 you will be able to learn about United Methodist projects around the world supported by the General Board of Global Ministries and United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) during an online multi-media event called 10-Fold. Through live webcasts, streaming video, online chats and other media at, you will see and hear about 10 powerful ways The United Methodist Church and UMCOR are making an impact worldwide — from planting churches to eliminating death and suffering from malaria. By logging on to, you will experience a different project each day and learn about ways YOU can join the effort. Plus, when you click to be counted, sponsors will give $1 to the day's initiative, just because you visited. Use the toolkit (PDF) for help and suggestions for getting your family, friends and fellow church members to spread the word.

Registration deadline extended to Oct. 19 for Exploration 2011
Registration has been extended until Oct. 19 for Exploration 2011, an event for young adults who sense God's call to ordained ministry as a deacon or elder in The United Methodist Church. The event will be Nov. 11-13 in St. Louis. Sponsored by the United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry, Exploration 2011 is open to young adults age 18-26. Registration fee will cover a two-night stay at the Millennium Hotel, meals and program fees. Click here to register. Updates and registration information are posted on the event Web site.

Board of Pension and Health Benefits to hold public forum Nov. 11
A United Methodist Board of Pension and Health Benefits public forum will be Friday, Nov. 11, at the Hyatt Regency Cambridge, 575 Memorial Drive, Cambridge, Mass. The forum is tentatively scheduled for 11:45 a.m. EDT. The forum will allow the board of directors to hear concerns of constituents. To place your name and topic on the agenda, call Colette Nies by Nov. 1 at 1-800-269-2244, ext. 4296, or send e-mail.

UMW leaders join Occupy Wall Street protesters
Leaders of United Methodist Women took advantage of the New York location of their Oct. 7-10 board meeting to join the Occupy Wall Street protesters on Oct. 9. The leaders are directors of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries’ Women’s Division, the policymaking body for United Methodist Women. They wanted to make a stand for economic justice. Watch video»

Liberian United Methodist awarded 2011 Nobel Peace Prize
United Methodist Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, president of Liberia, was one of three women awarded the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize for their work on women’s rights. Johnson Sirleaf, a member of First United Methodist Church, Monrovia, Liberia, in 2006 was the first woman to be elected a head of state in modern Africa. She is up for re-election this month. Bishop John Innis, who leads Liberia’s 170,000 United Methodists, has urged support for Johnson Sirleaf from the first days of her presidency. More …

Settlement accepted in Capitol Rotunda arrests
Two United Methodist leaders and nine other faith leaders arrested July 28 in the Capitol Rotunda after refusing to stop public prayers have agreed to a pretrial settlement. The settlement will not involve fines or jail time, but most of those arrested – now known as the Rotunda 11 – will be required to complete a drug-screening program and stay out of the Capitol building for six months. More …

‘Music and Worship in African-American church Explo!’ to be Nov. 10-12
If you want your church to grow and attract more people, you have to have powerful and inspiring music in your church. How do you do this? Learn how by coming to “‘Music and Worship in the African-American Church Explo!” Nov. 10–12 at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center, Junaluska, N.C. Registration Deadline is Oct. 31. Go to for more information.

40 daily devotions available leading to World AIDS Day observance
Click here for a free, downloadable resource that offers 40 daily devotions leading up to World AIDS Day, typically observed on Dec. 1. “40 Days of Prayers for Persons Affected & Living with HIV & AIDS” is a joint effort of the United Methodist Global AIDS Fund Committee and the General Board of Church & Society (GBCS). This and other HIV & AIDS-related resources are available through the GBCS store at

‘Outside the Box’ offers new way to explore Christmas
“Outside the Box,” a sermon series and multimedia bundle produced by United Methodist Communications, offers an opportunity to explore Christmas in a new way. The four-week sermon series is about how God used even the least likely biblical characters like Mary, Joseph, the shepherds and the innkeeper, to do miraculous things. Designed to challenge congregations to reach out to people beyond the margins, “Outside the Box” encourages participants to find those who have been forgotten, ignored or turned away from life’s inns so that they may be welcomed. Now available as a free download, the series is equipped with reflections for small groups, youth and young adult engagement tools, children’s activities, worship ideas, help for sermon planning, teacher lessons, and more. The comprehensive 70-page study is designed so the entire church can participate — including those with intellectual or developmental disabilities. A multimedia bundle, which includes the series, ($25) includes five videos to make messages come to life (for worship or small groups), bulletin and worship slide graphics and outreach resources to engage the community. These items are customizable in Microsoft Word or Adobe Photoshop. There are also tips for online engagement, family-friendly worship ideas, and an Advent wreath lighting liturgy. It is available for purchase at For more information about “Outside the Box: The Gift that Can’t be Contained” and Rethink Church, call 1-877-281-6535 or e-mail

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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