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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 – November 4, 2011

Change your clocks back this Sunday, Nov. 6
Remember to set your clocks back one hour (you gain an hour!) when Daylight Saving Time ends at 2 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 6. The U.S. begins Daylight Saving Time at 2 a.m. local time on the second Sunday in March and reverts to Standard Time at 2 a.m. local time on the first Sunday in November. Dean McIntyre, director of Music Resources at the General Board of Discipleship (GBOD) has written a song to help choir members and others remember to change their clocks and get to church on time on Sunday, Nov. 6. Click here for a free download of the music.

Virginia Conference leads UMC in number of young elders
In his most recent report on Clergy Age Trends in The United Methodist Church, Lovett Weems, distinguished professor of church leadership and founding director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership, noted that currently the largest total numbers of young elders (under age 35) are in the Virginia Conference with 57, followed by Western North Carolina with 52. The Virginia Conference is also among the top 10 conferences (number seven) based on percentage of total elders that are under the age of 35. Click here for complete report.

Global AIDS Fund honors Virginia Conference for its generous support
The United Methodist Global AIDS Fund Committee recently commended donors in the Virginia and Baltimore-Washington Conferences for bolstering efforts toward eradicating the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The committee also called for more commitment and urgency to achieve an AIDS-free world by 2020. The committee thanked the two conferences for their “generous, pace-setting” support of the fund. It did so at a gathering on Oct. 16 at Foundry United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C. More …

Winter/Advent issue of ‘Neighbors’ newsletter available
The 2011 Winter/Advent-Christmas issue of the Neighbors newsletter revisits the Christmas wishes of a 7-year-old boy in the year 1955 through "The One Perfect Gift" by Bob Stephens, member of Good Shepherd United Methodist Church in Richmond. Neighbors is a free, customizable direct-mail piece, produced by Virginia United Methodist Communications, designed to complement a church's outreach ministry. This latest issue is now available online at The Neighbors page provides simple instructions on how to download, print and mail the newsletter.

Applications being accepted for Conference Advance Specials
It is the time of year for mission projects within the Virginia Conference to apply for consideration to become Conference Advance Specials. If there is a ministry that you think should be a Conference Advance Special, go to for application and guidelines. Completed applications are due to the Mission and Global Justice office no later than Dec. 15. Existing 2011-2012 projects do not need to complete a full application, but must update information on page 1 and complete required financial information on page 2, #3. For more information, contact the Mission and Global Justice office at or (804) 521-1144 or toll-free 1-800-768-6040, ext. 144.

Virginia United Methodist Credit Union seeks board members
The Virginia United Methodist Credit Union (VUMCU) is seeking individuals interested in serving on its board of directors. Responsibilities include attending monthly meetings either by conference call or at the United Methodist Center in Glen Allen, reviewing financial information, participating in development training and leadership opportunities. Must be committed to membership outreach and promoting the mission of VUMCU in serving conference churches, clergy and church members. Contact Carol Mathis at or call (804) 672-0200 or toll-free 1-866-657-0004.

Joyner Advent studies available from Cokesbury
The Rev. Alex Joyner, pastor of Franktown UMC, Eastern Shore District, has written two new items for the Advent season. “Peace in the Holy Land” is a session for Cokesbury’s FaithLink curriculum focused on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Designed for use in a small group/Sunday school setting, the lesson draws on a recent trip by Joyner and other Virginia United Methodists to the Holy Land. “Call Him God’s Son” is a study book using the 2011 Advent and Christmas lectionary readings. An optional leader’s guide accompanies the book. Both are available through

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 …

ERT training scheduled in Richmond Nov. 12
United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) Early Response Team (ERT) certification training is scheduled for 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, at Trinity United Methodist Church, 903 Forest Ave., Richmond. Course will be taught by an authorized UMCOR trainer. Topics will include the who, what, where, when and how of disaster response ministry, as well as hands-on experience with specific tasks of early responders. The mission of an Early Response Team is to provide a caring presence in the aftermath of a disaster. Teams work within very specific guidelines to be productive and caring while causing no further harm or being a burden to the affected community. Registration fee is $55. Payment is due on the day of training. To register, e-mail Michele Michaelian at Include name, address, home phone number, cell phone number, and name of your home church and district. More …

Just Neighbors to host open house on Nov. 13
Just Neighbors Ministry, a mission of the Arlington District that provides legal services to low-income immigrants and refugees to help them become self-sufficient, contributing members of the Northern Virginia community, will hold an open house 2 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 13. Located at 5827 Columbia Pike, Suite 320, Falls Church, the organization works with volunteers to enable immigrants to unite with their families, escape from situations of domestic violence, and attain authorization to work. Through partnerships with leading law firms and support from dedicated legal, church and community volunteers, Just Neighbors has provided immigration legal services to more than 5,000 clients, representing more than 115 countries since 1996. Join Just Neighbors staff, clients, volunteers and surrounding community members for an informational and fun open house to celerate 15 years of service and expansion of the nonprofit's services and facilities. This is an informal event for the community to learn more about the work of the organization and to celebrate all who have been involved. For more information, visit or contact Rob Rutland-Brown, Executive Director, at (703) 979-1240 or

Three UMVIM team leader training events to be offered
Three training events are scheduled for United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) team leaders:
     Nov. 19 at Beulah UMC, 6930 Hopkins Rd, Richmond.
     Dec. 10 at Mount Olivet UMC, 1500 N Glebe Road, Arlington.
     Jan. 14 at Thalia UMC, 4321 Virginia Beach Boulevard, Virginia Beach.
The trainings all run 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Click here for more information or to register.

‘Evening at Blackstone’ scheduled for Dec. 11
Blackstone Conference and Retreat Center, 707 Fourth St., Blackstone, will hold its annual “Evening at Blackstone” Sunday, Dec. 11. Holiday open house begins at 4 p.m.; banquet is at 5:30 p.m. Performances begin at 7 p.m. and will include “Star of Wonder,” theatrical production by youths from Crenshaw United Methodist Church, and Dean Shostak’s Crystal Concert featuring glass instruments from Benjamin Franklin’s Glass 1761 Armonica. For reservations, call (434) 292-5308. Cost is $45 (individual) or $80 (couple) for entire evening. Cost of $80 (individual) or $150 (couple) includes evening’s activities plus lodging and breakfast.

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. 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 …

Bishops endorse proposals to restructure denomination
United Methodist bishops on Nov. 1 voted overwhelmingly to endorse proposals to restructure the denomination and redistribute up to $60 million in church funds. The vote specifically endorsed a letter, titled “For the Sake of a New World, We See a New Church: A Call to Action,” detailing changes — some requiring action by General Conference, some not. More …

Member of team that wrote restructuring proposal states concerns
There is much discussion about the restructuring plan for the UMC that will be presented to the 2012 General Conference. “Connectionalism works best and is more theologically sound when it is horizontal, not top down,” writes Tim McClendon, a member of the Connectional Table that approved the proposed new structure and a member of the Legislative Writing Team that composed it. “A primary concern for me is that we are allowing a business model to dictate ecclesiology. I know we’re in terrible economic times but that doesn’t give us license to overturn our polity for the sake of saving money. Actually I think the money-saving is a smoke-screen to hand more power over to the Council of Bishops.” More …

Rosemarie Wenner elected next president of Council of Bishops
Bishop Rosemarie Wenner of Germany will be the next president of the Council of Bishops, marking the first time a woman from outside the United States will lead the global body. The council on Nov. 2 unanimously elected Wenner president, and Bishop Warner H. Brown Jr. of the California-Nevada Annual Conference as the president-designate. More …

‘Super Vigil’ to pray for fair federal budget on Nov. 20
An interfaith “Super Vigil” of prayer for a fair federal budget will be held Sunday, Nov. 20, in Lafayette Park across from the White House. The 3 p.m. vigil is part of the interreligious faithful budget campaign to convince the U.S. Congress and the Obama administration not to place an undue burden on the poor while shielding the wealthiest from any additional sacrifice. More …

Judicial Council says conferences must keep connectional relationships
When annual conferences of The United Methodist Church decide to change their structures, they are obligated to retain some specific connectional relationships, said the Judicial Council in two rulings from the top court’s Oct. 26-28 fall meeting. More …

South Georgia delegates endorse Beckum for bishop
South Georgia Conference delegates to the 2012 General and Jurisdictional Conferences has endorsed the Rev. Robert Beckum as their episcopal nominee. Beckum is Senior Pastor of St. Luke United Methodist in Columbus, appointed there in June 2011. He has been a delegate to three General and Jurisdictional Conferences and will lead the 2012 South Georgia delegation. At least five new bishops will be elected at next summer’s Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference at Lake Junaluska, N.C.

Resources offered for supporting veterans
Veterans Day is Wednesday, Nov. 11. It is a time to give thanks for the service and dedication of our military veterans ... past and present. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has become a major mental health issue as our veterans return from war. Our faith communities can show appreciation and support for our troops throughout the year by learning about some of the challenges that returning veterans are dealing with and finding ways to support them and their families in times of transition.
     Mental Health Ministries, a ministry of the California-Pacific Conference UMC, is offering an interfaith Veterans Day resource that can be used as a bulletin insert or flyer. It can be printed on both sides and cut in half to save paper. This resource is available in English and in Spanish. An article, How Faith Communities Can Help Veterans and Their Families Readjust by VA Chaplain David Lundell, is also available.
     The National Alliance on Mental Illness’ (NAMI) newest brochure on mental illness, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, covers the aspects of trauma, treatment options and coping strategies for individuals living with PTSD and their loved ones. Written by NAMI Medical Director Ken Duckworth, it can also be used as a tool to help returning service men and women and veterans. Read the brochure online or purchase copies in the NAMI bookstore.
     Welcome Them Home, Help Them Heal: Pastoral Care And Ministry With Service Members Returning From War is a book written to equip the growing number of pastors, parish nurses, counselors and caregivers in churches across the country to support and advocate for veterans and their loved ones. For more information, go to

Registration still open for Nov. 13-15 Lake Junaluska Peace Conference
Registrations are still being accepted for the 4th annual Lake Junaluska Peace Conference, “Poverty, Abundance, and Peace: Seeking Economic Justice for all God’s Children,” Nov. 13-15, at Lake Junaluska, N.C. Speakers include former U.S. Sen. George McGovern, Dr. David Beckmann, executive director of Bread for the World and United Methodist Bishop Ntambo of the Congo. Cost is $119. To register visit or call (828) 454-6656.

New video study series helps people find faith in times of trouble
Christians facing difficult life circumstances can find help dealing with them through a new inspirational video study series called “Broken to Peace.” Designed for group study, the six-part series features people sharing compelling real-life stories that brought them to their knees and how faith helped them cope. The video discussion starters follow the journeys of people who have faced difficult issues – breast cancer, job loss, addiction, loss of a child, depression, and physical abuse -- and found peace through their faith. The series features a downloadable leader’s guide for facilitating group study. The small-group study guide includes ideas for creating a welcoming place for participants, suggestions for leading group members through the video viewing, guidance for exploring Scripture, exercises for engaging the senses and thoughts on taking action. More … offering Lay Speaking Ministries courses will be hosting the following online courses which have been approved by the General Board of Discipleship as advanced courses in Lay Speaking Ministries:
     Multimedia Technology in Worship for the Church Volunteer 101Jan. 2-13 – John Zimmerman, Instructor
     Leading Worship 101 for Lay LeadersJan. 9 – Feb. 13 – Dan Benedict, Instructor
     Biblical Storytelling IJan. 16-30 – Beth Galbreath, Instructor
     Growing Spiritually through Daily DisciplineJan. 17 – March 2 – Debra Dickerson, Instructor
     Biblical Storytelling IIApril 15 – May 7 – Beth Galbreath, Instructor
Click here for more information.

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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