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Dec. 16, 2011
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News from the Virginia Conference – November 11, 2011

Book of Discipline now offered as free online version
For the first time ever, the United Methodist Publishing House is offering the 2008 edition of The Book of Discipline, The United Methodist Church’s official law book, in a free online searchable version. The free option has basic functionality and is readable and searchable online. To see this version, go to The Book of Discipline continues to be sold as an online subscription and sold as a CD-ROM. These two paid versions have advanced search capabilities, including a fully-linked table of contents, can be annotated and is automatically updated when errata are published. The Book of Discipline is also sold as an e-book that is compatible with most popular e-readers and e-reading mobile applications. All the versions of The Book of Discipline are available through Cokesbury. General Conference, the denomination’s top legislative body, revises and approves The Book of Discipline every four years. The Book of Discipline will be revised next at the 2012 General Conference, making the 2008 edition obsolete.

New tool available to help congregations increase vitality
With Advent approaching, United Methodist congregations are seeking new ways to attract visitors who will connect with the church — and stay after Christmas. A Wichita congregation tried something new last year as part of a pilot for the Innovative Leadership Project, created by the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. The project encourages congregations to use a new process to determine the best way to become vital, stay vital or increase vitality. More …

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 …

Resources available for World AIDS Day observance
World AIDS Day is Dec. 1. The United Methodist Church’s Global AIDS Fund Committee offers the "40 Days of Prayer" resource that can be downloaded and used as a daily devotional leading up to the observance. The General Board of Church & Society has developed a sample World AIDS Day worship service and other AIDS-free word resources that can be downloaded as well.

December Advocate considers gifts from the Holy Spirit
The December issue of the Advocate newsmagazine considers gifts, a fitting thing for the Christmas season. But these gifts are not the kind that you receive from a friend or family member, not the kind that we make at the time for the offering in worship, but the kinds of gifts that God bestows on us. In the New Testament there are four lists of gifts from the Holy Spirit. Several conference pastors and lay persons contributed personal essays on these gifts as we consider how we can best serve God. 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.

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 celebrate 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

NFL Hall of Famer to speak at Randolph-Macon on Nov. 16
Randolph-Macon College is sponsoring events on Wednesday, Nov. 16, with NFL Hall of Famer Raymond Berry as the guest speaker. At 11:30 a.m. Berry will speak at Duncan Memorial UMC (201 Henry St., on the R-MC campus) about faith and ethics. At 7 p.m. he will speak at R-MC's Crenshaw Gymnasium. The evening event will expand on the morning presentation to address ethics for life, including sports, faith, and life lessons Berry learned along the way. Both events are free and open to the public, but pre-registration is requested. Go to to order tickets. The R-MC chapter of Fellowship of Christian Athletes is also hosting a pre-event at the gymnasium at 5:30 p.m. for high school teens and college students.

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 Rd., Arlington.
     Jan. 14 at Thalia UMC, 4321 Virginia Beach Blvd., 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.

Conference clergy urged to attend Festival of Homiletics May 14-18
The Virginia Conference Order of Elders is encouraging all clergy across the conference to attend the Festival of Homiletics May 14-18 in Atlanta. More …

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 issue letter promising to uphold church law
While acknowledging the denomination’s “deep disagreements” over homosexuality, the United Methodist Council of Bishops issued a letter on Nov. 11 promising to uphold church law banning same-sex unions. More …

Religious leaders say: ‘Don’t cut funding for poor’
Legislation affecting how the U.S. addresses global poverty will be under scrutiny as the U.S. Senate considers the 2012 appropriations bill. The bill, expected on the Senate floor the week of Nov. 14, will affect many programs and places where United Methodists are attempting to improve — and even save — people’s lives, says Mark Harrison, United Methodist Board of Church and Society. More …

United Methodists see ties with Occupy protests
They may have begun as a protest against corporations and greed, but for a growing number of United Methodists taking part in the Occupy Wall Street movement, the protests are a statement about the spiritual bankruptcy of materialism as well as a call to transform the world. More …

Memphis Conference delegates endorse Cooper for bishop
Memphis Conference delegates to 2012 General and Jurisdictional conferences endorsed the Rev. Randy Cooper as their episcopal nominee. Cooper will join nominees from other conferences under consideration for election to the episcopacy at next summer’s Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference at Lake Junaluska, N.C. The Memphis Conference of The United Methodist Church includes West Tennessee and Western Kentucky. Currently pastor of Martin First United Methodist Church in Martin, Tenn., Cooper has been a delegate to three Jurisdictional Conferences and one General Conference. He heads the 2012 Memphis Conference delegation.

GBOD offers free webinars for church leaders
The General Board of Discipleship (GBOD) is offering a free webinar titled “Principles for Church Renewal” on Monday, Nov. 14, at 3:30 p.m. (EST). Topics include defining Christian transformation, disciplines for Christian transformational leadership, leading a movement of hope, and introduction to a process to enable church transformation. This workshop will be led by the Rev. John Briggs, the Rev. Marc Brown and Kathy Merry of the Virginia Conference. Register at

Interpreter magazine offered to local churches at no charge
Interpreter magazine is a publication for lay and clergy leaders in local United Methodist churches across the United States. Articles in the magazine connect you to God, other United Methodist leaders, and ideas and resources to use in your ministry. Published six times each year by United Methodist Communications, each issue includes a cover package of feature articles for local leaders and other stories and articles providing ideas and resources. Each congregation is eligible to receive 10 complimentary subscriptions for leaders (five print, five digital). Online enrollment for 2012 is available at You can also subscribe as an individual or purchase additional subscriptions for leaders and future leaders in your congregation. You may also enroll by sending or faxing a list of leaders to receive Interpreter. For help with any of these procedures, contact United Methodist Communications Customer Service, 1-888-346-3862, or e-mail Interpreter at To receive a sample copy of Interpreter, call Customer Service or e-mail your request to

Thanksgiving song to benefit the hungry
The Society of St. Andrew, the national gleaning ministry, has teamed up with singer Doug Allen and songwriter Sam Zamarripa to produce a new song, “The Song of Thanksgiving,” which also raises money to feed the hungry. Available on iTunes for 99 cents, each song purchase will provide 15 servings of fresh fruit and vegetables to those who need them most, the society said. More …

It’s time to order 2012 official United Methodist program calendar
Let the Official United Methodist 2012 Program Calendar guide your ministry year, from planning to implementation. Available in several formats, these calendars offer the fastest, easiest way to keep track of events and projects. The calendar is a valuable time-management and organizational tool for anyone who commits service and time to the ministries of the church. Order now.

Jan. 6 is deadline to apply for Peace with Justice grant
Jan. 6 is the deadline to apply for a Peace with Justice grant from the United Methodist General Board of Church & Society (GBCS). Funding for this program is generated through the Peace with Justice Special Sunday offering of The United Methodist Church. One of six Special Sundays in the denomination, Peace with Justice “witnesses to God’s demands for a faithful, just, disarmed and secure world.” Peace with Justice Sunday is June 3 in 2012. Peace with Justice grants are awarded annually. This year $50,000 was granted to 18 Peace with Justice ministries. Grant applicants must be either a United Methodist or other affiliated organization, or an ecumenical group working with and through at least one United Methodist agency or organization. Applicants may seek assistance in filling out the form, which is available on the GBCS Web site at Peace with Justice Grant Application. For assistance, contact Marvlyn Scott, (202) 488-5643. For more information, contact Mark Harrison, GBCS director of Peace with Justice, (202) 488-5645.

Dec. 7 is deadline to apply for GBCS one-year organizing initiative
Dec. 7 is the deadline to apply for positions at the General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) to become involved in a one-year grassroots organizing initiative across The United Methodist Church. The initiative is to empower and mobilize United Methodists to make a difference within their annual conferences and jurisdictions on issues of criminal justice, poverty, peace, human trafficking and violence against women. GBCS is seeking experienced organizers to join the agency either as consultants or employees for this 12-month initiative intended to strengthen local churches and annual conferences in addressing social justice issues. Position descriptions have been posted on GBCS’s Web site for National Organizer for Economic Justice, National Organizing Team Communicator, and National Organizer for Women and Children. Other positions will be posted soon. To apply for any position, send a cover letter of two pages or less clearly stating your knowledge, experience, skills and gifts enabling you to be a viable candidate for the position. You should include academic vitae and three professional references. Send your application to: The General Board of Church & Society, Attn: Frances Roberts, (, 100 Maryland Ave NE, Washington, D.C. 20002; or send a fax to (202) 488-1617.

Feb. 1 is deadline to apply for Ethnic Young Adult summer internship
Deadline to apply for a 2012 Ethnic Young Adult (EYA) summer internship in Washington, D.C., is Feb. 1. The EYA program is for persons, ages 18-22, who have an interest in exploring issues of public policy, social justice advocacy and social change. Sponsored by the General Board of Church & Society (GBCS), the summer internship is for young adults representing the five ethnic minority caucuses of The United Methodist Church: Native Americans, Pacific-Islanders, Hispanic/Latinos, African Americans and Asian Americans. An application form can be obtained online at 2012 Ethnic Young Adult Internship. For more information, contact the Rev. Neal Christie, assistant general secretary, Education & Leadership Formation, General Board of Church & Society, 100 Maryland Ave. NE, Washington, D.C. 20002, (202) 488-5611, or via e-mail to Cindy Heilman, or Jennifer Gillyard.

Scarritt-Bennett offers prayer retreat, jazz liturgy workshop
Prayer: Holy Conversations with God” retreat will be held Jan. 23-26 on Scarritt-Bennett’s campus in Nashville, Tenn., and will be led by Pat Hoerth, a trained spiritual director and a United Methodist deaconess with extensive experience in teaching, leading retreats and spiritual formation. “Creating Jazz Liturgy,” a workshop for pastors, church musicians, worship planners, seminary students and others interested in jazz as legitimate music for worship, will be held Feb. 27-29 on Scarritt-Bennett’s campus.

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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