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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 – December 9, 2011

2011 Conference Journal now posted on Web site
The 2011 Virginia Annual Conference Journal is now available on the conference Web site,, in a pdf file format which can be downloaded and printed. Copies on a CD may be purchased at a cost of $10 each by calling the Virginia Conference Communications office at (804) 521-1110 or 1-800-768-6040, ext. 110.

Planning guide can help churches set Vital Congregations goals
Clergy and lay leaders of every church in the conference should have started the Vital Congregations process of setting goals for the next four years in five key areas: Worship, Disciples, Small Groups, Mission Participants and Mission Giving. A planning guide is available at Using the guide will help each church prepare a theological foundation while planning. Each church will submit its goals by March 1, and goals will be presented during General Conference.

Conference seeks transformational leaders
The Conference Leadership Discovery and Development Team (CLDDT) is looking for transformational leaders invested in equipping local churches and disciples for the many facets of ministry in our community and world. Openings are available on The Common Table for Church Vitality; Church Development Team; Board of Discipleship; Young Adult Council; Older Adult Council; Board of Global Ministries; Blackstone Conference and Retreat Center; Virginia United Methodist Communications; Commission on Disabilities; Equitable Compensation Commission; Commission on Ethnic Minority Concerns and Advocacy; Council on Finance and Administration; Board of Pensions; Committee on Rules; and Annual Conference Site Selection Committee. To be considered for one of these positions, fill out a Nomination Profile Form available from your district office or the conference Web site and submit it to your district office by Dec. 31. More …

December is United Methodist Family Services (UMFS) Month
The Virginia Annual Conference designated the month of December as United Methodist Family Services (UMFS) Month, one of six Virginia Conference special offerings. Funds collected during this month provide important and life-giving support to UMFS which serves more than 7,500 individuals annually who have suffered abuse, neglect, crisis and trauma. UMFS provides strength-based programs and services that heal, educate and empower — so that lives can be turned right side up. For offering materials on the UMFS Web site, click here and then go to the lower left hand corner of the page.

Applications for ‘Calling 21’ internships due Feb. 1
"Calling 21" is a conference-wide, grass roots, congregation-based, youth-focused approach to the Virginia Conference's culture of call. During the summer, college students are placed in church internships and spend the summer immersed in the life of a local church, not their own, discerning God's call into church leadership. Calling 21 interns will both learn and lead. Calling 21 is looking for college students to apply. Application deadline is Feb. 1. Applicants shall be college students and interested in exploring their call to church leadership. More ...

Human Relations Day is Sunday, Jan. 15
Human Relations Day is Sunday, Jan. 15. This day of social action and raising awareness aims to heal social ills at the national level. It supports Community Developers, United Methodist Voluntary Service, and the Youth Offender Rehabilitation Program. In The United Methodist Church calendar, Human Relations Day is the Sunday immediately following the observance of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday. However, you can observe Human Relations Day anytime of the year. Be sure to order your free offering resources for this offering that supports ministries that advocate for those often on the margins of society. Click here for a list of video resources. More …

Ministers’ Convocation to encourage time of renewal
Theme of the 2012 Ministers’ Convocation 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, a 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. The convocation is set for Jan. 17-19 at Blackstone Conference and Retreat Center. Click here for more information or to register.

ERT training scheduled Jan. 21 in Prince George
United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) Early Response Team (ERT) certification training is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21, at Sycamore United Methodist Church, 9710 Old Stage Rd., Prince George. Course will be taught by Michael Morris. Early Response Teams respond during the first phase of disaster relief, providing a Christian presence. Your church and your community could also be faced with a disaster. Train to be ready to respond and know the first steps to help. Registration fee is $55, which includes training manual, UMCOR ERT badge, lunch, T-shirt and background check fee (forms will be handed out at training). Checks should be made out to the Virginia Conference and brought the day of training. Deadline to register is Jan. 16. To register, contact Nancy Chesser at or (804) 541-1181; or Becky Paxton at or (804) 732-2538.

Lay Servants Academy to be Feb. 24-26 at Blackstone
All laity are invited to the Lay Servants Academy to be held at Blackstone Conference and Retreat Center Feb. 24-26. The Academy will include the 35th Annual Conference Lay Speakers Training; however, you do not need to be on track to become a Local Lay Speaker or Certified Lay Speaker to attend. Every chairperson, committee member, teacher or congregational leader is encouraged to take the introductory Lay Speaking course and overview of United Methodism. The information and skills you will be introduced to will serve you well within your local congregations. A variety of 10-hour courses will be offered for Advanced Lay Speaking. New in 2012 will be the offering of introductory 2-hour classes. Click here for more information and brochure.

Older Adult retreat set for April 20-21
“ReFirement: A Creative Spark,” a retreat sponsored by the conference Older Adult Council, will be held April 20-21 at Blackstone Conference and Retreat Center. The retreat will focus on fostering the spark of creativity to enrich the lives of older adults and enhance the ministries of the church. A variety of workshop sessions including watercolor and acrylic painting, music, liturgical movement and knitting/crocheting as well as fellowship opportunities will be available. More …

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 …

Staff volunteers needed for 2012 Camp Rainbow Connection
Camp Rainbow Connection will be held at the Blackstone Conference and Retreat Center July 8-13 and Aug. 12-17. Campers must be at least 16 years of age, have an intellectual disability as their primary disability, and be able to independently complete activities of daily living. Contact the Office of Leadership and Inclusivity to receive an application packet. New and returning staff volunteers are also needed. Staff members must be at least 16 years of age by July 1, agree to a criminal background check, attend a training session in the spring, and commit to attending the full week of camp. For the first time in 2012, there will be the opportunity for a limited number of 15-year-olds to serve as Camp Rainbow Connection Youth Advocates. Click here for applications for staff and Youth Advocates. For more information, contact the Office of Leadership and Inclusivity at 1-800-768-6040, ext. 153, or (804)-521-1153 or e-mail

Jan. 15 America’s Sunday Supper can help make the world better
America’s Sunday Supper on Jan. 15 offers a means to make the world better … through a shared meal, meaningful conversation and community service. It’s a great way to get youth groups, small groups and the broader congregation to reflect on what it means to live the faith and take on risk for mission and service. By signing up to host a supper, participating churches will receive marketing support to share an invitation with their communities, and a film to share at the event. Films come with discussion guides to stimulate conversation about education, food security, children of prison inmates and more. United Methodist Communications has teamed up with HandsOn Network and Points of Light Institute to offer America’s Sunday Supper as a Rethink Church Event – providing a model to honor both Human Relations Day and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life. Through this partnership, local churches participate in a nationwide event, which last year recorded over 4,000 projects and over 240,000 volunteers. For more information, go to or e-mail More …

Open Table is model for churches to be in ministry with poor
Open Table, a program started by a United Methodist church in Phoenix, Ariz., is a model for churches that want to be in ministry with the poor. Even a campus ministry at Arizona State University has adopted the program. Open Table is a program that involves a group of volunteers who help one person or family for one year to break the cycle of poverty. More ...

Survey gives United Methodists high favorability rating
About 62% of adult Americans have a favorable impression of United Methodists. That’s according to a new survey from LifeWay Research, the Southern Baptist Convention’s research arm. More ...

GBOD offers free 2012 worship planning calendar
Start the year off right with a clean, fresh 2012 planning calendar that can be downloaded free from the General Board of Discipleship (GBOD). The calendar includes lectionary readings for all Sundays and major liturgical dates as well as holidays and observances of the church and civil calendars. Click here to download and print out calendar.

Applications due Feb. 5 for mission interns or US-2 missionaries
The General Board of Global Ministries is accepting applications from young adults who want to be mission interns or US-2 missionaries.
     US-2 missionaries serve a two-year term with one of the hundreds of community-based organizations around the United States. US-2 missionaries range in age from 20 to 30, have a bachelor's degree or similar life experience, possess leadership skills, and have a strong passion for social justice. Read more ...
     The Mission Intern program is a cross-cultural mission experience designed for 20- to 30-year-olds who have an interest in justice-based learning. The first 16 months interns live, work and study in an international context. The second 16 months are spent serving in a similar capacity in the missionary's home country. Mission Interns focus their work on issues such as conflict resolution, just peace, economic development, and rights of indigenous peoples and communities. Read more ...
     Deadline to apply for the 2012 class of mission interns and US-2s is Feb. 5.
Click here for the application.

General Conference rules changes proposed
The Rules Committee of the Commission on the General Conference has announced its recommendations for changes to the “Plan of Organization and Rules of Order,” which provides the governance structure for the 2012 General Conference. The changes will be presented to delegates for consideration at the opening session. General Conference is the denomination’s top lawmaking body. More ...

SEJ Disaster Academy to be Feb. 20-23
The Southeastern Jurisdiction (SEJ) Disaster Academy will be held Feb. 20-23, at Simpsonwood Retreat Center in Norcross, GA. Register by Dec. 15 to take advantage of the early bird rate: single $325, double $200. Rate includes lodging, meals, shirt and all training materials. Register after Dec. 15: single $360, double $250. Registration closes Jan. 16. For a complete listing of class offerings or to register, click here.

GBCS seeks addiction-prevention consultant
The General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) seeks a consultant for grassroots organizing to develop public policies to address addiction issues. This includes confronting alcohol, tobacco and gambling industry efforts to loosen regulation and market to young people. Deadline to apply for the position is Dec. 23. More ...

GBCS seeks health-care consultant
The General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) has a position open for a field consultant to assist the agency in building awareness of health-care policy issues among United Methodists. The consultant will work with GBCS staff in looking at long-term goals that move toward health care as a basic human right available to all by planning effective advocacy that expresses the denomination’s lead efforts to transform health care in the United States. Deadline to apply for the position is Dec. 23. More ...

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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