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News from the Virginia Conference - April 10, 2014

Second group receives new clergy e-mail addresses
This week, clergy in the Richmond, Elizabeth River and James River Districts were sent e-mail notices regarding their new e-mail addresses. This is the second clergy group to receive conference-provided e-mail addresses ending in @vaumc.org. These e-mail addresses, provided through Google Apps, are being assigned to every active clergyperson in the conference. More ...

'Look Who's Calling' challenges youths to consider life of ministry
The Virginia Conference "Look Who's Calling" event, hosted by the Pace campus ministry center at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond on Saturday, April 5, was the largest gathering of youths of color at a conference event in memory. The day featured speakers, group discussion and workshops on the idea of what it means to be a Christian in today’s high school climate and challenges that go with having faith in God, all with an eye toward a possible future in ordained or lay ministry. More ...

Safe Sanctuaries training to be offered June 18-19 in Hampton
The Virginia Conference will host a Safe Sanctuaries Training event June 18-19 at the Hampton Roads Convention Center (the two days prior to the beginning of Annual Conference at the same location). The Rev. Joy Thornburg Melton (left), author of Safe Sanctuaries resources, will lead this two-day workshop. The Rev. Sherry Cothran (right), pastor, singer/songwriter and occasional rock star, will lead worship and offer additional times of music. Training will include a "Train the Trainers" session for those responsible for training in local churches as well as detailed sessions focusing on children, youth, older and vulnerable adults, and technology use. Requirements of United Methodist Volunteers in Mission and Disaster Response Teams related to Safe Sanctuaries policies will also be addressed. One CEU available for participating clergy and lay professionals. This training will not replace or meet the requirements for Clergy Ethics II training. Registration is $25 per person or $80 for a team of four from a church. Special lodging rates are available at the Embassy Suites/Hampton Roads for participants. More ...

Items for Annual Conference virtual 'promo packet' due May 22
In an effort to be good stewards of the environment and financial resources of the conference, annual conference “promo packets” will again this year be virtual. Electronic copies of materials previously submitted in hard copy for the tote bag will be accepted – at no cost to the organizations submitting them – for inclusion in the virtual promo packet which will be posted on the conference website, www.vaumc.org/AC2014. Information for the virtual promo packet must be submitted in pdf format to the office of Connectional Ministries (BevMyers@vaumc.org) for approval by Friday, May 22. The virtual packet will be available for viewing on the website beginning June 1. Organizations wishing to disseminate their information in a hard-copy format may arrange for a display table at the Hampton Roads Convention Center by contacting Larry Brayton at (804) 517-0435 or pastor@tumfc.org. Click here for display guidelines and a display request form.

Bishop Cho to lead third pilgrimage to South Korea Oct. 15-23
For the third year, Bishop Young Jin Cho will lead a group of active clergy to Bupyeong Methodist Church in Incheon, South Korea, Oct. 15-23. This pilgrimage will emphasize prayer as the foundation of personal and collective spiritual renewal combined with contextual hands-on missions and ministries planted by American missionaries a century ago on Korean soil. Trip is limited to 30 clergy. Note that this is an application process. Application deadline is April 23. Applications will be reviewed by members of the planning committee. Applicants will be notified after the deadline. Room and board will be provided by Bupyeong Methodist Church for the duration of the trip. Participants will be responsible for cost of air fare, extra insurance coverage by GBGM and personal expenses. Round-trip air fare is $1,450. Senior (age 60 and above) fare is $1,340. Click here to apply. For more information, contact the Rev. Won Un at wonun@comcast.net or (804) 929-0690.

'Moral Monday' gathering April 14 to call for health care for all Virginians
The Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy is calling on people of faith to participate in "Moral Mondays" during the special legislative session of the Virginia General Assembly to pray for good decisions by state legislators and urge passage of a budget that includes health care for all Virginians. Marco Grimaldo, president of the policy center, invites people of faith to gather on the steps of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church at 11:45 a.m. Monday, April 14, across from the Capitol in Richmond, to lift up the Virginia General Assembly and the need for health care in Virginia. "We welcome all people of faith to join us each Monday during the special legislative session," Grimaldo said. For more information, or to help lead a Moral Monday in the future, contact Grimaldo at marco@virginiainterfaithcenter.org.

Volunteers needed to do computer-assisted note taking at Annual Conference
Volunteers are needed to do computer-assisted note taking for the hearing impaired during this year's Annual Conference session June 20-22 at the Hampton Roads Convention Center in Hampton. Tasks include typing text of reports, worship and music using Microsoft Word, at times as the speaker is presenting. Good typing speed and accuracy is a must. Individuals are needed for all sessions for shifts of one hour or longer. More information is available from the office of Inclusivity and Lay Leadership Excellence at 1-800-768-6040 or (804) 521-1100, ext. 154, or e-mail marthastokes@vaumc.org.

Staff volunteers needed for Camp Rainbow Connection
New and returning staff volunteers are needed for Camp Rainbow Connection, which will be held at the Blackstone Conference and Retreat Center July 6-11 and Aug. 10-15. Camp Rainbow Connection provides a week of Christian fellowship and learning for youths and adults with intellectual disabilities. Staff members must be at least 16 years old 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. A limited number of 15-year-olds may serve as Camp Rainbow Connection Youth Advocates. Click here for applications for staff and Youth Advocates. For more information, contact the office of Inclusivity and Lay Leadership Excellence at 1-800-768-6040 or (804) 521-1100, ext. 153, or e-mail cindyingroff@vaumc.org or stacyroberts@vaumc.org.

Older Adult Recognition Sunday is May 4
In the Virginia Conference, Older Adult Recognition Sunday is May 4 when United Methodists are invited to show appreciation and support for older adults who continue to enrich and strengthen our faith communities. This Sunday should also call the church to action in addressing the needs of older adults in the congregation and community. Your congregation can choose the first Sunday in May or another date that best fits your needs. Click here for worship resource materials around this year’s theme, “Walking the Walk. Knowing the Verse. Living the Word.” More ...

Native American Ministries Sunday is May 4
Native American Ministries Sunday, May 4, reminds United Methodists of the contributions made by Native Americans to our society. The special offering benefits Native American outreach within annual conferences and across the United States and provides seminary scholarships for Native Americans. More ...

GBOD offers worship resources for Palm Sunday, Holy Week, Easter
The United Methodist General Board of Discipleship (GBOD) offers worship resources for Palm/ Passion Sunday, April 13 (click here for worship resources); Holy Week, Monday-Saturday, April 14-19 (click here for worship resources); and Easter Sunday, April 20 (click here for worship resources).

UMCOR suggests ways to observe World Fair Trade Day on May 10
Selling fair trade products in your local church or community is one way you can support the livelihoods of small-scale farmers around the world, in observance of World Fair Trade Day on Saturday, May 10. Through UMCOR partner Equal Exchange, you can identify the best ways to promote fair trade through Equal Exchange’s Community Help Hotline. Learn how to gain support from your pastor, brainstorm ways to improve product sales, and determine how to educate your community about fair trade and its impact on farmer communities. Every time United Methodists and friends purchase fair trade products through the UMCOR Coffee Project, a portion of every pound sold goes to UMCOR's Small Farmer Fund to support farmer co-ops and sustainable agricultural projects. Visit Equal Exchange now to learn more.

Arkansas pastor offers tips on how old church can be reborn
Measuring a "vital congregation" goes beyond Sunday attendance and the tally from each week's offering. The Rev. Russ Breshears of the Arkansas Conference says that new ideas have reenergized his historic church. He offers tips on how any church can be reborn. More ...

Heifer International redesigns 'Animal Crackers' resource
Animal Crackers, a popular Heifer International congregational resource for more than 20 years, has been released in a new and improved edition. The resource offers a new section for youths and young adults. Local churches use Animal Crackers to engage children, youths and adults in an effort to end hunger and poverty. Click here to order.

60 conservative pastors begin talking about schism
In a press release issued April 8, a group of 60 unnamed conservative pastors announced that they had begun conversation about how to respond to what they see as deepening divisions in The United Methodist Church. The group came together via conference call and stated they believe ”the present reality, where a growing number of United Methodist bishops are unwilling to enforce the Book of Discipline, is unacceptable and untenable.” The group said that they were forming a smaller working group to bring suggestions to the larger group for responses, including suggestions of withholding funding from the church, advocacy with the Council of Bishops for greater enforcement of the Book of Discipline, and the possibility of creating a proposal for the division of the United Methodist Church into two denominations. More ...

Finance agency sues vendor over UMCmarket.org
The General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA), the United Methodist Church's finance agency, has filed a lawsuit alleging a vendor contracted to promote the UMC Market program for giving has failed to pay what's due and is now infringing on the denomination's trademarks. The website UMCmarket.org is currently “down for maintenance.” In the meantime, GCFA announced that it has launched a new website, UMCMarket.net, to enable United Methodists to continue to shop at online retailers and donate part of the sale to a church or United Methodist ministry of their choice. More ...

United Methodists providing aid after Washington mudslide
United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) sent a $10,000 grant "within six minutes" of a request from Greater Northwest Episcopal Area Bishop Grant Hagiya. The Rev. Stanley J. Norman, Pacific Northwest Conference disaster relief coordinator, tells how pastors, local churches and disaster-response teams from the Western Jurisdiction are responding and preparing to help after the tragic mudslide on March 22. "Your support is needed for the long-haul," he says. More ...

June 30 is deadline to apply for GCORR Action Fund grants
The United Methodist General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR) will award grants of $20,000 to $80,000 to innovative, bold, high-impact initiatives that will increase intercultural competency or support vital conversations about race, cultural diversity and systemic equity. Annual conferences, local churches, seminaries, jurisdictions and caucuses all are invited and eligible to apply. Applications must be received via e-mail to grants@gcorr.org no later than June 30. More ...

Chuck Knows Church: Resurrection
RESURRECTION! Perfect for Easter or anytime, this short film illustrates how we need to remember we are living on this side of Easter. Play this at your next worship service, Bible study, or fellowship time and discuss "how do we live like we are Easter People." Perfect for Holy Week, Easter, or anytime during the church year. "Chuck Knows Church" is a weekly online series that explains the meaning behind some of the objects, symbols, terms and rituals in church. Episodes can be downloaded for free at www.ChuckKnowsChurch.com and used in worship, youth groups, fellowship groups, confirmation classes, worship teams, new member classes and late-night snack viewing. Chuck is on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. "Chuck Knows Church" is produced by the General Board of Discipleship. More ...

'Christian Unity Gathering' to be May 18-20 in Herndon
The National Council of Churches (NCC) will hold its first “Christian Unity Gathering” May 18-20 in the Hilton Washington Dulles Hotel, 13869 Park Center Road, Herndon. The public is invited to several sessions that feature prominent speakers and films about mass incarceration, beginning at 10:15 a.m. Monday, May 19. Speakers include Dr. Iva E. Carruthers, general secretary of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference; Dr. Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of Children’s Defense Fund; the Rev. Dr. Harold Dean Trulear, associate professor of Applied Theology and director of the Doctor of Ministry program, Howard University; and Jim Wallis, founder and president of Sojourners. Click here to register for entire event or individual sessions. More

♦ Westview on James Summer Camp Open House - April 27
Westview on the James will host a Summer Camp Open House 2 to 6 p.m. Sunday, April 27. Bring a picnic lunch or dinner and enjoy a fun-filled afternoon at Westview. Meet counselors, canoe on the lake, see the Hogans where campers will stay, and enjoy goodies at the dining hall. For more information, call the office at (804) 457-4210.

♦ Cambodia Consultation - May 1-3
The Virginia Conference will host a Consultation on Cambodia May 1-3 at Aldersgate UMC in Alexandria. This event is co-sponsored by the General Board of Global Ministries in order to provide opportunities to meet missionaries and Cambodian leadership and learn more about the Cambodian mission, a new partner in the Virginia Conference outreach and mission program, Initiatives of Hope. More ...

♦ UMVIM Team Leader training - May 3, May 17
United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) Team Leader Training events will be May 3 at Virginia Beach UMC, Virginia Beach. (Registration deadline is April 28. Click here to register online. Click here to download flyer.) and May 17 at Hinton Avenue UMC, Charlottesville. (Registration deadline is May 12. Click here to register online. Click here to download flyer.)

♦ 'Lord Teach Me to Pray' to be offered May 17, Aug. 23, Oct. 25
"Lord, Teach Me to Pray — Practical Applications for Prayer" will be offered three separate times at three different locations: Saturday, May 17, at Timberlake UMC, Lynchburg (Click here to register); Saturday, Aug. 23, at Williamsburg UMC, Williamsburg (Click here to register); and Saturday, Oct. 25, at St. Thomas UMC, Manassas (Click here to register). Main speaker will be Dr. Wendy Miller, professor emeritus of Spiritual Formation at Eastern Mennonite Seminary and adjunct faculty at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill., and Perkins School of Theology in Dallas. Click here to download a flyer.

♦ 'Change the World' weekend is May 17-18
On May 17-18, United Methodists around the world plan to pull together events to help "Change the World." For the fifth year, local churches will take on service projects that improve the circumstances of others and spark public interest in volunteer activities. Register your project now at umcom.org/changetheworld. Churches that register their projects early can receive a free promotional kit while supplies last. More ...

♦ SERVE: A Missional Exploration for Ministry - Aug. 3-5
An event at Randolph-Macon College Aug 3-5 will help high school students explore a calling to ministry. "SERVE: A Missional Exploration for Ministry" will have a work camp focus and include small groups, Bible study, recreation, special worship services and more. Click here for more information or call Margie Turbyfill at (804) 368-7276 or e-mail margieturbyfill@rmc.edu. The program is co-sponsored by the Bailey Pre-ministerial Program at Randolph-Macon College and the Virginia Conference Board of Ordained Ministry.

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 magazine — now available in both print and digital formats. Click here to subscribe. Or call the Communications office at 1-800-768-6040, ext. 110, or (804) 521-1110. Or e-mail Advocate@vaumc.org. For information about the Virginia Conference and resources for ministry, visit the Virginia Conference website at www.vaumc.org


 
 

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