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News from the Virginia Conference - April 10, 2015

Common Table offers resources to continue holy conversation on human sexuality
The Virginia Conference Common Table for Church Vitality has produced a resource for congregations and persons who are interested in continuing holy conversation regarding human sexuality. This resource is designed to facilitate conversations that will help persons to hear and consider perspectives, values and possibilities that may be different from their own. It may also be used for personal study and reflection. Click here to read or download the document, listen to a podcast or watch a video of the Nov. 22, 2014, Day of Holy Conversation panel discussion sponsored by the Virginia Conference. More ...

Get ready to sell lemonade to save lives on April 25
As your church makes its plans to set up lemonade stands on World Malaria Day, April 25, to raise funds for Imagine No Malaria, you are reminded that promotional materials you can use are available on the conference website. Also remember to register your site. Click here to submit information about your lemonade stand(s) location(s) and time(s). Click here to see list of registered lemonade stands. If you have questions or need more information, contact Maria Maxwell, Virginia Conference Imagine No Malaria field coordinator, at (804) 521-1160 or More ...

Tom Berlin thinks lemonade stands are a great idea
The Rev. Tom Berlin, senior pastor of Floris UMC in Herndon, says he never thought when he entered ministry that the Virginia Conference would encourage pastors to start lemonade stands. "Start new churches, yes," he writes. "Start new ministries, okay. But lemonade stands? But I think this plan from the folks who are leading the Imagine No Malaria initiative in Virginia is a great idea for many reasons. Let me share a few." Read his entire article on the conference website. More ...

Maxwells dye hair when congregation raises $15,000 for Imagine No Malaria
The Rev. Mike Maxwell, pastor of New Life UMC in Midlothian, and his wife, Maria, conference field coordinator for Imagine No Malaria, now have very colorful hairdos. They challenged their congregation to give enough money to Imagine No Malaria during Lent to save 500 lives ($5,000). As part of the challenge, they let the congregation decide what the Maxwells should do if the church reached the goal. Members overwhelmingly voted that Mike should dye his hair orange and Maria should dye hers purple. Among other activities, the congregation held an Imagine No Malaria cookout and raised funds with an Easter egg hunt, jump rope, ball throwing, throwing pies in the face of the pastor and youth director, and smashing a mosquito pinata. At the end of Lent, the church had tripled the goal, raising nearly $15,000 and saving 1,500 lives.

Pensions offers limited number of clergy chance to attend health institute
Virginia United Methodist Pensions is offering a limited number of conference clergy the opportunity to attend the Pfeiffer University’s Clergy Health Institute July 28 to Aug. 6 at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center. The institute is designed to address health and wellness needs among United Methodist clergy and includes sessions on improving nutrition and eating behaviors, food shopping and preparation, stress management, occupational relationships, family and social relationships, emotional wellness and physical fitness. Selected participants will be responsible for only $200 of the total cost, along with travel expenses. Interested clergy may apply by sending an expression of interest by e-mail to John Fuller at by May 1. Include a brief summary of your interest, including why you are interested in participating, what you hope to gain and how you will incorporate health and wellness into your ongoing ministry. A committee will identify candidates selected for participation and respond to all applicants no later than June 1.

Native American Ministries Sunday is April 19
United Methodist congregations will celebrate Native American Ministries Sunday on April 19. When our churches support the Native American Ministries Sunday special offering, we equip seminary students and empower Native American congregations to find fresh, new ways to minister to their communities with the love of Christ. It only happens with the support of local congregations. A Native American Ministries Sunday Pastor and Leader's Kit – complete with social media images, videos, an eBook and other great resources – can be used to promote this Special Sunday in your local congregation. Access your Pastor and Leader's Kit now.

Resources offered to help celebrate God's creation on Earth Day
Each year, United Methodists are called to celebrate creation on the Sunday closest to Earth Day, which is April 22. This year, the General Board of Church and Society and Creation Justice Ministries are providing a resource focused on food and its connection to our changing climate. "Have You Anything Here to Eat? Sustainable Food in a Changing Climate" offers a variety of resources tailored to United Methodists to assist in leading study and worship related to Earth Day 2015. More ...

Older Adult Recognition Sunday is May 3
Older Adult Recognition Sunday is May 3. The 2008 General Conference adopted legislation inviting congregations to celebrate Older Adult Recognition Day each year during the month of May. The Virginia Conference was well ahead of the legislation when, in 2006, the first Sunday in May of each year was designated as Older Adult Recognition Sunday. Through an Older Adult Recognition Sunday, 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. More ...

Churches asked to take Samaritan Offering May 10-June 21
Churches in the Virginia Conference are asked to receive a special offering sometime between Mother’s Day on May 10 and Father’s Day on June 21 for the 2015 Samaritan Offering to support the Samaritan Program of Virginia United Methodist Homes (VUMH), a benevolent fund which provides financial assistance to residents who have outlived their monetary resources and, through no fault of their own, can no longer afford the full cost of their care. VUMH is mailing each charge a packet of promotional materials, including a short informational DVD, offering envelopes and a copy of the new VUMH 2015 Giving Catalog. Additional suggestions for promoting this special offering, including cut-and-paste newsletter articles, bulletin announcements, Facebook posts, Tweets, worship resources and bulletin inserts, will be posted on the website at under the “Samaritan Program” section. Your support of this special offering is crucial not only to inform each congregation of the opportunity to give, but also to share the story of VUMH, its communities for older adults and the need for benevolent care. For help in telling the VUMH story within your congregation or extra copies of promotional materials, contact Martha Stokes, director of Church and Community Relations at Virginia United Methodist Homes, at or (804) 474-8718.

Sunday, May 24, is conference-wide Day of Prayer
Bishop Young Jin Cho is inviting all churches in the Virginia Conference to participate in the second annual conference-wide Day of Prayer on Sunday, May 24. "We began this campaign last year to help create a culture of prayer in our conference as the basis for a renewal and revival of our churches," Bishop Cho said. "This year May 24 (Sunday) is the date of our conference-wide Day of Prayer. I invite every church to remember this day and to pray for a renewal and revival of the churches in our conference and in the entire United Methodist Church."

Peace with Justice Sunday is May 31
Peace with Justice Sunday is May 31. The Virginia Conference Board of Church and Society and the office of Justice and Missional Excellence are asking Virginia churches to make a special effort to support this special Sunday offering this year. The offering is for the purpose of financing activities (a) to achieve the "Policies for a Just Peace" contained in the Council of Bishops' Foundation Document "In Defense of Creation," and (b) to pursue other justice and peace objectives contained within the vision of shalom in that document. The offering is divided between the General Board of Church and Society and the Virginia Conference. Churches and other United Methodist groups are eligible to apply for grants from the conference Peace with Justice Grant fund.

New church resource to help youths understand sexual identity issues
A new resource to help youth struggling with their sexual identity, who are statistically more prone to suicide, is now available as part of the "SEX: A Christian Perspective on Our Bodies, Decisions and Relationships" series from Young People’s Ministries (YPM), a unit of Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church. The “Hope and Self-Acceptance” module joins a growing list of resources from YPM which are aimed at helping middle school teens in the church grow in their understanding of sexuality as a good gift from God. Click here for more information and to order the faith and sex downloadable resources and modules. Click here to join an online community for discussion, articles and other resources. More ...

Social justice agency praises Iran nuclear agreement framework
The United Methodist General Board of Church and Society, the public policy advocacy agency of the denomination, celebrated the announcement of a framework for an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program. The United Methodist Social Principles insist that the “first moral duty of all nations is to work together to resolve by peaceful means every dispute that arises between or among them.” More ...

Africana Hymnal project preserves rich musical history
The Africana Hymnal Project, a multiyear effort to provide music and worship resources from African-American traditions and to identify and preserve the rich history of music forms born out of slavery, is now available for future generations of musicians and worship leaders. The project, a joint effort of Discipleship Ministries and United Methodist Publishing House, consists of a USB drive with 150 songs, an award-winning documentary film chronicling the history of traditional music forms that are quickly disappearing from existence and a small group study guide for exploring these music forms. More ...

Live call-in seminar for caregivers offered April 23
Caregivers who know the joys and challenges of providing care for others will be able to engage in a conversation with two leading experts on caregiving during a live call-in seminar hosted by Upper Room Ministries, a unit of Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church, and the Henri Nouwen Society. The event, “Caregiving from the Heart: A Spirituality of Caregiving,” is for all caregivers, both professional and personal, and will be Thursday, April 23, from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. (EDT). Dr. Gordon Peerman and the Rev. Marjorie Thompson will discuss their own experiences with caregiving, Henri Nouwen's writing and Nouwen’s life-giving perspective on offering and receiving care. They also will answer questions from participants. Cost of the e-learning event is $19 per person. For more information and to register, go to

Volunteers needed for General Conference 2016
Volunteers are needed for a variety of roles during the 2016 General Conference, The United Methodist Church's top legislative assembly, which will meet in Portland, Ore., from May 10-20, 2016. All volunteers are responsible for their own travel and expenses. Those interested can apply now to be recorders, channel "B" identifiers and verbatim transcribers/copy editors. More ... Volunteers can also apply online to serve as marshals or pages. Approximately 150 volunteers are needed to serve as marshals and pages during General Conference. Preference will be given to applicants who can serve throughout the entire conference. More ...

Petition submissions begin for 2016 General Conference
Petitions for consideration by the 2016 General Conference may be submitted to the Petitions Secretary through Oct. 13. Click here for detailed instructions. General Conference, The United Methodist Church's top legislative assembly, will meet in Portland, Ore., from May 10-20, 2016. More ...

Judicial Council to meet April 15-18 in Columbus, Ohio
Requests for decisions on resolutions related to sexuality, conference committees on investigation and an African bishop’s salary reduction are among the seven docket items the United Methodist Judicial Council will consider when it meets April 15-18 in Columbus, Ohio. The top court’s regular spring meeting includes an oral hearing at 11 a.m. April 15. More ...

New top executive named for communications agency
Daniel Krause, a former corporate communications executive who is a candidate for ordination, will take the helm of United Methodist Communications on June 8. He has served in management at Frontier Airlines and is currently a seminary student at United Methodist Iliff School of Theology in Denver. The Rev. Larry Hollon, United Methodist Communications’ top executive since 2000, left the agency April 1. Click here to read press release. More ...

♦ UMVIM Team Leader Training - April 18, May 16
Team Leader Training is required for all first-time United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) team leaders, but all interested persons are welcome to attend whether leading a team or not. The following training events are currently scheduled:
♦ April 18, 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Warwick Memorial UMC, 38 Hoopes Rd., Newport News. Click here to register online and pay by credit card. Click here to download a pdf form and pay by check.
♦ May 16, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Floris UMC, 13600 Frying Pan Rd., Herndon. Click here to register online and pay by credit card. Click here to download a pdf form and pay by check.

♦ Fellowship of Local Pastors, Associate Members Spring Retreat - April 23
The Fellowship of Local Pastors and Associate Members will hold a one-day Spring Retreat for continuing education and time of fellowship Thursday, April 23, at Good Shepherd UMC, Glen Allen. Theme is “Bearing Fruit: Ministry with Real Results.” The Rev. Tom Berlin will share leadership lessons from the book he co-authored with Lovett Weems, and provide tools you need to assess the fruit your ministry bears in the lives of your congregations, your community and the world. Barbara Miner, licensed local pastor who serves at Floris UMC, will co-present and share her insights from 17 years of ministry at Floris UMC as it has grown in size and vitality. A 0.5 CEU will be given for full-day participation. Deadline to register is April 20. More ...

♦ Give Me That Olde Time Religion - April 25
The Virginia Conference Older Adult Council and the Senior Adult Council of Shady Grove UMC, Mechanicsville, are hosting "Give Me That Olde Time Religion" revival worship service 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday April 25, in the sanctuary of Shady Grove UMC, Mechanicsville. The service will include singing old hymns, praying and preaching by the dynamic Rev. Dr. Clarence Brown Jr., senior pastor of Annandale UMC. Fee of $12 per person includes lunch. More ...

♦ Resource Center Inclusion Concert - April 26
The Resource Center's Inclusion Concert celebrating unity in our diversity will be Sunday, April 26, at 4 p.m. at Carlisle Avenue Baptist Church, 2010 Carlisle Ave., Richmond. The event is a tapestry of different cultural expressions of worship and song, dance, mime, drums and more. A massed choir comes together for the event, and anyone is welcome to rehearse and sing. For more information, go to, call Dr. Denise Janssen, executive director, at (804) 464-8913 or e-mail More ...

♦ Diaconate Day Apart - April 30
Deacons, Deaconesses, Diaconal Ministers, Home Missioners and Provisional Deacons are invited to worship, fellowship and holy conversation 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, April 30, at United Methodist Family Services (UMFS), 3900 W. Broad St., Richmond. The Rev. Joe Torrence, Deacon in the Virginia Conference and Minister of Youth and Church Relations for UMFS, will help us learn what we need to know about introducing the ministry of United Methodist Family Services (UMFS) to our churches and communities. An optional mission project will be offered 2-3 p.m. at UMFS. More ...

♦ PAUMCS Spring Retreat - May 3-4
Virginia chapter of the Professional Association of United Methodist Church Secretaries (PAUMCS) will hold a "Get Away from it All" Spring Retreat for church secretaries 4 p.m. Sunday, May 3, to 3 p.m. Monday, May 4, at the Williamsburg Christian Retreat Center in Toano. Buena "Beanie" Rankin, retired assistant director of Records and Statistics of the General Council on Finance and Administration, will offer training in the areas of apportionments, record retention, effective cyber communications, church software and membership records. This event is an opportunity for church secretaries and administrators to learn, network, fellowship and relax. More ...

♦ Your Legacy and Life Beyond this Life - May 12
The Virginia Conference Older Adult Council is partnering with Overlook Retreat & Camp Ministries to offer "Your Legacy and Life Beyond this Life!" one-day retreat on Tuesday, May 12, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Camp Overlook in Keezletown. The morning will focus on the legacy we leave as older adults. The afternoon will be encounters with eternal life as shared by individuals who have had glimpses of heaven. Lodging is available the night before. For more information and to register, go to

♦ School for Children's Ministries - May 30
The School for Children’s Ministries is on the road again featuring the same school at four different locations on four different dates. The first will be Saturday, May 30, at New Life UMC in Midlothian (Richmond District). Learn "Extraordinary Lessons from Ordinary Objects" plus three more workshops. A .5 CEU offered. Encourage your children’s ministry team to attend. Only $20 per person. Click here for more information and to register.

♦ Conference on Aging - June 2
The Virginia Conference Older Adult Ministries and the Lynchburg District Older Adult Ministries are co-sponsors of the Lynchburg College Beard Center 2015 Conference on Aging to be held Tuesday, June 2, on the Lynchburg College campus in Lynchburg. Theme is “Aging Well in Mind, Body, Spirit.” Keynotes will include “Choosing to live a happy, balanced, vibrant life” by Kathleen Passanisi, internationally recognized speaker, humorist and medical professional; and "May the circle be unbroken: Spirituality, faith and aging" by James L. Brooks, associate state director for AARP Virginia and ordained United Church of Christ pastor. Early registration deadline is May 1. 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 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 For information about the Virginia Conference and resources for ministry, visit the Virginia Conference website at







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