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News from the Virginia Conference - April 16, 2015

Remember to submit information about your April 25 lemonade stand
The conference Communications office is in the process of preparing news releases to publicize the April 25 World Malaria Day lemonade stands that will be set up by Virginia Conference churches to raise funds for Imagine No Malaria. Churches are urged to submit information about the locations and times of operation of lemonade stands they are sponsoring so news media can be notified. Please include street address and city or town. 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 ...

Applications due May 1 for Virginia Clergy Leadership Program
Clergy who are looking for excellent professional development and restorative time with gifted colleagues, can apply now for the Virginia Clergy Leadership Program (VCLP) second cohort. The VCLP will meet in six three-day sessions between Sept. 2015 and Sept. 2016 at the Roslyn Retreat Center in Richmond for top-notch programs and retreat time with fellow clergy. Participants participate at no cost to them other than their travel to the sessions. Applications are due by May 1, including your district superintendent recommendation and S/PPRC endorsement. Click here to download application. Licensed local pastors who have completed their educations, associate members and full-connection elders and deacons in fruitful, local church ministry leadership for at least the last five years are eligible to apply. Clergy who anticipate a move for the 2015-16 conference year are encouraged to wait and apply for a subsequent cohort. This is a selective program with limited space available. For more information about the program, contact Meredith McNabb at or the Clergy Effectiveness/VCLP chairperson, Doug Forrester, at More ...

EVC online training sessions to be held during April
An Equipping Vital Congregations (EVC) online overview / training session will be offered 12:30 to 1 p.m. Friday, April 17. This session is designed for clergy and church secretaries who are set up as EVC assistant administrators. One to three of these sessions will be held each week in April starting on Friday. Each class is limited to 24 participants. To participate you will need a computer with speakers. We will use Zoom online meeting software. A link to install Zoom will be sent to you before the meeting. Space is limited, so if you wish to be in a session but are unable to attend on Friday, then simply wait for the next meeting. To register, send an e-mail with "EVC class" in the subject line, to

May Advocate to highlight older adult ministries
The May issue of the Virginia United Methodist Advocate will highlight older adult ministries. Each May the United States celebrates Older Americans Month to recognize older Americans for their contributions and provide them with information to stay healthy and active. In The United Methodist Church, May 3 is Older Adult Recognition Sunday. So, this is a perfect time to examine ways our churches can minister to older adults and their families. Articles by experts from Virginia United Methodist Homes include suggestions for helping older persons live fully, age with grace and die with dignity. The Advocate is the official monthly magazine of the Virginia Conference. To subscribe to the Advocate – print, digital or both – call (804) 521-1110 or 1-800-768-6040, ext. 110; e-mail; or go to

Greensboro College honors Dot Ivey with Alumni Excellence Award
On Saturday, April 11, Dot Ivey was presented the Greensboro College 2015 Alumni Excellence Award which recognizes alumni who have contributed outstanding service and achievement as humanitarians and/or professionals in their chosen endeavor. Ivey, a member of Bon Air UMC in Richmond, was honored for establishing Christian Refugee Outreach in Washington, D.C., in 1984 and working for many years as Senior Resettlement Officer in the U.S. office of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. She also did refugee resettlement and immigration policy work for United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) and Church World Service. She has been a delegate to two United Methodist General Conferences and four Jurisdictional Conferences and is presently an active member of the General Board of Church and Society, which she represented at the 2013 meeting of the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women. A lay member of the Virginia Annual Conference, she served as president of the conference Board of Global Ministries, chair of Initiatives of Hope and chair of the Brazil Initiative. She has led Volunteers-In-Mission teams to Haiti, Mozambique, Mexico and Brazil; been an instructor at the School of Christian Mission; taught district officer training and mission study events; and held various district and local church offices. Dot and her husband, the Rev. Dan Ivey, retired pastor in the Virginia Conference, have sponsored several young people from various countries, whom they call their "international children," who are now successful young adults. Greensboro College, located in Greensboro, N.C, is a liberal arts college affiliated with The United Methodist Church.

GraceInside names John Vance director of Operations
GraceInside, the chaplain service prison ministry of Virginia, announced that John Vance was named director of Operations, effective April 13. Vance has almost 30 years experience in finance in governmental and for-profit entities, including the State Comptroller’s office, office of the Attorney General, Wachovia Securities (now Wells Fargo) and Capital One. In 2000, he became involved in prison ministry through Kairos Prison Ministry International. In 2012, he decided to concentrate on pursuing the ministry for which he had become so passionate. A Lay Chaplain at the Virginia Correctional Center for Women in Goochland, active in the Prayer and Share meetings at Nottoway Correctional Center, and an avid Kairos volunteer, John supported his ministry by doing part-time and contract work in accounting. Vance will be cross training for three weeks with Joyce Minor, who will retire from her position as vice president of GraceInside effective April 30.

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
lder 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 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 mailed 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, are 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.

GraceInside seeks chaplain for Fluvanna women's prison
GraceInside, Virginia’s prison chaplain service, seeks a chaplain for Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women, the state’s largest women’s prison facility. The chaplain serves as Christian pastor and coordinator of all religious services and programs for inmates of all faiths at the prison. Qualifications include undergraduate degree from accredited college/university, Master of Divinity or equivalent from accredited theological seminary and ordination in full connection and good standing with denominational body or church. Where applicable, should be endorsed by responsible denominational agency as to current good standing and confirmation of abilities to perform duties related to chaplaincy. Twelve months of Clinical Pastoral Education and three to five years of pastoral ministry or other ministerial experience are preferred. Experience in jails/prisons or criminal justice system would be considered a plus. Interested candidates should send a cover letter and resume to by April 30.

South Carolina United Methodists call for peace, advocacy after police shooting
United Methodist churches in South Carolina’s Lowcountry are calling for peace, advocacy and prayerful healing after a police shooting left an unarmed Charleston man dead. North Charleston Officer Michael Slager, who is white, was charged with murder after an April 4 video showed him fatally shooting Walter Scott, a black man, several times in the back after an altercation during a traffic stop. A week after the shooting, churches and community members gathered at the site of Scott’s death for a one-mile prayer pilgrimage in the rain to Aldersgate UMC, where United Methodist leaders and others sang songs, lifted up the Lord and urged all present to embrace a spirit of love and unity as they struggled to respond to the tragedy. The prayer pilgrimage and service were organized by the Charleston District of the UMC, eight North Charleston UMCs in the North Hope Cooperative Ministry and the Connectional Ministries Advocacy Team. More ...

Bishop opposes legislation to make Liberia a Christian nation
United Methodist Bishop John Innis opposes a proposal approved by a recent constitutional review committee to make Liberia a Christian country. "Liberians, especially Christians, do not need any legislation to practice or expand their faith in Liberia," Innis said in an interview after delivering his annual Easter sermon at First United Methodist Church in Monrovia. Other United Methodist leaders agreed, calling for tolerance and evangelism to promote Christianity. More ...

Rethink Church encourages discussion about death penalty
Rethink Church has prepared a series of articles that look at capital punishment, mass incarceration, mentoring and more, through the lens of the United Methodist Social Principles and the transformative power of Christ. A United Methodist clergywoman in Texas talks about her commitment to abolish the death penalty, even as Texas executes a man convicted in the slaying of a police officer. Rethink Church is encouraging discussion about the death penalty and issues of mass incarceration. More ...

Resources offered to strengthen Christian faith at home
May is Christian Home Month in The United Methodist Church, and this year's theme is “Families: Called to Justice.” Resources from Discipleship Ministries are available to help your congregation develop and strengthen faith in the home and support Christian families in their faith journeys. Click here for worship suggestions, family devotional ideas, retreat plans and congregational activities. Or for a print copy, e-mail Nancy Dunlap at

Chuck Knows Church The Committee: Evangelism
What's your church's relationship with the "E-Word"? Do people run when they hear it? Chuck helps the members of Park Grove Community Church learn how not to be scared of evangelism. "The Committee" is a spinoff of the "Chuck Knows Church" video series produced by United Methodist Discipleship Ministries. In "The Committee," Chuck is attempting to help the fictitious Park Grove Community Church that has lost its way, lost its pastor and is closing its doors ... unless, despite itself, it finds a new way of doing church. Each month this series invites congregations to look at the issues and barriers that block them from growing deeper and becoming more vital. "The Committee" uses humor and real-life issues to invite you into a conversation about the future of your congregation. Each episode of "The Committee" has an accompanying downloadable one-page study guide (PDF). Following the release of each episode, Discipleship Ministries will host a one-hour webinar where you’ll learn more and have an opportunity to share your own experiences. Go to Facebook ( for the latest news and the website ( to watch and download all episodes and register for the webinar.

Free May 5 webinar to discuss stewardship of God's creation
A free online webinar, “Called to Care for God’s Good Creation: Intergenerational Environmental Stewardship,” will be offered Tuesday, May 5, at 11 a.m. EDT. Ken Sloane from Discipleship Resources and John Hill from the General Board of Church and Society will discuss ways to develop, nurture and encourage faithful environmental stewardship in our churches and homes. Click here for more information and to register.

YOUTH 2015 will help youth learn more about acts of mercy
At YOUTH 2015, the church’s quadrennial event for 6th-12th grade students and their leaders, mission and workshop offerings will help youth understand what it means to participate in acts of mercy in a hands-on way. YOUTH 2015 will be June 24-28 in Orlando. Registration at $475 per person remains open until the end of May. For more information and to register, go to

JustPeace offers resources to help churches minister to veterans
JustPeace, the United Methodist Center for Mediation and Conflict Transformation, has launched Soul Care. The initiative aims to help churches speak to the trauma returning veterans and their families often experience and help them re-integrate back into their communities. More ...

GBHEM seeks candidates to fill two positions
The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) is seeking qualified candidates to fill the positions of Assistant General Secretary, Clergy Life, Division of Ordained Ministry and Assistant General Secretary, Clergy Formation, Division of Ordained Ministry. For more information, contact Cheryl Stacker, Human Resources, at or (615) 340-7360. Positions will be posted on the website under the “Jobs” section.

♦ Taizé worship, discussion at Shenandoah University - April 20, 22
Shenandoah University in Winchester is holding worship and discussion led by three brothers from the Taizé Community in Taizé, France, on Monday, April 20, and Wednesday, April 22. Each year more than 100,000 young people from around the world flock to the tiny town of Taizé for a spiritual pilgrimage. What draws them to this type of experience of prayer and worship? Virginia Conference United Methodists (especially church choirs and music directors) are invited to join the worship and discussion sessions. On Monday, April 20, the brothers will lead prayer and worship at noon in Goodson Chapel and Recital Hall. On Wednesday, April 22, the brothers will lead prayer and worship at noon in Goodson Chapel and Recital Hall. At 4 p.m. Wednesday they will lead a discussion on life in Taizé and why so many young people make their way to France each year. For more information, contact the office of Spiritual Life at or (540) 535-3546.

♦ 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

♦ UMVIM Team Leader Training - 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. Training is currently scheduled for Saturday, May 16, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at 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.

♦ 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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