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News from the Virginia Conference - April 1, 2015

Conference offices to close for Good Friday, Easter
Virginia Conference offices will close at 1 p.m. Thursday, April 2, and remain closed until 8:30 a.m. Monday, April 6, in observance of Good Friday and Easter.

Virginia United Methodists play basketball to fight malaria
New Hope UMC, Fredericksburg, (in white and camo) plays the “FishersMen” team from Galilee UMC in Edwardsville (in green with yellow numbers).In the midst of college basketball’s March Madness, some United Methodists in Virginia played “March Gladness” basketball to try to keep people in Africa from dying of malaria. They raised more than $2,308 for Imagine No Malaria through team sponsorships and entry fees. Ten teams from churches in the Arlington, Eastern Shore, Fredericksburg and Winchester districts competed in the three-on-three basketball tournament fundraiser sponsored by the Fredericksburg District on March 28 at Regester Chapel UMC in Stafford. Winner of the tournament was a team from Galilee UMC in Edwardsville. More ...

New video shows highlights of 2015 Bishop's Convocation on Prayer
Nick Ruxton, videographer in the conference Communications office, has produced a short video on the 2015 Bishop's Convocation on Prayer held recently at Trinity UMC in Richmond. Keynote speaker was the Rev. Sue Nilson Kibbey, director of Missional Church Initiatives for the West Ohio Conference who offers coaching and training to help congregations revitalize their ministries. Following Kibbey’s presentation, delivered via Skype from Philadelphia where she was snowed in, convocation participants attended workshops to learn about different ways to pray. This new video, along with other videos highlighting ministries of the Virginia Conference, can be found on the conference YouTube channel at and the conference Facebook page at

Bishop Cho declares May 24 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."

Bishop Cho to lead fourth pilgrimage to South Korea Oct. 19-27
For the fourth year, Bishop Young Jin Cho will lead a group of active clergy to Bupyeong Methodist Church in Incheon, South Korea. This pilgrimage will be Oct. 19-27 and will emphasize prayer as the foundation of personal and collective spiritual renewal combined with contextual hands-on introduction to missions and ministries planted by American missionaries a century ago on Korean soil. Participation is limited to 30 clergy. Room and board will be provided by Bupyeong Methodist Church for the duration of the trip. Participants will be responsible for cost of airfare, extra insurance coverage by GBGM and personal expenses. Based on current rates, round-trip airfare will be $1,330. For those age 60 and above, airfare will be $1,235.00. (Price might change slightly by the time we register.) Application deadline is April 25. Note that this is an application process. Applications will be reviewed by the members of the planning committee. Those submitting applications will be notified after the deadline. Click here to apply. For more information, contact the Rev. Won Un at or (540) 886-3441.

Volunteer staff needed for Camp Rainbow Connection
New and returning staff volunteers are needed for Camp Rainbow Connection, which will be held at the Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center in Blackstone July 11-17 and Aug. 8-14. Camp Rainbow Connection, in operation since 1985, provides a week of Christian fellowship and learning for youths and adults with intellectual disabilities. 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. There is an opportunity for a limited number of 15 year-olds to serve as Camp Rainbow Connection Youth Advocates. Deadline for new staff applications is April 15. For more information, contact the Center for Inclusivity and Lay Leadership Excellence at 1-800-768-6060 or (804) 521-1100, ext. 153, or More ...

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!

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. In the coming weeks, VUMH will mail 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.

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.

Ferrum College exceeds Centennial Campaign fundraising goal
Ferrum College announced that it has raised more than $28 million in the most successful fundraising effort in college history. The college, which celebrated its centennial in 2013-14, publicly announced the $25 million Centennial Campaign in March 2013 with goals to grow and sustain the college’s legacy of strength, and to prepare for the challenges of the ever-changing higher education and economic landscape. With the official campaign close still months away on June 30, the college is celebrating having reached and far exceeded its campaign goals in a record amount of time. Founded in 1913 in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of southwestern Virginia, Ferrum College is a four-year, private, co-educational, liberal arts college related to The United Methodist Church.

VIPCare offers course on appraisal, evaluation, diagnosis
The Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care (VIPCare) Certified Pastoral Counselor Formation program announces its upcoming Spring 2015 course, “DM705: Appraisal, Evaluation and Diagnosis” led by Dr. Donald D. Denton, VIPCare’s director of Education. The course will begin Wednesday, April 8, at 9 a.m. and continue every Wednesday from 9-11:30 a.m. through Wednesday, June 10. Classes will meet in the Goodykoontz-Crutchfield Education Center at the VIPCare offices, 2000 Bremo Road, Suite 105, Richmond. Offering an overview of the field of psychological testing, interest and personality inventories, and projective techniques as applicable to the task of diagnosis, the course focuses on understanding psychological tests in general and oneself in light of one’s own test results. Course requirements, beyond regular attendance, include a final paper that demonstrates an ability to integrate psychological tests with one’s own developmental history. For more information on the course, contact VIPCare at (804) 282-8332.

Newscope ceases publication with April 1 issue
The United Methodist Publishing House, publisher of Newscope, announced that Newscope will cease publication as of the April 1 issue, after 43 years of serving United Methodist leaders with news and information of interest from around the globe. Originally an experiment, this weekly news digest included accounts of UMs in action, annual conference reports, highlights of work related to the Four Areas of Focus, forthcoming events, and other items of interest, often involving persons who were or are widely known within the connection. More ...

GCFA reports United Methodist giving increased in 2014
The United Methodist General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) reported that in 2014, 25 of 57 U.S. annual conferences paid 100% of their apportionments to support the national and international ministries of the general church. That number is up from 20 in both 2012 and 2013, and it’s the highest number in at least 10 years. Preliminary figures from GCFA show 2014 United Methodist giving to support the denomination is up almost across the board. Last year, United Methodists gave more than $130 million to general church funds, nearly 91% of requested apportionments. That’s an increase from 2013 when United Methodists gave $128.6 million to general church funds, an apportionment-collection rate of just under 90%. United Methodists also gave nearly $5.3 million to six churchwide Special Sundays with offerings, an increase of 8.1% over the previous year. Five of the six Special Sundays showed growth. More ...

#BringChange this World Malaria Day
Be part of a world-changing moment in history by participating in World Malaria Day on April 25. Help The United Methodist Church reach its goal of $75 million to help end needless death and suffering from malaria. More ...

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 through July 1. More ...

Why is the egg important?: Children and Easter
Experts from the age of 5 to 10, as well as the Rev. MaryJane Pierce Norton from the General Board of Discipleship, explore the traditions of Easter in this UMTV video. Watch and listen to the discussion about hunting eggs, coloring eggs and seeing the egg as a symbol of new life. (Don't miss the outtakes.) View video

BMCR's HARAMBEE to be June 24-28 at Rust College
HARAMBEE, a youth conference sponsored by the Southeastern Jurisdiction Black Methodists for Church Renewal (BMCR), will be June 24-28 at Rust College in Holly Springs, Miss. For rising 7th graders through 2015 high school graduates (ages 12-18) and adult workers with youth, the conference is held annually to help youths develop their spiritual, leadership and interpersonal skills and help youths, as well as adults, explore what it really means to pull together and work together in Christian love. Come to work, pray, sing and build meaningful relationships with God and each other. Speaker will be the Rev. Jerome Scales Jr., pastor of Spirit Of Truth UMC in Mason, Tenn. For more information, contact the Rev. Constance Nelson Barnes at More ...

♦ UVA Wesley Foundation celebration - April 11
On Saturday, April 11, at 2 p.m. the Wesley Foundation at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville will celebrate 50 years of ministry in its current building with an open house and worship service with Bishop Young Jin Cho preaching. Alumni, parents, students and friends from across the conference are invited to attend that day’s activities which will include breaking ground on the “Building a Foundation for the Future” capital campaign. Directions and more information are at

♦ Senior High Youth and Young Adult event - April 17-18
The Winchester District and Shenandoah University’s Faith Seeking Justice Christian Leadership Program invite senior high youth groups, young adults, youth workers and pastors to attend Thy Kingdom Come: Where Our Mission in the Commonwealth of God Is Justice April 17-18 on the campus of Shenandoah University, Winchester. Keynote speakers are Lisa Sharon Harper and Shane Claiborne. Cost is $10 person, which will go to Imagine No Malaria. Registration deadline is April 6. Participants are invited to bring a tent and spend Friday night camping out on the field at Shenandoah University to raise money for Teens Opposing Poverty and Imagine No Malaria. Think creatively for ways church members can sponsor you as you sleep out under the stars. For more information, contact Martha Reynolds, Winchester District director of Congregational Excellence, at, or the Rev. Dr. Justin Allen, Shenandoah University dean of Spiritual Life, at 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 ...

♦ 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 on the road - 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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