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News from the Virginia Conference - Aug. 11, 2016

Long-term tornado recovery continues in Waverly, Evergreen, Tappahannock
Long-term recovery from the Feb. 24 tornadoes is continuing. Forrest White, Virginia Conference Long-term Recovery manager and UMVIM coordinator, reports that much work remains to be done in the areas of fundraising and construction. Work teams are needed to fill the following gaps in the construction calendar: Sept. 12-16 (Evergreen, Tappahannock, Waverly); Sept. 19-23 (Tappahannock); Sept. 26-30 (Waverly); Oct. 3-7 (Evergreen); Oct. 17-21 (Waverly); Oct. 24-28 (Tappahannock, Waverly); Oct. 31-Nov. 4 (Waverly); Nov. 7-11 (Evergreen, Tappahannock, Waverly); Nov. 14-18 (Evergreen, Tappahannock, Waverly); Nov. 28-Dec. 2 (Evergreen, Tappahannock, Waverly); Dec. 5-9 (Evergreen, Tappahannock, Waverly); and Dec. 12-16 (Evergreen, Tappahannock, Waverly). Teams will not be scheduled the weeks of Nov. 21-25, Dec. 19-23, Dec. 26-30 and Jan. 2-6. For more information, or to schedule White to speak at your church about missions and the long-term recovery ministry, contact him at (804) 938-1026 or

Volunteer teams to help rebuild Ms. Patty's house, life
The tornado that ripped through Evergreen on Feb. 24 took Ms. Patty's home and her greenhouse. It also killed her daddy. Her father was a member of Evergreen United Methodist Church, but they couldn’t have his funeral there. The tornado hit the church, too. Ms. Patty's mother survived the storm, but suffered a fractured back when the mighty winds uprooted a tree and slammed it into her car. United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) teams will be building a new house for Ms. Patty, said Forrest White, Virginia Conference Long-term Recovery manager and UMVIM coordinator. "She trusted us with all of her insurance money," White said. "She can't rebuild without our help. It’s my job to find the rest of the necessary funding, so construction can begin, we hope, in late August. If you would like to make a tax-deductible contribution to help us help Ms. Patty, send me an e-mail at so I can share the details." Click here to read Ms. Patty's story posted by White on the Virginia United Methodist Volunteers In Mission Facebook page.

Congo Wings of Caring missionaries to visit Virginia Sept. 6-25
Missionary couple Jacques A. Umembudi and Poto Valentine Shutsha serve with the General Board of Global Ministries in their home country of Democratic Republic of Congo with Wings of Caring Aviation ministry. They will be speaking in Virginia Conference churches Sept. 6-25. Ann Klotz, Virginia Conference Missionary Itineration coordinator, has received hosting requests for these two missionaries from congregations in the Arlington, Eastern Shore, Elizabeth River, Fredericksburg, James River, Richmond, Winchester and York River Districts. "I am in the process of setting the itinerary for their visits," Klotz said "and would like to be sure and not overlook any supporting or interested congregations that have not yet contacted me." To request a visit, contact Klotz at "Missionaries are only able to provide itineration about every three years," Klotz said, "and I don't want anyone to miss this wonderful opportunity to hear about God's mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (and beyond, with aviation ministries of relief, health, evangelism, and leadership development). I know their coming did not give much advance notice, that is the way it is sometimes when waiting for confirmation of international visas, etc."

Five-day online Safe Sanctuary workshop to be Sept. 19-23
The conference office of Ministries with Young People is encouraging congregations that don’t have a Safe Sanctuary policy or whose policy is outdated or needs revision to participate in a five-day online Safe Sanctuary workshop offered by Sept. 19-23. Participants will learn why congregations should have an up-to-date policy, what the policy should include and how to get a policy written or edited, approved and implemented. Cost is $50. Because this is an intensive workshop, participants will need to be involved on the site every day to receive a completion certificate. Plan to read two documents, post a response to one question and post responses to at least two other participants every day – a minimum of an hour a day. Participants are required to read Safe Sanctuaries: Reducing the Risk of Abuse in the Church for Children and Youth by Joy Thornburg Melton as part of this course and have access to a copy of the book throughout the duration of the course. Following this workshop, you may decide to schedule six additional weeks of support while you get your policy written or edited. The additional time would consist of once-a-week, one-hour conference calls or chat room conversations for an additional $50. This course is eligible for 0.5 CEU. Click here to register and for more information.

VICPP asks for help expanding health care in Virginia
The Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy (VICPP), and its health care arm, Virginia Consumer Voices for Healthcare (VCV), are working to convince the Virginia General Assembly to close the health insurance coverage gap using federal Medicaid dollars in Virginia. Doing so would allow 400,000 Virginians to get health care coverage and bring $6 million a day into Virginia in federal dollars. Some legislators say they don’t hear from their constituents about expanding health coverage. VICPP encourages people of faith to contact their delegates and senators urging them to support closing the health insurance coverage gap. Click hear to read letter from Kim Bobo, VICPP executive director. Download a free Faith Outreach Toolkit at healthcare-expansion-toolkit for information and resources you need to take action. Contact for more information. More ...

September is Hunger Action Month
September is Hunger Action Month. More than 50 million people in the United States today are hungry or food insecure. Plan now to make September a time for your congregation to stand against hunger to see that each person in this country has healthful, nourishing food to eat. Society of St. Andrew offers Hunger Action Month resources, including a Daily Calendar for Prayer and Action. The calendar has a Scripture reading and related activity for each day of September. More ...

Sept. 4 is ICM Labor Day Offering Sunday
On Sunday, Sept. 4, United Methodist churches throughout the Virginia Conference are encouraged to collect an Industrial and Commercial Ministries (ICM) Labor Day Offering. ICM is a mission of local churches, with volunteer ICM chaplains connecting each week to thousands of men and women, churched and unchurched, sharing God's love at their assigned place of business and providing a supportive presence and effective referral. Your gifts will support day-to-day operations, provide training and provide for expansion through the establishment of new chapters. This year's offering goal is $20,000. Any individual or church making a donation of $500 or more will receive "A Caring Presence" certificate. For brochures or offering envelopes, call (540) 432-1919 or e-mail Visit for more information.

Hispanic Heritage Month begins Sept. 15
Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month, a celebration of people in the United States who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico and the Spanish-speaking countries of Central America, South America and the Caribbean. Worship and other church events provide settings for Hispanic/Latino United Methodists to celebrate their heritage and cultures and for others to learn more about them. Click here for worship resources suggested by Discipleship Ministries (General Board of Discipleship).

Oct. 2 is World Communion Sunday
Sunday, Oct. 2, is World Communion Sunday. World Communion Sunday calls the church to reach out to all people and model diversity among God’s children. United Methodists relate to World Communion Sunday by celebrating communion with other Christians around the world on this special Sunday. Churches are also encouraged to receive an offering to support scholarships for ethnic minority undergraduate and graduate students. Our gifts often enable first-generation students to attend college. For resources, including worship services and "A Dozen Ways to Promote and celebrate World Communion Sunday," download the World Communion Sunday Pastor’s and Leader's kit. To order leaflet offering envelopes and posters, click here or call 1-888-346-3862.

Virginia United Methodist Homes seeks New Media, Donor Relations coordinator
Virginia United Methodist Homes, Inc., a not-for-profit senior living provider headquartered in Glen Allen, seeks a dynamic individual to fill the newly created position of New Media and Donor Relations coordinator. The selected candidate will possess strong written and verbal communications skills with proven experience in developing innovative and creative media content across digital marketing platforms to support seven senior living communities in coordination with the Corporate Director of Marketing. For details, visit the Virginia Conference website at and scroll down to “Other.” More ...

Society of St. Andrew seeks director of Church Relations
The Society of St. Andrew, headquartered in Big Island, Va., is seeking a director of Church Relations to promote Society of St. Andrew among congregations of all faith traditions and develop fundraising efforts among congregations and higher church governing bodies. For details, visit the Virginia Conference website at and scroll down to “Other.”

New depot aids West Virginia flood response
A new relief-supply depot established last spring by the West Virginia Conference, together with training for disaster response coordinators and volunteers by the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), resulted in a more effective response when flooding occurred in June. More ...

Louisiana Conference ready for volunteers for flood recovery
Unprecedented flooding this past spring affected much of north and central Louisiana, as well as a number of the state's southeastern parishes. Louisiana's United Methodist churches are continuing to meet the needs of those affected by the devastating rains. The Louisiana Conference is ready to receive teams from across the state and from throughout the country that are ready to give hope to those still counting their loss. Both skilled and unskilled volunteers are needed for the recovery effort. Skilled individuals will be available to teach every level of volunteer how to do work needed. Expertise of volunteers with a construction-related skill will be put to good use. More ...

Resources offered for back-to-school season
As many families know, a new year doesn’t really begin with “Auld Lang Syne” but the first ring of the school bell. United Methodist Discipleship Ministries offers worship and devotional resources for churches to celebrate the start of the new school year and reach out to kids in their areas. More ...

Chuck Knows Church: Fasting
Fasting is talked about in the book of Isaiah, chapter 58:6–7. And we bet you know it has something to do with Jesus being tempted in the desert. Is that all you know? Chuck discusses "fasting" on this his 103rd episode! Episodes can be downloaded for free at 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 United Methodist Discipleship Ministries (General Board of Discipleship). More ...

43 new Global Mission Fellows commissioned to serve
Bishop Woodie White laid hands on 43 new young adult missionaries, symbolizing that the church has designated them for special responsibility. The new missionaries were commissioned by the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries on Aug. 3 at Grace Church, Atlanta, which now houses the denomination’s new world mission center. More ...

Young clergy gather in D.C. for leadership forum
The Rev. Carolyn Gillette, a Presbyterian pastor and hymn writer who was recently interviewed on PBS after writing a hymn expressing grief for the shooting deaths of 49 people at an Orlando nightclub, was a featured speaker at the Summer Young Clergy Leadership Forum sponsored by the United Methodist Board of Church and Society in Washington, D.C. More ...

Young people work for change in racial justice
Young black and white leaders in The United Methodist Church are organizing resources and support to help the church effect sustainable change so people of color can live and lead in a more just and viable culture. The effort grew out of a meeting in Dallas with young people from each U.S. jurisdiction. The meeting was organized by Young People’s Ministries, a division of Discipleship Ministries. More ...

Central conferences to elect bishops
Over the coming months and into next spring, the United Methodist central conferences — church regions in Africa, Asia and Europe — will meet to elect new bishops. While the U.S. jurisdictional conferences all met in July to elect bishops, the central conferences gather on varying schedules, the earliest being the Africa Central Conference in August and the latest being Germany in March 2017. Only some of the central conferences have bishop elections. More ...

Africans express concern about 'disobedience'
The United Methodist Africa Initiative, a group of African delegates to General Conference 2016, has issued a letter expressing its “serious concerns about the future of our beloved church.” The letter says acts of disobedience to church law undercut unity as well as the Council of Bishops as it is convening a special commission to consider how to work through denominational tensions over homosexuality. Read the letter.

UMC Foundation begins investment relationship
The United Methodist Church Foundation announced a new investment consulting relationship with The Humphrey/Kelly Group of Merrill Lynch Global Institutional Consulting. The Foundation said it initiated the change to offer its participants a higher level of and improved account access and reporting and investment managers that are aligned with the principles and social policies of The United Methodist Church. More ...

Wesley Seminary offers course on religion and presidency
Wesley Theological Seminary announced a new hybrid course focusing on how religion and faith shaped our U.S. presidents. Mike McCurry, a former White House press secretary and distinguished professor of public theology at Wesley, will teach the class, which will be a mix of in-person and Skype meetings. Registration for the fall course is limited and expected to fill quickly. Wesley students can register at My Wesley. Non-degree applicants and alumni can register here for fall 2016 courses. More ...

Online course designed to teach churches how to better use social media
United Methodist Communications is offering a United Methodist-specific online course designed to better equip you to engage your church and community digitally. Learn how to use social media and other tools to communicate your faith relevantly and effectively. Through "Communicating Faith in the 21st Century," you'll learn how to craft powerful, personal faith stories that resonate with your followers and beyond. Course is offered Sept. 7-Oct. 19. Cost is $29.99. Upon successful completion, learners are awarded 1 ALLLM CEU. Registration closes Sept. 6. More ...

Online course designed to help congregations be more welcoming
United Methodist Communications is offering a United Methodist-specific online course designed to help you take your church's hospitality to the next level. Become a more hospitable congregation with the tools in "Welcoming Ministry 100." Learn how to encourage members to participate in visitor ministry. Assess what your church already does well and areas for improvement. Course is offered Sept. 7-Oct. 19. Cost is $29.99. Upon successful completion, learners are awarded 1 ALLLM CEU. Registration closes Sept. 6. More ...

♦ UMVIM Team Leader and Recertification Training - Aug. 27, Sept. 24
Some confusion remains regarding training necessary to serve in tornado-affected areas now that the Recovery (rebuilding) phase has begun. Volunteers do not need Early Response Team (ERT) training. Each volunteer team does need a trained United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) team leader. To that end, Forrest White, Virginia Conference Long-term Recovery Manager and UMVIM coordinator, will lead UMVIM team leader training on Saturday, Aug. 27, at Mountain View UMC in Forest, and Saturday, Sept. 24, at Warwick Memorial UMC in Newport News. Recertification training will be offered Saturday, Aug. 27, at Mountain View UMC in Forest; and Saturday, Sept. 24, at Warwick Memorial UMC in Newport News. Click here to register for Team Leader Training and click here to register for UMVIM Recertification.

♦ Welcoming Service for Bishop Sharma Lewis - Sept. 17
A welcoming service of worship for Bishop Sharma Lewis will be held at Reveille UMC, 4200 Cary Street Road, Richmond, 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon Saturday, Sept. 17. Lewis, the first African-American woman elected a bishop in the Southeastern Jurisdiction, has been assigned to lead the Virginia Conference for the next four years. She will begin her term of office on Sept. 1. More ...

♦ Lay Leader training - Sept. 10
Existing District Lay Leaders, Associate Lay Leaders, District Directors of Lay Servant Ministry and those thinking of a call to district lay leadership are invited to Lay Leader Training 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 10, at the United Methodist Center in Glen Allen. Jodi Cataldo, director of Laity in Leadership for United Methodist Discipleship Ministries, will be facilitator for the day. Registration deadline is Aug. 18. To register, contact Warren R. Harper at (757) 784-3631 or Snacks and lunch will be provided. More ...

♦ UMW Young Women's Retreat - Sept. 16-17
Virginia Conference United Methodist Women (UMW) will sponsor a Young Women's Retreat Sept. 16-17 at Bridgewater UMC in Bridgewater. Retreat leader is the Rev. Beth Anderson, new pastor of Courthouse Community UMC in Virginia Beach. She will speak on the theme "Finding Balance: Living in God's Creation in a World of Chaos." This event is for young women 18-40 years of age. Registration deadline is Aug. 15. More ...

♦ Lay Servant Ministries on-demand courses - Sept. 24, Oct. 8
Lay Servant Ministries is offering a series of six on-demand learning courses in 2016. You may attend live events 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Virginia United Methodist Center in Glen Allen for free, or pay $30 to watch online from your own computer during a 90-day period to receive your certification. The next courses to be offered are Saturday, Sept. 24, "UMC Heritage" led by Martha Stokes, and Saturday, Oct. 8, (rescheduled from Aug. 27) "Preaching" led by the Rev. Jonathan Page. For more information, contact Marge Sharp, on-demand learning registrar, at or (757) 871-2809. More ...

♦ UMFS golf tournaments - Sept. 30, Oct. 14
Registration is now open for the annual United Methodist Family Services (UMFS) Fore the Kids Golf Tournament to be held Friday, Sept. 30, at Manor Golf Club in Farmville and Friday, Oct. 14, at Royal New Kent Golf Club in Providence Forge (Richmond area). For the Manor Golf Club tournament, cost is $400 per team or $100 per individual. Registration deadline is Sept. 15. For the Royal New Kent Golf Club, cost is $500 per team or $125 per individual. Registration deadline is Oct. 4. Register at For more information, contact Joe Torrence at or (804) 239-1042, ext. 1941. More ...

♦ Old Time Revival - Oct. 1
The second Old Time Revival hosted by the Virginia Conference Older Adult Council is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 1, at Centreville UMC for a great time of fellowship and exciting renewal. Revival worship will include singing old hymns, praying and dynamic preaching by the Rev. Clarence Brown. Music will be led by Michael Berkley of Woodlake UMC.

♦ 5 Talent Academy - Oct. 4
Registration is now open for the 5 Talent Academy Equipping People for Ministry Outside the Walls of the Church event to be held 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 4, at Ebenezer UMC in Stafford. The event will be live streamed to 10 additional locations across the conference (Danville, Eastern Shore, Farmville, Lynchburg, Richmond, Roanoke, Shenandoah Valley, Tidewater, Winchester and York River). Featured speaker is Andy Crouch, executive editor of Christianity Today and author of several books, including Strong and Weak: Embracing a Life of Love, Risk and True Flourishing, Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power and Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling. Cost is $35 per person. Those who register prior to Aug. 31 will receive an early-bird discount and pay only $25. Group pricing is available for teams. Registration closes on Sept. 19. Visit to register.

♦ Conference UMW Annual Meeting - Oct. 28-29
Virginia Conference United Methodist Women (UMW) will hold its Annual Meeting Oct. 28-29 at Good Shepherd UMC in Richmond. Theme is “Growing in Blessedness.” Keynote speaker is Elizabeth (Lisa) Lamb Nichols, a deaconess serving as executive director of Henry Fork Service Center, a facility in Rocky Mount, Va., that provides Christian education, educational enrichment, recreation and experiences in the arts to more than 100 students throughout the year. More ...

♦ Kindred Project two-day silent retreat - Nov. 2-4
Kindred Project will offer a two-day Silent Retreat in the Celtic Tradition at the Bellfry Retreat Home (, 4 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 2, to 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 4. The retreat will be facilitated by Kim Barker-Brugman, Janie Mitchell and Dawn Peck. Estimated cost is $175 per person. Complete details will be available in early October, but to reserve a space now, contact Dawn at

♦ UMVIM Trip to Israel/Palestine - Jan. 30-Feb. 11
The Virginia Conference Board of Church and Society is sponsoring a United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) trip to Israel and Palestine Jan. 30 to Feb. 11, 2017. The trip will provide opportunities for learning, serving and seeing. Team members will visit religious sites and United Methodist missions projects. There will be opportunities to serve at some of those mission projects. Team members will also visit and meet with Palestinians, both Christian and Muslim, as well as Israeli Jews. The team will learn more about the struggles of life in Palestine and efforts to create a just and hopeful future. Team leaders are the Rev. John Copenhaver and the Rev. Steve Jones, both certified VIM team leaders. For more information, contact either leader at or

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 email For information about the Virginia Conference and resources for ministry, visit the Virginia Conference website at



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The Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church
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