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News from the Virginia Conference - Aug. 18, 2016

UMCOR cleaning buckets to be collected Aug. 27
With the recent flooding in Texas, West Virginia, Maryland and Louisiana, United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) warehouses need to replenish supplies of cleaning buckets (formerly known as flood buckets). Go to to learn what supplies are needed and how to assemble a cleaning bucket. District United Methodist Men (UMM) coordinators will be designating staging locations in each district where buckets will be picked up on Saturday, Aug 27, then transported to central locations around Virginia before final transfer to UMCOR warehouses. If you have questions, contact Scott Dillard (, Virginia Conference UMM coordinator; Pastor Bob Pihlcrantz (, Virginia Conference Disaster Response Coordinator; or your district office.

God steered Bishop Lewis away from career as doctor
The title “doctor” was supposed to be in front of Sharma D. Lewis’ name. A life in the ministry wasn’t on the Statesboro, Ga., native’s radar, even though she came from a long line of ministers and evangelists. Never in a million years did the biology major think she would ever be referred to as “the Reverend.” And, God knows, certainly not bishop. As it turns out, God — and an elderly aunt — had other plans. Read a profile of Bishop Sharma Lewis from the Aug. 10 issue of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. More ...

58 campers participate in All God's Children Camp this summer
Fifty-eight campers and 53 mentors participated in All God's Children Camp this summer. One session was held at Camp Overlook and one was held at Occohannock on the Bay. Children, ages 7 to 12, with an incarcerated mother or father, spend a week at camp, participating in activities such as boating, swimming, hiking, archery, music, crafts, Bible study and conflict resolution. "We wanted to thank everyone for the individual donations and church donations that made this year possible," said Lori Smith, camp director. "Because of you, our campers are able to come to summer camp for free and experience the outdoors, hike, canoe, kayak, learn archery, climb rock walls and participate in ropes courses. Because of you, each camper received their own sheet set, fleece blanket and pillow plus all of their shower items. Some of you donated pillow treats, stuffed animals, prayer tiles, agape letters to make our campers feel loved from day one. Because of you, we were able to provide our campers with extra socks, underwear and other clothing items. Without you, camp would not be possible. We appreciate each and everyone of you and our partnership in this awesome ministry." More ...

Berlin offers advice about preaching on hot-button topics
As the U.S. election year continues, pastors may want to speak to important issues that have political implications. The Rev. Tom Berlin, senior pastor of Floris United Methodist Church in Herndon, Arlington District, offers advice for preaching about hot-button topics. His article is featured in Does Preaching Matter? (Aug/Sep/Oct 2016) issue of Circuit Rider and was reprinted in Ministry Matters.

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.

WindsorMeade retirement community seeks chaplain
WindsorMeade of Williamsburg, a Continuing Care Retirement Community, is looking for a full-time or part-time chaplain (approximately 20 hours per week). The chaplain provides for religious and spiritual needs of residents while building rapport through pastoral visitation. Responsibilities include: prepare and lead regularly scheduled religious activities including services, Bible study, devotions, caregiver support group, grief support group and similar rituals to support the spiritual needs of residents and their families in good times and difficult times. The chaplain may be called upon to preside over Memorial Services. The ideal candidate for this position has a Master of Divinity from an accredited seminary or school of theology, Chaplaincy certification and two years of pastoral care experience, preferably with a senior adult population. Chaplain must be able to serve communion. Fluent English speaking and writing skills, empathy and the ability to listen, good time management skills, computer skills and professional dress, speech and behavior are all required for this position. To apply, submit your information and resume at More ...

Floods wreak havoc in Louisiana
Many United Methodists are among the Louisianans who have been flooded out of their homes, and some United Methodist churches in the state also have had flood damage. One church served as a shelter, then had to be evacuated itself because of rising waters. Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey says it’s too early for volunteers, but monetary contributions and UMCOR cleaning buckets are much needed. More ...

Give cleaning buckets to help with flood relief
Want to help people coping with Louisiana flooding? Consider giving a United Methodist Committee on Relief cleaning bucket, writes Todd Rossnagel for the Louisiana Conference. More ...

Bishop asks for prayers for Milwaukee
Wisconsin Area Bishop Hee-Soo Jung is asking United Methodists to pray for Milwaukee, where riots have followed a police shooting of an armed suspect. “Pray not only for peace. But pray for the systems that are in place that need changing,” the bishop writes. “Pray for restorative and racial justice for Milwaukee and all Wisconsin communities.” More ...

California wildfire destroys 170-year-old church
The Clayton Fire, which has forced the evacuation of 10,000 people in northern California, has already destroyed some 200 structures — including Lower Lake United Methodist Church. The 170-year-old church runs a thrift store and is known as a cornerstone in the community, reports CBS 13 in Sacramento. “Fire destroys but it also purifies so let’s see where it takes us,” says the Rev. John Pavoni, the church’s pastor. More ...

James Lawson: Black Lives Matter shows need for change
A great social awakening that started with the civil rights movement is gaining strength today with the Black Lives Matter movement, said the Rev. James Lawson, a United Methodist pastor called by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. “the leading theorist and strategist of nonviolence in the world.” More ...

World Methodist Conference set for Aug. 31-Sept. 3 in Houston
The once-every-five-years World Methodist Conference, set for Aug. 31-Sept. 3 in Houston, will bring together some 2,500 people from Methodist-related groups around the world. There’s no legislation, but plenty of preaching, teaching, singing and mingling, and United Methodists (including Virginia Conference Bishop Sharma Lewis) will be in the thick of it. More ...

New group aims to boost evangelical voice
A new evangelical United Methodist group is taking shape just as the denomination’s longtime homosexuality debate appears to be reaching a turning point. While some worry this marks the start of a new denomination, association organizers say that is not the group’s purpose. More ...

New study finds clergy wages are rising
The wages of battling sin are getting better for men and women of the cloth. Non-Catholic clergy have experienced significant increases in income even as their workweeks declined by more than 15 percent in recent decades, according to a major new study of clergy compensation. Former UMNS editor David Briggs reports for the Association of Religion Data Archives. More ...

Foundation for Evangelism seeks nominations for Culture of Call Church Award
In an ongoing effort to recognize local United Methodist churches that model excellence in nurturing young people who are called to Christian service, the Foundation for Evangelism (FFE) invites nominations for its 2016 Culture of the Call Church Award. Presented annually to one United Methodist church, FFE's Culture of the Call Award celebrates a faith community that has excelled in identifying, supporting, mentoring and encouraging young people age 35 and younger who are called to Christian service. The award includes a plaque and $1,000 grant. Deadline for nominations is Sept. 15. Interested applicants should apply online at Self-nominations are welcome. More ...

New online tool helps choose Wesleyan contemporary songs
Worship leaders and music ministers can now use a new online tool developed by Discipleship Ministries to select contemporary worship songs that most closely align with Wesleyan theology. The songs are rated numerically in three categories — theology, language and singability — and the interactive tool also suggests where the songs could fit into a worship service. More ...

What churches do young adults attend?
The Rev. Lovett H. Weems Jr. examines the findings of a new report on engaging young adults and shares clues about the types of churches those ages 18–34 are most likely to attend. “The characteristics of churches with thriving young adult engagement are virtually the same as any thriving congregation,” he writes for the Lewis Center for Church Leadership. More ...

Technology can provide ways to save money
Penny pinching isn’t fun for most of us, but thriftiness can be good stewardship and using technology wisely can help cut costs for your church. United Methodist Communications offers several tips on utilizing free or inexpensive tech tools to help your church's budget go further. 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 ...

♦ 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.

♦ Small Church Summit - Oct. 22
Join fellow small church clergy and laity for the Small Church Summit Saturday, Oct. 22, at Providence UMC in Richmond and broadcast via livestream to five additional locations. Keynote speaker will be the Rev. Lynne Caldwell who will build upon the foundation she set at Small Congregation Pastor Training in July. Focus will be on asset-based ministry as participants are taught to build on the strengths of their particular congregations. This event is open to all VAUMC clergy and laity who serve a small congregation (average worship attendance between 1 and 149 persons). Cost is $25 per person. Lunch is included. Those attending can earn .5 CEU for participation. Registration is open from now until Oct. 10. More ...

♦ 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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