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To view a 2014 issue of the Virginia Conference e-Advocate, click on the date below:

Dec. 18, 2014
Dec. 10, 2014
Dec. 4, 2014

Nov. 21, 2014 - Day of Holy Conversation
Nov. 20, 2014
Nov. 13, 2014
Nov. 6, 2014

Oct. 28, 2014
Oct. 16, 2014
Oct. 10, 2014
Oct. 2, 2014

Sept. 25, 2014
Sept. 18, 2014
Sept. 11, 2014
Sept. 4, 2014

Aug. 28, 2014
Aug. 22, 2014
Aug. 15, 2014
Aug. 7, 2014

July 30, 2014
July 24, 2014
July 17, 2014
July 10, 2014
July 2, 2014

June 24, 2014
June 12, 2014
June 5, 2014

May 29, 2014 - Special Annual Conference edition
May 23, 2014
May 15, 2014
May 8, 2014

April 24, 2014
April 16, 2014
April 10, 2014
April 3, 2014

March 26, 2014
March 20, 2014
March 13, 2014
March 10, 2014
March 5, 2014

Feb. 27, 2014
Feb. 20, 2014
Feb. 17, 2014
Feb. 12, 2014
Feb. 6, 2014

Jan. 30, 2014
Jan. 23, 2014
Jan. 16, 2014
Jan. 9, 2014

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News from the Virginia Conference - Aug. 22, 2014

Sept. 7 is Industrial & Commercial Ministries Sunday
Sunday, Sept. 7, is Industrial & Commercial Ministries Sunday, a day on which all churches in the Virginia Conference are asked to take a special offering to provide important support to Industrial & Commercial Ministries (ICM), a Christian, ecumenical, not-for-profit organization that equips, places and supports volunteer chaplains in America's work places. More information about ICM can be found at

GBOD offers resources to observe Labor Day
Monday, Sept. 1, is Labor Day, a day our country honors the contributions and sacrifices of workers. The General Board of Discipleship (GBOD) has liturgies to help your congregation celebrate workers as well as remember those seeking work. More ...

Cranford UMC holds ice cream social to benefit Imagine No Malaria
Linda Heller, Lay Leader for Cranford UMC in Lorton, reported that the congregation (which averages 60-70 people in worship and has 250 members) raised $630 by holding an ice cream social after church. "I said the goal was to raise $10 for each person on our rolls by Annual Conference," Heller said. "The first thing that we did — since the bishop did ask to get the children and youth involved — was an ice cream social after church. During the church service, I showed the kids parts of 'Killer in the Dark,' to explain how malaria is transmitted, why we don't have it, etc." Children and youths dipped and served ice cream and gave out Imagine No Malaria bracelets provided by United Methodist Communications.

Hymnals requested for Sierra Leone churches
The Rev. Nancy Robinson, missionary in Sierra Leone, is asking for donations of United Methodist Hymnals for churches in Sierra Leone. "Most churches use them every Sunday and they are scarce from ages past with pages all falling out," Robinson said. "It would be a great gift of encouragement to them in these difficult times." Wrightsville Beach UMC in North Carolina has sent one container to Sierra Leone and will be sending another one. To donate and coordinate delivery of hymnals, contact Craig Relan at (910) 599-0448.

Fall Youth Retreats set for Nov. 14-16, Dec. 5-7
Now is the time to register for Virginia Conference Fall Youth Retreats. Middle School Retreat will be Nov. 14-16 and High School Retreat will be Dec. 5-7 at Eagle Eyrie in Lynchburg. Theme for both retreats is "IDENTITY." Click here for flyer. Speaker will be Dugan Sherbondy. Band will be Keith Elgin. Young adults to serve as small group leaders and youths to serve as staff are needed. To volunteer, contact Alison Malloy at To register and for more information go to or contact Becky Tate at (804) 521-1139.

Prison ministry changes name to GraceInside
Chaplain Service Prison Ministry of Virginia is changing its name to GraceInside. “This is a much simpler name -- even our own staff couldn’t always get the old name right consistently – and is quite descriptive of what our God is doing in the prisons through our chaplains,” said the Rev. Randy Myers, president of the Richmond-based ministry. “This is a new beginning for us, and we are very excited.”

Vest issues ALS challenge to elder/deacon teams
The Rev. John Vest, lead pastor, and the Rev. Jason Stanley, associate minister of Youth and Education, at Peakland UMC in Lynchburg, participated in the ALS ice bucket challenge in memory of the Rev. Cheryl Simmons, a Virginia Conference elder who died March 22 of an ALS-related illness. Vest is now challenging all senior pastor/deacon teams in the Virginia Conference to participate in the ALS #icebucketchallenge. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as "Lou Gehrig's Disease," is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Go to to watch the Peakland UMC team get doused with ice water. For more information, contact Vest at or (434) 384-2791.

September is National Hunger Action Month
Nearly 50 million people in the United States today are hungry or food insecure, according to information from the Society of St. Andrew (SoSA). Yet in this country, we will throw away more than 133 billion pounds of food this year. September is National Hunger Action Month. Plan now to make September 2014 a time for your congregation to stand together against hunger to see that each person in this country has healthy, nourishing food to eat. Society of St. Andrew, approved Advance Special of the General Board of Global Ministries, offers worship and study resources. More ...

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 the General Board of Discipleship.

Oct. 5 is World Communion Sunday
Oct. 5 is World Communion Sunday. United Methodists observe 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 ethnic undergraduate and graduate students, which often enables first-generation students to attend college. Click here to download the World Communion Sunday pastor’s kit. Order leaflet offering envelopes and posters to enhance your World Communion Sunday celebration at or call 1-888-346-3862. More ...

$180,334 collected for Annual Conference offering
To date, $180,334 has been received for this year's Annual Conference special offering. Goal is $200,000. Funds will support Imagine No Malaria, Cambodia church construction and Christian education, Mozambique lay leadership and communication training, Brazil Shade and Fresh Water program for street children, mission engagement of Virginia Conference small membership churches, Community Outreach Program in Roanoke, Agape Children’s Center in Horntown on the Eastern Shore and connection of Virginia Conference churches to Haiti mission projects. Contributions may still be sent to the conference Treasurer's office, P.O. Box 5605, Glen Allen, VA 23058. Designate “Annual Conference Offering” on your check or at the bottom of your apportionment statement. If the check is from a church, be sure to indicate the church GCFA number on the check. More ...

Church leaders strive to be peacemakers in Ferguson
Since Aug. 9, the Rev. F. Willis Johnson has devoted his entire ministry to fostering peaceful and meaningful responses to the death of an unarmed black teenager shot by police and the violent clashes that followed. He led prayer vigils and counseled protesters. He also reached out to other United Methodist leaders, who joined him in helping a community in pain. More ...

United Methodists fighting Ebola with text messages
Efforts to contain the Ebola outbreak have met difficulties due to widespread myths and misinformation about the deadly virus. In collaboration with bishops in Sierra Leone and Liberia, and their communicators, United Methodist Communications has implemented a crisis communications strategy in West Africa aimed at controlling the outbreak, saving lives and comforting those affected by this epidemic. Text messages are used to distribute prayers for encouragement and lifesaving, accurate information. More ...

Doctor's daily prayer for Liberia: 'God, send help'
A United Methodist doctor from Raleigh, N.C., talks about volunteering at an Ebola center in Liberia for Samaritan's Purse. Dr. Vicki Morris says the situation is much worse than current news reports. "There just aren't enough public health people to respond." More ...

Commentary: Culture, politics stall Ebola response
Information is key in public health crises such as the Ebola outbreak, and misinformation is often the line between life and death. But precautionary measures for Ebola violate West African cultural norms, Nyamah Dunbar writes after a recent visit to Côte d'Ivoire. Dunbar, founder of Sankofa Inc. Agribusiness and former program manager in West Africa for the United Methodist Committee on Relief, is based in Liberia. More ...

United Methodists to join march demanding climate change action
United Methodists — including the Rev. Pat Watkins, member of the Virginia Conference, — are among those planning to march in midtown Manhattan on Sunday, Sept. 21, to call for renewed action on climate change. Participants in the People's Climate March hope to send a message to world leaders gathering for a U.N. summit two days later. United Methodist partnering organizations for the march include Caretakers of God’s Creation. More ...

New curriculum available for local pastors
A new curriculum for local pastors focuses on transformative leadership, while online interactive classes will provide easier access for educational opportunities, especially for part-time local pastors who have regular employment outside the church. More ...

United Methodist Men to honor transformational ministries
The General Commission on United Methodist Men will honor the top 30 local churches that engage in ministries designed to transform the lives of men and youth. The agency will also honor 10 districts and 10 annual conferences that provide life-changing ministries to men and youths in their areas. Only churches with chartered units of United Methodist Men may participate, but districts and annual conference may participate if at least one-fourth of their churches are chartered. To enter, make sure your unit is chartered, then send a description of the ministries supported by the church, district or conference to There is no form to fill out. Photos of the ministries may also be included in magazine articles. More ...

Chuck Knows Church: Offering Plate
Do you know the history of taking up an offering? Chuck gives you the facts and a few blunders. Stay tuned to the very end for a surprise in this episode of "Chuck Knows Church," a weekly online series that explains the meaning behind some of the objects, symbols, terms and rituals in church. 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 the General Board of Discipleship. More ...

GBOD seeks Director of Adult Discipleship
The General Board of Discipleship (GBOD), headquartered in Nashville, is seeking a Director of Adult Discipleship. Deadline for receiving applications is Sept. 30. If you know of someone who might be interested in this position, have them contact Human Resources via e-mail to or fax (615) 340-7565. More ...

♦ School for Children's Ministry - Sept. 20, Nov. 8
The School for Children’s Ministry is on the road this year to come to a district near you and includes the “Bottomless Cookie Jar” and eight new workshops. Remaining events will be 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sept. 20 at Greenville UMC, Greenville (click here to register); and Nov. 8 at Grace UMC, Manassas (click here to register). Registration deadline is the Wednesday before the event. Workshop presenters are children’s ministry professionals, representing all sizes of churches. Click here for brochure

♦ 5 Talent Academy 'Evangelism, Communication and Church Growth' event - Oct. 4
Registration is now open for the 5 Talent Academy "Evangelism, Communication and Church Growth" event 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 4, at Floris UMC in Herndon and broadcast to nine additional locations across the conference. Maria Dixon Hall, associate professor of Organizational Communication at Southern Methodist University, will explore evangelism through the lens of solid and fruitful communication practices. Registration is open to all Virginia Conference churches regardless of affiliation with the 5 Talent Academy. Visit to register. Registration is $25 per person and includes lunch.

♦ 'Lord, Teach Me to Pray' - Oct. 25, Feb. 21
"Lord, Teach Me to Pray — Practical Applications for Prayer" will be offered again Saturday, Oct. 25, at St. Thomas UMC, Manassas, (Click here to register) and Saturday, Feb. 21, at Williamsburg UMC (Click here to register). Main speaker will be Dr. Wendy Miller, professor emeritus of Spiritual Formation at Eastern Mennonite Seminary and adjunct faculty at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill., and Perkins School of Theology in Dallas. Click here to download a flyer. NOTE: The event originally scheduled for Aug. 23 at Williamsburg UMC has been cancelled because the keynote speaker has a scheduling conflict.

♦ 'The Good Race' - Nov. 15
Clergy and laity are invited to join other United Methodists in "The Good Race," a day of participation and celebration as they walk or run the Anthem Richmond 8K, Half-Marathon or Marathon on Saturday, Nov. 15. Information about these races can be found at Or contact Steve Jones at or Allie Rosner at Or join the Facebook Group “The Good Race.”

♦ Nutzy's Rotary FUNN Run to benefit UMFS - Dec. 6
The annual Nutzy’s Rotary FUNN Run 5k on Saturday, Dec. 6, will benefit United Methodist Family Services (UMFS) for the second year in a row. The Rotary Club of West Richmond, in partnership with the Dominion Christmas Parade and the Richmond Flying Squirrels, created this event to offer a festive, family-friendly competition while fulfilling the club's philanthropic mission to improve the lives of local children. Runners, walkers, families, children and strollers are welcome to participate. Students from UMFS will participate again this year. Visit to register.

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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