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 Dec. 15, 2016
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News from the Virginia Conference - Aug. 25, 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.

Lynchburg District superintendent settles into new position
Lynchburg's The News & Advance issued a recent article discussing the Rev. Scott Davis' new position as Lynchburg District superintendent. Davis, formerly the pastor of Aldersgate UMC in Charlottesville, now supervises 89 churches in the Lynchburg District. More...

September Advocate focuses on new faith communities
In the eight years since Annual Conference adopted All Things New as the core strategy for reaching more people, more diverse people and more young people, the Virginia Conference has established 42 new faith communities. Of these, 22 are Anglo and 20 are ethnic minority congregations. Ethnic minority churches include African-American, Ghanaian, Hispanic, Korean and West African. Two new Anglo churches and two new Hispanic churches are featured in this month’s issue of the Advocate magazine. Also, in this issue, learn more about Bishop Sharma Lewis, the first African-American woman elected bishop in the Southeastern Jurisdiction, who will lead the Virginia Conference for the next four years. To read these articles and more, order your subscription to the Virginia United Methodist Advocate. Click here to subscribe online. Or call Pam Culler at 1-800-768-6040, ext. 110, or (804) 521-1110 or e-mail

Disaster Emotional and Spiritual Care training to be Nov. 5
Disaster Emotional and Spiritual Care Training will be offered 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, at Bruen Chapel UMC, 3035 Cedar Lane, Fairfax. Certified leader of the event will be the Rev. Ellen Comstock, retired Virginia Conference elder. Cost is $40 (plus $10 for lunch unless you bring your own) and includes background check, materials and completion badge. If you already have a background check through the conference within a year, cost will be $30. Completion of this course will allow you to assist survivors of disaster without having to be heavily involved in construction. Coupled with ERT training, this training would also allow you to be deployed with Early Response Teams.This event is open to both clergy and laity and might be of special interest to Lay Servants and those involved in Stephen Ministries, church teachers, visitation team members and others who feel specially called to participate in aspects of the church’s overall ministry and mission that require personal relating to people of various ages and backgrounds. To sign up by Nov. 3 or for more info, email Ellen Comstock (

Communications office interested in church outreach events
The Virginia Conference Communications office is interested in local church outreach events and interesting ministry initiatives. To share your news and events, contact Madeline Pillow, Advocate editor, at or Nick Ruxton, conference videographer, at

Super early bird rates available for Fall Youth Retreats
Register now for the super early bird rates for Virginia Conference Fall Youth Retreats, weekend retreats in which youths are challenged to grow as disciples of Christ through powerful worship, Bible study and small groups while building friendships with youths from all over Virginia. Middle School Retreat will be Nov. 11-13, and High School Retreat will be Dec. 2-4 at Eagle Eyrie in Lynchburg. This year's retreats will focus on “Just Move." Guest speakers will be Brooklyn and Coy Lindsey. Cost is $125 until Sept. 18 for the Middle School retreat, $135 Sept. 19-Oct. 9 and $145 Oct. 10-30. Registration deadline is Oct. 30. Cost for the High School Retreat is $125 Sept. 4-Oct. 2, $135 Oct. 3-31 and $145 Nov. 1-20. Registration deadline is Nov. 20. 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 www.icmamerica.orgfor 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.

Bishops launch prayer initiative: Praying Our Way Forward
As plans are underway for the establishment of a Commission on a Way Forward, the Council of Bishops is setting in motion a parallel prayer initiative called “Praying Our Way Forward.” “We are a people of prayer and enjoin the entire church to fervently pray that the Holy Spirit will break through and lead us into a future with hope,” said Bishop Bruce Ough, Council president, in a statement following a meeting of the executive committee in July. In the first phase of the endeavor, which has already begun and continues through mid-November, the bishops of the church were asked to pledge 15 minutes a day in prayer for the selection and initial work of the Commission on A Way Forward. The entire church will be invited to take part during the second phase, details of which will be announced in late September. Hashtag is #prayourwayforward. Members of the Commission on a Way Forward are expected to be named by the end of August, with a target date of October for the initial meeting. In November, the Council of Bishops will consider the matter of a called special session of General Conference in 2018. More...

Bishop calls Louisiana flooding 'Katrina without the wind' 
Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey of the Louisiana Conference says the recent flooding in her state amounts to “Katrina without the wind” in its level of damage and displacement. Harvey writes that amid the grief there are signs of hope, including support shown by United Methodists across the connection. More...

Judicial Council will take up Oliveto election in spring
The United Methodist Judicial Council will consider a petition from the South Central Jurisdiction requesting a declaratory decision on the election of a lesbian bishop in spring 2017. Bishop Karen Oliveto, a married lesbian who previously was senior pastor of Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco, was elected and consecrated a United Methodist bishop in July by delegates of the Western Jurisdiction. The United Methodist Book of Discipline forbids ordaining “self-avowed practicing homosexuals.” Oliveto has been legally married to Robin Ridenour, her long-time partner, for more than two years. On Sept. 1, she will become bishop of the Mountain Sky Area. More...

Local churches can stay connected to college students
Going to college brings significant change to a young person’s life. Students often leave the communities where they have grown up, breaking the bonds with their local church. Local churches can help young people maintain their connection to God and a faith community. Home church members can encourage them to maintain and grow in their relationship with God, as well as succeed in college. More...

Imagine No Malaria nears campaign goal 
With its latest report, the Imagine No Malaria program announced it is 92 percent toward its denominational fundraising goal of $75 million. The program expects to top the $69 million mark within the next month. Imagine No Malaria is a ministry of the people of The United Methodist Church, putting faith into action to end preventable deaths from malaria in Africa, especially the death of a child or a mother. With a comprehensive approach to fighting this killer disease, Imagine No Malaria empowers the people of Africa to improve health infrastructure and achieve a sustainable victory over malaria. More...

GBCS praises move away from private prisons 
The United Methodist General Board of Church and Society (GBCS) applauded the U.S. Department of Justice announcement that it is ending its use of private prisons. Wespath, formerly known as the United Methodist Board of Pension and Health Benefits, and the United Methodist Foundation have screened investments in private prisons since 2012. Read press release. 

UMC dedicated to fairness and justice in workplace
Did you know The United Methodist Church has been a part of the labor movement throughout history? Rethink Church is reminding people how we care about fairness and justice in the workplace. Learn more about how we are dedicated to fairness and justice in the workplace. Share The United Methodist Church’s great history with your congregation by working this video into your worship service on the Sunday before Labor Day. Take a moment to educate people on our Social Principles dedicated to social and economic issues. More...

Chuck Knows Church discusses blessings 
What does it mean to give someone or to receive a blessing? Chuck helps understand "blessing" on this his 104th 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 Discipleship Ministries. More... 

♦ 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 ...

♦ UMVIM Team Leader and Recertification Training - Sept. 24<br/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, Sept. 24, at Warwick Memorial UMC in Newport News. Recertification training will be offered 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. 

♦ 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.

♦ Church Leadership Institute - Oct. 10-12
The Church Leadership Institute (CLI) will help you discern your ministry style by offering greater clarity in the following areas: ministry competencies, core behaviors, spiritual gifts, affinity groups and place on the apostolic/pastoral continuum. Graduates will learn the basics on how to lead renewal in their congregations. Those feeling called to be a new church planter will have the opportunity to more fully discern that call. The event will be facilitated by Jim Griffith. Event schedule is 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Oct. 10, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 11 and 9 12:30 p.m. Oct. 12. Cost is free to members of Virginia Conference. Please contact the Center for Congregational Excellence at 1-800-768-6040, ext. 155, with questions or for more information. Register at

♦ 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 open 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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