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News from the Virginia Conference - Aug. 4, 2016

UMCOR cleaning buckets to be collected Aug. 27
With the recent flooding in Texas and West Virginia and now, more recently, in Maryland, 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. Used buckets are acceptable as long as they are cleaned out. 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.

Guest blogger writes about hometown shared with Bishop Lewis
Conference videographer Nick Ruxton turned his blog, "Through the Lens," over to the Rev. Kendra Grimes, chaplain and director of Church Relations at Randolph-Macon College. A native of Statesboro, Ga., the same small town where Bishop Sharma Lewis grew up, Grimes notes that they did not know each other. Even though they are both United Methodists, their families did not go to church together because white families and black families did not attend the same church. "Recognizing the brokenness of our past is key to bring healing to our future," Grimes writes in the blog. "I can’t wait to meet Bishop Lewis. ... I want to hear about my hometown from her experience." More ...

Lay Leader training to be Sept. 10 at United Methodist Center
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 ...

Conference UMW Annual Meeting to be Oct. 28-29 in Richmond
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 ...

August issue of To ARMS! now available for download
The August 2016 issue of To ARMS!, newsletter of the Virginia Conference Association of Retired Ministers and Spouses, is now available and can be downloaded by going to For a direct link, click here.

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.

Maryland flooding leaves two dead
A devastating flash flood in Ellicott City, Md., left two dead and destroyed several businesses and homes, as well as damaging the education building at Emory United Methodist Church. Emory and Mt. Zion United Methodist Churches both cancelled worship services on July 31 because of road closures. A prayer service is planned at Emory on Aug. 4. More ...

Judicial Council sets docket for October meeting
The United Methodist Judicial Council, the denomination’s top court, has posted an 11-item docket for its Oct. 25-28 meeting. The Judicial Council also listed three items that are currently under review and require executive committee or full council action to be placed on docket, including a request from the South Central Jurisdiction for a declaratory judgment regarding gay and lesbian church leaders. Read Great Plains story on declaratory judgment request. The council’s meetings are closed except for oral hearings. No decisions have been announced yet regarding possible hearings. Read full docket.

Lesbian pastor to take involuntary leave
A complaint against the Rev. Cynthia Meyer, a lesbian pastor in Kansas, has ended with her taking an involuntary leave of absence at least until the conclusion of the next General Conference. Her leave is part of a resolution that ends the church complaint against her, and means a scheduled church trial will not go forward. Click here to read terms of resolution. More ...

Seven tips for keeping cool in hot times
With the U.S. election season in full swing, concerns about violence around the globe, and The United Methodist Church’s own debates, churchgoers have plenty of reasons to disagree these days. The Rev. Rebekah Simon-Peter, a United Methodist consultant, offers tips for keeping communication open in turbulent times. Read commentary.

School of Congregational Development to offer online teaching event Aug. 19-20
You're invited to participate in The School of Congregational Development Aug. 19-20 Online Teaching Event: Crossroads and Community Reach and Outreach. This event is designed to equip worship leaders with tools for the revitalization of corporate worship, particularly through creative and contextual corporate worship design. Presenters are Dr. Cynthia A. Wilson, director of The Center for Music and Worship in the Black Church Experience at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, and Dr. Katelin Hansen, director of Experiential Learning for the faith-based nonprofit Community Development for All People and Minister of Music for the United Methodist Church for All People. You can register as an individual and view it from your PC, laptop, iPad or Smartphone. More ...

Ecumenical project grants available
Grants for 2017 to create ecumenical and interreligious ministries on a local level are available from the United Methodist Council of Bishops Office of Christian Unity and Interreligious Relationships to groups within the denomination’s conferences. Grant recipients for 2016 organized modular class sessions, sponsored a collaborative women’s retreat and summer urban ministry fellow and created study guides and a video series. Application deadline is Sept. 16. More ...

Disciple Fast Track offers study of entire Bible in 24 weeks
Abingdon Press has launched a new Bible study program, Disciple Fast Track, to equip churches and small groups to come together to experience the whole Bible in a concentrated timeframe. Disciple Fast Track, an adaptation of the original, bestselling Disciple Bible Study, provides a viable option for busy people seeking comprehensive engagement over time with the full range biblical text. Fast Track groups meet for a total of 24 weeks, devoting 12 weeks each to the Old Testament and the New Testament. Participants read a manageable three-five chapters of the Bible daily in preparation for weekly 75-minute meetings. A separate Leader Guide provides group facilitators with step-by-step instructions for leading each week’s session with little preparation. More ...

Five over-the-top ideas for back-to-school kickoff
For teens, there may be no bigger seasonal transition than starting back to school. Jeremy Steele writes that this is the perfect time for a church to plan a fun outreach event. Writing for United Methodist Communications, he offers five ideas. More ...

International Peace Conference to be at Lake Junaluska Nov. 10-13
The 2016 Interfaith Peace Conference will be held Nov. 10-13 at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center in western North Carolina. This year's theme will explore why and how people of faith should and can be involved with the greatest threat to peace: climate change. Represented by a coalition of Jewish, Christian, Muslim and other religious traditions, the event features workshops, music, prayer and lectures. More ...

Discipleship Ministries seeks Chief Financial Officer/Treasurer
Discipleship Ministries, an agency of The United Methodist Church headquartered in Nashville, Tenn., is seeking a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Treasurer. As a key member of the agency’s executive staff leadership group, the CFO and Treasurer will report to the General Secretary and assume a strategic role in the overall management of the agency. The CFO will have primary day-to-day responsibility for planning, implementing, managing and controlling all financial-related activities of the agency. To apply, send cover letter and comprehensive resume to Human Resources at or fax to (615) 340-7565. Application deadline is Aug.31. More ...

♦ Lay Servant Ministries on-demand courses - Aug. 27, Sept. 24
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, Aug. 27, "Preaching" led by Doug Forrester, and Saturday, Sept. 24, "UMC Heritage" led by Martha Stokes. For more information, contact Marge Sharp, on-demand learning registrar, at or (757) 871-2809. David Bailey, conference director of Lay Servant Ministries, said offering the online courses “supports (the planning team’s) initial belief that students would use the opportunity to come back and review the material or complete it over time. That is the prime motivator for on demand learning: Any time anywhere, on their schedule.” 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.

♦ 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 ...

♦ 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.

♦ 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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