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News from the Virginia Conference - Aug. 6, 2015

Three young Virginians commissioned as Global Mission Fellows
Three young adults from the Virginia Conference are among 15 new United Methodist young adult missionaries commissioned July 30 by the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries. Kimberly Bishop and her husband, Gregory Bishop, are both from Harrisonburg where they are members of RISE United Methodist Faith Community. As Global Mission Fellows engaged in a two-year term of service in the United States, they will be assigned to Nome Community Center in Nome, Alaska, a national mission institution related to United Methodist Women. Sarah Hundley, a member of Cave Spring UMC in Roanoke, is a Global Mission Fellow engaged in a two-year term of service in the United States. She will be working with the Gallery After School Program of The Salt United Methodist Church (formerly St. John’s) in Oklahoma City. This program supports students who are struggling with academics by tutoring and mentoring them after school. More ...

Global Mission Fellow assigned to work in Virginia
The Virginia Conference will welcome a new missionary this summer. Christina Trager, a Global Mission Fellow US-2 young adult missionary commissioned July 30 by the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries, will be assigned to work at Ferrum College, a United Methodist-related institution in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, to strengthen the ties between Ferrum and the people of the Henry Fork Service Center in Rocky Mount. She will coordinate student and faculty volunteers at Henry Fork and work with other aspects of campus religious and social life. Trager is a member of Mariner’s Bethel UMC in Ocean View, Del., in the Peninsula-Delaware Conference. She will be available to speak in churches interpreting her work starting in the fall and will also be looking for financial support for her mission and ministry.

Volunteer teachers needed for Lay Servant Academy Feb. 26-28
Volunteers are needed to be teachers at the Virginia Conference Lay Servant Academy to be held at Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center in Blackstone Feb. 26-28, 2016. Topics of particular interest relate to vital congregations, church development or spiritual disciplines. The academy typically starts with dinner on Friday and ends after lunch on Sunday. This vital ministry equips laity to fulfill roles in the local church as they partner with clergy. The academy trains certified lay servants, certified lay speakers and those who want to learn more about specific ministry areas. If you are interested in being an instructor, or for more information, contact Beth Christian, Lay Servant Academy Director, at (540) 932-1055 or

Guilford UMC, Bloxom, raises $604 at Vacation Bible School
Guilford UMC in Bloxom (Eastern Shore District) used the “Imagine No Malaria” initiative as its mission focus for Vacation Bible School. "We used the materials and games that coordinated with Cokesbury's G-Force literature, located on the conference INM site," said Millie Frashure, VBS director. "We are a small church and had an average of 22 children and 27 adults in attendance each evening. I am excited to tell you that our offering totaled $604.57! The idea of saving lives with the use of bed nets seemed to be contagious as the children brought more and more money each evening. Each child went home with their VBS music CD and crafts, as well as “Imagine No Malaria” bracelets, mosquito stickers, banks, malaria literature and pipe cleaner mosquitoes all in the colorful butterfly nets."

How should faithful Christians care for animals?
What does the Bible mean when it says humans are given dominion over animals? As many grieve over the killing of a lion known as Cecil in Zimbabwe last week, United Methodist Communications explores what Scripture and the United Methodist Social Principles say about our complicated relationship with creatures great and small. The lion, that had been living in the protected environment of Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe, was lured out and killed by professional hunters and an American tourist. Reportedly, this was a “trophy hunt.” In the aftermath, people across the globe are protesting this senseless killing. Christians want to know how to think through such an issue in light of our faith. More ...

Judicial Council announces docket for October meeting
The United Methodist Judicial Council has released the docket for its Oct. 20-24 meeting in St. Louis. Briefs are due Aug. 20, with decisions about possible oral hearings to be decided after that date. More ...

New United Methodist hymnal to be proposed at General Conference
The United Methodist Publishing House and Discipleship Ministries (the General Board of Discipleship) announced that their respective boards endorsed legislation to be submitted to the 2016 General Conference of The United Methodist Church that, if approved, would begin the process of developing a new official hymnal and provide for ongoing revision of the hymnal in the future. A new hymnal collection would be offered to the 2020 General Conference for approval and be available to congregations and communities of faith upon final approval. More ...

Publishing House dedicates new campus
The United Methodist Publishing House celebrated the dedication of its new campus in Nashville’s MetroCenter in a special ceremony on July 28. Previously located in the heart of downtown on 8th Avenue South directly across from the Music City Center, the publishing house has relocated to its modern and technology-rich 2222 Rosa L. Parks Boulevard address. More ...

Liberia honors churches for service during Ebola outbreak
Prayers and action undertaken by the Liberian Council of Churches (LCC) during the Ebola outbreak of 2014-2015 have been honored by the Liberian government with the distinction of "Commander, Order of the Star of Africa." Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a United Methodist, described the LCC as “champions of peace” for the effort toward containing and eradicating Ebola. Bishop John Innis of the Liberia Conference of The United Methodist Church thanked the president for recognizing the role the churches have played in fighting the Ebola crisis. More ...

Flawed electronic voting requires Eastern Pennsylvania to vote again
An analysis of ballots for 2016 General Conference delegates retaken during the Eastern Pennsylvania Annual Conference showed that Wi-Fi glitches caused discrepancies with the presentations of ballot results. The problems were reported by Lloyd Speer, conference secretary, and Ruth Daugherty, judge of elections. A new election will take place Nov. 14 at the Macungie campus of Bethany United Methodist Church. More ...

Chuck Knows Church: Elijah and Elisha
Elijah and Elisha are two of the most well-known prophets of Israel. They both served in the northern kingdom of Israel. But what's the difference between the two? Chuck tries to straighten out the confusion (or add to it) on this episode of "Chuck Knows Church," an 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 United Methodist Discipleship Ministries. More ...

Lake Junaluska to host retreat for women
The Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center in Lake Junaluska, N.C., will host a retreat for women Thursday, Sept. 17, through Saturday, Sept. 19. Through worship, music, discussion and free-time options such as massage, yoga and spiritual counseling, conference participants will find a renewal and restoration of spirit. Dr. Lauren Winner, professor at Duke Divinity School and author of Girl Meets God and Still: Notes on a Mid-faith Crisis, will lead the retreat along with singer-song writer Martha Bassett. More ...

Lake Junaluska Peace Conference to be Nov. 12-15
An international panel of speakers will address the issue of peace at the 2015 Lake Junaluska Peace Conference Nov. 12-15 at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center, Lake Junaluska, N.C. This year’s conference, “Longing for Peace/Exploring the Heart of God,” will feature three keynote speakers and focus on the spiritual roots and foundations that support the search for peace in the three Abrahamic faith traditions: Judaism, Islam and Christianity. Special music will be provided by The Yuval Ron Ensemble. The conference will also include additional sessions, workshops and a panel discussion with the three speakers that will be moderated by Rabbi Phil Bentley of Hendersonville, N.C. Space is limited and early registration is recommended. Registration is $120 before Sept. 1 and $145 after Sept. 1. Students may attend for $60. Register at or by calling (828) 454-6682.

Online course on 'Leading Public Prayer' offered for lay servants will offer an online course, "Leading Public Prayer," for lay servants Monday, Aug. 24, to Friday, Sept. 4. This course will present an opportunity to grow in the discipline of leading prayer and enable the lay servant to effectively prepare and lead various prayer forms. It has been approved by United Methodist Discipleship Ministries as an advanced course in lay servant ministries and is the “prayer” class required for lay speaker certification. 1 CEU for clergy and CLMs also available. $65. More ...

Online course on Holy Communion offered for lay servants will offer an online course, "Come to the Table," for lay servants Monday, Aug. 24, to Tuesday, Sept. 8. Deepen your own and your congregation’s understanding and practice of Holy Communion, or begin a Eucharistic ministry, through this wide-ranging study of This Holy Mystery, Scripture, church history and United Methodist theology and practice of the sacrament. This course has been approved by United Methodist Discipleship Ministries as an advanced course with 10 contact hours in lay servant ministries. 1 CEU will be awarded. $55. More ...

♦ Old Brunswick Circuit Foundation Annual Meeting - Sept. 12
The Old Brunswick Circuit Foundation will hold its Annual meeting Saturday, Sept. 12, at Main St. UMC in Emporia. A portrayal of Joshua Thomas (1776-1853), itinerant minister on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay, will be done by Dr. Gary Ziegler. Thomas conducted services for Americans and British occupation forces on Tangier Island during the War of 1812, famously foretelling the British defeat at Fort McHenry. He tended the Chesapeake islands by canoe and was known as “The Parson of the Islands.” The meeting will be followed by lunch. Guests are welcome. Cost of lunch is $10. For more information, call Jim Mott at (804) 301-0734. More ...

♦ School for Children’s Ministries - Sept. 12
The School for Children’s Ministries is on the road again offering the same school at four different locations on four different dates. The second event of this year will be 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12, at Timberlake UMC, 21649 Timberlake Rd., Lynchburg. Learn "Extraordinary Lessons from Ordinary Objects" plus three more workshops. A .5 CEU offered. Only $20 per person. More ...

♦ Discipleship Circles facilitator training - Sept. 18
Discipleship Circles facilitator training will be 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, Sept. 18, at the Virginia United Methodist Center in Glen Allen. Church Leaders (clergy and laity) willing to lead Discipleship Circles in order to help increase church vitality are invited to this training session. Topics will include spiritual disciplines, group facilitation, Vital Signs and communication techniques. There is no charge for training. Lunch and a training manual will be provided. Registration deadline is Tuesday, Sept. 15. Click here to register and for more details. For more information about Discipleship Circles, contact Cheryl Edley-Worford, conference director of Inclusivity and Lay Leadership Excellence, at or (804) 521-1154.

♦ Goodson Preaching Academy - Sept. 21-24
The Bishops’ Foundation will sponsor the 2015 Goodson Preaching Academy, “Craft and Creativity: Preaching in the Context of a Rapidly Evolving World,” Sept. 21-24 at the Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center in Blackstone. Presenter will be Dr. Paul Scott Wilson, professor of Homiletics at Emmanuel College, Toronto, author of many books on preaching and past president of the Academy of Homiletics. This ministry venture for clergy seeking excellence in the craft of weekly preaching was modeled after the former Goodson Academy for Preaching and approved by the Bishops’ Foundation which is assuming most of the costs of the event. The event is designed to energize your preaching and help you find creative ways to build disciples in your church. 1 CEU will be awarded. More ...

♦ RE3 intercollegiate conference - Sept. 25-26
RE3 (Rethink, Reclaim, Renew), overnight retreat open to students from colleges and universities across Virginia, will be held at Shenandoah University Sept. 25-26. What do you need to rethink? What does the Church need to rethink? What ancient spiritual practices can be reclaimed for renewing the church today? Worship and TED-style talks led by students will explore ancient prayer practices. Guest speaker is Sarah Bessey, author of Jesus Feminist, Out of Sorts and My Practices of Mothering. Bessey is also an award-winning blogger at Cost is $10 per student. All money goes to Imagine No Malaria. Click here to register online. For more information, go to or follow RE3 on Twitter at @rethreeva.

♦ Mid-Size Church Training - Oct. 3
Teams of clergy and laity from mid-size congregations with an average worship attendance between 150-349 are invited to a training event Saturday, Oct. 3, at Providence UMC in Richmond. Keynote speaker will be Phil Maynard, author of Shift: Helping Congregations Back Into the Game of Effective Ministry. The event will also be live-streamed to five other locations across the conference. Cost is $25, and .5 CEU will be offered. Group discounts are available. More ...

♦ Five-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation - Oct. 4-9
Registration is now closed for the Five-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation Oct. 4-9 at the Roslyn Retreat Center, Richmond. There are no spaces left. If you would like to be placed on a reserve list in case of cancellations, e-mail Dot Ivey at More ...

♦ Conference UMW annual meeting - Oct. 23-25
Virginia Conference United Methodist Women (UMW) will celebrate the 40th anniversary of "Dimes and Dollars for Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center" (VUMAC) at VUMAC in Blackstone during the UMW annual meeting Oct. 23-25. The Wicker Room (beside the Dining Room) is being renovated to become the official UMW room and will be dedicated during the annual meeting.

♦ 'Tearing Down the Walls: Ways of Doing Justice' - Oct. 24
The Roanoke, Danville, Lynchburg and Staunton districts are co-sponsoring 'Tearing Down the Walls: Ways of Doing Justice' 9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24, at First UMC, 125 W. Main St., Salem. Leader will be Shane Clariborne, nationally-known speaker and founder of The Simple Way Christian community in Philadelphia that has helped birth and connect radical faith communities around the world. This event will focus on the meaning of Christian social justice; how we can break down contemporary walls of injustice such as economic inequalities, educational disparities and racial divisions; and how we can build hope and empower persons to overcome walls of separation and engage others on social justice issues. Youths, young adults and older adults are invited to attend this intergenerational event. Early bird registration fee of $25 for adults is available until Sept. 17, after which adult registration will be $30. Student registration is $10. Registration deadline is Oct. 17. More ...

♦ UMFS golf tournament - Oct. 26
Registration is now open for the annual United Methodist Family Services (UMFS) Fore the Kids Golf Tournament to be held Monday, Oct. 26, at Stonehenge Country Club, 1000 Farnham Dr., Richmond. Cost is $400 per team or $100 per individual and includes a light breakfast, lunch and BBQ dinner as well as prizes and golf. Four-man Captain’s Choice format will tee off at 10 a.m. Register at A pre-tournament party 6-8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 19, at Golfsmith in Short Pump will offer free food, contests, giveaways and a 15% discount to Golfsmith for in-store purchases. UMFS is seeking sponsors for the golf tournament. An organization providing a $1,000 sponsorship will be able to enter a team in the tournament and will receive signage and visibility throughout the tournament. If interested in being a sponsor, go to For more information, contact Joe Torrence at or (804) 239-1042, ext. 1941.

♦ Small Congregation Training - Oct. 31
Teams of clergy and laity from small congregations with an average worship attendance between 1-149 are invited to a training event 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31, at Belmont UMC, Richmond. The Rev. Dr. Lewis Parks, Wesley Theological Seminary professor who has specific interest in the small congregation, will be featured speaker focusing on practical tools needed to bring new vitality to small churches. The event will be live-streamed to five other locations around the conference. Cost is $25, and .5 CEU will be offered. Group discounts are available. More ...

♦ United Methodist Men Spiritual Advance - Nov. 6-8
The Virginia Conference United Methodist Men 2015 Spiritual Advance will be Friday-Sunday, Nov. 6-8, at Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center in Blackstone. The annual event will feature the Rev. Dr. Clarence R. Brown, senior pastor of Annandale UMC (Alexandria District), who will preach a series of four messages on Men Making a Difference. More ...

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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