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News from the Virginia Conference - Dec. 10, 2015

Shenandoah University receives $600,000 Lilly grant
Shenandoah University, in partnership with Wesley Theological Seminary and the Virginia Conference, has received a $600,000 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to establish the Shenandoah University Youth Theology Institute. More ...

December is United Methodist Family Services Month
The Virginia Conference has designated December the month in which local churches are encouraged to receive special offerings to support United Methodist Family Services (UMFS). “Without the support of The United Methodist Church and local congregations like yours, we could not do the incredible work we do,” said the Rev. Joe Torrence, minister of Church Relations for UMFS. “For more than 100 years, UMFS has been empowering children, families and communities in Virginia to work together and realize their shared potential. Your gift is one example of how our connection works at its best and how we can offer Christmas Gifts of Hope to Virginia’s children in need.” Click here for resource materials.

Sunday, Jan. 17, is Human Relations Day
Sunday, Jan. 17, is Human Relations Day, one of six churchwide Special Sundays with offerings for The United Methodist Church. Human Relations Day strengthens United Methodist outreach to communities in the United States and Puerto Rico, encouraging social justice and work with at-risk youths. More ...

Chaplain sought for Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women
GraceInside seeks a full-time Prison Chaplain for Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women (FCCW), the state’s largest women’s prison. The chaplain serves as a Christian pastor and coordinator for religious services and programs for inmates of all faiths. An undergraduate degree from an accredited college/university and Master of Divinity or equivalent degree from an accredited theological seminary is required. (Equivalent educational degrees and/or ministry experience may be considered.) Candidates must be fully ordained and currently in full connection and in good standing with his/her denominational body, church, etc. Where applicable, must be endorsed by his/her responsible denominational agency as to current good standing and confirmation of abilities to perform the duties related to chaplaincy. Twelve months of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) and three to five years of pastoral ministry or other ministerial experience is preferred, but not required. Experience in jails/prisons or criminal justice system is a plus. Interested candidates should send a cover letter and resume as e-mail attachments (and request an application) to For more information, visit Deadline to receive applications is Jan. 5.

Donor offers to match donations to preserve Dromgoole house
An individual has offered to match up to $10,000 in donations in 2015 to further efforts of the Old Brunswick Circuit Foundation (OBCF) to preserve the Rev. Edward Dromgoole house, the only remaining Virginia Conference circuit rider home. In 2008, the OBCF acquired 17 acres around the Rev. Edward Dromgoole house in order to save this architectural and historical gem. Edward Dromgoole (1751-1835) came to America in 1770 from Ireland and became an early Methodist leader in Virginia and North Carolina. He later married and settled on this site in southern Brunswick County, Virginia, in 1786. “Canaan,” as named by Dromgoole, was a favorite circuit rider overnight stop for Bishop Francis Asbury. Tax deductible donations will be doubled by this recent matching funds offer. Send checks made out to "The Old Brunswick Circuit Foundation" to P.O. Box 385, Lawrenceville, VA 23868.

Suggestions offered for ways to keep Christ in Christmas
Most of us strive to "keep Christ in Christmas," but busyness has a way of encroaching upon our joy and worship. Joe Iovino writes about making time for important activities like worship and devotion while preparing for Christmas. More ...

United Methodist Church calls on members to oppose prejudice against Muslims
In The Book of Resolutions of The United Methodist Church - 2012, The United Methodist Church, in the knowledge that Jesus calls us to the blessings of peacemaking and reminds us that the highest law is to love God and neighbor, calls its members and its leaders to oppose demagoguery, manipulation, and image making that seeks to label Arabs and Muslims in a negative way. More ...

#GivingTuesday gifts to Advance increase over last year
On Dec. 1, nearly 6,000 donors from 27 countries contributed $2.8 million through The Advance of the United Methodist Church on #GivingTuesday, up from $2.5 million last year. More ...

Faith groups see 'signs of hope' at Paris climate summit
Faith groups at the Paris climate summit were evaluating an updated draft agreement over the weekend, says John Hill, United Methodist General Board of Church and Society, in a video report. "Our first read is that there are signs of hope and there is still work to be done," he says. Some United Methodists have sent individual climate change pledges to the social action agency. Watch video

General Conference prayer vigils to begin Jan. 1
The Council of Bishops has invited each conference to host a 24-hour prayer vigil on a specific date, leading up to the meeting of the denomination's top lawmaking assembly in 2016. The Greater New Jersey Conference will begin the effort on Jan. 1. Bishop Young Jin Cho announced that the Virginia Conference prayer vigil will be Sunday, April 10. More details will be announced later. General Conference will meet May 10-20 in Portland, Ore. More ...

Rio Texas bishop resigns after admitting wrongdoing
United Methodist Bishop James E. Dorff admitted to violating his marriage and ordination vows and has voluntarily resigned as episcopal leader of the Rio Texas Conference, effective Jan. 1, 2016. Dorff is also surrendering his credentials. More ...

United Methodists hold prayer vigil for shooting victims in San Bernardino
The Rev. David McGlocklin, pastor of St. Paul's United Methodist Church in San Bernardino, Calif., opened the prayer vigil in a dimly lit sanctuary with a tolling of the church bell to remember those whose lives were lost in the Dec. 2 mass shooting, which claimed 14 lives. More ...

United Methodists offer Wesleyan response to mass shootings
As news spread of yet another mass shooting, politically charged debates broke out among Americans. The dispute: Should we be calling for prayer or action in response to rampant gun violence? Many United Methodists say we should do both, and they point to John Wesley as leading the way. More ...

Chuck Knows Church: Chrismon Tree
Does your church have a Chrismon Tree in the sanctuary at Christmas time? If so, what do those symbols mean on the tree? Chuck talks about the Chrismon Tree 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 ...

'Chuck Knows Church' needs a real pastor
The fictional Park Grove Community Church, of the "Chuck Knows Church" series "The Committee," has lost its pastor and its way. It will soon close its doors unless it reinvents itself. Can your pastor help save Park Grove? The production staff and cast of the online series produced by United Methodist Discipleship Ministries is looking for a real pastor to make a cameo appearance on the final episode of the series. You can nominate your pastor. Deadline for entries is Monday, Jan. 10, and the selected pastor will be announced on the Chuck Knows Church Facebook page on Wednesday, Jan. 13. Go to for complete rules and details. More ...

GCORR seeks part-time employees
The United Methodist General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR), headquartered in Washington, D.C., is seeking a few part-time employees to work collaboratively with a creative team of communications and training professionals to identify and create educational resources on topics such as diversity, intersectionality, cultural identity, understanding and dismantling the “isms,” intercultural competency and communication, racial equity, cross cultural dialogue and conflict transformation and other topics related to the field of religion and race. You will have the opportunity to identify and to create educational content that will raise awareness about, increase commitment to and build the capacity of people to more effectively engage the aforementioned issues. Master’s and Doctoral degree level students in Sociology, Anthropology, Theology, Intercultural Communication and other related social science disciplines are encouraged to apply. To apply, send a letter of interest and resume to or Ms. Frances J. Roberts, AGS Administration/Human Resource, 100 Maryland Ave NE #22, Washington, D.C. 20002-5625

♦ Walk to the Manger - Dec. 18
Camp Overlook in Keezletown will again present Walk to the Manger—a live, interactive nativity experience. Meet the shepherds, hear the angels announce the good news, visit a young couple and their Holy child and help point a few kings toward the treasure they seek. Tours will begin continuously from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 18. The experience will last about 30 minutes. Dress warmly, wear sturdy shoes and keep children with a responsible adult at all times. For out-of-town guests, this program will be followed by Walk to the Manger Bed and Breakfast when couples, families and individuals can warm up at Blessings Lodge enjoying the fireplace, a time for reflection, fun activities, snacks and a private room. Package includes breakfast before departure on Saturday morning, Dec. 19. Details online at

♦ Candidacy Summit - Jan. 8-9
Candidacy Summit, an event for considering or admitted candidates for ministry in the Virginia Conference, will be Jan. 8-9 at Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center, Blackstone. You must be a high school graduate to participate. All candidates are required to attend a Candidacy Summit prior to certification. Another Candidacy Summit will be held in July 2016. Prior to the Candidacy Summit, participants must complete a strengths discovery assessment and the River of Life Activity and bring both to the Summit. Registration is required 48 hours prior to the event in order to ensure sufficient materials are available for all participants. More ...

♦ Ira Andrews Lecture Series - Jan. 10
Dr. R. Kendall Soulen of Wesley Theological Seminary will give a public lecture titled "Theology Matters," at 7 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 10, in the sanctuary of Duncan Memorial UMC on the campus of Randolph-Macon College in Ashland. The lecture, which is free and open to the public, is the second annual lecture in The Ira Andrews Lecture Series that pays homage to Ira L. Andrews, a beloved Randolph-Macon professor and dean of students who died in 2012. More ...

♦ UMVIM Team Leader Training - Jan. 16
United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) Team Leader Training, required for all first-time UMVIM team leaders, will be held Saturday, Jan. 16, 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at Bethany UMC, 2772 Bethany Rd., Rustburg, in the Lynchburg District. A $55 registration fee, payable when you register, covers mandatory background check, team leader handbook from the Southeastern Jurisdiction and lunch. Continuing Education Units (0.5) will be provided for those needing CEU certification. Pre-registration is required by noon Monday, Jan. 11. More ...

♦ Resource Center Teaching Excellence Colleague Forum - Jan. 23
The Resource Center will hold its second annual Teaching Excellence Colleague Forum 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 23, on the campus of Virginia Union University in Richmond. This event will bring together the region’s most capable and thoughtful Christian educators for a one-day forum based in evocative scholarship to wrestle with its implications for our work in faith formation across generations. Presenter will be Dr. Leah Gunning Francis, assistant professor of Christian Education and associate dean for Contextual Education at Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Mo. Participants are expected to be experienced Christian educators, lay teachers, or pastors who will bring their insight and experience to be shared during the forum. Cost for the day is $60 with lunch and breaks included. Early bird discount registration is $50 until Dec. 31. The Resource Center, an ecumenical agency headquartered in Richmond, has been designated by the Virginia Conference Common Table as the official media center to help Virginia Conference congregations find and use audiovisual and other resources. More ...

♦ UMVIM Team Leader Recertification - Jan. 30
United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) Team Leader Recertification training will be offered 4-6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 30, at Burke UMC, 6200 Burke Centre Pkwy., Burke, Alexandria District. This training is required for all UMVIM team leaders who completed basic team leader training five years ago or longer. Focus of this training is to update leaders on Virginia Conference UMVIM policies and guidelines, to share best practices, and to answer any questions. At least five participants are needed to offer this training. A $25 registration fee is payable when you register. Note: This fee does not cover an optional team leader handbook, which will be available for purchase ($20) at the training, or the new A Mission Journey book, which is available through Cokesbury. A meal will not be provided. All registrations must be in the office of Justice and Missional Excellence by noon Monday, Jan. 25. More ...

♦ United Methodist Day at the General Assembly - Feb. 4
United Methodist Day at the General Assembly, an annual event sponsored by the conference Board of Church and Society and Virginia Conference United Methodist Women, is an opportunity for faith communities to serve as missionaries of justice as well as the more traditional missionaries of mercy. Participants will gather Thursday, Feb. 4, at 7 a.m. at Bon Air UMC, 1645 Buford Rd., Richmond, for registration and breakfast and then travel together on buses to the General Assembly and Capitol Square where they will attend committee hearings and meet with legislators in order to advocate for social justice. At 12:30 p.m. participants will return to Bon Air UMC for lunch followed by speakers and discussion. The $25 early bird price is available until Jan. 15. Registration increases to $35 on Jan. 16. Final registration deadline is Jan. 29. Space is limited to 300 persons. More ...

♦ Clergy Ethics II Training - Feb. 18
All clergy and certified church professionals are required to attend an Ethics II training during this quadrennium (2012-2016). The next training will be 9:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 18, at Dayton UMC, 215 Ashby St., Dayton, on the Harrisonburg District. Registration fee of $12 includes lunch and training materials and is payable by credit card. Registration is required 48 hours prior to the event in order to ensure sufficient materials are available for all participants. More ...

♦ Lay Servant Academy - Feb. 26-28
The Virginia Conference Lay Servant Academy will be held at the Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center (VUMAC) in Blackstone Feb. 26-28. The academy is designed to equip laity to carry out the mission of the church. All of the courses offered are open to anyone who would like to take one. Each course is designed to help those serving the local church learn more about leadership, personal faith development and The United Methodist Church. Many of the courses offered this year will support those who are seeking to become Certified Lay Servants and Lay Speakers. More ...

♦ Bishop's Convocation on Prayer - March 5
The Bishop’s Convocation on Prayer will be held Saturday, March 5, at Trinity UMC, 903 Forest Ave., Richmond. Theme is "Deepening Discipleship: Piety and Mercy through Prayer." Plenary speaker will be Dr. Frederick Schmidt, Reuben P. Job Associate Professor of Spiritual Formation at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill. More ...

♦ Ministers' Convocation - April 18-20
Registration is now open for the 2016 Ministers' Convocation, "Come to the Table: Bringing Food and Faith Together," which will be held April 18-20 at Virginia Crossings Wyndham Hotel & Conference Center, 1000 Virginia Center Parkway, Glen Allen. 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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