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News from the Virginia Conference - Dec. 17, 2015

May your Christmas and New Year
be filled with hope, love, joy and peace.

Conference offices to close for Christmas holidays
Conference offices in the United Methodist Center in Glen Allen will close at 1 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 23, and remain closed through Monday, Dec. 28, in observance of the Christmas holiday. Offices will re-open on Tuesday, Dec. 29. Conference offices will also be closed on Friday, Jan. 1, in observance of the New Year’s holiday.

VAUMC churches save 102,816+ lives from malaria
As of Dec. 16, Virginia Conference churches have raised $1,028,169.53 for Imagine No Malaria, saving more than 102,816 lives and further exceeding the goal of raising $1 million to save 100,000+ lives from malaria, a preventable and treatable disease. More ...

Randolph-Macon College receives $513,052 Lilly grant
Randolph-Macon College (R-MC), a United Methodist-affiliated school in Ashland, has received a four-year grant for $513,052 from the Lilly Endowment. R-MC, in collaboration with Shalom Farms, Union Presbyterian Seminary, and the Care of God’s Creation program, will use the grant to establish a Faith and Science Summer Theology Institute for high school youths, which will begin in summer 2017. Students who will be preparing for their junior and senior years during the institute will be eligible to apply. R-MC’s new chaplain, Kendra Grimes, will serve as co-director of the institute and spearhead the initiative. More ...

VAUMC churches given free access to Real Discipleship Survey
All churches in the Virginia Conference now have access to the Real Discipleship Survey online. This system, designed by Phil Maynard, offers a way for churches to survey their maturity on six dimensions of the discipleship journey. This service is offered to all Virginia Conference churches free of charge. The survey measures a life of worship, a life of hospitality, a life open to Jesus, a life of obeying Jesus, a life of service and a life of generosity. Upon taking the survey, participants discover if they are exploring, beginning, growing or maturing in each of those categories. More ...

January issue of Advocate focuses on ministry with the poor
The January issue of the Virginia United Methodist Advocate will focus on ministry with the poor, one of the Four Areas of Ministry Focus of The United Methodist Church. In this issue, learn about some of the ways Virginia churches are working side by side with those in poverty. From poverty studies to hands-on ministry, churches are getting educated about poverty and learning how they can best serve those in their communities. Articles in this issue report on the status of poverty in the U.S., the cycle of poverty and how churches and individuals can be effective. Also, find out about two organizations in Virginia that churches can get involved with to help those in poverty. The Advocate is the official monthly magazine of the Virginia Conference. To subscribe to the Advocate – print, digital or both – call (804) 521-1110 or 1-800-768-6040, ext. 110; e-mail Advocate@vaumc.org or go to www.vaumc.org/advocate.

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 ...

A. Purnell Bailey scholarships available at Randolph-Macon College
Randolph-Macon College (R-MC) in Ashland is now accepting applications for the A. Purnell Bailey Scholars Program for Ordained Ministry. These scholarships, for high school students who think they may be experiencing a call to the ministry, offer half tuition during a student’s freshman and sophomore years and full tuition during the junior and senior years at R-MC. Find out more and apply at http://www.rmc.edu/academics/pre-ministerial.

Applications due Feb. 1 for Calling 21 internships
If you know a college student who may be discerning a call to ministry, now is the time to encourage them to apply for a Calling 21 summer ministry internship. Applications are due Feb. 1. For more information, go to www.calling21.org or e-mail info@calling21.org.

2015: Notable United Methodists remembered
The bishop who popularized John Wesley's "Three Simple Rules," a former U.S. Speaker of the House, and scholars who influenced generations of pastors were among the widely known United Methodists who died in 2015. United Methodist News Service offers 13 short remembrances. More ...

News poll: Racism voted top story in 2015
The continuing struggle against racism in the United States — which occupied United Methodists in protests, prayer and peacebuilding — was the biggest story in the denomination in 2015, according to a United Methodist News Service poll of communicators. More ...

Young people asked to apply for pool to fill board, agency slots
Young People’s Ministries, a division of United Methodist Discipleship Ministries, is in the process of creating a pool of "free agent" young people who would be available to the agencies of The United Methodist Church to fill age-specific slots on their boards and tables. Youths and young adults interested in becoming a part of this pool should complete the application at https://umcyoungpeople.org/resources/jurs-pool-ap.. Deadline to apply has been extended to Dec. 31. If you have questions, contact Rori Blakeney at rblakeney@umcdiscipleship.org. More ...

Many voices back historic climate accord
The river in central Liberia where Jefferson Knight used to play and fish as a child has completely dried up due to serious drought. Knight joined other United Methodists and Methodists in Paris to press for action at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change — popularly known as COP21 — where a historic accord was signed Dec. 12. More ...

How thick is the stained glass ceiling?
A woman's place can be behind the wheel of racecars, at the front of corporate boardrooms and along the U.S. presidential campaign trail. But, for many U.S. congregations, a woman still has no place in the pulpit. That's the finding of a new analysis of Duke University's National Congregations Study, which shows women leading only 11% of U.S. faith communities. More ...

♦ 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 Advocate@vaumc.org. For information about the Virginia Conference and resources for ministry, visit the Virginia Conference website at www.vaumc.org


 

 

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