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Dec. 17, 2015
Dec. 10, 2015
Dec. 3, 2015

Nov. 19, 2015
Nov. 12, 2015
Nov. 6, 2015

Oct. 29, 2015
Oct. 22, 2015
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Oct. 8, 2015
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Sept. 23, 2015
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Aug. 27, 2015
Aug. 20, 2015
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July 30, 2015
July 23, 2015
July 16, 2015
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July 1, 2015

June 25, 2015
June 17, 2015
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May 29, 2015
May 21, 2015
May 15, 2015
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April 23, 2015
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March 26, 2015
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Feb. 27, 2015
Feb. 20, 2015
Feb. 13, 2015
Feb. 6, 2015

Jan. 27, 2015
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Jan. 15, 2015
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News from the Virginia Conference - Dec. 3, 2015

2015 Conference Journal now available on website
The 2015 Virginia Annual Conference Journal is now available on the conference website. Click here or go to, click on “Resources,” then “Publications,” then “2015 Journal.” A pdf file of the entire Journal, or individual sections of the book, can be opened and read online or downloaded and printed. Printed copies will be mailed to those who pre-ordered them in the next few weeks. Copies on a CD may be purchased at a cost of $10 each by calling the Virginia Conference Communications office at (804) 521-1110 or 1-800-768-6040, ext. 110.

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 or e-mail

December issue of Advocate focuses on how we observe Advent
The December issue of the Virginia United Methodist Advocate will focus on the season of Advent. How does your church focus on Advent? What helps you remember the “reason for the season”? How do clergy and laity personally celebrate Advent and observe Christmas in a Christian way? How can we share this observance with others? What creative ways can we use to share Advent and its true meaning? 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; or go to

Advocate editor seeks stories for February issue on self care
The Virginia Advocate editor is requesting stories about how clergy and laity practice self care for the February issue of the conference magazine. Share periods in your life when not taking care of yourself affected other parts of your personal or professional life. What tips have helped you focus on keeping yourself healthy both mentally and physically? (Tips can be either clergy or laity specific or both.) What activities or practices do you take part in that maintain your self care? Do you feel your well-being takes a nosedive in the winter months? How do you cope? How do you gauge your own personal well-being, and what signs do you look for to tell that you need to reevaluate? How can clergy and lay leaders in the church benefit from maintaining their well-being for their ministries? Any personal stories to share? How does your local church or district emphasize well-being for all those in the church? (Exercise classes, support groups, etc.) Send your information to Madeline Pillow, Advocate editor, at by Wednesday, Dec. 15, to share your story and potentially be featured in the next issue of the conference magazine.

'Did You Know?' video highlights Heart Havens
Did you know that Heart Havens operates 11 group homes for adults with intellectual disabilities? That's just one thing you can learn from a video featuring Sarah Wilkinson, Heart Havens Communications and Volunteer manager, talking about this Virginia Conference Advance Special ministry. This one-minute video is the seventh in a series of videos featuring facts about The United Methodist Church – in the Virginia Conference, the United States and around the world. Called “Did You Know?” these videos can be used to convey information about The United Methodist Church to confirmands, new member classes, youth groups, Sunday school classes, church committees or even during worship. Produced by the Virginia Conference Communications office, the videos are posted on the conference website at, on the conference YouTube channel at and on the conference Facebook page at

Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy annual meeting is Dec. 8
The annual meeting of Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 8, at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 815 E. Grace St., Richmond. Keynote speaker will be Michael Cassidy, executive director of The Commonwealth Institute. His subject will be "Tackling Inequality Through Smarter Public Policies." Click here to register. 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 ...

Test your knowledge of the season by taking Advent Quiz
Do you know the meaning of the Latin word “adventus”? The United Methodist Communications' Advent quiz has a new question each day. Take the daily quiz.

Bishop calls for prayer after another mass shooting
Bishop Minerva Carcaño, who leads the California-Pacific Conference, has called for prayer in response to the shooting in San Bernardino. The tragedy was still unfolding as she wrote: "Word of support and prayer for our California-Pacific Conference are being received from throughout the connection." Click here to read her statement. Resources for responding to violence.

Online videos focus on Vital Congregations, Four Areas of Focus
The Connectional Table began a month-long series in December on Vital Congregations and the Four Areas of Focus as part of the #CTTalks online forum. Beginning Dec. 1, a video will be posted each week that explores how vital congregations are aligning their ministry in ways that bear fruit in the Four Areas of Focus. Click here to watch the videos. More ...

Michigan pastor camps out to force church trial
A Michigan pastor, under complaint for officiating at a same-sex wedding, said he plans to camp outside a district superintendent's office until the complaint against him moves a step closer to a church trial. The Rev. Michael Tupper wants the Rev. Elbert P. Dulworth, the appointed counsel for the church in the case, to move the complaint to a committee on investigation. The Book of Discipline has no specific timeline for the work of a counsel, who acts as a sort of church prosecutor. More ...

United Methodists call for 'ambitious agreement' on climate change
United Methodist agencies have written an open letter to participants gathered in Paris for the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The letter is "in support of an ambitious agreement to address the climate crisis." Click here to read letter. A team sponsored by the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries arrived in Paris Dec. 2 to join a General Board of Church and Society delegation and other faith groups providing support and advocacy during the U.N. climate conference. United Methodists can follow the activities of faith-based participants through video messages, social media and other online postings. More ...

Stay connected to General Conference 2016 with new app
A redesigned 2016 General Conference app is now available. A helpful way to stay connected and learn more about all aspects of the conference, the app will feature news, photo and social media feeds, video and audio archives, live-streaming of worship and plenary, the Daily Christian Advocate and petition tracking. More ...

Lake Junaluska offers ski packages for church youth groups
Experience a weekend of worship, fellowship and skiing in the mountains of Western North Carolina with your youth group this winter. Lake Junaluska, a United Methodist conference and retreat center in the Great Smoky Mountains, partners with nearby Cataloochee and Wolf Ridge ski resorts to offer a variety of youth ski packages from December to March. Packages include lodging, breakfast, lift tickets, ski and boot rentals, ski lessons, dinner and worship program admission. Worship this year features The Skit Guys and The Wayne Kerr band, among others. A special Mission in the Mountains Weekend will be offered in February. Or plan your own retreat using the Lake Junaluska facilities and discounted ski tickets. Learn more about Ski Lake Junaluska at

♦ 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 ...

♦ 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 ...

♦ 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 ...

♦ 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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The Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church
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