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News from the Virginia Conference - Dec. 8, 2016 

Update: Virginia Conference Disaster Recovery Ministry 
Everyone who worked on Patty Bryant’s home, contributed and supported this ministry is invited on Saturday, Dec. 17, at 11 a.m. in Evergreen (330 Twin Tunnel Road) to celebrate the completion of her new house. Work began this week in Tappahannock on a new house for Lewis Johnson and next week work will begin on a house in Evergreen for Kathryn Jackson. Steady progress has been made at the home purchased by Trenika Stringfield, the young mother whose 2-year-old son was killed in the tornado, along with her brother and fiancé in Waverly. It is hoped her home will be completed before Feb. 24, 2017. The cleaning of over 150 homes has been completed in the Hampton Roads area from Hurricane Matthew. Home repair plans will begin in early 2017. With the UMC responding to disasters in five other conferences, you are highly encouraged to schedule a work team. Email Forrest White to schedule at

Virginia UM youth leaders develop Advent vlog
Kim Johnson, youth ministries coordinator at Haymarket Church in Haymarket, and the Rev. Drew Colby, associate pastor for Youth and Outreach at St. Stephen’s UMC in Burke, created a website, Advent is Weird, as a way to connect with their students each day of Advent. The website features vlogs (video blogs) each day at 12:25 p.m. You can subscribe via email or text. More… 

UMVIM leader training costs drop, upcoming trainings announced
Beginning in 2017, the cost for United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) team leader training in the Virginia Conference will drop from $55 to $35 per person. The $35 fee will cover the cost of a team leader handbook from the Southeastern Jurisdiction and lunch provided by the host church.Background checks on team leaders who attend the training events will no longer be performed and will be the responsibility of the local church. Churches are encouraged to use ScreeningOne for the background checks.Three team leader training events have been scheduled for early 2017 in the Arlington, Richmond and Roanoke districts. More…

Ministries with Young People office needs your input
Paulo Lopes, director of Ministries with Young People, launched a Young People’s Ministry Team initiative in May 2016. This team has been working hard for the last several months to develop a “big picture,” unifying approach to ministries with young people in Virginia (including children, youth, young adults and campus ministries). The process is a complex one with over 1,100 churches and around 100,000 in worship every Sunday to understand context and the current realities of ministries across the conference. To help the team in their endeavors, please fill out this 5-minute survey. More...

UMVIM coordinator featured on radio station
Forrest White, long-term recovery manager and UMVIM coordinator, was featured on Equip FM, serving Roanoke, Lynchburg and Farmville areas, to talk about the Virginia Conference’s disaster recovery ministry. More… 

Standing Rock decision cheered
United Methodists who supported the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe’s protest of the Dakotas Access Pipeline cheered the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to deny construction under a dammed section of the Missouri River, and to look for alternative routes. More…

Moderators of the Commission on a Way Forward share Advent greetings
In this Advent season, there is no better time for us to allow Christ to be born anew in each of us! As we allow Christ to be reborn in us, God’s Spirit will fill us in ways that we can be the presence of Christ, Emmanuel, God with us, to a world that desperately needs to see and hear Jesus! Our prayer is that each of us will intentionally search for and prepare for Christ to be born anew in us, so that together, we might be the Body of Christ that brings God’s life, hope, love, joy and peace to all people, to the nations to which Christ commissioned his disciples to go!" More...

#GivingTuesday donations set record 
More than 2,550 persons in 19 countries contributed a total of $853,909.78 to United Methodist mission projects and missionary support through the 2016 UMC #GivingTuesday campaign. That result was almost twice that of any single day’s non-Giving Tuesday receipts of the past. More…

UMW sets assembly theme for 2018
The 2018 Assembly of United Methodist Women will mark both the official celebration of the organization’s 150th anniversary and a return to the location of the first Assembly — Columbus, Ohio — in 1942. The theme of the May 18-20, 2018 event is “The Power of Bold.” More... 

WCC: Aleppo’s child victims ‘unacceptable’
The World Council of Churches has urged an immediate cessation of airstrikes and bombardments on Aleppo, Syria. “It is unacceptable that children should become victims in this way,” said the Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit in a Dec. 4 statement. More… 

Agency report: Religion and Race
The United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race worked to increase understanding of cultural differences in 2016, by providing more than 1,000 hours of training to church leaders and creating new resources for healthier cross-racial/cross-cultural appointments. This is part of a series of reports on the work each general agency accomplished in 2016. More… 

Keeping churches safe and welcoming 
How can churches be both a safe place and welcoming to strangers? Cathedral of the Rockies First United Methodist Church held a Safe Church Summit that offered tips for staying secure in a sinful, violent world. More… 

Ministry idea: Churches use ‘Blessing Box’
United Methodists in Arkansas are using an idea from social media to help their communities: the Blessing Box. More… 

♦ 25th Anniversary of UM Day at General Assembly Celebration - Jan. 14, 2017
The Conference Legislative Committee is hosting a 25th anniversary celebration of United Methodist Day at General Assembly, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017, at Centenary UMC, 411 E. Grace Street, Richmond, Va. The event will start with registration at 11 a.m., lunch at noon followed by a program at 1 p.m. Pre-registration is necessary and child care will be available. Cost for the day is $15 or $35 for both this event and UM Day in February if you register by Jan. 6. Follow this link to register:

♦ 25th Annual United Methodist Day at General Assembly - Feb. 2, 2017
The Conference United Methodist Day is Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017. It is an avenue of faithful advocacy that helps participants look beyond mercy ministry and join together with elected officials to make a difference and exercise the Social Principles of the UMC. Early bird registration and payment of $25 per person must be received by Friday, Jan. 15. Final registration will be Friday, Jan. 29 and will cost $35. Registration questions may be directed to the Rev. Barbara Lewis at General questions may be directed to the Rev. Pat Shipley at or to the Rev. Randy Harlow at To register and for more information, follow this link:

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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