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News from the Virginia Conference - Feb. 10, 2016

Discerning prayer will be focus of March 5 Bishop's Convocation on Prayer
Changing the Way We Do Church: Praying for Discernment will be the focus of the Bishop’s Convocation on Prayer Saturday, March 5, at Trinity UMC, 903 Forest Ave., Richmond. Dr. Frederick W. Schmidt Jr., Rueben P. Job Chair in Spiritual Formation at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, will be main speaker. He describes the intent of discerning prayer as: "When people walk through the doors of our churches, the implicit message that many hear is, 'Welcome, it will be interesting to see how your being here changes you.' We should be saying, 'Welcome, it will be interesting to see how your participation in our community changes us.' All the former requires is an 'org chart.' The latter requires prayers of discernment, and those can change everything." In addition to Dr. Schmidt’s plenary presentation, 11 workshops will be offered on different aspects of spiritual formation. Participants may choose two workshops. Registration is limited to 450. Click here for more information and to register. Questions may be directed to Marc Brown at

April 10 to be conference-wide day to pray for General Conference
The United Methodist Council of Bishops has invited each annual conference to designate one day to hold a 24-hour prayer vigil for General Conference. These prayer vigils began on Jan. 1 with the Greater New Jersey Annual Conference and are continuing through the 131 days from Jan. 1 to May 10, the opening day of General Conference. Because The United Methodist Church has 131 annual conferences throughout the world, each annual conference is able to take one day. Bishop Young Jin Cho selected Sunday, April 10, to be the day for the Virginia Conference prayer vigil. Each district is invited to plan activities using resources being developed on both the conference and general church levels. Organizers are encouraging districts to use a Prayer Wheel to allow all congregations on the district to sign up for half-hour or one-hour increments so there will be 24 hours of continuous prayer beginning at 12 a.m. April 10 and continuing until 12 a.m. April 11. As part of this initiative, the chapel in the Virginia United Methodist Center in Glen Allen will be open for prayer. In addition, all congregations are asked to include the prayer initiative in their Sunday services on that day. A common prayer that can be used in all services will be part of the resources offered.

United Methodists descend on General Assembly for social justice advocacy
About 150 United Methodists traveled in buses to the General Assembly on Feb. 4 to call on Virginia lawmakers and advocate for social justice during the 24th annual United Methodist Day at the General Assembly. More ...

Scott Davis named new Lynchburg District superintendent
Bishop Young Jin Cho announced that he is appointing the Rev. Scott Davis, senior pastor of Aldersgate UMC in the Charlottesville District, to be Lynchburg District superintendent, effective July 1. He will replace the Rev. Larry Davies who will leave the Cabinet after serving as Lynchburg DS since 2008. More ...

Tom Berlin, Ted Smith endorsed as candidates for bishop
Two clergy members of the Virginia Conference – Tom Berlin and Ted Smith – have been endorsed as candidates for bishop. Virginia Conference delegates to General and Jurisdictional Conferences voted to endorse Berlin, senior pastor of Floris UMC in Herndon, as a candidate for bishop during a delegation meeting on Saturday, Feb. 6. Members of the Virginia Conference chapter of Black Methodists for Church Renewal (BMCR) had voted the previous week to endorse Smith, Fredericksburg District superintendent. More ...

Feb. 15 is deadline to apply for Bailey Scholarship at Randolph-Macon
Deadline to apply for a 2016-17 scholarship for the A. Purnell Bailey Pre-Ministerial Program is Feb. 15. If you are a high school senior sensing a call to a vocation in ministry, consider Randolph-Macon College and the Bailey Scholars. This scholarship offers half-tuition during a student’s freshman and sophomore years and full-tuition during the junior and senior years along with weekly group meetings and two internship placements. Find out more and apply at

Kim Bobo named VICPP executive director
Kim Bobo, a nationally known promoter of social justice who literally wrote the book on faith-based organizing, has been selected as the new executive director for the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy (VICPP). She will begin work Feb. 10. More ...

February is Black History Month
February is Black History Month. United Methodist Discipleship Ministries offers worship resources. The United Methodist Commission on Archives and History offers resources for African-American history.

February is Heart Havens Month
February is Heart Havens Month in the Virginia Conference, a time when churches are asked to make financial contributions to this agency that provides residential services for men and women with intellectual disabilities by operating 11 group homes throughout Virginia. A packet of promotional materials to assist with this special offering has been mailed to each church. Bulletin inserts, worship resources and more are available at For more information or to arrange for a Heart Havens speaker in your church, contact Sarah Wilkinson, Heart Havens Communications and Volunteer Manager, at (804) 237-6097 or

Scouting Sunday to be observed Feb. 14
Scouting Sunday (formerly Boy Scout Sunday) is observed on the second Sunday in February (this year, Feb. 14). An alternative Scouting Sunday (formerly Girl Scout Sunday) is observed on the second Sunday in March. The Commission on United Methodist Men, which officially sponsors all scouting programs in The United Methodist Church, suggests observing this day during February to avoid conflict with Lent. Scouting Sunday offers an excellent opportunity for the local congregation to recognize the Scouting program, Scouts and their leaders as an integral and intentional part of the church's ministry. Use Scout members as ushers, acolytes, worship leaders and musicians. More ...

One Great Hour of Sharing is Sunday, March 6
Sunday, March 6, is One Great Hour of Sharing. You are invited to join with thousands of other congregations across the connection in a special offering to support United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). When our congregations participate in One Great Hour of Sharing, we help cover the operating budget of UMCOR. More ...

Lent-Easter quiz available online
Beginning today, Ash Wednesday, and continuing until Good Friday, United Methodist Communications is providing an online quiz so you can see how much you know about the traditions and symbols of Lent and Easter. You can check online each weekday for a new question to help you learn about the season. More ...

New video details Black College Fund
In a 2014 survey of 2,000 United Methodist church pastors and leaders, more than half had little or no knowledge about the Black College Fund. Answering this need for information, a new video, produced by the Black College Fund office at the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, details the fund’s vitality and its continued need for support. Local congregations are invited to share the video in worship services, gatherings and social media posts so that all United Methodists can appreciate the fund’s mission and history. More ...

SEJ UMVIM seeks college student to be summer intern
The Southeastern Jurisdiction (SEJ) United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) is searching for a college student to be a summer intern. Interns are given the opportunity to plug into initiatives across the United Methodist connection that coincide with their interests and passions. They work in both domestic and international placements, and they also play a crucial part in the annual Young People in Mission event. For more information and an application, go to the internship page on the SEJ UMVIM website. All applications must be returned to Paulette West no later than Feb. 26. Interviews will be held via Skype in March.

Online forum focuses on worldwide nature of church
The Connectional Table continues a two-part conversation on the worldwide nature of The United Methodist Church as a part of the #CTTalks online forum, a series of videos and social media conversations around key topics related to General Conference 2016. In January, Part One focused on the work of the Standing Committee on Central Conference Matters and the Committee on Faith and Order. This month, Part Two will focus on the legislation coming to General Conference 2016 addressing the structure and alignment of our denomination. Click here to watch videos. More ...

2016 General Conference guide available online
The 2016 General Conference Guide contains helpful information about the denomination’s legislative assembly. Along with an overview, special events details and schedules, the 50-page guide also explains the legislative process, highlights major issues and offers basics about United Methodism. The resource is available as a PDF. Digital versions in French and Portuguese will follow. More ...

Donate online to help Flint water crisis
Donations to help with the Flint, Mich., water crisis now can be made online. Michigan Area Bishop Deborah Lieder Kiesey appealed last week to all United Methodists in the state to respond to the crisis, asking for prayer, donations and hands-on assistance. More ...

'Forever' stamp dedicated to founder of AME church
United Methodists joined in celebrating the unveiling of the “Forever” commemorative stamp dedicated to the life and witness of Richard Allen (1760-1831), founder and first bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. More ...

United Methodists lead in adoption of new technology
United Methodist pastors and church leaders match or exceed the average U.S. adoption rates for eight of 15 emerging technology categories, according to new research from United Methodist Communications. More ...

Denial of booth at 2016 General Conference sparks protests
The Discovery Institute, a Seattle-based group that promotes intelligent design, says United Methodists are censoring it by denying the group a display at the 2016 General Conference. General Conference planners say the group is not in line with church social teachings. More ...

♦ Clergy Ethics II Training - Feb. 18
All clergy who received their first appointment prior to this quadrennium (2012-2016) and all 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.The final training event this quadrennium will be April 21 at Thrasher Memorial UMC on the Roanoke District. More ...

♦ UMVIM Team Leader Training - Feb. 20
United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) Team Leader Training, required for all first-time UMVIM team leaders, will be held Saturday, Feb. 20, at Braddock St. UMC, 115 Wolfe St., Winchester, Winchester District. Training will begin promptly at 9 a.m. and end at 3 p.m. 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, Feb. 15. 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. Registration deadline is Feb. 19. Registration fee is $200. More ...

♦ Clergy Spouse Retreat - March 3-5
Clergy spouses from around the Virginia Conference will retreat with keynote speaker Lee Anne Orndorff, wife of the Rev. Randy Orndorff, March 3-5 at the Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center (VUMAC) in Blackstone. On Aug. 29, 2008, the Orndorffs’ daughter, Kelsey, was killed in a car accident while heading to a Chris Sligh Christian concert. Subsequently, Lee Anne suffered overwhelming grief that led her to the depths of despair but, with God's help, she began to make a turn around. Out of her experience with a parent’s worst nightmare, she began speaking at engagements at churches and other groups encouraging others battling despair and grief. More ...

♦ 5 Talent Academy - March 8
Registration is now open for the 5 Talent Academy event Tuesday, March 8, on “POWRful Worship: Transforming Worship Planning and Leadership.” The event will begin with worship, and then the Rev. Barbara Day Miller, associate dean for Worship and Music at Candler School of Theology, will lead a reflection on worship using the POWR model, a conversational model of worship planning and leadership. Miller will be speaking live from Floris UMC in Herndon. The event will also be live streamed to nine satellite locations throughout the conference in order to bring this event close to your church home. Registration closes on Feb. 26. More ...

♦ Overlook Confirmation Camp - March 18-19
Join other confirmands and their pastors/mentors at Confirmation Camp at Camp Overlook in Keezletown March 18-19 to discover what it means to be part of The United Methodist Church and what it means to be Christ’s disciples. Campers will meet a circuit-riding contemporary of John Wesley, explore a commitment to living United Methodist style, examine Lent and experience Easter through the help of a dramatic presentation by Overlook staff. Campers will also examine the Means of Grace and what it means to commit one’s life in service and explore the connectional nature of our church and what it means when we say the world is our parish. This weekend is intended to supplement studies in your local church and does not suffice as a complete confirmation experience on its own. Registration information can be found at Or call 540-2MY-CAMP or e-mail

♦ Dementia ministry training - March 22, 23
The Hermitage in Richmond and Hermitage in Northern Virginia, two of the communities of Virginia United Methodist Homes, Inc. (VUMH), will offer one-day learning opportunities for clergy and laity. "Building a Circle of Support: The Role of the Church in Supporting Individuals with Dementia and Their Care Partners" will be held Tuesday, March 22, at The Hermitage in Richmond, 1600 Westwood Ave. and on Wednesday, March 23, at Hermitage in Northern Virginia, 5000 Fairbanks Ave., Alexandria. Registration will start at 9:30 a.m. followed by learning and sharing sessions from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Keynote presenter for the day is Gary H. Oberlender, MD, consultant in geriatric medicine from Roanoke. Sessions will focus on "The ABC’s of Dementia” and "End of Life Care, Decision-Making Capacity, and the Role of Clergy." This event has been approved by the conference Board of Ordained Ministry for a 0.5 CEU credit. Cost is $25, which includes lunch, to be paid by cash or check upon arrival. Space is limited. Registration deadline is March 15. To register for Richmond event, contact Susan Cantrell at (804) 474-1850 or To register for Northern Virginia event, contact Lynette Mitchell at (703) 797-3814 or

♦ 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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