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News from the Virginia Conference - Feb. 13, 2015

March 1 is deadline to nominate clergy delegates to General Conference
March 1 is the deadline to submit nominations for clergy delegates to General Conference. As of Feb. 9, only 16 nominations had been submitted, according to Susan Reaves, Annual Conference secretary. The Virginia Annual Conference will elect 11 clergy delegates to General Conference, another 11 clergy delegates to Jurisdictional Conference and their alternates. Clergy may be nominated in two ways: 1) by two other clergy who are eligible to vote in the General/Jurisdictional election or 2) by self-nomination. More ...

Artists asked to submit work to be used at Annual Conference
Christina Perkins, who is coordinating the visual aspects of worship at this year's Annual Conference, is inviting artists around the conference to submit artwork based on the 2015 Annual Conference theme, "From Members to Disciples." "The vision is to have a collection of 20-25 unique pieces of art that would fit into the worship themes and build over the course of Annual Conference," Perkins said. "If you are an artist or have an artist in your congregation who might be interested in donating your talents and resources, please contact me either by e-mail to or by phone at (434) 294-1828 to discuss the details of the themes for worship. We cannot pay for artwork, so this would be a donation to the conference. All artists will be given credit for their work and featured throughout our time together. Any artistic method (paint, wood, sculpting, fabric, etc.) is great as long as the artist can be inspired by one of the worship themes. All pieces of art do need to be completed and to me by May 1." In addition to the visual aspect this brings to our time together and the opportunity to showcase the many talented lay and clergy artists that are part of our church, the Annual Conference Worship Planning Team would like this to be a missional opportunity, with all the pieces of art being auctioned after Annual Conference and 100% of the proceeds going to Imagine No Malaria.

Youth Service Fund grant applications due Feb. 23
The conference office of Ministries with Young People is now accepting applications for Youth Service Fund (YSF) grants. YSF grant money can be used for work/initiatives to be done by young people for young people. Click here to download a 2015 application and application guidelines. Deadline for all applications to be received is Monday, Feb. 23. For more information, contact Derrick Parson, conference director of Ministries with Young People, at, or Becky Tate at

View video of United Methodist Day at General Assembly
About 200 Virginia United Methodists traveled to Capitol Square in Richmond on Thursday, Feb. 5, to visit with Virginia lawmakers and advocate for justice as part of the 23rd annual United Methodist Day at the General Assembly. Click here to view a video produced by Nick Ruxton, conference videographer.

Rethink Church to run Easter TV spots in Roanoke area
Rethink Church will be running Easter TV spots in the Virginia Conference that feature the message of The United Methodist Church. These commercials will run March 16-April 5 on WDBJ-TV (CBS affiliate), WSET-TV (ABC affiliate) and WSLS-TV (NBC affiliate) in the Roanoke, Lynchburg, New River and Danville areas. Click here to view schedule. Click here to view the commercial. The message of searching and finding is designed to connect with people in our communities. Rethink Church also offers a direct mail program, customized videos, worship graphics and social media banners that churches can use for Easter. Click here for Rethink Church Easter resources available for local churches.

Variety of new Lent, Easter resources available
Lent begins this month. Ash Wednesday is Feb. 18. Here are some ideas for Lent and Easter activities: United Methodist Communications offers out-of-the-box ideas to reach out to your community. The General Board of Global Ministries offers worship resources for Lent and Easter. The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) has a new resource, a One Great Hour of Sharing devotional ebook, that provides 40 days of meditations about the needs of others around the world. Society of St. Andrew offers Lenten devotional resources. Ash Wednesday resources are available from Discipleship Ministries (General Board of Discipleship) and from Abingdon Press and Ministry Matters, both part of the United Methodist Publishing House (UMPH). Imagine No Malaria offers a themed set of Lenten graphics, worship resources and videos for free download. Many of these resources have been collected on one go-to web page developed by United Methodist Communications. The page has materials from United Methodist Discipleship Ministries, General Board of Global Ministries, Society of St. Andrew and others. View resources.

Virginia United Methodist Credit Union offers college scholarships
High School seniors who are members of the Virginia United Methodist Credit Union (VUMCU) are eligible to apply for a $1,000 VUMCU college scholarship and two $1,000 Richmond Chapter of Credit Unions scholarships. Any member of a United Methodist church or organization within the Virginia Conference is eligible for membership at VUMCU, and just $5 opens an account. The scholarships are for freshmen entering college in Fall 2015. Applications are due late March. E-mail to request an application.

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 was e-mailed to each church. Materials included a menu of Heart Havens mission ideas, bulletin insert featuring the Bishop's Prayer for Heart Havens, a reading statement, a video with a message from the Bishop and more. If you did not receive the materials, to arrange for a speaker to come to your church or for more information, call (804) 237-6097 or toll-free 1-877-442-8368; or e-mail Sara Becker, development assistant, at

February is Black History Month
February is Black History Month. The General Board of Discipleship has music and worship resources. The General Board of Global Ministries offers ideas for worship. Rethink Church has collected articles that can spark conversations about race, including offering episodes of "Night Call," one of the first national radio call-in shows. The show, which aired in the 1960s, was aimed at getting whites and blacks to talk to each other — over the airwaves — during a period of incredible racial tension in the United States. The show was created by the church agency that eventually evolved into United Methodist Communications. More ...

March 15 One Great Hour of Sharing suppports UMCOR
This year marks United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR)'s 75th anniversary of being with people in times of crisis. In celebration, UMCOR is providing resources that offer creative ways to reflect and engage in UMCOR's ongoing legacy. United Methodists are encouraged to mark the 75th anniversary of UMCOR by giving to the One Great Hour of Sharing Special Offering on Sunday, March 15. Donations to One Great Hour of Sharing directly fund UMCOR's administrative costs, making it possible for UMCOR to use 100% of all other contributions on the projects donors specify, instead of on administrative or fundraising costs. UMCOR does not receive United Methodist World Service or apportionment funds, so without the One Great Hour of Sharing offerings, UMCOR would not exist.

Worship resources offered for Transfiguration Sunday
Sunday, Feb. 15, is Transfiguration Sunday. Worship resources are available from United Methodist Discipleship Ministries.

Ash Wednesday reminds us of our mortality
The imposition of ashes on the first day of Lent reminds us of our mortality but also that we are "God's good creation," writes Joe Iovino in a feature. He notes that observance of Ash Wednesday is growing, with some United Methodist pastors administering ashes outside the church walls. More ...

Final human sexuality panel can be viewed online Feb. 16
The Connectional Table’s Human Sexuality Task Force hosted its third and final panel on human sexuality Tuesday, Feb. 10, in Maputo, Mozambique. This panel highlighted the central conference perspective on our Wesleyan identity, the life of the church, and human sexuality. Panelists for the third panel were academics and ministers in the central conferences. On Monday, Feb. 16, this panel discussion will be available for online viewing at More ...

Church body proposes more open stance on homosexuality
The United Methodist Church could have openly gay clergy and clergy could officiate at same-sex marriages if a proposal affirmed by a denomination-wide leadership body prevails. The Connectional Table plans to draft legislation that members hope can be "a third way" in the church's long debate over homosexuality. More ...

Five new bishops proposed for Africa
Africa will have five new bishops in 2021 if General Conference approves. The Standing Committee on Central Conference Matters recommended the change after a team evaluating three episcopal areas — in North Katanga, South Congo and Zimbabwe — reported that the overall need in Africa reaches far beyond what was anticipated. More ...

Church responds to devastating Mozambique floods
United Methodists are responding to deadly floods in the northern part of Mozambique with much-needed food and prayer, Bishop Joaquina Filipe Nhanala told church leaders meeting in her country this week. January floods, the result of torrential rains and a tropical disturbance, have taken the lives of more than 150 Mozambicans and left more than 160,000 homeless. More ...

Chuck Knows Church The Committee: 'Reflecting Our Community"
The latest episode of "The Committee" looks at how Park Grove Community Church is working towards doing a better job of reflecting its community. What tips would you give Chuck and the committee members? How does your church connect to its community? "The Committee" is a spinoff of the "Chuck Knows Church" video series produced by United Methodist Discipleship Ministries (General Board of Discipleship). In "The Committee," Chuck is attempting to help the fictitious Park Grove Community Church that has lost its way, lost its pastor and is closing its doors ... unless, despite itself, it finds a new way of doing church. Each month this series invites congregations to look at the issues and barriers that block them from growing deeper and becoming more vital. "The Committee" uses humor and real-life issues to invite you into a conversation about the future of your congregation. Each episode of "The Committee" has an accompanying downloadable one-page study guide (PDF). In the week following the release of each episode, Discipleship Ministries will host a one-hour webinar where you’ll learn more and have an opportunity to share your own experiences. Go to Facebook ( for the latest news and the website ( to watch and download all episodes.

Young adults can apply now for SEJ UMVIM summer internship
Southeastern Jurisdiction (SEJ) United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) is accepting applications from young adults with hearts for missions for its Summer Internship program. Deadline for applications is Feb. 27. For more information, contact Executive Director Paulette West at

GraceInside seeks director of Operations
GraceInside, the chaplain service prison ministry of Virginia based in Richmond, is seeking a full-time director of Operations to manage financial and operational business systems with a focus on budgets, business logistics and human resources. A successful candidate will have a college degree, a minimum of two years’ work experience in a related field, a strong background in finance, the ability to multitask, excellent communication skills and must demonstrate a high degree of computer literacy, including Microsoft spread sheets, databases and file management. If interested, e-mail letter and resume (including three references and their contact information) to Kate Shelton at by Feb. 24.

♦ Ethics II training - Feb. 19
All clergy and church professionals are required to attend an Ethics II training during this quadrennium (2012-2016). Trainings are held four times a year throughout the conference to provide convenient opportunities for participation. The next training will be 9:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m Thursday, Feb. 19, at St. John's UMC, Buena Vista, in the Staunton District. Click here to download brochure with training details and schedule. A 0.5 CEU is awarded for full participation. Click here to register for Feb. 19 event. Registration fee of $12 includes lunch and training materials and is payable by credit card. You may register with a fee of $5 and provide your own lunch. Paper registrations are not available for these events. Registration is required 48 hours prior to event in order to ensure sufficient materials are available for all participants. More ...

♦ Lay Servant Academy - Feb. 20-22
Lay Servant Academy will be Feb. 20-22 at the Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center in Blackstone. Registration continues for one more week. The presence of some old favorites and the addition of the Basic Class in Spanish have given us a solid group of attendees. Three courses are near capacity and may have to be closed. But three other courses may have to be cancelled because of low registration. Call Cyndi Schnell at (434) 292-5308 or David Bailey at (804) 338-3168 to discuss options. Register online at or by calling Cyndi at Blackstone. More ...

♦ UMVIM Team Leader Training - Feb. 21, March 28, May 16
Team Leader Training is required for all first-time United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) team leaders, but all interested persons are welcome to attend whether leading a team or not. The following training events are currently scheduled:
♦ Feb. 21, 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Bethlehem UMC, 13586 Old Moneta Rd., Moneta. Click here to register online and pay by credit card. Click here to download a pdf form and pay by check.
♦ March 28, 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Cave Spring UMC, 4505 Hazel Dr., Roanoke. Click here to register online and pay by credit card. Click here to download a pdf form and pay by check.
♦ May 16, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Floris UMC, 13600 Frying Pan Rd., Herndon. Click here to register online and pay by credit card. Click here to download a pdf form and pay by check.

♦ Clergy Spouses' Retreat - March 5-7
Clergy Spouses’ Retreat will be March 5-7 at Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center in Blackstone. “Is It Well With Your Soul?” is the theme of the retreat, organized by the conference’s Clergy Family Enrichment Committee. Speakers will include Dr. Dawn Peck, a member of Trinity UMC in Lexington and certified spiritual director; Dr. Lisa Rochford, a clinical psychologist and clergy spouse; and the Rev. Charlie Reynolds, executive director of Virginia Conference Wellness Ministries. Cost of the entire weekend is $100, but you can come as a day participant for $30 a session. More ...

♦ United Methodist Men Spring Training Roundtable - March 7
Virginia Conference United Methodist Men 2015 Spring Training Roundtable Event will be Saturday, March 7, at three host churches around the Virginia Conference. Just choose the church location nearest you and join with men to pray, share, exchange ideas and get closer to the Lord. To register and for more information, click on the church location nearest you: Centenary United Methodist Church, Portsmouth; Crenshaw United Methodist Church, Blackstone; and Trinity United Methodist Church, McLean

♦ Bishop's Convocation on Prayer - March 21
Would you like to learn about the difference “Breakthrough Prayer” can make for your church? Would you like to learn about personal spiritual disciplines or how to apply spiritual disciplines in your congregation? Come to the Bishop’s Convocation on Prayer 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 21, at Trinity UMC, 903 Forest Ave., Richmond. The Rev. Sue Nilson-Kibbey will be the plenary speaker, and 13 workshops will be offered to participants. 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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