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News from the Virginia Conference - Feb. 24, 2016

Lindsey Baynham named associate director of Clergy Excellence
The Rev. Lindsey Baynham has been appointed to serve as associate director of the conference Center for Clergy Excellence, effective July 1. She will focus on call, candidacy and discernment and expand the conference’s capacity to reach people beyond current channels for leadership development. "Lindsey is an experienced, creative pastor, and she will expand the conference's capacity to help individuals and congregations hear God's call toward leadership development," said the Rev. Meredith McNabb, director of Clergy Excellence. "I'm delighted to welcome her to the Clergy Excellence team to multiply our ministry to reach the gifted people whom God is calling, but who might not otherwise think of becoming United Methodist clergy." More ...

VUMAC boiler room destroyed by fire
Crews from five different jurisdictions battled heavy fire at the Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center (VUMAC) in Blackstone on Wednesday, Feb. 17. According to Blackstone Fire Chief Dion Tomer, the fire was contained to a boiler room that is not attached to the rest of the facility. Official cause of the fire remains under investigation. VUMAC staff said the center is open, and all scheduled events are being held. Sam McCracken, executive director, said he brought in temporary boilers and water heaters and, as of Monday, the facility has had heat and hot water. More...

April 10 to be conference-wide day to pray for General Conference
The United Methodist Council of Bishops has invited each annual conference in the denomination to designate one day to hold a 24-hour prayer vigil for General Conference. Bishop Young Jin Cho has selected Sunday, April 10, to be the day for the Virginia Conference prayer vigil. The Virginia Conference delegation committees for worship and devotional life, conference Board of Discipleship and Kindred Project are developing resources that can be used for this event as well as during days following April 10 and throughout General Conference. District offices will coordinate the scheduling of local churches that wish to participate. Organizers are asking districts to encourage 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. More ...

Submit information to add banquet to Annual Conference Banquet Schedule
If you are planning a banquet for this year's Annual Conference and would like to have your event listed in the Conference Banquet Schedule, forward information about the event to the Annual Conference Banquet Coordinator at or mail it to: Michael Reaves, Annual Conference Banquet Coordinator, c/o Fletcher's Chapel United Methodist Church, 8330 Fletcher's Chapel Road, King George, VA 22485. Include name of your group or gathering, date and time, location and contact information. More ...

Tommy Crosby named executive director of Camp Overlook
The Rev. Tommy Crosby, currently pastor of Rectortown UMC in the Winchester District, has been named executive director of Overlook Retreat and Camp Ministries in Keezletown effective April 1. He replaces Ron Robey who is retiring after 37 years of ministry at the campground.

Voices of Youth raising funds for 2016 tour to Hawaii
The 2016 Voices of Youth (VOY) tour, "Be Still and Know," will be July 9-30. After orientation, group building and rehearsal, the choir will travel to Hawaii to work with the homeless. VOY had originally planned to go to Paris and Taizé for a week-long pilgrimage of worship and contemplation, but concerns about terrorist threats and age restrictions for participation at Taizé forced the group to change plans, according to the Rev. Rebecca Minor, VOY coordinator. The choir now plans to travel to Oahu to work with the homeless community in Hawaii and then go to the Big Island of Hawaii to do construction work at Camp Mekokiko, the only United Methodist campground in Hawaii. Hawaii has the highest per capita rate of homelessness of any state in the United States, Minor said. After the work trip, choir members will return to Virginia to present worship experiences in host churches throughout the conference. To help raise funds for this summer's trip as well as future trips, Voices of Youth is hosting a Facebook Fundraiser. "The youth are responsible for fundraising $3,000 on their own," Minor said, "but over the past several years, the VOY account has dwindled down. We are trying to raise it back up so we can be sure we have enough for the trip and for scholarships." To support VOY, go to the Facebook page at or contact Minor at or (757) 870-8265. VOY is a Virginia Conference three-week mission experience for high school students with a passion for mission and a love of music. For more information, go to or contact Minor at (757) 870-8265 or

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. United Methodist Women provide an online flipbook charting a racial justice timeline and other resources for Black History Month. Dorothy Ravenhorst also recalls adopting the organization’s Charter for Racial Justice in Virginia in 1965. More ...

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

One Great Hour of Sharing is Sunday, March 6
Sunday, March 6, is One Great Hour of Sharing. When your congregation participates in One Great Hour of Sharing, you help cover the operating budget of United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). UMCOR does not receive United Methodist World Service or apportionment funds, so without your offerings, UMCOR would not exist. Your gifts on this Special Sunday allow UMCOR to respond to disasters around the world. An updated pastor and leaders kit offers new resources for observing One Great Hour of Sharing. It includes images for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, as well as other downloadable resources. More ...

Lent-Easter Quiz: Why are eggs associated with Easter?
Why are eggs associated with Easter? You can test your knowledge of the season with this and other questions from now until Good Friday. Take the quiz

Tips offered for greeting visitors on Easter
How prepared is your church to welcome visitors this Easter? Laurens Glass of United Methodist Communications offers a welcoming checklist for congregations to use as part of their preparations to celebrate Christ’s resurrection. More ...

Victim of mass shooting in Michigan was leader in United Methodist Church
One of the eight victims of the tragic mass shooting in Kalamazoo, Mich., on Feb. 20 was Mary Jo “MJ” Nye, a lifelong active member and leader in The United Methodist Church. More ... Read how United Methodists can fight gun violence.

Discussion guide available for 'Vital Conversations'
The United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race presents a discussion guide to go along with its “Vital Conversations” video series. The Rev. Dianne Glave of the Western Pennsylvania Conference wrote "Vital Conversations on Realities of Race and Racism: A Guide to Small-group Discussions" about the video series. To see guide and related videos

Which popular worship songs are truly Wesleyan?
Just because a worship song is popular does not mean it fits in well with Wesleyan theology. A United Methodist team of scholars and worship leaders recently examined the top 100 songs licensed by Christian Copyright Licensing International in 2015 and offered their take on what works best in United Methodist settings. More ...

UMCOR's WASH helps ensure that water is a human right
At any given moment across the world, more than 663 million people are drinking water that could be contaminated because they lack any other real option. That is why WASH — the water, sanitation and hygiene work of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) — is helping more communities than ever before gain access to clean water. More ...

Harper Lee was United Methodist in word, deed
Harper Lee’s death at age 89 brought expressions of sadness from fellow United Methodists, as well as gratitude for her writing. The Alabamian’s “To Kill a Mockingbird,” which includes references to Methodism, is regarded as a classic coming-of-age tale that also grapples with racism in the Depression-era. More ...

General Conference exceeds goal for sponsors
The sponsorship department of the General Council on Finance and Administration has exceeded its goal of raising $600,000 through the General Conference sponsorship and exhibitors program. As of this month, the program has raised $637,600 to help defray costs of the denomination’s top legislative assembly, which will be May 10-20 in Portland, Ore. Altogether, the 2016 General Conference will have 130 exhibit booths. Click here to learn more about the 2016 General Conference.

Liberia Conference upholds ban on divorced clergy running for bishop
The Liberia Conference upheld legislation banning divorced clergy from running for bishop before endorsing episcopal candidates to send to the West Africa Central Conference for election in December 2016. More ...

Brian Milford to be next president of United Methodist Publishing House
The Rev. Brian K. Milford has been selected to be the next president and chief executive officer of the United Methodist Publishing House. Milford is the Publishing House’s United Methodist Church book editor and chief content officer. He will officially assume office in October after Neil Alexander retires as president and publisher. More ...

Register by March 8 for United Methodist-specific online courses
You're invited to participate in United Methodist-specific online courses, designed to better equip you and your ministry. Registration ends March 8, so get in while there's room.
Increase the Vitality of Your Church - Get ideas that work for engaging your local and global community, develop a realistic plan toward more vitality, and get consultations from a vitality coach. This is an online, six-week self-paced course designed specifically for United Methodist pastors. Upon successful completion, you will receive two ALLLM CEU. More ...
Train Like a Pro - Plan and design an interactive, online course for your congregation and community. You'll learn Moodle's best practices and how to configure Moodle and upload necessary files. Upon successful completion, you will receive two ALLLM CEU.More ...
Engage your church and community digitally - Use current and emerging communication tools to communicate your faith relevantly and effectively. Learn to craft and share powerful and personal stories of faith and engage with social media platforms to reach out to your local community and beyond. Upon successful completion, you will receive one ALLLM CEU.More ...
Take Your Church's Hospitality to the Next Level - Learn to be a welcoming, hospitable congregation. Identify and enlist congregants for your church's welcoming ministry. Assess what your church does well in welcoming — as well as areas for improvement. Use and participate in specific tools, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Blog. Identify what your church is known for. Upon successful completion, you will receive one ALLLM CEU. 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 ...

♦ Early Response Team basic training - March 4-5
Early Response Teams respond during the first phase of disaster relief, providing Christian presence. Your church and community could also be faced with a disaster. Train to be ready to respond and know the first steps to help. Early Response Team (ERT) certification training will be held 6-10 p.m. Friday, March 4, and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, March 5, at Nimmo UMC, 2200 Princess Anne Rd., Virginia Beach. Cost is $55 (includes background check, t-shirt, manual and lunch). Checks should be made out to the Virginia Conference and brought the day of training. To register, e-mail Michele Michaelian at More ...

♦ Bishop's Convocation on Prayer - March 5
Registration deadline is March 1 for the Bishop’s Convocation on Prayer to be held 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 speak on Changing the Way We Do Church: Praying for Discernment. 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

♦ 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 ...

♦ Early Response Team basic training - March 12
The Conference Disaster Response Team invites you to participate in a training event for anyone interested in disaster relief ministries. Early Response Team (ERT) certification training will be held 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, March 12, at Burke UMC, 6200 Burke Centre Parkway, Burke. Cost is $55 (includes background check, t-shirt, manual and lunch). Checks should be made out to the Virginia Conference and brought the day of training. To register, e-mail Michele Michaelian at 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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