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News from the Virginia Conference - Feb. 3, 2016

'Did You Know?' video highlights Virginia United Methodist Credit Union
Did you know that the Virginia Conference has its own credit union? This financial institution was established by United Methodists for United Methodists, and your church can benefit when you use the credit union to get an auto loan or a credit card. That's just part of what you can learn from a video about the Virginia United Methodist Credit Union. This one-minute video is the eighth 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

Grant recipients participate in first 'Ministry Accelerator'
Seven recipients of conference Special and Sustaining Grants participated Jan. 28-29 in the first session of the "Ministry Accelerator" pilot designed to give participants support in finance/budgeting, volunteer recruitment/retention, long-range planning and other areas that contribute to the impact and sustainability of a ministry. Click here to view video about the Ministry Accelerator. More ...

Large church pastors told to make difference in someone's life
Nearly 25 pastors of large congregations gathered Jan. 19 at the Roslyn Retreat Center in Richmond to learn about outcome ministry, staffing, difficult conversations, stewardship and discipleship. More ...

Conference videographer blogs about recent trip to Portland
Check out videographer Nick Ruxton's latest blog about his recent trip to Portland, Ore., for the Pre-General Conference Briefing and the United Methodist Association of Communicators meeting. Called "Through the Lens," the blog appears on the Virginia Conference website and features Nick's views of mission, ministry and anything else interesting he sees around him. Click here to view blog.

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

VICPP asks faith leaders to sign letter urging expansion of Medicaid
The Virginia Interaith Center for Public Policy (VICPP) is asking faith leaders across the Commonwealth to sign a letter to legislators asking them to expand Medicaid coverage to more than 400,000 Virginians who lack healthcare insurance. An electronic version of the letter is available. Click here to read the letter and add your name via e-mail.

Pathways seeks Technology Project Leader
Pathways, a not-for-profit, faith-based community development corporation in Petersburg, is seeking a full-time Technology Project Leader to develop technology capacity by addressing program needs effectively and efficiently and improve outcomes. Duties will also include research to create technology career pathways for students. This is a year-long VISTA position with a living allowance, education award and training opportunities. More ...

Conference seeks campus minister for VCU Wesley Foundation
The Virginia Conference Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry seeks a Christ-centered, mission-minded team builder to lead the planning and re-launch of the Wesley Foundation (Pace Center) at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), one of the three largest public universities in Virginia, located in downtown Richmond. Nearly 50% of the student body at VCU is non-white, making this a very diverse community. At the end of 2015, the Board of Higher Education decided to suspend the current ministries at VCU. The new Campus Minister will take part in a year-long process of building a team, discerning and planning in order to re-launch Wesley Foundation ministries in 2017. For details, visit the Virginia Conference website at and scroll down to “Other.” Deadline to apply is Feb. 10.

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.

Feb. 7 is Disability Awareness Sunday
Sunday, Feb. 7, is Disability Awareness Sunday. The 1996 General Conference of The United Methodist Church voted to create Disability Awareness Sunday to be observed annually on a date to be determined by the annual conference. In the Virginia Conference, Disability Awareness Sunday is the first Sunday in February. This special Sunday calls the church to celebrate the gifts and graces of persons with disabilities and calls the church and society to full inclusion of persons with disabilities in the community. The Rev. Leo Yates Jr., a member of the United Methodist Committee on Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Ministries and the United Methodist Association of Ministers with Disabilities, says the Sunday is an opportunity to look around to see who is not in worship. In his commentary, Yates shares resources for observances and tells how the church can welcome people with disabilities and their families. More ...

Feb. 7 is Transfiguration Sunday
On Sunday, Feb. 7, we remember the Transfiguration of the Lord. United Methodist Discipleship Ministries has worship resources.

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 ...

Lewis Center offers free video about clergy tax issues
Clergy face some distinctive tax regulations and often need guidance from tax professionals with experience working with clergy. To help seminary students and clergy understand better the issues to which they and their tax preparers need to give attention, the Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary has prepared “Compensation and Taxes,” an informational 12-minute video. Topics include compensation, federal and state income taxes, parsonage or housing allowing exclusion, opting out of Social Security, clergy tax payments, and more. Visit to view the video and for more information.

UMW asks you to open an umbrella to stop human trafficking
United Methodist Women are asking church members to join the Intercept the Traffickers photo campaign and open their umbrellas to raise awareness of human trafficking around sporting events. The goal of “Opening an Umbrella” is to form a virtual line of defense around Levi’s Stadium, where the Super Bowl will take place Feb. 7. More ...

Adam Hamilton named adviser to President Obama
The White House announced plans to add the Rev. Adam Hamilton, founding pastor of the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kan., to President Obama’s list of faith-based advisers. More ...

Lenten and Easter resources available online
This year, Lent begins on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 10. It is a season of penance and prayer before the observance of Easter Sunday, March 27. A number of Lenten and Easter resources are available to help prepare your heart for the season ahead. The faith-filled resources will help you reflect, repent, and turn your focus toward God. Browse through numerous articles and/or devotions on fasting, healing and faith, and dive into available worship resources and Lenten preaching notes offered through Discipleship Ministries. Several video choices discuss the significance of this season.

Resource helps prepare volunteers for trip to UMCOR depot
Each year, faith-filled United Methodists and friends volunteer in assembling United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) relief-supply kits that bring hope and encouragement to vulnerable populations around the world. These kits are usually sent to one of UMCOR's two supply depots, UMCOR Sager Brown in Baldwin, La., and UMCOR West in Salt Lake City, Utah. In 2014, UMCOR Sager Brown and UMCOR West hosted 3,875 volunteers who worked 92,275 hours preparing supplies for shipment and reaching out to depot neighbors through food distribution and housing rehabilitation projects. If your church is considering a future volunteer experience at UMCOR Sager Brown or UMCOR West, be sure to download the newly-revised resource, “Know Before You Go.” “Know Before You Go” offers your church a brief historical look at UMCOR Sager Brown; details dress code, costs and sleeping facilities; provides medical and liability release forms, plus a team registration form. There is also a “Know Before You Go” packet specifically designed for UMCOR West volunteers. Registration to volunteer with UMCOR Sager Brown in 2017 has already begun. Download this application packet now.

GBGM can resource Mission Celebration for your local church
The General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) is thankful for partnerships with conferences and congregations. GBGM staff wants to deepen that partnership with local churches through a Mission Celebration with your church and community to advance mission around the world. Mission Celebrations are events planned by local church leaders and resourced by Global Ministries’ staff and missionaries. They provide a variety of activities and learning opportunities to meet local church members where they are and challenge them to reflect, learn and engage in mission locally and around the world. Watch this video to learn more, and consider holding a mission celebration that is tailored to your church needs.

Society of St. Andrew offers Lenten devotions
Lent begins this year with Ash Wednesday on Feb. 10. The Society of St. Andrew offers Lenten daily devotions, written by pastors and lay people from all walks of life. The booklets are titled "While Still Far Off." Click here to order.

Changes coming to General Conference voting
United Methodist leaders are hoping a change coming to the 2016 General Conference will make voting easier for delegates. At the urging of the Commission on the Status and Role of Women, delegates will use voting machines in legislative committees. More ...

Mission agency head calls for prayers for peace in Syria
The head of the denomination’s mission agency is calling on all United Methodists and peace lovers to pray for the efforts to negotiate peace in Syria. Thomas Kemper, general secretary for the United Methodit General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) said the war has resulted in thousands of deaths and millions of refugees. More ...

Building bridges to be topic of Feb. 4 online 'Vital Conversation'
The Rev. Cynthia Moore-Koikoi will explore how the church can build bridges instead of walls at 9 p.m. EST Thursday, Feb. 4, during the next online “Vital Conversation,” sponsored by the United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race. Moore-Koikoi, superintendent of the Baltimore Metropolitan District, helped guide the church during the turmoil that followed the death of Freddie Gray, an African-American who died in police custody. Click here to learn more. Click here to register.

♦ 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. 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 ...

♦ 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 ...

♦ 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. 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

♦ 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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