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Dec. 18, 2014
Dec. 10, 2014
Dec. 4, 2014

Nov. 21, 2014 - Day of Holy Conversation
Nov. 20, 2014
Nov. 13, 2014
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Oct. 28, 2014
Oct. 16, 2014
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Sept. 25, 2014
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July 30, 2014
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June 24, 2014
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May 29, 2014 - Special Annual Conference edition
May 23, 2014
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April 24, 2014
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April 3, 2014

March 26, 2014
March 20, 2014
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Feb. 27, 2014
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Jan. 30, 2014
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News from the Virginia Conference - Feb. 6, 2014

Tom Albin to keynote Bishop's Convocation on Prayer March 29
The second annual Bishop’s Convocation on Prayer will be held Saturday, March 29, at Trinity UMC in Richmond. Bishop Young Jin Cho will again be the host, and keynote speaker will be the Rev. Tom Albin, dean of Upper Room Ministries and Ecumenical Relations. The convocation will begin with gathering time at 9 a.m., followed by Albin speaking in plenary session at 10, one-hour workshops, lunch, and a second plenary session with Dr. Albin in the afternoon. The day will end with worship with Holy Communion. More ...

Stacy Roberts hired as coordinator of Camp Rainbow Connection
Stacy Roberts has been hired as camp coordinator for Camp Rainbow Connection, effective Feb. 3. She will coordinate administrative tasks leading up to camp and oversee two camp sessions held at Blackstone Conference and Retreat Center each summer, working under the supervision of the Center for Lay Leadership Excellence. Roberts was a summer intern in the conference Center for Lay Leadership Excellence in 2011 and 2012 while she was a student at Longwood University. She lives in Ashland and serves as director of Youth Ministries at St. Mark's UMC in Midlothian. Camp Rainbow Connection started in 1985 at Westview on the James with 25 campers and a staff of 15 volunteers. Last summer, 89 volunteer staff members provided two weeks of fun and learning for 122 adults with intellectual disabilities between the ages 22 to 85. Go to for more information about the camp and how to volunteer.

Fire destroys Oak Grove UMC, Shenandoah
Fire destroyed Oak Grove UMC in Shenandoah on Wednesday morning. "No one was hurt but our building is a total loss," said the Rev. Ellen Martin, pastor. "We will not know the cause until the smoldering subsides and the investigators can do their work. The congregation is devastated, but they are strong and have deeply rooted faith. With God's grace we will rebuild. What a blessing to be fully insured!" More ...

Deadline extended to March 1 for Voices of Youth tour
Deadline has been extended to March 1 to apply for the Voices of Youth (VOY) July 3-20 Mission Trip. High school students who love to sing and be in mission with other United Methodist youths should contact Jennifer Dixon, VOY coordinator, at (757) 348-7084 or Current plans are to travel to Nassau in the Bahamas to work with Bahamas Methodist Habitat for one week. Choir members will then return to Virginia to present worship experiences in host churches throughout the conference. If VOY does not receive enough applications, the trip will be modified to make it cost effective for those interested in participating. VOY is still looking for 1-2 adults interested in travelling with the choir. If you are interested, contact Jennifer. For more information, go to

Candidacy Summit answers questions about call to ministry
In January, 54 current and potential candidates for ordained ministry gathered at Blackstone Conference and Retreat Center for the first Virginia Conference Candidacy Summit — 24 hours of worship, prayer, discernment and relationship. Purpose of the summit is to provide opportunities for those considering ordained ministry to learn more about the process, ask technical questions and foster lasting connections with peers and leaders who will be journeying with them. More ...

Virginia United Methodist Credit Union offers college scholarships
Membership in the Virginia United Methodist Credit Union (VUMCU) gives high school seniors access to apply for the VUMCU $1500 scholarship or two $1,000 Richmond Chapter of Credit Unions scholarships. The scholarships are for freshmen entering college in Fall 2014. You must be a VUMCU member to apply. Membership is open to all members of Virginia Conference United Methodist churches or United Methodist organizations, and just $5 opens an account. Contact Janie Hightower at to request an application. Applications are due in late March.

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 12 group homes throughout Virginia. A packet of promotional materials to assist with this special offering was mailed to each church to the attention of Lay Leader or Mission Chair. For more information or to arrange for a Heart Havens speaker in your church, call (804) 237-6097 or toll-free 1-877-442-8368; or e-mail

February is Black History Month
February is Black History Month.
♦ The General Board of Discipleship has music and worship resources.
♦ Abingdon Press offers "African American History Month Daily Devotions 2014." Click here to order devotions.
♦ African-American spirituals have a rich, sometimes unfamiliar history to the people who sing them today. Read story in Interpreter Online.
♦ What started as a history project for students at United Methodist-related Rust College turned into "Gracing the Table," an open dialogue forum that gives students, professors and community members the opportunity to begin the healing process of wounds left open more than a century ago during slavery. Read story at UMC Giving

One Great Hour of Sharing is March 30
One Great Hour of Sharing is Sunday, March 30. Click here to order free resources for this offering that supports United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). Because UMCOR receives no
apportionment dollars, the disaster-relief agency relies on the One Great Hour of Sharing special offering to pay for all of its administrative costs. This allows 100% of donations given for specific
appeals to go directly to those relief efforts. Click here for a four-week Sunday school study, available for adults, youths and children, that follows the 2014 theme of One Great Hour of Sharing — Be Hope.

UMDF offers easy access to church finance options
For more than 50 years, the United Methodist Development Fund (UMDF) has helped United Methodists create new spaces for worship in existing and new places. Now, a new website will give local churches, districts, annual conferences and other United Methodist entities easy access to information about the fund's competitive loans and investment opportunities. More ...

15 ideas offered for Easter outreach
Easter, the most important day of the Christian calendar, offers an opportunity to tell the most important story ever told. This year, the celebration of Christ's Resurrection is April 20 in the Western calendar. Eric Seiberling of United Methodist Communications offers ideas to help churches share the good news. More ...

Chuck Knows Church: Parables
A parable is a succinct, didactic story which illustrates one or more instructive lessons or principles. But what does that mean? And why did Jesus use parables? Chuckle along with Chuck as he talks about "Parables" on his 63rd show. "Chuck Knows Church" is a weekly online series that explains the meaning behind some of the objects, symbols, terms and rituals in church. Episodes can be downloaded for free at and used in worship, youth groups, fellowship groups, confirmation classes, worship teams, new member classes and late-night snack viewing. Chuck is on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. "Chuck Knows Church" is produced by the General Board of Discipleship. More ...

Seminar to teach community organizing to develop congregations
“Community Organizing for Social Change & Church Development” training will be March 31-April 4 at First Grace UMC in New Orleans. The training will teach how methods of community organizing can be a tool in congregational development, community transformation and engagement in justice ministries. This event is the first to combine field-tested wisdom of veteran community organizers with church planters. The training is being jointly offered by the General Board of Church & Society and Path 1 of the General Board of Discipleship. It is open to anyone and is expected to bring together church planters, faith leaders and ministry practitioners from across the country. More ...

VIPCare seeks director of Development and Marketing
The Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care (VIPCare), an interfaith, not-for-profit counseling and education institute, seeks an experienced, motivated professional as director of Development and Marketing. Reporting to the Executive Director, this part-time (20 hours per week) position is responsible for VIPCare’s comprehensive development and marketing strategies. The position manages and implements all functions related to those strategies including but not limited to annual appeals, grants, donor relations, donation processing and marketing resources. For details, go to and scroll down to “Other.”

♦ Engagement R.I.N.G. Retreat - Feb. 14-16
The Rev. Glen and Tara Langston will guide young engaged couples (or those considering engagement) through an exploration of what it means to love their spouse for a lifetime and how to keep God in the center of it all at the Engagement R.I.N.G. (Relationships Intimately Nurtured by God) retreat  Feb. 14-16 in Blessings Lodge at Overlook Retreat and Camp Ministries, Keezletown. More ...

♦ Lay Servant Academy - Feb. 21-23
Virginia Conference Lay Servant Academy will be Feb. 21-23 at Blackstone Conference and Retreat Center. Theme will be the same as the 2014 Annual Conference theme: "Lord, Renew Us with Your Spirit." Basic, advanced and mini-courses will prepare lay servants for ministries of caring, leading and communicating. Click here for brochure. Registration deadline is Feb. 14. More ...

♦ School for Children's Ministry - Feb. 22, April 5, Sept. 20, Nov. 8
The School for Children’s Ministry is on the road this year to come to a district near you. Events will be 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Feb. 22 at St. Luke’s UMC, Yorktown (click here to register); April 5 at Farmville UMC, Farmville (click here to register); Sept. 20 at Greenville UMC, Greenville (click here to register); and Nov. 8 at Grace UMC, Manassas (click here to register). Registration deadline is the Wednesday before the event. Workshop presenters are children’s ministry professionals, representing all sizes of churches. Click here for brochure.

♦ Clergy Spouses' Retreat - Feb. 27 - March 1
Clergy Spouses' retreat will be Feb. 27-March 1 at Blackstone Conference and Retreat Center. Theme is "Faith, Family and Forgiveness," focusing on the correlation between loving one’s neighbor as oneself and forgiving one’s debts as one is forgiven. Dr. Carol Fletcher, Lay Eucharistic Minister, Lay Reader and Worship Leader for Morning and Evening Prayer Services in Pennsylvania and Virginia, is retreat leader. More ...

♦ Resource Center VBS Curriculum Fair - Feb. 28 - March 1
The Resource Center, in partnership with Cokesbury, presents its annual Vacation Bible School Curriculum Fair 1-6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28, and 9:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. Saturday, March 1, in Kingsley Hall, 4th floor, Virginia Union University, 1500 N. Lombardy St., Richmond. Preview day is 1-5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27. For more information, call (804) 358-8306 or e-mail

♦ 5 Talent Academy Stewardship Event - March 8
5 Talent Academy stewardship teaching event will be Saturday, March 8, at Floris UMC in Herndon and broadcast in a live-stream format to 9 other locations across the conference. Featured speaker will be J. Clif Christopher, author of Not Your Parents’ Offering Plate, Whose Offering Plate Is It? and Rich Church-Poor Church. Registration is open to all Virginia Conference churches regardless of previous membership or affiliation with the 5 Talent Academy. Registration is $25 per person and includes lunch. More ...

♦ Conference UMMen Spring Training - March 8
Virginia Conference United Methodist Men (UMMen) Spring Training will be Saturday, March 8, at Annandale UMC, Annandale; First UMC, Charlottesville; and St. Luke's UMC, Yorktown. Cost is $5, payable at the door. For more information, contact Jim Butts, vice president for Membership and Development, at or (757) 421 0161.

♦ Virginia Wesleyan College Clergy Seminar - March 17-18
"Sanctified Laughter: A Theology, History and Practice of Humor and Satire" will be presented by Dr. Terrence Lindvall, Professor of Communications and Christian Thought at Virginia Wesleyan, at a two-day Continuing Education Seminar for Clergy at Virginia Wesleyan College March 17-18. Cost is $75 per person, including lunch Monday. The program begins at 8:30 a.m. Monday and ends at noon Tuesday. One CEU credit will be given. The seminar is open to laity as well as clergy. Register at or by mail to Office of Advancement, Virginia Wesleyan College, 1584 Wesleyan Drive, Norfolk, VA 23502.

♦ Extension Ministers Gathering - March 24
Virginia Conference Extension Ministers will gather with Bishop Young Jin Cho Monday, March 24, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Roslyn Conference and Retreat Center in Richmond. Extension Ministers (elders, provisional elders and local pastors) and those appointed Beyond the Local Church (deacons and provisional deacons) can connect with clergy colleagues, share stories and have conversation with Bishop Cho. More ...

♦ Bishop's Convocation on Prayer - March 29
The second annual Bishop’s Convocation on Prayer will be 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 29, at Trinity UMC, 903 Forest Ave., Richmond. The Rev. Tom Albin, dean of Upper Room Ministries and Ecumenical Relations, will be plenary speaker. Small group learning opportunities will be offered in the areas of prayer and Wesleyan spiritual disciplines. More information about the convocation will be shared in January. More ...

♦ Early Response Team certification training - March 29
United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) Early Response Team (ERT) certification training will be 8 a.m. -4:30 p.m. Saturday, March 29, at Galilee UMC, 45425 Winding Rd., Sterling. Registration fee is $55, which includes training manual, UMCOR ERT badge, T-shirt and background check (forms will be handed out at training). Checks should be made out to the Virginia Conference and brought the day of training, or click here to register online.

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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