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News from the Virginia Conference - Jan. 15, 2015

2015 Annual Conference logo introduced
The logo for the 2015 session of the Virginia Annual Conference is now on the conference website. Theme is “From Members to Disciples.” The logo was designed by Cathryn Huff Wooton, conference graphic designer. The 2015 Annual Conference session will be held June 19-21 at the Berglund Center in Roanoke (formerly the Roanoke Civic Center). More ...

March 6 is deadline to submit materials for Book of Reports
March 6 is the deadline to submit materials for the 2015 Annual Conference Book of Reports. All reports must be submitted electronically via e-mail to the office of Connectional Ministries at If possible, reports should be limited to 350-700 words. All recommendations and resolutions requiring Annual Conference action should be listed on separate sheets so they are not lost in the main body of the report. Click here for "Guidelines" for writing a report. General Conference petitions that are submitted for consideration by the Annual Conference must use the format specified at More ...

St. Luke's UMC, Yorktown, saves nearly 2,800 lives from malaria
Last week the Rev. Doug Gestwick and the Rev. Clara Gestwick, pastors of St. Luke's UMC in Yorktown, presented Bishop Young Jin Cho with a check for $27,742.64 for Imagine No Malaria. The funds will save more than 2,774 lives from the deadly disease. Members of the congregation raised the money by asking children at Vacation Bible School to collect change, soaking their pastors in a dunk tank at the church's annual Community Outreach Carnival and receiving a special Christmas Eve offering. More ...

Washington Post article features credit union's Jubilee Assistance Fund
An article in the Jan. 9 issue of the Washington Post described how Wesley Memorial UMC in Richmond used the Virginia United Methodist Credit Union (VUMCU) Jubilee Assistance Fund (JAF) to help one of its low-income members get a low-interest loan so she could make a dent in paying off her mounting credit card debt. The JAF program, established as an alternative to predatory lending, recently was named recipient of the 2014 Dora Maxwell Social Responsibility/Community Involvement award sponsored by The Credit Union National Association (CUNA). The award recognizes a credit union for its social responsibility work to support its community. VUMCU received first place at both state and national levels for the JAF program. Carol Mathis, credit union Chief Executive Officer, will accept the award at the CUNA awards reception in Washington, D.C., in mid-March. More ...

Bishop Kammerer's mother dies in Florida
Mary Elizabeth Payne, mother of Bishop Charlene Kammerer, claimed the promise of resurrection on Friday, Jan. 9. Graveside service will be 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 17, at Woodlawn Memorial Park, Gotha, Fla. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be made to First United Methodist Church Memorial Fund, 125 N. Lakeview Ave., Winter Garden, Fla. 34787 or Vitas Hospice Care, 12751 W. Colonial Drive, Winter Garden, Fla. 34787. Notes or cards may be directed to Charlene and Leigh Kammerer, 529 Crum Drive, Lake Junaluska, N.C. 28745.

Bishop's Convocation on Prayer to be March 21
The Bishop’s Convocation on Prayer will be held Saturday, March 21, at Trinity UMC (Richmond District) from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Rev. Sue Nilson-Kibbey will be the plenary speaker, and 13 workshops will be offered to participants. Click here to register and for more information.

Training of Discipleship Circles facilitators to be Jan. 29
The second Discipleship Circles facilitator training will be 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 29, at the Viginia United Methodist Center in Glen Allen. Trained Discipleship Circles potential facilitators currently represent nine districts: Lynchburg, Charlottesville, Elizabeth River, Alexandria, Eastern Shore, Farmville, Danville, York River and Richmond. The Center for Inclusivity and Lay Leadership Excellence will continue to connect with trained facilitators, people at Annual Conference who expressed interest in connecting with a Discipleship Circle, and related District Superintendents in order to facilitate formation of Circles across the conference. For more information about Discipleship Circles, contact Cheryl Edley-Worford, conference director of Inclusivity and Lay Leadership Excellence, at or (804) 521-1154.

Jan. 30 is deadline to apply for conference Peace with Justice grant
Friday, Jan. 30, is the deadline to apply for Virginia Conference Peace with Justice grants. Local churches in the Virginia Conference, district Church and Society committees (or equivalent structures), district Peace with Justice coordinators, and other ministries and organizations related to United Methodist agencies within the bounds of the Virginia Conference are invited to apply. Applicants must demonstrate how one or more of the following criteria or objectives are met: 1) Assist United Methodists in understanding and responding to violence and militarism; 2) Involve United Methodists in efforts to end conflicts and violent aggression locally and globally; 3) Promote local, state, national and international policies and actions (governmental and non-governmental) seeking to restore communities and respond to the disproportionate effect of injustices on racial and ethnic minority persons; and 4) Support policies that promote economic justice, ecological justice and the self-development of peoples. Click here for more details and application.

Virginia to host gathering of Lay Servant Ministries directors
The Virginia Conference will host the annual gathering of the Association of Conference Directors of Lay Servant Ministries (ACDLSM) Jan 22-25 in Williamsburg. ACDLSM is composed of conference and district directors of Lay Servant Ministries from across the United Methodist connection. David Bailey, Virginia Conference Lay Servant Academy director, is coordinator for the event.

Staff volunteers needed for Camp Rainbow
New and returning staff volunteers (including new nursing staff) are needed for Camp Rainbow Connection, which will be held at the Blackstone Conference and Retreat Center July 11-17 and Aug. 8-14. Camp Rainbow Connection, in operation since 1985, provides a week of Christian fellowship and learning for youths and adults with intellectual disabilities. Staff members must be at least 16 years old by July 1, agree to a criminal background check, attend a training session in the spring, and commit to attending the full week of camp. A limited number of 15 year-olds will be able to serve as Camp Rainbow Connection Youth Advocates. Click here for applications for staff and Youth Advocates. For more information, contact the office of Inclusivity and Lay Leadership Excellence at 1-800-768-6040 or (804) 521-1100, ext. 153, or

This Sunday is Human Relations Day
Sunday, Jan. 18, is Human Relations Day. The special offering taken this Sunday, the Sunday nearest the observance of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday, will focus this year on the rehabilitation of youth offenders. The United Methodist Book of Discipline describes Human Relations Day as a call "to recognize the right of all God's children in realizing their potential as human beings in relationship with each other." Click here for resources from

This Monday is Martin Luther King Day
Monday, Jan. 19, is Martin Luther King Day. United Methodist Discipleship Ministries offers resources for celebrating the life of the famed civil rights leader and minister, including his favorite hymn.

Pathways seeks RN to instruct Personal Care Aide class
Pathways, a not-for-profit, faith-based community development corporation in Petersburg, is seeking a part-time licensed RN to instruct a Personal Care Aide class for young adults in a juvenile correctional facility. Instructor must be able to develop and execute lesson plans and report student accomplishments. Send resume with cover letter and income requirements to Rachel Beck-Berman, 1200 W. Washington St., Petersburg, VA 23803 or More ...

Pathways seeks Nurse Practitioner for Free Specialty Clinic
Pathways, a not-for-profit, faith-based community development corporation in Petersburg, is seeking a part-time Nurse Practitioner for its Free Specialty Clinic. The position will include program design and planning, assessments, treatment, referrals and coordination of care focused primarily on young adults and their mental health needs. Submit resume, compensation requirements and cover letter to Rachel Beck-Berman at or 1200 W. Washington St., Petersburg, VA 23803. More ...

Jan. 18-24 is Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
Sunday, Jan. 18, to Saturday, Jan. 24, is Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. The office of Christian Unity and Interreligious Relationships, part of the Council of Bishops, urges United Methodists to participate. Resources, including posters, daily Scripture, prayer guides, bulletins, pulpit announcements and prayer cards, are available online from the Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute.

United Methodists among faith groups condemning Boko Haram massacre
The United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries, United Methodist General Board of Church and Society, World Methodist Council and World Council of Churches are among faith groups condemning a recent massacre by the Boko Haram in Baga, a small town in Borno State, Nigeria. "We stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters who are building peace in the face of atrocity," said Thomas Kemper, head of Global Ministries, in a statement. Click here for Board of Global Ministries statement. Click here for Board of Church and Society article. Click here for World Methodist Council statement. Click here to read WCC story.

GBCS staff welcomes new members of 114th Congress
As members of the 114th U.S. Congress convened to begin the new term, representatives of the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society (GBCS) ventured out in freezing rain and snow to welcome them. The executives for the denomination's advocacy agency met with both Republicans and Democrats, some United Methodist and some not. More ...

Five years later, Haiti earthquake recovery continues
Five years after the devastating earthquake in Haiti that left more than 200,000 dead and displaced 1.2 million, United Methodists, together with church and nongovernmental partners, continue to work with Haitian communities toward sustainable development. More ...

Ire, joy follow resolution of complaint against Bishop Talbert
The end of the complaint against retired Bishop Melvin Talbert for officiating at a same-sex union has brought comfort to some United Methodists and consternation to others. What it’s likely to bring to General Conference in 2016 is legislation aimed at making sure clergy who officiate at same-gender unions face penalties. More ...

'Chuck Knows Church' introduces 'The Committee'
On Jan. 12, United Methodist Discipleship Ministries (General Board of Discipleship) introduced the pilot of "The Committee," a spinoff of the "Chuck Knows Church" video series. The first regular episode, "The Committee: Hospitality," was released the next day. The new series again features Chuck, who 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. Register now for The Committee's pilot webinar on Jan. 22 ( Go to Facebook ( for the latest news and the website ( to watch and download all episodes. A new episode of the original series of "Chuck Knows Church" will be produced each month. Go to for details.

United Methodist Insurance ends year on upswing
United Methodist Insurance, which provides insurance policies and risk management for local churches and other organizations, reports that its sales have doubled each of its two years of operations. The General Council on Finance and Administration, the denomination's finance agency, owns the insurance company that aims to serve unique United Methodist needs. More ...

Dreamers now eligible for United Methodist college loans
Dreamers — young adults who were unauthorized immigrants brought into the United States as children — are now eligible for United Methodist loans for higher education. The United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry is accepting loan applications until May 5 for spring and summer enrollment. More ...

♦ Excellence in Teaching Colleague Forum - Jan. 24
The Resource Center and the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University will sponsor an Excellence in Teaching Colleague Forum 8 a.m. - 3 p.m Saturday, Jan. 24. The event is designed as a reflective conversation among colleagues led by scholar/facilitator the Rev. Dr. Dori Grinenko Baker. The forum will focus on the theme, “Greenhouses and Old Growth Forests: Leading Toward Redemptive Community.” In keeping with its design, forum participants are asked to read Baker’s edited work, Greenhouses of Hope, and to reflect on some questions (e-mailed upon registration) prior to the event. Registration for the forum, which includes lunch, is $75. Scholarship funds and CEUs are available. Register at For more information, e-mail

♦ United Methodist Day at General Assembly - Feb. 5
The Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe, General Secretary of the General Board of Church and Society, will be the lead speaker at United Methodist Day at the General Assembly on Thursday, Feb. 5. This event, sponsored by the conference Board of Church and Society and conference United Methodist Women, is a unique opportunity for Virginia United Methodists to exercise their calling to witness to their faith by advocating for justice on behalf of the voiceless in our society. Early bird registration deadline is Friday, Jan. 16. Final registration deadline is Friday, Jan. 30. More ...

♦ Lay Servant Academy - Feb. 20-22
Lay Servant Academy will be Feb. 20-22 at the Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center in Blackstone. This year’s Academy will offer 11 of the courses required for becoming or re-certifying as a Lay Servant. (One is required every three years from a list of 22.) Also offered will be five required courses for Lay Speaker qualification, plus 10 exploratory classes that are two or four hours in length and are designed for those interested in a topic and looking for information about the ministry or the full course of study. Theme is “From Members to Disciples.” More ...

La Escuela de “lay Servant” de Virginia, 2015
Si usted es el líder de la junta, el comité de administradores, maestro, líder de la congregación o en el proceso de pasos exigentes para ser un líder siervo. Por favor revise this folleto. Correo electrónico a

♦ 5 Talent Academy - Feb. 21
The 5 Talent Academy teaching event on Saturday, Feb. 21, at Ebenezer UMC in Stafford, will focus on ministry with the poor. Speaker will be Shane Claiborne, author and leader of The Simple Way faith community in inner city Philadelphia. This event will be live streamed from Stafford to nine additional locations across the conference. Individual tickets cost $25 and include lunch. Group discount for team of five is $100. Feb. 5 is registration deadline. Registration is open to all Virginia Conference churches regardless of previous membership or affiliation with the 5 Talent Academy. A .5 CEU is available upon attending. 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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