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News from the Virginia Conference - Jan. 27, 2015

Virginia Conference saves nearly 38,000 lives from malaria
As of Jan. 20, Virginia Conference United Methodists have raised $377,340 and saved 37,734 lives for Imagine No Malaria since Annual Conference voted to save 100,000+ lives. Read stories posted on the conference Imagine No Malaria Facebook page and the conference website about churches and individuals raising money to save lives. Only $10 will save a life. "Every Life can Save a Life." For more information, contact Maria Maxwell, Virginia Conference Imagine No Malaria field coordinator, at (804) 521-1160 or

Spread a little PJ love on Valentine's Day and save lives
Spread a little PJ Love this Valentine’s Day when you give your special someone a gift that brings sweet dreams to life! Select from comfy, snuggly sleepwear, available in multiple colors and two styles. Whether you purchase one pair or enough for the entire family, 100% of your purchase supports The United Methodist Church’s Imagine No Malaria initiative. If you order these special gifts that help fight malaria, be sure to indicate the Virginia Conference and the name of your local church. More ...

Virginia Conference leaders speak to Lay Servant Ministries directors
Several Virginia Conference clergy and laity leaders spoke to more than 65 conference and district Lay Servant Ministries directors from around the nation who attended the annual gathering of the Association of Conference Directors of Lay Servant Ministries (ACDLSM) Jan 22-25 in Williamsburg. More ...

Video on Ministers' Convocation posted on YouTube
A short video about this year's Ministers' Convocation was prepared by Nick Ruxton, videographer in the conference Communications office, and posted on the conference YouTube page. Click here to view the video.

Feb. 1 is Disability Awareness Sunday
Sunday, Feb. 1, 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 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. 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 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, or 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.

United Methodist Women huddle to fight human trafficking
This Sunday, Feb. 1, is the Super Bowl. And like any big sporting event, a game like this intensifies the space where human trafficking can occur. That’s why United Methodist Women asked its members to join the "Intercept the Traffickers" photo campaign and huddle together to raise awareness of human trafficking. The powerful photos of United Methodist Women groups huddling to end trafficking will all be part of a virtual huddle around the Super Bowl stadium in Phoenix. This campaign is just one part of United Methodist Women’s ongoing work to end human trafficking. You can still join other United Methodist Women members in the huddle. See the many photos that United Methodist Women groups have sent to Flickr, Facebook and Twitter. Then, share your own. More ...

Super Bowl teams' fans compete to help hungry
United Methodists on U.S. both coasts are turning the Super Bowl into a food fight. The Pacific Northwest Conference, home of the Seattle Seahawks, and the New England Conference, home of the Patriots, are competing to see who will collect the most canned goods and donations for local food pantries. Read New England Conference story and Read Pacific Northwest Conference story

Young adult mission programs accepting applications
Young adults ages 18-30 who are interested in short-term service can apply to be a Global Justice Volunteer. Small teams of volunteers spend eight weeks during the months of June through August exploring the links between faith and social justice as they work with local grassroots organizations around the world. Application deadline is Feb. 1. Global Mission Fellows, a two-year mission service program for young adults ages 20-30, is also now accepting applications. The program includes the US-2 track, a 24-month service program for Americans who are called to serve in the United States, and the International track, a 25-month service program for young adults all across the globe who are called to serve in another country. Priority date for submission is Jan. 31 and final application deadline is March 31.

Council of Bishops to take up global nature of church
When the Council of Bishops meets in Berlin in May one of the topics of conversation likely will be the Global Book of Discipline, being developed at the request of the 2012 General Conference. The council's executive committee got a preview of this and other church issues when it met this month. More ...

Chuck Knows Church SUB-Committee: The Sign
The SUB-Committee: The Sign. Mr. Riley thinks he has the answer to all of Park Grove's problems: a new sign. SUB-committee videos are just for fun, but with a tiny teaching element thrown in. They are part of "The Committee," a new series from the producers of Chuck Knows Church. Park Grove Community Church has lost its pastor and is closing its doors, unless it reinvents itself, despite itself ... with the help of Chuck. A free webinar on "The Committee - Hospitality" will be 2 p.m. EST Thursday, Feb. 5. Click here to register for this free webinar. Go to Chuck's Facebook page for the latest news and the Chuck Knows Church website to watch and download all episodes.

Five ways to increase giving in your church
Money can be a touchy subject, especially when we start talking about how churches can increase donations. However, the reality is that people want to give. Here are suggestions from United Methodist Communications to encourage generosity. More ...

Clergy health research survey planned
The United Methodist Board of Pension and Health Benefits is gearing up for its biennial clergy health survey in February. A cross-section of 4,000 active United Methodist clergy will receive a brief online survey. The resulting data will help the denomination learn more about its clergy's well-being. More ...

2015 ushers in hope for ending Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone
The new year comes with fresh hope of ending the Ebola epidemic in Sierra Leone, as the daily report of new cases now is sometimes in the single digits instead of hundreds. More ...

Training for multiethnic church planting to be Feb. 25-26 in Texas
Training to help congregations learn how to become successful multiethnic places of worship and to help church planters establish new multiethnic churches will be provided at a special two-day program next month in Texas. The Multiethnic Church Planting Training is designed for church planters, potential planters, church leaders in transitioning neighborhoods and conference leaders. It will be hosted Feb. 25-26 in San Antonio by New Church Starts (Path 1), a division of Discipleship Ministries. More ...

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♦ 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. Registration deadline is Friday, Jan. 30. More ...

♦ Vacation Bible School Curriculum Fair - Feb. 13-14
The Resource Center will hold its 2015 Vacation Bible School (VBS) Curriculum Fair 1-6 p.m. Friday, Feb. 13, and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 14, at The Resource Center offices, 4th floor of Kingsley Hall on the campus of Virginia Union University, 1500 N. Lombardy St., Richmond, VA 23220. (Preview day is 1-5 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 12.) Discounts will be offered on Cokesbury products and Group items. Free shipping on orders placed onsite. For more information, call (804) 358-8306 or e-mail More ...

♦ 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. 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 ...

♦ 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 ...

♦ Bishop's Convocation on Prayer - 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. 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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