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Dec. 18, 2014
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Nov. 21, 2014 - Day of Holy Conversation
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News from the Virginia Conference - Jan. 30, 2014

Apportionment giving percentages increased in 2013
Virginia Conference United Methodists paid a higher percentage of their apportionment askings in 2013 than they have in the two previous years, according to the conference Treasurer’s office. But the conference took in about $50,000 less than it did in 2012 because it asked for fewer apportionment dollars from the churches. 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 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 info@hearthavens.org.

Bishop Cho urges support for Heart Havens
"February has been established as Heart Havens Month, the time to renew our commitment and consider those living with disabilities," said Bishop Young Jin Cho. "It was only 18 years ago that we, the United Methodists here in Virginia, established Heart Havens as a ministry of the Virginia Conference. God provided us a vision of inclusivity and independence and unconditional love for our brothers and sisters with intellectual disabilities. Please remember them by including them in your prayers throughout the month of February."
Prayer for Heart Havens
      God of Creation and God of Love: We thank you that you created us, male and female, and all in your image. We give you thanks and praise that you sent Jesus Christ who demonstrated to us your unreserved love in His life and ministry. Thank you for calling us to love our neighbors and to be in ministry with our brothers and sisters who have intellectual disabilities. By your grace, Loving Lord, empower us to take part in ministry with our brothers and sisters who reside in our Heart Havens homes, through our prayers, our presence, our gifts, our service and our witness. Bless those who staff these homes and all who give of their heart, so that our brothers and sisters with intellectual disabilities may have a place they can call home. We pray this in the name of the one who loved us all the way to the cross, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

February is Black History Month
February is Black History Month. The General Board of Discipleship has music and worship resources.

Conference equips, connects local churches for ministry
The mission of the Virginia Conference is to equip local churches for ministry and provide connections for ministry beyond the local church. The Rev. Marc Brown, director of Connectional Ministries, reports on some of the ways conference staff and boards and agencies did that recently. http://vaumc.org/MinistriesatWork

Applications due Feb. 24 for Youth Service Fund grants
Applications are now being accepted for 2014 Youth Service Fund grants to support youth programs or youth mission projects. Grants generally range from $200 to $1,500. Click here to download a 2014 application, and click here for application guidelines. Applications should be e-mailed to Becky Tate at beckytate@vaumc.org by Monday, Feb. 24. For more information, contact the Rev. Derrick Parson, director of Ministries with Young People, at derrickparson@vaumc.org, or Becky Tate at (804) 521-1139, 1-800-768-6040, ext. 139, or beckytate@vaumc.org. More …

Show love on Valentine's Day with gift to Global AIDS Fund
Global AIDS FundAs Feb. 14 approaches there is much love in the air, the smell of fresh flowers and chocolates to be bought. But for many around the world, Valentine’s Day is just another day on the calendar. In the United States, “three- fourths of HIV-positive Americans are still not getting the care and medications they need,” according to Bill Hardy, president and CEO of AIDS Resource Center in Dayton, Ohio. This Valentine’s Day, instead of buying a gift for your significant other or loved ones, consider giving a gift to the United Methodist Global AIDS Fund, Advance #982345. Click here to donate. For more information, go to www.umglobalaidsfund.com.

Judicial Council releases April docket
The United Methodist Judicial Council has released the docket for its April 23-25 meeting in Little Rock, Ark. In the five-item docket, the council will review bishops’ decisions of law on issues including a marriage equality resolution and a lesbian clergy candidate, along with a request for a “declaratory decision” about providing same-gender spouse benefits from the denomination’s finance agency. More ...

Bishop asks for prayers after D.C.-area mall shooting
“A deep sense of tragedy hangs in the air,” Bishop Marcus Matthews of the Baltimore-Washington Conference wrote as he called for prayers in the wake of last weekend's shooting at the Mall in Columbia, a few miles from the Conference Mission Center. "I find myself lamenting the lack of progress being made in our nation to end gun violence." More ...

Garvin named acting dean of chapel at Emory University
The Rev. Lisa Garvin, associate dean of the chapel and religious life at Emory University, has been named acting dean of the chapel and religious life, effective Feb. 7. The Rev. Susan Henry-Crowe, who was dean, resigned to become the new top executive of the General Board of Church and Society. More ...

Churches reap benefits when members shop online
UMCmarket.org, launched by the General Council on Finance and Administration, in six months raised around $49,000 for local churches and other United Methodist organizations. The online service is designed for United Methodists to shop at hundreds of retailers and have a percentage of their total shopping purchase donated to the local church or other church organizations of their choice. More ...

New group aims to find way to live in 'divided church'
The Wesleyan Covenant Network, a new United Methodist group, is forming with the aim of advancing “the Kingdom of Christ,” despite the denomination’s growing divisions over homosexuality. In practice, group members say, this means committing to mutual accountability, evangelism and upholding the United Methodist doctrine. More ...

Chuck Knows Church: Disciples
What's your definition of "disciples"? Can you name all 12? Are you one? These questions and more will be answered by Chuck on this his 62nd 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 www.ChuckKnowsChurch.com 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 ...

These cultural trends can affect church communications
You likely already know about the rise of videos and images in church communications. Gavin Richardson outlines for United Methodist Communications four other cultural trends and their possible impact on sharing the good news. More ...

Lake Junaluska Peace Conference to be March 27-30
Feb. 15 is the early registration deadline for Lake Junaluska Peace Conference, “Faith, Health and Peace: Seeking the Basic Right to Good Health for All God’s Children,” to be held Thursday-Sunday, March 27-30, at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center in Lake Junaluska, N.C. Partial student scholarships are available. More ...

♦ United Methodist Day at General Assembly - Feb. 6
United Methodist Day at the General Assembly will be Thursday, Feb. 6. This annual event, sponsored by the Board of Church and Society and Virginia Conference United Methodist Women, is an opportunity to help faith communities become empowered to serve as missionaries of justice as well as the more traditional missionaries of mercy. Cost is $35 per person. Registration deadline is Jan. 31. More ...

♦ Cultivating Young Leaders - Feb. 7-9
A professional development opportunity for adults who work with young people (youths, young adults, college students) will be offered Feb. 7-9 at Camp Overlook in Keezletown. Cost is $140 (double room). More ...

♦ 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 info@resourcingchurches.com.

♦ 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 eight different 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 charlesdog1@cox.net 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 www.vwc.edu/ces 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 Advocate@vaumc.org. For information about the Virginia Conference and resources for ministry, visit the Virginia Conference website at www.vaumc.org


 

 

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