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News from the Virginia Conference - Jan. 8, 2016

Virginia Conference churches save 103,007+ lives from malaria
Virginia Conference churches ended 2015 by raising $1,030,070.56 for Imagine No Malaria, saving more than 103,007 lives and further exceeding the goal of raising $1 million to save 100,000+ lives from malaria, a preventable and treatable disease. The United Methodist Church, as a whole, is 90% of the way to our denomination's goal of raising $75 million for Imagine No Malaria. More ...

Conference videographer introduces 'Through the Lens' blog
Nick Ruxton, Virginia Conference videographer, is now writing a blog. Called "Through the Lens," the blog appears on the Virginia Conference website and will feature Nick's views of the mission, ministry and anything else interesting he sees around him as he travels the conference. In his first blog, he looks back at 2015 with a list of last year's five most popular videos and the top five news articles from the conference Communications office. Click here to view blog.

Monday is Human Trafficking Awareness Day
Monday, Jan. 11, is Human Trafficking Awareness Day. United Methodist Women offers both information and resources to take action against modern-day slavery. More ....

UMVIM teams needed in South Carolina, New Jersey
Several churches in the Virginia Conference are preparing to take United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) teams to South Carolina to help with recovery from the historic floods of last October. If you are a team leader and would like to register your team with the United Methodist Church Disaster Recovery in South Carolina, contact Chelsey Faircloth at or (803) 786-9486. In addition, the New Jersey Conference continues to invite teams to help with Sandy recovery through their A Future With Hope effort. If your church is sending a short-term mission team to serve in South Carolina, New Jersey or anywhere around the world, you are asked to notify Forrest White, Virginia Conference UMVIM coordinator, at (804) 938-1026 or He will share the information on the Virginia Conference UMVIM Facebook page.

Applications still open for 2016 Voices of Youth tour to Taizé, France
The 2016 Voices of Youth (VOY) tour, "Be Still and Know," will be July 9-30. Following orientation, group building and rehearsal, the choir will travel to France. After a short stop in Paris for some sightseeing, the group will go to Taizé to participate in a week-long pilgrimage of worship and contemplation. Choir members will stay at the monastery of the brothers of Taizé and immerse themselves in the Taizé style of worship and musical meditation. Choir members will then return to Virginia to present worship experiences in host churches throughout the conference. Deadline to register has been extended to Jan. 15. For applications and more information, go to or contact the Rev. Rebecca Minor, VOY coordinator, at (757) 870-8265 or VOY is a Virginia Conference three-week mission experience for high school students with a passion for mission and a love of music.

Missionary from Chile available to speak in churches
John Elmore, a General Board of Global Ministries missionary assigned to the Methodist Church of Chile as a mission volunteer coordinator, will be visiting churches across Virginia that are supporting him and/or have sent mission teams to Chile, and is eager to make more contacts to share about God's mission in Chile. He still has a few open dates available: Jan. 21 or 22 in the Tidewater area; Feb. 8, 9, 10 (Ash Wednesday) or 11 in the Northern/Central area; Feb. 15 or 16 in the Richmond area. If you would like to invite John to visit your church for a small or larger group, evening or daytime,contact Ann Klotz, Virginia Conference Missionary Itineration Coordinator, at

Sunday, Jan. 17, is Human Relations Day
Sunday, Jan. 17, is Human Relations Day, one of six churchwide Special Sundays with offerings for The United Methodist Church. Human Relations Day strengthens United Methodist outreach to communities in the United States and Puerto Rico, encouraging social justice and work with at-risk youths. More ...

Monday, Jan. 18, is Martin Luther King Day
Monday, Jan. 18, is Martin Luther King Day. United Methodist Discipleship Ministries offers resources for celebrating the life of the famed civil rights leader and minister.

James Forbes to speak at VICPP 'Day for All People' on Jan. 20
The Rev. Dr. James Forbes, one of the top preachers in America, will be keynote speaker at the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy (VICPP) “Day for All People” on Wednesday, Jan. 20. The day-long advocacy event will offer participants the opportunity to talk with their delegates and senators about important issues at the start of the General Assembly’s 2016 session. The event will begin at the Claude G. Perkins Living and Learning Center on the campus of Virginia Union University in Richmond and then move to the General Assembly on Capitol Square. After visiting with legislators, participants will move back to Virginia Union University to hear Dr. Forbes speak, followed by a panel discussion. More ...

Applications due Feb. 1 for Calling 21 internships
If you know a college student who may be discerning a call to ministry, now is the time to encourage them to apply for a Calling 21 summer ministry internship. Applications are due Feb. 1. For more information, go to or e-mail

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 will be 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

Tim Bias abruptly departs as head of Discipleship Ministries
United Methodist Discipleship Ministries and the Rev. Tim Bias jointly announced Jan. 5 that he was no longer the agency's general secretary, effective Dec. 31, 2015. The reasons for his abrupt departure remain unclear, but he and the agency's board president clarified on Wednesday, Jan. 6, that no misconduct was involved. More ...

Search continues for higher education executive
The United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry is continuing the search for an associate general secretary of the Division of Higher Education. Last year, the agency announced that the Rev. Edward Roslof, senior director of the MIT-Skoltech Initiative at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Russia, would take the post. However, after a period of prayer and discernment, Roslof and his family decided to remain in Russia, according to Ebony Lincoln, the agency's director of communications. View job posting

Connectional Table launches online forum on world-wide nature of church
The Connectional Table, a coordinating body in The United Methodist Church, is launching the newest topic in the #CTTalks online forum. The forum is a series of videos and social media conversations around key topics related to the 2016 General Conference. January features a month-long series on the worldwide nature of The United Methodist Church. The #CTTalks conversation is designed to be used by delegations and annual conferences as they study and discuss issues that will be addressed at General Conference 2016. An accompanying one-page conversation starter is available for delegates to use to continue the dialogue. The videos and the handout will be available on the Connectional Table website at More ...

GCORR to host online 'Vital Conversation' on racism Jan. 13
Join the United Methodist General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR) in a Vital Conversation on Wednesday, Jan. 13, at 9 p.m. ET with Dr. Philip Klinkner as he explores the continued struggles in American race relations. Klinkner is a political scientist, blogger and author who is noted for his work on American politics, especially political parties and elections, race and American politics and American political history. He is currently the James S. Sherman Professor of Government at Hamilton College in Central New York. In his most recent book, The Unsteady March, Klinkner and his coauthor, Rogers Smith, argue America's record of race relations cannot be categorized as consistent, gradual advancement towards equality but rather as a series of dramatic moments where multiple factors aligned to advance or hinder progress. The book was winner of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute's Horace Mann Bond Book Award and was named a semifinalist for the 2000 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award. Click here to register to participate. The presentation will begin at 9 p.m. ET and will be followed by a live conversation with Dr. Klinkner, where you can ask questions and engage in the discussion.

‘Chicks Know Church’ connects women in ministry
In response to the popular Discipleship Ministries series "Chuck Knows Church," four clergywomen in the Yellowstone Conference have come together to offer "Chicks Know Church," an online forum to share inspiration and insight on ministry from a female perspective. More ...

Kansas pastor comes out as lesbian during sermon
The Rev. Cynthia Meyer came out to her Kansas congregation during her Jan. 3 sermon in this year's first public action aimed at influencing the 2016 General Conference. Her announcement that she's a lesbian comes as United Methodists across the theological spectrum gear up for the denomination's top lawmaking assembly, where the church's stance on homosexuality usually sparks debate. More ...

Contest seeks submissions on outstanding men's ministries
The Commission on United Methodist Men is inviting submissions to the second annual U.S. contest for the most outstanding local church, district and conference ministries to men. Deadline is Feb. 1. More ...

♦ UMVIM Team Leader Training - Jan. 16
United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) Team Leader Training, required for all first-time UMVIM team leaders, will be held Saturday, Jan. 16, 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at Bethany UMC, 2772 Bethany Rd., Rustburg, in the Lynchburg District. 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, Jan. 11. More ...

♦ Resource Center Teaching Excellence Colleague Forum - Jan. 23
The Resource Center will hold its second annual Teaching Excellence Colleague Forum 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 23, on the campus of Virginia Union University in Richmond. This event will bring together the region’s most capable and thoughtful Christian educators for a one-day forum based in evocative scholarship to wrestle with its implications for our work in faith formation across generations. Presenter will be Dr. Leah Gunning Francis, assistant professor of Christian Education and associate dean for Contextual Education at Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Mo. Participants are expected to be experienced Christian educators, lay teachers, or pastors who will bring their insight and experience to be shared during the forum. Cost for the day is $60 with lunch and breaks included. Early bird discount registration is $50 until Dec. 31. The Resource Center, an ecumenical agency headquartered in Richmond, has been designated by the Virginia Conference Common Table as the official media center to help Virginia Conference congregations find and use audiovisual and other resources. More ...

♦ UMVIM Team Leader Training - Jan. 30
United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) Team Leader Training, required for all first-time UMVIM team leaders, will be held 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 30, at Burke UMC, 6200 Burke Centre Pkwy., Burke, Alexandria District. 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, Jan. 25. More ...

♦ UMVIM Team Leader Recertification - Jan. 30
United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) Team Leader Recertification training will be offered 4-6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 30, at Burke UMC, 6200 Burke Centre Pkwy., Burke, Alexandria District. This training is required for all UMVIM team leaders who completed basic team leader training five years ago or longer. Focus of this training is to update leaders on Virginia Conference UMVIM policies and guidelines, to share best practices, and to answer any questions. At least five participants are needed to offer this training. A $25 registration fee is payable when you register. Note: This fee does not cover an optional team leader handbook, which will be available for purchase ($20) at the training, or the new A Mission Journey book, which is available through Cokesbury. A meal will not be provided. All registrations must be in the office of Justice and Missional Excellence by noon Monday, Jan. 25. More ...

♦ United Methodist Day at the General Assembly - Feb. 4
United Methodist Day at the General Assembly, an annual event sponsored by the conference Board of Church and Society and Virginia Conference United Methodist Women, is an opportunity for faith communities to serve as missionaries of justice as well as the more traditional missionaries of mercy. Participants will gather Thursday, Feb. 4, at 7 a.m. at Bon Air UMC, 1645 Buford Rd., Richmond, for registration and breakfast and then travel together on buses to the General Assembly and Capitol Square where they will attend committee hearings and meet with legislators in order to advocate for social justice. At 12:30 p.m. participants will return to Bon Air UMC for lunch followed by speakers and discussion. The $25 early bird price is available until Jan. 15. Registration increases to $35 on Jan. 16. Final registration deadline is Jan. 29. Space is limited to 300 persons. More ...

♦ Clergy Ethics II Training - Feb. 18
All clergy and 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. 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 ...

♦ 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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