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To view a 2014 issue of the Virginia Conference e-Advocate, click on the date below:

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

Nov. 21, 2014 - Day of Holy Conversation
Nov. 20, 2014
Nov. 13, 2014
Nov. 6, 2014

Oct. 28, 2014
Oct. 16, 2014
Oct. 10, 2014
Oct. 2, 2014

Sept. 25, 2014
Sept. 18, 2014
Sept. 11, 2014
Sept. 4, 2014

Aug. 28, 2014
Aug. 22, 2014
Aug. 15, 2014
Aug. 7, 2014

July 30, 2014
July 24, 2014
July 17, 2014
July 10, 2014
July 2, 2014

June 24, 2014
June 12, 2014
June 5, 2014

May 29, 2014 - Special Annual Conference edition
May 23, 2014
May 15, 2014
May 8, 2014

April 24, 2014
April 16, 2014
April 10, 2014
April 3, 2014

March 26, 2014
March 20, 2014
March 13, 2014
March 10, 2014
March 5, 2014

Feb. 27, 2014
Feb. 20, 2014
Feb. 17, 2014
Feb. 12, 2014
Feb. 6, 2014

Jan. 30, 2014
Jan. 23, 2014
Jan. 16, 2014
Jan. 9, 2014

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News from the Virginia Conference - July 10, 2014

Martha Stokes announces resignation, effective Aug. 8
Martha Stokes, conference director of Inclusivity and Lay Leadership Excellence, announced this week that she will be resigning her position, effective Aug. 8, in order to accept a position as director of Church and Community Relations with Virginia United Methodist Homes. "While I rejoice with Martha in her new journey," said the Rev. Marc Brown, conference director of Connectional Ministries, "I also grieve because, along with so many others, I depend upon Martha as a trusted and discerning voice of experience and objectivity. Martha has had a great spiritual impact upon our Virginia Conference during her 14-plus years as a member of the Connectional Ministries staff. To appreciate the depth of her faith, I invite you to read her blog, “Walking Martha Home.” Brown said he and Shirley Cauffman, Common Table Personnel Committee chair, will be in communication with the Common Table Personnel Committee regarding the search process for a new director of Inclusivity and Lay Leadership Excellence.

Kingdom Sightings blog features small membership church videos
Those who were present at this year's Annual Conference will recall the times of witness from churches and ministries of various types and sizes across the Virginia Conference. At the request of the Small Church Leadership Team, videos for two of those churches, Norfolk UMC, Elizabeth River District, and Westover UMC, Charlottesville District, have been added to the Kingdom Sightings blog page of the conference website. The Kingdom Sightings blog offers an opportunity to all small membership churches (those with average worship attendance up to 149) to share stories of faith and help one another grow in recognizing the presence of the Kingdom and its grace in unique places and settings across the conference. You will find instructions for how to post a story on the website page:

Videos shown at Annual Conference can be viewed on YouTube
Many of the videos that were shown at Annual Conference can be viewed on the VAUMCvideos YouTube channel, including videos for Imagine No Malaria, Discipleship Circles, The Vine UMC, Westover UMC, Norfolk UMC, Basic UMC and Pace Campus Ministry at Virginia Commonwealth University.

ASL interpreters needed for Mission Encounter
Mission Encounter, to be held July 25-27 and July 28-30 at Blackstone Conference and Retreat Center, is in need of ASL Interpreters. If there are new interpreters out there who would like the experience, Mission Encounter would be happy to use them. For more information, contact Donna Mott at

Virginia woman represents SEJ at Global Young People's Convocation
Rachel Miller, director of Ministries with Young People at Aldersgate UMC in Charlottesville and a member of the Virginia Conference Common Table for Church Vitality, will be among nearly 400 United Methodist youths, young adults and adult leaders from 34 countries at the Global Young People’s Convocation and Legislative Assembly in Tagaytay, Philippines, July 16-20. Miller will be representing the Southeastern Jurisdiction at this quadrennial event organized by the Young People’s Ministries division of the General Board of Discipleship (GBOD). More ...

Virginia missionaries in Sierra Leone report on bed nets distribution
Virginia Conference missionaries Kip and Nancy Robinson in Sierra Leone recently reported that the distribution of 1.3 million bed nets there was one way the “Imagine No Malaria” program is being lived out. Other groups offered support for that distribution, but The United Methodist Church was singled out many times by government and religious leaders, the Robinsons said. “This was just another day to be proud of being a United Methodist,” said Kip Robinson. More ...

Discipleship Circles video available for use in local churches
The Discipleship Circles video that was shown at Annual Conference is available for viewing and for use in local churches. Click here to view the video online. The video is included in Volume 2 of the Annual Conference DVDs being sold by the conference Communications office (see ordering information below). To request a thumb drive with the Discipleship Circles video on it, contact Martha Stokes, conference director of Lay Leadership Excellence, at, (804) 521-1154 or 1-800-768-6040, ext. 154.

You can still order DVDs of Annual Conference
You can still order DVDs of the 2014 Annual Conference session from the conference Communications office. Volume 1 includes the memorial service, ordination, mission worship service and recognition of retirees. Volume 2 includes Bishop Cho's Episcopal Address, Laity Address, report of The Common Table (including Imagine No Malaria presentation and celebration), report on Equipping Vital Congregations (including Discipleship Circles video), Sunday morning closing worship and three Teaching Sessions led by the Rev. Dr. Elmer Colyer. Cost is $22 for Volume 1, $12 for Volume 2 and $30 for both volumes. Click here to order online or call Pam Culler in the Communications office at (804) 521-1110 or 1-800-768-6040, ext. 110.

Virginia Conference raising funds for Imagine No Malaria
Annual Conference members voted to support The United Methodist Church’s Imagine No Malaria initiative by raising enough money in the next year to save at least 100,000 lives. Every church and every United Methodist in the Virginia Conference are urged to take part. Theme is "Every Life Save a Life." You can text "Malaria VA" to 27722 to make a $10 donation and save a life. Contributions also may be sent to the conference Treasurer's office, P.O. Box 5605, Glen Allen, VA 23058. Designate “Imagine No Malaria” on your check or at the bottom of your apportionment statement. If the check is from a church, be sure to indicate the church GCFA number on the check. More ...

$169,741 collected for Annual Conference offering
To date, $169,741 has been received for this year's Annual Conference special offering. Goal is $200,000. Funds will support Imagine No Malaria, Cambodia church construction and Christian education, Mozambique lay leadership and communication training, Brazil Shade and Fresh Water program for street children, mission engagement of Virginia Conference small membership churches, Community Outreach Program in Roanoke, Agape Children’s Center in Horntown on the Eastern Shore, and connection of Virginia Conference churches to Haiti mission projects. Contributions may still be sent to the conference Treasurer's office, P.O. Box 5605, Glen Allen, VA 23058. Designate “Annual Conference Offering” on your check or at the bottom of your apportionment statement. If the check is from a church, be sure to indicate the church GCFA number on the check. More ...

Imagine No Malaria launches new website
Imagine No Malaria has launched an easier-to-use website, providing visitors with a visual introduction to malaria, which claims a life every 60 seconds. The site,, also explains the importance of Imagine No Malaria, a United Methodist initiative, in beating this disease through prevention, communication, trained health workers, improved health facilities and grassroots education. Click here to visit website.

School of Congregational Development registration due July 15
July 15 is the deadline to register for the 2014 School of Congregational Development which will be held Thursday, Aug. 14, through Sunday, Aug. 17, at Matthews UMC, 801 S. Trade St., Matthews, (near Charlotte) N.C. The event is sponsored by the United Methodist boards of Discipleship and Global Ministries. Registration fee is $425. More ...

Satellite School of Congregational Development available in Virginia
This year’s School of Congregational Development (SCD) to be held in Matthews, N.C., Aug. 14-17, is also available as a satellite experience. Three of the satellite sites are in the Virginia Conference — Annandale UMC, Norfolk UMC and Woodlake UMC in Richmond. These will be staff-supported sites with facilitators for guided conversations with ministry teams. Cost is $29 per person. Click here for more information and to register your team. To register directly with one of the Virginia sites: click here to register for Annandale, click here to register for Norfolk, and click here to register for Richmond. New this year, LiveCast is available direct to individuals beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 16. This provides the opportunity for individuals or a small group to watch the sessions at their own locations. Those viewing the Saturday event on their own will be able to participate through a webcast of "Ministry Tracks" by Joe Daniels and Christie Latona on Real Transformation; question and answer session with the presenters; and a diverse panel reflecting on the presentations and helping frame ministry plans of action for local church settings. More ...

Bishop Irons to lead New York area during McLee leave
Retired Bishop Neil Irons will fill in for New York Area Bishop Martin McLee while he is on a leave of up to six months, McLee reported in a July 7 letter to his conference. McLee, who has been ill, said he "will be focusing all of my energies on my healing and recuperating" during the leave. More ...

Complaint filed against 36 pastors for conducting same-sex union
United Methodist Bishop Peggy Johnson, episcopal leader for the Philadelphia Area, said she has received a complaint against the 36 pastors who officiated at the Nov. 9 same-sex union of two men performed at Arch Street United Methodist Church but added the matter is confidential and will be "prayerfully" considered according to church law. More ...

United Methodists find more ways to 'go green'
From solar panels to "green roofs" to geothermal systems, United Methodists across the United States are responding to the call to be faithful stewards of God's good creation. More ...

Presentation editions of hymnals available on flash drive
Cokesbury is taking orders for its new flash drive Presentation Editions of The United Methodist Hymnal, The Faith We Sing and Worship & Song. Advance orders are offered at 30% off plus free shipping. Cokesbury is also offering a 40% discount on Pew Editions. More information and ordering is available on the Cokesbury site at

United Methodists launch Ebola Emergency Response Plan
The United Methodist Church is launching an Ebola Emergency Response Plan in the face of an outbreak of the deadly disease in West Africa. So far, there have been at least 600 cases and 390 deaths across Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia since March 2014. United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is partnering with the Sierra Leone Conference Health Board to provide health facilities with materials to prevent contagion. They also will construct an isolation unit at Mercy Hospital. This will increase the ability of United Methodist health facilities to manage Ebola cases and to reduce the risk of infection to health workers. Your gifts to International Disaster Response, Advance #982450, enable UMCOR to respond to emergencies like this one in Sierra Leone. Please continue to pray for those affected by this outbreak. More ...

New GBOD website mirrors agency mission to provide resources
A completely redesigned website is now making the resources, training events, webinars, books, best practices and networking opportunities provided by the General Board of Discipleship (GBOD) available to church leaders with just the click of a mouse. The new website ( puts into practice GBOD’s mission to “challenge and support local church and annual conference leaders for their task of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” More ...

Chuck Knows Church: Wesleyan Quadrilateral
The Wesleyan Quadrilateral. It's the basis of much of John Wesley's theology, but have you ever heard of it? Can you even spell it? Find out about this important foundation of The United Methodist Church's theology by watching his episode of "Chuck Knows Church," 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 ...

Apply now for grant for aging in poverty ministries
Applications are now available from the Committee on Older Adult Ministries and General Board of Discipleship for grants to help with creative aging in poverty ministries. Eligible local church projects must develop an Aging in Poverty Ministry that provides (1) a program for direct poverty assistance, such as food distribution, or (2) a program for economic education, such as teaching older adults how to appropriately budget the funds they have, or (3) another creative program designed to address the issue of aging in poverty. Click here for an application. Deadline to apply is Aug. 18. E-mail or call 1-877-899-2780, ext. 7177, for more details. More ...

'Festival of Wisdom and Grace' to be July 28-31
The Southeastern Jurisdiction Association of Older Adults will host the “Festival of Wisdom and Grace” conference July 28-31, at Lake Junaluska, N.C. The event includes worship, Bible study, workshops and fellowship. It is designed for older adults, as well as for persons working with older adults in their congregations. For details, contact Jennifer Martin at or (828) 454-6716. More ...

♦ Voices of Youth concerts - July 13-20
Members of the Voices of Youth 2014 “Forward, Upward, Onward, Together” tour will spend time in Nassau, Bahamas, working with Bahamas Methodist Habitat, then return to spread the word through worship and music. Concerts are scheduled for Sunday, July 13, 7 p.m., Arlington District, Herndon UMC, 701 Bennett St., Herndon; Monday, July 14, 7 p.m., Winchester District, Braddock Street UMC, 115 Wolfe St., Winchester; Tuesday, July 15, 7 p.m., Staunton District, Central UMC, 14 North Lewis St., Staunton; Wednesday, July 16, 7 p.m., Lynchburg District, Mount Hermon UMC, 171 Mount Hermon Rd., Lynch Station; Thursday, July 17, 7 p.m., Roanoke District, Raleigh Court UMC, 1706 Grandin Road, Roanoke; Friday, July 18, 7 p.m., Richmond District, Mechanicsville UMC, 7356 Atlee Road, Mechanicsville; Saturday, July 19, 7 p.m., Elizabeth River District, Nimmo UMC, 2200 Princess Anne Rd., Virginia Beach; Sunday, July 20, 11 a.m. worship, York River District, Chestnut Memorial UMC, 1024 Harpersville Road, Newport News; and Sunday, July 20, 6 p.m., James River District, Chester UMC, 12132 Percival St., Chester.

♦ 'Helping Hands' mission for children - July 17-18, 24-25, Aug. 25-26
“Helping Hands” is a two-day mission experience for rising 4th - to 6th-graders, parents and adult leaders. Remaining events will be held: July 17-18 - Marquis Memorial UMC, Staunton (click here for more information); July 24-25 - Woodlake UMC, Chesterfield (click here for more information); and Aug. 25-26 - Springfield UMC, Springfield (click here for more information). Kids can learn about mission opportunities and the importance of being a caring Christian. Cost of $36 per person includes a t-shirt, meals, snacks, mission supplies and overnight stay.

♦ United Methodist Day at Kings Dominion - July 19
Saturday, July 19, will be Virginia Conference Family Fun Day at Kings Dominion amusement park, with discounted tickets to the park available for United Methodists. Cost is $31.99 per person for ages 3 and older. Children ages 2 and under will be admitted free. To purchase tickets online, go to and enter promo code KDUMC14. The special discount tickets will be valid July 18-20. More ...

♦ Mission Encounter - July 25-27, 28-30
Virginia Conference Mission Encounter (formerly known as School of Christian Mission) offers an opportunity for men, women, laity and clergy, youths and children to learn about being partners in God’s global mission and to grow spiritually through study and worship. Weekend session July 25-27 and weekday session July 28-30 will be at Blackstone Conference and Retreat Center. Geographic study is "Roma of Europe." Spiritual Growth study is "How is it with Your Soul?" Issue study is "The Church and People with Disabilities." Children’s study is "Making a New Picture: Welcoming Persons with Disabilities Into Our Lives." Click here for information on weekend session. Click here for information on weekday session.

♦ SERVE: A Missional Exploration for Ministry - Aug. 3-5
An event at Randolph-Macon College Aug 3-5 will help high school students explore a calling to ministry. "SERVE: A Missional Exploration for Ministry" will have a work camp focus and include small groups, Bible study, recreation, special worship services and more. Click here for more information or call Margie Turbyfill at (804) 368-7276 or e-mail The program is co-sponsored by the Bailey Pre-ministerial Program at Randolph-Macon College and the Virginia Conference Board of Ordained Ministry.

♦ Early Response Team training - Aug. 16, 22, 23
Early Response Team (ERT) training for anyone interested in disaster ministries will be held 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 16, at Trinity UMC, 903 Forest Ave., Henrico. Cost is $55 (includes background check, t-shirt, badge, manual, snacks and lunch). To register, e-mail Michele Michaelian at Deadline to register is Aug. 2.
     ERT Recertification Class for anyone who currently has an ERT badge that is ready to expire will be 6 - 10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 22, at St. John's UMC, 2709 Greendale Ave., Norfolk. Cost is $40 (includes background check, t-shirt, snacks) Contact Michele Michaelian at with any questions about this class. Deadline to register is Aug. 8.
     ERT Basic Training will be held 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 23, at St. John's UMC, 2709 Greendale Ave., Norfolk. Cost is $55 (includes background check, t-shirt, badge, manual, snacks and lunch). To register, e-mail Michele Michaelian at Deadline to register is Aug. 8.

♦ 5 Talent Academy 'Evangelism, Communication and Church Growth' event - Oct. 4
Registration is now open for the 5 Talent Academy "Evangelism, Communication and Church Growth" event 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 4, at Floris UMC in Herndon and broadcast to nine additional locations across the conference. Maria Dixon Hall, associate professor of Organizational Communication at Southern Methodist University, will explore evangelism through the lens of solid and fruitful communication practices. Registration is open to all Virginia Conference churches regardless of affiliation with the 5 Talent Academy. Visit to register. Registration is $25 per person and includes lunch.

♦ 'Lord, Teach Me to Pray' - Oct. 25
"Lord, Teach Me to Pray — Practical Applications for Prayer" will be offered again Saturday, Oct. 25, at St. Thomas UMC, Manassas (Click here to register). Main speaker will be Dr. Wendy Miller, professor emeritus of Spiritual Formation at Eastern Mennonite Seminary and adjunct faculty at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill., and Perkins School of Theology in Dallas. Click here to download a flyer. NOTE: The event originally scheduled for Aug. 23 at Williamsburg UMC has been cancelled because the keynote speaker has a scheduling conflict.

♦ 'The Good Race' - Nov. 15
Clergy and laity are invited to join other United Methodists in "The Good Race," a day of participation and celebration as they walk or run the Anthem Richmond 8K, Half-Marathon or Marathon on Saturday, Nov. 15. Information about these races can be found at Or contact Steve Jones at or Allie Rosner at Or join the Facebook Group “The Good Race.”

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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