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News from the Virginia Conference - July 12, 2016

SEJ Conference to elect, assign bishops July 13-15
Five bishops will be elected at this year’s Southeastern Jurisdictional (SEJ) Conference to be held July 13-15 at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center in western North Carolina. The new bishops will replace five bishops who are retiring from active service. Thirteen clergy have been nominated by their respective delegations or other bodies to be considered as candidates for bishop. (The Rev. Ted Smith was endorsed by the Virginia Conference.) Jurisdictional Conference will also assign bishops to lead each of the 15 conferences in the jurisdiction, including the Virginia Conference, for the 2016-2020 quadrennium. Those assignments will be announced Thursday evening, July 14. The Virginia Conference is sending a 44-member delegation (half clergy and half laity) to Jurisdictional Conference. Jurisdictional Conference will begin at 9 a.m. Wednesday, July 13, with opening worship and will end on Friday, July 15, with the Service of Consecration for newly elected episcopal leaders. Click here to watch live streaming of the conference. More ...

3 Communications staff members to report from Jurisdictional Conference
Linda Rhodes, conference director of Communications; Madeline Pillow, Advocate editor and news associate; and Nick Ruxton, conference videographer, will attend the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference July 13-15 in Lake Junaluska. They will be reporting on the Virginia Conference delegation and the election and assignment of bishops. Watch for e-Advocate reports, articles and pictures on the conference website, blog posts, video features and Facebook, Instagram and Twitter posts. To follow their coverage, go to the conference website at, the conference YouTube channel at, the conference Facebook page at, the conference Twitter feed at, and the conference Instagram page at You can watch live streaming of the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference at Streaming will begin at 9 a.m. Wednesday, July 13, with opening worship and will end on Friday, July 15, with the Service of Consecration for newly elected episcopal leaders, scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. To follow or participate in conversations about Jurisdictional Conference on social media, use hashtags #sejumc16 and #VAUMC.

SEJ bishops to hold prayer vigil
In a faithful response to the recent tragedies, the bishops of the Southeastern Jurisdiction will hold a Conference Hope and Unity Prayer Vigil at 9 p.m. Tuesday, July 12, in the Nanci Weldon Gym at Lake Junaluska.

Hunter Mabry, social justice activist, dies at age 82
The Rev. Hunter P. Mabry, 82, died on Saturday, July 9, after a long struggle with chronic radiation damage to his intestinal tract many years ago. Desiring to help train persons to become pastors, he completed his Ph.D. in Sociology of Religion and Social Ethics at the Boston University School of Theology in 1969 and over the next 25 years served on the faculty of the United Theological College, Bangalore, under the sponsorship of The United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) where he helped to train students at the B.D., M.Th. and D.Th levels. His published writings include Christian Ethics, An Introductory Reader, The Christian Clergy in India, Vol. 1, Social Structure and Social Roles, and Manual for Researchers and Writers. After his retirement from GBGM in 1996, he devoted much of his time and energy to volunteerism. He was one of the founders of the Virginia Chapter of the Methodist Federation for Social Justice and of the Augusta Coalition for Peace and Justice. He participated actively in other social justice established organizations such as Virginians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty and Virginia Organizing, and he initiated actions on issues such as restoration of voting rights and opening of job opportunities to ex-felons who have paid their debt to society. A memorial service will be held at 6 p.m. Saturday, July 16, at the Jesus the Redeemer Church, 1501 Hollins Rd NE, Roanoke, Va. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to the Virginia Chapter of the Methodist Federation for Social Action. Checks payable to “VA MFSA” may be sent to Pat Shipley, Treasurer, 3031 Grayland Ave., Richmond, VA 23221-3525. Condolences may be sent to Dr. Esther Galima Mabry and family at 1009 Old Country Club Road, Apt. 329, Roanoke, VA 24017.

Conference Board of Church and Society issues statement about recent shootings
The Virginia Conference Board of Church and Society issued the following statement: "In the wake of the recent shooting deaths of two black men by police and the deaths of Dallas police officers killed by a sniper, we mourn with the families of the many victims. The victims are all God's children and their lives are sacred. Let us pray that they have not died in vain but that this will lead to a national reexamination of police training and practices. The images of so many black men being shot in questionable situations are seared in our memories. These images affect many of us viscerally so we can understand the anger and rage many feel. At the same time, we deplore the violent and indiscriminate retaliation against police officers which only deflects attention away from the the need for policing reforms. The attacks on police officers also make them feel even more vulnerable, making deescalation more difficult. With other people of good will, we renew our efforts to work for justice, which is the only way to heal the continuing wounds of our history of racial oppression." The statement is signed by Jaydee Hanson, Board of Church and Society chair; the Rev. John Copenhaver, Peace and Non-Violence Work Area chair; the Rev. James Page, Ending Poverty Work Area chair; and Samantha Wilds, Caretakers of God's Creation Work Area chair.

Credit Union offers line of credit to fund educational expenses
Virginia United Methodist Credit Union (VUMCU) is offering SnapLoan, an educational funding line of credit available to help fill the gap after scholarships, subsidized federal student loans and college savings accounts have been exhausted. Structured as a low fixed-rate line of credit, funds can be drawn whenever they are needed, subject to annual limits. Funds can be used for any education-related expense, even study abroad. Fixed rate is 5.45% APR for students attending any accredited college or university. Fixed rate is 4.95% APR for students attending seminary or Virginia United Methodist-affiliated school. Visit or call (804) 672-0200 for details or to apply. All loans are subject to approval, and credit restrictions apply. Applicants must be VUMCU members.

Communications office selling DVD honoring Bishop Cho
The conference Communications office is selling a DVD honoring Bishop Young Jin Cho. The DVD will include Bishop Cho's Episcopal Address at the 2016 Annual Conference session, his sermon at the 2016 Annual Conference closing worship service and the 2016 Annual Conference celebration of his ministry (including the video highlighting his ministry that was shown as part of that celebration). Cost is $10. Deadline to order is July 25. To order DVDs, go to to order online, or call Pam Culler in the Communications office at (804) 521-1110 or 1-800-768-6040, ext. 110.

United Methodist-supported interns flee rally where police shot
United Methodists joined in the anguished response to the killing of five police officers in Dallas. ‘Embolden us to understand and act’. Some 20 interns in the United Methodist-funded Project Transformation program were at the Black Lives Matter rally in downtown Dallas when the shootings occurred. The students were unharmed, but trapped downtown until two United Methodist pastors used a church van to get them back to Southern Methodist University. More ...

No pause by conferences on sexuality debate
The agreement reached at General Conference 2016 didn’t inspire compliance among the denomination’s conferences as some pledged ‘non-conformity’ with the church’s stance on LGBTQ people. Kathy Gilbert has a roundup of various actions from annual conference meetings.More ...

Volunteers needed for disaster response in five conferences
In recent weeks, Southeastern Jurisdiction (SEJ) United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) received a high number of requests for volunteers to assist with disaster response. Congregations are urged to pray about how to meet any of these needs. Feel free to contact the SEJ UMVIM office at (205) 453-9480 or if you have questions regarding how The United Methodist Church responds to natural disasters, and how you can join the effort.
♦ NEW JERSEY - A Future With Hope (AFWH) is a United Methodist ministry that was formed in the wake of Superstorm Sandy. Thanks to the help of dedicated volunteers, in the three and a half years since Superstorm Sandy, A Future With Hope and over 11,000 volunteers around the country have helped nearly 1,400 people on the road to recovery by case managing these families, providing direct assistance dollars and rebuilding 237 homes to date. However, the work is not complete. Thousands of people still struggle to recover, are in complicated situations, and in many cases, have lost hope. Now is the time for us to go deeper by providing hope to people who have none. Volunteers are in great need for this summer, fall and winter. To partner with A Future With Hope, contact the AFWH helpline at (732) 359-1012. For more information, visit
MISSISSIPPI - The state of Mississippi saw multiple rounds of torrential rains that fell almost continuously March 9 through March 14. These prolonged torrential rains resulted in widespread flash flooding and river flooding across the region. Floodwaters damaged homes, businesses, and closed many primary and secondary roads across the state. The need is great. There are families still outside their homes, while other families are in their homes though being forced to live with mold; they have no insurance, no more financial assistance. There are households of elderly couples, left to do all the work by themselves. Assistance is needed in the following locations: Greenville, MS/Washington County (needs volunteers for muck outs and repairs, mostly sheetrock, flooring, some roofing); Sunflower County (needs volunteers for repairs); and Clarksdale, MS/Quitman and Coahoma Counties (needs volunteers for repairs, sheetrock, flooring, roofing). For more information, contact Mellie Jordan at
CENTRAL TEXAS - Central Texas Conference needs trained Early Response Teams from other conferences and jurisdictions to help with flooding in their area. They are currently working in the cities of Granbury and Cisco. For more information, contact the Rev. Laraine Waughtal at or Sheryl Crumrine at If you are ready to register your team, click here.
ALABAMA-WEST FLORIDA - Certified chain saw operators and roof tarpers are requested for one-day shifts, any Monday-Saturday in Century, Fla., located one hour north of Pensacola. Several properties need large trees, stumps and debris cleared so demolition can begin. Additionally, there are several homes with leaking tarps that need replacement until new roofs can be installed. Contact Lynn Dobry, Florida Recovery Team coordinator, at
VIRGINIA - The Virginia Conference invites teams from around the Southeastern Jurisdiction to come help with long-term recovery in areas affected by the Feb. 24 tornado outbreak. There are open weeks this summer and throughout the fall. For additional information or to schedule your team, contact Forrest White, Long-Term Recovery manager and UMVIM coordinator for the Virginia Conference, at
To learn more about UMVIM and SEJ's Disaster Response opportunities, click here.

♦ UMCOR Emotional and Spiritual Care training - July 14
United Methodist Comittee on Relief (UMCOR) Emotional and Spiritual Care training will be offered next Thursday, July 14, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Waverly UMC, 138 Coppahaunk Ave., Waverly. Cost is $40 and includes a background check, materials and badge. (Lunch will be provided at additional cost.) If the person has had a background check through the conference within the last year, cost is $30. This training will teach how to be of assistance to survivors of disaster without having to be heavily involved in construction. To sign up (by July 13) or for more info, email Ellen Comstock, UMCOR Emotional and Spiritual Care trainer, at

♦ 2 Days 2 Serve for high school youths - July 22-23
"2 Days 2 Serve" will be held July 22-23 at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland to help high school youths examine God's call, whether they are feeling called to be teachers, scientists, artists, pastors, social workers, public servants or something entirely new and different. This event offers four hands-on experiences requiring different skills and gifts, each experience followed by a time of reflection and discernment. This is an opportunity to stretch, to try new things, and to learn a new way of listening for God's call. Cost is $20, including meals and one night lodging at R-MC. Sign up with the conference office of Clergy Excellence at More ...

♦ Small Church Pastor Training - July 23
All VAUMC pastors of small congregations (149 or fewer in worship) are invited to a day of training and conversation 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, July 23, at Chamberlayne Heights UMC in Richmond. “From Strength to Strength: Asset-based Ministry” is designed to help encourage and equip small church pastors to lead their congregations. The Rev. Dr. Lynne Caldwell, pastor of Brookland UMC, Richmond, and member of the faculty for Practical Theology at The Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology, will be keynote speaker and facilitator. More ...

♦ Mission Encounter - July 29-31
Mission Encounter, the only conference-wide mission education and interpretation event, will be July 29-31 at Randolph-Macon College, Ashland. Mission Encounter is an opportunity for clergy and laity to learn about being partners in God’s global mission and to grow spiritually through study and worship. It is open to men, women and youths. Participants may attend one of three workshops: spiritual growth study on "The Bible and Human Sexuality" led by the Rev. Dr. Rob Vaughn, the Rev. Myrtle Frances Hatcher and Prof. Esther Barkat; issue study on "Climate Justice" led by the Rev. Pat Watkins and the Rev. Dottie Yunger; or geographic study on "Latin America-People and Faith" led by Don Edwards. For more information, contact Dennis Lipke, dean of the Mission Encounter Committee, at or (804) 262-8651. More ...

♦ Lay Servant Ministries on-demand courses - Aug. 27, Sept. 24
Lay Servant Ministries is offering a series of six on-demand learning courses in 2016. You may attend live events 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Virginia United Methodist Center in Glen Allen for free, or pay $30 to watch online from your own computer during a 90-day period to receive your certification. The next courses to be offered are Saturday, Aug. 27, "Preaching" led by Doug Forrester, and Saturday, Sept. 24, "UMC Heritage" led by Martha Stokes. For more information, contact Marge Sharp, on-demand learning registrar, at or (757) 871-2809. David Bailey, conference director of Lay Servant Ministries, said offering the online courses “supports (the planning team’s) initial belief that students would use the opportunity to come back and review the material or complete it over time. That is the prime motivator for on demand learning: Any time anywhere, on their schedule.” More ...

♦ UMVIM Team Leader and Recertification Training - Aug. 27, Sept. 24
Some confusion remains regarding training necessary to serve in tornado-affected areas now that the Recovery (rebuilding) phase has begun. Volunteers do not need Early Response Team (ERT) training. Each volunteer team does need a trained United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) team leader. To that end, Forrest White, Virginia Conference Long-term Recovery Manager and UMVIM coordinator, will lead UMVIM team leader training on Saturday, Aug. 27, at Mountain View UMC in Forest, and Saturday, Sept. 24, at Warwick Memorial UMC in Newport News. Recertification training will be offered Saturday, Aug. 27, at Mountain View UMC in Forest; and Saturday, Sept. 24, at Warwick Memorial UMC in Newport News. Click here to register for Team Leader Training and click here to register for UMVIM Recertification.

♦ UMFS golf tournaments - Sept. 30, Oct. 14
Registration is now open for the annual United Methodist Family Services (UMFS) Fore the Kids Golf Tournament to be held Friday, Sept. 30, at Manor Golf Club in Farmville and Friday, Oct. 14, at Royal New Kent Golf Club in Providence Forge (Richmond area). For the Manor Golf Club tournament, cost is $400 per team or $100 per individual. Registration deadline is Sept. 15. For the Royal New Kent Golf Club, cost is $500 per team or $125 per individual. Registration deadline is Oct. 4. Register at For more information, contact Joe Torrence at or (804) 239-1042, ext. 1941.

♦ 5 Talent Academy - Oct. 4
Registration is now open for the 5 Talent Academy Equipping People for Ministry Outside the Walls of the Church event to be held 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 4, at Ebenezer UMC in Stafford. The event will be live streamed to 10 additional locations across the conference (Danville, Eastern Shore, Farmville, Lynchburg, Richmond, Roanoke, Shenandoah Valley, Tidewater, Winchester and York River). Featured speaker is Andy Crouch, executive editor of Christianity Today and author of several books, including Strong and Weak: Embracing a Life of Love, Risk and True Flourishing, Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power and Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling. Cost is $35 per person. Those who register prior to Aug. 31 will receive an early-bird discount and pay only $25. Group pricing is available for teams. Registration closes on Sept. 19. Visit to register.

♦ UMVIM Trip to Israel/Palestine - Jan. 30-Feb. 11
The Virginia Conference Board of Church and Society is sponsoring a United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) trip to Israel and Palestine Jan. 30 to Feb. 11, 2017. The trip will provide opportunities for learning, serving and seeing. Team members will visit religious sites and United Methodist missions projects. There will be opportunities to serve at some of those mission projects. Team members will also visit and meet with Palestinians, both Christian and Muslim, as well as Israeli Jews. The team will learn more about the struggles of life in Palestine and efforts to create a just and hopeful future. Team leaders are the Rev. John Copenhaver and the Rev. Steve Jones, both certified VIM team leaders. For more information, contact either leader at or
     In addition, the leaders have planned two information sessions:
     1. Sunday, July 24, 3:30 p.m. at Virginia United Methodist Conference Center, 10330 Staples Mill Rd, Glen Allen, VA 23060. If you plan to attend, contact Steve Jones at by July 23.
     2. Sunday, Aug. 28, 4 p.m. at Leesburg United Methodist Church, Asbury Hall, Leesburg UMC, 107 West Market Street, Leesburg, VA 20176. If you plan to attend, contact John Copenhaver at: by Aug. 26.

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 email For information about the Virginia Conference and resources for ministry, visit the Virginia Conference website at



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The Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church
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