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News from the Virginia Conference - July 16, 2015

Virginia Conference has saved 94,467 lives from malaria
The Virginia Conference has raised $944,670 for Imagine No Malaria, saving more than 94,467 lives from the deadly disease. This is just 5,533 lives short of the conference goal of saving 100,000+ lives by raising $1 million. Maria Maxwell, Virginia Conference field coordinator for Imagine No Malaria, said that if churches that have not yet participated in this initiative would each donate just $150, the conference would easily surpass its goal. Only $10 saves a life. To donate online or to learn other ways to give, go to More ...

Pastors of small congregations told to motivate members with plans
Nearly 150 pastors of small congregations in the Virginia Conference were told to motivate their parishioners with plans, execute those plans and then celebrate victories in order to be vital. They were participating in Small Congregation Pastor Training held July 11 at the Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center in Blackstone. More ...

All God's Children Camp needs volunteer
All God’s Children Camp, a camp for children ages 7 to 12 with an incarcerated mother or father, needs a dynamic person to join its support team at Westview on the James Aug. 9-14. The camp has a very talented and creative pastor on board to teach Bible lessons each day, but one more person is needed to assist in the fun. This opportunity is open to all individuals (clergy and laity) 18 years and older. For more information, contact Beth Christian at

Advocate editor seeks stories about adult Sunday school
Even as August’s edition of the Virginia United Methodist Advocate is going to print, the Advocate team is gearing up for the next issue. September’s issue will focus on adult Sunday school classes. Has your church reinvented your Sunday school classes either to boost attendance or to add new perspectives in recent years? Do you lead a Sunday school class that you think is innovative or gives interesting perspectives? Have your classes seen a revival in attendance or in creativity? Send your information to Madeline Pillow, Advocate editor, at to share your story and potentially be featured in the next Advocate.

RE3 retreat for college students to be Sept. 25-26 at Shenandoah U
RE3 (Rethink, Reclaim, Renew) is an overnight retreat open to students from colleges and universities across Virginia to be held at Shenandoah University Sept. 25-26. What do you need to rethink? What does the Church need to rethink? What ancient spiritual practices can be reclaimed for renewing the church today? Worship and TED-style talks led by students will explore ancient prayer practices. Guest speaker is Sarah Bessey, author of Jesus Feminist, Out of Sorts and My Practices of Mothering. Bessey is also an award-winning blogger at Cost is $10 per student. All money goes to Imagine No Malaria. Click here to register online. For more information, go to or follow RE3 on Twitter at @rethreeva.

UMFS golf tournament to be Oct. 26 in Richmond
Registration is now open for the annual United Methodist Family Services (UMFS) Fore the Kids Golf Tournament to be held Monday, Oct. 26, at Stonehenge Country Club, 1000 Farnham Dr., Richmond. Cost is $400 per team or $100 per individual and includes a light breakfast, lunch and BBQ dinner as well as prizes and golf. Four-man Captain’s Choice format will tee off at 10 a.m. Register at A pre-tournament party 6-8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 19, at Golfsmith in Short Pump will offer free food, contests, giveaways and a 15% discount to Golfsmith for in-store purchases. UMFS is seeking sponsors for the golf tournament. An organization providing a $1,000 sponsorship will be able to enter a team in the tournament and will receive signage and visibility throughout the tournament. If interested in being a sponsor, go to For more information, contact Joe Torrence at or (804) 239-1042, ext. 1941.

GCFA re-launches UMCMarket online shopping portal
The General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA), the denomination's finance agency, has relaunched the online shopping portal using more advanced technology and faster delivery of donations. The site allows online shoppers to donate a percentage of what they spend back to their church or to the United Methodist ministry of their choice. For more information, contact the GCFA Shared Services Department at More ...

Inspire your congregation to reimagine generosity
Hundreds of United Methodist churches across the country have already begun to build cultures of generosity with the "Living Generously" series. The program focuses on the heart of generosity by seeking to challenge people to give of their whole lives. This church-wide, five-week series includes videos for worship and adult classes or groups, sermon notes, printable and social media resources and study guides for classes or groups. Leaders Guide is available. Order and receive a 5% discount by using promo code: UMCGIVING. Call 1-877-880-5191 to place your order. More ...

United Methodists achieve milestones despite differences
Different viewpoints over societal changes have led some to question whether the unity of The United Methodist Church will hold when its top legislative body meets in May 2016. But the lens of history shows that significant General Conference actions occur despite serious disagreements, says the Rev. Alfred T. Day III, top executive of the United Methodist Commission on Archives and History. More ...

To Do List: 1) Volunteer…
From Colorado to Florida to New Jersey, communities struck previously by natural disasters still depend on volunteers during the long-term recovery process. Susan Kim, writing for the United Methodist Committee on Relief, tells how to help. More ...

Analysis: Rate of new female clergy slowing
In its latest "Women By the Numbers," focusing on clergy in 2014, the United Methodist Commission on the Status and Role of Women finds "the number of female clergy is increasing but at a slower rate compared to 1992 and 2002. United Methodist clergy are getting older, with fewer young people coming up through the process to replace an aging population." More ...

General Board of Pensions and Health Benefits to change name
In July 2016, “Wespath Benefits and Investments” will replace the “General Board of Pension and Health Benefits” as the name of the United Methodist agency that manages pension and retirement plans and health plans and programs. The new name was chosen to convey the important work of the agency's Investments division. At approximately $21 billion in assets under management, the General Board is the largest denominational investor and among the top 100 of all U.S. pension funds. “Wespath Benefits and Investments” has been used since 2011 to refer to the agency's Investments division. The name honors John Wesley, the founder of Methodism and a strong advocate for social justice. It also implies other Wesleyan philosophical tenets: the importance of physical health, stewardship and caring for God’s creation. In the new name, “Wes” recognizes and honors John Wesley, while “path” refers to the goal of providing participants and institutional clients a path to follow in achieving health, investment and retirement objectives. For more information, contact the General Board toll-free at 1-800-851-2201.

Youth 2015 provides resources for future growth
Nearly 4,500 United Methodist young people attended Youth 2015 in Orlando, Fla., and their experiences will provide youth ministry video resources for years to come. Many youths expressed either hearing or confirming a call to ministry because of the gathering, and others asked to be baptized when they returned home. United Methodist Discipleship Ministries organized the event. More ...

Chuck Knows Church The Committee: 'Innovation'
Churches that innovate tend to thrive. But how does this work? See Chuck and The Committee deal with the lights going out in the church while understanding the meaning of innovation. Is your congregation innovative? Download the episode and the free study guide at Park Grove Community Church has lost its pastor and is closing its doors, unless it reinvents itself, despite itself ... with the help of Chuck. "The Committee" is a spinoff of the "Chuck Knows Church" video series produced by United Methodist Discipleship Ministries. It is a humorous and poignant series that examines the struggles congregations face as they look toward a preferred future. A new "The Committee" episode is released each month. In between, enjoy SUB-Committee shorts or the original series. Use each episode in fellowship groups, worship teams, small groups and late-night snack viewing. Go to Facebook ( for the latest news and visit the website ( to watch and download all episodes.

OCUIR offers scholarship for semester at Bossey
The United Methodist Office of Christian Unity and Interreligious Relationships (OCUIR) is offering United Methodist seminary students the opportunity to apply for a scholarship to help cover costs associated with spending a semester at Bossey, Ecumenical Institute of the World Council of Churches. Bossey is located outside Geneva, Switzerland, and every year invites promising young theologians from all over the world to participate in a grand experiment to build Christian community. OCUIR will offer $10,000 for one United Methodist student, or $5,000 for two United Methodist students to attend the semester beginning January 2016. To obtain the application, students may contact Dr. Jean Hawxhurst at or access it from the OCUIR website. The application explains due dates, responsibilities and other details.

♦ LAUNCH: Explore Your Call to Ministry - July 20-22
The office of Spiritual Life at Shenandoah University and the Virginia Conference Board of Ordained Ministry invite students who are rising high school sophomores, juniors and seniors to explore their calls to ministry while discovering their spiritual gifts from God July 20-22 at Shenandoah University in Winchester. Participants live on campus and meals are provided. Cost is $50. For more information, contact the Rev. Dr. Justin Allen, dean of Spiritual Life at Shenandoah University, at or More ...

♦ Helping Hands - July 23-24
The July 23-24 Helping Hands Virginia Conference event will be held at Woodlake UMC in Midlothian. This event gives rising 4th-6th graders the opportunity to do hands-on missions in the Richmond area. Participants have the option of early-bird registration which includes three on-site mission opportunities or regular registration which includes two on-site mission opportunities. To register, go to For more information, contact MaryKaye Cochran at (804) -639-8872 or More ...

♦ Mission Encounter - July 24-26
Mission Encounter, an opportunity for clergy and laity to learn about being partners in God’s global mission and to grow spiritually through study and worship, will be July 24-26 at Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center, Blackstone. Click here to view video. Mission Encounter is open to men, women and youths. Participants may attend one of three workshops: geographic study on “Latin America” led by Marilyn Blagg, Lori Valentine deSegovia and Don Edwards; spiritual growth study on “Created for Happiness” led by Louise Miller, the Rev. Dr. Donna Mott and Darlene Runaldue (Korean study led by the Rev. Hyunsik Kang); or issue study on “The Church and People with Disabilities” led by Brenda Connelly. For registration questions, call JoAnn Liskey at (540) 434-2997. For scholarship information, call Nancy Yarborough at (757) 877-2155. More ...

♦ Kaleidoscope - Aug. 3-7
Kaleidoscope Music, Worship Arts and Missions Week for children entering grades 3-6 will be Monday, Aug. 3, through Friday, Aug. 7, at Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center in Blackstone. For 37 years, the Virginia Conference chapter of the Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts has sponsored Kaleidoscope to offer children outstanding opportunities in worship leadership and participation, singing and learning under an accomplished guest conductor, experiencing handbells, Orff instruments, drama, movement, scripture and worship class, outdoor water fun and musical games, all in one week. Campers create and learn how to use their hands and feet to do God’s work in the world. All activities are planned and supervised by adults. For more information, contact Selina B. Heslep, co-director, Kaleidoscope 2015, at or click here.

♦ School for Children’s Ministries - Sept. 12
The School for Children’s Ministries is on the road again offering the same school at four different locations on four different dates. The second event of this year will be 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12, at Timberlake UMC, 21649 Timberlake Rd., Lynchburg. Learn "Extraordinary Lessons from Ordinary Objects" plus three more workshops. A .5 CEU offered. Only $20 per person. More ...

♦ Goodson Preaching Academy - Sept. 21-24
The Bishops’ Foundation will sponsor the 2015 Goodson Preaching Academy, “Craft and Creativity: Preaching in the Context of a Rapidly Evolving World,” Sept. 21-24 at the Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center in Blackstone. Presenter will be Dr. Paul Scott Wilson, professor of Homiletics at Emmanuel College, Toronto, author of many books on preaching and past president of the Academy of Homiletics. This ministry venture for clergy seeking excellence in the craft of weekly preaching was modeled after the former Goodson Academy for Preaching and approved by the Bishops’ Foundation which is assuming most of the costs of the event. The event is designed to energize your preaching and help you find creative ways to build disciples in your church. 1 CEU will be awarded. More ...

♦ Five-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation - Oct. 4-9
The Five-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation will be Oct. 4-9 at the Roslyn Retreat Center, Richmond. This program of Upper Room Ministries will provide an opportunity for clergy and laity to deepen their relationship with God through a daily rhythm of prayer, worship, learning and reflection. Each day will include teaching by Dr. Robert Mulholland and Dr. Roberta Bondi. It will also include periods of silence, morning and evening prayer, Eucharist, covenant groups and community time. Focus of this academy is Sacred Journey: Shaped by the Spirit. A $100 non-refundable registration fee is required to reserve your academy space by July 25. This amount will be applied to your total cost. Early registration is recommended as space is limited. More ...

♦ Conference UMW annual meeting - Oct. 23-25
Virginia Conference United Methodist Women (UMW) will celebrate the 40th anniversary of "Dimes and Dollars for Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center" (VUMAC) at VUMAC in Blackstone during the UMW annual meeting Oct. 23-25. The Wicker Room (beside the Dining Room) is being renovated to become the official UMW room and will be dedicated during the annual meeting.

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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