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Dec. 17, 2015
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Aug. 27, 2015
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March 26, 2015
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News from the Virginia Conference - July 30, 2015

Corrected DVDs sent to all who ordered DVDs of Annual Conference
Errors have been discovered in some of the audio tracks on DVDs of the 2015 Annual Conference session. Audio is flawed for the Saturday mission worship service (on Volume 1, Disc 2) and the Saturday morning teaching session (on Volume 2, Disc 2). This week, everyone who purchased DVDs of the 2015 Annual Conference was mailed a new DVD that includes corrected versions of both the mission worship service and the Saturday morning teaching session. The Communications office apologizes for any inconvenience this may have caused. If you have questions or need additional information, call Pam Culler in the Communications office at (804) 521-1110 or 1-800-768-6040, ext. 110.

2015-2016 Mission Opportunities guide available
"Transformation" is the theme of the 2015-2016 Mission Opportunities booklet which is included as an insert in the August issue of the Virginia United Methodist Advocate and was distributed to participants of Mission Encounter at the Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center July 24–26. All clergy and local church lay leaders will also receive copies. The booklet includes information about first- and second-mile giving, apportionments, United Methodist Committee on Relief, Advance specials, missionaries and a variety of other mission opportunities. Extra copies are available through district offices or by contacting the conference office of Justice and Missional Excellence at (804) 521-1139 or 1-800-768-6040, ext. 139. Click here to download copy of Mission Opportunities booklet.

Closed caption video summary of Annual Conference now on YouTube
The Communications office has prepared a five-minute overview video of 2015 Annual Conference (suitable for use in making a report on Annual Conference to your local church). It is now available on YouTube with closed captioning. To view it, go to the conference YouTube channel and click on the "Annual Conference 2015 Highlights" video. Be sure to click on the "cc" icon in order to activate the closed captioning.

More than 190 gather for Mission Encounter study, worship
More than 190 clergy and lay men, women and youths gathered at Blackstone Conference and Retreat Center July 24-26 for Mission Encounter, an opportunity to learn about being partners in God’s global mission and to grow spiritually through study and worship. Darlene Runaldue, instructor for the workshop “Created for Happiness: Understanding Your Life in God,” shares her reflection from the weekend. More ...

Conference intern finds find joy, happiness at Camp Rainbow
Last week, Camp Rainbow Connection held its first week-long camp for this summer. The camp is held in July and August every year for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Starting out in 1985 with just 25 campers, the program has now expanded to more than 120 campers at the Blackstone Conference and Retreat Center. Michelle Hettman, a Connections 21 intern, volunteered at the camp and shares her reflections. “It was really uplifting to find joy and happiness with the people who surrounded me,"  Hettman said. "It didn't matter where we were — the only important thing was that we were in God's presence, together.” More ...

Video reports on Bishop's retreat for 2015 ordinands
Prior to Annual Conference, Bishop Young Jin Cho hosted a two-day retreat for 24 candidates for elder and one candidate for deacon who were ordained at this year’s Annual Conference in Roanoke. Nick Ruxton produced a short video report of their time together which can be viewed on the conference YouTube channel and on the conference Facebook page.

Oct. 31 is deadline to qualify for wellness-based premium incentive
Clergy and lay employees enrolled in Virginia Conference-sponsored health insurance plans are eligible to earn a wellness-based premium incentive. Deadline to qualify for the premium discount, $180/individual or $360/family, is Oct. 31. You can check your wellness incentive status by logging into your Health Advocate account at Only two steps must be completed by Oct. 31 in order to qualify: 1. Complete and submit your Physician Screening Form. 2. Complete online Personal Health Profile. If you have not established an account, visit Health Advocate at For more information about wellness benefits, call Health Advocate at 1-866-799-2731.

The Hermitage seeks part-time chaplain
The Hermitage, a community of Virginia United Methodist Homes, Inc., located in Richmond, is seeking a part-time chaplain. The qualified candidate must be a college graduate and either an ordained minister or have training or background in Christian education or pastoral care. The position is responsible for conducting religious worship and performing other spiritual functions associated with beliefs and practices of religious faith or denomination. Provides spiritual guidance and assistance to residents, residents’ families and employees. Experience and/or training in ministry with older adults preferred. Send resume to or mail to The Hermitage, 1600 Westwood Ave., Richmond, VA 23227 / Attention: HR.

Fallout continues from forced resignation of gay pastor
Fallout continues from the forced resignation of an openly gay African Methodist Episcopal pastor who was serving a growing United Methodist congregation in rural Michigan. Dozens of United Methodists participated in a demonstration at the bishop's office, and complaints are being processed against nine clergy who helped officiate at the pastor's wedding in defiance of church law. More ...

Churches can have gay Boy Scout leaders
The Boy Scouts of America decision on July 27 to lift its national ban on openly gay adult leaders has the support of United Methodists of varied theological perspectives. But no church will be required to accept any volunteer as a Scout leader simply because of the new policy, says Gil Hanke, top executive of United Methodist Men. More ...

Duke Divinity School dean stepping down as of Aug. 1
The Rev. Richard B. Hays will leave his post as dean of Duke Divinity School on Aug. 1 to begin treatment for pancreatic cancer. Hays had planned to step down at the end of the 2015-16 academic year. He has been dean since 2010, and has taught New Testament at the United Methodist seminary for 24 years. Ellen Davis, a professor of Bible and practical theology at Duke Divinity, will serve as interim dean. More ...

Moyo offers online opportunity to integrate 'being' and 'doing'
Moyo, an online global organization created by The Upper Room, is dedicated to creating a community that meets at the intersection of contemplation and action. This interactive website provides experiences for visitors to confront issues of global importance, engage these issues spiritually and discover ways to act on them in the world. Through the experience on the website, visitors can begin to integrate the “being” and “doing” of life. Read a blog about Moyo from one of its staff members to learn how you can get involved right now from your computer.

Prayers requested for victims of U.S. flooding
In recent weeks, several states including Ohio, New York, Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia, experienced major flooding due to heavy rains that fell in just a few hours. As a result, hundreds of homes were damaged or destroyed. To date, United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) has sent emergency grants to Western Ohio, Upper New York, and Kentucky annual conferences, and Emergency Response Teams are on the ground completing assessments in each of these areas. Please pray for all the affected areas and for those whose homes were damaged or destroyed by floodwaters. Pray for the Emergency Response Teams’ efforts as they assess and respond to needs. Pray for homeowners and their families as they adjust to new realities and cope with the devastation that has interrupted their normal lives. Pray for resources and material aid to reach those who need it most, bringing relief and restoring hope in their time of need. Pray for the church volunteers as they walk alongside those affected by the floods.

UMCOR needs health kits, school kits
United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) disaster-relief kits help provide care for the most vulnerable people during times of crisis. UMCOR collects six types of kits for global distribution and cleaning buckets for U.S. distribution after storms. UMCOR is currently at capacity with Birthing Kits. But Health and School Kits are needed. UMCOR Health Kits provide basic necessities such as soap and a washcloth to people who have been forced to leave their homes because of human conflict or natural disaster. Each health kit is valued at $12 and provides immediate comfort in times of need. In some countries, children don't have books or school supplies. Many have no schoolrooms; classes are held in inadequate or half-destroyed buildings, tents or even the open air. School Kits may be these children's only educational resources. Each School Kit is valued at $11.

Five tips offered for effective school ministry
The "back-to-school" season offers abundant ministry opportunities. In an article for United Methodist Communications, Jeremy Steele shares five tips churches can use to do effective outreach throughout the school year. Read tips

United Methodists, Lutherans look for ways to collaborate
Leaders of The United Methodist Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) are discussing ways the two denominations can work together as they further explore what it means to be in full communion with each other. United Methodist Discipleship Ministries recently was host to a meeting with ELCA leaders. The two denominations have full communion. More ...

Video offers meditation for travelers
United Methodist Communications has created a video meditation, "Psalm 121: A Prayer for Travelers," which can be used as a source of comfort when commencing, continuing or concluding a journey. The video also could be used as part of a worship service. View video

♦ 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 ...

♦ Discipleship Circles facilitator training - Sept. 18
Discipleship Circles facilitator training will be 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, Sept. 18, at the Virginia United Methodist Center in Glen Allen. Church Leaders (clergy and laity) willing to lead Discipleship Circles in order to help increase church vitality are invited to this training session. Topics will include spiritual disciplines, group facilitation, Vital Signs and communication techniques. There is no charge for training. Lunch and a training manual will be provided. Registration deadline is Tuesday, Sept. 15. Click here to register and for more details. For more information about Discipleship Circles, contact Cheryl Edley-Worford, conference director of Inclusivity and Lay Leadership Excellence, at or (804) 521-1154.

♦ 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 ...

♦ RE3 intercollegiate conference - Sept. 25-26
RE3 (Rethink, Reclaim, Renew), overnight retreat open to students from colleges and universities across Virginia, will 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.

♦ Mid-Size Church Training - Oct. 3
Teams of clergy and laity from mid-size congregations with an average worship attendance between 150-349 are invited to a training event Saturday, Oct. 3, at Providence UMC in Richmond. Keynote speaker will be Phil Maynard, author of Shift: Helping Congregations Back Into the Game of Effective Ministry. The event will also be live-streamed to five other locations across the conference. Cost is $25, and .5 CEU will be offered. Group discounts are available. More ...

♦ Five-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation - Oct. 4-9
Registration is now closed for the Five-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation Oct. 4-9 at the Roslyn Retreat Center, Richmond. There are no spaces left. If you would like to be placed on a reserve list in case of cancellations, e-mail Dot Ivey at 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.

♦ UMFS golf tournament - Oct. 26
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.

♦ Small Congregation Training - Oct. 31
Teams of clergy and laity from small congregations with an average worship attendance between 1-149 are invited to a training event 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31, at Belmont UMC, Richmond. The Rev. Dr. Lewis Parks, Wesley Theological Seminary professor who has specific interest in the small congregation, will be featured speaker focusing on practical tools needed to bring new vitality to small churches. The event will be live-streamed to five other locations around the conference. Cost is $25, and .5 CEU will be offered. Group discounts are available. More ...

♦ United Methodist Men Spiritual Advance - Nov. 6-8
The Virginia Conference United Methodist Men 2015 Spiritual Advance will be Friday-Sunday, Nov. 6-8, at Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center in Blackstone. The annual event will feature the Rev. Dr. Clarence R. Brown, senior pastor of Annandale UMC (Alexandria District), who will preach a series of four messages on Men Making a Difference. 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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