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News from the Virginia Conference - July 7, 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 ...

Today is deadline to register for VAUMC dinner, reception at SEJ Conference
Registration deadline is Thursday, July 7, to attend the Thursday, July 14, dinner at Southeastern (SEJ) Jurisdictional Conference to honor Bishop Young Jin Cho and the Rev. Kiok Cho, and the ice cream social/reception to welcome our new bishop immediately following the announcement of episcopal assignments later that same evening. Click here for more details and to register and pay online.

$153,624.70 collected for Annual Conference offering
As of July 6, $153,624.70 has been received for this year's Annual Conference special offering, exceeding the goal of $150,000. The offering goal includes $50,000 for continued commitment to the rapid growth and expanding influence of the Methodist Mission in Cambodia through support for training lay and clergy leadership and building of churches. Another $25,000 is to continue to support the Methodist Church of Brazil programs with at-risk children in cities and communities across Brazil. Another $25,000 is to support our long-term relationship with United Methodist churches in Mozambique, focusing primarily on the vital area of education and development of resources for training laity in two conferences in that country. In Virginia, the goal is $50,000 to fund disaster response, particularly long-term recovery work following Feb. 24 tornadoes in three districts of the conference. 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, indicate the church GCFA number on the check. More ...

Special, Sustaining Program Grant applications due Aug. 1
Applications for Virgina Conference Special and Sustaining Program Grants are due in the office of Connectional Ministries by Aug. 1. These grants are designed to fund local church programs outside of normal conference and local church funding processes. Special Program Grants are intended to provide funding for the first three years of innovative programs of tangible and caring outreach that is beyond a local church’s current financial resources. They are for churches of all ethnic groups and should help the church relate to the ethnic groups within its community. Sustaining Program Grants are designated for ministries which have received three years' funding through the Special Program Grants and have not achieved self-sufficiency. More information and applications for these grants are available at

Clergy asked to check contact info in online directory
The first rough draft of the 2016-2017 Clergy Directory has been posted on the conference website at Or go directly to the pdf at Clergy are asked to check the file for accuracy of information (status, appointment, address, phones) and send any changes or additions to Brenda Capen, conference database manager, at You do not need to contact her if the information is complete and correct. A directory of Retired Local Pastors is also posted as a courtesy. That may be viewed on the same page or directly at

Voices of Youth concerts scheduled for July 24-30
The 2016 Voices of Youth (VOY) tour, "Be Still and Know," will be July 9-30. After orientation, group building and rehearsal, the choir will travel to Hawaii to work with the homeless, according to the Rev. Rebecca Minor, VOY coordinator. The choir will travel to Oahu to work with the homeless community in Hawaii and then go to the Big Island of Hawaii to do construction work at Camp Mekokiko, the only United Methodist campground in Hawaii. After the work trip, choir members will return to Virginia to present worship experiences in host churches throughout the conference. Concerts are scheduled for Sunday, July 24, 11 a.m., Asbury UMC, Newport News, (York River District) and 7 p.m., Centenary UMC, Portsmouth, (Elizabeth River District); Monday, July 25, 10 a.m., Lake Prince Woods assisted living facility in Suffolk, (Elizabeth River District) and 7 p.m., Andrew Chapel UMC, Montross, (Fredericksburg District); Tuesday, July 26, 11 a.m., St. Matthias UMC, Fredericksburg, (Fredericksburg District) and 7 p.m., Pender UMC, Fairfax, (Arlington District); Wednesday, July 27, 7 p.m., Stephens City UMC, Stephens City, (Winchester District); Thursday, July 28, 7 p.m., Trinity UMC, Lexington, (Staunton District); Friday, July 29, 10 a.m., The Hermitage in Roanoke (Roanoke District) and 7 p.m., South Hill UMC, South Hill, (Farmville District); Saturday, July 30, 11 a.m., VAUMC Mini School of Mission at Duncan Memorial UMC, Ashland, (Richmond District) and 6 p.m. closing worship at Good Shepherd UMC, Henrico, (Richmond District).

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.

Advocate subscription rates to increase Sept. 1
The Virginia Conference Board of Communications voted to increase subscription rates for the Virginia United Methodist Advocate, the official monthly magazine of the Virginia Conference, effective Sept. 1. This will be the first rate increase in more than 16 years. (The last subscription increase was in March 2000.) A one-year subscription to the print version of the magazine will increase from $15 to $20. A two-year subscription will go from $25 to $30. A three-year subscription will go from $36 to $40. A one-year subscription to the online digital version of the magazine will remain $10, and multiple-year subscriptions to the online version will be offered for the first time: two-year subscription will be $15, and a three-year subscription will be $20. To receive both print and digital versions of the magazine for one year will cost $25, for two years will cost $35 and for three years will cost $45. Readers who want to lock in the current subscription rate for up to three years, should subscribe or renew prior to Sept. 1. To subscribe to the Advocate – print, digital or both – call (804) 521-1110 or 1-800-768-6040, ext. 110; email; or go to

Norfolk church closes, new start planned
Thousands once worshiped at Park Place United Methodist Church, Norfolk, which was at one time the largest Methodist church in Virginia. Now, the church is closing its doors. But, as Joanne Kimberlin reports for The Virginian-Pilot, plans are in the works for the building to serve a new United Methodist flock. More ...

GCFA offers online training on changes in Federal employment law
Beginning in mid-July, the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) will offer webinars concerning U. S. Department of Labor changes to Fair Labor Standards Act regulations which define rules to be followed in categorizing certain employees as exempt or non-exempt thereby impacting applicability of overtime payment requirements. The regulations, which go into effect Dec. 1, may impact organizations throughout The United Methodist Church connection. More ...

Conservatives form Wesleyan Covenant Association
A new United Methodist group is forming for congregations and members who hold the denomination’s teachings on human sexuality as orthodox Christianity. The Wesleyan Covenant Association will be a member-based network of United Methodist congregations, clergy and laity. The group will have its first conference Oct. 7 in Chicago, less than a month before the first Council of Bishops meeting of the quadrennium. Click here to read press release. More ...

Three gay pastors nominated for bishop
Two openly gay pastors from the Western Jurisdiction and a third from the North Central Jurisdiction have been nominated for election as United Methodist bishops. More ...

Clergywoman comes out at Iowa Annual Conference
The Rev. Anna Blaedel rose on a point of personal privilege to tell delegates at the Iowa Annual Conference that she was “a self-avowed practicing homosexual.” Watch video of Blaedel’s speech. Within hours of her speech, a complaint was filed against her. More ...

3 conferences join reproductive choice coalition
Three conferences — New England, Pacific Northwest and Oregon-Idaho — have now voted to join the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. A fourth conference, California-Nevada, passed a resolution to join the California coalition. The moves are in direct opposition to the General Conference 2016 vote to discontinue membership in the organization. More ...

Mission agency continues transition to Atlanta
As the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries finishes renovation work on its new headquarters in Atlanta, its offices in New York will remain open until the end of October. The transition of staff is increasing as the summer progresses. More ...

Survey reveals what draws young adults to church
Opportunities for spiritual growth and authentic community are top motivators for young adults to attend church, says a survey conducted by Barna Group on behalf of United Methodist Communications. Barna’s findings resonate, say some newly baptized United Methodists. More ...

Boomerstock to focus on reaching out to baby boomers Sept. 28-Oct. 1
As the over-60 age group explodes with aging baby boomers, church leaders will gather in September to learn new ways to take advantage of an extraordinary evangelistic opportunity to engage people who sometimes are spiritual but not religious, or have left the church. Boomerstock, hosted by the Office on Aging and Older Adult Ministries at United Methodist Discipleship Ministries, will be the first comprehensive study of how the church can reach members of a generation who had been previously lost. Each annual conference has been invited to send representatives to Boomerstock, which is scheduled for Sept. 28-Oct. 1 in Nashville. Others who would like to attend are also welcome. Click here to register. More ...

♦ Lay Servant Ministries on-demand courses - July 9, Aug. 27, Sept. 24
Lay Servant Ministries is offering a series of six on-demand learning courses in 2016. You may attend the 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, July 9, "Spiritual Gifts" led by MaryKaye Cochran; 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 ...

♦ 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

♦ UMVIM Team Leader and Recertification Training - July 16, 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, July 16, in Fredericksburg; and Saturday, Sept. 24, in Newport News. Recertification training will be offered Saturday, July 16, in Fredericksburg; and Saturday, Sept. 24, in Newport News. Click here to register for Team Leader Training and click here to register for UMVIM Recertification.

♦ 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 ...

♦ 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

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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