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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 - June 24, 2014

232nd Virginia Annual Conference held June 20-22
Virginia United Methodists were water-washed and spirit-born at the 232nd session of Virginia Annual Conference, held June 20-22 at the Hampton Roads Convention Center. Presentations centered on the theme of “Lord, Renew Us With Your Spirit.” Click here to view photos and articles about this year's Annual Conference session – including manuscript of Bishop Young Jin Cho's Episcopal Address – on the conference website. More ...

Virginia Annual Conference votes to participate in Imagine No Malaria
Annual Conference members voted to support The United Methodist Church’s Imagine No Malaria initiative. Conference leaders hope to raise 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." To celebrate the vote to participate in the Imagine No Malaria initiative, Bishop Young Jin Cho broke into a "Happy" dance and was joined on stage by youths, District Lay Leaders and District Superintendents. Bishop Cho and his wife, Kiok, kicked off the initiative by contributing $3,000 to save 300 lives. To date, $11,700 has been contributed to save 1,170 lives. You can text "Malaria VA" to 27722 to make a $10 donation and save a life. More ...

Annual Conference votes to postpone resolution on homosexuality
The Annual Conference voted to "postpone indefinitely" a resolution urging General Conference to eliminate negative references to homosexuality from the United Methodist Book of Discipline. The Rev. Tom Berlin made the motion to postpone the resolution in response to a report that, at Bishop Cho’s request, the Common Table will organize and oversee conference-wide times of holy conferencing pertaining to the issue of homosexuality during the 2014-2015 Annual Conference year. Goal for these times of holy conferencing is consideration of how we may be in ministry together even though we may have differing opinions. Berlin indicated that if a resolution calling for a change in the Discipline were approved at the 2015 Annual Conference, there would still be time to submit it to the 2016 General Conference.

Annual Conference calls for increase in minimum wage
Annual Conference voted to call upon our federal and state governments to begin an immediate and significant phased increase in the minimum wage for adult workers, indexed to inflation, with the goal of the minimum wage being a living wage by or before 2019.

$155,000 collected for Annual Conference offering
To date, $155,000 has been received for this year's Annual Conference special offering, about $45,000 shy of the goal of $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 ...

41,218 disaster relief kits contributed to UMCOR
Virginia Annual Conference members brought 41,218 disaster relief kits for United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) to Annual Conference. The kits, valued at $533,834, included 20,844 Health Kits; 11,306 School Kits; 5,325 Birthing Kits; 1,666 Layette Kits; 228 Cleaning Kits; 394 Bedding Kits and 1,455 miscellaneous kits. The kits were loaded onto a semi-trailer and have been taken to an UMCOR depot in Mechanicsburg, Penn.

9,820 pounds of food donated to '4 Cans 4 Conference'
Clergy and lay members of Annual Conference contributed 9,820 pounds of canned goods and boxed dry foods plus $845 in cash as part of the "4 Cans 4 Conference" drive to benefit the Hampton/Newport News area Peninsula Food Bank, according to the Rev. Jim Earley, "4 Cans for Conference" coordinator. This will provide 11,429 meals to the hungry in the Hampton/Newport News area. U-Haul gave a $150 gift certificate which substantially underwrote the $198.17 cost of the 27' truck. Nearly two dozen volunteers, mostly from the local Langley U.S. Air Force Base (firefighters on their day off) moved hundreds of bags and boxes of food into the truck. Donna Tighe, Food Drive Coordinator for the Peninsula Food Bank, called the Virginia Conference laity, youth and clergy her "new heroes" for your extraordinary generosity and giving to help folks in need at a time of year when their intake of food supplies is typically the lowest.

Virginia Conference honored for giving to Advance, UMCOR, missionaries
George Howard, deputy general secretary of the General Board of Global Ministries, was at Annual Conference to present an award to the Virginia Conference for giving the most money in 2013 of any Annual Conference, $2.5 million, to The Advance for Christ and His Church. The Virginia Conference was also honored for leading the Southeastern Jurisdiction in giving to missionary support. Howard also praised the conference for contributing $1.1 million to the United Methodist Committee On Relief (UMCOR). Bishop Cho accepted the plaques on behalf of the conference.

Burch, Bailey, Heinlein receive Denman Awards
Denman Evangelism Award for clergy went to the Rev. David Burch, pastor of Vision of Hope UMC, Harrisonburg District. Denman Laity Award went to David Bailey of Trinity UMC, James River District. Denman Youth Award went to Casey Heinlein, Burnt Factory UMC, Winchester, and current chair of the Conference Council on Youth Ministries.

Annual Conference by the numbers
During the 2014 Virginia Annual Conference session, 13 were ordained as elders, one ordained a deacon, 22 commissioned as provisional members, and 27 licensed as local pastors. One elder also had her orders from another denomination recognized. Forty-one clergy took retired status this year. Members approved a 2015 budget of more than $32.7 million, down by one percent from the 2014 budget. Conference membership stands at 330,696, down 1,735 from the previous year. Worship attendance stands at 104,231, down by 897.

Send feedback on Annual Conference to Marc Brown by July 3
Those attending the 2014 Annual Conference are asked to e-mail concerns, questions or suggestions about the Annual Conference session to by July 3 so they may be shared with the Annual Conference Planning Committee at its review meeting. Your feedback on this year's conference will help as plans are made for the 2015 Annual Conference.

You can still order DVDs of Annual Conference
You can still order DVDs of the 2014 Annual Conference session from the conference Communications office. DVDs will be sent out immediately and should be available to use for reporting on Annual Conference to your local church. 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 $20 for Volume 1, $10 for Volume 2, and $25 for both volumes. After July 1, the price will increase to $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.

Watch Annual Conference live streaming archives
Live streaming of the 2014 Virginia Annual Conference is archived and can still be viewed by going to the LiveStream website, The live streaming shows all sessions of the three-day conference, beginning at 1 p.m. Friday, June 20, with the Laity Session and concluding with worship and fixing of appointments Sunday morning, June 22.

Conference offices to close at 1 p.m. on summer Fridays
Virginia Conference offices in the United Methodist Center in Glen Allen will close at 1 p.m. on Fridays between Annual Conference and Labor Day as they have done in the past. The summer schedule will begin this Friday, June 27, and conclude on Friday, Aug. 29. Conference offices will also close at 1 p.m. Thursday, July 3, and remain closed Friday, July 4, in observance of Independence Day.

Melton outlines six steps for churches to be 'Safe Sanctuaries'
The Rev. Dr. Joy Thornburg Melton outlined six steps for churches to follow to become "Safe Sanctuaries" for vulnerable children, youths and older adults. Melton, an attorney and ordained United Methodist deacon who wrote "Safe Sanctuaries" resources, spoke to 104 participants in Safe Sanctuaries training held June 18-19 at Hampton Roads Convention Center prior to Annual Conference. More ...

Westview on James needs blankets for campers
Do you have blankets in your attic or closet that never see the light of day? Westview on the James is looking for donations of blankets for use during the summer camp program. The small gift of a blanket can bring comfort to a child who did not bring one from home, or is spending time in the infirmary, or needs to have his or her bedding washed during the stay at camp. If you have a blanket you would like to donate, mail it to: Westview on the James, ATTN: Camp Blankets, 1231 West View Rd., Goochland, VA. 23063. For more information, contact Anthony Gomez, Summer Camp Program Director, at or (804) 457-4210.

July Advocate looks at 'best practices' of growing churches
The July issue of the Virginia United Methodist Advocate looks at "best practices" of growing churches. Despite all you’ve seen and heard about declining numbers, some congregations in the Virginia Conference are growing (and managing to pay 100% of their apportionments). This month the Advocate asks what they are doing to attract guests and develop disciples. Also, the July issue includes the complete list of clergy appointments for 2014-15. The Advocate is the official monthly magazine of the Virginia Conference. To subscribe to the Advocate – print, digital or both – call (804) 521-1110 or 1-800-768-6040, ext. 110; e-mail; or go to

UMC Giving launches new website
United Methodist Communications has launched a redesigned website,, that helps local churches see the impact of United Methodist generosity. The new site offers a biblical perspective to help United Methodists across the globe align their giving practices with their personal faith. The site also includes a section dedicated specifically for church leaders and pastors that offers tools and downloadable resources to help inspire giving within local churches. Click here to visit site. More ...

North Georgia Conference offers video of 20 things churches should do
The North Georgia Conference has consistently reported membership growth for more than 40 years. For annual conference, its office of Congregational Development recently put together a seven-minute video that shows the "20 Things Churches Can Do More Often." Tips include being willing to try new things, putting aside competition and knowing your community. Click here to watch video.

North Georgia Conference to close Simpsonwood Center
North Georgia Conference members voted to close operations of the Simpsonwood Conference and Retreat Center, a ministry of the conference that was opened in the 1980s, due to ongoing financial losses. Conference offices will remain open on the property. More ...

Board of Pensions sells G4S stock due to human rights issues
After an investment in G4S, a London-based security corporation, prompted concerns about human rights and prison-related issues, the United Methodist Board of Pension and Health Benefits reassessed the purchase this spring and recently sold the stock. More ...

Frank Schaefer reinstated as United Methodist clergy
The Rev. Frank Schaefer's ministerial credentials were reinstated by a United Methodist regional appeals committee June 23, three days after a hearing held near Baltimore. By an 8 to 1 majority, the denomination’s Northeastern Jurisdictional Committee on Appeals restored his credentials and ordered the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference to compensate Schaefer for all lost salary and benefits dating from Dec. 19, 2013. The former pastor of Iona (Penn.) United Methodist Church, Schaefer was defrocked after a November 2013 church trial found him guilty of violating The United Methodist Church Book of Discipline by conducting a same-sex marriage ceremony for his son. More ...

Presbyterians vote to allow gay marriage
The governing body of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), by a 61% to 39% vote, decided Thursday, June 19, to allow gay weddings within its churches wherever they are legal. More ...

Chuck Knows Church: Psalms
The Psalms are right in the middle of your Bible. You could think of the Psalms as the hymnbook of sacred scripture. But, is that all you know? Learn more in this 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 ...

♦ 'Helping Hands' mission for children - July 7-8, 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. It will be held on four dates at four different locations: July 7-8 - Fairview UMC, Danville (click here for more information); 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 June 26-30, July 1-6, and 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." More ...

♦ 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.

♦ 'Lord, Teach Me to Pray' - Aug. 23, Oct. 25
"Lord, Teach Me to Pray — Practical Applications for Prayer" will be offered two more times: Saturday, Aug. 23, at Williamsburg UMC, Williamsburg (Click here to register); and 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.

♦ 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.

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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