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News from the Virginia Conference - June 25, 2015

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 26, and conclude on Friday, Sept. 4. Conference offices will also close at 1 p.m. Thursday, July 2, and remain closed Friday, July 3, in observance of Independence Day.

233rd Virginia Annual Conference held June 19-21
Nearly 4,000 Virginia United Methodists gathered at the Berglund Center in Roanoke June 19-21 for the 233rd session of the Virginia Annual Conference. Presentations centered on the theme of “From Members to Disciples.” Click here to view photos and articles about this year's Annual Conference session. Click here to read manuscript of Bishop Young Jin Cho's Episcopal Address on the conference website. More ...

Virginia Conference has saved 91,606 lives from malaria
After a spontaneous offering of $28,560 in cash and $22,000 in pledges was added to funds raised throughout the previous year and at the "Mulligans Against Malaria" golf tournament and sale of donated artwork, the Virginia Conference has raised $916,064.16 for Imagine No Malaria, saving more than 91,606 lives from the deadly disease. This is just $83,936 (or 8,394 lives) short of the conference goal of raising $1 million in order to save 100,000+ lives. More ...

Virginia asks General Conference to remove 'incompatibility' phrase
By a 989-868 vote, the Virginia Annual Conference approved a petition urging General Conference to eliminate the sentence: "The United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers this practice incompatible with Christian teaching" from the United Methodist Book of Discipline. To read the full text of the petition, click here to download the 2015 Book of Reports and scroll to page 173. This petition will be submitted to General Conference which will meet next May 10-20 in Portland, Ore. Only General Conference can change language in the Book of Discipline.

Bishop Cho issues statement re Annual Conference petition
After Annual Conference approved a petition calling for removal of a statement in the United Methodist book of law that calls homosexuality "incompatible with Christian teaching," Bishop Young Jin Cho issued a letter to all Virginia Conference United Methodists. "I want you to know that this vote took place in the midst of honest debate and prayerful discernment. Throughout it all, the expressed will of all participants was that we might know God’s will for our church at this time," Bishop Cho wrote. He also admitted that "the results of this action will be received with widely varied responses. But whatever those responses, what has not changed is that we are a people who share a common heritage and a common ministry in Christ Jesus. We are called to live and work together as a family of faith." Click here to read entire letter.

Annual Conference calls for divestment from coal companies
Annual Conference voted to encourage all United Methodist general boards and agencies, annual conference boards and agencies and local churches to avoid investment in companies with revenues from the extraction and/or mining of thermal coal. The resolution also encourages investment in companies focusing on the development and utilization of renewable energy sources and improved energy efficiency. To read the full text of the resolution, click here to download the 2015 Book of Reports and scroll to page 148.

$128,890 collected for Annual Conference offering
To date, $128,890 has been received for this year's Annual Conference special offering, about $21,000 shy of the goal of $150,000. Funds will support the partnership with the Methodist Mission in Cambodia as they continue to purchase property for new churches and expand their fast growing mission, United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) Global Health ministries to aid the Ebola-ravaged countries of Sierra Leone and Liberia, and mission projects working with the poor in the Danville and Eastern Shore districts. 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 ...

42,843 disaster relief kits contributed to UMCOR
Virginia Annual Conference members brought 42,843 disaster relief kits for United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) to Annual Conference. The kits included 23,672 Health Kits; 11,835 School Kits; 4,533 Birthing Kits; 1,965 Layette Kits; 180 Cleaning Kits; 111 Bedding Kits and 547 Sewing Kits. Value of the kits is $544,584. Total number of donated kits exceeded last year's offerings by more than 1,500. The kits were loaded onto a semi-trailer and have been taken to an UMCOR depot in Mechanicsburg, Penn.

Extra UMCOR kits should be saved for next year or shipped to UMCOR depots
If your church prepared United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) "Kits for Conference" this year and did not bring them to Annual Conference, please do not bring them to the Virginia United Methodist Center in Glen Allen. You may keep the kits until next year or send them directly to one of the UMCOR depots located throughout the United States. For addresses and locations of UMCOR depots, go to the website at

9,869 pounds of food donated to '4 Cans 4 Conference'
Clergy and lay members of Annual Conference contributed 9,869 pounds of canned goods and boxed dry foods plus $174 in cash as part of the "4 Cans 4 Conference" drive to benefit the Roanoke area Rescue Mission, according to the Rev. Jim Earley, "4 Cans for Conference" coordinator. "This is the lean time of the year for most food banks," Earley said, "and so your generosity and gracious giving are especially appreciated by the staff and recipients of all those cans and boxes of good things to eat. Thank you for including those in need in your planning and preparations for conference. If opportunity presents itself during these hot summer months, gather up some food in your congregation and take it to your local food bank. You'll both be blessed — as will those you feed!"

Virginia Conference elects 22 delegates to General Conference
Using electronic voting machines for the first time, members of the Virginia Annual Conference elected 22 delegates to the 2016 General Conference (11 clergy and 11 laity) and an additional 11 clergy and 11 laity to join General Conference delegates for the 2016 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference. Laity delegates to General Conference are: Martha Stokes, Warren Harper, Shirley Cauffman, Nathaniel L. Bishop, Darlene Amon, Virginia Greer, Joyce Winston, Gene Mims, Beth Christian, Alison Malloy and Marshall Bailey. Clergy delegates to General Conference are: Tom Berlin, Meredith McNabb, Denise Honeycutt, Clarence Brown, Tammy Estep, Ted Smith, Ileana Rosario, Peter Moon, Kendall Soulen, Mark Ogren and Rob Vaughn. Click here for complete list of General Conference, jurisdictional conference and reserve delegates.

Beighley, Hobbs, Lopynski receive Denman Awards
Denman Evangelism Award for clergy was presented to the Rev. Paul Beighley, co-pastor of the Brodnax Charge in Brunswick County in the James River District, for his work in prison ministries. Denman Laity Award went to Patricia Hobbs, Outreach Ministry team leader at Franconia UMC in the Alexandria District. Denman Youth Award went to Anna Lopynski, member of Floris UMC, Herndon, Arlington District.

Annual Conference by the numbers
During the 2015 Virginia Annual Conference session, 24 were ordained as elders, one ordained a deacon, 21 commissioned as provisional members and 31 licensed as local pastors. Four elders had orders from another denomination recognized, and one was recognized as an assocate member. Forty-five clergy retired this year. Members approved a 2016 budget of $32,315,000, down 1.24% from the 2015 budget. As of the end of 2014, conference membership stood at 327,647, down 3,045 from the previous year. Average worship attendance stood at 102,884, down from 104,231 at the end of 2013.

Send feedback on Annual Conference to Marc Brown by July 3
E-mail your concerns, questions or suggestions about the 2015 Annual Conference to the Rev. Marc Brown, director of Connectional Ministries, at 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 2016 Annual Conference. As you share your responses please be aware the Annual Conference Rules Committee will be reviewing the voting process for upcoming elections of General Conference and jurisdictional conference delegates with the goal of aligning the election process with the technology available at that time.

Mail electronic voting devices back to conference offices in Glen Allen
Annual Conference members who did not return their electronic voting devices should mail them to the attention of Bev Myers at P.O. Box 5606, Glen Allen, VA 23058. Since the Annual Conference has to pay for each unreturned device, their return is greatly appreciated.

Watch Annual Conference live stream archives
Live streaming of the 2015 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 10 a.m. Friday, June 19, with the Laity Session and concluding with worship and fixing of appointments Sunday morning, June 21.

Videos shown at Annual Conference can be viewed on YouTube
Many of the videos that were shown at Annual Conference can be viewed on the VAUMCvideos YouTube channel, including videos for Imagine No Malaria, Fieldstone UMC, Warsaw UMC, Restoration UMC, United Methodist Colleges and Universities, University of Virginia Wesley Foundation and Virginia Conference United Methodist Women.

You can still order DVDs of Annual Conference
You can still order DVDs of the 2015 Annual Conference session. Volume 1 will include the memorial service, ordination, mission and special offering worship service and recognition of retirees. (NOTE: Due to a medical emergency involving a member of the tech crew, no audio is available for the retirement service.) Volume 2 will include Bishop Cho's Episcopal Address, Laity Address, Common Table and Imagine No Malaria reports, Sunday morning closing worship and teaching sessions led by the Rev. Timothy Bias. 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. This year, for the first time, a short overview video of the 2015 Annual Conference (suitable for use in making a report on Annual Conference to your local church) will be available to view on the conference Facebook page or YouTube channel, free of charge. Cost is $10 for a copy of the overview video on a DVD (shipping included). Click here to order online or call Pam Culler in the Communications office at (804) 521-1110 or 1-800-768-6040, ext. 110.

Clergy who are moving must fill out forms for UMPIP contributions
Active clergy who are moving or changing appointments need to complete a new "Before and After Tax Contributions" form if they wish to make personal contributions to the United Methodist Personal Investment Plan (UMPIP). For more information, contact Nancy Blair, Virginia United Methodist Pensions benefits administrator, at (804) 521-1130 or 1-800-768-6040, ext. 130.

You can help campus ministers welcome new students
Pastors, parents, youth leaders, friends and students can help campus ministries welcome new college students by letting campus ministers in our conference know when students are headed their way. Click on this link and fill in a few facts about a student headed to college this fall. The information will be directed to the appropriate campus minister at the appropriate school so they can send welcome packets and invitations to fall semester kick-off events. You can do this any time of year, but it is especially helpful before the end of July, so campus ministers have time to send students something to their homes before they arrive at school. The schools can’t give campus ministries student names, so they rely on you to help make these connections. More ...

UVA Wesley Foundation online auction to support capital campaign
The Wesley Foundation at the University of Virginia (UVA) is hosting an online silent auction through Sunday, Aug. 2, to raise funds for the campus ministry's Building a Foundation for the Future capital campaign (Click here for more details on the scope of the campaign.) Auction items include four different getaways in the Charlottesville area, with dining at Oakhart Social, handmade pottery by local artist Nan Rothwell, a sunrise hot air balloon flight, and stays at Fairhill Farm and Albemarle Estate. Featured item is a UVA basketball signed by Coach Tony Bennett and the 2014-2015 ACC regular sason championship team. Click here to see descriptions of all items and to make a bid.

GraceInside seeks chaplain for Greensville Correctional Center
GraceInside, Virginia’s prison chaplain service, is currently seeking candidates for a chaplain position at Greensville Correctional Center (GRCC) - S-2 Cluster. GRCC is located in Jarratt in southern Virginia, near Emporia. GRCC is the largest state prison in Virginia, encompassing three prisons (or “clusters”) in one complex. This is technically a part-time (20 hours per week) position. However, private, designated funding will allow the position to be full-time (40 hours per week) through at least Sept. 2016. (This may extend beyond that time frame or become permanent.) Qualified applicants should have an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university, Master of Divinity or equivalent degree from an accredited seminary/theological school, and be ordained and in good standing with their ordaining body. Clinical Pastoral Education units are a plus, as is pastoral experience and experience working in the field of criminal justice. Interested candidates may request an application from Kate Shelton at Completed applications should be scanned and e-mailed, along with current resume and cover letter, to Shelton at the above e-mail address. Deadline to receive all materials is July 9.

United Methodists run ad in Charleston paper in response to shooting
In response to the June 17 tragic shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, United Methodist Communications sent a message of healing, hope and peace through a full-page color ad that appeared in the Charleston Post and Courier on June 21. The ad quotes from a letter Bishop Warner Brown Jr., president of the United Methodist Council of Bishops, sent to African Methodist Episcopal bishops. "We call on United Methodists and all people of good will to support the victims of this and all acts of violence," the letter said, "to work to end racism and hatred, to seek peace with justice, and to live the prayer that our Lord gave us, that God’s ‘kingdom come, (and) will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven.'" Click here to view the ad.

AME pastor invites United Methodists to help overcome racism, gun violence
Bill Mefford, director of Civil & Human Rights at the General Board of Church & Society, said the Rev. Charles Boyer, pastor of St. James African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME) in Somerset N.J., shared how shaken all AME churches are by the shooting in which nine people were killed at "Mother Emanuel" in Charleston, S.C., last week. Boyer has invited United Methodists to join AME sisters and brothers to build bridges, share resources and work together to overcome the epidemic of racism and gun violence that plagues our society. The General Commission on Religion & Race has resources that can be used to address racism in our churches and communities. These resources not only address anti-racism, but also how to have vital conversations. More ...

Congregations asked to share disciple-making stories of H.O.P.E
United Methodist congregations are being invited to share stories about how they are making disciples for the transformation of the world as they offer the H.O.P.E of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life. Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church, which developed the acronym H.O.P.E. to help remember steps in disciple-making, is posting the stories on a new website,, to celebrate how individuals and congregations make disciples. More ...

Follow reports from annual conferences
United Methodist conferences around the world have their annual gatherings throughout the year, but June is the height of annual conference season for many in the United States. United Methodist News Service is posting reports from the gatherings as they are received. Click here to see reports.

July 1 is deadline to submit non-digital petitions to General Conference
Wednesday, July 1, is the deadline to submit petitions without digital media to General Conference. If you are submitting a petition to the 2016 General Conference without digital media, it must be typed, double-spaced and submitted by July 1. Handwritten or hand-printed submissions will not be accepted. Final deadline for petitions using digital media is Oct. 13. More ...

Deadlines approaching to volunteer for General Conference 2016
Volunteers are needed for a variety of roles during the 2016 General Conference, The United Methodist Church's top legislative assembly, which will meet in Portland, Ore., May 10-20, 2016. All volunteers are responsible for their own travel and expenses. Wednesday, July 1, is the deadline to apply to be recorders, channel "B" identifiers and verbatim transcribers/copy editors. Click here for more information. July 31 is the deadline for volunteers to apply online to serve as marshals or pages. Approximately 150 volunteers are needed to serve as marshals and pages during General Conference. Preference will be given to applicants who can serve throughout the entire conference. More ...

Cokesbury reveals 2016 VBS theme: Surf Shack
As churches are in the midst of Vacation Bible School activities this summer, the search for next year's program begins. In 2016, Cokesbury's "Surf Shack: Catch the Wave of God's Amazing Love" program will offer a beach-themed getaway for kids to learn about God's awesome power. Cokesbury is part of the United Methodist Publishing House. More ...

GBGM head lauds Pope's encyclical on climate change
Thomas Kemper, top executive of the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM), urges church members and all people of faith to read and study the papal encyclical on climate change from Pope Francis. "It puts squarely on human shoulders the responsibility for the natural environment and its future," he writes. More ...

Disciple Fast Track seeks churches for beta testing
Since 1987, Disciple Bible Study has reached nearly 3 million people worldwide, introducing the grand sweep of Scripture in a 34-week format. Now Disciple Fast Track maintains the integrity and principles of the original study, but its modifications can better meet the needs of a hectic world. Participants still receive a thorough introduction to the Bible, but in 24 weeks, almost a third less time. In this final year of development, Disciple Fast Track is looking for 30 churches from each annual conference to participate in beta testing. Last year, 350 churches participated with more than 5,000 participants. For more information, go to

Academy of Faith and Money to be Aug. 17-20 in Atlanta
Registration deadline for The Academy of Faith and Money is Wednesday, July 1. This event, hosted by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry and led by Horizons Stewardship, is a four-day money and ministry training in Atlanta Aug. 17-20 for provisional members and younger clergy. More ...

GCORR has three job openings
The General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR), headquartered in Washington, D.C., has three positions open: director of Program Ministries, Communications director and treasurer. For more information, contact Frances Roberts at or go to

♦ Look Who's Calling - June 27
Look Who's Calling, a Call and Culture event for high school students who may be experiencing a call to ministry, will be 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 27, at Virginia State University, Foster Hall, 1 Hayden Dr., Petersburg. For more information contact Derrick Parson at or Delano Douglas at More ...

♦ LARCUM conference - June 29
The Church of the Holy Apostles, 1593 Lynnhaven Parkway, Virginia Beach, will host the Tidewater LARCUM (Lutheran, Anglican, Roman Catholic and United Methodist) Conference at 7 p.m. Monday, June 29. Tim Lim, Regent University School of Divinity, will present “After the Reformation Quincentenary: Envisioning the Future” and will bring attention to how churches might work together ecumenically 500 years after the Reformation. A reception will follow the presentation and ecumenical worship service. For more information, call (757) 427-0963.

♦ Small Membership Congregation Pastor training - July 11
All Virginia Conference pastors of small congregations (fewer than 150 in worship) are invited to a training event specifically designed around opportunities and challenges of the small congregation. This event will be 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 11, at the Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center in Blackstone. Dr. Lew Parks, professor at Wesley Theological Seminary who has specific interest in the small congregation, will be featured speaker. Bishop Cho will lead worship to close the day. Cost is $25 and includes lunch. 0.5 CEU will be offered. Register at by July 1. More ...

♦ Candidacy Summit - July 17-18
The Virginia Conference is sponsoring a Candidacy Summit from 1 p.m. Friday, July 17, to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, July 18, at Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center, Blackstone. This event is for those considering ordained ministry and those who have been admitted as candidates for ministry in the Virginia Conference. You must be a high school graduate to participate. All candidates are required to attend a Candidacy Summit prior to certification. Registration is required 48 hours prior to the event in order to ensure sufficient materials are available for all participants. Another Candidacy Summit will be held in January 2016. More ...

♦ 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 ...

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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The Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church
10330 Staples Mill Road, Glen Allen, VA 23060
PO Box 5606, Glen Allen, VA 23058-5606
(804) 521-1100
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