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 Dec. 15, 2016
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News from 2016 General Conference (May 10-20)
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March 30, 2016
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News from the Virginia Conference - March 17, 2016

Annual Conference offering to support Cambodia, Brazil, Mozambique, Virginia
Bishop Young Jin Cho announced that the 2016 Annual Conference offering goal will be $150,000 and again focus on both international and Virginia-based mission needs. 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.

April Advocate to celebrate 20th anniversary of Order of Deacon
The April issue of the Virginia United Methodist Advocate celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Order of Deacon. According to the Book of Discipline, “Deacons are persons called by God, authorized by the Church, and ordained by a bishop to a lifetime ministry of Word, Service, Compassion, and Justice, to both the community and the congregation in a ministry that connects the two.” (¶329.1). Learn how deacons bridge the gap between the outside world and their church communities. Explore the different forms their ministries take, from working with the homeless to serving in health care to performing music. This issue also features a new “A Day in the Life” section which describes the day-to-day ministry of one deacon, Joanna Dietz, at Braddock Street UMC in the Winchester District. 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

Editor asks for submissions for May issue of Advocate on creation care
The May issue of the Virginia United Methodist Advocate will focus on creation care. The Advocate editor is asking for your stories. Why do you think caring for God’s creation around us is important? Does your church have any ministries related to caring for God’s creation? As a pastor, what is your stance on creation care? What aspects of the Bible and personal experience do you draw from? Laity, how do you think you/we are called to be a caretaker of God’s creation? How does care of animals factor into this discussion? Share your photos from around Virginia to show the beauty of nature. Send your information to Advocate editor, Madeline Pillow, at by Friday, April 1, to share your stories and, potentially, be featured in the next issue of the Advocate.

Missionary to Cambodia to be in Virginia July 5-18
Esther Gitobu, a General Board of Global Ministries missionary currently serving in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, with the Methodist Mission of Cambodia, will be available to visit churches in Virginia July 5-18. If your church/community would like to schedule Esther for a visit so she can share with you how your gifts are empowering the lives of God's people in Cambodia, contact Ann Klotz, Virginia Conference Missionary Itineration Coordinator, at Be sure to identify the church you represent, the district, contact information and, preferably, more than one requested date or venue option. Hosting congregations are responsible for food, lodging, travel and all hospitality during Esther's stay with you.

April 10 to be conference-wide day to pray for General Conference
The United Methodist Council of Bishops has invited each annual conference in the denomination to designate one day to hold a 24-hour prayer vigil for General Conference. Bishop Young Jin Cho has selected Sunday, April 10, to be the day for the Virginia Conference prayer vigil. The Virginia Conference delegation committees for worship and devotional life, conference Board of Discipleship and Kindred Project are developing resources that can be used for this event as well as during days following April 10 and throughout General Conference. District offices will coordinate the scheduling of local churches that wish to participate. Organizers are asking districts to encourage all congregations on the district to sign up for half-hour or one-hour increments so there will be 24 hours of continuous prayer beginning at 12 a.m. April 10 and continuing until 12 a.m. April 11. As part of this initiative, the chapel in the Virginia United Methodist Center in Glen Allen will be open for prayer. In addition, all congregations are asked to include the prayer initiative in their Sunday services on that day. More ...

March is Women's History Month
March is designated as Women's History Month in The United Methodist Church, a month in which churches are encouraged to recognize and celebrate lives and contributions of women to their communities and The United Methodist Church. Click here to read about women in The United Methodist Church. Click here to learn more about the history of United Methodist Women and its legacy through animated shorts, video, a historical timeline as well as a living timeline. Click here for resources from Discipleship Ministries.

April 10 is Native American Ministries Sunday
United Methodist congregations will celebrate Native American Ministries Sunday on Sunday, April 10. When United Methodists give to the special offering taken on this day, it allows Native Americans to encounter, worship and serve Jesus. When you support Native American Ministries Sunday, you equip seminary students who will honor and celebrate Native American culture in their ministries. And you empower congregations that are finding fresh new ways to minister to their communities with the love of Christ. The NAMS Pastor and Leader's Kit makes it incredibly easy for pastors to promote this Special Sunday of healing to their local congregations.

WindsorMeade of Williamsburg seeks part-time chaplain
WindsorMeade of Williamsburg, one of the continuing care retirement communities of Virginia United Methodist Homes, Inc., is looking for a part-time chaplain (approximately 20 hours per week). The chaplain provides for the religious and spiritual needs of residents while building rapport through pastoral visitation. Responsibilities include preparing and leading regularly scheduled religious activities including services, Bible study, devotions, caregiver support group, grief support group and similar rituals to support the spiritual needs of residents and their families in good times and difficult times. The chaplain may be called upon to preside over memorial services. The ideal candidate has a Master of Divinity from an accredited seminary or school of theology, a chaplaincy certification and two years of pastoral care experience, preferably with a senior adult population. Chaplain must be able to serve Communion. Fluent English speaking and writing skills, empathy and the ability to listen, good time-management skills, computer skills and professional dress, speech and behavior are all required. To apply, submit information and resume at More ...

Good Friday worship resources available online
March 25 is Good Friday when Christians commemorate Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, often with a Tenebrae service, which means service of darkness or shadows. Get worship resources for this coming Holy Week in Korean, Spanish and English from Discipleship Ministries.

60 Days of Prayer for General Conference to begin March 31
The Upper Room has created resources for 60 Days of Prayer to help every local congregation pray with the delegates and church leaders for the 2016 General Conference. The 60 Days of Prayer begin March 31 and extend through May 29. The denomination’s legislative assembly is May 10-20 in Portland, Ore. The prayer guide is available online, as a PDF download and a daily email service. Prayer-bead kits with a commemorative medallion are also available. Click here to get resources.

Top agency executives urge General Conference to cut denomination's budget
Top executives of The United Methodist Church’s 13 general agencies unanimously recommended cutting the denomination’s general church budget to its lowest level in 16 years. The executives said they were responding to concerns they have heard from conferences and local churches tightening their own annual budgets, including concerns expressed by the Rev. Marc Brown, Virginia Conference director of Connectional Ministries, during a February meeting of the denomination's Connectional Table. More ...

'Abundant Health' campaign to be proposed at General Conference
Eight years ago, United Methodists were asked to “Imagine No Malaria” and they have — raising more than $68 million to help eradicate the disease. Now, the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries is asking delegates at General Conference 2016 to endorse its “Abundant Health” campaign to reach 1 million children with lifesaving interventions between 2017 and 2020. More ...

Imagine No Malaria campaign reaches $68 million+ as it nears end
As the denomination’s roving ambassador for malaria prevention, United Methodist Bishop Thomas Bickerton has heard “story after story” about people energized around a cause that can make a difference. The Imagine No Malaria campaign, which United Methodists will celebrate May 18 at General Conference 2016, has raised more than $68 million so far. More ...

#CTTalks begins series on human sexuality
Continuing the conversation around key topics related to General Conference 2016, this month The Connectional Table begins a new series of #CTTalks, an online series of videos and social media conversations around key topics related to General Conference 2016. This month highlights the work done by The Connectional Table and the Council of Bishops over the last quadrennium related to matters of human sexuality. This month’s videos will highlight the process that led to The Connectional Table’s decision to propose A Third Way legislation, and to the statement of core values made by the Council of Bishops Task Force on Human Sexuality, Gender and Race. Click here to watch videos. An accompanying one-page conversation starter is available for delegates to use to continue the dialogue. Videos and handout are available on the Connectional Table website at More ...

Fairness of General Conference delegate allotment questioned
Critics of how delegates are allotted to General Conference say the Philippines and Europe enjoy an unfair advantage, having many small conferences that get a mandatory-minimum of two delegates under church law. Others say geographical and cultural factors must be taken into account when looking at numerical disparities in representation. Tension over the issue is up, due to a reduction in the overall number of delegates. More ...

Louisiana churches provide help admid floods
As rising floodwaters forced thousands to flee their homes in Louisiana, United Methodist churches stepped up to provide shelter for flood survivors. Other churches prepared to help with recovery and the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) issued an initial $10,000 emergency grant to the conference. Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey said disaster response teams will be deployed as the waters recede. More ...

UMCOR's work in Syria begins sixth year
Since war broke out in Syria in March 2011, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) has worked with local and international partners to respond to critical needs of people in harm’s way, both within Syria and in the nearby countries where refugees have fled. The help reaches just a fraction of those affected by the war’s catastrophic impact. More ...

United Methodist Insurance provides free guide for reviewing insurance policies
United Methodist Insurance, the insurance company for the denomination’s local churches, has provided an easy-to-use, free online resource for local churches that provides a quick glance at insurance concepts to be considered when reviewing insurance policies. The Safety and Insurance Handbook for Churches is a newly released e-book that explains property and liability insurance in clear language and assists church leaders in protecting church assets by having adequate insurance. To receive the free ebook, click here.

UMCom revises free training course on Connectional Giving
United Methodist Communications (UMCom) has revised its free training course, “Creating a Culture of Generosity.” The course empowers training participants to become storytellers who can inspire others to give generously by sharing honest, compelling accounts of ministry. “Connectional giving is vital to the church’s work around the world,” said Dan Krause, chief executive of United Methodist Communications. More ...

Lake Junaluska offers four youth group summer retreats
This summer Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center in western North Carolina is hosting four youth group retreats for middle and high school students. The retreats feature high energy worship, guest preachers, mission components and special meals. Afternoons are free for groups to plan rafting trips, zip line adventures, hikes, additional service projects or enjoy the swimming pool or boats at Lake Junaluska. Summer Youth Event speakers and worship bands include: June 24-26: two-night event featuring Kevin Wright and Jimmy Atkins; July 7-10: three-night event featuring Steve Cheyney and Abbye West-Pates; June 10-14: four-night event featuring Andy Lambert and Abbye West-Pates; and July 14-17: three-night event featuring Duffy Robbins and Abbye West-Pates. This year’s theme is “Overwhelmed with Joy,” based on Matthew 2:10. Retreats will focus on giving, service, encountering Christ and celebrating the joy of Jesus. In an on-site mission project, participants will package Christmas Shoeboxes for youths in Armenia through Project Agape Armenia. Registration is now open. For more information, visit, or call 1-800-222-4930.

Just Neighbors seeks executive director
Just Neighbors, a nonprofit organization providing immigration legal services to low-income immigrants in Northern Virginia, is seeking an executive director. The ideal candidate will be a mission-driven and compassionate individual with a strong passion for serving immigrants and refugees of all faiths and nationalities; a person who is committed to the values of helping others, hospitality, integrity and inclusiveness; and a person who is — or is on the way to becoming — an accomplished nonprofit manager with skills in managing people, finances and operations, fundraising from individuals and institutional donors, and representing the organization in a wide range of public settings. More ...

GCFA to offer training for church business administrators June 20-30 in Nashville
The General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) announced that the annual training event for United Methodist Church Business Administrators will be held June 20-30 in Nashville at the GCFA Ministry Center near Music Row. To learn more and register for the training, click here.

♦ Lay Servant Ministries On Demand Learning - March 19
Lay Servant Ministries will offer its first in a series of six On Demand Learning courses on Saturday, March 19. "Laity Lead in Worship" will be taught by the Rev. Nathan Decker. The class will be offered live 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 19 at the Virginia United Methodist Center in Glen Allen. It can be viewed online on your own computer for the next 90 days. The class will focus on basic worship leadership skills for lay persons (“liturgists” or “lay readers”) who assist the pastor in leading Christian worship. Particular emphasis will be given to basic skills: understanding your leadership role in relation to other leaders and the congregation, reading Scripture, leading prayer, distribution of the elements at the Lord’s Supper and basic dos and don’ts of effective worship leadership. For more information, contact David Bailey at Cost is $30 for access to view the online session. Click here to register online and pay by credit card. More ...

♦ Early Response Team basic training - April 9
The Conference Disaster Response Team invites you to participate in a training event for anyone interested in disaster relief ministries. Early Response Team (ERT) certification training will be held 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, April 9, at Susanna Wesley UMC, Gloucester. Cost is $55 (includes background check, t-shirt, manual and lunch). Checks should be made out to the Virginia Conference and brought the day of training. To register, e-mail Michele Michaelian at More ...

♦ Ministers' Convocation - April 18-20
All clergy, diaconal ministers and professional/paraprofessional certified ministers in the Virginia Conference are invited to the 2016 Ministers' Convocation, "Come to the Table: Bringing Food and Faith Together," which will be held April 18-20 at Virginia Crossings Wyndham Hotel & Conference Center, 1000 Virginia Center Parkway, Glen Allen. Come be engaged in theological and academic conversation and be re-inspired for ministry. For event details and to register, visit You are encouraged to register before Holy Week to ensure lodging availability. If you are required to earn Continuing Education Units, you are eligible for a grant from the Ministerial Education Fund toward this event. Guidelines and application can be found at

♦ Early Response Team basic training - April 23
United Methodist Early Response Teams (ERT) provide a caring Christian presence to storm and disaster victims. Training does not commit you to being on a team, but provides the opportunity to respond if your schedule allows. Teams provide many types of help: listening to residents, needs assessment, debris removal, sanitizing, flood “mucking out,” etc. Response is local or regional for three days. Training is beneficial even if you do not participate on a team. ERT certification training will be held 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, April 23, at Fieldstone UMC, 3385 N. Franklin St., Christiansburg. Cost is $55 (includes background check, t-shirt, manual, morning refreshments and lunch). Checks should be made out to the Virginia Conference and brought the day of training. To register or for more information, e-mail Steve Cass, trainer, at More ...

♦ Early Response Team Recertification Class - April 30
Early Response Team Recertification training will be offered 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday, April 30, at Sterling United Methodist Church, Sterling. A $40 registration fee is payable when you register and includes background check, badge and manual. To register, e-mail Michele Michaelian at More ...

♦ Early Response Team basic training - May 21
The Conference Disaster Response Team invites you to participate in a training event for anyone interested in disaster relief ministries. Early Response Team (ERT) certification training will be held 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, May 21, at Centerville UMC, Centreville. Cost is $55 (includes background check, t-shirt, manual and lunch). Checks should be made out to the Virginia Conference and brought the day of training. For more information, contact Linda Cooper at register, e-mail Michele Michaelian at More ...

♦ Early Response Team basic training - May 21
The Conference Disaster Response Team invites you to participate in a training event for anyone interested in disaster relief ministries. Early Response Team (ERT) certification training will be held 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, May 21, at Braddock Street United Methodist Church, Winchester. Cost is $55 (includes background check, t-shirt, manual and lunch). Checks should be made out to the Virginia Conference and brought the day of training. To register, e-mail Michele Michaelian at 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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