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News from the Virginia Conference - March 23, 2016

Conference offices to close for Good Friday, Easter
Virginia Conference offices will close at 1 p.m. Thursday, March 24, and remain closed until 8:30 a.m. Monday, March 28, in observance of Good Friday and Easter.

2016 clergy appointments posted on conference website
Bishop Young Jin Cho and his Cabinet are sharing this year’s projected clergy appointments as they are made. The March 2016 listing can be found on the Virginia Conference website by going to and clicking on "Offices & Staff" > "Bishop" > "Projected Appointments March 2016." Or, to go directly to the pdf listing, click here.

Asian-American Ministers' Association leaders endorse Berlin, Smith for bishop
The Executive Committee of the Asian-American Ministers’ Association (AAMA), voted to endorse the Rev. Ted Smith and the Rev. Tom Berlin as candidates for bishop in the Southeastern Jurisdiction. The Rev. Hyo Joong Lee, AAMA president, said the organization represents more than 50 Asian-American clergy serving in the Virginia Conference. "We will pray for God’s guidance on these two candidates as they seek to lead us in making disciples of Christ," Lee said. Berlin was also endorsed by the Virginia Conference delegation to General and Jurisdictional Conferences. Smith was also endorsed by the Virginia Conference chapter of Black Methodists for Church Renewal. More ...

New video: Lay Servant Ministries offers training in variety of ways
Lay Servant Ministries provides training opportunities to equip laity and help them realize and respond to their personal calls to ministry. In the Virginia Conference, Lay Servant Ministries offers training at the annual Lay Servant Academy (held this year Feb. 26-28 at Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center in Blackstone), at various district Lay Servant training events throughout the year and, now, through new online training that participants can view at their convenience on their own computers. Lay Servant Ministries offered the first of a series of six On Demand Learning courses on Saturday, March 19. "Laity Lead in Worship" was led by the Rev. Nathan Decker and will be available to view online for 90 days. Click here for more information. Click here to watch a video about Lay Servant Ministries.

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.

Historical Society to sponsor May 21 day trip to Tangier Island
The Virginia Conference Historical Society is sponsoring a spring travel experience to Tangier Island Saturday, May 21, to celebrate the ministry of the Rev. Joshua Thomas. Known as the “Parson to the Islands,” Thomas was born in 1776, converted to Methodism in 1807 and became a licensed exhorter, organizing the first of many Methodist camp meetings in the islands of the Chesapeake. This day trip includes embarkation from Reedville at 9:45 a.m., one-and-a-half-hour cruise to the island, historical portrayal of Thomas and a walk to Swain Memorial UMC where a recently-erected marker honors Thomas. Tour of significant sites will be guided by the Rev. Kirk Mariner. Return at 4:15 p.m. Cost for the cruise, based on a group rate, is $27 per person. Lunch may be purchased at the Hilda Crocket Chesapeake House (all-you-can-eat seafood buffet for $20.70), Waterfront Restaurant (sandwiches), Fisherman’s Corner Restaurant (sandwiches) or bring your own lunch basket and drinks. Registration deadline is April 30. To register, send check for $27 per person, payable to Catherine Morgan, to Morgan at 14016 Redhills Rd., Beaverdam, VA 23015. On check memo line, indicate “Tangier Cruise” along with your phone number. Cancellation refunds cannot be made after May 10. For those traveling a long distance, overnight accommodations can be found in Warsaw and other surrounding communities.

Campus minister sought for Arise at George Mason University
The board of United College Ministries in Northern Virginia seeks a Christ-centered, mission-minded team builder to lead the planning and re-launch of the Arise campus ministry at George Mason University (GMU), the largest public university in Virginia. Located in and around Fairfax near Washington, D.C., GMU is a diverse university with students from over 130 different countries. Of the 34,000 students at GMU, more than three-fourths of them are commuter students. In Spring 2016 the board of Arise decided to do a pause and restart of the campus ministry. The new Ministry Director/Campus Minister will take part in a year-long process of building a team, discerning and planning in order to re-launch Arise campus ministries in 2017. For details, visit the Virginia Conference website at and scroll down to “Other.”

UMCOR needs cleaning buckets
The United Methodist Committee On Relief (UMCOR) depots in Louisiana and Alabama are running low on cleaning buckets, the Mississippi Conference reports. Cleaning buckets enable people to begin the overwhelming job of cleaning up after a flood or hurricane. Click here for information about how to assemble and ship a cleaning bucket.

United Methodists in Brussels safe after attacks
Two United Methodist leaders and a mission team from the East Ohio Conference are safe after being in the Brussels International Airport during the terrorist attacks that left more than 30 people dead. Faith leaders are calling on the world to offer prayers for those killed, their families and the people who are risking their lives to help. More ...

2014 Vitality Report offers mixed news
New Jersey Area Bishop John Schol has released the 2014 Vitality Report on U.S. United Methodist churches. Between 2013 and 2014, the report said, a higher percentage of United Methodists got involved in small groups and became engaged in mission. The report also shows congregations giving more to mission. However, it shows a decrease in the percentage of U.S. churches that are growing in worship attendance. Click here to read report.

Resources available to honor Francis Asbury
The 200th anniversary of the death of Methodism pioneer Francis Asbury is March 31. Asbury preached his last sermon in Richmond, Va., on March 24 and died at the home of George Arnold in Spotsylvania County near Fredericksburg on March 31. For churches wishing to honor the occasion, The United Methodist Commission on Archives and History has a webpage with resources. Click here for resources. More ...

Same-sex wedding officiant remains clergy candidate
A United Methodist clergy candidate who got a quick online ordination to officiate at her friend’s same-sex wedding is still on track to become a deacon. West Michigan Conference leaders told Ginny Mikita that she had forfeited her candidacy and church membership, but the committee that oversees her candidacy disagreed. More ...

GBCS partners with Central America churches to address immigration
The United Methodist General Board of Church and Society (GBCS) is collaborating with Methodist churches in Central America to address immigration issues. The project’s mission is to support the creation of holistic communities that respond to violence and forced migration and promote the right of Latin Americans to stay in their homeland. More ...

Global Ministries to open office in Seoul, Korea
A new regional office in Seoul, Korea, will help coordinate the mission outreach of The United Methodist Church. Directors of the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries approved the recommendation of Seoul over Singapore or Hong Kong — cities also considered for the joint office of Global Ministries and The Upper Room — during the board’s March 17-18 spring meeting. More ...

United Methodists tackle immigration reform issues
Keeping families together has long been at the heart of the church’s mission with refugees and immigrants. Legislation before the denomination’s top lawmaking body supports immigration reform, but United Methodists are already tackling the issue in the courts and by helping individuals. More ...

United Methodists pray for UVA student imprisoned in North Korea
The United Methodist West Ohio Conference and Friendship United Methodist Church in Wyoming, Ohio, are praying for the safe return of Otto Warmbier, a young University of Virginia student arrested in North Korea and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor. Warmbier was charged with stealing a political propaganda poster from his hotel. He stated he was bringing the poster to a church member from Friendship as a “trophy” from his trip. More ...

Global AIDS Fund event to educate, inspire UMC
A free United Methodist Global AIDS Fund-sponsored event on Monday, May 9, will feature leaders discussing the current realities of HIV and AIDS. The event will be held in Portland, Ore., a day before the 2016 General Conference begins. Click here to register for the event. More ...

Young People in Mission camp to be June 26-20 at Lake Junaluska
United Methodist Volunteers in Mission for the Southeastern Jurisdiction (UMVIM SEJ) is sponsoring Young People in Mission, a camp experience with hands-on mission opportunities for youths and young adults, June 26-30 at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center in North Carolina. This event is designed to empower young people to serve with new eyes and a heart for Christ. Participants work in local mission projects, worship together, fellowship and grow with family groups, dive into Bible studies, and learn from featured speakers and the City of Opportunity. All costs except transportation are covered in the $326 registration fee (if registered by May 15, with 3 persons to a room; other pricing packages are available). Click here to register. For more information, contact UMVIM SEJ at (205) 453-9480, toll-free at 1-800-659-0609 or More ...

National Workshop on Christian Unity to be April 18-21 in Louisville
The 2016 National Workshop on Christian Unity and United Methodist Ecumenical and Interreligious Training will be held April 18-21 in Louisville, Ky. Purpose is to gather together United Methodists who are interested in ecumenical and interreligious ministry, provide them with networking opportunities and train them in current trends and practical applications. The Council of Bishops Office of Christian Unity and Interreligious Relationships (OCUIR) encourages each annual conference to send a representative to this annual event. Click here to download flyer. Early registration ends March 28. More ...

United Methodist Communications seeks web developer
United Methodist Communications, headquartered in Nashville, Tenn., is seeking an experienced web developer to create and maintain internal and external websites, develop new site templates and functionality to support communications goals and develop sites using a CMS, especially Expression Engine, and template code. Application deadline is April 18. To apply or for more information contact UMCom/Human Resources at P.O. Box 320, Nashville, TN 37202-0320; phone: (615) 742-5137; fax: (615) 742-5428; or e-mail: More ...

United Methodist Communications seeks staff accountant
United Methodist Communications, headquartered in Nashville, Tenn., is seeking an experienced staff accountant to work with United Methodist Communication’s financial services team in reconciling balance sheet accounts and credit card transactions, posting sales transactions and preparing journal entries. Application deadline is April 19. To apply or for more information contact UMCom/Human Resources at P.O. Box 320, Nashville, TN 37202-0320; phone: (615) 742-5137; fax: (615) 742-5428; or e-mail: 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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