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News from the Virginia Conference - March 26, 2015

Convocation participants told: 'You must believe prayer makes a difference'
You must believe that prayer can really make a difference, the Rev. Sue Nilson Kibbey told participants in the March 21 Bishop’s Convocation on Prayer. Belief in that idea “is absolutely essential if we’re going to lead a prayer initiative at our churches,” she said. “No halfway.” Kibbey was speaking to a packed sanctuary at Trinity UMC in Richmond. But Kibbey, main speaker for the convocation, was miles away at the time. Stuck in Philadelphia where her flight from Ohio to Virginia was snowed in, she spoke via Skype to the gathered crowd. More ...

Virginia Conference seeks Advocate Editor/News Associate
The Virginia Conference is searching for an Editor/News Associate to promote, publicize and report news, mission and ministry opportunities within the conference and across the denomination. The primary responsibility of the editor is to contribute to and give general oversight to the production of the conference monthly magazine, The Virginia United Methodist Advocate, in both its printed and digital formats. Responsibilities will include writing news stories and taking photos of activities and events occurring in the Virginia Conference to be used in the Advocate magazine, on the conference website, in the e-Advocate weekly digital newsletter, on Social Media and in other ways that may be identified. To apply, send resume to Linda Rhodes, director of Communications, at or P.O. Box 5606, Glen Allen, VA 23058. Applications will be received through April 6. Click here for job description.

Virginia Conference seeks full-time accountant/bookkeeper
The Virginia Conference Business office in Glen Allen is seeking a full-time accountant/bookkeeper with experience in balancing ledgers, preparing financial statements, handling accounts payable and payroll. This position requires a proficiency in Excel and experience with a general ledger accounting software (Microsoft Dynamics GP a plus). This position reports directly to the Treasurer and offers a generous benefits package. Salary based upon experience and education. To apply, e-mail resume to All resumes must be received by April 6. This position is also posted on the Virginia Conference website at

VUMAC received $273,179 in contributions in 2014
The Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center (VUMAC) in Blackstone received contributions totaling $273,179 in 2014. Contributions included $100,000 from the estate of the late H.S. Abernathy of Virginia Beach and payment of a challenge matching grant of $50,000 from the Titmus Foundation. The Titmus gift was designated for renovation of the north portico of the main building at VUMAC. The Abernathy gift provided funding for a cooling tower, air conditioner condenser for the auditorium, kitchen freezers and other renovation and maintenance. The remaining $121,927 was given through the "VUMAC Partners" appeal, a new initiative which included financial commitments from the Charlottesville, Elizabeth River, James River, Lynchburg and Staunton districts, local churches, church groups, individuals, businesses and related groups. Through the Dimes and Dollars program established in 1975, United Methodist Women contributed $31,000 in 2014. The Elizabeth River District Board of Mission made a special grant of $6800 to provide for renovation of a guest room at VUMAC in recognition of the faithful ministry of local churches which have been discontinued on that district.

'Lanes for Lives' bowling party raises $1320 for Imagine No Malaria
The Madison Heights Cluster of churches on the Lynchburg District raised $1320 (and saved 132 lives) for Imagine No Malaria by holding a FUNdraising "Lanes for Lives" bowling party Sunday, March 22, at AMF Lanes in Lynchburg. Amelon UMC, Emmanuel UMC, Fairview UMC, Marsh Memorial UMC, Monroe UMC, Mt. Comfort UMC, Wesleyan UMC (Charlottesville District), Kim Flannery and Lynchburg District Superintendent Larry Davies participated. "We had a great time together and were so thankful to nearly sell out all the lanes made available to us for the event," said the Rev. Nancy Johnson, pastor of Emmanuel UMC in Amherst and cluster coordinator. "Thanks again to everyone that helped make this event a success."

UMFS needs funds for Backpack program to feed children
United Methodist Family Services (UMFS) is raising funds for its Backpack program. Around 10-20 of the UMFS day school kids, who are from impoverished families, come to school hungry because there is little or no food in their homes. You can help raise funds to provide nutritional support for them over the weekends when they are not at school. So far this year, UMFS has raised more than $5,000 and sent food home to these families in need each Friday. You can be part of helping a child not be hungry. For more information on how you can help, contact Joe Torrence at or Melissa Schick at

Older Adult Recognition Sunday is May 3
Older Adult Recognition Sunday is May 3. The 2008 General Conference adopted legislation inviting congregations to celebrate Older Adult Recognition Day each year during the month of May. The Virginia Conference was well ahead of the legislation when, in 2006, the first Sunday in May of each year was designated as Older Adult Recognition Sunday. Through an Older Adult Recognition Sunday, United Methodists are invited to show appreciation and support for older adults who continue to enrich and strengthen our faith communities. This Sunday should also call the church to action in addressing the needs of older adults in the congregation and community. Your congregation can choose the first Sunday in May or another date that best fits your needs. More ...

Churches asked to take Samaritan Offering May 10-June 21
Churches in the Virginia Conference are asked to receive a special offering sometime between Mother’s Day on May 10 and Father’s Day on June 21 for the 2015 Samaritan Offering to support the Samaritan Program of Virginia United Methodist Homes (VUMH), a benevolent fund which provides financial assistance to residents who have outlived their monetary resources and, through no fault of their own, can no longer afford the full cost of their care. In the coming weeks, VUMH will mail each charge a packet of promotional materials, including a short informational DVD, offering envelopes and a copy of the new VUMH 2015 Giving Catalog. Additional suggestions for promoting this special offering, including cut-and-paste newsletter articles, bulletin announcements, Facebook posts, Tweets, worship resources and bulletin inserts, will be posted on the website at under the “Samaritan Program” section. Your support of this special offering is crucial not only to inform each congregation of the opportunity to give, but also to share the story of VUMH, its communities for older adults and the need for benevolent care. For help in telling the VUMH story within your congregation or extra copies of promotional materials, contact Martha Stokes, director of Church and Community Relations at Virginia United Methodist Homes, at or (804) 474-8718.

Social justice agency supports diplomatic efforts with Iran
The United Methodist General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) has sent a letter to U.S. Senators expressing strong support for President Obama’s diplomatic relations effort to resolve Iran’s nuclear program. The diplomatic efforts by the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, China and Russia are "critical to a peaceful future for all." The letter, signed by the Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe, GBCS chief executive, states that the diplomatic efforts by the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, China and Russia are “critical to a peaceful future for all.” More ...

1,300 groups ask Congress to approve budget that reduces poverty, inequality
The United Methodist General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) is among more than 1,300 organizations from every state that have signed a letter urging Congress to approve a budget that adheres to four basic principles intended to reduce poverty and inequality and spur broadly shared economic growth. The coalition, dubbed Strengthening America’s Values & Economy (SAVE) for All, is calling on Congress to approve a budget that protects low-income and vulnerable people, invests in broadly shared prosperity and jobs, increases revenues from fair sources and seeks responsible savings by targeting waste in the Pentagon and elsewhere. The letter is to be delivered to Congress just as the House and Senate are taking up budget resolutions. A large gap exists between what the groups call for and the budget plans approved by the House and Senate Budget Committees. More ...

United Methodist leaders tell Congress not to cut humanitarian spending
Bishop Peter Weaver, executive secretary of the United Methodist Council of Bishops, and the Rev. John McCullough, a United Methodist who is president and CEO of Church World Service, are among six faith leaders who made calls on Capitol Hill March 25 to urge Congress to fund humanitarian and poverty-focused accounts at or above FY2015 levels. They believe it is vital that investments in humanitarian, development and global-health efforts continue. More ...

Bread for World urges Congress to fully fund development assistance
The Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, testified March 25 before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs, urging its members to fully fund poverty-focused development assistance in the fiscal year 2016 budget. “U.S. poverty-focused development assistance helps build secure, healthy, and productive nations,” Beckmann said. Both the House of Representatives and Senate are planning to finalize their budgets for FY 2016 this week. The House proposes cutting international poverty-focused development assistance by 16% overall. The Senate proposal includes a 1% decrease. Bread considers this assistance a major part of the federal government’s overall work in fighting hunger. More ...

Chuck Knows Church The Committee: 'The Mission Statement'
Glenda has written the PERFECT mission statement for Park Grove Community Church! Well, let's see what you think. "The Committee" is a spinoff of the "Chuck Knows Church" video series produced by United Methodist Discipleship Ministries (General Board of Discipleship). In "The Committee," Chuck is attempting to help the fictitious Park Grove Community Church that has lost its way, lost its pastor and is closing its doors ... unless, despite itself, it finds a new way of doing church. Each month this series invites congregations to look at the issues and barriers that block them from growing deeper and becoming more vital. "The Committee" uses humor and real-life issues to invite you into a conversation about the future of your congregation. Each episode of "The Committee" has an accompanying downloadable one-page study guide (PDF). Following the release of each episode, Discipleship Ministries will host a one-hour webinar where you’ll learn more and have an opportunity to share your own experiences. This episode's companion webinar will be April 23 at 7:30 p.m. Go to Facebook ( for the latest news and the website ( to watch and download all episodes and register for the webinar.

Nominees sought for 2015 Distinguished Evangelist of UMC award
The Foundation for Evangelism is seeking nominations for the 2015 Distinguished Evangelist of the United Methodist Church award. With this honor, the Foundation celebrates a United Methodist clergy or lay person whose personal ministry in evangelism is recognized throughout the denomination. The 2015 Distinguished Evangelist of the United Methodist Church will join others such as Adam Hamilton, Shane Bishop, Jorge Acevedo, Charles Anderson, Mark Beeson and Richard Looney as exceptional United Methodist leaders who have a passion for evangelism. The Distinguished Evangelist of the United Methodist Church is announced each fall. Deadline for nominations is May 14. To submit your nomination, download this form. To learn more, visit or call 1-800-737-8333.

Lyle Schaller, influential church observer, dies at 91
The Rev. Lyle E. Schaller, a United Methodist widely considered among the most influential observers of U.S. church culture in the 20th century, died March 18 at 91. He published 55 books between 1964 and 2005, all with the United Methodist Publishing House's Abingdon Press. Click here to read a tribute to Schaller by Paul Franklyn at Ministry Matters. More ...

Methodists who started Mother's Day wanted to honor women peacemakers
The Methodist mother and daughter who started the celebration of Mother's Day in May didn't have in mind greeting cards and Sunday brunches. Instead, Ann and Anna Jarvis wanted to honor the work mothers do to promote peace. As part of Women's History Month, UMTV showcases the legacy of the two Jarvises. Watch video and Read transcript.

♦ 'March Gladness' basketball tourney - March 28
A "March Gladness" basketball tournament fundraiser for Imagine No Malaria will begin at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 28, at Regester Chapel UMC in Stafford. The Fredericksburg District challenged other districts in the Virginia Conference to enter teams in the tournament and play three-on-three 10-minute games until two teams remain to play in the Final Four against the top two teams from the Nov. 2 Eastern Shore District Basketball Tournament. Winner of Final Four play will be named conference champion. Churches in the Fredericksburg, Winchester, Charlottesville, Arlington and Alexandria Districts have entered teams to compete for the chance to play against the Eastern Shore District winners. Goal is to raise more than $12,000 through team sponsorships, entry fees and donations from local businesses in exchange for advertising in tournament program books. For more information, contact the Rev. Ted Smith, Fredericksburg District superintendent, at or (804) 448-8326. More ...

♦ UMVIM Team Leader Training - March 28, April 18, May 16
Team Leader Training is required for all first-time United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) team leaders, but all interested persons are welcome to attend whether leading a team or not. The following training events are currently scheduled:
♦ March 28, 8:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Cave Spring UMC, 4505 Hazel Dr., Roanoke. Click here to register online and pay by credit card. Click here to download a pdf form and pay by check.
♦ April 18, 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Warwick Memorial UMC, 38 Hoopes Rd., Newport News. Click here to register online and pay by credit card. Click here to download a pdf form and pay by check.
♦ May 16, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., Floris UMC, 13600 Frying Pan Rd., Herndon. Click here to register online and pay by credit card. Click here to download a pdf form and pay by check.

♦ UVA Wesley Foundation celebration - April 11
On Saturday, April 11, at 2 p.m. the Wesley Foundation at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville will celebrate 50 years of ministry in its current building with an open house and worship service with Bishop Young Jin Cho preaching. Alumni, parents, students and friends from across the conference are invited to attend that day’s activities which will include breaking ground on the “Building a Foundation for the Future” capital campaign. Directions and more information are at

♦ Senior High Youth and Young Adult event - April 17-18
The Winchester District and Shenandoah University’s Faith Seeking Justice Christian Leadership Program invite senior high youth groups, young adults, youth workers and pastors to attend Thy Kingdom Come: Where Our Mission in the Commonwealth of God Is Justice April 17-18 on the campus of Shenandoah University, Winchester. Keynote speakers are Lisa Sharon Harper and Shane Claiborne. Cost is $10 person, which will go to Imagine No Malaria. Registration deadline is April 6. Participants are invited to bring a tent and spend Friday night camping out on the field at Shenandoah University to raise money for Teens Opposing Poverty and Imagine No Malaria. Think creatively for ways church members can sponsor you as you sleep out under the stars. For more information, contact Martha Reynolds, Winchester District director of Congregational Excellence, at, or the Rev. Dr. Justin Allen, Shenandoah University dean of Spiritual Life, at More ...

♦ Fellowship of Local Pastors, Associate Members Spring Retreat - April 23
The Fellowship of Local Pastors and Associate Members will hold a one-day Spring Retreat for continuing education and time of fellowship Thursday, April 23, at Good Shepherd UMC, Glen Allen. Theme is “Bearing Fruit: Ministry with Real Results.” The Rev. Tom Berlin will share leadership lessons from the book he co-authored with Lovett Weems, and provide tools you need to assess the fruit your ministry bears in the lives of your congregations, your community and the world. Barbara Miner, licensed local pastor who serves at Floris UMC, will co-present and share her insights from 17 years of ministry at Floris UMC as it has grown in size and vitality. A 0.5 CEU will be given for full-day participation. Deadline to register is April 20. More ...

♦ Give Me That Olde Time Religion - April 25
The Virginia Conference Older Adult Council and the Senior Adult Council of Shady Grove UMC, Mechanicsville, are hosting "Give Me That Olde Time Religion" revival worship service 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday April 25, in the sanctuary of Shady Grove UMC, Mechanicsville. The service will include singing old hymns, praying and preaching by the dynamic Rev. Dr. Clarence Brown Jr., senior pastor of Annandale UMC. Fee of $12 per person includes lunch. More ...

♦ Diaconate Day Apart - April 30
Deacons, Deaconesses, Diaconal Ministers, Home Missioners and Provisional Deacons are invited to worship, fellowship and holy conversation 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, April 30, at United Methodist Family Services (UMFS), 3900 W. Broad St., Richmond. The Rev. Joe Torrence, Deacon in the Virginia Conference and Minister of Youth and Church Relations for UMFS, will help us learn what we need to know about introducing the ministry of United Methodist Family Services (UMFS) to our churches and communities. An optional mission project will be offered 2-3 p.m. at UMFS. More ...

♦ PAUMCS Spring Retreat - May 3-4
Virginia chapter of the Professional Association of United Methodist Church Secretaries (PAUMCS) will hold a "Get Away from it All" Spring Retreat for church secretaries 4 p.m. Sunday, May 3, to 3 p.m. Monday, May 4, at the Williamsburg Christian Retreat Center in Toano. Buena "Beanie" Rankin, retired assistant director of Records and Statistics of the General Council on Finance and Administration, will offer training in the areas of apportionments, record retention, effective cyber communications, church software and membership records. This event is an opportunity for church secretaries and administrators to learn, network, fellowship and relax. More ...

♦ Your Legacy and Life Beyond this Life - May 12
The Virginia Conference Older Adult Council is partnering with Overlook Retreat & Camp Ministries to offer "Your Legacy and Life Beyond this Life!" one-day retreat on Tuesday, May 12 from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Camp Overlook in Keezletown. The morning will focus on the legacy we leave as older adults. The afternoon will be encounters with eternal life as shared by individuals who have had glimpses of heaven. Lodging is available the night before. For more information and to register, go to

♦ School for Children's Ministries on the road - May 30
The School for Children’s Ministries is on the road again featuring the same school at four different locations on four different dates. The first will be Saturday, May 30, at New Life UMC in Midlothian (Richmond District). Learn "Extraordinary Lessons from Ordinary Objects" plus three more workshops. A .5 CEU offered. Encourage your children’s ministry team to attend. Only $20 per person. Click here for more information and to register.

♦ ‘Poverty in America’ seminar for young people - June 22-25
The conference office of Ministries with Young People and the General Board of Church and Society are offering a seminar in Washington, D.C., on “Poverty in America” June 22-25. Registration is open to high school and college-age individuals. Cost is $430. For more information, contact Derrick Parson at or (804) 521-1135. To register, send e-mail to Becky Tate at with the name of participant, age, gender and contact information (phone and e-mail). Send $100 non-refundable deposit (check made payable to Virginia UM Conference) to Becky Tate, P.O. Box 5606, Glen Allen, VA 23058. 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 ...

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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