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News from the Virginia Conference - March 5, 2014

Lenten, Easter resources available
May you have a meaningful Ash Wednesday and Lenten season. Below are Lenten resources to help you throughout this season of reflection on Christ's sacrifice and redemptive love and to help you celebrate Christ's Resurrection on Easter, which is Sunday, April 20, this year:
♦ "His Resurrection, Our Life," a collection of lectionary helps, worship resources, meditations, music downloads, videos, bulletin covers and art from the United Methodist Board of Discipleship. Click here to see overview.
♦ Lent and Easter devotional resources, videos and articles from United Methodist Communications. Click here to view and download.
♦ United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), the denomination's humanitarian relief and development agency, offers 40 days of Lenten devotionals that also highlight the March 30 One Great Hour of Sharing offering, which supports UMCOR. Click here to download PDF.
♦ The Society of St. Andrew, a United Methodist partner that leads feeding ministries, offers the "Create in Me a Clean Heart" Lenten devotions program for churches and individuals. Click here to sign up to receive daily devotions by e-mail. Click here to download devotional booklet.
♦ Abingdon Press, part of the United Methodist Publishing House, offers several choices for devotional and group study during Lent including: The Way: Walking in the Footsteps of Jesus by Adam Hamilton; He Set His Face to Jerusalem, a Lenten study for adults by Richard B. Wilke; God's Gift of Life, Lenten study based on the Revised Common Lectionary; The Sanctuary for Lent 2014, daily devotions for each of the 40 days in Lent plus Sundays; Voices for Good Friday, Good Friday/Tenebrae worship services with dramatic monologues based on the Gospels. Click here to browse and order.

Remember: Set clocks forward Saturday evening
Daylight Savings Time begins at 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 9. We lose an hour, so set your clocks one hour forward on Saturday night (e.g., 10 p.m. becomes 11 p.m.) so you won’t miss church!

Conference equips, connects local churches for ministry
The mission of the Virginia Conference is to equip local churches for ministry and provide connections for ministry beyond the local church. The Rev. Marc Brown, director of Connectional Ministries, reports on some of the ways conference staff and boards and agencies did that this past month. http://vaumc.org/MinistriesatWork

One Great Hour of Sharing is March 30
One Great Hour of Sharing is Sunday, March 30. Click here to order free resources for this offering that supports United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). Because UMCOR receives no apportionment dollars, the disaster-relief agency relies on the One Great Hour of Sharing special offering to pay for all of its administrative costs. This allows 100% of donations given for specific appeals to go directly to those relief efforts. More ...

March is Women's History Month
March is Women’s History Month. The General Commission on the Status and Role of Women (GCSRW) is celebrating Women’s History Month with special resources every day of March. The 2014 theme is “Women of Character, Courage and Commitment,” and GCSRW is marking that theme in The United Methodist Church three different ways: 1) Highlighting a different woman in UMC history each day on the agency’s website. 2) Providing inclusive-language, liturgically appropriate worship elements for each of the five Sundays of the month. 3) Sharing the voices of today’s United Methodists each day on the agency’s blog. More ...

Desktop Meditation is opportunity for Lenten reflection
United Methodist TV offers a Desktop Meditation: "A Lenten Journey" on YouTube. This "mini retreat" offers viewers a chance to reflect on their personal journey through the 40 days of Lent. United Methodist missionary, the Rev. Romeo del Rosario, sings United Methodist Hymn No. 386, "Come, O Thou Traveler Unknown." (Del Rosario is country director of the United Methodist Mission in Cambodia and was a guest preacher at the 2013 Virginia Annual Conference.) Photographs of God's creation and quotes from Scripture are featured. Photographs were taken by United Methodist News Service photographers Mike DuBose and Kathleen Barry. More ...

Rethink Church offers Lenten photo challenge
Remember last year's popular Lenten photo challenge from Rethink Church? It's almost time to start this year's project. Will you join us in this reflective exercise? Go to http://umrethinkchurch.tumblr.com/lent to learn more.

GBHEM introduces new website
The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) has introduced a new website. The redesigned website promises to resource the church more efficiently to "prepare global leaders for a global church," said the Rev. Kim Cape, the top executive of the agency. The web address for the agency remains http://www.gbhem.org/. More ...

Agency leaders decry laws targeting gays
Leaders of the General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) and General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) have issued statements critical of new, tough anti-homosexuality laws in several states in the U.S. and in other countries including Uganda, Nigeria, Russia and India. Click here for GBGM statement. Click here for GBCS statement. More ...

Dallas pastor performs same-sex wedding
More than 200 attended the service March 1 uniting George Harris, 80, and Jack Evans, 84, in marriage. The Rev. William McElvaney, 85, a retired pastor and seminary president, defied United Methodist Church law by presiding at the same-sex union. More ...

Bishop Carcano urges African bishops to oppose discrimination against gays
Los Angeles Area Bishop Minerva Carcaño released last week a letter she wrote to retired and active African bishops of The United Methodist Church. Carcaño, who favors changing the restrictive positions on homosexuality in United Methodist Church law, said news of Uganda’s law that would impose sentences of up to life imprisonment for those convicted of engaging in homosexual acts prompted her to write her African colleagues. “I beg you to act in behalf of those whom Jesus also considers his beloved,” Carcaño wrote. “I do not ask you to stand in support of homosexuality. I ask you to raise your voices against hatred and violence. At my end I pledge to do all I can to challenge U.S. forces that contribute to the fomenting of this hatred and violence in Africa.” More ...

Chuck Knows Church: Shrove Tuesday
Ever wonder why there's almost always a pancake breakfast at church some time before Easter? Watch "Chuck Knows Church" to get some answers. "Chuck Knows Church" is 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 www.ChuckKnowsChurch.com 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 ...

Nominations sought for Culture of Call Church Award
Does your church have a good track record of cultivating clergy? The Foundation for Evangelism is seeking nominations for the 2014 Culture of the Call Church Award. This annual award recognizes one local United Methodist congregation that encourages the next generation of leaders to enter full-time Christian service. Click here for nomination form. More ...

Nominations sought for Distinguished Evangelist award
The Foundation for Evangelism is seeking nominations for the 2014 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 2014 Distinguished Evangelist of the United Methodist Church will join others such as Adam Hamilton, Shane Bishop, Jorge Acevedo, Charles Anderson and Mark Beeson as exceptional United Methodist leaders who have a passion for evangelism. More ...

Registration open for Game Changers Summit Sept. 3-5
Registration is open for the Game Changers Summit, a technology conference to help churches, universities and organizations connect global mission agendas with technology solutions for the developing world. Attendees will learn how to undertake a project in a developing country and get advice from global experts. The conference is scheduled for Sept. 3-5 in Nashville. More ...

♦ Virginia Wesleyan College Clergy Seminar - March 17-18
"Sanctified Laughter: A Theology, History and Practice of Humor and Satire" will be presented by Dr. Terrence Lindvall, Professor of Communications and Christian Thought at Virginia Wesleyan, at a two-day Continuing Education Seminar for Clergy at Virginia Wesleyan College March 17-18. Cost is $75 per person, including lunch Monday. The program begins at 8:30 a.m. Monday and ends at noon Tuesday. One CEU credit will be given. The seminar is open to laity as well as clergy. Register at www.vwc.edu/ces or by mail to Office of Advancement, Virginia Wesleyan College, 1584 Wesleyan Drive, Norfolk, VA 23502.

♦ Extension Ministers Gathering - March 24
Virginia Conference Extension Ministers will gather with Bishop Young Jin Cho Monday, March 24, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Roslyn Conference and Retreat Center in Richmond. Extension Ministers (elders, provisional elders and local pastors) and those appointed Beyond the Local Church (deacons and provisional deacons) can connect with clergy colleagues, share stories and have conversation with Bishop Cho. More ...

♦ Bishop's Convocation on Prayer - March 29
The second annual Bishop’s Convocation on Prayer will be 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 29, at Trinity UMC, 903 Forest Ave., Richmond. The Rev. Tom Albin, dean of Upper Room Ministries and Ecumenical Relations, will be plenary speaker. Small group learning opportunities will be offered in the areas of prayer and Wesleyan spiritual disciplines. More ...

♦ Early Response Team certification training - March 29
United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) Early Response Team (ERT) certification training will be 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Saturday, March 29, at Galilee UMC, 45425 Winding Rd., Sterling. Registration fee is $55, which includes training manual, UMCOR ERT badge, T-shirt and background check (forms will be handed out at training). Checks should be made out to the Virginia Conference and brought the day of training, or click here to register online.

♦ 'Look Who's Calling' youth retreat - April 5
The Wesley Foundation at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, will host the Saturday, April 5, Virginia Conference “Look Who’s Calling” free, one-day retreat for high school-age youths who may be experiencing the gentle nudging of God’s call to ministry. More ...

♦ Camp Overlook Confirmation Retreat - April 11-12
Confirmation classes from across the conference are invited to a one-night Confirmation Retreat at Camp Overlook in Keezletown. Sessions will be led by the Rev. Gary Heaton, the Rev. David Rochford (Staunton District superintendent), missionaries and lay people. Participants will explore Wesleyan roots, Means of Grace, connectional nature of The United Methodist Church, and importance of missions. To register or for more information, go to www.campoverlook.org, call 540-2MY-CAMP or e-mail CampOverlook@gmail.com

♦ 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 margieturbyfill@rmc.edu. The program is co-sponsored by the Bailey Pre-ministerial Program at Randolph-Macon College and the Virginia Conference Board of Ordained Ministry.

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 Advocate@vaumc.org. For information about the Virginia Conference and resources for ministry, visit the Virginia Conference website at www.vaumc.org


 

 

 

 

 

 

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