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News from the Virginia Conference - May 15, 2015

Sunday, May 24, is conference-wide Day of Prayer
Bishop Young Jin Cho is inviting all churches in the Virginia Conference to participate in the second annual conference-wide Day of Prayer on Sunday, May 24. "We began this campaign last year to help create a culture of prayer in our conference as the basis for a renewal and revival of our churches," Bishop Cho said. "This year May 24 (Sunday) is the date of our conference-wide Day of Prayer. I invite every church to remember this day and to pray for a renewal and revival of the churches in our conference and in the entire United Methodist Church." More ...

Bulletin insert available for 2015 Annual Conference offering
Bishop Young Jin Cho has set the 2015 Annual Conference offering goal at $150,000 to support three different ministries. The goal includes $50,000 for continued support of our partnership with the Methodist Mission in Cambodia as they continue to purchase property for new churches; $50,000 for United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) Global Health ministries to aid the Ebola-ravaged countries of Sierra Leone and Liberia; and $50,000 to support mission projects working with the poor in the Danville and Eastern Shore districts. Click here to download a bulletin insert to be used in your church to promote giving to ths special offering. More ...

Annual Conference members urged to bring '4 Cans 4 Conference' to Roanoke
Those attending 2015 Annual Conference are encouraged to bring at least four cans of food or boxes of dry food to the session in Roanoke for “4 Cans 4 Conference.” Requested are: one can of vegetables or fruit, one can of meat or fish, one can of soup or stew and one can with a pop-top. All gifts will benefit local services for the hungry in the Berglund Center area. The 2015 Annual Conference goal is 10,000 pounds of canned and dry/staple foods. Donations should be brought to the 24-foot U-Haul truck parked near the Kits Collection trucks at the far end of the Berglund Center Parking Lot A, near the intersection of Williamson Road and Orange Ave. (across from the Sheetz gas station). Please do not deliver the canned goods inside the Berglund Center.

Kits for UMCOR to be collected at Annual Conference
Various types of Relief Supply Kits will be collected at the 2015 Virginia Annual Conference session. Kit collection is being conducted to replenish the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) supply. Local churches are encouraged to collect items for any of the most requested UMCOR kits — Bedding, Birthing, Cleaning, Health, Layette, School and Sewing — and bring them to Annual Conference. For kit assembly instructions, go to Kits should be taken to the two tractor-trailers at the far end of the Berglund Center Parking lot A, near the intersection of Williamson Road and Orange Ave. (across from the Sheetz Gas Station). Kits will be received 12-2 p.m. Thursday, June 18; 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, June 19; and 8 a.m.-12 p.m. Saturday, June 20. More ...

Send cash for kits directly to conference treasurer
If you prefer to contribute cash to enable United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) to purchase Relief Kits, you can contribute $50 for each bedding kit, $8 for each birthing kit, $55 for each cleaning bucket, $12 for each health kit, $35 for each layette kit, $11 for each school kit and $18 for each sewing kit. In addition, UMCOR asks for $1 per kit ($1.50 per cleaning bucket) to cover processing and shipping and $1 for toothpaste for each health kit. Please do NOT bring checks to Annual Conference. ALL checks (for processing and shipping, for toothpaste and in lieu of providing kits) should be made payable to “Virginia Conference UMC,” earmarked for “kits” and mailed to Treasurer, Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 5605, Glen Allen, VA 23058 any time prior to Annual Conference, and no later than Aug. 31.

Volunteers needed to collect kits at Annual Conference
More volunteers are needed for this year’s “Kits for Conference” collection at Annual Conference. You can help (1) write information on a clipboard; (2) sort kits; (3) seal boxes; or (4) load boxes onto the tractor-trailers. Kit collection will take place Thursday, June 18, from 12-2 p.m.; Friday, June 19, from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. and Saturday, June 20, 8 a.m.-12 p.m. If you can volunteer to help, e-mail Virgil Decker at or contact Jeff Wilson at Huntington Court UMC, (540) 366-3465, to indicate what time you would be available. Also, you may register online at Sign Up Genius.

Volunteers needed to bag potatoes at 7 a.m. Friday, June 19
More than 20 tons of potatoes will be dropped at Southview UMC, 3539 Peters Creek Rd., Roanoke, in the pre-dawn hours of Friday, June 19. At 7 a.m., volunteers will be needed to bag and load the donated potatoes so they can be picked up by regional food banks, church pantries, soup kitchens and other local feeding agencies. Co-sponsored by the conference office of Justice and Missional Excellence and the Society of Saint Andrew, a national, nonprofit food salvage hunger-relief program, the potato drop will provide 120,000 to 135,000 servings of food to the region’s poor and hungry. Come get dirty and help bag potatoes for local food banks and still have time to get cleaned up and ready for the start of conference. For more information, contact Sarah Ramey, Society of St. Andrew, at

Denise Honeycutt to speak at Annual Conference mission luncheon
In celebration of the 75th anniversary of United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), the Rev. Denise Honeycutt, Deputy General Secretary of UMCOR, will be keynote speaker at the Missional Ministries Team and Board of Church and Society Annual Conference Luncheon at 12 noon Saturday, June 20, in the Berglund Center (formerly Roanoke Civic Center). We in Virginia are honored to invite one of our own back to share the UMCOR story. Cost for the box lunch will be $15. Click here for online registration.

Volunteers needed for Annual Conference computer-assisted note taking
Volunteers are needed to offer their time and talent in communicating the spoken word to persons who need computer-assisted note taking in order to be fully included in our 2015 Annual Conference sessions to be held June 19-21 in Roanoke. Tasks include typing text of reports, worship and music using Microsoft Word, sometimes while the speaker is presenting. Good typing speed and accuracy is a must. Individuals are needed for all sessions for shifts of one hour or longer. For more information, contact Cheryl Edley Worford, director of the Center for Inclusivity and Lay Leadership Excellence, at 1-800-768-6040 or (804) 521-1100, ext. 154, or by e-mail to

Video highlights Imagine No Malaria lemonade stands
Calvary UMC, Arlington DistrictNick Ruxton, videographer in the conference Communications office, has produced a video slide show of the lemonade stands set up by United Methodists all across Virginia on Saturday, April 25, World Malaria Day, to raise money to fight malaria. This video, along with other videos highlighting ministries of the Virginia Conference, can be found on the conference YouTube channel at and the conference Facebook page at

Board of Church and Society to sponsor trip to Israel/Palestine Nov. 2-15
The conference Board of Church and Society is partnering with American Jews for a Just Peace/Jewish Voice for Peace Boston's Health and Human Rights Project to co-sponsor an Interfaith Peace-Builder (IFPB) delegation to Israel/Palestine Nov. 2-15. This delegation will participate in the Palestinian olive harvest season — generally a time of great community activism, when people of all ages from Palestine, Israeli peace and justice groups and international groups join farmers as they reap their harvest. Participants will hear from Palestinian farmers and learn of the importance of agriculture to the Palestinian economy and culture. They will also meet Israelis and Palestinians working for peace and justice and Israeli settlers who have a different perspective. While the purpose of the delegation is to learn from Israeli and Palestinian peacemakers, the group will also visit some of the traditional religious sites. Cost will be around $2500, which includes 13 days of hotel and home-stay accommodations, breakfasts, dinners, local transportation, guides, speaker/event fees, basic tips and gratuities. The Board of Church and Society has funds for partial scholarships for two young adults. Partial scholarships may also be available from IFPB for those with demonstrable need. Cost does not include domestic and international airfare. Interfaith Peace-Builders works with a local travel agent in Jerusalem to secure the best group rates for the delegation to travel together on the same flight from Washington, D.C., to Israel/Palestine, so delegates do not need to book their own international airfare. For more information on Interfaith Peace-Builders and this delegation, go to For more information and an application (due July 15), contact John Copenhaver Jr. at Those seeking financial assistance must complete a scholarship application by July 1.

Sunday, May 24, is Pentecost
Sunday, May 24, is Pentecost. Discipleship Ministries is offering a number of liturgies, prayers and other resources to prepare for your Pentecost Sunday worship experience. View, use and share these resources:
   ♦ They Were Waiting for a Sign from God and Holy Spirit, Rain Down on This Place — calls to worship for the day of Pentecost.
   ♦ United Methodist pastor and hymn writer Nickolas Campbell has composed ‘Spirit of God, Assist and Guide Today’ hymn based on John Wesley's prayers for Sunday morning.
   ♦ In this light-hearted episode of the "Chuck Knows Church" series, Chuck Knows Pentecost offers viewers the opportunity to learn the meaning of the birth of the early church, 50 days after Passover, its symbols, and much more.

'Welcoming the stranger' is Heritage Sunday theme
Heritage Sunday, observed on May 24, will highlight the work of Alma Matthews and others within the church who welcomed the immigrant. The United Methodist Commission on Archives and History and Discipleship Ministries have resources for observing Heritage Sunday. Click here to get resources from Archives and History. Click here for more resources from Discipleship Ministries.

Churches asked to take Samaritan Offering May 10-June 21
Churches in the Virginia Conference are asked to receive a special offering 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). The benevolent fund 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. VUMH mailed 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, are posted on the website at under the “Samaritan Program” section. 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.

May is Asian-Pacific-American Heritage Month
Resources for observing Asian-Pacific-American Heritage Month in May are available from United Methodist Discipleship Ministries. Resources include liturgy, prayers, hymns and songs. Goal is to celebrate the generations of Asian and Pacific Islanders who have enriched the church. Click here to get resources.

Peace with Justice Sunday is May 31
Peace with Justice Sunday is May 31. The Virginia Conference Board of Church and Society and the office of Justice and Missional Excellence are asking Virginia churches to make a special effort to support this special Sunday offering this year. The offering is for the purpose of financing activities (a) to achieve the "Policies for a Just Peace" contained in the Council of Bishops' Foundation Document "In Defense of Creation," and (b) to pursue other justice and peace objectives contained within the vision of shalom in that document. The offering is divided between the General Board of Church and Society and the Virginia Conference. Churches and other United Methodist groups are eligible to apply for grants from the conference Peace with Justice Grant fund.

Children's prayers sought for Peace with Justice Sunday
Children are invited to submit original prayers for peace to the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society (GBCS) as part of the denomination’s Peace with Justice Sunday observance. The Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe, GBCS chief executive, has proposed a multi-faceted initiative, led by children, to engage all generations in United Methodist Peace with Justice Sunday, which is Sunday, May 31, this year but can be observed at any time amenable to a congregation’s programming schedule. The initiative, “Hate Hurts, Peace Heals,” includes a reading list on peace for children and Sunday school classes, an opportunity to submit original prayers for peace and gathering offerings for peace. More ...

Bishops call on United Methodists to work to end racism, welcome stranger
The United Methodist Council of Bishops unanimously adopted a pastoral letter on racism affirming that “all lives are sacred and that a world free of racism and xenophobia is not only conceivable, but worthy of our pursuit.” The active bishops approved the letter on the last day of the council’s weeklong spring meeting in Berlin. Click here to read complete text of the letter. More ...

Council of Bishops affirms missional direction
The United Methodist Council of Bishops affirmed a vision for a missional direction for the next quadrennium, which includes partnering with schools to help end poverty, starting new faith communities and equipping congregations with processes to increase the number of vital congregations. More ...

United Methodists contribute $9.6 million to fight malaria
The people of The United Methodist Church made a historic $9.6 million donation to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria, the single largest contribution made by a faith organization to the Geneva-based institution. United Methodists throughout the world contributed to the denomination’s Imagine No Malaria initiative through donations and grassroots fundraising efforts, ranging from pancake breakfasts to 5K runs to lemonade stands. More ...

Annual Conferences are now underway
United Methodists in Africa, Europe, the Philippines and the United States are preparing for — or have already attended — annual conference meetings. Click here to see conference schedule. During these regional legislative meetings, clergy and laity elected by local churches will establish 2015 budgets, consider resolutions regarding social justice issues and recognize retiring clergy. The ordination service for clergy is a highlight of every session. United Methodist News Service posts reports from communicators on each conference. Click here to read conference reports.

Agencies urge Obama to finalize tobacco regulations
The United Methodist General Board of Church & Society is among 31 public health and medical organizations that urged President Obama April 28 to quickly finalize long-overdue rules covering all tobacco products, including electronic cigarettes, cigars and hookah. In a letter to the president, the groups said the continued lack of federal oversight of these products is putting the health of America’s kids at risk. More ...

U.S. Christians lose ground according to latest Pew survey
The United States is a significantly less Christian country than it was seven years ago. That's the top finding — one that will ricochet through American faith, culture and politics — in the Pew Research Center's newest report, "America's Changing Religious Landscape," released May 12. More ...

Registration open for 'Academy of Fatih and Money' training
Registration is open for the Aug. 17-20 "The Academy of Faith and Money," a four-day training event in Atlanta for provisional members and younger clergy. Led by Horizons Stewardship and hosted by United Methodist Higher Education and Ministry, the event will offer training for personal and church financial management, as well as consultation on educational loans repayment from student debt expert Heather Jarvis. 1.8 CEUs are available. Learn more or register.

Lake Junaluska Peace Conference to be Nov. 12-15
"Longing for Peace / Exploring the Heart of God" is the theme of the Lake Junaluska Peace Conference, to be held Nov. 12-15 at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center in western North Carolina. Keynote speakers are Rabbie Or Rose, Rabbia Terri Harris and Dr. Sam Wells. They represent the three Abrahamic religions — Judaism, Islam and Christianity. Yuval Ron, musician, composer and peace activist, will provide music for the event. Click here for more information and to register.

♦ Renewing God’s Creation in Northern Virginia - May 16
Renewing God’s Creation in Northern Virginia: United Methodist Gathering for Fellowship and Action will be held 2-4 p.m. Saturday, May 16, at The Church of the Good Shepherd, 2351 Hunter Mill Road, Vienna. The Rev. Pat Watkins, missionary for God’s Renewed Creation with the General Board of Global Ministries, will speak on "Renewal of Creation in the Church and World." A representative from the Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions will speak on "Advocating for Climate Action in Fairfax County." Participants will share stories of greening churches/communities and plan opportunities for cultivation and future gatherings. For more information, contact Brian Christoffersen, Arlington District Church and Society representative, at

♦ UMVIM Team Leader Training - May 30
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. Training is scheduled for Saturday, May 30, 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at Shady Grove UMC, Short Pump, 4825 Pouncey Tract Rd., Glen Allen. Click here to register online and pay by credit card. Click here to download a pdf file and pay by check. More ...

♦ School for Children's Ministries - 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. This Fall, the school will be held Sept. 12 at Timberlake UMC, Lynchburg; Oct. 17 at Thalia UMC, Virginia Beach; and Nov. 7 at Good Shepherd UMC, Dale City.

♦ Conference on Aging - June 2
The Virginia Conference Older Adult Ministries and the Lynchburg District Older Adult Ministries are co-sponsors of the Lynchburg College Beard Center 2015 Conference on Aging to be held Tuesday, June 2, on the Lynchburg College campus in Lynchburg. Theme is “Aging Well in Mind, Body, Spirit.” Keynotes will include “Choosing to live a happy, balanced, vibrant life” by Kathleen Passanisi, internationally recognized speaker, humorist and medical professional; and "May the circle be unbroken: Spirituality, faith and aging" by James L. Brooks, associate state director for AARP Virginia and ordained United Church of Christ pastor. More ...

♦ Basic Care Spiritual and Emotional Care Training - June 5-6
United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) offers Basic Care Spiritual and Emotional Care Training for Virginia Conference clergy and laity to learn how to be present to their neighbors in times of disaster by responding to their spiritual and emotional needs. This seven-hour course will be offered 5:30-9 p.m. Friday, June 5, and 8:30 a.m.-12 noon Saturday, June 6, at St. Luke’s UMC, 300 Ella Taylor Rd., Grafton. Trainer is the Rev. Ellen W. Comstock, LPC, Pastoral Counselor. Reserve a space by e-mailing Comstock at Registration deadline is May 31. More ...

♦ Helping Hands - June 29-30
This event June 29-30 at Fairview UMC, Danville, gives rising 4th-6th graders the opportunity to do hands-on missions in the Danville/Pittsylvania County 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. For more information, contact Katherine Lewis at (434) 792-3391 or More ...

♦ Helping Hands - July 16-17
This exciting two-day mission experience for rising 4th-6th graders, parents and adult leaders of all member churches of the Virginia Conference, will be held July 16-17 at Christ UMC, Staunton. Come and learn about mission opportunities and the importance of being a caring Christian. Cost is $36 per person which includes t-shirt, meals, snacks and overnight stay. Participants will sleep on the floor and will not have shower facilities. Registration deadline is June 10. For more information, contact Beth Christian at (540) 932-1055 or 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 ...

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
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PO Box 5606, Glen Allen, VA 23058-5606
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