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News from the Virginia Conference - May 1, 2015

Virginia Conference churches sell lemonade to raise money for Imagine No Malaria
Calvary UMC, Arlington DistrictDespite torrents of rain, wind, hail and unseasonably cold weather, on Saturday, April 25, World Malaria Day, Virginia United Methodists across the state rallied to put up lemonade stands to sell lemonade (and other goodies) to raise money to fight malaria. More ...

Notice required if church changes member of Annual Conference
Beginning May 1, if your church/charge has a change in Annual Conference member, you need to contact Brenda Capen by e-mail to with the new member's name, address, e-mail, district and name of church/charge they represent. New members will also need to include a completed Alternate Lay Member form, signed by their Church Council Chairperson or Charge Conference Secretary. The form may be scanned and included in the e-mail. If the original member has received the Book of Reports packet, it should be passed on to the alternate member. Changes may be marked on the registration card, and a new name badge will be mailed to the alternate member. If a change occurs after June 10, the alternate member should bring the completed and signed Alternate Lay Member form and the original packet to the Registration Help Desk at Annual Conference. A new name badge and registration card will be printed there.

Clergy appointments posted on conference website
Bishop Young Jin Cho and the Virginia Conference Cabinet have announced the clergy appointment projections made in March 2015 that were announced April 26. The list can be viewed on the Virginia Conference website at where you will also find appointment projections made in February 2015.

Brazil Methodist Church leaders to be in Virginia June 1-7
Keila Guimarães, national coordinator of the Shade and Fresh Water Project in Brazil, will be in Virginia June 1-7, along with Bishop João Alves Oliveira of the Brazilian Methodist Church. Shade and Fresh Water has been a vital mission partner of our conference for many years. We hope to give Keila and Bishop Oliveira the opportunity to connect with as many people as possible during their visit. If your church already has a meeting or event planned at which they would be welcome — or if you're willing to organize something for your congregation or community — contact David Vaughan at (434) 825-3542 or

Swadley to receive Virginia Council of Churches Faith in Action award
The Rev. Charles Swadley, retired Elder in the Virginia Conference, was named winner of the Faith in Action Award by the Virginia Council of Churches. The award will be presented Tuesday, May 12, at the College Lutheran Church in Salem, Va. Swadley is currently serving as interim chief executive officer for the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy (VICPP). The award is a tribute to Swadley’s work as chair of the Commission on Interfaith Relations for the Virginia Council of Churches, and his work to establish forums of faith leaders for VICPP throughout Virginia. A web page on the nominees for the Faith in Action Award can be found at this link.

May 22 is deadline to apply for pilgrimage led by Bishop Cho to South Korea
For the fourth year, Bishop Young Jin Cho will lead a group of active clergy to Bupyeong Methodist Church in Incheon, South Korea. This pilgrimage, Oct. 19-27, will emphasize prayer as the foundation of personal and collective spiritual renewal combined with contextual hands-on missions and ministries planted by American missionaries a century ago on Korean soil. Seating is limited to 30 clergy, but seats are still available. Room and board will be provided by Bupyeong Methodist Church for the duration of the trip. Participants will be responsible for cost of air fare, extra insurance coverage by GBGM, and personal expenses. Round-trip air fare is estimated to be $1,330; for age 60 and above is $1,235.00. Application deadline has been extended to May 22. Please note that this is an application process. Applications will be reviewed by members of the planning committee. Those submitting applications will be notified after the deadline. To apply, go to For more information, contact the Rev. Won Un at or (540) 886-3441.

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 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. 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.

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 ...

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, and the 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.

Relief kits needed for victims of Baltimore unrest
United Methodist Baltimore-Washington Conference leaders have announced a missional response to the riots and other unrest in Baltimore. Health and hygiene items are being collected immediately and will be distributed at three Baltimore churches this weekend. Also, United Methodist Committee on Relief is sending 1,000 health kits and 500 layette sets for immediate distribution. More ...

United Methodists respond to Baltimore riots
The Rev. Cynthia Moore-Koikoi prayed and then joined Baltimore's other clergy in a march for peace. The pastors put themselves between bottle-throwing demonstrators and lines of police officers with pepper spray. Their goal was to ease tensions in the wake of violence after the death of Freddie Gray, who was injured while in police custody. More ...

UMCOR responds to earthquake in Nepal
United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), the disaster-relief arm of the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church, is responding to the devastating earthquake that rocked Nepal April 25 killing more than 6,000 people and injuring nearly 14,000. Search and rescue operations continue. Countless people are homeless. UMCOR approved a grant of $90,000 for international partner GlobalMedic to bring sorely needed clean water to survivors through provision of household and public water-filtration units. UMCOR also is in conversation with United Mission to Nepal (UMN), a partner in community-based health and education projects in Nepal for more than 60 years. More ...

All United Methodist missionaries in Nepal reported safe
All five Global Ministries missionaries serving in Nepal, and their families, have reported that they are safe. Dr. Lester Dornon and his wife, Debbie, were in the United States on missionary itineration. Dr. Mark Zimmerman, his wife, Deirdre, and their children, and Katherine Parker were all in-country, but unharmed. Zimmerman, who serves with the Nick Simons Institute (NSI), which trains and supports skilled rural health-care workers, wrote in an e-mail that aftershocks have continued, electric power has been cut and few shops are open. "All of us in Nepal thank you for your thoughts and prayers over the coming days and weeks," he wrote.

You can help victims of Nepal earthquake
As events and needs continue to unfold in Nepal in the aftermath of the earthquake, you can help by: 1) Praying for all who have been impacted by this emergency: the people of Nepal, Global Ministries, UMCOR partners at work on the ground and Global Ministries missionaries and their families assigned to serve there; 2) Waiting to go to the disaster area. The situation in Nepal remains one of search and rescue and not a time for volunteers; 3) Giving to UMCOR International Disaster Response, Advance #982450. Your gifts to UMCOR International Disaster Response make it possible for UMCOR to respond quickly to emergency situations through local and international partners; 4) Staying informed. Visit and for updates and developments regarding Global Ministries’ and UMCOR’s response to and accompaniment of survivors.

Missionaries in Nepal report on emergency needs
In rural Nepal, the number of earthquake casualties was lessened by the fact that many people were outside of their homes when the disaster occurred, reports a United Methodist missionary couple based there. But emergency needs of food and shelter remain dire. More ...

Mother's Day has special meaning for those fighting malaria
To celebrate Mother’s Day, United Methodist Communications captured the story of Jennifer, an Imagine No Malaria field coordinator. Jennifer took a missionary trip to Central America, and upon her return became pregnant. When she was four months pregnant, Jennifer discovered that – right here in the United States – she was sick with malaria. Fortunately, she had access to quality medical care and delivered a healthy child after a week of hospitalization and an extended recovery. Jennifer realized that women around the world were suffering as she had, but without the benefit of premium and local medical care and, often, without knowledge of how the medicine they are given will affect their unborn child. The thought of these mothers and the 3,000 mothers every day who hold their children as they die of malaria caused her to dedicate years of her life to raising awareness about malaria and helping to ease suffering from this treatable, preventable and beatable disease. This Mother’s Day, please give generously – in honor of your mother or other important women in your life – to Imagine No Malaria. Share Jennifer’s story with the video and resources available at

May 23 concert in Washington, D.C., to benefit Imagine No Malaria
Tickets are on sale for the 2015 Wesley Choral Festival Gala Concert, an event featuring choirs and individual choral singers from across the nation, to be held at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 23, at the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. One hundred percent of ticket sales will benefit Imagine No Malaria, an initiative of the people of The United Methodist Church to reduce preventable deaths from malaria. More ...

World Council of Churches launches websites to promote justice, peace
Two interactive websites have been launched by the World Council of Churches (WCC) to promote "The Pilgrimage of Justice and Peace," an initiative of WCC member churches, including The United Methodist Church. The new website,, offers resources for congregations, organizations and groups to work together on the issues of justice and peace in order to heal a world filled with conflict, injustice, violence and pain. More ...

Plans announced to hold General Conference in Philippines, Zimbabwe
Plans are underway for the first United Methodist General Conference gatherings outside the United States — in the Philippines in 2024 and in Zimbabwe in 2028. Read press release. But the commission that plans the legislative assembly has concerns about the Zimbabwean government's treatment of gay people. More ...

Alternative process offered for sexuality debate at General Conference
Organizers of the 2016 General Conference, The United Methodist Church's top lawmaking assembly, plan to offer an alternative process for considering legislation related to the denomination's stance on homosexuality. The hope is to bring out middle voices that often go unheard. More ...

Hays to step down as Duke dean in 2016
The Rev. Richard Hays will end his tenure as Duke Divinity School dean in June 2016. Hays, who has led the school for five years, said he’s eager to return to writing and classroom teaching at Duke as a New Testament professor. The United Methodist seminary has launched three new degree programs under his leadership. More ...

Young People in Mission camp to be June 28-July 2
Young People in Mission, a camp experience held at Lake Junaluska, N.C., June 28-July 2, will provide hands-on mission opportunities for youths and young adults. Young people will serve with 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. Early bird pricing is available through May 15. 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

♦ 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 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. Training is scheduled for Saturday, May 16, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at 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.

♦ 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.

♦ 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. Early registration deadline is today, May 1. More ...

♦ Helping Hands - July 23-24
The 2015 Helping Hands Virginia Conference event will be held at Woodlake UMC in Midlothian July 23-24. 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

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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