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News from the Virginia Conference - May 21, 2015

Bishop urges all to participate in Day of Prayer, Imagine No Malaria
Bishop Young Jin Cho has issued a letter to all Virginia Conference United Methodists, urging them to participate in the Sunday, May 24, conference-wide Day of Prayer and also encouraging them to support Imagine No Malaria. More ...

Mulligans Against Malaria golf tournament set for June 18
A golf tournament to raise money for Imagine No Malaria will be part of pre-Annual Conference activities planned by the Roanoke District. Mulligans Against Malaria will be Thursday, June 18, at Blue Hills Golf Course, 2002 Blue Hills Drive NE, Roanoke (off of 460/Orange Ave). Cost will be $35 per golfer, including greens fees and dinner. Tee time is 12:30 p.m. for a shotgun start. Up to 120 golfers can participate. Pre-registration is required. At this captain's choice tournament, each team is asked to raise funds by getting sponsors from local churches for birdies or eagles or on a per stroke basis. If you are a single golfer, you will be placed on a team. Sponsorship opportunities are also available. Prizes will be given for the best score (including a round of golf for four at the Homestead and a week at a condo in Myrtle Beach) and for the team that raises the most for "Imagine No Malaria." For more information, contact the Rev. B. Failes at, or click here for more information and to register.

Bonsack UMC to host 'Bring Your Own' picnic on June 18
Bonsack UMC, 4493 Bonsack Rd., Roanoke, is hosting a “Bring Your Own” picnic at the church 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 18, as part of pre-Annual Conference activities planned by the Roanoke District. Bring your own meal and come for a relaxing time of fellowship in the picnic shelter with a playground, corn hole and time to unwind. No pre-registration is required. For more information, call (540) 977-4212.

Pub Theology in downtown Roanoke will be June 18
Pub Theology, a fellowship gathering to listen/discuss theology with Dr. Kendall Soulen from Wesley Seminary and the Rev. Jason Micheli from Aldersgate UMC in Alexandria (who started a Theology on Tap there), will be held Thursday, June 18, at 7 p.m. at Corned Beef & Company, 107 Jefferson St. in downtown Roanoke. This is part of pre-Annual Conference activities planned by the Roanoke District. No pre-registration is required. For more information, contact Ted Sutton at

Annual Conference artwork to be auctioned to benefit Imagine No Malaria
Artists from across the conference have created a number of pieces of original art to be used to enhance worship experiences during this year's Annual Conference. These works of art will be available to purchase at an online auction. One hundred percent of the proceeds will benefit Imagine No Malaria. If your Sunday school room needs a new, vibrant piece of art, or if you would like a special gift for a retiring pastor or a new ordinand, you might consider bidding on one of these original pieces. Bidding is open from Monday, May 18, to 7 p.m. Saturday, June 20. To see the art, read about each piece and the artist who created it and make a bid, go to

Instructional video on electronic voting available prior to Annual Conference
Nick Ruxton, videographer in the conference Communications office, has produced a training video on how to use the electronic voting devices that will be used at Annual Conference to elect delegates to General and Southeastern Jurisdictional Conferences. This instructional video can be shown at district pre-conference orientation events and will also be shown at Annual Conference prior to taking the first ballot. The video can be viewed on YouTube at

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

June Advocate to provide preview of 2015 Annual Conference
The June issue of the Virginia United Methodist Advocate will offer a preview of the 2015 Annual Conference that will be held June 19-21 in The Berglund Center (formerly Roanoke Civic Center) in Roanoke. Worship, election of delegates to General and jurisdictional conferences, celebration of mission and ministry, ordination, resolutions, petitions and other business will all be part of the gathering. The Advocate is the official monthly magazine of the Virginia Conference. To subscribe to the Advocate – print, digital or both – call (804) 521-1110 or 1-800-768-6040, ext. 110; e-mail; or go to

Photos to be taken in local churches for online pictorial directory
All clergy, diaconal ministers, certified professionals, those serving as pastoral supply, retired bishops and conference staff who HAVE NOT had a picture taken within the last two years, including those newly commissioned, will have the opportunity to have their photos taken this year for the Virginia Conference online pictorial directory. Instead of having a photo booth at Annual Conference this year, Lifetouch will offer the opportunity for individuals to have their photos taken at a local church near them any time between now and Aug. 31. Call Michelle Eckert at 1-866-739-0317, ext. 59047, to determine the most convenient location and schedule your portrait sitting. (This opportunity is also open to your family members who wish to have portraits made.) When you arrive for your portrait sitting, you will be asked to complete an information form. In the section labeled "Church Number," write "425439 - VA Conference of the UMC." If your picture is already in the online directory, it is NOT necessary for a new photo to be taken. For more information, contact Linda Rhodes, director of Communications, at, (804) 521-1111 or 1-800-768-6040, ext. 222.

Kings Dominion offers discount prices to United Methodists
As part of a special arrangement with the Virginia Conference, Kings Dominion amusement park is offering United Methodists discounted prices on tickets during United Methodist Days at the park. Cost is $34 per person for ages 3 and older for discount tickets valid June 25-29, July 1-6 and July 18-20. Children ages 2 and under will be admitted free. During the discount days, two Christian music events will be held on the park grounds. KingsFest (three full days of Christian music featuring speakers and singers of praise and worship including Skillett, LeCrae, Tenth Avenue North, Jeremy Camp and more) will be June 25-27. JoyFest (one of the country's largest gospel festivals featuring Fred Hammond, Tamela and David Mann and Tye Tribbett) will be Saturday, July 18. KingsFest and JoyFest tickets are sold separately in advance through the call center at (804) 876-5000. Cost is $40 for Good Any Day tickets, which are valid April 11-Oct. 31. Kings Dominion is located 20 miles north of Richmond, off Interstate 95. To purchase tickets online, go to and enter promo code KDUMC04 in the top right corner under "my cart." The Virginia Conference will receive $1 for each ticket purchased online during United Methodist Days.

SEJ bishops, lay leaders ask for children in poverty stories
The Southeastern Jurisdiction (SEJ) Bishops and Conference Lay Leaders have created a joint project to share stories of children in poverty from each of our conferences with each other from now until the Jurisdictional Conference in July 2016. Send your church stories in written format up to 250 words or in video format up to three-minute length to Warren Harper, Virginia Conference Lay Leader, at Include the name of the person sending the information, the pastor's name, your church name and district. Click here to view stories that have been submitted from SEJ conferences.

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 ...

Connectional Table seeks greater openness on human sexuality
United Methodist clergy could perform same-gender weddings and conferences could ordain openly gay clergy if legislation by a denomination-wide leadership body wins General Conference approval. By a vote of 26 to 10 with one abstention, the Connectional Table on May 18 approved legislation that would remove prohibitive language that makes it a chargeable offense under church law for clergy to be “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” or to officiate at same-sex weddings. More ...

UMCOR helps supply basic needs to families in Syria, Iraq
As civil war in Syria staggers into a fifth year, the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is responding to basic, often-overlooked needs both in Syria and in neighboring Iraq, as both countries also face the challenge of persistent attacks by the Islamic State, known also as IS or ISIS. More ...

Economist says United Methodist Church is in crisis
The United Methodist Church has only 15 years to reverse its decline in the United States if it is to have a sustainable future, an economist warned church leaders. At the same gathering, the church leaders discussed possible missional goals to address that decline and enhance the global denomination’s ministries around the world. More ...

Connectional Table wants to model worldwide church
The Connectional Table of The United Methodist Church currently has only 10% of its members from outside the United States. Members want to change that, to reflect better the worldwide nature of the church. More ...

Quiz yourself on United Methodist history
The United Methodist Church has existed in various forms for more than 200 years. Test your knowledge of its history with this quiz, a partnership between United Methodist Communications and the United Methodist Commission on Archives and History. A new question will be added each day through John Wesley's birthday, June 17. Take quiz

Chuck Knows Church The Committee: 'Understanding the Who'
Who lives in the community surrounding your church? Do you know them? What does your church offer them? In the latest episode of "The Committee," Chuck uses Dr. Seuss to help Park Grove Community Church understand the who around them. "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 Thursday, May 21, at 2 p.m. EDT. Go to Facebook ( for the latest news and the website ( to watch and download all episodes and register for the webinar.

United Methodism 101 to be offered online June 17-July 29
Get to know The United Methodist Church through a six-week online course, United Methodism 101, offered June 17-July 29 by United Methodist Communications. New and old members alike can dive into the church's history, structure, beliefs and more. This self-paced course includes access to a facilitator to answer questions and respond to your work. Upon successful completion, you will receive .5 ALLLM CEU. Registration is open until June 16. Seating is limited. More ...

Gathering of United Methodist musicians, worship designers to be July 20-23
Pathways 2015, the biennial convocation of The Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts, is a gathering for musicians, dancers, visual artists, preachers and all those who seek to serve God's people by designing and leading participatory worship experiences. The convocation will be July 20-23 in Indianapolis. Register between May 20-24 to get $299 registration fee plus a CHAMPION UPGRADE of a free $50 transportation pass for a total of $80 in event savings. Register between May 25-27 to get reduced registration fee of $299. Seminar leaders include some of the most influential leaders and musicians in the church today, including Nadia Bolz-Weber, Constance Cherry, Michael Hawn, John Holbert, Michael Keller and Mark Miller, plus numerous ministry colleagues leading a variety of practical breakout sessions. More ...

♦ 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.

♦ UMVIM Team Leader Recertification - May 31
United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) Team Leader Recertification, required for all UMVIM team leaders who completed basic team leader training five years ago or longer, will be offered Sunday, May 31, 12:30-3 p.m. at Shady Grove UMC, 4825 Pouncey Tract Rd., Glen Allen. Focus of this training is to update leaders on Virginia Conference UMVIM policies and guidelines, to share best practices, and to answer questions. Registration fee is $25, payable when you register. More ...

♦ 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 ...

♦ Small Membership Congregation Pastor training - July 11
All Virginia Conference pastors of small congregations (fewer than 150 in worship) are invited to a training event specifically designed around opportunities and challenges of the small congregation. This event will be 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 11, at the Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center in Blackstone. Dr. Lew Parks, professor at Wesley Theological Seminary who has specific interest in the small congregation, will be featured speaker. Bishop Cho will lead worship to close the day. Cost is $25 and includes lunch. 0.5 CEU will be offered. Register at by July 1. 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
10330 Staples Mill Road, Glen Allen, VA 23060
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