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News from the Virginia Conference - May 3, 2016

Updates provided on tornado long-term recovery efforts
Forrest White, Virginia Conference Disaster Recovery manager and UMVIM coordinator, reports on the latest efforts in long-term recovery from the Feb. 24 tornadoes that caused loss of life, personal injuries and severe property damage in communities in three districts of the conference:
♦ Tommy Gilbert was hired as Construction Manager on the Disaster Recovery team. He has more than 15 years of experience overseeing construction efforts in areas affected by disasters for the North Carolina Conference.
♦ United Methodist Committee On Relief (UMCOR) will provide Case Management Training May 10-12 at Memorial UMC in Appomattox. (See details below, under "Events")
♦ A team from the James River District will begin May 7 to overhaul the Dendron UMC building in Surry County so it can serve as housing for teams that work in Waverly. Memorial UMC in Appomattox will provide team housing. Additional churches are needed to host teams in all three recovery areas (Waverly, Appomattox and Tappahannock), especially churches with a kitchen and shower(s).
♦ Bases of operation are being set up in the Waverly, Appomattox and Tappahannock areas. We want our ministry to reach all of the underinsured or uninsured homeowners whose houses were damaged by the tornado outbreak.
♦ As we continue to seek funding through grants and other sources, we're thankful for churches giving financial support and holding fundraisers for the long-term recovery ministry. On May 14, Central UMC in Staunton will hold a BBQ fundraiser from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. and 4-7 p.m. in the church parking lot. For additional information, go to Central UMC Staunton. St. Andrew's UMC in Richmond held a peanut butter and jelly sandwich lunch at the church to raise money for long-term recovery. Funding is critical to the scope of our long-term recovery. We want to do what the people of the United Methodist Church are known for ... serving until recovery is complete, until all survivors are home. But we must keep this long-term recovery ministry fresh on the minds of all United Methodists in Virginia until our work is complete.

Notice required for Annual Conference member changes
Beginning May 1, if your church/charge or district 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. 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 a 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.

Volunteers needed for Annual Conference computer-assisted note-taking
Individuals are needed who can 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 Annual Conference sessions. Tasks include typing text of reports, worship and music using Microsoft Word, at times as the speaker is presenting. Good typing speed and accuracy are required. Volunteers are needed during all sessions for shifts of one hour or longer. More information is available from the office of Inclusivity and Lay Leadership Excellence at 1-800-768-6040 or (804) 521-1100, ext. 154, or

'Did You Know?' video features Virginia United Methodist Homes, Samaritan Fund
Did you know that Virginia United Methodist Homes, Inc. (VUMH) was founded in 1945 and today has seven communities with more than 1,300 residents? In 2015, VUMH provided more than $950,000 in benevolence care to residents who had outlived their own personal assets. Of that amount, about $300,000 was provided by contributions to the Samaritan Fund. That's just part of what you can learn from a video about Virginia United Methodist Homes. This one-minute video is the ninth in a series of videos featuring facts about The United Methodist Church. Called “Did You Know?” these videos can be used to convey information about The United Methodist Church to confirmands, new member classes, youth groups, Sunday school classes, church committees or even during worship. Produced by the Virginia Conference Communications office, the videos are posted on the conference website at, on the conference YouTube channel at and on the conference Facebook page at

May 22 is Peace with Justice Sunday
Peace with Justice Sunday is May 22. The offering received on this Special Sunday of The United Methodist Church makes possible our denomination's ongoing ministries of peace and reconciliation. When you give on Peace with Justice Sunday, your gift makes possible our critical kingdom work in the world. Because you give, United Methodists spearhead a peace ministry uniting Arizona border communities; United Methodists in Liberia are being equipped to implement the denomination’s Social Principles to address social-justice issues; Pennsylvania students are educating their community about sex-trafficking at home and abroad. These initiatives, and hundreds of other ones, are possible because you give. Click here to access a Pastor and Leader's Kit with promotional materials, information and worship resources.

Churches asked to take Samaritan Offering May 8-June 19
Churches in the Virginia Conference are asked to receive a special offering between Mother’s Day on May 8 and Father’s Day on June 19 for the 2016 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. VUMH mailed each charge a packet of promotional materials and giving envelopes. With the exception of the envelopes, all of the materials are available on the VUMH website at under the “Samaritan Program” section. The website also includes bulletin inserts for each Sunday during the offering emphasis. 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. More....

Contributions to honor Bishop Cho will fund 'Spiritual Leadership' training
Bishop Young Jin Cho will retire from active ministry on Aug. 31 of this year, after having served four years as the episcopal leader of the Virginia Conference. To honor his service, the conference Committee on Episcopacy is inviting Virginia United Methodists to make contributions to the Bishops Foundation endowment to fund training and leadership development for clergy and laity in the area of “Spiritual Leadership.” To make a donation to honor Bishop Cho, send a check payable to “Virginia United Methodist Conference,” earmarked for “Bishop Cho donation,” to Treasurer, Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 5605, Glen Allen, VA 23058. Or, click here to make a donation online using a credit card. More ...

15 New York Conference clergy, candidates come out as gay
Fifteen United Methodist clergy and clergy candidates took a leap of faith together and came out as lesbian, gay, bisexual and queer members of the New York Conference. They signed an open letter to the people of The United Methodist Church just days before the 2016 General Conference opens in Portland, Ore., on May 10. More ...

2016 General Conference to tackle 44-year stance on homosexuality
Words that bind or hurt: “The United Methodist Church does not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers this practice incompatible with Christian teaching.” View a history of the United Methodist Church's 44 years of struggle and preview legislation going before the church’s top lawmaking body. More ...

Ugandans join push for bishop accountability
Three Ugandan United Methodists say their bishop is using their nation’s legal system to silence their calls for accountability. They also are urging the 2016 General Conference, the denomination’s top lawmaking body, to approve proposed legislation to increase bishops’ accountability — especially on financial matters. More ...

Divestment debate to continue at 2016 General Conference
Through petitions and advocacy, some United Methodists are again asking delegates to the denomination’s top legislative body to use divestment as a way to address the Israel-Palestine conflict. More ...

2016 General Conference asked to renew funding for Young Clergy Initiative
Delegates to General Conference 2016 will be asked to renew funding for the Young Clergy Initiative. The grant-based program, created by General Conference 2012, aims to bolster the ranks of young pastors in The United Methodist Church. While officials say it is too soon for statistical evidence that the program is working, anecdotal accounts offer encouragement. More ...

Africa University graduates to interpret for General Conference
More than a dozen Africa University alumni are interpreters and translators for the 2016 United Methodist General Conference. Many graduates have played this role since the 1996 General Conference, but in 2016, they are donating the bulk of their stipends to the United Methodist university in Mutare, Zimbabwe. They are recruiting friends and colleagues to do the same. More ...

DGC2016 items on top court's agenda
The top court of The United Methodist Church will consider two items related to the upcoming General Conference when its spring meeting begins May 6 at the Oregon Convention Center, just prior to the denomination’s May 10-20 legislative session. The Judicial Council has scheduled two oral hearings on May 6. More ...

Everything you need to know about attending General Conference
Here is everything you need to know about attending General Conference 2016 — from the fact that the convention center will be a gun-free zone despite Oregon’s open carry law to how to get wireless, translations and public transportation information. More ...

50 faith leaders call on Christians to resist bigotry of 2016 presidential campaign
Invoking the call of German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer, more than 50 faith leaders from across the political spectrum, including at least three United Methodists, joined together to speak out on the current state and alarming rhetoric of the 2016 election cycle, which they say, “threaten[s] the fundamental integrity of Christian faith and the well-being of society itself.” The statement, “Called to Resist Bigotry — A Statement of Faithful Obedience,” names the racial and religious bigotry of Donald Trump and his disrespect of women as gospel issues, and not merely political matters, saying: “… while Donald Trump certainly did not start these long-standing American racial sins, he is bringing our nation’s worst instincts to the political surface, making overt what is often covert, explicit what is often implicit." More ...

Bishop writes about role in clergy complaints
A bishop cannot “fire” clergy and must be fair and just in responding to complaints, Western North Carolina Bishop Larry Goodpaster writes in a blog about the challenges of handling a complaint about a same-sex marriage. The Rev. Val Rosenquist, senior pastor of First United Methodist Church in Charlotte, now faces a formal complaint after she co-officiated a same-gender wedding with retired Bishop Melvin Talbert on April 23. Click here to read blog. More ...

Global clergywomen gathering to be Aug. 29-31 in Houston
United Methodist clergywomen from around the world will gather in Houston Aug. 29-31 to celebrate 60 years of full clergy rights for women in the Methodist tradition, and 20 years of the full-clergy-membership diaconate for United Methodist deacons. The gathering is the culmination of regional gatherings of United Methodist clergywomen that have taken place throughout the connection and will be held in the days leading up to the World Methodist Conference. Click here to register. The United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry is organizing the event. More ...

♦ UMCOR Case Management Training - May 10-12
United Methodist Committee On Relief (UMCOR) will provide Case Management Training Tuesday, May 10, through Thusday, May 12, at Memorial UMC in Appomattox from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. each day. There is NO cost to attend. You must attend all three days to complete the training. This training is required for all who wish to volunteer with disaster recovery case management in areas affected by Feb. 24 tornadoes. It will cover all aspects of individual case management, from initial intake to assessing homeowner needs to spiritual and emotional care and more. Lunch and snacks will be provided. For those who require lodging (at personal expense), group discount is available at Appomattox Inn and Suites, 447 Old Courthouse Rd., Appomattox, Va 24522, (434) 664-2018. Refer to UMC Case Management Training to receive group discount. Registration deadline is noon Wednesday, May 4. To register or for additional information, contact Stephanie Hunt at or (804) 337-3569.

♦ Early Response Team basic training - May 21
The Conference Disaster Response Team invites you to participate in a training event for anyone interested in disaster relief ministries. Early Response Team (ERT) certification training will be held 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, May 21, at Centerville UMC, Centreville. Cost is $55 (includes background check, t-shirt, manual and lunch). Checks should be made out to the Virginia Conference and brought the day of training. For more information, contact Linda Cooper at register, e-mail Michele Michaelian at More ...

♦ Early Response Team basic training - May 21
The Conference Disaster Response Team invites you to participate in a training event for anyone interested in disaster relief ministries. Early Response Team (ERT) certification training will be held 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, May 21, at Braddock Street United Methodist Church, Winchester. Cost is $55 (includes background check, t-shirt, manual and lunch). Checks should be made out to the Virginia Conference and brought the day of training. To register, e-mail Michele Michaelian at More ...

♦ Clergy Spouse Luncheon at Annual Conference - June 18
The Annual Clergy Spouse Luncheon at Annual Conference will be held at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, June 18, at Greene Memorial UMC, Roanoke. Speaker will be from Rescue Mission Ministries. Event will be catered by 2nd Helpings. Cost is $12 for adult, $7 for child. RSVP to Lydia Weeks at (540) 886-1460 or Deadline to register is June 9.

♦ Missional Ministries/Church and Society Annual Conference luncheon - June 18
Dr. Olusimbo Ige, executive director of the Global Health unit of the General Board of Global Ministries, will be guest speaker at the Missional Ministries Board/Board of Church and Society combined Annual Conference luncheon at 12 noon Saturday, June 18, in Berglund Hall at the Berglund Center in Roanoke. Dr. Olusimbo will tell the story of the UMC’s commitment to health world-wide as well as in the U.S. Cost is $17 per person. Register online at

♦ Helping Hands mission experience for children - June 22-23, July 21-22
Helping Hands, an exciting two-day mission experience for rising 4th-6th graders, parents and adult leaders, will be June 22-23 at St. Paul’s UMC in Staunton and July 21-22 at Woodlake UMC in Midlothian. Come and learn about mission opportunities and the importance of being a caring Christian. Cost is $36 per person and includes a t-shirt, meals, snacks and overnight stay. The event will include worship, fellowship and mission experiences in the community. Registration forms for each site can be found at

♦ Mission Encounter - July 29-31
Mission Encounter, the only conference-wide mission education and interpretation event, will be July 29-31 at Randolph-Macon College, Ashland. Mission Encounter is an opportunity for clergy and laity to learn about being partners in God’s global mission and to grow spiritually through study and worship. It is open to men, women and youths. Participants may attend one of three workshops: spiritual growth study on "The Bible and Human Sexuality" led by the Rev. Dr. Rob Vaughn, the Rev. Myrtle Frances Hatcher and Prof. Esther Barkat; issue study on "Climate Justice" led by the Rev. Pat Watkins and the Rev. Dottie Yunger; or geographic study on "Latin America-People and Faith" led by Don Edwards. For more information, contact Dennis Lipke, dean of the Mission Encounter Committee, at or (804) 262-8651. 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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