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News from the Virginia Conference - May 8, 2014

Clergy continue to receive new e-mail addresses
This week, clergy in the Danville, Staunton, Lynchburg and Winchester Districts are being sent e-mail notices regarding their new e-mail addresses. Last week, the new addresses were sent to clergy in the York River, Roanoke and Charlottesville Districts. The last group, clergy in the Farmville, Fredericksburg and Harrisonburg Districts will receive notices regarding their new e-mail addresses next week. The conference is providing e-mail addresses ending in @vaumc.org to every active clergyperson in the conference. More ...

Virginia hosts three-day Cambodia Consultation
Representatives from around the world gathered at Aldersgate UMC in Alexandria May 1-3 to talk about the growing Methodist mission in Cambodia. The United Methodist Church is one of five denominations working in the Southeast Asia nation of 16 million that is still recovering from the 1977-79 genocide that wiped out millions, mostly the educated and professional. More ...

'Kingdom Sightings' blog says prayer shawl ministry is vital outreach
The Rev. Andre Crummett, pastor of Blue Grass UMC in Highland County, says the prayer shawl ministry is a vital part of the congregation's prayer outreach. Crummett is writing in "Kingdom Sightings," a blog on the conference website that is a small church spiritual journal where people can share stories of God's grace and people's faith from Virginia United Methodist churches with attendance under 150. More ...

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

Worship resources offered for Mother's Day
Mother’s Day is Sunday, May 11. Healthy Families, Healthy Planet (HFHP), an initiative of the General Board of Church & Society, offers a Mother’s Day worship resource, “Stitching Our Lives Together.” The resource offers new ideas, prayers and advocacy suggestions to make Mother’s Day an inclusive, globally focused event in your community. HFHP encourages communities of faith to become agents of change for a better, healthier world for women and their families. More ...

Peace with Justice Sunday is June 15
Sunday, June 15, is Peace with Justice Sunday, one of six churchwide Special Sundays with offerings approved by General Conference. Celebrated the first Sunday after Pentecost, this special offering enables The United Methodist Church to have a voice in advocating for peace and justice through a broad spectrum of global programs. Donations support peace and justice ministries in our own Virginia Conference and in the U.S and around the world. Worship resources are available at www.umcgiving.org. More ...

UMCOR needs relief kits to respond to U.S. disasters
Recent events such as last week’s tornado outbreak, which wreaked havoc across the South and Midwest states, and the looming hurricane season less than a month away, can place a strain on available material resources at United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) depots. Last week, Kathy Kraiza, who heads UMCOR’s relief supplies ministry, stated in an article that hundreds of relief kits, tarps and blankets were sent by truck to Baxter Springs, Kan., which was severely hit by a tornado on April 27. The depot also sent nearly a thousand cleaning buckets to Pensacola, Fla., which experienced heavy flooding, and this week, a total of 1,872 cleaning buckets went to Spanish Fort, Ala., and to West Florida. UMCOR Sager Brown is in need of health kits and bedding kits, specifically, to address U.S. disaster needs, and is also low on layette kits and school kits. You can help maintain Sager Brown’s material-resource inventory and bring relief to disaster survivors by assembling and shipping relief-supply kits to any of the depots in the UMCOR Relief-Supply Network. You can also give generously to Material Resource Ministry, Advance #901440, which allows the depot to purchase disaster relief supplies in bulk. About 18 South and Midwest states were affected by flooding and tornadoes last week. Please continue to pray for survivors as they clean up from those storms.

United Methodists work to end malaria deaths in this decade
Committed to ending preventable deaths from malaria in Africa, United Methodists are providing bed nets, working locally to drain standing water where insects breed, funding hospitals and training local workers. Rethink Church, part of United Methodist Communications, offers an overview of the difference United Methodists are making in the fight. More ...

Active United Methodist bishops gather for spring retreat
Active United Methodist bishops and the top executives of general church agencies are meeting May 4-8 at Epworth-by-the-Sea in St. Simons Island, Ga., for a time of spiritual reflection and peer learning and sharing. The gathering is closed to the press. More ...

Warner Brown begins term as president of Council of Bishops
San Francisco Area Bishop Warner Brown has begun his term as president of the United Methodist Council of Bishops, succeeding Bishop Rosemarie Wenner of Germany. A formal celebration and the traditional "passing of the gavel" will take place at the council meeting in November. Oklahoma Area Bishop Robert E. Hayes Jr. has served three terms as the council's secretary and has been succeeded by Louisiana Area Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey. More ...

Judicial Council says finance agency can grant same-gender benefits
By virtue of its own authority, the finance agency of The United Methodist Church can provide benefits for same-gender spouses of general agency employees, the Judicial Council ruled during its recent spring session. The denomination's top court also upheld a bishop's decision that a certified clergy candidate should be allowed the opportunity for an interview regardless of sexual orientation and modified another bishop's decision regarding a marriage-equality resolution from the Desert Southwest Conference. More ...

Connectional Table to propose changing stance on homosexuality
The Connectional Table, one of The United Methodist Church’s governing bodies, has decided to draft legislation that could change church law “to fully include LGBTQ persons in the life and ministry of the church.” The draft is to be brought back to the Connectional Table at a future meeting for consideration. The April 29 decision to draft the legislation came the same day the Connectional Table began a series of three public discussions on human sexuality. More ...

Complaint dropped against elder accused of being 'practicing' lesbian
The Rev. Sara Thompson Tweedy, a New York Conference elder, no longer faces a complaint accusing her of being a "self-avowed practicing" lesbian. The New York Conference confirmed Tweedy's announcement that the case has been dismissed. More ...

Women pray, march, celebrate at Assembly 2014
More than 7,000 women from around the world merged in the hallways of the Kentucky International Convention Center in Louisville April 25-27 for the United Methodist Women's Assembly 2014. The assembly is a quadrennial gathering, offering opportunities for study, worship, fellowship and social action. More ...

Hillary Clinton: 'Time to roll up our sleeves, make it happen'
In her speech to the United Methodist Women assembly held in Louisville, Ky., Hillary Clinton highlighted her United Methodist roots and commended the denomination's commitment to the social gospel. More ...

Faith leaders ask for prayers for safe return of Nigerian girls
Church leaders are asking for prayers for the safe return of more than 200 girls kidnapped from their government secondary school in Chibok, Nigeria, more than two weeks ago. Among those expressing concern were United Methodist Bishop John Wesley Yohanna of the Nigeria Episcopal Area; Thomas Kemper, chief executive of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries; and the U.S. National Council of Churches (NCC). Most of the girls are members of the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria, those denominational leaders have reported. Click here to read Global Ministries statement. Click here to read NCC statement.

GCFA tells West Angola bishop to account for use of funds
The General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA), the United Methodist Church's finance agency, announced May 2 that it is asking West Angola Area Bishop Gaspar João Domingos to account for how he used $100,000 in general church funds designated for theological education. The GCFA board has given Domingos a deadline of May 30. If he does not provide a full accounting, the board warns it will recommend church entities withhold funding. More ...

School of Congregational Development to be Aug. 14-17
Conference leaders, pastors and laity can learn the best practices for revitalizing their congregations and starting new churches at the School of Congregational Development Aug. 14-17 in Matthews, N.C. The event is sponsored by the General Board of Discipleship, New Church Starts (Path 1) and the General Board of Global Ministries. More ... Click here to register

New website Hispanic.umc.org goes live
The United Methodist Church has a new website highlighting Hispanic ministries and resources. Hispanic.UMC.org went live this week as the portal for Spanish-language resources and content in the church. Designed by United Methodist Communications, it will aggregate resources from around the denomination and also provide original content. More ...

♦ Mid-size Church Lead Pastor Just-In-Time Training - May 15-16
Mid-size Church Lead Pastor Just-In-Time Training, May 15-16 at Richmond Hill Retreat Center in Richmond, is for lead pastors who are moving this year to churches with an average worship attendance of 150 to 350, as recorded by the Cabinet. Registration is open only to those lead pastors who have received an invitation to attend. Contact Beth Downs at (804) 521-1127 or 1-800-768-6040, ext. 127, or BethDowns@vaumc.org if you have questions about your eligibility to register for this event. More ...

♦ UMW Spiritual Life Retreat - May 16-18
The Rev. Sara Pugh will lead the Virginia Conference United Methodist Women’s Spiritual Life Retreat May 16-18 at Blackstone. Retreat theme is “Hearing Your True Name… Beloved Child of God.” The mission emphasis for the retreat is the Wesley Community Center in Portsmouth, which needs gift cards in any amount from Wal-Mart or Food Lion for its clients. For registration information contact Jo Ann Liskey at (540) 434-2997 or jaliskey@juno.com. More ...

♦ UMVIM Team Leader training - May 17
United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) Team Leader Training events will be May 17 at Hinton Avenue UMC, Charlottesville. Registration deadline is May 12. More ...

♦ 'Lord, Teach Me to Pray' - May 17, Aug. 23, Oct. 25
"Lord, Teach Me to Pray — Practical Applications for Prayer" will be offered three separate times at three different locations: Saturday, May 17, at Timberlake UMC, Lynchburg (Click here to register); Saturday, Aug. 23, at Williamsburg UMC, Williamsburg (Click here to register); and Saturday, Oct. 25, at St. Thomas UMC, Manassas (Click here to register). Main speaker will be Dr. Wendy Miller, professor emeritus of Spiritual Formation at Eastern Mennonite Seminary and adjunct faculty at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill., and Perkins School of Theology in Dallas. Click here to download a flyer.

♦ 'Change the World' weekend - May 17-18
On May 17-18, United Methodists around the world plan to pull together events to help "Change the World." For the fifth year, local churches will take on service projects that improve the circumstances of others and spark public interest in volunteer activities. Register your project now at umcom.org/changetheworld. Churches that register their projects early can receive a free promotional kit while supplies last. More ...

♦ Safe Sanctuaries training - June 18-19
The Virginia Conference will host Safe Sanctuaries training June 18-19 at the Hampton Roads Convention Center (two days prior to beginning of Annual Conference at the same location). The Rev. Joy Melton, author of Safe Sanctuaries resources, will lead this two-day workshop. One CEU available for participating clergy and lay professionals. This training will not replace or meet requirements for Clergy Ethics II training. Registration is $25 per person or $80 for a team of four from a church. Special lodging rates are available at the Embassy Suites/Hampton Roads. More ...

♦ 'Helping Hand' mission for children - July 7-8, 17-18, 24-25, Aug. 25-26
“Helping Hands” is a two-day mission experience for rising 4th - to 6th-graders, parents and adult leaders. It will be held on four dates at four different locations: July 7-8 - Fairview UMC, Danville (click here for more information); July 17-18 - Marquis Memorial UMC, Staunton (click here for more information); July 24-25 - Woodlake UMC, Chesterfield (click here for more information); and Aug. 25-26 - Springfield UMC, Springfield (click here for more information). Kids can learn about mission opportunities and the importance of being a caring Christian. Cost of $36 per person includes a t-shirt, meals, snacks, mission supplies and overnight stay.

♦ LEAD youth leadership training - July 25-Aug. 3
The Conference Council on Youth Ministries invites youths from across the conference to participate in LEAD, a 10-day leadership training immersion experience, July 25 - Aug. 3 in Roanoke. District and local church youth councils are encouraged to select as many as 3-5 youths who are willing to commit to this 10-day intensive experience. Upon their return, they will implement covenant action plans to utilize newly developed leadership skills in their districts and local communities. More ...

♦ 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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