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News from the Virginia Conference - Nov. 12, 2015

Conference offices to close for Thanksgiving holiday
Virginia Conference offices in the United Methodist Center in Glen Allen will close at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 25, and remain closed Nov. 26-27 in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday.

'Did You Know?' video highlights Discipleship Circles
Did you know that a Discipleship Circle consists of six to 12 clergy and laity from several churches? That's just one thing you can learn from a video featuring Cheryl Edley-Worford, director of Inclusivity and Lay Leadership Excellence, talking about this Virginia Conference exciting, new twist on small groups. This one-minute video is the sixth in a series of videos featuring facts about The United Methodist Church – in the Virginia Conference, the United States and around the world. 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

Participate in Dec. 5 Nutzy Funn Run to benefit UMFS
Join the Richmond Flying Squirrels’ mascot, Nutzy, on Saturday, Dec. 5, for the Nutzy Funn Run, a 5k race benefiting three local children’s charities including United Methodist Family Services (UMFS). Runners, walkers, kids and parents with strollers will take off from the Diamond at 8:30 a.m. to trek through Ginter Park. Funn Runners will return to the Diamond for the Finish Line Party and Funn Costume Awards. Runners can high five UMFS staff at the halfway mark of the course, where UMFS will host the water cooler spot. Cost is $35 for individuals and strollers and $17.50 for those 17 and younger. Click here to register. More ...

Brown tells men to make a difference by finding God's plan for them
The Rev. Dr. Clarence Brown told Virginia Conference United Methodist Men to make a difference in the world by finding the plan God has for them. “As we get closer to God,” Brown said, “we realize God has a purpose for us. God has a plan for you. God has a plan for you— as an individual.” Brown was speaking on “Making a Difference” at the Virginia Conference United Methodist Men (UMM) annual Spiritual Advance held Nov. 6-8 at Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center (VUMAC) in Blackstone. More ...

Credit Union auto loans can benefit your church
So far, the Virginia United Methodist Credit Union (VUMCU) has donated more than $2500 to Virginia Conference churches through its Strive To Drive vehicle loan program. Each time a pastor, church member or conference church finances a vehicle purchase with the credit union or refinances a vehicle loan they currently have with another lender, VUMCU will donate $25 to their church. The credit union offers 100% financing (including taxes, title & tags). Contact Mike at (804) 672-0200 to apply. More ...

November issue of To ARMS! now available
The November 2015 issue of To ARMS!, newsletter of the Virginia Conference Association of Retired Ministers and Spouses, is now available on the conference website. The newsletter may be viewed and downloaded by going to or click here for the pdf file. 

November is Native American Heritage Month
November is Native American Heritage Month. United Methodist Discipleship Ministries offers worship resources, including a Native American interpretation of Psalm 23. The United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race offers resources to highlight the history, gifts and struggles of the First Americans, including resources for the Act of Repentance.

United Methodist Student Day is Sunday, Nov. 29
Sunday, Nov. 29, is United Methodist Student Day. Gifts received from this special offering become an investment in the future of the church through direct scholarships for higher education. The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) Office of Loans and Scholarships administers these programs that award more than 3,500 students annually. Click here for pastor and leader kit resources. More ...

UMC #GivingTuesday Dec. 1 to support Advance, missionaries
On Tuesday, Dec. 1, United Methodists will once again come together to support the work of Advance projects and missionaries on UMC #GivingTuesday. And once again, every gift made online through The Advance at on Dec. 1 will be matched up to $1 million. This year consider creating your own team to support a project that is working in an area you care about, such as hunger and poverty, education or social justice. For a complete list of projects you and your team can support, visit The Advance at Note: Donations made online starting at 12:01 a.m. CENTRAL TIME (1:01 a.m. Eastern Time) on Dec. 1 will be matched until the $1 million limit is reached. A maximum of $2,500 per individual gift to a project will be dispersed as matching funds. A project may receive a maximum of $25,000 in matching funds. More ...

Dec. 1 is World AIDS Day
Global AIDS FundTuesday, Dec. 1, is World AIDS Day. The United Methodist Global AIDS Fund website,, offers resources you can use in your local church and community for World AIDS Day. Advent is a perfect time to lift up the issue of AIDS given the increases in infections in women around the globe. Stigma continues to impact people living with AIDS, and Jesus’ love and healing words call us to work to eliminate all discrimination against people infected with HIV or AIDS.

Virginia LARCUM Conference to be Dec. 4-5 in Sterling
The Virginia LARCUM [Lutheran, Anglican (Episcopal), Roman Catholic and United Methodist] Conference meets this year on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 4-5, in Sterling. Theme is “The Church, always reforming—ecclesia semper reformanda.” The Rev. Dr. Gerald Christianson, Emeritus Professor of Church History at Gettysburg Lutheran Seminary where he taught early and medieval church history, will present historical knowledge in preparation for the upcoming observance of the 500th anniversary of the ideas and insights of Martin Luther beginning in 1517 that launched the dramatic events we call the "Reformation." Sessions will be held at Community Lutheran Church, 21014 Whitfield Place; Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church, 46833 Harry Byrd Hwy.; and Saint Matthew Episcopal Church, 201 E. Frederick Dr., all in Sterling. For more information and to register, contact the Rev. Don Rooney, Registrar, State LARCUM Committee, at (540) 373-6491 or

February is Heart Havens Month
February is Heart Havens Month when Virginia Conference churches are asked to make financial contributions to this agency that provides residential services for men and women with intellectual disabilities by operating 11 group homes throughout Virginia. Theme for Heart Havens Month this year is “A Place at the Table,” to celebrate that ALL of God’s children have a place at the Table, including those with intellectual disabilities. Click here for resources to help your church plan its involvement, including additional worship resources and social media support. To schedule a speaker to visit your congregation or small group, contact Sarah Wilkinson, Heart Havens Communications and Volunteer Manager, at (804) 237-6097 or

Amid declines, diversity grows in U.S. church membership
The General Council on Finance and Administration has newly released 2014 membership figures that show The United Methodist Church continuing its decades-long slide in the United States. However, the numbers also show slight growth in ethnic diversity. More ...

You can follow United Methodist Church news on Facebook, Twitter
Want to follow developments as the 2016 General Conference approaches? You can find the latest news on the United Methodist News Service (UMNS) Facebook page and Twitter feed. Click here to follow on Facebook. Click here to follow on Twitter.

Society of St. Andrew offers free Advent devotional booklet
Reclaim the spiritual dimensions of the Advent season this year with the Society of St. Andrew devotional booklet, My Soul Magnifies the Lord. This free Advent resource for personal or congregational devotional use includes a daily Scripture reading, reflection and prayer for the four weeks leading up to Christmas. Written by pastors and lay people from all walks of life, each day’s devotional offers depth and meaning in our fast-paced world. You can order a free preview packet and, if you decide it’s right for your congregation, place your bulk order by Nov. 16 to ensure timely delivery. For more information and to place your order, visit Booklets and (optional) coin boxes will be sent to you in quantity, free of charge, as part of the Society of St. Andrew mission to feed spiritual as well as physical hungers.

Sierra Leone United Methodists celebrate end of Ebola outbreak
In Freetown, Sierra Leone, United Methodists held thanksgiving services and joined in celebrations tinged with sadness and caution as the World Health Organization declared the end of the 18-month Ebola outbreak after Sierra Leone reported no new cases for 42 days. More ...

Beyond These Walls conference to be Jan. 28-30 in Powder Springs, Ga.
Ed Stetzer, executive director of LifeWay Research, and Kim Reisman, executive director of World Methodist Evangelism, will be keynote speakers for Beyond These Walls 2016 conference that will be held Jan. 28–30 in Powder Springs, Ga. Sponsored in part by the United Methodist General Global Ministries, this event promises to mobilize, revitalize and equip congregations by sharing the best practices of mission-focused churches so participants can fulfill their divine calling of making disciples of all the nations. More ...

♦ Clergy Ethics II training - Nov. 18
All clergy beyond their first year of appointment and certified church professionals are reminded that attendance at an Ethics II training during this quadrennium (2012-2016) is required. Trainings are held four times a year throughout the conference to provide convenient opportunities for participation. The next training will be 9:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18, at Wright’s Chapel UMC on the Fredericksburg District. Click here to download brochure. A 0.5 CEU is awarded for full participation. Registration fee of $12 includes lunch and training materials and is payable by credit card. You may register with a fee of $5 and provide your own lunch. Registration is required 48 hours prior to the event in order to ensure sufficient materials are available for all participants. More ...

♦ VUMAC Commuter Mission Day - Nov. 21
B3 Missions and the Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center (VUMAC) are sponsoring their first Commuter Mission Day 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21, at the VUMAC facility at 707 Fourth St., Blackstone. Individuals 13 and older and small groups (youths, women, men) are invited to bring work gloves and/or rubber gloves, broom, cleaning products, vacuum, gardening tools, buckets, trash bags, etc. and help with cleaning, edging, weeding, trimming and, possibly, a little light sanding and painting. Teens 13-18 should be accompanied by an adult. Cost is $15 per person to cover lunch and snacks for the day. Call (434) 292-5308 for more information and to make reservations.

♦ High School Youth Retreat - Dec. 4-6
The High School Youth Retreat will be Dec. 4-6 at Eagle Eyrie in Lynchburg and will include powerful worship, Bible study and small groups. Focus will be on learning to be a "Called Generation." Click here for flyer. Band will be Keith Elgin. Speaker will be Paulo Lopes, Virginia Conference director of Ministries with Young People. Click here to view promo videos. Cost is $135 per person. To register and for more information go to or contact Becky Tate at or (804) 521-1139.

♦ Westview on James Winter Camp for children - Dec. 4-6
Westview on the James in Goochland County is providing a three-day Winter Camp Dec. 4-6 for children ages 7-12. Theme is based on Charlie Brown's Christmas. Activities will include Christmas crafts and carols, games, making cookies and treats to share with the local nursing home and recording Christmas Carols to be sung with nursing home residents. Each camper is asked to bring an unwrapped new $10 toy which will be donated to the Henrico Christmas Mothers Program. Cost is $125. Register at

♦ UMVIM Team Leader Training - Dec. 5
United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) Team Leader Training is required for all first-time UMVIM team leaders, but all interested persons are welcome to attend whether leading a team or not. Training will be held Saturday, Dec. 5, 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at Trinity UMC, 903 Forest Ave., Richmond. Click here to register online and pay by credit card. Click here to download a pdf form and pay by check. A $55 registration fee, payable when you register, covers mandatory background check, team leader handbook from the Southeastern Jurisdiction and lunch. Continuing Education Units (0.5) will be provided for those needing CEU certification. Pre-registration is required by noon Monday, Nov. 30. For more information, contact the conference office of Justice and Missional Excellence at (804) 521-1139 or toll-free at 1-800-768-6040, ext. 139, or Forrest White, Virginia Conference UMVIM coordinator, at (804) 938-1026 or More ...

♦ UMVIM Team Leader Recertification training - Dec. 6
United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) Team Leader Recertification training will be offered 1-3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 6, at Trinity UMC, 903 Forest Ave., Richmond. This training is required for all UMVIM team leaders who completed basic team leader training five years ago or longer. Focus of this training is to update leaders on Virginia Conference UMVIM policies and guidelines, to share best practices, and to answer any questions. At least five participants are needed to offer this training. A $25 registration fee is payable when you register. Note: This fee does not cover an optional team leader handbook, which will be available for purchase ($20) at the training, or the new A Mission Journey book, which is available through Cokesbury. A meal will not be provided. Click here to register online and pay by credit card. Click here to download a pdf form and pay by check. All registrations must be in the office of Justice and Missional Excellence by noon Monday, Nov. 30. For more information, contact the office of Justice and Missional Excellence at (804) 521-1139 or toll-free at 1-800-768-6040, ext. 139. Or contact Forrest White, Virginia Conference UMVIM Coordinator, at or (804) 938-1026.

♦ ‘Evening at Blackstone’ - Dec. 12
Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center, 707 Fourth St., Blackstone, will hold its annual “Evening at Blackstone” at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12. A matinee performance by The Hunts from Chesapeake will be followed by a banquet dinner, carol sing, shopping at The Acorn and World Gifts, Nativity tour, Advent celebration and light refreshments. Lodging (with breakfast) is available for those who want to spend the night. For more information and reservations, call (434) 292-5308.

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
PO Box 5606, Glen Allen, VA 23058-5606
(804) 521-1100
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