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News from the Virginia Conference - Nov. 19, 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.

Virginia Conference churches save 102,194 lives from malaria
As of Nov. 9, Virginia Conference churches have raised $1,021,947.94 for Imagine No Malaria, saving more than 102,194 lives and exceeding the goal of raising $1 million to save 100,000+ lives from malaria, a preventable and treatable disease. More ...

460+ participate in Middle School Youth Retreat
More than 460 sixth, seventh and eighth graders and their adult chaperones from 41 churches gathered for the Middle School Youth Retreat at Eagle Eyrie in Lynchburg Nov. 13-15. During the weekend, youths were challenged to grow as disciples of Christ through powerful worship, Bible study and small groups while building friendships with youths from all over Virginia. Focus was on learning how to be a “Called Generation” with speaker Paulo Lopes, Virginia Conference director of Ministries with Young People. More ...

63 students in Virginia Conference receive United Methodist scholarships
The United Methodist General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) Office of Loans and Scholarships will be awarding more than 2,200 students a total of $4.5 million in financial assistance for 2015. Of these, 63 students are from 54 United Methodist churches in the Virginia Conference and are receiving scholarships worth $27,730. Contributions to special offerings taken on United Methodist Student Day (Sunday, Nov. 29, this year), World Communion Sunday and Native American Sunday help fund these loans and scholarships. More ...

Virginia Advocate offers extra content to online magazine subscribers
Starting with the November 2015 issue of the Virginia United Methodist Advocate, subscribers to the digital version of the magazine receive additional content not available in the print version. To allow everyone to get a look at the extra benefits gained by subscribing to the digital version of the publication, the December issue’s exclusive content featuring an Advent message from the Rev. Mark Ogren, conference director of Congregational Excellence, will be posted on the conference Facebook page and the conference website. 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

Wesley seminary offers short-term learning opportunities
You don’t have to pursue a degree at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., in order to take courses for credit as a special student, or by auditing, or seeking continued education. Besides semester-long courses, Wesley offers intensive learning experiences for two weeks in January and during the summer months in day, evening and Saturday time slots. This January, courses will be offered in older adult ministries, human sexuality, conflict resolution, drama in faith communities, holy art in D.C. and theological themes in African-American film. Wesley Theological Seminary welcomes persons who just want to explore a particular course or to pursue the Master of Arts degree (36 credits) in some particular area of interest. Check it out at or contact Youtha Hardman-Cromwell at (202) 265-8252, (202) 387-5478 or

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.

December is United Methodist Family Services Month
The Virginia Conference has designated December the month in which local churches are encouraged to receive special offerings to support United Methodist Family Services (UMFS). “Without the support of The United Methodist Church and local congregations like yours, we could not do the incredible work we do,” said the Rev. Joe Torrence, minister of Church Relations for UMFS. “For more than 100 years, UMFS has been empowering children, families and communities in Virginia to work together and realize their shared potential. Your gift is one example of how our connection works at its best and how we can offer Christmas Gifts of Hope to Virginia’s children in need.” Click here for resource materials.

Youth groups invited to join U.M. Army mission work next summer
Middle and high school youth groups of all sizes are invited to join United Methodist Action Reach-out Mission by Youth (U.M. ARMY) for a week of mission projects July 10-16 at Mt. Olivet UMC in Danville. Participants will reach out to the local Danville community doing home repairs and small construction projects for low-income, elderly and disabled homeowners who are physically or financially unable to make needed repairs themselves. Clients are referred through local social service agencies and church organizations. Jobs are selected and completed based on greatest need. Participants eat, sleep, enjoy fellowship and worship in the church. They are divided into work teams of four to six youths with adult support for the week's work. U.M. ARMY requires that church groups bring two adults for every five youths. Per person cost for the week is $285. For more information or to register, contact

United Methodists express shock over terrorist attacks in Paris
United Methodists and other religious leaders are expressing shock over the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks in Paris and feelings of solidarity with the French people. They also caution against condemnations of Muslims or a dangerous escalation of military action. Equally disturbing attacks are occurring elsewhere, including Beirut, Lebanon. More ...

Some United Methodists speak out on behalf of Syrian refugees
Some United Methodists are protesting calls by U.S. governors to close borders to Syrian refugees after the Paris terrorist attacks. Bishop Gary Mueller of the Arkansas Conference agreed with the need for stepped-up security, but said "it solves nothing to categorically exclude a group of people whose lives have been torn apart." More ...

United Methodists encouraged to share videos of how God called them to ministry
The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) has launched the website to encourage United Methodists around the world to share videos of how God has called them to make a difference. Select videos will be featured at General Conference 2016, on the website and via Higher Education and Ministry social media channels (@GBHEM). Those who have felt called to do God’s work are encouraged to record and submit a video describing their calling, ministry or project at In the videos, participants should consider how their calling, ministry or project is making a difference; specifically, they should reflect on how GBHEM has supported them and their calling. The agency hopes to inspire more people to pursue their calling by sharing these testimonies and stories. GBHEM will provide assistance to those who wish to submit a story but are unable to film it themselves. For assistance, or to recommend someone who may have a great call story, contact the GBHEM office of Communications at or (615) 340-7336.

GCORR to hold online 'Vital Conversation' tonight at 9 p.m.
The United Methodist General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR) will hold its next "Vital Conversation" at 9 p.m. EST Thursday, Nov. 19, with the Rev. Glen Chebon Kernell Jr. He oversees Native American and indigenous ministries for the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries. He will explore the need for ongoing acts of repentance while challenging the church to improve relationships with indigenous people globally. More ...

Laity, clergy invited to apply for 2016 Wesley Pilgrimage to England
United Methodist lay and clergy leaders can participate in the 2016 Wesley Pilgrimage to England, which will focus on how John and Charles Wesley made disciples of Jesus Christ. United Methodist Discipleship Ministries and the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry will co-sponsor the 10-day pilgrimage July 11-21. Pilgrims will learn, pray and explore places where the Wesley brothers lived and served. They will reflect and make new friends in small groups, and they will make connections between their Wesleyan heritage and the missional leadership the church needs today. Registration fee is $2,195, which includes 10 nights’ lodging, most meals, coach travel to pilgrimage sites and the program. The fee does not include airfare to England. Click here to register online. Commissioned provisional elders and deacons and licensed local pastors are eligible to apply for reduced scholarship registration fee of $1,095. Click here to download scholarship application form, and send completed form to before Jan. 15. Scholarship recipients will be notified on Jan. 27. 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

♦ Virginia LARCUM Conference - Dec. 4-5
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

♦ 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 ...

♦ Nutzy Funn Run to benefit UMFS - Dec. 5
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 ...

♦ 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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