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News from the Virginia Conference - Oct. 22, 2015

33 clergy are traveling through South Korea with Bishop Cho
Thirty-three Virginia Conference clergy are currently traveling through South Korea as part of the fourth Pilgrimage for Spiritual Renewal led by Bishop Young Jin Cho. The group left the United States on Oct. 19 and is scheduled to return on Oct. 27. Visit the group's Facebook page to follow their journey and view posts and pictures from their travels.

Participate in Advocate survey to give feedback on conference magazine
In order to provide readers with informative and relevant information through the Virginia United Methodist Advocate, the editorial staff has included a brief survey in the November issue of the magazine. In addition to raw data, the staff is interested in reading comments and suggestions for making the Virginia Advocate a magazine that equips, connects and informs United Methodists in the Virginia Conference. The survey can also be completed online by going to the conference website. Click here to take the survey.

November Advocate to report on chaplaincy ministries
United Methodist chaplains across the Virginia Conference work outside church walls to spread the Word of God and provide comfort and care in Christ’s name. In addition to working to meet the needs of members of American armed forces and returning wounded warriors, chaplains also provide care on college campuses, in hospitals and in prisons. The November issue of the Advocate features stories about chaplains and their lives of service in various fields. 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

'Did You Know?' video highlights revitalization of existing congregations
Did you know that since 2008 the Virginia Conference has been helping renew existing congregations by offering 5 Talent Academy events and "How to Reach New People" workshops? That's just one thing you can learn from a video featuring the Rev. Mark Ogren, director of Congregational Excellence, talking about Virginia Conference strategies to revitalize existing congregations. This very short (about one minute) video is the fifth 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

Early registration discount ends Oct. 30 for Fall Youth Retreats
The registration fee goes up $10 per person after Oct. 30 for the Nov. 13-15 Middle School Youth Retreat and the Dec. 4-6 High School Youth Retreat. Both will be held 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 $125 per person if paid by Oct. 30, $135 per person after Oct. 30. To register and for more information go to or contact Becky Tate at or (804) 521-1139.

Camp Rainbow to hold dance this Saturday for campers, staff
Camp Rainbow Connection's leadership team is sponsoring a dance for Camp Rainbow campers and staff this Saturday, Oct. 24, 3 to 6 p.m. at River Road UMC in Richmond. The 58 campers originally scheduled to attend the August session of Camp Rainbow, 56 campers that attended the July session of the camp and 100 volunteer Camp Rainbow staff members have been invited to attend. The dance is being held as an alternative to this summer's second session of Camp Rainbow Connection, scheduled for Aug. 9-14, that was cancelled due to concerns about water quality at Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center in Blackstone. Camp Rainbow Connection is a week-long respite camp held once in July and once in August for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Campers range in age from 16 into their 80s. More ...

Small Church Training event relocated to Providence UMC, Ricmond
Location for the Small Church Training event on Saturday, Oct. 31, has been moved to Providence UMC in Richmond. All persons who had registered to attend the event at Belmont UMC in Richmond should now plan to go to Providence UMC. Participants registered for the Richmond location have been notified of this change via e-mail. The Rev. Dr. Lewis Parks, Wesley Theological Seminary professor, will be featured speaker focusing on practical tools needed to bring new vitality to small churches. The event will be live-streamed to five other locations around the conference. Registration has closed, but walk-ins are welcome at all six sites. Walk-in participants cannot be guaranteed lunch or packet materials and should come prepared to pay $25 per person by cash (exact change) or check. More ...

Credit Union seeks licensed Registered Investment Advisors
The Virginia United Methodist Credit Union in Glen Allen is recruiting licensed Registered Investment Advisors with five or more years of relevant experience to offer assistance and counseling to individuals, families and churches that are members of the credit union. For more information, contact Jim Eads, chief executive officer of the Virginia United Methodist Credit Union, at (804) 672-0200 or

Nov. 1, 8 are International Days of Prayer for Persecuted Church
The first two Sundays in November are set aside as a time to speak out and pray for Christians who face persecution for their faith. "Remembering our persecuted sisters and brothers is always important and necessary," writes Bill Mefford of the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society. Click here to read commentary. Click here for worship resources from Discipleship Ministries.

Pensions board releases report on investment philosophy
The United Methodist General Board of Pension and Health Benefits has released its annual sustainable investment report. The "Global Investor, Global Impact" report summarizes United Methodist investment philosophy, which is designed to abide by church social teachings and protect the future financial security of 91,000 plan participants and institutional investors. More ...

UMC #GivingTuesday on Dec. 1 to support Advance projects, 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. More ...

Faith organizations support criminal justice reform legislation
Forty faith organizations supporting bipartisan criminal justice and sentencing reform legislation sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee before a hearing on the legislation. The faith leaders said they believed the legislation "is an important step toward fixing the federal prison crisis." Click here to read letter. The Interfaith Criminal Justice Coalition organized the campaign, and the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society was among the organizations that supported the letter. Read Reuters story on hearing.

Enhanced Find-A-Church features now available
Today’s tech-savvy seekers turn to the internet as their primary source for information. Local United Methodist churches can be prepared with an updated profile on Find-A-Church, now enhanced with easily viewed events, social media, and worship information. More ...

Chuck Knows Church: Jesus the Carpenter
Jesus' earthly father, Joseph, was a carpenter (Matthew 13:55 and Mark 6:3). The Greek word is "Teckton" which means "builder." Is that all we know about Jesus' work before he was known as Jesus Christ? Chuck tries to explain on this episode of "Chuck Knows Church," an online series that explains the meaning behind some of the objects, symbols, terms and rituals in church. Episodes can be downloaded for free at and used in worship, youth groups, fellowship groups, confirmation classes, worship teams, new member classes and late-night snack viewing. Chuck is on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. "Chuck Knows Church" is produced by United Methodist Discipleship Ministries. More ...

Same-sex marriage complaint moves toward trial
A complaint against the Rev. Michael Tupper for helping to officiate at a same-sex wedding is moving forward in a process the clergyman hopes will culminate in a church trial. After an impasse in attempts to reach a resolution, Michigan Area Bishop Deborah Lieder Kiesey announced Oct. 16 that she had referred the complaint against Tupper to a counsel for the church. More ...

Gathering addresses sexual ethics
More than 200 bishops, conference leaders, pastors and others addressed sexual ethics in the church and explored healthy boundaries during “Do No Harm,” a sexual ethics summit in Chicago Oct. 15-17. More ...

Halloween can benefit UMCOR, Imagine No Malaria
The "Trick-or-Treat with UMCOR" campaign offers a meaningful way to celebrate Halloween by encouraging youths to raise funds for the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) to assist people around the world in times of crisis. Click here for more information on the UMCOR campaign. Imagine No Malaria also offers ideas on how to incorporate the anti-malaria campaign in churches' fall events. Click here for tips from Imagine No Malaria.

GCORR to introduce interactive video series on racism Oct. 28
The General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR) will introduce "Vital Conversations," an interactive video series on today's realities of race and racism, at 9 p.m. EDT Wednesday, Oct. 28, on the GCORR website, Through these conversations, you are invited to engage in relevant and real conversations about the things that divide and challenge us to live authentically in relationship with one another among our differences. The series begins with anti-racist educator Dr. Robin DiAngelo's "Misunderstanding of Racism." DiAngelo is associate professor of education at Westfield State University; director of Equity for Senior Services, Seattle/King County; and author of What Does it Mean to Be White? Developing White Racial Literacy. In the coming months, GCORR will host more live videos with speakers like Dr. Miguel De La Torre, Dr. David Anderson Hooker, Dr. Pamela Lightsey and more.

♦ Social Action 101: Effective Advocacy - Nov. 7, Nov. 14
Bishop Cho hands off a copy of a conference resolution on raising the minimum wage to Delegate Jackson Miller from Manassas.The Virginia Conference Legislative Network, the organizing group for United Methodist Day at the General Assembly each year, in cooperation with the conference Board of Church & Society, United Methodist Women and the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, is offering educational opportunities to learn about faithful advocacy and help participants prepare for 2016 United Methodist Day at General Assembly on Thursday, Feb. 4. The training, “Social Action 101: Effective Advocacy at Home and at the General Assembly,” will be offered at three locations 10 a.m. to 12 noon Saturday, Nov. 7:
  ♦ Farmville UMC, 115 S. Main St., Farmville, for the Danville and Farmville districts;
  ♦ Highland UMC, 125 E. Westover Ave., Colonial Heights, for the Elizabeth River, James River, York River and Eastern Shore districts;
  ♦ Wright’s Chapel UMC, 8063 Ladysmith Rd., Ruther Glen, for the Fredericksburg and Richmond districts. Registration deadline is Oct. 26. More ...
The same training will be offered at three locations 10 a.m. to 12 noon Saturday, Nov. 14:
  ♦ St. Paul’s UMC, 1400 G. St., Woodbridge, for the Alexandria, Arlington and Winchester districts;
  ♦ Asbury UMC, 205 S. Main St., Harrisonburg, for the Charlottesville, Harrisonburg and Staunton districts;
  ♦ Heritage UMC, 582 Leesville Rd., Lynchburg, for the Lynchburg and Roanoke districts. Registration deadline is Nov. 2. More ...
There is no registration fee. For more information, contact Tammy Burton, registrar, at 1246 Mill Stream Way, Chesapeake, VA 23239, (757) 274-7035 or

♦ UMVIM Team Leader Training - Oct. 31, Nov. 14, 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 events are currently scheduled:
  ♦ Saturday, Oct. 31, 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at The Gathering UMC, 5516 Virginia Beach Blvd., Virginia Beach. Click here to register online and pay by credit card. Click here to download a pdf form and pay by check.
  ♦ Saturday, Nov. 14, 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at Antioch UMC, 3489 South Hill Rd., Kenbridge. Click here to register online and pay by credit card. Click here to download a pdf form and pay by check.
  ♦ 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 on the Monday before the training event. 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 contact Forrest White, Virginia Conference UMVIM coordinator, at (804) 938-1026 or More ...

♦ United Methodist Men Spiritual Advance - Nov. 6-8
The Virginia Conference United Methodist Men 2015 Spiritual Advance will be Friday-Sunday, Nov. 6-8, at Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center in Blackstone. The annual event will feature the Rev. Dr. Clarence R. Brown, senior pastor of Annandale UMC (Alexandria District), who will preach a series of four messages on Men Making a Difference. More ...

♦ School for Children’s Ministries - Nov. 7
The School for Children’s Ministries is on the road again offering the same school at four different locations on four different dates. The final event this year will be 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 7, at Good Shepherd UMC, 14999 Birchdale Ave., Dale City. Learn "Extraordinary Lessons from Ordinary Objects" plus three more workshops. A .5 CEU offered. Only $20 per person. More ...

♦ 5 Talent Academy: ‘Stir Up the Fire: Wesley's Way of Making Disciples’ - Nov. 10
The 5 Talent Academy faith development event focused on small group ministry will be held Tuesday, Nov. 10, at Ebenezer UMC in Stafford and will be live-streamed to nine other conference locations. Keynote speaker will be the Rev. Dr. Jim Harnish, former senior pastor of Hyde Park UMC in Tampa, Fla., and author of many books including A Disciple’s Path. Cost is $25 and .5 CEU will be offered. Group discounts are available. Registration deadline is 5 p.m. Oct. 26. For more information and to register, go to

♦ 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 ...

♦ 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.

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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