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To view a 2014 issue of the Virginia Conference e-Advocate, click on the date below:

Dec. 18, 2014
Dec. 10, 2014
Dec. 4, 2014

Nov. 21, 2014 - Day of Holy Conversation
Nov. 20, 2014
Nov. 13, 2014
Nov. 6, 2014

Oct. 28, 2014
Oct. 16, 2014
Oct. 10, 2014
Oct. 2, 2014

Sept. 25, 2014
Sept. 18, 2014
Sept. 11, 2014
Sept. 4, 2014

Aug. 28, 2014
Aug. 22, 2014
Aug. 15, 2014
Aug. 7, 2014

July 30, 2014
July 24, 2014
July 17, 2014
July 10, 2014
July 2, 2014

June 24, 2014
June 12, 2014
June 5, 2014

May 29, 2014 - Special Annual Conference edition
May 23, 2014
May 15, 2014
May 8, 2014

April 24, 2014
April 16, 2014
April 10, 2014
April 3, 2014

March 26, 2014
March 20, 2014
March 13, 2014
March 10, 2014
March 5, 2014

Feb. 27, 2014
Feb. 20, 2014
Feb. 17, 2014
Feb. 12, 2014
Feb. 6, 2014

Jan. 30, 2014
Jan. 23, 2014
Jan. 16, 2014
Jan. 9, 2014

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News from the Virginia Conference - Oct. 28, 2014

Change your clocks back this weekend
Remember to set your clocks back one hour (you gain an hour!) when you go to bed Saturday night so you'll get to church at the right time on Sunday morning. Daylight Saving Time ends at 2 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 2. The U.S. begins Daylight Saving Time at 2 a.m. local time on the second Sunday in March and reverts to Standard Time at 2 a.m. local time on the first Sunday in November.

Bishop Cho cutouts can help promote Imagine No Malaria
Bishop Young Jin Cho has been cloned! We now have four life-size cutouts of Bishop Cho which are available to use with Imagine No Malaria promotions in districts and local churches. To schedule "the bishop" to be at an event in your area, e-mail Maria Maxwell at You will need a large vehicle to pick up and return the six-foot tall cardboard cutout.

Imagine No Malaria Advent resources now available
New Advent resources for Imagine No Malaria are now available to download from the conference website. Go to and click on Church Resources. Resources include a video, weekly devotions, worship resources, sermon starters, children's sermons and posters. More ...

Great Bridge UMC picnic, offering saves 250 lives from malaria
Great Bridge UMC in Chesapeake had a fun day of celebration lifting up Imagine No Malaria during worship. Following worship, the church held a picnic with pony rides, games, a harpist, and a pumpkin painting contest with all proceeds going to benefit the Every Life Save A Life Imagine No Malaria initiative. Church members raised $1,500 with the pumpkin votes and an additional $1,000 from the offering ... saving 250 lives. Pastor is the Rev. Tim Craig.

Conference Communications staff wins 7 awards at annual UMAC meeting
Virginia Conference Communications staff won seven awards at the denomination-wide communications/media awards contest held during the annual meeting of United Methodist Association of Communicators (UMAC), Oct. 22-25 in Savannah. The Virginia United Methodist Advocate was selected "best magazine" in the Print Publications category. Designer Cathryn Huff won a first place honor for her layout and design of the Virginia United Methodist Foundation 2013 annual report. Linda Rhodes, director of Communications, won a first place award for the animated Discipleship Circles video. More ...

Open enrollment for conference health plan continues this week
This is the last week you can make changes to your Virginia Conference Health Plan. Open enrollment is available through Friday, Oct. 31. Clergy and their families, other church workers and lay employees of The United Methodist Church, its institutions, organizations and agencies within the Virginia Conference, can make plan elections and/or changes to current health plan options. Click here to access open enrollment. For more information, call Judy Astrella in the Virginia United Methodist Pensions office at 1-800-768-6040, ext 131, or (804) 521-1131.

UMFS announces major redesign of Richmond campus
United Methodist Family Services (UMFS) announced that it will undertake a multi-million-dollar redesign of its Richmond campus, the first campus overhaul since major construction of most of the existing buildings occurred in the 1950s. The redesign will include creation of flexible space with the ability to evolve as the needs of the community evolve. Work will occur in phases during the next 10 plus years, and have relevance for the next 20 years. Phase 1 may include an entrance relocation and new educational and flexible residential program space. Subsequent phases may include the addition of a community center, administration building and space to enhance the organization’s ability to provide much-needed community-based services. At any point in the process, UMFS will entertain private development ideas and proposals for its Broad Street frontage. More ...

Randolph-Macon College offers scholarships for students called to ministry
Do you know a high school senior who has the gifts for or has expressed interest in the ministry? Let them know that Randolph-Macon College in Ashland has several scholarships for high school students who think they may be experiencing a call to some form of ministry. The Bailey Program offers half tuition for freshman and sophomore years, full tuition for junior and senior years, peer support, an internship program and mentoring with the Bailey Advisor. For more information, contact Margie Turbyfill at or (804) 368-7276.

Friday, Oct. 31, is Reformation Day
Reformation Day is Friday, Oct. 31. This observance celebrates the anniversary of what many historians consider the start of the Protestant movement, when Martin Luther publicly displayed his 95 Theses. The General Board of Discipleship (GBOD) has worship resources. More ...

November is Native American Heritage Month
November is Native American Heritage Month. The General Board of Discipleship and the Native American Comprehensive Plan offer prayer and worship resources. More ...

Nov. 1 is All Saints Day
All Saints Day is Saturday, Nov. 1. The General Board of Discipleship offers prayers and a family litany for this day when Christians celebrate the people who have joined the Church Triumphant. More ...

United Methodist Student Day is Sunday, Nov. 30
Sunday, Nov. 30, 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 ...

Panel discussion on sexuality to be live streamed Nov. 1
The Connectional Table’s Human Sexuality Task Force is hosting a live stream panel discussion on sexuality this Saturday, Nov. 1, from 9 a.m. until 11 a.m. Eastern Time. Panelists are members of the Council of Bishops who contributed to the book Finding Our Way: Love and Law in The United Methodist Church, as well as the editor and president of United Methodist Publishing House. The Connectional Table is a 59-member body which is responsible for guiding the vision, mission and ministries of The United Methodist Church. More ...

Advent resources now available
The season of Advent begins this year on Sunday, Nov. 30. Various United Methodist-related groups are offering free resources to celebrate the start of the Christian year and prepare for Christ's birth. They include:

Top court affirms Schaefer's reinstatement as clergy
The Rev. Frank Schaefer will remain a clergyman in The United Methodist Church, the denomination's top court has ruled. The Judicial Council decision affirmed a June decision by a regional appeals committee to reinstate Schaefer's ministerial credentials, modifying the penalty imposed upon the Pennsylvania pastor after he was found guilty last November of violating church law by performing a same-sex wedding for his son in 2007. In its decision, the Judicial Council also recognized the fact that "some within the church do not support this outcome today." Click here to read full text of decision. More ...

Judicial Council looks at 'aspirational' declarations
When is language about The United Methodist Church's positions on issues of sexuality considered "aspirational" and when could it condone a violation of church law? Rulings by bishops on several statements by conferences were among the 21 docket items considered by the United Methodist Judicial Council during its Oct. 22-25 meeting in Memphis, Tenn. More ...

African communicators take top honors
Two African writers were named 2014 United Methodist Communicators of the Year for their coverage of the deadliest Ebola outbreak in history. The United Methodist Association of Communicators (UMAC) gave the association's top award to Phileas Jusu, communicator for The United Methodist Church in Sierra Leone, and Julu Swen, UMC communicator in Liberia and editor and publisher of West African Writers, an online publication about United Methodist happenings in West Africa. Click here to see complete list of 2014 award winners. More ...

Technology could help General Conference delegates
General Conference delegates from Africa, Asia and Europe have all the same responsibilities as their U.S. counterparts do, but they often have far less time to study legislation that could affect the church for years to come. The Commission on General Conference has started a pilot project using tablet computers that members hope will help overcome this obstacle. More ...

Early warning proposed for General Conference legislation
What if General Conference delegates could get a heads up that legislation might be in trouble without waiting for a Judicial Council ruling? That is an aim of the Advance Legislative Research Panel proposed by the Commission on General Conference. More ...

Great Plains Conference votes to end clergy health benefits
By a vote of 1,066 to 158, clergy and lay members of the Great Plains Annual Conference decided to end the conference health plan for local church clergy and enrolled lay employees in January 2015. That means many United Methodist employees in the conference, which encompasses Kansas and Nebraska, will need to get insurance from marketplaces created under the Affordable Care Act. Church pastors serving three-fourths- and full-time will receive a $14,232 "health care allowance." Click here to read how other conferences are using the Affordable Care Act. More ...

Toolkit offered to observe l75th anniversary of UMCOR
One great way to celebrate the upcoming 75th anniversary of United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is by helping to ensure another 75 years. Donations to One Great Hour of Sharing special Sunday offering directly fund UMCOR’s administrative costs. One Great Hour of Sharing will take place March 15, 2015. To help spread the word about this important date, a pastor’s toolkit has been created. Click here to download these pertinent materials.

♦ 'Ghosts, Games & the Gospel - Oct. 31-Nov. 2
"Ghosts, Games & the Gospel" will provide middle and high school youths a fun, safe way to enjoy Halloween traditions Oct. 31- Nov. 2 at Westview on the James Camp and Retreat Center in Goochland. The weekend will mix the best parts of Halloween (costumes, candy and jack-o-lantern making) with the best parts of camp (counselor-led worship, Halloween–themed camp activities and being outdoors in the beautiful fall weather). Bring your whole youth group, and Westview will provide staff, food and fun. Registration fee is $65 per person. For more information, contact Anthony Gomez, Summer Camp Program Director, at or (804) 457-4210. More ...

♦ School for Children's Ministry - Nov. 8
The School for Children’s Ministry is on the road this year to come to a district near you and includes the “Bottomless Cookie Jar” and eight new workshops. The final event will be 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 8, at Grace UMC, Manassas. (Click here to register). Registration deadline is Wednesday, Oct. 29. Workshop presenters are children’s ministry professionals, representing all sizes of churches. Click here for brochure.

♦ UMFS FORE the Kids Golf Tournament - Nov. 10
United Methodist Family Services (UMFS) will sponsor FORE the Kids Golf Tournament at 10 a.m. Nov. 10 at Stonehenge Country Club in Midlothian. All proceeds go to help foster children find forever homes. Click here to register.

♦ Ethics II training - Nov. 13
All clergy and church professionals are required to attend an Ethics II training during this quadrennium (2012-2016). 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 Thursday, Nov. 13, at Fairfax UMC in the Alexandria District. Click here to download brochure with training details and schedule. A 0.5 CEU is awarded for full participation. Click here to register for Nov. 13 event. 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. Paper registrations are not available for these events. Registration is required 48 hours prior to event in order to ensure sufficient materials are available for all participants.

♦ Fall Youth Retreats - Nov. 14-16, Dec. 5-7
Now is the time to register for Virginia Conference Fall Youth Retreats. Middle School Retreat will be Nov. 14-16 and High School Retreat will be Dec. 5-7 at Eagle Eyrie in Lynchburg. Theme for both retreats is "Identity." Click here for flyer. Speaker will be Dugan Sherbondy. Band will be Keith Elgin. Click here to view promotional video. Young adults to serve as small group leaders and youths to serve as staff are needed. To volunteer, contact Alison Malloy at To register and for more information, go to or contact Becky Tate at (804) 521-1139.

♦ 'The Good Race' - Nov. 15
Clergy and laity are invited to join other United Methodists in "The Good Race," a day of participation and celebration as they walk or run the Anthem Richmond 8K, Half-Marathon or Marathon on Saturday, Nov. 15. Information about these races can be found at Or contact Steve Jones at or Allie Rosner at Or join the Facebook Group “The Good Race.”

♦ Day of Holy Conversation - Nov. 22
In response to Bishop Young Jin Cho's request that the Virginia Conference Common Table for Church Vitality facilitate discussions around the conference on the subject of human sexuality, the Common Table will hold "A Day of Holy Conversation on Sexuality and The United Methodist Church" on Saturday, Nov. 22, at Woodlake UMC, 15640 Hampton Park Drive, Chesterfield. The day of conversation will also be live streamed to 12 additional sites across the conference. All Virginia Conference clergy and laity are invited to participate at one of the sites. More ...

♦ 'Wounded Hearts, Healing Love' Retreat - Dec. 5-7
"Wounded Hearts, Healing Love" retreat for those who have found themselves single again due to separation, divorce or death will be held 6:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 5, to 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 7, at Blessings Lodge at Overlook Retreat and Camp Ministries in Keezletown. Participants will explore the trials, hurts, loneliness of being single again, and search for the road leading to healing and wholeness. Participants stay in semi-private rooms with private baths. All linens are provided. Three meals on Saturday and two on Sunday will be served. Cost is $105 per person (some financial assistance available). Register at

♦ Nutzy's Rotary FUNN Run to benefit UMFS - Dec. 6
The annual Nutzy’s Rotary FUNN Run 5k on Saturday, Dec. 6, will benefit United Methodist Family Services (UMFS) for the second year in a row. The Rotary Club of West Richmond, in partnership with the Dominion Christmas Parade and the Richmond Flying Squirrels, created this event to offer a festive, family-friendly competition while fulfilling the club's philanthropic mission to improve the lives of local children. Runners, walkers, families, children and strollers are welcome to participate. Students from UMFS will participate again this year. Visit to register.

♦ 'Walk to the Manger' - Dec. 19
"Walk to the Manger," a free, live, interactive nativity experience will be offered at Overlook Retreat and Camp Ministries, Keezletown, Friday, Dec. 19. Meet the shepherds, hear the angels announce the good news, visit a young couple and their holy child, and help point a few kings toward the treasure they seek. Tours will begin continuously from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. The experience will last about 30 minutes. Dress warmly, wear sturdy shoes, and keep children with a responsible adult at all times. More ...

♦ 'Walk to the Manger' Bed and Breakfast - Dec. 19-20
Come for the live, interactive nativity experience and extend your stay in a private room at Blessings Lodge at Overlook Retreat and Camp Ministries in Keezletown. There will be hot beverages, a time of reflection on the nativity experience, Christmas activities, Saturday morning devotions and a pancake breakfast. Cost is $99 per room (four twin beds, add more on the floor). More ...

♦ Winter Camp at Overlook - Dec. 19-20
Children and youths (grades 4-10) can extend their "Walk to the Manger" experience and attend Winter Camp Friday night, Dec. 19, to Saturday afternoon, Dec. 20, at Overlook Retreat and Camp Ministries in Keezletown. Campers will reflect on the nativity experience, play games, have a sugar cookie decorating contest and more. More ...

♦ Winter Camp at Alta Mons - Dec. 19-21
Alta Mons outdoor retreat and learning center in Shawsville (Roanoke District) will hold Winter Camp for 3rd-12th graders Dec. 19-21 with many of the same activities as summer camp (hiking to the falls, having s'mores, going to worship) as well as a few different ones such as decorating Christmas cookies, making candles and other surprises. Cost is $90. Register online at 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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