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Dec. 18, 2014
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Nov. 21, 2014 - Day of Holy Conversation
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News from the Virginia Conference - Oct. 2, 2014

Virginia Conference has saved 14,318 lives from malaria so far
Virginia Conference United Methodists have raised $143,182.94 (and saved 14,318 lives) for Imagine No Malaria since Annual Conference voted to save 100,000+ lives in the next year. More funds are currently being sent in from several churches. Read the stories posted on the conference Imagine No Malaria Facebook page and the conference website about how churches and individuals are raising money to save lives. Only $10 will save a life. Every Life can Save a Life. For more information, contact Maria Maxwell, Virginia Conference Imagine No Malaria field coordinator, at (804) 521-1160 or MariaMaxwell@vaumc.org.

Korean UMC of Greater Washington saves 1,700+ lives from malaria
The Rev. Young Bong Kim, pastor of Korean UMC of Greater Washington, reports that the church has almost doubled its goal of saving 1,000 lives in support of Imagine No Malaria. Church members have saved 1,700 lives and hope to save more than 2,000 lives.

St. Luke's UMC, Yorktown, saves 103 lives with dunk tank fundraiser
St. Luke's UMC in Yorktown had a dunk tank fundraiser for Imagine No Malaria at the church's annual Community Carnival on Sunday, Sept. 28. The church raised $1,030 to save 103 lives. Pastor Douglas Gestwick and Associate Pastor Clara Gestwick, along with two other staff members, took turns being dunked. Megan Collins, director of Communication Ministries, reported that fun was had by all.

Steve Jones saves 850 lives by running Chicago marathon
The Rev. Steve Jones, Richmond District superintendent, reports that he has collected $8,500 for Imagine No Malaria from Richmond District churches to support his 26.2-mile run in the Oct. 12 Chicago Marathon. He has already surpassed his goal to raise $7,500 to help end this deadly disease.

Brian Siegle to shave head for Imagine No Malaria
The Rev. Brian Siegle, pastor of New Hope UMC in Saluda, York River District, will be bald after Sunday. He agreed to shave his head if his congregation raised $1,500 during the month of September for Imagine No Malaria. A head shaving is planned for this weekend, along with a big reveal of how much money the church raised.

Churches invited to send cards to detained mothers, children
Virginia Conference churches and individuals have contacted the office of Justice and Missional Excellence inquiring how to respond to the crisis of immigrant children held in detention facilities in the U.S. Joya Colon-Berezin, Ecumenical Relations coordinator of the Immigration and Refugee Program for Church World Service (CWS), says churches and individuals can "be an angel" and send cards of care and prayer to the almost 700 mothers and children (infants through teens) who are detained in the Artesia Family Residential Center in Artesia, N.M. The mothers and children have little contact with the world outside. The knowledge that people of faith are holding them in prayer is meaningful to the moms and children – a reminder that they are loved and welcomed by many in the United States. Hundreds of cards are needed to assure that when the cards are delivered, no one is left without a card. All cards will be held until enough cards are received for delivery.
• Cards may be written in English or Spanish; there is always someone to translate English into Spanish for the recipient, if needed.
• Batches of cards can be sent in a bulk mailing to save postage.
• Cards should be addressed to Mother, Child or Teen resident, Artesia Family Residential Center, Religious Services, P.O. Box 1341, Artesia, NM 88210.
• If the card is for a child, designate age (0-3 yrs, 4-6 yrs, 7-9 yrs, 10-12 yrs or teen) in the bottom left hand corner of the card.
• Keep messages simple. These are cards of care and prayers from people of faith. Do not comment on the women and children's legal status in the U.S. or give a political opinion.
• Do not include money, small toys, candy, gum or any additional items. CWS would have to dispose of them; only cards are permitted.
• Instead of using your address for the return address, use the CWS Religious Services address to which you are mailing the card. It will doubly assure delivery.
• For more information, contact Joan Maruskin, head of the project, at jmaruskin@cwsglobal.org or (202) 203-0676.

Lori Smith named director of All God's Children Camp
Lori W. Smith has been hired as the new All God’s Children Camp director. Lori is the wife of the Rev. Bryson T. Smith, pastor of Saint Paul’s UMC in Staunton. A graduate of Ferrum College, Lori has served as director of Children and Family Ministries at Fieldstone UMC and ran Camp Rock and Project Spy. All God's Children Camp offers a week of sanctuary for children, ages 7 to 12, who have an incarcerated mother or father.

Community of Faith UMC hunger ministry featured on Fox News
Volunteers from Community of Faith UMC, Herndon, pick up leftover food from Moe's restaurant at Dulles Airport and then give it away through the church food pantry. Click here to view the news report on Fox 5 D.C. News. (According to the Rev. Rob Vaughn, pastor of Community of Faith UMC, the reporter is also a United Methodist.)

Eastern Europe missionaries available to speak in local churches
Bill and Helen Lovelace, missionaries serving in Eastern Europe, will be itinerating in Virginia and available to speak in churches Sunday, Nov. 30, through Sunday, Dec. 7. Bill Lovelace, ordained elder from Knoxville, Tenn., is serving as district superintendent of the Lithuania District of the Estonia Annual Conference. Helen Lovelace, ordained deacon from Norway, is serving as director of Diaconal Ministries of the Lithuania District. Click here for Bill's profile. Click here for Helen's profile. Click here to view the Lithuania United Methodist Church website. Click here to view the Lithuania UMC Facebook page. To arrange for the Lovelaces to speak at your church, contact Ann Klotz, Virginia Conference Board of Global Ministries missionary itineration coordinator, at jasnc5@gmail.com.

Sierra Leone missionaries available to speak in local churches
The Rev. Nancy and Kip Robinson, missionaries with the General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) assigned to the Sierra Leone Conference in West Africa, continue in residence in Virginia while GBGM monitors developments in the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. The Robinsons are both available to share their mission witness in churches and help promote the Imagine No Malaria Initiative. Click here to read Kip's bio. Click here to read Nancy's bio. Contact Kip at krobinson@umcmission.org and Nancy at nrobinson@umcmission.org or (804) 873-1487.

Apply now to participate in July 8-26 Voices of Youth tour
Voices of Youth "Shelter in the Storm" tour will be July 8-26, 2015. High school youths who are passionate about music and missions are invited to apply. The choir will work with the New York Conference to aid in recovery and rebuilding after the devastation of Superstorm Sandy. More ...

This Sunday is World Communion Sunday
Oct. 5 is World Communion Sunday. United Methodists observe World Communion Sunday by celebrating communion with other Christians around the world on this special Sunday. Churches are also encouraged to receive an offering to support ethnic undergraduate and graduate students, which often enables first-generation students to attend college. Click here to download the World Communion Sunday pastor’s kit. Order leaflet offering envelopes and posters to enhance your World Communion Sunday celebration at www.umcgiving.org/ss or call 1-888-346-3862. More ...

Laity Sunday is Oct. 19
Laity Sunday is celebrated on the third Sunday of October (Oct. 19 this year). Laity Sunday is a time to recognize the work and mission of all laity — not only within the walls of the church but also in everyday lives. Click here for worship suggestions, bulletin inserts and posters for this year’s theme from the General Board of Discipleship.

UMCOR works with West African health boards to fight Ebola
The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is working with United Methodist health boards in West Africa to combat the spread of Ebola. The focus is on community education, health worker protection and psychosocial counseling. More ... Bishop John Innis of Liberia and Bishop John Yambasu of Sierra Leone have asked that financial contributions be made to UMCOR’s International Disaster Response, Advance #982450. Click here to donate. You can also provide funds to UMCOR by purchasing office supplies through the free Staples Advantage® program which sends UMCOR a 1% rebate on all sales. More ...

Sexuality discussion to be live streamed Nov. 1
The Connectional Table's Human Sexuality Task Force plans to hold the second of three live stream events from 9 to 11 a.m. ET Saturday, Nov. 1. 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 publisher and president of United Methodist Publishing House. More ...

Church agency heads meet with White House staff
Top executives with United Methodist agencies met with White House staff for more than hour to discuss how church resources can help improve the lives of children at risk, prevent sexual violence on campus and respond to global humanitarian concerns. The global concerns include the displacement of Christians in the Middle East. More ...

Watkins helps form GBGM Creation Care Ministry Team
The Rev. Pat Watkins, clergy member of the Virginia Conference now serving as a missionary to the Ministry with God’s Renewed Creation, worked with Thomas Kemper, top executive of the General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM), to choose six regional representatives from among 48 persons who applied for a new Creation Care Ministry Team that GBGM is assembling. The Creation Care Ministry Team will meet as a group Dec. 2-13 at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru. The Ministry with God’s Renewed Creation, which has its roots in the Virginia Conference, is being given a global context in which to work with agencies, annual conferences, bishops, congregations and ecumenical partners in relation to environmental issues. It builds on a theology that recognizes that care for creation is a fundamental aspect of Christian mission. More ...

CBS special looks at how faith community works with ex-prisoners
The Rev. Douglas Walker, national coordinator for Criminal Justice Reform, United Methodist General Board of Church and Society, is featured in "Crime, Punishment & Redemption," a CBS-TV Interfaith Special airing Sunday, Oct. 5. Click here to check local listings. The documentary looks at how the faith community is helping returning citizens and their family members put their lives back together after incarceration. More ...

Rocky Mountain, Yellowstone Conferences consider merger
Leaders of the Rocky Mountain and Yellowstone Conferences received a task force recommendation this week to enter into a serious conversation about merging. Mountain Sky Area Bishop Elaine Stanovsky explains the process to consider a merger. The two conferences include about 400 churches. More ...

Chuck Knows Church: World Communion Sunday
This Sunday, Oct. 5, is World Communion Sunday. It's a special worship service observed by several Christian denominations, taking place on the first Sunday of every October. But, what exactly are we celebrating? Chuck explains the significance of World Communion Sunday on this episode of "Chuck Knows Church," a weekly online series that explains the meaning behind some of the objects, symbols, terms and rituals in church. Episodes can be downloaded for free at www.ChuckKnowsChurch.com 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 the General Board of Discipleship. More ...

Bishop Lyght to serve brief interim term in New York
Retired Bishop Ernest Lyght will serve as interim bishop of the New York Conference from Oct. 1 to Jan. 1, 2015. Bishop Neil Irons, who has served as interim resident bishop since Bishop Martin McLee went on leave because of his health, is stepping down because of health concerns of his own. McLee died in September. Bishop Jane Allen Middleton will take over as interim for the conference in January. More ...

UMC #GivingTuesday will be Dec. 2
Plans are under way for this year’s UMC #GivingTuesday on Tuesday, Dec. 2. GivingTuesday provides an alternative to the consumer-driven shopping traditions in the United States of Black Friday, Local Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. UMC #GivingTuesday offers an opportunity to begin the holiday season by giving instead of getting, by supporting organizations and missionaries who have been researched and approved by the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM). There are more than 850 United Methodist-related Advance projects and 300 missionaries that have been reviewed and approved by GBGM. As always, 100% of each donation made through The Advance will support the project designated by the donor. Last year, on UMC #GivingTuesday, United Methodists collectively raised a record $6.5 million online for Advance mission and ministries. Banners, worship resources, graphics and other ideas are available for download on the UMC #GivingTuesday resource page. More ...

♦ Brian McLaren forum at GMU - Oct. 15
Brian McLaren, prominent Christian pastor, author, activist, speaker and leader in the emerging church movement, will speak at a forum for clergy and laity Wednesday, Oct. 15, at George Mason University. McLaren will address (in three keynote sessions) ideas from his book Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddah and Mohammed Cross the Road? “Not the beginning of a joke – but the start of one of the most important conversations in today’s world.”  This event begins at 9:30 a.m. in Dewberry Hall (first floor, Johnson Center). Parking in Lot A is free for this event. For more information, click here. To register, click here. This event is sponsored by ARISE@GMU (our United Methodist and ecumenical campus ministry) and the GMU Department of Sociology and Anthropology. CEU credit (.5 ) can be earned with full participation.

♦ UMFS Lynchburg Community Family Day - Oct. 18
The new Lynchburg regional center for United Methodist Family Services (UMFS) is hosting a free Community Day with fun, food and fellowship 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18, at OBIC Ministries, 406 Briarcliff Circle, Lynchburg. Activities will include petting zoo, horseback riding, games, face painting, popcorn, cotton candy, fishing, nature walks and more. For more information, contact Jamesia Harrison at (434) 846-2002 or jaharrison@umfs.org

♦ 'Lord, Teach Me to Pray' - Oct. 25, Feb. 21
"Lord, Teach Me to Pray — Practical Applications for Prayer" will be offered again Saturday, Oct. 25, at St. Thomas UMC, Manassas, (Click here to register) and Saturday, Feb. 21, at Williamsburg UMC (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.

♦ PAUMCS fall training event - Oct. 29
Virginia chapter of the Professional Association of United Methodist Church Secretaries (PAUMCS) will hold its fall training event, "Experience Your Conference Connection 2014" 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 29, at the Virginia United Methodist Conference Center in Glen Allen. Members of the Conference Board of Communications will address the need to communicate in a technology-infused world, including discussions on social media, website design and hosting and blogging. This event is open to all church administrative staff (full-time, part-time, paid and volunteer), including but not limited to administrative assistants, financial secretaries, office managers and newsletter editors. Pastors and Communication chairs are invited to attend. For more information or to register, click here or call (804) 521-1124.

♦ '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 wvsummercamp@gmail.com or (804) 457-4210. More ...

♦ 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. Young adults to serve as small group leaders and youths to serve as staff are needed. To volunteer, contact Alison Malloy at alisonmalloy@gmail.com. To register and for more information go to www.vaumc.org/youth 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 www.richmondmarathon.com. Or contact Steve Jones at richmondds@vaumc.org or Allie Rosner at pastorallie@verizon.net. 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 a number of regional 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 www.campoverlook.org.

♦ 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 www.nutzyrotaryfunnrun.com 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 ...


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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