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News from the Virginia Conference - Oct. 8, 2015

Mid-Size Church Training to be rescheduled
The Mid-Size Church Training event scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 3, was postponed due to weather conditions throughout the state. All registered participants were notified of the postponement by e-mail. Event coordinators are currently working with the speaker, Dr. Phil Maynard, to reschedule this event for a later date. Announcements will be made once that date is confirmed. All persons registered for the Oct. 3 event will automatically be re-registered for the event once the new date has been secured. If preregistered persons are unable to attend, a refund will be provided.

Five-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation rescheduled to May 22-27
The Five-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation, originally scheduled for Oct. 4-9, was postponed due to uncertainties about weather and possible power outages. It has been rescheduled for May 22-27, 2016, the first available dates at the Roslyn Retreat Center, Richmond. This program of Upper Room Ministries will provide an opportunity for clergy and laity to deepen their relationship with God through a daily rhythm of prayer, worship, learning and reflection. Because space is limited, all persons registered for the Oct. 4-9 event will be given the first opportunity to participate in the academy on the new date. If any of those persons are unable to attend, registration will be re-opened to others.

Missionary from Chile available to speak in churches Jan. 19-Feb. 22
John Elmore, a missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church assigned to the Methodist Church of Chile as mission volunteer coordinator, will be available to speak at covenant support churches as well as other Virginia churches or church groups from Jan. 19 to Feb. 22. To arrange for Elmore to speak in your church, contact Ann Klotz at or (540) 366-6872.

Children's Sabbath resources available
Each year the Children's Defense Fund (CDF) selects a theme for the national observance of Children’s Sabbath that encourages prayer, education and service to help children and families. Theme for the 2015 national observance is “How Long Must I Cry for Help? Bending the Arc toward God's Vision of Justice for Children" and will focus on real solutions to significantly reduce child poverty now. The national observance will be Oct. 16-18. Because this conflicts with the United Methodist observance of Laity Sunday on Oct. 18, United Methodist congregations are urged to celebrate children the second Sunday in October, Oct. 11 this year, or any time during the year. Click here to download information about the 2015 National Observance of Children's Sabbath. To view all CDF Children’s Sabbath materials and resources, go to and register to download the materials. Click here for a pdf version of the booklet "Christian Worship Resources for the Children's Sabbath." Click here for worship resources from Discipleship Ministries. More ...

Sept. 15-Oct. 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month
Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month, a celebration of people in the United States who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico and the Spanish-speaking countries of Central America, South America and the Caribbean. Worship and other church events provide settings for Hispanic/Latino United Methodists to celebrate their heritage and cultures and for others to learn more about them. Click here for worship resources suggested by Discipleship Ministries.

Laity Sunday is Oct. 18
Laity Sunday, celebrated on the third Sunday of October of each year, will be Oct. 18. 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. Theme and focus for each quadrennium are set by the Association of Annual Conference Lay Leaders. The 2015 theme is "Disciples Called to Action: Creating Unity in Ministry." Theme for 2016 will be "Disciples Called to Action: Living Vital Worship." Click here for worship suggestions, bulletin inserts and posters for this year's theme that can be downloaded from the United Methodist Discipleship Ministries website.

United Methodists respond to flooding in South Carolina
United Methodists joined in as South Carolina began picking up the pieces after catastrophic weekend flooding. Bishop Jonathan Holston urged prayer and volunteerism. Local churches were already pitching in, providing emergency shelter and food for flood victims. Donations to help in the aftermath of the South Carolina flooding should go to Advance #901670, U.S. Disaster Response, said Gregory A. Forrester, assistant general secretary, United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) Disaster Response. Forrester urged people to do four key things: pray, donate funds to UMCOR or the South Carolina Annual Conference, wait for the invitation to come and serve as volunteers for cleanup and assemble health kits. (He said they have a sufficient supply of cleanup buckets available.) More ...

United Methodists called to take action against gun violence
Last week’s mass shooting at an Oregon community college no doubt has many United Methodists wondering what they can do beyond pray for an end to gun violence. The United Methodist Book of Resolutions, which contains our official positions on many issues, including gun violence, calls on United Methodists to do 11 things, dealing with everything from education to advocacy. More ...

GBCS offers three-session Bible study on gun violence
The United Methodist General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) offers a downloadable three-session Bible study about the use of guns in committing violence. The study, “Kingdom Dreams, Violent Realities,” uses Micah 4:1-4 as its scriptural foundation. In his foreword to the study, Bishop Robert Hoshibata, leader of the Desert Southwest Conference and president of the GBCS board, notes that deadly incidents involving gun violence are now commonplace and asks if we are becoming so numb to the continued death of so many that we are unwilling or unable to do anything to change this reality. “Sadly, gun violence is a constant reality that all United Methodists face wherever we are located,” the bishop writes, and prayerfully commends this resource for study, reflection and call to action. Click here to download the Bible study free from the GBCS website. More ...

Oct. 13 is deadline to submit petitions to 2016 General Conference
To be considered at General Conference, the denomination's top lawmaking assembly, petitions must be submitted online no later than Tuesday, Oct. 13. General Conference meets every four years. The next meeting will be May 10-12, 2016, in Portland, Ore. Click here for details on how to submit petitions.

Bishop asks for prayers on same-sex wedding impasse
In a pastoral letter, Michigan Area Bishop Deborah Lieder Kiesey asks for prayers after church leaders could not reach a just resolution in a same-sex marriage complaint. (Click here to read more about the complaint.) “I plead now for your prayers as I seek to find a path that will cause the least amount of harm to all of you and to the work of Christ that is before us.” Read letter.

Connectional Table launches online forum about General Conference
The Connectional Table has launched a series of weekly videos to help inform United Methodist church leaders and General Conference delegates leading up to the 2016 General Conference which will be May 10-20, 2016, in Portland, Ore. The videos are part of an online forum called #CTTalks. It is designed to be used by delegations and annual conferences as they study and discuss issues that will be addressed at General Conference 2016. These weekly posts will include interviews with United Methodist bishops, Connectional Table members and other leaders from across the denomination. Each video will also be accompanied by a one-page conversation sheet with FAQs on the topic, as well as questions for delegates to use to continue the dialogue. Delegates are invited to ask questions of the interviewees in advance via Twitter using the hashtag #CTTalks. Individual delegates and entire delegations can use the resource to help prepare for General Conference. More ...

GBGM expands commitment to health of children
As part of its emerging health emphasis, "Abundant Health: Our Promise to Children," the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) has joined a U.N. initiative called "Every Woman, Every Child,"  and will ask the 2016 General Conference to endorse a campaign to reach 1 million children with life-saving interventions between 2016 and 2020. More ...

Home Depot helps pay for 'Strength for Service' booklets
More than 1,000 United Methodist churches have spent $1.12 million at Home Depot stores. Under an agreement arranged by the General Council on Finance and Administration, those purchases generated $45,000 that will pay for nearly 6,400 copies of "Strength for Service," a nondenominational book of daily devotions written for members of the U.S. Armed Services and first responders. More ...

GBCS seeks project director for Healthy Families, Healthy Planet
The United Methodist General Board of Church & Society (GBCS), headquartered in Washington, D.C., is in search of a project director for Healthy Families, Healthy Planet (HFHP) to be responsible for setting and implementing the overall mission, vision and goals of the HFHP initiative with the director of Women’s and Children’s Advocacy. A major function of this position is to recruit, cultivate and mobilize advocates of The United Methodist Church for family planning and maternal health. In addition, the project director will work in coalition with other D.C.-based organizations to build effective strategy to engage members of Congress. Strong interpersonal, advocacy, writing and project management skills are essential. Application deadline is Oct. 27 with a start date of Nov. 16. More ...

♦ School for Children’s Ministries - Oct. 17
The School for Children’s Ministries is on the road again offering the same school at four different locations on four different dates. The next event this year will be 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17, at Thalia UMC, 4321 Virginia Beach Blvd., Virginia Beach. Learn "Extraordinary Lessons from Ordinary Objects" plus three more workshops. A .5 CEU offered. Only $20 per person. More ...

♦ 'Building a Circle of Support' - Oct. 20
There is still time to register for “Building a Circle of Support: The Role of the Church in Supporting Individuals with Dementia and Their Care Partners,” a learning opportunity for clergy and laity to be held 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20, at the Hermitage in Roanoke (1009 Old Country Club Road, Roanoke). Presenters are Denise R. Scruggs, director of the Beard Center on Aging at Lynchburg College; Gary H. Oberlender, MD, consultant in Geriatric Medicine; and Annette Clark, gerontologist and Family Services director with the Alzheimer’s Association, Central and Western Virginia Chapter. This event has been approved by the Virginia Conference Board of Ordained Ministry for 0.5 CEU credit. Cost is $25, which includes lunch, to be paid by cash or check upon arrival. Space is limited. Register by Oct. 14 by calling or e-mailing Melissa Lowery at (540) 767-6801 or

♦ PAUMCS fall training event - Oct. 21
Virginia chapter of the Professional Association of United Methodist Church Secretaries (PAUMCS) will hold its fall training event, "Experience Your Conference Connection 2015" 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 21, at the Virginia United Methodist Conference Center in Glen Allen. Wayne Rhodes, director of Communications for the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society, will talk about the United Methodist Social Principles. Linda Rhodes, Virginia Conference director of Communications, will lead "I Love to Tell the Story," a session on church communications for today. 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 Sandra Fulcher, chapter president, in the Danville District office at (276) 638-2688.

♦ Conference UMW annual meeting - Oct. 23-25
Virginia Conference United Methodist Women (UMW) will celebrate the 40th anniversary of "Dimes and Dollars for Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center" (VUMAC) at VUMAC in Blackstone during the UMW annual meeting Oct. 23-25. The Wicker Room (beside the Dining Room) is being renovated to become the official UMW room and will be dedicated during the annual meeting.

♦ 'Tearing Down the Walls: Ways of Doing Justice' - Oct. 24
The Roanoke, Danville, Lynchburg and Staunton districts are co-sponsoring 'Tearing Down the Walls: Ways of Doing Justice' 9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24, at First UMC, 125 W. Main St., Salem. Leader will be Shane Clariborne, nationally-known speaker and founder of The Simple Way Christian community in Philadelphia that has helped birth and connect radical faith communities around the world. This event will focus on the meaning of Christian social justice; how we can break down contemporary walls of injustice such as economic inequalities, educational disparities and racial divisions; and how we can build hope and empower persons to overcome walls of separation and engage others on social justice issues. Youths, young adults and older adults are invited to attend this intergenerational event. Early bird registration fee of $25 for adults is available until Sept. 17, after which adult registration will be $30. Student registration is $10. Registration deadline is Oct. 17. More ...

♦ UMFS golf tournament - Oct. 26
The annual United Methodist Family Services (UMFS) Fore the Kids Golf Tournament will be held Monday, Oct. 26, at Stonehenge Country Club, 1000 Farnham Dr., Richmond. Cost is $400 per team or $100 per individual and includes a light breakfast, lunch and BBQ dinner as well as prizes and golf. Four-man Captain’s Choice format will tee off at 10 a.m. Register at A pre-tournament party 6-8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 19, at Golfsmith in Short Pump will offer free food, contests, giveaways and a 15% discount to Golfsmith for in-store purchases. UMFS is seeking sponsors for the golf tournament. If interested in being a sponsor, go to For more information, contact Joe Torrence at or (804) 239-1042, ext. 1941.

♦ Small Congregation Training - Oct. 31
Teams of clergy and laity from small congregations with an average worship attendance between 1-149 are invited to a training event 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31, at Belmont UMC, Richmond. The Rev. Dr. Lewis Parks, Wesley Theological Seminary professor who has specific interest in the small congregation, 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. Cost is $25, and .5 CEU will be offered. Group discounts are available. 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 ...

♦ 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 Oct. 23. For more information and to register, go to

♦ Fall Youth Retreats - Nov. 13-15, Dec. 4-6
Now is the time to register for Virginia Conference Fall Youth Retreats, weekend retreats in which youths are challenged to grow as disciples of Christ through powerful worship, Bible study and small groups while building friendships with youths from all over Virginia. Middle School Retreat will be Nov. 13-15 and High School Retreat will be Dec. 4-6 at Eagle Eyrie in Lynchburg. This year's retreats will focus on learning to be a "Called Generation." Click here for flyer. Band will be Keith Elgin. Paulo Lopes, Virginia Conference director of Ministries with Young People, will be the speaker. 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.

♦ 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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