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News from the Virginia Conference - Sept. 10, 2015

Conference has saved 98,854 lives from malaria, just 1,145 short of goal
As of Sept. 8, conference churches had raised $988,548.83 for Imagine No Malaria and saved more than 98,854 lives. Churches can still send in funds and have them counted toward the conference goal. Only $11,451.17 (which would save 1,145 lives) is needed to meet the goal of raising $1 million to save 100,000 lives from this preventable and treatable disease. You can make online contributions with a credit card at Contributions may also be sent to the Virginia Conference Treasurer's office, P.O. Box 5605, Glen Allen, VA 23058. Make check payable to "Virginia Conference" and designate “Imagine No Malaria, Advance Special #6450," on your check or at the bottom of your apportionment statement. If the check is from a church, be sure to indicate the church GCFA number on the check.

Bishop's Convocation on Prayer to be March 5
The Bishop’s Convocation on Prayer will be held Saturday, March 5, at Trinity UMC, 903 Forest Ave., Richmond. Theme is "Deepening Discipleship: Piety and Mercy through Prayer." Plenary speaker will be Dr. Frederick Schmidt, Reuben P. Job Associate Professor of Spiritual Formation at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill.

'Did You Know?' video highlights conference Lay Servant Academy
Did you know that there are more than 1,500 certified lay servants in the Virginia Conference? That's just one thing you can learn from a video featuring Beth Christian talking about the Virginia Conference Lay Servant Academy. This very short (about one minute) video is the second 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

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.

September is time for emphasis on Christian education
Every local church in the Virginia Conference is urged to celebrate Christian Education Sunday on any Sunday in September and receive an offering to help support the educational ministries of the districts and the conference. When local churches remit this offering to the conference treasurer, one half of the collected amount stays with the conference, and one half is returned to the district to help defray the cost of conference and district programs and training.
     Churches are also encouraged to celebrate Christian Education Week this month. Christian Education Week is authorized by General Conference, and its observance is set by each annual conference. In the Virginia Conference, it is traditionally observed during the month of September. Click here to download a free guide for Christian Education Week from United Methodist Discipleship Ministries.

September is Hunger Action Month
September is Hunger Action Month. Nearly 50 million people in the United States today are hungry or food insecure. Plan now to make September a time for your congregation to stand against hunger to see that each person in this country has healthful, nourishing food to eat. Society of St. Andrew offers Hunger Action Month resources, including a Daily Calendar for Prayer and Action. The calendar has a Scripture reading and related activity for each day of September. More ...

Hispanic Heritage Month begins Sept. 15
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 (General Board of Discipleship).

Oct. 4 is World Communion Sunday
Oct. 4 is World Communion Sunday. World Communion Sunday calls the church to reach out to all people and model diversity among God’s children. United Methodists relate to World Communion Sunday by celebrating Holy Communion with other Christians around the world on this special Sunday. Churches are also encouraged to receive an offering to support scholarships for ethnic minority undergraduate and graduate students. Our gifts often enable first-generation students to attend college. To make it easier for you to change the world Oct. 4, download a free eBook and World Communion Sunday pastor’s kit. Order leaflet offering envelopes and posters at or call 1-888-346-3862. To hear World Communion Sunday in action, listen to these podcasts.

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.

2015 Clergy Age Trends report shows young clergy increases due to women
Growth in the number of young clergy over the past 10 years has been all due to women according to the Clergy Age Trends in the United Methodist Church report released this week by the Lewis Center for Church Leadership of Wesley Theological Seminary. The annual report is prepared with assistance from the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits of The United Methodist Church. A notable statistic in the report: The Virginia Conference has the largest total number of young elders in full connection (60). The Virginia Conference has a total of 106 clergy under the age of 35, including deacons, elders, provisionals and local pastors. Much more information is available in the complete Clergy Age Trends report, which is available as a free PDF download at It shows the average and median ages of elders by United Methodist conference and features a breakdown of young, middle age and older clergy by conference for elders, deacons and local pastors. More ...

Upper Room Ministries launches Moyo online initiative
Upper Room Ministries launched a new online initiative called Moyo ( to help users engage with important global issues like clean water, racial justice and disaster relief. Visitors to the website can follow a Guided Path (Encounter, Reflect and Act) to study, reflect and then physically engage with an issue through multiple offline opportunities. In addition to the Guided Path, visitors can stay informed about current world events through The Feed, a blog-like platform. More...

United Methodists urged to advocate for Syrian refugees
The United Methodist General Board of Church & Society is among a number of faith groups calling for their members to sign a petition urging the United States to resettle at least 65,000 Syrian refugees by 2016. The U.S. has resettled only 1,517 Syrian refugees since the beginning of the conflict. While resettlement is not the only solution, it is a critical way the U.S. can support countries like Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan that are hosting millions of Syrian refugees. More than 55,000 people have already signed the petition. To require a response from President Obama, 100,000 signatures are needed before Sept. 30. United Methodists are also urged to call the White House at (202) 456-1111. Feel free to use this script: "The U.S. must show leadership in responding to the global refugee crisis, including in Syria. I urge President Obama to increase refugee resettlement from 70,000 to 100,000 this coming year, as well as an additional 100,000 Syrian refugees. In 1980, the U.S. resettled more than 200,000 refugees, showing that where there’s a will, there’s a way. The U.S. must demonstrate leadership and increase refugee resettlement."

United Methodists planting churches with environmental focus
Young United Methodist church planters are starting churches with a focus on an environmentalist gospel. For them, environmentalism is about connections between consumption patterns and inequality, not just pollution and climate change. Read New York Times story ...

New district superintendents go to school
New district superintendents and directors of Connectional Ministries from across the denomination gathered at Lake Junaluska, N.C., Aug. 23-27,for “Cultivating Vital Ministries,” the new DS/DCM Orientation. The event was sponsored by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, the Council of Bishops and Discipleship Ministries with 67 superintendents and 13 DCMs attending, representing 35 annual conferences. More ...

SEJ Clergywomen Consultation to be Oct. 26-27
The quadrennial gathering of the Southeastern Jurisdiction (SEJ) clergywomen will be Oct. 26-27 at Epworth by the Sea, St. Simons Island, Ga. This year the focus will be on John 4 and the story of the woman at the well. Participants will gather, worship, pray, sing, rest, ponder, create, connect and laugh – a lot. Whether you feel like you’re running on empty or walking on water, there’s a place for you at the well. Registration information as well as schedule and presenters’ information can be found at

♦ Old Brunswick Circuit Foundation Annual Meeting - Sept. 12
The Old Brunswick Circuit Foundation will hold its Annual meeting Saturday, Sept. 12, at Main St. UMC in Emporia. A portrayal of Joshua Thomas (1776-1853), itinerant minister on the Eastern Shore of the Chesapeake Bay, will be done by Dr. Gary Ziegler. Thomas conducted services for Americans and British occupation forces on Tangier Island during the War of 1812, famously foretelling the British defeat at Fort McHenry. He tended the Chesapeake islands by canoe and was known as “The Parson of the Islands.” The meeting will be followed by lunch. Guests are welcome. Cost of lunch is $10. For more information, call Jim Mott at (804) 301-0734. More ...

♦ Clergy Ethics II training - Sept. 17
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. Thursday, Sept. 17, at Chester UMC on the James River 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 ...

♦ Discipleship Circles facilitator training - Sept. 18
Discipleship Circles facilitator training will be 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, Sept. 18, at the Virginia United Methodist Center in Glen Allen. Church leaders (clergy and laity) willing to lead Discipleship Circles in order to help increase church vitality are invited to this training session. Topics will include spiritual disciplines, group facilitation, Vital Signs and communication techniques. There is no charge for training. Lunch and a training manual will be provided. Registration deadline is Tuesday, Sept. 15. Click here to register and for more details. For more information about Discipleship Circles, contact Cheryl Edley-Worford, conference director of Inclusivity and Lay Leadership Excellence, at or (804) 521-1154.

♦ Goodson Preaching Academy - Sept. 21-24
The Bishops’ Foundation will sponsor the 2015 Goodson Preaching Academy, “Craft and Creativity: Preaching in the Context of a Rapidly Evolving World,” Sept. 21-24 at the Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center in Blackstone. Presenter will be Dr. Paul Scott Wilson, professor of Homiletics at Emmanuel College, Toronto, author of many books on preaching and past president of the Academy of Homiletics. This ministry venture for clergy seeking excellence in the craft of weekly preaching was modeled after the former Goodson Academy for Preaching and approved by the Bishops’ Foundation which is assuming most of the costs of the event. The event is designed to energize your preaching and help you find creative ways to build disciples in your church. 1 CEU will be awarded. More ...

♦ RE3 intercollegiate conference - Sept. 25-26
RE3 (Rethink, Reclaim, Renew), overnight retreat open to students from colleges and universities across Virginia, will be held at Shenandoah University Sept. 25-26. What do you need to rethink? What does the Church need to rethink? What ancient spiritual practices can be reclaimed for renewing the church today? Worship and TED-style talks led by students will explore ancient prayer practices. Guest speaker is Sarah Bessey, author of Jesus Feminist, Out of Sorts and My Practices of Mothering. Bessey is also an award-winning blogger at Cost is $10 per student. All money goes to Imagine No Malaria. Click here to register online. For more information, go to or follow RE3 on Twitter at @rethreeva.

♦ Resource Center Teachers' Toolbox - Sept. 26
Teachers and educational leaders in the local congregation need both a love of God and a "toolbox" of teaching tools. Without either, the important work of making disciples can fall short. A partner in strengthening ministries, The Resource Center will sponsor a fall event for teachers and others to help build that toolbox. Teachers' Toolbox will be 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26, at Laurel Presbyterian Church (corner of Staples Mill and Hungary Roads) in Richmond. Dr. Adam Bond from the School of Theology at Virginia Union University will share insights from his new book, Church on Purpose: Reinventing Discipleship, Community, and Justice, a collection of big ideas from emerging Christian leaders passionately committed to the local church. In addition, participants will choose from four workshops full of practical strategies for teaching and learning that transforms. Cost is $25 per person or $20 per person for four or more from same congregation. Register online at E-mail with questions.

♦ TEE-ology golf retreat - Sept. 29-30
Tee-ology golf retreat at Camp Overlook in Keezletown is inspired by the book Tee-ology by John Freeman. The Rev. Dan Garrett, pastor, seminary professor and golf enthusiast, will share insights that use the joy and challenge of golf to help us better understand our faith. Check-in is 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 29. Roast beef dinner served at 6:30 p.m. followed by fellowship and devotion. Wednesday morning, a country ham and eggs breakfast will be followed by a meditation. Golf begins with a shotgun start at 10 a.m. at Packsaddle Ridge Golf Course. Box lunch provided. Individual registration is $99. Days-only registration is $65. Discounts available for registering as a foursome. More ...

♦ Mid-Size Church Training - Oct. 3
Teams of clergy and laity from mid-size congregations with an average worship attendance between 150-349 are invited to a training event Saturday, Oct. 3, at Providence UMC in Richmond. Keynote speaker will be Phil Maynard, author of Shift: Helping Congregations Back Into the Game of Effective Ministry. The event will also be live-streamed to five other locations across the conference. Cost is $25, and .5 CEU will be offered. Group discounts are available. More ...

♦ Mary & Paul II: Nurturing God's Call - Oct. 3
Studies show that many persons who are called into ordained ministry receive the call at 10 years of age, but the adults in their lives are not well equipped to nurture the call. This seminar is designed to help adults  become better equipped to help young persons understand and respond to God’s call. Mary & Paul II: Nurturing God’s Call will be 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 3, at the United Methodist Center in Glen Allen. Registration is required 48 hours prior to the event. Registration fee is $10. For more information, contact the Rev. Ted Smith at (804) 448-8326 or 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 ...

♦ 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
Registration is now open for the annual United Methodist Family Services (UMFS) Fore the Kids Golf Tournament to 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. An organization providing a $1,000 sponsorship will be able to enter a team in the tournament and will receive signage and visibility throughout the 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 ...

♦ 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 ...

♦ 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 ...

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
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