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News from the Virginia Conference - Sept. 1, 2016

Bishop Sharma Lewis shares video on the official start of her tenure 
Bishop Sharma Lewis speaks to the Virginia Conference in a video on the official start of her tenure as bishop. She is currently in Houston, TX, at the World Methodist Conference. More... 

Bishop Young Jin Cho honored to serve the Virginia Conference
Bishop Cho delivers his message as the response to the charge.Bishop Young Jin Cho shared a letter his last day as Virginia Conference's bishop on Wednesday, Aug. 31, welcoming Bishop Lewis and reflecting on his ministry.More... 

867 UMCOR buckets collected by conference 
United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) warehouses needed their stores of cleaning buckets to be replenished after the recent floods in several states. District United Methodist Men (UMMen) Coordinators designated staging locations across Virginia, and two central locations in Richmond and Norfolk readied the buckets for transport to Charlotte, N.C. on August 31 where the tally for buckets stood at 867. If your local church UMMen would like to take part in future events such as this effort, contact Dann Ladd, conference UMMen vice president for Membership and Development at  

Floris UMC staff member shares perspective on recruiting volunteers, keeping them engaged in ministry leadership 
The vocabulary church leaders use when asking people to serve makes a significant difference, writes Jake McGlothin, director of missions and outreach at Floris United Methodist Church in Herndon, Va. In a commentary for the Lewis Center for Church Leadership, he offers tips for recruiting volunteers. More…

Communications office interested in church outreach events 
The Virginia Conference Communications office is interested in local church outreach events and interesting ministry initiatives. To share your news and events, contact Madeline Pillow, Advocate editor, at or Nick Ruxton, conference videographer, at

September is Hunger Action Month
September is Hunger Action Month. More than 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 ...

Sept. 4 is ICM Labor Day Offering Sunday
On Sunday, Sept. 4, United Methodist churches throughout the Virginia Conference are encouraged to collect an Industrial and Commercial Ministries (ICM) Labor Day Offering. ICM is a mission of local churches, with volunteer ICM chaplains connecting each week to thousands of men and women, churched and unchurched, sharing God's love at their assigned place of business and providing a supportive presence and effective referral. Your gifts will support day-to-day operations, provide training and provide for expansion through the establishment of new chapters. This year's offering goal is $20,000. Any individual or church making a donation of $500 or more will receive "A Caring Presence" certificate. For brochures or offering envelopes, call (540) 432-1919 or e-mail Visit for more information.

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. 2 is World Communion Sunday
Sunday, Oct. 2, 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 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. For resources, including worship services and "A Dozen Ways to Promote and celebrate World Communion Sunday," download the World Communion Sunday Pastor’s and Leader's kit. To order leaflet offering envelopes and posters, click here or call 1-888-346-3862.

Overwhelming number of nominations delays appointments for a Commission on a Way Forward 
The Council of Bishops’ Executive Committee says that an overwhelming number of nominations for the Commission on a Way Forward has delayed the appointment of Commission members. More time is needed for all nominees to be given adequate consideration.Following their July meeting, the Council of Bishops’ Executive Committee asked all current residential and retired bishops to nominate up to five persons by August 15. At that time, they expected to name the Commission members by August 31, with a target of October for an initial meeting. More… 

Discipleship Ministries accepting applications for committee overseeing hymnal revision 
Discipleship Ministries is accepting applications for membership on the committee that will oversee revision of The United Methodist Hymnal. The agency will appoint seven of the 15 committee members by this fall, and wants applicants who have a background in both music and liturgy. More...

Wespath names CEO 
Wespath Benefits and Investments, formerly known as the United Methodist Board of Pension and Health Benefits, has named Bill Kavanaugh as its chief operating officer. He comes to Wespath from Allstate Insurance Company. More… 

New U.S. labor standards to have effect on the church 
The U.S. Department of Labor has announced changes to federal overtime rules, which means more U.S. workers qualify for overtime pay. Rik Jamieson, assistant treasurer for the Pacific Northwest Conference, explains what these changes mean for churches. More… 

Children plant trees to support UMC’s environmental efforts in the Philippines 
Sixty-two children planted trees to support The United Methodist Church’s efforts to protect the environment in the Philippines. More… 

Feature article analyzes using your job to bring you closer to God 
Large portions of our lives are spent at work. Some go to an office each day while others labor outdoors. No matter the nature of the work, our jobs are an opportunity to serve Christ every day. The Bible instructs us, “Whatever you do, whether in speech or action, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus and give thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17 CEB). More…

World Council of Churches offers prayers and support after earthquake in Italy 
In a letter to the Rev. Luca Negro, president of the Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy, the World Council of Churches offered prayer and support to those affected by the massive Aug. 24 earthquake in central Italy, which destroyed historic towns and left close to 300 people dead. More…

Leaders must know themselves in order to become effective 
Lovett H. Weems Jr., Lewis Center for Church Leadership, discusses the importance of leaders having a mature, self-aware understanding of themselves. He writes that in order to achieve a healthy and accurate knowledge of one’s self, a leader must reach out to actively seek feedback, and then withdraw to reflect on that feedback and use it in self-examination. More… 

Welch’s Grape Juice and its ties to The United Methodist Church 
Today, Welch’s is a multinational corporation offering a number of grape- and other fruit-related products. It all started, however, with a communion steward in a Methodist Episcopal church who wanted a suitable, unfermented wine for Communion. More… 

Use technology in Thanksgiving traditions 
If you are trying to figure out how your church can participate in the Thanksgiving celebrations, the Internet offers a variety of ideas and tips to help make the preparations easier than ever. More…

Pew Research Center study focuses on how adults choose a new church 
When U.S. adults look for a new house of worship, they look first for a place where they like the preaching and where they feel welcomed. Fully 83 percent of Americans who have looked for a new place of worship say the quality of sermons plays an important role in choosing a congregation, according to a new Pew Research Center study. More…

♦ Celebration of Methodist Beginnings in America- Sept. 10
The Old Stone Church Foundation is proud to announce the 250th Anniversary Celebration of the Old Stone Church Site, Leesburg Station, to be held on Sept. 10, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Join other United Methodists at the historic Old Stone Church Site at 2:00 p.m. to celebrate and to learn more about its rich Methodist heritage. There will be an opportunity to purchase a memorial brick to be placed in the prayer garden on the site. The Old Stone Church Site is located at West Cornwall Street and Liberty Street in Leesburg, Va. Parking is available at Leesburg Town Hall Parking Garage, accessible from West Market and Loudoun streets. For more information, contact the Old Stone Church Foundation at

♦ Welcoming Service for Bishop Sharma Lewis - Sept. 17
A welcoming service of worship for Bishop Sharma Lewis will be held at Reveille UMC, 4200 Cary Street Road, Richmond, 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon Saturday, Sept. 17. Lewis, the first African-American woman elected a bishop in the Southeastern Jurisdiction, has been assigned to lead the Virginia Conference for the next four years. She will begin her term of office on Sept. 1. More ...

♦ UMVIM Team Leader and Recertification Training - Sept. 24
Some confusion remains regarding training necessary to serve in tornado-affected areas now that the recovery (rebuilding) phase has begun. Volunteers do not need Early Response Team (ERT) training. Each volunteer team needs a trained United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) team leader. To that end, Forrest White, Virginia Conference Long-term Recovery Manager and UMVIM coordinator, will lead UMVIM team leader training on Saturday, Sept. 24, at Warwick Memorial UMC in Newport News. Recertification training will be offered Saturday, Sept. 24, at Warwick Memorial UMC in Newport News. Click here to register for Team Leader Training and click here to register for UMVIM Recertification. 

♦ Lay Servant Ministries on-demand courses - Sept. 24, Oct. 8
Lay Servant Ministries is offering a series of six on-demand learning courses in 2016. You may attend live events 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Virginia United Methodist Center in Glen Allen for free, or pay $30 to watch online from your own computer during a 90-day period to receive your certification. The next courses to be offered are Saturday, Sept. 24, "UMC Heritage" led by Martha Stokes, and Saturday, Oct. 8, (rescheduled from Aug. 27) "Preaching" led by the Rev. Jonathan Page. For more information, contact Marge Sharp, on-demand learning registrar, at or (757) 871-2809. More ... 

♦ UMFS golf tournaments - Sept. 30, Oct. 14
Registration is now open for the annual United Methodist Family Services (UMFS) Fore the Kids Golf Tournament to be held Friday, Sept. 30, at Manor Golf Club in Farmville and Friday, Oct. 14, at Royal New Kent Golf Club in Providence Forge (Richmond area). For the Manor Golf Club tournament, cost is $400 per team or $100 per individual. Registration deadline is Sept. 15. For the Royal New Kent Golf Club, cost is $500 per team or $125 per individual. Registration deadline is Oct. 4. Register at For more information, contact Joe Torrence at or (804) 239-1042, ext. 1941. More ...

♦ Olde Time Revival - Oct. 1
The second Olde Time Revival hosted by the Virginia Conference Older Adult Council is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 1, at Centreville UMC for a great time of fellowship and exciting renewal. Revival worship will include singing old hymns, praying and dynamic preaching by the Rev. Clarence Brown. Music will be led by Michael Berkley of Woodlake UMC. More...

♦ 5 Talent Academy - Oct. 4
Registration is now open for the 5 Talent Academy Equipping People for Ministry Outside the Walls of the Church event to be held 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 4, at Ebenezer UMC in Stafford. The event will be live streamed to 10 additional locations across the conference (Danville, Eastern Shore, Farmville, Lynchburg, Richmond, Roanoke, Shenandoah Valley, Tidewater, Winchester and York River). Featured speaker is Andy Crouch, executive editor of Christianity Today and author of several books, including Strong and Weak: Embracing a Life of Love, Risk and True Flourishing, Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power and Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling. Cost is $35 per person. Those who register prior to Aug. 31 will receive an early-bird discount and pay only $25. Group pricing is available for teams. Registration closes on Sept. 19. Visit to register.

♦ Church Leadership Institute - Oct. 10-12
The Church Leadership Institute (CLI) will help you discern your ministry style by offering greater clarity in the following areas: ministry competencies, core behaviors, spiritual gifts, affinity groups and place on the apostolic/pastoral continuum. Graduates will learn the basics on how to lead renewal in their congregations. Those feeling called to be a new church planter will have the opportunity to more fully discern that call. The event will be facilitated by Jim Griffith. Event schedule is 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Oct. 10, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 11 and 9 12:30 p.m. Oct. 12. Cost is free to members of Virginia Conference. Please contact the Center for Congregational Excellence at 1-800-768-6040, ext. 155, with questions or for more information. Register at

♦ Goodson Preaching Academy - Oct. 11
Sponsored by Goodson Preaching Academy, take part in “Hopes and fears: Advent sermon preparation for the busy preacher” on Tuesday, Oct. 11, at Shady Grove UMC in Mechanicsville from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The course is worth 0.5 CEU. For questions, email Download the brochure and register online at

♦ Small Church Summit - Oct. 22
Join fellow small church clergy and laity for the Small Church Summit Saturday, Oct. 22, at Providence UMC in Richmond and broadcast via livestream to five additional locations. Keynote speaker will be the Rev. Lynne Caldwell who will build upon the foundation she set at Small Congregation Pastor Training in July. Focus will be on asset-based ministry as participants are taught to build on the strengths of their particular congregations. This event is open to all VAUMC clergy and laity who serve a small congregation (average worship attendance between 1 and 149 persons). Cost is $25 per person. Lunch is included. Those attending can earn .5 CEU for participation. Registration open until Oct. 10. More ...

♦ Conference UMW Annual Meeting - Oct. 28-29
Virginia Conference United Methodist Women (UMW) will hold its Annual Meeting Oct. 28-29 at Good Shepherd UMC in Richmond. Theme is “Growing in Blessedness.” Keynote speaker is Elizabeth (Lisa) Lamb Nichols, a deaconess serving as executive director of Henry Fork Service Center, a facility in Rocky Mount, Va., that provides Christian education, educational enrichment, recreation and experiences in the arts to more than 100 students throughout the year. More ...

♦ Kindred Project two-day silent retreat - Nov. 2-4
Kindred Project will offer a two-day Silent Retreat in the Celtic Tradition at the Bellfry Retreat Home (, 4 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 2, to 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 4. The retreat will be facilitated by Kim Barker-Brugman, Janie Mitchell and Dawn Peck. Estimated cost is $175 per person. Complete details will be available in early October, but to reserve a space now, contact Dawn at

♦ Disaster Emotional and Spiritual Care Training - Nov. 5
Disaster Emotional and Spiritual Care Training will be offered 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, at Bruen Chapel UMC, 3035 Cedar Lane, Fairfax. Certified leader of the event will be the Rev. Ellen Comstock, retired Virginia Conference elder. Cost is $40 (plus $10 for lunch unless you bring your own) and includes background check, materials and completion badge. If you already have a background check through the conference within a year, cost will be $30. Completion of this course will allow you to assist survivors of disaster without having to be heavily involved in construction. Coupled with ERT training, this training would also allow you to be deployed with Early Response Teams. This event is open to both clergy and laity and might be of special interest to Lay Servants and those involved in Stephen Ministries, church teachers, visitation team members and others who feel specially called to participate in aspects of the church’s overall ministry and mission that require personal relating to people of various ages and backgrounds. To sign up by Nov. 3 or for more info, email Ellen Comstock ( 

♦ Fall Youth Retreats- Nov. 11-13; Dec. 2-4
Register now for the super early bird rates 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. 11-13, and High School Retreat will be Dec. 2-4 at Eagle Eyrie in Lynchburg. This year's retreats will focus on “Just Move." Guest speakers will be Brooklyn and Coy Lindsey. Cost is $125 until Sept. 18 for the Middle School retreat, $135 Sept. 19-Oct. 9 and $145 Oct. 10-30. Middle School registration deadline is Oct. 30. Cost for the High School Retreat is $125 Sept. 4-Oct. 2, $135 Oct. 3-31 and $145 Nov. 1-20. High School registration deadline is Nov. 20. More...

♦ UMVIM Trip to Israel/Palestine- Jan. 30-Feb. 11
The Virginia Conference Board of Church and Society is sponsoring a United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) trip to Israel and Palestine Jan. 30 to Feb. 11, 2017. The trip will provide opportunities for learning, serving and seeing. Team members will visit religious sites and United Methodist missions projects. There will be opportunities to serve at some of those mission projects. Team members will also visit and meet with Palestinians, both Christian and Muslim, as well as Israeli Jews. The team will learn more about the struggles of life in Palestine and efforts to create a just and hopeful future. Team leaders are the Rev. John Copenhaver and the Rev. Steve Jones, both certified VIM team leaders. For more information, contact either leader at or

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 email For information about the Virginia Conference and resources for ministry, visit the Virginia Conference website at



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