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News from the Virginia Conference - Sept. 23, 2015

Conference has saved 99,264 lives from malaria, just 736 short of goal
As of Sept. 16, conference churches had raised $992,639.70 for Imagine No Malaria and saved nearly 99,264 lives. Churches can still send in funds and have them counted toward the conference goal. Only $7,360 (which would save 736 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.

'Did You Know?' video highlights Virginia United Methodist Advocate magazine
Did you know that the Virginia United Methodist Advocate magazine is older than Time magazine, the New York Times or the Washington Post? That's just one thing you can learn from a video featuring Madeline Pillow, Advocate editor, talking about the Virginia Conference monthly magazine. This very short (about one minute) video is the third 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

October issue of Advocate focuses on prayer
The October issue of the Virginia United Methodist Advocate focuses on prayer in the Virginia Conference. Since Bishop Young Jin Cho began his ministry as bishop, he has emphasized the need for and value of prayer at all times. This issue gets the “prayer perspective” from Virginia district superintendents, leaders of prayer initiatives, local churches and individuals to see how prayer is working in the church. The magazine also supplies guides to different kinds of prayer that can be used to add to an individual's prayer life. The Advocate is the official monthly magazine of the Virginia Conference. To subscribe to the Advocate – print, digital or both – call (804) 521-1110 or 1-800-768-6040, ext. 110; e-mail; or go to

Tom Berlin interviewed by NBC-TV about Pope Francis
The Rev. Tom Berlin, senior pastor of Floris UMC in Herndon, was interviewed by NBC-TV about reasons non-Catholic Christians are excited about the visit of Pope Francis. More ...

Cathy Abbott article about money featured in Lewis Center newsletter
"Overcoming the Fear of Talking About Money," an article by the Rev. Cathy Abbott, Arlington District superintendent, is featured in the Sept. 23 edition of "Leading Ideas," a weekly e-newsletter from the Lewis Center for Church Leadership at Wesley Theological Seminary. The article is adapted from a reflection Abbott offered in the collection entitled In the Shade of the Sycamore Tree (Intermundia Press, 2015), reflections by clergy on the subject of wealth edited by J. Robert Moon. More ...

Mary & Paul II seminar is cancelled
The Mary & Paul II: Nurturing God’s Call seminar originally scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 3, at the United Methodist Center in Glen Allen has been cancelled. This seminar is designed to help adults become better equipped to help young persons understand and respond to God’s call.

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 ...

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 (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.

U.S. churches can respond to European refugee crisis
The arrival in Europe of massive numbers of Middle Eastern refugees is causing crises for humanitarian organizations and churches as well as for governments. United Methodists are asking the General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) how The United Methodist Church in Europe and at the international level is responding to the migration crisis. Thomas Kemper, GBGM General Secretary, issued a statement in an attempt to respond to the most-common questions and concerns. Kemper's statement included several things U.S. congregations can do:
     1. Prayer is one immediate response Christians can make, prayer for peaceful means to bring an end to military actions causing such widespread displacement of people from Syria and Iraq; prayer that refugees will be welcomed around the world with warm, calm hospitality; prayer for those who provide asylum and refuge. (Click here for prayer from UMCOR.)
     2. Urge U.S. Congress to allow 100,000 refugees from the Syrian-Iraqi conflict to enter the United States. Church World Service (CWS), is one of the agencies organizing the advocacy campaign. Click here for more information.
     3. Contribute to United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) ongoing work with the refugees/migrants in Europe and the Middle East. Click here to make donation to the International Disaster Relief Fund, Advance #982450.
     4. U.S. congregations can apply as sponsors for refugee resettlement through a local or regional organization certified as a refugee resettlement agency. For United Methodists this means Church World Service (CWS), our long-time partner in refugee resettlement. CWS has a network of its own and affiliate offices spread across the U.S. Click here for a list of those offices. Click here for contact information for the CWS main office.
     Click here to read Kemper's complete statement.

U.S. United Methodists' views on same-sex marriage change little
Have the views of U.S. United Methodists on same-sex nuptials changed since the Supreme Court legalized such marriages across the country? The short answer is some, but not much. That was one finding of surveys of U.S. pastors and laity taken both before and after the court announced its landmark ruling on June 26. United Methodist Communications commissioned the research. More ...

Number of bishops could be reduced in NCJ, NEJ
The General Council on Finance and Administration notified the North Central and Northeastern Jurisdictional leadership that the number of bishops representing those areas could be reduced based on reported membership numbers. More ...

Staples donates $17,457 to UMCOR for 2015
At the end of 2012, the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) and Staples introduced Staples Advantage®, a purchasing program that offers participating United Methodist individuals and churches savings through online and in-store shopping on many items frequently used by churches. In addition, 1% of all sales generated through the program is donated to United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), the agency that provides relief during natural and other disasters around the world. For 2015, Staples will donate $17,457 to UMCOR. More ...

Sponsorships welcome at General Conference
The General Council on Finance and Administration, the denomination's finance agency, still has openings available for United Methodist organizations and ministries to be a sponsor of the 2016 General Conference. Nearly 60 standard booths also remain. The deadline is Sept. 30. More ...

UMC to host first-ever North American evangelism conference
United Methodist Discipleship Ministries plans to host an evangelism conference that draws together about 60 representatives of the Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox branches of Christianity. The Oct. 29-Nov. 2 conference will focus on how to reclaim evangelism in North America. More ...

Upper Room Online Learning offers new on-demand courses
Upper Room Online Learning is offering nine on-demand courses beginning this week. The courses include studies based on the works of Henri J.M. Nouwen and Phyllis Tickle and provide an online space to dig deep into spiritual formation topics and engage with others. Online Learning from Upper Room Ministries is designed for individuals seeking self-paced experiences and online community. More ...

'Exploration' for young adults to be Nov. 6-8 in Orlando
Young adults considering ordained ministry are urged to attend "Exploration," a three-day event for young adults age 18-26 who sense they might be called to ordained ministry, wonder what ministry in the church is all about, or would like help sifting through the process and steps involved in an ordained vocation. Sponsored by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, the leadership development agency of The United Methodist Church, the event will be held Nov. 6-8 in Orlando, Fla. Registration for young adults is $225 and is scheduled to close on Sept. 30. For the complete "Exploration" event schedule and registration details, visit

GCFA seeks accounts payable administrator
The United Methodist General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA), headquartered in Nashville, Tenn., is currently recruiting for an Accounts Payable Administrator. Deadline for receiving applications is Oct. 2. If you know of someone who might be interested in this position, have them contact Human Resources via e-mail to or fax (615) 369-2325. 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.

♦ Annual ARMS Retreat - Oct. 7-8
“Journey of a Lifetime” will be the theme of the Association of Retired Ministers and Spouses (ARMS) annual retreat Oct. 7-8 at Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center in Blackstone. Dr. Joseph Eldridge, chaplain at American University, will speak on “Looking Back/Looking Forward: Viewing Justice Inter-Generationally.” Dr. Kenneth Patrick, chaplain at Blue Ridge Hospice, will speak on “Journeying through the Winter of Life with the Lord.” Fee is $50 per person ($25 if this is your first ARMS retreat.) For more information, e-mail Harry Kennon at

♦ 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
Three team spots are left 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. Challenge Sponsorships are still available for $250. 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 ...

♦ 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 ...

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
10330 Staples Mill Road, Glen Allen, VA 23060
PO Box 5606, Glen Allen, VA 23058-5606
(804) 521-1100
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