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To view a 2014 issue of the Virginia Conference e-Advocate, click on the date below:

Dec. 18, 2014
Dec. 10, 2014
Dec. 4, 2014

Nov. 21, 2014 - Day of Holy Conversation
Nov. 20, 2014
Nov. 13, 2014
Nov. 6, 2014

Oct. 28, 2014
Oct. 16, 2014
Oct. 10, 2014
Oct. 2, 2014

Sept. 25, 2014
Sept. 18, 2014
Sept. 11, 2014
Sept. 4, 2014

Aug. 28, 2014
Aug. 22, 2014
Aug. 15, 2014
Aug. 7, 2014

July 30, 2014
July 24, 2014
July 17, 2014
July 10, 2014
July 2, 2014

June 24, 2014
June 12, 2014
June 5, 2014

May 29, 2014 - Special Annual Conference edition
May 23, 2014
May 15, 2014
May 8, 2014

April 24, 2014
April 16, 2014
April 10, 2014
April 3, 2014

March 26, 2014
March 20, 2014
March 13, 2014
March 10, 2014
March 5, 2014

Feb. 27, 2014
Feb. 20, 2014
Feb. 17, 2014
Feb. 12, 2014
Feb. 6, 2014

Jan. 30, 2014
Jan. 23, 2014
Jan. 16, 2014
Jan. 9, 2014

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News from the Virginia Conference - Sept. 4, 2014

Eastern Shore District to hold basketball tournament, free-throw competition
The Eastern Shore District is holding a 3-on-3 basketball tournament (for adults and youths) and free-throw competition (for children and youths) to raise money for Imagine No Malaria. The Rev. Gary Miller, pastor of St. John's UMC, is organizing preliminary rounds throughout the district. Sixteen teams will compete in playoffs. Final round will be at the District Conference at 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 2, at St. John's UMC, Atlantic. More ...

First UMC Fox Hill K-2nd graders join fight against malaria
The K-2nd grade Sunday school class of First UMC Fox Hill in Hampton, York River District, learned about mission by joining the Virginia Conference Imagine No Malaria initiative. During the month of August the class heard about the lives they are saving. On Aug. 2 they covered a baby’s crib with a net and in the next four Sundays they collected money for nets, made pipe cleaner mosquitoes, shared bracelets, and sat under a net during class sessions. On the fifth Sunday they received and wore their "Every Life Save A Life" t-shirts for the whole congregation to see.

Westover Hills UMC, Richmond, to run marathons to fight malaria
Westover Hills UMC, Richmond, will raise funds to help fight malaria with a healthy living approach by sending teams to participate in the Nov. 15 Richmond Marathon, Half Marathon and 8k, as well as the associated children’s ½ mile- and 1 mile-run on Oct. 25. The church has set up a Facebook page, and a crowd funding website to facilitate and promote their team effort. Goal is to raise $7,500 through sponsorships.

Virginia Conference clergywoman tells her story on new online forum
The Rev. Leigh Ann Taylor, Virginia Conference deacon who serves as Minister of Music at Blacksburg UMC, told her unique story on “Sharing in Faith,” a new online forum sponsored by United Methodist Communications to allow United Methodists to share perspectives on human sexuality and better understand one another’s journeys on this issue. Taylor writes about her husband coming out to her as a gay man after 12 years of marriage (and two children). He had been hiding his sexual orientation because he was an ordained elder in The United Methodist Church. The online forum is not designed to persuade or dissuade people, but to help them understand one another as persons of faith dealing with a challenging issue. It’s intended to be another way of “holy conferencing” on this controversial issue. The website is accepting first person essays from any United Methodist who wants to share their personal experiences on a topic that has divided the church for more than 40 years. More ...

Ethics II training to be offered Sept. 24, 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 two trainings will be 9:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m Wednesday, Sept. 24, at Oak Grove UMC in the Elizabeth River District and 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 Sept. 24 event. 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.

Brown, Douglas to lead fundraising for Africa University endowment
The Rev. Dr. Clarence Brown and Judge Willard H. Douglas Jr. have assumed leadership of the Virginia Conference campaign to raise $1 million for Africa University's endowment fund. Approved by the 2012 Annual Conference session, the goal of the campaign is to raise $1 million by the 2015 Annual Conference. To date, less than $10,000 has been raised, according to Judge Douglas, "and there is a question as to whether all of our churches have been fully apprised of this plan." Douglas said he and Brown are calling on 1,000 members to contribute $1,000 each (or 500 couples to give $2,000 each). "We are only calling on those persons to go the second mile and that their contribution to their respective churches will not be minimized," Douglas said. Checks should be made payable to the Virginia Conference. Designate "Africa University" in the memo line. Mail checks to Virginia Conference Treasurer's office, P.O. Box 5605, Glen Allen, VA 23058.

Resource Center to hold Teachers' Toolbox training Oct. 4
Teachers’ Toolbox, a training event for church teachers and educational leaders, will be 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 4, at Ginter Park Presbyterian Church, 3601 Seminary Ave., Richmond. The event is co-sponsored by The Resource Center and the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University. Click here to register. Registration is $25/person for up to four from the same congregation. Five or more from the same congregation may register at discounted rate of $20/person. Each congregation registered by Sept. 29 will receive a complimentary copy of the book Fostering Faith: Teaching & Learning in the Christian Church by Dr. Denise Janssen, executive director of The Resource Center and assistant professor of Christian Education at the Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University. More ...

Heart Havens to participate in Amazing Raise Sept. 17-18
Heart Havens is again participating in The Amazing Raise, a 36-hour giving challenge for non-profits in central Virginia that provides incentive prizes for participating groups. The event runs from 6 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 17, to 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 18. This year, Heart Havens is targeting the Coffee Break Prize, an extra $1,000 to be given to the group receiving the most donations from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 17. So, Heart Havens supporters are asked to consider “taking a coffee break for Heart Havens” by giving during that time at For a bulletin insert to spread this information to your congregation, contact Sarah Wilkinson, Marketing and Development Specialist, at or (804) 237-6097.

September is National Hunger Action Month
Nearly 50 million people in the United States today are hungry or food insecure, according to information from the Society of St. Andrew (SoSA). Yet in this country, we will throw away more than 133 billion pounds of food this year. September is National Hunger Action Month. Plan now to make September 2014 a time for your congregation to stand together against hunger to see that each person in this country has healthy, nourishing food to eat. Society of St. Andrew, approved Advance Special of the General Board of Global Ministries, offers worship and study resources. 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 the General Board of Discipleship.

Oct. 5 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 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.

$181,327 collected for Annual Conference offering
To date, $181,327 has been received for this year's Annual Conference special offering. Goal is $200,000. Funds will support Imagine No Malaria, Cambodia church construction and Christian education, Mozambique lay leadership and communication training, Brazil Shade and Fresh Water program for street children, mission engagement of Virginia Conference small membership churches, Community Outreach Program in Roanoke, Agape Children’s Center in Horntown on the Eastern Shore and connection of Virginia Conference churches to Haiti mission projects. Contributions may still be sent to the conference Treasurer's office, P.O. Box 5605, Glen Allen, VA 23058. Designate “Annual Conference Offering” 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. More ...

Justice for Our Neighbors to host educational event Sept. 9 in D.C.
National Justice For Our Neighbors (JFON), a United Methodist immigration ministry, and Church World Service are co-hosting a community education event 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 9, at Impact Hub DC, 419 7th St. NW, 2nd Floor, Washington, D.C. This Central American-themed evening will feature an interactive discussion with JFON Austin attorney Julie Flanders and JFON DC/MD attorney Mayuris Pimentel who are working directly with unaccompanied children fleeing violence in Central America. Rob Rutland-Brown, executive director, will share about his recent fact finding trip to the border with other United Methodist leaders. Enter UACServe for a discount on tickets at

Lewis Center offers 'Taking Church to Community' conference Nov. 1
To help congregations reach beyond their walls with worship, community events, ministries and service, the Lewis Center for Church Leadership is hosting the Taking Church to the Community conference Saturday, Nov. 1, from 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. on the campus of Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. Taking Church to the Community is ecumenical and designed for both laity and clergy. Early-bird registration discount is offered through Oct. 6, and .5 clergy CEU credit is available. Additional conference and registration information is available at

UMCOR continues urgent response to Ebola outbreak
The United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries is continuing to be present and respond to the needs in West Africa as health officials try to contain the Ebola outbreak that has infected more than 3,065 people. The Rev. Denise Honeycutt, who leads the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) — Global Ministries’ humanitarian aid unit — has been in regular contact with Bishop John Yambasu of Sierra Leone and Bishop John Innis of Liberia. According to Honeycutt, “We want them to know that UMCOR is with them and responding with urgency to whatever the needs are, to get them through this crisis.” To date, UMCOR has sent $383,000 in grants to Sierra Leone and Liberia. Funds are supporting tents and construction of isolation units, personal protective equipment, training for health staff, public messaging about Ebola, and safe handling of deceased bodies. Give to UMCOR International Disaster Response, Advance #982450, so UMCOR can continue to partner with United Methodist health boards and other organizations working to respond to this and other disasters.

UMCOR provides emergency assistance for displaced Iraqis
Since mid-summer, the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS), also referred to as Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), has created havoc in Iraq, targeting ethnic and religious minorities for apparent extinction. The General Board of Global Ministries is providing assistance to those who have fled and advocating for the human rights of those under attack. To date, its United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) has provided $262,300 in emergency assistance to communities displaced and pushed north by IS. Those especially in harm’s way are ethnic and religious groups, mostly in northern Iraq, particularly Kurdistan. They include Christians, Turkmen and Yazidis. Click here to read more about these populations.. UMCOR, which assists those in need without regard to religion, race or national origin, is working with regional partners to provide food and water to communities impacted by the violence. You can help. Pray for peace in Iraq. Your gift to UMCOR International Disaster Response, Advance #982450, will support UMCOR's emergency response efforts in Iraq and elsewhere around the world.

Judicial Council plans hearing for Schaefer appeal
The Judicial Council, the United Methodist Church's top court, will hold an oral hearing as it considers the appeal of the decision to reinstate Frank Schaefer, a Pennsylvania pastor who had lost his ministerial credentials after performing a same-sex marriage ceremony for his son. The case is one of 21 docket items for the council's fall meeting Oct. 22-25. More ...

Chuck Knows Church: Piety and Mercy
Piety and Mercy — Do you know these terms? Works of Piety, in Methodism, are certain spiritual disciplines that, along with Works of Mercy, serve as a means of grace. Have fun learning these terms along with Chuck in 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 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 ...

GBHEM seeks Associate General Secretary for Division of Ordained Ministry
The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) is seeking qualified candidates to fill the position of Associate General Secretary for the Division of Ordained Ministry to oversee all functions of the Division of Ordained Ministry, serving as executive officer, and reporting directly to the General Secretary of GBHEM. Relocation to Nashville, TN, is required. Send applications to or Human Resources, C/O Recruitment, AGS DOM, GBHEM, P.O. Box 340007, Nashville, TN 37203-0007.

♦ Open house tour of Dromgoole House - Sept. 13
In celebration of its 10th anniversary, The Old Brunswick Circuit Foundation will hold an open house tour of the Edward Dromgoole House, the only remaining Virginia Conference circuit rider home (built circa 1790), 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 13. The home is located at 2722 Christanna Highway in Valentines. The Rev. Dr. Michael H. Browder will speak on “The Cradle of Methodism.” The Rev. Gary Ziegler will portray the Rev. Edward Dromgoole. Fellowship Luncheon at noon costs $10. Send checks and RSVP by Sept. 6 to: Old Brunswick Circuit Foundation, P. O. Box 385, Lawrenceville, VA 23868. For more information, e-mail or call (434) 636-5604. More ...

♦ School for Children's Ministry - Sept. 20, Nov. 8
The School for Children’s Ministry is on the road this year to come to a district near you and includes the “Bottomless Cookie Jar” and eight new workshops. Remaining events will be 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sept. 20 at Greenville UMC, Greenville (click here to register); and Nov. 8 at Grace UMC, Manassas (click here to register). Registration deadline is the Wednesday before the event. Workshop presenters are children’s ministry professionals, representing all sizes of churches. Click here for brochure.

♦ 5 Talent Academy 'Evangelism, Communication and Church Growth' event - Oct. 4
5 Talent Academy "Evangelism, Communication and Church Growth" event will be 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 4, at Floris UMC in Herndon and broadcast to nine additional locations across the conference. Maria Dixon Hall, associate professor of Organizational Communication at Southern Methodist University, will explore evangelism through the lens of solid and fruitful communication practices. Registration is open to all Virginia Conference churches regardless of affiliation with the 5 Talent Academy. Visit to register. Registration is $25 per person and includes lunch.

♦ '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.

♦ 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 To register and for more information go to 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 Or contact Steve Jones at or Allie Rosner at Or join the Facebook Group “The Good Race.”

♦ 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 to register.

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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