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News from the Virginia Conference - Sept. 8, 2016 

UMNS releases profile feature on Bishop Lewis 
Bishop Sharma Lewis initially aspired to a career in medicine but ended up as a trailblazer in United Methodist ministry, most recently becoming the first African-American female bishop in the Southeastern Jurisdiction. The bishop, whose vocation changed from healing bodies to healing souls, now has the opportunity to help heal a strained denomination. Heather Hahn offers the first in a series of profiles on the first-elected bishop in each U.S. jurisdiction. More… 

Arlington CROP Hunger Walk set for Oct. 22
Congregations, community groups and individuals from around the Arlington, Va. area will gather Saturday, Oct. 22 for the 39th annual Arlington CROP Hunger Walk. A goal has been set to raise $30,000 to support Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC).Arlington is among 2,000 other communities across the nation that host these walks, and they have raised more than $1 million over their 39-year history. More…

Cokesbury offering scholarship money for small group Bible study
Cokesbury, through the Virginia Conference Board of Discipleship, is offering scholarship money up to $500 for a new and exciting small group Bible study called Covenant. Covenant Bible Study is a video-based, 24-week or three eight-week sessions, in-depth Bible study experience that engages participants in conversation.Scholarships will be based on need and participant involvement. Some cost will be incurred to church. Please responds no later than Nov. 30, if interested, to with the following information: church name, church address, district and average worship attendance; anticipated start date; anticipated number of participants; reason for requesting scholarship; and how you see the program transforming your group/congregation. More…

Virginia UMVIM inviting churches to partner on construction funds
In a Sept. 6 Facebook post, Virginia United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) invited churches to partner with them to designate funds for construction for specific survivors whose houses were destroyed in the tornadoes on Feb. 24. More… 

Registration open for Five-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation in 2017
Registration is now open for the Five-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation to be held July 30 to Aug. 4, 2017, at the Roslyn Retreat Center. Sponsored by the Virginia Conference in cooperation with The Upper Room, this retreat is open to clergy and lay of any denomination who are seeking to deepen their relationship with God through prayer, learning, worship and reflection. The retreat uses a Benedictine model of periods of silence, morning and evening prayer, Eucharist and covenant groups. More…

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 ...

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.

World Methodists bestow peace award
The once-every-five-years World Methodist Conference wrapped up this weekend in Houston, having drawn United Methodists and other Wesleyan Christians from around the globe for worship, teaching and fellowship. The final day included presentation of the World Methodist Peace Award to the Rev. Jo Anne Lyon, founder of World Hope International and former general superintendent of The Wesleyan Church. More…

Filipinos ask president to stop killings
United Methodists in the Philippines are among the religious groups expressing alarm over the rising death toll in the “war on drugs” instituted by that nation’s president. More…

Church responds to bombing in Philippines
United Methodists are considering how they can help victims of a deadly bombing at a night market, a bombing that was condemned by the National Council of Churches in the Philippines. More...

UM pastors work on racial bridge building in Kansas City 
An editorial in The Kansas City Star commended two United Methodist pastors, the Rev. Adam Hamilton and the Rev. Emanuel Cleaver III, for making an “impressive start” on improving race relations by bringing their congregations together for a nonthreatening dialogue between black and white Kansas City area residents. More…

Mother Teresa now officially ‘Saint Teresa’ 
Pope Francis said she “made her voice heard before the powers of this world so that they might recognize their guilt for the crime of poverty they created.” More…

United Methodists, Native Americans oppose pipeline
United Methodists are supporting a Native American fight against a four-state oil pipeline that protesters say would endanger sacred sites and water quality. More…

United Methodist Communications seeking customer experience manager
United Methodist Communications is seeking an individual to work with their Customer Experience team, managing internal and external marketing technology initiatives. The ideal candidate will lead teams to develop, implement and set standards throughout existing web and digital applications. A Bachelor’s degree in marketing or technology is required with a minimum of four years of marketing experience in project management and marketing technology. To apply or for information, email More…

Chuck Knows Church discusses Moses and the burning bush 
God speaks to Moses through a bush that's burning ... but not burning. So what does Moses do? Chuck explains all in this, his 105th episode. 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 Discipleship Ministries. 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.

♦ Vital Churches Change Communities- Oct. 5-6
The Winchester District presents “Vital Churches Changing Communities and World” led by Jorge Acevedo for a worship service at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5 and for a teaching day on Thursday, Oct. 6 9:30 a.m. -3 p.m., both at Riverton UMC in Front Royal. The teaching day will offer 0.5 CEU. Email the Winchester District office with questions at  More… 

♦ 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 and cost is $25. 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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