Tonight, January 12 at 6:30 PM EST

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 898 2460 7164
Please join us. More details below.
January 2021 * Volume 22, Issue 1

President’s Message by Albert Weal, Jr.

A New Year Begins | In Memory of Larry Burian

Good Morning,

The long-awaited New Year of 2021 begins.

Thanks to many of you who participated in the Watch Night 2020 prayer service that the Northeastern and Southeastern Jurisdictions of the United Methodist Men offered on New Year’s Eve. The prayer service reminded me that God is awesome, God is here, God is unchanging, and God will carry us through into 2021 and beyond. Praise be to God!
While many may be glad to be rid of 2020, there is a sadness we carry forward with us for those that we lost in 2020. Larry Burian, our friend and brother-in-Christ, was called into glory on December 23, 2020. This issue of The BEACON is in memory of and a tribute to Larry.

Larry was a friend, leader, and mentor to me and to so many more. In founding The BEACON, establishing Wesley Building Brothers, serving as our president, representing Virginia at multiple General Conferences, and building up ministry to men in the Virginia Conference, Larry had a deep love and desire to share the love of Jesus with men.

How can you remember or pay tribute to Larry? I invite you to:

  • Join the Love, Learn, and Lead webinar about mentoring tonight, January 12, at 6:30PM EST;
  • Invite others to upcoming Love, Learn, and Lead webinars on personal prayer (February 16), racism (tentatively on March 16), and men's health (April 13);
  • Support ministry to youth and scouts in your church and consider becoming a district Scouting Coordinator;
  • Be a Big Brother or Big Sister to youth in your community;
  • Strengthen your marriage by participating in a men’s marriage summit; and
  • Consider being nominated for an open Cabinet position.
Keep reading for details about these opportunities.

In this new year, pray for and keep Larry’s family in your heart. He set an example for us. Let us carry his legacy on into 2021 and beyond.

Happy New Year,

Albert Weal, Jr., President
[email protected]

Larry Burian

Rest in Peace

Photo (ca. 2009) compliments of Buck Hodges

Larry Burian was active with United Methodist Men from the early 1960’s until his passing on December 23, 2020. He served as a UMM district officer beginning in 1994. Larry launched “UMM News” for the Virginia Conference UMM in 2000 with three mailings per year This publication was renamed The BEACON in 2003. After his appointment as an assistant to the president of the Virginia Conference UMM, Larry was elected Vice President for Spiritual Life in 2003.

In 2006, Larry was first appointed and then elected as president of the Virginia Conference UMM where he served for 5 years. Larry initiated and established Wesleyan Building Brothers (WBB), a leadership process for developing servant leaders in the Virginia Conference in 2006. Over 500 men in Virginia have graduated from this year-long process of instruction. WBB is now a ministry endorsed by the GCUMM. From 2009 to 2016, Larry served as the Virginia Conference advocate for WBB and was a spiritual father to many.

Larry served as his fellowship’s UMM president from 2014-2016. He resumed editorship of The BEACON in 2016, now as an email publication. Recognized by the publishing industry for outstanding readership in the non-profit category, The Beacon is admired and respected by conferences throughout the country.

Larry served as a delegate for the Virginia Conference to the 2012, 2016, and 2019 General Conferences and the 2012 and 2016 Southeastern Jurisdiction Conferences. Larry served as a mentor to countless men and women inside and outside the Virginia Conference. His contributions to the UMM and his service to Christ exemplify the highest standard of service.

Comments from Martha Stokes, Virginia Conference Lay Leader

My first introduction to Larry Burian was in the late summer of 2000 as he was raising funds for the Heart Havens home in Kilmarnock. As my husband, Steve, and I listened to Larry address a group of United Methodist Men at Bethany UMC in Gloucester Point, his passion for our Virginia Conference ministry for adults with intellectual disabilities was so apparent. In part due to his professional career but in this case because of his love for this project, Larry was able to share the story of Heart Havens in a way that made every person in the room want to be involved. Larry led the district UMM to raise the needed funds in record time.

Our work together continued through Larry’s term as president of the Virginia Conference UMM and his service as a General and Jurisdictional Conference delegate in 2012, 2016, and 2019. Larry loved The United Methodist Church, the UMM, the Virginia Conference, Heart Havens, and so much more about our church. He was a dedicated, organized leader at every level of the denomination. Most importantly, though, Larry loved Jesus; that witness was present in all he did and how he lived.

Larry Burian Honored at 2018 Spiritual Advance

Recognition Given for Service in UMMen Movement

In 1982, the directors of the United Methodist Men Foundation established the Society of John Wesley as a means of recognizing those who exemplify the characteristics of John Wesley. These characteristics are best seen through service to fellow men and women and commitment to the teachings of the Christian faith. John Wesley called together such people to form “The Holy Club.” These men with varying talents and skills contributed to the rapid growth and spiritual enrichment of early Methodism.

Editor’s Note: The following article was originally published in the November 2018 BEACON. We are reprinting the article in memory of Larry Burian.
At the close of the [2018 Spiritual Advance] plenary session on Saturday afternoon, Bishop James Swanson summoned Larry Burian, and his wife Irene, to the front of Baylake UMC's sanctuary. "What's up?" he whispered passing by UMM President Andrew Kissell. But, little did he know that he was in for a big surprise.
Bishop Swanson, with Johnnie Draughon at his side, began reading from the commendation of the Virginia Conference United Methodist Men for Burian's induction as a Fellow in The Society of John Wesley, followed by the presentation of a personalized commemorative award plaque by Johnnie Draughon.
The Society of John Wesley is a fellowship of individuals committed to the support and expansion of United Methodist Men's ministries.

Fellows in The Society of John Wesley are known by their witness, vision and stewardship that enhance and strengthen the mission and ministry of the church. The society was created by the United Methodist Men Foundation to promote greater awareness of the Christian principles and practices embodied in the church.

Love, Learn, and Lead Webinar Tonight
at 6:30PM EST

Intentional Discipleship|You are Invited

Please join us tonight, Tuesday evening, January 12, 2021 at 6:30 PM EST, for a Love, Learn, and Lead webinar on intentional discipleship.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 898 2460 7164
One tap mobile

+13017158592,,89824607164# US (Washington D.C)
+19292056099,,89824607164# US (New York)

Dial by your location

+1 301 715 8592 US (Washington D.C)
+1 929 205 6099 US (New York)
Meeting ID: 898 2460 7164

Find your local number:
One of the most important things we can do in the process of “making disciples of Jesus Christ” is to engage men of all ages and backgrounds in ministry. The most effective tools we have available are the men who are currently involved in our various church ministries. How can we more effectively utilize these men to reach younger men?
Please plan to join us to learn about The Wesley Challenge from David Bean, No Man Left Behind from Todd Hoar, and Wesleyan Building Brothers (WBB) from Johnnie Draughon. Please know that Larry Burian was very instrumental in bringing WBB to the Virginia Conference.

Mark your calendar for our next Love, Learn, and Lead Webinar on Tuesday, February 16 at 6:30 PM EST. Wayne Snead, District Superintendent of the Elizabeth River District, will lead a conversation on personal prayer.

Webinar recordings will be posted on our website

Find your Mission | Live your Mission

Scouting District Coordinators Needed

Our Conference Ministry of Scouting team needs you! We have openings for District Coordinators in a number of our districts, specifically the Danville, Eastern Shore, Lynchburg, James River, and Staunton districts.

We support BSA, Girl Scout, and Big Brother Big Sister programs through our churches. It is our call.

If you have the passion… If you have the time… If you care about our youth… please contact:

Bill Chaffin, Conference Coordinator, 804-356-6075 or [email protected].

You Can Change Two Lives

Big Brothers Big Sisters

Our Virginia Conference Scouting Ministry is designed to offer a wide range of opportunities to both your church and to the youth in and around your church. Our Discipline states that we shall support youth serving agencies such as the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Camp Fire and Big Brothers Big Sisters! We are here for all the youth in and around your church. And we are here for you.

One or more of these programs may likely fit the personality of your church. You can reach out to the youth in your church or those nearby. What you do have to have is a passion to serve youth wherever and however you meet them.
Big Brothers Big Sisters is a national, youth-serving program found throughout our Conference. There are seven offices in Virginia. There are many youth who are looking for a mentor who can help to defend and empower their potential. You could be an individual who is available to share, to learn, to develop…to be a friend or mentor.

Visit and enter your zip code to find the Big Brothers Big Sisters agency near you. You can be that BIG!

Your church doesn’t have to charter or invite a group of youth into your building. You alone have to invite a youth into your life. Unlike scouting programs, Big Brothers is a one to one (1:1) relationship. You can change at least two lives…. theirs AND yours!
Find Your Call ….. Live Your Call!

Bill Chaffin
Conference Scouting Coordinator
[email protected]

Nominations Open for VA UMM Cabinet

Serving Men of the Virginia Conference

Looking for an opportunity to serve the men of the Virginia Conference and be nourished spiritually at the same time? There are opportunities!

The Virginia Conference United Methodist Men is preparing its slate of officers for the 2021-2022 term that begins July 1. Please consider the positions of Vice President for Membership & Development and Secretary.

The Vice President for Membership & Development supports MENistry initiatives of the SEJ and GCUMM offices; chartering of local fellowships; and provides direction, oversight, and encouragement to ministry advocates and district presidents. Please click here for the full job description.

The Secretary compiles and updates the VA UMM Cabinet roster; records and distributes proceedings of Cabinet meetings, Executive Committee Meetings, and the Annual Business meeting; and maintains the VA Conference UMMen calendar. Please click here for the full job description.

If you are interested in serving as the Vice President for Membership & Development or the Secretary, please contact Andrew Kissell at [email protected].

Men’s Marriage Summit Starts on January 23

Promise Keepers


Promise Keepers Virtual Men’s Marriage Summit is a fast-paced, free 2-hour event with practical talk from top teachers. We’ll discuss the real issues impacting your marriage every day, including communication, respect, and sex.

But we know strong marriages need more than 2-hours. The Virtual Men’s Marriage Summit kicks off a 3-week challenge that will place you side by side virtually with other men as you build up your marriages in concrete ways. At the end of the 3-week challenge, you’ll have the opportunity to invite your wife to a virtual finale event on February 13th to encourage you both and bring you together.

Men of all ages and marital statuses are encouraged to join. This event is free, but please consider making a donation to help us make events like this one available to more men.

Words to Live By …

“I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed by thee or laid aside for thee,
exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things
to thy pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
thou art mine, and I am thine. So be it.
And the covenant which I have made on earth,
let it be ratified in heaven. Amen.”

A Covenant Prayer in the Wesleyan Tradition
United Methodist Hymnal, Copyright 1989, #607.

Recommended Reading: Genesis 9:11-17

In continued efforts to fulfill the Virginia Conference goal of having Connectional Ministries become a greater resource to districts, laity and clergy, United Methodist Men are now partnered with Virginia UM clergy. Clergy, you are receiving the Beacon newsletter as part of your Virginia Conference connection.