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Tonight, February 16 at 6:30 PM EST on Zoom
Love, Learn, and Lead: Personal Prayer

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February 2021 * Volume 22, Issue 2

President’s Message by Albert Weal, Jr.

Preparing for Lent

Good Morning,

Are you preparing for Lent?

The Tuesday before Lent is celebrated in New Orleans as Mardi Gras. Some of our churches have pancake dinners in normal times to mark the occasion. But these are not normal times, so I pray that you will see Lent as an opportunity to be closer to God and to reflect on the blessings that it is to know, serve, and love God in 2021.
I invite you to join the Love, Learn, and Lead webinar tonight, February 16 at 6:30PM EST. Rev. Wayne Snead, District Superintendent of the Elizabeth River District, will lead a conversation on personal prayer. Allowing time for prayer with God each day is a discipline that you can start in Lent.

Prayer is a starting point to reconcile ourselves to God and to each other. Given current events, reconciliation with others who disagree with us may seem impossible, but with God all things are possible.

Learning about the lives of and engaging with Black Americans in our communities and churches is one way to begin the reconciliation process. I encourage you to take advantage of the many opportunities to do so during Black History Month.

February is Heart Havens Month, a ministry that the Virginia Conference UMM has supported to provide residences for adults with developmental disabilities.

Scout Sunday is traditionally celebrated in February at many of our United Methodist churches as a way to recognize youth leaders both inside and outside of our churches. Let us not forget to pray for and support our youth and scouts in the midst of the pandemic.

Keep reading for more details about these opportunities to be reconciled to each other and to serve God as Lent begins.

Have a holy Lent,

Albert Weal, Jr., President
[email protected]

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

Personal Prayer | Pray Without Ceasing

Please join us tonight, Tuesday evening, February 16, 2021 at 6:30 PM EST, for a Love, Learn, and Lead webinar on personal prayer.

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Meeting ID: 898 2460 7164
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Jesus gave us the Lord’s Prayer as a model for prayer. Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 to “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

There are prayers of adoration, prayers of intercession, breath prayers, lectionary prayers, and corporate prayers. Much has been shared regarding different types and ways to pray.
Is prayer a part of your daily life? Is prayer a part of your devotional time with God? Please plan to join us as Rev. Wayne Snead, District Superintendent of the Elizabeth River District, leads a discussion on personal prayer.

Mark your calendar for our next Love, Learn, and Lead webinar on Tuesday, March 16 from 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM EDT for a conversation and discussion on dismantling racism.

Webinar recordings are posted on our website

Black History Month

Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity

Black History Month [1] is celebrated each February as a way to learn from, remember, and honor the accomplishments, contributions, and sacrifices of Black Americans. Dating back to the 1926 Negro History Week, Black History Month[1] is celebrated in February to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln.
Governor Ralph Northam issued a proclamation asking Virginians to observe Black History Month. Please see Black History Month in Virginia and Black History Month in the Commonwealth (PDF) for information on attractions, events, lectures, and discussions to celebrate Black History Month.
The Black Church
The Black Church: This is Our Story, This is Our Song is a four-hour, two-part series exploring the 400-year history of the Black church in America. The Black church is foundational to the life of Blacks in America. Methodists are part of that history. Written, produced, and hosted by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., The Black Church premiers on February 16 at 9 PM EST on PBS.
For more information, please visit

Watch the trailer

[1] Sources:

February is Heart Havens Month

A Different Perspective for 2021

In the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church, February is Heart Havens Month. Each year, the Heart Havens theme is introduced in February and carries throughout the year. In 2021, the theme is "A Different Perspective."

Heart Havens is proud to provide virtual speakers to share the message of Heart Havens with a three-minute mission moment or programs for Sunday School classes, UMM, UMW, and other groups. If you're interested in scheduling a program, please contact Jennifer Boyden by either calling Heart Havens at 804-237-6097 or emailing her at [email protected] to schedule a speaker.

Churches in the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church can request materials by contacting Heart Havens. Electronic resources (including worship planning helps) are available by clicking here.

Learn more about Heart Havens homes and how you can help with home-specific need lists:

Bonnie Home, Stuarts Draft, VA
Elmwood Home, Chester, VA
Garber Morris Home, Richmond, VA
Lynchburg Home, Lynchburg, VA
Macleigh-Holland Home, Virginia Beach, VA
Mary-Beth Graff Home, Richmond, VA
Tate Home, Ashland, VA

Watch the Love, Learn, and Lead webinar featuring Heart Havens CEO Jennifer Boyden and Camp Rainbow Advocate Ron Rumsey by clicking here. The access password is 4Vmot^yi

Heart Havens
7501 Boulders View Dr, Suite 205
Richmond, VA 23225
Phone: 804-237-6097
Fax: 804-237-6098

Scout Sunday 2021

Build the Foundation Blocks for Life

We in the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church are celebrating our Boy Scout programs, now over 100 years old, in February. All worship, all celebration is different these days. That is not news to any of us. Regretfully many will not have the opportunity to worship with our young uniformed men and women in person in our churches. Many will use the new tried-and-true Zoom worship. Many will celebrate in limited numbers, all socially distanced or in a myriad of other ways.

For those of you with active scouting programs, what does it feel like without uniformed youth... young men and women not roaming your halls, cooking Brunswick Stew, selling popcorn, setting up tents, learning about God, and cleaning up around your church? Things are different, but our youth still need great programs and leaders. But young women and young men learning, sharing and enjoying life skills are around; we just don’t see them as much in today’s COVID-19 world. They are still learning and practicing first aid skills to geocaching and citizenship in the home, community, nation and the world. Each scout is setting groundwork for serving others and a passionate career.

Scouting lives on values set over a hundred years ago in the United States. In 1920, the Methodist Church looked to the Boy Scouts of America, liked where the Boy Scouts were going, and offered a partnership and allegiance. So, through these one hundred years, millions of American young men and recently young women have been embedded with skills, abilities, talents, knowledge, and passions to lead businesses, governments, families, teams and others in the years to come.

The United Methodist Church is the number one sponsor of BSA units in our country. COVID-19 has stifled and redirected so much in our churches. Your church may not have a scouting celebration this year. You may not see scouts handing you a bulletin or offering a prayer. You may not have youth stepping forward to be recognized after earning P.R.A.Y., Jesus & Me, God & Me, God & Family, God & Church, or God & Life certifications. In these programs, they may have discovered God, learned more about Him, and discovered a foundation block for their life.

Frankly in most of our Conference churches we may rarely see all the great things these scouts are doing and learning. You may not have had the opportunity to stand in honor when asked to proudly stand if you were a scout or a scout leader. However, fellow brethren in the Virginia Conference, think of what all you will miss on this 100th Scout Sunday in the Methodist Church. Honestly, when loved ones are far away, we can still celebrate them in different ways.

So it is with our scouts. In this time, we each have the opportunity to look to BSA units in our churches, extend congratulations, and offer our time and effort to enhance what these young men and women come into our churches to learn. You can aid building the foundation blocks. God willing, next year you can proudly sit in your pews and see the results of your efforts all the while knowing what you have shared and taught in the scouting year. Know that you have done all our God has asked of us.

Perhaps on Scout Sunday 2022, you may stand and add your name to those guiding the youth sponsored by your church. As we've said so many, many times, leave a trace of who you are as a follower of Christ and of the welcoming faith community that is your church.

We should be in celebration in February of our Boy Scouts of America. Many support Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts together; some honor the Girl Scout programs in our churches on the first Sunday of March. Regardless of the month or date, we should be in celebration of these programs affiliated with our local churches. When you encounter scouts, introduce yourself to them and thank them for being scouts. If you know some adult in your church or neighborhood who worked with scouts, thank them for serving our youth. That is a gift itself. And don't forget to welcome them and their families to join you when your church doors open.

May our omnipotent and everlasting God bless and keep you and your families in all you do. Thank you UMC and BSA!

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

Virginia Conference Ministry of Scouting
A mission of the General Commission on United Methodist Men

100th Anniversary UMC-BSA
Challenge Coins Available

Support and Grow VA Conference Scouting Ministry

Our Virginia Conference Scouting Ministry is proud and honored to be the first to promote this brand new fundraising opportunity to support ministry to youth. The 100th Anniversary UMC-BSA Challenge Coins are now available. They are simply beautiful. Donate now and get one, or more, for yourself and those you know to honor our movement and ministry to youth in our churches. All proceeds go to our scouting ministry.

Make this a definite gift in 2021! We are building, growing, expanding... taking the lead on so many fronts. We are honored and proud to commemorate the 100th Anniversary of the relationship between the Boy Scouts and the United Methodist Church.

All donations support and grow our ministry to our churches and to the youth that pass through our doors.

Get a coin for your pocket. I have one! Then donate more for others, for your church, or for your conference. Donate to get a coin for the one who recruited you to be a scout or for your son/grandson or daughter/granddaughter in scouting.

Don't tarry! Quantities are limited.


Blessings to all in the Virginia Conference.

Serving HIM Through Youth Outreach Ministries,

Bill Chaffin
UMC Virginia Conference - Ministry of Scouting Coordinator

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, oversite, 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].

Words to Live By …

“I prayed for twenty years but received no answer until I prayed with my legs.”

Frederick Douglass
“It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us… that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Abraham Lincoln
Gettysburg Address, November 19, 1863

Recommended Reading: Leviticus 19:17-18 (NRSV)
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.