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Tonight, March 16 at 6:30 PM EST on Zoom
Let's Talk About Racism & What We Can Do About

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Meeting ID: 898 2460 7164
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March 2021 * Volume 22, Issue 3

President’s Message by Albert Weal, Jr.

Making a Difference

Good Morning,

Life, especially today, is full of challenges. I see challenges everywhere I look in our homes, churches, schools, communities, nation, world, and society. And yet these challenges lead to opportunities to make a difference.
During Lent, I have been reflecting on how Jesus met challenges during the last week of his life. Jesus met the challenges of the Pharisees and the crowds flocking to Jerusalem before Passover to leave us with so many teachings and parables that we know today because disciples and followers recorded them as part of the Good News. Jesus took on and overcame the ultimate challenge, death, to make a world of difference on Easter Sunday.

Are you taking advantage of the opportunities you have to make a difference? Please continue reading The BEACON and make a difference by

  • Connecting tonight to Let's Talk About Racism & What We Can Do About It!, an online forum on dismantling racism. Come, share your story, and ask questions of Revs. Reason Chandler, Brenda Laws, Larry Jent, and Jeff Mickle. Talking to each other is a first step toward racial reconciliation.
  • Supporting Virginia Conference UMM ministries. Please consider making a donation to Virginia Conference UMM ministries. As an expression of our gratitude, we’ll send you a Men in the Spirit face mask.
  • Honoring a woman in your life during Women’s History Month,
  • Feeding the hungry during the current pandemic,
  • Discovering how one man made a difference for a local fellowship to feed the homeless, and
  • Congratulating a Lone Scout who earned his Eagle Scout.
Challenges bring opportunities. Is God calling you to…

Make a difference!

Albert Weal, Jr., President
[email protected]

Let's Talk About Racism & What We Can Do About It!

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

Please join us tonight, Tuesday evening, March 16, 2021 from 6:30 PM EDT to 8:30 PM EDT, for a Love, Learn, and Lead forum on dismantling racism.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 898 2460 7164
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On January 6 after the violent event at the US Capitol, the Council of Bishops endorsed a letter from Bishop LaTrelle Easterling of the Baltimore-Washington Conference condemning “…all the forces that led to the unprecedented insurrection today — forces of hate, of white supremacy, of distorted self-interest, and abuse of power.”

As shared at a recent Southeastern Jurisdiction training session for over 400 elected delegates on issues affecting the UMC, it was individual United Methodist Men, more than anyone else, who complained about this letter from the Council of Bishops.

That's why the Virginia Conference UMM is sponsoring this forum.
Andrew Kissell, president of the Southeastern Jurisdiction UMM and past president of the VA Conference UMM, encourages the UMM to help by “boldly promoting dialog on race; becoming allies for change; and recognizing that, as lifelong learners, we may be of much greater help when we actively listen to victims’ stories of hate and exclusion.” He will moderate a panel discussion with
  • The Rev. Reason Chandler, Jackson St. UMC, Lynchburg VA
  • The Rev. Brenda Laws, Greenbackville Charge, New Church VA
  • The Rev. Larry Jent, Grace UMC (Hartwood), Fredericksburg VA
  • The Rev. Jeff Mickle, Alexandria District Superintendent
Participants will have the opportunity to ask speakers questions as part of the forum.
Fellowships across the Commonwealth are also using a Virginia Conference video and curriculum series on race relations to explore the injustices of systemic, institutional racism available at

Mark your calendar for our next Love, Learn, and Lead Webinar on April 13 at 6:30 PM for a discussion on men’s health.

Webinar recordings are posted on our website

Observations from a Self-Professed ‘Old White Guy’

Starting a Dialog for Healing and Reconciliation

By Andrew Kissell

I regularly hear questions from my white brothers such as “Why do we have to rehash history? Why don’t we just start doing something about racism?” “Why do we need to share our stories or even talk about it at all?” and “What can I do? I’m not responsible!” Well, the first question has several answers beginning with “We’re condemned to repeat it if we don’t learn from it” (George Santayana), or, for engineers like me, “You need to define the problem before you begin to fix it,” and “I need to see the whole picture with all the pieces of the puzzle in place.”
Recently, Bishop Sharma Lewis asked us to tell our stories. The reason we need to tell our own stories is to begin a dialog that will lead to healing and reconciliation.

Just over four years ago when I became the new Conference president of United Methodist Men (UMM) and Bishop Lewis became leader of the Virginia Conference, several of us on the UMM Cabinet visited Glen Allen to meet with her. After a productive conversation on several important matters, Bishop Lewis recommended that we develop a mentoring program for the men. She also asked us to ensure that “our leadership is representative of our membership.” In Virginia, Blacks make up about 20 percent of the population. In the Virginia Conference, they constitute about 10 percent.
I serve in a largely urban district with a few Black churches and even fewer diverse congregations. I attend a church that is predominantly white as is the case for most whites, not just in our conference, but most others. Church remains the most segregated institution in the land.
So where do we start to recruit servant leaders, keeping diversity in mind? And how do I, as an old white guy, avoid behaving like a patriarch yet still become an ally in dismantling institutional racism in both our church and our communities? For the UMM, recruiting and equipping qualified and representative servant leaders often means going outside of our normal sphere of influence when vacancies come up.

We must be mentors and nurturers. I am proud to have had the privilege to mentor and nurture Albert Weal, our new Conference UMM president, and I have gained a lot from him as well. Last year, Albert was the officer that suggested that rather than appeal for UMM funds during the pandemic, we talk about our ministries in a series of webinars that still continue today. Rarely are we completely prepared for the new challenges ahead into which God calls us. As you’ve heard it said, God doesn’t call the equipped; he equips the called — and we are all here to help!

We build the kingdom by encouraging each other just as Jesus and the apostle Paul did. It takes a nurturing disciple to both mentor and, “…make disciples of all nations…” Fortunately, Jesus assured us, “… I am with you always, to the end of the age.” Matthew 28: 19-20 (NIV)

Andrew Kissell is president of the Southeastern Jurisdiction UMM and past president of the Virginia Conference UMM.

Mask Up!

Support VA Conference UMM Ministries

Need a mask? The Virginia Conference UMM has a mask for you.

Masks are a vital part of fighting the Covid-19 pandemic and are a visible sign of how United Methodists can visibly care for our neighbors. In an interview with Bishop Sharma Lewis, Dr. George Moxley of VCU Health said, “The reason we wear masks is to protect each other.”

The Virginia Conference UMM masks are extremely well crafted, 100% cotton, screen-printed, and reusable.

The Virginia Conference UMM supports ministries including Heart Havens, All God’s Children, Camp Rainbow, Scouting, and the Society of St. Andrew. To help us support these ministries in 2021, please consider a donation to the Virginia Conference UMM. Please send a donation payable to Virginia Conference UMM to:

Virginia Conference UMM
c/o Gary Lupton, Sr.
1661 Hawks Bill Dr.
Virginia Beach, VA 23464

Those donating $10 or more will receive a Men in the Spirit face mask as our expression of thanks.

Wear the mask with a smile!

Note: Additional VA Conference UMM merchandise is available from the Virginia Conference UMM Store. All purchases support the VA Conference UMM.

Honor a Woman in Your Life

March is Women’s History Month

Susanna Wesley

March is Women’s History Month, a time to celebrate women’s role in society, culture, and history. Susanna Wesley had a tremendous influence on both of her sons, and Charles and John honored her throughout their lives.

The Bishop's workgroup on Racial Reconciliation and Justice invites all men in the Virginia Conference to honor a woman in their life who has "made a difference." Your responses will be shared on the conference website in March in honor of Women's History Month.

The Rev. Larry Jent, a Native American member of the workgroup, shared, "In our traditional societies, women have always been honored as the greatest warriors. Men, you see, can only save life by spilling blood. Women can give life through their blood. That is an act of courage, sacrifice, and heroism that no man can match. That is a true warrior."

Please write a tribute about a woman in your life and email, with or without pictures, to Brenda Capen at [email protected] during the month of March.

Ending Hunger Now

Congratulations, Virginia, for Your Support of SoSA

Congratulations, Virginia Conference! Wade Mays of the Society of Saint Andrew (SoSA) announced at the 2021 National Association of Conference Presidents annual meeting the top five conferences supporting SoSA:
  1. Northern Illinois
  2. Virginia
  3. North Carolina
  4. Upper New York
  5. Iowa
At a time when the number of hungry adults has doubled and the number of hungry children has quadrupled because of the pandemic, your support means so much and is needed more than ever. Thank you!

2021 Year to Date Impact Numbers through January 31
  • 6 million pounds of food collected and distributed
  • 8 million servings of fresh produce provided
  • 886 passionate volunteers engaged
  • 243 events to end hunger held
  • 250 agencies received food
There are so many ways to contribute. For more information on opportunities for gleaning, supporting SoSA, or providing transportation to deliver produce from one destination to another, please visit or email Wade at [email protected].

Breakfast for Dinner

Herndon UMM Feeds Those in Need

In late February, Herndon United Methodist Men cooked and delivered a dinner of scrambled eggs, turkey sausage, bacon, hash browns, fruit, juices, and snacks to unsheltered, homeless adults at a local hypothermia prevention shelter operated by Cornerstones and Fairfax County.
Small groups at Herndon UMC prepare and deliver dinners to the hypothermia center once-a-month between December and March each winter. When he heard about this need, Aramis Lopez recognized that Herndon UMM needed to support this vital ministry. As with many men’s ministry initiatives at Herndon UMC, one man stepped forward and started what is now an annual ministry. Herndon UMM then provided the cooks and resources so that this ministry would flourish.
Before the pandemic, dinners were prepared at the church and then delivered to the hypothermia center where church volunteers would serve the dinner. Herndon UMC and Herndon UMM adapted to continue this ministry in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. After many compliments from people about the "breakfast for dinner" that Herndon UMM served in 2020, breakfast has become a tradition and welcome change from the types of meals normally prepared for the hypothermia shelter.
Congratulations to Herndon UMM for providing a warm, healthy meal to those who needed it most during a cold, February night, even in the midst of a pandemic.

Eagle for a Lone Scout

Chris Ganoe Follows the Hardest Trail

Chris Ganoe, a Lone Scout, was awarded his Eagle Scout on Sunday, December 6, 2020 at Ivey Memorial UMC in South Chesterfield, Virginia. Many, even those in scouting, do not know what the Lone Scout is. The Lone Scout must apply for membership as an individual Lone Scout only when he or she cannot conveniently join an existing Cub Scout pack or a Scouts BSA troop. The biggest drawback is the lack of fellowship and teamwork with a pack or troop. Chris excelled in all aspects of scouting despite those aspects of his scouting career. When you encounter a scout with an Eagle knot and a Religious Emblems knot, you know you’ve encountered a champion! Such it is with Chris.
Chris was selected for the Prince George Promise Outstanding Youth Award in 2016. Chris served as District Youth Delegate for five years and as co-chair of the Church Council of Youth Ministries for the Virginia Annual Conference for the last three years. He also served as a mentor for local youth at a 4-H Camp.
Beyond his service and accomplishments, Chris has been faithful to his church giving sermons on Scout Sunday and building a prayer labyrinth at his church. A crowning accomplishment is that Chris completed all levels of the P.R.A.Y. Four Star Award. Chris completed God & Me, God & Family, God & Church, and God & Life. Chris was also recognized by the Foundation of Evangelism with the honored Harry Denman Evangelism Award for his exceptional personal faith journey and impact on the faith of others.
Chris’ Eagle project was a complete rework and expansion of an outdoor chapel at Ivey Memorial. Through the many aspects of Chris’ life, education, sports and even scouting, Chris accepted limitations, challenges, setbacks, and opportunities. He excelled at each point.

A four-star performance all around. We heartedly congratulate Chris and watch for what he may do in the future.

Bill Chaffin
UMC Virginia Conference - Director of Scouting Ministries
[email protected]

Words to Live By …

“Dearest Lord,
teach me to be generous.
teach me to serve you as you deserve;
to give and not to count the cost;
to fight, and not to heed the wounds;
to labor, and not to seek to rest;
to give of myself and not to ask for reward,
except the reward of knowing that I am doing
your will.”

St. Ignatius of Loyola

Recommended Reading: Deuteronomy 11:18-19
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.