January 2022 * Volume 23, Issue 1

President's Message by Albert Weal, Jr.

Initiatives for the New Year

Good Morning,

United Methodist Men exists to declare the centrality of Christ in every man’s life. Men’s ministry leads to the spiritual growth of men and effective discipleship. This purpose is served as men are called to model the servant leadership of Jesus Christ. (Book of Discipline, 2016, Paragraph 2302.1).
Bishop Lewis charged the Virginia Conference UMM with the need for more ethnic involvement within UMM, larger cluster UMM fellowships, and a relationship between UMM and the Pan-Methodist movement during the October 2021 Love, Learn, and Lead webinar. As we begin 2022, I want to share with you values, vision, and goals for 2022 as together, with “THE POWER OF “WE,” we can meet these challenges.

What efforts are underway to have dialog to help men become assets or allies to people of color?

The Cabinet has learned through an unofficial survey that there are many issues that divide us as men in the Virginia Conference. We have found that language is an issue. We have been advised that lack of active participation of men can be a result of the fear of not speaking English very well. This discovery was a shock since most efforts to include men in multi-ethnic settings have been placed on non-White ethnic churches because of a variety of ethnic groups and color, but not language. So, we are going to meet directly with primarily non-English-speaking United Methodist Men. We want to stress that we have a single purpose to make disciples for Jesus Christ, and that we need the connection to do that.

For predominantly White churches, what efforts are underway to have dialog? We are using Community United Methodist Church in Virginia Beach as a model. Under the leadership of Bishop Swanson and others, GCUMM will train all executives and conference presidents on "Racial Healing Circles," a successful dialog approach to reconciliation and dismantling racism. We have a lot of angry men in denial, and there is a lot of hurting. Our initiatives are for servant leadership, not mandatory training.

How are we encouraging UMM fellowships to cluster together?

We have taken a hard look at The UMC during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic and its different variants. We looked at the small churches that are in rural areas. The Discipline requires every UMC to have a UMM fellowship but, at times, the smaller churches are unable to have an active UMM fellowship but still want to be a part of the connection. The VAC UMM is recommending that small churches in a relatively close area form “cluster groups” and that these cluster groups eventually become fellowships. We would then have active UMM fellowships serving various communities and churches.

How can we build a relationship with the Pan-Methodist movement?

We are encouraging a Pan Methodist agenda. What is Pan Methodist, you ask?
This is where the UMM comes together with African Methodist Episcopal, African Methodist Episcopal Zion, and Christian Methodist Episcopal churches to encourage Bible studies, webinars, and open discussions on ways to better serve our communities.

The Council of Bishops already has an active committee initiated by Bishop James Swanson and Gil Hanke, former general secretary of GCUMM. The Northwestern NC Conference is already using the model established by Bishop Swanson and Gil Hanke. We encourage members of the Board of Laity and members of the Pan Methodist churches to refer inquiries to Vice President, Spiritual Life David Collins or to myself.
The Cabinet submitted these goals to the Bishop, Rev. Dr. Steve Summers, Associate Director of Influence Dwayne Stinson, District Superintendent Jay Carey (Farmville and James River Districts), and District Superintendent Seonyoung Kim (Elizabeth River and Eastern Shore Districts). They have agreed to assist us with making this happen. We hope you will as well.
Thank you for your support of men’s ministries in the Virginia Conference in 2022.

Albert Weal, Jr., President
[email protected]

Celebrate Heart Havens Month in February

A New World

February is Heart Havens month in the Virginia Conference. In 2022, the Heart Havens theme is "A New World."

Heart Havens looks forward to celebrating Heart Havens month with you. Heart Havens will provide virtual speakers to share the message of Heart Havens with a three-minute mission moment or programs for UMM, UMW, Sunday School classes and other groups. If you're interested in scheduling a program, please contact us!

Heart Havens empowers adults with developmental disabilities to live and thrive in their community and depends on the support of churches during February to sustain its mission as they do not receive any funding from conference apportionments. The Virginia Conference UMM is glad to partner with Heart Havens.

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.

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

2022 Boy Scout and Girl Scout Sundays

A Time to Recognize Scouting

Scout Sunday
Sundays, Feb 13 (BSA-UMC) and March 6 (GSUSA) are the official dates for Scout Sundays in 2022. However, churches can observe on any Sunday they wish. Some churches combine both celebrations into one Sunday.

Start planning now by talking with your pastor and Scout leaders for ways to celebrate during your worship service:

Love, Learn, and Lead Webinar on March 15 | Wesley Challenge

2022 Love, Learn, and Lead Schedule Released

Mark your calendars now, and please join us on Tuesday evening, March 15 at 6:30 PM EDT for a Love, Learn, and Lead webinar on Chris Folmsbee's book The Wesley Challenge: 21 Days to a More Authentic Faith with David Bean. Reading and discussing each chapter from The Wesley Challenge will deepen your faith and lead you and those you mentor to a closer relationship with Jesus.

David Bean will lead us in a discussion about The Wesley Challenge. David wrote a Mentor Guide which provides training materials necessary for preparing mentors and helping new Christians become disciples.

Please join us on March 15 at 6:30 PM to learn more.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 898 2460 7164

We are pleased to announce our plans for Love, Learn, and Lead webinars in 2022. Speakers and dates will be announced at a later date. Topics are subject to change.

Camp Rainbow
Common Table
Heart Havens
Healing Circles

Webinar recordings from previous Love, Learn, and Lead webinars are posted on our website

All God's Children Camp

Ready to Go | Help Needed

The dates for All God's Children Camp have been set, and now we are looking for mentors to volunteer a week of their time. We need you to help make it possible for kids to come enjoy a week of camp and engage in all that camp life has to offer while learning that they truly are SOMEBODY and are fearfully and wonderfully made by our creator God who loves them so much!

Please consider joining us. This is also a great way for groups such as UMM fellowships, Sunday School groups, Sr. High youth groups, or other small groups to be in mission together. So, grab a group of your friends and join us as we help break the cycle of incarceration.

For more information contact Lori Smith at [email protected] or 571-245-9591.
Click the link below to go to our website for more camp details.
Thanks for your support!

Lori Smith
Director, All God's Children Camp

Where Will the Homeless Sleep Tonight?

Arlington and Alexandria Districts UMM December 2021 Meeting

Men from the Arlington and Alexandria Districts gathered at Fairfax UMC on December 4 for a conversation with Rev. Kameron Wilds, pastor of Rising Hope Mission Church since 2020. He spoke about poverty and the poor to help us better understand and relate to the poor. He outlined the scope of the poverty problem, here and around the world.

Rev. Wilds asked if we really loved the poor. If we did, we would be in community with them as Jesus was. This goes beyond establishing a church food pantry, as many do. Rev. Wilds reminded us that John Wesley advocated for the poor in many ways, such as for reducing the wealth gap between rich and poor, for helping them find work, giving them a living wage, and educating them.

Rev. Wilds spoke of problems overcoming poverty and of connecting with the poor. He said they often have a “scarcity mentality”, which encourages them to spend what they have when they have it and discourages them in planning for the future. He said they are often intimidated by the trappings of traditional worship we take for granted, such as preachers with robes and ushers wearing suits and ties.

Rev. Wilds challenged us to ask ourselves, “Where will the poor sleep tonight?” Look at our congregation and ask, “Who is not here, not represented?”

Thanks to Tom Bacon, Secretary/Treasurer of the Alexandria District UMM, for submitting this report.

Words to Live By …


Life and Friendship

In this world two things are essential: a healthy life and friendship. God created humans so that they might exist and live: this is life. But if they are not to remain solitary, there must be friendship.

St. Augustine, Sermon 299, 4th cent.

Recommended Reading: John 15:13 (NIV)
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.