July 2020 * Volume 21, Issue 5

A Greeting from the Rev. Dr. Ted Smith, Virginia Conference Director of Connectional Ministries

Hello Virginia Conference Clergy Colleagues,

Greetings in Christ's holy name.

Many have heard me speak of my goal to have our Conference Connectional Ministries become a greater resource to our districts, laity. and clergy.

One way of achieving this goal is by having our Conference Communications Office join with the United Methodist Men (UMM) to connect with you, the Virginia UM clergy. We are excited about this opportunity to bring more United Methodist Men's resources to you, excited to help in communications cost savings, and excited to help the UMM share vital ministry information. I, therefore, want to encourage you to take a look at this edition of The Beacon, the online newsletter for the Virginia Conference UMM.

The Virginia Conference UMM are striving to provide meaningful fellowship and culturally relevant ministry tools for our UMM fellowships. Please take a moment to see examples of how The Beacon can inspire your congregation's UMM.

The Rev. Dr. Ted Smith


President's Message by Albert Weal Jr.

From Mobil Oil to the Virginia Conference UMM

I want to thank you for your support and confidence as I prepare to lead the Virginia Conference United Methodist Men as your president. I look forward to and am honored to serve you.

I graduated from Delaware State University with a degree in Business Administration while serving as the business manager for my fraternity, Phi Beta Sigma, Gamma Upsilon Chapter. I joined Mobil Oil Corporation as an operation analyst responsible for the operation of a light product facility in Long Island City, NY. I left Mobil Oil and entered the Army's Finance Corporation where I was stationed on an intelligent installation for a brief time. Enhancing my education, I received an MS in Personnel and Finance from Central Michigan University.

I worked most of my career in the insurance industry. I began as a Property and Casualty Adjuster and rose to the rank of Claims Manager with two different companies. I retired as a Litigation Consultant with Avis/Sedgwick.

I was raised a Methodist in a small Methodist church in Bridgeville, DE. In 1981, my wife and I joined St. Mark's UMC in Laurel, MD where we were very active. I chaired the Finance Committee and sang in three choirs/choruses. I mentored twenty-three students of which 17 went on to college and 7 graduated with honors.

In 2000, we moved to the Tidewater Area where we joined Martin Luther King UMC in Portsmouth, VA. I chaired SPRC and the Finance Committee. When MLK UMC was forced to close, we moved to St. Paul's UMC in Chesapeake. It was my plan to get a seat on the rear pew and do exactly nothing. I attended one meeting and the next thing I knew, I was on the Finance Committee. I am now the chair of the Finance Committee, a Lay Leader, and member of the SPRC.

I was elected to Secretary and later President of St. Paul's UMM which placed me on the Elizabeth River District UMM Board. I was elected as the Secretary of the Elizabeth River District UMM and then, two years later, as President/Team Leader, a position which has a seat on the Virginia Conference UMM Cabinet.

I was elected as Secretary of the Virginia Conference UMM in 2014 and then as Vice President, Spiritual Growth in 2017. I organized and facilitated both the 2018 and 2019 Spiritual Advances in Virginia Beach. I am thankful for my background and experience with all levels of UMM as I begin my term as President for the Virginia Conference UMM. I am very grateful to my wife Linda, children, grandchildren, and my precious great grandson who have all supported me.

I am thankful for your election to lead and serve UMM fellowships and all men across the Virginia Conference. I and the Cabinet will do our best to accomplish the goals of the Virginia Conference UMM. Read profiles of the leadership team whom you have elected later in this issue.

Grace and Peace,
Albert Weal Jr., President
[email protected]

Dismantling Racism Through God's Grace
National Day of Prayer | Saturday, July 25 from 1-4 PM EDT

During these unsettling times, men of the Southeastern Jurisdiction have organized a National Day of Prayer to give thanks to God and to seek his guidance for peace and change to dismantle racism in our land.
Please plan to join your brothers in Christ across the Virginia Conference and the Southeastern Jurisdiction on Saturday, July 25 anytime between 1 PM and 4 PM ET.

Andrew Kissell, former Virginia Conference UMMen president and currently president-elect of the Southeastern Jurisdiction UMMen, will be one of the hosts. Virginia Conference Bishop Sharma D. Lewis will be one of the presenters.

Join Zoom Meeting (video call-in)
Meeting ID: 813 0537 0100

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Love, Learn, and Lead

Watch Recordings Highlighting Ministries of the VA Conference UMM

If you missed any of the Love, Learn, and Lead webinars, be sure to visit the website and watch the recordings of these webinars that share how you can contribute to building the Kingdom of God through the many ministries of the Virginia Conference.

AMENDing Through Faith: Domestic Violence Prevention

(This webinar is no longer available on Zoom. For more information contact Dann Ladd or Todd Hoar)
Advocates Todd Hoar and Dann Ladd discussed a study available to all churches in the Virginia Conference to engage men and boys in challenging a culture that supports violence against women.

Hunger Relief and Scouting
For more information, please contact Wade Mays or Bill Chaffin.
Wade Mays of the Society of St. Andrew shared tangible ways men can assist the hungry in local communities. The Society of St. Andrew is America's premier food rescue and distribution ministry.
Bill Chaffin shared how scouting benefits boys and girls in your church and community. United Methodist Scouting celebrated its centennial in February 2020.

All God's Children, GraceInside, Jail, and Prison Ministries
Click here to view. Access Password: 6k$71m=8
Lori Smith of All God's Children, Randy Myers of GraceInside, Jim Eilertsen of Good News Jail & Prison Ministries, and John Cole II of Kairos shared many ways to show support and the love of Christ to the residents of Virginia's prisons and regional, county, and city jails.

Campus Ministry and YoungER Men's Ministry
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Bret Gresham, Campus Minster with Wesley at Virginia Tech, and Drew Ensz, Ministry Director of Arise Campus Ministry, discussed the many challenges they face and what local churches can do to support campus ministry. Read more.

Communications | Publicizing Your Men's Ministry
Love, Learn, and Lead Webinar on Wednesday, July 29 at 6:30 PM

Mark your calendars now for the VA Conference UMMen Love, Learn, and Lead webinar on July 29, 2020 at 6:30 PM EDT. All are welcome.

This Love, Learn, and Lead webinar has been rescheduled from its original July 22 date.

Jon Simons, Editor of The BEACON, and Brenda Capen, Database Manager/Webmaster with the Virginia Conference Communications Office, will discuss changes to The BEACON and explore how to publicize, promote, and grow your men's ministry.

Topic: Communications: Publicizing Your Men's Ministry
Date: Wednesday July 29, 2020
Time: 6:30 PM - 7:30 PM, Eastern Daylight Time
Join Zoom Meeting (New)
Meeting ID: 898 2460 7164

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The Love, Learn, and Lead webinar featuring Heart Havens and Camp Rainbow will be on Wednesday, August 5 at 6:30 PM.

Profiles of VA Conference UMM Cabinet Officers

Talk to the Cabinet About Men's Ministry in Your Church


Vice President, Spiritual Life

David Collins

Email: [email protected]

David is a member of Community UMC in Virginia Beach where he is the Evangelism Coordinator. He and Community UMC are seeking God that the church would grow spiritually as well as numerically. That same spiritual growth is his prayer for the men of the Virginia Conference as we move forward together.

David is grateful to have served a two-year term as team leader of the Elizabeth River District Men's Ministry. One of the highlights was partnering with a group of young men and women on a building clean-out project. It renewed his faith in seeing them step forward and volunteer to be in service. They were ready to go!

David represented the Elizabeth River District UMM at Virginia Conference UMM Cabinet meetings where he first began learning about the many ministries our Virginia Conference supports.

His prayer for the men of the Virginia Conference is that we might be strong with one purpose as we make disciples for Jesus Christ. We have so many great ministries throughout the Virginia Conference in which to participate and support.

Vice President, Membership & Development

Dann Ladd

Email: [email protected]

Dann was confirmed in the United Methodist Church in 1968, the year that the UMC denomination was formed. He has been a member of three charges: Brewerton UMC in Brewerton, NY; Minoa UMC in Minoa, NY; and Good Shepherd UMC in Henrico, VA. In addition to serving Good Shepherd UMM, he has served in leadership positions for the Richmond District UMM, Lay Servant Ministries, and Westview on the James Camp/Retreat Center.

For the Virginia Conference UMM, Dann has served as Editor of The BEACON and Chaplain and is also now an AMENDING Through Faith Advocate. He is retired from John Deere.

Dann enjoys fishing (especially with Todd Hoar), his beagle Piper, two precious grandchildren, and a good old-fashioned hymn sing.


Todd Hoar

Email: [email protected]

A native Virginian, Todd has had the pleasure of serving three churches on the Virginia Conference: UMM president and Lay Leader at Scottsville UMC; UMM president and worship leader at Zion UMC in Troy, VA; and, currently, UMM president, Vice Chair Administrative Council, and Annual Conference Lay Delegate at West Point UMC.

Todd is a Certified Lay Servant, a Wesleyan Building Brother, and a trainer for Understanding Men's Ministry. He has been a Men's Ministry Specialist for the General Commission of UMM for the last 4 years.

For the Virginia Conference UMM, Todd is currently serving as Prayer Advocate, AMENDing Through Faith Advocate, and Secretary.

Todd is motivated by the Holy Spirit to empower men to recognize their redemption through Christ and have a personal relationship with God the loving Father. He enjoys catching fish and retrieving Dann Ladd's lures from the trees and submerged logs he is so enamored of hooking.



Gary Lupton, Sr.

Email: [email protected]

Gary is a Certified Lay Servant and has served on the Administrative Board, Council of Ministries, Finance Committee, District Stewardship, Audit Committee, and Trustees at local churches. He has served as Staff-Parish Relations Committee Chair, Stewardship Committee Chair, and as coordinator of the Elizabeth River District Disaster Response Committee. He is currently an Elizabeth River District Delegate to the Virginia Annual Conference and serves on the UMM Board as Scouting Coordinator for Troop 362 at Community United Methodist Church in Virginia Beach.

Gary has over 30 years of diversified banking experience. He is a Certified Computer Professional, Certified Business Continuity Planner through the Disaster Recovery Institute, and member of the Business Continuity Institute. Additionally, he is currently serving as the Executive Director for Virginia1st, a non-profit organization with a mission to help the financial industry recover from crises and disastrous situations.

Retired from TowneBank, Gary now has time to enjoy his four grandchildren.


Paul Smith

Email: [email protected]

Paul Smith grew up at Hopewell UMC in Chesterfield, VA and has worshiped there all of his life. When Paul strayed away from the church and from God, it was the United Methodist Men who brought him back to the Christian faith and his church. Over time, Paul assumed leadership positions with UMM at both Hopewell UMC and at the James River District, which he represents at VA Conference UMM Cabinet meetings. He is currently working as an auto mechanic.

Paul never plans a prayer but rather lets the Lord speak through him when he prays.

Christ is the Light of the World

"Liberty Enlightening the World"
Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi
Recommended Reading: John 1:1-5