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November 2020 * Volume 21, Issue 9

President’s Message by Albert Weal, Jr.

Unity

AlbertWeal
Good Morning,

The divisions in America are real and need healing. The United Methodist Church has the term “United” in its name. The present denomination was founded in 1968 in Dallas, Texas, by the union of the Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren Church, but the church today is divided. We will look at The United Methodist Men’s view of the word United specifically as is relates to unity.
What Is Christian Unity? | Desiring God

Unity among two or more people gets its virtue entirely from something else. Unity itself is neutral until it is given goodness or badness from something else. So, if Herod and Pilate are unified by their common scorn for Jesus (Luke 23:12), this is not a good unity. But if Paul and Silas sing together in prison for Christ’s sake (Acts 16:25), this is a good unity.
Unity
Christian unity is that unique grace of the Holy Spirit which allows believers from all ethnicities, nationalities, personalities, and backgrounds to be of one heart, mind, and spirit in our love for Jesus Christ and in our commitment to the gospel. When believers live in unity, it reveals the life-changing power of the gospel to a watching world.

The aim of such Christian unity is the glory of God. Hence Paul prays, “May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” (Romans 15:5-7).

What is the Meaning of Unity and Why is Unity important to us?

Unity is defined as the state of being together or oneness. Why is the concept of unity essential? It has been seen time and time again that if two or more people come together with the agenda of fulfilling a task, the task is done well. Moreover, when people work in groups, they develop a bond. Working together in a group is not always efficient since there are going to be clashes, but the importance of unity cannot be stressed enough.

Unity is needed for survival. As we all know, unity protects us from all the evil doings. Hence, we should help each other and together fight and face evil and negative things. When we stand together, only then will we get freedom from all kind of negativity.

Unity is a spiritual philosophy based on the teachings of Jesus, stating that humanity is inseparable from the Spirit of God within, and that through prayerful realization of the Spirit, one may obtain healing in mind, body and affairs. Unity has been described as practical Christianity. For guidance, consider these words from David, Paul, and Peter:

  • Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! Psalms 133:1
  • Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and [that] there be no divisions among you; but [that] ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 1 Corinthians 1:10
    And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. Colossians 3:14
  • Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you. 2 Corinthians 13:11
  • That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 15:6
    For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Romans 12:4-5
  • Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:3
  • Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; Philippians 1:27
  • Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Philippians 2:2
  • Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous. 1 Peter 3:8
We have been attempting for years to define the purpose of United Methodist Men. Unity does not imply uniformity. It does not mean that all Christians will think alike or perform identical ministries. It does imply a common purpose and interdependence within the body of Christ. To every individual within the body of Christ is given a particular capacity for ministry. This capacity (or capacities) is commonly called a “spiritual gift.” Although the function involved may not appear to be particularly “spiritual”, the outcome is a spiritual benefit to the body of Christ. For example, there is seemingly little difference between writing a check to the mortgage company and one to a seminary. The difference is that giving to the seminary allows men and women to be trained to teach and preach, which will bring growth and blessing to many Christians. The Christian who has the gift of helping may fix the washing machine of one of the saints, not only meeting a very real need but also saving money, which can be used for the Lord’s work, and bringing real encouragement and blessing to the one helped.

The Virginia Conference UMM Cabinet is asking each UMM fellowship to help us bring forth Younger Men’s Ministry by working with the various campus ministries and, if there are no campus ministry programs in your area, create one with a university or community college that is located near your church. This can be as simple as an invitation to your congregation. Plan to attend our Love, Learn, and Lead webinar January 12, 2021 on intentional discipleship (see article below) and learn how to keep the younger men in worship at your local church and in service in your community. You may ask how does this unify us? I am glad you asked. Look at the growth of your various fellowships. Imagine the new ideas that we would be sharing through involvement with younger men. We now have a reason for UMM fellowships to reach out to other men.

The Virginia Conference UMM is planning to implement a wellness program for men in 2021.

Anu

I quote from Anu (Reference https://www.ancient.eu/Anu/):
Anu or An is the divine personification of the sky, supreme god, and ancestor of all the deities in ancient Mesopotamian religion.

“Unity is a very powerful term. ‘Unity in diversity’ is the tagline of India. Every human being is the same. All of us have two eyes, one nose, two ears, one heart, one liver, two kidneys, blood flowing through our veins, and much more excluding exceptions. Now have a closer look. Everyone is unique, including you and your family. Everyone has a certain kind of behavior; yet, we are united. Unity, it starts with you, if not you, then who?”


Now think of this in a larger perspective and imagine a world where people are united by decisions, leadership, cultures, and values at least to a certain extent. The entire outlook of this nation will seem different and there would be immense growth.

Try an example with your family while making a decision as simple as “What should be cooked for dinner?” Have two choices: a single-minded decision, or a united decision. The atmosphere would be different for each version.

Please watch this short 6-minute video from Pastor Jay Hanson who serves as Executive Director for Congregational Development in the South Georgia Conference.
https://www.fcebook.com/jay.hanson.355744/videos/187759536190372

I pray you and your loved ones are staying safe and healthy.

Albert Weal, Jr., President
757-677-6096
mastercook3@cox.net

Holiday Shopping at the Virginia Conference UMM Store

25% Off All Embroidered Apparel and Accessories

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Virginia Conference UMM Wearables

Shop this week, and save 15% when you purchase 1-4 items. Save 25% when you purchase 5-9 items, and instantly save 35% if you purchase 10 or more items.

Pricing shown is retail; discounts are shown at checkout.

Order early for Christmas, orders are taking 2-3 weeks for delivery due to Covid-19

Your orders help the Conference UMMen in supporting our Advocacies.

Scouting Survey Reminder

Please Respond to Scouting Survey to Better Serve Youth

Remember the Scouts!

We are all in Pandemic mode. Is it still Thursday? It’s always Thursday. There are things I remember I am supposed to do but I can’t remember them or when they are due! Each of you received a request from our Conference Ministry of Scouting looking for information from your church about your participation in this ministry.
Won’t you take a few minutes and answer these simple questions? We want to serve you and your youth.
indexcards
Here is the link:
Scouting Survey

Please answer this quick survey!

Blessings to you!

VA UMM Cabinet Meets on December 12

The Virginia Conference UMM Cabinet will meet on Saturday, December 12 from 9am to 2pm EST. Cabinet meetings will be held virtually until the Virginia United Methodist Center in Glen Allen reopens. Connection information will be sent to the Virginia Conference UMM Cabinet members before each meeting.

The Virginia Conference UMM Cabinet consists of elected officers, past presidents, the Virginia Conference Lay Leader, the Virginia Conference representative, ministry advocates, and UMM district presidents/team leaders.

Coming in January | Intentional Discipleship

Love, Learn, and Lead Webinar on Tuesday, January 12

LLLWebinar
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 join us on Tuesday evening, January 12, 2021 at 6:30 PM EST for a Love, Learn, and Lead webinar on intentional discipleship. Please plan to join us to learn about The Wesley Challenge, No Man Left Behind, and Wesleyan Building Brothers.

Connection details for the Love, Learn, and Lead webinars will be available in January.

Mark your calendars now.

Scouting’s Silver Torch Award Presented to Bishop Sharma D. Lewis

Sharing the Light with Others

SilverTorchAward
Bishop_BillChaffin
The Virginia Annual Conference Ministry of Scouting team was extremely honored to present the Silver Torch Award to Bishop Sharma D. Lewis at our (virtual) Annual Conference in late October. Mr. Bill Chaffin, conference director of Scouting, said, “I first met our new bishop in May of 2016. From day one, she has exemplified everything that would identify a candidate for the Silver Torch.”

The Silver Torch is awarded to an adult whose exemplary service to Scouting programs shines beyond their own Annual Conference. Many laity and clergy serve above and beyond by supporting our youth.

Bishops hold a special place within the Silver Torch. They provide encouragement and growth for spiritual well-being of youth within the church and surrounding communities. The torch itself is an emblem of Christian faithfulness. A torch bearer carries the light with them. They share the light with others extending the reach of ministry. This award recognizes builders of Christian character and service to others.

In an early meeting with Bishop Lewis when she was new to the Virginia Conference, she immediately embraced our Scouting Ministry and has continued to do so. Bishop Lewis has supported and lived this calling to “go into all the world”. This has been seen within and far beyond the Virginia Conference.

Do you know P.R.A.Y. ?

Programs of Religious Activities with Youth

PrayGraphic
The title of this article is not a misprint. We all know how to pray. We all pray in many ways from on our knees, to a conversation in the car, to bedtime prayers, to special prayers at special times. We all know how to pray. But…do you know P.R.A.Y.? This is an organization that is a Bible-based religious emblems program for Protestant and independent Christian churches that is designed to bring youth to Christ. It is that simple. It further facilitates bringing children, youth and families to Christ. P.R.A.Y. is Programs of Religious Activities with Youth built to foster Christian growth in the family, in the church and in youth serving agencies. To many, the program has also been called God and Country. When I was a scout, God & Country was one long program. The expected time frame was about eighteen months to complete. When I see an adult leader with a youth religious emblem square knot on his shirt (remember…back then only boys were in the BSA!), I was impressed. When I was fourteen and a Star Scout, a year and a half was forever! Today, P.R.A.Y. is broken down into five manageable programs.

P.R.A.Y. Components

The basic P.R.A.Y. program is built in five age-specific programs that build on one another: Jesus and Me (Grades K-1); God and Me (Grades 2-3); God and Family (Grades 4-6); God and Church (Grades 6-8); and God and Life (Grades 9-12).

Each program has a student workbook, a counselor (teacher) manual, and a mentor (parent or guardian) workbook. Each series of study has been updated in 2020. The counselor manual is required for each program to ensure that the program is correctly and accurately presented.

One of the misperceptions of the P.R.A.Y. programs among those who see it in use is that it is a scouting program. It is not. Any youth can participate and become educated in this marvelous, well-constructed program for our youth. It helps young people to develop a deeper relationship with God and to understand how God is active in their individual lives, the lives of their families, and those around them and in the world itself. The programs are most often administered through Boy Scout or Girl Scout programs. Scouts BSA (formerly the Boy Scouts of America), Girl Scouts USA, and American Heritage Girls are active partners. Any youth, an individual or group (small group or Sunday School class) can use the programs.

The counselor/teacher can be any adult. Youth leaders, UMM or UMW members, scout leaders, or clergy are good candidates to lead the classes. Given these prospective leaders, one could easily see the positive interaction between the local church and the community youth serving agencies meeting within your halls. Please be extra sensitive to the adult leading the class. In the BSA you will be required to have two-deep leadership (both with YPT – Youth Protection Training) to lead. Your individual church may also use Safe Sanctuaries or some comparable youth care program. You MUST be sensitive to this and make sure you are covered.

P.R.A.Y. Program Class setup

Most of the P.R.A.Y. God and Country programs are planned to run for approximate an hour and for about six weeks. They can be run at church (if open), in a community room in the library, or at the leader’s home.

Virtual P.R.A.Y.

Well, this is what all have come to see! Virtual P.R.A.Y. Can it be done? Yes, and very successfully. Several virtual programs have been successful in running the programs online. You can register students in several ways. The simple way may be just call them. However, a quicker, more manageable registration is available through Eventbrite, DoubleKnot, SignupGenius, or Blackpug.

Retain as much structure as possible during the duration of the program.

There are applications to run the programs, but I know we all know ZOOM. We do have experience running P.R.A.Y. programs and I can help get you going.

Just like the in-person courses this should be five or six forty-five minute to one hour in duration. Similar to the real-time, back-to-normal classes, they can easily be scheduled over one or two weekends.
In Closing

To all … once again, all your youth and the youth in the neighborhoods around your church.

Every place …. In the church, in the home, somewhere else, even the internet.

All the times…. make it work to the maximum number of youth.

All the zeal…. have the passion, see the joy, experience the growth.

As long…put the programs on your annual calendar.
AlltheGood
You are certainly welcome to contact me for additional tips, to come to your church (virtually or otherwise) to discuss the programs. If everything we have shared here is not enough or you would like to really get the program going in your church, visit www.praypub.org where you will find absolutely everything you would want or need to know about P.R.A.Y.

Bill Chaffin
Virginia Conference Scouting Coordinator
804-356-6075
bcumcbsa@juno.com

Editor’s Note: This article was excerpted and adapted from https://vaumc.org/doyouknowpray/.

Words to Live By …

apples

All Praise and Thanks to God

O may this bounteous God through all our life be near us,
With ever joyful hearts and blessed peace to cheer us;
And keep us still in grace, and guide us when perplexed;
And free us from all ills, in this world and the next.

Martin Rinkart, 1636
Translated by Catherine Winkworth, 1858
Now Thank We All Our God
United Methodist Hymnal, Copyright 1989, #102

Recommended Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NRSV)

SmallVaConf
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.