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News from the Virginia Conference - Jan. 26, 2017

Mentors needed for 2017 summer All God’s Children camps 
All God's Children Camp is in need of mentors for camp this summer. There are three opportunities this year to serve: June 18-23 at Camp Chanco on the James, June 25-30 at Camp Overlook and July 30-Aug. 4 at Occohannock on the Bay. Visit All God’s Children page on the conference website for more information including a mentor and camper flyer. Email Lori Smith, camp director, at with any questions. 

Faithful Aging Conference set for March
Faithful Aging on Mar. 14 , 2017, will be the first statewide, faith-based conference on aging addressing opportunities related to an aging congregation and meeting the needs of older members. Presented by the Beard Center on Aging at Lynchburg College and Virginia United Methodist Homes, Inc. (VUMH), this conference developed following listening sessions across the Virginia Conference to hear directly from clergy and laity about the needs of older adults in their congregations and communities. The Virginia Conference Older Adult Council is a Gold Sponsor for the event. A .5 CEU has been approved for Virginia Conference clergy and certified professionals as well as five hours of credit toward recertification for Lay Servants. Contact Martha Stokes directly by phone at (804) 474-8718 or email her at for more information. There is a registration form on the event under the conference calendar or you may register online at More... 

2016 Journal available
The 2016 Journal, for those who ordered it, will be mailed to out in the next two weeks as well as audio CDs. It is also available online in PDF form and separated into different sections. More...

Clergy Spouse Retreat being held in March 
The Clergy Family Enrichment Committee invites you to a brief time of personal renewal, networking with other clergy spouses and reflection on Friday, March 3 to March 4 at Richmond Hill Retreat Center. The keynote speaker, Martha Stokes, will lead participants through "Reflections of General Conference & Supporting the Future." The breakout times will include making and learning to pray with prayer beads and exploring creative devotional writing. The event begins at 3 p.m. on March 3 and concludes after lunch at 12:30 p.m. on March 4. The registration fee of $100 includes meals and lodging at Richmond Hill Retreat Center as well as supplies for the breakouts.For more information and to register, visit this link. For more information, contact Judy Hall at

Urgent need for UMVIM work teams
The Virginia Conference Disaster Recovery ministry currently has ongoing operations in Evergreen (Farmville District), Tappahannock (Fredericksburg District), Virginia Beach (Elizabeth River District) and Waverly (James River District). There are open dates available from now until April that need to be filled as well as summer slots. Email Forrest White for any questions and to schedule at  

Applications due for Calling 21 on Feb. 1
"Calling 21" is a conference-wide, grass roots, congregation-based, youth-focused approach to the Virginia Conference's emerging culture of call. During the summer, college students are placed in church internships for the sumer and are immersed in the life of a local church discerning God's call into church leadership. Trained on the Shenandoah University campus, these students experience a valuable program. The summer time commitment is from orientation beginning on June 4 to a reflection event concluding Aug. 8. Applications are due Feb.1. Applications are found at this link: If you have any questions, please contact the Rev. Allie Rosner Bass, or the Rev. Lindsey M. Baynham,

Disability Awareness Sunday is Feb. 5
According to the Book of Discipline, Disability Awareness Sunday is oberserved annually and the date is determined by each annual conference. The Virginia Annual Conference has designated the first Sunday in February (Feb. 5) as Disability Awareness Sunday. Disability Awareness Sunday calls the church to celebrate the gifts and graces of persons with disabilities and calls the church and society to full inclusion of persons with disabilities in the community.  Resources from Heart Havens may be used and adapted to fit your situation. The general conference has also provided resources.   

Opportunity to register your participation in 2017 Bible reading challenge
You can now register if you are joining Bishop Lewis in her challenge to the Virginia Conference to read the Bible in entirety in 2017. The short poll allows you to add your name as well as district and your home church. More… 

Registration open for Bishop’s Convocation on Prayer
Registration is now open for The Bishop’s Convocation on Prayer on Apr. 1, 2017. The event will take place at Trinity UMC in Richmond with the Rev. Juanita Rasmus acting as plenary speaker. Fee is $10 and participants will get to choose two workshops to attend. More… 

Desert Southwest welcoming immigrants
The Desert Southwest Conference is working with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office to provide housing and transportation for more than 45 immigrant families. Most are refugees or people with asylum from Central America. The conference offers ways people from across the connection can help. More… 

Strengthen peacemaking, new UN head urged
United Methodists are among the dozens of heads of non-governmental organizations welcoming the new leader of the United Nations through a letter organized by InterAction, with an appeal for a stepped-up U.N. role in negotiating peace around the world. More… 

Church offers inauguration, women's march hospitality
Capitol Hill United Methodist Church opened its doors to offer hospitality during both the inauguration of President Donald Trump and the Women’s March on Washington. “We want to be a visible witness to the world that the church is open as folks struggle with the issues going on in our world,” the pastor said. More… 

Women's edition of Bible offers new light
The CEB (Common English Bible) Women’s Bible offers an index of all the female characters in Scripture. It provides biographical sketches of many of them, and brief, Scripture-based articles on such topics as fertility, miscarriage, menopause and God as mother. All editors of and contributors to the new edition are women, and many are United Methodists. More… 

Is your vision a mural or a to-do list? 
Tiffany Deluccia with the Lewis Center for Church Leadership says that for too many churches, their de facto vision is nothing more than a list of the next things to be done. Instead, your vision should be an inspiring and compelling portrait of what God is doing in the life of your church. More... 

♦ 25th Annual United Methodist Day at General Assembly - Feb. 2, 2017
The Conference United Methodist Day is Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017. It is an avenue of faithful advocacy that helps participants look beyond mercy ministry and join together with elected officials to make a difference and exercise the Social Principles of the UMC. Final registration is Friday, Jan. 29; cost is $35. Registration questions may be directed to the Rev. Barbara Lewis at General questions may be directed to the Rev. Pat Shipley at or to the Rev. Randy Harlow at To register and for more information, follow this link:

♦ Lay Servant Academy- Mar. 31- Apr. 2, 2017
The Lay Servant Academy is about equipping laity to carry out the mission of the church of making disciples for Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. All courses are open to everyone. Each course is designed to help those serving the local church to learn more about leadership, personal faith development and a deeper understanding of the UMC. Many courses offered this year will support those seeking to become Certified Lay Servants and Lay Speakers. To register and for more information on the Academy, visit the website. Registration questions may be directed to Sandy Kelley at and other questions to Beth Christian at 

For in-depth news and features about United Methodist mission and ministry, subscribe to the Virginia United Methodist Advocate, the Virginia Conference’s award-winning monthly magazine — now available in both print and digital formats. Click here to subscribe. Or call the Communications office at 1-800-768-6040, ext. 110, or (804) 521-1110. Or email For information about the Virginia Conference and resources for ministry, visit the Virginia Conference website at



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