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Dec. 18, 2014
Dec. 10, 2014
Dec. 4, 2014

Nov. 21, 2014 - Day of Holy Conversation
Nov. 20, 2014
Nov. 13, 2014
Nov. 6, 2014

Oct. 28, 2014
Oct. 16, 2014
Oct. 10, 2014
Oct. 2, 2014

Sept. 25, 2014
Sept. 18, 2014
Sept. 11, 2014
Sept. 4, 2014

Aug. 28, 2014
Aug. 22, 2014
Aug. 15, 2014
Aug. 7, 2014

July 30, 2014
July 24, 2014
July 17, 2014
July 10, 2014
July 2, 2014

June 24, 2014
June 12, 2014
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May 29, 2014 - Special Annual Conference edition
May 23, 2014
May 15, 2014
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April 24, 2014
April 16, 2014
April 10, 2014
April 3, 2014

March 26, 2014
March 20, 2014
March 13, 2014
March 10, 2014
March 5, 2014

Feb. 27, 2014
Feb. 20, 2014
Feb. 17, 2014
Feb. 12, 2014
Feb. 6, 2014

Jan. 30, 2014
Jan. 23, 2014
Jan. 16, 2014
Jan. 9, 2014

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News from the Virginia Conference - Jan. 9, 2014

Estelle Pruden to retire as bishop's administrative assistant
Bishop Young Jin Cho announced that Estelle Pruden, bishop’s administrative assistant for the past 31 years, will retire as of March 1. She has worked with five bishops of the Virginia Conference. More ...

Terri Biggins named bishop's administrative assistant
Terri Biggins, who currently serves as administrative assistant in the conference office of Justice and Missional Excellence, will assume the duties of bishop's administrative assistant, effective March 1. More ...

Vital Signs data now entered in new EVC website
Effective Jan. 1, Vital Signs data entry has moved to the new Virginia Conference Equipping Vital Congregations website, Weekly e-mail reminders that include a link to the new website will be sent from the conference data office to persons who enter VitalSigns data information for their churches. In addition to the five original categories, other data will be available for churches that wish to track more detailed information than was previously available. This additional information will automatically update year-end statistical tables. Churches that did not previously participate in VitalSigns may request to begin entering data by sending an e-mail to More ...

Table I stats due Jan. 15; Table II, III due Jan. 31
As in recent years, 2013 year-end statistics will be entered into the denomination's Ezra website. The 2013 Statistical Tables are now accessible to local churches to log on and enter statistics at Because this is the first year of the Quadrennium (2013-2016), line items have changed from last year. Look carefully at each line item before entering your data. Information entered in Vital Signs is now reflected in Ezra. You can use the information that Vital Signs has reported or you can overwrite the amount in Ezra if needed on Line 2a – Received this year on Profession of Christian Faith, and Line 10 – Average Attendance at all Weekly Worship Services. You will need to know your church's 6-digit General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) number. Pastor’s user name is the church GCFA number followed by the letter "p" (e.g., 123456p). Other user name is the church GCFA number followed by the letter "o" (e.g., 123456o). Password is "methodist." You will have the ability to change the password when you log on the first time. Do not submit your information until all tables have been completed and saved. Table I – Membership is due Wednesday, Jan. 15. Table II – Assets & Expenses and Table III – Income are due Friday, Jan. 31. Direct all questions to your district office administrative assistant or David Dommisse, conference treasurer, at (804) 521-1109.

UMFS receives grant to help children with mental disabilities
United Methodist Family Services (UMFS) received a $805,554 grant to help bring systems of care to children with mental illness. The grant from the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services is part of a larger state-wide System of Care Expansion Implementation Grant, which was made available by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Grant monies will allow UMFS to come up with systems to cut red tape and reduce the amount of paperwork and other regulations that parents must endure in order to find the best services for children ages 12-18 with mental disabilities. The Systems of Care program will help to provide better access to formal and informal resources, from parenting classes to psychiatric and educational resources.

UMFS CEO named to state mental health task force
Greg Peters, president and chief executive officer of United Methodist Family Services (UMFS), was named by Gov. Bob McDonnell to be a member of the newly created Task Force on Improving Mental Health Services and Crisis Response. Membership includes leaders in the mental health field, law enforcement communities, judicial system, private hospitals, and individuals receiving mental health services and their families. The group will review existing services and challenges in Virginia’s mental health system and make recommendations, including legislative and budget proposals, for critical improvements to mental health procedures, programs and services.

Applications due Feb. 1 for Calling 21 summer internships
If you know a college student who may be discerning a call to ministry, now is the time to encourage them to apply for a Calling 21 summer ministry internship. Applications are due Feb. 1. For more information, go to or e-mail the Rev. Allie Rosner at

Human Relations Day is Sunday, Jan. 19
Sunday, Jan. 19, is Human Relations Day, one of six churchwide Special Sundays with offerings for The United Methodist Church. Human Relations Day strengthens United Methodist outreach to communities in the United States and Puerto Rico, encouraging social justice and work with at-risk youths. More ...

Jan. 20 is Martin Luther King Day
Martin Luther King Jr.'s national birthday observance is Monday, Jan. 20. Conference offices in the United Methodist Center in Glen Allen will be closed in observance of the holiday. The United Methodist General Board of Discipleship offers worship resources.

U.S. professions of faith increase for first time in 11 years
For the first time in 11 years, United Methodist annual conferences in the United States reported an increase in total professions of faith in 2012. Learn how some United Methodist churches are nurturing new Christians. More ...

Take a look at the heritage of The United Methodist Church
Are you looking for a quick primer on the story of The United Methodist Church? Here is how the denomination came to be and the people and issues that are part of its heritage. More ...

Feb. 5 is deadline to apply for Young Clergy Initiative grant
Wednesday, Feb. 5, is the deadline to apply for Young Clergy Initiative grants, which will be awarded to applicants who develop innovative projects that could attract young people to ordained ministry in The United Methodist Church. More ...

Homosexuality debate heats up in UMC
Debate around same-gender weddings and human sexuality has heated up in The United Methodist Church following recent events that have included the defrocking of a pastor for performing the wedding of his gay son. The recent events have sparked statements and blogs from individuals, congregations and groups around The United Methodist Church. More ...

Defrocked Pennsylvania pastor invited to join Cal-Pac Conference
The Rev. Frank Schaefer, who was asked Dec. 19 to surrender his ministerial credentials to the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference, has been invited to join the California-Pacific Conference by Bishop Minerva Carcaño. New Jersey Area Bishop John Schol also released a video statement on the decision to defrock Schaefer, urging the church to stop using clergy trials in handling these situations. In the meantime, Schaefer and his family joined Foundry UMC in Washington, D.C. More ...

Chuck Knows Church: Epiphany
Epiphany is one of the least understood Christian days of the year. Chuck provides some insight while having an epiphany of his own. Watch and learn on this his fifty-ninth show! "Chuck Knows Church" is a weekly online series that explains the meaning behind some of the objects, symbols, terms and rituals in church. Episodes can be downloaded for free at and used in worship, youth groups, fellowship groups, confirmation classes, worship teams, new member classes and late-night snack viewing. Chuck is on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. "Chuck Knows Church" is produced by the General Board of Discipleship. More ...

Lake Junaluska Peace Conference to be March 27-30
The 2014 Peace Conference will be held at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center in Lake Junaluska, N.C., March 27-30. Theme is "Faith, Health, and Peace: Seeking the Basic Right to Good Health for All God's Children." The conference will seek to affirm the basic right to good health from the perspective of faith traditions, lift up "the leading causes of life," and explore ways faith communities can combat the causes of poor health, such as disease, violence and poverty. Lodging reservations and event registration can be made at or by calling 1-800-222-4930. More ...

UMCom seeks Strategic Marketing manager
United Methodist Communications, headquartered in Nashville, is seeking a manager of Strategic Marketing to work with the Strategic Marketing team to develop and execute annual strategic marketing plans. The manager provides leadership in the overall management of the implementation cycle. Must stay abreast of marketing trends. Must seek out ways to promote the agency’s programs, resources and services. Participates in research, identification and integration of best practices in marketing, advertising and branding communication using various channels. Develops measurement strategy and implements return-on-investment reporting systems. Participates in development of long-term plans to innovate local church marketing strategies. Works with vendors/designers on assigned campaign deliverables. To apply or for more information, contact UMCom/Human Resources, P. O. Box 320, Nashville, TN 37202-0320; Phone: (615) 742-5137; e-mail:

Ministers' Convocation - Jan. 14-16
Ministers' Convocation, annual continuing education event for clergy and church professionals in the Virginia Conference, will be Jan. 14-16 at Blackstone Conference and Retreat Center. Theme is "Breaking Down the Walls: Transforming Conflict into Restoration." More ...

Silent Suffering: Depression and Clergy Pastoral Care Forum - Jan. 23
Learn how to recognize and acknowledge depression in the pastoral leader. Identify steps and resources to overcome depression and isolation often associated with pastoral ministry. 9 a.m. to noon Thursday, Jan. 23, at Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care (VIPCare), 2000 Bremo Rd, Ste, 105, Richmond. Call (804) 282-8332 to register. $30 fee including CEU credit.

United Methodist Day at General Assembly - Feb. 6
United Methodist Day at the General Assembly will be Thursday, Feb. 6. This annual event, sponsored by the Board of Church and Society and Virginia Conference United Methodist Women, is an opportunity to help faith communities become empowered to serve as missionaries of justice as well as the more traditional missionaries of mercy. Early bird price is $25 until Sunday, Jan. 12. After that, cost is $35 per person. Registration deadline is Jan. 31. More ...

Cultivating Young Leaders - Feb. 7-9
A professional development opportunity for adults who work with young people (youths, young adults, college students) will be offered Feb. 7-9 at Camp Overlook in Keezletown. Cost is $140 (double room). More ...

Lay Servant Academy - Feb. 21-23
Virginia Conference Lay Servant Academy will be Feb. 21-23 at Blackstone Conference and Retreat Center. Theme will be the same as the 2014 Annual Conference theme: "Lord, Renew Us with Your Spirit." Basic, advanced and mini-courses will prepare lay servants for ministries of caring, leading and communicating. Click here for brochure. Registration deadline is Feb. 14. More ...

School for Children's Ministry - Feb. 22, April 5, Sept. 20, Nov. 8
The School for Children’s Ministry is on the road this year to come to a district near you. Events will be 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Feb. 22 at St. Luke’s UMC, Yorktown (click here to register); April 5 at Farmville UMC, Farmville (click here to register); Sept. 20 at Greenville UMC, Greenville (click here to register); and Nov. 8 at Grace UMC, Manassas (click here to register). Registration deadline is the Wednesday before the event. Workshop presenters are children’s ministry professionals, representing all sizes of churches. Click here for brochure.

Clergy Spouses' Retreat - Feb. 27 - March 1
Clergy Spouses' retreat will be Feb. 27-March 1 at Blackstone Conference and Retreat Center. Theme is "Faith, Family and Forgiveness," focusing on the correlation between loving one’s neighbor as oneself and forgiving one’s debts as one is forgiven. Dr. Carol Fletcher, Lay Eucharistic Minister, Lay Reader and Worship Leader for Morning and Evening Prayer Services in Pennsylvania and Virginia, is retreat leader. More ...

5 Talent Academy Stewardship Event - March 8
5 Talent Academy stewardship teaching event will be Saturday, March 8, at Floris UMC in Herndon and broadcast in a live-stream format to eight different locations across the conference. Featured speaker will be J. Clif Christopher, author of Not Your Parents’ Offering Plate, Whose Offering Plate Is It? and Rich Church-Poor Church. Registration is open to all Virginia Conference churches regardless of previous membership or affiliation with the 5 Talent Academy. Registration is $25 per person and includes lunch. More ...

Extension Ministers Gathering - March 24
Virginia Conference Extension Ministers will gather with Bishop Young Jin Cho Monday, March 24, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Roslyn Conference and Retreat Center in Richmond. Extension Ministers (elders, provisional elders and local pastors) and those appointed Beyond the Local Church (deacons and provisional deacons) can connect with clergy colleagues, share stories and have conversation with Bishop Cho. More ...

Bishop's Convocation on Prayer - March 29
The second annual Bishop’s Convocation on Prayer will be 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, March 29, at Trinity UMC, 903 Forest Ave., Richmond. The Rev. Tom Albin, dean of Upper Room Ministries and Ecumenical Relations, will be plenary speaker. Small group learning opportunities will be offered in the areas of prayer and Wesleyan spiritual disciplines. More information about the convocation will be shared in January. More ...

Voices of Youth 2014 Tour - July 3-20
2014 Voices of Youth (VOY) tour, a Virginia Conference mission program designed to connect high school students with those in need through music and mission, will be July 3-20. After orientation, group building and rehearsal, the choir will travel to Nassau in the Bahamas to work with Bahamas Methodist Habitat for one week. Choir members will then return to Virginia to present worship experiences in host churches throughout the conference. VOY still needs several adults interested in travelling as a part of the adult staff for the trip. For applications and more information, go to or contact VOY Coordinator Jenn Dixon at or or (757) 348-7084.

Camp Rainbow Connection - July 6-11
Camp Rainbow Connection will be July 6-11 and Aug. 10-15 at Blackstone Conference and Retreat Center. New campers are always welcome. Campers must be at least 16 years old, have an intellectual disability as their primary disability, and be able to independently complete activities of daily living. Contact the office of Inclusivity and Lay Leadership Excellence to receive an application packet. New and returning staff volunteers are needed. Staff members must be at least 16 years old by July 1, agree to criminal background check, attend training in the spring, and commit to attending full week of camp. A limited number of 15-year-olds will be able to serve as youth advocates. Click here for applications for staff and youth advocates. (Scroll down to bottom of page.) For more information, contact the office of Inclusivity and Lay Leadership Excellence at 1-800-768-6040 or (804) 521-1100, ext. 153, or



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