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News from the Virginia Conference - September 7, 2017

Conference Disaster Response Coordinator urges planning, preparation in light of active hurricanes 
With three active hurricanes: Irma in the Caribbean, Jose in the Atlantic and Katia in the Gulf Coast, Virginia Conference Disaster Response Coordinator Bob Pihlcrantz urges the conference to use this time to plan and prepare. As the time of impact grows closer, supplies at stores, such as bottled water, will become limited. “Don’t get caught without the basics, get ready today,” Pihlcrantz said. He suggests as a good website for prepartion checklists.
Pihlcrantz also suggests checking updates from the National Weather Service (NWS). The hurricane site is
For Early Response Team (ERT) training and questions, please contact the Rev. Kirk Culpepper at  If you have any questions about Disaster Response or Recovery within the VAUMC Conference please contact the Rev. Bob Pihlcrantz, VAUMC Conference Disaster Response Coordinator, at or by calling (757) 408-6653.

Cleaning buckets, donations needed in wake of Harvey   
Want to help survivors of Hurricane Harvey? First, prayer is needed for the survivors, their families and all who are aiding in rescue, clean up and in many other ways. You can also put together Cleaning Buckets which are needed. Click here to download a list of Cleaning Bucket contents. As well consider a donation through UMCOR (United Methodists Committee on Relief). Drop off deadlines and collection points for the buckets can be found on the conference website. More…

Rio Texas Conference asking for Early Response Teams
The Rio Texas Conference is asking for Early Response Teams (ERTs) that are currently certified. Teams will base out of Corpus Christi and should register at ERT trained individuals/small groups not part of a team should register at Current needs include debris removal of downed trees and roof tarping. Many homes have water damage from damaged windows and roofs.

Retired Virginia elder shares commentary on sermons
What is God speaking through the pulpit? The Rev. Larry Buxton, a United Methodist clergy coach and retired pastor, writes about how to be active listeners and get the most impact from a sermon in a commentary on The United Methodist Church website. More…

Registration open for Fall 2017 Diaconate Retreat
The current realities in social, cultural and political lives are calling for more compassion and justice. For such a time as this, there is the diaconate. This retreat, held October 3-4, 2017 at the Eagle Eyrie Retreat Center in Lynchburg, will be a time of renewing baptismal and ordination vows as participants strive for and lead the church in compassion and justice. This event is open to all deacons (ordained and provisional) as well as inquiring or certified candidates. 
Retreat leader will be the Rev. Dr. Virginia Lee, Associate Professor of Christian Education and Director of Deacon Studies at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, and an ordained deacon in the Virginia Conference.
Event will begin 10 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 3 and conclude at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 4. Registration fee is $150 per person which includes all meals and lodging in a double room.
For questions, contact the Rev. Kelley Lane at More…

World Communion Sunday is Oct.1
Get ready for World Communion Sunday on Oct. 1 with a free, downloadable kit for pastors and leaders from United Methodist Communications. It includes preaching helps, social media assets, videos, infographics, posters and more. Join with millions of brothers and sisters in a celebration of communion and generosity that will provide scholarships to students in the United States and around the world. More…

Join in conversation on John Wesley’s theology of grace
Wesley Theological Seminary invites you to be part of the conversation at The Wesleyan Political Theology Project Conference, hosted at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., Oct. 26-27, 2017.
 The Wesleyan Political Theology Project is an effort to explore the social repercussions of John Wesley’s theology of grace. Historians, ethicists, theologians and others involved in politics and government will speak on what can be gleaned from the Wesleyan heritage to inform a contemporary Wesleyan political voice. More...

COB president appeals for prayers, disaster relief support
Council of Bishops President Bishop Bruce R. Ough is urging all United Methodists to pray and offer support to the victims of the flooding in the Gulf Coast and the mudslides in Sierra Leone. More…

Churchgoers stand with immigrant 'dreamers'
United Methodists are adding their voices to others calling for Congress to act on behalf of unauthorized immigrants who came to the United States as children. Specifically, they are seeking ways for “dreamers” to remain in the United States, continue contributing to their communities and be on the pathway to citizenship. More…

Abingdon pulls Clinton devotional book
The United Methodist author of a book of devotionals sent during the 2016 presidential campaign to Hillary Rodham Clinton has apologized after the publisher’s review following an earlier plagiarism concern showed other unattributed content. More…

Living together well is hard, but possible
Five leaders talk about how United Methodists can lead in living together well in an increasingly diverse world in an Interpreter story. More…

♦ Goodson Preaching Academy- Oct. 3, 2017
Registration has been extended to Sept. 15 is now open for “Stir up the gift: Fan into flame the gift of God,” a one-day preaching enrichment experience, Tuesday, Oct. 3 at Aldersgate UMC, Charlottesville, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Cost is $35 by Sept. 1 and $45 after Sept. 1. Course is worth 0.5 CEU. Dr. Teresa Fry Brown, guest presenter, will give two talks on effective sermon preparation and delivery and preach the closing worship service. Register via the conference website by going to Calendar and then to Oct. 3. For questions, email

♦ 5 Talent Academy- Oct. 19, 2017
Registration is now open for the 5 Talent Oct. 19 event, "How to Structure your Church for Evangelism" with Jacob Armstrong. Armstrong will lead the event in exploring key principles for evangelism in local church including crafting a vision that fits your mission field, rethinking worship and leadership development and structure. The event will be streamed to locations across the conference. Gather a team from your church to take part. Early bird pricing as well as team discounts are available. Visit link for more information and to register. More...

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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