In this issue . . .
    • Preliminary details on the 2018 Spiritual Advance
    • 2018 UM Men Stakeholder Campaign
    • Cabinet officer nominations
    • GCUMM bi-monthly email letter
February 14, 2018                                                                                                  Volume 19, Issue 2 

President's Message - Andrew Kissell
As your President I'm frequently frustrated in my efforts to help build God's kingdom, but I try not to get discouraged.  Paul, a model of persistence, says it this way, "We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed" (2 Corinthians 4:8-9 ESV). The Wesleyan Building Brothers (WBB) process teaches us to look at challenges as  opportunities , and that's not just semantics, it's an
attitude about service. 
Speaking of opportunities coming our way in this New Year, there are many. First off, the Commission on a Way Forward (re: human sexuality) has presented the Council of Bishops with three alternatives that provide as much unity as possible, put each church's mission in context and respects our differences.
The Southeast Jurisdiction UM Men, comprised of 15 conferences of the UMC, has launched a YoungER Men's Ministry ; and the Virginia Conference Wesleyan Building Brothers will lead an effort to mentor these Gen Xers, Millennials, and Gen Z's here at home. 
Our first spiritual weekend, that follows the South Carolina Conference model, kicks off on October 26 and 27 in Virginia Beach. Organized under the theme Go and make Disciples, the details of the 2018 Spiritual Advance follow below. 
In addition to ongoing Bible Study, the Conference UM Men has added a goal for our Fellowships to engage in Wesley Class Meetings, small transformational groups that are time-tested to be the most effective way to grow disciples of Jesus Christ and are foundational to the Methodist Church.  
Springtime will see Bishop Sharma Lewis, officiating at two Bishop's Scouting Leadership Dinners this on the Richmond and York River Districts (see Date to Remember ). Mark your calendars and come join in the celebration of this family ministry!
We are still challenged by some vacancies on the UMMen cabinet, and at the District level, but if you are ready to test your persistence, and want to be led by the Holy Spirit in building God's kingdom, the opportunity awaits you!
Grace and Peace,

Go ... and make Disciples
October 26-27 in Virginia Beach

Interest and excitement is beginning to build for the Virginia United Methodist Men's 2018 main event, the 40th Annual Spiritual Advance being staged at Baylake United Methodist Church in Virginia Beach, Friday and Saturday, October 26-27. The event ends at 9 pm Saturday; Sunday worship service at Baylake UMC is optional.
As mentioned in last month's issue of The BEACON, our featured speaker is the widely acclaimed preacher, the Bishop James E. Swanson, Sr.  His background and years of    experience will provide a solid spiritual background for his  messages  relating to this year's theme, Go ... and make Disciples.
 Swanson is resident bishop of the Mississippi Conference and  president of the Board of Directors of the General Commission on  United Methodist Men. He is slated to deliver three messages, and  lead one of the workshops. See the story Become 'the more' in this  issue about Bishop Swanson telling how "we could become better people" during the 12th National Gathering in Indianapolis.
Greg Koukl started out thinking he was too smart to become a Christian and ended up giving his life for the defense of the Christian faith. A central theme of Greg's speaking and writing is that Christianity -- if it's properly understood and properly communicated -- makes the most sense of the world as we find it. Koukl will also be wearing two hats as a guest speaker and workshop leader.
Greg has spoken on more than 70 college and university campuses both in the U.S. and abroad and has hosted his own call-in radio show for 27 years advocating "Christianity worth thinking about." An award-winning writer and best-selling author, he has written seven books, including The Story of Reality--How the World Began, How It Ends, and Everything Important that Happens in Between.
The BIG change this year is that spouses are invited and encouraged to attend and become an integral part of the 2018 Spiritual Advance. There's plenty to see and do in Virginia Beach, a great year-round vacation spot. And by autumn, the temperature will have moderated to a comfortable level. The same goes for the hotel rates, too!
The overall planning for the Spiritual Advance is coming together ... we look to have complete details on the program, prices, recommended eating spots and places to go ready for the next issue of The BEACON.   

2018 UM Men Stakeholder Campaign Begins
We need your help. Our future depends on it!
A little bit of history

In 1908, the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church recognizing the need for an organized men's ministry, authorized Methodist Brotherhoods. The name Methodist Men was adopted in 1942, when the first charters were issued. Since then various forms of organizational structure followed including a name change to United Methodist Men in 1968. During the 1996 General Conference, formation of the General Commission on United Methodist Men (GCUMM) was approved. 
It should be noted that from day-one, by whatever name, the men's movement needed and received financial assistance in meeting their required and stated goals, whether funds came from the Methodist Church, conference, district, local church, or a combination of these. Even the GCUMM received the bulk of its funding from the Church through apportionments, but things were destined to change.
The changing times
Out of necessity the financial support for district leadership teams and church chartered UM Men fellowships changed rather quickly to self-funding through event sponsorships such as golf tournaments, bowl-a-thons, EMS memberships and the like. The GCUMM is a leading example of self-funding that is now 75% of its total budget made possible by on-going funding programs and contributions.
Unlike districts and UM Men's groups who have largely achieved self-funding here in Virginia, the UM Men Cabinet's decision long ago not to compete with them, has limited options to fund its obligations. For now, our only option is through proceeds of the annual Spiritual Advance. See ΒΆ 648. United Methodist Men in The Book of Discipline.
Most readers will recall when the UM Assembly Center in Blackstone closed its doors in 2016, just a few months before the Spiritual Advance was to occur. With the Center's closing, the Cabinet's financial position went kaput!
Here's what's at stake
Your Cabinet's current level of cash in the bank is $3,994. Your Cabinet's obligations -- through the participation of President Andrew Kissell are -- the Virginia Conference, GCUMM, Southeastern Jurisdiction UM Men and the National Association of Conference Presidents.
Add to that our traditionally stated goals in the field of vital MENistry: Your Cabinet should continue its strong presence in, and support for Heart Havens, Camp Rainbow Connection, Disciple Bible Outreach Ministries (Prison Ministry), Society of St. Andrew, Upper Room Living Prayer Center and Virginia Scouting.
After VUMAC was boarded-up we were for the most part able to meet our required obligations for the remainder of 2016 and throughout 2017, but support for our stated goals declined. Unquestionably, there is much at stake! To paraphrase a 1995 response from the Apollo 13 crew, "Virginia Conference, we have a problem."
The bottom line
Obviously, our cash position of $3,996 falls well short of funding the obligations listed above, as well as the 2018 Spiritual Advance planning and program expenses. So the need to launch a fundraising campaign, now, is essential. Accordingly, during the February 3, 2018, meeting of Virginia Conference United Methodist Men Cabinet, a fundraising plan (see chart) was approved, a plan that is key to generating resources to produce the 2018 Spiritual Advance, and a solid footing on which to re-set our course to self-funding.
For many years your Cabinet's funding relied exclusively on the proceeds of the annual Spiritual Advance and occasional requests for donations. But now we find the Cabinet in unfamiliar territory having to begin our first-ever full-fledged fundraising campaign.
We need your help - local church UM Men units, District leadership teams, and individuals, too -- in supporting the work of the Cabinet to meet its required obligations and goals in ministry and mission. You'll be making an investment in the future of the Virginia Conference United Methodist Men if you do!
Please say, "YES, I want to be a 2018 UM Men Stakeholder."
Become 'the more'
God gave us the capacity to adapt and grow 
We could become better people if we would be willing to drop old habits, attitudes and values, said Bishop James E. Swanson Sr.
We can't expect others to change if we are not willing to change, Bishop James Swanson tells those attending the 12th National Gathering.
"The genius of God is not that God was able to create humanity, but that God created us with the capacity to adapt and grow into someone even better than what God originally created," the bishop told more than 600 people attending the 12th National Gathering of UM Men.
Now in his second term as president of the General Commission on UM Men, Swanson said, "It is a disservice to expect change in others with no commitment to change oneself." But, he noted, while it is easy to expect others to change, it is far more difficult for us to change because we fear the grief that comes from losing the familiar.
"Sometimes you refuse to change because we know the 'new you' will demand more out of you. And you are not at the point where you are willing to 'up your game'."
At the conclusion of his July 7 address, the bishop gave the assembly a promise, "Even when we think God is unwilling to have contact with us, God doesn't disown us. And it won't happen. You are still here."

Credit: UMM Magazine, Fall 2017 edition
Cabinet recommends four Officers for nomination
4 Down ... 2-to-Go
During the February 3, 2018, meeting of the Virginia Conference United Methodist Men Cabinet, the Nominating Committee recommended the following names to the Cabinet to serve in the offices listed. In a unanimous vote the names were accepted and will be recommended to the Membership for election that will be conducted by email balloting before the June 15-17 Annual Conference.
Nominees for the July 1, 2018-June 30, 2019 Term of Office
President - Andrew Kissell
Andrew has been nominated by the UM Men Cabinet for the 2018-2019 election cycle as President of the Virginia Conference United Methodist Men; this will be his third year of service in that office if elected. Andrew is a member of Community UMC on the Elizabeth River District.  

Vice President, Membership - Vacant
The Cabinet has authorized an extension to May 19, 2018, to receive recommendations from the Membership for this office. The goal is to have a name on the ballot for voting before the June 15-17, 2018 Annual Conference. 
See details below for submitting a name for this office.
Vice President, Spiritual Life - Albert S. Weal, Jr.
Albert has been nominated by the UM Men Cabinet  f or the 2018-2019 election cycle  as Vice President, Spiritual Life of the  Virginia Conference United Methodist Men ; this will be his first year of service in that office if elected. Albert is a member of St. Paul's UMC on the Elizabeth River District.

Chaplain - Vacant
The Cabinet has authorized an extension  to May 19, 2018, to receive recommendations from the Membership for this office. The goal is to have a name on the ballot for voting before the June 15-17, 2018 Annual Conference. 
See details below for submitting a name for this office.

Treasurer - David Bates  
David was nominated by the Um Men Cabinet  f or the 2018-2019 election cycle  of the  Virginia Conference United Methodist Men; this will be his third year of service in that office if elected. David is a member of Cave Spring UMC on the Winchester District.

Secretary - Todd Hoar
Todd was nominated by the UM Men Cabinet f or the 2018-2019 election cycle as Chaplain  of the  Virginia Conference United Methodist Men ; this will be his first year of service in that office if elected. Todd is a member of West Point UMC on the York River District.

If you have questions or would like to discuss either of these  job openings, please contact  President Andrew Kissell  by  email at , or call
  • You may volunteer, or recommend a man whom you deem capable and willing.
  • When recommending a name other than your own for elected office, you must have the individual's prior approval.
  • All elected officers must be members of a Virginia Conference United Methodist Church.
  • Please submit names by May 19, 2018.
This is a wonderful opportunity for a man to step into a Virginia Conference servant leadership position that will provide a deep understanding and appreciation for men's ministries, and experience the spiritual joy of working with Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

General Commission on United Methodist Men
A bimonthly e-mail letter
from agency officers and staff 
to leaders of United Methodist Men

February, 2018

Click here  to view the full newsletter with expanded articles.

Bishop James E. Swanson, Sr says some men think they can drift their way to discipleship, but men can't become disciples without intentional efforts. He quotes Bishop Ernest Fitzgerald: "The people you serve may never rise to the level of your expectations, but they certainly will not rise if you have no expectations."

Bishop Gary Mueller  notes that many of us use Facebook to criticize--even demonize others. He says, "The fact of the matter is that my real first priority needs to be to deal with my own heart and my own callousness to injustice. Moreover, so is yours. Not just in generic terms, but by being willing to name it for what it really is--Sin."

Gil Hanke  had an opportunity to visit with staff and students at The Lydia Patterson Institute. Eighty percent of the students live in Juarez, Mexico, and travel across a footbridge to the Texas school. He says we can all learn from this remarkable UM agency that ministers to a diverse and committed student population.

On June 1,  Larry Coppock  will retire from his post as director of scouting ministries to become the staff executive of Strength for Service, Inc. He celebrates the 16-year SFS relationship with the commission, and attributes much of the success to chartered men's groups and UM churches who raised funds to cover the cost of free book distributions.

The Rev. Rick Vance  invites men  to join him as he returns to his Wesley roots to engage in individual and communal practices of piety and mercy. He suggests practicing these spiritual disciplines will help men grow in their own spiritual lives and serve as a witness to others .

Steve Nailor  encourages churches to renew their charters as units of UM Men and he asks individuals to become EMS members or Legacy Builders. He says the commission raises 75 percent of its annual budget and that percentage may have to increase as the amount received from the general church may decline.

Mark Lubbock  has found leaders of growing UM Men organizations engage in five spiritual practices. He encourages organizations to include younger men in planning future activities. "It is not a 'build-it-and-they-will-come approach', but rather an 'empower-them-to-build-their-own process'."  

Jim Boesch says some people get discouraged when their hopes and dreams for the future don't work out. He encourages men to listen to Jeremiah and know God has a plan for them. "God wants us to prosper and not be harmed" (Jeremiah 29:11-13) 
Upcoming Dates to Remember
United Methodist Men in Ministry
FEB                    February is Heart Havens Month  
( entire month)          Contact Sarah 
to  s chedule a  speaker
APR 25             Bishop's Scouting Leadership Dinner
                             St. Marks UMC (Richmond District)
       11551 Lucks Lane, Midlothian, VA
MAY 5                VA Conference UMMen Cabinet Meeting
                             Virginia United Methodist Center
                            10330 Staples Mill Road, Glen Allen, VA                               

MAY 15            Bishop's Scouting Leadership Dinner
                             St. Lukes UMC (York River Disatrict)
                             300 Ella Taylor Road, Yorktown, VA
JUN 15-17         2018 Virginia Annual Conference
                              Convention Center, Hampton, VA
JUN 23-29       
Camp Rainbow Connection         
                               Richard Bland College
                              11301 Johnson Road, Petersburg, VA                               
JUL 21-27          Camp Rainbow Connection         
                              Richard Bland College
11301 Johnson Road, Petersburg, VA

Words to Live By . . .

"No philosophy theory which I have yet come across is a radical improvement on the words of Genesis, that 'in the beginning God made Heaven and Earth.'"
     C.S. Lewis