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September 2019                                                                                   Volume 20, Issue 6 

President's Message | Andrew Kissell
Preparing for the Storm 
Andrew Kissell President
As Hurricane Dorian approached Hampton Roads, I was reminded of when Jesus dozed in the boat while a storm in the Sea of Galilee began tossing the panicked seafaring disciples about. When Jesus woke up, he calmed the storm and then admonished the disciples (and us) about our lack of faith (trust). Still not understanding that Jesus was God incarnate, the disciples asked, "Who is this guy that the winds and waves obey him?" (Mark 4:35-41).  
Rembrandt van Rijn. Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee, 1633.  
I think it important to note that Jesus had spent the day telling parables to crowds. Parables are considered allegorical because they reveal a lot more than a literal interpretation of the words would. I used to think of parables more as, "if the shoe fits, wear it", but of course there's much more to them than that. When alone with his disciples, Jesus would always explain the meaning behind the parables (Mark 4:33-34). Why did Jesus speak in parables? Jesus had enemies. John the Baptist was imprisoned. And parables apply to every one of us, not just to pagans or Pharisees!
As men of faith we need to become open-minded and open-hearted. Hard hearts won't see or hear the message. Closed minds will not comprehend the message or will reject it. The disciples were of course new to this radical, revolutionary message of following God rather than a bunch of rules, so at first, they didn't understand. But their trust grew and their hearts and minds were opened through the love of Jesus!
Our 2019 Spiritual Advance is built upon this story. Our gathering is:
  • A chance to open our minds and hearts, our eyes and ears, to the Holy Spirit;
  • An opportunity to see the love and light of Christ reflected in our brothers and sisters;
  • The possibility of putting what we learn into practice, truly following Christ;
  • An occasion to celebrate the community of saints and the brotherhood of believers; and
  • A break from worldly storms so we may grow in our trust of the Lord and in his plans for us.  
Hope to see YOU there!
Grace and Peace,

Andrew Kissell, President

2019 Spiritual Advance in Virginia Beach  
Plan to be a Part ... REGISTRATION OPEN  
The 2019 Spiritual Advance with the theme " Transforming  
Grace" is being held at   Baylake United Methodist Church
Interest and excitement continues to build for the 
September 27-28 spiritual weekend.
Spiritual Advance Registration Check-in Hours
Friday, September 27  
Baylake United Methodist Church                 5:00  pm - 8:00  pm
Opening Session begins at 6:00 p.m. sharp!
Saturday, September 28
Baylake United Methodist Church                 7:30  am - 1:30  pm
Morning session begins at 8:00 a.m. sharp!
See more Spiritual Advance details here.
Spiritual Advance Speakers
Engage in Conversation with Renowned Speakers 
Our Featured Speaker is the Rev. Dr. Kevin Watson, Assistant Professor of Wesleyan and Methodist Studies at Candler School of Theology at Emory University. He is author of The Class Meeting: Reclaiming a Forgotten (and Essential) Small Group Experience, a best-selling book about Wesleyan transformational small groups. An ordained elder in the Oklahoma Conference, Dr. Watson was the Bible Study leader at the 2019 Annual Conference.   His Saturday afternoon workshop focuses on "The Class Meeting."
Guest Speaker Odell Horne is the YoungER Men's Ministry Representative for the North Georgia Conference to the Southeast Jurisdiction's team that is working to develop best practices in reaching younger men for Jesus Christ.  Listen to Odell's personal invitation (0:31) to come to the 2019 Spiritual Advance at Baylake UMC, September 27-28.
 Guest Speaker Greg Arnold is deployed staff of the GCUMM.
His topic on Friday night will be "Making Your Impact." He will close our Advance on Saturday evening, speaking on "It's Your Time."
His Saturday afternoon workshop focuses on "Tools For Groups: What 25,430 Men are Saying About Reaching Them." To see more about Greg's  approach to ministry  ...   Live Bold  

Community UMC of Virginia Beach Sponsors 2019 Advance 
Church Sponsorships Develop and Support United Methodist Men 

Brunswick Stew Sales
The Virginia Conference UMM would like to thank the United Methodist Men of Community UMC of Virginia Beach for being a sponsor of the 2019 Spiritual Advance.
The mission of Community UMM is to satisfy men's spiritual need for a deeper relationship with Christ by connecting with each other and church ministries, thereby producing the next generation of spiritual leaders. The men support ministries at Community UMC through donations, awareness-raising, sweat equity, and fundraising such as Brunswick Stew sales.
Disaster Relief Help Needed in North Carolina 
Request from Rev. Bob Pihlcrantz 
Disaster Relief Help
For Swansboro, NC and surrounding areas
Dorian Destruction in NC 
Friends, I received this request from Stephanie Hunt.  If you have a desire to serve in mission in NC for Hurricane Dorian recovery, please help her.  Thanks.  
Rev Bob Pihlcrantz
VAUMC Conference Disaster Relief Coordinator
"I am reaching out to you to express the dire need of volunteers in Swansboro and surrounding areas.  We have over 450 vetted families in my database and they are in need of assistance. I have not opened all areas in my district yet so there will be a plethora of work. More families apply each week and we are trying to find ways to be of service. However, we cannot make this a reality without prayers, volunteers and spreading the word.
Can you reach out to the Virginia Conference and alert the congregants of what's happening on the eastern coast of North Carolina? Teams may contact me directly at stephanie.hunt@nccumc.org
Thank you for your continued support."
Be not just Seekers of the Word, but Doers!

Words to Live By . . .
God's Grace Transforms 
"Christian discipleship, then, is more like an apprenticeship to Jesus Christ than it is about mastering a body of knowledge."
Rev. Dr. Kevin Watson