April-May, 2018                                                                                                       Volume 19, Issue 4

President's Message - Andrew Kissell
Love One Another
Christians should be appalled by the lack of grace and humility exhibited during the heated debates of today.  As a result, many of us have come to avoid confrontation altogether, tolerating bad behavior, not responding to outrageous verbal assaults,  and fearful that anger will escalate to violence.  Social critic Oz Guinness in his book "The Case for Civility" believes that civil discourse has largely disappeared in America simply because we don't know or care how to do it.   Many of us are so exhausted and have lost so much hope that we are pleased that our children are joining in our causes, or even for us. 
Presbyterian theologian Francis  Schaeffer in "The Mark of the Christian" sees a solution in Jesus' words from John 13:34 (NIV) -- "A new command I give you: Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another."-- in how we speak, the way we apologize, and in our willingness to forgive.  Jesus has made it clear through his commandment that our inner peace, our compassion for others, and our conduct matter more than the outcome of any argument. Relationships matter. Our own forgiveness depends on how well we forgive others. Trust and respect are earned, not granted.  
Too often I am reminded that one of my biggest sins is to speak before thinking.  It's what comes out of our mouths that is unholy,  not what goes in! (see Matthew 15:11). I am blessed to have brothers and sisters in Christ (some that suffer from a similar weakness) who are willing to accept my apologies and quickly forgive! 

October 26 will mark a 'New Day' for Virginia UMMen
That's when we'll gather for the 2018 Spiritual Advance 
On October 26th a 
New Day will be born 
An all-New Setting on the beautiful shore of Virginia Beach - and - a refreshing new program  format.

BIG  change this year ... spouses are invited and encouraged to attend and become an integral part of the 2018 Spiritual Advance. And as an added bonus, 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. 

2018 venue is Baylake UMC 
Interest and excitement is beginning to build for the
October 26-27 ,   Virginia United
Virginia Beach sunset
Methodist Men's 2018 main event
,  the  40th Annual Spiritual Advance  being held at  Baylake United Methodist Church in Virginia Beach,
Friday and Saturday. The event begins on Friday morning for those playing golf; the Spiritual Advance scheduled program gets started at 6 pm.
Ocean View Golf Course
Ocean View Golf Course
We'll see another New Day on Saturday when the Advance program resumes at
am, and running until 9  pm Sunday worship service at Baylake UMC for those remaining overnight.
Also New this year, there'll be more free time for what is planned to be a family weekend for men and their wives and
Virginia Beach Hotel & Conference Center
kids, too, to walk the beach, shopping and dining or wherever your inclination and imagination takes you.
Complete details will be coming your way in the June-July issue of The BEACON. There, you'll have everything you need to make plans to be in Virginia Beach on October 26 and 27. Each day of the Spiritual Advance, will be a New Day, that you'll surely want to add to your "book of memories."

Rise up, men!  We look forward to seeing you and your family in October.
Pay attention to men's ministry
Bishop Swanson addresses conference presidents
  Bishop James E. Swanson, Sr. - Featured Speaker
"The Church is at a crossroad and it needs to address the "gender gap."  That's what Mississippi Conference Bishop   James Sr.  told a February 2018 meeting of the nation's UMMen conference presidents.  

"The fact is that since the 1950s men show increasingly less interest in the church has led a few pastors to a logical conclusion: men's ministry needs bolstering," said Swanson.
Congregation Gender Gap
Congregation Gender Gap
"But, when a LEADERSHIP survey asked where churches should place their ministry  
emphasis on reaching men, on reaching women, or on reaching both men and women, 80  percent of the respondents suggested putting equal emphasis on reaching both men and  women. " We must intentionally build ministries that reach out to men ." 
Bishop Swanson, our featured speaker, will deliver three direct-from-the-heart messages that are sure to be rousing words of clarity and wisdom expressly tailored for men's itching ears
Gregory Koukl - Guest Speaker
In  The Story of Reality , bestselling author and host of  Stand to Reason Gregory Koukl , explains the five words that form the narrative backbone of the Christian story. He identifies the most important things that happen in the story in the order they take place:
1. God              2. Man            3. Jesus          4. Cross          5. Resurrection
As a Christian, do you know and understand the biblical story? And for those still seeking answers to the questions of life, this is an invitation to hear a story that explains the world in a way nothing else will. This story can change your life forever.
Koukl 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."
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. Plan to meet and  hear him speak .
Rev. Gregory B. West - Workshop Leader
The Rev. Greg West is a 1992 graduate of Old Dominion University and 1999 graduate of Asbury Theological Seminary where he earned his M.Div. and a began serving in the Virginia Conference.  After graduation from ATS, he served as pastor Stokesland UMC on the Danville District for three years. From there West was appointed to start a new church in Suffolk, Grace Harbor UMC where he served for eight years. 
Since 2010 Greg has served both as the Chaplain at Virginia Wesleyan University and as an Evangelist in the Virginia Conference. Greg is passionate about small group ministry seeing this as a front line for both evangelism and discipleship.  He leads teams from the University and churches to Nicaragua each year partnering with the Church in Latin America.
In October, Rev. West will lead a session on small group ministry titled "The Method of Jesus, The Method of the Method of Methodists."
Greg and wife Eileen have been married 23 years. They have three children, Josiah 18, Evie 15 and Luke 14.
What will UMMen's future look like?
All things are possible with God ... faith and prayer 
Just for heck-of-it, let's think of this message a sequel to the February issue of
The BEACON announcement of the  2018 UMMen Stakeholder Fund Campaign . That story about the  first-ever full-fledged fundraising campaign to help underwrite operating expenses of the Virginia Conference United Methodist Men. Please be sure to read the History of How and Why  we are where we are today. Now, let's take a look at what has happened since that February meeting.

During the May 5, 2018, meeting, the Virginia Conference UMMen Cabinet made a change to our 2018 projected expense that was characterized by a $4,800 cut from $16,620 to $11,820, a whopping 29% reduction.
Here's a summary of what was trimmed from projected expenses:
* 2018 Spiritual Advance promotion, $4,000 to $500
* NACP and SEJUMM dues, $1,200 to $600
* Annual Conference Breakfast, $600 to $0
* Office Supplies, $100 to $0
We were inspired to make these changes through prayer and a free-wheeling discussion guided by our faith that a successful 2018 can be happen! The largest decrease, $3,500 in Spiritual Advance promotion came about by preparing a cost-saving production strategy. Instead of outsourcing the project, all production will be accomplished in-house. In addition, 80% of the scheduled postage expense was eliminated!
Lots of work is yet to be done between now and October if we are to be successful. And with your help, we will be! Looking back at the May Cabinet meeting, it turns out that we put together an informal three-step approach. It looks like this: First, the 2018 UMMen Stakeholder Fund Campaign must be successful so that we can pay-as-we-go. Second, we must build a continuing interest among UMMen and their families to attend the Spiritual Advance; all of us have a stake in assuring the longevity of the men's movementin Virginia. Third, the Spiritual Advance must be a well-attended event in order to replenish what was spent up to the October event and to end-up the year with some cash in the bank to continue meeting our historical obligations and goals in ministry and mission.
By day's end, the consensus among Cabinet members was, "There is no alternative to success; all things are possible with God."   
2018 Projected Expenses $11,820

Revised May 5, 2018

Please say, "YES, I want to be a 2018 UM Men Stakeholder."
Scouting BSA
New name effective February 1, 2019

Beginning February. 1, 2019, the scouting program for 11-17 year-old boys and girls will be called Scouts BSA. There will be no change in the name of Cub Scouts, and the Venturing program, which already includes both genders.
Just as before, boys and girls who are part of Scouts BSA will be known as Scouts; they will earn merit badges, go camping, and work toward the Eagle Scout Award.  
"BSA has experienced several changes in its membership standards over the last few years," said Larry Coppock, director of scouting ministries for the General Commission on UM Men. "While changes naturally bring both opportunity and controversy, the UMC has continued its mission to make disciples through Scouting ministry as an option for children and youth."
Larry notes that the decision to include girls in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts expands the pool of candidates for ministry outreach and evangelism.

Be a Volunteer at the Annual Conference
Greeters and Ushers needed

Come join in the mission and ministry of the Annual Conference. It promises to be a weekend full of worship, service, fellowship, and friendship. Volunteers living out our faith in service are key to its success!
Annual Conference time is just around the corner, your help is needed, so please get your name on the list soon.
To get your name on the list, please email Rev. Max Blalock at mwblalock@wm.edu or use this convenient sign-up link.

Upcoming Dates to Remember
United Methodist Men in Ministry
JUN 15-17        2018 Virginia Annual Conference
                             Convention Center, Hampton, VA
             Volunteers for Greeters and Ushers
                 Sign-up Here
JUN 16              UMMen Annual Breakfast Meeting
                             Details to follow
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

OCT 6                UMMen Cabinet Meeting
                            United Methodist Center, Glen Allen, VA 

Oct 26-27           2018 UMMen Spiritual Advance         
                              Baylake UMC (Elizabeth River District
4300 Shore Drive, Virginia Beach, VA
       (Registration opens in June)

Occurring         2018 UM MEN Stakeholder Fund  Campaign
Now                          Please say, "YES, I want to be a 
     UM Men  Stakeholder!"
Words to Live By . . .
Tribute to Mothers Everywhere

"She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come.

"She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue."
                     Proverbs 31:25-26  (NIV )
Mothers ,
We hope this virtual bouquet of roses reminds you of our unending love and prayers for you.
Happy Mother's Day!
             VAConference United Methodist Men