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Dear Virginia Mennonite Conference (VMC) youth workers,

As changes occur with conference staffing, we want to keep you up-to-date regarding youth ministry staff and news. Conference Youth Minister Jason Gerlach vacated his position on December 31 to accept a full-time pastorate at Community Mennonite Church. Western Regional Conference Youth Ministers Shaun & Wendy Davis (Hickory, NC) continue in their 1/4-time role which has been renewed through March 31, 2014.

VMC’s Conference Council will be discerning the future shape of conference youth ministry staffing in the upcoming months. The half-time Conference Youth Minister position will remain vacant no later than March 31, 2014. In the meantime, Conference Youth Minister tasks will be met with project-specific interim arrangements. Several VMC youth ministers are available to field youth ministry questions coming into the conference office – so feel free to direct your questions to the Conference or, for those in the Eastern Carolina and T/C/K Districts, to Shaun & Wendy.

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Mark your calendars for these upcoming youth ministry events:

Youth Workers Retreat, January 24-26, at Williamsburg Christian Retreat Center featuring Dr. Almeda Wright. Topic: Embracing an Integrated Spirituality. Watch for more information in November.

Senior High Retreat, February 7-9, at Highland Retreat. Speakers to be confirmed. Topic: Healthy Relationships. Watch for more information in November.

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Resources for Protecting Children and Youth

circle of graceOn July 5, delegates to the Mennonite Church USA convention passed a resolution to protect and nurture our children and youth. The purpose of this resolution is to “raise awareness of child abuse and neglect and to encourage the adoption of policies and practices to protect children and youth in the church and community.” Congregations are encouraged to visit the website for related resources.

Dove’s Nest offers congregational resources such as: sample child and youth protection policies, a guide for safely including persons with a sex offense record, and a link to the Circle of Grace curriculum. Circle of Grace is a church curriculum for grades K-12 which is offered free of charge to Mennonite Church USA congregations, and you can order yours by following the link on the Dove’s Nest website.

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Navigating the financial waters of a college education
A three part video series from Everence

Students need and want a quality college education. With costs on the rise such a dream requires thoughtful preparation and ongoing attention focused on ones goals. Everence in partnership with Lutheran Social Services of MN and the Visual Arts department at Eastern Mennonite University has produced three videos approximately three minutes in length. Each video is available in English and Spanish and addresses a separate stage of the student’s journey and how to manage finances throughout the college experience.

The objective of this project is to encourage conversation between students and parents about best practices for preparing for college and navigating financial decisions up to and past graduation. The desired outcome is for students to be exposed to information regarding the different aspects of financing their education.

The three stages of the college journey addressed are:

  • The Perspective Student: educations costs, how to plan, how much and where to borrow, what to expect
  • The Current Student: knowing where you stand, estimating future payments, how much is owed to whom
  • Graduation and Repayment: payment options, consolidation facts, avoiding delinquent student loans, etc.

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The videos can be viewed here.