Next United Methodist Day at General Assembly will be February 6, 2014.
United Methodist Day at the General Assembly
We invite you to join us annually for United Methodist Day at the General Assembly traditionally held on the first Thursday of February. This is our opportunity to help faith communities become empowered to serve as missionaries of justice, as well as the more traditional missionaries of mercy.
United Methodist Day and other avenues of faithful advocacy help us to look beyond mercy ministry to ask: “What caused this problem? What causes hunger? Global warming?” By joining together and establishing relationships with our elected officials, we empower members of our congregations to wonder, “How can I make a difference? How can I be a Good Samaritan in our world to its fullest sense?”
This event gives congregations a vehicle for reaching beyond themselves and introduces them to the Social Principles of The United Methodist Church in a meaningful way.
One of the leading lay servants in the Virginia Conference passed away recently. Elvira Beville Shaw, 93, of Colonial Heights, died on Oct. 3.
Shaw was a member of Highland UMC in Colonial Heights, and served on the conference Board of Church and Society. She was the founder and matriarch of the annual United Methodist Day at the General Assembly, where lay members and clergy spend a few hours at the legislature lobbying state senators and delegates about legislation that is important to United Methodists.
Almost everyone at the State Capitol and legislative office building knew Shaw and sought to dote on her, especially the lawmakers themselves. Freshmen legislators and staff were quickly brought up to speed on who the little old lady was who had such a sharp mind about politics and legislation. “Elvira was a tireless volunteer, a strong community leader and a fierce advocate,” U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., a former governor, said. “She was generous in providing advice and assistance, and helped a lot of us ‘learn the ropes’ in Richmond.”
“Everyone in the General Assembly knew who Elvira was,” said Delegate Kirk Cox, who grew up not far from Shaw in Colonial Heights. “The General Assembly won’t be the same without her.” “Elvira Shaw was the embodiment of what legislative advocacy is all about — relationships,” said Natalie May, current conference coordinator for United Methodist Day. “The rest of us often get frustrated when one visit to the General Assembly doesn’t seem to make a difference. What Elvira knew, what she modeled for the rest of us, was that forming relationships with our elected officials was really the only way to influence policy and social change. No one did this better.”
“From the first year I arrived in the Virginia Conference, Elvira was a spirited companion and guide for me,” said retired Bishop Charlene Kammerer. “She showed me the ropes in a capital city, walked the halls of the House and Senate with me, introduced me personally to her many contacts at the State Capitol, from governors to janitors! Elvira was a thoroughly committed United Methodist who embodied personal and social holiness. She was the epitome of a gracious Southern woman who was able to speak her mind and state her convictions. Elvira was a genius at networking and befriending people of both parties and many caucus groups. She was a loyal member of her congregation, cheerleader and advocate at the sessions of the Virginia Conference, and friend to every bishop she ever met. I learned so much from her and delighted in being in her company on any occasion. Her spirit of good will, civility and advocacy will be missed.”
Born in Dinwiddie County, she was the widow of Lawrence C. Shaw. She is survived by: her son, Ben Shaw and his wife, Nancy of Richmond. A funeral service was held at Highland UMC in Colonial Heights, led by her friends the Rev. Dennis Lipke and the Rev. Dr. Dorothy O’Quinn.
Our 2011 UM Day at General Assembly was held on Feb 3 and nearly 300 attended. Read more about the event at vaumc.org