2021 e-Advocate logo
To submit news items, events, or corrections, email the conference Director of Communications at [email protected].

May 4, 2021

Take part in the Conference Vision this week:

"to be disciples of Jesus Christ who are lifelong learners who influence others to serve."

new succulent
  • How can you be a lifelong learner this week?

Learn how one church has been making use of a drone to visit church members at home during the pandemic. Learn about Just Say Hi, the drone drop-in program...
  • How can you be an influencer this week?

The General Board of Global Ministries is bringing back their virtual Mission Discovery Events in June. Register for a two-hour gathering to learn more about volunteer opportunities in the U.S. and around the world. Learn more...

  • How can you serve this week?

Global Ministries and UMCOR continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic through health and humanitarian efforts. United Methodists are supporting communities around the world with information campaigns, medical equipment, hygiene kits, and supplies to meet basic human needs. As cases surge in places like India and Brazil, the response and commitment to alleviate the suffering brought on by COVID-19 remains. Make a gift today to the UMCOR COVID-19 Response Fund...

Virginia News

audio advocate logo reduced

Take a listen to "The Audio Advocate" podcast

Take a listen to "The Audio Advocate," a new podcast from the Connectional Ministries Office which will share conference news on a monthly basis. The featured interview of the May 3 episode is district alignment. Take a listen on Spotify, Apple, or through the audio player on the conference website.

Find other podcasts from the Connectional Ministries Office including 1,000 Question Christian at: https://vaumc.org/digitalhub/
giving day umfs

Join UMFS TOMORROW for Giving Day for Foster Care

Tomorrow is a community opportunity to come together and to show support for the children and teens in foster care at United Methodist Family Services (UMFS).

Your donation will provide emergency clothing for a child who enters foster care with nothing more than the clothes on their back. Your donation will help provide furniture for their new bedroom. Your donation will help train and prepare their loving new foster parents. Your generosity today will help them have a better tomorrow.

All donations will be matched, dollar for dollar, to double your impact. UMFS board member Karen Walker and her husband Dan Walker will match all donations up to $5,238 (which is $1 for every child in foster care in Virginia). To learn more and make your donation, please visit the UMFS website: www.umfs.org/giving-day/.

UMFS thanks you for your support!

VOY travels to Africa in 2022; interest meeting on May 12 Zoom

Voices of Youth (VOY) is a mission and ministry program of the Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church that gathers youth from across the conference to sing and serve. While the group has not gathered in two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there are plans for a trip in Fall 2022 when VOY will travel to Africa University. VOY will include current students and alumni of VOY. The trip will be in late September, early October of 2022. Final travel costs, logistics, and arrangements will be determined based on the number of participants. The plan for this trip is to include opportunities to learn about Africa University, its students and impacts for the African continent, and special events to learn about Zimbabwe. This trip to Africa University will also launch a four-year partnership between Africa University and the Virginia Conference called Usahwira. Usahwira (YOU-suh-we-rah) in the Shona language means a “beautiful friendship.” Learn more...

Learn more about Africa University and Voices of Youth 2022 for an interest meeting on Wednesday, May 12 at 10 a.m. Contact [email protected] to get Zoom info.
BANNER Wesley Class of 2020 - 2021 Commencement

Celebrate with the VA Conference Wesley Theological Seminary graduates

Congratulations to the Virginia Conference Graduates of Wesley Theological Seminary Class of 2021!

Wesley congratulates all their Class of 2021 members of the Virginia Conference who will receive their degrees in a socially-distanced commencement 2021 graduation ceremony, to be held at 2 p.m. EDT, Monday, May 10, 2021, at the Washington National Cathedral in Washington, DC.

Shelly L Ballard
Robert Taylor Bradshaw
Hannah Marie Godfrey
Marcela Mosquera Jarman
Thomas H. Lyons
Katherine Carson Phillips
Susan Marie Pullin

All are invited to view the commencement via live-stream at: https://youtu.be/ODe9lXfKo1M commencing at 2 p.m., May 10. The graduating Class of 2021 will be joined by Wesley graduates of the Class of 2020, who were only able to have an online ceremony in May 2020 due to the pandemic. May God's richest blessings be with Virginia Conference graduates as they continue into roles of Christian leadership for the church and the transformation of the world.
loans and scholarships

GBHEM offers student loans

Need a student loan? The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) offers loans for United Methodist students. GBHEM will walk beside you through every step of the application, payment, and loan management process. The UM Student Fall 2021 Loan application opens on May 13, 2021, and closes on October 14, 2021. For more information...
focus 2020 event

Virginia FOCUS hosting May event

Virginia FOCUS Initiative invites you to "Minding your Spiritual Business and Sacred Duties," a virtual event on May 22, 2021, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Virginia FOCUS Initiative is hosting a group of speakers to share their vision for the church as we move into the next decade. Featured speakers are:
• Dr. Candace Lewis
• Brennen Boose
• Jazmine Smith
• and Dr. Dana Lyles

In addition to the speakers, there will be Master Classes, virtual booths, and opportunities to network. There is no cost for participants. For more information, see the website (https://vaumc.org/vfi/) or contact Dwayne Stinson at [email protected]. To register, click here.
ac 2018 mission musicians

Musicians needed for Annual Conference 2021

Gerald Lee Ricks, the Worship Leader for Annual Conference 2021, is asking for musicians, virtually and in-person, for the two-day event. Specifically needed are:

  • Acoustic Guitarist
  • Electric Guitarist
  • Alto
  • Bass
  • Soprano, and
  • Pipe organist
To share your interest in these positions, please email [email protected]. You can learn more about Ricks at the link.
resource hub

Join resourcing Facebook group for church communications, technology

You are invited to join the Virginia Conference Resource Hub. This page has been created by the conference Board of Communications and the conference Communications Office. The goal is to provide a space to share information and resources about various topics related to church communications, technology, discipleship, and more. This is a place where those who have questions and those with experience and answers can collaborate, assist, and equip one another. Every week, as part of #TopicTuesday, a new discussion is started in the group. Topics so far have included video editing, streaming providers, and more. Join group...
PRG Promo main

Updates shared about ministry post-pandemic

What is ministry going to look like as we move out of the pandemic? A live webinar event hosted by the Back to In-person Worship Work Group (led by the Rev. Alex Joyner) and Mission and Ministries Work Group (led by the Rev. Doug Forrester) on Monday, April 26, 2021, shared more information including a progress report and other developments.

You can access the recording at the Virginia Conference Facebook page (www.facebook.com/vaumconf) on the conference YouTube page.

A news release also went out today, April 27, detailing more information. Find this information, a schedule of upcoming learning opportunities, and the updated Technical Assistance Manual (TAM) at https://vaumc.org/prg/.

Upcoming listening posts about district alignment

Bishop Lewis formed a work team in May 2020, after being asked by the conference Council on Finance and Administration (CFA) to evaluate the Virginia Conference’s district structure, to consider this important question: “How can districts most effectively order themselves for the adaptive challenges of the 21st century?”

If you haven’t already heard about the work of the District Alignment Team (DAT), you are encouraged to go to www.vaumc.org/dat and view all the resources including the first video from February 8, 2021 with Bishop Lewis and the most recent video from April 5 concerning the position of district developers.

The District Alignment Team (DAT) and the subsequent team called the Implementation District Alignment Team (iDAT) have been diligently deliberating the question posed by Bishop Lewis over the last 12 months. The teams are now inviting all clergy and laity in the Virginia Conference to two opportunities to learn more about district alignment and take part in this ongoing conversation.

A second listening session will be held Monday, May 17 from 6:30-8 p.m. The session will be held through Zoom with registration. Visit this link to register.

The listening session will begin with a short update on the efforts thus far, a few discussion questions, and a period of Q&A. Recordings of both sessions will be shared following the May 17 listening session.
To view current district alignment information and resources, visit www.vaumc.org/dat.
save the date clergy session 2021

Save the Date: 2021 Clergy Session

The Center for Clergy Excellence is preparing for the virtual Clergy Session on June 10, 2021, 10 a.m. to 12 noon, via Zoom video conference. The session will be open to participants at 9:30 a.m. The proceedings will begin promptly at 10 a.m. All clergy participating in the session will have their voice/vote taken into consideration. Clergy will receive registration information in the coming weeks. If you have any questions, please contact [email protected].
Reigniting Our Call (1) (1)

Clergy encouraged to reignite the call

For the past year, there has been a relentless pace to ministry. Despite the extraordinary amount of work needed to be done, Jesus taught his disciples to find a sustainable pace of work and time apart. When his energy was depleted, Jesus would find time to go apart, to rest, to sleep, to pray, to relax with friends and family, and this is what he modeled and taught his disciples.

In this joint letter from Bishop Lewis, the Virginia Cabinet, and the Center for Clergy Excellence, learn more about the three distinct ways these entities want to help clergy to survive and even thrive during these days which includes a specific Day Apart for Renewal on May 24. Learn more...

Send in care packages now for 2021 All God's Children Camp

Although All God's Children Camp will be canceled this summer, the camp leaders will be reaching out and ministering with their camp families by sending resources and care packages. If you would like to get involved check out the list below.

Care Package List: All packages are due by June 1
  • Jump rope
  • Hand size Nerf ball of your choice
  • Sidewalk chalk
  • Crayons
  • Activity paper/construction paper
  • Kids puzzle book/workbook/coloring books
  • Individual size snacks of your choice-no chocolate candy or peanuts
  • $25 grocery gift card

    You or a group of people can put together one or more care packages for the All God's Children Camp campers. You may also send monetary donations to the address below to help support this ministry. If you live in the Richmond area, contact Lori Smith at [email protected] to make arrangements for delivery. If you live outside the Richmond area, please mail care packages to:

    Virginia United Methodist Conference Center
    All God's Children Camp
    10330 Staples Mill Rd.
    Glen Allen, VA 23060
tumcu logo

Deadline for PPP loans extended until May 31, 2021

The United Methodist Credit Union (TUMCU) is proud to have helped hundreds of United Methodist churches and related organizations receive critical funding through the SBA's Paycheck Protection Program. So many churches and faith-based organizations are struggling to keep their doors open and their ministries alive - and this program can help. TUMCU is ready to assist members in securing these forgivable loans as quickly as possible. Because of the extended timeframe of the COVID-19 pandemic, the SBA is sponsoring another round of PPP funding, and TUMCU would like to assist as many ministries as it can. To this end, TUMCU has just opened the online portal to these new PPP funds and ask that you share this information with a trustee, finance committee member, pastor, or COM chair at your church. Since some of the rules have changed since the first round of loans (including some eligibility changes), please check out their PPP information page. The deadline for new applications to the
Payroll Protection Program (PPP) has now been extended until May 31, 2021.
wesley merit scholarship

Wesley Merit Scholarships make seminary affordable; application deadline June 1

It’s not too late to apply to Wesley Theological Seminary. It’s been a difficult year – but now, more than ever, Wesley believes God is calling people to lead change in the world and the church. Wesley is there to journey with and equip students to accept that call, with classes and community in the format they need.

Move to their residential campus in Washington, DC, or remain in your own context with online and hybrid courses. In either format, you can engage the unique context of faith and life in Washington, DC as well as Wesley’s diverse community and worship through weekly in-person and online activities as well as during Wesley Community Days, community-wide celebrations two to three times per semester. Get the education you want in the format you need. To be considered for merit scholarships, apply by June 1. More information and to apply...
wesley seminary

Wesley Theological Seminary All-Online Summer Term Course Registration Is Now Open!

Plan your summer with Wesley. Their all-online Summer Term course will enable you to study this summer safely and from wherever you may be! Just a few of this summer's course offerings:
  • Biblical Storytelling - Dr. Tracy Radosevic
  • The Church and the Civil Rights Movement - Dr. C. Anthony Hunt
  • Spirituality and Ecojustice - Dr. Beth Norcross
  • Church Finances - Dr. Lovett Weems
  • Music and the Civil Rights Movement - Dr. Carolyn Rosen
  • Social Justice in Cinema - Dr. Dawn Cooper Barnes
  • Introduction to Disability & Deaf Ministry - The Rev. Leo Yates
Register early to avoid disappointment - classes fill up quickly! Registration closes for degree, non-degree and certificate courses May 21 . Learn more...

Where to find the latest Annual Conference news

As more information becomes available, clergy and lay members to Annual Conference can find resources and more at the conference website.

General Church News

cob zoom

Bishops: No episcopal elections until 2022

UNITED METHODIST NEWS--The Council of Bishops held fast to its plans to delay electing any new leaders until after the postponed General Conference, despite some delegates’ calls for elections this year.

However, the council also rescinded its earlier recommendation that no new U.S. bishops be elected until 2024 and opened the door for episcopal elections in November 2022.

The bishops called for U.S. jurisdictional conferences to be held Nov. 2-4, 2022, “for the purpose of electing bishops and members of our general agencies,” said Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey, the Council of Bishops president.

“The Council of Bishops strongly encourages consideration of mission, context, resources and future impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and potential changes in The United Methodist Church in making decisions about the number of bishops to be elected,” she added.

Harvey, who also leads the Louisiana Conference, reported the bishops’ decisions April 30 near the conclusion of the council’s online spring meeting. The bishops’ five-day meeting took place mostly out of public view. Read more...
wca gathering 2021

WCA plans new denomination

UNITED METHODIST NEWS--The Wesleyan Covenant Association (WCA) met in person and online April 30-May 1, continuing to plan for a new, traditionalist Methodist denomination and passing a resolution criticizing three United Methodist bishops for recent appointment-making decisions.

Many at the WCA’s fifth Global Gathering were clearly excited at the prospect of leaving the big tent of The United Methodist Church for a denomination they say will stress evangelism, scriptural authority, historic Methodist practices and a traditional understanding of marriage as between one man and one woman.

But the meeting, held at Frazer Memorial United Methodist Church in Montgomery, also had an air of frustration. COVID-19 has pushed back to 2022 the United Methodist General Conference at which a proposed separation will be considered.

“I get discouraged at times,” the Rev. Keith Boyette, WCA president, said during his May 1 address. “But I’ve learned God does amazing work while we’re waiting.”

The WCA formed in 2016, and while strongly aligned with older traditionalist groups in The United Methodist Church, such as Good News and the Confessing Movement, it has become the incubator for a planned new denomination recently given the name Global Methodist Church. Read more...
digital worship

What approach to digital worship is best for your church?

LEWIS CENTER FOR CHURCH LEADERSHIP--Churches most commonly use one of two basic platforms for digital worship. Some use a broadcasting platform to deliver prerecorded video worship or to livestream a worship experience. Others offer worship through a video conferencing platform such as Zoom, Google Meetings, or Skype. Neither of these approaches is inherently better than the other. There are wonderful examples of congregations that use each very effectively, and also examples of each being used not so well. Each has its own logic, possibilities, and limitations that must be considered in deciding which is right in your setting. Read more...
okconf covid

Korean, Native faithful join to fight virus

UNITED METHODIST NEWS-- When the National Network of Korean United Methodist Women connected with the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference, few anticipated the spirit of generosity that would result. Wondering how COVID-19 had affected the conference and how the network might help, Sung-Ok Lee, UMW connectional officer, approached the Rev. David Wilson, assistant to the bishop. The Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference includes 81 Indian United Methodist churches representing more than 45 tribes in Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas. “I shared the need of basic necessities of winter items that included socks, stocking caps, scarves, cloth masks, sanitizer and water bottles,” Wilson said. “(Lee) shared the information with the network, and within a few weeks, the items began to arrive at our office in Oklahoma City. We received boxes of these items, along with an order of 6,000 cloth masks, donated by the Chang Corporation through this network.” Among the contributions was a check for $8,000, used to purchase gift cards and other items for children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Native Americans in the United States have the highest rate of chronic disease among all ethnic groups in the country. “This means,” Wilson said, “that more indigenous people are at higher risk for severe outcomes when it comes to COVID-19. In addition, Native people are 1.4 times more likely to catch COVID-19 than their white counterparts.” Read more...

One Last Word

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me!
great are you lord

Please send any issues or concerns to [email protected]. If you have issues with the formatting trying to forward (especially in Outlook), you can use the following link. More...
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