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

May 18, 2021

Take part in the Conference Vision this week:

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

succulent 1
  • How can you be a lifelong learner this week?

Do you view your church as an organization or a movement? Learn more in this article from the Lewis Center for Church Leadership.
  • How can you be an influencer this week?

May is National Foster Care Month. This is a great opportunity to recognize the more than 5,000 children and teens in foster care in Virginia that need a safe and loving home. Whether you’re a current foster parent, interested in fostering or just want to help spread the word, there are many ways to get involved. Use this toolkit from United Methodist Family Services (UMFS) to spread the word about the immediate need for foster parents on your social media platforms. Be an influencer...

  • 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...
be right back

Notice: no e-Advocate next week

There will be a week hiatus for the weekly e-Advocate newsletter on May 25. The e-Advocate will resume on June 1, 2021.

Virginia News


Conference response to Governor's Order on COVID-19 guidelines

May 15--Since the beginning of this pandemic, the Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church (VAUMC) provided consistent requirements and guidance for local churches to stay safe and continue effective ministries. These requirements and guidelines were compatible with the Governor’s Executive Orders and the advice from the CDC. Learn about how the conference responded to Governor Northam Order from May 14...

What is 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. Currently, the Book of Reports is now available, and you can learn more about the conference offering and Community Cans & Kits collection happening on Saturday, June 19.

All churches in the conference are encouraged to join Community Cans & Kits. You can download this video to share during your church worship and learn more about these two mission opportunities.
PRG Promo main

Learn more about upcoming webinars addressing ministry post-pandemic following recent state, CDC COVID guidance changes

What is ministry going to look like as we move out of the pandemic? Over the next several weeks, webinars will be made available to local churches to learn more. The recording of Relaunch Week 1 is available now.
The Week 1 session covers Nuts and Bolts of PRG and a conversation between Jim Griffith and Paul Nickerson about Relaunch Day. View recording at this link. To evaluate and request CEU credit, go to this link (must attend all four webinars for CEU credit).

The Rev. Seungsoo "RJ" Jun, conference Associate Director of Serving Ministries and PRG Team leader, shared a short update on May 18 following the recent changes in COVID guidance first from the CDC and then Governor Northam on May 14. The conference responded to local churches on May 15.

Dear members of VAUMC,

On behalf of the PRG team, we would like to thank you for your resilience during this time of change and transition. We are working hard to make sure that the resources provided by the PRG team are clear and easy to implement in all churches. However, we understand how the guidance, especially in light of the recent CDC guidance and Governor Northam’s orders, can cause confusion. So, we are making some changes to our plan to better assist our churches.

  1. Revised TAM - We are happy to report that the PRG team is writing the newly revised TAM and we anticipate sharing it with our churches this week. We will keep the conference posted on this development.

  1. Change of schedule to the webinar resources – With all the changes that happened over the weekend, we wanted to offer a Q&A session for the leaders of our church. To allow for this, we cleared out this week’s webinar for the Q&A and pushed Kay Kotan’s session and Jason Moore’s session a week later than the original schedule.
    1. New webinar schedule
May 20th – PRG new announcement Q&A
May 27th – Kay Kotan – Rethink & Reshape/ Ultimate Relaunch Playbook
June 3rd – Jason Moore Both/And Hybrid Worship

2. Registration link for this week’s (May 20th) Relaunch Webinar – limited to 500 participants https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_0EW8WiVESBC4kpN62Gz6ig

Thank you once more for your faithful ministries, and the PRG team is grateful that we are connected for the Kingdom!

In Christ,
Rev. Seungsoo ‘RJ’ Jun

Find more information about in-person worship, a schedule of upcoming learning opportunities, and the updated Technical Assistance Manual (TAM) at https://vaumc.org/prg/.

Personnel Committee for Center for Clergy Excellence shares staffing update

The Personnel Committee of the Center for Clergy Excellence (CCE), a sub-committee of the Board of Ordained Ministry Executive Committee, announced on May 7 that Kristen Dowdy Seibert would be leaving the role of Program and Administrative Coordinator on July 30, 2021. Read more...

Applications will be received through June 1, 2021, for the Administrative Coordinator position. This part-time position will provide administrative support to support the mission of the Center for Clergy Excellence located at the United Methodist Center in Glen Allen. This support will include event planning, communication skills, and office management, all rooted in excellent relational skills. A more detailed job description is available from www.vaumc.org/jobs. To apply, please send your resume and cover letter to Rev. Darcey Johnson at [email protected] by June 1. If you have questions about the position, please contact the Rev. Lindsey Baynham Freeman at the Center for Clergy Excellence at [email protected] or (804) 521-1160.
wesley seminary

Upcoming information from Wesley Seminary for today, May 21

TODAY: Learn About Seminary at Wesley Student Panel, Tuesday, May 18, 2021, 7-8 pm EDT via Zoom

Do you know a church member who is curious about attending seminary? Wesley invites all interested to dialogue with current Wesley students via Zoom on Tuesday, May 18, 2021, 7-8 pm EDT. Learn about seminary life and scholarship opportunities (deadline for Fall start scholarships is June 1, 2021), affording seminary, academic programs, and specializations, juggling studies with the rest of life, and more from those in the process. Register for Zoom access at this link...

Wesley Online Summer Term 2021 registration closes Friday, May 21 - Don't miss great CEU classes

Wherever you are this summer, take Wesley with you! Our all-online offering of classes will meet CEU requirements, offer enrichment, and can be taken from the comfort and safety of your laptop.
Open to non-degree and degree students, our summer classes offer a range of options: short intensive courses are offered while others run through either the early part of Summer or begin in July. Registration ends this week, Friday, May 21 for our early-Summer classes...don't miss out! Contact Admissions at [email protected].
Find more info about summer courses or apply at the link.
audio advocate logo reduced

Listen to "The Audio Advocate" podcast

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. 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/

VOY travels to Africa in 2022

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...

For more information, contact [email protected].

Apply now for financial aid through the VA Conference

The Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church Grants & Loans application for certified candidates and licensed local pastors is now open. This financial aid is for students enrolled in seminary working toward the first professional degree. Application deadlines are July 1 for fall and spring semester grants and October 1 for spring or summer semester grants. Learn more...

Submit application now for the first Servant Sister Scholarship award

Applications are now open for the first Servant Sister Scholarship Award, an award offered in partnership with The Clergywomen's Collective. This scholarship is for women who are certified candidates for ministry and called to the ministry of Word, Order, Sacrament, Service or Word, Service, Compassion & Justice; women who have the potential for creating ministries for a more just world. Applications are due July 1. For more information or to receive an application, contact Jan Rivero at [email protected].
VAUMC Focus Initiative logo

Bishop Lewis announces new direction for Virginia FOCUS Initiative

In a video shared at the beginning of May, Bishop Lewis announced a new direction of Virginia FOCUS Initiative's efforts to strengthen churches of the Virginia Conference through the lens of Black Church leaders. The group was previously known as Virginia FOCUS 2020. View video...

The group also has an upcoming event, "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.
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...
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
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...
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.

General Church News

umc jurisdictions

COB approves episcopal supervision recommendations for SEJ

COUNCIL OF BISHOPS--The Council of Bishops (COB) of The United Methodist Church has approved episcopal supervision recommendations for the Southeastern Jurisdiction (SEJ), due to the retirement of four bishops. The recommendations were made by the SEJ College of Bishops following consultation with the Jurisdictional and respective Annual Conference Committees on Episcopacy. Read more...
billy graham

PBS’ Billy Graham documentary captures preacher’s pull and ambition

RELIGION NEWS SERVICE--How did Billy Graham become the most famous evangelist in America? Does he deserve blame for paving the way for the religious right? How should we see his place in America’s political and spiritual history? The PBS series American Experience explored these questions in a two-hour documentary premiering Monday, May 17, offering an authoritative look at Graham’s life and ministry, from his beginnings as a dairy farmer’s son from Charlotte, North Carolina, to his death in February 2018 at age 99. Read more...

Church and Society launches 'All of Us' Campaign

“I came to the United States when I was 8 years old and my first two years were full of fear… My dream is to be able to see my kids grow up without the fear and anxiety that I did being here in the United States. We should not hesitate to do what is morally right and create a pathway to citizenship for [undocumented immigrants].”
--DACA Recipient and United Methodist Licensed Local Pastor, Cassy Nunez shared her story during a recent press conference with the Interfaith Immigration Coalition

Every day, 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States are at risk. Without a pathway to citizenship, individuals in these communities continue to live under the threat of deportation and family separation. Pastor Nunez's story is not unique. Our advocacy and organizing staff at Church and Society regularly hear stories of fear and anxiety from undocumented community members. The dreams and realities in each story fuel us to continue pushing for relief and justice for our neighbors.

While some hopeful first steps have recently been taken in Congress, there is much work to be done. This is why the All of Us Campaign was launched with National Justice for Our Neighbors last week, calling for federal legislation that provides a pathway to citizenship for all 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. Learn more about immigration to the U.S....
reelfoot rural ministries

Couple “sows the word” with their service and garden

Mission volunteers Lyn and Gene Saltzman are putting their experience with farming to use at Reelfoot Rural Ministries in Tennessee, planting crops and harvesting produce for communities served across four counties. Learn more...
global ministries

Methodists join other Christians in appealing for peace in Jerusalem

In response to recent and continuing violence in Jerusalem, Methodists join other Christians in appealing for peace. Read the statement issued by the World Methodist Council, Global Ministries and the Methodist Church in Britain.

One Last Word

let go of

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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