2021 e-Advocate logo
To submit news items, events, or corrections, email the conference Director of Communications at MadelineWhite@vaumc.org.

June 1, 2021

Take part in the Conference Vision this week:

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

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  • How can you be a lifelong learner this week?

Looking for summer resources for children and youth? A new Summer of Kindness resource will ignite a playful spirit as children and youth of all ages practice and better understand kindness. Grownups can use the six-section curriculum in one week, a month, or all summer long! Learn more...
  • How can you be an influencer this week?

This summer brings the opportunity to do more for children and families, especially considering the challenges of serving the community last summer. Consider providing family fun packs that include books and games for families involved in your feeding ministry. Bring books and fun activities to your local park with a cookout for families and a story hour for kids. Advocate for and partner with summer programs for children in your community like the Boys and Girls Club or the local library. Access to books is the first step in doing more to support literacy in our communities. By engaging families with feeding and literacy opportunities, churches can make sure everyone gets to enjoy the summer months. Get more influencing ideas...
  • How can you serve this week?

Mission Volunteers are individuals or couples (ages 18 and up), who fund themselves seeking long-term partnerships with communities around the world. Mission Volunteer opportunities are diverse and range from working with refugees, children, and youth, serving as a teacher, pastor, camp director, or health care professional. The length of service ranges from two months to more than two years. Learn more from Global Ministries...

Virginia News

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Former Conference Lay Leader Darlene Amon passes away

Darlene Amon, former conference lay leader, died on Thursday, May 27, 2021. She served as the Virginia Conference Lay Leader (1994-2000) and was elected to General Conference every quadrennium since 1992. She served as President of the Southeastern Jurisdiction (SEJ) Annual Conference Lay Leaders and the National President of Annual Conference Lay Leaders. She was the first woman to serve as the National President.

Darlene’s service on the General Conference level included being a Director on General Council on Ministries (GCOM), General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM); the Women’s Division. She was a committed and faithful member of the United Methodist Women where she served as President of the Virginia Conference UMW. She served on the SEJ and Virginia Conference Committee on Episcopacy and as a Trustee at Ferrum College. Darlene was the District Lay Leader for the old Portsmouth District and last year she was the Lay Leader for the Elizabeth River (ER) District. She was on the ER District Board of Missions and District Committee on Ministry.

Mission was Darlene’s love and focus of her ministry. As the Virginia Annual Conference Lay Leader, Darlene, along with her husband Ollie, put many miles on their car as she traveled all over Virginia and the SEJ because she was in high demand as a speaker in local churches and church conferences. Many friends in Virginia, in the SEJ, the General Conference, and around the world will miss Darlene’s leadership. One of her greatest joys was being with her friends she met through her ministry in The United Methodist Church and her mission trips to Russia, China, Africa, and Haiti. Darlene loved her family. Her church family at Monumental UMC in Portsmouth was very dear to her heart.

A funeral was held at Monumental UMC this morning on Tuesday, June 1, 2021. The burial followed at Meadowbrook Memorial Gardens in Suffolk, VA.
order of deacon

The Order of Deacon celebrates 25-year anniversary

This year, the Order of Deacon hits a milestone with its 25th anniversary. Be sure to recognize and celebrate the ways deacons live out their call to Word, Service, Compassion, and Justice. To learn more about deacons and their varied experiences of ministry, the Conference Center for Clergy Excellence shared videos last week on their Facebook page from deacons around the conference.
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Annual Conference offering information shared

The Virginia Annual Conference Offering is another way for us to come together 'United as One' to share hope in this world! This year's goal is to collect $200,000, which will be shared with the Federation of Virginia Food Banks to address food insecurity in the Commonwealth and the conference's overseas missional effort through Partnerships of Hope. Every church in the conference contributing $200 will allow us to reach this goal in sharing the hope of our Lord in this world! Access online giving link...
Learn more about the conference offering with this video...
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Bishop Lewis shares update on conference finances

June 1--Bishop Lewis shared a letter detailing conference finances and steps taken prior to and during the pandemic. Read more...
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PRG Team releases revised TAM

May 29--The PRG team released a revised T.A.M. (Technical Assistance Manual) Phase 3, with minor revisions. The revision provides an opportunity for local churches;
1. to submit an overarching M.A.P. (Mitigation Assistance Plan) for various ministries.
2. to download the Health Acknowledgement Poster that can be edited.


The revised T.A.M can be found on the PRG page www.vaumc.org/prg. Recordings of the Relaunch Webinars, Frequently Asked Questions, and Best Practices are also available on the page.

PRG will continue to support the effort of our churches by providing resources for churches to continue ministry safely and effectively!
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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? In preparation for this transition, the new conference PRG team is hosting a series of four webinars to assist the local church PRG teams. Every Thursday evening, starting on May 13, the conference hosts a Zoom webinar for local churches. Each webinar offers updates on health mitigation guidelines, as local churches establish their PRG groups. The webinars also feature special guests, who offer foundational information for “Relaunch” into the Post-COVID era. The next webinar will be on June 3 about Both/And Hybrid Worship with speaker Jason Moore. 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/.
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Listen to "The Audio Advocate" podcast June 1 episode

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 June 1 episode is clergy self-care. 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/
wesley summer classes

Learn about great CEU opportunities at Wesley in June/July 2021

Wherever you are this summer, take Wesley Theological Seminary with you. Their all-online offering of classes meets CEU requirements, offers enrichment, and can be taken from the comfort and safety of your laptop.

New to Wesley, taking a non-degree course or a returning student or graduate? Please contact Admissions at admissions@wesleyseminary.edu. Find out more information and apply at the link.
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Recording available from district alignment May listening session

The District Alignment Team (DAT) was formed in 2020 with Bishop Lewis to discern, “How can districts most effectively order themselves for the adaptive challenges of the 21st century?” A panel of iDAT (Implementation District Alignment Team) members on Monday, May 17, shared more recommended strategies and pathways for district alignment in the Virginia Conference. This listening session was offered for conference members to ask questions and share valuable feedback as this work continues. To learn more about district alignment, visit www.vaumc.org/DAT.

The May 17 listening session recording is available on YouTube at https://youtu.be/P7NTW0wFlv0.
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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.
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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 learning@vaumc.org.
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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...
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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 JanRivero@vaumc.org.
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...
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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...

General Church News

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Hundreds gather at historic Tulsa church’s prayer wall

RELIGION NEWS SERVICE--Hundreds gathered Monday for an interfaith service dedicating a prayer wall outside historic Vernon African Methodist Episcopal Church in Tulsa’s Greenwood neighborhood on the centennial of the first day of one of the deadliest racist massacres in the nation. National civil rights leaders, including the Revs. Jesse Jackson and William Barber joined multiple local faith leaders offering prayers and remarks outside the church that was under construction and largely destroyed when a white mob descended on the prosperous Black neighborhood in 1921, burning, killing, looting, and leveling a 35-square-block area. Estimates of the death toll range from dozens to 300. Barber, a civil and economic rights activist, said he was “humbled even to stand on this holy ground.” “You can kill the people but you cannot kill the voice of the blood.” Although the church was nearly destroyed in the massacre, parishioners continued to meet in the basement, and it was rebuilt several years later, becoming a symbol of the resilience of Tulsa’s Black community. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2018. Read more...
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College of Bishops of SEJ calls for a special session

The College of Bishops of the Southeastern Jurisdiction (SEJ) of The United Methodist Church, in accordance with ¶521 of the 2016 Book of Discipline, calls for a special session of the jurisdictional conference on July 21, 2021. The meeting will begin at 10 a.m. EST and will be held virtually. The purpose of the special session is to vote on a proposed resolution to unite the Memphis Annual Conference and the Tennessee Annual Conference into the Tennessee-Western Kentucky Conference. Read more...
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Looking to neighbors to fix neighborhoods

UNITED METHODIST NEWS--A simple but game-changing shift in perspective is putting DeAmon Harges at the vanguard of helping neighborhoods rejuvenate. Harges, founder of The Learning Tree and faculty member of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute at DePaul University, is one of five Tom Locke Innovative Leader Award winners. The award, given for the first time this year by the Wesleyan Investive, goes to people “who exemplify innovative spiritual leadership and missionally driven entrepreneurship.” The award is named for Locke, president of Wesleyan Investive and the Texas Methodist Foundation. Wesleyan Investive was formerly known as the United Methodist Development Fund. “It is Tom’s vision that inspired us to create this award in his honor,” said Roland Fernandes, board chair of Wesleyan Investive and chief executive of the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries and United Methodist Committee on Relief. “He saw a critical need for courageous, creative leadership in the church and responded with a spirit of entrepreneurship and financial resources to help identify and embolden those making a difference in our communities.” Each winner will receive $50,000 and be invited to participate in a group project with the other winners. Read more...
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Filipinos join massive pantry movement

UNITED METHODIST NEWS--When one woman began offering free food from a simple wooden cart during COVID-19, she probably never imagined her small act of generosity would grow into a massive community-pantry movement in the Philippines. “Inspired by the simple, seminal, yet noble, act of kindness started by Ana Patricia Non, this movement brings hope to the hopeless,” said Cristina N. Manabat, Harris Memorial College president. “This generates compassion and generosity,” she added. “It inspires, empowers and transforms individuals, families, churches, organizations, groups and communities to do the same.” From Maginhawa Street, Quezon City, Non invited people to take as much food as they needed and to donate whatever they could. “We see it as a timely response to the need of Filipinos, especially those who lost their jobs or means of livelihood, or whose earning capacity has been severely diminished because of the pandemic,” said Liza A. Cortez, executive director of Asuncion A. Perez Memorial Center Inc., a ministry of the Philippines Central Conference. Cortez noted the absence of immediate government assistance. Read more...
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Volcano eruption in Congo hits church, homes

UNITED METHODIST NEWS--The eruption of the Mount Nyiragongo volcano May 22 resulted in the deaths of at least 15 people and left many homes and a United Methodist church buried under lava. Of the people who were killed in the May 22 eruption, nine died in a traffic accident, four died trying to escape from Munzenze central prison, and two others were charred by lava, according to a report by Patrick Muyaya, the minister of Communication and Media for the Democratic Republic of Congo. Many people are missing, possibly including 170 children, the BBC reported, citing UNICEF. Majengo United Methodist Church and the eight blocks around it were damaged, along with more than 100 houses of United Methodist members, according to the Rev. Henry Jean Robert Kasongo Numbize, Goma District superintendent. There were also several cases of theft of United Methodist property in Goma, as local authorities ordered people to evacuate, he said. Pastor Valentin Amsini said Majengo Church had been swept away. The United Methodist congregation had more than 800 members, but with COVID-19, its worship attendance was averaging 350. He said he was convinced that one day the congregation would have another building where the people could pray to God. After sending an alert through United Methodist Communications, Bishop Gabriel Yemba Unda said he thanks everyone for the prayer support and the calls of encouragement that he has received. Bishop Unda oversees the Kivu Annual Conference, which includes Goma. Read more...

One Last Word: Take a Breath

There's only one of you — even in demanding times. Use these tips from United Methodist Communications to exercise self-care. Learn more...
and breathe

Please send any issues or concerns to communications@vaumc.org. If you have issues with the formatting trying to forward (especially in Outlook), you can use the following link. More...
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