_e-Advocate logo 6-28-21 (1)
To submit news items, events, or corrections, email the conference Director of Communications at [email protected].

June 29, 2021

Take part in the Conference Vision this week:

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

  • How can you be a lifelong learner this week?

Want to get your family talking? 'Get Them Talking' is a series of resources from United Methodist Communications to help families start conversations about faith during dinner, devotions, or anytime.
Each month, a relevant topic is highlighted with a Bible passage, a short reflection, some starter questions, a prayer, and an activity to help live into what we talk about. Learn more...
  • How can you be an influencer this week?
June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. Take a look at this United Methodist Communications story and how volunteering at a memory care ministry has fulfilled United Methodists in unexpected ways. Being an influencer...
  • How can you serve this week?

Are you interested in serving as a long-term Mission Volunteer. Learn more...

Virginia News

sparkler firework

Notice: July 4th closure for conference center

The conference center in Glen Allen will close at 1 p.m. on Friday, July 2, and remain closed on Monday, July 5 in observance of July 4.

Take part in this year's virtual Mission Encounter

Mission Encounter is a joint effort between Virginia Conference United Methodist Women and conference Serving Ministries, inviting members to be involved in the mission of God.

The event, July 1 to August 5, 2021, is an opportunity to study current issues impacting society based on current social justice and mission-related topics. This year, the event will be all virtual. Participants will join every Thursday at 7 p.m. for six sessions from July 1 to August 5.

The theme is "There’s Far More Here" based on 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. Learn more, register, and access the curriculum at the conference website.

Clergy can now access directory information online

Clergy now have the ability to update their information online using their EVC login and password. You may also opt to submit any updates or corrections to Brenda Capen at [email protected]. Please remember if you are under appointment, your vaumc.org email address will be used in the directory. Retirees may keep their vaumc.org address or use a home email address. Update information...
emmy award

Staff member wins an Emmy award

Please join the conference staff in congratulating and celebrating conference Digital Media Specialist Hunter Bryn. Over the weekend, Bryn received an Emmy for his photojournalism work at NBC12 before he joined the conference Communications staff in October 2020.
vaumc youth

New podcast episode covers youth ministries

VAUMC YOUTH: "Creative youth ministry across the VAUMC" podcast episode is out now. On this episode, learn about how post-pandemic youth ministry brings opportunities for creativity and invention with guests Kara Stuebing and Kim Johnson.

The VAUMC Connection” is a series of standalone projects that will include news from the conference center, “The Audio Advocate” and a collection of resources and conversations shared by the Connectional Ministries Office. Available on Spotify and Apple.

AC 2021 wrap-up

Links to the livestream and worship recordings are now available for the June 18-19, 2021 session at the conference website. The retirement worship service is forthcoming.

For members reporting back to their local churches, a summary report and daily wrap-ups for each day are available at the link above as well.

The "Fixing of Appointments" took place on Saturday, June 19, overseen by Bishop Sharma Lewis and Dean of the Cabinet the Rev. Jeff Mickle. View 2021-2022 appointments...

Updated on the site as well are the Bible Study sessions with Dr. Kinney and pictures from the ordination and commissioning services as well as the two "Glory Sighting" videos that were not aired due to time constraints on Friday.

Annual Conference members can still contribute to the Virginia Annual Conference Offering. 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...

Connect graduating youth to Virginia Conference campus ministries

Campus Ministries across the Virginia Conference and the United Methodist Connection shape leaders of the church, cultivate clergy, and impact not just their college campuses but entire communities.

Connect your graduating youth and college students to transformative ministry for the Kingdom that creates lifelong learners who influence others to serve today by completing the campus ministry form or emailing [email protected].

Get to know more about the campus ministries in Virginia on the conference website.

Please submit student names and information by June 30.

PRG Team Best Practices update

The PRG Team has provided best practices as local churches continue to safely and effectively lead ministry as they transition to post-pandemic worship and ministry. In the team's update from June 16, they highlight guidance for:
  • eating indoors
  • what happens if a local church jas a positive case of COVID-19
  • Learn more...
All Relaunch webinars, held in May and early June, can be accessed here...

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].
lay servant ministries

Join summer Lay Servant courses in August 2021

Join the Lay Servant Academy Online Training Day on Saturday, August 21. New this year will be both full-day and half-day course offerings. All courses are designed for equipping laity for the work and mission of each person’s calling. Instructors for each course include both clergy and laity who are ready to give practical and relevant resources that will be useful in various ministry areas. Lay Servant Academy is for all of the Virginia Conference laity who feel called to ministry or who currently serve the church and would like to grow in their servant leadership.

View the course descriptions and other information here.

Register at this link: https://na.eventscloud.com/ereg/index.php?eventid=623870&.

For more information or for questions, you may contact Tianna Durbin, Director of Lay Servant Academy [email protected].
wesley hybrid

Hybrid Course Days coming Fall 2021 to Wesley Theological Seminary

Do you need to study part-time but wish to pick up foundational credits quickly? Do you miss the classroom but want to balance your time indoors during the pandemic? There are new course options for you at Wesley this fall to meet your needs.

With the new Wesley Hybrid Days, three foundational courses will run on Mondays and also on the weekend (Friday-Saturday). That means only three trips to the campus per semester - easy on your schedule, reducing inside exposure to others AND six credits could be picked up in this new format. The remainder of the coursework would be completed from the comfort and safety of your home laptop. Even more, credits can be accumulated if you add on a fully online or virtual class. Work at your own pace or join in Zoom Classrooms for live discussions with your professors and fellow students.

Monday Hybrid Days include UMC History, Foundations of Christian Worship, and the Hebrew Bible. Courses meet Mondays 1:30-4:30 pm and 6:30-9:20 pm on September 13, October 4, and December 6. Weekend Hybrid Days will offer New Testament I, Cultivating Mental Health, and Church History I classes. Courses meet Fridays 6 -9 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m.-1 p.m.and 1:30-4:40 p.m. on Sept. 17 and 18, Oct. 22 and 23; November 12 and 13.

For more information, please contact Admissions at [email protected]. See all Fall classes and apply at the link.

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...
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...

General Church News

social media day

United Methodist Communications providing free learning opportunities

United Methodist Communications will celebrate Social Media Day on June 30 with free learning opportunities throughout the day, including a special live learning session Q&A at noon Central time. "Social media is more than just being social, it's ministry," said Poonam Patodia, the agency's chief marketing officer. "Social Media Day is a good time to celebrate how it can help churches reach out beyond their surrounding communities." Learn more...
rural churches

Rural churches emerging from coronavirus

UNITED METHODIST NEWS-- At Oakton United Methodist Church, the group hug is on the verge of a comeback. Pat Thurmond, who attends the church with her husband, Kenneth, said she’s ready to revive the tradition, now that in-person services are back and social distancing and masks are no longer required. “We had a big group hug up here before COVID,” she said. “We’ve got to do that again.” The tiny congregation in Hickman County numbered seven at the June 13 worship service. “It’s nice to be able to touch people,” said Laura Vincent, the lay pastor serving Oakton. “Everybody had their vaccines. We cleaned everything.” Read more...

Church to start counting non-binary members

UNITED METHODIST NEWS-- United Methodist congregations in the U.S. will soon have a new way to break down the gender of its members. By a voice vote June 25, the General Council on Finance and Administration board approved revising local-church statistical forms to include “non-binary” alongside the categories of “male” and “female.” The change will take effect with forms for the 2021 collection year and will only affect the denomination’s data collection in the U.S. “We currently only collect local-church statistics in the U.S.,” explained Rick King, the agency’s chief financial officer. GCFA also plans to ask U.S. annual conferences — church regional governing bodies — to include the number of non-binary clergy in their Business of Annual Conference records. The finance agency expects to send information on these additions to church data collectors in July. GCFA’s data includes totals — not individuals’ names.

“Non-binary” is a commonly used term for people whose gender identity falls outside the man-woman binary. A study published this month by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law found that about 11% of the LGBTQ adults, ages 18 to 60, identify as non-binary. That translates to about 1.2 million U.S. adults. The current United Methodist statistical forms ask pastors to tally the number of female and male members and then give a total membership for the two. However, those gender categories have left some members feeling counted out. The board made the change after hearing from U.S. annual conference treasurers who have responsibility for collecting membership data from local churches. Read more...

One Last Word: The Simple Things

From Mindful Christianity Facebook page:

nap and a snack
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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