new e-Advocate logo (1)
Print and digital Coronavirus resources available at: https://vaumc.org/coronavirusresources/.
coronavirus resources

May 14, 2020

To submit news items, email conference Director of Communications at MadelineWhite@vaumc.org.

Conference Vision

In 2017, Bishop Sharma D. Lewis shared the vision of the conference "to be disciples of Jesus Christ who are lifelong learners who influence others to serve."

  • How can you be a lifelong learner this week?
    What should faithful Christians do to dismantle the systems and expressions of racism? Watch recorded conversation with Rev. Angela Brown and Rev. Andy Oliver from General Commission on Religion and Race to learn more. More...
  • How can you be an influencer this week?
    Share the names of youth with college campus ministries. This is a great way for incoming college students to get connected quickly and build a sense of community and belonging. More...
  • How can you serve this week?
    Learn more about how you can support United Methodist Family Services (UMFS) during the pandemic. More...
Welcome to the new e-Advocate
Please send any issues or concerns to communications@vaumc.org. If the formatting gives you trouble in forwarding (especially in Outlook), you can use the following link. More...
in person worship
Learn more about easing of restrictions on in-person worship
In a letter from May 9, Bishop Lewis shared that a return to in-person worship would be phased beginning with "drive-in" worship for all churches under strict guidelines and the authorization of some "pioneer" churches to open on May 24 under strict guidelines. A workgroup of church leaders, medical professionals and legal professionals have prepared a comprehensive plan which includes: summary of plan, handbook, visual presentation and more for churches to plan on how to approach this phased return to in-person worship. More...
Cross & flame icon
Bishop Lewis addresses staff changes, financial challenges
In a May 12, 2020 letter, Bishop Lewis addressed the conference staff changes made May 1 and shared information concerning financial challenges during the pandemic. More...
camp rainbow
Camp Rainbow cancels summer sessions
After much prayer and discussion, the Core Leadership Team has decided to cancel the 2020 Camp Rainbow Connection (CRC) sessions. The leadership shared, "We recognize that information on this pandemic is changing every day. However, the majority of our campers and volunteer staff are at-risk for contracting COVID-19 and we feel it's in everyone's best interest to cancel. The ministry of CRC is vital and will continue, even though we cannot hold camp as we normally would."
The team is planning to host a fall event and is encouraging continued financial support of the ministry. For questions or concerns, please contact Stacy Roberts at StacyRoberts@vaumc.org.
tumcu logo
The United Methodist Credit Union still offering assistance
If your church or UMC-affiliated organization wants to participate in the SBA's Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), but hasn't applied yet or hasn't found an institution willing or able to assist you, please contact The United Methodist Credit Union (TUMCU). If you're not already a member, you can quickly become one and apply for this program using a convenient online application. If you have an urgent need, TUMCU can also help your church or organization with a low-interest bridge loan or line-of-credit while you await SBA funding. Please call Jomin Mujar at (804) 672-0200 for more details or visit their website. More...
covid season conversations
COVID-19 Season Conversations webinar
View the recording of the Rev. Dr. Ted Smith, director of Connectional Ministries, and the Rev. Jennifer Collins, Shepherd’s Staff Ministries, Inc., conversing on the topic of “Care of Caregivers in the COVID-19 Season.” The recording is available at the link. More...
wesley seminary
Bonhoeffer, Thurman and more online at Wesley this Summer
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Wesley Theological Seminary is now offering all its upcoming summer courses online. The semester runs from May 26-August 1, 2020, with courses starting throughout the semester. Summer 2020 registration is now open. Don't let anything get in the way of God's call - study online at Wesley Theological Seminary. Summer online course highlights include:
  • ST-231-OL Bonheoffer in Post Truth World - Dr. Timothy Snyder
  • ST-247-OL Howard Thurman, Mystic, Prophetic, Theologian - Dr. C. Anthony Hunt
  • RA-175-OL Biblical Storytelling - Dr. Tracy Radosevic
  • CF-133-OL Teaching and Learning in Christian Education - Dr. Jana Strukova
For more information or to register, go to https://www.wesleyseminary.edu/admissions/try-a-class-2/.

General Church News

Georgia shooting sparks call to end racism
The words “Black Lives Matter” are flying on a flag outside Park Hill United Methodist Church in Denver, Colorado, and United Methodist leaders are calling for a renewed effort to end racism after an unarmed black man was shot and killed while jogging near his home in Brunswick, Georgia. Ahmaud Arbery, 25, was shot on Feb. 23. On May 7, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation announced it had charged two white men, Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son, Travis McMichael, 34, with murder and aggravated assault in the case. The arrest came after the public release of a cellphone video of the shooting. Two United Methodist agencies called in a joint statement for the eradication of racism. The South Georgia Conference bishop, in a statement signed by other clergy, stressed that United Methodists value the sanctity of human life. More...
Pandemic tests church’s justice commitments
For something that can’t be seen with the naked eye, the coronavirus has a way of magnifying longtime injustices around the world. The impact of the virus is visible in the nursing home resident isolated from loved ones and in the migrant laboring to put food on people’s tables. It’s in the long lines of cars at food banks and the disproportionate death toll among racial minorities. Bishops spent much of their online meeting May 1 discussing how the COVID-19 pandemic aggravates problems The United Methodist Church has long sought to alleviate. Those problems include poverty, racism and mistreatment of migrants. “COVID-19 has made our world more vulnerable,” Bishop Minerva Carcaño said.
She and other bishops discussed how United Methodists could show love of their neighbors and relieve suffering. Specifically, bishops pointed to the United Methodist Committee on Relief’s “Sheltering in Love” COVID-19 response fund. UMCOR is using the fund to address the health concerns, food insecurity and other pressing needs of vulnerable populations worldwide. More...
Calgary church hopes others learn from their tragic COVID-19 experience
Members of a Calgary church in Canada ravaged by COVID-19 in the early days of the pandemic are sharing their stories of grief and healing, after Alberta's chief medical health officer cited them as a cautionary tale. More...