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

July 13, 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?

In the second episode of "Expanding the Table," a new podcast series on practicing anti-racism by the Commission on Religion and Race, three Asian American Christian theologians examine the history and current realities of anti-Asian racism in the U.S. and what every Christian should know and do. Hear podcast...
  • How can you be an influencer this week?
Share with your context that the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church is inviting applications for the 2022 Local Initiatives Grants. Three (3) grants of $1,000 each to groups within annual conferences for special projects designed to strengthen ecumenical and/or interreligious relationships. Preference will be given to groups within annual conferences elected to lead in Christian unity and interreligious relationships. Projects selected will be ecumenical and/or interreligious in both invitation and goals. The application deadline is September 17, 2021.
Click here for 2022 Local Initiatives Grants Application Form
Applications should be emailed to [email protected].
  • How can you serve this week?

Blood and platelets continue to be essential and in high demand right now. Donate your blood to the American Red Cross or consider having your local church host a blood drive.

Virginia News

AC offering FB cover

Local churches urged to help conference reach offering goal

As of June 30, the Virginia Conference has reached the $53,800 mark with $146,200 left to go to reach the overall goal of $200,000 for the 2021 conference offering.
With every local church joining this effort toward the conference offering goal, the conference will have a bigger impact in addressing food insecurity in the Commonwealth and continuing global outreach through the Partnerships of Hope. You may use the Annual Conference video or share the online donation link. The VAUMC Treasurer’s Office will continue to receive offerings until August 31.

Clergy should update information now

The second draft of the 2021-22 Clergy Directory is now available. Please take a few minutes to check your listing to make sure the conference has your correct information.

You may make changes online by visiting https://unity.vaumc.org/ and use your EVC Username and Password to access. Or you may still send changes to [email protected].

After receiving many requests to use clergy “nicknames” the decision was made to use nicknames this year in the directory. If you prefer to have your full name published, let Brenda Capen know and she will update your information.
current student wesley theological

Educational opportunity: Hear from current students at Wesley Theological Seminary tonight

Hear about the real student experience at Wesley Theological Seminary from current students about the community, professors, what it's like to live in D.C. at this point in history, how to afford seminary, living on or off-campus, and more. Learn everything you need to know about Wesley's Masters degree options and specializations from current seminarians. Bring all your questions to the upcoming panel discussion on Zoom tonight, Tuesday, July 13, 2021, 7 p.m.-8 p.m. (EDT). Register for Zoom access...
dom wesley

New Doctor of Ministry in Digital Ministry course starting at Wesley Seminary

The COVID-19 pandemic forced many churches to innovate with digital technologies and ways of being the church. Even as we anticipate a return to “normal,” some ways of being in ministry will be forever changed. Recognizing this, Wesley Theological Seminary has created the new Doctor of Ministry in Digital Ministry, with classes beginning May 2022. This 30-credit D.Min. track will refine ministerial skills and theological reflection of innovative leaders seeking to “lean in” to this transformation and embrace digital ministries.
This program will require a project seminar and two elective courses. For more information, please contact the Rev. Dr. Chip Aldridge at [email protected].
UMVIM Leader Training

Attend upcoming UMVIM leader training

The Virginia United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) invites you to an UMVIM Leader's training on July 31, 2021. This in-person training, held at Williamsburg UMC, will be conducted in a safe and engaging environment.
Date: July 31, 2021
Time: 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Where: Williamsburg UMC (500 Jamestown Rd, Williamsburg, VA 23185)

Every UMVIM team leader is required to take the Team Leader Training course. When you answer the call to lead a team into the short-term mission field, you assume responsibility that is much more than handling logistics and making decisions.

The UMVIM Team Leader Training Course trains and equips you as the team leader to then train and equip your team. This course is intended for those who have never taken an UMVIM Leader Training Course.

Those who have taken a UMVIM Leader Training Course are still welcome to come or to take the online UMVIM Leader Refresher Course offered through UMVIM SEJ. For more information and to fill out the registration, go to www.vaumc.org/umvim.

Phishing scams continue across the Virginia Conference

Districts and local churches across the Virginia Conference continue to be the targets of phishing scams. Phishing is worldwide Internet-based fraud conducted by criminal businesses. Almost all information involved in a Phishing scam comes from email scans sourced from virus or malware-infected computers. Please remind your congregations and districts to be wary of any texts or emails being sent out that ask for assistance and/or funds. Trying to appear legitimate these communications may use the name of the church's pastor. Learn more with this resource shared by the conference IT Department.
audio advocate logo reduced

Listen to the latest Audio Advocate podcast episode

Listen to "The Audio Advocate," a new podcast from the Connectional Ministries Office which shares conference news on a monthly basis. The featured interview of the July 2 episode is about a new church plant, NOVA Missional Hub. The episode also features a conversation about the recent Communion controversy in the Catholic Church.

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/.
laity ac service 2021

Local churches can still use AC 2021 Laity Service

A reminder that local churches can use the prerecorded Laity Service from Annual COnference 2021 at any point this year. View and download the video at this link.
francis asbury award

Francis Asbury award nominations open now

The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry's (GBHEM) Office of Collegiate Ministry encourages each annual conference to nominate one individual, lay or clergy, for the Francis Asbury Award. Named for early American Bishop Francis Asbury, who called for the building of schools in proximity to Methodist churches arising in small towns and villages, this award recognizes individuals who have made a significant contribution to United Methodist ministries in higher education at the local, district, or annual conference level. Honorees are nominated and chosen by each annual conference’s Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry and reported to GBHEM. The application and criteria can be found here. The submission deadline is August 1, 2021.
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.

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.

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...
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.
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

pandemic church

Four innovations in American churches outlasting the pandemic

Congregations such as Saint Paul Benson and Hartford United Methodist Church are keeping innovations made necessary by the pandemic that proved to be popular with churchgoers, reports the Deseret News. Read more...
mainline protestants

Survey: Mainline Protestants outnumber evangelicals

RELIGION NEWS SERVICE-- White Christian decline in the U.S. has slowed, and white mainline Protestants now outnumber white evangelicals. That's according to a sweeping survey of the U.S. religious landscape by the Public Religion Research Institute. Jack Jenkins has the story. Read story...
sierra leone school

Free education policy affects church schools

UNITED METHODIST NEWS-- Three years ago, the Sierra Leone government launched the phased Free Quality School Education initiative that provides no-cost admission and tuition to all children in government-approved schools. Since then, school rolls have increased, with the government providing textbooks, tuition, school buses and subsidies for school administration. Teacher salaries have increased by at least 40 percent. Children of teachers who have taught for 10 or more years qualify for scholarships that fund their education up to university. There are more than 350 United Methodist schools in Sierra Leone, with the majority of them assisted by the government and affected by the free education initiative. “We are seeing a remarkable change from where we were previously to where we are now,” said Moinina Sengeh, the country’s education minister for basic and senior secondary education, in a radio interview. However, the implementation of the program has left some United Methodist school administrators and teachers with mixed feelings. Kai Jimmy, principal of Koidu Secondary School, a United Methodist school in the diamond-rich Kono District, said the government pledged to add more buildings to schools in order to accommodate the expected influx of new students. But his school is yet to benefit. Jimmy said he struggles to maintain an ideal learning atmosphere. Seventeen hundred students squeeze into limited space, with an average of 80 students per class. Although Jimmy is constructing a six-classroom structure, meager resources slow completion. He hopes to reduce class sizes when the new building is complete. Read more...
church congregation

Churches urged to relaunch, not just reopen

UNITED METHODIST NEWS-- Worshipping in person is happening again at First UMC in Denton,TX, after a 400-day pause because of COVID-19. The Rev. Don Lee seemed about to levitate as he greeted a long line of the faithful after the June 6 reopening service. “You are so beautiful!” he called out with emotion. But glad as he is to be reunited, the senior pastor doesn’t long for pre-pandemic normality at First Denton. Lee and the Rev. Jonathan Perry, executive pastor of strategic leadership, intend to build on their church’s success in reaching people online and through local TV broadcasts of services. They’re looking at shaking up the worship service schedule, refocusing programs and outreach, and making certain church spaces are more user friendly. “We have an opportunity, a rare opportunity, to relaunch our church,” Lee said. Read more...

One Last Word

dont let your hearts be troubled
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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