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

July 20, 2021


A Word from our Conference Lay Leader, Martha Stokes

Friends, how many of you have used the #tbt or #throwbackthursday hashtags in your social media posts? I don’t often use them, but I am today with a special opportunity to look forward as well as remembering the past.

If you have seen the Laity Celebration worship service that followed our recent Annual Conference, you know we focused on the call that all of us share to be ministers, to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. During that time of worship, we heard a few of our siblings in Christ share briefly about their calls to ministry. Can I share a little of my story with you?

I participated in my first Lay Servant Academy 20 years ago. I was blessed to share a room at the Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center with Darlene Amon. In the very last room down at the end of the second floor back wing – which in February, 2001, was filled with a loveliness of ladybugs, Darlene taught me about the importance of continuing education as a lay leader in the church through Lay Servant Ministries. She even very patiently listened over and over to the 5-minute sermon I prepared for the course in which I was participating.

Although we will not be gathering in person, you have the opportunity to continue your learning and expand your knowledge through this year’s Lay Servant Academy. Follow this link to read the course descriptions and see details about the August 21 event.

Who knows? A loveliness of ladybugs may join you in your home or office for the training!

Where is God calling you?


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?

Social media can be a place to share our faith while also finding like-minded persons who encourage us in our lives. Navigating these spaces, however, takes care and intention. Though he predated social media, John Wesley may have given us the simplest directive for how to interact: Do no harm, do good, communicate grace. Learn more...
  • How can you be an influencer this week?
UMFS recently shared congratulations for the 2021 UMFS Charterhouse School graduates in Richmond and Edinburg These young adults experienced a school year like no other, and they persevered through every challenge that came their way. The organization is very appreciative of all of the support individuals and groups have given these students over the last year. With another school year just around the corner, you can help students get ready by stocking their classrooms with school supplies. Click here to shop their Amazon list.
  • How can you serve this week?

Join Global Ministries this Thursday at 12 p.m. (EST) as they host another Zoom event exploring the transforming work of United Methodist missionaries serving around the world. Participants will have the opportunity to meet in a small group to hear a presentation from a single missionary during the call. Find out more about event and these missionaries...

Virginia News


Update on AC 2021 motion to create work group for legal expenses

A statement was released on behalf of the Legal Expenses Oversight Work Group on Tuesday, July 20. The statement was as follows:

"The Virginia Annual Conference approved a motion by the Rev. Janine Howard during the June 18-19, 2021 session to create a Legal Expenses Oversight Work Group.
The motion calls for the work group to review the current agreement for services with the Conference Chancellor, to recommend control measures on expenditures for legal services, and report back to the annual conference within 90 days of the motion’s adoption.
The Oversight Work Group has been formed and is gathering information. This includes consulting with The United Methodist Church Conference Chancellor Association as well as with the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA).
The group will meet in person soon and fully anticipates sharing its findings conference-wide in early September, prior to the 90-day deadline."
agc 5k

Participate in 5k for All God's Children Camp

All God' Children Camp will be holding their 2nd Annual Virtual 5k fundraiser. You can run/walk this race anytime on August 21 or any date and time that suits you. Click the link to register and help support the camp. For more information, contact Lori Smith at [email protected].

PRG Team update

July 14, 2021--

1. PRG Relaunch Webinar - Season 2
The PRG Team is planning a monthly Relaunch Webinar till November 2021. Each webinar will be held on the last Wednesday of each month at 1 p.m. More information about the webinars, registration link, and recording will be found at the conference website.

2. PRG Best Practice updates for July
As the local church's PRG team continues to plan to safely re-open, the PRG Team is committed to answering your questions by providing best practices. The best practices for July are updated on the Best practice page.
If your church's PRG has any questions or feedback, please do not hesitate to reach out to [email protected].
church service

UMPH Extending Permission to Use Resources for Online Worship through December 31, 2021

The United Methodist Publishing House (UMPH) is extending full permission to all churches for use of its copyrighted worship materials through Dec. 31. In this challenging time for churches, the publishing house aims to ensure access to essential worship aids and the use of the Common English Bible for online worship and studies. Read more...
culture of renewal

Board of Ordained Ministry shares resource to clergy

The Board of Ordained Ministry Clergy Effectiveness Team has been working with Rebekah Simon-Peter on launching Creating a Culture of Renewal in Virginia. Their hope is that this is one resource to offer clergy to move forward in healthy, life-giving ways in order to respond to their call.

Creating a Congregation of Renewal (CCR) is a three-year, cohort-based program that has been done in several other annual conferences as well as on the Eastern Shore in Virginia. It seeks to reaffirm call, recognize leadership strengths, foster communication skills in the midst of the innate differences in congregations, and equip clergy for uniting congregations around a common vision.

In addition to costs paid by the Board of Ordained Ministry through a grant from the Congregational Development Team, here is how the cost breaks down:
• $1800 from the congregation--$600/year for three years
• $1800 from your personal investment--$600/year for three years—you could include this in your Accountable Reimbursement Funds and get the tax advantage
• $2400 from Clergy Development funding if you apply--$800/year for three years (https://vaumc.org/clergydevelopment/)
Currently, there is a discounted rate, and rates go up on August 1. If you have questions, please talk with the Rev. Alex Joyner ([email protected]), the Rev. Drew Willson ([email protected]), or the Rev. MiKang Kim ([email protected]) all of whom have experience in the program.

To register and get the special rates for Virginia, go to this link and click on the yellow bar that says “Click here to register and read our commitment and cancellation policy.” Then choose the September 14-16 retreat date drop-down and choose the Virginia rates. Contact the CCR organization directly with more questions.

Job opportunities: Full-time camp director position now open

Camp Occohannock on the Bay, Eastern Shore District, is looking for a camp director for a full-time, year-round position to provide a spiritually significant, creative, smooth-running, and memorable summer camp for campers ages 4 to 16, and to make camp and retreats AWESOME for everyone involved.

Learn more about this job and others on the conference website.
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 third 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].
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.

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.
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

oil change

Oil changes and prayers for single moms

UNITED METHODIST NEWS--A United Methodist who spends time each winter in Florida brought back an idea that became a new ministry at Legacy United Methodist Church. Twice a year, volunteers treat single moms with an oil change for their cars, and while they’re waiting the moms have lunch and perhaps connect with a prayer partner. In the meantime, their children are fed and entertained with games and craft projects. Read more...
zimbabwe young singers

Young musicians praise God and share their faith

UNITED METHODIST NEWS--In Psalm 40:3, David praises God, who “put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.” Like the Psalmist, three Zimbabweans — a child and two young adults with United Methodist roots — use their musical gifts to praise God and to share their faith. One is Loice Namatai Chinyerere, 25, of Mabvuku United Methodist Church. Born into a clergy family, Namatai uses her melodious gospel voice to tell others about God. “Since 2014,” she said, “I have taken music as part of my life. I am complementing my parents’ ministries by taking gospel music to another level. Through my music, I have been accorded the ambassadorial status by Kubatana.net, a community organization.” Although she earned a Bachelor of Technology degree in computer science from Harare Institute of Technology, Namatai’s passion pushed her into music. “All this started when I joined the Inner Praise Team of the UMC,” she said. In 2016, she began recording her music. “Taziwa Brian Mbwizhu helped me a lot,” she said. “We launched a duet 8-track album, ‘Munoera,’ in 2019, and the financial support was from Denias Zaranyika, a member of the UMC.” She said that her objective is “to win souls to Christ through music, and that people be healed, delivered and uplifted.” Darlington Marara, Namatai’s music manager, said, “Her music soothes the heart. It gives people hope. I have personally witnessed people getting delivered and giving testimonies about her music. It brings you closer to God.” Read more...
bishop yohanna nigeria

Divide deepens among Nigerian church leaders

UNITED METHODIST NEWS--Conflict among Nigerian United Methodists has intensified in recent months, growing to include a police inquiry and even the jailing of three clergymen and a layman. One of those who spent two nights behind bars is the Rev. Ande Emmanuel, former top aide to Bishop John Wesley Yohanna, and now his outspoken opponent. Sam Hodges reports from Dallas, based on interviews with United Methodists in Nigeria. Read more...

One Last Word

god with us
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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