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

July 27, 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?

United Methodist Now (UMNow) is a bimonthly e-newsletter for church members to highlight examples of Christian living, share inspirational messages and focus on what it means to be part of our connection. Subscribe now...
  • How can you be an influencer this week?
The People of God campaign, launched in 2020, now includes a new call-to-action: #BeUMC. The hashtag invites church members to embody the church’s values, embrace its aspirations and remain with The United Methodist Church even in difficult times. Be an influence...
  • How can you serve this week?

Reducing your church's energy bills saves money for program and mission. Join Global Ministries for an interactive webinar, UMC Energy Efficiency 101, on Thursday, August 5 to learn simple strategies to increase energy efficiency in your church. Access webinar...

Virginia News


Join webinar about back to school and back to church activities

The Post-Covid Re-Entry Group (PRG) invites clergy, PRG members, lay leaders, youth, and children's leaders to join our first session of Relaunch Webinar season 2.

On the last Wednesday of every month, at 1 pm, PRG will host Relaunch Webinars to assist your church's efforts to prepare for ministry in the coming months. The first session will focus on back-to-school and back-to-church ministry preparation.

In this relaunching church season, back-to-school and back-to-church activities can bring together not only your congregation but your community as well. Learn from our panelists about back-to-school and back-to-church events for Sunday morning worship, with your youth and children's group, and beyond the church walls.
Registration link for July Relaunch Webinar...

Virginia video series highlighted at SEJ Called Conference

Diversity Kitchen is a video series created in the hope that by bringing people of different cultures together over the love of food and Jesus that further conversation and relationship-building can begin in our denomination and in our world. It is a place where we can open our homes up to people from different backgrounds so we can fellowship and learn about each other.

The video series was highlighted as part of the called SEJ Conference on July 21, 2021 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0UjbIQ-E14) as one way the Virginia Conference is addressing racism. Learn about the series and view past episodes at: https://vaumc.org/diversitykitchen/.
Have ideas for future episodes? Email [email protected].
agc 5k

Participate in 5k for All God's Children Camp

All God's Children Camp will be holding its 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 21, 2021--

The PRG team shared an update with guidance related to the Delta Variant and ministry with children under 12.
"The Delta Variant is slowly becoming the most dominant Coronavirus strain in the United States. We ask each church's PRG team to remain vigilant and monitor the development of the Delta Variant and cases in each community. We ask each church to review their Mitigation Assistance Plan (M.A.P) and find ways to continue to minister to the community in the safest and effective way.
Remember that vaccination is the best tool to overcome this pandemic. Studies show that current vaccines show high protection against the variants. On the contrary, the data from June shows that unvaccinated members were extremely vulnerable to variants (“99.2% of US Covid deaths in June were unvaccinated” - the Guardians). We do recommend fully vaccinated members to continue to be aware of the situation, but at the same time assure our fully vaccinated members that the vaccine proved effective. We should, however, be mindful of the unvaccinated members, especially children under 12 and their families.
We strongly recommend that churches revisit any ministry plans, involving children under 12, such as VBS, Sunday School, and Children’s time. According to Executive Order 79, “D. Masks – Public and Private K-12 Schools All students, teachers, staff, and visitors must wear a mask over their nose and mouth while on school property subject to section C.” Even though churches are not school property, churches should follow the general guidelines to protect our children, by considering;
• Rescheduling re-opening of ministries involving children under the age of 12 or revisiting the mitigation plans.
• Requiring all students, volunteers, staff, and visitors to wear a mask over their nose and mouth. According to the CDC guidelines, a child over 2 years old should wear a mask.
• Strongly recommend that volunteers be fully vaccinated, and implement screening for each volunteer, before the gathering.
• Try to use outdoor spaces as much as possible.
• We recommend limiting the consuming snacks during the event. Individually packed snacks may be shared, after the event, for consumption at home.
To stop the spread of the Delta Variant and avoid the risk of future variants, it is essential that we have everyone vaccinated! Churches have a unique role to help and assist the community in inviting unvaccinated members to receive a vaccine. Churches can
1) Continue to encourage vaccination - view ‘Church’s role in vaccination’ and
2) protect the unvaccinated population by continuing the mitigation measures, such as masking and social distancing.
Join us in this effort to overcome together!"

For more information please contact, the Rev. Seungsoo 'RJ' Jun, Associate Director of Serving
(804) 521-1137, [email protected]. Visit www.vaumc.org/prg and www.vaumc.org/prg-best-practices for more information.
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.
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.

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."
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.
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

zoom choir

2 jurisdictions plan for church future

UNITED METHODIST NEWS--Two United Methodist jurisdictions held special online sessions in recent days with an eye toward the denomination’s future. On July 21, the Southeastern Jurisdiction — by a vote of 335 to 3 — approved the long-sought union of the Tennessee and Memphis conferences. With the vote, the new Tennessee-Western Kentucky Conference can start operations on Jan. 1. On July 17, the Western Jurisdiction discussed the possibility that it might need to reduce its number of bishops and reimagine its ministry. Delegates reviewed reports that dealt with the jurisdiction’s mission statement, the need for greater collaboration across boundaries and the role of bishops. Both meetings touched on the uncertainties confronting The United Methodist Church. Read more...
storm damage global warming

Young Methodists raising climate change awareness

UNITED METHODIST NEWS--Camila Ferreiro had an environmental awakening when she spent a year in Germany. Irene Abra became passionate about climate justice while participating in a scouting program. Mollie Pugmire considers social justice central to her faith. They and other young Methodists are part of Climate Justice for All, or CJ4A, an international project to promote awareness in the run-up to the United Nations’ 26th Climate Change Conference, scheduled for Oct. 31 to Nov. 12 in Glasgow, Scotland. “Our aim is first of all to bring about long-term change in churches and society, through raising awareness and seeking, above all, to engage Methodist churches around the world to commit to justice and to make it an integral part of the lives of churches,” said Abra, a native of Italy with Ghanaian origins. CJ4A was born out of a 2019 meeting of the concordat group of The United Methodist Church and the British Methodist Church. The concordat, a cooperative relationship between the two denominations, was affirmed in 1968, the same year as the founding of The United Methodist Church. Many Methodist churches in Europe are not governed by The United Methodist Church, but the denominations do cooperate with each other in various ways. A question was posed at the 2019 meeting: “What if every member of the Methodist family woke up tomorrow, determined to do something about the climate crisis?” This inspired a youth-led climate justice campaign to bring awareness to the issue. Read more...
Professional microphone and sound waveform on screen

Rebuilding church choirs after the pandemic

DISCIPLESHIP MINISTRIES--The impact of the pandemic on singing in the church and on choirs, in particular, is difficult to overstate. Diana Sanchez-Bushong, Discipleship Ministries' director of music ministries, gathered a panel of church musicians for a podcast on revitalizing the church choir. Learn more...
pastor zimbabwe

Rural pastor perseveres amid challenges

UNITED METHODIST NEWS--With unreliable transportation and fickle weather, a Zimbabwean pastor’s job is physically challenging. The Rev. Annamore Kahlari sometimes walks as many as 30 miles on Sundays to conduct worship and minister to members. Travel can take five to six hours each way. Read more...

One Last Word

locust quote
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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