new e-Advocate logo (1)
April 21, 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?
    Find new resources to help you do ministry. Check out The Lewis Center for Church Leadership. More...
  • How can you be an influencer this week?
    Doctors and nurses are begging Americans around the nation to stay at home. How can you be an influencer this week? Honor these persons on the front lines of the disease by staying at home!
  • How can you serve this week?
    Learn more about the UMCOR COVID-19 Response fund which will equip Methodist partners to assist vulnerable populations in the U.S. and around the world. 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...
new website
New conference website unveiled
You may have noticed a new conference website was quietly launched late last week. The Communications staff is thrilled to release this new resource and the new possibilities it allows for future communications and resources.
Look around the website at www.vaumc.org to familiarize yourself with the new features and the new layout. You will notice the magnifying glass icon at the top right of the website which will allow you to search the website for anything you might need.
Unfortunately, all the internal and external links had to be changed with the move to a new platform and host. Please be aware of this if you have shared documents from the conference website. You will need to redo links you have shared in the past.
If you have questions or concerns, please email communications @vaumc.org.
Please know that we are working speedily and diligently on any questions or concerns you may have. Please be patient with us during this process as we are continuing to update content and to process the technical aspects of the website.
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Connectional Ministries Office continues multi-year alignment: Common Table makes structural, financial, staff changes
Beginning in 2018 and with a more intensive focus in the fall of 2019, the Common Table sought structural, financial, and human resource alignment to fulfill the conference vision adopted in June 2017. The Virginia Conference Common Table is now announcing an update to the Connectional Ministries Vision Alignment process as of March 2020. The process included a review of all current staff positions under Connectional Ministries. More...
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Cabinet releases guidelines on online worship counts
"With the state-wide cancellation of all in-person worship beginning March 15, 2020, most Virginia churches have moved to electronic or digital forms of worship. We, the Cabinet, recognize during these unusual days that the ability to count per person attendance accurately as we have in the past is not reliable online given the current technology and various reporting data processes by online service providers." Learn more at the link about guidelines on how to fill out your online worship in EVC. More...
crucial crisis conversations
Join in for 'Crucial Crisis Conversations'
“Crucial Crisis Conversations” is a new webinar series that will share information pertinent to clergy, laity and local churches during the current pandemic from leaders at the Virginia Conference Center.
More Two webinars will be shared this week:
  • April 22: Strategic Thinking in Critical Times
  • April 23: Humor and Relationships in Crisis
You can view past conversations and more about upcoming webinars at the link. More...
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The United Methodist Credit Union offers 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 assistant 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...
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2020 Clergy Move Date will be June 30
After review, in light of the ongoing COVID-19 situation, Bishop Sharma Lewis and the Appointive Cabinet have adjusted the “Clergy Move Date” from June 24 to June 30. The first Sunday in the new appointment will be July 5, 2020. More...
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Resources available to clergy, local churches during pandemic
Learn more about how churches are currently staying connected, information about rural church communications, information about livestreaming and copyright and digital media resources on the conference website. More...
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Stay the Course, Stay Strong: A Word from Bishop Lewis
Bishop Lewis shared a letter on April 14 encouraging the conference to maintain standards of a stay-at-home order for the foreseeable future. "I ask that our Virginia Conference clergy and laity stay the course by continuing to observe social distancing, proper hygiene and follow the stay-at-home directive.
This is not an easy time for any of us, but in Christian love we need to look out for our vulnerable communities and do our utmost to decrease the strain on our healthcare system and emergency services. It is hard not to be able to meet in-person as a community of faith, but we know God is not the church building. God is so much more than a building." More...
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Join Conference Center Chapel services on April 22
Though the conference center remains closed until further notice, weekly Wednesday services will start back up on Wednesday, April 8. You can find the services starting at 9 a.m. on the conference Facebook page.
2020 Annual Conference
June Session of Virginia Annual Conference postponed until September
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the June 2020 session of the Virginia Annual Conference has been postponed until September 18 -19, 2020. Information regarding the location of the September 2020 Annual Conference is forthcoming. More...
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All 2020 U.S. Jurisdictional Conferences scheduled for July postponed
The Southeastern Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church announced on April 6 that the decision has been made to postpone all 2020 U.S. Jurisdictional Conferences scheduled for July. More...
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Bishop Lewis encourages daily noon prayer during pandemic
Bishop Lewis is inviting the Virginia Conference to daily prayer at noon during the pandemic. Last week she shared in a letter, "I would like to thank several of you that have suggested a corporate prayer time for the Virginia Annual Conference. I am very blessed to lead an annual conference that believes in the power of the petitioned prayer! Please join me at 12 noon every day and pray the printed prayer listed on the website. Let us invoke the power of the Great Physician to do a mighty work in eradicating this disease all over the world." More...
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FAQ document shared concerning recent Virginia Conference response, precautions to COVID-19
A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document was shared March 16 in order to share important dates for the Virginia Conference to know in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Of note, The President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America: 15 Days to Slow the Spread document was shared March 16 on the CDC website. Please refer to this document going forward as all changes in precautions and important dates will be noted here. As more information is released by Bishop Lewis in the coming days and weeks, the conference website and this document will be updated accordingly. More...

General Church News

COVID-19 could push the church toward change
The United Methodist Church is scrambling to meet the threat of COVID-19, and some church leaders say changes prompted by the crisis may be worth holding onto after it passes. “The other day I said to one of my colleagues, ‘That is such a pre-coronavirus perspective,’” said Bishop Sally Dyck, resident bishop of the Chicago area. “I hope we apply a post-coronavirus perspective that life is fragile and life is random.
“We’re not in control,” she said. “We have wanted to control the church. We have wanted to control God. We have wanted to control each other. And controlling is a pre-coronavirus perspective.” More than 37,000 people in the U.S. have died of COVID-19 since Jan. 21, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 720,000 cases have been reported as of April 19. Technology has played the most visible role for the church in addressing the pandemic
More...
Military chaplains deployed in pandemic
The skies were gray. The faithful had to wear masks and keep their distance. But Lt. Cmdr. Genevieve Clark, a United Methodist chaplain in the U.S. Navy, was still able to lead an Easter sunrise service on the flight deck of the USNS Mercy, a hospital ship deployed to Los Angeles to help in the coronavirus pandemic. “I tried to encourage these sailors that although there is chaos and even clouds literally covering the sunrise during the Easter crisis of 2020, we can still be and are still being the hands and feet of Jesus,” Clark said. Earlier on April 12, and across the country, Maryland Army National Guard Chaplain (Capt.) Amor Woolsey led Easter morning services at two guard armories. Social distancing was required there too, but that didn’t get in the way. “It was such wonderful worship,” said Woolsey, a United Methodist elder. “We celebrated the risen Christ together.” Woolsey is a 10-year veteran of guard chaplaincy and knows the men and women she counsels aren’t fed by spiritual food alone. “I brought little Easter treats for them,” she said. Some 400 United Methodist clergy serve as U.S. military chaplains, but Clark and Woolsey appear to be the only ones on special deployments related to the coronavirus threat.
More...
Virtual meeting platforms help churches stay on track during the COVID-19 pandemic
With mandatory closures and restrictions limiting meetings to no more than 10 people, churches are facing an unprecedented challenge during the COVID-19 crisis. How will the church operate in these times? From learning how to stream worship to determining ways to coordinate how to serve the community, churches need to embrace key technologies. More...