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October 26, 2021

How can you take part in learning, influencing, and serving this week?

  • How can you be a lifelong learner?

This is a great time to be a Christian. Not an easy time—but an exciting one, according to Matt Chandler. "I know it doesn’t look that way. Spend a few minutes on your social media feed, and you’ll see just how lost and broken we are right now. Ours is a world full of contradiction and confusion. And it’s not a great place to be a Christian: We’re now seen by most of the world as intolerant and irrelevant. Yet, while the end of Christendom may surprise and scare many us, that’s not true of God." Read more of what Chandler has to say about 'How to Share Your Faith Effectively.'
  • How can you be an influencer?
Small churches have huge influence. Click here to learn more.
  • How can you serve?

Your church may join the Serving office in a small give-thanks event, supporting Afghan allies in honor of veterans. Many veterans and veteran groups, such as Team Rubicon, stepped up to help and assist the effort of resettlement of Afghan allies. To honor their work and continue the Virginia Conference partnership with Team Rubicon, churches in the Virginia Conference are invited to join in a winter clothing collection using Amazon shopping lists. Click here here to join this effort

Virginia News


Roanoke church gives gift cards to teachers that also pay it forward to help local business

Members of Mount Pleasant United Methodist Church, Roanoke, presented over 60 gift cards to all teachers and staff at Mount Pleasant Elementary School earlier this year. Each year the church dedicates 100 percent of a special outreach offering to needs beyond the church family. Previous recipients have included global clean water initiatives and the Blue Ridge Women’s Center. This year, the church wanted to show appreciation for the efforts of workers at “the school across the street.”

“The church has a long history of working hand in hand with the school,” said the Rev. Robert Stutes, pastor. During the last year and a half, many of these hands-on efforts haven’t happened. The church decided to express its appreciation to staff members who have worked tirelessly and creatively during the pandemic.

Each staff person received a $25 gift card to Chris’s Coffee and Custard, a new area business which is itself a wonderful form of outreach. Chris’s opened in 2021 and creates opportunities for gainful and meaningful employment for individuals with intellectual, developmental, and physical disabilities. The business is named for Chris Woodrum, a young adult with Down’s Syndrome. Read more...

If your church has a story to share, please email it to [email protected] for inclusion in the e-Advocate.


Christ UMC, Fairfax Station, assists with opening group home for adults with disabilities

A new group home for adults with disabilities opened in Fairfax Station October 10.

The Inclusive Ministry of Christ United Methodist Church, the Foundation for the Future of Christ Church and PAMCO Care partnered to open Branches, a home which will provide 24-hour support and supervision to developmentally disabled adults so they can live more independently.

“Today we are overjoyed that, after nearly two years of focused effort, we can stand with PAMCO Care in offering the opportunity of a group home run with excellence and connected to our Christ Church community,” said Brooke Varma, director of Christ Church Inclusive Ministry. Varma has been a part of the disability community for decades as both a sibling and a parent. The home is a long-time dream of the Rev. John Speight, lead pastor of Christ Church, according to Varma. She said the home was purchased by the foundation for the purpose of it being a group home. Read more...

PRG Relaunch Webinar, Wednesday, October 27, 2021, 1-2:30 p.m.
Bringing Hope to the World – Preparing for Advent

Advent is a time to present hope to the world. Immanuel, Christ with us, brings hope to the lost and weary. How is your church preparing for Advent? We will invite other churches to share their Advent plans, as we also listen to the conversation between the Rev. John Obang and the Rev. Tony Arnold of their experience of ‘Online Discipling.’ Register now
Window on Wesley October 28th 8PM EST

Wesley Seminary Online Open House for Hispanic-Latino students

Wesley Seminary is hosting an Online Open House for Hispanic-Latino students, Oct. 28, 2021, at 8 p.m. You are invited to explore the masters and DMin opportunities for those called to serve the Hispanic/Latino community. This information session will cover the admission requirements, costs, and scholarship opportunities for the various degrees, tracks, and specializations available at Wesley. There will be a time to meet with current students, representatives of the Latino student association - Gente Latinx Seminarians Association (GLSA), and professors and ask questions. Click here to register...

Music and Worship Arts Fellowship offers 'worship revisioned' virtual event

Last fall, when so many acknowledged they were exhausted, in despair, and in need of hope, the Fellowship of United Methodists in Music and Worship Arts offered a virtual event to engage people in ways of finding God’s help and hope in ministries and lives. Another year into the pandemic, many still do not see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. The way worship arts are led continues to change dramatically with few chances to breathe and say, “Now we’ve figured it out.”

The Fellowship is offering another event to reconnect with the hope and help needed with a one-year anniversary virtual event on November 10 at 12 noon. The one-hour webinar will be a time to share encouragement and resources with one another for worship arts ministry in this ongoing pandemic.

Registration for the webinar is complimentary with a suggested donation amount of $10 that will support the Annual Fund of The Fellowship. (Webinar recording will be made available to registrants.) Click here to register

Love, Learn, and Lead Webinar focuses on AMENDING Through Faith

Mark your calendars now, and please join us on Tuesday evening, November 9, 2021 at 6:30 PM EDT for a Love, Learn, and Lead webinar on AMENDING Through Faith, a program that encourages men and boys to challenge a culture that supports violence against women.

Steve Schaefer, VACUMM advocate for AMENDING Through Faith and co-team leader of the Elizabeth River District UMM, will share how the AMENDING Through Faith study trains men to recognize, respond to, and prevent violence against women.

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Latino Thanksgiving Worship Service in Spanish invitation extended

All are invited to join in a Latino Thanksgiving Worship Service in Spanish on November 13 at 7 p.m. by Zoom. The service will feature testimonies, prayers, music and praise! Topic: Culto de Alabanza y Adoracion. More details...

Open Enrollment now available

Open enrollment for the Virginia Conference medical plans began on October 11 and will run through October 29. CLICK HERE for the link to visit the open enrollment system. If assistance or additional information is needed, please call Melissa Wahlberg at (804) 521-1131.

Sensing a call to ministry? Bailey Pre-Ministerial program can help

For students who sense a calling to full-time Christian ministry, the A. Purnell Bailey Pre-Ministerial Program at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland offers encouragement through a weekly vocational discernment group, two internships, and financial support. Applications are currently being accepted. Interviews for selected applicants may take place in person or by video conferencing this year. The A. Purnell Bailey Pre-Ministerial Program offers half-tuition during a student’s freshman/sophomore years; full tuition during the junior/senior years; two internships in ministry settings. Join in a cohort of peers who are also discerning a call while working on your college degree. Find out more and apply at The deadline for 2022-2023 Bailey Scholar applications is January 10, 2022.

Make it Matter One-Day Youth Rally will replace Youth Retreat; registration is open

The Youth Rally on Saturday, December 4, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, VA, is filling up fast. Learn more...
Click here to register by November 29.

General Church News

Seawall cross and moon at Belin Memorial United Methodist Church, Murrells Inlet, S.C. Photo by Austin Bond Photography.

What is The UMC's view of Halloween?

UMNS - The word "Halloween" (or "Hallowe'en") means "the evening of Hallows."

"Hallows" is an older English way of saying "saints" — so, the Evening of Saints.

But why "the evening?" Many ancient cultures in the Mediterranean world and the Middle East, including Jewish cultures, understood the day as beginning with sunset rather than sunrise. This is why Genesis one says, "And it was evening, and it was morning, day one." (Genesis 1:5). Because the day began with sunset, the first worship service of a given day would be the evening service. So where or how did this observance get connected to jack-o-lanterns, ghosts, things that go bump in the night, and trick or treating? Learn more...
Texas Conference Bishop Scott Jones and the Rev. Jill Daniel (standing with Jones) visit with children and supervisors at the new Methodist Children’s Center in Linden, Texas. Jones has made child welfare a conference priority, and Daniel leads the conference’s effort to plant child care centers in underserved areas. Photo by Sam Hodges, UM News.

Conference takes on 'child care deserts'

UMNS - Planting churches is all well and good. But sometimes there’s a need for crop rotation.

The Texas Conference has, for the past two years, been planting child care centers in underserved areas, in partnership with local United Methodist churches.

“Where there are child care deserts, the church and other community partners are essential to the welfare and education of our young people and their future,” said Texas Conference Bishop Scott Jones.

Jones and the Rev. Jill Daniel, director of the conference’s We Love All God’s Children initiative, joined in the Oct. 18 ribbon-cutting for the latest such center, in Linden, Texas, in the upper northeast part of the state. Learn more...
Henriette Kibibi, 22, sews uniforms in her workshop near Kindu, Congo. Kibibi, a mother of two, received vocational training at the Mama Lynn Center in Kindu that helps her support her family. Photo by Chadrack Tambwe Londe, UM News.

Center helps rape survivors restart lives

UMNS - In the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, women and girls trained at the Mama Lynn Center are supporting themselves and becoming indispensable to their families.

East Congo has been called the “rape capital of the world” — a place where rape is used as a weapon of war. To support women who are victims of sexual violence and those abandoned by their husbands and families, the United Methodist Church in eastern Congo established the center in 2018.

The Tennessee, Memphis and California-Pacific conferences joined with the East Congo Episcopal Area, raising funds to build the self-care center. Every year for more than three years, the center has mentored United Methodist pastors’ wives, women who have been sexually abused and those who have been abandoned by their husbands. Read more...

One Last Word

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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