new e-Advocate logo (1)
To submit news items, events, or corrections, email the conference Communications Office at [email protected].

November 23, 2021

giving tuesday

Mark your calendar for Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday emerged in 2012 to encourage people all over the world to embrace generosity. As the movement has grown, an increasing number of nonprofits, including #UMC agencies and local churches, have taken the occasion to promote special opportunities for giving. More...

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

  • How can you be a lifelong learner?

Discipleship Ministries shares 10 ways to grow a generous spirit in your family. Learn more...
  • How can you be an influencer?
One church has survived in a small farm community with only a part-time pastor because the members have expanded their congregation's influence in their town. Read more...
  • How can you serve?

Sherando UMC, Staunton District, launched a GoFundMe account to assist in rebuilding their church. On October 29, the church building was destroyed in a fire. Help Sherando UMC...

Virginia News

Thank You VAUMC!

Virginia Conference supports Afghan allies

Churches and individuals in the Virginia Conference purchased 3,694 orders to share with Afghan allies. Items donated through the VAUMC Amazon wish list drive for Fort Pickett, Nov 10-14, including clothing for men, women, and children; personal hygiene items; play items for children, and much more. The Amazon wish list is still active for anyone who wants to continue shopping. Visit

Churches, members urged to be aware of online scams during holidays

As we near the holidays, local churches and members should be even more alert to potential scams through email, texts, or phone calls. A good rule of thumb is that your pastor or other leadership would not normally ask for money through email. If you do receive such a request, check the email address to see if it matches the supposed requestor's real address and then contact the requestor to verify in person or through a phone call.
Local church treasurers and administrators should also be wary of church employee emails that may ask for changes concerning payroll deposits. Be sure to verify any changes to staff payrolls in person or through a phone call to make sure a change should be made.
umfs giving tuesday

Give the gift of JOY with UMFS on #GivingTuesday

Tuesday, November 30 is Giving Tuesday. All Giving Tuesday donations to UMFS (United Methodist Family Services) will provide Christmas presents, celebrations, and support for the high-risk children and families. Your donation will fill the holidays with joy for children in foster care, children struggling with mental health challenges, and special education students. Ready to donate today? Visit to give the gift of joy!
checkpoint church advent game

Church launches online game for Advent

Checkpoint Church, a self-proclaimed church for nerds, geeks, and gamers in the Western North Carolina Conference, developed an Advent game and they want to share it with everyone! In the game, you will control the journey of MC as they try to make their way to church on Christmas Eve. You will run into a series of roadblocks and unexpected changes to your path. As you meet the cast of lonely characters, you will be given chances to make a connection, take action, or simply try to survive the night on your own.
The game is a browser-based game that you can play on a computer or on a mobile device. Launch game...

Check out the trailer here...

Intern, host church applications now live for Calling 21

Intern and host church applications are now live for Calling 21. Calling 21 is a young adult, local church internship program. It is a partnership ministry among the Virginia Conference Center for Clergy Excellence, the Cabinet, and Shenandoah University. The purpose of the program is for college students to explore their calling. For questions, email the Rev. Meghan Roth Clayton at [email protected] or the Rev. Crystal R. Sygeel at [email protected]. Learn more about the program...

Upcoming UMVIM training in January 2022

UMVIM Team Leader Training Event will take place at Harmony UMC, 380 E Colonial Hwy, Hamilton, VA 20158. The date is Saturday, January 8, from 9 am to 2 pm (gathering time 8:30 to 9 a.m.).
The cost will be $10 to cover lunch, payable at the event. An online training manual will be provided upon registration. Conference rules stipulate that all first-time leaders must attend a Conference Team Leader Training Event prior to leading a team. Registration and attendance are open to anyone, whether leading a team or not. To register or for more information, visit

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...
Please note: Registration will be closed Nov. 25-27 over the Thanksgiving holiday. It will reopen on Sunday, Nov. 28.
Click here to register by November 29.
loans and scholarships

Youth leaders invited to learn more about loans, scholarships

The Virginia Conference Learning Office is inviting youth leaders to learn about the opportunities through the General Board of Higher Education and Ministries Loans and Scholarships Office on December 8 at noon. Marci Bigord will guide the conversation about the opportunities for loans and scholarships available for the 2022-2023 school year. Sign up for the free Zoom...

All God's Children Camp needs your help!

The dates for All God's Children Camp have been set (June 19-24, Richmond area; July 24-29, Chesapeake/Eastern Shore area; and August 14-19, Richmond area) and now the camp needs volunteers to act as camp mentors. Please consider volunteering a week of your time to help make it possible for kids to enjoy a week of camp and engage in all that camp life. This is also a great way for groups such as Sunday school groups, Sr. High youth groups, or other small groups to be in mission together.

As a ministry of the Virginia Annual Conference, All God’s Children Camp (AGCC) is a weeklong overnight camp for children ages 7 to 12, with an incarcerated parent. Campers have an opportunity to participate in all the physical activities the camp has to offer such as boating, swimming, hiking, archery, music, crafts, Bible study, along with a conflict resolution/self-esteem building class. AGCC is built on the basis of a one-to-one mentoring program where campers have an adult who walks alongside them for the week cheering them on, building them up, and encouraging them daily.

Learn more about the camp at the link. For more information, contact Lori Smith at [email protected] or 571-245-9591.
new payment portal

New online portal offers additional access for Va. churches

The Conference Treasurer’s office released the new online payment portal yesterday, Monday, November 15. All pastors and treasurers should have received a ‘Welcome to Acumatica’ email. The online payment portal provides additional features for churches including:
• Online payments
• Update bank and routing information online
• View historical payments online
• Get your church statement

For additional details on Acumatica, you can read more in the Dollars & Sense Newsletter that went out with the November apportionment statement.

If you need assistance in logging in or would like more information on the website, call the Treasurer's Office at 804-521-1100 or email [email protected].
United Methodist Day 2

Join other United Methodists for a day of advocating on January 27, 2022

Members of the Virginia Conference have been change-makers in the Commonwealth for 30 years through United Methodist Day at the General Assembly. The next advocacy event will take place on January 27, 2022.
At the event, participants meet with their delegates and senators to discuss issues that are relevant to the United Methodist faith with direction from our partners at Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy (VICPP). One of the ways that faith is put into action is by advocating for the least, the last, and the lost at the General Assembly and this year participants will spend time reflecting and celebrating all the ways our advocacy has changed the political landscape in our Commonwealth for the better. Come and join in to continue the legacy as change-makers here in our Commonwealth. Register here.
Learn more about the event...
shift happens

Register now for Shift Happens: Doing Ministry from the Right Side

Shift Happens: Doing Ministry from the "Right Side" is no ordinary conference. It is a clarion call for the Black Church, leaders, and lay. Over two days, from December 1-2, virtual or in-person at St. Johns Downtown in Houston, Texas, participants will be inspired and experience transformative and practical teachings to help you and your team plan for 2022 and beyond. This will include:
  • Creating a practical and engaging experience for an inter-generational audience to gain relevant tools to do effective ministry post-pandemic.
  • To demonstrate through real-time ministry experiences how to see all the people God is calling us to reach.
  • To model how to embrace, support, and cultivate new voices, new generations for the new thing God is doing in the Black Church.
  • To gather to celebrate what God has done through SBC21 (Strengthening the Black Church for the 21st Century) for 25 years.
Register at this link...
will you serve

Nominations Team seeks people to serve on boards, agencies

This is the time of year when the Virginia Conference Nominations Team begins diligently finding and resourcing individuals interested in serving on conference boards, agencies, and in other leadership positions. Information and videos about many of these positions can be found on the conference website at In fact, everything an individual would need to explore God’s call for leadership within the annual conference leadership teams is housed at this location. Additionally, there are current vacancies that you might want to consider and pray over at
If you have any questions about leadership opportunities through the Virginia Annual Conference, please do not hesitate to email Assistant to the Bishop and Director of Connectional Ministries, the Rev. Dr. Steve Summers, at [email protected].
UMFS Offering_1

Resources now available for UMFS December offering

United Methodist Family Services (UMFS) is the Virginia Conference designated offering for December. UMFS does not receive any apportionment funding, so the organization deeply appreciates your generosity through this offering. The offering supports high-risk children across Virginia, including children in foster care, children struggling with mental health challenges, and special education students.
A variety of resources are available to support the offering and help bring this ministry to life for your congregation. You can find the following resources at bulletin inserts, offering envelopes, church offering scripts, short videos, and images for newsletters, emails, social media, and websites. Please contact Jill Gaynor ([email protected] or 804-254-9463) with any questions.

Learn more about UMFS as they celebrate 120 years in this recent NBC12 segment.

Council of Bishops shares anti-racism resources for Advent

As churches prepare for Advent season, prayerfully consider incorporating the Advent 2021 theme project from the Council of Bishops (COB) into your local church's preaching and teaching and adapting any of the following elements for use in your context. View project...
youth 2023

YOUTH 2023 to be held in Daytona Beach, Florida

The first YOUTH event for the youth of The United Methodist Church took place in 1988, and since the early 1990s Discipleship Ministries has organized the YOUTH event every four years. This tradition will continue with YOUTH 2023 in Daytona Beach, Florida, from July 25-28, 2023! Learn more...

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.
wesley seminary

Take Time For You in 2022 with a J-Term Class at Wesley!

With another year just around the corner, do you feel the need for some time away and spiritual and intellectual refreshment? If so, Wesley Theological Seminary invites you to join J-Term 2022, a series of intense, 1- or 2-week courses in January that enables a time of focused class learning (online or in-person) with the remainder of the coursework completed individually later in the term. Many clergy and ministry leaders take these courses for both CEUs and as a time of retreat following a busy Advent/Christmas season. Registration opens October 18, 2021 - December 13, 2021. Learn more...

General Church News

general conference 2022

Setting criteria for a 2022 General Conference

UNITED METHODIST NEWS--Organizers are pressing forward with plans to hold what many expect to be a pivotal General Conference next year. At the same time, they acknowledge that the pandemic may once again thwart those plans. The Commission on the General Conference aims to decide in the first three months of next year whether The United Methodist Church’s top legislative assembly can go ahead as scheduled Aug. 29-Sept. 6 in Minneapolis. Learn more...
sierra leone water

Church joins fight against river pollution

UNITED METHODIST NEWS--The Council of Churches in Sierra Leone is lobbying the government to stop river pollution after its advocacy committee unearthed life-threatening risks. The United Methodist Church is a member of the Council of Churches. The committee used the Jong River in Mattru Jong — one of the affected rivers that flow from the north of the country to the south — as a case study for a fact-finding mission. In Taiama in the south, the Jong is known as the Taia River; in Maggburaka in the north, people call it the Pampana River. Between 150,000 to 200,000 people live alongside the river, according to Ernest Ndomahina, an environmental consultant who works with the Council of Churches. Read more...
daycare students

Helping people ‘from womb to tomb’

UNITED METHODIST NEWS--When Steve Fleming, chief executive officer of Bethlehem Centers of Nashville, began coming to the center for immunizations at the age of 4, it was the beginning of a lifelong relationship. Fleming’s mother sent him first to the center’s child care, then its after-school programs, then he began volunteering. His first paid opportunity came at 14. Other than his time at college — for which Bethlehem Centers secured him a full scholarship — he’s never really left. After a year as interim director, he became the permanent director in 2014. “The Lord aligned my stars perfectly,” he said. “I knew this would be something I wanted to do for a living.” Fleming’s experience is not unique. It’s part of what he calls the center’s “womb-to-tomb” mission. Read more...
bishop alsted

Connectional Table aims to restructure

UNITED METHODIST NEWS--The United Methodist leadership body that coordinates the denomination’s mission and ministry is looking to become both smaller and more global. Bottom line: The Connectional Table plans to have fewer seats at its table but a more diverse group of people in those seats.
“There’s a need for a strategic, holistic focus on the whole church — rather than members coming together to represent their own constituencies,” said the Rev. Amy Coles, co-leader of the group’s Membership Makeup Task Force. Coles presented the task force’s initial proposal for a new structure at the Connectional Table’s online meeting Nov. 17. While the group’s members supported the proposal’s overall goal, many had some changes to suggest. The task force plans to bring a refined version of its proposal to the Connectional Table’s next meeting in February. Read more...

One Last Word

"When we pray for peace and offer one another the peace of Christ, we become channels of God’s never-ending peace that reorders the world toward wholeness."

Learn more about what the Bible means by "peace" in this UMC article...
shalom umc
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...
facebook twitter youtube instagram linkedin