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To submit news items, events, or corrections, email the conference Communications Office at [email protected].

December 7, 2021

grinch book

Find Advent books

Enrich your Advent experience with a new book as you prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ this holiday season. Whether you’re searching for an inspirational read for yourself, small group study materials, or a gift for a special child in your life, consider one of these recommendations...

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

  • How can you be a lifelong learner?

You are invited to ponder these Advent devotions written by United Methodist missionaries and shared by the General Board of Global Ministries. Read more...
  • How can you be an influencer?
A church of 35 grows to a congregation of thousands by opening its doors to the community around it. Read more...
  • How can you serve?

Gifts to Global Ministries and UMCOR will expand the work of faithful United Methodist missionaries, bolster global health, support disaster response and development efforts, and further evangelism and church revitalization. Make a gift today as part of #GivingTuesday...

Virginia News


Notice: e-Advocate 2021 schedule

The e-Advocate newsletter will be on hiatus for the December 21 and 28 editions. The newsletter will return in 2022 on January 4.
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New videos released from Virginia Roots, Race, and Discipleship curriculum

The Race and Race Relations Team introduced the Virginia Roots, Race, and Discipleship curriculum and videos in 2020. The newest three segments are centered on segregation and desegregation in the Methodist Church, public schools, and nonviolent protests. The topics include:

• The Central Jurisdiction (a racially-segregated body of the Methodist Church from 1939 to 1968)
• Massive Resistance in Farmville, Virginia
• Bloody Monday, nonviolent protests and police brutality in Danville, Virginia in 1963

For more information and to view the videos currently offered, visit the Virginia Conference website at The direct link for the curriculum and videos is at Korean and Spanish translations of the curriculum will be posted as soon as possible.
For more information or for questions, contact the Rev. Dr. Charles F. Ledlum-Bates at [email protected].

Servant Sister Scholarship Endowment honors and celebrates ministries of women

Work began to establish The Servant Sister Scholarship Endowment to honor and celebrate the ministries of women in the Virginia Conference by financially supporting the theological training of future clergy sisters in 2019. All women committed to ministries of Word, Worship, and Witness, who are candidates for ministry in the Virginia Conference, and who demonstrate potential for developing creative ministries for a more just world are eligible to benefit from this endowment.

Thanks to the generosity of over 50 contributors from across the conference to date, the first two Servant Sister Scholarships were awarded for the fall 2021 semester. Talina Beck and Alyssa Densham, both students at Wesley Theological Seminary, received grants of $1,000 toward tuition. One expressed her gratitude saying, “This scholarship made the impossible possible.”

Now, the Servant Sister Scholarship Board of Directors is looking to the future with hope to be able to continue this level of support going forward. Here is where your influence matters. Please consider a gift of $500 or $1,000, but no gift is too small. This could be an alternative Christmas gift to a loved one, or given in honor or memory of a clergywoman who has served you, or simply an outright gift, an expression of your own gratitude for the sacrifice someone made on your behalf.

Checks should be written to VA UM Foundation, with Servant Sister Scholarship in the memo line. Mail to The VA UM Foundation 10330 Staples Mill Road, Glen Allen, VA 23060. Learn more...
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Check out conference podcasts

There are two VAUMC podcasts. Both are available on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

“The VAUMC Connection” is a series of standalone projects that will include news from the conference center, The Audio Advocate, and a collection of resources shared by the Connectional Ministries Office. Available on Spotify and Apple.

“1000 Question Christian” is a weekly podcast where clergy are asked off-the-wall questions – anything from weird stories in the Bible to pastoral advice. Available on Spotify and Apple.
You can also hear all the podcasts on the conference Digital Hub.

The December Audio Advocate is out now.
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Support high-risk children & families through the UMFS December offering

Gifts to the United Methodist Family Services (UMFS) December offering supports high-risk children and families across Virginia, including children in foster care, children struggling with mental health challenges, and special education students. Your donation will support children like Mackenzie, whose mental health struggles brought her to UMFS when she was 13 years old. It was the first step in a healing journey that would change her life. Today Mackenzie is a confident 20-year-old who shared that “I never would have thought I’d be where I am today.”

Visit to learn more. If your church would like to participate in the UMFS offering, visit for more information and helpful resources. Please contact Jill Gaynor ([email protected] or 804-254-9463) with any questions. Thank you for your support!
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GBGM offers multiethnic grant opportunities

The General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) offers Multiethnic Ministries grants and other resources for ethnic minority and multi-ethnic congregations. A new round of grants will begin in early January 2022. To receive information about grants and other resources, join their email list...
United Methodist Day 2

Register now 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...

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

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.

General Church News

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Church exits, COVID lead to steep budget cuts

UNITED METHODIST NEWS--What does a predicted denominational split and an unpredictable pandemic mean for The United Methodist Church’s bottom line? The General Council on Finance and Administration board grappled with that question as members revisited the denomination-wide budget that will go before the coming General Conference. The finance agency board already was preparing to send the lawmaking assembly the lowest budget in more than 30 years. On Dec. 1, by an 18-1 vote, the board approved shrinking the proposed four-year budget even further to a total of about $407.3 million for the years 2023-2026. That marks a cut of nearly 33 percent — a third — from the budget General Conference approved in 2016 to support denomination-wide ministries. Read more...
west ohio conference biscuit

Biscuit-making pastor lifts up praise

Every Saturday morning as a child, the Rev. Curnell Graham woke to the smell of bacon and the sound of his grandmother singing hymns and praying aloud. One day, Graham decided to try it for himself. He began praising God while he mixed the dough for biscuits, sending up prayers for his family, friends, and congregation. For 30 years, the tradition has continued. Read more...

One Last Word

A Devotion from the Rev. Marg Kutz, The Servant Sister Scholarship Board of Directors

I look at the Nativity scenes. They are everywhere - at home, church, stores, and on cards and in books - everywhere. Most look very Disney-like. Some are glossy, most in color, some of wood, ceramic, plastic, corn husks.
But the one thing they all have in common is this: you are the only woman in the scene. Some have made the angels female, but that is not likely or accurate. When the Savior of the world was born, you were the only woman present.
Giving birth is never easy. Your first child's circumstances had to be especially difficult - away from home and family and the Nazareth mid-wife. There are still thousands of women who every day give birth in exceptionally difficult circumstances. Some things haven't changed.
But, Mary, some things have changed, and that is what I want to tell you. There are other women at the manger now -- you are not alone anymore! Sometimes we feel alone, but we are not. It is still hard to give birth to salvation, to be the carrier of the Good News. But I just want to let you know that you are not the only woman anymore.
And these women are of many nations, races, and ages. Some are married, and some single. Some have children; some do not. But we all hold the Redeemer in our care, and our souls magnify our God.
So, I just want to thank you, Mary, for being there with all those men, for holding your own, for holding a place for us. I just want to let you know you are not alone anymore.
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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