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

December 14, 2021


Join in the 2022 Bible Challenge

Bishop Lewis invites you to join the 2022 Bible Challenge. In the new year, join the conference to read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation (daily reading list provided at conference website).
Be on the lookout, starting in January 2022, for new ways to interact with the Bible and fellow participants as well.
Get readings and stay updated on the challenge at:

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

  • How can you be a lifelong learner?

‘Tis the season when United Methodist sanctuaries around the world bloom into shades of red created by poinsettias. Check out this video to learn how this festive plant not only represents the birth of Jesus, but also his resurrection.
  • How can you be an influencer?
Even a tornado could not keep one Tennessee congregation from continuing its influence on children in the community. Learn more...
  • How can you serve?

Dangerous tornadoes swept across the country over the weekend and extensive damage has been reported in seven states. UMCOR is in contact with Conference Disaster Response Coordinators and is ready to assist with funding immediately and over what will likely be a long recovery. To support UMCOR’s response to these storms and other disasters, give to UMCOR U.S. Disaster Response and Recovery.

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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Notice: upcoming conference center holiday closures

The conference center in Glen Allen, Va. will be closed at 1 p.m. Thursday, December 23 and remain closed through Tuesday, December 28 for Christmas observance.

The center will be closed on Friday, December 31 in observance of New Year's Day.

Virginia Disaster Response Team shares information related to recent Midwest tornado outbreak

December 14--The Virginia Conference Disaster Response team is working closely with neighboring conferences to assess the need and where we can help. Today, the Conference Disaster Response Coordinators for both the Kentucky/Tennessee annual conference are in Mayfield, KY. A status update via the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), will be shared with the conferences as information becomes available.
View more from the conference Serving Ministries Office and Disaster Response Team statement...
central umc arlington groundbreaking

Construction begins on redevelopment of local church

In Arlington, construction is beginning on Ballston Station, a multi-use redevelopment where currently Central UMC is located. The redevelopment is a partnership between Central UMC and Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing. The new construction will replace the existing church with an eight-story building to include 144 committed affordable homes, a new sanctuary space, and community amenities including a kitchen for food distribution and an early childhood education space. Learn more...
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Help celebrate Heart Havens Month in February

Help Heart Havens share its message of inclusion and empowerment across the conference. The organization empowers adults with developmental disabilities to live and thrive in their community and depends on the support of churches during February to sustain its mission as they do not receive any funding from conference apportionments. Please contact them now about participating in Heart Havens month and to receive the best resources to celebrate. Contact them at 804-237-6097 or [email protected].

Older Adult Council offers help for the grieving during the holiday season

The holiday season is often quite difficult for those who are grieving whether from a recent loss or even of many years past. Frequently, folks say they do not feel equipped to minister to those who are grieving. They just don't know what to say. The ministry of presence is often the best ministry of all. Want to know more? The Older Adult Council offers presentations on Grief Ministry. Representatives are available in person or by Zoom. The contact person is Suzanne Spencer at [email protected].
Be certified in Godly Play at Wesley!-2

Get certified in Godly Play at Wesley in 2022

Do you love teaching children about the Bible? Find out more about an internationally-recognized method, Godly Play, and be certified by registering for an upcoming two-credit course at Wesley. This hybrid course, CF175 "Godly Play," will meet on campus Saturday, February 5, March 19, and April 23, 2022, 8:30 am-5:30, with the remainder of the course online and asynchronous. Class registration is limited to 20 students, so submit your applications soon!
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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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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

tennessee tornado

United Methodists respond after devastating twisters

UNITED METHODIST NEWS--United Methodists in Kentucky, Tennessee and neighboring states are coming to terms with the devastation of a string of tornadoes Dec. 10-11, while also mobilizing quickly to provide food, emergency shelter and other relief. The storm system that struck on Friday evening into Saturday morning — including one tornado that caused destruction across some 240 miles — is blamed for nearly 90 deaths. Twisters sheared roofs and shattered windows at some United Methodist churches and parsonages, as well as badly damaging congregation members’ homes and local businesses.
“We will be dealing with the aftermath long after the media and social media reports have ceased,” Kentucky Conference Bishop Fairley said in a statement. Read more...

Bishop Kelly replaces Robert E. Lee in church window

Cathedral of the Rockies (First United Methodist Church, Boise) has substituted a stained-glass image of Bishop Leontine T.C. Kelly for one of Robert E. Lee. Kelly was the first Black woman bishop of The United Methodist Church. The Rev. Duane Anders, senior pastor of Cathedral of the Rockies, spoke about the church's move in an interview with the Idaho Statesman. Read more...
racism is a sin

United Methodist connection to UN report

The anti-racism work of The United Methodist Church is now included in a report to the U.N. General Assembly. The 13-page submission is supported by official statements from the denomination’s Book of Discipline and Book of Resolutions, both of which contain the United Methodist Social Principles. Read more...
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Family throws surprise Christmas party for 250 women

With joy and jubilation, the Mutoko East 2 United Methodist women’s organization received an early Christmas surprise from the Mukandi family. During the Nov. 27 festivities at Bwanya United Methodist Church, the family thanked God for protection and healing from COVID-19 and shared their joy with 250 United Methodists from six local churches. Each member of the women’s group Rukwadzano RweWadzimani received church clothing, lunch, and a food basket. Charity, Elison, and Christwish Mukandi distributed the goodies. “My name affirms, strengthens, and resonates with what I do,” Charity Mukandi said. “But I believe it all started in the Bible. God pricelessly gave us his son to die for our sins, so when God blesses us, we also plow back to the community.

“It is our hope,” she added, “that as we give, someone will be inspired and reciprocate. Love is not love until you give it away. As a family, we have a lot to be thankful for and share our joy.” Read more...

One Last Word

'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His Word
Just to rest upon His promise,
Just to know, "Thus saith the Lord!"
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I've proved Him o'er and o'er
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!
trust jesus
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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