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

January 18, 2022

let us pray (2)

Let us pray...

Periodically, a prayer focus will be shared in the e-Advocate. As you see fit, share in your contexts, including your Sunday worship services.

January 23: ESL & Immigrant Ministries
Since 1989, English as a Second Language (ESL) and Immigrant Ministries has helped the immigrant
community in the Northern Virginia area by promoting and supporting the teaching of English to
adults of all nationalities. The ministry has grown to include approximately 20 participating
congregations, including several in Washington, D.C., that serves more than 1,000 students in a typical
semester. These congregations build bridges of cultural understanding, community, and friendship by
bringing people together. Mutual respect and understanding come from the interactions in these classes,
where all are welcomed.
For more information, please visit

Lord, you said, “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” With open arms and hearts, we welcome those who strive to learn new ways to communicate while we follow in your path. Amen.

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

  • How can you be a lifelong learner?

Rethink Church took several of the most-read articles from the last year and collected them into an audio magazine. Check it out...
  • How can you be an influencer?
Be inspired by the story of Ernestine Shepherd. This 85-year-old United Methodist is strong in body and resilient in spirit.
  • How can you serve?

Want to improve your church's energy stewardship but not sure how to get started? Join Global Ministries for an upcoming webinar, "Energy Efficiency from Audit to Action: Local Church Stories" on Thursday, Jan. 27 from 8 - 9 p.m. ET. Learn more and register...

Virginia News


Special Annual Conference announced to Virginia Conference

A Special Annual Conference will be held virtually on Saturday, January 29, 9:30 a.m. The only purpose for this Special Session Called Annual Conference is to vote on the funding mechanism for the Virginia Annual Conference’s commitment to the Boy Scouts of America settlement. Additional information about the session will be forthcoming. Information about the Boy Scouts settlement can be found in the Monday, Jan. 10, announcement here. For questions, contact the Rev. Dr. Steve Summers, Assistant to the Bishop and Director of Connectional Ministries at [email protected].
umfs campus

UMFS opens New Child & Family Healing Center Building

Phase 1 of the Be a Champion Capital Campaign has been completed at UMFS (United Methodist Family Services) with the construction of the new UMFS Child & Family Healing Center building. This new facility will serve youth ages 11 - 18 who are struggling with acute mental health challenges. Youth live on campus for 3 - 18 months while participating in customized therapeutic treatment to help them heal. This state-of-the-art facility provides many meaningful upgrades to both the living space and therapy space. Each child has a private room which includes a private bathroom. Group and family therapy spaces are dramatically expanded, and all spaces have modern, soothing décor. Phase 2 of the campaign will help expand the UMFS Charterhouse School. Learn more...
WTS - Spring 2022 - Instagram

Still time to take a Spring course at Wesley Seminary in 2022

It's not too late to choose to study at Wesley Theological Seminary in 2022! Spring Term registration is still open - classes are starting January 19, 2022. Study your way - online, in-class or take a weekend hybrid course that meets in person only three times on campus, and all other coursework is completed online.
Choose from a wide range of courses such as "Faith, Politics & Public Square"; "Toni Morrison & Theodicy"; "Cross, State, & Citizenship" and "Godly Play". Interested in trying a class at Wesley, grabbing a CEU, or using your WTS alumni audit benefit? Apply now...
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Students can apply now for Convergence

Don’t let your rising 10th, 11th, or 12th grade students miss out on this phenomenal opportunity to explore the connection between Christian faith and mainstream science in classroom, laboratory, and outdoor experiences with Convergence. Convergence 2022 will be held July 15–17. With a grant from the Lilly Endowment, all participants will benefit in a reduced cost of $75 per camper. Additionally, Convergence participants who are accepted into Randolph-Macon will receive a $1,000 scholarship to the college. Though the 2020 in-person Convergence program was cancelled due to COVID-19 and the 2021 program was held virtually, the program brought 92 outstanding students from Virginia Conference congregations to Randolph-Macon’s virtual classroom. Convergence leaders said they are excited return to an in-person camp for 2022. Parents and youth, to apply for Convergence, please click here. Or to nominate a participant, please click here to fill out the nomination form. When the nomination is received, the Convergence Staff will contact your nominee with further information. For questions or additional information about the program, please contact the Rev. Kendra Grimes or Jamie Grant at [email protected] or (804) 752-7374.
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Join weekly conference chapel service

The Virginia United Methodist Center hosts a weekly public Zoom chapel service every Wednesday. Guests from around the conference lead worship each week. Tune in to sing, pray, and study. The same Zoom link is used each week. Service participants for January 12:
Preacher: The Rev. Dr. R. Samuel Kirubakaran, Associate Pastor Good Shepherd UMC-Indian Church RVA, & Associate Pastor, Emmaus UMC
Download bulletin...
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 950 8909 4606
One tap mobile
+13017158592,,95089094606# US (Washington DC)


Phishing attempts continue to plague Virginia Conference

Phishing emails continue to be sent out purporting to be from Bishop Sharma Lewis and clergy from around the Virginia Conference.

Phishing is when an email is sent using words in the email or pretends to be from an account they are not. Usually, they are asking for action from you, such as sending funds, sending an email, your credentials, etc. These are almost always sent from criminal organizations.

If you recognize a future phishing email, DELETE it. Please know Bishop Lewis and our clergy would not issue this type of request.

UM Day is now moving to virtual format on Jan. 27

Leadership for United Methodist Day at the General Assembly had hoped to be in person this year, but with limited in-person access at the General Assembly and the increased infection rates, the event is moving to Zoom. Join to learn how your Christian faith, the Methodist Tradition, and the government interact and intersect. The keynote will address practical examples of faith and tradition leading to impactful change and improved justice.
Register here.
Learn more about the event...

Bishop, Cabinet, PRG Team give update during omicron surge

January 6--Bishop Lewis, the Virginia Cabinet, and the conference PRG Team shared an update last week amidst the omicron surge. In part they wrote:
"As the Omicron variant surges throughout the nation and the Commonwealth becomes a hotspot for this new variant, we encourage the local PRG teams to continue evaluating their context and adherence to the best practices. There is a spike in the number of cases related to our local churches, and we learned that the tools in the toolkit: vaccination, masking, and social distancing are effective in stopping the spread. We are thankful for the vigilant effort of each PRG team in implementing effective mitigation strategies.
Not only will the next 4-6 weeks be one of the toughest tests for the churches, as members return from their Christmas holiday gatherings, but also a critical point in the battle against COVID. This is a good time to reevaluate and adjust plans accordingly. While we know that the decisions before our local churches, pastors, and local PRG teams are not easy, know that your bishop and Cabinet have every confidence in you to make the best decisions for the safety of your members and communities. " Read more...

Conference delegation prepares for General Conference

Though the initial General Conference session has been postponed since May 2020, the Virginia Conference delegation has been continuing to meet and do work. Learn more about what the delegation has been working on in their time together with this update...
student connect

Scholarships available for United Methodist students

The United Methodist Higher Education Foundation (UMHEF) is accepting scholarship applications for the 2022-2023 academic year between January 1 – March 1, 2022. Students who are members of The United Methodist Church and planning to attend a United Methodist-related school, college, university, or seminary full-time are eligible to apply. More information on eligibility criteria, the application process, and FAQs can be found at Applications and supporting materials must be submitted/postmarked no later than March 1, 2022.
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Help celebrate Heart Havens Month in February

Heart Havens Month (February) will soon be here. The Virginia Conference has designated February as Heart Havens Month, one of six special offerings throughout the year. There are six Heart Havens homes across the conference, where men and women with a developmental disability are empowered to be full members of the body of Christ, and active participants in their communities.
The theme for Heart Havens Month this year is "A New World." Online donations can be made and donors can choose monthly under the frequency drop-down menu or click here to learn other ways to give.
Additional Heart Havens month resources are also available for download. If you would like a virtual speaker for Sunday morning worship or a UMM/UMW or other small group meeting, please contact Heart Havens.


Bishop Lewis, Dr. Hyo Lee, hosting trip to Greece and Turkey

Bishop Sharma Lewis and the Rev. Dr. Hyo Lee are hosting a Greece and Turkey trip, Nov. 7-18, 2022. Four CEUs will be awarded for the first 32 participants. For more information, contact Dr. Lee at (540) 336-9297 or email [email protected]. Learn more...
va rootsslide

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].

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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Leadership of Central Conference bishops share statement on vaccine equity

COUNCIL OF BISHOPS--The leadership of the Central Conference bishops of The United Methodist Church shared a statement yesterday, Monday, January 17, about vaccine equity in light of a campaign by the WCA for vaccine access.
In part, the Central Conference bishops' statement said, "As Christians, we are called to serve all of God’s people without discriminating or choosing only those who agree with us theologically or politically. We are called to be of help to all those in need and not only those who would support our organization’s goals and desires. That is why we are appalled by the action of the Wesleyan Covenant Association (WCA) regarding COVID-19 vaccinations. The WCA has decided to raise funds to assist some United Methodists, mostly in Africa, with getting vaccinations for the sole purpose of making sure that those United Methodists who are delegates to the postponed General Conference would be able to travel to the United States. While we understand that vaccines are not easily accessible to all people in many parts of the world, we are dismayed that the WCA would choose to help provide vaccines to only a few people and not the community as whole."
In the statement, the Central Conference bishops noted that the Connectional Table has called the church to consider vaccine equity a missional priority of the church and that the Council of Bishops supports this effort. Read more...
Read Central Conference bishops statement in full...
Read article from UM Insight about WCA vaccine campaign...

Update aims to make Bible translation more accurate

UNITED METHODIST NEWS--Is it important that the skin disease Jesus healed people from wasn’t leprosy as we know it today? Does it matter whether John the Baptist said he was not fit to untie the “thong” of Jesus’ sandals or the “strap?” Should a verse in Isaiah be changed from the poetic “wild grapes” to the more accurate “rotten grapes,” even though it is less pleasing to the ear? The NRSVue, or the New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition Bible, includes thousands of substantive edits and 20,000 total changes in the Bible translation, which includes alterations in grammar and punctuation, according to Friendship Press. It is an update, not a new translation, which would be a more extensive project.
The answer to all three questions is “yes,” say scholars who worked on the 2021 update to one of the most popular Bible translations, the “New Revised Standard Version Updated Edition Bible,” published by Friendship Press. Read more...
immanuel umc

Bilingual appointments give new life to declining Korean churches

UNITED METHODIST NEWS--The Wisconsin Conference has begun a new type of appointment, known as a bilingual appointment, to help respond to the trend of declining Korean and other ethnic churches.
The conference is nearing 50 percent of its appointments being cross-racial. There are more benefits and significant synergy for both congregations if a pastor serves in two languages for two congregations in one building. Read more...
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Filipino churches step up after super typhoon

UNITED METHODIST NEWS--The Church leaders and relief groups are reaching out to survivors after a deadly December storm kills more than 400. “Scattered debris of roofs, uprooted trees, toppled electrical posts were all over,” said the Rev. Apriniel Salmon. “As expected, the wreckage was insurmountable.”
With many homes destroyed, people continue sheltering in local churches and other facilities. Read more...

One Last Word

give thanks
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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