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

January 25, 2022

let us pray (3)

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 30: Commonwealth/Fairfax UMC
Commonwealth UMC began as a ministry of Fairfax UMC, and to reimagine how church has been done, envisioning a church in partnership with their neighbors.

Benevolent God, who calls us together for such a time as this, we lift up Commonwealth UMC and Pastor Kim. May their ministry overflow from their congregation to benefit the entire community around them. May they know your loving and guiding Presence as they seek to grow closer to You. In Christ's Name, we pray. Amen.
-Rev. Minoo Kim

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

  • How can you be a lifelong learner?

A new four-week online learning experience from United Methodist Communications seeks to connect you with facilitators through video workshops, engaging assignments, and discussion sessions and, ultimately, help your church take the next steps toward visioning and implementing effective communication planning. Learn more...
  • How can you be an influencer?
The #BeUMC campaign spotlights the core values that connect all United Methodists and celebrates the Wesleyan theology of grace that is built upon Scripture and the teachings of Jesus Christ. This vital campaign reminds us of who we are and all that we can do to be world-changing people of God. How can you be an influencer...
  • How can you serve?

January is Human Trafficking Awareness Month. Find resources and learn about the various ways United Methodists throughout the world are working to end human trafficking. How you can serve...

Virginia News


Special Annual Conference this Saturday at 9:30 a.m.

A Special Annual Conference will be held virtually by Zoom 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. Annual Conference members will receive their Zoom login information today and it will be resent on Friday, January 28.
On January 21, further information was shared in a letter from Bishop Lewis and local churches could access the CFA-recommended apportionment for each church in a document shared on the conference website.
For those with no vote, this annual conference can be viewed via livestream. The livestream link will be made available on the conference homepage soon.
For questions, contact the Rev. Dr. Steve Summers, Assistant to the Bishop and Director of Connectional Ministries at [email protected].
bible 101

Learn more with Bible 101 podcast episode

How is the 2022 Bible Challenge going so far? If you would like a further resource to help you with the challenge or to share in a small group, check out the newest VAUMC Connection podcast episode about Bible 101! The Rev. Taylor Mertins and the Rev. Matthew Smith guest on this episode You can listen anywhere you find podcasts or at:

Start the 2022 Bible Reading Challenge anytime by visiting this link.
vaumc conversations jan 2022

Podcast talks about clergy, church well-being

This month’s #VAUMCConversation features the Rev. Andrew Ware and the Rev. Jessie Colwell to talk about Holistic Wellbeing for clergy and the church. Download the episode on your favorite podcast app or click here.

Virginia Conference helps mark Refugee Advocacy Day at General Assembly

The Rev. Seungsoo “RJ” Jun, representing Bishop Sharma Lewis and the Virginia Conference, was a guest at the Virginia General Assembly on Jan. 19 to mark Refugee Advocacy Day. Jun is the conference associate director of Serving Ministries. The purpose of the day was to bring together Virginians from across the Commonwealth who are passionate about and understand the importance of helping Virginia’s new neighbors integrate and thrive in communities. Delegate Kathy Tran hosted the press conference with members of the Asian American Pacific Islander Caucus, the International Rescue Committee, Church World Service, and other advocates. Tran spoke about the legislature’s need to prioritize welcoming new Americans as part of its January session. Jun highlighted the command of Jesus to love our neighbors as ourselves and how that translated into a call to care for refugees and immigrants. He noted that as the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church has stepped forward to assist Virginia’s new Afghan neighbors, United Methodists are mindful of the fact Jesus was a refugee. All of the participants at the press conference urged delegates and other state officials to continue to support laws and programs that would offer assistance and pathways to Virginia’s newest neighbors. Read more...

For more information about the Virginia Conference’s efforts to assist refugees, visit this link.

UVA Wesley Foundation seeks Campus Minister/Director

The Virginia Conference Learning Ministries Office, in partnership with the Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry, announces the job opening for the University of Virginia Wesley Foundation Campus Minister/Director. A successful candidate for this position will be a creative and visionary leader who provides pastoral and relational care, relates well to students, and crafts a nurturing and welcoming environment for all whom they encounter. Resumes are being accepted now and will continue to be accepted until February 28, 2022. Submit your application with cover letter, resume, and three references to the Rev. Nickie Moreno Howard, Associate Director of Learning Ministries at [email protected]. A detailed job description is available here.

Submit your podcast to the Communications office

Are you a clergyperson leading a podcast? The conference Communications Office would like to support these podcasts and share them conference-wide. If interested, submit:
  • podcast title
  • thumbnail image
  • 1-2 summary/podcast pitch
  • where your podcast is located
  • favorite episode title
Please send information to [email protected].

Still time to register for virtual UM Day on Jan. 27

This advocacy event has been moved online, but you can still be advocating for fellow Virginians and learn about how faith and advocacy connect. The event will be a half-day event from 9 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Keynote Speaker is Jay Speer, Executive Director of Virginia Poverty Law Center, and District Superintendents will share about our unique call to advocacy as United Methodists. Kim Bobo, Executive Director, Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy will come and talk about advocacy priorities for 2022. Please note: If you have already registered you do not need to re-register for the virtual event. Register here.
lay servant ministries

2022 Lay Servant Academy Winter Training Day

The 2022 Lay Servant Academy will be a virtual-only event on Saturday, February 26, from 8:45 a.m.-4 p.m. There are opportunities for both full-day and half-day courses and several courses fulfill requirements toward Lay Servant Ministries. Leadership courses are taught by both clergy and laity who are actively involved in ministry. These courses serve to provide practical ideas and takeaways so that leaders are better equipped to shepherd their ministries more fully. Lay Servant Academy is also a day to come and be refreshed and renewed in leadership and discipleship. Both clergy and laity are welcome to engage in these courses! If you have questions, reach out to Tianna Durbin, Director of Lay Servant Academy, at [email protected]. Learn more and register...
come to the table 2022

Register now for virtual 2022 Come to the Table Conference

Registration is now open for the virtual 2022 Come to the Table Conference. With funding support from The Duke Endowment, RAFI-USA’s Come to the Table Conference will feature keynote addresses from acclaimed author Natalie Baszile and Professor of Food, Economics, and Community at Duke Divinity School, Dr. Norbert Wilson. The conference's theme is "Spirit, Power, and Connection: Owning Our Food Future" and will include over 20 workshops, networking sessions, and panels. To learn more...
heart havens logo big

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.

eastern shore youth event

Join Youth event on Eastern Shore

Beat the Game is the theme of a March 25-27 Youth Retreat at the Eastern Shore’s Occohannock on the Bay. Spend a weekend with your peers growing in Christ and learning about overcoming the challenges of social media and the overconsumption of technology. There will be lots of opportunities for fun, fellowship, and amazing activities the camp has to offer! Youth from around the Virginia Conference are invited to attend. Registration and participation, including all expenses, is $55. Learn more...
rmc convergence

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.
path 1 zoom call

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. Margaret Kutz, Retired Elder in Full Connection of the VAUMC, author of Nevertheless She Preached
Liturgist & Musician: Joshua Wortham, Minister of Music, Chester United Methodist Church
Download bulletin...
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 950 8909 4606
One tap mobile
+13017158592,,95089094606# US (Washington DC)


Bishop, Cabinet, PRG Team give update during omicron surge

January 6--Bishop Lewis, the Virginia Cabinet, and the conference PRG Team shared an update 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...
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.

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...

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

bob hazen

Native man shares boarding school experience

UM NEWS--Michigan was among 27 states that participated in the residential school system, an effort in the 19th and 20th centuries to assimilate Native American children to white culture. At the age of 5, Bob Hazen, a member of Ewen United Methodist Church and now elder of the Lac Vieux Desert Chippewa Tribe, was taken from his family by a priest and a sheriff and spent the next 10 years in that school system. Read more...
zimbabwe science lab

New science lab grows options for students

UM NEWS--Dreams of becoming doctors and scientists are within reach for students at United Methodist Hanwa Secondary School, thanks to a new state-of-the-art science laboratory. Zimbabwe Volunteers in Mission helped fund the construction of a spacious science lab and library at the Hanwa Mission school. Read more...
um news racism stories

UM News seeking voices with personal encounters with racism

UM News is inviting people to share their personal stories about encounters with racism, as well as ideas for combating it. UM News is seeking voices that reflect the diversity of the church to build an understanding of how racism affects all. Read more...

Ukulele band spreads joy with music

UM NEWS--Churches tend to be known for their spectacular pipe organs, beautiful pianos or accomplished hand bell choirs. In Cordele, GAUnited Methodists started a ukulele band, which now includes members of multiple local churches. Read more...

One Last Word

may the words
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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