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

February 8, 2022

let us pray (5)

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.

February 13: Just Neighbors
Founded in 1996 by pastors and lawyers of The United Methodist Church, Just Neighbors provides immigration legal services to help immigrants out of poverty and isolation and into jobs, school, and the life-sustaining networks they need to achieve their dreams. Just Neighbors' vision is that all immigrants in Virginia are able to live with dignity and full membership in the community. Through the staff attorneys, committed volunteers, and a vast network of community and social service agencies, Just Neighbors helps immigrants navigate the complex legal issues related to immigration, while at the same time connecting immigrants with their new communities. Since its founding, they have helped over 15,000 immigrants from 152 countries around the world. Last year, Just Neighbors helped 765 clients with 1,150 cases.


God of us all, we give you thanks for welcoming each one of us by your immeasurable grace. Help us to recognize your image in each person we meet and offer hospitality to our neighbors. We pray this day for those who are made to feel unwelcome by unjust systems and laws. Be with those who are frightened and uncertain as they await news of their immigration status. Comfort families whose members are separated from one another. Bring courage and peace to those whose lives are threatened by violence. Provide the basic necessities of life to all who are in need. Bless the ongoing work of Just Neighbors as they celebrate 25 years of helping our immigrant neighbors. As we faithfully strive to be the hands and feet of Jesus in this time and place, empower us to serve with compassion, be doers of justice, and to advocate for righteousness. In the name of Christ, we pray. Amen.

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

  • How can you be a lifelong learner?

February is Black History Month. Find resources from ResourceUMC in a compiled list of recommended resources for adults, children, and congregations to learn more about and honor African American history. Learn more...
  • How can you be an influencer?
In the current “Get Your Spirit in Shape” podcast episode from The United Methodist Church, Dr. David Field shares thoughts on how we might follow the complex command to love – and respect – all people, even those with whom we vehemently disagree. Listen in...
  • How can you serve?

UMCOR is offering reimbursement grants of up to $1,000 for U.S. UMC churches that partner with Church World Service to resettle Afghan families. How you can serve...

Virginia News


Register now for free Zoom webinar on digital ministry communications

When COVID-19 hit, many churches and leaders found themselves stuck in a chaos cycle. Our systems, rhythms, and communication got infinitely more complicated, and what worked before isn’t necessarily working anymore. It’s time to rethink communication and leverage the greatest opportunities we’ve ever had to communicate in the church.
Join Phil Bowdle, a leading national voice in the area of church communications and author of Rethink Communication: A Playbook to Clarify and Communicate Everything in Your Church, on Saturday, March 5 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for this practical conversation on one of the most important issues facing the church today. You’ll walk away with a playbook of practical ideas, strategies, and resources that will spark engagement and more effective communication in your church.

Sponsored by the conference Board of Communications, this is a free event. Registration is available at this link:
I am... (1)

Submit your name to serve on conference boards and agencies

Are you an encourager? A trailblazer? A mentor? A communicator?

Learn where your gifts are needed on one of the conference’s boards and agencies:

Your gifts and graces through boards such as Missional Ministries will help United Methodists across the Virginia Conference.

In this new year of 2022, pray on how God may be encouraging you to serve then download the nominations profile form at the link above, fill it out and send it to your District Office to be considered by the Conference Nominations team for election to a board or agency.
youth ministry

Join Youth Ministry monthly Zoom and Lunch

Join the Virginia Conference Learning Office and others every second Wednesday of the month at 12 noon on Zoom by registering HERE. The next event is:

Feb. 9 — Scholarships and Discernment with the Virginia Conference Center for Clergy Excellence

Position open for Assistant Secretary of the Annual Conference

Secretary of Annual Conference the Rev. Joshua King is seeking a new Assistant Secretary to help the Annual Conference with its work. This role needs someone gifted in both technology and detail-oriented. The three main components of this role include:
1. The primary role of this Assistant Secretary is to capture the wording of the motions/amendments and mirror your screen (with the help of the Tech Desk) for the Annual Conference to understand what is currently being discussed. As motions/amendments are made, you may also be asked to go and collect the form that should be handed in as this form would have the exact wording to be used for the motion/amendment.
2. This Assistant Secretary writes the minutes of the worship services.
3. This Assistant Secretary would attend the 6 a.m. Breakfast Minutes Committee meetings to assist the Secretary in finalizing the minutes with this committee.
Email [email protected] if you would like to be considered for the position. Annual Conference traditionally has covered housing and breakfast. In addition, there is an honorarium of $500 for this position.

Faith leaders invited to Interfaith Awareness Brief

FBI Richmond Special Agent in Charge Stanley M. Meador invites faith-based leaders, from all denominations throughout the Commonwealth to a virtual “Interfaith Awareness Brief” on February 10, 2022, from 10:00-11:30 a.m. This brief comes at a time when houses of worship across the country have experienced unfathomable disrespect, violence, and loss. It is imperative that law enforcement and the community continue working together to mitigate these attacks. FBI Richmond is proactively reaching out to our faith-based leaders, throughout the Commonwealth, to reiterate our commitment and responsibilities, and share information that will encourage awareness, dialogue, and preparedness.
This virtual event, hosted by FBI Richmond’s leadership, will focus on International and Domestic Terrorism, Hate Crimes, and the FBI’s Crisis Management Response to critical incidents.
Faith-based leaders may register for this free, Teams event here. Registration is open now and closes at 5:00 p.m. on February 8. Questions about this event may be directed to FBI Richmond’s Community Outreach Team at [email protected].
wesley feb 2022

Have you ever considered doing a Doctor of Ministry at Wesley Theological Seminary?

There is still time to start your Wesley D.Min. in 2022! Apply by February 15, 2022, for a May 2022 start! For more information about the program, go to and contact The Rev. Dr. Chip Aldridge at [email protected] or call 703-836-1549.

The Rev. Dr. Theresa S. Thames, Associate Dean of Religious Life and the Chapel at Princeton University, shares why she chose Wesley for her Doctor of Ministry in Church Leadership Excellence, in her video at
AfghanWelcome (1)

Assistance continues with Afghan Allies’ resettlement

The Virginia Annual Conference Refugee Response Team compiled a list of resources for churches that are interested in supporting the resettlement effort. A list of questions and answers offers some practical information on how to start this journey. Learn more...
playground dedication

Church dedicates "Prayground" in its sanctuary

Farmville UMC dedicated “Sarah’s Prayground” during their February 6 worship service. The Prayground is a space for babies, toddlers, and their families in the corner of the sanctuary, furnished with board books, soft toys, puzzles, and glider rockers. Very young children can feel at home and welcome in the worship service in the Prayground.

It was dedicated to the memory of Sarah Townsend, a young woman who tragically lost her life while away at college in Kentucky, last year. Sarah was a part of the church's youth group, and worked in the church nursery, where she was a magnet for young children.
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Bishop shares next steps in Boy Scout settlement

Bishop Lewis shared a thank you to the conference clergy and laity for their presence, time, and attention during the Special Annual Conference on January 29, 2022. Going forward The United Methodist Church is committed to the following non-monetary items as part of the settlement, which benefit both survivors and the church.
  • Train leaders to meet with and hear the experience and hopes of any survivor who participated in Scouting activities connected with a United Methodist congregation.
  • Review all Safe Sanctuaries/Ministry Safe policies and update as necessary.
  • Develop a series of articles about how to ensure safe youth programing.
  • Participate in a survivors’ justice and healing working group formed by survivors who filed claims.
More information will be forthcoming from the denomination and the conference on these items. If you are a member of the laity and would like to train as a leader to meet with survivors, please contact your district lay leader. Clergy should contact their district superintendent.
harry denman awards

Nominations, applications due Mar. 4 for Harry Denman Award & One Matters Award

The two awards given out at the Annual Conference meeting each year are now accepting nominations and applications through March 4.

Harry Denman Award for Discipleship
Is anyone in your congregation a deeply formed spiritual leader who has the ability to assist others in their discipleship? Perhaps they are involved in youth, family, or senior ministry and have helped people to become a disciple or encouraged their growth as a disciple of Jesus Christ. They may be involved in local mission and/or ministries that have influenced lives in the name of Christ. They can be clergy, laity and/or youth. The Board of Discipleship each year recognizes one person in each category who displays fruitful discipleship in their lives. The deadline for nominations is March 4, 2022. Information and nominations may be obtained at Nominations should be sent to Kathy Gochenour at [email protected] or Becky Tate at [email protected].
One Matters Award
Has your church gone from zero Professions of Faith in the past to a positive number of Professions of Faith in 2021? If so, you may be eligible for the One Matters Award. Churches are chosen by a process that looks at the past four years and the most current year for positive changes in Professions of Faith, Confirmations, and/or Baptisms. The church that is chosen will receive a One Matters plaque and $1,000 to continue their ministries of intentional discipleship. The intent of this award is to lift up churches that have moved from zeros in Professions of Faith and/or baptisms to positive numbers in recent years due to their renewed focus on intentional discipleship. The church’s story of renewed transformation will be shared during the annual conference session, and we will share their story across the connection through the Discipleship Ministries website and publications. The deadline for applications is March 4, 2022. Applications may be obtained at They should be sent to Kathy Gochenour at [email protected] or Becky Tate at [email protected].

lay servant ministries

2022 Lay Servant Academy will be virtual one-day event

The winter training day is a virtual-only event and will take place 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 take-a-ways 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 & discipleship. We welcome both clergy and laity to engage in these courses! If you have questions, you are welcome to reach out to Tianna Durbin, Director of Lay Servant Academy at [email protected]. Learn more...

BMCR to host Black History Presentation

Save the Date for Monday, February 21 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Black Methodists for Church Renewal (BMCR) will offer a virtual Black History presentation with guest presented L. Toni Lewis, Founder and President of Liberation Health Strategies.

Zoom Topic: BMCR - Black History Presentation - Monday Feb. 21, 2022 at 5pm - 6:30pm
Join Zoom Meeting:
Meeting ID: 863 4911 1424
Passcode: 958123
Dial by your location (Phone Only)
+1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)
Meeting ID: 863 4911 1424
Passcode: 958123
va rootsslide

Curriculum provides resources for Black History Month

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 . For more information or for questions, contact the Rev. Dr. Charles F. Ledlum-Bates at [email protected].

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.
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Help celebrate Heart Havens Month in February

Heart Havens Month (February) is 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.

Join the organization for a virtual event on Tuesday, Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. to know teh residants and Heart Havens better. The event will include an overview of Heart Havens, a chance to meet residents, and a time for Q&A. Contact [email protected] if you have questions.Access Zoom meeting:
Meeting ID: 840 9611 8391
Passcode: 525876
+13126266799,,84096118391#,,,,*525876# US (Chicago)
+19292056099,,84096118391#,,,,*525876# US (New York)
path 1 zoom call

Join weekly conference chapel service

The Virginia United Methodist Center hosts a weekly public Zoom chapel service every Wednesday at 10 a.m.. Guests from around the conference lead worship each week. Tune in to sing, pray, and study. The same Zoom link is used each week.
Preacher for February 9 at 10 a.m.: The Rev. Michelle Matthews, pastor of Kingstowne Communion, Alexandria, VA

Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 950 8909 4606
One tap mobile
+13017158592,,95089094606# US (Washington DC)

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.
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.

General Church News

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UMC bishops rebuke hatred and racism

COUNCIL OF BISHOPS-- The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church has condemned the recent hatred and racist attacks on houses of worships and institutions of learning in the United States.
In a statement released today, the Council of Bishops referred to the recent attack on a synagogue in Texas and bomb threats against historically Black colleges and universities.
“We want our Jewish sisters and brothers to know that we are appalled by this senseless violence and stand with them,” the statement said. “Soon after the antisemitic attack in Colleyville, Texas, a series of bomb threats were received at Historic Black Colleges and Universities across the United States. At the beginning of Black History month, no less! This begs the question, ‘when will these acts of hate end?’”
The statement calls on United Methodists not to remain silent and not to only pray but also add voices and actions to the prayers.
“We cannot remain neutral when it comes to hate crimes, hate speech, and fomenting and committing violence in our world. We won’t have any moral grounds if we say we love God and yet take no action against racism and hatred,” said the statement, signed by Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey, president of the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church. Read statement...
church cornerstone box

Time capsule discovered in destroyed church opened

A box placed in the cornerstone of Dresden First United Methodist Church in Dresden, Tenn., contained copies of the local paper, Methodist hymnals and songbooks, and even an ear of corn. The cornerstone box was discovered during the demolition of Dresden First United Methodist Church, which was demolished by tornadoes in December 2021. Read more...
um church parking lot

United Methodist church parking lots double as safe spaces

UM NEWS-- Park Hill United Methodist Church in Denver and several other United Methodist congregations have discovered that inviting people without housing to rest and recharge on church property is a cogent way to put their faith into action. Read more...
joey reed

Churches begin long recovery after tornadoes

UM NEWS-- The Rev. Joey Reed, pastor of Mayfield First United Methodist Church, Kentucky Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church, Bishop Leonard Fairley and Lara S. Martin, Director of U.S. Disaster Response, UMCOR - United Methodist Committee On Relief, reflect on recovery efforts after a line of tornadoes devastated areas of several states in December. Video produced by Joey Butler with images by Mike DuBose, United Methodist News. Watch video...

One Last Word

surely god

Where do you need God's help today?

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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