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

February 15, 2022

Upcoming events

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

  • How can you be a lifelong learner?

Incorporating text messaging into many aspects of your church's communications is more relevant than ever. Get these #UMComTips to utilize text messaging to its full extent. Learn more...
  • How can you be an influencer?
United Methodist Communications, the denomination’s global communication agency, is seeking people in leadership roles within local United Methodist churches to participate in upcoming ethnic leader panel discussions. Interested parties can apply for either a slot on the agency’s Latino leader panel or the Black leader panel. Selected panelists will be invited to take part in online surveys and focus groups throughout the year. Be an influencer...

  • How can you serve?

Join a webinar Thursday, Feb. 17, at 7 p.m. ET to hear an update on the "Love Beyond Borders" interfaith movement and UNICEF's vaccine distribution effort. Kathy Griffith of Global Ministries' Global Health unit will serve as the moderator. Find out more...

Virginia News

bsa logo

Several Updates on the Boy Scouts Child Sexual Abuse Lawsuit

There have been several notable recent developments on the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) child sexual abuse bankruptcy case.
  • The BSA has reached an agreement with the Torts Claim Committee, an organization which represents 16,000 survivors. Related to this, the judge presiding over the case has delayed the start of a court proceeding to determine whether a settlement should proceed to March 9, 2022 from February 22, 2022. These are both positive developments.
  • The UMC BSA Leadership Team has entered into an agreement with the BSA that will extend existing charter agreements and facilities use agreements until June 30, 2022. Although no local church should sign any document that has charter or facilities use language right now, it is appropriate for local churches to proceed with the annual membership renewal process for Scouting activities at this time. The membership renewal process should be a simple document without obligating the local church to anything associated with training or liability issues.
A joint letter explaining these matters from Bishop John Schol, the UMC Leadership Team Chair, and Roger Mosby, Chief Scout Executive with the BSA, and a related news release from United Methodist Communications, shared on February 14, can be found at the link below.

Pastors with questions on these matters should contact their District Superintendent, or the Rev. Dr. Steve Summers, Assistant to the Bishop and Director of Connectional Ministries. Read more...
lay servant ministries

Final week to register for 2022 Lay Servant Academy

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. Both clergy and laity to engage in these courses! Deadline to register is Friday, Feb. 18. If you have questions, you are welcome to reach out to Tianna Durbin, Director of Lay Servant Academy at [email protected]. Learn more...

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. Event will not be recorded for later viewing due to presentation copyright. Registration is available at this link:

Latest news for Annual Conference 2022

The Annual Conference (AC) Planning Team and conference leadership are planning for the 240th session of the Virginia Annual Conference to be in-person in Hampton, Virginia, June 16-18, 2022.
Amidst the ongoing pandemic, the AC Planning Team, in consultation with Bishop Lewis and the conference planner, will be monitoring the COVID surge around the state to host this annual meeting as safely as possible. Annual Conference members will be notified should the AC Planning Team deem a necessary change to this format because of the pandemic. Questions may be directed to the Rev. Dr. Steve Summers, Assistant to the Bishop and Conference Director of Connectional Ministries, at [email protected].

Hotel Reservations for Annual Conference will be made again this year with an online reservation system. Reservations will open Wednesday, February 23. Annual Conference members will receive an email with the link, and it will also be available on the AC 2022 website on February 23.

Find all AC 2022 news at

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].

higehr ed scholar

Scholarships available for United Methodist students

The GBHEM Office of Loans and Scholarships offers financial aid to United Methodist students pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees. Every year, they award an average of $5.5 million to help students in the United States and abroad to pursue their dreams through higher education. With this financial aid, GBHEM is opening pathways for students of all backgrounds to earn their degrees and serve as the next generation of leaders for the church and the world.For complete eligibility criteria and to apply click here.
wesley hybrid calss

Wesley Theological Seminary announces its new Wesley Hybrid MDiv Experience, a non-residential Master of Divinity program

No need to relocate to Washington D.C. to do your Wesley Master of Divinity degree! WTS is now offering a new degree pathway that provides short, immersive, Washington, D.C.-based experiences coupled with online learning in Wesley’s first non-residential degree program. It's called the Wesley Hybrid MDiv. Experience.
The Wesley Hybrid MDiv Experience will enable students to complete a 4-year Master of Divinity degree via eight total hybrid intensive weeks on campus (2 weeks per year, one per semester) alongside online courses taken throughout the academic year (one class each fall and spring term, as well as online J-term and summer courses).
The Hybrid MDiv Experience will be offered alongside Wesley’s signature residential MDiv pathway, which engages on-campus and regionally based students in community-based learning, worship, and ministry. 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].
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.

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.
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

Join Mar. 15 United Methodist Men Webinar

Join The United Methodist Men (UMM) on Tuesday, March 15 at 6:30 p.m. for a Love, Learn, and Lead webinar on Chris Folmsbee's book, "The Wesley Challenge: 21 Days to a More Authentic Faith" with David Bean. Reading and discussing each chapter from The Wesley Challenge will deepen your faith and lead you and those you mentor to a closer relationship with Jesus. Bean will lead the discussion about The Wesley Challenge and share best practices and training materials for preparing mentors and helping new Christians become disciples.
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 898 2460 7164
Webinar recordings from previous Love, Learn, and Lead webinars are posted on the conference website
heart havens logo big

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 the residents 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)
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...
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.

General Church News


Help for Korean pastors in cross-racial ministry

UM NEWS-- More than 240 Korean-American United Methodist pastors are serving in cross-racial appointments. The program CRCC Madang aims to provide these pastors with practical training and solid education to enhance their skills. The hope is to cultivate a new generation of Korean-American United Methodist clergy. Read more...
brazilian church missionaries

Missionary recruits Brazilians in New England

UM NEWS-- The Revs. Juarez and Clauri Goncalves, a clergy couple from Brazil, have planted seven churches in the New England Conference since moving to the U.S. in 2000. Juarez Goncalves says there are a large number of Brazilian immigrants who are undocumented and find a “family” in small group meetings. Read more...
umc separation

Church disaffiliations, court cases mount

UM NEWS-- As General Conference continues to be delayed, an increasing number of congregations are parting ways with The United Methodist Church. Some are taking their case to civil courts. However, the number of disaffiliations is only a tiny fraction of the more than 31,000 United Methodist churches in the U.S. A historian points out that the people called Methodist have seen and thrived among such ruptures before. Read more...

One Last Word:

Well done, good and faithful servant

The Rev. Dr. Raymond Fitzhugh Wrenn, 103, of Winchester VA, passed away peacefully on February 10, 2022, at the Winchester Medical Center.

Raymond was born in Herndon, VA to Raymond Nicholas Wrenn and Winnie V. Holden Wrenn on June 25, 1918. He married Rena DeShazo Lynch on September 17, 1949, in Annandale, VA. He graduated from American University, Washington, DC, and Candler School of Theology at Emory University, Atlanta, GA, and then served as pastor of several Methodist churches throughout Virginia. Later he served as Executive Secretary of the Northern Virginia Board of Missions and then as Director of Planning for the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church Council of Ministries. In 1980, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity from Randolph Macon College, Ashland, VA. After retiring, he spent 10 more years doing field education at Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington, DC.

As the oldest clergy member of the Virginia Annual Conference, he opened the annual conference session in prayer for many years. View his prayer from 2021 at this link.

Raymond is preceded in death by his wife Rena and his two brothers Robert H. Wrenn and T. Randall Wrenn.

Raymond is survived by his children, Richard F. Wrenn and wife Sara, Elizabeth D. Bell, and Katharine L. Kropat and husband Loren; three grandchildren, two step-grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, and two step-great-grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, February 17, 2022, at Annandale United Methodist Church with the Rev. Levi Stroud officiating, and burial will follow in the church's cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Wesley Theological Seminary, Shenandoah University, or the United Methodist Foundation.

The service for Dr. Wrenn will also be live-streamed on Annadale’s Facebook page at .

Link to register if you plan to attend in-person:

Clergy are invited to robe and process together for the service.
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...
facebook twitter youtube instagram linkedin