2022 e-Advocate logo

June 14, 2022

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

Upcoming events

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

  • How can you be a lifelong learner?

Should the church be involved in politics? The people called Methodists have been actively involved in social and political matters from their founding in 18th-century England. Methodists were among the primary advocates for the abolition of slavery across the British Empire, the organization of labor unions to protect workers from dangerous working conditions, the ending of the debtors prison system, and the creation of new systems of care for poor children. Given this heritage, Methodists have continued to advocate for other social or political issues since that time - women’s suffrage, temperance, civil rights, health care and care for the environment, to name a few. Today our United Methodist Social Creed and Social Principles express our commitment to fully participate in building a more peaceful and just world.
The United Methodist Church affirms an appropriate separation of church and state. United Methodists reject undue control or interference by either religious bodies or the state in the affairs of the other. “Separation of church and state means no organic union of the two, but it does permit interaction”. Learn more...
  • How can you be an influencer?
What can United Methodists do about gun violence? The prophet Micah casts a hopeful vision of the future where nations will “beat their swords into iron plows, and their spears into pruning hooks.” (Micah 4:3) The United Methodist Church urges “congregations to advocate at the local and national level for laws that prevent or reduce gun violence.” Some of those measures include:
  • Universal background checks on all gun purchases;
  • Prohibiting persons with serious mental illness, who pose a danger to themselves and their communities, from purchasing a gun;
  • Ensuring greater access to services for those who have mental illness;
  • Establishing a minimum age of 21 years for a gun purchase or possession;
  • Banning large capacity ammunition magazines and weapons designed to fire multiple rounds each time the trigger is pulled. Find out more...
  • How can you serve?

How is UMCOR offering support in Ukraine? Learn more...

The Methodist Church of Mexico is responding to a surge in immigrants from Ukraine who have been displaced by war and are seeking asylum in the United States. The Methodist Church of Mexico A.R., together with other churches, civil organizations and the support of the United Methodist Committee on Relief, is providing food and other aid. Read the story...

Virginia News


VICPP invites religious leaders to sign statement against gun violence

The Virginia Interfaith Center (VICPP) Executive Committee has developed a statement against gun violence and is inviting religious leaders (clergy and lay) from around the Commonwealth to sign. This will be delivered to the Governor and to legislators when gun bills are considered next session. Feel free to share it with friends and neighbors. Sign statement...
gcorr challenge

Join the GCORR Racial Justice Prayer & Action Challenge

The General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR) invites congregations to take part in a six-week challenge starting on Juneteenth (June 19) that uses the power of prayer, communal worship and suggested individual practices to promote racial justice. Downloadable resources include original items written by Christians all over the world. Learn more...

Candidacy Summit Registration is now live

The Candidacy Summit is for considering or admitted candidates for ministry in the Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church (VAUMC). The Summit provides opportunities for vocational discernment, connection with others who are exploring God's call in their lives, and deeper understanding about the VAUMC journey towards certified, licensed and ordained ministry. You must be a high school graduate, and 18-years of age, to participate. The event begins on Friday, July 29 and activities run into the early evening. The Summit concludes mid-day on Saturday, July 30. Registration is $75 for this in-person event. Questions may be directed to Associate Director for Call and Candidacy Crystal R. Sygeel, [email protected] or 804-521-1141. Learn more...

Prepare for Annual Conference TODAY!

Prior to attending the 2022 Virginia Annual Conference, there are a few ways you can get organized and prepared.

1. Download the official packet. Access it here.
2. Download the Book of Reports. Access it here.
With over 2,000 members and guests who will be in attendance at the Hampton Roads Convention Center, downloading these two publications ahead of time will ensure easy and ready access when you need them for reference.
3. Clear the cache on the device you will use at Annual Conference.
Should you need to access the VAUMC website during Annual Conference, be aware that the system software for the conference website recently underwent an update. To be sure, you are accessing the most recent version of the website, make sure you clear your cache.
Name badges and registration cards are no longer mailed to clergy and lay members. Members will pick up name badges upon arrival at conference in the registration area. A barcode on each badge will be scanned to register attendance. A troubleshooting desk will be available for last-minute changes.
Forms to bring to conference for last-minute changes:
Local church member form (pdf)
District member form (pdf)

Read the complete document HERE

Should you have any questions or concerns, please email [email protected].
COVID protocol, traffic and parking, other information related to Annual Conference 2022
As a follow-up to previous communications, the Annual Conference Planning Team, in partnership with Bishop Lewis and the conference planner, has continued to monitor the COVID pandemic in planning for the in-person 240th session of the Virginia Annual Conference.

The health and safety of all members and guests attending Annual Conference 2022 is of the utmost importance and all who are able to are encouraged to be fully vaccinated and boosted prior to coming to Annual Conference.

If you are having symptoms or if there is a chance you have been exposed to someone who has tested positive or has shown symptoms of COVID in the last two weeks, you should take a COVID test prior to arriving at Annual Conference. If you test positive for COVID, please stay home.

While at Annual Conference members and guests can expect a mask optional environment. Taking into account differing attendees’ comfort levels, the floor of Annual Conference will allow for mask-required and mask-optional sections as well as greater room for increased social distancing. Areas will be clearly marked when attendees enter the main hall. Detailed information will be provided at registration, including a floor diagram.

Temperature screening will be available at the Hampton Roads Convention Center (HRCC) entrances and at the nurse’s station. Nurses and EMTs will be on-site for the entirety of the Annual Conference session.

Traffic and Parking at Annual Conference 2022

Traffic will impact travel throughout the weekend around the Hampton Roads Convention Center (HRCC) due to the annual conference session as well as various graduations being held at the Hampton Coliseum. Attendees should take this factor into account as they seek to leave for meal times and arrive back to the Convention Center.

Annual Conference traffic will be directed down Pine Chapel Road to parking. Members will enter the Convention Center through the Hall C Entrance of the Hampton Roads Convention Center.

A Hampton Shuttle Bus will provide additional parking lot service to the Convention Center on Thursday and Friday from 7:30 a.m.-10 p.m. and on Saturday 7:30 a.m.–1 p.m.

Police and Parking Attendants will direct our attendees to the appropriate parking lots as well as to accessible/handicapped designated parking areas. They will also assist in helping flag golf carts for shuttling (see more about golf carts in the parking lot below).

Volunteers will be available to direct attendees and answer questions as to which entrance to use, where registration is located, etc.

Food options

There are many local restaurants in the area as well as lunch and dinner buffets available in the Embassy Suites on Thursday and Friday. The Concession in the back of the display area Hall A will also be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Food trucks will also be available at Annual Conference this year. They will be located in the parking lot immediately outside the Convention Center Main Lobby entrance.

Click here to view a list of restaurants.
Click here to view a list of food trucks

Car Placard, Golf Carts in Parking Lot

Parking is available at the Hampton Roads Convention Center (HRCC). In order to facilitate traffic in the Convention Center/Coliseum area, fluorescent-colored placards will be available at hotel registration when you check in, as well as at conference registration, and at the visitors’ bureau information desk.

Please obtain a placard and display it in your car’s windshield to help the traffic attendants know where to direct you. The placard is not a parking pass to give you preferred parking, just a means to assist with traffic flow.

Golf carts will be circling the parking lots to assist those who need a ride from their car to the door of the Convention Center. They are available for shuttling both on arrival and departure; Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m., and 7-9 p.m., and on Saturday from 8 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

To find more information related to the 2022 Annual Conference, please visit https://vaumc.org/ac2022/.

Questions may be directed to the Rev. Dr. Steve Summers, Assistant to the Bishop and Conference Director of Connectional Ministries, at [email protected].
one journey festival

One Journey Festival back at National Cathedral on June 25

The One Journey Festival is back at the National Cathedral on Saturday, June 25, the national celebration of the talents and stories of refugees. Mount Olivet UMC is a sponsor this year after what began an interfaith movement. Exciting new additions this year include Afghanistan’s first rock band, a Ukrainian music ensemble, exhibit by Afghan photographer, and an artist who escaped on last flights out of Kabul, and more. Learn more...
audio advocate

Micah Ministries, community involvement, empathy focus of June Audio Advocate

In the June episode of the Audio Advocate, the Rev. Chelsea Morse talks about her work as Community Ministries Chaplain for Micah Ecumenical Ministries in Fredericksburg, Va. as well as the idea of empathy and community involvement. In this role, she shepherds the spiritual development of Micah neighbors by creating creative, social, and spiritual outlets for trauma-informed care. The Audio Advocate is a monthly podcast hosted by conference Director of Communications Madeline Pillow White sharing headlines from around the conference and denomination and going in depth on one topic each month. The podcast will be on hiatus until September 2022 following the June episode. Listen now...
Ilsan Kwanglim Methodist

Blog post shares more about missional partnership trip to Korea

Starting on May 16, 2022, six members of the Virginia Conference United Methodist Church traveled to Korea to explore a missional partnership with the Korean Methodist Church for the mission in Vietnam.
Ann Klotz, a member of the group, shares more about the experience in a blog post...

Mission Opportunities at AC 2022

The 240th session of the Virginia Annual Conference gathering is a great opportunity for us to serve the world in mission through the various mission opportunities. Many of this year’s Annual Conference Mission Opportunities (#ServingTogether) cannot be done without the support of the local churches. Although we know that many churches already have made plans to join in this effort, we want to remind you of the opportunities.

Kits and Cans Collection (#CollectingTogether) - As you are aware, we are inviting churches to bring their UMCOR Kits and food to each district collection site, prior to the Annual Conference gathering. We encourage your church to check with your district office or vaumc.org/collecting to find the district collection event, which many of the districts are starting this weekend.
Annual Conference Offering (#NurturingTogether) - Annual Conference Offering is our opportunity to make a difference by meeting the needs of both local and international mission opportunities. This year, the focus of the offering will be on nurturing leadership. Both the recipients of this offering, Partnerships of Hope and Wesley Theological Seminary have specific programs in nurturing leaders to transform the world!
5K Run/Walk (#BeingTogether) - Either joining the in-person race on the morning of June 18, 2022 or joining us virtually during the time of the Conference, United Methodists around the Commonwealth can join in this effort of #beingtogether. Special Thanks to our sponsors, all the proceed of this race are contributed to the Annual Conference Offering. It is not late to register!

We ask you to utilize the Annual Conference Mission Resource page, where you will find bulletin interest, video downloads, and ideas to encourage your church to be part of this year’s mission opportunities. Click here to go to the AC Mission Resource Page.

Join retreat prior to Annual Conference

The Kindred Project Group is again sponsoring a pre-annual conference retreat on June 15 from 1 to 4 p.m. in the annual conference prayer room (room 204). All are welcome - you do not need to be a clergy or laity delegate to attend the retreat, so please feel free to share this invitation. The group invites you to take a few hours away to rest and prepare your hearts for the first in person gathering in two years. If you have any questions please contact the Rev. Kimberly Barker-Brugman through email or 540-840-0014.
speaking from ac floor

Conference secretary shares best practices for speaking on floor of Annual Conference

Conference Secretary the Rev. Joshua King has shared a resource for Annual Conference members detailing best practices of speaking on the floor of Annual Conference. He shared:
1) You must wait to be recognized to speak before going to a microphone:
2) Once you have been recognized, go to the microphone that you have been directed to and say your “Name, your relationship (Clergy/Lay, Lay Member At Large, Retired Clergy), your Local Church and District.”
3) Unless the Spirit moves you to speak spontaneously, write what you plan to say. Even the most eloquent of speakers at Annual Conference often prepare before they speak. This will assist in getting your point across, while at the same time being concise as time is of the essence.
4) If you are speaking as to a motion currently under consideration, there is one more thing you need to add to your introduction. My name is Joshua King, Clergy member, Bethany United Methodist Church, Winchester District, and I am speaking for/against this motion.
5) Finally, if you are making a motion. First and foremost, it either must be germane to the report that has been presented or there must not be any other business “on the floor” being considered at that time.
Read the resource in full at the conference website...

Register now for Convergence

It’s not too late to sign up for Randolph-Macon College’s CONVERGENCE Youth Theology Institute on Faith and Science. This year’s event is July 15-17 and is open to student who have recently completed 9th, 10th, or 11th grade. Too often young people are told that they have to choose between being people of faith and people of science, but our workshop leaders, college student staff members, and creative activities show that one can believe in both. More information and registration details are at convergence.rmc.edu.
informational meeting

Team Jeremiah offered webinar on disaffiliation, General Conference

With the further postponement of the General Conference session to 2024, Virginia Conference clergy and lay members have questions. What does this mean for the mission of the church and my local church? What does this mean for ongoing questions concerning full inclusion of persons who are LGBTQ+ in the church? What is “disaffiliation”?

On May 31, a conference-wide presentation of current information on topics including General Conference and disaffiliation from the denomination was shared. This Zoom webinar featured members of Team Jeremiah: the Rev. Denise Bates, the Rev. Tom Berlin, Mrs. Martha Stokes, the Rev. Derrick Parson, and the Rev. Kyungsuk Cho. Watch presentation recording and view slides...

Team Jeremiah will offer a Q&A at Annual Conference in Hampton, VA on Friday, June 17 at 1 p.m. in Ballrooms D, E, F,G.
If you plan to join this Q&A, please review the video above in preparation as well as a video and FAQ resource from Executive Director of Virginia United Methodist Pensions, Inc. (VUMPI) John Fuller shares more about pension liabilities in the Virginia Conference in light of disaffiliation within the United Methodist denomination. Other resources about disaffiliation and General Conference including a questions regarding disaffiliation resource can be found at the conference website.
Join in prayer

AC Prayer Team invites conference to prayer for 2022 AC session

In order to cover the whole of the Annual Conference (AC) session in prayer as well as to pray for Bishop Lewis, AC leadership, AC members, worship and business session participants, and guests, an Annual Conference Prayer Team has been formed.

You are invited by the Rev. Kyungsuk Cho, Ms. Iris Smith, the Rev. Paul Oh, the Rev. Kim Barker-Brugman, and the Rev. Bob Parks, the AC Prayer Team, to join in praying for a Spirit-filled Annual Conference.

Follow the guides below to pray for Annual Conference:
  • Pray AC members will allow God to instill in us an attitude and discipline of prayer in all conversations.
  • Pray for God’s guidance and blessings on the Laity and Clergy Sessions, worship celebrations, business sessions, mission opportunities, and social gatherings of AC.
  • Pray for AC members to be witnesses of Jesus with thoughts, words, and actions.
  • Pray for AC decisions to align with God’s will.
  • Pray for churches to become more vital and effective at making disciples of Jesus Christ who are lifelong learners who influence others to serve.
Scholarship opportunity

Sister Scholarship application now available

The Sister Scholarship application is now available to be filled out by any female candidate in the Virginia Conference for educational support. The deadline for electronic applications is July 1. This award is given in memory of clergy women who have served in ministry in the Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church. The purpose of the award is to support women who are duly enrolled in a seminary or school of theology approved by the University Senate of the United Methodist Church, or an Advanced Course of Study program approved by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church. Eligibility is extended to all women committed to ministries of Word, Worship and Witness who are candidates for ministry in the Virginia Conference, and who indicate potential for developing creative ministries for a more just world. For more information, contact Dr. Jan Rivero, [email protected]. Apply now...

Join the denomination in sharing why you are #BeUMC

#BeUMC honors the core values that connect the people of The United Methodist Church (The UMC). This grassroots campaign, built upon powerful stories of congregations and people living their faith, celebrates what draws us to The UMC and what we aspire to be.

The UMC is founded on a Wesleyan theology of grace, anchored in Scripture, and based in the life and teachings of Jesus Christ and the continuing movement of the Holy Spirit.

The full story of The UMC reflects all of our interwoven experiences. Consider our common roots and your answer to the question, “Why am I United Methodist?” Then, post a video, photo or written testimony on your preferred social media platform – don’t forget to use the hashtag #BeUMC.

General Church News

forging a world of peace

Rethink Church: Forging A Better World Through Personal Peace

In this Rethink Church sermon series, the Rev. Caleb Pitkin re-fashions a spearhead into a pruning hook while talking about the “tools” of conflict we employ in our lives and how to re-purpose them for peace. Listen to series...

Protocol's day has passed, some negotiators say

UM NEWS-- A much-trumpeted plan for amicable separation unveiled in early 2020 no longer offers a path forward for The United Methodist Church, say more than a quarter of the agreement’s negotiators.
Five of the 16-member mediation team released a statement late June 7 rescinding their support for the agreement. In the statement, they said, “We can no longer in good faith support the Protocol of Reconciliation & Grace through Separation or work towards its adoption at the next General Conference.” The denomination’s top lawmaking assembly is now delayed to 2024.
What has changed the calculus, they say, is the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the launch of a theologically conservative breakaway denomination. The signers of the statement include the Rev. Thomas Berlin, the Rev. Egmedio “Jun” Equila Jr., Jan Lawrence, the Rev. David W. Meredith and Randall Miller, as well as eight others who, while not on the mediation team, consulted in the process. Read more...
florida umc 22

Clergy session vote highlights LGBTQ divide

UM NEWS--The Florida Conference clergy session last week decided against approving an entire 16-person slate for advancement on the track to becoming ordained elders or deacons. The decision roiled the conference, reverberated across The United Methodist Church and underscored the denomination’s conflict over full LGBTQ inclusion.
Clergy session approval is required for those seeking provisional membership, an important step toward ordination and full conference membership.
Like some other U.S. annual conferences, the Florida Conference clergy session traditionally votes on a whole group of provisional membership candidates.
Florida clergy of different perspectives about LGBTQ inclusion agreed it was the presence of openly gay candidates in this year’s group that caused the session to fall just short of the required 75 percent vote for approval — something that’s usually routine.
Many in the Florida Conference and beyond saw the vote as a cruel injustice, postponing advancement for candidates who had put in years of preparation and been recommended by the conference board of ordained ministry, as well as by a local church and a district board.
social media

Social Media Day highlights local church resources for social ministry

The United Methodist Communications will celebrate Social Media Day on Thursday, June 30, 2022, highlighting the many resources the agency provides to help churches maximize their social media potential. Over the past few years, churches have adopted new ways of connecting through social media. John Haney – Senior Training and Development Specialist – will host a special live learning session on Facebook Groups at 12 pm CT at Facebook.com/UMCom. This presentation will examine some important concepts for social media with a significant focus on how to get the most out of Facebook Groups. The presentation will be followed by a live Q&A session to help you in utilizing this tool to further your ministry efforts. Leading up to the event, look for posts on the United Methodist Communications Facebook page that encourage you to submit your questions for the Q&A in advance. The day of the event, submit questions as a comment on the live video streaming post on the UMCom Facebook page.
“Churches today know that social media is more than just being social … it’s a ministry, said Poonam Patodia, Chief Marketing Officer. “We're here to help celebrate Social Media Day by helping your church make the greatest impact you can.” Learn more...

One Last Word: Graduates enrich their communities

UM NEWS--On the eve of Africa University's 2022 graduation ceremonies, the Rev. Joao Sambo highlights how graduates of the United Methodist university are using their education to enrich churches and communities in Africa. Read story...

"The knowledge I acquired empowers me to make changes, not only in my life, but for the church and society that I serve.” — The Rev. Maria João Matsinhe, an Africa University graduate who has served as a pastor, district superintendent and public health coordinator in Mozambique.
au 2022 graduation
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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