2022 e-Advocate logo

July 26, 2022

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

Upcoming Events

  • August 5 & 6 - Lay Servant Academy Hybrid event- Registration open now.

Let us pray...

Periodically a prayer focus will be shared in the e-Advocate. As you are able, lift up these ministries and churches in your prayers and share in your contexts, including your Sunday worship services.

July 31: In 2021, Thalia UMC began creating a network of micro churches, including a Celebrate Recovery group, to reach into the community in a way their traditional ministry had not done before. https://thaliaumc.org/


Boundless God, who calls us to reach beyond our buildings and to offer your transforming love to all we encounter, we pray for Thalia UMC and for the micro churches they are planting. May those groups be instruments of your will, pouring out your grace on those who gather, and deepening them in their relationship with you and with each other. In the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior, we pray. Amen.

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

  • How can you be a lifelong learner?

Sarah Bereza’s new book, Professional Christian, examines the question of what it means to be fully yourself in the spotlight of public ministry. She sets aside the popular concepts of authenticity and sincerity and focuses instead on preparation and mindfulness as ways we can be fully present and fully ourselves within the demands of real-time ministry. Learn more...
  • How can you be an influencer?
Looking for a new ministry podcast? Tune in August 2 for a daylong podcast-a-thon hosted by United Methodist Communications. They will showcase an episode from a different United Methodist podcast every hour. The event will be live-streamed on the ResourceUMC Facebook page. Learn more...

  • How can you serve?

A team from United Methodist News, United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) and Global Ministries recently visited partners and ministries in Eastern Europe, hearing stories of how the church is present, persistent and making a difference in the lives of many people as the war in Ukraine continues. Take a look at a powerful photo essay that documents how The United Methodist Church is offering hope.
Give through UMCOR for Ukrainian aid...

A testimony on All God's Children Camp
from the Rev. Tizzy von Trapp Walker

"We need you to become mentors to these campers.

You will be changing lives one young camper at a time."

All God's Children Camp (AGCC), a ministry of the Virginia Annual Conference, 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 along with a conflict resolution/self-esteem building class. Partnering with Virginia United Methodist camps and other ACA camps across the state, All God’s Children Camp provides a week of sanctuary for children who face so many challenges in their lives such as economic poverty, temporary living conditions, loneliness, low self-esteem, violence and drugs along with while working to break the cycle of incarceration. All God’s Children Camp is a place where children learn they are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God and they are truly ‘somebody’!

Sixteen years ago I began serving as a minister in residence at Westview on the James. I am not a camper, nor am I an outdoor person. Still, I felt God leading me to work with campers and their mentors. My life and ministry has been vastly enriched by the many experiences during five summers with Westview. Along the way, I was approached by Beth Christian to see if I would consider serving as a chaplain at an All God’s Children Camp (AGCC). I said yes and that year was the largest camp attendance in the history of AGCC. It rocked me to my core with the numbers of kids whose parents are incarcerated. The campers ranged in age from 7 to teens; and just like any kid were challenged by this strange and wonderful environment. Truthfully, it greatly challenged me, but the best thing I took away from this experience was the young mentors whose lives had been changed because of AGCC. They had come as 7-year-old campers and through their experience and relationships they had built with their mentors returned to make a difference in the lives of new campers.

This past June, immediately following Annual Conference, I returned to AGCC. There were a number changes which had been implemented since my first experience. Most importantly, the number of campers is now limited to 20 per camp session and the camp took place at Camp Chanco on the James in Surry. I am still not a camper, I am still not an outdoor person, I hate bugs, and I am allergic to trees and grass!

The setting of Camp Chanco along the James River is breathtaking with its immaculate campus setting and wooded paths where the campers and mentors cabins are located. Mornings were devoted to opening devotions; Bible class; Crafts and “Harmony.” Harmony is led by a mediator from the Richmond School district who works with the campers on emotions; feelings and proper ways to express both. Afternoons are devoted to camp activities led by Camp Chanco staff. They include: archery, boating, tubing, paddle board, ropes course, and a zip line!

I have been challenged to try the zip line in August when I return as chaplain. Yes! I am going back! I still am not a camper, not an outdoor person, and hate the bugs and heat. Hudson and I will be there! Every night following supper is “love on Hudson” time when I remove his service vest.

We need you to become mentors to these campers. You will make a difference in their life and in doing so will be making disciples for Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. You will be changing lives one young camper at a time. We need you!

The next session of AGCC is being held at Camp Chanco August 14-19. Check out the conference website: www.vaumc.org/agcc/ for more information. Contact the camp directors at any time at [email protected].

Virginia News

holston flood damage

How to help Buchanan County following devastating flooding

The Rev. Bob Pihlcrantz, VAUMC Disaster Response coordinator, shared an update following the recent devastating flooding in Buchanan County, Va. The county is located in the Holston Conference and the Virginia Conference received an invitation to assist the flood relief efforts in any way that members of the conference can help. Pihlcrantz is coordinating these efforts with the local District Disaster Response Coordinators and information will be shared as soon as it it available.
At this time, please refrain from sending any physical donations to the county as their donation site is currently overwhelmed. The best way to help is through monetary donations which can be donated at the Holston Conference website.

Join Golf Classic to support Alexandria church improvement campaign

Take part in the 2022 Golf Classic that will support the Roberts Memorial Capital Improvement Campaign. Roberts Memorial has been an integral part of the Alexandria Community for 190 years. A historic landmark, this sacred structure requires significant repairs to maintain its physical presence. All proceeds from this event will go directly to preserve this edifice for generations to come. The event is $125/player or $500 for a team. Learn more...

Register now for Lay Servant Academy

Registration is now open for Lay Servant Academy (LSA) training from Friday, August 5 to Saturday, August 6, 2022. Please share this opportunity with your local church members. Questions may directed to Richard Speirs ([email protected]) or Tianna Durbin ([email protected]).
Promotional Ad of November 2022 Trip to Greece & Turkey

Bishop & DS to lead November trip to Greece and Turkey

Bishop Sharma D. Lewis and Rev. Dr. Hyo Lee are leading a 12-day tour through Greece & Turkey, following in the steps of Paul, from November 7-18, 2022. Learn more...
potato drop

September is national month for action against hunger

Each year, September is dedicated as a national month for action against hunger. Partnering with Society of St. Andrew (SoSA) is a simple way for you to invite your faith family and community to grow further in the mission to end hunger. This is an opportunity to come together as a family of faith by devoting time to giving, serving, learning, and leading with The Society of St. Andrew. Find resources...
wesley seminary

Wesley Seminary announces new degree in military chaplaincy

Wesley Theological Seminary now announces a new Master of Divinity specialization in Military Chaplaincy, beginning in the Fall of 2022. “Wesley Theological Seminary has a long commitment to training, equipping, and supporting persons called to chaplaincy within the various branches of the United States Armed Forces,” said Wesley program coordinator CH (COL-Ret) James Driscoll, a United Methodist Church pastor who served in the National Guard, Reserves and on active duty with the Army, recently retired from the Army Chief of Chaplains Office in the Pentagon. “The Military Chaplaincy specialization allows Master of Divinity students to explore and prepare for this vocational calling while also pursuing ordination or credentialing in their spiritual tradition and fulfilling current requirements of the respective Armed Service,” noted Chaplain Driscoll. The program is built around a combination of specialized courses and field education experiences. Students will take introductory courses in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling, then will select two electives focusing on core themes/theology of chaplaincy. For field education, students will have the opportunity to gain experience in chaplaincy in one of the many diverse settings in Washington and will complete Clinical Pastoral Education for further preparation. Students pursuing the Military Chaplaincy specialization will be encouraged to pursue an Independent Study with their military-specific advisor. Scholarships are available for qualified students who apply by December 1 for spring semester entry or by February 1 for fall semester entry. For more information, contact CH (COL-Ret) James Driscoll at [email protected].

Update on Annual Conference offering, kits

At the latest count, 18,811 kits and 12,611 cans of food were collected and $140,000 was raised for the conference offering. This year, the conference offering directly sponsored the D.Min Program at Wesley Theological Seminary, whose graduates serve to nurture soldiers all over the world, as well as Partnerships of Hope. Find out more in the Mission Opportunities Report from the Serving Office.
Resources are available to help with reporting a wrap-up of the 2022 Annual Conference session to local churches.
An overview Annual Conference report is now available. As well, individual session wrap-ups can be found here.
The conference Flickr has pictures from throughout the event. Find pictures...
The livestream of the event can be viewed at the conference Vimeo page. Find more...
A wrap-up video of the event is available for local church use. Watch video...

General Church News

Rev. Autura Eason-Williams

District superintendent killed in carjacking

UM NEWS--The Rev. Autura Eason-Williams, a 52-year-old United Methodist district superintendent, was shot and killed July 18 outside her home during a carjacking. Law enforcement have since charged a 15-year-old boy with the fatal shooting and a 16-year-old boy with theft. Eason-Williams was a beloved leader in the Tennessee-Western Kentucky Conference. Read more...

Ukrainian United Methodists care for fellow countrymen

UM NEWS--United Methodists in western Ukraine are opening their churches and homes to house evacuees from the war with Russia. The United Methodist Church in Ukraine operates three shelters to house evacuees, with plans to help them with long-term housing as the war drags on. The church shelters care for about 100 displaced people per day, providing shelter, food, medicine and other necessities. Read more...
dementia book

Book aims to empower dementia caregivers

UM NEWS--People want to help caregivers of dementia patients but usually don’t know how to best help. A new book by Elizabeth Shulman, a former United Methodist pastor and health care chaplain, offers group exercises to empower caregivers and to help congregations be in ministry with them. Learn more...

Facebook Q&A for local churches planned

United Methodist Communications has a question-and-answer session planned to help congregations grow through marketing and outreach. The session is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. U.S. Central time tomorrow, July 27 on Facebook.com/umcom. Communications experts will be on hand to answer questions throughout that timeframe.

Is The United Methodist Church really...?

UM NEWS--Ask The UMC, a ministry of United Methodist Communications, has received many questions from congregations wondering about the future of the denomination and whether they should consider disaffiliating from it. These have included recurrent questions that reflect misperceptions or misinformation that congregations are receiving as they discern their next steps. This is the first of a series of articles offering accurate responses to such misperceptions or misinformation. Learn more...

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. Download the campaign guide...

One Last Word

Belief is more powerful than sight. Sight will show you what it, but belief will show you what can be.
2 corinthians
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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