2022 e-Advocate logo

August 30, 2022

To submit news items, events, or corrections, email the conference Communications Office at [email protected].
Events (1)

  • September 5 - Virginia UM Center closed for Labor Day Observance
  • September 13 - Interfaith Climate Revival in four Virginia locations (Hampton, Richmond, Roanoke, Bristol)
  • September 16 - Discovery UMC, Richmond, hosting Youth Night of Worship and Prayer
  • October 22 - Fall Faire at Community UMC, Virginia Beach

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.

September 4: The Gathering @ Washington Street is a new missional community, established in 2021, that seeks to offer assistance and services to the people of Petersburg as they listen to their dreams for the future. https://m.facebook.com/GatheratWashingtonSt/


Living God, Show us what breaks your heart in our community. Let your love set us free to see our neighbors, proclaim good news to the poor, healing to the brokenhearted, freedom for those who are oppressed, and courage to walk in the power of the Holy Spirit and in the name of Jesus. Amen.

Resource Spotlight: Clergy Continuing Education

This fall, clergy are encouraged to take part in a number of continuing education and retreat opportunities both in person and online. Continuing education funds can be applied for from the Center for Clergy Excellence as long as there is at least 5 hours of instruction at the event. These are also opportunities for clergy to get their CEUs completed. For more information, questions, or how you can host a CEU event at your church or district contact Director of Clergy Excellence Rev. Jessie Colwell at [email protected].

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

  • How can you be a lifelong learner?

In the mid-1700s, John and Charles Wesley were known as radical dissidents who had a lot to say about the church, faith and following God. Discover why their Methodist movement message remains relevant 300 years later. Learn more...
  • How can you be an influencer?
"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted" - Matthew 5:4 NIV. Today is #GriefAwarenessDay, a time to recognize that the path to healing from loss doesn’t have a prescribed course. Leveraging faith to walk through grief...

  • How can you serve?

Do you feel called to serve as a long-term Mission Volunteer? Start the application process now in preparation for the upcoming training event in late November. Learn more...

Virginia News


VAUMC continues to witness even as war engages Ukraine, Russia

As the world watches with horror and concern the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, United Methodists in Virginia are actively engaged in ministry and mission with fellow Jesus followers in both countries, and new energy for such connections is being felt. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, United Methodists in Virginia and elsewhere engaged in mission, evangelism, church planting, worship, Bible study, and cultural exchange with people in several of the former Soviet Republics, including Ukraine and Russia. Virginia United Methodists had special connections with communities in Ivanova, Chelyabinsk, Pyatigorsk, Stavropol, and other cities in Russia, as well as in the Ukrainian cities of Lviv and Kiev. As the Virginia Conference’s attention turned to other communities in Brazil, Cambodia, Mozambique, and elsewhere, a few congregations continued connections and ministry in Stavropol, Russia, as well as Kiev and Lviv, Ukraine. This summer, the spotlight again shone on Ukraine and Russia in an unexpected and surprising way. Learn more...
fresh expressions

Take survey about Fresh Expressions

The conference Influencing Ministries Office created a survey to learn about what VAUMC churches are doing or discerning in regards to Fresh Expressions. If you are offering or interested in offering Fresh Expressions, please take a moment to complete this survey by September 15. Associate Director Dwayne Stinson will offer an opportunity for learning based on this survey at a later date. Take survey...

Present status concerning Boy Scouts of America settlement

August 30--Though a final ruling in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) settlement has yet to be made, Judge Silverstein said in a 284-page opinion that the United Methodist piece of the settlement meets the tests of bankruptcy law. We will continue to keep you updated on major developments on the court case.
Bishop Schol, who leads the UMC BSA Leadership Team, recently informed the denomination that all present affiliation agreements (charters and facility use agreements) between the United Methodist local churches and their local BSA chapter have been automatically extended to December 31, 2022.
BSA and the General Commission on United Methodist Men(GCUMM) have executed an interim agreement in the meantime to extend the protections to the church while transitions for a final settlement are completed. No action is necessary by local churches and the interim agreement is being shared for informational purposes. Find a copy at the link…
For longer term agreements, please note:
  • The facility use agreement may be used as a standalone document if a church is allowing BSA to use the facilities. That document can be found here. It is not to be modified.
  • If a church is using the new affiliation agreement, this is the standard agreement for all United Methodist congregations and is not to be modified.
For any questions related to agreements and growing scouting, Steve Scheid, General Commission on United Methodist Men, should be contacted at [email protected].
The resources and information about the new affiliation agreement may be found here www.GCUMM.org/Scouting or directly at www.methodistscouter.org/a-new-agreement/.
wesley seminary

Apply now to Wesley Theological Seminary congregational program

The Source Collaborative is a Lilly Endowment funded program of Wesley Theological Seminary designed to help local congregations thrive in the midst of social, cultural, and denominational change. Applications are open for the final cohort of regional UMC congregations. During a two-year cycle, congregations identify their own markers of thriving based on their community and context, then create a strategic plan for congregational change. Each congregation is coached throughout the process and is awarded a grant to enact change. The cohort is open to UMC congregations in the annual conferences surrounding Washington, D.C. : Baltimore-Washington, Virginia, Peninsula-Delaware, Susquehanna, West Virginia, and Eastern Pennsylvania. The application deadline is September 15, 2022. The cohort will be selected and notified by October 15, 2022. To learn more, email [email protected].
For information or to apply...
news update

Update for October 29 Called Annual Conferences

As previously shared conference-wide in May, a Special Annual Conference will be held virtually on Saturday, October 29. At 9 a.m. The purpose of this Special Annual Conference Session is to close the remaining four churches utilizing Discipline paragraph 2549.3 (Disposition of property of a closed local church) and approve the severing of their relationship with the United Methodist denomination.

At 9:30 a.m., a second Special Annual Conference will convene for the sole purpose of ratifying the disaffiliation of local churches seeking to disaffiliate from The United Methodist Church over matters of human sexuality. Paragraph 2553 of the Book of Discipline governs this process. All approvals and agreements under this process must be completed by September 30, 2022.

Questions concerning the two Special Annual Conferences may be directed to the Rev. Dr. Steve Summers at [email protected].

Learn more about Renfro grant, other grant opportunities

Every year, the Conference Secretary of Global Missions (the Rev. Seungsoo ‘RJ’ Jun, VAUMC CSGM) of the Southeastern Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church gathers with others to award the Renfro Trust Grant to local churches and Siedschlag award to members of the conference. The application is now open for your church, located in a less than 10,000 population, to apply for a ‘brick and mortar’ grant of up to $5,000. Also, each conference can nominate up to two members of the conference who might be the recipient of the Siedschlag award. Grants from around the connection can be found at the conference website. Learn more...
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How can your church help during disasters?

With disasters like the recent flooding in Kentucky, Virginia Conference clergy and laity want to help. Learn more in a recent blog post on what is needed following these disasters. Learn more...
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Register now for Early Response Team (ERT) training

Are you certified as an ERT (Early Respond Team) member or UMVIM leader? Did you know that both certificates require a renewal every 2-3 years? Due to the pandemic, there was a limitation to offering training for both certifications. Both pieces of training required an in-person gathering due to their hands-on approach.

As churches are getting ready to assemble a mission trip and respond to disasters such as hurricanes or floods, we see that this is an excellent time to refreshen your certification. Early Response Teams (ERT) training is being offered September 10 at Culpeper UMC, Three Notch'd District, and at Aldersgate UMC, Coastal Virginia District. This 8-hour training session will begin at 8 am. ERTs respond during the first phase of disaster relief, providing a caring Christian presence. Your church and community could truly benefit if faced with a disaster. You are also trained to respond, when requested, to other conferences during a disaster. Registration fee is $35, which includes the training manual, UMCOR ERT badge, T-shirt and lunch. Checks should be made payable to the Virginia Annual Conference and brought the day of training. Learn more and register...
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 the 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...

Certified Lay Ministers Courses to be held in Fall 2022

The first offering of Certified Lay Minister (CLM) training in the Virginia Annual Conference will be held this fall (September 11, October 2 and November 6 from 6 to 8 p.m.).

To become a CLM, the lay person must complete the BASIC and Spiritual Gifts courses through Lay Servant Academy (LSA). The individual then takes four modules of training, meets before District Committee of Ministry (DCOM) for recommendation to the Board of Laity, and is approved by the Board of Laity. They require the support of their local church and the district as they work through the modules.

Module One will be offered September-November with three Zoom meetings and the rest of the work asynchronous. All coursework is online. Cost is $75 and covers the cost of the CLM Module One training book. There are four modules in all, which will be offered this fall through spring 2024 to complete the entire training. The course will be taught by the Rev. Dr. Joanna Dietz and Mrs. Jenn Robinson O’Brien. For more information contact Joanna Dietz at [email protected]. Register at this link.

General Church News

um property

Church court clarifies property-transfer rules

UM NEWS--The United Methodist Church’s top court ruled that a much-debated church law can only be used for transferring property — not members — to another denomination. The Judicial Council also ruled that The United Methodist Church must have an existing agreement with the other denomination for such a transfer to occur. No such agreement exists with the Global Methodist Church, which has been pushing for churches to use the measure to leave The United Methodist Church. In a separate matter, the Judicial Council released a memorandum on the vote by the Bulgaria-Romania Provisional Annual Conference to move to the Global Methodist Church. Read more...
cob bickerton zoom

Bishop urges end to falsehoods, pivot to future

UM NEWS--Council of Bishops President Thomas J. Bickerton opened the bishops’ meeting this week taking on what he called falsehoods about The United Methodist Church. Even as the denomination deals with schism, Bickerton urged fellow United Methodists to begin pivoting toward what they hope The United Methodist Church will be in the future. Part of that future, the bishops made clear, involves addressing the sins of racism and colonialism. Read more...
hiv affecting youth

Faith leaders hear of ‘lost ground’ on HIV

UM NEWS--The 24th International AIDS Conference was held recently in Montreal. Faith leaders and others heard how COVID-19 and monkeypox are hindering progress in treating HIV. Preaching about the need for HIV testing and working to end the stigma attached to HIV are ways religious leaders can help end AIDS. Read more...

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

The peace of this world will never amount to the peace that only Jesus gives.
"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid." - John 14:27
the peace of christ
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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