2022 e-Advocate logo

October 4, 2022

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

Resource Spotlight: Ask The UMC

Is The United Methodist Church really asking all local churches to vote on whether to remain in The United Methodist Church or join the Global Methodist Church?

Ask The UMC, a ministry of United Methodist Communications, has the answer to that question and others related to disaffiliation and the Book of Discipline. This is the fifth installment in a series aimed at clearing up misperceptions and misinformation regarding the future of the denomination. Learn more...

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

  • How can you be a lifelong learner?

In this new series from the General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR) , they offer a compilation of concise definitions, examples, and biblical/theological foundations to create common vocabulary for Christians as all engage in anti-racism work. Check back often as the series offerings will continue to grow in coming weeks!
  • How can you be an influencer?
LEWIS CENTER FOR CHURCH LEADERSHIP-- People in your community are influenced less by the liturgical season and more by cultural seasons that define the rhythms of their lives. Church leaders need to understand how the school calendar, recreational activities, major sporting events, and secular holidays shape church attendance and where people are emotionally and intellectually. Learn more...
  • How can you serve?

We are all connected through the grace of God. We are also one body through the connectional system called The United Methodist Church. The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) offers relief to the people devastated by Hurricane Ian on behalf of the local church. To help UMCOR become the hands and feet of Jesus this time, remember that you can join their effort by giving to the US Disaster Response and Recovery Advance # 901670. Churches can send a second-mile giving to the conference center, which will be delivered directly to UMCOR.

Virginia News

Serving-post header (1200 × 900 px) (2)

How can your church help during disasters?

With disasters like the recent effects from Hurricane Ian, Virginia Conference clergy and laity want to help. Please remember recovery effort takes a long time. All churches are asked to use this time to be patient and advise them not to make hast decisions, such as self-deployment.

When there is a call from neighboring conferences, the Virginia Conference Serving Office will make announcements for any needs. In the meantime, churches are asked to utilize the resources available through the VAUMC Disaster Response team. How Can Our Church Respond to a Disaster...
Untitled design (17)

VAUMC invited to be in partnership with missionary

Some churches are already in a covenant relationship with a Global Ministries missionary. Other churches have not yet found a way to include any level of “ends of the earth” support in their budgets. What about your church? Have you found that personal connection with a missionary, where your congregation can get excited about supporting God’s mission “to the ends of the earth”? The Virginia Conference currently partners with seven missionaries serving various parts of the world. You can find a list of them on the Serving Ministries Missionaries page. A good way to connect with a missionary is to find a common area of ministry concern and service.

Churches in the Virginia Conference have the opportunity to be in a relationship with Global Ministries missionary Jennifer Moore. She serves in the Balkan country of North Macedonia. Jennifer is responsible for leadership and program development for ministries with children and youth in the Macedonian District. Does your church work with children and youth (in your church or in your community)? If so, this is a connection to which you can relate!

Jennifer will be in the United States and available to speak in your congregation from November 5 through December 20. (She will also be available for online Zoom visits and presentations from October 1 through 15 and January 14 through February 28.) Learn more...
lobster big

There's a lobster in my office: Blog on Christian Innovation

As lobsters grow, they must periodically shed their current shell to accommodate their larger bodies. The lobster has all the resources it needs to form the new shell. It starts by withdrawing nutrients from the old shell, and slowly grows bloated with water that separates the lobster’s body from its shell, and which eventually cracks the shell. Then the lobster must slowly withdraw its eyes, claws, and legs from the old shell, and squeeze its body backwards out through the opening. It finally pushes itself out of the last bit of shell with its tail. The lobster is most vulnerable at this point. Even as it pumps nutrients through its body, it takes several days for the new shell to harden, but once it does, the lobster has room to grow again.

Imagine the lobster as a metaphor for the church, trapped in a shell (you pick what that shell represents!), unable to grow, perhaps bloated because it’s pulling all its resources inward. It is not until the church takes the vulnerable step to leave that shell, to risk exposure to the outside environment without the protection of bricks and stained glass, that it is able to grow again. Learn more in blog from conference Influencing Office...

Hope is in Vienna, VA: A new church plant story

Hope United Methodist Church in Vienna, Virginia, held a worship service on Sunday, September 25, 2022, marking its official launch. Hope is the newest satellite congregation of Ghana Wesley UMC. They meet in the building of the former Epiphany UMC, which closed in 2019. Read more...
cleaning buckets

Join the Cleaning Kit Conference Challenge!

In a September 8 letter, Bishop Lewis shared that VAUMC Disaster Coordinator, the Rev. Bob Pihlcrantz, recently received an urgent call from the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) requesting cleaning kits. UMCOR Supply Depots are already close to disbursing all their stored cleaning kits to impacted areas. In 2017, the Virginia Conference responded to a similar call and collected 4,676 cleaning kits, estimated at $350,700.

Lewis challenged the conference in her letter sharing, "Together, as the Virginia Conference, let us once again step up as the church. The VAUMC Annual Conference Kit team proposes to hold another event on November 10, 2022, with our goal to collect 4,677 Cleaning Kits by November.

"This is one more kit from our previous collection in 2017. Our goal can be easily reached if every church contributes four (4) kits or 585 kits per district. We ask all churches in the Virginia Conference to be “United as One” in this opportunity to share the hope of Jesus Christ."

For more information, please visit www.vaumc.org/2022cleaningkit, or contact Serving Ministries at [email protected]. You may also make a financial donation by visiting
news update

Reminder about October 29 Called Annual Conferences

As a reminder to the Virginia Annual Conference members, on Saturday, October 29, 2022, two Special Annual Conferences will be held:
  • At 9 a.m, an Annual Conference will convene for the sole purpose of closing church property using Paragraph 2549.3.
  • At 9:30 a.m., an 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 using Paragraph 2553.
Next week, further information, including an agenda, will be shared concerning the Special Annual Conferences as well as an upcoming webinar opportunity (prior to October 29) to submit questions concerning the Annual Conferences.

Voting credentials will be shared with Annual Conference members the week of October 29.

All Annual Conference-related information will be posted on the Virginia Conference website at https://vaumc.org/ac2022oct/.

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

Continuing Education event to be held at Randolph-Macon College

Who Cares? We do! Clergy are invited to Randolph-Macon College for a half-day retreat to explore the theme of Caring. Dr. Maria Fleshood (LPC, MDiv, DMin, and former international missionary) will lead the event. Presentations will include Clergy Self Care, Caring for your Congregation, and Congregations Caring for their Community. The third presentation is free and open to the public as R-MC and DMUMC’s annual Ira Andrews Lecture. Registration for this in-person retreat is $20 and .5 CEUs are available through the Virginia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. More details and registration information can be found at www.rmc.edu/offices/chaplain .
clergy convocation

Lay, Clergy Leaders welcome to Richmond Hill Clergy Convocation

Please join the Richmond Hill Community for a power packed Clergy Convocation, with a panel of dynamic voices:
• Bro. Marcel Boyd, Executive Leadership Team at Liberation
• Sis. Amy Foley, Founder and Executive Director of Camp Hope Worldwide
• Rev. Dr. Kimberly Ridley, Senior Pastor at The Light Community Church
• Rev. Dr. Corey Widmer, Lead Pastor at Third Church

“Giving voice to the voiceless, regularly signifies that the historically underrepresented, disadvantaged, or vulnerable gain opportunities to organize, increase visibility, and express themselves by leveraging the strengths of information, media, and communication technologies”. — Molly Callahan, Northeastern University. Suggested $10 donation for lunch immediately following noon prayers. Register here...
AGCLogo2019_500px (1)

2023 All God's Children dates announced

The 2023 dates for All God's Children Camp have been announced.

  • Camp Chanco-June 18-23
  • Camp Occohannock On the Bay (OOTB)-August 6-11
  • Camp Chanco- August 13-18
As a ministry of the Virginia Annual Conference, All God’s Children Camp 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 such as boating, swimming, hiking, archery, music, crafts, Bible study, along with a conflict resolution/self esteem building class.

Please consider being a mentor for the children who will be attending! Please email Lori Smith at [email protected] for more information. Learn more...
hispanic heritage month

National Hispanic Month runs through October 15

National Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity to highlight the impactful ministry of Hispanic and Latin communities throughout the United Methodist Connection. A series from Discipleship Ministries seeks to show that Hispanics are diverse in shade, style and culture, and that their ministries are just as vibrant. Learn more....
Find 25 children’s books by Latinx authors to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month...
Bright Spots_Wordmark_Black

Old Dominion University campus ministry has grand reopening

The Wesley Foundation at Old Dominion University is now reopened after the building underwent construction. The relaunch event featured food, games and over 200 students visiting the space and learning about the campus ministry. Learn more...

Find more Bright Spots videos...
facing the future

Online event for pastors serving cross-racial, cross-cultural, and multicultural contexts

After a brief hiatus during the pandemic, “Facing the Future” is returning. Facing the Future is the premier conference for anyone engaged with or discerning cross-racial/cross-cultural ministry. You will learn skills to support the CRCC ministry context, personal self-care, and professional development. You will experience meaningful worship and workshops from sought-after leaders and professionals. We are looking forward to seeing you there.

Early Registration (August 1-31): $45.00
Standard Registration (September 1 - October 15): $50.00
Late Registration (October 16-31): $60.00
Learn more...
race relations

2022-2023 grant program releases from GCORR

The General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR) is proud to announce a new cycle of the CORR Action Fund (CAF) grant program that will support creative initiatives that will transform the United Methodist Church (UMC) and the world. The 2022-2023 grant program will provide up to $10,000 to fund projects that increase intercultural competency and support vital conversations about race, cultural diversity, and systemic equity leading to action.
UMC churches and other UMC entities are invited to apply for funding by submitting a proposal that:
• demonstrates bold and innovative thinking,
• reaches more people, younger people, and more diverse people,
• results in long-term change that could be replicated in other local churches, districts, conferences, or other entities within the UMC, and
• utilizes existing GCORR resources.
The CAF grant program was established by the General Conference of The United Methodist Church for the empowerment of diversity, inclusion, and racial justice work both inside and outside the Church.
Applications are now open. This grant application cycle closes November 15, 2022. Learn more...
Grants from around the connection can be found at the conference website. Learn more...

Podcast discusses copyright concerns for churches

Has your church struggled to understand the differences between CCLI and CCS licenses? Do you want to learn more about royalty free music or getting permission from artists to use their music? Learn more about copyright concerns and best practices on a special VAUMC Connection podcast episode with Hunter Bryn, conference Digital Media Specialist, and Megan Seals Dietrick, Floris UMC Director of Modern Worship and Ministry Innovations Director.
Dietrick shares that copyright is important because "At a time in the world when the church sometimes seems as though it does not live into its values its very important that we try and honor and do that.
Part of that is complying with copyright laws. Part of that is giving credit to musicians.
As a musician, I want to honor other creative people who are putting their work out into the world
and CCLI reporting helps pay songwriters. It's important that we try to live into integrity
and give credit where credit is due." Find podcast by scrolling to the bottom of the Digital Hub and find the episode "Copyright in the Church" under the VAUMC Connection.

Find more about the basics of copyright and fair use with a recent blog post.

Update on Scout settlement

September 26-- Recently there was the unfortunate release of incorrect information by the General Commission on United Methodist Men about future agreements between the Boy Scouts and local United Methodist churches. While this information has been removed from a website and retracted, it has led to confusion with some of our churches. The status of future agreements with the Boy Scouts and the local UMC churches remains as previously announced by the Conference on August 30, 2022, specifically:
All present affiliation agreements (charters and facility use agreements) between the United Methodist local churches and their local BSA councils have been automatically extended to December 31, 2022; and
Churches wishing to sign new affiliation or facilities use agreements can use the documents provided on July 8, 2022 by the Virginia Conference. These agreements cannot be modified. If you are asked by anyone to modify the agreements mentioned above, do not do it. Local churches may have significant legal exposure if the local church signs any document other than what is specified above. The Conference will promptly inform clergy and laity of future developments about any sanctioned agreements with the BSA. To reiterate, all current charter and facilities use agreements are in place until December 31, 2022.
Should you have questions, please contact the Rev. Dr. Steve Summers, Conference Director of Connectional Ministries and Assistant to the Bishop, at [email protected]. Thank you for your attention to this important matter. Although the Conference was not involved in this unfortunate development, conference leadership appreciates your continued grace and understanding as we all navigate the issues with the BSA.

General Church News

hurriance ian

Hurricane recovery begins in Florida

UM NEWS-- At least 88 deaths and 1,600 rescues are documented in Florida after Hurricane Ian wreaked havoc last week. Potential volunteers wishing to help are being asked to stay put until officials can get organized. Bishop Ken Carter said the Holy Spirit will help rebuild the communities that are suffering. Learn more...

Church of the Resurrection releases #ProudtobeUMC videos

Since the spring, United Methodist Church members have increasingly received incorrect and harmful information from those recruiting members to join the Global Methodist Church, a new traditionalist denomination organized by the Wesleyan Covenant Association that began operations in May.

The largest United Methodist church in the denomination, Church of the Resurrection, and its pastor, the Rev. Adam Hamilton, recently shared a number of videos covering why the church and its community will remain a part of The United Methodist Church. Learn more...
umc bishops

Bishops push back against recruitment tactics

UM NEWS--As churches weigh exiting the denomination, bishops are trying to set the record straight on misinformation being spread about The United Methodist Church’s future. They also are working toward building a church where traditionalists, centrists and progressives will all feel at home. Meanwhile, a recent decision by The United Methodist Church’s top court limits how churches can exit with property and may make it harder for some lawsuits demanding disaffiliation to succeed in civil courts. Learn more...
umf rwandan scholarship

UWF Scholarship helps Rwandan student pursue dream

UM NEWS-- Divinity student Venantie Ntakirutiimana was close to dropping out of Africa University in Zimbabwe when she landed a United Women in Faith scholarship. Because she got that help, she is planning to return to her native Rwanda after graduation in 2023. There are few woman pastors in that nation because of a lack of access to education. Learn more...
community bible study

Community Bible study helps church make disciples

UM NEWS-- Churches in the Chitungwiza Marondera District are making disciples of Jesus Christ in their communities through in-depth Bible study. The district trained 40 class leaders through the Community Bible Study International program and today has 161 classes functioning. Learn 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

A prayer written and presented by the Rev. Crystal R. Sygeel, Associate Director for Call and Candidacy of the Virginia Conference.

God of the Seas, God of the Wind,
Our Scriptures tell of an awful flood.
Of waters that overwhelmed the earth.
It was you who called your servant Noah
to build an ark, a vessel of rescue
for the people, the animals of your creation.

Today, we face another water event of cataclysmic proportion.
Before Hurricane Ian ever made landfall
coastlines and city streets,
factories and fields,
houses and hot spots
were torn up, blown down, and washed away.

As Ian makes tracks, we remember your word,
“You were not given a spirit of fear but of love.”
We mobilize to tie down, board up, and lash together.
We help pack clothes, food, pets, and phones.
We get families on the road.
We lend helping hands to those that remain.

Even before the torrents subside, we give you thanks:
for first responders who will answer emergency calls
for volunteers who will be a wave of a second response
for service providers who look to a time to offer meals, shelter, and aid.
We remember Christ’s words,
“When you helped those in need, you helped me.”

We lift your people who are suffering from Ian’s devastation:
those without water, electricity, or sanctuary from the storm..
We ask your hand be upon them as we offer our own hands in service.
For the lives already lost, we remember your promise,
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you.”
For their loved ones, we ask for your comfort and peace.

In the time of Noah,
You dried up the water, you placed a rainbow in the sky
In our time, we ask the same
That the land return, that homes are restored
That work resumes, that “the ties that bind” endure,
That your banner of grace and love remains over us always.

In your holy name, we pray,
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