2022 e-Advocate logo

March 1, 2022

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

Upcoming events

  • Wednesday, March 2 - Zoom Chapel Service- 10 a.m. Preacher is the Rev. Jessie Colwell, Director for the Center for Clergy Excellence, VAUMC; Liturgist: the Rev. Tammy Estep, Chair for the Board of Ordained Ministry; Musician: the Rev. Andrew LaBar-Dietz, Associate Minister for Discipleship, Peakland UMC, Lynchburg
  • Saturday, March 5 - Digital Ministry Virtual event with Phil Bowdle- 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Tuesday, March 8 - Open invitation meeting to inform new conference position by Zoom at 6 p.m.
  • Wednesday, March 9 - Open invitation meeting to inform new conference position by Zoom at 4:45 p.m.
  • Wednesday, March 9 - Open invitation meeting to inform new conference position by Zoom at 6 p.m.
let us pray CURRENT

Let us pray...

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

March 6: Highland Support Project (HSP)
HSP networks Indigenous communities of the Americas with financial, technical, and political support to enlarge people's freedom and opportunities and improve their wellbeing.


"All praise be yours, our Lord, and to all that you have made. Thanks to our brother, the Sun, whose radiant light brings warmth and energy to sustain our material lives. We thank our sister, the Moon, who controls the tides and reflects your glory in our darkest hours. We view your love in the relationships between the pollinators and the crops—the winds bringing life-sustaining rains. We pray that we can find our way to serve your creation. To bring about the good life, full of grace, in all of our relations. We pray with a grateful heart, in your name, Amen."

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

  • How can you be a lifelong learner?

What is Lent and why does it last 40 days? Learn more...
  • How can you be an influencer?
The General Board of Church and Society is recruiting interns for the summer of 2022. Do you know a young self-identified person of color interested in vocation, advocacy, and justice? Encourage them to become an Ethnic Young Adult intern. Applications are needed by March 1, 2022. Use your influence...
  • How can you serve?

The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), the humanitarian relief arm of Global Ministries, is in communication with partners in the region and actively exploring the coordination of humanitarian response in Ukraine. Support UMCOR’s international disaster response efforts by making a gift to Advance #982450..

Virginia News

appointments general

Projected January appointments are now available

The projected January appointments are now available. View at the link...

Bishop Lewis shares Prayer for Peace in Ukraine

Bishop Lewis shared a prayer conference-wide on February 25 as Ukraine was invaded by Russia on February 24. Read prayer...
AGCLogo2019_500px (1)

Update shared on 2022 All God's Children Camp

February 22--Associate Director of Serving Ministries Seungsoo "RJ" Jun shared an update about the 2022 camp. Read more...

Still time to register for free March 5 Zoom webinar on digital ministry

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.

Here is an overview of what Phil will share:
Session 1: Moving From Reactive to Proactive Communications
In this session, we’ll hit on some simple systems, rhythms, and tools to help you move from
reactive to proactive with your communications.

Session 2: Building A Social Media Plan
Discover what’s changed in social media, and walk through a step-by-step playbook to build a social media plan for 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: www.vaumc.org/rethink-communication.
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 https://vaumc.org/denmanawards/. 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 https://vaumc.org/board-of-discipleship-one-matters-award/. They should be sent to Kathy Gochenour at [email protected] or Becky Tate at [email protected].


Mission Opportunities announced; Latest news for Annual Conference 2022

The Mission Opportunities during Annual Conference have been a highlight of the connectional system as 1,300 churches, their clergy, and annual conference members gathered, served, and shared gifts with the world. In the coming 2022 annual conference, the Serving Office is excited to announce three opportunities for us to come and serve this world together united as one. “United as One in Worship” is the overarching theme of the 2022 annual conference session. Learn more...

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 opened Wednesday, February 23. Annual Conference members received an email on February 21 with the link, and it is available on the AC 2022 website.

Find all AC 2022 news at www.vaumc.org/ac2022.

Learn about collaboration taking place in 16 districts

District Initiative is the collaboration currently taking place in the 16 districts. In this first article of a series, the Rev. Denise Bates, Dean of the Cabinet and District Superintendent for the Danville and Lynchburg Districts, shares more about District Initiative and next steps. Read more...
VAUMC-2-color-logo (1)

Upcoming meetings will help form new conference ministry position

The Virginia Conference leadership is continuing to work toward the development of a potential new staff position serving within the conference. This position was first announced at the 2021 Virginia Annual Conference as part of the Common Table report.

Bishop Sharma D. Lewis and other VAUMC leadership envision this new position to be one that embodies, facilitates, coordinates, and prophetically calls forth with accountability the needs of the Annual Conference in the areas of Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI).

The actual title and ministry description of this new full-time position are currently being shaped with the anticipation of a search beginning by June 1, 2022.

As a result, on behalf of Bishop Lewis, the Rev. Dr. Steve Summers, Assistant to the Bishop and Director of Connectional Ministries, and Ms. Kimberly Young, Chair of the Common Table Personnel Committee, are heading up a Listening Team to hold a series of conversations between conference leadership and 16 groups across Virginia.

There will also be three open invitation meetings by Zoom for anyone in the conference to take part in helping shape this ministry position.

“We discern this position to be missionally driven and a strategic necessity for the future vitality of our Annual Conference,” Summers said. “If you feel called to share your input, please join us in one of these open conversation dates to help us form this ministry position as well as the desired outcomes of such a position within our conference.”

The dates for the open invitation meetings are:
Tuesday, March 8 at 6 p.m.
Wednesday, March 9 at 4:45 p.m.
Wednesday, March 9 at 6 p.m.

The Zoom information for these meetings is:
Meeting ID: 921 4691 2931
Passcode: jedi
One tap mobile
+13017158592,,92146912931# US (Washington DC)

For questions, please email Summers at [email protected].
Wesley Romero Lecture 2022

Join Wesley Theological Seminary 2022 Lecture

Wesley Theological Seminary invites all to attend the 2022 Archbishop Oscar Romero Lecture on March 22, 2022, at 4:45 p.m. EST in KG-01, on their DC campus or online via Facebook Live.

The 2022 guest lecturer will be Débora B.A. Junker, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Critical Pedagogies at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary (Evanston, IL). The title of her lecture will be “Collective Indignation: the prophetic duty of our times.”

The on-campus event will offer heavy hors d'oeuvres so please register for the event. Questions may be forwarded to Jasmine Gatlin, Executive Assistant to the Academic Dean, at [email protected].
Register now at this link...
rio texas umvim

Registration for March 12, 2022 UMVIM Team Leader Training closes on Saturday, March 5

A United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) Team Leader Training Event will take place at Harmony UMC, 380 E Colonial Hwy, Hamilton, VA 20158. The date is Saturday, March 12, 2022, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. (gathering time 8:30 to 9:00 am). This training session was originally scheduled in January but rescheduled because of the Omicron COVID surge.

The cost will be $10 to cover lunch, payable at the event. An online training manual will be provided upon registration. Conference rules stipulate that all first-time leaders must attend a Conference Team Leader Training Event prior to leading a team. Registration and attendance are open to anyone, whether leading a team or not. To register and for more information, visit https://vaumc.org/umvim/
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...

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 https://vaumc.org/UMM.
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

um building ukraine

United Methodists respond to invasion of Ukraine

UM NEWS-- United Methodist leaders decried war and asked for prayers for peace after Russia began an invasion of Ukraine. A United Methodist district superintendent in Kyiv reported on explosions there and said that denomination’s churches in the country are opening as shelters. The United Methodist Committee on Relief is talking with partners about how to mount a humanitarian response. Read more...
church advertising

What preachers can learn from Lean Cuisine

UM NEWS-- Two Southern Methodist University (SMU) professors have collaborated on a book called “Preaching and the Thirty-Second Commercial,” which argues that preachers can learn from advertising techniques.
The book is part of a “Preaching and …” series that pairs a homiletics professor with an expert in another field, to spark new insights for preachers. SMU’s Perkins School of Theology, specifically its Center for Preaching Excellence, is partnering with Westminster John Knox Press in the series. Read more...

Re-energize your prayer life with a new practice

As United Methodists we know the value of works of piety like prayer. The third of John Wesley's three rules for the Methodist Church was to continue "attending upon all the ordinances of God." The list of examples he offered with this rule included "Family and private prayer." Learning to pray is like learning to ride a bicycle. What we can learn from a book or class is not enough. Proficiency comes through practice. Additionally, because prayer is a form of communication, there is no one-size-fits-all technique. Each of us needs to find our unique style. Read more...

One Last Word

give umc

Give, and it will be given to you. – Luke 6:38
Give of yourself. Give love, give support, give time. Give and it will be given to You!

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