2022 e-Advocate logo

April 5, 2022

To submit news items, events, or corrections, email the conference Communications Office at Communications@vaumc.org.

Upcoming events

  • Wednesday, April 6 - Zoom Chapel Service - 10 a.m. Preacher is the Rev. Dr. Peter Moon, Lead Pastor at Reveille UMC, who will preach "A Strange Path to a Coronation" inspired by Luke 19:28-40, Wednesday, April 6, 10:00 a.m., live via zoom.
    Liturgist: Martha Stokes, Conference Lay Leader, Director, Church and Community Relations, Pinnacle Living, Glen Allen, VA
    Vocalist: The Rev. Leigh Anne Taylor, Revitalization Coordinator, Lynchburg District
    Worship Leader: The Rev. Darcey Johnson, Lead Pastor, River Road UMC, Richmond, VA
  • Sunday, April 24 - Conference-sponsored youth discernment event at Woodlake UMC in Chesterfield, Va.
  • May 9-13, 2022 - United Methodist Communications (UMCom)-sponsored communication training on Zoom
  • Wednesday, May 11 - Conference-sponsored grant-writing event on Zoom
  • Thursday, June 16- Saturday, June 18 - 240th Session of the Virginia Annual Conference in Hampton, VA.
  • Thursday, June 30 - Mission Encounter begins (online, every Thursday evening).
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Small Church ideas for Holy Week

Are you a small congregation in need of ideas for Holy Week? SmallChurch.org has provided several ideas that can provide small churches simple ideas based in Scripture for a meaningful Holy Week. Learn more...

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

  • How can you be a lifelong learner?

“Worship Matters,” a podcast hosted by Discipleship Ministries, discusses the intricacies of planning worship within the local church. In this episode, the team discusses the two grand celebrations that open and close Holy Week — Palm Sunday and Easter — and how they connect to one another. Learn more...
  • How can you be an influencer?
Survey after survey reveals a truth that churchgoers know intuitively: Churches of all denominations are struggling to recover from the pandemic. The challenges are numerous and often daunting. But in the New York Conference, many believe cooperative parishes offer invaluable lessons and a structure for a time such as this. Learn from influencers...
  • How can you serve?

Native American Ministries Sunday serves to remind United Methodists of the gifts and contributions made by Native Americans to our society and in our communities. With more than 20,000 Native Americans within the denomination, this Special Sunday helps to ensure that Native American United Methodist leaders are recognized and to celebrate their special voice in The United Methodist Church. The official date set to celebrate Native American Ministries Sunday is May 1, 2022. Churches are encouraged to celebrate on a date that is most convenient for their congregation. Take part...

Virginia News

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Clergy invited to Clergy Soul Care Retreat May 19-21 in Richmond

The Spiritual Vitality Committee of the Board of Ordained Ministry is inviting clergy to a Clergy Soul Care Retreat at Richmond Hill from May 19-21, 2022. Spiritual Vitality Committee Chair the Rev. Leigh Anne Taylor said in the invitation to clergy, "We want you to know that a small group of folks who serve with the Board of Ordained Ministry have been praying for you every morning at 6 a.m. Monday through Friday for over a year. We see you. We know you’re tired. We know how hard you’ve been working." The group is also working on a similar event in November for those who can't attend in May. Learn more...
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Mark Lubbock joins Love, Learn, and Lead UMM webinar on April 19

Prayer is a way of deepening our relationship with God. Jesus constantly retreated in order to be with God in prayer. Paul set the itinerary for his missionary journeys based on prayer. Jesus and Paul are models for us. Please join the United Methodist Men (UMM) on Tuesday, April 19 at 6:30 p.m. and discover the spiritual discipline of prayer.

The Rev. Mark Lubbock, deployed staff at the General Commission on United Methodist Men, will be the speaker. Mark has served the Louisiana Conference for more than 15 years and became the first clergy person to become a certified men’s ministry specialist. He is also the founder and CEO of Gulf South Men, a nonprofit organization that assists churches and men’s organizations in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama with tools to make disciples.

Join Zoom Meeting
Tuesday, April 19 at 6:30 PM EDT
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89824607164
Meeting ID: 898 2460 7164
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Webinar recordings from previous Love, Learn, and Lead webinars are posted on our website https://vaumc.org/UMM.

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Conference Serving Office seeks aid for Haiti

The Haitian Methodist Church (Eglise Methodist d’Haiti or EMH) has been hit hard with significant damage to properties and among other issues , an inability of local congregations to pay pastor and teachers salaries amidst natural disasters, the pandemic and political unrest and rampant crime. For the past three years, mission teams have been unable to travel to Haiti, but the Virginia Conference is trying to help the church survive and continue providing ministries of worship, education, feeding and medical care.

Six churches have joined together in an effort to establish a covenant relationship with the and to provide aid and encouragement to people trying to serve under extremely difficult circumstances.

A Zoom call took place last week with Haitian Bishop Dorcely, David Draeger (an American engineer volunteering in Haiti) and 14 American supportive partners in the USA from such places as Texas, Michigan, New York and Virginia. The severe problems facing the EMH were reviewed and participants were asked what they could do to help.

For many years, the Virginia Conference has tried to help in relatively small ways, raising money for projects and providing support for friends who struggle to feed their families, but more help is needed. Funds are needed now to first provide food and medicine and then to help undergird the daily operations of the Church.

Any amount will be appreciated, but it is hoped that some persons will be able to make significant donations (all of which are tax deductible when given through the UMC). Gifts can be designated, or left to the discretion of EMH leadership as to what they see as the greater need.

Gifts can be sent to:
Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church, Serving Office, P. O. Box 5605, Glen Allen, Virginia 23058 (checks and other gifts should be designated on notation line “Haiti Methodist Relief”)
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Join upcoming conference Youth Ministry Chats

The conference Learning Ministries Office is hosting two upcoming webinars with Ministry Architects to assist churches and youth ministries. For more information, contact the Rev. Seungsoo "RJ" Jun at serving@vaumc.org.

April 13 at noon: Learning Ministries is hosting a webinar with Ministry Architects. Ministry Architects assists churches and ministries to develop 'Healthy systems, innovative changes for the further of the church.' This month, Bryant Johnson and Philip Dezern will lead a conversation on how to implement long-term planning for youth ministry. Register in advance for this meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZctc-igpz4qGNYnvb7IvqMFQW--zjwJvhRS.


May 11 at noon: Bryant Johnson and Philip Dezern will lead a conversation on what youth ministry means in this new time. Register in advance for this meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZctc-igpz4qGNYnvb7IvqMFQW--zjwJvhRS.
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Conference Communications Office wins three UMAC awards

The conference Communications Office won three awards at the most recent gathering of the United Methodist Association of Communicators (UMAC) meeting which was held virtually this year in Nashville, Tenn.

The video "Zoom Fatigue" won first place. The 2021 Glory Sighting video "Feeding the Many" won second place and "Diversity Kitchen: Lunar New Year" won third place in their respective categories.
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Save the Date for Duke Divinity Convocation

The 2022 Convocation and Pastors’ School will return to an in-person format for October 9-11, 2022 at Duke Divinity School. This year, the theme is Creativity and Courage: From Trauma to Tough Hope.
Throughout our worship services, plenary sessions and seminars participants will find a focus on practices that help make the move from brokenness to healing and hope. Convocation and Pastors’ School features nationally renowned speakers, powerful lectures, inspiring worship, and thought-provoking seminars.
Registration will open July 1.
Featured presenters and Preachers include:
• Kate Bowler, Multiple NY Times Best Selling Author & Associate Professor of Christian History, Duke Divinity
• Peter Storey, Retired Bishop and former President of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa (MCSA), and of the South African Council of Churches (SACC)
• Makoto Fujimura, Contemporary Artist & Author
• Ekklesia Contemporary Ballet, a professional dance company who create spaces where art and faith are joined
• Paiter van Yperan, Renowned Classical Dancer
• Ellen Davis, Amos Ragan Kearns Distinguished Professor of Bible and Practical Theology, Duke Divinity
• Norman Wirzba, Gilbert T. Rowe Distinguished Professor of Christian Theology, Duke Divinity
• Wylin Wilson, Assistant Professor of Theological Ethics, Duke Divinity
• Leonard Fairley, United Methodist Bishop of the North Carolina and Kentucky/Red Bird Annual Conferences
• Ken Carter, United Methodist Bishop of the Western North Carolina and Florida Annual Conferences
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Conference office offering free, online workshop on grants

In response to requests from clergy of the conference, Office of Influencing Ministries is offering a free online workshop on some best practices for seeking and writing grants. Mr. David King, president of D. King Fundraising in Richmond, VA, will lead this session. The workshop will take place on Wednesday, May 11, 1:00-2:30 p.m. on Zoom. The deadline to register is May 6, 2022. Register at this link...

This workshop will cover the essential strategic steps in seeking and winning grants from public and private charitable foundations: research to identify overlapping interests with the foundations' stated giving priorities, cultivating a relationship with foundation staff, setting a grant-seeking strategy (including appropriate request amount), the submission process (including writing the grant application), reasonable expectations and the realities of grant-seeking, and stewarding and reporting on the grant once awarded.
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Learn about collaboration taking place in 16 districts

District Initiative is the collaboration currently taking place in the 16 districts. In a series of articles, the district superintendents of the Virginia Conference share more about District Initiative and next steps. This week, the Rev. Dr. Charles Ledlum-Bates, Rappahannock River and York River districts superintendent, shares his perspective on their proposed unified district. Read more...

View all current articles here...
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Conference Discernment event available to youth

A discernment event hosted by the Center for Clergy Excellence and Connectional Ministries for Junior and Senior High Youth (6th-12th grades) to consider their God-given gifts and ways that they can participate in God's greater world will be offered on Sunday, April 24 from 5:30 -8 p.m. at Woodlake UMC in Chesterfield, VA. Activities will include interactive learning in small and large groups and will close with worship. Dinner will be provided. Spaces are available for 100 youth to attend. No preparations required for the event, but youth leaders who register their youth are requested to help with facilitation on-site. Register...
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Mentors needed for All God's Children Camp

All God's Children Camp is underway in planning and registering campers. Now mentors are needed to volunteer a week of their time. Mentors help make it possible for kids to come enjoy a week of camp and engage in all that camp life has to offer. This is a great way for groups such as Sunday School groups, Sr. High youth groups or other small groups to be in mission together. So grab a group of your friends and join! For more information contact Lori Smith at lttlelori@gmail.com or 571-245-9591. Click the link for more camp details and to register as a mentor.

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Sign up for Annual Conference 2022 5k run/walk

Registration for VAUMC 5K Run/walk is now open! Go to www.vaumc.org/beingtogether or find the race at Runsignup.com! Join us at the Annual Conference to run and walk together. (There is a virtual option for anyone who might not be at Hampton, VA.)
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Register now for Mission Encounter (Virtual Event)

Mission Encounter is an opportunity to study current issues impacting society based on current social justice and mission-related topics. Participants grow in understanding the mission of the church in the current world context; conference events are open to all. This is a cooperative event sponsored by the Virginia Conference Missional Ministries Board and the Virginia Conference United Women in Faith, formerly the United Methodist Women.

Theme: Building Communities of Hope and Joy (Luke 13)
Date: Every Thursday evening, starting on June 30, 2022
Time: 7 p.m.
Registration fee: $10

For registration and details, visit https://vaumc.org/me.
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Opt-in now for print Book of Reports; Latest news for Annual Conference 2022


In an effort to save money, the conference is asking clergy and lay members to the 2022 Annual Conference session to please OPT-IN to receive a mailed, hard copy of the Book of Reports. YOU WILL NOT RECEIVE A COPY IN THE MAIL unless you fill out this form and submit it to the conference by April 29. For those choosing NOT to receive a mailed copy, the Book of Reports will be available on the conference website in pdf format to view/download and/or print.

A Frequently Asked Questions section has been added to the AC 2022 page. Learn more about COVID protocol, childcare and more...

Sign-ups are now available for the Display Area as well as Banquet requests. Learn more...

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...

Find all AC 2022 news at www.vaumc.org/ac2022.
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General Conference postponed until 2024

General Conference 2022 is now further postponed until 2024. Find current resources related to this announcement from Bishop Lewis, the Council of Bishops, and the Clergy Head of the Virginia Delegation to General Conference the Rev. Tom Berlin at the link. Learn more...

General Church News

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Stress, burnout afflicting pastors

UM NEWS -- This is a difficult time to be a pastor. COVID-19, racial unrest, natural disasters and denominational uncertainty are all taking a toll, said church leaders interviewed by United Methodist News. Read more...
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Why Limit the Celebration of Easter to Just One Sunday?

LEWIS CENTER FOR CHURCH LEADERSHIP-- David Manner says that many churches attract new attendees with the lure of Easter but then quickly leave the subject. He asks, if Easter really is the foundation of our faith, why do we limit its celebration to just one Sunday? Read more...
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Communications Learning Week to help participants develop their skills

United Methodist Communication (UMCom) has announced a week-long ecumenical training opportunity launching May 9-13, 2022 for anyone in ministry seeking to enhance their communications skills. All of the learning week content will be recorded and stored in a learning portal that participants will have access to for six months following the event. Registration opens on April 12.

During the learning week, church leaders and communicators will get access to a vast library of on-demand resources including recorded videos, tutorials and podcast episodes and self-guided eLearning modules curated by the UMCom training team. Live webinars led by experts on a variety of topics will be presented followed by Q&A sessions with each facilitator. Opportunities for discussion and networking round out the week’s activities. Learn more...

One Last Word

“You have … become my salvation. The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.” —Psalm 118:21b-23, NRSV

Resources for Palm Sunday can be found here from United Methodist Communications
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Please send any issues or concerns to communications@vaumc.org. If you have issues with the formatting trying to forward (especially in Outlook), you can use the following link. More...
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