2022 e-Advocate logo

May 3, 2022

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

Upcoming events

  • Wednesday, May 4 - Conference Center Chapel Service - by Zoom at 10 a.m. The Virginia United Methodist Center hosts a weekly public Zoom chapel service every Wednesday at 10 a.m. Guests from around the conference lead worship each week. Tune in to sing, pray, and study. The same Zoom link is used each week. Preacher this week is the Rev. Charles W. Wickham, Pinnacle Living Dir. Of Donor Development. Liturgist is Mrs. Martha Stokes, Pinnacle Living Director of Church and Community Relations. Leaders are the Rev. Annie Van Hook, Cedarfield Chaplain, and Mrs. Trish Bracken Carter, Cedarfield Chaplain. Musician is Mrs. Margaret Ernstes, Administrative Assistant for Pastoral Services.
  • Wednesday, May 11 - Conference-sponsored grant-writing event on Zoom
  • Thursday, May 19-Saturday, May 21- Clergy Soul Care Retreat
  • 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).

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

  • How can you be a lifelong learner?

What happens when a new denomination launches? The Global Methodist Church, a theologically conservative breakaway denomination, officially started May 1, 2022. However, it will take time for any potential separations from The United Methodist Church to take place. Learn more...
  • How can you be an influencer?
It's #TeacherAppreciationWeek. Is there a Sunday school teacher who’s made a difference in your life? How can you show your appreciation to them or honor them this week?
  • How can you serve?

Join Global Ministries on May 5 at 7 p.m. ET for the next episode of #stillinmission. Learn about the transformational work of United Methodist missionaries serving around the world. Hear from missionaries...

Virginia News

news update

Special Annual Conference announced

On Saturday, October 29, 2022, 9:30 a.m., a Special Annual Conference will be held virtually. The sole purpose of this Special Session Called Annual Conference is to ratify 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, to be considered at the October 29, 2022 Special Session Called Annual Conference. Dates of additional Called Annual Conferences for this purpose will be available in the near future.
Additional material about the session will be forthcoming. More information about disaffiliation is on the conference website. Questions may be directed to the Rev. Dr. Steve Summers at [email protected].

AC Worship Team requesting artistic expressions of worship

The 2022 AC Worship Team is inviting all Sunday Schools and Preschools and Children’s Programs to respond to “What does worship look like to you?” through artistic expressions. These expressions will be shared throughout the gathering days and during closing worship. Please send a digital file to the Rev. Gretchen Nelson by May 16 for inclusion at [email protected].
umfs giving day

TOMORROW is UMFS Giving Day for Foster Care

Tomorrow, May 4, is a community opportunity to come together to support for the children and teens in foster care at United Methodist Family Services (UMFS). Your donation will provide emergency clothing for a child who enters foster care with nothing more than the clothes on their back. Your donation will help provide furniture for their new bedroom. Your donation will help train and prepare their loving new foster parents. Your generosity today will help them have a better tomorrow.
Thanks to a generous $5,000 gift from an anonymous donor, your donation will be matched, dollar for dollar, to double your impact. Visit www.umfs.org/giving-day/ to learn more. UMFS thanks you for your support!

Conference recruiting for Project Manager position

The Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church is currently recruiting for the position of Project Manager. This position will work directly with the Assistant to the Bishop and Director of Connectional Ministries. The deadline for receiving applications is May 22, 2022. GCFA is working with the Virginia Conference to recruit for this position. If you know of someone who might be interested, please have them view the link posting to apply. If you have any questions about the open position, please contact Michelle Reddick, Human Resources Generalist, at 615-369-2357 or [email protected].

Conference office offering free, online workshop on grants

In response to requests from clergy of the conference, the 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.

Join August 14-19 for spiritual renewal, exploration

The Virginia 5 Day Academy for Spiritual Formation invites you to join for a time of Spiritual Refreshment and Exploration through Pilgrimage with the Psalms, including times of silence, group reflection, communal meals and worship Sunday, Aug. 14-Friday, Aug. 19, 2022, at Roslyn Retreat Center, Richmond, VA. Three CEUs are available. To register visit: https://virginiafivedayacademy.org/.

District Initiative: Learn about collaboration taking place in 16 districts

District Initiative is the collaboration currently taking place in the 16 districts. In a the last article of a series, the district superintendents of the Virginia Conference share in a joint letter more about District Initiative and next steps.
They said in part:
"Each of your district superintendents has been working with a local team to help develop new district structures for our district-level work, projected to be starting July 1, 2022. It is anticipated that once the Annual Conference votes on the final number of districts, we will see new districts doing new things all across our conference [...] We don’t know what the future holds, and that is probably the biggest challenge of this season. How will our denomination change in the next season of ministry? Who will come with us on a journey to focus our attention on making disciples and transforming the world? We don’t know, and yet in that space between now and the unknown future, we will innovate and experiment and learn new things.
As your district superintendents, we are enthusiastically optimistic that with God’s help, we will help further the mission of Christ in the Virginia Conference. We ask for your approval of eight districts at Annual Conference so this work can move forward." View all current articles here...

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...
wesley seminary

Summer Term Course Registration now open at Wesley Seminary

Plan your summer with Wesley! Study your way - online or on-campus - there is a wide range of thought-provoking courses available to you to capture CEU credit, enrich your ministry, support your spiritual journey or start that degree at last at Wesley! Just a few of this summer's course offerings:
  • Biblical Storytelling - Dr. Tracy Radosevic
  • T.S. Eliot & the Search for God -Dr. Deryl Davis
  • Howard Thurman, Mystic, Prophetic, Theologian - Dr. Anthony C. Hunt
  • Teaching and Learning in Christian Education for a Diverse World – Dr. Jana Strukova
  • Ecojustice & Spirituality Along The Anacostia River - Dr. Beth Norcross
  • Ministry in a Rural Context - Dr. Jonathan Lemaster-Smith
Register early to avoid disappointment - classes fill up quickly! Registration open for degree, non-degree and certificate qualifying classes - learn more and apply at the link...
Scholarship opportunity

Sister Scholarship application now available

The Sister Scholarship application is now available to be filled out by any female candidate in the Virginia Conference for educational support. The deadline is July 1. This award is given in memory of clergy women who have served in ministry in the Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church. The purpose of the award is to support women who are duly enrolled in a seminary or school of theology approved by the University Senate of the United Methodist Church, or an Advanced Course of Study program approved by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church. Eligibility is extended to all women committed to ministries of Word, Worship and Witness who are candidates for ministry in the Virginia Conference, and who indicate potential for developing creative ministries for a more just world. Apply now...
green church award

Submit nominations for Green Church Award

Celebrate the transforming work of Creation Justice across the Virginia Annual Conference by submitting nominations for the Green Church Award. Submissions are due by May 14, 2022 to Brian Christoffersen at [email protected].

God calls us to be a people of flourishing love, hope, and renewal. One way United Methodists participate in the restoration and transformation of this world is by caring for God's good creation. In 2009, the Virginia Annual Conference established the Green Church Initiative and called on our churches to "green" their ministries. To recognize the continuing work of creation care in the Virginia Annual Conference, we are asking for nominations to receive the Green Church Award during the Virginia Annual Conference during June 17 afternoon session. We seek to recognize those congregations trying to affirm the importance of healing and defending God's creation in their mission as a local congregation. That are engaged in this ministry in the following ways:
1. Worship
2. Learning and teaching
3. Individual and congregational lifestyle, and
4. Community, national, and global advocacy/involvement.

UMVIM Team Leader training to be held June 4

A United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) Team Leader training event will take place in-person at Ebenezer UMC, 161 Embrey Mill Rd., Stafford, VA, 22554 on Saturday, June 4, 2022, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. There is a gathering time between 8:30 and 9 a.m. Lunch will be provided. An online training manual will be provided. Trainers are Tim Wells and Peter Kuebler. For more information, contact Terri Morgan at [email protected]. Register at this link...
camp rainbow

Camp Rainbow Connection needs volunteers

What if there were a safe place where adults with intellectual disabilities could go for a full week of fun, food, and Christian fellowship? Imagine such a place with dedicated one-on-one staff and every day packed with exciting activities. Well, that’s the Camp Rainbow Connection. With a 35-year history of service to folks who have intellectual disabilities, Camp Rainbow delivers an exciting adventure for our campers, and a week of respite for their caregivers.

Camp Rainbow 2022—Cruising with Christ—is going to sea! Well, not literally, but the core team agreed that a cruise ship theme offered a world of possibilities. The team will talk about activities, decorations, music, and games at the May 14 Planning and Training Session. And get this, we’ll be holding the session at Richard Bland College this year. Think of how exciting it will be for new staffers to visit the facility in advance. All who might want to join this terrific group for the coming season are invited. For more information, check out the Camp Rainbow Connection webpage at https://www.vaumc.org/crc.
The Party Facebook Event Cover Photo (Facebook Post) (3)

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.)
clergy retreat may 2022

Sign up for Carolinas Black Clergy Leadership Retreat in May

The Carolinas Black Clergy Leadership Retreat takes place in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, May 23-27, 2022. Hosted by the North Carolina, Western North Carolina, and the South Carolina annual conferences, clergy from across the country have attended. This is a time renewal and reconnecting to clergy and laity around the Connection. Learn more...

Join upcoming conference Youth Ministry Chat

The conference Learning Ministries Office is hosting a noontime May 11 webinar with Ministry Architects to assist churches and youth ministries. Bryant Johnson and Philip Dezern will lead a conversation on what youth ministry means in this new time. For more information, contact the Rev. Seungsoo "RJ" Jun at [email protected].

Register in advance for this meeting:
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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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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 [email protected] or 571-245-9591. Click the link for more camp details and to register as a mentor.


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...

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

Richmond church hosting Youth Night of Worship and Prayer in September

Discovery UMC in Richmond will be hosting their second annual Youth Night of Worship and Prayer on Friday, Sept. 16 from 4 to 8 p.m. Register by Aug. 12 for $15/person and register by Sept. 2 for $20/person. Dinner will be provided and the event will feature comedian John Felts, and Keith Elgin & The Alive Worship Band. Register...

General Church News

whats next church

What happens when a new denomination launches?

UM NEWS-- The Global Methodist Church, a theologically conservative breakaway denomination, officially started on May 1, 2022. However, it will take time for any potential separations from The United Methodist Church to take place. Read more...
typing questions online

Five signs you’re doing online ministry right

LEWIS CENTER FOR CHURCH LEADERSHIP-- Successful online ministry requires a new mindset and different metrics. Carey Nieuwhof outlines five signs indicating that your online ministry is connecting with people and helping them grow in faith, rather than just advertising what happens in your building. Read more...
cob bishop bickerton

United Methodists urged to relaunch their church

UM NEWS-- While acknowledging the start of a breakaway denomination, new Council of Bishops President Thomas Bickerton shared his hopes for a revived United Methodist Church. Among those leaving for the new denomination is a fellow bishop. Read more...
school kits

Pandemic disrupts religious education

RELIGION NEWS-- Sunday school and other Christian education programs have suffered during the COVID-19 pandemic, with half of congregations surveyed saying their programs were disrupted, according to a new study from the Hartford Institute for Religion Research. The report is part of a five-year project called “Exploring the Pandemic Impact on Congregations.” United Methodist Communications is assisting the ongoing research. Read more...

One Last Word

Jesus! the name that charms our fears, That bids our sorrows cease;
’Tis music in the sinner’s ears,
’Tis life, and health, and peace.
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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