2022 e-Advocate logo

May 10, 2022

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

Upcoming events

  • Wednesday, May 11 - The conference Learning Ministries Office is hosting a noontime 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 serving@vaumc.org.
  • Thursday, May 19-Saturday, May 21- Clergy Soul Care Retreat
  • Monday, May 30- United Methodist Conference Center closed for Memorial Day
  • Saturday, 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 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 tlynmorgan@icloud.com.
  • 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?

William Apess was the first Native American licensed to preach by American Methodists. Ask The UMC shares his story as part of its Pioneers in Methodism series. Learn more...
  • How can you be an influencer?
Meet DeLaris Johnson Risher -- a fearless trailblazer. Along with Leila Robinson Dabbs, she quietly integrated Scarritt College for Christian Workers in 1952. That was two years before segregation in education was declared unconstitutional. Read more...
  • How can you serve?

Even before the war, doctors at hospitals in Ukraine had challenges sourcing essential medical supplies.
The war only made it worse. Now, thanks to a grant from UMCOR to Arlene Campbell Humanitarian Foundation nearly $1 million in medical supplies have been shipped to three hospitals in Kyiv with help from AEC Parcel Service. Read more...

Gifts to support humanitarian needs for those in Ukraine as well as assistance to Ukrainians fleeing to neighboring countries can be made through UMCOR international disaster response, Advance #982450.

Virginia News

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Takeaways from church planter national meeting

Church planters and ministry innovators gathered in Dallas at the 2022 Planters’ Gathering, April 26-27, 2022, to hear from seasoned leaders in church planting ministries and experienced practitioners. Conference Associate Director Dwayne Stinson shares three takeaways from the event. Read more...
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Afghan Refugee Response Team continues ministry with new dreams

The Afghan Refugee Response team meets every month to discuss what the greatest needs are for Afghan neighbors resettling in the Virginia Conference. Conference Associate Director of Serving Ministries the Rev. Seungsoo "RJ" Jun shares the new dreams the team has to assist new neighbors. Read more...
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Eight mentors still needed for All God's Children Camp

All God's Children Camp is underway in planning and registering campers. Eight mentors are still needed to volunteer a week of their time. Mentors help make it possible for kids to enjoy a week of camp and engage in all that camp life has to offer. This is a great way for Sunday school groups, senior high youth groups or other small groups to be in mission together. 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.
All God's Children Camp schedule:
  • June 19-June 24 Camp Chanco on the James (Richmond area)
  • July 24-July 29 Occohannock on the Bay (Eastern Shore)
  • August 14-August 19 Camp Chanco on the James (Richmond area)
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Volunteers needed for Annual Conference 2022

The York River District is hosting the Annual Conference in Hampton, June 16-28. Hosting the Annual Conference requires a large number of volunteers, and the district is in need of support.
The Rev. Charles Ledlum-Bates, district superintendent, is asking pastors and laity in leadership positions to solicit volunteers from congregations to help the annual conference sessions run smoothly.
Lisa Jones, the York River District Administrator, has put together a Sign-up Genius to help facilitate the process. The Sign-up Genius will also help volunteers see where to share their gifts.
Registration: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/60B054CAFA923A5F94-2022
Ushers: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/60B054CAFA923A5F94-20221
Platform: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/60B054CAFA923A5F94-20222

Questions may be directed to Lisa at YorkRiverDistrict@vaumc.org.
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 SteveSummers@vaumc.org.
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 for electronic applications 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. For more information, contact Dr. Jan Rivero, janrivero@vaumc.org. Apply now...
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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 GretchenNelson@vaumc.org.
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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 redceltic2010@gmail.com.

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.
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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...
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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...
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...
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.
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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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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.
SpiritualFormation

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/.

General Church News

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Wesleyan Covenant Association not going away

UM NEWS-- The Wesleyan Covenant Association (WCA) plans to continue with a new focus on advocating for churches that want to disaffiliate from The United Methodist Church. The WCA’s first and only president, the Rev. Keith Boyette, is stepping down to become top staff person of the new Global Methodist Church.
The Rev. Jay Therrell will succeed Boyette at the WCA. Read more...
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The 5 P’s of sustainability for small churches

LEWIS CENTER FOR CHURCH LEADERSHIP-- Small churches cannot succeed by emulating the megachurch model of programming for every stage of life, says Rebekah Simon-Peter. She believes that five P’s — people, prayer, provision, partnership, and presence — are key to the sustainability of smaller churches. Read more...
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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...

One Last Word

Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD. LORD, hear my voice!
Psalm 130:1-2 NRSV
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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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