2022 e-Advocate logo

May 24, 2022

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

Upcoming events

  • Monday, May 30 - United Methodist Conference Center closed for Memorial Day
  • Tuesday, May 31 - 7 p.m. on Zoom Webinar: Team Jeremiah Disaffiliation and General Conference Information. Session will be recorded for later viewing.
  • 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 [email protected].
  • 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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Let us pray...

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

May 29: The NOVA Missional Hub, a satellite of Ebenezer UMC, Stafford, is a collection of micro churches seeking to live out their faith in increasingly contextual ways, gathering for worship, discipleship, and service in their homes, neighborhoods, cafes, and even places of work.


"God who gathers and God who sends, as you send Pastor Monica Reynolds into the Potomac Shores community, please go with her. May her ministry and the ministry of these micro churches be a blessing to them as they meet individual groups, and as they gather together as one community. Please bless them and Ebenezer UMC, that their ministry may draw new disciples into a relationship with you. In Christ's precious name we pray. Amen."

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

  • How can you be a lifelong learner?

Today is Aldersgate Day, a day that United Methodists recognize each year to mark the day that the movement's founder John Wesley experienced assurance of his salvation. Learn more...
  • How can you be an influencer?
As part of AAPI Heritage Month, consider checking out a new resource featuring Fijian culture from the California-Nevada Conference, The United Methodist Church.
  • How can you serve?

Apply to be a Global Ministries EarthKeeper. Centered around topics such as eco-theology, anti-racism and community organizing, the Global Ministries EarthKeepers training equips participants to launch environmental projects for the benefit of local communities. The summer training is July 28 – August 11, with an application deadline of June 30. Serve now...

Virginia News


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.
vera morton

Clergy spouse, recipient of Brown V. Board of Education Scholarship program, graduates with associate degree in liberal arts

The Roanoke Times--Vera Morton, 67, earned an associate degree in liberal arts on May 13 at Virginia Western Community College, which she started attending in 2017. Vera is the wife of the Rev. Lyle Morton, a Virginia Conference pastor. When she was a little girl in Prince Edward County, Morton was denied public education because of her race. Read more...

Ferrum College compiling oral histories

Ferrum College is partnering with a company to compile alumni oral histories called Ferrum College Memories. Collected stories will be preserved in a book that celebrates the impact Ferrum College has had on your life and who you are today, as well as the lives of so many other alumni. Learn more...
foundation for evangelism

The Foundation for Evangelism awards 31 grants to churches

The Foundation for Evangelism will award 31 grants in June to churches and organizations totaling $230,000 as part of the inaugural Equipping the Local Church Grant Cycle. From the 100 applications received, the Foundation’s grant review committee and board of trustees sought proposals that launched an experiment or initiative to share the Gospel, tell faith stories, and invite others into a relationship with Jesus.
Rev. Dr. Heather Lear, Vice President for Grant Administration shared that, “The selected proposals represent four Wesleyan-tradition denominations including the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, Church of the Nazarene, and The United Methodist Church. We are excited that our grant funding will be received across 17 states – from California to New York – and the projects and initiatives are unique to the needs of applicants’ respective communities. No two are the same.”
The Equipping the Local Church Grant builds upon The Foundation for Evangelism’s 73-year history as a catalyst to equip disciples to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. The goal of the grant is to empower pastors, laity, and smaller local congregations to dream, take risks, and partner with God in the transformation of lives and communities.
While some churches and organizations plan to connect through recognizable efforts such as Fresh Expressions of Church, others plan to build upon lessons learned and skills gained during the pandemic, building ways for people to connect and grow in their faith online. Ranging from work in engaging and empowering minority populations to satisfying spiritual and physical hunger, from growing churches in rural communities through technology to bringing multi-lingual congregations together to impact their community, the proposals represent the God-sized dream of Christ’s church engaged in sharing the Good News, inviting all into life-transforming relationship with Jesus Christ.
The Foundation for Evangelism is a Wesleyan-tradition grant-making organization located at Lake Junaluska, NC. Chartered in 1949 by Dr. Harry Denman, then the General Secretary of the Board of Evangelism of the Methodist Church, and a group of visionary laymen, it was designed to “diffuse the blessing of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Learn more about grants...

Join, support the Holy Rollers

The Holy Rollers are a group of clergy and lay member cyclists who ride their bikes to Annual Conference each year and have done so for the past 17 years. Their journey can consist anywhere from 150-230 miles over two to two and a half days.
They make this journey for many reasons but most importantly to raise awareness for the year's Annual Conference offering.
Learn more about joining the Holy Rollers or how you can offer your support. Learn more...
pinnacle living

Pinnacle Living announces sale of Its Northern Virginia Community

Richmond-based Pinnacle Living, announced the sale of its senior living community in Alexandria, VA, known as Hermitage Northern Virginia. The community, currently home to about 100 residents, will be sold to Goodwin House of Alexandria, VA. The sale is expected to be final on Aug. 1.
“Hermitage Northern Virginia has been a valued part of our faith-based, mission-driven focus for more than 60 years,” said Christopher P. Henderson, Pinnacle Living’s president and CEO. “Goodwin House shares similar faith-based roots and a long-standing commitment to serving the needs of seniors. It brings tremendous comfort to know that our mission of serving seniors will continue in Goodwin House’s capable hands.” Pinnacle Living, formerly known as Virginia United Methodist Homes, Inc., was founded in 1947 and began serving residents in 1948 as part of the church’s mission to serve seniors. Since then, it has grown from a single senior living community to five Life Plan communities that offer Independent Living homes, villas and apartments, Assisted Living apartments, memory support residences nursing care. Pinnacle Living, guided by its mission, Enriching Life’s Journey, continues to honor its faith-inspired roots and welcomes residents of all faiths. Pinnacle Living communities are home to more than 1,200 residents and employ more than 1,000 team members.
informational meeting

Team Jeremiah to offer webinar on disaffiliation, General Conference

With the further postponement of the General Conference session to 2024, Virginia Conference clergy and lay members have questions. What does this mean for the mission of the church and my local church? What does this mean for ongoing questions concerning full inclusion of persons who are LGBTQ+ in the church? What is “disaffiliation”?

You are invited to a conference-wide presentation of current information on topics including General Conference and disaffiliation from the denomination on Tuesday, May 31 at 7 p.m.

This Zoom webinar will feature members of Team Jeremiah: the Rev. Denise Bates, the Rev. Tom Berlin, Mrs. Martha Stokes, the Rev. Derrick Parson, and the Rev. Kyungsuk Cho. Questions will be accepted following the presentation through Zoom chat. The presentation will be recorded for later viewing as well.

Register for the meeting at this link: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_O9sAlY6RQ42f9EeXh2p0EA

Similar presentations have been offered at the district level this spring by members of Team Jeremiah, a group created by Bishop Sharma D. Lewis in the fall of 2021. The group’s purpose is to develop and implement proactive strategies for the Virginia Annual Conference to help address the uncertainties surrounding the General Conference session.

You can read more about Team Jeremiah in the 2022 Book of Reports now available on the conference website. For questions about this event, please email [email protected].

To find the latest information about churches considering UMC disaffiliation and news about General Conference 2022 and 2024, visit the conference website.
pension liabilities

Video shares about pension liabilities

Executive Director of Virginia United Methodist Pensions, Inc. (VUMPI) John Fuller shares more about pension liabilities in the Virginia Conference in light of disaffiliation within the United Methodist denomination. Other resources about disaffiliation and General Conference including a questions regarding disaffiliation resource can be found at the conference website.
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Volunteer for Annual Conference session

Please prayerfully consider volunteering at the Annual Conference session. Specific information of what is expected of volunteers during Annual Conference, June 16-18, is below. Please direct questions to [email protected]

-The registration desk/help desk hands out credentials and offers assistance to attendees.

-Ushers help people find seats, hand out approved materials including worship booklets, help people find the robing area, and collect the Conference offering.

-Platform volunteers help set up the stage between segments of the program.

-Golf cart drivers will drive people from the parking lot to the Convention Center and then back again.

Volunteers are provided with snacks and drinks but not meals and no rebates or lodging. Volunteers do not have to be registered for the conference; spouses who are not participating in the meeting often volunteer.

Links to sign up:
Registration https://www.signupgenius.com/go/60B054CAFA923A5F94-2022
Ushers https://www.signupgenius.com/go/60B054CAFA923A5F94-20221
Platform https://www.signupgenius.com/go/60B054CAFA923A5F94-20222
Golf Carts https://www.signupgenius.com/go/60B054CAFA923A5F94-acgolf
Join in prayer

AC Prayer Team invites conference to prayer for 2022 AC session

In order to cover the whole of the Annual Conference (AC) session in prayer as well as to pray for Bishop Lewis, AC leadership, AC members, worship and business session participants, and guests, an Annual Conference Prayer Team has been formed.

You are invited by the Rev. Kyungsuk Cho, Ms. Iris Smith, the Rev. Paul Oh, the Rev. Kim Barker-Brugman, and the Rev. Bob Parks, the AC Prayer Team, to join in praying for a Spirit-filled Annual Conference.

Follow the guides below to pray for Annual Conference:
  • Pray AC members will allow God to instill in us an attitude and discipline of prayer in all conversations.
  • Pray for God’s guidance and blessings on the Laity and Clergy Sessions, worship celebrations, business sessions, mission opportunities, and social gatherings of AC.
  • Pray for AC members to be witnesses of Jesus with thoughts, words, and actions.
  • Pray for AC decisions to align with God’s will.
  • Pray for churches to become more vital and effective at making disciples of Jesus Christ who are lifelong learners who influence others to serve.
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, [email protected]. Apply now...
wesley seminary

Wesley Seminary Online/On-Campus Summer Term Course Registration Still Possible!

It's not too late to sign up for a Summer class at 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
Summer classes will be starting in May, June and July 2022. Intensive courses enable you to complete in-/online classroom work in 4-5 days with coursework completed later. Registration open for degree, non-degree and certificate qualifying classes - learn more and apply at https://www.wesleyseminary.edu/admissions/try-a-class-2/
youth 2023

Make plans now for Youth 2023

Every four years, youth from throughout The United Methodist Church have gathered for four days of discipleship, fun, and fellowship at the YOUTH event. The event is filled with interactive learning, worship, Bible study, service opportunities, and fellowship time. Adult leaders who bring youth to the event can expect inspiration, support, and chances to authentically experience what it means to be part of the United Methodist and Wesleyan family.

YOUTH 2023 will be an especially important year for you and your youth to be a part of this gathering. COVID-19 restrictions have limited youth ministry opportunities over the last two-plus years. YOUTH 2023 is a chance for your church to again experience cutting-edge speakers, amazing artists, and broaden your youth’s understanding of what they and their church are capable of! Learn more...
korea team

Team exploring missional partnership with Korea

Starting on May 16, 2022, six members of the Virginia Conference United Methodist Church are visiting Korea to explore a missional partnership with the Korean Methodist Church for the mission in Vietnam.
They will journal the journey, along with pictures of the trip. Follow along the journey...
audio advocate logo reduced

Conference podcast shares about "Art as Prayer"

In the May episode of the Audio Advocate, the Rev. Sarah Payne talks about "Art as Prayer." This was one of the sessions that was featured during the Clergy Soul Care Retreat May 19-21 in Richmond. The Audio Advocate is a monthly podcast hosted by conference Director of Communications Madeline Pillow White sharing headlines from around the conference and denomination and going in depth on one topic each month. Listen now...

United Methodist Men to host Annual Conference breakfast

The United Methodist Men (UMMen) Annual Conference Breakfast will be held on Friday, June 17, 7 a.m., at Bethany UMC, 1509 Todd’s Lane, in Hampton. Men, spouses, and guests will gather to enjoy a hearty breakfast, install Cabinet officers, and conduct the annual business of the Virginia Conference United Methodist Men. The cost of breakfast is $12 payable at the door. Please email David Collins by June 5 to share your attendance at [email protected].

Kip Robinson, a retired United Methodist missionary having served with his wife Nancy in Sierra Leone in West Africa will speak on "This Just In: Was Jesus a Boy Scout?" Kip’s role as a missionary was two-fold: serving as the mission team coordinator for the Sierra Leone Annual Conference and also serving as the Conference Engineer. While there he helped design and build a primary school which became a model for future primary schools. The Ebola crisis occurred during their tenure.

2022 Book of Reports now available

The 2022 Book of Reports and Introductory Letter are now available on the conference website at the main Annual Conference page: https://vaumc.org/ac2022/. The deadline has passed to order a print Book of Reports. Should you wish to have a printed copy, you can either print out the PDF as a whole or in sections or there will be a limited number of print copies available at the Annual Conference session in Hampton, Va. The hard copies will be put in the mail by Wednesday, May 18.

Find all AC 2022 news at www.vaumc.org/ac2022.
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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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Mentors still needed for All God's Children Camp

All God's Children Camp is underway in planning and registering campers. 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 [email protected] 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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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.
umc camps

Clergy Retreat Directory now available

The United Methodist Camp & Retreat Ministries (UMCRM) Association, made up of United Methodist camps and retreat centers across the country, continually strive to provide intentional, sacred spaces where the faithful can find rest and rejuvenation. The leaders of these ministries see the heavy weight that local church leaders have been carrying, especially over these past two years. In response, they have come together to create the Clergy Retreat Directory, a list of UM sites across the connection that offer free or reduced cost retreat space for United Methodist clergy. As clergy navigate their ministry year, may they find comfort knowing that there are "sacred places apart" prepared for them in all U.S. jurisdictions. View directory...

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...

General Church News


Asking the hard questions about race

UM NEWS-- The Rev. Giovanni Arroyo poses a difficult question to white United Methodists who say they want an end to racism. Do you want racial justice enough to voluntarily relinquish some of your power? Even those who say “yes” to this tend to make such changes in ways that don’t really shift things, said Arroyo, top executive of the United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race since Aug. 31.
“The church has all these committees,” Arroyo said. “They look around to see who's missing, which is a great question that we should be asking.” But the tendency is to add a chair to the existing table for minority representation, rather than have one of the current committee members step down. Read more...
green footprint

Digging through trash to encourage recycling

UM NEWS-- It’s not uncommon for the choir director at Trinity United Methodist Church to go digging through the trash. He can’t stand to let recyclable plastic and paper go into the landfill. Warren Clark is just one of many environmental stewards throughout the Holston Conference trying to help their churches make better choices for the good of the Earth. Read more...

Postcard campaign for the environment

UNITED WOMEN IN FAITH-- A postcard campaign to motivate leaders to better address pollution and climate change is being undertaken by United Women in Faith. Postcards can be printed from the website and there are instructions on sending included. Learn more...

7 Ways to Reengage Volunteers

LEWIS CENTER FOR CHURCH LEADERSHIP-- Whether it’s due to post-pandemic fatigue, lingering health concerns, or broader cultural shifts, volunteerism hasn’t bounced back as readily as other aspects of congregational life. Susan Beaumont, consultant, author, coach, and spiritual director with Susan Beaumont and Associates, outlines seven ways to revitalize volunteer engagement. Learn more...
bishop election

Ruling opens door for bishop elections in 2022

UM NEWS-- The United Methodist Church’s top court says that the Council of Bishops can call jurisdictional conferences to elect and assign new U.S. bishops. However, the Judicial Council also says that the bishops cannot change the established date of Sept. 1 when church law mandates that newly elected U.S. bishops take office. The church court also said the number of bishops approved by the 2016 General Conference for each U.S. jurisdiction remains legally binding. Read more...
church service

Global Ministries General Secretary report: accepting, reflecting God's grace

General Secretary Roland Fernandes challenged Global Ministries’ directors to hold fast to God’s grace in a report delivered at their semiannual meeting, May 11-12. Read his full remarks...

GCORR responds and resources the church around Buffalo shooting

GCORR is horrified and devastated by the recent shooting in Buffalo, NY. The white supremacist shooter acted with a violent and racist agenda against the Black community. This act of terrorism is a direct result of white supremacy and is unfortunately all too common in America. We grieve the victims of this senseless killing and stand in solidarity with the Black community of Buffalo and the United States. All our church and community leaders must act to undo the work of racism that’s deeply rooted in our society. We must take responsibility for this ongoing work. Every anti-racist action and conversation is a step in the right direction. For those looking to act, we offer resources for faith communities and individuals working towards racial justice, below are some resources to consider:
Racial Justice Prayer & Action Challenge
Racial Justice Conversation Guide
Anti-Racism Starts: Do’s and Don’ts
8 Ways Church Leaders Can Move the Conversation Forward
Overt and Covert Racism
How to Share Video Evidence of Racial Trauma Honorably
More resources centered on prayer and racial justice
For additional resources, explore our resource website: www.r2hub.org.

One Last Word

There are new mercies each day.

"New every morning is your love, great God of light, and all day long you are working for good in the world. Stir up in us desire to serve you, to live peacefully with our neighbors, and to devote each day to your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen."

new start
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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