2022 e-Advocate logo

June 7, 2022

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

Upcoming events

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

  • How can you be a lifelong learner?

What is Juneteenth? June 19 marks the day in 1865 when U.S. federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to take control of the state and ensure all African Americans were freed. The troops’ arrival came a full two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation had been signed. Learn more...
  • How can you be an influencer?
What can United Methodists do about gun violence? The prophet Micah casts a hopeful vision of the future where nations will “beat their swords into iron plows, and their spears into pruning hooks.” (Micah 4:3) The United Methodist Church urges “congregations to advocate at the local and national level for laws that prevent or reduce gun violence.” Some of those measures include:
  • Universal background checks on all gun purchases;
  • Prohibiting persons with serious mental illness, who pose a danger to themselves and their communities, from purchasing a gun;
  • Ensuring greater access to services for those who have mental illness;
  • Establishing a minimum age of 21 years for a gun purchase or possession;
  • Banning large capacity ammunition magazines and weapons designed to fire multiple rounds each time the trigger is pulled. Find out more...
  • How can you serve?

How is UMCOR offering support in Ukraine? Learn more...

Virginia News

Ilsan Kwanglim Methodist

Blog post shares more about missional partnership trip to Korea

Starting on May 16, 2022, six members of the Virginia Conference United Methodist Church traveled to Korea to explore a missional partnership with the Korean Methodist Church for the mission in Vietnam.
Ann Klotz, a member of the group, shares more about the experience in a blog post...
all gods children camp resize

Drivers, five more mentors needed for All God's Children Camp

The first of three All God's Children Camps is weeks away. The camp is looking for five more mentors June 19-24 for a week of fun and mentoring of campers. If you need service hours for school, this is a great way to get them in! The camp is still in need of five mentors for July 24-29 and August 14-19. So grab some friends and join in the camp experience. The camp is also in need of drivers to transport campers from the Richmond area to Camp Chanco on the James (about an hour and 15 mins. from Richmond) on June 19 and to transport them from Camp Chanco back to the Richmond area on June 24. As well four campers need to be picked up from the Northern VA/DC area that will be attending Camp Chanco. For more information, contact Lori Smith at [email protected].
audio advocate logo reduced

Micah Ministries, community involvement, empathy focus of June Audio Advocate

In the June episode of the Audio Advocate, the Rev. Chelsea Morse talks about her work as Community Ministries Chaplain for Micah Ecumenical Ministries in Fredericksburg, Va. as well as the idea of empathy and community involvement. In this role, she shepherds the spiritual development of Micah neighbors by creating creative, social, and spiritual outlets for trauma-informed care. 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. The podcast will be on hiatus until September 2022 following the June episode. Listen now...
COVID protocol, traffic and parking, other information related to Annual Conference 2022
As a follow-up to previous communications, the Annual Conference Planning Team, in partnership with Bishop Lewis and the conference planner, has continued to monitor the COVID pandemic in planning for the in-person 240th session of the Virginia Annual Conference.

The health and safety of all members and guests attending Annual Conference 2022 is of the utmost importance and all who are able to are encouraged to be fully vaccinated and boosted prior to coming to Annual Conference.

If you are having symptoms or if there is a chance you have been exposed to someone who has tested positive or has shown symptoms of COVID in the last two weeks, you should take a COVID test prior to arriving at Annual Conference. If you test positive for COVID, please stay home.

While at Annual Conference members and guests can expect a mask optional environment. Taking into account differing attendees’ comfort levels, the floor of Annual Conference will allow for mask-required and mask-optional sections as well as greater room for increased social distancing. Areas will be clearly marked when attendees enter the main hall. Detailed information will be provided at registration, including a floor diagram.

Temperature screening will be available at the Hampton Roads Convention Center (HRCC) entrances and at the nurse’s station. Nurses and EMTs will be on-site for the entirety of the Annual Conference session.

Traffic and Parking at Annual Conference 2022

Traffic will impact travel throughout the weekend around the Hampton Roads Convention Center (HRCC) due to the annual conference session as well as various graduations being held at the Hampton Coliseum. Attendees should take this factor into account as they seek to leave for meal times and arrive back to the Convention Center.

Annual Conference traffic will be directed down Pine Chapel Road to parking. Members will enter the Convention Center through the Hall C Entrance of the Hampton Roads Convention Center.

A Hampton Shuttle Bus will provide additional parking lot service to the Convention Center on Thursday and Friday from 7:30 a.m.-10 p.m. and on Saturday 7:30 a.m.–1 p.m.

Police and Parking Attendants will direct our attendees to the appropriate parking lots as well as to accessible/handicapped designated parking areas. They will also assist in helping flag golf carts for shuttling (see more about golf carts in the parking lot below).

Volunteers will be available to direct attendees and answer questions as to which entrance to use, where registration is located, etc.

Food options

There are many local restaurants in the area as well as lunch and dinner buffets available in the Embassy Suites on Thursday and Friday. The Concession in the back of the display area Hall A will also be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Food trucks will also be available at Annual Conference this year. They will be located in the parking lot immediately outside the Convention Center Main Lobby entrance.

Click here to view a list of restaurants.

Car Placard, Golf Carts in Parking Lot

Parking is available at the Hampton Roads Convention Center (HRCC). In order to facilitate traffic in the Convention Center/Coliseum area, fluorescent-colored placards will be available at hotel registration when you check in, as well as at conference registration, and at the visitors’ bureau information desk.

Please obtain a placard and display it in your car’s windshield to help the traffic attendants know where to direct you. The placard is not a parking pass to give you preferred parking, just a means to assist with traffic flow.

Golf carts will be circling the parking lots to assist those who need a ride from their car to the door of the Convention Center. They are available for shuttling both on arrival and departure; Thursday and Friday from 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m., and 7-9 p.m., and on Saturday from 8 a.m.–12:30 p.m.

To find more information related to the 2022 Annual Conference, please visit https://vaumc.org/ac2022/.

Questions may be directed to the Rev. Dr. Steve Summers, Assistant to the Bishop and Conference Director of Connectional Ministries, at [email protected].

Mission Opportunities at AC 2022

The 240th session of the Virginia Annual Conference gathering is a great opportunity for us to serve the world in mission through the various mission opportunities. Many of this year’s Annual Conference Mission Opportunities (#ServingTogether) cannot be done without the support of the local churches. Although we know that many churches already have made plans to join in this effort, we want to remind you of the opportunities.

Kits and Cans Collection (#CollectingTogether) - As you are aware, we are inviting churches to bring their UMCOR Kits and food to each district collection site, prior to the Annual Conference gathering. We encourage your church to check with your district office or vaumc.org/collecting to find the district collection event, which many of the districts are starting this weekend.
Annual Conference Offering (#NurturingTogether) - Annual Conference Offering is our opportunity to make a difference by meeting the needs of both local and international mission opportunities. This year, the focus of the offering will be on nurturing leadership. Both the recipients of this offering, Partnerships of Hope and Wesley Theological Seminary have specific programs in nurturing leaders to transform the world!
5K Run/Walk (#BeingTogether) - Either joining the in-person race on the morning of June 18, 2022 or joining us virtually during the time of the Conference, United Methodists around the Commonwealth can join in this effort of #beingtogether. Special Thanks to our sponsors, all the proceed of this race are contributed to the Annual Conference Offering. It is not late to register!

We ask you to utilize the Annual Conference Mission Resource page, where you will find bulletin interest, video downloads, and ideas to encourage your church to be part of this year’s mission opportunities. Click here to go to the AC Mission Resource Page.

Peace with Justice Sunday on June 12

Will you be a peacemaker for these times? Sunday, June 12, is Peace With Justice Sunday, when the United Methodist Church takes up a special offering to support our denomination’s efforts to work for peace and social justice. Half of the amount we raise benefits Peace With Justice ministries here in the Virginia Conference; the other 50 percent provides grants to other local churches, districts, conference’s and affiliated organizations that advocate for peace with justice.

We live in a violent time, from the deadly invasion of Ukraine to mass shootings in a Buffalo grocery store and a class of fourth graders in Uvalde, Texas. Our donations cannot stop the violence today, but they do support programs and initiatives that address the causes of violence and war, assist those affected, and help our congregations learn more and explore how they might respond.

Peace With Justice Sunday supports these efforts and more, including the work of the Virginia Conference’s Board of Church and Society, which in recent years has worked to end the death penalty in Virginia, improve inhumane condition in prisons, promote climate justice, support an interfaith volunteer network that welcomes and assists newly resettling refugees, and help advance a compassionate care initiative for veterans in our congregations.

For more information, please contact Kenn Speicher, BCS Peace and Non-Violence work group. Donations can be made through local churches or giving online at UMC.org/SSGive. Learn more...

Join retreat prior to Annual Conference

The Kindred Project Group is again sponsoring a pre-annual conference retreat on June 15 from 1 to 4 p.m. in the annual conference prayer room (room 204). All are welcome - you do not need to be a clergy or laity delegate to attend the retreat, so please feel free to share this invitation. The group invites you to take a few hours away to rest and prepare your hearts for the first in person gathering in two years. If you have any questions please contact the Rev. Kimberly Barker-Brugman through email or 540-840-0014.
joshua king ac 2020

Conference secretary shares best practices for speaking on floor of Annual Conference

Conference Secretary the Rev. Joshua King has shared a resource for Annual Conference members detailing best practices of speaking on the floor of Annual Conference. He shared:
1) You must wait to be recognized to speak before going to a microphone:
2) Once you have been recognized, go to the microphone that you have been directed to and say your “Name, your relationship (Clergy/Lay, Lay Member At Large, Retired Clergy), your Local Church and District.”
3) Unless the Spirit moves you to speak spontaneously, write what you plan to say. Even the most eloquent of speakers at Annual Conference often prepare before they speak. This will assist in getting your point across, while at the same time being concise as time is of the essence.
4) If you are speaking as to a motion currently under consideration, there is one more thing you need to add to your introduction. My name is Joshua King, Clergy member, Bethany United Methodist Church, Winchester District, and I am speaking for/against this motion.
5) Finally, if you are making a motion. First and foremost, it either must be germane to the report that has been presented or there must not be any other business “on the floor” being considered at that time.
Read the resource in full at the conference website...
rmc convergence

Register now for Convergence

It’s not too late to sign up for Randolph-Macon College’s CONVERGENCE Youth Theology Institute on Faith and Science. This year’s event is July 15-17 and is open to student who have recently completed 9th, 10th, or 11th grade. Too often young people are told that they have to choose between being people of faith and people of science, but our workshop leaders, college student staff members, and creative activities show that one can believe in both. More information and registration details are at convergence.rmc.edu.

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...
informational meeting

Team Jeremiah offered 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”?

On May 31, a conference-wide presentation of current information on topics including General Conference and disaffiliation from the denomination was shared. This Zoom webinar featured members of Team Jeremiah: the Rev. Denise Bates, the Rev. Tom Berlin, Mrs. Martha Stokes, the Rev. Derrick Parson, and the Rev. Kyungsuk Cho.

Watch presentation recording and view slides...
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.
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...

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.

General Church News

umc judicial council

Church court releases three decisions

UM NEWS-- The United Methodist Judicial Council has issued the final rulings of its fall docket. One decision says a provision in the Book of Discipline, the denomination’s policy book, should be amended to comply with the denomination’s constitution. Looking ahead, the church court faces more questions related to disaffiliations. Read more...

United Methodist Church bishops call for action to stop mass shootings

COUNCIL OF BISHOPS-- Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church President Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton on May 25 urged clergy and laity to go on offense to stop mass shootings like the one that killed 19 children and two teachers at an elementary school in Texas. Read more...

One Last Word: Carry Pentecost with you

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. - Acts 2:1-4 NIV
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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