Advocate 2022 logo

May 30, 2023

To submit news items, stories, or corrections, email the conference Communications Office at [email protected].
Events (1)
To view conference and local church events, visit the Virginia Conference website at

To submit an local church event for inclusion, submit this form.
bishop sue downriver

Correction: May 23 edition

Last week's Advocate edition stated that Bishop Sue took part in a "Reaffirmation of Baptism" in the Shenandoah River District as part of the Downriver Devotion, an every week, on the water, district devotion.

Don't say that United Methodists don't have humor because this "Reaffirmation of Baptism," rather than the actual sacrament of baptism, reflected some clergy ending up in the water rather than in their canoes!

Rev. Gary Heaton, leader of Downriver Devotion, said the group joked that the Bishop's presence inspired this baptism renewal.

Our reports state that Bishop Sue was one of a few to stay safely dry in her canoe!
pentecost cville

Local Church Spotlight

On Sunday morning, the Charlottesville First UMC congregation celebrated Pentecost with a family photo.

Virginia News

south central jurisdiction bishops

Active clergy invited to process in at AC 2023 service

Bishop Sue cordially invites all active clergy (including retired pastors serving appointments) to participate in a processional at the beginning of the Service of Call and Ordering at Annual Conference on Saturday, June 17, 2023 at 10:30 a.m. Register your attendance here if you are able to be part of the processional.

Who does not need to register?
Those who are being licensed, commissioned, ordained and being recognized as associate members in the class of 2023 will already be part of the processional and do not need to register.
Retirees from the class of 2023 will remain seated in their section from the previous service and will stand in front of the stage and welcome all those being licensed, commissioned, and ordained, so will not be part of the processional and do not need to register.
If you will be part of the processional wear a black or white robe. Full members will wear a red stole. You will have time to change into your robe after the retirement service, then will line up in the hallway behind the banner with your status. More instructions will follow soon.

Volunteers play huge role in Annual Conference: Sign up now!

Have a servant's heart? Bring that love of people and your neighbors by volunteering at Annual Conference! Are you the spouse, guest, or family member of a AC member attending? Are you local to the AC 2023 area? We need your help! See volunteer slots available below:
AGCLogo2019_500px (1)

Mentors needed for first week of All God's Children Camp

The first week of All God's Children Camp is just a couple weeks away and the team needs your help! Two more females and seven more males are needed as mentors for the week of June 18-23 at Camp Chanco on the James. Please consider mentoring some amazing kids looking to have a week full of fun, food and lasting friendships. Please pass this information along to any one you who might be interested! The application form is linked; email Lori Smith at [email protected] for questions.
Bible Study Videoconference

Sign up for virtual August Lay Servant Academy

The next Virginia Annual Conference Lay Servant Academy will occur virtually on August 18-19, 2023. Online course offerings will be:
• United Methodist Heritage (Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson, instructor)
• Basic Course (Richard Speirs, instructor)
• Spiritual Gifts (Joseph Plemmons, instructor)
• Leading Well in Conflict Transformation (Sarah Calvert, instructor)
• Called to Preach! (Nathan Decker, instructor)
• Introduction to Simplified Accountable Structure (Instructor TBD)
• Certified Lay Minister Orientation (Joanna Dietz and Jennifer Robinson-O'Brien, instructors).
Cost is $35 for all courses except CLM Orientation, which is $15. For more information, follow this link.
To register, click here. Contact Tianna Durbin, Lay Servant Academy Director ([email protected]) if you have questions.
equipment caring dedication bishop sue

Equipment For Caring Ministry dedicates new location

DAILY NEWS-RECORD-- A white exterior door to a local church was draped with red ribbon Monday for the re-dedication of charity Equipment for Caring. Equipment for Caring is a Christian volunteer-operated medical equipment closet that provides gently used and new supplies free of charge to those in need at Mt. Tabor United Methodist Church on North Valley Pike. Items in Equipment for Caring's inventory include standard and transport wheelchairs, bedside commodes, canes and crutches, chair cushions, slings, as well as a variety of disposable products such as adult diapers and wound care kits.
Bishop Sue Haupert–Johnson cut the ribbon Monday, May 22 in front of a crowd of people, symbolizing the official opening of the new Equipment for Caring distribution center. Even though the closet is based out of Mt. Tabor church, it was brought to life through the collective efforts of many churches in the area.
"[This ministry] shows the cooperation between churches, and not just United Methodist churches, but all the churches in the area," Haupert-Johnson said. "When there's a need in the community, what a great thing it is to have partners that are able to address that need together." Read the full article...

Upcoming events, deadlines from Clergy Excellence

Gathering for Lay Supply and Certified Lay Ministers at Annual Conference in Roanoke, VA, Thursday, June 16, 7 p.m.
Lay Supply and Certified Lay Ministers are invited to gather together for refreshments and fellowship as well as meet their conference liaisons. This event is scheduled to take immediately preceding the Missions Reception in order that we may meet together, and then head to the Missions Reception together at 7:30 p.m. Both events will take place in the Berglund Center complex. Registration link...

Seminary and CPE Funding Available: Application Deadline, July 1
If you are a certified candidate and in need of funding for theological requirements visit this link for a variety of scholarship opportunities from the VAUMC and General Board of Higher Education and Ministry. For questions, please contact [email protected].

Candidacy Summit, In Person, July 7-8, Open to All, Required for Candidates
The Candidacy Summit is an overnight retreat which gives participants an opportunity to explore their call to ministry. While the Summit is open to anyone over 18 years of age, it is required for all candidates in the VAUMC process. The Candidacy Summit on Friday, July 7 and Saturday, July 8 will take place at Roslyn Retreat Center in Richmond, Va. To register, click here.

Lay Servant Ministries offers July course

VAUMC Lay Servant Ministries is pleased to share an upcoming course offering from Discipleship Ministries for current Certified Lay Ministers who would like to specialize in Congregational Care Ministry from July 21-22, 2023.
The healing ministry of Jesus gives us the example that care is at the heart of the church. As a Certified Lay Minister you can receive training for a specialization through the Discipleship Ministries of the UMC in Congregational Care which can help you create and revitalize your care ministry. This two day training gives you tools and resources for your care ministry no matter what size the church including prayer ministry, boundaries, spiritual guidance, visitation, death/dying and care team development. During the webinar, you will experience uplifting worship and renewal for your soul. Learn more...

Become a clergy mentor

Do you have a passion for walking with Certified Candidates and Licensed Local Pastors in their call? Have you been previously trained but need a refresher in the process for candidates? Mentor Matters is a training event for first time and returning mentors. Participants will explore a theological vision for VAUMC mentoring, receive practical training, and spend time reviewing the roles for mentors and dCOM Coordinators. Mentor Matters will take place in person at the Conference Center in Glen Allen Thursday, August 10 from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. For questions, email [email protected] A link to register can be found here.
umc giving

UMM calling all VAUMC men to support ministries

The United Methodist Men are asking each man in the VAUMC to donate $10 per year to provide sufficient funds and a generous donation to each of the following ministries:
  • Heart Havens
  • Scouts
  • GraceInside
  • All God's Children Camp
  • Camp Rainbow
  • Black Methodists for Church Renewal
  • Asian American Ministries Association
  • Native American Caucus
  • Latino/Hispanic Caucus
  • Society of St. Andrew
To support them and these ministries, donate by mailing a check to UMM Treasurer Gary Lupton (1661 Hawks Bill Drive Virginia Beach, VA 23464 and make check payable to "Virginia Conference United Methodist Men". You can also give by visiting or text UMM2023 to 44-321.

Peace with Justice Sunday is June 4

United Methodists relate to this special Sunday by seeking peaceful solutions, creating and supporting peace-related ministries in their conference and learning about peaceful, just efforts around the world. Our Social Principles call us to love our enemies, seek justice, and serve as reconcilers of conflict. We insist that the first moral duty of all nations is to work together to resolve by peaceful means every dispute that arises between or among them.
The United Methodist Church, with its historic commitment to peace and justice, can and should provide leadership to this social transformation. The General Board of Church and Society Church holds a non-governmental, consultative status with the United Nations. This status allows us to participate in UN meetings, consultations and conferences. We recognize and renew our call for social transformation, for the quest to open the doors of opportunity for all, to distribute resources more equitably, and to provide better care for persons in need.
Donations for this special Sunday support programs and ministries to educate, equip and mobilize actions in support of identified Economic, Health, and Gender Justice Priorities. Learn more and find resources...
NEXT STEPS logo_Color

'Next Steps' campaign seeks to address needs of members seeking to stay UMC during local church disaffiliations

For those whose congregations have voted to disaffiliate, but who wish to remain United Methodist, the Virginia Annual Conference and the Cabinet offer Next Steps, a website with resources to remain connected as they discern where God is calling them. At Next Steps, individuals and churches may
access resources for small group gathering and other means of discipleship.
As part of this Bridge Churches offer one possible next step for persons who choose to remain United Methodist after their church disaffiliates, providing pastoral care, assistance in gathering, and invitations to share in ministry opportunities with their congregations. These churches are not recruiting members; they offer a safe space of support, nurture, and opportunities for connection during this time of transition. Individuals may choose to join Bridge churches, on their terms and at their own pace of discernment; or they may choose to join elsewhere. Learn more...

Learn about AC missions during 2023 June AC

All members are asked to #joinhands for the following mission opportunities at the June Annual Conference session. #JoiningHandsTogther will provide hands-on mission opportunities for all who are gathered during the Annual Conference. The various mission opportunities will be a reminder that we can do more when we come together! Learn more...

Three Opportunities
1. Red Cross Blood Donation – starting Thursday, June 15 to Friday, June 16 by appointment
2. UMCOR Menstrual Hygiene Kit – Thursday, June 15
3. Rise Against Hunger – Friday, June 16 10 a.m.
Location: Special Events Center
VAUMC AC logo 2023_COLOR

Electronic Book of Reports now available, view conference AC events

The electronic version of the Book of Reports is now available. If you ordered a print copy, it will be mailed out to you directly. Limited numbers of print copies will be available for purchase at the June session for $5.

Find out what events and banquets are taking place during the June Annual Conference event. One such banquet is the Missional Ministries Banquet on Thursday, June 15 at 6 p.m. which will feature a GBGM representative and two GBGM missionaries. Learn more...

All up-to-date Annual Conference information can be found at
2022 AC Mission - Banner (3)

2023 Annual Conference Offering #NurturingTogether

The Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church is one of the largest annual conferences of The United Methodist Church. We can significantly impact the world when we all come together around a purpose. The groups and ministries supported by the offering change each year, but the goal remains the same: to assist people and ministries, both domestic and international.

The goal of the offering for 2023 is $150,000. This year, you are invited to the initiative to #nurture leadership worldwide! The Virginia Conference will support Refugee Resettlement, Food Insecurity in the Commonwealth, and Partnerships of Hope’s leadership programs in Brazil, Mozambique, Cambodia, Native Americans, Haiti, and Vietnam through this offering. The offering will be collected on June 15, 2023, during the Opening Worship at 10 a.m. Thank you for being part of the effort to #nurturingtogether! Learn more...
vaumc 2023 logo gps

Videos share resources for 2023 AC members

The Conference Lay Leader Martha Stokes and the conference Communications Office created video resources for Annual Conference members prior to the 2023 Annual Conference session. Four videos have now been released:
Video 1: Welcome from Bishop Sue
Video 2: Welcome and music from AC Conference co-directors and a chance to meet the band
Video 3: Martha shares responsibilities for lay members and reporting back to local churches.
Video 4: Conference Secretary Rev. Joshua King shares information about motions and more.
Video 5: Learn about Mission Opportunities at 2023 AC
Video 6: Explore Berglund Center with Martha
Video 7: Preparation Tips from Rules Committee Chair Scott Diamond
Watch videos...

Deadline for The Servant Sister Scholarship is July 1

The Virginia Conference has deployed clergywomen in a variety of ministries since 1961. The Servant Sister Scholarship capitalizes on this legacy by supporting the theological training of future clergywomen. If you are a woman enrolled in an accredited United Methodist Seminary, the Servant Sister Scholarship is accepting applications from now until July 1. Contact Co-Chairs Rev. Joanna Paysour and Rev. Lindsey B. Freeman for more details.

General Church News

Korean churches hope to continue shared mission work in Mongolia

UM NEWS— The United Methodist Mongolia Mission Initiative Summit gathered May 10-13 at Christ United Methodist Church in Honolulu with participants from Mongolia, South Korea and mainland America to discuss the ministry’s future and direction. Read more...

A whirlwind pilgrimage through Methodist history

UM NEWS— Race, social justice and the role of the church in politics all played a role in the first Social Justice Pilgrimage, a day of visiting and learning about United Methodist-associated locales in Baltimore and Washington. Read more...

United Methodists march for nuclear-free Arctic

UM NEWS— While in Alaska for the installation service of Bishop Cedrick D. Bridgeforth, members of the Greater Northwest Area cabinet had the chance to meet and march with individuals seeking peace and care for creation in the Arctic. Bridgeforth, a U.S. Air Force veteran, sees a common cause between The United Methodist Church and veterans working to make the Arctic free of nuclear weapons. Read more...

One Last Word: Pentecost

"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
pentecost image
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...
facebook twitter youtube instagram linkedin