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November 29, 2022

To submit news items, events, or corrections, email the conference Communications Office at [email protected].
Events (1)
  • Saturday, December 10 -- Conference-wide farewell reception for Bishop Sharma D. Lewis at Good Shepherd UMC (9155 Hungary Rd, Henrico, VA 23294) from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. Learn more...
To view local church events, visit the Virginia Conference website at To submit an event for inclusion submit this form.

Virginia News


Mark your calendars: Advocate newsletter holiday schedule

The Advocate newsletter will not send out editions for Tuesday, December 6, December 20, or December 27. The newsletter will return Tuesday, January 3.
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VAUMC ERT heads to Florida

The Virginia Conference will deploy an Early Response Team (ERT) to Ft. Myers, FL, to assist the Florida Conference’s effort in responding to the aftermath of Hurricane Ian. Starting on December 5 – 17, 2022, 23 members of the Virginia Conference will be deployed to share the hope of Jesus with the people recovering from the devastation.
Members of the Virginia Conference are asked to keep the VAUMC ERT group in your prayers.
  • Pray that they join the work, led by the Holy Spirit, to be true representatives of Jesus Christ.
  • Pray that they will witness and embody the hope illuminated through Christ.
  • Pray that the team will learn to love more like Christ and continue our love for our sisters and brothers.
  • Pray for safety during the time the team works and travel mercies to Florida back.
  • Pray that our conference will continue serving the world by becoming a sending body. Learn more...

Servant Sister Scholarship continues supporting women pursuing theological studies

As we journey together in this Advent, we wait and prepare. And so we join in with those sisters and colleagues who are preparing for ministry. The Servant Sister Scholarship Award, an award offered in partnership with The Clergywomen's Collective is for women who are certified candidates for ministry and called to the ministry of Word, Order, Sacrament, Service or Word, Service, Compassion & Justice; women who have the potential for creating ministries for a more just world.

Already two rounds of scholarships have been given out, and the committee remains committed to their mission of sustaining a fund that will provide at least one scholarship per year for women pursuing theological studies and preparing for ministry in the Virginia Conference. Your gift will assist us in continuing our mission. Please consider making a contribution as an alternative Christmas gift to a loved one, a gift in honor or in memory of someone. No gift is too small. A gift of $500 or whatever you give will translate into hands on ministry. Checks should be written to VA UM Foundation with the memo Servant Sister Scholarship and mailed to PO Box 5605, Glen Allen, VA 23058.

Conference to host farewell reception for Bishop Lewis on Dec. 10

Bishop Sharma D. Lewis will be ending her episcopal tenure in the Virginia Conference and beginning as the episcopal leader for the Mississippi Conference effective January 1, 2023.

Virginia Conference members will have the opportunity to show appreciation and bid Bishop Lewis farewell at a conference-wide reception at Good Shepherd UMC (9155 Hungary Rd, Henrico, VA 23294) on Saturday, December 10, 2022 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.

All are invited to attend at any time during the event. Light refreshments will be provided.

For those who wish to share a gift with Bishop Lewis, you are asked to donate in her name either to the Bishop’s Foundation or to the Virginia Annual Conference Mission (Serving Response) Fund. Mail donations to Virginia United Methodist Conference, Treasurer’s Office, P.O. Box 5605, Glen Allen, VA 23058.

To share notes of appreciation, mail a letter to Bishop Sharma Lewis at P.O. Box 5606, Glen Allen, VA 23058-5606.

Learn about opportunity to travel, be in mission abroad

Mission Volunteers are individuals or couples (ages 18 and up) who seek more extended partnerships with communities around the world and fund themselves. The length of service ranges from two months to more than two years. Mission Volunteer opportunities range from working with refugees, children, and youth to serving as a teacher, pastor, camp director, or health care professional.

VAUMC Partnerships of Hope encourages conference members to consider being trained and available for service worldwide. Are you in a stage of transition in your life? Graduating from school or entering retirement? Or are you in need of a sabbatical? Mission Volunteers training may be an excellent opportunity to discover a renewed joy in your life.

For VAUMC members attending the upcoming training, Partnerships of Hope will support a portion of the travel cost to participate in the training. For more information visit or contact Serving Ministries.

Don't get 'FOMO'; Learn about UM Day on December 1

The Conference Legislative Network announced that UM Day at the General Assembly is happening on January 26, 2023 in Richmond. So don't get the "Fear of Missing Out" (FOMO), if you are interested in attending UM Day at the General Assembly but aren't ready to fully commit, join Thursday, December 1 at 7 p.m. for an informational meeting about what UM Day is all about. Ask questions, hear from past attendees, and learn about what we will be advocating for in 2023. Register here...

You can register here. For over 30 years at this yearly event, faithful Virginia United Methodists from across the Commonwealth have gathered in Richmond in January to advocate for their neighbors. During this event, participants will visit with their Senators to discuss issues that are relevant to the United Methodist faith with direction from the conference partners at Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy.

If you are interested in putting your faith into action, register today. Learn more about the event and the schedule on the conference website. Registration is $25 for early registration and $10 for students. We can't wait to see you in Richmond!
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Give the gift of joy with UMFS on #GivingTuesday

Today, Tuesday, November 29, is Giving Tuesday. All Giving Tuesday donations to UMFS (United Methodist Family Services) will provide Christmas presents, celebrations, and support for high-risk children and families. Your donation will fill the holidays with joy for children in foster care, children struggling with mental health challenges, and special education students. Ready to donate today? Visit to give the gift of joy!
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Support Heart Havens during #GivingTuesday

There are many way to express generosity through Heart Havens. Give to residents for Christmas, sponsor a home, gifts in kind - find these and more ways to support Heart Havens here. Heart Havens is a nonprofit organization that provides residential support to adults with a developmental disability, by empowering people to discover what they love and pursue their hopes and passions. Heart Havens operates homes in Richmond, Stuarts Draft, Lynchburg, and Virginia Beach. All of the homes have the capacity to house four residents, who are fully supervised at all times with dedicated and experienced staff. Give now...

Support GCORR for #GivingTuesday

Today, November 29, the General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR) will take part in Giving Tuesday - a global day of giving! The Rev. Dr. Giovanni Arroyo, General Secretary, shared that the commission's goal is to raise $7,500. Your giving will help them in 2023 as they work on the following exciting projects:
• Developing & publishing children’s curriculum on diversity and inclusion
• Recording & releasing “Expanding the Table” podcast season two
• Resourcing & supporting Central Conferences
• Hosting (in-person!) "Facing the Future," a conference offering support, encouragement, and spiritual renewal for cross-racial/cross-cultural clergy
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UMFS December Offering supports high-risk children

United Methodist Family Services (UMFS) is grateful for the faithful support of local churches in the Virginia Conference. Your generous gifts help children in foster care, children struggling with mental health challenges, and special education students get the support they need to thrive.

Your support through the UMFS offering has helped children like Mackenzie. Mackenzie experienced severe trauma as a young child. Her behavioral and mental health challenges continued to escalate. When she was 13, Mackenzie came to UMFS and began a healing journey that would change her life. Today she has a stable home and a job she enjoys. Mackenzie shared that “I never would have thought I’d be where I am today.” Your support through the UMFS December offering will help more children like Mackenzie get the help they need to achieve a brighter future. You can access UMFS bulletin inserts, short videos, images, and more at Please contact Jill Gaynor ([email protected] or 804-254-9463) with any questions. Thank you for your support!

Find resources for United Methodist Student Day

On November 27, we have the opportunity to support scholarships and low-interest loans that help young leaders achieve their dreams. The United Methodist Church has long been committed to making education affordable and attainable for young people across the world. Your gift will build up the next generation of leaders who can change the world for Christ. Find more...
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Virginia Conference to welcome new bishop in January

Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson was assigned to the Virginia Conference at the 2022 Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference (SEJ) on November 4 at Lake Junaluska, NC. Bishop Haupert-Johnson was elected to the episcopacy at the 2016 SEJ and has been serving over the North Georgia Conference. She will begin on January 1, 2023.

Bishop Sharma D. Lewis, current episcopal leader of the Virginia Conference, was assigned to the Mississippi Conference at the 2022 SEJ.

Virginia Conference episcopal nominee the Rev. Tom Berlin was elected to the episcopacy on November 2 on the fourth ballot. Bishop Berlin was assigned to the Florida Conference.

Find Bishop Haupert-Johnson's initial communication to the Virginia Conference as well as a recap of all the jurisdictional business sessions on the conference website.

The Southeastern Jurisdiction of United Methodist Church is a regional body comprised of 14 conferences, including the Virginia Conference. This meeting, which was attended by more than 350 voting delegates, elected new bishops and determined assignments for all SEJ bishops from January 1, 2023-June 30, 2024.
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Bailey Scholars application is open at R-MC

Young people are searching for meaningful vocations as they make plans after high school. Do you know someone considering a call to Christian ministry? Whether it’s a call to preach, mission work, faith-based non-profit leadership, music ministry, youth ministry, chaplaincy... the Church needs young leaders who are prepared to guide us into the future.

Randolph-Macon College in Ashland, VA is the oldest continuously operating Methodist College in the U.S. and is committed to nurturing a new generation of church leaders. Our Bailey Scholars program awards a half-tuition scholarship for the first two years followed by a full tuition scholarship for a student’s final two years at R-MC. Bailey Scholars also benefit from two internships (one for academic credit and one for a $3,000 stipend) and a weekly meeting with other pre-ministerial students.

Please share this information with young people and youth ministers whom you know. Learn more at The application deadline for next year’s incoming class is March 1, 2023. Contact R-MC Chaplain and Pre-Ministerial Program Director the Rev. Kendra Grimes at [email protected] for more information.

General Church News

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Times Square Remains a Centerpiece of Advent Advertising

The bustling holiday crowds in Times Square will see an invitation from The United Methodist Church in the weeks leading up to Christmas: join us as we seek out the hope present in God’s love. Read more...
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Prepare for the celebration of Advent with webinar

Advent is a season of preparation for the celebration of Christ’s birth ― the ultimate new beginning. Amplify Media is offering an on-demand webinar featuring Adam Hamilton and Susan Robb. In it, they discuss their new Advent Bible studies that focus on John the Baptist’s words and the meaning of angelic visits. Join them to help you, your small group and your congregation prepare your hearts and minds for Advent. Read story...
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Training spurs advances in Central Conference communications

United Methodist Communications' global communications training initiatives in African nations and the Philippines support ministries through education and empowerment. Read more...
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What does it mean to be a United Methodist?

UM Commentary-- United Methodist Communications’ research team wants to hear from you about what it means to be a United Methodist. The denomination’s communications agency is looking for feedback on a variety of topics in an effort to listen and learn from church members to inform UMCom’s work. The survey will take about 10 minutes and all of the information provided will be kept strictly confidential. Questions can be directed to Teresa Faust at [email protected]. Take survey...

Ukraine a top priority for Global Ministries

UM NEWS-- The United Methodist Committee on Relief has approved more than $17 million so far to help the people of Ukraine cope with the invasion by Russia, and more aid is on the way, the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries announced during its fall meeting. Grants to help people affected by natural disasters and to bring better and profitable food production in Africa also were approved. Read story...

Is The United Methodist Church really...?

UM NEWS--Ask The UMC, a ministry of United Methodist Communications, has received many questions from congregations wondering about the future of the denomination and whether they should consider disaffiliating from it. These have included recurrent questions that reflect misperceptions or misinformation that congregations are receiving as they discern their next steps. This is the first of a series of articles offering accurate responses to such misperceptions or misinformation. Learn more...

One Last Word

It's #GivingTuesday! Support the General Board of Global Ministries and bring hope and healing to the world. Donate at
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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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