Advocate 2022 logo

December 12, 2023

To submit news items, stories, or corrections for inclusion in the newsletter, email the conference Communications Office at [email protected].

In this week's edition of the Advocate, you will find:

  • Educational Opportunities
  • Resources
  • Grants/Applications
  • Virginia News
  • General Church News
  • One Last Word
educational opp (1)

Join the Journeys of Paul Cruise: Sept. 21- Oct. 1, 2024

Join Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson and the VAUMC on a Educational Opportunities Tours Journeys of Paul Cruise from September 21- October 1, 2024 (9 nights abroad the Odyssey of the Seas, a round trip from Rome, Italy). Guest Speaker with be Rev. Magrey deVega. The $500 deposit is due at the time of registration. For questions, please contact Rev. Justin White at [email protected] or 703-973-1606. To learn more and register...

Introducing: The United Methodist Heritage and Fresh Expressions Journey

Presented by Fresh Expressions United Methodist in partnership with Fresh Expressions Florida, The Fresh Expressions House of Study at United Theological Seminary introduces The United Methodist and Fresh Expressions Journey from September 1-13, 2024. The Teaching Guide will be Rev. Dr. Michael Adam Beck
and the Teaching Bishop will be Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson.
On this journey, embark on a profound 12-night pilgrimage through the historic lands of England, immersing yourself in the rich tapestry of the extraordinary spiritual movements: the Methodist Movement and the Fresh Expressions Movement. Find detailed itinerary...

This transformative journey, tailored for both laity and clergy of The United Methodist Church, offers a deep exploration of these influential movements, equipping participants with wisdom and inspiration for present and future application in their faith journeys. Register now...

Please direct your questions to the travel agent, Kenya Ellis at [email protected] or (352) 872-3451.
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resources ac

Conference resource for Christmas Eve Lessons & Carols

The conference Office of Connectional Ministries and the Center for Clergy Excellence will be partnering together to share a Service of Lessons and Carols for Christmas Eve. Please use and share this resource if it will be helpful for your ministry context. The service will be shared on the conference Facebook page and on the conference website by December 19.

New online Clergy Directory now available

The Conference has developed a new Online Clergy Directory that will receive daily updates from UnityWeb. This new powerful tool provides a more efficient way to search. For example, you can search for all of the Elders in Full Connection in the Valley Ridge District. Learn more...
Note: Only Office Phone Numbers and VAUMC emails are listed to protect privacy. You may contact us for unlisted information: [email protected].

Social media help for the holidays

UM COMMUNICATIONS - The holiday season is in full swing and we know you’ve got a lot on your plate. Here are some reminders and resources to help you get your church’s social media platforms through December. Learn more...

Multiethnic Ministries Grants applications are now open

The 2024 Racial/Ethnic Local Church(RELC) Grant and the Annual Conference Multiethnic Ministries Grant applications are now available! RELC Grant and Multiethnic Ministries Grant applications will be accepted January 2 – March 1, 2024. Application forms can be found here:

RELC Grants are provided to assist local racial/ethnic congregations with projects and programs on one of three areas: 1) Leadership Development; 2) Church Growth and Development; and 3) Pastoral Salary Support. The maximum RELC programmatic grant is $15,000 and the maximum pastoral salary support grant is $12,000. The church’s membership must be at least 51% majority racial/ethnic.

Multiethnic Ministries Grants are provided to annual conferences to assist with programs focusing on racial-ethnic leadership development and racial/ethnic church growth and development. Learn more...

Young adults can explore call to ministry at Exploration 2024

Are you interested in exploring a call to ministry? The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) is hosting Exploration 2024 from February 16-18, 2024 in Orlando, Fla., for young adults, ages 18-26. The event creates sacred space for young adults to be in meaningful fellowship, passionate worship, theological reflection, and practical workshops as they discern whether God’s call on their life is to ordained ministry in The United Methodist Church and what faithful steps they can take in response.

Registration details with GBHEM can be found here...

GBHEM Scholarship application for $300 is at this link...

The VAUMC Board of Ordained Ministry is delighted to subsidize the cost of airfare for young adults who register for Expo as part of the VAUMC cohort.

The Virginia Conference is organizing a group to participate; to join the VAUMC cohort to Expo, contact [email protected].

Help prepare students for higher education opportunities

Students who are members of a United Methodist Church can receive financial support for higher education. The General Board of Higher Education & Ministry (GBHEM) scholarship application opens December 15. Learn more...

The United Methodist Higher Education Foundation (UMHEF) scholarship application opens January 1. Learn more...

Bailey Scholar applications are now open

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 preaching, 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. Their 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. Bailey Scholars complete their B.A. or B.S. degree (their major/minor is their choice) at Randolph-Macon College and then they select an A.T.S. accredited seminary/theology school to pursue a Masters Degree that best suits their call and the requirements of their tradition/denomination. Students from all Christian traditions are welcome into the program.
The application deadline for next year’s incoming class is Monday, February 5, 2024. Contact R-MC Chaplain and Pre-Ministerial Program Director Rev. Kendra Grimes at [email protected] for more information. Learn more...

Virginia News

New staff person announced in Connectional Ministries

December 12, 2023

Rev. Amanda Garber will join the Connectional Ministries staff on January 1, 2024 as the new Director of Missional Engagement.

Garber served most recently as Lead and Founding Pastor of RISE in Harrisonburg, Va., which began as a new faith community in 2010. Garber received a Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Virginia, a Master of Divinity from Duke Divinity School, and a Master of Science from James Madison University.

“I'm delighted to welcome Amanda to our Connectional Ministries team in the Virginia Conference,” Rev. Dr. Jonathan Page, Director of Connectional Ministries for Innovation and Creativity, said. “Amanda's skill set in community development and relational evangelism alongside her wide array of experience and giftedness makes her a natural fit to lead our Missional Engagement efforts in Virginia and beyond.”

Former Bishop Pennel Named Among Vanderbilt Distinguished Alumni

Four Vanderbilt alumni who devoted their lives to ministry, scholarship and social justice issues have been recognized as the 2023 Vanderbilt Divinity School and Graduate Department of Religion Distinguished Alumni/ae.
Joe E. Pennel Jr., MDiv’64, DMin’77, and the Rev. Julius R. Scruggs, MDiv’68, DMin’75, are this year’s recipients for Vanderbilt Divinity School. The late Bishop William DeVeaux, MA’76, PhD’79, and Paul Lakeland, PhD’81, are the recipients for the Graduate Department of Religion.
“These notable alumni—nominated by their professional colleagues, former teachers, parishioners and friends—are the very embodiment of our leadership and service mission, and their lives and work have had immeasurable impact on their churches, communities and the world,” Yolanda Pierce, dean of the Divinity School, Cornelius Vanderbilt Chair and professor of religion and literature, said. “We’re immensely proud to call them our own and privileged to honor them as Distinguished Alumni/ae for 2023.” Learn more...
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First UMC Fox Hill Receives $2,000 Donation from Food Lion

FIRST UMC FOX HILL--First United Methodist Church Fox Hill Food Pantry Receives Donation from Food Lion Feeds Charitable Foundation Feeding the Hungry grant addresses food insecurity; supports nutrition education
First United Methodist Church Fox Hill (Hampton) has received $2000 from the Food Lion Feeds Charitable Foundation to help nourish neighbors who are dealing with the issue of food insecurity. The Feeding the Hungry grant supports First UMC Fox Hill’s Food Pantry’s efforts to continue to provide food to an ever- increasing number of neighbors who seek assistance. The gift will be used to purchase food for the organization’s monthly distribution on the fourth Wednesday of each month. Learn more...

Would you sponsor a Heart Havens home, resident for Christmas?

Would you or your church group sponsor a resident or Heart Havens home for Christmas? Heart Havens takes pride in providing a joyful holiday for all our residents. There are people in the homes who would not otherwise receive gifts. Your donation of $125 will sponsor a resident and $500 will sponsor a home. Donations allow the staff closest to the resident to shop for items they will love, giving joy to both the residents and staff. You can note "Resident Christmas Gifts" on your check or donate online and select “Apply My Donation to – Resident Christmas Gifts.”

Bishop Sue shares webinar conversations on future of UMC

Starting Sunday, October 22, and continuing for the next several weeks, Bishop Sue talks with leaders around our connection about the future of The United Methodist Church. This series will be available through video and podcast. Be sure to look out for "Strength For Today. A Bright Hope For Tomorrow. God's Vision For the Next Chapter of the United Methodist Church."
Watch video on YouTube...
Listen to podcast on conference website...
Listen on Spotify...
Listen on Apple...

Want to hear why folks like attending UM Day at the General Assembly?

Read below and register here for UM Day on February 1:

"I get a chance to meet with my legislatures and advocate for things that I'm passionate about! That's why I love UM Day!" - Pat

"I like that there is a strong history of advocacy within the church that is on display in this one day. I enjoy that we can tell each other and relive the stories of past efforts and success." - Joe

"I like the opportunity to bring other people from my church and district to meet with our delegate and meet with our senator. I like the opportunity I have to thank them for the work they have done and to tell them what we are asking them to do now." - Jaydee

"What I like most is letting new people know what this day is all about and explaining why we do this advocacy. I like sharing how as a whole united group we can make a difference!" - Sue

"Every January I look forward to joining with United Methodists from around the Virginia Conference, for fellowship and networking, to learn together about important social justice issues, and to raise our collective voices for justice for people in need. It’s an opportunity for me to put my faith into action. I always leave United Methodist Day at the General Assembly feeling excited and energized for the continued work of social holiness." - Karen

Already know you want to join the event? Register for UM Day here...
umc news

Invitation to stand with Palestinian Christians this Advent, Christmas

GLOBAL MINISTRIES--Our Christian colleagues in Bethlehem tell us that this Advent and Christmas in Bethlehem the lights that normally adorn the birthplace of Jesus will remain unlit in memory of those who have been killed in the current conflict. The patriarchs and heads of churches in Jerusalem have noted that the traditional festive services in the Holy Land will be somber in nature due to the ongoing war.

On Christmas Day we invite you to take a photo of your Advent wreath with the second candle unlit and send to [email protected]. The staff at the Methodist Liaison Office will forward your pictures to local church communities in the Holy Land so our sisters and brothers in Christ can see that we stand in solidarity with them over the festive season. For further information, contact Rev. David Hardman, Methodist Liaison Officer, Jerusalem, at [email protected].
Learn more...

General Board of Global Ministries' U.S. Mission Partners consultation takes place

GLOBAL MINISTRIES--Nearly 250 United Methodist leaders in mission from across 53 U.S. annual conferences gathered at Peachtree Road UMC in Atlanta, Georgia, last week for Global Ministries’ U.S. Mission Partners Consultation. The final of three consultations held in 2023, the conversations are setting the foundation for a refreshed expression of mission.

One Last Word

Advent message from the Council of Bishops

COUNCIL OF BISHOPS--Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton, president of The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church, emphasizes the importance of peace in an Advent and Christmas message. View the video online.
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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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