Advocate 2022 logo

January 2, 2024

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
  • Events
  • 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.

Lay Servant Academy Training will take place February 23rd & 24th

This training will be virtual only. Registration is now open! Included in the course list are:
  • Virginia UMC Roots, Racism, and Discipleship Advanced Course
  • Basic Course
  • Children and Youth Discipleship–Ministry with Parents/Guardians
  • Spiritual Gifts
  • Called to Preach
Learn more & register
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To view conference and local church events, visit the Virginia Conference website at

To submit an local church event for inclusion, submit this form.
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Equipping the Local Church Grant applications open January 15

The Foundation for Evangelism is pleased to announce it will open the 2024 Equipping the Local Church grant cycle on January 15. Up to 50 grants of $5,000 or $10,000 are available to small and medium* church congregations, or clusters of churches working together, in a Wesleyan-tradition denomination. 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...

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 opened December 15. Learn more...

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

Virginia News

Highlights from the Asian-American Ministerial Association (AAMA) Family Retreat

The AAMA recently held their annual Family Retreat in McLean right after Christmas (Dec. 26-28). One member stated that "It was a day of worship, praise, fellowship, and prayer at AAMA’s retreat on Dec. 26 . We’re grateful for our bishop who blessed us with a profound message and an act of love of anointing. Thanks be to God."

Bishop Sue said on her Facebook about it “So delighted to be part of the AAMA (Asian American Ministerial Association) Family Retreat this year at the Korean UMC of Greater Washington! Virginia is blessed to have such gifted clergy, and it was wonderful to see their families gather for spiritual renewal, fun, and fellowship.”

Valley Ridge District Celebrates Milestone Church Anniversaries in 2024

Valley Ridge District--2024 will be a year of celebration for two of our Valley Ridge District churches as they recognize significant milestones in ministry and mission in their communities. Main Street United Methodist Church 601 W. Main St. Waynesboro, VA will celebrate their 200th Anniversary and South Roanoke United Methodist Church will celebrate their 100th Anniversary. Let us take a moment to give thanks and praise for these two congregations!

Early Bird Registration ends January 7

Register now for UM Day at General Assembly

Have you heard of UM Day at the General Assembly? It's a day when United Methodists come
together to do amazing things by advocating for neighbors by meeting with elected representatives.
During this event, participants learn about issues that are facing people all across the Commonwealth., connect with other United Methodists, and together celebrate our United Methodist faith that values justice, advocacy, and compassion.

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

General Church News

2023: The year in photos

UM News--In a world filled with uncertainty, United Methodists found creative ways to live out their faith and serve their communities in 2023. UM News photographers documented a year in the life of United Methodism worldwide. Learn more...

Looking ahead to General Conference next year

UM News--After a four-year delay, the next General Conference is rapidly approaching in just over four months. The coming General Conference is now set to take place April 23-May 3 in that city’s convention center — bringing together United Methodists from four continents who will make decisions that will shape the global denomination for years to come. Learn more...

One Last Word: A Prayer for a New Year

God of the ages, you have blessed us with another year.
Help us to make room for the blessings that are in store for us in the coming months.
May we be open to learn the right lessons, even if they hurt a little.
Help us to be patient so that we won't miss divine opportunities.
Show us how to be fulfilled without material possessions, so that we will not miss what it means to be a blessed people.
Enable us to be a blessing so you will recognize us as the ones who gave you bread when you were hungry, drink when you were thirsty, and clothes when you were naked. In Jesus' name we pray, Amen.

An adapted prayer by Rev. Kevin B. Smalls and shared by The United Methodist Church
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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