Advocate 2022 logo

January 16, 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)

Last Call: Virginia Five Day Academy for Spiritual Formation

March 3-8, 2024 @ Roslyn Retreat Center in Richmond
Deadline to register: February 2nd

The focus will be on basic spiritual formation practices, church history, and opening the scriptures while “Claiming The Promises” God has in store for each of us.

The Academy for Spiritual Formation is a covenant learning environment which combines academic learning and experience in spiritual disciplines. Participants meet in residence for 5 days.
The Academy for Spiritual Formation recognizes that the Holy Spirit is the enabling power in all Christian spiritual formation. It is designed to provide a setting where a spiritually disciplined community of lay and clergy can open their lives to receive God’s love and grace so that they increasingly may become spiritual leaven within the Body of Christ. To learn more and register...

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.
website all 2024

NoVa Training Day is Saturday! Have you registered?

THIS Saturday, January 20
, the Northern Virginia District welcomes Rev. Matt Miofsky and 8 other incredible speakers to NoVa District Training Day. This event has a virtual component so anyone in the Virginia Conference may participate from the comfort of their own home. Register TODAY to participate.

On Training Day, virtual participants will experience the Keynote presentation with Matt Miofsky at 8:30 a.m. and then workshops of their choice at 10:15 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Selections are made during the registration process. This year's event costs $60 and includes virtual access to ALL 13 WORKSHOPS for six months. Virtual team discounts are available. Training Day tickets may be purchased any time, but for the BEST experience, be sure to register by January 18 in order to receive all 'how to' communications and ensure you are ready to participate at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday.

Recovering the "E" Word: Embracing Evangelism, Making Disciples
We are all called to make disciples for the transformation of the world, but sometimes “the E word” is intimidating. This year at Training Day, we will lean into sessions and conversations about evangelism in different ministry contexts. We look forward to welcoming nine incredible speakers including our Keynote Speaker, Rev. Matt Miofsky, Lead and Founding Pastor of The Gathering in St. Louis, Missouri, and author of "Let Go: Leaning Into the Future Without Fear" to help us explore ways to embrace evangelism and make disciples.

We look forward to an amazing Training Day. Register to participate here:
Please direct any questions to NoVaDistrict@Sammy [email protected]


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...

Virginia News

SydenstrickerUMC_food in storm

Sydenstricker UMC Volunteers Serve their Neighbors Despite Storm

There is often a flurry of activity on Tuesday afternoons at Sydenstricker UMC in Springfield and, despite nearly three inches of rain and wind gusts up to 45 miles per hour, January 9 was no exception . Like much of the state, Springfield was impacted by the major storm that engulfed the east coast. But the hearty volunteers of the Sydenstricker Food Corner braved the elements in order to serve 175 families during their bi-weekly curb-side food distribution. While much of the packing takes place indoors, many volunteers worked outside directing traffic, staging food bags and loading cars. With the intensity of the weather, it was difficult to stay dry and some even had to stop occasionally to wring out gloves and jackets. But it was all done with warm smiles and full hearts as they were able to be the hands and feet of Christ to their neighbors facing scarcity.

General Church News

radicle methodism

Radicle Methodism: Getting to the root of us

The Commission on Archives and History of the UMC has launched a new FREE online course. Titled "Radicle Methodism," the four-part course features Dr. Ashley Boggan D and the Rev. Chris Heckert taking us on a deep dive back to our Wesleyan roots to learn about the branches, fruits, and even spoils of our connection. The course launches on Jan. 15. Learn more...

Start your new year with a new book

UM Communications--When you are starting a new year or a new season, books can be an encouraging source of guidance as you seek to strengthen your relationship with God. Consider these helpful titles from the United Methodist Publishing House: Learn more...

One Last Word

give thanks
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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