Advocate 2022 logo

January 23, 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:

  • Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson shares an update about the Appointive Cabinet of the VAUMC
  • Educational Opportunities
  • Events
  • Grants/Applications
  • Virginia News
  • General Church News
  • One Last Word

Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson shares an update about the Appointive Cabinet of the Virginia Annual Conference

Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson announces the appointment of two new District Superintendents to serve the Virginia Annual Conference beginning July 1, 2024: Rev. F. Elizabeth (Beth) Givens will serve the Coastal Virginia District, and Rev. Kirk Nave will serve the Northern Virginia District.
Additionally, Rev. Dr. Sarah Calvert will transition to serve as the District Superintendent of the Mountain View District, Rev. Dr. Cecelia Brooks will receive an appointment to a local church, and Rev. Denise Bates will be retiring. Bishop Haupert-Johnson is grateful to Rev. Dr. Brooks and Rev. Bates for their service on the Cabinet and for their leadership in a difficult time in the life of the UMC. Read more...
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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...

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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To view conference and local church events, visit the Virginia Conference website at

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

District Lay Training

Host: Shenandoah River District
Saturday, February 3, 2024
10 AM via Zoom
These sessions are open to anyone, new or returning, on any of the committees listed below.
NOTE: You are only able to attend one session on this date as all are happening simultaneously.
Plans are to have each session recorded and made available later.

Pastor/Parish Relations – Taught by Rev. Dr. Victor Gómez
Finance and Church Audits – Taught by Rev. Sue MacTavish
Trustees – Taught by Rev. Joe Amend
Lay Leader – Taught by District Co-Lay Leader, Wilma Jennings

Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 922 8669 6725
Passcode: shenandoah
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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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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

Two VAUMC Churches Partner to Clear $3.2 Million in Medical Debt For Others

The generosity of Grace UMC and Haymarket Church made the local news. Thanks to their partnership with RIP Medical Debt, over $3 million in medical debt was forgiven. Learn More...

General Church News

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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...

One Last Word

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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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