Advocate 2022 logo

February 13, 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:

  • General Conference News
  • Annual Conference News
  • Resource for Lent
  • Educational Opportunities
  • Events
  • Training Opportunities for Church Leaders
  • Grants/Applications
  • Virginia News
  • One Last Word

General Conference News

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Intro to General Conference


Help North Carolina Welcome the World

United Methodists from all over the world are traveling to attend General Conference in Charlotte, NC from April 23-May 3, 2024. Psalm 46:10 sets the theme for this important gathering: “…and know that I am God.” In all we do, God guides our every decision. The gathering is expected to attract about 5,500-7,500 people.
You are invited to serve as part of our Welcome Team during General Conference and offer gracious hospitality to our guests. Learn more...

Annual Conference News

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Display Applications Open February 26

Annual Conference Display applications will open on February 26, 2024 at 9AM. An email will be sent with the link to apply.
All vendors, boards and partners are welcomed to submit an application for review. Applications this year will be available via Google Form. There will be a flat rate of $75.00 per display, this will include electricity.
If you have any questions, please email [email protected]

Resource for Lent 2024

CEMCA Lent 2024
The Commission on Ethnic Minority Concerns and Advocacy (CEMCA) offers a devotional resource for Lent. The following blogs are shared with permission of the author, Larry Jent.
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Extension Clergy Gathering with Bishop Sue:
March 12, 9am-3pm at Williamsburg UMC (Williamsburg)

Deadline to register: February 26

Extension Clergy Gathering with Bishop Sue: March 12, 9am-3pm at Williamsburg UMC (Williamsburg). Join us for a time of worship, a talk with Bishop Sue, a prayer walk through Colonial Williamsburg and William & Mary, ministry spotlights, conversation and connection with extension clergy colleagues, plenty of coffee, and lunch. Clear your calendar and get yourself there, and the rest will be taken care of. We hope this will be a relaxing and rejuvenating day of connection. Questions, contact Deborah Lewis: [email protected]

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

Space is limited, please register now!
Join Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson and the VAUMC on an Educational Opportunities Tour —Journeys of Paul Cruise — from September 21- October 1, 2024 (9 nights abroad on the Odyssey of the Seas, a round trip from Rome, Italy). The guest Speaker will be Rev. Magrey deVega. For questions, please contact Rev. Justin White at [email protected] or 703-973-1606. To learn more and 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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2024 ARC Conf Flyer
2024 Youth Mission Encounter reg flyer
2024 Fall Retreat Date Post
SAVE THE DATE! The VAUMC Youth Council is excited to announce the dates and location for the 2024 Fall Youth Retreat! Mark your calendars for November 22-24, 2024 at Virginia Nazarene Retreat Center. Registration information will be shared in the upcoming months.

Training Opportunities for Church Leaders

*includes Lay Servant Academy & Certified Lay Ministers Training Opportunities
*includes workshops & other equipping opportunities

Join the ‘Free Agent’ Pool of Young People Available to Serve on the Boards of Directors of UMC General Agencies for the Next Quadrennium

Every General Agency of the UMC has language in their by-laws about the need for young people to serve on their boards of directors. Not every agency knows where to start when looking for folks interested to serve. The General Church YPM office is organizing a database of young people interested to serve on GA boards as one way of helping to advocate and create space for young voices at all levels of the church. Completing the form DOES NOT guarantee an invitation to serve. It does guarantee a chance to be considered.
Needs to be done by April 15!


2024 Racial/Ethnic Local Church Grant
& Multiethnic Ministries Grant Applications

From: UM Global Ministries
Dear Partners in Ministry,

It has come to our attention the online fillable PDFs are not expanding when applicants are completing the application. As a result, we have uploaded a Word version of the application on our website ( As a reminder, all applications are due by March 1, 2024.

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.
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Harry Denman Award Now Open for Nominations

Is anyone in your congregation a deeply formed spiritual leader who has the ability to assist others in their discipleship? Perhaps they are involved in youth, family, or senior ministry and have helped people to become a disciple or encouraged their growth as a disciple of Jesus Christ. They may be involved in local mission and/or ministries that have influenced lives in the name of Christ. The Board of Discipleship each year recognizes one clergyperson, one lay person, and one youth who displays fruitful discipleship in their lives. The deadline for nominations is March 9, 2024. Information and nominations may be obtained at the conference website. Nominations should be completed online or sent to Becky Tate [email protected] or Matt Sergent [email protected]
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One Matters Award Now Open for Nominations

This award is given to a church with significant improvement of baptisms and professions of faith. The award, which includes $1,000 and a One Matters Discipleship Award plaque, will be presented to the pastor and lay leaders of a congregation that has done significant work to make its zeros from previous years become positive numbers.
Criteria for the award is a church that has a history of zero baptisms and zero professions of faith for a minimum of four years and has significant increases in these two areas in 2023. Nominations should include the historical record which can be verified through Year End Statistics for at least four to six years. The deadline for nominations is March 9, 2024. Information and nominations may be obtained at the conference website under the conference website. Nominations should be completed online and sent to Becky Tate at [email protected] or Rev. Matt Sergent at [email protected]

Virginia News

Trinity UMC (Alexandria) Celebrates 250th Anniversary in 2024!

Trinity United Methodist Church in Alexandria is celebrating its 250th years in 2024! Yes, the church is two years older than the United States itself.

On February 8, at the invitation of Delegate Alfonso Lopez (D-3), Trinity was officially recognized by an official resolution, read in the House of Delegates. Pastor Grace Han opened the day's session by reading the invocation.
A delegation from Trinity United Methodist Church in Alexandria, VA toured the State Capitol February 8, 2024, in advance of the invocation on the House floor by Pastor Grace Han and the reading of a commemorative resolution.

February is Heart Havens month in the Virginia Annual Conference

Heart Havens Month 2024: Flourishing– Our community can empower people with disabilities to feel accomplished, give back, be creative, explore their community, make friends, celebrate and have fun. Please help Heart Havens continue empowering adults with a developmental disability by making a donation to support them opening a new home for adults with a disability.

One Last Word

“Let me ask you this. What would you do if you had 100 sheep and one of them wandered off? Wouldn't you leave the 99 on the hillside and go look for the one that had wandered away?
I am sure that finding it would make you happier than having the 99 that never wandered off.
That's how it is with your Father in heaven. He doesn't want any of these little ones to be lost."
- Matthew 18:12-14 CEV
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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