Advocate 2022 logo

February 20, 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
  • Resources for Lent
  • Educational Opportunities
  • Events
  • Training Opportunities for Church Leaders
  • Grants/Applications
  • Virginia News
  • One Last Word

General Conference News

Over the next several weeks, we will be sharing videos about the key topics which will be covered at General Conference in Charlotte, April 23-May 3, 2024. This week's video provides a quick overview of all of the key issues, featuring Rev. Lindsey Baynham Freeman, the lead clergy delegate in the Virginia Conference delegation to General Conference. Click through to watch the video and learn more. Additional resources and information about General Conference can be found at
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Key Issues


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]

AC Hotel Reservations Now Open!

The 242nd Session of the Virginia Annual Conference will be held Thursday, June 20 – Saturday, June 22, 2024 at the HAMPTON ROADS CONVENTION CENTER in Hampton, Virginia.
Annual Conference members will have 16 area hotels within the Annual Conference Room block from which to choose. The reservation process will allow attendees to see detailed information on the hotels, our conference room rates, room types, amenities, and locations all in one place. Conference rates are guaranteed through Friday, May 17...

Resources for Lent 2024

CEMCA Lent 2024
The Commission on Ethnic Minority Concerns and Advocacy (CEMCA) offers a devotional resource from a Native American perspective for Lent. The following blogs are shared with permission of the author, Larry Jent.

Haymarket Church (and other churches):

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New Online Learning Series for Older Adult Ministry

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — ENCORE Ministry, the older-adult ministry of the Tennessee-Western Kentucky Conference, has partnered with the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga School of Nursing’s EngAGING Communities to create an online learning experience for clergy and church leaders interested in topics related to intentional ministry by, with and for older adults. Starting Feb. 20, “Building Community With Older Adults” will be at noon U.S. Central time on the third Tuesday of each month through December. Programs also will be recorded and posted on ENCORE’s website.

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

To submit an local church event for inclusion, submit this form.
2024 Youth Mission Encounter reg flyer
You are invited to participate in #StillInMission Episode 64 on March 7, 2024, at 7:00 PM ET. You can find more information about these missionaries HERE.

Training Opportunities for Church Leaders

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


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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


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.

Recent Additions to VAUMC Clergy Books

There are several new books written by VAUMC clergy (books focusing on faith, UM mission, ministry, and polity) as a way to share with conference clergy and laity potential resources for individual and group study. Clergy can share their information by emailing [email protected]. Books listed on the webpage are not endorsed by the conference. Learn more...

One Last Word

Finding True Love Again

Mike Robertson, 85, and Judy Eley, 82, found love again at Sydenstricker UMC, in Springfield, where they are both long-time members. After many years of friendship, they found themselves single after the loss of their spouses and discovered that, not only do they love SUMC, but also each other. They were married on February 10, at a service that was attended by over 200 people, including their church family who put together a wonderful reception. Mike and Judy are an integral part of Sydenstricker, sharing their gifts and graces in our gleaning ministry, sandwich-making ministry, Chancel Choir, Stephen Ministry, prayer shawl ministry and church leadership and buildings and grounds. SUMC is blessed by the presence and dedication of this beautiful couple.
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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