Advocate 2022 logo

April 9, 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 Opportunity
  • Virginia News
  • 2024 Annual Conference News
  • 2024 General Conference News
  • Resources for Understanding 2024 General Conference
  • Events
  • Resources
educational opp (1)

Upcoming Zoom will have resources for children, family ministries

The Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church is hosting an hour on Zoom for leaders in children’s and family ministries to share resources, best practices, and find ways to connect and collaborate. You all are invited! Zoom link is here...
Date: April 15, 2024
Time: 7 p.m.

Virginia News


Ministry innovation is focus of upcoming appointment to New Town UMC, campus ministry

April 8-- Rev. Ryan LaRock is projected to be appointed July 1, 2024 as chief visionary for New Town UMC, Mission Rivers District, and as campus minister and director of the Wesley Foundation at William & Mary in Williamsburg. The appointment offers an opportunity for ministry innovation that enhances the connection between the Wesley Foundation and new ministries at New Town, while continuing to strengthen ministry with other Williamsburg-area churches and across the Mission Rivers district. The full list of appointments in the Virginia Conference will be released on Sunday, April 21, 2024. Read full press release...

Bishop Sue addresses disinformation in UMC

April 4--Bishop Sue released a letter addressing disinformation in and around The United Methodist Church ahead of the postponed 2020 General Conference scheduled to begin at the end of this month. She began, "As we approach the convening of the postponed 2020 General Conference in Charlotte, N.C., I must address the varying types of disinformation being promulgated by some as they continue intentionally and concertedly to undermine and tear apart The United Methodist Church. The following are commitments I want to make as your resident Bishop." Read full letter...

VWU students are building long lasting relationships with youth

Virginia Wesleyan University--The youth leaders sat in the audience on the edge of their seats as their shy, introverted youth walked center stage on Saturday night of the high school youth retreat at Camp Occohannack on the Bay. It was time for the Talent Show and somehow, the Virginia Wesleyan University (VWU) senior had convinced this anxious youth to overcome his fears and participate in a skit with him. “ How had he convinced him?” The adult leaders all asked each other when they saw the two names on the contestant sign up sheet earlier that day. Virginia Wesleyan University senior Henry Handley later reflected, “I’ve seen this student grow so much over the last four years during my time as a student at VWU. I’m very proud to see him blossom from the shy, anxious middle schooler into having the confidence to go on stage in front of his peers with me. I believe a large part of our relationship developed overtime because of our partnership with VWU, Haygood UMC and the Coastal Virginia District.”
Henry has volunteered since freshman year mentoring youth at Haygood UMC, at the Coastal Virginia District Retreats and on Youth Sundays at VWU. Henry is one of many VWU Campus Ministries students who are making a difference, one youth at a time, in the Coastal Virginia district. Our Campus Ministries thrives on building long lasting relationships with youth. Wesleyan Worship AS ONE Youth Sundays have outgrown our Chapel! Once a month youth groups come on campus to a student-led program filled with games, music, skits, an interactive Bible message and discussion followed by dinner in the dining hall. VWU Campus Ministries challenges other universities and college ministries to find ways to engage with the youth in their communities.

Information related to 2024 Clergy Appointments

Bishop Sue would like to share Sunday, April 21, 2024 will be Announcement Sunday for the 2024 Clergy Appointments. This is following the precedent set last year of sharing all appointments in one announcement.
She and the Appointive Cabinet recognize that some dates related to the appointment process will also be helpful to clergy and local churches for awareness and planning.

Dates related to Appointment Process:
  • Sunday, June 23, 2024: Last Sunday for pastors moving appointments in 2024 (This date may be earlier depending on terms with SPRC).
  • Wednesday, June 26, 2024: Clergy Moving Day
  • Sunday, June 30, 2024: The Sunday in between current pastor leaving and new pastor arriving at appointment. This Sunday’s worship will be led by local church laity.
  • Monday, July 1, 2024: First Day for clergy in new appointments
  • Sunday, July 7, 2024: First Sunday in pulpits for clergy
Note: It is acceptable for local church staff to receive appointment information the week before the public conference announcement on April 21, 2024.

VAUMC Creation Justice team urges support for GC petition

The VAUMC Creation Justice Team would like to encourage support of the call for the UMC to divest from fossil fuels at the 2024 General Conference by signing this petition. Learn more...

You can also view this article from Fossil Free UMC about divesting from fossil fuels. Read article.

Green Church awards due April 15

Applications for the 2024 Virginia Annual Conference Green Church and Sustaining Green Church Awards are due by April 15, 2024.
Both awards, given out by the VAUMC Creation Justice Team, recognize congregations with an active Earth Advocacy/Green Church Team or similar ministers for their dedication to affirming the importance of healing, defending God's creation, and supporting the most vulnerable among us. Recipients will engage in this ministry through worship, learning and teaching, individual and congregational lifestyle, and community, national, and global advocacy/involvement. Previous Green Church Award recipients are eligible to apply for the Sustaining Green Church Award.

To apply for an award, please click on the appropriate link below:
VAUMC Green Church Award Application Form
VAUMC Sustaining Green Church Award Application Form

For any inquiries, please contact Brian Christoffersen at [email protected] and the Creation Justice Team at [email protected].

2024 Annual Conference News

2024 AC Logo_Three Movements-COLOR.FIN

April 15 is last day to order print Book of Reports

Annual Conference members who wish to receive a printed Book or Reports prior to their arrival for the June session need to fill out this hyperlinked online form. Printed copies will cost $15 and will be shipped out directly from a Richmond, Va. printer.

The last day to order a printed copy is April 15.

The Book of Reports publication will be available for free online by May 13, 2024. Please note, this date is an updated change from the date listed in the March 12 Advocate newsletter.

Banquet registration now open

Banquet registration for the June session is now open until April 15. Please register here...

2024 General Conference News


General Conference volunteers sought for marshal and page positions

United Methodists interested in serving as marshals or pages for the postponed General Conference of The United Methodist Church taking place April 23-May 3, 2024, at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, N.C., are encouraged to apply online no later than April 15. Learn more...

Pray for VAUMC delegates leading up to General Conference

Later this month, the postponed 2020 General Conference begins. For the next few weeks, there will be an opportunity to pray for each of the Virginia clergy and lay delegates and to send them to Charlotte , N.C. with our prayers for them, their work, and the General Conference session. These individuals have shown up, worked hard, stayed engaged, and remained prayerful and hopeful UMs over the course of many years as our delegates.

Visit the conference website to read their bios as well.

Visit the conference Facebook page every other day to pray for more delegates each day.

Fossil fuels divestment debate returns

Wespath and Fossil Free UMC will again be on opposite sides as General Conference takes up whether to divest from stocks of companies that contribute significantly to global warming. Read more...

Resources: Understanding 2024 General Conference



infographic snippet
Kim Johnson, GC delegate and NOVA District Director of Communications, has created a helpful infographic for individual and church use to explain the purpose of General Conference and more.
Full infographic (in PDF and .png form) and a print friendly version are available at the General Conference website (

Podcasts and Videos

Join Rev. Dr. Jonathan Page and Jill Gaynor as they discuss the Legislative Committee on Global Ministries.
In the months leading up to General Conference, Virginia delegates engage in conversation about each Legislative Committee and what they expect and hope for with the upcoming conference.

Watch video:
You can listen to the podcast version here -
Church & Society 2
podcast mark elder rob vaughn
Faith & Order
martha podcast
To view conference and local church events, visit the Virginia Conference website at

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

Coming up:

The Shenandoah River District United Women in Faith Social Action Committee presents "Creating Conversations and Communication: Journeying to Racial Justice." The first in a series of justice conversations scheduled for 2024-2025 Event will be Saturday, April 27, 2024 from 9 a.m. – 12 Noon.
Please register for one of the following options by April 24 by emailing [email protected]: Event is in-person at Front Royal UMC (1 West Main Street, Front Royal, VA) or via Zoom.

Retreat Outline:
Gathering, Light Refreshments and Opening Worship
Reflections by Panelists Costella Forney, Marquetta Mitchell,
Lillian Sloan, and Felicia Thomas with Moderator, Heather Gomez
Responses, Reflections, Questions by Participants
Break Out for Small Group Conversations
Sharing and Visioning with Large Group
Closing Worship and Benediction

• It has been said that Sunday church hours are the most segregated hours in the USA. Is this true today, and if so, should there be a change? How do United Women in Faith engage in kin-dom building conversations where they live and worship?
• What racial injustices exist in our communities and how might we, as United Women in Faith, address them?
• In 1758 John Wesley records baptizing two “Negro slaves.” In 1790 Methodist records indicate 20% of Black people (slave and free) numbered around 57,000 American Methodists. In 1968 the Central Jurisdiction abolished formal segregation in the Methodist Churches that were among the first to allow Black people to worship and take leadership roles in their congregations. This growth has not come without a struggle that continues today. Currently the Shenandoah River District is home not only to Black and White Women, but also other Women of Color from around the world. How do United Women in Faith practice authentic conversations that address these present and evolving racial justice struggles and opportunities?
resources ac
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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