Advocate 2022 logo

April 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:

  • The VAUMC Connection
  • Virginia News
  • 2024 General Conference News
  • Resources for Understanding 2024 General Conference

The VAUMC Connection

Bishop Sue met with most of the district staff and members of the conference staff for a Day of Collaboration on Friday, April 12. The focus of the day included relationship-building and envisioning shared work together in the next season of the Virginia Annual Conference.
At the beginning of the day, Bishop Sue shared a devotion and focused on the importance of connection in every aspect of our lives. She emphasized that United Methodists know to their core what connection is and that Virginia United Methodists needs to reclaim that identity. Bishop Sue sees one of her roles as the "chief connector" in the conference and hopes that the VAUMC can find joy in their work together that is Christ-centered and focused on the disciple-making that happens in local churches.

Virginia News


Conference to host post-GC webinar on May 9

April 16--The Virginia Conference will host a post-General Conference Zoom webinar on Thursday, May 9 at 7 p.m. The panel will include Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson; Rev. Lindsey Baynham Freeman, head of the Virginia delegation; and delegates Rev. Mark Ogren, Marshall Bailey, and Rev. Dr. Jonathan Page.

More information will be shared closer to the event.

NOVA pastor featured on podcast about digital ministry

Andrew Chapel UMC Associate Pastor of Digital Ministry Pastor Sherry Hietpas was featured on an episode of Pastoring in the Digital Parrish with Rev. Ryan Dunn from United Methodist Communications. In the episode, Hietpas discusses creating online sanctuary through Encounter. Listen now...

VWU Panel discusses turning faith into action

A dynamic group of women of faith shared their experiences and insights on their journeys to become agents of change in the community during the Robert Nusbaum Center’s Nexus Interfaith Dialogue on March 7 in Brock Commons at Virginia Wesleyan University. Five remarkable women, representing diverse backgrounds, served as testaments to the transformative power of faith when combined with intentional and action-oriented initiatives.
The panelists provided an informative evening of enlightenment and inspiration, as they shared their commitments to turning faith into tangible action. The articulate and valuable insights offered by each woman presented powerful tools for building bridges and creating the environment for transformational positive change in our communities. Learn more...

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...

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.

2024 General Conference News


Pray for VAUMC delegates leading up to General Conference

Next week, 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.

Why Wespath supports regionalization

The United Methodist Church’s pension and benefits agency has had a hand in crafting the regionalization legislation going before General Conference. Agency staff see the proposed changes as crucial to the work of supporting church workers in retirement. 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 Rev. Beth Givens as they discuss the Legislative Committee on Judicial Administration.

Full video here:

You can listen to the podcast version here -
Judicial Administration
beth givens podcast
Independent Commissions
kim johnson podcast
resources ac

Upper Room offers Safer Sanctuaries materials

How do we create safe spaces for children, youth, the elderly, and other vulnerable members in our communities? Safer Sanctuaries: Nurturing Trust within Faith Communities is a comprehensive resource that continues the tradition of Safe Sanctuaries ministry by building on its trusted policies and procedures. This resource contains theological grounding for the work of abuse prevention, basic guidelines for risk reduction, age-level specific guidance, and step-by-step instructions on how to develop, revise, update, and implement an abuse prevention plan.

For Christians, protecting those who are most vulnerable and doing justice are ways that we live and serve Jesus Christ. Safer Sanctuaries provides help to do just that by framing this work as a life-giving, community-enhancing, and proactive endeavor. It enables communities to be empowered and flourish as they develop and implement policies and procedures that make everyone safer.
Also available is the Safer Sanctuaries Online Guide, an interactive companion for your team as they work through the process of developing and implementing a Safe Sanctuaries policy.

Save 20% by purchasing the Safer Sanctuaries Print Book and Online Guide bundle here.

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month — the perfect time to focus on building Safer Sanctuaries for your congregation. To learn more, visit
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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