Advocate 2022 logo

July 25, 2023

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:
  • Job Opportunities
  • Upcoming Events and Event calendar
  • Denomination Resources
  • Serving Opportunities
  • Virginia News
  • General Church News
  • One Last Word
The Virginia Conference posts job opportunities on its website, free of charge, for a maximum of two months for United Methodist local churches or United Methodist-related agencies/institutions. Please email positions to [email protected] and include information on how candidates should apply.

View current, open job positions...
Events (1)
To view conference and local church events, visit the Virginia Conference website at

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

Join next EarthKeepers training in October

Global Ministries seeks U.S.-based United Methodists to lead grassroots environmental projects that are action-oriented, antiracist, bold and entrepreneurial. Global Ministries EarthKeepers is a training program that equips US-based United Methodists to launch and grow environmental projects in their communities. Topics include eco-theology, antiracism, community organizing and project planning. All participants plan a project during the training. The next EarthKeepers training events will be held Oct. 5-8, 2023 in Birmingham, AL; Denver, CO; Hartford, CT.
Attend the training closest you to minimize travel emissions, while still engaging with other with people attending trainings being held in other locations. This strategy is designed to support Global Ministries commitment to just and equitable net-zero emissions. Learn more...

Sign up for virtual August Lay Servant Academy

The next Virginia Annual Conference Lay Servant Academy will occur virtually on August 18-19, 2023. Online course offerings will be:
• United Methodist Heritage (Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson, instructor)
• Basic Course (Richard Speirs, instructor)
• Spiritual Gifts (Joseph Plemmons, instructor)
• Leading Well in Conflict Transformation (Sarah Calvert, instructor)
• Called to Preach! (Nathan Decker, instructor)
• Introduction to Simplified Accountable Structure (Jason Stanley, instructor)
• Certified Lay Minister Orientation (Joanna Dietz and Jennifer Robinson-O'Brien, instructors).

Cost is $35 for all courses except CLM Orientation, which is $15. For more information, follow this link.
To register, click here. Contact Tianna Durbin, Lay Servant Academy Director ([email protected]) if you have questions.
resources ac

Revitalize your church's social media

UNITED METHODIST COMMUNICATIONS-- Are your church’s social media accounts not getting much engagement? Do you want to learn how to transform them into vibrant channels to communicate with your congregation and community? Join us for this four-week learning experience as we explore social media through a strategic lens, share the tools to build a social media plan and discover fresh new ways to engage your audiences through social media. Learn more...

What we mean by "means of grace"

UNITED METHODIST COMMUNICATIONS-- Learn about the essential role of grace in the Wesleyan tradition and the vital practices Methodists use to deepen our relationship with God, live out the teachings of Christ and turn to the Holy Spirit for hope and strength in our spiritual journey. Learn more...

United Methodist Credit Union offers basic church finance seminar

The United Methodist Credit Union (TUMCU) is offering a 90-minute Zoom seminar designed for pastors in their first appointment and church leaders who are new to the financial organization of the local church.
The topics will include the fundamentals of cash flow, church budgeting, and strategies for growing givers through stewardship ministries. This is a hand-on session with worksheets and resources supplied upon registration. The seminar is led by the Rev. Burt Brooks, Director of Stewardship and Outreach at The United Methodist Credit Union, and registration is free of charge to participants. Learn more...

Find United Methodist identity materials for small groups

DISCIPLESHIP MINISTRIES--In a recent webinar, “Meet the Director of Adult Discipleship,” the most requested resources had to do with identity—what it means to be United Methodist—with additional requests for adult confirmation class materials and resources for small groups. This response highlights a collective desire to understand and embrace our unique identity as United Methodists. Cokesbury/United Methodist Publishing House gave great suggestions for small groups and Bible studies. Find resources...
Relationship Partners of the VAUMC are organizations that started as a ministry of the Conference. The partners operate independently but continue to be supported by the local churches. The partnership is essential for all to continue to serve the world together.

See how you can connect and learn more about three of our partners below:

Connect with UMFS

There are many ways you can make a difference in the lives of the children and teens at UMFS:
  • Make a donation — Donations provide caring support for children in foster care, children struggling with mental health challenges, and special education students. Visit
  • Volunteer your time — you can become a tutor or mentor, provide meals and treats, and so much more. Visit
  • Become a foster parent — open your heart and your home to a child or teen in foster care. Visit .
  • Come for a campus tour - Join us for a tour of our Richmond campus and learn more about the children and families at UMFS. Visit to sign up.
  • Spread the word — encourage your friends and family to join you in supporting the children and families at UMFS. Look for updates on the UMFS Facebook page and share them with your network.
UMFS is a nonprofit organization that provides a comprehensive array of programs to support children, teens, and parents as they work to overcome challenges. We equip families with tools for success so they can achieve their goals. As a national leader in helping young people and families, we also proactively identify unmet social services needs and develop the necessary partnerships to address those needs.

Find out more about Pinnacle Living

  • Giving: Donor generosity goes a long way when it comes to providing financial support for Pinnacle's various programs and funds. Contributions to the Pinnacle Living communities ensures resident assistance as well as opening doors for future nurses and Pinnacle Living team members by providing them with continuous education and scholarships.

    Most notably, their Samaritan Program is very important to the communities. Through giving opportunities, donors play a vital role in the continuation of providing financial assistance to residents who have outlived their monetary resources and, through no fault of their own, can no longer afford the full cost of their care. Through this program, you can help us ensure personal security and peace of mind for our most vulnerable residents.
    In addition to giving to the Samaritan Program, there are eight other ways to give and help support funds that are equally as important to fulfilling the mission at Pinnacle Living. All gifts to the Samaritan Program or any of their funds are 100% tax-deductible.
  • Volunteer: More than 1,300 residents, 1,000 team members and thousands of volunteers build friendships, learn from one another and find purpose in being a part of a story 70 years in the making with more opportunities and service ahead.
Since their humble beginnings in 1948, Pinnacle Living, formerly known as Virginia United Methodist Homes, Inc., has grown from a single community serving seniors to several communities spread across the Commonwealth. The name, Pinnacle Living, reflects the mission of Enriching Life’s Journey for those who seek independence, combined with a secure plan for the future. They are proud of their heritage and continue to operate as a mission-driven organization that welcomes people of all faiths.

Learn more about Heart Havens

  • Want to support Heart Havens' mission of empowerment? Donate now...
  • Want to volunteer or host an event or speaker? Learn more...
Heart Havens offers intensive residential support and training to individuals with a developmental disability in group homes across Virginia. Using a person-centered process to ensure that every individual is able to pursue his or her goals and dreams, they encourage community integration through participation and their guiding values include integrity, respect, empowerment, empathy and accountability. They work in partnership with the local Community Service Boards, The United Methodist Church, and other community stakeholders to promote a seamless service delivery for all the individuals they support.

Virginia News


VWU celebrates Haygood UMC partnership with scholarships

Virginia Wesleyan University (VWU), in formal partnership between Haygood United Methodist
Church (HUMC) in Virginia Beach, announced the launch of the Haygood Scholars program.
HUMC members applying to VWU’s traditional day program will receive a $5,000 scholarship,
annually, for up to four years. To be eligible, students must be a member of HUMC, or a legal
dependent of a parent who is a member of HUMC.

Additionally, students meeting the criteria, who transfer from another institution, may receive
equal funding for up to three years.

As a member of the Virginia Annual Conference, VWU will also match or exceed the financial
aid package (written verification required) from any UMC historically-related institution within the
Commonwealth (Emory & Henry College, Ferrum College, Randolph College, Randolph-Macon
College, and Shenandoah University) for students meeting the above-mentioned criteria.
All applicants must also meet VWU’s acceptance criteria.

This partnership for Rev, Beth Givens, senior pastor at Haygood UMC, means a deepened relationship with VWU and the opportunity for more United Methodist students to join the university. "Haygood is delighted to deepen our partnership with Virginia Wesleyan through this scholarship opportunity, and to draw more United Methodist students to this university. VWU students have enriched our congregational life through this partnership through serving in our preschool, youth, and worship ministries. Our partnership with VWU also allows us to strengthen our ministry in our surrounding community. Stronger ties between the church and the academy benefit both groups as we chart innovative paths toward God’s future."

For more information, please contact the David L. Kaufman Center for Enrollment at VWU
([email protected]).
hearthavens-white background

Multiple openings for new residents at Heart Havens

There are multiple openings for new residents at Heart Havens groups home services in Virginia Beach and Richmond.
In the Virginia Beach area:
  • Brigadoon Subdivision: Two female openings
  • Fox Run Subdivision: Accessible, One female opening
In the Richmond area:
  • Ashland: Accessible, One male opening
  • Glen Allen: Two openings
Contact Mary Harvey, Operations Director, for placement and information at 804-463-1721 or [email protected].

The mission of Heart Havens is to empower people with a developmental disability to live and thrive in their community. At Heart Havens, adults with a developmental disability have the opportunity to live in a family-like setting with peers while making personal choices, achieving individual goals, and contributing to the
surrounding community.
wesley seminary

Wesley Theological Seminary receives grant from Lilly Endowment Inc.

Wesley Theological Seminary has received a grant of $1.25 million from Lilly Endowment Inc. to help congregations expand faith formation with diverse children and their parents and caregivers. The project is being funded through Lilly Endowment’s Christian Parenting and Caregiving Initiative. The aim of the initiative to help parents and caregivers share their faith and values with their children.

The project, coordinated by the Wesley Innovation Hub, will center diverse children’s spiritual experiences and insights, particularly those who are neuro diverse, racially and ethnically diverse, and/or identifying as LGBTQIA. Cohorts of selected congregations will experiment with building intergenerational community, integrating contemplative spiritual practices for kids and their parents/caregivers, and centering children's voices in child advocacy and activism. At the end of the program, each congregation will be invited to create or refine a resource that can be shared with other families and churches and to host a congregation or neighborhood-wide celebration to share what has been learned.

“We are excited to learn with diverse congregations, families, and children about how to center and promote children's faith formation,” said Beth Ludlum, Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and co-director of the Wesley Innovation Hub. “This opportunity capitalizes on existing Wesley Innovation Hub projects that engage deep listening, thoughtful design, bold experimentation, and effective measurement as means of following the Holy Spirit in new ways.”

Wesley Theological Seminary is one of 77 organizations that are receiving grants through this competitive round of the Christian Parenting initiative. Reflecting the diversity of Christianity in the United States, the organizations are affiliated with mainline Protestant, evangelical, Catholic, Orthodox Christian and Pentecostal faith communities. Many of the organizations are rooted in Black church, Hispanic and Asian Christian traditions.

Lilly Endowment launched the Christian Parenting and Caregiving Initiative in 2022 because of its interest in supporting efforts to help individuals and families from diverse Christian communities draw more fully on the wisdom of Christian practices to live out their faith fully and well passing on a vibrant faith to a new generation.
hope springs eternal

Virginia pastor featured on positive conversation podcast

A video podcast in the Holston Conference, Hope Springs Eternal: Positive Conversations about the United Methodist Church, is filled with conversations with clergy and Rev. Natalie Justice, focused on positive conversation within and about The United Methodist Church.

The Rev. Lindsey Baynham Freeman, Welborne UMC, Richmond, was featured on the most recent podcast episode. Listen now...

The final episode in July will feature an additional Virginia pastor, the Rev. Tim Ward (premieres July 31). View past videos...

General Church News

80% of U.S. United Methodist churches remain UMC

UM NEWS—For many United Methodists in the U.S., the familiar annual conference opening hymn “And Are We Yet Alive” carried special resonance this year. The denomination’s regional bodies had just come through another grueling season of approving church departures in the U.S. Dedicated United Methodists had good reason to sing Charles Wesley’s words with gusto — that they could still “see each other’s face” and join together in praising Jesus “for His redeeming grace.” As other mainline Protestant denominations in the U.S. have done previously, The United Methodist Church is experiencing its own separation after decades of internal strife over the role of LGBTQ people in church life. Read more...

Efforts for regionalization move forward

UM NEWS—Two United Methodist leadership bodies affirmed the direction of legislation to put each geographic region of The United Methodist Church on more even footing. United Methodist leaders also have gotten an update on discussions around the number of bishops on the African continent. Read more...

One Last Word

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself."
Matthew 6:34 NIV
tomorrow will worry about itself
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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