Advocate 2022 logo

August 15, 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:
  • Devotions with Deacons podcast
  • Upcoming Events and Event calendar
  • Denomination Resources
  • Virginia News
  • General Church News
  • One Last Word
Start your morning and week off right with Devotions with Deacons, a weekly devotional podcast created by the VAUMC's Order of Deacons. You can find the full episode here or anywhere you can find podcasts!

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.

Experience the Holy Land with young people’s ministries in 2024

DISCIPLESHIP MINISTRIES--Visiting the Holy Land provides infinite opportunities to deeply engage with scripture and walk in the same spaces where the footsteps of the great cloud of witnesses continue to echo. Jerusalem, Nazareth, Bethlehem, and other sites on this trip hosted incredible moments from the Bible – they also continue to exist, with a mixture of people and faiths that find themselves in tension or various states of conflict in the modern world. You are invited to deepen your discipleship by exploring the Holy Land with Young People’s Ministries.
The trip is designed for 18-35-year-old participants and is a unique way to explore the Holy Land. This trip will mix historical site visits with off-the-beaten-path experiences, as well as chances to interact with a wide variety of community leaders. Our experience onsite will be organized through a Bethlehem-based and tour-accredited company that specializes in custom experiences that go beyond a “get on the bus, get off the bus, get back on the bus” experience. While adventurous, this company also prioritizes safety and will monitor all activities and situations onsite. Learn more...

Author Diana Butler Bass to join two October events at Reveille UMC

Reveille UMC, Richmond, will have author Diana Butler Bass as a guest at two events in October.
  • Thursday, October 12, An Evening with Diana Butler Bass, Community Program on Gratitude
    7 p.m. in Reveille’s Sanctuary
You are invited to a program with Diana in person at Reveille on Thursday, October 12 beginning at 7 p.m. in the sanctuary. Diana will focus on the transformative power of gratitude. All are invited to the welcome center following the program for a reception and book signing with the author. Register to attend...
  • Saturday, October 14, Spiritual Life Retreat for Women
    9 a.m.-1 p.m. at Reveille
All women are invited to a morning of activities focused on spiritual, mental, and physical well-being. Diana will further explore the theme of grace, gifts, and gratitude in virtual conversation with retreat attendees. Register to attend...

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...
resources ac

50 ways to welcome new people

LEWIS CENTER FOR CHURCH LEADERSHIP-- One key to effective outreach is making sure that worship visitors feel truly welcome. These 50 Ways will help your congregation make a good first impression and extend hospitality in meaningful ways. Learn more...

Three key steps for creating a community

UNITED METHODIST COMMUNICATIONS-- As we invite people into the church, we must be willing to examine what kind of community people are being invited to enter and how that community can foster their growth and transformation. Here are some strategies for developing a strong church community for making disciples. Read more...

Virginia News

umcor pray for hawaii

Update on Maui wildfires

Please continue to pray and stay updated on the wind-driven wildfires on Maui that have prompted evacuations and caused significant loss of life and widespread damage.

As of an August 14 update, UMCOR is coordinating with the California-Pacific Annual Conference to process an initial grant for emergency supplies such as shelf-stable food, water, hygiene items and tools to help survivors recover belongings as first responders continue to provide initial aid in the area.
Gifts can be made in the following ways:
  • Online at
  • By toll-free telephone call: 1-888-252-6174
  • By check made out to Global Ministries/UMCOR with “Advance #901670-Hawaii” written on the memo line and mailed to Global Ministries/UMCOR, GPO, P.O. Box 9068, New York, NY, 10087-9068
  • By check made out to Global Ministries/UMCOR with “Advance #901670-Hawaii” written on the memo line and given to any United Methodist church.
As far as VIM (Volunteers in Mission) teams to Maui, it is still too earlier in the process for teams to be sent out. VAUMC's Disaster Response Coordinator Rev. Bob Pihlcrantz shared that recovery efforts are still underway to recover the deceased. When this changes, the VAUMC will be notified conference-wide.
Learn more from UMCOR...

Apply now for Benevolence Grant, Special/Sustaining Grants

Apply now through the conference Office of Connectional Ministries for two grant opportunities.

Benevolence Grant Applications are due September 1, 2023. Learn more and apply here.

BENEVOLENCE GRANTS are for connectional ministries beyond the local level to cover administrative expenses. They are funded through the Conference Benevolence apportionment from local churches.

Special and Sustaining Grant Applications are due on October 16, 2023. Learn more and apply here.

SPECIAL PROGRAM GRANTS are designed for programs outside of normal conference and local church funding processes. They are intended to provide funding for the first three years of innovative programs of tangible and caring outreach that is beyond a local church’s current financial resources.

SUSTAINING PROGRAM GRANTS are designed for programs outside of normal conference and local church funding processes. They are intended to provide funding for the sustaining of innovative programs of tangible and caring outreach that is beyond a local church’s current financial resources. They are for churches of all ethnic groups and should help the church requesting the funding to relate to the ethnic groups within its community.

Questions may be sent to [email protected].
VAUMC 4-color logotransparent

Report absence, more information concerning Oct. 7 virtual Annual Conference

Conference clergy members and lay members received an email from Rev. Joshua King, Conference Secretary, on Monday, August 14 as a reminder to share through a Google form if they will be absent from the Saturday, October 7 virtual Annual Conference beginning at 9 a.m.. Questions may be sent to [email protected].

This session will be the last Special Called Annual Conference in the Virginia Conference to consider local church disaffiliation under Paragraph 2553 of the Book of Discipline before the legislation sunsets at the end of this year.

Further information about this special session of the Annual Conference will be shared from conference communications next month, specifically on the conference website home page, directly to clergy and lay member emails, and directly at

More information about disaffiliation in the VAUMC can be found at this link.
thank you

Thank you from Sister Servant Scholarship Board

The Sister Servant Scholarship Board would like to give a hearty thanks to the clergywomen of the Virginia Conference who raised over $2,000 at the 2023 Annual Conference luncheon. The board is grateful for all the ways VAUMC clergywomen support those who are discerning a call to ministry.
The scholarship was created to honor the clergywomen who have come before us and to connect with those who will come after us--uniting all clergywomen together. The board seeks to award scholarships to women seeking continued learning towards licensing and or ordination.
The board has a goal of raising $25,000 in their fund and we are $7,000 away from our goal! Your church could make a donation in honor or memory of the impactful clergywomen along the journey.
You can send donations to support our fund to the Virginia United Methodist Foundation. If you or someone you know is a certified candidate and are working on your education, applications for the scholarship are July 1 and October 1 each year.

General Church News

Evangelism campaign fuels church growth in Zimbabwe

UNITED METHODIST NEWS—Launched by the men’s group, Mubvuwi weUnited Methodist, new “Vhuserere” program reaches out to people in farming areas to share the Gospel and provide other support. The evangelism targets all age groups and includes preaching, teaching, music and more.
Farm owners say the church activities have led to positive changes for many of the workers and their families. Learn more...

Youth help their peers through small businesses

UNITED METHODIST NEWS—The youth group at Kabondo Center United Methodist Church helped build a shop on the church compound to house equipment to generate income for young people.
As the project began, the youth were encouraged to contribute weekly to the effort. Seventy to 100 youth donated to kickstart the project. The young people make and market ice to people who fish for a living. They also sell soft drinks and generate income from teachers who pay to use their printer. Read more...

Youth 2023: BOLD youth connect with God, one another

UNITED METHODIST NEWS—More than 2,500 attendees converged on Daytona Beach, Florida, for Youth 2023, the quadrennial youth event from Discipleship Ministries. The four-day event incorporated worship, workshops, Bible study, fellowship time and service opportunities. Twelve of the 13 general agencies of The UMC participated in Youth 2023 as speakers, workshop leaders and exhibitors, to provide participants an opportunity to learn about and interact with all areas of the church. Youth 2023 left church leaders feeling hopeful about the future of the denomination, with some saying they witnessed “the church at its best.” Read more...

One Last Word

be humble and gentle
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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