Advocate 2022 logo

August 29, 2023

To submit news items, stories, or corrections for inclusion in the newsletter, email the conference Communications Office at [email protected].

Notice: The Virginia Conference Center in Glen Allen will be closed on Monday, September 4, 2023 in observance of Labor Day.

In this week's edition of the Advocate, you will find:
  • Event calendar
  • Denomination Resources
  • Virginia News
  • General Church News
  • One Last Word
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.

Register for 2024 Virginia Five-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation

In partnership with The Upper Room, The Virginia Five-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation will be held March 3-8, 2024 at the Roslyn Retreat Center in Richmond, Va. The focus will be on basic spiritual formation practices, church history, and opening up the scriptures while “Claiming The Promises” God has in store for each of us. This is a setting in which lay and clergy persons can enhance their sense of call to follow Christ and serve the church and the world. It will provide for participants an in-depth and comprehensive experience in spiritual formation, educate participants in the history and development of the Christian spiritual life, and encourage participants to live out their call through the recovery of the disciplines of daily prayer and the ongoing participation in personal and group spiritual guidance. Register by check or credit card at Limited Scholarship Assistance is available, please contact John Hall at (804-837-2025) for info. Learn more...
resources ac

What every United Methodist child should know about generosity

DISCIPLESHIP MINISTRIES-- Ask adult disciples in your church how they first learned about being generous, and odds are they will mention watching their parents filling an offering envelope or putting money in the offering plate. They may respond about receiving coins or a dollar bill to put in the offering plate of their Sunday school class. Yet in the world we live in today where offering plates have been sidelined, where money flies digitally across the internet into the church’s account, the question begs an answer: “Where will our children learn how to be generous disciples of Jesus Christ?” Learn more...

Six ways to protect your congregation from scammers

DISCIPLESHIP MINISTRIES-- A recent article from TIME Magazine explores the concerns and dangers inherent in an act that purports to provide greater protection for personal data. It sounds like a sci-fi movie until you realize that it is the world we live in. The irony is that the legions of humans out there hoping to scam us have now been joined by armies of AI-driven “bots” that gather information on us at the speed of electrons moving across the internet. Bots (derived from the word “robot”) are software programs that perform automated, repetitive, pre-defined tasks across the internet. Bots can be programmed to explore websites and look for specific things such as email addresses, phone numbers, or even account numbers.
Framed by this terrifying story as a backdrop, let me ask the question: “What is your church doing to protect your church members’ personal data and the potential trauma of getting scammed?” Learn more...

Webinar available on environmental, racial justice

BALTIMORE-WASHINGTON CONFERENCE-- The Baltimore-Washington Conference released a helpful webinar that shares about environmental justice and racial justice. View webinar...

4 characteristics of good discipling relationships

LEWIS CENTER FOR CHURCH LEADERSHIP-- Phil Maynard and Eddie Pipkin say education-based approaches to spiritual formation often fail to form disciples committed to Christlike living. They suggest doing what Jesus did — focusing intentionally on spiritual growth and development within a context of relationality and accountability. Read more...

Virginia News

umcor pray for louisiana

Relief, recovery efforts continue through UMCOR support

Please continue to pray and stay updated on the number of natural disasters across the nation and world, including the wildfires in Louisiana, flooding in Mexico and California, and the wind-driven wildfires on Maui.

Gifts can be made in the following ways to UMCOR US Disaster Response and Recovery
Advance # 901670:
  • 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.
Learn more from UMCOR...
mustard seed

Apply now to Mustard Seed Migration grants

The Mustard Seed Migration Grant program is designed to encourage local United Methodist churches to engage in ministry to migrants in their midst. UMCOR will award grants of $2,000 USD to up to 100 United Methodist local churches to engage in new, one-time community-based service projects and ministries focused on migrants and refugees.
The goal of this program is to nurture a deeper understanding and care for the most vulnerable in our communities. We also encourage participating congregations to think about what they might do on a long-term basis, how they might get involved in advocacy to address systemic injustices present in immigration policy or consider how they might more completely live into a new understanding of church as the kingdom of God, actively engaged in caring for the most vulnerable in the community.

Completed applications will be evaluated on an ongoing basis. Though the final deadline is October 1, 2023, churches are encouraged to submit their applications as soon as possible, since awards will be given on a first-come first-served basis. Applicants will be notified within four weeks of the application submission date. Applications must be signed by the church’s senior pastor and lay leader. Submit a completed, signed application via email to [email protected].
su archives

Bishop Sue visits EUB Archives

Bishop Sue recently visited Shenandoah University in Winchester, Va. While there she also visited the EUB Archives located in the library.

Pictured: (left – right) Pete Phillips, JoEllen Smith, Bishop Sue, and Caroline Phillips. Caroline and Pete are original members of the Archives Committee and helped set up the Archives from numerous boxes filled with books, files and artifacts. Pete served as the Chair until 2018, and JoEllen is the current chair.

Shenandoah University is one of the Virginia Conference-related schools.

UMC and BSA agreements remain the same from 2022

It is that time of year when your church may consider renewing or establishing agreements with community organizations or ministries, including the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).

On December 21, 2022, the conference shared information about BSA and approved agreements for churches to use with the organization. The information in this communication remains in effect.

There are only two approved agreements related to BSA for local churches. Charters should not be used by any United Methodist Church.

The Virginia Conference believes that churches can be well served with the revised Annual Affiliation Agreement, which can be found here. We also believe local churches can be well served by using the September 2022 Facilities Use Agreement if the Annual Affiliation Agreement is not the best option. The Facilities Use Agreement can be found here.

This change came as a result of the class -action lawsuit against BSA and the subsequent bankruptcy case. Use of these agreements, rather than charters, allows churches the choice in how they engage with Scouting ministries. These forms establishing the legal relationship between a local church and BSA still allow local churches to partner in ministry with scouting in rich and meaningful ways.

If you have any questions, please contact your district superintendent or Assistant to the Bishop the Rev. Dr. Steve Summers.

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].
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

Bishop calls for prayer after Jacksonville shooting

UNITED METHODIST NEWS—Just days before the 60th anniversary of the March on Washington, where the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech, a gunman killed three Black people in Jacksonville, Florida, in what law enforcement identified as a hate crime. “How long, O LORD, will some have to live in fear,” asks Florida Conference Bishop Tom Berlin in a call to prayer that references Psalm 13. Read statement...

Church WhatsApp group fosters business collaboration

UNITED METHODIST NEWS—The United Methodist Church in Zimbabwe has created a dedicated WhatsApp platform where church members can connect, explore business opportunities, promote each other’s companies and services and offer other support. Learn more...

United Methodist connection at work for Maui

UNITED METHODIST NEWS—Many United Methodist churches have been raising funds for relief and recovery efforts on the Hawaiian island of Maui, where wildfires destroyed the town of Lahaina, including Lahaina United Methodist Church. Two newly chartered United Methodist churches are among those making donations for Maui relief. Hawaiian United Methodist churches have been helping financially and in other ways. Learn more...

Finance board votes on bishop, agency pay

UNITED METHODIST NEWS—As it does annually, the board of The United Methodist Church’s finance agency voted on bishops’ pay for the coming year. The General Council on Finance and Administration board also adjusted the salary scale for agency employees. Amid rising disaffiliations, giving from the U.S. was slightly up compared to this time last year. Learn more...

Regionalization plan heads to General Conference

UNITED METHODIST NEWS—A key United Methodist leadership body has given unanimous approval to submitting a proposal for worldwide regionalization to the denomination’s top lawmaking assembly.
The legislative package aims to give Africa, Europe, the Philippines and the U.S. equal standing in church decision-making. Proponents of the plan argue that regionalization will help with missional effectiveness while maintaining United Methodists’ shared identity. Getting to this point has taken collaboration among United Methodists around the globe. Learn more...

One Last Word

God, give us today our daily bread, and let us trust You with what we will need tomorrow.
dont worry
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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