Advocate 2022 logo

September 26, 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:

  • Event calendar
  • Conference & Denomination Resources
  • Ministry Highlight
  • Local Church Highlights
  • Updates from Connectional Ministries: Discipleship & Congregational Vitality
  • 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.

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...

NOVA District offering hybrid training day on January 20, 2024

The 2024 NoVa District Training Day will welcome Rev. Matt Miofsky, author of Let Go: Leaning Into the Future Without Fear to the Northern Virginia District.

The event will focus on “The E Word” as we all continue to work to make disciples for the transformation of the world. This will be a HYBRID event with opportunities in person, online, and as teams.

Registration will open in November. Learn more...

Facing the Future 2023 Conference: November 14-16

Facing the Future is an experientially oriented conference from General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR) geared explicitly toward clergy serving across differences throughout our United Methodist connection, coming together to be supported and encouraged as they journey faithfully with God and God’s people. With the help of recognized leaders within The United Methodist Church, Facing the Future will equip, inspire, and commission clergy serving in Cross-Racial/Cross-Cultural/Multi-cultural communities and settings to be the hands and feet of Jesus in a time such as this.

For more information, please visit website and register...
resources ac

Five ways to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

UNITED METHODIST COMMUNICATIONS-- Hispanic Heritage Month spans from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15 and is a time when congregations can enrich their ministries as they interact with people whose culture and, perhaps, language are different from theirs. Check out a few ways non-Hispanic/Latino congregations can respectfully celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. Learn more...

Register for the Safer Sanctuaries: Train the Trainer Event

DISCIPLESHIP MINISTRIES-- Since the release of Safe Sanctuaries in 1998, churches have changed the way they attempt to prevent abuse of the vulnerable and protect staff and volunteers. Discipleship Ministries is offering a Safer Sanctuaries Train the Trainer gathering, November 28 – December 1, 2023, in Kansas City, Missouri. The event is designed to train and update leaders who have training responsibilities for district, conference, or episcopal areas of The United Methodist Church. By attending this training, attendees will leave prepared to train others in the use of the Safer Sanctuaries material. Learn more...

United Methodist Communications offers week-long training

UNITED METHODIST COMMUNICATIONS-- United Methodist Communication (UMCom) has announced the return of its week-long ecumenical training opportunity launching this fall for anyone in ministry seeking to enhance their communications skills. Communications Learning Week: Communications that Transform will be held October 16-20, 2023 and is designed with busy schedules in mind. All of the learning week content will be recorded and stored in a learning portal that participants will have access to for six months following the event. Registration is open September 12 – October 12, 2023, with an early bird 20% discount available for people signing up by Sept. 30th.
During the learning week, church leaders and communicators will get access to a vast library of on-demand resources including recorded videos, tutorials and podcast episodes and self-guided eLearning modules curated by the UMCom training team. Workshops led by experts on a variety of topics will be presented followed by Q&A sessions with each facilitator. Opportunities for discussion and networking round out the week’s activities.
Sessions will include:
• Tik Tok for Churches
• Personal Branding
• Things I Wish I'd Known About Communications as a Senior Pastor
• Disaster Communications
• Content for Digital Congregations
• Next Level Canva Tools
• Combatting Disinformation

Learn more...
ministry highlight

Ministry highlight: VAUMC Latino Caucus

The Latino Caucus of the Virginia Conference caucus was formed to represent and advocate for our Latino and Hispanic ministries across the conference. This caucus is led by Rev. Marcela Jarman, Rev. David Jiménez-Cárdenas and Rev. Chad Beck with Rev. Callie Walker as treasurer.
The Latino Caucus is committed to advocate and be a strong voice for Latino ministries across the Virginia
conference. Working with laity and clergy, this caucus seeks to offer education, mentoring and financial support for our ministry leaders. They strive to keep up an updated database of all Latino ministries, an
updated webpage, and to grow their visibility at the Conference level.
Please support the caucus during Hispanic Heritage Month and throughout the year with your prayers and
financial gifts. If you would like to contribute towards the caucus, please make your contribution to The
Latino Caucus and mail our treasurer Callie Walker at 9200 S. Amelia Ave., Amelia, VA. Learn more...
local church highlights

From around the VAUMC:

  • First UMC in Salem celebrated their 220th anniversary on September 24 with DS Doug Forrester in attendance and Bishop Sue Haupert-Johnson preaching.
  • The Loving Neighbors Mission Camp (started at and hosted by The Garden UMC, Coastal Virginia District) received the Everyday Hero Award from Channel 3 news and Southern Bank. The award aired on the evening news on September 12, 2023.
discipleship & congregational vitality

Updates from Discipleship & Congregational Vitality in Connectional Ministries

Be sure to check out the Virginia UMC Children's/Family Ministry Leaders Facebook Group as well as the
Virginia UMC Youth Leaders Facebook Group for areas of connection, networking, and resource-sharing.

Upcoming Youth Events:

  • 10/8 (5:15-7:30) Youth Night of Worship @ Discovery UMC
  • 10/15 (5-7:30) VA Youth Unite (Worship Night) @ Arcola UMC
  • 10/22 (4-6) Youth Night of Worship @ St Marks-Daleville

Virginia News

October deadline approaches for clergywomen scholarship

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.

Join VAUMC discipleship book study and group discussion

The VAUMC Office of Discipleship and Congregational Vitality is offering a book study and group discussion of the 25th Anniversary Revision of The Godbearing Life (Kenda Creasy Dean, Ron Foster, and Megan DeWald).
The study will begin the week of October 2 and will end the week of November 13. If you are interested in taking part in this group discussion, please follow this link. We will determine what time(s) and day(s) we will meet based on your availability. Please contact Hannah Bryn ([email protected]) or Dwayne Stinson ([email protected]) if you have questions.

Support UMCOR disaster relief efforts in Libya

Please join us in prayer for the people of Libya impacted greatly by the recent severe flooding. More than 2,000 people are feared dead as whole neighborhoods were swept into the sea by flash floods. Pray also for the safety of first responders and medical personnel working on the front lines of this crisis. UMCOR is coordinating with regional contacts to determine how best to support them. To help those impacted by this and other disasters around the world, donate here.

New Skunk on the Table episode talks disaffiliation, future of the VAUMC

September 15-- Skunk on the Table is a video, podcast and article series focused on simple and clear conversations about topics of interest to the conference and denomination. In this episode, David Dommisse, Conference Treasurer, answers questions related to disaffiliation in the Virginia Conference and the financial impacts. David shared that “we are still very stable financially, we are going to lose roughly 11% of the financial capacity of the conference through disaffiliations…that’s a significant number, but one we can handle…we’ve done a good job managing, we will have to make significant changes, but we’re coming from a place of relative strength and I believe we will continue to be strong into the future.”
Also joining the conversation is Dwayne Stinson, Director of Connectional Ministries for Discipleship and Congregational Vitality, who shares that “the future of the conference is on mission and ministry…I’m hoping we can renew our focus on how we share the Gospel with people in a way that shows them Jesus loves them and invites them to follow the call that God has for them and has equipped [them for]…that’s my hope that we can get back to our actual mission as a denomination and [as] Christians.”

A Special Annual Conference will be held via Zoom Webinar on Saturday, October 7, 2023, to consider local church disaffiliation under Paragraph 2553 of the Book of Discipline. A Disaffiliation Reporting Guide and more was shared at:
umc news

General Church News

Church court finds bishop not guilty

UNITED METHODIST NEWS—After deliberating for more than five hours, a jury of fellow United Methodist clergy rendered a verdict acquitting Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño on all counts. Read more...

Bishops serving in Africa pledge to stay in The United Methodist Church

COUNCIL OF BISHOPS—United Methodist Church bishops serving the church in Africa have issued a statement declaring their intention to stay in the denomination despite differences on the issue of human sexuality. Read more...

One Last Word

"Don’t be anxious about anything; rather, bring up all of your requests to God in your prayers and petitions, along with giving thanks." - Philippians 4:6 CEB
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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