Advocate 2022 logo

October 10, 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:

  • Grant opportunity highlight
  • Event calendar
  • Conference & Denomination Resources
  • Virginia News
  • General Church News
  • One Last Word

Foundation grants open through October 31

The Foundation awards a limited number of grants to Virginia United Methodist churches and affiliated agencies of the Virginia United Methodist Conference. Grants are made only for programs and activities (including operating expenses and supplies) necessary for those programs or activities. They are not made for building repair, replacement, or expansion. Foundation grant awards are reviewed by the Foundation’s Grants Committee. The Committee makes a recommendation to the full Board of Directors to be voted on at the December Board Meeting. Please contact [email protected] if you have any questions about Foundation grants or the grant application process. Learn more...
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.

Mark your calendar for UM Day on February 1, 2024

UM Day at the General Assembly is happening in 2024! Join us on February 1, 2024 in Richmond with Bishop Sue to advocate together! You can register here.

Faithful Virginia United Methodists from across the Commonwealth have gathered in Richmond for over 30 years to advocate for their neighbors. As United Methodists gather at this event, individuals arrange visits with their Senators to discuss issues that are relevant to the United Methodist faith with direction from friends and partners at Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy and other advocacy groups. If you are interested in putting your faith into action, register today.

Registration is $25 for early registration and $10 for students. You can learn more about the event and our schedule on the VAUMC website. Or if you want to learn more about the event before you register, you can sign up for our Preview Meeting on Nov. 30 at 7 p.m. Learn more...

General Conference- April 23 to May 3, 2024

The United Methodist General Conference is set take place April 23 to May 3, 2024 in Charlotte, N.C.

Blacksburg UMC Edges to host workshop on rethinking church culture

In partnership with the Virginia Conference, Blacksburg UMC Edges is hosting an event to rethink Church culture from November 3-4. Registration is now open. 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...
resources ac

Become a Climate Just Congregation

VAUMC-- Learn more from the VAUMC Board of Church and Society.

Why do United Methodist use grape juice in Communion?

UNITED WOMEN IN FAITH-- Women’s organizing is at the root of why United Methodists use grape juice for communion. Learn more...

6 Tools for holy work with children

LEWIS CENTER FOR CHURCH LEADERSHIP-- A recent article from the Lewis Center for Church Leadership offers six tools to help children process their experiences and discoveries about God. Through story, liturgy and ritual, relational awareness, memory markers, wonder, and work, children experience and respond to God’s presence and love. Learn more...

Find your Advent 2023 resources now

UNITED METHODIST COMMUNICATIONS-- It is never too early to start planning your congregation’s Advent services. Discipleship Ministries has you covered with sermon notes, suggested hymns, prayers and social media graphics. This year’s theme is “Our Spirit Waits.” It encourages congregations to carry hope, peace, joy and love as they live as disciples who anticipate the coming of Christ into the world. Learn more...

Register now for holding sacred space mental health seminar

UNITED METHODIST COMMUNICATIONS-- Creating space in which to break the stigma of mental illness, this webinar series with special guests emphasizes the intersectionalities of mental health, faith and social action. The series, hosted by Church and Society, is comprised of six webinars that will take place throughout October. Registration is required for each webinar. Learn more...

Virginia News

120 churches disaffiliate at last VAUMC Special Called Annual Conference

A Special Called Annual Conference session was held on October 7, 2023 for the Virginia Annual Conference membership to consider the ratification of 120 local churches seeking to disaffiliate from The United Methodist Church over matters of human sexuality using Paragraph 2553 of the Book of Discipline.

By an Annual Conference vote, 92% of members voted “yes” and 8% of members voted “no” to ratify the disaffiliation of 120 churches. These churches(with their disaffiliation amounts in article below) disaffiliated under Paragraph 2553 in the October 7 session as a block. Read more...

Reveille UMC partners with Habitat for Humanity for panel build

Reveille UMC has partnered with Richmond Habitat to frame the structure of a Habitat home on the church’s Cary Street Road campus, then transport the panels to the final build site to complete the home for a partner family. This marks the first time Richmond Habitat has started a panel build off site.
To help fund this initiative, Reveille UMC raised more than $100,000 toward construction of the home. This level of sponsorship helps cover the costs of building materials, supplies, and any skilled labor needed for a Habitat home. By sponsoring this build, Reveille UMC’s campaign of “Building Walls to Take Down Walls” aims to raise awareness about the importance of affordable housing and inspire other local faith organizations to get involved in similar community-driven initiatives.
Reveille UMC will contribute not only financial support, but physical support as well. The church has invited their congregation and community members to volunteer in the construction process. Volunteers will begin working on the panels in the church’s parking lot on Wednesday, October 11 from 8:00 am to 3:00 PM.
“This project has created a real spark for us here at Reveille,” said Rev. Dr. Pete Moon, Reveille’s lead pastor. “Our folks are genuinely excited to partner with Richmond Habitat. We are looking forward to seeing how God will use this project to light some fires of hope in our Richmond community!” To learn more about this build and get involved, visit

New addition opens at UMFS campus

The opening of the latest addition to Charterhouse School in Richmond at UMFS was held on Wednesday, October 4. This new space symbolizes a promising future and an expanded realm of opportunities for all UMFS students. In attendance as guests were Bishop Sue-Haupert Johnson and Delegate Betsy Carr.

Open Enrollment began Monday, Oct. 9

Open Enrollment is the annual period when all benefits eligible Virginia Conference clergy and lay employees have the ability to enroll in or make changes to their benefit plan elections for 2024. Open enrollment for the Virginia Conference health plans began on Monday, October 9 and will run through Tuesday, October 31.

The health plans are not changing, however there is a 5% increase to participant medical contributions in 2024. Dental and vision contributions will remain the same in 2024. If you do not want to change your current plan elections, no action is needed. We will keep you enrolled in the same plans at the same enrollment tier in 2024. Please note, however, that if you want to make contributions to a Flexible Spending Account or a Dependent Care Spending Account, you must indicate your desired monthly contributions in the open enrollment system, as IRS rules prohibit enrollment in those plans by default.

During this year’s open enrollment period, Unity Web online benefits enrollment system will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The system is accessible at In addition, there will be a link to Unity Web on the Virginia Conference website at Additional details and instructions on how to log in and enroll/make changes to your benefits or dependents will also be on the Conference website.
Please email Melissa Wahlberg at [email protected] or call 804-521-1131 with any 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.
umc news

General Church News

UMC Bishops condemn violence in the Middle East, call for prayer and action

COUNCIL OF BISHOPS-- The United Methodist Church call for prayer and action amidst the ongoing violence in the Middle East. Bishop Bickerton reminds the UMC be mindful of the Book of Resolutions (2016) statement that, “We seek for all people in the Middle East region an end to military occupation, freedom from violence, and full respect for the human rights of all under international law.” Read more...

Church leaders in Holy Land call for de-escalation, respect for human rights

UNITED METHODIST NEWS-- Christian leaders in the Holy Land calling for an end to all violent and military activities that bring harm to both Palestinian and Israeli civilians. The violence began Oct. 7 when the militant group Hamas attacked southern Israel. Israel has now declared war on Hamas. Read article...

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month: a multicultural vision

UNITED METHODIST NEWS-- To mark Hispanic Heritage Month, the Rev. Lydia Muñoz writes about efforts by The United Methodist Church to include the diverse cultures of Hispanic/Latinx people in its tapestry. Hispanic Heritage Month is Sept. 15-Oct. 15. Learn more...

Panel at church conference focuses on UMC future

Leadership Institute at Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, KS is designed to equip, encourage, and inspire ministry leaders from across the country and around the globe. At this yearly event, held this year from Sept. 27-29, there was a panel discussion with Bishop Tracy Smith Malone of the East Ohio Conference, Bishop Tom Berlin of the Florida Area, and Bishop Mande Muyombo of the North Katanga Area of the Congo Central Conference which was largely focused on the future of the UMC. Dr. Paul Chilcote, who currently serves at Cambridge directing their Center for Global Wesleyan Theology, shared his thoughts after the panel as well. Dr. Paul Chilcote is the author of the upcoming book, "Multiplying Love: A Vision of United Methodist Life Together." Watch panel...

Creation care on a Hawaii beach

UNITED METHODIST NEWS-- Members of Kailua United Methodist Church are committed to creation care, in big and small ways, as they live out their faith. The congregation regularly participates in community projects aimed at preserving sacred Hawaiian natural areas and hosts a monthly beach cleanup that offers a special time for fellowship. Read more...

One Last Word

do not fear
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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