Advocate 2022 logo

June 4, 2024

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:

  1. Quick Links
  2. Events
  3. 2024 Virginia Annual Conference News
  4. Virginia News
  5. UMC News
  6. One Last Word: Prayer for Peace

Quick Links

  • Renfroe Grants now available
    Every year, the Conference Secretary of Global Missions (the Rev. Amanda Garber, VAUMC CSGM) of the Southeastern Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church gathers with others to award the Renfro Trust Grant to local churches and Siedschlag award to members of the conference. The application is now open for your church, located in a less than 10,000 population, to apply for a ‘brick and mortar’ grant of up to $5,000. Also, each conference can nominate up to two members of the conference who might be the recipient of the Siedschlag award.

    Deadline: August 1, 2024

    For details on the grant and the trust, visit the SEJ site. The VAUMC contact is Rev. Amanda Garber.
  • A new series called “The United Methodist Church really is …” takes a proactive approach to discuss what The United Methodist Church is doing in light of the actions taken at the recent General Conference. This monthly series from United Methodist Communications will focus first on legislation that has gone into immediate effect in the United States. Part 1 looks at decentering the U.S. and the United States Regional Committee. Learn more...


To view conference and local church events, visit the Virginia Conference website at
To submit an local church event for inclusion, submit this form.
  • Nov. 22-24, 2024: Save the Date for VAUMC Youth Fall Retreat
fall 2024 youth retreat

2024 Virginia Annual Conference News

2024 AC Logo_Three Movements-RGB.PNG

Past of AC Offering is Campaign on Undue Medical Debt

The Virginia Annual Conference has an offering goal to raise $390,000 to help eliminate $39 million dollars of medical debt in Virginia. This effort is inspired by the work of Haymarket UMC and Grace UMC who cleared $3 million dollars of medical debt earlier this year. Learn about both medical debt and Partnerships of Hope as this year’s conference offering: Give online:

Watch the video...

Information on Annual Conference offering

For our Annual Conference offering this year, we are excited to share that we will be supporting two important initiatives who are engaged in the work of mission and service in the world. Our first one is supporting the ongoing connectional work with our VAUMC Partnerships of Hope countries: Brazil, Mozambique, Cambodia, Haiti, Vietnam, and Native American Ministries. The other half of our offering will be given towards our conference-wide Undue Medical Debt Campaign(formerly RIP Medical Debt) to help eliminate medical debt in the Commonwealth of Virginia. It is our hope that through this debt campaign, we are able to raise $390,000 that would help eliminate $39 million of medical debt that continues to hurt the most vulnerable in Virginia. This campaign will start with the Annual Conference offering and continue through the end of the calendar year.

To give to the Annual Conference offering, you can make your check out to the Virginia United Methodist Conference with AC Offering in the memo line, and mail it to:

Virginia United Methodist Conference Center
P.O. Box 5606
Glen Allen, VA 23058

Or, you can give online using this link: VAUMC Donations and then selecting “Annual Conference Offering”.

For more information about Partnerships of Hope, please visit:

For more information about Undue Medical Debt (formerly RIP Medical Debt), please visit:

Thank you for your generosity in supporting these two initiatives!

Pre-AC videos available

Find all AC videos on the conference YouTube.

Volunteers needed for Annual Conference

There are several areas where volunteers will be needed at the Annual Conference June 20 -22, in Hampton. These ministry opportunities are for everyone, not just members of the Annual Conference.
Sign up:

Golf carts


Access listing of AC Banquets

The current list of Banquets and Events for Annual Conference is now available online at the conference website. Find under "Banquets and Events." View listing...

Clergy, lay members need to report absence

Clergy and lay members are reminded that according to Book of Discipline ¶602.8 [1], any clergy or lay member of the Annual Conference who will not be attending the Annual Conference on June 20-22, 2024, will need to report their absence to the conference secretary (not the Bishop). Use the following Google form to report these absences. This form can be found here.

If you have further questions, please email at [email protected] or if you are giving a written letter, please address it to:
Rev. Joshua King
P.O. Box 487
Purcellville, VA 20134
Thank you for your attention to this.
Grace and Peace,
Joshua King
Virginia Conference Secretary

Take part in Lunch Labs

As Annual Conference 2024 draws near, the Office of Missional Engagement is thrilled to introduce something exciting and experimental– Lunch Labs!
Lunch Labs are experiential learning opportunities that will equip and resource members and guests of the Annual Conference as they seek to connect with each other, their church, their community, and the world. Participants will engage with seasoned practitioners and hear their stories of joys, failures, and lessons learned. They’ll also have opportunities to dream, experiment and (hopefully) leave the labs feeling more inspired, equipped and encouraged to embody God’s love and hope in the world. Topics include:
  • The Heart of It All: United Methodist Theology of Mission 101
  • Who is My Neighbor? Reimagining and Transforming Community
  • Taste and See: A Lunch Church Fresh Expression
  • Follow Thee More Nearly: Advocacy as a Foundation for Faithful Living

Registration is highly encouraged, but not required! If you’re ready to sign up and join us in the laboratory, please click here.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to The Office of Missional Engagement at [email protected].
Learn more...

Virginia News


ClergyNet, other email groups to shut down July 1

Clergy and lay members as well as other lay leadership were invited in February 2024 to take part in a Communications survey. The aim of this survey was to aid the conference Communications Office and the Board of Communications in implementing better strategies and structures to better equip and resource the clergy and lay membership of the Virginia Annual Conference.

The first phase of this work will be shutting down all the conference email groups on July 1, 2024. The conference currently has 10 email groups and the full list is below. The largest groups are ClergyNet and LaityNet.

In place of this, a select number of curated topics will be shared, allowing members to opt into these specified email notifications.

It has been noted by the Communications staff over the years, the email groups, at their best, have provided an arena for community and sharing and, at their worst, have added to stress on members with too much information, too many emails, and often varied content that is not of interest to portions of our audience.

This work is being introduced as a way to streamline conference communications and to help members find the exact content they are looking to receive.

Later this summer, the conference Communications Office will share overall findings from the survey and how it is helping to inform the office’s goal in streamlining and improving conference communications and resources.

Please share any questions or concerns with Director of Communications Madeline White at [email protected].

Email groups affected:
VAUMC Fresh Expressions

Nonprofit Affordable Housing Developer celebrates 50 years of impact in DC Metro region

Wesley Housing kicked off a six-month-long celebration for its 50th anniversary, marking five decades of significant contributions to affordable housing across the metropolitan Washington, DC region. Visit Wesley Housing’s 50th-anniversary page to read the full announcement, learn about their special logo and theme, uncover their rich history rooted in the Methodist church, and discover how you can help ensure their mission of building up lives continues to advance for decades to come. Learn more...

Connect students to campus ministries

As high school seniors graduate this season, you can help connect those planning to attend college with a ministry home away from home. The Virginia Annual Conference supports 13 campus ministries and 4 United Methodist colleges/universities across Virginia. Our chaplains and campus ministers are excited to connect with students from your congregation as they head off to school.

Please take a moment to provide us with contact information for every student who will be enrolled in a college or university this fall (Para. 232 and 256.3d in the Book of Discipline). Our VAUMC campus ministers and chaplains reach out to incoming students over the summer, and welcome freshmen as they arrive on campus in the fall. You can find the form to submit information here.

Here's a video featuring our campus ministries, and more information about contacting our ministries is available here.

Please contact Dwayne Stinson ([email protected]) if you have questions or would like to learn more about connecting with a campus ministry.

Register now for "Growing Young Retreat"

Registration is now open for the "Growing Young Retreat: Six strategies to help young people discover and love your church" hosted by the Virginia Annual Conference from October 18-19, 2024.

Where: Roslyn Retreat Center, 8727 River Road, Richmond, VA 23229
Cost: $75 per person (includes lodging and meals); $50 per person if commuting
This event is open to all: Clergy, Laity, Children's Ministry Leaders, Youth Ministry Leaders, Family Ministry Leaders, Staff, Volunteers, etc. Register now...

UMC News

umc news

Church revives itself with community engagement

Bethany United Methodist Church outside Atlanta was faltering because it wasn't attracting enough residents of its diverse neighborhood. Taking advantage of grants, the church brought in a former Coca-Cola marketing executive turned preacher, who has made it his mission to connect Bethany with its neighbors. The congregation is still mostly white, but a visit to a recent Sunday service showed that a more diverse group is participating. Other churches could follow the same strategy and revitalize. Learn more...

Faith communities help revive AIDS ministries in India

The National Council of Churches in India is leading efforts to revive AIDS programs overshadowed by the COVID pandemic and to advocate for gender and sexual diversity. During two days of seminars, participants focused on “Gender and Sexual Diversities and the Faith Communities” and “Assessing a Relevant Faith Based on HIV and AIDS Responses in Chennai.” Currently 2.47 million people are HIV-positive in India, with at least 66,000 new infections last year. “Many Christians express homophobia and experience fear when associating with HIV-positive persons,” noted Dr. N. M. Samuel, a retired Chennai medical school professor and the son of a Methodist minister. Learn more...

Zimbabwe men’s organization moves beyond music

Members of the Zimbabwe East Conference’s Mubvuwi we United Methodist Church are turning to income-generating projects for sustainability — to fund their own programs and support the church. Tapiwa Mupari, who chairs the men’s organization, stressed the importance of acquiring assets and engaging in capital projects for financial sustainability. The men’s organization initiative led to the signing of an agreement for a United Methodist Church funeral cash plan with a major banking and finance company. The new focus resonates with current conversations on the African continent regarding decolonizing the church. Learn more...

One Last Word: Prayers for Peace

Prayer can be a meaningful practice for addressing and processing anxieties, but sometimes finding the right words to express your feelings can be difficult. This collection of prayers shared throughout Christian history may be helpful. Read more...

Deep peace of the running wave to you,
Deep peace of the flowing air to you,
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you,
Deep peace of the shining stars to you,
Deep peace of the Son of Peace to you, for ever.

-Source unknown - early Scottish
Image by Wolfgang_Hasselmann from Pixabay
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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