new e-Advocate logo (1)
To submit news items or events, email conference Director of Communications at [email protected].

November 24, 2020

Conference Vision: "to be disciples of Jesus Christ who are lifelong learners who influence others to serve."

  • How can you be a lifelong learner this week?

If you're worshiping at home this season, this Advent Candle Lighting Liturgy from Discipleship Ministries can easily be adapted for your family! Learn more...
  • How can you be an influencer this week?

Your church is invited to be a part of The United Methodist Church Worldwide Christmas Virtual Choir! Join with fellow United Methodist churches around the world to celebrate the birth of Christ our Savior. It’s easy to participate. Just click the link and follow the steps, and submit no later than Dec.1 at 12 p.m. CT. Learn more...
  • How can you serve this week?

#GivingTuesday is Dec. 1 and it's the perfect time to communicate about the variety of opportunities that United Methodists have to help further God’s mission. This article from ResourceUMC can give you ideas on how to participate through giving. Learn more...

Virginia News

thanksgiving pies

Conference office closed for Thanksgiving observance

The Conference Center in Glen Allen, Va. will be closed starting at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, November 25, and remain closed on November 26 and 27 for Thanksgiving observance.
self care during holidays

Rev. Dr. Maurice Graham shares about self-care during the holidays

Madeline Pillow White, conference Director of Communications, and the Rev. Dr. Maurice Graham, Shepherd’s Staff Ministry, Inc., talk about self-care and mental health and how individuals can best navigate changes to their holiday gatherings in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Watch...
Coronavirus virus under the microscope

Governor issues 25-person limit to public gatherings

November 14, 2020--The 25-person limit effective November 16, 2020 does not apply to places of worship. EO-63 requires wearing face coverings and this applies to religious services. EO-67 does not restrict the numbers that can attend religious services to the 25-person limit if a number of requirements are met (the ones already in the TAM). However, the 25-person limit does apply to things related to churches that are not religious services. That means Mission and Ministry programs and anything else that is not a service is limited to 25 or less. Learn more here...
umfs logo 120 years

New resources available for UMFS December offering

United Methodist Family Services (UMFS) is the Virginia Conference designated offering for December. UMFS deeply appreciates the support of local churches in this ministry, helping high-risk children create a brighter future. They have created a variety of digital assets to support the offering this year, and help you share the work of the ministry with your congregation. You can find the following resources at four short videos, an electronic bulletin insert, church offering scripts, and images for newsletters, emails, social media, and websites. Please contact Jill Gaynor ([email protected] or 804-254-9463) with any questions. UMFS thanks you for your support!
hillsboro umc

Unmarked graves to be honored at local church cemetery

In an open letter released Nov. 16, it was announced construction will begin on a memorial to 73 people in unmarked graves at the Arnold Grove East Cemetery, established in 1847, and is now part of Hillsboro United Methodist Church in the Winchester District. The remains of Freed African Americans and Slaves, Mulattoes, Native Americans and Europeans, Brothers and Sisters in our Christian faith, are buried in this cemetery. Learn more...

Virginia publication features Virginia Conference

The Dogwood, a publication that provides statewide and local news for Virginians, has an in-depth story that focuses on the conference’s return to worship as well as how churches have responded to the recent restrictions announced by Governor Northam on Friday, Nov. 13. More...
rmc logo

College scholarships for students preparing for Christian ministry

Whether one feels called to be a pastor, a youth minister, a music minister, a religious studies professor, a faith-based nonprofit leader, military or hospital chaplain Randolph-Macon College’s Bailey Scholars Program could help individuals afford college and find a supportive community for vocational discernment as they grow in college and prepare for seminary. Application deadline is Feb. 8, 2021. If you have questions, email [email protected]. Learn more at:
wesley seminary

Register now for 2021 J-Term and Spring online courses at Wesley

As we look forward to the end of 2020...why not launch 2021 by taking an online class at Wesley Theological Seminary? Whether it's your first class ever, continuing a degree or certificate program, or taking a class for continuing education, Wesley has a wide range of online courses that will explore your areas of interest, deepen your understanding with the latest scholarship, and will reveal God's workings in the important social and political concerns of our day.

Pick the online format that fits with your schedule: J-term classes (short, intense courses that run 1-2 weeks in January 2021 and can earn full credit) or full-term Spring Term classes (Jan. 21- May 8, 2021) Here are just a few of the upcoming courses:
J-Term Classes:
• Race, Religion + Resistance - Dr. Asa J. M Lee
• Prayer in the Early Church - Dr. Anna Adams Petrin
• Pastoral Care LGBTQIA+ Persons - Rev. Leo Allen Yates
• Planting New Faith Communities - Dr. Paul Nixon
Spring Term 2021 Classes:
• Exploring Digital Worship - Dr. Timothy Snyder
• Faith, Politics & The Public Square - Dr. Sondra Ely Wheeler, and Prof. Michael D McCurry
• James Baldwin AS Social Critic and Theologian - Dr. Josiah U. Young
• Theological conversations for Dismantling Racism - Audrey Coretta Price
Registration is now open - apply early to save your space! To register or for more information, go to or contact Admissions at [email protected] or call (202) 885-8659.
lewis moxley masks

Pandemic update: Why continue wearing a mask?

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) released a document, a resource shared with the conference by Dr. George Moxley of the conference's In-person workgroup, which is a consensus statement designed to provide national guidance for the public on wearing face coverings to decrease the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. It was developed by the AAMC Research and Action Institute in conjunction with leading experts in public health as part of The Way Forward on COVID-19: A Road Map to Reset the Nation’s Approach to the Pandemic released by the AAMC on July 29, 2020. View the document.

Bishop Sharma D. Lewis talked with Dr. George Moxley, VCU Health, about the continuing work Virginia United Methodists must do, such as wearing face masks, as the nation and world continue to manage the effects of COVID-19. Dr. Moxley is one of the medical professionals on the In-person workgroup which was formed in April by Bishop Lewis to oversee how churches in the Virginia Conference could safely return to worship.

This video has English, Spanish, and Korean subtitles. Part 2 is also now available. Stay updated on how the Virginia Conference churches are going back to worship by visiting: Learn more...

General Church News

Estimating financial impact of church exits

UNITED METHODIST NEWS --Over the past year, United Methodist financial leaders have faced the conundrum of trying to figure out what a potential church split means for the denomination’s bottom line. General Conference, the denomination’s top lawmaking assembly, faces multiple proposals to resolve the church’s longtime debate over LGBTQ inclusion by splitting the denomination. The big question mark: How many congregations would leave the denomination if General Conference approves a formal separation? While there is still no definitive answer, the General Council on Finance and Administration board got an idea of where to begin its calculations during its Nov. 19 online meeting. Based on a survey of the 54 U.S. conferences, the finance agency now estimates the denomination stands to lose about 20 percent of U.S. local church net expenditures between 2021 and 2024. Forty-seven conferences responded to the agency’s survey. Read more...

Where Do We Go from Here?: Post-Election worship resources available

DISCIPLESHIP MINISTRIES --The election may be over, but political divisions still run deep in the United States. What can we do as a worshiping people of God? Click to view these sample worship orders that could help chip away at the divisions among us. Learn more...

Human Relations Day is Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021

Human Relations Day is a powerful avenue to extend help and service to our local communities. It is about getting out of our comfortable social circles and offering love and care to those who need help in our neighborhoods and cities. It’s about walking with those who feel like everything in life is stacked against them. Read these words in Luke 14:13-14: “But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” This is the spirit of Human Relations Day – helping those on the margins and offering a message of hope. Let’s continue the ministry of Jesus with a united front through the Human Relations Day Special Sunday. Together as a church, we participate in helping our communities and being a bright light at home. Learn more...

Can General Conference be virtual? An Interview with Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton

CONNECTIONAL TABLE --The Rev. Kennetha Bigham-Tsai of The Connectional Table talks with Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton of the New York Annual Conference about whether it's prudent or fair to hold the in-person General Conference planned for 2021. Also hear Bishop Bickerton discuss church polity and about the power of the United Methodist connection. More...

One Last Word: Influencer

As we continue to live out the conference vision of being lifelong learners who influence others to serve, we may wonder what "lifelong learning" looks like or how we can best "influence" and "serve". Depending on our context, there are many different ways that we can live each of these out.

This week, we spotlight Dolly Parton. Her $1 million donation to COVID-19 research was partly used to fund Moderna's promising vaccine. In media appearances last Tuesday, Parton was very excited about the news. On the Today Show, she said, "Praise the Lord! I'm just very grateful that this is happening, and if I had anything to do with it, that's great."
Photo: Parton honored at the Kennedy Center Honors in 2006.
White House Reception for the Kennedy Center Honors. State Floor.
The use of face masks is one way that United Methodists can continue to show their care and concern for all of their neighbors as the nation and world continue to grapple with COVID-19. Thank you, Virginia Conference, for showing your ‘Faces of Care.’

Learn more from a two-part series in which Bishop Lewis talked with Dr. George Moxley, VCU Health, about the importance of wearing masks.

Learn more about the three-stage return to in-person worship at Virginia Conference churches:

Please send any issues or concerns to [email protected]. If the formatting gives you trouble in forwarding (especially in Outlook), you can use the following link. More...
facebook twitter youtube instagram linkedin