A Story of Shelter (2.0)

The traditional spot of Jesus’ birth is hardly more than a cleft in a rock. The cave beneath the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem preserves the location with a silver star that pilgrims kneel to kiss as they filter through the hot, crowded space that would have served as a stable. But for Joseph and Mary, it was shelter from the night. As we see the devastating images from California in the wake of the Camp Fire, maybe you wonder like I do—what would we do if we lost the place we call home? How would we even start to rebuild? How could those many, many thousands of people rebuild? More...

Ted Smith named Director of Connectional Ministries


 Dr. Ted Smith

 The Rev. Marc Brown
 

Bishop Sharma D. Lewis is pleased to announce the new Director of Connectional Ministries appointment effective July 1, 2019. The Rev. Dr. Theodore Smith, currently serving as the district superintendent of the Rappahannock River District, will be the new Director of Connectional Ministries. Smith will replace the Rev. Marc Brown who will leave the Extended Cabinet having faithfully served as the Director of Connectional Ministries since 2008. Please join Bishop Lewis in congratulating these servants for their diligent hard work in the Virginia Annual Conference.

Conference event shares information on upcoming General Conference

As head of the Virginia Conference delegation to the Special Session of the General Conference, Martha Stokes has invested countless hours in study and prayer and conversation, preparing herself as best as she can for the three-day gathering in St. Louis, now less than five months away. This journey has taken her into local churches around the conference, where she has heard divergent opinions on issues related to human sexuality, on ordination of self-avowing gay and lesbian clergy, and on same-sex marriages. “I’ve been wonderfully surprised at times, when people come up afterwards and say, ‘We recognize, even in our congregation that we have lots of differences of opinion, but we didn’t realize until today how much we love each other,’” Stokes said on Sept. 26, at the Commission on a Way Forward Q&A event. At the 90-minute Q&A event, Stokes joined Bishop Sharma D. Lewis and the Rev. Tom Berlin – lead pastor at Floris UMC in Herndon and clergy head of the Virginia Conference delegation to General Conference – to provide an overview of the work done by the Commission on a Way Forward and to answer about 15 questions, some submitted in advance, some on the night of the gathering.  More... 

Son follows father’s footsteps as a church planter

Aug. 14, 2018 - The Rev. Minoo Kim began his middle school basketball career the same year Yao Ming began his NBA career. Kim was 5-foot-9, tall for his age. Ming was 7-foot-6, tall for his species. But there were assumptions made by coaches and fellow players, that Kim would grow to be the next Ming. Never mind that Kim is Korean-American and Ming is Chinese. Never mind the genetic factors at play. The basketball community in Central New Jersey was convinced they had a Yao Ming 2.0 in their midst. Alas, it didn’t happen. Kim grew two more inches through middle school and then stopped growing, but he was a solid contributor on his high school basketball team. Assumptions about him weren’t limited to the basketball court. The son of a United Methodist pastor, Kim heard it all growing up as a “PK” or pastor’s kid, with some assuming he was a rebel and others assuming he was a saint. More...

Church’s ministry makes 'safe zone' for young people

July 2018 - A conversation with the Rev. Timothy Kirven begins with his enthusiasm level on high and rises up from there, as he talks passionately about the new Safe Zone ministry at Worship and Praise Church on Richmond’s East End. But, then suddenly, the enthusiasm is gone, as he considers the recent past. “I’ve probably done over 100 funerals for young people under the age of 25 over the last four to five years,” Kirven said. Amid the cries of those mourning such unthinkable loss, he heard a call, from parents and youth, desperate for a safe haven. More...

Advocates, witnesses remain in spite of Mountain Valley Pipeline project

June 7, 2018 - The Rev. Morris Fleischer can look out of his office window at Newport-Mt. Olivet UMC (NMO-UMC) in Newport, Va., and see the path of the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). Once in place, the pipeline will cross Rt. 42 about 60 yards to the north of the church. Currently, the initial clearing for the pipeline has begun with a group of hardwoods already toppled to the ground. The MVP, according the website, will be a “natural gas pipeline system that spans approximately 303 miles from northwestern West Virginia to southern Virginia — and as an interstate pipeline will be regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).” The pipeline will be constructed and owned by Mountain Valley Pipeline, LLC, which is a joint venture with other partners. More...

Virginia Conference Communications office staff wins five UMAC awards

The Virginia Conference Communications office brought home five awards from the denomination-wide communications and media awards banquet held during the annual meeting of United Methodist Association of Communicators (UMAC), March 7-9 in Philadelphia, Pa. The Virginia United Methodist Advocate won a first place award in the magazine category of the Print Publications class which includes the teamwork of editor Madeline Pillow, graphic designer Cathryn Huff and database manager Brenda Capen as copy editor. More...

United Methodist leaders respond to #metoo and #churchtoo movement

Over the recent weeks and months, and continuing on a seemingly daily basis, the media have been saturated with stories of persons coming forward with allegations of sexual misconduct perpetrated by individuals in positions of power and authority. The pervasiveness of the power imbalance is a part of every story being told. Responses have ranged from immediate termination of employment of the accused and bribery for silence to invitations for victims to feel shame. More...

Bishop Lewis announces appointment of three new district superintendents

Bishop Sharma D. Lewis said she is pleased to announce three new district superintendent appointments effective July 1, 2018. The Rev. Dr. Victor R. Gomez will serve the Harrisonburg District. The Rev. Sylvia S. Meadows will serve the James River District. The Rev. Steven J. Summers will serve the Winchester District. More...

Charlottesville church remains a sanctuary 

The world watched as a “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville turned violent and deadly in August of 2017. Since then, the city has continued to experience a sporadic influx of white supremacists, white nationalists and Neo-Nazis, most recently on Dec. 14, 2017 when a handful of cases from August went to court, including the preliminary hearing of James Field, bringing back hateful imagery and profound sadness from the summer.First United Methodist in Charlottesville opened its doors on Dec. 14 as a sanctuary for all who would come, partnering with Congregate Charlottesville and the Charlottesville Clergy Collective to bring in mental health professionals as well as interfaith clergy and lay leaders from the area.  More...

Pastor leads summer devotions on the water

“There’s a lot of grace out here,” the Rev. Gary Heaton says as he paddles his canoe on the Roanoke River to what’s known as “Downriver Devotion.” Heaton, over the last four years, has paddled this same course and knows where the rocks are as well as the sandbars. Having seen the river at high and low water, he is in active relationship as he paddles. Every Wednesday during the summer, Heaton has paddled to the sycamore tree at the Greenway mile post 22.7 at noon. More...

Call letter for special session of General Conference

The Council of Bishops (COB) has called a Special Session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church (UMC) to be held February 23-26, 2019 in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. More...

Commentary: The Mirth and Mockery of Methodism

Apr. 10, 2017 - Learn more about "The Mirth and Mockery of Methodism" in a commentary from the May issue of The Advocate. More...

Bishop Lewis issues letter about Way Forward, upcoming Judicial Council meeting

Mar. 29, 2017 - Bishop Sharma D. Lewis issued a letter addressing the need for prayer for both the Commission on a Way Forward as well as the upcoming Judicial Council meeting at the end of April. More... 

Q& A about recent VIM Cambodian pilgrimage

Mar. 1, 2017 - Nick Ruxton, conference videographer, and Nancy Yarborough, York River District lay leader, were part of a recent pilgrimage to Cambodia. The focus of this Volunteers in Mission (VIM) trip was to provide and opportunities for sharing, growing and learning from and with both laity and clergy of the Methodist mission in Cambodia.
You can also learn more about the trip in the April issue of the Advocate magazine. More...

New series examines church apportionments

Feb. 24, 2017 -- What are apportionments? They are one of the ways the connection of The United Methodist Church is exemplified. Learn more in this first article in a series that will explore apportionments.  More... 

Madeline Pillow named Communications director

Jan. 1, 2017 -- Madeline Pillow, who currently serves as editor of the Virginia United Methodist Advocate, has officially been named Virginia Conference Communications director as of Jan. 1, 2017. Pillow was named interim director of Communications for a four-month time period beginning Sept. 1, 2016, following Linda Rhodes' retirement. The decision was formalized by the Common Table Personnel Committee. More... 

Hopewell church partners with elementary school for hurricane relief

Nov. 1, 2016 - What started as an outreach effort has grown into a partnership between one church and elementary school in Hopewell, Va. Relief supplies were collected by members of Wesley UMC from students at Patrick Copeland Elementary School on Nov. 1.   More...

Council of Bishops Names 32 Commission Members

Oct. 24, 2016 - The United Methodist Council of Bishops has announced the membership of the Commission on a Way Forward. The Rev. Tom Berlin, pastor of Floris United Methodist Church, Arlington District, Virginia Conference, is a clergy member of the commission. "After three months of diligent and prayerful discernment, we have selected eight bishops, 11 laity, 12 elders and one deacon to serve on the commission," said Bishop Bruce R. Ough, president of the Council of Bishops. "This group is representative of our theological diversity." More...

5 Talent Academy focuses on ministry outside the church's walls

Oct. 5, 2016 - “Good leaders create spaces for other people to act. Your job as a leader is to give people the capacity for meaningful action,” said Andy Crouch, keynote speaker for the 5 Talent Academy event, Oct. 4. More...

Welcome service for Bishop Lewis, Sept. 17

July 28, 2016 - A welcoming service of worship for Bishop Sharma Lewis will be held at Reveille UMC, 4200 Cary Street Road, Richmond, 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon Saturday, Sept. 17. Lewis, the first African-American woman elected a bishop in the Southeastern Jurisdiction, has been assigned to lead the Virginia Conference for the next four years. She will begin her term of office on Sept. 1. More ...

 

Cabinet, provisional clergy help with tornado relief

July 21, 2016 - Members of the Virginia Conference Cabinet and newly-commissioned clergy spent all day Wednesday, July 20, working on tornado recovery in Waverly. Waverly is one of three locations where the conference is undertaking long-term recovery efforts to rebuild after an outbreak of tornadoes on Feb. 24 caused loss of life, injuries and severe property damage. More...

Bishop Sharma Lewis to lead Virginia Conference

July 14, 2016 - Bishop Sharma D. Lewis, the first African-American woman elected a bishop in the Southeastern Jurisdiction, has been assigned to lead the Virginia Conference. She will begin her term of office on Sept. 1. More ...

Bishop Cho says fruitfulness is best way to honor deceased leaders

July 14, 2016 - On Thursday, July 14, Bishop Young Jin Cho preached for the Service of Remembrance at the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference. His sermon was titled “Well-Done, Good and Trustworthy Servant” based on the parables found in Matthew 25. More ...

SEJ Conference elects five bishops before dinner on first day

July 13, 2016 - All five bishops were elected before the dinner break at this year’s Southeastern Jurisdictional (SEJ) Conference being held July 13-15 at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center in western North Carolina. The new bishops will replace five bishops who are retiring from active service. More ...

United Methodists gather in Roanoke for 234th Annual Conference

June 23, 2016 - Nearly 4,000 clergy and laity representatives of United Methodist churches across Virginia gathered at the Berglund Center in Roanoke June 17-19 for the 234th Annual Conference meeting of worship, mission projects, celebration of ministries and conducting the business of the conference. Theme for the 2016 Virginia Annual Conference was “Thy Will be Done.” Bishop Young Jin Cho presided over the proceedings for the last time before his retirement. More ...

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