To subscribe to the e-Advocate and have it delivered to your email address, free of charge, send your name, address  and email address to Please indicate in the subject "Subscribe to e-Advocate."

To view a previous issue of the Virginia Conference e-Advocate, click on the date below:

January 21, 2020
January 14, 2020
January 7, 2020

Click here for 2019 issues 

Click here for 2018 issues  

Click here for 2017 issues 

Click here for 2016 issues 

Click here for 2015 issues

Click here for 2014 issues

Click here for 2013 issues

Click here for 2012 issues

Click here for 2011 issues

Click here for 2010 issues

Click here for 2009 issues




News from the Virginia Conference - April 12, 2018

Shenandoah University program for high schoolers focuses on leadership, Christian vocation
Shenandoah University’s Youth Theology Institute is an intensive two-week program, July 15-28, 2018, designed to help rising high school sophomores, juniors and seniors become better leaders through deep and thought-provoking experiences. During the course of the two weeks, daily rhythms of academic study and religious reflection will be balanced with immersive experiences. Students will be exposed to different faith traditions, service opportunities and a mixture of rural, wilderness and urban contexts at Shenandoah’s Winchester campus, its Shenandoah River Campus at Cool Spring and the Wesley Theological Seminary campus in Washington, D.C. The Youth Theology Institute is also a three-credit undergraduate course taught by engaging religion faculty and focused on exploring Christian vocation in the 21st century. Upon their successful completion of the program, students receive credit for the course at Shenandoah University. Application deadline is May 1, 2018. Contact the Director of the Shenandoah University Youth Theology Institute, the Rev. Colleen Hallagan Preuninger, at (540) 665-5453 or Learn more…

Register for event for high schoolers interested in science, passionate about their faith
Convergence: Where Faith and Science Meet is a nine-day program (June 23-July 1, 2018) that allows rising 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students to come to the Randolph-Macon College campus in Ashland and learn about the intersection of science and Christian faith. They will dive deeper into their religious beliefs, deeper into the study of science and will meet other high school students and college leaders with those same interests. There will be time in the classroom and outdoor experiences throughout the region. The cost to participate is only $100. Upon high school graduation, if a Convergence participant chooses to attend Randolph-Macon, they will receive a $1,000 annual scholarship for each year they participated in Convergence. Application deadline is May 1, 2018. Nominations are welcome! Please contact Laura Ruxton ( with any questions about the program. More…

View open job positions, individuals seeking employment on conference website
The Virginia Conference posts job opportunities as well as individuals seeking employment on its website, free of charge, for a maximum of two months. Please email positions to Brenda Capen at  For details, visit the Virginia Conference website at 

Interested individuals needed for conference Native Ministries team
Six Virginia Indian tribes were federally recognized this year. This 30-year struggle for state and then federal recognition has long been recognized by The United Methodist Church. The Virginia Committee on Native American Ministries (CONAM) has more work to do. In 2018 they also participated in a nation-wide gathering of Native leaders to work out a comprehensive plan for evangelism and ministry. They have also made a connection with the Rev. Dr. Casey Church, Director of Wiconi International Ministries. Church will be at the United Methodist Center in Glen Allen, Virginia on April 13 to plan Native American family ministries within the commonwealth. Remember that Native American Ministries Sunday is April 15. If you are interested in this work, contact or call 540-221-1488.

Camp Rainbow needs summer volunteers
Camp Rainbow Connection (CRC) is seeking loving volunteers to serve their group of adult campers for a week or two this summer. CRC is a week-long respite camp for adults with intellectual disabilities. The dates are set. So mark your calendars and join in for an amazing, fun-filled summer with the most incredible people you will ever meet. Training dates are April 21 and May 5 at the conference center in Glen Allen. The camp dates are June 23-29 and July 21-27 at Richard Bland College in Petersburg, Va. More…

Mentors still needed for All God's Children Camp
All God's Children Camp is two months away and mentors are still needed for all three dates. Currently there are 90 campers signed up and 20 mentors. Thirty mentors are needed for each camp. All God's Children Camp is a camp for children ages 7 to 12, with an incarcerated mother or father, where they spend a week at camp, participating in activities such as boating, swimming, hiking, archery, music, crafts, Bible study and conflict resolution. Partnering with Virginia United Methodist camps, All God’s Children Camp provides a week of sanctuary for children who face so many challenges in their lives: economic poverty, temporary living conditions, loneliness, low self-esteem, violence and drugs. Please consider giving a week of your time to pour into a child's life. This is a great opportunity for members and friends in your community to serve together. Maybe there are already groups in your church or community, such as UMM, UMW, college age ministries or Sunday school classes, who can come together and serve this way. This is a great local mission opportunity for with very little cost ($20). The dates are: June 17-22:  Camp Chanco on the James (Richmond area); June 24-29: Camp Overlook (Shenandoah Valley area); and July 29-August 3: Occohannock on the Bay (Eastern Shore). Please contact Lori Smith at for more information. More…

The Heartwood Center has part-time seasonal position available
The Heartwood Center, a mission on the Rappahannock River District, is seeking a Mission Ministries Coordinator. The Coordinator leads a group of volunteers to provide a two-week day camp for middle school students with a focus on mission in the local community. The home base for the camp is at the Heartwood Center property in Hartwood, Va., in Stafford County.  During the camp, the students have the opportunity to participate in team building skills, low ROPES course, hands-on local service projects, Bible study and recreation. The local churches support the camp with experienced and enthusiastic volunteers and evening meals. Contact information is the Rev. Gayle Porias at 540-788-9838 or email More...

Kits for Annual Conference 2018
As your church begins preparation for collecting items for kits, there is currently an appeal from the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) for Hygiene, School, and Cleaning Kits only. Click here for the complete list of items and instructions on packing each kit. Collection times at Annual Conference will be from Thursday, June 14 from noon to 8 p.m. and on Friday, June 15 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. For questions, contact the Kit Collection Coordinator, the Rev. David Magruder at Zion UMC in Seaford (York River District) at (757) 898-7417 or Money for the kits should be sent to Conference Treasurer, Virginia Conference UMC, PO Box 5605, Glen Allen, VA 23058. Checks should be made payable to Virginia Conference UMC.

Register for Fall Clergywomen’s retreat
Embrace 2018 is the first gathering of the Virginia clergywomen in 30 years! Join for two days of worship, study and community. Engage in hands-on missions, show off your skills in a Talent/No Talent Show and participate in panel discussions on change and growth within your own ministry context. But most importantly, connect with other clergywomen and claim a renewed sense of call. Be inspired. Be nourished. Be embraced. Event will be held September 25-26, 2018 at the Virginia Crossings Conference Center in Glen Allen. Click link for more information about schedule, grant money, registration and more. More…

Bishops seek declaratory decision from Judicial Council on Special Session
The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church is asking the Judicial Council for a declaratory decision on what petitions can be submitted to the denomination’s Special Session of General Conference called for February 2019. In an electronic vote that affirmed the request made at their February 2018 meeting in Dallas, the bishops voted to seek a ruling from the highest court in the denomination on the meaning, application and effect of Paragraph 14 in relation to Paragraph 507 of the 2016 Book of Discipline. More…

Five Key Practices for Connecting with Your Context
Mark Gornick and Maria Liu Wong have been working to understand new practices of ministry that are emerging in vital and diverse urban settings. In this article from the Lewis Center for Church Leadership, they have discerned five important themes and practices in how good, sustainable and flourishing ministry occurs in cities, and in other settings as well. More…

Ministry board won’t consider sexual orientation, gender
The Baltimore-Washington Conference’s Board of Ordained Ministry has released its new policy for examining candidates for ministry, stating it “will not consider or evaluate sexual orientation or gender identity, nor see them to be sufficient reasons to deny a candidate’s ability to live up to our United Methodist standards.” The new policy is contrary to rulings in 2017 by the United Methodist Judicial Council. More…

Bishop joins in opposing gun bill
Missouri Area Bishop Robert Farr is opposing state legislation that would allow concealed weapons in houses of worship. Farr said he acknowledges Second Amendment rights of gun owners, but could not support any bill that would negatively affect the safety of churches and the right of churches to self-govern. Farr is scheduled to join other faith leaders at an April 11 news conference opposing the legislation. More…

♦ Next Gen Summit- Apr. 21, 2018
It's not news to you that most churches have been steadily "growing old." While the Gospel of Jesus Christ remains as relevant as ever, we have struggled to capture the hearts of young people in our communities. But what if there are ways we could help our churches grow young once again? And what if the answer has nothing to do with church size, money, or being "cool?" On April 21, 2018, the Virginia Conference Next Gen Ministries, in partnership with the Fuller Youth Institute, will host Jake Mulder, co-author of Growing Young - Six essential strategies to help young people discover and love your church. Price is $45. Register today!  More...

♦ Ministers' Convocation- Apr. 23-25, 2018 
This spring, The Center for Clergy Excellence invites you for a time of Sabbath retreat, learning and fellowship together as ministry leaders at Ministers’ Convocation – Apr. 23-25, 2018. Come be engaged in theological and academic conversation while experiencing rejuvenation for ministry. Theme is “The Paradox of Perfection: Our Wesleyan Heritage” with an emphasis on Christian Perfection. Dr. Rex Matthews, professor in the Practice of Historical Theology and Wesleyan Studies at Candler School of Theology will be teacher for the event. Bishop Sharma D. Lewis and the Rev. William Lamar, pastor of Metropolitan AME Church in Washington, D.C., will lead in worship. For event details and to register visit: Worship, keynote and workshop sessions, lodging and meals will be held at Virginia Crossings Conference Center in Glen Allen. You are encouraged to register before Holy Week to ensure lodging availability. The deadline for in-residence registration is Monday, Apr. 2, 2018. All clergy, diaconal ministers, and professional/paraprofessional certified ministers in the Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church are invited.

♦ Conference Immigration Summit- May 19, 2018 
Bishop Lewis formed the Virginia Conference Committee on Immigration Outreach in 2017 to help the conference communicate the Gospel as it relates to immigrants and refugees. The committee also seeks to help the conference understand issues related to immigrants and refugees and how to advocate for them.  In partnership with the General Board of Church and Society, Just Neighbors and the Southeastern Jurisdiction Hispanic Caucus, the committee is sponsoring an Immigration Summit at Ramsey Memorial UMC in Richmond on Saturday, May 19 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to educate and empower those who want to be in ministry to immigrants and refugees.  Attendance to the summit is free of charge, and a boxed lunch can be purchased at the time of registration. Registration is now available on the conference website at and go to Conference Calendar. More...

♦ SEJ Historical Society Annual Meeting - July 17-20, 2018 
The Virginia Conference Historical Society (VCHS) will host this year’s Southeastern Jurisdiction Historical Society of The United Methodist Church (SEJHS) Annual Meeting, whose theme is Religious Liberty in the Historic Advance of Virginia Methodism. Everyone is invited to the event held from July 17-20 in Williamsburg, Va. Those who participate in all lectures and tours of the Annual Meeting are entitled to receive one (1) Continuing Education Unit (CEU). The event will include guided tours of Williamsburg churches and Historic Jamestowne, and lecturers delivering the stories of Virginia Methodism - Origins of the Old Brunswick Circuit, Chesapeake Methodism, African Americans and Religious Liberty in Virginia Methodism and The Evangelical United Brethren Church in the Valley of Virginia.  Keynote speaker, David L. Holmes, Walter G. Mason Professor of Religious Studies, Emeritus, College of William and Mary, will discuss Religious Freedom in the Colonial Era. Attendees will also enjoy a banquet celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Uniting Conference. The three-day event costs $85, with tours and dinner meals included. Registration ends July 10. Group rates are arranged with several local hotels, but cut-off dates are in May or June, so register soon! A brochure, registration and further information are available at the link. More...

♦ Virginia Five-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation- Oct. 14-19, 2018 
Registration is now open for the 2018 Virginia Five-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation to be held Oct. 14-19, 2018 at the Roslyn Retreat Center in Richmond. Sponsored by the Virginia Conference in cooperation with The Upper Room, this retreat is open to clergy and laity who are seeking to deepen their relationship with God through prayer, learning, and worship. This year, faculty leaders will be Dr. Luther Smith, professor emeritus at Candler School of Theology; and Dr. Amy Oden, professor at St. Paul School of Theology at Oklahoma City University. Registration at link. More…

For in-depth news and features about United Methodist mission and ministry, subscribe to the Virginia United Methodist Advocate, the Virginia Conference’s award-winning monthly magazine — now available in both print and digital formats. Click here to subscribe. Or call the Communications office at 1-800-768-6040, ext. 110, or (804) 521-1110. Or email For information about the Virginia Conference and resources for ministry, visit the Virginia Conference website



The Cross and Flame is a registered trademark, and the use is supervised by the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) of The United Methodist Church. Permission to use the Cross and Flame must be obtained from the GCFA, Attn: Legal Department, PO Box 340029, Nashville, TN 37203-0029; phone 615-369-2334; fax 615-369-2330

Background photos courtesy of VDOT.

The Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church
10330 Staples Mill Road, Glen Allen, VA 23060
PO Box 5606, Glen Allen, VA 23058-5606
(804) 521-1100
Click here for directions to the Center