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

Click here to sign up for RSS feed of e-Advocate.

To view a 2011 issue of the Virginia Conference e-Advocate, click on the date below:

Dec. 16, 2011
Dec. 9, 2011
Dec. 1, 2011

Nov. 18, 2011
Nov. 11, 2011
Nov. 4, 2011

Oct. 28, 2011
Oct. 14, 2011
Oct. 7, 2011

Sept. 29, 2011
Sept. 23, 2011
Sept. 15, 2011
Sept. 9, 2011
Sept. 2, 2011

Aug. 26, 2011
Aug. 19, 2011
Aug. 11, 2011
Aug. 4, 2011

July 28, 2011
July 21, 2011
July 15, 2011
July 8, 2011

June 29, 2011
June 20, 2011
June 14, 2011
June 9, 2011
June 3, 2011 - Special Annual Conference Edition

May 27, 2011
May 20, 2011
May 11, 2011
May 6, 2011

April 26, 2011
April 18, 2011
April 8, 2011

March 31, 2011
March 25, 2011
March 17, 2011
March 9, 2011
March 2, 2011

Feb. 25, 2011
Feb. 17, 2011
Feb. 10, 2011
Feb. 3, 2011

Jan. 28, 2011
Jan. 20, 2011
Jan. 12, 2011
Jan. 6, 2011

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 2010 issues

Click here for 2009 issues


News from the Virginia Conference – May 6, 2011

Resources sent to each church for ‘All Things New’ campaign
Last week, each Virginia Conference church was sent a letter from Bishop Kammerer and a supply of All Things New” brochures for distribution to congregation members. These brochures, along with the videos on a DVD sent to each church Feb. 1, are resources for churches to use as part of the “All Things New” fundraising campaign.
     In addition, weekly stories from new faith communities will be posted on the conference Web site and e-mailed to pastors for inclusion in bulletins or worship announcements from May 8 through June 12.  By Pentecost Sunday, June 12, each congregation is asked to receive gifts and pledges for “All Things New” and send any gifts and pledge information to Becki Stokes in the Conference Treasurer's office. Gifts and pledges received will be announced at Annual Conference the following week in Roanoke. Receipt of these gifts and pledges will conclude the financial campaign for “All Things New” approved by the 2009 Annual Conference. Questions about this invitation for financial support or “All Things New” may be directed to Marc Brown at

United Methodists gear up to aid tornado victims
Hours after tornadoes tore through the South, United Methodists were gearing up for both immediate and long-term recovery. Hundreds of people were killed in Alabama alone. Visit the North Alabama Conference Web site to learn how to help. The Rev. Jim Lavender of Discovery UMC in Richmond, who has family in the hard-hit Tuscaloosa area, quickly began organizing his church to provide relief supplies for the region. Contact him at (804) 360-4442 or e-mail The supplies will be trucked to the area this Sunday.
     In Virginia, the Rev. Robert Pihlcrantz, Virginia Conference Disaster Response Coordinator, said Early Response Teams (ERT) from across the conference have been busy in the Rappahannock, Peninsula, Petersburg and Harrisonburg districts assisting with tornado damage, as well as in Pulaski County which is part of the Holsten Annual Conference. For more information, contact Pihlcrantz at (757) 408-6653 or There are open positions for service on conference and district teams. If you feel led to support this valuable ministry with your gifts and graces, contact Pihlcrantz at  or 1-866-264-8488.
     The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is working with bishops and disaster-response personnel across the South to determine the next steps to assist affected communities. It is accepting donations for “2011 Spring Storms” UMCOR Advance #3021326. Gifts may be made online, through local churches by putting a check in the collection plate, or by credit card with a call to 1-888-252-6174.

UMCOR issues call for more cleaning buckets
The Rev. Tom Hazelwood, Assistant General Secretary for United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), has issued a call for more cleaning buckets (formerly known as flood buckets). All clergy and laity who will be attending Annual Conference are asked to bring cleaning buckets to replenish the supply of buckets that UMCOR has already sent out so that UMCOR can be ready for future events where they may be needed. These buckets will be sent with our regular shipment of disaster relief kits collected at Annual Conference June 15-19 in Roanoke. For information about assembling cleaning buckets, go to

Children from Brazil to be featured at Annual Conference
A team of 13 children, ages 11-14, and four adults from one of the Shade and Fresh Water projects in Brazil will be featured guests at the Thursday, June 16, evening mission celebration at Annual Conference. More …

Pictorial directory photos to be taken Thursday, June 16
The Virginia Conference will publish a 2011 supplement to the 2009 Pictorial Directory of the Virginia Conference Ministry. Olan Mills Portrait Studios will have a booth in the exhibit hall at Annual Conference from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday, June 16, to take photos of clergy, local pastors, diaconal ministers, certified professionals, those serving as pastoral supply, retired bishops and conference staff who DID NOT have a picture taken last year or in 2009, including those newly commissioned. If your picture is already in the 2009 directory or the 2010 supplement, it is NOT necessary for a new photo to be taken. For more information, contact Linda Rhodes, director of Communications, at (804) 521-1111 or 1-800-768-6040, ext. 111.

Annual Conference members urged to bring ‘4 Cans 4 Conference’
Each clergy and lay member of Annual Conference is encouraged to bring ‘4 Cans 4 Conference,’ canned goods or boxed dry foods for the Southwestern Virginia (SW-VA) Food Bank in Roanoke. Requested are: one can of vegetables or fruit, one can of meat or fish, one can of soup or stew and one can with a pop-top. In addition, there is a need for cereal (hot, cold, or instant), peanut butter and jelly, cooking oils, dry preparation aids (like Hamburger Helper, pasta, etc.), flour, sauces, etc. As you are able, please bring your 4 Cans in recyclable grocery bags, rather than plastic bags. Please do not bring home-canned items, out-of-date cans, glass jars, damaged cans, fresh fruits/veggies, or already-opened or partially used supplies. For more information, contact Jim Earley,

Sam McCracken named new VUMAC Executive Director
The Board of Directors of the Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center (VUMAC) in Blackstone announced that Samuel A. McCracken will become the center's new Executive Director, effective July 1. He will replace Cammie Armstrong, VUMAC Executive Director for the past six years, who announced in January that she will retire this summer. More …

Older Adult Recognition Sunday to be observed in May
In April 2008, General Conference adopted legislation inviting congregations to celebrate Older Adult Recognition Day each year during the month of May. The 2006 Virginia Annual Conference had already voted to designate the first Sunday in May as Older Adult Recognition Sunday. On Older Adult Recognition Sunday, United Methodists are invited to show appreciation and support for older adults and address the needs of older adults in the congregation and community. Click here for suggestions for this year’s recognition Sunday, developed by the conference Older Adult Council. Or go to, select “Ministries,” then “Age-Related Ministries,” then “Older Adults,” then “Older Adult Recognition Sunday.” Click here for additional resource materials on the General Board of Discipleship Web site.

Register now for Change the World May 14-15
United Methodists around the world will participate in community service projects on Saturday, May 14, and neighbors will be invited to attend church services on Sunday, May 15, as part of “Change the World 2011.” Local churches can prepare now to participate in this year’s Change the World weekend. First, identify a project that makes a difference in the local or global community (or both). Then, register at and download the free flyer. Third, invite your community to get involved. Free and discounted resources are available to all churches who register. Registered churches will receive free shipping and postage from product orders placed on through May 15. More …

Find a project for Change the World weekend May 14-15
If you have not yet decided on a project for your church to participate in during this year’s Change the World weekend May 14-15, there are a number of great ministry suggestions on the official Change the World Web site. Society of St. Andrew (SoSA) Hunger Ministry Weekend is one of the many Partner Resources listed there. For more information about SoSA, go to

Aldersgate UMC featured on Daily Show for opening doors to Muslims
Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Alexandria was featured on the May 5 “Daily Show with John Stewart” on the Comedy Central cable television network for opening its doors to its Muslim neighbors. The Rev. Dennis Perry, Aldersgate pastor, and Naeem Baig, Islamic Circle of North America, were interviewed by reporter John Oliver. “We were thrilled when we got the call asking if the Mosque could use our congregation for its prayers on Friday,” Perry told Oliver. “I am being faithful to Jesus by welcoming the stranger into the community. … We are two different faiths building relationships, talking together, working together for a common purpose.”

May Advocate focuses on leadership development
The May issue of the award-winning Virginia United Methodist Advocate monthly newsmagazine highlights some of the recently started or about to be started conference initiatives in leadership development. Some of these initiatives include new “centers” of Leadership Excellence, Congregational Excellence and Missional Excellence, plus some realignment of conference staff and services. Programs geared to differently-sized churches are underway, along with programs designed to attract the next generation of clergy and church professionals. To subscribe to the Advocate, call (804) 521-1110 or 1-800-768-6040, ext. 110; e-mail; or click here.

Volunteer staff needed for Camp Rainbow
New and returning staff volunteers are needed for Camp Rainbow Connection 2011 to be held at the Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center in Blackstone July 10-15 and Aug. 7-12. Camp Rainbow is a weeklong camp held each summer for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Staff members must be at least 16 years of age, agree to a criminal background check, attend one training session in the spring, and commit to attending the full week of camp. Click here for applications or go to the conference Web site,, select “Ministries,” followed by “Disabilities,” then “Camp Rainbow Connection.” For more information, contact the Office of Leadership and Inclusivity at 1- 800-768-6040 or 804-521-1100, ext. 153, or e-mail

Training scheduled for volunteers to teach Disciple in prisons
The Virginia Conference has established Disciple Bible Outreach Ministries (DBOM) of Virginia, an affiliate ministry of the General Commission on United Methodist Men program that recruits, trains and equips local church volunteers to teach Disciple Bible Study in prisons, jails and youth development centers. All DBOM prison volunteers must be trained and certified for this ministry. The ministry held training for prison chaplains earlier this month at the Virginia United Methodist Center in Glen Allen. The next two training sessions will be held 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17,and 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18, at the conference center. To register or for more information, contact Gene Mims at (804) 733-8632, or go to

Norfolk District seeks part-time financial secretary
The Norfolk District is seeking a part-time District Financial Secretary to be responsible for district financial administrative support, function as office contact for visitors, provide administrative assistance to District Superintendent and maintain and distribute annual district directory and conference reports. For job description, contact the Norfolk District office at (757) 473-1592 or Send resume to no later than May 18.

UMVIM mutual empowerment seminar offered May 12-14
Mutual Empowerment Seminar for United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) will be held May 12-14 at Servants in Faith and Technology (SIFAT) Training Campus near Lineville, Ala. This workshop is an invitation to mission volunteers to engage in reflection and dialogue about the impacts of volunteer service: who is impacted and how? More …

Westview on James to host confirmand weekend May 13-15
Bring your confirmation class to Westview on the James in Goochland for a weekend of exploring the Way of Jesus, May 13-15. Youth pastors, Christian educators and the Westview ministry team will work together to lead confirmands in activities and faithful discussions. For brochure, schedule, additional information and registration, go to E-mail Cat Holbert, assistant director at Westview, at, with questions or needs.

Two Early Response Training events offered May 20-21
When tornadoes, floods, hurricanes and ice storms bring destruction to our region, you can be prepared to help. The Virginia Conference and United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) are offering two Early Response Training sessions. A two-day event will be held 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, May 20, and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, May 21, at Blacksburg UMC. Register by May 12. Contact Jackie Nutter, (540) 230-8176 or, to register or for more information. A one-day session will be offered 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 21, at Sleepy Hollow UMC, Falls Church. Register by May 15. For more information, contact Tim Egan at or (703) 577-8762.

Westview on James to host music festival, 5K run
Westview on the James, a United Methodist camp in Goochland, will host a music festival and 5K run on June 4 to raise money for its Annual Fund. Shalom Farm at Westview is one of the sponsors and will be open for visits. To register for the 5K race visit To buy tickets to the music festival or to learn more about the event, go to

Young adults invited to spend 5 days relating to God, each other, earth
“Sojourn to Sacredness: A Theological Ecological Pilgrimage for Young Adults,” June 6-10, will include hiking the Appalachian Trail, canoeing on the Shenandoah River and renewing relationships with God, each other and the earth. Participants will learn low-impact and earth-friendly outdoor living skills, experience the beauty of God’s creation, learn about some of the problems creation is facing, and discuss ways the church can be part of the solution. Conversations on the pilgrimage will include scientists, environmentalists and theologians. Fee of $125 includes canoes, food, transportation to and from trail and river and camping fees. More …

Gov. McDonnell to speak at June 11 VUMAC Founders Day dinner
Gov. Robert McDonnell will deliver an inaugural Founders Day address titled “Faith of Our Founding Fathers” on Saturday, June 11, at a colonial style dinner at the Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center (VUMAC) in Blackstone. His address will be followed by a debate between renowned PBS interpreters for President George Washington and Governor Patrick Henry. A hearty Southern breakfast will be available for guests spending Saturday night at VUMAC. Bishop Hasbrouck Hughes will deliver the June 12 Sunday morning message. For more information, call (434) 292-5308 or e-mail

Registration open for ‘Helping Hands’ children mission events
“Helping Hands,” a Virginia Conference children's mission event, will be held in four locations around the conference this summer. This event offers rising 4th- through 6th-graders a hands-on opportunity to do mission work. Kids from all over the conference join together as one "United" Methodist church making a difference in the community. The four locations are: Main Street UMC, Waynesboro area, Thursday, July 7 - Friday, July 8; Woodlake UMC, Richmond area, Thursday, July 21 - Friday, July 22; Williamsburg UMC, Williamsburg area, Monday, July 25 - Tuesday, July 26; and The Stand UMC, Petersburg area, Friday, July 29 - Saturday, July 30. Woodlake will offer an optional early start time to include on additional mission opportunity. Cost is $36 per person and includes a T-shirt, meals and snacks and overnight stay. Online and mail-in registration is now available. Go to then click on “Event Calendar,” then the date of the event you wish to attend. Direct questions to Beth Christian at or call (804) 739-4535, ext. 28.

School of Christian Mission to be at VUMAC July 22-24, July 25-28
The 2011 School of Christian Mission will be held at Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center (VUMAC) in Blackstone July 22-24 and July 25-28, under the theme “All Things Made New.” Spiritual Growth Study leaders include the Rev. Steve Hundley, superintendent of the Roanoke District; and the Rev. Pat Watkins, executive director of Caretakers of God’s Creation. Registration deadline is July 10. Click here for more information, including detailed brochure, registration form and class choice, or contact Louise Miller, dean of the school, at Please note that online registration will NOT be available this year.

LEAD training for youth will be Aug. 5-14 in Roanoke
Registration is now open for LEAD, the new leadership training event for Virginia Conference youth that will replace the former YAC/VUMDYLA. LEAD will be Aug. 5-14 at the Salvation Army in Roanoke. Local churches and District Youth Councils are invited to select 3-5 youths who are willing to commit to this nine-day leadership immersion experience and a covenant action plan to enact newly-developed leadership skills in their districts and local communities upon return. The purpose of this event is to be more intentional about the denominational area of focus to develop principled Christian leaders for the church and world. More …

Bishop’s Convocation on Immigration to be held Oct. 1
A Bishop’s Convocation focusing on a faith-based response to the issues surrounding immigration will be held Saturday, Oct. 1, at Grace UMC in Manassas. In her “Grace Notes” column in the April 2010 Virginia United Methodist Advocate, Bishop Charlene Kammerer wrote: “Regardless of our political beliefs about immigration, the consistent message of Old and New Testament Scripture invites us to embrace the sojourner and stranger in our midst.” Plan to join Bishop Kammerer and the Commission on Ethnic Minority Concerns and Advocacy on Oct. 1. More information will be available soon.

Clergy to make pilgrimage to South Korea Oct. 26-Nov. 3
A group of clergy will travel to Bupyeong Methodist Church in Incheon, South Korea, Oct. 26-Nov. 3 under the co-leadership of the Rev. M. J. Kim, conference director of Asian Ministries, and the Rev. Young Jin Cho, Arlington District superintendent. Goal of the pilgrimage is spiritual renewal by experiencing contextual hands-on mission and ministry and by seeing the fruits of the seeds American missionaries planted a century ago. Trip is limited to 35 clergy. Room and board will be provided by the Bupyeong Methodist Church. Participants will be responsible for round-trip air fare. (As of March 17, cost was $1,425 without group discount from Korean Airlines.) For more information, e-mail the Rev. Won Un at or call (804) 929-0690. Deadline to register is June 20.

UMCOR encourages support of World Fair Trade Day on May 14
Purchasing coffee, tea, chocolate and craft items from fair-trade distributors helps ensure a better life for farmers and artisans, particularly on May 14, World Fair Trade Day. The United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) links congregations with small farmers through fair trade. Support of the UMCOR Coffee Project also provides income to UMCOR’s sustainable agriculture projects. Click here to learn more about fair trade and the Coffee Project and download resources.

Christian leaders add voices to U.S. budget debate
As Congress continues its debate about the U.S. national debt and cuts to the 2012 budget, four United Methodists — including two bishops and two chief executives of general agencies — joined more than 50 Christian leaders last week to defend the lives and dignity of poor and vulnerable people. A joint statement signed by Evangelical, Roman Catholic, mainline Protestant, African-American, and Latino faith leaders marks the strongest and most unified Christian voice in the budget debate. More …

Anti-malaria video debuts in Times Square
A video message from The United Methodist Church’s Imagine No Malaria campaign is being shown in Times Square every hour through July 5. The 15-second message underscores the urgency of fighting the disease, which kills nearly a million people annually. A $10 donation can be given by sending a text message with the word “MALARIA” to 27722. Messaging and data rates may apply. Click here to view video.

Judicial Council voids policies on clergy marriage
A policy adopted but not yet implemented by United Methodists in New York and Connecticut that essentially would have allowed clergy to marry someone of the same sex has been declared “null, void and of no effect” by the denomination’s top court. The action came during the Judicial Council’s April 27-29 meeting. More …

Judicial Council rules it does not have to consider every request
The United Methodist Church’s top court says it is not obliged to respond to every request for reconsideration of a 2005 decision related to whether a pastor can deny local church membership to a gay or lesbian person. More …

Bishops vote to propose full-time council president
United Methodist bishops approved a proposal May 4 that would significantly redefine the role of president for the Council of Bishops. The amendment to the church’s constitution would allow the council to elect one of its own to a full-time, four-year position without the usual responsibilities of overseeing a geographic area. The president also would serve as the denomination’s chief ecumenical officer. More …

Bishops vote to fold ecumenical agency into Council of Bishops
United Methodist bishops voted overwhelmingly May 2 to support folding the denomination’s ecumenical agency, the Commission on Christian Unity and Interreligious Concerns, and its work into the Council of Bishops. More …

GBOD offers free webinar for churches changing pastors
A free webinar for churches changing pastors, “Good-by and Hello: When the Pastor Changes,” will be offered Thursday, May 26, at 7:30 p.m. (Eastern time) by the Leadership Ministries division of the United Methodist General Board of Discipleship (GBOD). Register for this free webinar at

African-American preaching summit to be July 13-15 at Lake Junaluska
“The Foolishness of Preaching: Words that Transform the World” will be the theme for the first-ever African-American preaching summit to be held July 13-15 at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center. The event will bring together African-American clergy to explore and experience effective sermon preparation, powerful preaching and worship as practiced by outstanding African-American preachers in The United Methodist Church.(1.3 CEU’S available) For more information and registration details visit

Exploration ’11 to help young adults explore call to ministry Nov. 11-13
Some young person you know needs to hear about Exploration '11, scheduled for Nov. 11-13 in St. Louis. Exploration '11 is designed to help young adults 18- to 26-years old explore what ministry in The United Methodist Church looks like and connect with resources to respond to God's call in their lives. A previous Exploration event was part of the journey to ordination for the Rev. Jessica Fuller, a deacon serving at Crozet UMC. She will attend Exploration '11 as a representative from the Virginia Conference and will be glad to talk with anyone interested in attending. Information on the event is available online at

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 newsmagazine. Click here to subscribe. Or call Peggy Cribbs at 1-800-768-6040, ext. 110, or (804) 521-1110. Or e-mail



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
P.O. Box 5606, Glen Allen, VA 23058-5606
(804) 521-1100
Click here for directions to the Center