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."

To view a 2014 issue of the Virginia Conference e-Advocate, click on the date below:

Dec. 18, 2014
Dec. 10, 2014
Dec. 4, 2014

Nov. 21, 2014 - Day of Holy Conversation
Nov. 20, 2014
Nov. 13, 2014
Nov. 6, 2014

Oct. 28, 2014
Oct. 16, 2014
Oct. 10, 2014
Oct. 2, 2014

Sept. 25, 2014
Sept. 18, 2014
Sept. 11, 2014
Sept. 4, 2014

Aug. 28, 2014
Aug. 22, 2014
Aug. 15, 2014
Aug. 7, 2014

July 30, 2014
July 24, 2014
July 17, 2014
July 10, 2014
July 2, 2014

June 24, 2014
June 12, 2014
June 5, 2014

May 29, 2014 - Special Annual Conference edition
May 23, 2014
May 15, 2014
May 8, 2014

April 24, 2014
April 16, 2014
April 10, 2014
April 3, 2014

March 26, 2014
March 20, 2014
March 13, 2014
March 10, 2014
March 5, 2014

Feb. 27, 2014
Feb. 20, 2014
Feb. 17, 2014
Feb. 12, 2014
Feb. 6, 2014

Jan. 30, 2014
Jan. 23, 2014
Jan. 16, 2014
Jan. 9, 2014

Click here for 2016 issues

Click here for 2015 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 - Dec. 4, 2014

Youngest 'Holy Conversation' panelist shares words of wisdom
There was plenty of talking during the Nov. 22 “Day of Holy Conversation” — hosted by Woodlake UMC in the Richmond District and webcast across the conference at multiple sites — but it was generally agreed that the youngest panelist shared a lot of wisdom in her brief comments. More ...

Videos of Nov. 22 'Holy Conversation' available to view online
Videos of the Nov. 22 "Day of Holy Conversation” are available to view at The morning session is just under two hours long. The afternoon session is one hour and 20 minutes, and the concluding service of Holy Communion is about 22 minutes. There was a large crowd at Woodlake and many people watched at the remote sites and at home on their computers. Voices from both sides of the human sexuality issue and the majority in the middle spoke during the day-long event.

United Methodists gave $2.5 million+ to Advance on #Giving Tuesday
United Methodists once again responded with extravagant generosity on UMC #GivingTuesday. On Dec. 2, more than $2.5 million was donated online through The Advance to support mission and ministries around the world. The denomination’s General Board of Global Ministries matched the first $1 million in gifts to help build excitement and leverage donations. Donors from 25 countries gave more than 8,700 gifts to more than 770 projects and missionaries. The Advance is the designated giving channel of The United Methodist Church. A full report of projects that were supported and the gifts that Global Ministries matched will be available at on Dec. 15. More ...

December Advocate focuses on keeping Christ in Christmas
The December issue of the Virginia United Methodist Advocate focuses on keeping Christ in Christmas. All too often we let the Advent season become a whirl of shopping and parties. But there are many ways to help keep the birth of our Savior in the forefront. After all, Christmas should not be about the number of gifts you receive, but about what you give to others. The Advocate is the official monthly magazine of the Virginia Conference. To subscribe to the Advocate – print, digital or both – call (804) 521-1110 or 1-800-768-6040, ext. 110; e-mail; or go to

Conference Board of Church and Society officers issue statement about Ferguson
Following the announcement that a St. Louis County grand jury declined to indict Darren Wilson, a white Ferguson, Mo., police officer, for firing six shots in an August confrontation that killed Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old black man, the executive committee of the Virginia Conference Board of Church and Society issued the following statement:

"We urge prayer for the family of Michael Brown and the people of Ferguson, Missouri. We give thanks for the witness of the United Methodist churches in Ferguson, where black and white churches are working together for a better community. Regardless of differing views of the grand jury's decision on Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, we certainly understand the pain of Michael Brown's family. We must also acknowledge the painful reality that African Americans suffer disproportionately in our legal system. We express our support for Michael Brown's family and their call to channel frustration 'in ways that will make for positive change.' We commend the Brown family and others working non-violently to correct inequities in our system of justice. Their efforts put into practice the words of the United Methodist Book of Discipline which states: 'Therefore, we recognize racism as sin and affirm the ultimate and temporal worth of all persons. We rejoice in the gifts that particular ethnic histories and cultures bring to our total life. We commend and encourage the self-awareness of all racial and ethnic groups and oppressed people that leads them to demand their just and equal rights as members of society.'"

The statement was signed by Jaydee Hanson, co-chair, Virginia Conference Board of Church of Society; the Rev. John Copenhaver, chair, Peace and Non-violence Work Area; the Rev. Scott Hopkins, Peace with Justice Coordinator; the Rev. Marilyn Heckstall, chair, Ending Poverty Work Area; Jim Templeton, chair, Criminal Justice and Mercy Ministries; Monica Sprague, chair, Caretakers of God’s Creation Work Area; and Suzanne Shrader, Secretary.

Virginia to host conference directors of Lay Servant Ministries
The Virginia Conference Board of Laity and Lay Servant Ministries Team will host the 2015 Convocation of the Association of Conference Directors of Lay Servant Ministries (ACDLSM) in Williamsburg Jan. 22-25. Theme is “Heritage, Discipleship, and Our Future: What Will be Your Legacy?” Leaders will include our own Bishop Young Jin Cho, Larry Davies, Marc Brown, John Briggs and Kathy Merry. Click here for more information about Lay Servant Ministries.. More ...

Macedonia missionary available to visit churches Feb 17-March 3
Carol Partridge, a missionary assigned to the United Methodist Church of Macedonia as director of Christian Education, will be itinerating in the Virginia Conference from Feb. 17 to March 3, visiting her supporting churches and connecting with congregations that would like to know more about God’s mission in Macedonia. If you would like to invite Carol to visit your church, send a request with two or more alternate dates and venues to Ann Klotz, conference coordinator of Missionary Itineration, Include your church name, district, pastor's name and the best contact information (e-mail and phone) for coordinating her visit. Hosting congregations are responsible for food, lodging, travel and all hospitality during your missionary’s stay with you. For more information, contact Klotz at (540) 494-1697.

December is United Methodist Family Services Month
The Virginia Conference has designated December the month in which local churches are encouraged to receive special offerings to support United Methodist Family Services (UMFS). This year UMFS is sending churches its Christmas Gifts of Hope catalog in place of a bulletin insert. “Without the support of The United Methodist Church and local congregations like yours, we could not do the incredible work we do,” said the Rev. Joe Torrence, minister of Church Relations for UMFS. “For more than 100 years, UMFS has been empowering children, families and communities in Virginia to work together and realize their shared potential. Your gift is one example of how our connection works at its best and how we can offer Christmas Gifts of Hope to Virginia’s children in need.” Click here for offering materials and Advent resources.

GBCS to host young clergy in Washington, D.C.
The General Board of Church and Society (GBCS) will host 75 young clergy (elders or deacons serving local congregations) at The United Methodist Building in Washington D.C. Jan. 25-28 to build relationships, learn from one another and develop bridges for further ministry. Space is limited to those who have not previously attended a GBCS Young Clergy gathering. If you are eligible to attend this event and would like scholarship assistance, contact Glenn Rowley, director of the Virginia Conference office of Justice and Missional Excellence, at or (804) 521-1143. Deadline to register is Jan. 8. More ...

Test your knowledge of Advent by taking online quiz
Advent is a special time in the life of the church. It begins four Sundays before Christmas and ends on Christmas Eve. See how much you know about the traditions and symbols of the season by answering the daily questions in the Advent quiz. More ....

Advent reflection: Waiting on the light
What are some ways to see the season of Advent with fresh eyes and renewed energy? Watch and download this video, which explains the symbols and meanings associated with Advent. MaryJane Pierce Norton shares ideas about how we can center ourselves on the peace, love, and joy that emerge throughout this season. More ...

Parts of Book of Worship now available free online
Many worship elements in The United Methodist Book of Worship are now available online at no cost for use by congregations and other worshiping or church-related educational communities. The resources are being provided by Discipleship Ministries (General Board of Discipleship) under a special arrangement with The United Methodist Publishing House. Downloads of the resources are available at The resource collection is divided into the following categories: General Services, The Christian Year, Special Sundays and Other Special Days, General Acts of Worship, Daily Praise and Prayer, Occasional Services, Healing Services and Prayers, Services Related to Congregations and Buildings, Consecrations and Ordinations, Other Annual Conference and District Services and General Church Services. More ...

United Methodist Bishops to get 3% raise next year
Most United Methodist bishops will see a 3% salary boost next year, a higher raise than they've seen in five years. The board of the denomination's finance agency decided on the pay increase based on a bishop compensation study and trends in the secular workforce. More ...

United Methodists respond to Missouri grand jury decision
As protesters took to the streets in dozens of U.S. cities after the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a Ferguson police officer in the shooting of Michael Brown, the general secretary of the General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR) issued a statement calling on the people of The United Methodist Church "to find the courage and compassion to rise up and pray, connect, act, learn, share, love, serve, and speak." GCORR also offers resources for congregations and conferences. The Rev. Cedrick D. Bridgeforth, chairperson of Black Methodists for Church Renewal (BMCR), writes about what can be done now. Ministry Matters offers a perspective from Dr. F. Willis Johnson, senior pastor of Wellspring Church in Ferguson. In an open statement on its website, the National Council of Churches expresses “deep disappointment” in the grand jury decision.

United Methodists praise President Obama's immigration order
President Obama's immigration plan offers "a word of mercy and a measure of justice," said United Methodist Bishop Minerva Carcaño, co-chair of the denomination's interagency task force on immigration reform. More ...

Chuck Knows Church: Chrismon Tree
Does your church have a Chrismon Tree the sanctuary at Christmas time? If so, what do those symbols mean on the tree? Chuck explains the significance of Chrismons on this episode of "Chuck Knows Church," a weekly online series that explains the meaning behind some of the objects, symbols, terms and rituals in church. Episodes can be downloaded for free at and used in worship, youth groups, fellowship groups, confirmation classes, worship teams, new member classes and late-night snack viewing. Chuck is on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. "Chuck Knows Church" is produced by the General Board of Discipleship. More ...

Discipleship offers grants to grow vital congregations
Grants totaling $200,000 are now available from Discipleship Ministries (General Board of Discipleship) to encourage local churches, annual conferences and central conferences to experiment with innovative and creative approaches to growing vital congregations. The grants seek to spur quantifiable growth in worship attendance, professions of faith, small groups, mission engagement and missional giving. Underwritten by the Connectional Table’s World Service Contingency Fund, the grants are part of a churchwide effort to increase the number of highly vital congregations 15% by 2016. The experimental funds are being offered to help any local church, annual conference or central conference develop new projects or events to inspire vital congregation growth. To obtain a grant application, contact Jeffrey Campbell, director of Annual Conference Relationships at Discipleship Ministries, at Grant application deadline is Jan. 30, 2015. More ...

Two African bishops face penalties for financial, accounting issues
The General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA), The United Methodist Church's finance agency, is taking separate actions against two African bishops over financial and accounting issues. GCFA will withhold funds from East Angola Area Bishop José Quipungo’s episcopal office until he provides “a satisfactory episcopal office” audit. The finance agency’s board also continues to sanction East Africa Area Bishop Daniel Wandabula, who faces longstanding questions for how his episcopal area has used more than $757,000 in church funds. More ...

GBCS seeks Grassroots Organizing program assistant
The General Board of Church and Society (GBCS), headquartered in Washington, D.C., is seeking a Grassroots Organizing Program Assistant to provide administrative, financial and program support to the Grassroots Organizing team; manage the flow of communications, respond to information requests, arrange conference calls and screen incoming calls; prepare, file and maintain budget/expense forms, travel requests and check requests. Application review will start on Monday, Dec. 8. Interviews will be conducted and applications will be accepted until position is filled. More ...

GCORR seeks Training and Development specialist
The General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR), headquartered in Washington, D.C., is seeking a Training and Development specialist. Reporting directly to the Team Leader for Cross-Racial and Intercultural Ministries, the Training and Development Specialist will expand and implement a comprehensive training program that will effectively increase knowledge within the church of intercultural differences and competencies. This person will be responsible for creating and delivering trainings tailored for use across annual conferences, local churches, and denominational entities with the goal of equipping all levels of the Church to successfully function in multicultural environments. This person will also be responsible for creating action plans for Church leaders to use in implementing their learnings at the individual and denominational level. For more information, contact Frances Roberts at (202) 488-5658 or More ...

♦ 'Wounded Hearts, Healing Love' Retreat - Dec. 5-7
"Wounded Hearts, Healing Love" retreat for those who have found themselves single again due to separation, divorce or death will be held 6:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 5, to 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 7, at Blessings Lodge at Overlook Retreat and Camp Ministries in Keezletown. Participants will explore the trials, hurts, loneliness of being single again and search for the road leading to healing and wholeness. Participants stay in semi-private rooms with private baths. All linens are provided. Three meals on Saturday and two on Sunday will be served. Cost is $105 per person (some financial assistance available). Register at

♦ Westview on James Winter Camp - Dec. 5-7
Children and youths ages 7-15 are invited to Westview on the James in Goochland County Dec. 5-7 for Winter Camp. Celebrate the Advent season with tree decorations, gingerbread men, interactive worship, fun camp activities and lots of Westview counselors. Cost is $115 per person. Click here for flyer or go to for details.

♦ Nutzy's Rotary FUNN Run to benefit UMFS - Dec. 6
The annual Nutzy’s Rotary FUNN Run 5k on Saturday, Dec. 6, will benefit United Methodist Family Services (UMFS) for the second year in a row. The Rotary Club of West Richmond, in partnership with the Dominion Christmas Parade and the Richmond Flying Squirrels, created this event to offer a festive, family-friendly competition while fulfilling the club's philanthropic mission to improve the lives of local children. Runners, walkers, families, children and strollers are welcome to participate. Students from UMFS will participate again this year. Visit to register.

♦ 'Walk to the Manger' - Dec. 19
"Walk to the Manger," a free, live, interactive nativity experience will be offered at Overlook Retreat and Camp Ministries, Keezletown, Friday, Dec. 19. Meet the shepherds, hear the angels announce the good news, visit a young couple and their holy child, and help point a few kings toward the treasure they seek. Tours will begin continuously from 6 to 8 p.m. The experience will last about 30 minutes. Dress warmly, wear sturdy shoes, and keep children with a responsible adult at all times. More ...

♦ 'Walk to the Manger' Bed and Breakfast - Dec. 19-20
Come for the live, interactive nativity experience and extend your stay in a private room at Blessings Lodge at Overlook Retreat and Camp Ministries in Keezletown. There will be hot beverages, a time of reflection on the nativity experience, Christmas activities, Saturday morning devotions and a pancake breakfast. Cost is $99 per room (four twin beds, add more on the floor). More ...

♦ Winter Camp at Overlook - Dec. 19-20
Children and youths (grades 4-10) can extend their "Walk to the Manger" experience and attend Winter Camp Friday night, Dec. 19, to Saturday afternoon, Dec. 20, at Overlook Retreat and Camp Ministries in Keezletown. Campers will reflect on the nativity experience, play games, have a sugar cookie decorating contest and more. More ...

♦ Winter Camp at Alta Mons - Dec. 19-21
Alta Mons outdoor retreat and learning center in Shawsville (Roanoke District) will hold Winter Camp for 3rd-12th graders Dec. 19-21 with many of the same activities as summer camp (hiking to the falls, having s'mores, going to worship), as well as a few different ones such as decorating Christmas cookies, making candles and other surprises. Cost is $90. Register online at More ...

♦ Ministers' Convocation - Jan. 13-15
Ministers' Convocation, an annual continuing education event for clergy and church professionals in the Virginia Conference, will be Tuesday, Jan. 13, through Thursday, Jan 15, at Blackstone Conference and Retreat Center (also known as Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center). Theme is "The Future of Christianity in America: Fresh Voices." Keynote speakers will be Dr. David E. Evans, assistant professor of Missions, Intercultural and Interfaith Studies at Eastern Mennonite University, and Dr. Asa J. Lee, associate dean for Community Life at Wesley Theological Seminary. Preacher for convocation will be the Rev. D. J. del Rosario, senior pastor of Bothell UMC in Bothell, Wash. Bishop Young Jin Cho will preach at the opening service of Word and Table. Registration is required prior to the event and registration will close on Jan. 5. Click here to register online and pay by credit card. Click here to download a flyer that includes a schedule and mail-in registration form to pay by check. For more information, contact the Center for Clergy Excellence at (804) 521-1127 or 1-800-768-6040, ext. 127. More ...

♦ United Methodist Day at General Assembly - Feb. 5
The Rev. Dr. Susan Henry-Crowe, General Secretary of the General Board of Church and Society, will be the lead speaker at United Methodist Day at the General Assembly on Thursday, Feb. 5. This event, sponsored by the conference Board of Church and Society and conference United Methodist Women, is a unique opportunity for Virginia United Methodists to exercise their calling to witness to their faith by advocating for justice on behalf of the voiceless in our society. 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 e-mail For information about the Virginia Conference and resources for ministry, visit the Virginia Conference website at



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