To subscribe to the e-Advocate and have it delivered to your e-mail address, free of charge, send your name, address, and e-mail 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:

 Dec. 15, 2016
 Dec. 8, 2016
Dec. 1, 2016

Nov. 17, 2016
Nov. 10, 2016
Nov. 3, 2016

Oct. 27, 2016
 Oct. 20, 2016
 Oct. 13, 2016
Oct. 6, 2016

Sept. 22, 2016
 Sept. 15, 2016
Sept. 8, 2016
Sept. 1, 2016

Aug. 25, 2016
Aug. 18, 2016
Aug. 11, 2016
Aug. 4, 2016

July 28, 2016
July 21, 2016
July 14, 2016 - News from SEJ Conference
July 13, 2016 - News from SEJ Conference
July 12, 2016
July 7, 2016

June 29, 2016
June 23, 2016
June 14, 2016
June 10, 2016
June 3, 2016 - Special Annual Conference edition

May 26, 2016
News from 2016 General Conference (May 10-20)
May 3, 2016

April 27, 2016
April 22, 2016
April 15, 2016
April 7, 2016

March 30, 2016
March 23, 2016
March 21, 2016 - Annual Conference Special Offering
March 17, 2016
March 10, 2016
March 4, 2016

Feb. 24, 2016
Feb. 17, 2016
Feb. 10, 2016
Feb. 8, 2016
Feb. 3, 2016

Jan. 28, 2016
Jan. 14, 2016
Jan. 8, 2016

 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 - July 21, 2016

Welcoming service for Bishop Lewis to be Sept. 17 at Reveille UMC, Richmond
Bishop Sharma D. 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. A welcoming service of worship for Bishop Lewis will be held at Reveille UMC, 4200 Cary Street Road, Richmond, 10:30 a.m. to 12 noon Saturday, Sept. 17. Lewis was the first bishop elected by the 376 delegates at the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference which met July 13-15 in Lake Junaluska, N.C. She is currently serving as district superintendent of the Atlanta-Decatur-Oxford District in the North Georgia Conference. More ...

Long-term tornado recovery continues in Waverly, Evergreen, Tappahannock
Long-term recovery from the Feb. 24 tornadoes is continuing. Work began in Waverly on June 6 and will begin in Evergreen on Aug. 1. Tappahannock recovery work will begin in September. Twenty-six different teams, mostly from the Virginia Conference, are scheduled over the summer and into October. Case management is complete in Waverly, nearly completed in Evergreen and in progress in Tappahannock. On July 20 a team composed of provisional candidates for ministry and the Cabinet worked in Waverly. United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) highlighted our Virginia long-term tornado recovery on its website. Following this link will take you to the story: Please remember to lift up the long-term needs for recovery and consider a regular ongoing offering from your church, Sunday school class or small group.

$157,715 collected for Annual Conference offering
As of July 20, a total of $157,715 has been given to this year's Annual Conference special offering, exceeding the goal of $150,000. The offering goal includes $50,000 to help fund the rapid growth and expanding influence of the Methodist Mission in Cambodia through support for training lay and clergy leadership and building of churches. Another $25,000 will support the Methodist Church of Brazil programs with at-risk children in cities and communities across Brazil. Another $25,000 will support our long-term relationship with United Methodist churches in Mozambique, focusing primarily on the vital area of education and development of resources for training laity in two conferences in that country. In Virginia, $50,000 will fund disaster response, particularly long-term recovery work following Feb. 24 tornadoes in three districts of the conference.

All invited to help glean sweet corn in Northern Neck July 28, 29, 30
United Methodists of all ages are invited to join Society of St. Andrew and the Northern Neck Food Bank for three days of gleaning sweet corn at Parker Farm in the Northern Neck 8 a.m. to noon July 28, 29 and 30. Everyone will meet at 8 a.m. at 1623 Leedstown Road in Colonial Beach and travel to the field together. Individuals or groups are invited to come glean for one morning, two mornings or all three. Gleaners will be allowed to take corn back to their local pantry, shelter or food bank for distribution. Organizers will provide forms to document service hours for youth. If interested, call Sarah Ramey or Bill Leach at 1-800-333-4597 or send a note to Indicate what day(s) and how many will come. In addition, Westmoreland State Park is only 20 minutes away and that could make a great place to swim after gleaning.

August Advocate to feature reports, photos from 2016 Annual Conference
The August issue of the Virginia United Methodist Advocate will feature articles and photos about the 2016 Virginia Annual Conference when nearly 4,000 clergy and laity from United Methodist churches across Virginia gathered at the Berglund Center in Roanoke to worship, do mission projects, celebrate ministries and conduct the business of the conference. This month's issue also includes the 2016-2017 Mission Opportunities booklet, a guide to apportionments, second-mile giving, missionaries and mission projects in Virginia, across the nation and around the world. 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

Mission Encounter participants asked to bring pillows, musical instruments
Mission Encounter will be held this year July 29-31 at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland. All overnight guests are asked to bring their own pillows. Unfortunately, the linen package does not include pillows, and organizers did not know this at the beginning of negotiations. Please bring your own pillow(s) and spread the word to others who are attending as overnighters. In addition, Laura Douglass, Mission Encounter music director, invites attendees to bring along their musical instruments to join the team leading music.

Communications office selling DVD honoring Bishop Cho
The conference Communications office is selling a DVD honoring Bishop Young Jin Cho. The DVD will include Bishop Cho's Episcopal Address at the 2016 Annual Conference session, his sermon at the 2016 Annual Conference closing worship service and the 2016 Annual Conference celebration of his ministry (including the video highlighting his ministry that was shown as part of that celebration). Cost is $10. Deadline to order is July 25. To order DVDs, go to to order online, or call Pam Culler in the Communications office at (804) 521-1110 or 1-800-768-6040, ext. 110.

GraceInside seeks chaplain for Haynesville Correctional Center
GraceInside, Virginia’s Prison Chaplain Service, is currently seeking interested and qualified candidates for a 30-hour/week chaplain position at Haynesville Correctional Center, a medium-security prison for men. Qualified applicants should have an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university, Master of Divinity or equivalent degree from an accredited seminary/theological school, and be ordained and in good standing with their ordaining body (church, denomination/judicatory). Clinical Pastoral Education units are a plus, as is pastoral experience. Experience working in the field of criminal justice (jails, prisons, etc.) is also a plus. Interested candidates may send an email to request an application from Lee Hargrave at Completed applications should be scanned and emailed – along with current resume and cover letter – to Lee Hargrave at the above email address. Deadline to receive all materials is Aug. 1.

United Methodist Church elects 15 new bishops
The United Methodist Church elected 15 new bishops in jurisdictional conferences around the United States last week. Click here to read all the election stories.

New women bishops make history
​ Even as bishop elections were ongoing, The United Methodist Church already was making history this year — electing the most women in any new class of bishops in this denomination or its predecessor bodies. All told, delegates elected seven women, four of whom are African-American. More ...

U.S. bishops begin new assignments Sept. 1
Most of the 15 United Methodist clergy elected as new U.S. bishops last week will be packing their bags to move to a new home within their region. The denomination’s five U.S. jurisdictional conferences announced assignments for new and old bishops in all 46 episcopal areas, effective Sept. 1. More ...

Married lesbian consecrated United Methodist bishop
Bishop Karen Phyllis Oliveto received a standing ovation the first time she stood and faced a packed church as the newest bishop of the Western Jurisdiction. But many in The United Methodist Church are asking what the election of a married lesbian — despite the church’s ban on ordaining “self-avowed, practicing homosexuals” — means for the future of the denomination. More ...

Conservative coalition asks bishops to call for Oliveto’s resignation
A coalition of unofficial United Methodist groups that support the denomination’s current prohibition against ordaining “self-avowed practicing homosexuals,” have asked the United Methodist Council of Bishops to request the resignation of Bishop Karen Oliveto, a married lesbian elected last week. In a statement released on July 18, they also asked the bishops to expedite the appointment of members to a commission that will examine all church laws on human sexuality. More ...

Bishop Oliveto addresses reaction to her election
United Methodist Bishop Karen Oliveto thanked delegates and bishops of the Western Jurisdiction in a letter posted on the website. “I know there are many who are lamenting my election,” she writes. “Our task is to love deeply, which means standing before those who are angry, anxious, or fearful and be a witness to all they are feeling, and to remain in relationship through the power of Christ’s love.” Read the letter.

Group asks bishops to remove discriminatory language from Discipline
Love Prevails, a group that advocates for full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people in The United Methodist Church, has sent a letter to the Council of Bishops. The group asks the bishops for “full removal of all language from The Book of Discipline which categorically discriminates against and punishes LGBTQ people, as well as policies which penalize those who seek to be in ministry with and for LGBTQ people.” Read the letter.

Resolution recommends letting regional bodies adapt Discipline
The Northeastern Jurisdiction approved a restructuring resolution recommending the bishops’ study commission on sexuality include a plan to allow regional bodies — such as jurisdictions — to decide for themselves to adapt the Book of Discipline within their own ministry context. Erik Alsgaard and Maidstone Mulenga write about that resolution and others that aimed to show disagreement with church law on sexuality issues. More ...

Bishops address racism, gun violence
Bishops in the Northeastern Jurisdiction have released a statement calling on United Methodists to advocate against racism and gun violence. Read Northeastern Jurisdiction bishops’ statement. At the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference, Bishop Jonathan Holston of the South Carolina Conference read his own statement, calling for prayer and reconciliation. Read Bishop Holston’s statement.

Great Plains Conference sets trial of lesbian pastor
Bishop Scott J. Jones of the Great Plains Conference announced that the church trial for a lesbian pastor will be conducted Aug. 24 in Concordia, Kan. The Rev. Cynthia Meyer stated in a letter to her district superintendent earlier this year that she was in a committed homosexual relationship. The conference’s committee on investigation, which serves the role of a grand jury, decided in June that there was enough evidence to move the proceedings to a church trial. More ...

Pension board changes its name
The United Methodist Board of Pension and Health Benefits has changed its name to Wespath Benefits and Investments, starting July 18. The “Wes” part of the name honors John Wesley, Methodism’s founder, and “path” refers to the agency’s goal of providing participants and institutional clients with a path toward personal health, investment and retirement objectives. More ... Click here to read more about Wespath.

Two new opportunities offered to church secretaries
The United Methodist Church’s finance agency and professional association for church secretaries are offering administrative workers new opportunities for continuing education and travel. One is an online certification class for the Professional Association of United Methodist Church Secretaries. (Click here to learn more about online certification.) The other is a discounted eight-day Holy Land tour beginning Jan. 31, 2017, offered through Educational Opportunities. Click here to sign up for the Holy Land tour. More ...

UMCOR helps West Virginia churches respond to devastating floods
Severe weather with heavy rains rolled through West Virginia June 23 and 24, provoking floods that left thousands of people in the dark, damaged hundreds of homes and killed 23 people. Cathy Earl, United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) U.S. Disaster Response program manager, noted that at least nine United Methodist churches were damaged in the floods. “But that didn’t stop the people of The United Methodist Church from responding to their neighbors! Food, water and relief supplies were offered with a compassion I can only describe as ‘easy,’” she said. View a slide show here. UMCOR sets aside as much as 10% of its total granting in response to a disaster to assist local communities rebuild or repair their houses of worship. Ahead of the storm, UMCOR had assisted the conference with disaster-preparedness training and in establishing its own New Vision Depot for relief supplies. Afterward, it provided an emergency grant to help with relief work in the affected communities, as well as cleaning buckets. Your gift to U.S. Disaster Response, Advance #901670, helps UMCOR respond in a timely way to disasters and crises across the United States.
     Virginia Conference United Methodist Men (UMM) and the Virginia Conference Disaster Response Team are organizing an UMCOR Cleaning Bucket collection to assist West Virginia flood victims. Check with your district UMM president to find out details about how your church can participate.

♦ Lay Servant Ministries on-demand courses - Aug. 27, Sept. 24
Lay Servant Ministries is offering a series of six on-demand learning courses in 2016. You may attend live events 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Virginia United Methodist Center in Glen Allen for free, or pay $30 to watch online from your own computer during a 90-day period to receive your certification. The next courses to be offered are Saturday, Aug. 27, "Preaching" led by Doug Forrester, and Saturday, Sept. 24, "UMC Heritage" led by Martha Stokes. For more information, contact Marge Sharp, on-demand learning registrar, at or (757) 871-2809. David Bailey, conference director of Lay Servant Ministries, said offering the online courses “supports (the planning team’s) initial belief that students would use the opportunity to come back and review the material or complete it over time. That is the prime motivator for on demand learning: Any time anywhere, on their schedule.” More ... 

♦ UMVIM Team Leader and Recertification Training - Aug. 27, Sept. 24
Some confusion remains regarding training necessary to serve in tornado-affected areas now that the Recovery (rebuilding) phase has begun. Volunteers do not need Early Response Team (ERT) training. Each volunteer team does need a trained United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) team leader. To that end, Forrest White, Virginia Conference Long-term Recovery Manager and UMVIM coordinator, will lead UMVIM team leader training on Saturday, Aug. 27, at Mountain View UMC in Forest, and Saturday, Sept. 24, at Warwick Memorial UMC in Newport News. Recertification training will be offered Saturday, Aug. 27, at Mountain View UMC in Forest; and Saturday, Sept. 24, at Warwick Memorial UMC in Newport News. Click here to register for Team Leader Training and click here to register for UMVIM Recertification.

♦ UMFS golf tournaments - Sept. 30, Oct. 14
Registration is now open for the annual United Methodist Family Services (UMFS) Fore the Kids Golf Tournament to be held Friday, Sept. 30, at Manor Golf Club in Farmville and Friday, Oct. 14, at Royal New Kent Golf Club in Providence Forge (Richmond area). For the Manor Golf Club tournament, cost is $400 per team or $100 per individual. Registration deadline is Sept. 15. For the Royal New Kent Golf Club, cost is $500 per team or $125 per individual. Registration deadline is Oct. 4. Register at For more information, contact Joe Torrence at or (804) 239-1042, ext. 1941.

♦ 5 Talent Academy - Oct. 4
Registration is now open for the 5 Talent Academy Equipping People for Ministry Outside the Walls of the Church event to be held 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 4, at Ebenezer UMC in Stafford. The event will be live streamed to 10 additional locations across the conference (Danville, Eastern Shore, Farmville, Lynchburg, Richmond, Roanoke, Shenandoah Valley, Tidewater, Winchester and York River). Featured speaker is Andy Crouch, executive editor of Christianity Today and author of several books, including Strong and Weak: Embracing a Life of Love, Risk and True Flourishing, Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power and Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling. Cost is $35 per person. Those who register prior to Aug. 31 will receive an early-bird discount and pay only $25. Group pricing is available for teams. Registration closes on Sept. 19. Visit to register.

♦ Kindred Project two-day silent retreat - Nov. 2-4
Kindred Project will offer a two-day Silent Retreat in the Celtic Tradition at the Bellfry Retreat Home (, 4 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 2, to 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 4. The retreat will be facilitated by Kim Barker-Brugman, Janie Mitchell and Dawn Peck. Estimated cost is $175 per person. Complete details will be available in early October, but to reserve a space now, contact Dawn at

♦ UMVIM Trip to Israel/Palestine - Jan. 30-Feb. 11
The Virginia Conference Board of Church and Society is sponsoring a United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) trip to Israel and Palestine Jan. 30 to Feb. 11, 2017. The trip will provide opportunities for learning, serving and seeing. Team members will visit religious sites and United Methodist missions projects. There will be opportunities to serve at some of those mission projects. Team members will also visit and meet with Palestinians, both Christian and Muslim, as well as Israeli Jews. The team will learn more about the struggles of life in Palestine and efforts to create a just and hopeful future. Team leaders are the Rev. John Copenhaver and the Rev. Steve Jones, both certified VIM team leaders. For more information, contact either leader at or
     In addition, the leaders have planned two information sessions:
     1. Sunday, July 24, 3:30 p.m. at Virginia United Methodist Conference Center, 10330 Staples Mill Rd., Glen Allen, VA 23060. If you plan to attend, contact Steve Jones at by July 23.
     2. Sunday, Aug. 28, 4 p.m. at Leesburg United Methodist Church, Asbury Hall, 107 West Market St., Leesburg, VA 20176. If you plan to attend, contact John Copenhaver at by Aug. 26.

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 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