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 - June 10, 2016

Madeline Pillow named interim Communications director
Madeline Pillow, who currently serves as editor of the Virginia United Methodist Advocate, has been named interim director of Communications for a six-month time period beginning Sept. 1 following Linda Rhodes' retirement. "This decision by the Common Table Personnel Committee includes the understanding that the primary responsibility of the director of Communications is to develop and implement a comprehensive communications strategy which informs, equips, encourages and connects the people and churches of the Virginia Annual Conference for fruitfulness in their mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world," the Rev. Marc Brown, director of Connectional Ministries, said in an announcement. More ...

Three Connections 21 interns begin work in conference offices
Three Connections 21 interns are working with Connectional Ministries in the Virginia Conference offices June 9-Aug. 8. Minoka Gunesekera, a rising senior at Duke Divinity School (and Virginia Tech alum), will work with the office of Congregational Excellence. Her home church is Blacksburg UMC. She was a Calling 21 intern at Lane Memorial UMC several years ago and has been an Ethnic Young Adult intern with the General Board of Church and Society in Washington, D.C. Her summer church this year is Boulevard UMC, Richmond. Jo Ann Batteiger, rising junior at Shenandoah University, will work with the office of Justice and Missional Excellence. Her home church is Bon Air UMC, Richmond. She was a Calling 21 intern at Culpeper UMC last year, and her summer church this year is Welborne UMC, Richmond. Emily Clark, recent graduate of Ferrum College, will work with the office of Inclusivity and Lay Leadership Excellence. Her home church is Broad Street UMC, Portsmouth. She was a Calling 21 intern at a group of churches on the Eastern Shore several years ago and has been student minister in the Ferrum Chapel. Her summer church this year is River Road UMC, Richmond.

'Thy Will Be Done' is theme of 2016 Annual Conference
The 234th session of the Virginia Annual Conference will be held June 17-19 at the Berglund Center in Roanoke. Theme of the 2016 Annual Conference is “Thy Will Be Done.” The logo was developed by Cathryn Huff, contract graphic designer for the conference Communications office. Information about this year’s session is available on the conference website at Preacher for the ordination service will be Bishop Mark Webb from the Upper New York Annual Conference. Preacher for the Saturday morning mission service will be the Rev. Eun Pa Hong from Bupyeong Methodist Church in South Korea. Preacher for the Friday evening memorial service will be the Rev. Myrtle Frances Hatcher, pastor of Main St. UMC, Suffolk, James River District. Preacher for the retirement service will be the Rev. Jim Tongue. Annual Conference teacher will be Dr. L. Gregory Jones, Professor of Theology and Christian Ministry at Duke Divinity School. More ...

Watch Annual Conference via live stream on website, Facebook
Live streaming of the 2016 Virginia Annual Conference will be available, beginning at 1 p.m. Friday, June 17, from the Virginia Conference website,, and from the Virginia Conference Facebook page, Or go directly to The live streaming will show all sessions of the three-day conference, including worship at 11 a.m. Sunday, June 19, when Bishop Young Jin Cho will preach.

Follow Annual Conference on Twitter, Facebook
Follow activities of the 2016 Virginia Annual Conference and post your own comments on Facebook and Twitter. The Virginia Conference Facebook page can be found at Follow the Virginia Conference @vaumc on Twitter at Participate in the conversation by using hashtag #vaumc16.

Your congregation can participate in Annual Conference Sunday morning worship
Local churches may show the live stream video of the Annual Conference closing worship service at 11 a.m. Sunday, June 19, and have the congregation participate with Annual Conference members in Sunday morning worship. Bishop Young Jin Cho will preach. The liturgy for the service is posted on the conference website and can be downloaded for use in a church bulletin. PLEASE NOTE THAT THE FINAL HYMN FOR THE SERVICE HAS CHANGED AND THE BULLETIN HAS BEEN REVISED. Final hymn will be "Trust and Obey." Click here to download the bulletin in pdf format. Click here to download the bulletin in Word. If your congregation will be participating in the Annual Conference worship service, please send an email to and indicate the name of your church and district and how many people are expected to participate. The Annual Conference Planning Committee will be holding all participants in prayer.

Annual Conference child care registration extended to June 15
Child care at Annual Conference registration remains open until noon Wednesday, June 15, or until the remaining few slots have been filled (whichever comes first). Bonsack UMC, 4493 Bonsack Rd., will host paid child care for ages 0-10 Friday, June 17, 12:30-5:30 p.m.; Saturday, June 20, 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m. and 7-9:30 p.m.; and Sunday, June 21, 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m. NO WALK-IN CHILD CARE WILL BE AVAILABLE. You MUST register online. For questions, contact Susan Wagner at Registration for child care is online only, at Click here to see a pricing chart (pdf).

Virginia Conference dinner, reception planned for Jurisdictional Conference
All Virginia Conference friends are invited to gather for a dinner during the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference at Lake Junaluska, N.C., to celebrate the ministry of Bishop Young Jin Cho and Rev. Kiok Cho. Buffet dinner and program will be at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, July 14, in the Lambuth International Room in the Lambuth Inn. Cost is $26.50 which must be paid in advance. Dessert is NOT included due to ice cream reception later that evening. Deadline to make reservation is Thursday, July 7. Click here to register and pay online.
     Virginia Conference friends are also invited to an ice cream social/reception to welcome our new bishop immediately following the announcement of episcopal assignments on Thursday evening, July 14, at the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference in Lake Junaluska, N.C. The reception will be at approximately 9 p.m. in Room 100 of the Lambuth Inn. Cost for ice cream is $6 per person which must be paid in advance. A sugar-free option will be available. Deadline to make reservation is Thursday, July 7. If you would like to attend but not share in the ice cream, please register so we can plan for the number of people to be present. Click here to register and pay online.
     To pay by check, email to indicate your plans to attend one or both events, then mail your check payable to “VAUMC” to: The Rev. Beth Givens, Welborne UMC, 920 Maybeury Drive, Richmond, VA 23229. Note on your check memo line one of the following options: “SEJ Dinner” (check for $26.50/person), “SEJ Reception” (check for $6/person if wanting ice cream), or “SEJ Dinner and Reception” (check for $32.50/person).

UMVIM teams begin rebuilding homes destroyed by February tornadoes
After months of prayer and preparation, rebuilding from the February tornado outbreak began Monday, June 6, in Waverly, thanks to a team from St. Luke's UMC, Yorktown. Forrest White, Virginia Conference Long-term Disaster Recovery manager and United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) coordinator, reported that weeks are open this summer and throughout the fall for UMVIM teams to work. If your church is thinking about sending a team, check on available dates by contacting White at Teams can sign up to work a week, a single day and everything in between. No work will be scheduled on Sundays. Youth volunteers must have completed 8th grade and be at least 14 years old.
     A special thank you to Evergreen UMC and Piney Ridge UMC (Pamplin Charge, Farmville District) and to Wakefield UMC (James River District) for agreeing to host teams. Also, big thanks to Waverly UMC for providing dinner and worship on Wednesday nights for visiting teams. A huge thank you to Mountain View UMC Forest that is donating all proceeds from its Saturday, June 11, yard sale to disaster recovery. If your church is willing to hold a fundraiser to help raise money for survivors and would like information about Wall of Giving, Walls for Living, contact White at

Churches asked to take Samaritan Offering May 8-June 19
Churches in the Virginia Conference are asked to receive a special offering between Mother’s Day on May 8 and Father’s Day on June 19 for the 2016 Samaritan Offering to support the Samaritan Program of Virginia United Methodist Homes (VUMH), a benevolent fund which provides financial assistance to residents who have outlived their monetary resources and, through no fault of their own, can no longer afford the full cost of their care. VUMH mailed each charge a packet of promotional materials and giving envelopes. With the exception of the envelopes, all of the materials are available on the VUMH website at under the “Samaritan Program” section. The website also includes bulletin inserts for each Sunday during the offering emphasis. For help in telling the VUMH story within your congregation or extra copies of promotional materials, contact Martha Stokes, director of Church and Community Relations at Virginia United Methodist Homes, at or (804) 474-8718. More....

All God's Children camp needs 16 male mentors
All God’s Children Camp needs 16 male mentors, about eight mentors for each camp session, to make this summer possible. Camp will be held June 26-July 1, at Camp Overlook, Keezletown, and July 31-Aug. 5, at Occohannock on the Bay, Eastern Shore. Please consider volunteering your time this summer to be with and minister to children, ages 7 to 12, who have an incarcerated mother or father. Click here to download the mentor application form and mail it to the address on the back of the form. For more information, contact Lori Smith, camp director, at or (571) 245-9591.

Hermitage at Cedarfield seeks part-time chaplain
The Hermitage at Cedarfield, a community of Virginia United Methodist Homes, Inc., located in the far west end of Richmond off Three Chopt Road, is seeking a part-time professional chaplain to deliver spiritual support and care to residents as an essential dimension of Pathways to Wellness plan. Through ministries of pastoral care, worship and programming, the chaplain facilitates spiritual care of residents, residents’ families and employees. The ideal candidate will be ordained with a Master’s degree in Divinity and/or counseling from an accredited institution, be experienced in preaching and worship planning and have skill in dealing with the spiritual dynamics of aging, illness, loss and death. Key responsibilities include leading a weekly Health Care service, planning and preaching for Sunday morning worship, maintaining a regular call rotation (including alternating weekends), providing end-of-life care and providing support and leadership for in-house memorial services. Religious Life professionals at the Hermitage at Cedarfield work with a multi-disciplinary staff of health care professionals. Email resume with cover letter to or mail to Human Resource Department, The Hermitage at Cedarfield, 2300 Cedarfield Parkway, Richmond, VA 23233. More ...

Erin Hawkins resigns as GCORR head
The General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR) announced June 7 that General Secretary Erin Hawkins will resign, effective Sept. 30, in order to become executive director of Connectional Ministries in the California-Pacific Conference. Garlinda Burton, a United Methodist deaconess who retired in 2012 as General Secretary of the denomination's General Commission on the Status and Role of Women, will serve as GCORR's interim General Secretary. A search for a new general secretary will begin this fall. More ...

Conferences react to 'A Way Forward' on human sexuality
“An Offering for a Way Forward,” approved by the 2016 General Conference, put the debate on human sexuality on hold. However, some United Methodist clergy are still facing charges and others who recently came out as gay are vulnerable. Conferences, advocates supporting LGBTQ people and those who support current church law are now grappling with the in-between stage. More ...

Bishops reorganize ecumenical staff
The United Methodist Council of Bishops is reorganizing its staffing structure related to ecumenical and interfaith relations. The plan includes eliminating all of the eight current staff positions in New York to make way for a new staffing model based at the United Methodist Building in Washington. More ...

United Methodist Communications seeks Minister of Online Engagement
United Methodist Communications, headquartered in Nashville, Tenn., seeks a Minister of Online Engagement for RethinkChurch, to oversee and provide online pastoral guidance and engagement with seekers and digitally connect them with members of The United Methodist Church. The ultimate goal is to bridge seekers with local congregations and develop a deeper faith engagement in the church. The ideal candidate will provide direction of sacred content geared for 18- to 34-year-olds often disengaged from church by working with writers, study leaders, clergy and agencies of the UMC. He/She will also provide innovative and strategic use of social media to disciple new persons for Christ, maintain Rethink Church-linked social media outlets (including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube), and collaborate with other members of the Rethink Church team to create and enhance social media, mobile and member strategies in support of the ministry and mission of The United Methodist Church. More ...

♦ UMVIM Team Leader and Recertification Training - June 11, July 16, 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, June 11, in Staunton; Saturday, July 16, in Fredericksburg; and Saturday, Sept. 24, in Newport News. Recertification training will be offered Saturday, June 11, in Staunton; Saturday, July 16, in Fredericksburg; and Saturday, Sept. 24, in Newport News. Click here to register for Team Leader Training and click here to register for UMVIM Recertification.

♦ Missional Ministries/Church and Society Annual Conference luncheon - June 18
Dr. Olusimbo Ige, executive director of the Global Health unit of the General Board of Global Ministries, will be guest speaker at the Missional Ministries Board/Board of Church and Society combined Annual Conference luncheon at 12 noon Saturday, June 18, in Berglund Hall at the Berglund Center in Roanoke. Dr. Olusimbo will tell the story of the UMC’s commitment to health world-wide as well as in the U.S. Cost is $17 per person. Register online at

♦ Helping Hands mission experience for children - June 22-23, July 21-22
Helping Hands, an exciting two-day mission experience for rising 4th-6th graders, parents and adult leaders, will be June 22-23 at St. Paul’s UMC in Staunton and July 21-22 at Woodlake UMC in Midlothian. Come and learn about mission opportunities and the importance of being a caring Christian. Cost is $36 per person and includes a t-shirt, meals, snacks and overnight stay. The event will include worship, fellowship and mission experiences in the community. Registration forms for each site can be found at

♦ 2 Days 2 Serve for high school youths - July 22-23
"2 Days 2 Serve" will be held July 22-23 at Randolph-Macon College in Ashland to help high school youths examine God's call, whether they are feeling called to be teachers, scientists, artists, pastors, social workers, public servants or something entirely new and different. This event offers four hands-on experiences requiring different skills and gifts, each experience followed by a time of reflection and discernment. This is an opportunity to stretch, to try new things, and to learn a new way of listening for God's call. Cost is $20, including meals and one night lodging at R-MC. Sign up with the conference office of Clergy Excellence at More ...

♦ Small Church Pastor Training - July 23
All VAUMC pastors of small congregations (149 or fewer in worship) are invited to a day of training and conversation 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, July 23, at Chamberlayne Heights UMC in Richmond. “From Strength to Strength: Asset-based Ministry” is designed to help encourage and equip small church pastors to lead their congregations. The Rev. Dr. Lynne Caldwell, pastor of Brookland UMC, Richmond, and member of the faculty for Practical Theology at The Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology, will be keynote speaker and facilitator. More ...

♦ Mission Encounter - July 29-31
Mission Encounter, the only conference-wide mission education and interpretation event, will be July 29-31 at Randolph-Macon College, Ashland. Mission Encounter is an opportunity for clergy and laity to learn about being partners in God’s global mission and to grow spiritually through study and worship. It is open to men, women and youths. Participants may attend one of three workshops: spiritual growth study on "The Bible and Human Sexuality" led by the Rev. Dr. Rob Vaughn, the Rev. Myrtle Frances Hatcher and Prof. Esther Barkat; issue study on "Climate Justice" led by the Rev. Pat Watkins and the Rev. Dottie Yunger; or geographic study on "Latin America-People and Faith" led by Don Edwards. For more information, contact Dennis Lipke, dean of the Mission Encounter Committee, at or (804) 262-8651. More ...

♦ 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

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