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 2015 issue of the Virginia Conference e-Advocate, click on the date below:

Dec. 17, 2015
Dec. 10, 2015
Dec. 3, 2015

Nov. 19, 2015
Nov. 12, 2015
Nov. 6, 2015

Oct. 29, 2015
Oct. 22, 2015
Oct. 15, 2015
Oct. 8, 2015
Oct. 1, 2015

Sept. 23, 2015
Sept. 10, 2015
Sept. 3, 2015

Aug. 27, 2015
Aug. 20, 2015
Aug. 14, 2015
Aug. 6, 2015

July 30, 2015
July 23, 2015
July 16, 2015
July 9, 2015
July 1, 2015

June 25, 2015
June 17, 2015
June 12, 2015
June 5, 2015

May 29, 2015
May 21, 2015
May 15, 2015
May 7, 2015
May 1, 2015

April 23, 2015
April 16, 2015
April 10, 2015
April 1, 2015

March 26, 2015
March 19, 2015
March 13, 2015
March 6, 2015

Feb. 27, 2015
Feb. 20, 2015
Feb. 13, 2015
Feb. 6, 2015

Jan. 27, 2015
Jan. 22, 2015
Jan. 15, 2015
Jan. 8, 2015

Click here for 2016 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 5, 2015

Watch Annual Conference via live stream on website, Facebook
Live streaming of the 2015 Virginia Annual Conference will be available, beginning at 10 a.m. Friday, June 19, 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 21, when Bishop Young Jin Cho will preach. Local churches may show the live video of the Annual Conference worship service during their Sunday morning worship services and participate by following the liturgy for the service that will be available to download from the conference website at

Follow Annual Conference on Twitter, Facebook
Follow activities of the 2015 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 #vaumc15.

Virtual promotion packets now available online
In an effort to be good stewards of the environment and financial resources of the conference, Annual Conference “promo packets” are "virtual" again this year. Electronic copies of materials previously submitted in hard copy for the tote bag are included in the Virtual Promo Packet that is now posted on the conference website. Click here to view the promo packet.

Communications office to sell DVDs of Annual Conference
The conference Communications office is selling DVDs of the 2015 Annual Conference session. Volume 1 will include the memorial service, ordination, mission and special offering worship service and recognition of retirees. Volume 2 will include Bishop Cho's Episcopal Address, Laity Address, Common Table, Discipleship Circles and Imagine No Malaria reports, Sunday morning closing worship and teaching sessions led by the Rev. Timothy Bias. Cost is $20 for Volume 1, $10 for Volume 2, and $25 for both volumes. After July 1, the price will increase to $22 for Volume 1, $12 for Volume 2 and $30 for both volumes. This year, for the first time, a short overview video of the 2015 Annual Conference (suitable for use in making a report on Annual Conference to your local church) will be available to view on the conference Facebook page or YouTube channel, free of charge. Cost is $10 for a copy of the overview video on a DVD (shipping included). DVDs may be ordered at the Communications display at Annual Conference, or click here to order online or call Pam Culler in the Communications office at (804) 521-1110 or 1-800-768-6040, ext. 110.

Resolutions Committee amends proposal for human sexuality discussion
After the Annual Conference Resolutions Committee received reactions to the announcement about a proposal for a time of holy conferencing on petitions related to human sexuality, the committee has made a few changes to its original proposal. In the motion to suspend the rules, the Resolutions Committee will propose that the primary maker/signer of the petition will have two minutes to summarize why he or she believes this petition is important and should be adopted by the Annual Conference to send to the General Conference. Also, the proposal will include only three petitions to be considered in the time of holy conferencing and subsequently voted upon in a written ballot. Petition #8, titled “Expedited Exit,” while it arises out of concern over the issue of human sexuality, primarily is a question aimed at the Trust Clause for church property. As such, it merits its own process of discernment rather than being lumped in with other petitions. As a result, the Resolutions Committee will recommend that the Rules be suspended to allow a time of holy conferencing on all the General Conference petitions dealing with human sexuality (Petitions 2, 11, and 14). (The full texts of the petitions are in the Book of Reports which has been mailed to all clergy and laity members of Annual Conference and can be downloaded from the conference website.) This time of holy conferencing in smaller groups of six will allow fairness in that all persons will have a voice for two minutes each in an atmosphere of prayer, facilitated by the Chair of the Resolutions Committee, Mochel Morris. Following this time of holy conferencing, a written ballot will be received that includes all three petitions. The written ballot will allow all persons to vote by their own conscience as they hear God’s Spirit leading them without concern for what any others around them may think. The motion to suspend the rules will be made Saturday afternoon during the time allotted for dealing with resolutions and petitions. If the motion is successful, the time for holy conferencing will be Sunday morning following Bible study and the report of the Minutes Committee with an Order of the Day being set for statistician, treasurer and Council on Finance and Administration reports at 10 a.m.

Applications open for Special, Sustaining Grants
Applications for Special and Sustaining Grants are now available at A new component is being offered with the grants this year. The Grants Subcommittee of the Common Table is piloting a new process called a "ministry accelerator" alongside the existing process that not only grants funds, but also provides mentoring support to help implement innovative ideas that address mission needs in local church communities. The "ministry accelerator" pilot will give grant recipients, who choose to participate in the pilot, support in finance/budgeting, volunteer recruitment/retention, long-range planning, and other areas that contribute to the impact and sustainability of a ministry. For more information about the grants and this new process, as well as grant applications, click here. Questions may be directed to Bev Myers at

Pathways to celebrate 20 years, honor founders
Pathways Ministries, a private, nonprofit, community development corporation working to rebuild and strengthen the city of Petersburg and surrounding counties, will celebrate its 20th anniversary 4-7 p.m. Sunday, June 7, at the Gateway Dining & Event Center, Virginia State University, 2804 Martin Luther King Dr., Colonial Heights, VA 23834. Pathways founders, Dwala Ferrell and Mike Watts, who are retiring after 20 years of dedicated service, will be honored. For more information, go to Pathways Eventbrite website or phone (804) 862-1104, ext. 313.

Churches asked to take Samaritan Offering May 10-June 21
Churches in the Virginia Conference are asked to receive a special offering between Mother’s Day on May 10 and Father’s Day on June 21 for the 2015 Samaritan Offering to support the Samaritan Program of Virginia United Methodist Homes (VUMH). The benevolent fund 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, including a short informational DVD, offering envelopes and a copy of the new VUMH 2015 Giving Catalog. Additional suggestions for promoting this special offering, including cut-and-paste newsletter articles, bulletin announcements, Facebook posts, Tweets, worship resources and bulletin inserts, are posted on the website at under the “Samaritan Program” section. 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.

Resources to be available for clergy families
The United Methodist Commission on the Status and Role of Women is compiling an online list of resources to address the unique struggles and stresses of clergy families. A larger resource hub will be developed in 2016, but here is a preview of resources already available. Get resources

Americans look favorably on churches
Many Americans today don't think they have a place for church in their lives. "But they believe the church has a place for them, when or if they are interested," said Scott McConnell, vice president of LifeWay Research, which issued a new survey June 3 on perceptions of religious denominations. The survey found that 52% of Americans had a favorable opinion of Methodists. More ...

Innovation keeps children's ministries from being boring
At Boston Avenue United Methodist Church in Tulsa, Okla., children might well cook a meal, conduct a science experiment and watch a movie while munching popcorn — all to understand Bible stories better. Innovation has been the byword for the Rev. EvaMarie Campbell, a Saint Paul School of Theology grad who has worked in children's ministries at Boston Avenue for 24 years. More ...

Does the American flag belong in the church sanctuary?
Can we have an American flag in our sanctuary? As you consider the Fourth of July holiday in the U.S., read more about the church policy regarding flags in the sanctuary. More ...

♦ Helping Hands - June 29-30
This event June 29-30 at Fairview UMC, Danville, gives rising 4th-6th graders the opportunity to do hands-on missions in the Danville/Pittsylvania County area. Participants have the option of early-bird registration which includes three on-site mission opportunities or regular registration which includes two on-site mission opportunities. For more information, contact Katherine Lewis at (434) 792-3391 or More ...

♦ Small Membership Congregation Pastor training - July 11
All Virginia Conference pastors of small congregations (fewer than 150 in worship) are invited to a training event specifically designed around opportunities and challenges of the small congregation. This event will be 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 11, at the Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center in Blackstone. Dr. Lew Parks, professor at Wesley Theological Seminary who has specific interest in the small congregation, will be featured speaker. Bishop Cho will lead worship to close the day. Cost is $25 and includes lunch. 0.5 CEU will be offered. Register at by July 1. More ...

♦ Helping Hands - July 16-17
This exciting two-day mission experience for rising 4th-6th graders, parents and adult leaders of all member churches of the Virginia Conference, will be held July 16-17 at Christ UMC, Staunton. Come and learn about mission opportunities and the importance of being a caring Christian. Cost is $36 per person which includes t-shirt, meals, snacks and overnight stay. Participants will sleep on the floor and will not have shower facilities. Registration deadline is June 10. For more information, contact Beth Christian at (540) 932-1055 or More ...

♦ LAUNCH: Explore Your Call to Ministry - July 20-22
The office of Spiritual Life at Shenandoah University and the Virginia Conference Board of Ordained Ministry invite students who are rising high school sophomores, juniors and seniors to explore their calls to ministry while discovering their spiritual gifts from God July 20-22 at Shenandoah University in Winchester. Participants live on campus and meals are provided. Cost is $50. For more information, contact the Rev. Dr. Justin Allen, dean of Spiritual Life at Shenandoah University, at or More ...

♦ Helping Hands - July 23-24
The July 23-24 Helping Hands Virginia Conference event will be held at Woodlake UMC in Midlothian. This event gives rising 4th-6th graders the opportunity to do hands-on missions in the Richmond area. Participants have the option of early-bird registration which includes three on-site mission opportunities or regular registration which includes two on-site mission opportunities. To register go to For more information, contact MaryKaye Cochran at (804) -639-8872 or More ...

♦ Mission Encounter - July 24-26
Mission Encounter, an opportunity for clergy and laity to learn about being partners in God’s global mission and to grow spiritually through study and worship, will be July 24-26 at Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center, Blackstone. Click here to view video. Mission Encounter is open to men, women and youths. Participants may attend one of three workshops: geographic study on “Latin America” led by Marilyn Blagg, Lori Valentine deSegovia and Don Edwards; spiritual growth study on “Created for Happiness” led by Louise Miller, the Rev. Dr. Donna Mott and Darlene Runaldue (Korean study led by the Rev. Hyunsik Kang); or issue study on “The Church and People with Disabilities” led by Brenda Connelly. For registration questions, call JoAnn Liskey at (540) 434-2997. For scholarship information, call Nancy Yarborough at (757) 877-2155. More ...

♦ School for Children’s Ministries - Sept. 12
The School for Children’s Ministries is on the road again featuring the same school at four different locations on four different dates. The second will be 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12, at Timberlake UMC, 21649 Timberlake Rd., Lynchburg. Learn "Extraordinary Lessons from Ordinary Objects" plus three more workshops. A .5 CEU offered. Only $20 per person. More ...

♦ Goodson Preaching Academy - Sept. 21-24
The Bishops’ Foundation will sponsor the 2015 Goodson Preaching Academy, “Craft and Creativity: Preaching in the Context of a Rapidly Evolving World,” Sept. 21-24 at the Virginia United Methodist Assembly Center in Blackstone. Presenter will be Dr. Paul Scott Wilson, professor of Homiletics at Emmanuel College, Toronto, author of many books on preaching and past president of the Academy of Homiletics. This ministry venture for clergy seeking excellence in the craft of weekly preaching was modeled after the former Goodson Academy for Preaching and approved by the Bishops’ Foundation which is assuming most of the costs of the event. The event is designed to energize your preaching and help you find creative ways to build disciples in your church. 1 CEU will be awarded. More ...

♦ Five-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation - Oct. 4-9
The Five-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation will be Oct. 4-9 at the Roslyn Retreat Center, Richmond. This program of Upper Room Ministries will provide an opportunity for clergy and laity to deepen their relationship with God through a daily rhythm of prayer, worship, learning and reflection. Each day will include teaching by Dr. Robert Mulholland and Dr. Roberta Bondi. It will also include periods of silence, morning and evening prayer, Eucharist, covenant groups and community time. Focus of this academy is Sacred Journey: Shaped by the Spirit. A $100 non-refundable registration fee is required to reserve your academy space by July 25. This amount will be applied to your total cost. Early registration is recommended as space is limited. 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