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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

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News from the Virginia Conference - Oct. 10, 2014

Bishop Cho issues statement about Supreme Court action
On Monday, Oct. 6, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it would not hear appeals to keep bans on same-sex marriage in place. The ruling immediately made same-sex marriage legal in Virginia and four other states. In response to that ruling, Bishop Young Jin Cho sent a letter to pastors and congregations in the Virginia Conference, reminding them that even though the law has changed in the Commonwealth of Virginia, The United Methodist Church does not allow clergy to conduct same-sex wedding services. More ...

13 sites announced for Nov. 22 Holy Conversation
Registration is now open for "A Day of Holy Conversation on Sexuality and The United Methodist Church" to be held Saturday, Nov. 22, at Woodlake UMC, 15640 Hampton Park Drive, Chesterfield. The day of conversation will be live streamed to 12 additional sites across the conference. All Virginia Conference clergy and laity are invited to participate at one of the sites. The event will be live streamed to Burke UMC (Alexandria District), Korean UMC of Greater Washington (Arlington District), Fairview UMC (Danville District), Blacksburg UMC (Roanoke District), Braddock Street UMC (Winchester District), Ebenezer UMC (Fredericksburg District), Franktown UMC (Eastern Shore District), St. Luke’s UMC (York River District), St. Paul’s UMC (Staunton District), Thalia UMC (Elizabeth River District), Timberlake UMC (Lynchburg District) and High Street UMC (James River District). In addition, live streaming of the event can be watched through the Virginia Conference website. More ...

October is Pastor Appreciation Month
October is Pastor Appreciation Month, a special time that congregations set aside each year to honor their pastors and pastoral families for the hard work, sacrificial dedication and multiple blessings provided by these special people. It is typically scheduled in October, but can be held at any time that is convenient for the church and the community. It is also important to remember that appreciation, affirmation and prayer support of our spiritual leaders is appropriate throughout the entire year.

Steve Jones saves 1,000 lives this weekend by running Chicago marathon
The Rev. Steve Jones, Richmond District superintendent, raised more than $10,000 for Imagine No Malaria from Richmond District churches and other groups supporting his run this Sunday in the Chicago Marathon. Maria Maxwell, Virginia Conference Imagine No Malaria field coordinator, provided Steve with an "Every Life Save a Life" t-shirt and faux Imagine No Malaria tattoos to wear during his run. Funds raised will save more than 1,000 lives.

Brian Siegle shaves head after church raises $1,820
The Rev. Brian Siegle, pastor of New Hope UMC in Glenns, York River District, had his head shaved last Sunday after church members raised $1,820 for Imagine No Malaria, saving 182 lives. Siegle had agreed to shave his head if his congregation raised $1,500 during the month of September for the initiative to eradicate the deadly disease of malaria from the continent of Africa.

Tangier Island church raises $1,100 for Imagine No Malaria
Swain Memorial UMC on Tangier Island, Eastern Shore District, raised $1,100 for Imagine No Malaria by selling hot dogs to tourists and others walking on the street in front of the church on Sept. 20 and Labor Day weekend, according to Nancy Creedle, church secretary. The funds will save 110 lives. "We can hardly wait for April," Creedle said, "so we can do it again."

Wesley Chapel, Rock Springs save 200 lives, turn pastor's hair pink
The Wesley Chapel-Rock Springs Charge in the Danville District will hold an Imagine No Malaria celebration cookout Saturday, Oct. 18, from noon to 3 p.m. "We are celebrating meeting our goal of saving 100 lives in both churches — for a total of 200 lives (so far)," said the Rev. Steve Weedling, pastor. Weedling had promised to let youths in the churches choose the color he will dye his hair if the churches reached their fundraising goals. "So far, the leading choice seems to be neon pink," Weedling said. His new hairdo will be on display at the cookout.

Persons UMC celebration featured in Richmond Times-Dispatch
Persons UMC in Drewryville in Southampton County, James River District, held its annual Family and Friends Reunion Celebration when current members, former members and extended family came together to commemorate the church’s 176 years of history — and to eat platefuls of fried chicken, Brunswick stew and blueberry cobbler. A crowd of 100 picnicked beneath shade trees on the church grounds, and an article about the event was featured in the Sunday, Oct. 5, issue of the Richmond Times-Dispatch. More ...

Former Virginia Conference clergy member wins World Methodist Peace Award
Former Virginia Conference member Dr. Hugh G. Johnson, a retired missionary, pastor and former superintendent of the North African District of The United Methodist Church, and his wife, Shirliann “Fritzi” Johnson, have been named co-recipients of the 2014 World Methodist Peace Award. More ...

Facilitators for Discipleship Circles to be trained Oct. 18
Discipleship Circles facilitator training will be offered Saturday, Oct. 18, from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the United Methodist Center in Glen Allen. Facilitators are asked to register for this training by e-mailing  by Oct. 15. Training will focus on three areas: Spiritual Disciplines, led by Lisa McGehee; Small Group Facilitation, led by John Meeuwissen; and Vital Signs/Vital Congregations, led by Don Jamison. A comprehensive training manual will be provided for each facilitator attending the training session. For more information, contact Cheryl Edley-Worford, conference director of Inclusivity and Lay Leadership Excellence, at (804) 521-1154 or

Monday is deadline to register for Oct. 18 UMVIM Team Leader Training
United Methodist Volunteers In Mission (UMVIM) team leader training will be held Saturday, Oct. 18, at New Town UMC in Williamsburg. Deadline to register is Monday, Oct. 13. Team Leader Training is required for all first-time UMVIM team leaders, but all interested persons are welcome to attend whether leading a team or not. More ...

Oct. 10-12 is Children's Sabbath
The United Methodist Church has designated the second weekend of October (Oct. 10-12) as Children's Sabbath. The Children's Defense Fund sponsors the national observance, which encourages congregations to "renew and live out their moral responsibility to care, protect and advocate for all children." Click here for resources. This occasion differs from Children's Sunday when the focus is on children in the congregation. More ...

Laity Sunday is Oct. 19
Laity Sunday is celebrated on the third Sunday of October (Oct. 19 this year). Laity Sunday is a time to recognize the work and mission of all laity — not only within the walls of the church but also in everyday lives. Click here for worship suggestions, bulletin inserts and posters for this year’s theme from the General Board of Discipleship.

Cedarfield seeks full-time chaplain
Cedarfield, a community of Virginia United Methodist Homes, located in Richmond, is seeking a full-time chaplain. The qualified candidate must have a Bachelor’s Degree and be an ordained minister with training in Christian education and pastoral care. The position is responsible for conducting religious worship and performing other spiritual functions, and providing spiritual guidance and assistance to residents, residents’ families and employees. Experience and/or training in ministry with older adults preferred. Send resume to; Fax to (804) 968-5541; or mail to Cedarfield / Attention HR, 2300 Cedarfield Parkway, Richmond, VA 23233.

UMCOR, Global Health use integrated approach to fight Ebola
Since June, the General Board of Global Ministries’ United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) and Global Health unit have been working in collaboration on a global scale to coordinate an integrated approach in response to the Ebola crisis in West Africa. Community education about the disease, health worker protection and psychosocial counseling for affected people and their families are the strategy’s three prongs, said Dr. Olusimbo Ige, of Global Health. To date, UMCOR and Global Health have worked together to ensure that grants totaling $400,000 for educational programs, protective equipment and other Ebola-related supplies have been provided primarily to United Methodist health boards in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Côte d’Ivoire.
     Global Ministries is partnering with local health boards, bishops, missionaries, UMCOR technical offices and others to enable a long-term approach that not only responds to the current Ebola crisis, but also helps strengthen health care capacity in the region to make it better prepared to meet any possible future crisis. This long-term, integrated approach reflects the established standard for response to health crises and issues of sustainable development. Click here to get the latest updates about the Ebola crisis and response from Global Ministries.
     To financially support these immediate and long-term goals, give to one or more of the following Advance projects. If sending a check, write “Ebola response” in the memo section of your check to ensure that funds go where intended.

Sexuality discussion to be live streamed Nov. 1
Bishops and other leaders of The United Methodist Church will hold the second of three live-streamed panel discussions on human sexuality from 9 to 11 a.m. ET on Saturday, Nov. 1. The Connectional Table, the group that coordinates the general church’s ministries, mission and resources, is inviting United Methodists to contribute. People will be able to ask questions on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #cttalks during the livestream. The discussion comes when, because of the U.S. Supreme Court, more states are seeing legalized same-gender civil marriage. More ...

United Methodist churches to join forces this fall to fight hunger
United Methodist churches will "Rethink Church" and fight hunger this fall with a new effort aimed at feeding individuals and equipping communities near and far. Congregations are encouraged to dedicate a Sunday to hunger awareness with free bulletin covers and worship slides that are available for download. National advertising also will occur on the Food Network through Nov. 9. Click here to view ad. Click here to find more resources. More ...

General Board of Global Ministries to move headquarters to Atlanta
The General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) is permanently vacating its longtime headquarters at the Interchurch Center in New York City. The mission agency will move to Atlanta by the end of 2016 and open regional offices in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Click here to read press release. More ...

Choirs, worship ensemble groups sought for 2016 General Conference
United Methodist choirs and worship ensemble groups from around the world may now audition online to perform at the 2016 General Conference, The United Methodist Church's top legislative assembly, which meets in Portland, Oregon, from May 10-20, 2016. The application should be e-mailed to by Jan. 12, 2015. More ...

5 ways to take your church fall festival to the next level
One of the most-anticipated yearly events for many churches is welcoming the community for the fall festival. Here are some ideas for new things to do and ways to promote the event from United Methodist Communications. More ...

Advent Bible study on HIV/AIDS scheduled to begin Dec. 1, World AIDS Day
The General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) has a new four-week Advent Bible study that addresses the HIV pandemic and its relationship to other social concerns. The study, “The Season for Change — An Advent Study on HIV/AIDS and Social Justice Advocacy,” is free and downloadable from the GBCS website. The first session of “The Season for Change” coincides with The United Methodist Church’s observance of World AIDS Day on Dec. 1. The denomination’s Book of Resolutions encourages congregations to commemorate World AIDS Day with “special programs on HIV/ AIDS education and religious worship services that focus on intercessory and healing prayer, hope in God and love and compassion.” More ...

Agreement resolves same-sex union complaint
Philadelphia Area Bishop Peggy Johnson announced Oct. 3 that a complaint filed against 36 pastors who officiated at the Nov. 9, 2013, same-sex union of two men has been resolved in an agreement by the complainants and respondents. The plan calls for the pastors to acknowledge they violated rules of the United Methodist Book of Discipline and for the complainants to withdraw the complaint. More ...

Mission agency will match $1 million on #GivingTuesday
The General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM) announced that on Dec. 2 it will match up to one million dollars in gifts made online to any project through The Advance as part of The United Methodist Church #GivingTuesday. More ...

♦ Brian McLaren forum at GMU - Oct. 15
Brian McLaren, prominent Christian pastor, author, activist, speaker and leader in the emerging church movement, will speak at a forum for clergy and laity Wednesday, Oct. 15, at George Mason University. McLaren will address (in three keynote sessions) ideas from his book Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddah and Mohammed Cross the Road? “Not the beginning of a joke – but the start of one of the most important conversations in today’s world.”  This event begins at 9:30 a.m. in Dewberry Hall (first floor, Johnson Center). Parking in Lot A is free for this event. For more information, click here. To register, click here. This event is sponsored by ARISE@GMU (our United Methodist and ecumenical campus ministry) and the GMU Department of Sociology and Anthropology. CEU credit (.5 ) can be earned with full participation.

♦ UMFS Lynchburg Community Family Day - Oct. 18
The new Lynchburg regional center for United Methodist Family Services (UMFS) is hosting a free Community Day with fun, food and fellowship 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18, at OBIC Ministries, 406 Briarcliff Circle, Lynchburg. Activities will include petting zoo, horseback riding, games, face painting, popcorn, cotton candy, fishing, nature walks and more. For more information, contact Jamesia Harrison at (434) 846-2002 or

♦ 'Lord, Teach Me to Pray' - Oct. 25, Feb. 21
"Lord, Teach Me to Pray — Practical Applications for Prayer" will be offered again Saturday, Oct. 25, at St. Thomas UMC, Manassas, (Click here to register) and Saturday, Feb. 21, at Williamsburg UMC (Click here to register). Main speaker will be Dr. Wendy Miller, professor emeritus of Spiritual Formation at Eastern Mennonite Seminary and adjunct faculty at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Ill., and Perkins School of Theology in Dallas. Click here to download a flyer.

♦ PAUMCS fall training event - Oct. 29
Virginia chapter of the Professional Association of United Methodist Church Secretaries (PAUMCS) will hold its fall training event, "Experience Your Conference Connection 2014" 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 29, at the Virginia United Methodist Conference Center in Glen Allen. Members of the Conference Board of Communications will address the need to communicate in a technology-infused world, including discussions on social media, website design and hosting and blogging. This event is open to all church administrative staff (full-time, part-time, paid and volunteer), including but not limited to administrative assistants, financial secretaries, office managers and newsletter editors. Pastors and Communication chairs are invited to attend. For more information or to register, click here or call (804) 521-1124.

♦ 'Ghosts, Games & the Gospel - Oct. 31-Nov. 2
"Ghosts, Games & the Gospel" will provide middle and high school youths a fun, safe way to enjoy Halloween traditions Oct. 31- Nov. 2 at Westview on the James Camp and Retreat Center in Goochland. The weekend will mix the best parts of Halloween (costumes, candy and jack-o-lantern making) with the best parts of camp (counselor-led worship, Halloween–themed camp activities and being outdoors in the beautiful fall weather). Bring your whole youth group, and Westview will provide staff, food and fun. Registration fee is $65 per person. For more information, contact Anthony Gomez, Summer Camp Program Director, at or (804) 457-4210. More ...

♦ UMFS FORE the Kids Golf Tournament - Nov. 10
United Methodist Family Services (UMFS) will sponsor FORE the Kids Golf Tournament at 10 a.m. Nov. 10 at Stonehenge Country Club in Midlothian. All proceeds go to help foster children find forever homes. Click here to register.

♦ Ethics II training - Nov. 13
All clergy and church professionals are required to attend an Ethics II training during this quadrennium (2012-2016). Trainings are held four times a year throughout the conference to provide convenient opportunities for participation. The next training will be 9:30 a.m. to 3:15 p.m Thursday, Nov. 13, at Fairfax UMC in the Alexandria District. Click here to download brochure with training details and schedule. A 0.5 CEU is awarded for full participation. Click here to register for Nov. 13 event. Registration fee of $12 includes lunch and training materials and is payable by credit card. You may register with a fee of $5 and provide your own lunch. Paper registrations are not available for these events. Registration is required 48 hours prior to event in order to ensure sufficient materials are available for all participants.

♦ Fall Youth Retreats - Nov. 14-16, Dec. 5-7
Now is the time to register for Virginia Conference Fall Youth Retreats. Middle School Retreat will be Nov. 14-16 and High School Retreat will be Dec. 5-7 at Eagle Eyrie in Lynchburg. Theme for both retreats is "Identity." Click here for flyer. Speaker will be Dugan Sherbondy. Band will be Keith Elgin. Click here to view promotional video. Young adults to serve as small group leaders and youths to serve as staff are needed. To volunteer, contact Alison Malloy at To register and for more information, go to or contact Becky Tate at (804) 521-1139.

♦ 'The Good Race' - Nov. 15
Clergy and laity are invited to join other United Methodists in "The Good Race," a day of participation and celebration as they walk or run the Anthem Richmond 8K, Half-Marathon or Marathon on Saturday, Nov. 15. Information about these races can be found at Or contact Steve Jones at or Allie Rosner at Or join the Facebook Group “The Good Race.”

♦ Day of Holy Conversation - Nov. 22
In response to Bishop Young Jin Cho's request that the Virginia Conference Common Table for Church Vitality facilitate discussions around the conference on the subject of human sexuality, the Common Table will hold "A Day of Holy Conversation on Sexuality and The United Methodist Church" on Saturday, Nov. 22, at Woodlake UMC, 15640 Hampton Park Drive, Chesterfield. The day of conversation will also be live streamed to a number of regional sites across the conference. All Virginia Conference clergy and laity are invited to participate at one of the sites. 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

♦ 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 p.m. 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 hod 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 ...

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






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The Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church
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