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 - Oct. 6, 2016

5 Talent Academy event focuses on ministry outside of the Church 
Around 600 clergy and laity attended and watched the Oct. 4 5 Talent Academy event as it took place at Ebenezer UMC in Stafford and was shown at 10 other satellite locations. Andy Crouch who is an author and executive editor of Christianity Today was the keynote speaker. The 5 Talent Academy is a group of like-minded pastors and laity across the Virginia Conference who are committed to learning the tools and techniques to have healthy, fruitful congregations. As a member of this community, you will learn new ways to increase worship attendance, professions of faith, faith development, ministry to the poor and stewardship. More… 

Advocate editor seeks stories from local church support and small groups 
The Advocate editor needs your stories. The December issue of the Advocate will focus on the ministries of support and small groups in local churches. Does your church offer support groups for people such as caregivers? Does your church offer small groups that reach demographics such as divorced adults, widows or widowers or single adults? Send your information to Madeline Pillow, Advocate editor, at to share your story and potentially be featured in the next Advocate magazine.

VUMCU shares video about predatory lending
The Virginia United Methodist Credit Union (VUMCU) shared a video giving insight into predatory lending and their Jubilee Assistance Fund (JAF). More… 

Monday, Oct. 31, is Reformation Day
Reformation Day is Monday, Oct. 31. This observance celebrates the anniversary of what many historians consider the start of the Protestant movement, when Martin Luther publicly displayed his 95 Theses. United Methodist Discipleship Ministries has worship resources. More ...

Nov. 1 is All Saints Day
All Saints Day is Tuesday, Nov. 1. United Methodist Discipleship Ministries offers prayers and a family litany for this day when Christians celebrate the people who have joined the Church Triumphant. More ...

November is Native American Heritage Month
November is Native American Heritage Month. United Methodist Discipleship Ministries offers worship resources, including a Native American interpretation of Psalm 23. The United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race offers resources to highlight the history, gifts and struggles of the First Americans, including resources for the Act of Repentance.

United Methodist Student Day is Sunday, Nov. 27
Sunday, Nov. 27, is United Methodist Student Day. Gifts received from this special offering become an investment in the future of the church through direct scholarships for higher education. The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) Office of Loans and Scholarships administers these programs that award more than 3,500 students annually. Click here for pastor and leader kit resources. More ...

Commission on the Way Forward progresses on membership selection
The Executive Committee of the Council of Bishops has narrowed the list of potential nominees for membership on the Commission on the Way Forward from over 300 persons to 29. The group includes eight bishops, 13 clergy and eight laity who are representative of our global connection and theological diversity. Following action by the Council of Bishops, individuals who are selected will receive an invitation to serve on the Commission and the membership list will be made available. These remaining steps are expected to take a couple of weeks. More…

Lewis Center for Church Leadership shares how to adopt a missionary mindset 
Douglas Ruffle, who works with the Path 1 church planting initiative, says the role of church leaders in a culture that is increasingly estranged from the Christian context is much like that of a missionary in a foreign country. Those who have grown up in the church are called upon to learn the language and customs of the people we seek to reach with the gospel of Jesus Christ. More… 

Pew Research Center survey covers U.S consensus on liberty, nondiscrimination 
Two-thirds of U.S. adults say employers should provide birth control in insurance plans, but the public splits over same-sex wedding services and use of public bathrooms by transgender people. The Pew Research Center reported these results of a survey, which explores controversies that pit claims of religious liberty against policies aimed at nondiscrimination. More...

Chuck Knows Church discusses the meaning of ‘keeping the Sabbath’ 
What is the meaning of "keeping the Sabbath? Is it merely a day of religious observance and abstinence from work? Chuck helps us to understand this interesting word on this, his 109th episode. 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 Discipleship Ministries. More… 

Deacons: Bridging the church and the world 
Today, 44 percent of United Methodist deacons report that their primary appointment is beyond the local church. They serve as teachers, lawyers and in many other professions. Susan Keaton reports on how 20 years after their order was established, deacons are serving their distinctive call. More… 

Church pizza oven feeds community 
Hamline United Methodist Church's outdoor pizza oven has resulted in days of fellowship that culminate in a community pizza and movie night several times a year. “The bread oven has enabled us to take our altar from inside the church to our front lawn,” said the Rev. Mariah Furness Tollgaard, pastor. More… 

Higher education and ministry celebrates 150 years
The United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry is 150 years old. A celebration of the agency’s founding included speeches by current and former top executives and videos highlighting the agency’s growth and achievements. A website created to preserve the history of the agency features documentary-style videos, historic images and multimedia content. More… 

Higher university educator spends holiday researching role of women in Wesleyan movement 
Priscilla Pope-Levison traveled to Manchester, England, to spend her summer vacation immersing herself in Methodist archives. She learned a lot, especially about the role of women in Britain’s Wesleyan/Holiness movement. Pope-Levison, associate dean for external programs at Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology, reflects on her unusual vacation. More…

♦ Roanoke Hermitage learning event - Oct. 14
The Hermitage in Roanoke, one of the communities of Virginia United Methodist Homes, Inc. (VUMH), will be offering a learning opportunity for clergy and laity on Friday, Oct. 14. "The Small Church Can! Older Adult Ministry on a Shoestring Budget" will be held at the Hermitage in Roanoke (1009 Old Country Club Road, Roanoke) from 9:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. at no cost. Space is limited, so plan to register your attendance by Oct. 7 by calling or emailing Melissa Lowery at (540) 767-6801 or For questions, email Martha Stokes at

♦ Small Church Summit - Oct. 22
Join fellow small church clergy and laity for the Small Church Summit Saturday, Oct. 22, at Providence UMC in Richmond and broadcast via livestream to five additional locations. Keynote speaker will be the Rev. Lynne Caldwell who will build upon the foundation she set at Small Congregation Pastor Training in July. Focus will be on asset-based ministry as participants are taught to build on the strengths of their particular congregations. This event is open to all VAUMC clergy and laity who serve a small congregation (average worship attendance between 1 and 149 persons). Cost is $25 per person. Lunch is included. Those attending can earn .5 CEU for participation. Registration open until Oct. 10. More ...

♦ Conference UMW Annual Meeting - Oct. 28-29
Virginia Conference United Methodist Women (UMW) will hold its Annual Meeting Oct. 28-29 at Good Shepherd UMC in Richmond. Theme is “Growing in Blessedness.” Keynote speaker is Elizabeth (Lisa) Lamb Nichols, a deaconess serving as executive director of Henry Fork Service Center, a facility in Rocky Mount, Va., that provides Christian education, educational enrichment, recreation and experiences in the arts to more than 100 students throughout the year. More ...

♦ 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

♦ Disaster Emotional and Spiritual Care Training - Nov. 5
Disaster Emotional and Spiritual Care Training will be offered 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 5, at Bruen Chapel UMC, 3035 Cedar Lane, Fairfax. Certified leader of the event will be the Rev. Ellen Comstock, retired Virginia Conference elder. Cost is $40 (plus $10 for lunch unless you bring your own) and includes background check, materials and completion badge. If you already have a background check through the conference within a year, cost will be $30. Completion of this course will allow you to assist survivors of disaster without having to be heavily involved in construction. Coupled with ERT training, this training would also allow you to be deployed with Early Response Teams. This event is open to both clergy and laity and might be of special interest to Lay Servants and those involved in Stephen Ministries, church teachers, visitation team members and others who feel specially called to participate in aspects of the church’s overall ministry and mission that require personal relating to people of various ages and backgrounds. To sign up by Nov. 3 or for more info, email Ellen Comstock ( 

♦ Fall Youth Retreats- Nov. 11-13; Dec. 2-4
Register now for the super early bird rates for Virginia Conference Fall Youth Retreats, weekend retreats in which youths are challenged to grow as disciples of Christ through powerful worship, Bible study and small groups while building friendships with youths from all over Virginia. Middle School Retreat will be Nov. 11-13, and High School Retreat will be Dec. 2-4 at Eagle Eyrie in Lynchburg. This year's retreats will focus on “Just Move." Guest speakers will be Brooklyn and Coy Lindsey. Cost is $135 Sept. 19-Oct. 9 and $145 Oct. 10-30 for the Middle School retreat, . Middle School registration deadline is Oct. 30. Cost for the High School Retreat is $135 Oct. 3-31 and $145 Nov. 1-20. High School registration deadline is Nov. 20. 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