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 - Sept. 22, 2016 

Bishop Lewis featured in Richmond Times-Dispatch article
Bishop Sharma Lewis was interviewed for an article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch in their Sept. 18 edition. In the article she shares her feelings on her historic election in the Southeastern Jurisdiction, “To be 52 years old, to be an African-American woman, to be here in Virginia, God is up to something.” More…

Resources available for local churches from Bishop Lewis’ Welcoming Service 
For local churches, there are several resources for use from the Sept. 17 Welcoming Service for Bishop Lewis. The live stream video from the service has been archived and can be found at this link:  Bishop Lewis’ Response to the Charge from the service can be found on the conference Facebook page as well as on Youtube. To see a full recap of the service, this video summarizes the events:  

Treasurer offers information following recent federal law changes 
Conference Treasurer David Dommisse shared information and resources to help local churches properly classify their employees based on the recent Department of Labor federal law changes. More… 

Conference videographer blogs about the appearance of a Christian 
Conference Videographer Nick Ruxton blogs about a recent work lunch outing that resulted in sharing about The United Methodist Church. He urges readers to think about how they present themselves and how that can make people make up their minds about who Christians and United Methodists are. More…

October issue of Advocate focuses on church leader burnout 
The Mayo Clinic defines burnout as “a state of physical, emotional or mental exhaustion combined with doubts about your competence and the value of your work.” In the October issue of the Virginia United Methodist Advocate, church leaders from around the conference write about their experiences, how to stay energized in ministry and the importance of finding a good balance between work and family. 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; email; or go to

September is Hunger Action Month
September is Hunger Action Month. More than 50 million people in the United States today are hungry or food insecure. Plan now to make September a time for your congregation to stand against hunger to see that each person in this country has healthful, nourishing food to eat. Society of St. Andrew offers Hunger Action Month resources, including a Daily Calendar for Prayer and Action. The calendar has a Scripture reading and related activity for each day of September. More ...

Hispanic Heritage Month began Sept. 15
Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month, a celebration of people in the United States who trace their roots to Spain, Mexico and the Spanish-speaking countries of Central America, South America and the Caribbean. Worship and other church events provide settings for Hispanic/Latino United Methodists to celebrate their heritage and cultures and for others to learn more about them. Click here for worship resources suggested by Discipleship Ministries (General Board of Discipleship).

Oct. 2 is World Communion Sunday
Sunday, Oct. 2, is World Communion Sunday. World Communion Sunday calls the church to reach out to all people and model diversity among God’s children. United Methodists relate to World Communion Sunday by celebrating communion with other Christians around the world on this special Sunday. Churches are also encouraged to receive an offering to support scholarships for ethnic minority undergraduate and graduate students. Our gifts often enable first-generation students to attend college. For resources, including worship services and "A Dozen Ways to Promote and Celebrate World Communion Sunday," download the World Communion Sunday Pastor’s and Leader's kit. To order leaflet offering envelopes and posters, click here or call 1-888-346-3862.

New monasticism: Dallas residents are building bridges through prayer
The Epworth Project, named for John Wesley’s birthplace, creates living spaces where residents commit to prayer, community and hospitality. Founded by the Rev. Elaine Heath, formerly of Perkins School of Theology and now dean of Duke Divinity School, the project has eight houses across Texas. More…

Paine College accreditation restored 
A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction restoring Paine College’s accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges ( SACSCOC). Paine, one of 11 historically black colleges supported by The United Methodist Church through its Black College Fund, filed a lawsuit after the association denied its appeal of the accreditation loss. Last summer, SACSCOC removed Paine for failing to meet standards for financial resources and stability and control of sponsored research and external funds. More…

Ministry idea: teaching dolls for young patients
During the past year, the people of Wickes United Methodist Church worked to make 88 teaching dolls to be used by patients at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. The Arkansas Conference has the story on how this small, rural church is giving a boost to children’s health. More…

UMW mourns deaconess coordinator 
United Methodist Women (UMW) mourns the passing of Becky Dodson Louter, 46, executive secretary for the Deaconess and Home Missioner Office, which oversees the lay order of the church dedicated to workers in vocations that alleviate suffering. She was a member of Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church in Johnson City, Tenn. More…

Bishops, Cabinet focus on vital congregations 
U.S. bishops and their extended Cabinets will gather Nov. 2-4 to focus on building strong and vital congregations. Similar gatherings will be held in Europe, the Philippines and two locations in Africa. More…

United Methodist youth wins national contest 
Grace VanderWaal, 12-year-old member of Archer United Methodist Church in New Jersey, won NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” on Sept. 14. VanderWaal, who sings solos at her church during the summer, has been supported by her congregation. More…

Six ways to jumpstart leadership formation 
Pastor Mike Slaughter says one of the key factors determining the effectiveness of a congregation is the presence of principled leaders who demonstrate a vital personal faith. And, he said, “If you look across your congregation and can’t identify a core group of principled Christian leaders, then you better start growing them!” Slaughter provided six practical ideas through the Lewis Center for Church Leadership for jumpstarting leadership formation in your church. More… 

♦ UMVIM Team Leader and Recertification Training - 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 needs 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, Sept. 24, at Warwick Memorial UMC in Newport News. Recertification training will be offered 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. More ...

♦ Olde Time Revival - Oct. 1
The second Olde Time Revival hosted by the Virginia Conference Older Adult Council is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 1, at Centreville UMC for a great time of fellowship and exciting renewal. Revival worship will include singing old hymns, praying and dynamic preaching by the Rev. Clarence Brown. Music will be led by Michael Berkley of Woodlake UMC. More...

♦ 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.

♦ Vital Churches Change Communities- Oct. 5-6
The Winchester District presents “Vital Churches Changing Communities and World” led by Jorge Acevedo for a worship service at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 5 and for a teaching day on Thursday, Oct. 6 9:30 a.m. -3 p.m., both at Riverton UMC in Front Royal. The teaching day will offer 0.5 CEU. Email the Winchester District office with questions at  More… 

♦ Goodson Preaching Academy - Oct. 11
Sponsored by Goodson Preaching Academy, take part in “Hopes and fears: Advent sermon preparation for the busy preacher” on Tuesday, Oct. 11, at Shady Grove UMC in Mechanicsville from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The course is worth 0.5 CEU and cost is $25. For questions, email Download the brochure and register online at

♦ 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 $125 until Sept. 18 for the Middle School retreat, $135 Sept. 19-Oct. 9 and $145 Oct. 10-30. Middle School registration deadline is Oct. 30. Cost for the High School Retreat is $125 Sept. 4-Oct. 2, $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