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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 - Sept. 25, 2014

Nov. 22 to be Day of Holy Conversation on Sexuality and UMC
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 announced that it 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 ...

October issue of Advocate reports on 'Imagine No Malaria'
The October issue of the Virginia United Methodist Advocate reports on “Imagine No Malaria.” The 2014 Virginia Annual Conference voted to participate in the denomination’s campaign to eradicate the deadly disease of malaria, and local churches are enthusiastically finding creative ways to support the effort. The initiative is like “Nothing But Nets on steroids,” writes Advocate Editor Neill Caldwell. 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; e-mail; or go to

Oct. 3 is deadline for Clergy Development funding applications
Friday, Oct. 3, is the next deadline to submit requests for Clergy Development funding assistance for an intensive, professional capacity-building experience. The next round of applications will be due Feb. 6, 2015. More information about available programs and application procedures is available at

Oct. 1 is deadline to apply for spring service loans, scholarship grants
Wednesday, Oct. 1, is the deadline to apply for conference support — service loans or scholarship grants — for spring semester (or summer) funding. If you applied in the summer for both fall and spring funding, you do not need to apply again. (This is not the application for Course of Study theological education.) If you, or someone you know, is pursuing theological education at an approved seminary as a certified candidate or licensed local pastor (or as a provisional member funding CPE experiences accredited by ACPE), learn more about this and other funding support opportunities at The next round of applications will be considered for Fall 2015-Spring 2016 and are due July 1, 2015. For more information, contact the Rev. Meredith L. McNabb, director, Center for Clergy Excellence, at, (804) 521-1127 or 1-800-768-6040, ext. 127.

Three congregations join for spirituality, social justice, mission
Three faith communities in Richmond are beginning a journey together called the “Remember and Recommit Initiative.” Centenary UMC, The Pace Center campus ministry at Virginia Commonwealth University and Asbury UMC on Church Hill are working with the conference office of Justice and Missional Excellence, the Board of Church and Society and the Rev. Jim Melson’s “Cornelius Corps” to model small covenant groups and workshops over the next year. The initiative will use scripture and media to study the U.S. civil rights movement as a resource to promote the intersection of spiritual growth, social justice and mission. For more information, contact the Rev. Glenn Rowley, director of Justice and Missional Excellence, at or (804) 521-1143.

Oct. 5 is World Communion Sunday
Oct. 5 is World Communion Sunday. United Methodists observe 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 ethnic undergraduate and graduate students, which often enables first-generation students to attend college. Click here to download the World Communion Sunday pastor’s kit. Order leaflet offering envelopes and posters to enhance your World Communion Sunday celebration at or call 1-888-346-3862. 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.

Young adults can apply now for 2015 mission service opportunities
Generation Transformation (GT) applications are now available for 2015 young adult mission opportunities. An initiative of the General Board of Global Ministries, Generation Transformation offers service opportunities for young adults ages 18-30. Click here to learn about the three different mission service tracks: Global Mission Fellows, Global Justice Volunteers and Individual Volunteers. Apply now! Applications must be submitted by Oct. 15. Click here to learn more, or visit Generation Transformation’s web page at

United Methodists join climate change march
United Methodists were among the faith groups that gathered together on a midtown Manhattan block and then joined in a two-mile march of nearly 400,000 people drawing attention to climate change. Among the marchers were clergy members of the Virginia Conference, the Rev. Denise Honeycutt and the Rev. Pat Watkins. More ...

UMC domestic violence response predates NFL news
United Methodists have been confronting family violence long before the NFL's response to players' assault charges was making headlines. Still, advocates - including leaders of United Methodist Women and United Methodist Men - say church leaders can do more to address a problem seldom mentioned from the pulpit. More ...

Faith leaders pray outside White House for immigration reform
More than 50 immigration lawyers and faith and community leaders gathered Wednesday, Sept. 17, to pray outside the White House to call on President Obama to stop delaying action on immigration and fully protect unaccompanied children fleeing violence in Central America. "As people of faith and a nation with a rich history of immigrants, we call upon President Obama to fix our broken immigration system, who not only has the legal executive authority, but has the moral obligation to do so immediately," said the Rev. Denise Honeycutt, Deputy General Secretary of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) and clergy member of the Virginia Conference. The vigil was sponsored by National Justice for Our Neighbors, UMCOR, United Methodist General Board of Church and Society, and Church World Service. Click here to view photos of the prayer vigil.

Take inviting pictures of your church
Just as a house with great pictures does better on the real estate market, a welcoming image can help bring visitors to your church. Gavin Richardson, writing for United Methodist Communications, offers tips and techniques. More ...

Here are tips to help people find your church website
If you want people to find your church website, one of the most important search engine optimization steps is coming up with good title tags. Gavin Richardson offers tips in this column for United Methodist Communications. Read tips

Chuck Knows Church: Pulpit vs. lectern
Ever wonder why there are two podiums inside many church sanctuaries? Smile and learn with Chuck as he explains the pulpit and the lectern on this episode of "Chuck Knows Church," a weekly online series that explains the meaning behind some of the objects, symbols, terms and rituals in church. 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 the General Board of Discipleship. More ...

Wingfield to lead ordained ministry division of GBHEM
The Rev. Myron Wingfield, an ordained elder in the California-Pacific Conference, has been named associate general secretary for the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) Division of Ordained Ministry, effective Sept. 29. He has served as interim in that position since March. More ...

UMC #GivingTuesday will be Dec. 2
Plans are under way for this year’s UMC #GivingTuesday on Tuesday, Dec. 2. GivingTuesday provides an alternative to the consumer-driven shopping traditions in the United States of Black Friday, Local Business Saturday and Cyber Monday. UMC #GivingTuesday offers an opportunity to begin the holiday season by giving instead of getting, by supporting organizations and missionaries who have been researched and approved by the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries (GBGM). There are more than 850 United Methodist-related Advance projects and 300 missionaries that have been reviewed and approved by GBGM. As always, 100% of each donation made through The Advance will support the project designated by the donor. Last year, on UMC #GivingTuesday, United Methodists collectively raised a record $6.5 million online for Advance mission and ministries. Banners, worship resources, graphics and other ideas are available for download on the UMC #GivingTuesday resource page. More ...

♦ ARMS Retreat - Oct. 8-9
The Association of Retired Ministers and Spouses (ARMS) will hold its annual retreat Oct. 8-9 at Blackstone Conference and Retreat Center. Cost is $55 per person; scholarships are available. Registration deadline is Oct. 1. Send registration to Blackstone CRC, 707 Fourth St., Blackstone, VA  23842. Checks should be made payable to Virginia Conference UMC. For more information, contact the deans of the weekend, Dr. and Mrs. Jack Martin, at

♦ 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.

♦ '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.

♦ 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. 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.”

♦ '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 (4 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 ...

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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