What is the Communications office?
The Virginia Conference Communications staff uses a variety of communications tools, techniques and technology to support the vision and ministry of the Annual Conference – specifically, to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world by equipping its local churches for ministry and by providing a connection for ministry beyond the local church; all to the glory of God.
Responsible for providing expertise, guidance, resources and services to conference staff, agencies, districts and local churches in the field of communications and the use of communications tools the Communications office’s responsibilities fall into the categories of internal communications, external communications, communications resources, training and technology.
We work to provide information and resources to laity and clergy in Virginia Conference churches in order to equip them. This information includes:
• apportionment interpretation
• conference, district and general church news
• notification and registration opportunities for conference training events
• information about conference initiatives
• and access to administrative forms.
Our staff maintains the conference database (including all clergy contact information; clergy appointments; clergy and lay members of conference boards, commissions and agencies; laity serving in leadership roles in the conference including Annual Conference members and subscribers to the Virginia United Methodist Advocate). The database provides information such as the Annual Conference registration materials; requested lists, reports and mailing labels; registration lists for conference events; Clergy Directory, Roll of Lay Members, Surviving Spouses Directory, Pastoral Records and Church Addresses sections of the Annual Conference Journal; and directories and listings used as contact information.
Internal communications tools include print publications, such as:
• Virginia United Methodist Advocate monthly magazine
• weekly Sunday Advocate bulletin insert
• Conference Journal
• Mission Opportunities booklet
• and various directories and the Book of Reports.
Conference communications also includes use of electronic media (such as the website, email groups, weekly e-Advocate digital newsletter and the online version of the monthly Advocate magazine) and social media sites including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and several blogs. The Communications Office also develops and produces customized promotional materials and videos for conference ministries.
The staff works to interpret the life and work of the church to the wider community through the public communications media. Advertising, media relations and social media are used to reach out to an audience outside the church.
The office also provides resources to the conference, districts and local churches to assist them in making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Specific resources include Rethink Church training, resources, advertising and outreach materials; media relations and crisis communications consultation; access to technology hardware and software at discounted prices; and access to audio/visual resources through arrangements with The Resource Center in Richmond.
Working with members of the conference Communications Board, Communications staffers help clergy and laity learn how to effectively use communications tools. Training is offered through district training events, online webinars and Annual Conference workshops. Workshop topics include local church communications, social media use, and new ways to be innovative in communication.
Working with the Information Technology staff, the Communications staff oversees and facilitates the use of communications technology by the conference to conduct its business and communicate to its constituencies in an efficient and cost-effective way.