Bi-District News: June 30, 2022
A message from District Superintendent,
Rev. J. Douglas Forrester
Frequently Asked Questions: District Superintendent Edition
Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
Everywhere I go, I am asked by laity and clergy alike “What is it like having two districts?” or more commonly, “How are you handling two districts?” or occasionally “So are you like crazy or something?”

OK, I have never heard the third question, at least not yet, or at least not out loud.

When I had just become a district superintendent in 2020, people would ask me what it was like, especially trying to be a new D.S. during COVID. Back then, my standard response was “It probably helps that I have nothing to compare it to.” As far as my experience goes, COVID, schism, and disaffiliations have always been part of the job. I really do not have anything to compare it to.

All things considered, when I receive the questions about making it all work, my answer is always the same: I have the very best staff and district leadership making it happen. I have wonderful clergy and laity to superintend, located in wonderful churches endeavoring to make Christ’s kingdom known in tangible ways in their communities and beyond.

Much more often than not, my people give and live and serve and love in ways that reveal an earnest desire to be kingdom people.

This year, at Annual Conference in Hampton, the body voted to pass the District Initiative, which set the number of districts in our conference at eight. For us, that means that the territories heretofore covered by the Roanoke and Staunton Districts are now one. We are now the Valley Ridge District.

And now, when people ask me what is it like superintending a new, larger district, my response is both “It probably helps that I have nothing to compare it to,” and “With the staff, district leadership, churches, clergy, and laity that I have, the sky is the limit. Nothing is impossible with God.”

The new Valley Ridge District will maintain two offices, just as we have for the last year. What was once called the Staunton district office will now be the Valley Ridge North Area office, and what was once called the Roanoke District office will now be known as the Valley Ridge South Area office. We will work together just as we have done for the last nine months.

We are in the process of nominating for a new, streamlined leadership structure and we will be creating a new budget for the new district to be approved by the District Stewards later this summer. We will do all of this with our eyes set upon answering the question, “How can we best partner with local churches, missions, and campus ministries in our areas?”

There are more questions to ask that I hope will become “frequently asked question,” although I hope it will be asked by me, our staff, our leadership, and you as together we move forward into God’s future. That question is “Will you join me?” Will you join me in committing anew to your church, your pastor, your congregation, your community and your mission? Will you join me in committing anew to the disciplines of prayer, fasting, worship, and the study of scripture? Will you join me in “spreading scriptural holiness through these lands?” Will you join me in serving as the hands and feet of Christ in your churches? Will you be a voice for the voiceless? Will you give hope to the hopeless, and healing to the broken?

Nothing is impossible with God, and God is with us, doing a new thing. Can we perceive it?

Grace and peace, Doug
Called District Conference July 10 at 4 PM by Zoom
Rev. Doug Forrester, District Superintendent, has scheduled a Called District Conference for the purpose of incorporating the new Valley Ridge District and other organizational matters. The Called District Conference will also celebrate the Roanoke and Staunton Districts with guest speaker, Rev. Kathleen Overby Webster. 

Use the link below to learn more and to register for the Called District Conference.
We welcome new pastors to our District. Please be in prayer for these pastors, their families, and congregations as they begin new appointments this week.

  • Boones Mill UMC and Fairview UMC: Rev. Tim Gearheart
  • Calvary UMC, Christiansburg: Mr. Michael Neuse
  • Central UMC, Clifton Forge: Rev. Samuel Chung
  • Christ UMC: Rev. Madison Long
  • Epworth-Mountain Valley Charge: Mr. Howard Tucker
  • Glovier Memorial UMC: Rev. Matthew Jones
  • Granberry Memorial UMC: Rev. Pianapue Early
  • Greenville UMC: Rev. Kang Uk Lee
  • Iron Gate UMC: Ms. Christy Nicely
  • Jollivue UMC: Rev. Charles Cole
  • Lyndhurst-Oak Hill Charge (Lyndhurst UMC and Oak Hill UMC): Ms. Lori Valentine de Segovia
  • Main Street UMC: Rev. Elizabeth Foss
  • McDowell Charge (Doe Hill UMC, McDowell UMC, McKendree UMC and Totten Chapel UMC): Ms. Hannah Koo Lee
  • McKinley UMC: Mr. Gary Riley
  • Mount Elbert UMC: Ms. Dinah Akers
  • New Castle Charge (Bethel UMC and New Castle UMC): Rev. San Kang
  • Parrish Chapel UMC, Rev. Tina Yates
  • Pembroke Charge (First UMC and Mt. Lebanon UMC): Rev. Walter Westbrook
  • St. Paul UMC, Roanoke: Rev. Robin Barge
  • St. Paul’s UMC, Craigsville: Mr. Cody Adkins
  • Thrasher Memorial UMC: Rev. John Hemming
  • Trinity UMC, Lexington: Rev. Anita May Lucord
  • Windsor Hills UMC: Rev. Jennifer Fletcher
Annual Conference concluded on Saturday, June 18. Highlights included

  • Passage of the motion creating eight districts in the Virginia Conference
  • Worship experiences with inspiring messages and beautiful music
  • Services of the Ordering of Ministry, Memorial Remembrance, and Retirement Celebration.

Use the link below to find more about these and all the activities at this Annual Conference.
Connect with Campus Ministry
Campus Ministries across the Virginia Conference and the United Methodist Connection, including Wesley at Virginia Tech, shape leaders of our church, cultivate clergy, and impact not just their college campuses but entire communities. Connect your graduating youth and college students to transformative ministry for the Kingdom today by completing the campus ministry form found at:  Visit for more information about campus ministry.
What: Bi-District (Staunton and Roanoke) United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) mission trip working with Carolina Rebuilding Ministries
When: October 16 - 22, 2022. If you are unable to participate for the entire week, consider joining the team for a few days.

Where: Plymouth, North Carolina

Need: Carolina Rebuilding Ministry serves one of the poorest rural areas in the Plymouth area. They work with low-income homeowners to provide accessibility home repairs and upgrades that target the health and safety of families.

Cost: Around $100 per person, depending on fundraising.

Contact Jeff Kiser for more information at: .
Team Jeremiah to answer questions about General Conference and disaffiliation
You are invited to a conference-wide Q&A session on topics including General Conference and disaffiliation from the denomination on Tuesday, July 12 at 7 p.m by Zoom. Questions must be submitted in advance and will be accepted through this Google form until close of business on July 11.
The Q&A panel will include the Rev. Denise Bates, the Rev. Tom Berlin, Mrs. Martha Stokes, the Rev. Dr. Victor Gomez, Mr. David Dommisse, and Mr. John Fuller. Registration is required. Participants should view Team Jeremiah’s full presentation and initial webinar Q&A from May 31 in advance to see if your question has already been covered.
More News . . .
United Methodist churches in our district are holding Red Cross Blood Drives this summer. Consider donating at one of these locations or a collection site near you. Find out more HERE:

South Roanoke UMC, 2330 South Jefferson Street, Roanoke, invites you to a bluegrass concert with Blue Mule on their lawn on Sunday, July 3 at 2:30 p.m. Bring a lawn chair or blanket. In case of rain or excessive heat, the concert will be moved inside. This is a free concert for the community and everyone is welcome. Parking is available around the church and in the church parking lot.
Churchville Community Outdoor Vacation Bible School will be held at the Churchville Community Park located at 3809 Churchville Ave., Churchville on July 17-21 from 6:30 - 7:45 PM for children ages 5 - 13. In case of rain, VBS will move to nearby Saint James UMC in Churchville. Register early at 540-290-0258 or or beginning at 5:45 PM on July 17.
Sherando UMC is hosting a golf tournament at Gyspy Hill Golf Course in Staunton on Saturday, July 30 at 8 AM to benefit the Re-Build Fund after last year's fire. The cost is $55.00 per person; teams of four are welcome. Individual and business sponsors are invited to support the tournament and will be recognized. The cost is $100 to sponsor a hole. Find out more HERE.
  • Sponsorship checks may be sent to the church at 2022 Howardsville Turnpike, Stuarts Draft, VA 24477. Include "Charity Golf Tournament" on the memo line.
  • Any who wishes to play should register by calling Gypsy Hill Golf Course at 540-332-3949. 
As you think about planning youth activities consider looking at the topic of global warming from a Christian perspective. Youth may be anxious about their futures. They should be aware of the environmental crisis and need an opportunity to discuss these issues in light of their faith. Roanoke Area Interfaith Stewards of the Earth (RAISE) has put together a resource list along with lessons and opportunities for experiential learning. The outdoor activities are tailored to the Roanoke Valley, but the Staunton area undoubtedly can create similar offerings. CLICK HERE for the youth list. Leaders who are looking for materials for elementary-age children might be interested in this website that offers a free downloadable e-book available at
The Roanoke Valley CROP Hunger Walk is pleased to announce their 2022 Grant Recipient is Feeding-Southwest Virginia, specifically the Community Solutions Center (CSC).  

CLICK HERE for more information and to register. Join Thrasher Memorial UMC, other churches and community organizations for the CROP Hunger Walk on Sunday, October 9, 2022.
Two Opportunities for Lay Servant Training

Courses offered include:
  • Basic Course in Lay Servant Ministries
  • Leading Prayer 
  • Preaching
  • Children’s/Youth Ministry
  • Missions
  • Spanish language course 
  • An orientation session for those interested in Certified Lay Ministry (1/2 day)

September 23-24 at Westview on the James. This retreat, sponsored by the Mission Rivers District, is designed for YOUTH to earn their BASIC Certification in Lay Servant Leadership. For more information contact Jenn Robinson-O'Brien at 
Our Bi-District Job Openings webpage lists jobs at local churches, camps, and ministry partners in the Roanoke and Staunton Districts.

Information about opportunities in Youth and Children's Ministry, Music Ministry, camp service, and much more can be found HERE.
Upcoming Dates to Remember
June 30-August 4: Mission Encounter by Zoom

July 4: District offices closed

July 10: Called District Conference for Roanoke and Staunton at 4 PM by Zoom

August 5-6: VAUMC Lay Servant Academy

August 25 at 1 PM: Valley Ridge District Facebook Page Development Training
We look forward to future sessions in the Valley Ridge District Social Media/Website Development series designed to help churches better connect with their congregations, communities, and each other. Register to receive the course material and Zoom link.

  • August 25 at 1:00 PM - Facebook Page Development Training
  • October 27 at 1:00 PM - Website Development Training

The Virginia Conference Treasurer's office provides updates for local church Treasurers and Finance Committees in the June issue of Dollars and Sense Newsletter. Find the latest edition HERE.

As COVID-19 infections fluctuate in most of our communities, local churches continue to evaluate and take appropriate action. Keeping people safe is good leadership; caring for your neighbor is good discipleship. 
Resident Bishop - Sharma D. Lewis

Valley Ridge District Superintendent

Valley Ridge North Area Office
26 Orr Drive
Fishersville, VA 22939
(540) 932-1055

Director of Congregation Excellence

Administrative Assistant


Valley Ridge South Area Office
4502 Starkey Road, Suite 101
Roanoke, Virginia 24018
(540) 989-3335

Administrative Assistant/Bookkeeper
The Virginia Conference Vision: To make disciples for Jesus Christ who are lifelong learners who influence others
to serve.