Bi-District News: March 15, 2022
A Message from Rev. Doug Forrester,
Roanoke & Staunton District Superintendent
Making a Difference in Ukraine: Resources Available for Giving
As I travel the Roanoke and Staunton Districts, I am asked for ways that United Methodists can make a difference for people affected by the war in Ukraine. There are United Methodist churches in both Ukraine and Russia, and it is a source of great sadness that this unjust invasion and subsequent war has pitted one against the other. You can read more about the United Methodist Church’s presence in this region here.

What follows is not an exhaustive list of charities that are helping the victims of the war in Ukraine. However, it is a list of proven organizations making a difference in this conflict. Of course, as United Methodists, we always love to support our own United Methodist Committee on Relief. Yet for those who wish to help in other ways, the links below are provided to assist you.

Please pray for the peace that passes all understanding to reign in the hearts of those victimized by war and in the hearts of those who make war, until the day comes when all the world knows peace, justice, and God’s shalom.

Grace and peace, Doug

United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR)

Doctors Without Borders:

UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund):

International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)

REGISTER HERE to receive the New District Initiative Listening Session Zoom link, for March 17 or April 6, and share your questions and concerns in advance.

We especially encourage clergy and lay members to Annual Conference to attend one of the sessions.

Find out more about the District Initative HERE
General Conference will be further postponed until 2024. The Commission on the General Conference announced recently that the 2020 General Conference cannot be held in 2022 due to COVID-related and governmental policies and constraints.

Three main bodies govern the United Methodist Church: The General Conference, the Council of Bishops, and the Judicial Council. The General Conference sets official policy and speaks as the denomination. There are many related matters to be determined as a result of this announcement.

Madeline White, Virginia Conference Director of Communications, interviewed the Rev. Tom Berlin, Clergy Head of the Virginia Delegation to General Conference, to learn more about the General Conference postponement, next steps, and advice on how clergy and laity in the Virginia Conference can view this further postponement. 
View the full interview HERE. 
Is your church ready to serve in the mission field?
United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) Team Leader training will equip mission leaders for the future. The 5-hour training offered on Saturday, April 2, 2022 at St. John's UMC in Buena Vista is free; lunch will be provided. Pre-registration is required by March 26. Kip Robinson will lead this training session. UMVIM Team Leader Certification is valid for two years.
An online training manual will be provided upon registration. Conference rules stipulate that all first-time leaders must attend a Conference Team Leader Training Event prior to leading a team. Registration and attendance are open to anyone, whether leading a team or not. To register and for more information, visit Questions should be directed to Terri Morgan.
Tools to better connect your church and community
The Roanoke and Staunton Districts will provide virtual training sessions to help our local churches establish social media and websites as well as improve the function and impact of existing platforms.

Clergy, church staff, and laity are invited to participate. Registration is required. Join us for one or more of these sessions presented by Kim Johnson, Communications Coordinator in the UMC Northern Virginia District Office:

  • March 24 at 6:00 PM - Facebook Page Development Training
  • May 26 at 6:00 PM - Website Development Training
  • August 25 at 1:00 PM - Facebook Page Development Training
  • October 27 at 1:00 PM - Website Development Training
United Methodist Women (UMW)
is now doing missions as United Women in Faith
United Methodist Women have taken a new name to better reflect how we are answer our calling in today's world. It's an exhilarating time as we commit to even greater inclusivity, action, and impact. We remain women of passion and power, united by God's love in our mission to support women, children and youth. Learn more at:
Upcoming Dates to Remember
The Annual Conference webpage contains important information you need to know if attending the conference on June 16-18. It is updated frequently, so refer to it often.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) have been added to address a variety of concerns including childcare, livestreaming, and facility COVID policies.

If you are part of the Annual Conference delegation and wish to have a Book of Reports mailed to you, go to the webpage to make that request. You must OPT-IN to receive a printed copy.
More News
Roanoke District
Grants of $79,000 were approved at the Roanoke District Board of Missions Annual Meeting on March 7, 2022 held virtually using zoom. It is through the generous stewardship of United Methodists across the Roanoke District through Apportionment giving that makes these grants possible. Grants were approved for: Community College Ministries for their Alliance for Excellence program helping students at eleven Community Colleges in Virginia; Fincastle UMC for their Blessing Box feeding ministry; Kids Soar for their Children’s Literacy and Youth Program; Mays Memorial UMC for their school backpack program, Wesley Foundation at Virginia Tech for incoming student outreach; the District Superintendent’s Discretionary Fund for emergency needs; salary support for new district staff position; and a Ministry Accelerator program for community ministry partners.

Six local churches were recently awarded marketing grants for the Lenten and Easter season from the Roanoke District Common Table. They are: Belview UMC, Fincastle UMC, Greene Memorial UMC, St. Paul UMC-Roanoke, Thrasher Memorial UMC and Trinity UMC-Roanoke. The Common Table continues its support for local churches as they reach out to their congregations and communities. 

Roanoke District United Methodist Women (United Women in Faith) celebrate they will be gathering in-person at their Spirtual Life Retreat on Saturday, April 9 for a time of worship, learning and fellowship! The theme will be Healing and Joy on Our Journey To God. Alta Mons in Shawsville will host the event. Helen Moe, Certified Chaplain at Carilion Clinic and member of First UMC-Salem, will be the featured speaker. CLICK HERE to see all the details to complete your registration before the April 1 deadline. Spread the word!

Alta Mons will host Paul Bunyan Day on Saturday, March 19. Volunteers of all ages are needed for a day's work of log splitting, raking, trail clearing, mattress washing, pool cleaning, and more. All volunteers will be provided a box lunch to eat outdoors or take with them! Appropriate COVID-19 protocols will be in place - most of the work will be outdoors. Contact the camp with any questions or concerns. Meet at Shelter 3 at 9 AM, rain or shine.
Staunton District
Eastern Mennonite Seminary invites you to hear Nancy Elizabeth Bedford during EMU's annual Augsburger Lecture Series, March 29-30. She is author of many books and publications and is currently a Georgia Harkness Professor of Theology at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. Learn more at:

St. Paul's, Staunton-Celebration Dinner Theater will be performing The Greatest Hits for their 25th anniversary! Tickets are $25 (ages 7-12 are $10). Please call or text Doug Harris to order tickets (540) 487-0347. Nursery will be available. Dinner options include pork tenderloin or chicken cordon bleu. There will be two shows:
Friday, April 22nd at 6:30 pm and Saturday, April 23rd at 5:30 pm.

Blessing of the Bikes and Bikers on April 23. Everyone is welcome. Any make of bike and any religious background welcomed. Arrive and line up at 9:30 am, kick stands up at 10:00 am for group ride, return approximately 1:30 in the afternoon for a free lunch. Again this year, the Blessings will be conducted at the Goshen’s Pass Overlook. No registration fee or any other costs for this ride. Tell your friends and neighbors. Feel free to share this post. For more information contact Tom Rose at 540-255-7900 or
Prayer Requests
For the families, friends, and colleagues of the victims of recent violence in the community of Covington, VA; and all those who mourn the loss of loved ones.

For all those throughout the world affected by war and conflict, especially in Ukraine.

The Prayer Wall is a Facebook group where clergy and laity of the Virginia Conference can visit and pray for racial justice and reconciliation.
Our Bi-District Job Openings webpage lists dozens of 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.
Mission Encounter
is an opportunity to study current issues impacting society based on current social justice and mission-related topics. Participants grow in understanding the mission of the church in the current world context; conference events are open to all.
Mission Encounter
is a cooperative event sponsored by the Virginia Conference Missional Ministries Board and the Virginia Conference United Methodist Women.
Theme: Building Communities of Hope and Joy (Luke 13)
Date: Every Thursday Evening, Starting on June 30, 2022
Time: 7 PM
Registration is now open; Fee is: $10
Post-COVID Reentry Group (PRG) and COVID
COVID-19 infections continue to decline in most of our communities. Your local church PRG will want to be discussing those local conditions and actions to take as you plan springtime worship, mission and ministry. Continuing to evalulate and taking appropriate action to keep people safe and healthy is good leadership; caring for your neighbor is good discipleship. 
The Virginia Conference Treasurer's office provides updates on Boy Scouts, IRS notifications, UMCOR Sunday, and more in the March issue of Dollars and Sense Newsletter.

Find the latest edition HERE.
It is not too late to join the Virginia Conference in reading the Bible from Genesis to Revelation (daily reading list provided at conference website).

Get readings and stay updated on the 2022 challenge HERE.
Resident Bishop - Sharma D. Lewis

District Superintendent

Roanoke District Office
4502 Starkey Road, Suite 101
Roanoke, Virginia 24018
(540) 989-3335

Administrative Assistant/Bookkeeper

Staunton District Office
26 Orr Drive
Fishersville, VA 22939
(540) 932-1055

Director of Congregation Excellence

Administrative Assistant


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