Weekly news & updates: May 14, 2021
Worship on Sunday at 10am

We invite you to come back to in-person* worship. Or you join us for online worship. See below for more information.

We will have our Gathering Jam at 9:45 a.m. this Sunday prior to the worship service! Bring your instruments and play with us or come to enjoy listening to the music! 

Pastor Melody's Sermon Series: "Getting Warmed Up"

Sermon Title"Why not you?"
In-Person Worship*

Where? Join us for worship by our front steps facing Stockley Gardens. 
If it rains, then we will move inside the sanctuary with additional precautions. Please BYOC (bring your own chair).

*According to UMC Covid guidelines children under age 2 are not allowed to attend worship because masks are required. Only fully vaccinated people may remove their masks outdoors, except while singing, if safely socially distanced. We look forward to welcoming our littlest ones as soon as it is safe to do so! All of our guests are required to maintain safe social distances, and follow the CDC guidelines to stay home, if sick or possibly exposed.
Online Worship

  1. Click here to go to our Facebook page and scroll down until you see the video of worship.
  2. The link and video are viewable even if you don't have a Facebook account!
  3. Please write your name in the comments so we know you are worshiping with us.

Streaming licenses: Ghent UMC is licensed to stream our FB Live worship services with permission under CCLI #20175590 and One License A-727358. All rights reserved.
Listen to recent sermons. Watch previously live-streamed worship services.
Messy Church at Ghent UMC
Sunday, May 16, 4 - 5:30 pm
In-person Messy Church* returns Sunday, May 16, 4 - 5:30pm! It’s finally time to get messy together again with crafts, games, and activities in our garden, followed by Celebration time on the front steps.

Picnic! Although COVID restrictions prevent us from serving a meal this time, consider packing a picnic and enjoying Stockley Gardens after Messy Church.

What is Messy Church? Messy Church is “Church, but not as you know it.” It is Christ-centered and based on creativity, hospitality and celebration. And it’s FREE!
*This month's event is for people 2 - 112 years old.

May’s theme is “Drop everything” based on Mark 1:16-20. Is God calling you to serve in his name? You are unique and special to God; do you believe he may call you to follow him in a new way? Have you ever been called by God?

Where? Please park in our parking lot or along the streets and walk to our garden entrance next to our front steps facing Stockley Gardens.

* According to UMC Covid guidelines children under age 2 are not allowed to attend church events as masks are required. Only fully vaccinated people may remove them outdoors, except while singing, if safely socially distanced. We look forward to welcoming our littlest ones as soon as it is safe to do so. All of our guests are required to maintain safe social distances, and follow the CDC guidelines to stay home if sick or possibly exposed.
Show Your Appreciation

Want to help show how much we appreciate the Tanners and their years of service to Ghent Church? (Look at how much their daughter has grown!)

Please plan to worship with us these last few Sundays, and particularly, on Sunday, June 6, their final Sunday, to celebrate the Tanner's ministry.

Volunteers are needed to join the appreciation team! Contact Melanie Cramer at thosecramers@icloud.com for more information.

To read Pastor Melody’s leave announcement, click here.
Soul Food?
Pastor Melody shares her thoughts on
Holy Communion.
Daily Prayer Starter
Please set aside time each day to pray for 2-3 minutes.

"O Lord, I can come up with a million reasons why you shouldn’t use me. Shoot down every single one of them…"

For prayer requests contact Pastor Melody.
Used Book Sale
Ghent UMC’s bi-annual used book sale is postponed until the fall because the Stockley Gardens Spring Arts Festival will be held virtually on May 15 & 16.

Also, thankfully our book shelves are currently full! No more book donations are needed at this time. Please save the date of Oct. 16 for our fall used book sale. Proceeds will benefit missions and children/ youth programming.
Pastoral Transition: Please Lend a Hand
Rev. Ryan Schaeffer has been appointed to our church effective this July 1st. To view an introduction message from our new pastor and family, click here.

Would you like to help welcome the Schaeffers or help to prepare the parsonage? We are currently forming teams for the pastoral transition. For more information or to join the welcome or parsonage team, contact Melanie Cramer at

May is Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month - a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. This broad term encompasses all of the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia.

Help kids celebrate the rich history and culture of the generations of Asian and Pacific Islanders who have contributed to America’s diversity and success.

Get ideas here. These ideas are resources from the Smithsonian, the National Park Service, and more.
In honor of Jewish American Heritage Month in May, Norfolk Public Library has released a list of books on exploring anti-Jewish sentiment in its many forms around the world. Learn about Jewish persecution throughout history and in the modern day, from the Middle East to the Soviet Union to the United States. Titles in the link above are in the physical and electronic collections and can be reserved by going to www.norfolkpubliclibrary.org.
The United Methodist Church has stated that we will no longer remain silent nor complicit about racist acts against African Americans but we must act now to become anti-racist individuals and churches! We are asked to pray for Dismantling Racism efforts, as well as, all persons of color who suffer at the hands of injustice, oppression, and white supremacy.

“It is Christian silence, Christian assent, and Christian fear of having honest conversations that confront systemic racism that has left our nation in tatters,” writes Garlinda Burton.

A new article, which includes suggested books and resources for discussion/action groups, challenges Christians to end racism through hard conversations, penitent prayers and action

What would happen if thousands of congregations, after prayer and discernment, committed themselves to follow the simple steps in this article?

What would happen if we realize that whatever happens to one of us affects all of us? Read more.
Virginia FOCUS Initiative
Bishop Sharma Lewis announces the new direction of Virginia FOCUS Initiative's efforts to strengthen churches of the Virginia Conference through the lens of Black Church leaders and highlights the May 22 event "Minding Our Spiritual Business and Sacred Duties."

View her announcement here. (To activate the audio, click the play icon on the video). 

Virginia FOCUS May event
The "Minding Our Spiritual Business and Sacred Duties," is a virtual event on May 22, 2021, from 10a.m. to 5p.m. A group of speakers will share their vision for the church as we move into the next decade. They are:
• Dr. Candace Lewis
• Brennen Boose
• Jazmine Smith
• Dr. Dana Lyles

There will also be Master Classes, virtual booths, and opportunities to network. There is no cost for participants. For more info, go to https://vaumc.org/vfi/ or contact Dwayne Stinson at Influencing@vaumc.org. To register, click here.
United Methodist bishops held fast to their plans to delay episcopal elections until after the postponed General Conference, despite calls from some delegates to do otherwise. However, the bishops also rescinded their recommendation that no U.S. bishops be elected until 2024, opening the door for new leaders to be elected in November 2022.

With The United Methodist Church’s top court declining to rule in advance on the proposed protocol for separation, some of the plan's architects worry about the effect on General Conference's deliberations.

The Connectional Table, the denomination’s equivalent of a church council, is urging United Methodists around the globe to join in conversations about the denomination’s identity, vision and mission. With General Conference now delayed to 2022, the leadership body hopes to bring more people to its table.

The Community Vaccination Center (CVC) at Military Circle Mall in Norfolk will close the clinic by the end of May.

The CVC at Virginia Beach Convention Center will stay open until at least the middle of June.

You can also call (877) 829-4682 for an appointment or schedule it online at vaccinate.virginia.gov/
The World Council of Churches and Christian Conference of Asia are speaking out in support of churches in India that are facing a surge in COVID-19 cases. A letter of “concern, grief and prayerful solidarity” was released May 5. Both organizations, which have Methodist denominations as members, also observed May 7 as a day of prayer and fasting for India’s healing. 

United Methodist ethnic minority churches are collaborating to feed their New York neighbors. They recognized the seriousness of food shortages in the local community since the COVID-19 pandemic began. So, they initiated food ministries. They are still going strong because they realized that to continue, they needed to collaborate with others.

Monthly Food Collection

Our 4th Sundays’ non-perishable food collection has started again! Each month on the 4th Sunday, we will collect non-perishable food for the food pantry located at Wesley Community Service Center in Portsmouth. (Their food pantry is now an official Foodbank location!) To view a shopping list of the most needed items, click here.
Temporary Shelter in Norfolk
While the city continues to work on opening a new permanent shelter to respond to increased homelessness in Norfolk, First Presbyterian's Urban Renewal Center is now offering a temporary shelter at the old Greyhound Bus Station, 701 Monticello Avenue in Norfolk. In partnership with the city of Norfolk, eighty tents are available in the parking lot, while gathering space, services, and meals are served inside. It is open 24/7. And volunteers are needed.

1. All volunteers must be 18 years old or older.
2. All volunteers must complete a background check form. Click here for that form.
Please send the completed form to shelby@fpcnorfolk.org or drop it off at First Presbyterian Church of Norfolk, as soon as possible.

Contact Jordan Brown, 757-746-6522 or jordan@theurcnorfolk.com, for more information.
Ghent UMC has One Table underway at our church and we are currently forming a second table! This second table will help a mother or mother-to-be, who is in recovery from a substance use disorder, move toward the better life she envisions for herself and her children.

GUMC is licensed to host The Open Table which is a model in which an at-risk person creates relationships with a small group community volunteers to help meet their goals. It is a transformative process for all involved.  

For more information or to volunteer, contact Faye Joseph by email at fayej5842@gmail.com or by cell phone at 757-575-3865.
Altar Flowers In the worship setting, one or two flower arrangements may be placed by the altar outside, or inside if it is raining. They are given in thanksgiving to God, and often, they are dedicated in memory of a loved one or in honor of a special event or person.

Worshipers may bring flower arrangements or use two other good options:

  • Erin Bracy, of Seasons Flowers, makes and delivers to the church, beautiful arrangements for $30 each, or higher, depending upon the type of flowers wanted.

  • Our talented church volunteers, if available, can also arrange flowers at cost.

To sign up for a Sunday, please contact the church office.
Congregational Care In response to Christ's call to love one another, we want the members of our congregation to care for one another. In-person visits are limited currently, however, prayers, phone calls, and mail from the care team are continuing.
For more information, prayer requests, or if you are feeling called to get more involved or become a member of Ghent UMC, contact Pastor Melody.
Groups & Leadership
Children and Youth 
Pastor Melody posts our children's messages on our Facebook pageTo view the latest message, click here.

For more information about children and youth discipleship material and activities, contact Pastor Melody Tanner.
Ghent UMC began a 6-week study April 21 via Zoom using the Virginia Roots, Race, and Discipleship curriculum. The goal is to acknowledge racism as a sin and take action to dismantle racism in our families, house of worship, our community, and the workplace.

You can still join us! Please contact Pastor Melody Tanner.
Ghent Inspire Book Club meets one Monday each month at 7:30 pm on Zoom.

On Monday, May 17, we will continue our discussion of Unorthodox: The Scandalous Rejection of My Hasidic Roots by Deborah Feldman.

On Monday, June 21, we will discuss The Black Church: This Is Our Story, This Is Our Song by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

In July, we will discuss Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. The date will be determined later.

For those who don’t have time to read the books, we will have a few general questions in each discussion so that everyone will be able to participate.

For more information or to join the Zoom meetings, contact the church office or visit our Facebook page.
The Homeless Task Force is a group people from a number of Ghent faith communities and community organizations who meet regularly online to share resources and ideas for serving those who are homeless. A few people from Ghent UMC are actively involved in this group, but more are always welcome. For more information or if you feel led to answer this calling to help those in need, please contact Faye Joseph.
Ghent Church Homeless Task Force We are starting our own Homeless Task Force at Ghent UMC to minister to those in need. For more information or if you feel led to answer this calling, please contact the church office.
Christ & St. Luke’s has a community garden on their property which is on the other side of our playground fence. The community is welcome to lend a hand with the garden which provides produce for those who are in need. For more information or if you are interested in helping with the garden, please contact Nicole Pabst.
Sunday Adult Bible Discussion

Weekly, in-person, discussions have resumed on Sundays, 9 - 9:45 am. Meet in the downstairs fellowship hall. Please enter through the parking lot door. We will maintain safe social distancing to accommodate those with and without Covid vaccines.

All are required to wear masks, maintain safe social distances, and follow the CDC guidelines to stay home, if feeling sick or have possibly been exposed. 

This group reviews the Bible using the Standard Lesson Quarterly series. To read this discipleship material or for more information, contact Peter Griffin.
Ghent UMC Preschool continues to operate safely as teachers and students follow the recommendations of the CDC, Dept. of Social Services, and VA UMC Covid-19 protocol.

GUMP has received funds through the CARES Grant. This helps cover some of the lost revenue from the consignment sales and the annual auction. 

GUMP is looking for substitute teachers. If you or someone you know may be interested, email the Director Ann Robertson for more information. Background checks will be completed prior to substituting.
The next Leadership Team meeting* is Sunday, May 23 at 11am in the sanctuary.

The minutes and reports from April 11 are below.

Called Charge Conference* 
On Sunday, May 16, at 11 a.m. there will be a brief meeting in the sanctuary to consider and vote on a motion to set the compensation for Rev. Ryan Schaeffer.

*This is a Covid-safe meeting. This meeting is open to anyone ages 2 and up who wants to attend. But, all are required to wear masks, maintain safe social distances, and follow the CDC guidelines to stay home if sick or possibly exposed. 
We want to update the plants and shrubs in our memorial garden and along Raleigh Ave. We are planning for the memorial garden to be a tranquil respite; exploring ideas like a prayer tree and Biblical Herb garden for the Raleigh Ave. side. Improvements need to be made to our garden gating, as well. If you want to be a part of the planning, planting, and/or implementation, please contact Debbie Bonnewell.
Frequently Asked Questions related to COVID-19 restrictions
Are we able to gather and worship in person? We are able to gather and worship in person, however, our guests are required to wear masks, maintain safe social distances, and follow the CDC guidelines to stay home if you are sick or may have been exposed. The only exception is fully vaccinated people may remove masks outdoors, except while singing, if safely socially distanced.

Due to the mask requirement, children under age 2 are not allowed to attend in-person worship or events. We look forward to welcoming our littlest ones as soon, as it is safe to do so.
How can I get in touch with church staff? Our church staff are continuing to work from home and only come to the church building on an as needed basis. To contact church staff, click here to access their email addresses, or call the church office at 757-622-2843 and leave a voice mail. Our voice mail is monitored, in general, Monday through Friday. Messages will be returned as soon as possible. 
How may I offer a tithe or gift? We understand that these are uncertain times for most of us financially, but we want to offer the opportunity for us all to continue to fully participate in worship through the offering of a tithe or gift. Click here to learn of the various ways to give, including access to our online giving portal and instructions on online giving from your bank. Also, you may drop off checks through the mail slot at our Raleigh Ave. entrance. For assistance, contact the church office.
Jesus is for everyone. No exceptions.
A Word of Welcome from Ghent UMC 

Ghent United Methodist Church is called to the affirmation of the sacred worth of all people. We embrace as a gift the diversity of our neighborhood and the world. We acknowledge our human family's diversity in sexual orientation, gender identity, race, ethnicity, language, age, faith history, theological orientation, economic status, education, marital status, abilities, and any other defining feature, real or perceived. Click here to read the message in its entirety.

Click here to read Pastor Melody's special message for our church and community.
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