April 28, 2021
District Alignment Team Listening Posts
Bishop Lewis formed a work team in May 2020, after being asked by the conference Council on Finance and Administration (CFA) to evaluate the Virginia Conference’s district structure, to consider this important question: “How can districts most effectively order themselves for the adaptive challenges of the 21st century?”
If you haven’t already heard about the work of the District Alignment Team (DAT), you are encouraged to go to www.vaumc.org/dat and view all the resources including the first video from February 8, 2021 with Bishop Lewis and the most recent video from April 5 concerning the position of district developers.

The District Alignment Team (DAT) and the subsequent team called the Implementation District Alignment Team (iDAT) have been diligently deliberating the question posed by Bishop Lewis over the last 12 months. The teams are now inviting all clergy and laity in the Virginia Conference to two opportunities to learn more about district alignment and take part in this ongoing conversation.

The first listening session will be held Monday, May 3 from 6:30-8 p.m. The second session will be held Monday, May 17 from 6:30-8 p.m. Both sessions will be held through Zoom with registration and log-in information to be provided soon.
 
Interested clergy and lay members should choose the session that works best for their schedule. Each listening session will begin with a short update on the efforts thus far, a few discussion questions, and a period of Q&A.
Recordings of both sessions will be shared following the May 17 listening session.

To view current district alignment information and resources, visit www.vaumc.org/dat.
 
New Post-COVID Re-entry Group Introduced at Monday Webinar
April 27, 2021 -- Bishop Sharma D. Lewis announced a shift in the way the Annual Conference will address the current pandemic at a progress report webinar held on April 26. A new Post-COVID Re-entry Group (PRG) convened by the Rev. Seungsoo ‘RJ’ Jun will take over the duties of the existing COVID work groups (Back to In-Person Worship and Mission & Ministry) as of May 1, 2021.

The new PRG will incorporate members of the current workgroups and will begin the proactive work of resourcing churches for ministry in the coming post-pandemic environment. The group will also continue the focus on assisting churches to engage in safe practices as they conduct in-person worship and ministry.

“The pandemic is not over and there is still a need for vigilance,” said the Rev. Alex Joyner, chair of the existing worship workgroup. “But churches and leaders are ready to look ahead with hope to what comes next. This new group expects that God will do a great new thing among us and will help us be open to the possibilities of this moment.”

Upcoming Transition

There is big news for local churches in the shift as well. Healthy Church Teams (HCTs) have done extensive work through the pandemic in developing plans for ministry based on the Technical Assistance Manual (TAM) and other resources provided by the workgroups. During the month of June, churches will be invited to celebrate the work of the HCTs and bring them to a close while transitioning to local church Post-COVID Re-entry Groups.

Major decision-making on COVID-mitigation methods will revert to local churches as of July 1, with district superintendents providing a review of plans. A new, greatly-reduced document will succeed the current TAM to guide local churches as they develop their plans.

“We have come a long way in this journey,” Bishop Lewis said, “and one of the blessings we have noted is that we have not had any major breakouts reported in our churches. I ask local churches to continue their good work as they now take on an expanded role.” The bishop noted that the conference may revert to previous standards if circumstances change (such as a new surge or variant spread).

Changes to Indoor Singing Guidelines
Also announced at the webinar was a change in indoor singing guidelines. Studies on the effectiveness of vaccines now indicate that those who have received mRNA vaccinations and are two weeks beyond their final dose seem to be at low risk for infection and for transmission. While still waiting to hear how variants of the COVID-19 virus may affect this picture, the guidelines are being adjusted to allow for limited singing indoors under the same conditions as outdoors with those who are fully vaccinated being the singers for now.

Under these new guidelines, fully vaccinated persons may sing indoors for five minutes total (about two hymns) if they are wearing well-fitting masks covering their nose and mouth while distanced six feet or more. Singers are encouraged to sing sotto voce (i.e. in a quiet voice). Participants should be informed in advance that there will be singing so that they may choose their tolerance level. Churches are advised not to ask for proof of vaccination and to operate with an honor system.

Relaunch Webinars 
In preparation for this transition, the new conference PRG team will host a series of four webinars to assist the local church PRG teams. Every Thursday evening, starting on May 13, the conference will host a Zoom webinar for local churches. Each webinar will offer updates on health mitigation guidelines, as local churches establish their PRG groups. The webinars will also feature special guests, who will offer foundational information for “ReLaunch” into the Post-COVID era.

Relaunch Webinar Schedule
Webinar #1 - May 13, 2021, 6:30 - 8:00 pm 
Title: Nuts and Bolts of PRG/Dream a Relaunch Day
Special Guests: Paul Nickerson & Jim Griffith, Professional Coaches
Webinar #2 - May 20, 2021, 6:30 - 8:00 pm 
Title:  Ultimate Relaunch Playbook - Relaunch rather than reopening doors
Special Guest: Kay Kotan, Greatest Expedition
 Webinar #3 - May 27, 2021, 6:30 - 9:00 pm 
TitleBoth/And Hybrid Worship
Guest Speaker: Jason Moore, Midnight Oil Production
Webinar #4 - June 3, 2021, 6:30 - 8:00 pm 
Title: Relaunch Ministries 
Special Guests: Nickie Moreno Howard & Dwayne Stinson, Conference Staff
Membership of New Group
The Rev. RJ Jun is the associate director of Serving Ministries for the Virginia Conference. He will be joined on the new PRG by the following members:
The Rev. Beth Anderson, pastor of Courthouse Community UMC, Virginia Beach (ER)
Ms. Marie Coons, layperson, Richmond District
The Rev. Nathan Decker, pastor of High St UMC, Franklin (JR)
Mrs. Heather Gomez, layperson, Harrisonburg District
The Rev. Nancy Coleman Johnson, Emmanuel UMC, Amherst (L)
Mr. Andrew Kissel, Environmental/Sanitary Engineer, Southeastern Jurisdiction United Methodist Men President
The Rev. Janet Knott, Glovier Memorial UMC (S)
The Rev. Brenda Lee Laws, deacon, Greenbackville Charge (ES)
Dr. Karen McElfish, M.D., pediatrician, Arlington District Lay Leader
Ms. Reba Miller, Woodlawn Faith UMC, R.N & Attorney  
Dr. George F. Moxley, M.D., physician and rheumatologist, VCU
The Rev. Leigh Anne Taylor, Revitalization Coordinator (L), President, The Fellowship of United Methodists in Music & Worship Arts
The Rev. Jenelle Watson, associate pastor, Calvary UMC, Stuarts Draft (S)

New Items on the Resource page
Two new items have been added to the resource page on the conference website: a revised health acknowledgment poster and an update on ventilation. You can also find the latest version of the Technical Assistance Manual (TAM) here.
 
 
How You can Help!
Although All God's Children Camp will be canceled this summer, we will be reaching out and ministering with our camp families by sending resources and care packages. If you would like to get involved check out the list below.  
 
Care Package List: All packages are due by June 1
Jump rope
Hand size nerf ball of your choice
Sidewalk chalk
Crayons
Activity paper/construction paper
Kids puzzle book/workbook/coloring books
Individual size snacks of your choice-no chocolate candy or peanuts 
$25.00 grocery gift card
 
You or a group of people can put together one or more care packages for our All God's Children Camp campers. You may also send monetary donations to the address below to help support this ministry. If you live in the Richmond area, contact Lori Smith at lttlelori@gmail.com to make arrangements for delivery. If you live outside the Richmond area, please mail care packages to:
 
Virginia United Methodist Conference Center
All God's Children Camp
10330 Staples Mill Rd.
Glen Allen, VA 23060
Upcoming Meetings
 (via Zoom)

April 28 - Connectional Ministries Mtg.
April 29 - District Finance Meeting
IMPORTANT CHANGE - "KITS FOR CONFERENCE" Effort  
I
The pandemic has affected the operations of the United Methodist Committee on Relief, UMCOR. UMCOR hasn’t been able to process new kits or to ship their existing kits overseas as usual. So UMCOR is asking that conferences NOT make hygiene, school, or cleaning kits this year. 
Churches and UMWs are being asked to devote their kit-making energies to ministries and non-profits in their local communities. Do you have a feeding ministry or a ministry to the homeless in your community? Perhaps your local public school system would appreciate the same sort of “kits” that your church has traditionally made. NO KITS will be accepted as part of this year’s (virtual) Annual Conference. Questions may be addressed to Rev. David Magruder at davidmagruder@vaumc.org.
Get Involved at the Conference Level!
The Conference Nominations Team is tasked with finding those who are interested in serving on conference boards and agencies. If you are interested in serving, please complete a Nomination Profile form (see red button below for link to conference page). You'll find the nomination profile form to complete and descriptions of each committee's work.

Vacancies:

1. Common Table, 1 lay
2. Board of Church and Society, 1 clergy
3. Board of Discipleship, 1 lay
4. Youth Council, 1 person, clergy or lay
5. Older Adult Council, 1 person, clergy or lay
6. Communications, 2 lay
7. Disabilities, 1 clergy, 1 lay
8. Equitable Comp, 1 clergy
9. CEMCA, 1 lay 
10. CFA, 1 laywoman
11. Trustees, 1 clergy


If you'd like to be considered for a vacancy, please complete a nomination profile form and return to rappahannockriverdistrict@vaumc.org or mail to PO BOX 100, Ladysmith, VA 22501. (They have extended the deadline indicated on the website.) If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our Conference Leadership & Development Team Representative, Rev. Bert Cloud at bertcloud@vaumc.org.

Thank you!

Upcoming Deadlines
Clergy Evaluations Due June 1
Parsonage Reviews Due May 3
Scholarship Applications Due May 17
Job Opening
Regester Chapel UMC in Stafford is seeking a Director of Music Ministry. Please click here for a complete job description.
District Scholarship Applications Now Available
 
In keeping with our tradition of supporting higher learning, the Rappahannock River District (RRD) of the United Methodist Church has created a Student Scholarship Program. The program is maintained and administered by the RRD and is not connected with any other United Methodist board, agency, or entity. Please see the guidelines & intructions and applications below.
Deadline is May 17, 2021.
 
  CONTACT INFORMATION

District Superintendent: Rev. Charles F. Ledlum-Bates, Ph.D.
DS Cell: 804.724.0202

2020 District Co-Lay Lay Leader:

2020 District Co-Lay Leader:

Lay Servant Director: Rev. Kevin Elmore kevinelmore@vaumc.org
Heartwood Director: Rev. Gayle Porias gayleporias@vaumc.org
Crossroads Minister: Rev. Mark Roscoe markroscoe@vaumc.org
Youth Coordinator: TJ Oliver, rrdyouth@vaumc.org
Office Manager: Lynn Manley rappahannockriverdistrict@vaumc.org
Cell 804.304.8566
Administrative Assistant Connie Devenport conniedevenport@vaumc.org


Mailing Address: PO BOX 100, Ladysmith, VA 22501 Phone   804.448.8326
Office Location: Inside Wright’s Chapel UMC at 8063 Ladysmith Road, Ruther Glen, VA (do not use for mail)