February 11, 2021
A word from our DS....
Dear RRD Family,

On Monday, February 8, 2021, Bishop Lewis released information to the conference about retirements, appointments of District Superintendents, Conference Director of Connectional Ministries, Assistant to the Bishop, and a District Alignment Transition Coordinator (DATC). By now, you may have read or heard that in addition to serving the Rappahannock River District, we will be serving the York River District effective July 1, 2021.

Many questions and concerns have emerged concerning the logistics of serving two districts of great geographical landscape. We want you to know that we value your concerns, and we want to normalize those emotions so that we can dissipate their impact on the goal ahead of us. By so doing, we want to offer four suggestions that we hope will help us accomplish this goal.

First, let us pray for the vision even if we do not see it. In that way, we will spend less emotional energy and reduce the negative impact. The fact is, it is the Bishop’s vision, not ours. Let us pretend as if it was our vision – employ the placebo effect. Second, pretending as if the vision is ours makes it personal. It diffuses and/or dispels any negative energy. Third, let us reframe and recast the narrative so that we are more susceptible to a positive outcome to this change. Finally, let us continue to have an ongoing conversation about this vision – it is the beginning of a process.

This process started last year. You will recall that last year Bishop Lewis formed the District Alignment Team (DAT), to discern, “How can districts most effectively order themselves for the adaptive challenges of the 21st century?” That was the beginning of this process. We have ways to go, and we cannot go it alone.

We have already met with the Rappahannock River District Superintendency Committee. In the coming weeks, we will meet with the York River District Superintendency Committee to begin a process of strategizing. We will keep you informed.

We are soliciting your prayers and support.

Blessings to you!

A Message from Bishop Lewis: District Alignment Update
Dear Virginia Annual Conference:
Peace to you as we continue in this season of pandemic and challenge. The world, in fact, seems quite changed in recent years, something we have felt for some time as a conference. Thankfully, we serve a God who is unchanging, unfailing and unending.
As Virginia United Methodists, we have met this moment in our history with renewed vision, setting our eyes on the One who is unfailing. Our vision remains strong: “To be disciples of Jesus Christ who are lifelong learners who influence others to serve.” We have begun to dream together of how we might bring this vision to life in our conference, in our churches, and in our communities. In 2020, with the formation of my District Alignment Team (DAT), we asked, “How can districts most effectively order themselves for the adaptive challenges of the 21st century?”
The question propels us to be innovative and collaborative, especially as we have not significantly changed our order for more than 40 years. Our District Alignment Team made six forward-looking recommendations that we are now considering for implementation.
Please take a moment to watch my video about the first steps of alignment. This contains important information about our district superintendents. I’ve also provided FAQs for more detail and information that pastors may use in sharing with members who do not have easy access to Internet communications.
Our first steps are part of a larger plan that will span more than a year. This is intentional, to give us time to pray, to dialogue and to collaborate. To start, please use this questionnaire to share feedback that will shape a number of virtual listening posts in coming months. All the resources listed above can also be accessed at www.vaumc.org/dat.
We were made for a time such as this. We will move forward in unity, guided by our vision: “To be disciples of Jesus Christ who are lifelong learners who influence others to serve.”
Peace and Blessings,
Bishop Sharma D. Lewis
Bishop Lewis announces retirements, appointments of District Superintendents, Conference Director of Connectional Ministries, Assistant to the Bishop, District Alignment Transition Coordinator

Bishop Sharma D. Lewis is pleased to announce the appointments of district superintendents effective July 1, 2021:
Alexandria and Arlington districts – The Rev. Dr. Sarah L.K. Calvert
Danville and Lynchburg districts –The Rev. Denise P. Bates
Harrisonburg and Winchester districts – The Rev. Dr. Victor R. Gomez
York River and Rappahannock River districts – The Rev. Dr. Charles F. Ledlum-Bates
Charlottesville and Richmond districts – The Rev. Dr. Hyo J. Lee
Elizabeth River and Eastern Shore districts – The Rev. Seonyoung Kim
Farmville and James River districts – The Rev. Jay Carey
Roanoke and Staunton districts – The Rev. J. Douglas Forrester
The following district superintendents will be retiring on June 30, 2021. Join Bishop Lewis in expressing appreciation for the work and ministry for the following individuals: 
The Rev. Jeff Mickle – Alexandria District
The Rev. Wayne Snead – Elizabeth River District
The Rev. Sylvia Meadows – James River District
The Rev. Danny Kesner – Charlottesville District
The Rev. Alex Joyner, current Eastern Shore District superintendent, will be appointed to a local church effective July 1, 2021. Bishop Lewis said she is very thankful for Joyner’s work on the Cabinet and his ministry and witness on the Eastern Shore.
As well please join Bishop Lewis to show appreciation for the years of dedicated ministry of the Rev. Tom Joyce as asistant to the Bishop. Joyce will be retiring on June 30, 2021.
The Rev. Dr. Steve Summers will begin in a new position as Director of Connectional Ministries/Assistant to the Bishop. The Rev. Scott Davis, current Lynchburg District superintendent, will be the District Alignment Transition Coordinator (DATC) effective July 1, 2021.
Learn more about the ongoing work on District Alignment at www.vaumc.org/DAT.
Vaccine Buddy Program at Fredericksburg UMC volunteers to help others on the District

We have a great team of people in our congregation who can help seniors over 65 years old register to get their vaccination for COVID-19.
How can you help? Send us their name and phone number and we will contact them to get the necessary information via the telephone. We will register them on the Health Department website and/or try to get them an appointment. We will then contact them with the information so they can write it down.
If you need help or know someone who does, email us here: getmyshot@outlook.com or
call (540) 870-1985 or Text to:
What is Lent and why does it last 40 Days?
The umc.org site features a "What We Believe" section with Frequently Asked Questions. Click the link below for more information.

Partners in Ministry, 

The Serving Ministries at the Virginia United Methodist Conference is currently accepting applications for ministry organizations to be considered as Virginia Conference Advance Special. 

We believe that mission is essential to who we are as followers of Jesus Christ and our call to ministry here in the Virginia Annual Conference. We are excited to be able help you and or your organization be the hands and feet of Christ all over the world in this way.   

One of my favorite scriptures comes from the prophet Jeremiah 20 :9 it says,  
“If I say, ‘I will not mention him, or speak any more in his name, then within me there is something like a burning fire shut up in my bones; I am weary with holding it in, and I cannot.”

God has set a fire within you and the community you're serving. We are so glad you have not held in. Thank you for sharing that fire with the world. 
Information of Conference Advance Specials can be found in paragraph 656 page 505 of the 2016 Book of Discipline.

If you are interested in qualifying as an Advance Special ministry group, please review the attached guidelines and complete the application by February 26, 2021, to be considered. 

We hope you will take advantage of this opportunity to qualify to receive additional funds for your ministry. Please contact Glenda Blackwell at 804-521-1138 if you have any questions.

In Christ, 
Rev. Justin A Hicks
Advance Special, Chair 
Missional Ministry Board

When did Ash Wednesday begin and why do we celebrate it?
Click below for this interesting article from "What We Believe" on the umc.org website

Personal Prayer Webinar on February 16
Please plan to join the VA Conference UMMen for a Love, Learn, and Lead webinar about personal prayer on Tuesday evening, February 16, 2021 at 6:30 PM EST.

Jesus gave us the Lord’s Prayer as a model for prayer. Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 to “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

There are prayers of adoration, prayers of intercession, breath prayers, lectionary prayers, and corporate prayers. Much has been shared regarding different types and ways to pray.

Is prayer a part of your daily life? Is prayer a part of your devotional time with God? Please plan to join us as Rev. Wayne Snead, District Superintendent of the Elizabeth River District, leads a discussion on personal prayer.

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 898 2460 7164
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Heart Havens’ month is February and we can't wait to celebrate with you. The Virginia Conference has designated February as Heart Havens Month, one of six special offerings throughout the year. There are seven Heart Havens homes across the Conference, where men and women with a developmental disability are empowered to be full members of the body of Christ, and active participants in their communities.
The theme for Heart Havens Month this year is "A Different Perspective." Heart Havens' goal is 100 monthly Heart Havens donors. Please visit hearthavens.org to see our video and additional electronic resources to share. You can also find Heart Havens month posts on social media – sharing will help us spread our message of empowerment. Thank you for your continued support of Heart Havens!
We are working remotely until further notice. Please contact us on our cell phones.

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)