February 18, 2021
A word from our DS....
Ash Wednesday

Yesterday we celebrated Ash Wednesday, the official beginning of the Lenten Season. The day is a solemn reminder of our mortality and the need for repentance and reconciliation with God. This ritual of placing ashes on the foreheads of adherents of the Christian Faith is also a sign of mourning. The beginning of this 40-day period preceding Palm Sunday is a time of spiritual preparation in anticipation of Easter. Many Christians utilize this time to reflect on and observe the spiritual disciplines. This is also a time to reflect on Jesus’ life, suffering, death, and resurrection.

The significance of 40 days is biblical. For this article, we will highlight two – Noah and the Flood and Jesus’ Temptation. During the Flood, it rained for 40 days and 40 nights (Genesis 7:4, 12, 17; 8:6). Jesus was tempted after He spent 40 days fasting in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11).
Each of the above accounts called for a special kind of preparation and reflection. Both Noah and Jesus were obedient to God; their social behaviors were consistent with their spiritual behaviors. It was not either/or, it was both. As Christians, the same applies to us. Our social and spiritual behaviors undoubtedly affect the outcome of our relationship with God. We cannot choose to be selective or seasonal or situational in our relationship with God. This Lenten Season should draw our attention to a serious time of preparation and reflection on how to stay in love with God.

One of the ways we can stay connected to and in love with God is to avoid drifting away from God. Anyone who knows about beaches knows that there are some beaches where the sand drifts away. The only remedy to stop this drifting is to bring in more sand continually to replenish the beach. Our spiritual life is similar to the beach. Unless we continue to renew our relationship with God and our community, our natural tendency is to drift away. If we find ourselves becoming distracted by the conditions of life, let us call on God and set an appointment with God because our relationship is a call and response – God will respond to our call and needs.

God called Noah and Jesus – both of them responded affirmatively. God is calling and doing something new in our lives during this season – what is our response? Consider Noah and the flood and Jesus’ temptation in the context of a flood pandemic and temptations during a pandemic. Noah’s preparation for a “flood pandemic” is evidenced by his obedience to God. God shut the door for Noah. Noah remained in the boat for a good while after the rain had ceased. His first response to stepping out onto dry land was an act of worship. During this Lenten Season, let us reflect on our obedience to God. Let us expect God to “shut” the door as a way of protecting and saving us from this pandemic. As a response, let us anticipate the time when God will release us to a safe community where we will return our praise.  

The greatest praise we can offer to the Lord is hallelujah praise. And we pray that when we escape the wilderness of this pandemic, we will offer thanksgiving of praise. As Christians, we face temptations just as Jesus did. Jesus experienced the temptation of comfort, the temptation to test God, and the temptation to turn away from God. But He was obedient to death, even death on the Cross. The wilderness is not the place where God desires for us to live, but it is a place where God prepares and nurtures us for living. Let us live well during this time of social isolation and discomfort. We believe that we will not remain in the wilderness of the pandemic forever, but we must travel through it rightly, not looking inwardly at our own needs and desires and forgetting about others, but remembering that we are all in this together. So, let us walk with each other on this spiritual Lenten journey. 

Blessings to you!


July 2021 Appointments Announcement from January Cabinet Meeting (more will be posted each month)

Rappahannock River District

Emily A. Moore -Diamond (FE) was projected to Ebenezer (Stafford) (RR) from Aldersgate Associate (Ax)

George M. Warner Sr. (FE) was projected to Dahlgren (RR) from Essex King and Queen (RR)

"People like me don't have people like this
 in my life"

“People like me don’t have people like this in my life.”

Hearing these words brought tears to my eyes: from a young woman experiencing the love of Christ through a non-judgmental relationship with Open Table volunteers who have committed to accompany her and her family on a year’s journey to make goals and work together to realize these goals. The Open Table model of surrounding and walking with people who don’t have the loving, supportive relationships needed to move forward in life is a very real, hands-on way of being the hands and feet, eyes, ears, and mouth of Jesus. We call them “Friend.”
Each Table is made up of 6-8 volunteers who make a year-long weekly commitment and complete on-line training. 
The first Open Table in the Rappahannock River District began with on-line training of eight volunteers and is now walking with a family. In this season, we are walking on Zoom. There is now another Friend who is seeking a Table. 
The old hymn, “Are Ye Able?” comes to mind. Are you able to sacrifice some time and energy to help change the course of someone’s life? Are you able to make a commitment to be a part of a Table? Are you able to open your heart and enter into a loving and non-judgmental relationship with a Friend?
Open Table webinars are available to learn more about this opportunity to serve Christ by serving others. For more information please send an email to gayleporias@vaumc.org.  
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.

40 Days of Lent: Find your own spiritual path
Please click link below for an article by Joe Iovino of the UMC Communications Office.

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)