January 7, 2021
Welcome to the weekly update of the Rappahannock River District of the UMC 
A Chorus of Praise

Let us begin by saying Happy New Year to you and your respective families.

Last year will go down in history as one of the darkest years in our history. However, instead of focusing our attention on the darkness, we want to refocus on how each of you has been a light in the lives of others. We must join in praise and thanksgiving for God’s mercy in sparing our lives despite the haphazard turn of events last year.

Psalm 8 is a passage that helps us refocus our attention on God’s greatness. The Psalmist begins by praising God and acknowledging God’s greatness and splendor of creation. But the Psalmist also introduces the amazing fact that we, who are such a small part of this universal, have nevertheless been given responsibility for all other created things. Should not this be sufficient for us to marvel at the wisdom and order found within and among created things, such as us? Is our use of the created things respectful of God’s wisdom and order?  

Let us read the Psalm! How does it speak to us? Are we searching for words to praise God? Or are we listening to the praise that rises to God from the goodness of all that God created? In the course of the moment that we are reading this Psalm, in the course of this day, and the course of this New Year, we pray that each of us will offer God not only petitions but also praise because God has brought us a mighty long way. God is capable of taking us through another year, and we are counting on that. However, we must participate in and hold up our share of responsibility as those responsible for all other created things, including ourselves.

Being responsible for ourselves is more than spiritual responsibility; it encompasses and demands moral leadership that must be embodied and employed in our daily lives. The duplicity or the duplicitous proclamation of modesty is often challenged when we pretend to be who we are not. These behaviors lead to a deeper divide when we do not listen to each other. People are watching us, just as the world watched our nation yesterday. As we read this article, please note that since yesterday, we have been traumatized by what we witnessed on national TV because of our history of civil conflict, but the journey must continue in faith. 

We call on everyone to join the Psalmist and let this Psalm be our Chorus of Praise as we lift our voices to God to save the land and grant us peace. Let us contemplate the majesty of God, realizing that it is higher than heaven. Let us realize that God has a strong foundation. When we look up at the skies, at what God’s fingers made—the moon and the stars that God set firmly in place—what are human beings that God thinks about us; what are human beings that God pays attention to us? God has made us only slightly less than divine, crowning us with glory and grandeur. We are allowed to rule over God’s handiwork, putting everything under our feet And that is why the Psalmist says Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name throughout the earth!

We pray that each of us will continue to be a beacon of light in the dark moments of humanity. We want each of you to know how appreciative we are of your tenacity. Continue the good work of faith which begun in Christ Jesus. Better days are ahead, let us not be dismayed. Let each of our lives reflect a Chorus of Praise

Blessings to you!

United Methodist Day at the General Assembly 2021
John Wesley encouraged members of the early Methodist movement to be life-long learners and to do no harm. As United Methodists today, we continue to learn new things and build up our communities, protecting the most vulnerable whenever possible.
This year, United Methodists will learn to expand United Methodist Day so that we are not advocating just one day but learning and working many days to protect the vulnerable of our state and nation. United Methodist Day at the General Assembly will look a little different this year. Some changes are required by the safety protocols employed by the state due to Covid-19. Other changes are so that we can best use and share the resources we have. We want you to have the best experience possible and be best equipped to continue the work throughout the year.
No parking issues, No long walks in the COLD, NO getting up before dawn for a long drive! We are going VIRTUAL (mostly)! 

January 18th, 2021 12:00 PM  through  January 22nd, 2021 5:00 PM

We will begin by sharing various resources including videos, book and movie suggestions, websites, and other resources during early January. We are partnering with the Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy (VICPP) and their “Day for All People 2021 Advocacy Week” for a week of workshops, services opportunities, prayer vigils, and so much more! Join us on Monday morning, Martin Luther King Day, for time with the Virginia United Methodist Conference Bishop Sharma Lewis as the Guest Speaker, and then spend part of the afternoon in service. Tuesday through Thursday will include workshops, meeting with your State Senators and Delegates, and more. Tuesday will feature Governor Northam as the Guest Speaker. Friday, January 22, is United Methodist Day at the General Assembly.  We are planning opportunities for sharing and reflection, an opportunity to take part in a Prayer Vigil (both in person and virtual opportunities), and more. 

Register Now!
To streamline registration and make sure you have access to all the resources and opportunities, please register at: www.virginiainterfaithcenter.org/get-involved/2021dfap/
 Cost: $10 through Dec. 31, 2020
           $5 Student Pricing
           $20 beginning January 1, 2021
Scholarships are available for those who cannot pay.

As the COVID pandemic progressed, the Remington Community Garden (which operates under the direction of the Remington United Methodist Church) recognized that the need for food in our community was great. Remington is largely low- and moderate-income households with little reserve and access to a traditional food bank requires transportation to Warrenton. Located on the grounds of our Community Garden there was a small Little Free Library box. In March we requested permission from the LFL sponsor to convert their box to a Little Free Pantry. Initially, we thought this would be a temporary situation, but very soon realized that the need was great, and the virus was not going away anytime soon. We moved quickly to get permission from the Trustees and Administrative Council to erect a permanent Little Free Pantry next to the LFL. In less than 5 hours, we obtained donations from church & community members paying for 100% of the construction and initial food supply for the pantry.

On April 6th, Pastor Don Williams dedicated the Pantry and we began the process of helping our neighbors supplement their emergency food needs. The Pantry was empty almost every day and we soon worried that we would not be able to keep up with the demand. A donation bin was placed on the church porch and needs were posted on Facebook. Just when we felt we might be overwhelmed; the donation bin would be overflowing with food. With the church no longer being used for worship services, we converted our Narthex to storage for pantry supplies. Church members stepped up to provide volunteers who fill the pantry 7 days a week. In June, the Community Garden began contributing free produce in the Little Free Veggie Wagon. Produce from many of our garden plots was harvested twice a week and offered to the community for free.

As the pandemic has lingered on, donations have sometimes dwindled, but every time we are concerned about not having enough food to fill the needs, our church and our community step up. In August, the local Boy Scout troops held a week-long community food drive, donating over 900 lbs. of food to the Pantry! During this Christmas season, the donation bin is filled to overflowing almost every day. The Pantry has been a tremendous blessing, not only for those who are able to feed their families but to the volunteers and contributors in our community, bringing us all together in a sense of community during these trying times.

If you would like more information on establishing a Little Free Pantry, please feel free to contact me at jpmbw1@gmail.com.

“Take what you need, Give what you can”

Mary Beth Waldeck
In August, the local Boy Scout troops held a week-long community food drive, donating over 900 lbs. of food to the Pantry.
With the church no longer being used for worship services, we converted our Narthex to storage for pantry supplies.
In less than 5 hours, we obtained donations from church & community members paying for 100% of the construction and initial food supply for the pantry.
Sympathy to the Burian Family
From Gene Mims:
Our friend and brother Larry Burian claimed the promise of the Resurrection on December 23, 2020, He will be greatly missed. Larry was very active in the Virginia Conference. He was the editor of the Sunday Advocate. He was extremely active in the United Methodist Men (UMM) having served in a number of positions - one of which was president. Under his leadership, the UMM grew and lives were touched. Larry was the editor of the Virginia UMM Beacon newsletter for a number of years. Larry was also the promoter and driving force behind Wesleyan Building Brothers. In addition to serving the Virginia conference in a number of ways, he served as a delegate to General Conference three times. 
Sympathy to the Cofer Family
Word has been received at the conference office that the Rev. Gilbert F. Cofer passed away on January 4, 2021. Rev. Cofer was a retired pastor on our district.
Retired since 1976, he began his ministerial career in 1946 at Prince George. He went on to serve as the director of the Wesley Foundation in Blacksburg, then Forestville, then as the Director of Adult Work for the Board of Education, as the executive secretary for the Alexandria District Board of Education, and as the Alexandria District Program Coordinator.
Information about funeral services is not known at this time but will be shared as it becomes available. Please keep the Cofer family in your prayers.
It is time to stop the violence of domestic abuse!

The General Commission of United Methodist Men and the YWCA Nashville and Middle Tennessee developed the AMEND Together Program to address this issue. Men come meet and participate in a training event sponsored by the Fredericksburg United Methodist Church and Rappahannock River District UMM that will present the AMEND Together training.

Objectives of this training include:

·      Raise awareness about the prevalence of violence against women
·      Uncover subtle ways our society reinforces sexism and objectification
·      Connect the dots between harmful jokes and violent acts
·      Unpack the difference between healthy and unhealthy masculinity
·      Empower attendees with situational examples and strategies to step up and speak out against negative cultural norms
·      Challenge attendees to help create a community that respects and values women and girls

For more info see: https://youtu.be/KskVFJktm0g

The training will consist of eight Zoom Meetings from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm beginning January 5, 2021.

To register for this important initiative contact Bob Pickett at Email: bob.pickett1@verizon.net or Phone: 540-834-3068. He will provide info for obtaining the participants book and Zoom participation 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)