March 26, 2020
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Welcome to the weekly update of the Rappahannock River District of the UMC 
A letter from Bishop
Sharma D. Lewis

March 26, 2020

 Dear Virginia Conference,
              This worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has forced both secular and faith communities to change the way we go about our work as we focus on the safety and well-being of individuals inside and outside of our communities.
              On March 23, 2020, Governor Northam instituted more changes for the Commonwealth of Virginia which includes the closure of K-12 schools for the rest of the academic year and the closure of “non-essential” businesses as of midnight on March 24, 2020 for 30 days.
In light of these recent developments,
  • In-person worship services are canceled on all United Methodist Church properties for the next 30 days. This includes Holy Week services. We will revisit the possibility of re-opening our churches for in-person worship on or before April 23 when the state ban is scheduled to be lifted. Meetings in the church parking lot, “drive-in” worship services and drive-in communion are not allowed on church property during this period.
  • The Cabinet and I recognize that childcare facilities on United Methodist Church property may want to respond to the current COVID-19 emergency by re-opening on March 30, 2020, or soon after, under the new restrictions introduced by the Commonwealth of Virginia with particular emphasis on serving the children of essential personnel. Full information about these new restrictions can be found in the FAQ document on the conference website. We offer these guidelines for such situations:
  • Encourage children, parents/guardians, and staff to protect their personal health and the health of others by staying home if they are sick and send anyone home who becomes sick;
  • Educate your childcare community and staff of the signs and symptoms of COVID-19. Conduct regular health checks of staff and children to look for symptoms of sickness and fever. Separate symptomatic people until they are picked up from the facility;
  • Classroom childcare settings must limit capacity to 10 individuals per room to include staff. Under the Safe Sanctuary policies of the Virginia Conference of the UMC, the ratio must be an 8:2 ratio (8 children: 2 adults) per classroom;
  • Alter programming to increase distance between children;
  • Have staff and children wash their hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth;
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched;
  • Ensure that students are eating meals in the classroom; and
  • Besides the entities listed for contact, if a child, parent/guardian, or staff member develops COVID-19 symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19, the childcare director must immediately report it to the pastor, the district office, and the Rev. Tom Joyce, Assistant to the Bishop. The Rev. Joyce’s contact information is
  • The Council on Finance and Administration (CFA) recognizes the impact that the pandemic is having on local churches in the Virginia Conference. After meeting over the last week, CFA is responding by prioritizing the apportionments for 2020 in an effort to relieve the impact our local churches are experiencing. By prioritizing apportionments, this will allow churches to pay the critical and essential amounts to support the Virginia Conference clergy and connection. CFA has divided apportionments into “Priority 1”, making up 72.77% of the total apportionment with the remainder categorized as “Priority 2.” Local churches will be asked to first pay into Priority 1, and they will be considered having paid 100% of the 2020 apportionment if the Priority 1 amount is paid in full. CFA is encouraging churches to pay into Priority 2 as their financial situation allows. The overall Conference Apportionments for 2020 has not changed, just strategically prioritized. More details will be shared by the conference Treasurer’s Office on the conference website by Friday, March 27.
  • Churches must abide by the mantra “10 people or less and 6 feet distancing” whether officiating a funeral or wedding, conducting a meeting or overseeing a food pantry.
  • Visit the CDC website for facility cleaning tips if there has been suspected/confirmed COVID-19 cases.
I highly encourage you to view our COVID-19 FAQ sheet on the  conference website  where all of this new information has been updated. Please use this document to stay aware of current directives from the conference and how best to safely carry out the ministry of your local church.
I also ask that we continue to be flexible as a conference as the COVID-19 situation remains fluid and our guidance and directives may change.
I thank you for all of the work that has been happening around the Commonwealth. Together, we will get through this crisis. 
Please continue to join me in  daily prayer  at 12 noon to eradicate this disease. The prayer is on our Virginia Conference website. 
Peace and Blessings, 
Bishop Sharma D. Lewis
Click here  for a pdf copy of this letter
Click here  for Essential Personnel Childcare Services (pdf)

Coronavirus Resources
For updates from the Virginia Conference, visit

·           The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is updating information daily at  
·           CDC information for community facilities:
·           National Institutes of Health:
·           “Guidance for Congregations: In Response to severe infectious disease outbreak” – Resource prepared and shared with permission by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A)
Please note that the District Office is closed at this time. We are working from our homes. To reach Lynn call 804.304.8566. To reach DS Ledlum-Bates, please call 804.724.0202 or through our email addresses:

DS Ledlum-Bates-

Anxious For Nothing Online Bible Study

Feeling anxious at a time like this is understandable. But there are answers that will help us cope. We are offering an online class based on Paul's letter to the Philippians to help. 
Join Bishop Lewis for a Daily Prayer Time
Join Bishop Lewis at noon each day in prayer
The Apostle Paul writes in Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (NIV) Prayer is essential to sustain our faith and Jesus Christ modeled a life of prayer.... I am very blessed to lead an annual conference that believes in the power of the petitioned prayer!

Please join me at 12 noon every day and pray this  PRAYER . Let us invoke the power of the Great Physician to do a mighty work in eradicating this disease all over the world.
District Youth Retreat Cancelled
Hello Soldiers,

In Hebrews 11 verse 1, Paul reminds us, "Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see." Chapter 11 continues by reminding us that by faith, Noah built the ark. By faith, Abraham left everything he knew to travel to the land of his inheritance. By faith, Moses "persevered because he saw him who is invisible." In this time I feel that we are called to faith. Faith that God will take care of us. Faith that he will lead us. Faith that his will be done.

As we step forward in faith, trusting in our Lord, we must take proper precautions at all times to protect our youth, leaders and all God's children. Amid the current health and safety recommendations regarding COVID-19, the Rappahannock River Youth Retreat scheduled for April 24th-26th has been indefinitely postponed. Due to the complexity and constant evolution of the situation I am unable to provide any details on a possible reschedule at this time. 

If your church has already registered the district will be sending you a refund check for the cost of the registration. In the case of a reschedule we will be recollecting funds during the new registration period.

In addition the Youth Council meeting scheduled for April 19th has been canceled. It will not be rescheduled.

I ask all of you to be in prayer as we continue forward. I ask the Holy Spirit to guide us all as we continue to discern the will of God. I believe that God has a plan. Paul tells us in Ephesians 3:20-21, "[He] who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen." I implore us to have the faith we are called to, and the joy that the Lord has a plan far greater than we can ever imagine.

Starting Sunday March 22nd, I will be posting various types of devotions to the RRD Youth Facebook page for anyone that wishes to view them. It may be a devotion, a video, or other ways for us to worship our Lord as a community. We are all in this together!

If there are any updates as we continue I will be diligent in my efforts to provide that information with you all. My phone and email are always open to you all. I truly can't wait to see you all again. I pray for good health and fortune upon us all!

"Praise be to God, who has not rejected my prayer or withheld his love from me!"  
Psalm 66:20

--TJ Oliver
Rappahannock River Youth 
Food Pantry Collecting Food

Fredericksburg UMC is distributing food to Fredericksburg and surrounding areas on Monday through Friday from 1 pm to 3 pm. If any of the church food pantries are closed and wish to donate food to us that would be appreciated as the local food bank is running low. We don’t want people to be at risk out shopping but only if you have anything in stock that isn’t being used. If you have food to share, please contact Pam Childs:
Drivers Needed to deliver Food
Hi all,
I want to share this need with you. Bonnie Ulrich, Social Worker at Spotswood Elementary School is in need of volunteers to pick up food at the school and deliver to families who don't have transportation to the school. The distributions are Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9am-11am. The volunteers would pick up at the school and do a porch drop at the home.  
There are many families with no transportation.  Rene Daniels with the school system is coordinating larger efforts - her email is
Blessings to you,

Gayle Porias
Mount Horeb UMC
Loans Available
Recognizing that both their individual members and member churches are undergoing significant financial strain during this unprecedented response to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, The United Methodist Credit Union (TUMCU), has created a program of immediate financial relief available to its members.
For individuals, TUMCU is providing quick turnaround emergency loans (up to $5,000), with extremely low rates and deferred payments. Secondly, they are also offering all members the ability to skip a payment on any existing personal loan, auto loan, or credit card (also at a greatly reduced rate). Third, they are offering all members free financial counseling, bill management, and budgeting services through their partnership with GreenPath Financial Wellness.
Lastly, churches can also apply for these expedited emergency loans at reduced rates. Many churches are seeing reduced collections as they’ve needed to cancel services or provide church services online. This new emergency loan offering is designed to cut through the red tape normally associated with churches borrowing money, and can mean that critical funds reach churches in a few days instead of a few weeks.
Details on all these new services can be found at the organization’s website: .
For further information or questions, please contact:
Jim Eads
Chief Executive Officer
The United Methodist Credit Union is a full service, faith-based financial institution serving United Methodist churches and individuals in Virginia, North Carolina, West Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia (churches and organizations only).  
Date Change for District Conference
Please note that we will need to change the date of the District Conference (which was November 14). A conflict has come up on that date that cannot be changed. We will send the new date out as soon as we know it.
Rappahannock River District Scholarship 2020
Higher Education has always been a hallmark of the United Methodist Church. The value of resources for continued learning and higher education is fundamental to United Methodism. 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.

Scholarships will be awarded to applicants who meet the program criteria as funding allows. Persons eligible to apply are those who are attending or who plan to attend a college or trade school, persons who are members of a United Methodist Church on the Rappahannock River District, and persons who are enrolled in a program that presents a degree or certification.

Please click buttons below for a complete list of guidelines and requirements and the application form.

Application deadline is 4:00pm on April 15, 2020. If you have any questions, please call 804.448.8326 or email .

Lay Servant Training Offered May 1 - 2, 2020
Lay Servant Training can help anyone who is interested in learning more in their pursuit of being a better leader and servant for Christ’s church. These classes can be used as tools in discerning God’s call for your personal walk and ministry. 

Classes will include:
  • Basic
  • Leading Public Prayer
  • Lay Servants as Christian Transformational Leaders

Registration Deadline April 17
Warsaw UMC is located at 287 Main Street, Warsaw.

Have you ever wondered how Annual Conference seems to flow so smoothly? Practice, Practice, Practice!

This year, we need your help!

Please come to Wright's Chapel UMC on Tuesday, June 9th, from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm for a Mock Annual Conference to help prepare for the real thing and prepare our Conference Parliamentarians.

Your presence will be a great help. This is open to anyone from our churches - you don't have to be going to Annual Conference.

As thanks for your participation each Church represented will receive a free recording of our "Programs to Disciple Making" Webinar on flash drive. 

Mark your calendars now to attend!

Emmanuel UMC

Searching for a pianist for their 9:30 am service. The pianist would play hymns and lead the choir anthem. 

There is no choir practice during the week. 
All those who are interested in may contact us via  and 804-462-7376 (Geri Vick, Worship committee chair) 
Kilmarnock UMC

Seeking an Organist/Choir Director, to share their faith through music to the glory of
God. We are looking for a musician with organ and piano skills who also has
experience conducting a 15-20 person adult choir. We have two traditional
worship services on Sunday morning and Choir Practice on Wednesday
evenings. This person would be responsible for planning and selecting choir
music. If interested please send your resume to or
call 804-435-1797.
Liberty UMC

Seeking a Pianist/keyboardist (Organ too if possible) to play at Sunday morning church service. Part time position for small vibrant church. Opportunity for growth in the position.
To find out more details, please call 540-439-0267 or message us through our facebook page: Liberty UMC-Bealeton
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Ebenezer UMC, Stafford, VA, is seeking a part-time Assistant Property Manager to assist the Property Manager in maintaining the church building and grounds to provide a clean, safe, and welcoming environment that supports Ebenezer’s strategic vision. The selected individual will complete routine tasks on Sunday morning prior to worship, such as Café set up and breakdown, sidewalks and parking lot clear of debris, vacuuming, windows, trash removal, bathrooms, etc. as needed; ensure facilities are in good working order for worship services; perform basic repairs and maintenance to the various areas of the church building to include, but not limited to, plumbing, carpentry, painting, and lighting. For details, visit the Virginia Conference website at

Director of Music Ministries (DOMM)
Hillcrest United Methodist Church located in Fredericksburg, VA, is searching for an enthusiastic individual with a Christian background to fill the position of our retiring Director of 28 years. The candidate should have excellent organ and piano skills and experience in leading a choir. This is a part time position; the expected commitment is up to 12 hours per week (1.5 hours of weekly rehearsal with choir, 2 hours weekly Sunday service, and additional time for planning, communications, and worship preparations). The Director should be able to work closely with the Pastor to coordinate music for a smooth, orderly, and meaningful worship service. Competitive salary. Send Cover letter, Resume, and references to Hillcrest UMC – Attn. Kevin Northridge, S/PPR Committee, 2208 Lafayette Blvd., Fredericksburg, VA 22401 or email: .  

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

2020 District Co-Lay Lay Leader:

2020 District Co-Lay Leader:

Lay Servant Director: Rev. Kevin Elmore
Heartwood Director: Rev. Gayle Porias
Crossroads Minister: Rev. Mark Roscoe
Youth Coordinator: TJ Oliver,
Office Manager: Lynn Manley
Administrative Assistant Connie Devenport

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)