May 6, 2020
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Welcome to the weekly update of the Rappahannock River District of the UMC 
Invitation to conference-wide day of prayer, May 7
A prayer group at Trinity UMC in Richmond has been gathering to meditate on Scripture and pray for the life of the world in the early mornings. During the coronavirus pandemic, this group extends an invitation to all to participate in the conference-wide day of prayer, Thursday, May 7. According to Hilary Coakley, a member of the prayer group, “We believe that when we pray and cry out, God will listen to our prayers and deliver us from all our troubles.”

A sign-up has been created to enter participation at
1) click the time slot; (2) scroll down to the block which says "Submit and Sign-Up" and (3) complete the sign-up process and click submit.

The Bible also teaches about the spiritual practices of praying together:
“Then Daniel went to his home and informed his companions, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, and told them to seek mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery” (Daniel 2:17-18).
“Go, gather all the Jews to be found in Susa, and hold a fast on my behalf, and neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day” (Esther 4:16).
“All these were constantly devoting themselves to prayer” (Acts 1:14).
“Then after fasting and praying, they laid their hands on them and sent them off” (Acts 13:2-3).
Coakley said, “We need to pray as the whole church because prayer will bring us as the one body in Christ, help us know that our help is from God, and be an expression of love and compassion for the communities and the world.”

The following is a suggested guideline for the Day of Prayer.

1.       Set aside a time of prayer individually or communally and  sign up

2.       Begin with the prayer provided by Bishop Sharma Lewis:

“Almighty God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, we thank you for your blessings, past, present, and future. You are our rock and the source of our hope in all things and at all times. As Jehovah Jireh, our provider God, we ask you this day to stretch out your mighty hand and eradicate from the face of the earth forever; this virus called COVID-19 that is spreading rapidly from continent to continent.
We also pray that you, Jehovah Rapha, our healing God, would place your hand upon all of those who have been stricken by this virus and restore them to full health. Be with those who have lost loved ones and are grieving. Protect all who are caring for those with this virus and keep them from contracting it themselves. Calm our fears and provide us with your peace that surpasses all understanding. Strengthen us with the joy of the Lord and help us to hold firmly to the hope that only you can provide.
Unify us that we, the Virginia Annual Conference, may be able to experience anew the promise of your presence in and through the unity of our faith, hope, and trust in you in the days ahead and forever. We offer this prayer in the mighty name of our Lord, Jesus Christ. AMEN.

3.       Lift each prayer

Prayer for all caregivers, nurses, physicians, first responders, health care workers
Prayer for persons suffering from the coronavirus
Prayer for those who grieve the loss of their loved ones
Prayer for hope and peace in anxiety during the pandemic
Prayer for leaders, governments, nations
Prayer for an end to the pandemic
Prayer for churches, communities, and the world
Prayer for healing

4.       Close with the Lord’s prayer
DS to Preach May 17
Bishop Sharma Lewis and her Cabinet express deep appreciation for the clergy and lay leaders in the Virginia Conference who have worked so tirelessly to provide meaningful worship opportunities during this season when in-person worship has been prohibited. In gratitude for their ministry and the desire to provide a time of Sabbath rest, each district superintendent will offer a sermon on Sunday, May 17 . More Information on this will be sent as soon as it is available.
Back to In-Person Worship Workgroup Report
Dear Virginia Conference,
Grace and peace to you in the strong name of our Lord Jesus Christ. In light of Governor Northam’s announcement on May 4, 2020 that Virginia may be moving to Phase 1 of reopening as early as May 15, 2020, I want to let you know about the Back to In-Person Worship Workgroup. No date has been set for the return to in-person worship in the Virginia Conference, but on April 28, 2020, I convened this workgroup to provide advice to me, the District Superintendents, Clergy, and Laity about the best way to have our churches return to in-person worship and ministry safely.
The Workgroup consists of District Superintendents, local church pastors, a Deacon working with vulnerable populations, and legal and medical experts from around the Virginia Conference. They have consulted resources from church, governmental, and scientific communities, including materials from a variety of Conferences and denominations to glean best practices for returning to in-person worship in ways that are intentional and well-considered.
This process presents many questions and many of the 1,110+ congregations in our Conference have already begun thinking through the issues involved in re-opening. We will have a gradual reopening of in-person worship with very clear protocols implemented to help ensure the safety of the community—both the gathered community as well as the community beyond our walls. 
We are seeking congregations from around the Conference who are willing and able to be pioneer churches in the first phases of bringing back in-person worship. There will be detailed guidelines developed by the workgroup for review by the Cabinet and approved by me. We will start slowly with these pioneer churches as they introduce in-person worship in a safe manner. The experience of these pioneer churches will help all of our churches as we learn together what this new season in the life of the church will require. If you believe this is something your church and leadership are able to do, we ask that you contact your District Superintendent by May 11, 2020 to join the pool from which those pioneer churches will be selected.
Although there are not exact dates for all of the churches to resume in-person worship ,   every church must begin preparing by reviewing the guidelines that will be provided soon. 
We are not sure that in-person worship will ever be “like it used to be” because we are truly in uncharted waters with this pandemic. We also will not be able guarantee complete safety from COVID-19 or any other virus. We can take the proper precautions to make in-person worship as safe as possible and we will need our members and guests to help us adhere to our guidance and protocols. Working together, with some time and a lot of patience, we can resume the worship we long for in some fresh ways as we gather in God’s presence in person again.
              We are praying with you as we look forward to the next stage of our ministry together and we are grateful for the tremendous patience, compassion, and creativity that Virginia United Methodists are showing during this crisis.
Peace and Blessings,
Bishop Sharma D. Lewis
The members of the Back to In-Person Workgroup are:
The Rev. Alex Joyner, Eastern Shore DS, chair
Mr. Steve Brown, Conference Chancellor
The Rev. Jay Carey, pastor, Bethia UMC, Chesterfield, DS Designate
The Rev. Douglas Forrester, pastor, Reveille UMC, Richmond, DS Designate
The Rev. Seonyoung Kim, York River DS
The Rev. Brenda Laws, deacon, Eastern Shore District
The Rev. Dr. Hyo Lee, pastor, Sudley UMC, Manassas, DS Designate
Dr. Karen McElfish, Arlington District Lay Leader, pediatrician
Dr. George Moxley, immunologist, VCU
The Rev. Wayne Snead, Elizabeth River DS
Mr. Neal Wise, Annual Conference Event Coordinator
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-

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: .  

Director of Music Ministry
Regester Chapel UMC is seeking applications for its Director of Music Ministry. The purpose of the Director of Music Ministry is to help musicians and our congregation grow as disciples of Jesus Christ through our worship and music. A Bachelor’s Degree in Music is preferred with previous experience and leadership in Music performance and direction. The candidate must have knowledge of and experience with traditional music and possess the leadership qualities to inspire and lead a Chancel Choir, musicians and the congregation. This is a part-time position. To apply, send a letter of interest and a copy of your current resume to For more information, contact Barry Dillon, SPRC, Regester Chapel UMC, 85 Bells Hill Rd., Stafford, Virginia, 22554.


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
Heartwood Director: Rev. Gayle Porias
Crossroads Minister: Rev. Mark Roscoe
Youth Coordinator: TJ Oliver,
Office Manager: Lynn Manley
Cell 804.304.8566
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)