November 5, 2020
Welcome to the weekly update of the Rappahannock River District of the UMC 
Message from our new Virginia Conference Lay Leader, Martha Stokes

 I intentionally describe myself as a lifelong Virginia Methodist. I was baptized at the font of Fieldale Methodist Church, a small village church on the Danville District, and confirmed as a member of Fieldale United Methodist Church. The denomination changed a little bit during that time. Today, home is the village of Montpelier in Western Hanover County, the country suburbs of the Richmond District. The church is Duncan Memorial UMC in Ashland. And the denomination continues to change. Yet now more than ever, I consider myself United Methodist to the core. 
Since I was a teenager, I have taught Sunday School, sung in the choir, led mission activities, filled the pulpit and served in leadership roles on the local church, district, conference and general church levels. It was in that small church in Fieldale that I was encouraged to use my gifts and graces to explore all the ways that God might be calling me through my relationship with Jesus Christ to be an authentic disciple, a lifelong learner who hopefully influences others to serve and grow in their discipleship. It was also in that small church that I felt a call to ordained ministry. Yet in 1982 when I sat with my pastor to begin exploring that call, I received a response that took me years to process fully: an acknowledgement that he would not support me or any young woman in entering ordained ministry. The years of discernment that followed made me more committed to becoming the best lay person I can be.
At this time in the life of the denomination and especially the Virginia Conference we are called to build trust as we listen to each other’s stories and seek understanding, not to be fearful or anxious of change. We are called to offer a model of servant leadership that will motivate others to positive action – all as we attempt to figure out who we are and how we move forward during this season of liminality. Until we become bold and courageous enough to make our priority the understanding that we “are summoned and sent by Christ to live and work together in mutual interdependence and to be guided by the Spirit into the truth that frees and the love that reconciles,”* we will not plant new churches. We will not grow existing churches. We will not renew individual souls. Until we truly live what we say we believe, we will only continue to show the world a church that is so inwardly focused that we can’t see the needs of our communities. 
The ways we each respond to God's call upon our lives are unique and varied, yet one thing is absolutely clear. We are all - as the “laos,” the whole people of God - called by our baptisms to be ministers. I pray that I will always be open to the call that God places upon my life at each new stage.  
Contact information:
Cell Phone – (804) 366-7162
* Quoted from Part IV: The Ministry of All Christians, Section II, ¶131. The Unity of Ministry in Christ, The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church 2016 (p. 98)

(Mrs. Martha Stokes was elected Virginia Conference Lay Leader during annual conference on Saturday, Oct. 31. Please join the conference office in welcoming Martha to this important position. She may be contacted directly at You may also read the remarks she gave during conference session at
Virtual District Conference
Our virtual District Conference will be Saturday, November 14 at 10:00am. This will be a much shortened version of our normal conference.

Zoom Details (password and meeting code have been sent to churches for them to share).

Reports are now available on the district website for your review.

The information on Nominees for Annual Conference 2021 will be on the website on November 9. Ballots will be available from your pastor after November 14.
Irvington UMC Fall Bazaar open by appointment only following social distancing guidelines. Please contact Audrey Lowery at (804) 438-6122 or
to schedule an appointment. The bazaar will open on November 7 beginning at 10 a.m.
UMFS December offering - new resources now available
United Methodist Family Services (UMFS) is the Virginia Conference designated offering for December. UMFS deeply appreciates the support of local churches in this ministry, helping high-risk children create a brighter future. We have created a variety of digital assets to support the offering this year, and help you share the work of the ministry with your congregation. You can find the following resources at short videos, an electronic bulletin insert, church offering scripts, and images for newsletters, emails, social media, and websites. Please contact Jill Gaynor ( or 804-254-9463) with any questions. Thank you for your support!
Annual Conference 2020 recap now available
The rescheduled Annual Conference session took place Saturday, October 31, 2020. A conference offering was taken and churches may still mail Annual Conference Offerings to the Treasurer’s Office at PO Box 5605, Glen Allen, VA 23058 or make donations online at Visit the conference website to view the write-up of the day's events, a short summary video, pictures, and more. More...
On Sunday evening of Thanksgiving weekend, Afton United Methodist Church will be playing all your favorite hymns and uplifting songs! 

You are cordially invited to join them at the church or streaming on their Facebook Page. Follow the instructions below to send in those requests and make your donation to their relief efforts.

Proceeds will benefit United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). Through UMCOR, United Methodists extend loving care to people within the United States. We have all seen the devastation caused by recent hurricanes and wildfires. For those on the ground, it was life-threatening and life-changing. Please join Afton to help provide ongoing relief for those who are still struggling and suffering.

Olivia Morgenthaler has generously donated her beautiful Tokai baby grand piano to Afton in loving memory of her mother, Mary Priscilla Cockrell (pictured below), who was a long-time member of Afton. She was much-loved, and served faithfully as Afton’s choir director as well as Sunday School Teacher. In order to dedicate the piano and allow Afton members and friends to enjoy the beauty of the music, they are planning a musical evening of requests. Afton’s talented members and special friends have offered to play your favorite hymns and other special songs in honor or memory of a loved one. Some of the pianists offering their talents are: Jan Bean, Alf Braxton, Everett Hanson, Barbara Hays, Judy Jett, and Anne McMahan. The special music will also be available on Afton’s Facebook Page for viewing at any time. 

Please send your name and phone number via text to 804-724-0706 or via email to matthew.ewoldt@yahoo.comYou are kindly asked to submit all requests by November 18th. Someone will contact you to collect details of your request and donation.

So, mark your calendars for Sunday, November 29th, 6:00 PM and join them in person or streaming on Afton’s Facebook Page. What a wonderful, blessed way to glorify God at the end of Thanksgiving weekend! All donations for this worthy cause will be appreciated and will bless those affected by these disasters. Mother Nature’s devastation is always difficult, but especially so during this time of Covid-19. Afton is following all CDC guidelines and requires that all persons entering the sanctuary wear masks and practice social distancing.

Afton UMC is located at 5130 Hacks Neck Road in Ophelia, and invites all to join them at 11:00 AM on Sundays in person or on their Facebook Page.  
Heart Havens has several exciting events coming up soon that we wanted to share.

Holidays at Heart Havens: Heart Havens takes pride in providing a joyful holiday for all our residents. There are people in our homes who would not otherwise receive gifts.

Would you or your church or community group help us by sponsoring Christmas for a Heart Havens home with donations to buy gifts for the residents? Holiday donations allow staff closest to the resident to shop for items they know they will love, giving joy to our residents and staff. You can note "Christmas for Heart Havens" with your donation or contact us to learn more at

Target Circle: We are honored and excited to be a part of the Target Circle program. Now through December 31, 2020, vote for us through the Target Circle program to help determine how Target’s donation will be divided up. You can vote multiple times.

Giving Tuesday: Join us on Tuesday, December 1, 2020, a global day of unity and giving. Our goal for Giving Tuesday is to raise funds for urgent maintenance needs. You will find more details as the event nears on
Disciple II Classes Starting at Fredericksburg UMC on Tuesdays
Sign up by emailing , or visit our site and click on the rotator picture

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 804-514-1830 (David Henley) 
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, please visit the conference website jobs listing here


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)