February 6, 2020
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Welcome to the weekly update of the Rappahannock River District of the UMC 
A word from our DS....

Frame of Reference (Part Two)

Last week we talked about several controversial issues in the church. In today’s edition, we will discuss the first controversial issue in the church that we identified, gay marriage .

The topic of gay marriage comes about at a time when our beloved United Methodist Church is in the midst of human sexuality controversy. Our denomination is the only mainstream denomination in the United States that has maintained the traditional definition of marriage between man and woman. At the special General Conference last year in Missouri, advocates from all sides quoted scriptures to support their opposing views. I sat in the bleachers as an observer, watched from a distance, and heard passionate speeches for and against gay marriage. Perhaps they were speaking from their frame of reference .

Each person has a frame of reference that describes what they see from their observational experience and what they embody from their lived experience. However, the observer’s experience is subjective; she or he has no unique perspective of the observed. Unless it is scientifically proven, the observer can only speculate or make assumptions. In short, it is the individual who assigns meaning to the validity of their frame of reference, and not the observer. Using the above explanation, how can we intelligently contextualize the issue of gay marriage without demonizing each other?  

I am a male, but if I self-identify as a heterosexual male, I am speaking from my frame of reference . The same would be true if I self-identify as a homosexual male. The experience is a frame of reference that is unique only to me. As individuals convey or disclose the meaning of who they are, who are we to condemn their uniqueness? One reason why we do that is that humanity ascribes to conventional societal norms. Anything that we do outside of the usual societal norms is scrutinized and subjected to condemnation. I believe this is what is happening in our beloved United Methodist Church that has caused division and alienation. 

One only needs to look at the hurt and pain, and ultimate division within other mainstream denominations in the United States when they dealt with gay marriage . These denominations have lived the experience of separation. For example, the Presbyterian Church (USA) supports gay marriage, but the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) does not support gay marriage. Another example is the Anglican Church. There have been discussions about modernist universality and the threat to the viability of United Methodism. We have heard conversations about non-Western ways of thinking, the need for Western enlightenment, and a need for United Methodists outside of the United States to grow up. Not only are these comments demeaning and divisive, but they also have no place within the church, nor do they have a place in our civil discourse. One reason why we have ascribed to this way of thinking is that we have lost our way of being the church. The church gave voice to people who were marginalized because society did not recognize them nor did society allow them to have a voice. Ironically today, the tide has turned. Where is our frame of reference ?

Johnson (2007) cites one official at the International Gay and Lesbian Rights Organization as saying: "There is a growth in identity-based movements." The author continued: "There is an impact of the global gay identity where people throughout the world see themselves as part of a more significant global action." Is this an accurate statement? Is it an assumption, or is it an imposition of the modernist idea of global identities ? What if we sought to differentiate between the two concepts, thus forming a frame of reference ? But a counter-argument can and should be made. We may not like each other’s behaviors, but if we do not come together and lovingly talk about our differences, we risk losing respect for each other. I do believe, however, that in spite of this controversial issue of gay marriage , our core values and doctrines are shared; our missional objective remains a uniting force now than ever before. These are the things we can celebrate together. Can we agree on them? I hope so. Stay tuned for part three of the frame of reference


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February is here and that means that means so is Heart Havens month! 

In the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church, February is Heart Havens Month! Heart Havens empowers adults with a developmental disability to live and thrive in their community. We depend on the support of our church friends during February to sustain our mission as we do not receive any funding from Conference apportionments. 

In 2020, our theme is "Better Together." Heart Havens month resources are also available for download  here . This includes worship resources, bulletin inserts, mission ideas, supplies drive wishlists, communication resources, a video, and graphics. If you'd like to schedule a Heart Havens speaker to come to your church, please contact Jennifer Boyden at 804-237-6097 or  Jennifer.boyden@hearthavens.org  to learn more. Thank you for your continued support of Heart Havens!
Conference Board of Communications Survey Findings
Last summer 2,147 people from across the conference took the Board of Communications survey and shared their feedback on a variety of conference communications topics. The findings have been very useful in helping the board and the conference communications team prioritize our efforts to continue to improve conference communications. Some of the findings could also be helpful for communications programs in district offices, local churches, and related organizations. We invite you to join us for a February 19 Zoom video call to learn more.
  • Topic: Conference Board of Communications Survey Findings
  • Presenters: Jill Gaynor (Board of Communications President) and Madeline White (Conference Director of Communications).
  • Time: Wednesday February 19, 2:00 - 3:00 p.m.
  • Link to join the Zoom video meeting: https://zoom.us/j/954149868
  • Meeting ID code: 954 149 868
  • Dial-in phone number: (646) 876-9923 or (877) 369-0926
Please let me know if you have any questions.


Jill Gaynor
Each year the Virginia Annual Conference has vacancies for both Lay and Clergy that become available for specific positions serving on our various conference boards and committees.

 This year, the following positions are open: 

Common Table: 1 clergy
Church and Society: 3 clergy
Church Development Team: 2 persons, lay or clergy

Board of Discipleship: 
Older Adult Council - 1 person, lay or clergy
Young Adult Council- 1 person, lay or clergy
Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministries- 1 campus minister- 1 young adult
Missional Ministries Board - 2 clergy, 2 lay
Board of Communications - 1 clergy, 2 lay
Commission on Disabilities - 1 clergy, 2 lay
Equitable Compensation Commission - 1 clergy from small membership church (<200)
Commission on Ethnic Minority Concerns and Advocacy - 1 lay
Council on Finance and Administration - 1 clergy
Virginia United Methodist Pensions, Inc. - 2 clergy, 5 lay men, 5 lay women (8yr term)
Committee on Rules- 3 lay, 2 clergy (8yr term)
Commission on the Status and Role of Women - 1 clergy
Trustees- 2 lay men, 1 lay woman
Site Selection- 1 clergy, 2 lay (8yr term)

Please prayerfully consider this list. Would serving with one of these groups be part of your call and skill set? Do you know someone who you can see doing a good job serving with a particular board or committee? 

Please act on this soon.  

Nominations will be considered  February 20th  and must be approved by the District Superintendent before that date. If you are interested in nominating yourself or someone else, please complete the nomination form found here  Conference Nomination Form and submit it  immediately to the District Office at  rappahannockriverdistrict@vaumc.org

If you have questions about the process or the work of particular boards and agencies, please contact the district nominations coordinator, Rev. Bert Cloud, at 757-775-9532 or  bertcloud@vaumc.org for more information. 

Visit  https://www.vaumc.org/Nominations for nomination forms as PDF or MSword formats, availability information and information about boards and committees.  
Church Finance - Answering Your Questions
David Dommisse and Carol Draper from the Conference Treasurer's Office will offer a free training opportunity to our churches!
This is ideal for Church Treasurers, Finance and Stewardship Members, Church Secretaries, etc. 

Topics will include:

Local church accounting practices
Proper Internal Controls
What does a Church Audit Mean?
Financial Reporting & Transparency
Unrestricted, Board Designated & Donor Restricted Gifts
Stewardship Ideas
Record Keeping
Question & Answer Session

7:00pm - 9:00pm

February 6 at Saint Matthias UMC, 426 Deacon Road, Fredericksburg
February 20 at Tappahannock Memorial UMC, 345 Earl Street, Tappahannock

Please RSVP to Lynn Manley at rappahannockriverdistrict@vaumc.org .

Youth Retreat 2020
Fellow soldiers! 

The Rappahannock River Youth Council wishes to invite you to the annual District Youth Retreat at Camp Piankatank on April 24th-26th!

Our theme, "Battle Ready", aims to train the youth about the Armor of God so that they can take their "stand against the devil's schemes." Through activities, worship, and fellowship with one another, the youth will experience God in a way that empowers them to go into the world. 

The retreat is a blast! Every year we gain new friends, we explore exciting opportunities, and we grow closer to God. A place free from the strains of society, the retreat allows us to be ourselves and to learn in our own way. Some may find their new best friend. Others may find the answer to a question burning in their heart. And still others will find the love and support they need to make it through everything the world is throwing at them. The possibilities are endless and God never ceases to provide and amaze.

Click below for the information sheet on the retreat. For the parental consent form, t-shirt order form, code of conduct form and Lip-Sync battle registration and rules or any questions, please contact TJ Oliver at  rrdyouth@vaumc.org .

We hope that all of you can make this wonderful event! We are excited and cannot wait to share this experience with you!

Over and out, 


TJ Oliver
Rappahannock River Youth Director

Participate in Scout Sunday
One hundred years ago the predecessors of the United Methodist Men entered into a partnership with the ten year old Scouting program. This partnership has grown as both the UMM and Scouting have grown and has resulted in many outstanding leaders for our church, our communities, and our nation.  The UMC is now the number one faith sponsor of Scouting and has a training program and the Philmont Training Center. As part of both organizations, I look forward to many more years of partnership in helping our youth make the challenging journey from childhood to adulthood. As I researched to write this article about how and why Scouting is a great program, I came upon the following website that explains everything so well that instead of summarizing it, I will simply recommend that you go to the website and read it for yourself:  http://www.gcumm.org/scouting/

Yours in Scouting, 
Tom Swingle
District Scouting Coordinator
Scout Leaders:

Scholarships are now available for the United Methodist Scouters Conference at Philmont Training Center, June 28 - July 4, 2020. Please see attached flyer for more information or call District Scouting Director Tom Swingle at 703.232.2470 .
Laity Re-Connect Event

Saturday, February 8, 2020 10:00 AM - 1:30 PM
Bishop Sharma D. Lewis is inviting laity from around the conference for a time of connection following her return from medical leave on February 8, 2020, from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Woodlake UMC in Chesterfield and five satellite locations. 

"It is my deep desire to reconnect with you in a personal and special way having been away from you for six months on medical leave,” Lewis said. “Let us come together both in person and through satellite locations to have a time of worship, fellowship, anointing, sharing our hearts, and reconnecting. I want to hear from you and I want to share my journey with you." 

Location for the event will be at Woodlake UMC (15640 Hampton Park Dr, Chesterfield, VA 23832). There will be five satellite locations for the event as well: Pender UMC, Arlington District; Bridgewater UMC, Harrisonburg District; New Creation UMC, Elizabeth River District; Thrasher Memorial UMC, Roanoke District; and Adams-Bloxom Mission Cooperative Parish, Eastern Shore District.

Click here to register Deadline to register is Sunday, Feb. 2.

2020 Mission Trip Announced
2020 Mission Trip
El Salvador (UMVIM) Mission Trip
 June 21-27, 2020

We are excited to reconnect with our International Methodist Mission Partner—The Evangelical Methodist Church in El Salvador. In 2020, we’ll send a District team to continue our relationship-building, food distribution and VBS.

Applications are available from the District Office, the District website, or by contacting Rev. Robin BeMiller (robinbemiller@vaumc.org), Team Leader.

Trip Cost: Expected to be in the $850-$950 range, including airfare. A limited number of $300 scholarships are available to persons under 30 years of age.

Application and Deposit Deadline: February 29 th, 2020 - $250 deposit is due with your application. Make checks payable to “Rappahannock River District UMC”, memo: El Salvador Trip and mail to:
Rappahannock River District Office
PO Box 100
Ladysmith, VA 22501

Final payment will be due at the second team meeting – April 18 th. The application fee is non-refundable after airline tickets are bought.

March 21 st , April 18th, May 16 th , & June 6 th , 2020 from 9:30-11:30 am
Location TBD. 

Team Meetings – are mandatory (or must be made up) – March 21 st, April 18 th, May 16 th and June 6 th at a location to be determined, 9:30 am – 11:30 am
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  beumcva@gmail.com 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 kumc_office@verizon.net 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
Secretary Needed
Tabernacle UMC, Fredericksburg, is seeking a part-time church secretary who serves as the assistant to the Pastor in all areas of ministry, acting as the voice and face of the church in all of its public encounters. This part-time position serves to manage all activities of the church office and to perform administrative duties related to the church’s mission and ministry. For details, visit the Virginia Conference website at  www.vaumc.org/jobs
Youth Council Meetings
The Youth meetings occur on the second Sunday of every month. We usually meet at Hillcrest UMC starting at 2 pm unless otherwise indicated below. We have Melrose as a satellite site. If someone is seeking to join Melrose site, please contact me.

Next Meetings:
 All Meetings are at Hillcrest at 2pm
Feb. 9th
Mar. 8th
Mar. 22nd
Apr. 19th

Follow us on Facebook for up to the minute news and announcements: Rappahannock River District Youth

T.J. Oliver, District Youth Coordinator    
Missionary Speaking on our District - all are invited
Please come and hear missionary Eric Soard speak Wednesday, Feb. 19, at Trinity UMC at 7 p.m. in King George. Eric and his wife, Liz, are United Methodist Church missionaries in Tanzania. Eric will make a multi-media presentation of his and Liz’s ministries to the children, women, and men of Tanzania. Two of their ministries, Emmanuel Center and Our Father’s House, are supported by Trinity's Mission of the Month. The church is located at 9425 Kings Highway, and the phone number of 540-775-4501.  
Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser
Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser at Afton UMC February 15 th   Benefit for Betty Smith Gaskins Scholarship Fund
All are invited to Afton UMC on Saturday, February 15th for an Early Valentine’s Day Spaghetti Dinner from 5:00 to 7:00 PM. The church is located at 5130 Hacks Neck Road, Ophelia, VA.
Celebrate Valentine’s Day early with delicious homemade spaghetti and meatballs, served up with fresh salad, Italian garlic bread, and beverages. Top off your meal with Afton’s tempting homemade desserts. Bring the whole family and your sweetheart. 
The fundraiser will support the Betty Smith Gaskins Memorial Scholarship Fund. The Fund awards a scholarship annually to a deserving second-year student, attending Rappahannock Community College. 
Please come out to enjoy wonderful food and fellowship; all while supporting this worthwhile cause. Eat all you care to eat and give all you care to give. Your support and all donations will be greatly appreciated.   
White Stone United Methodist Church will host an auction to raise money for church upkeep and repairs on May 9th, 2020. More Details Soon!

Upcoming Meetings this month

February 6 Finance Training 7 pm (St. Matthias
February 8 Bishop Reconnect Event (See above)
February 9 District Youth Council 2 pm (Hillcrest)
February 11 Ordained Ministry (District Office)
February 20 Finance Training 7 pm (Tappahannock Memorial UMC)


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

2019 District Co-Lay Lay Leader:

2019 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
Administrative Assistant Connie Devenport rappahannockriverdistrict@vaumc.org

Mailing Address: PO BOX 100, Ladysmith, VA 22501 Phone   804.448.8326     FAX        804.448.8328 
Office Location: Inside Wright’s Chapel UMC at 8063 Ladysmith Road, Ruther Glen, VA (do not use for mail)