January 23, 2020
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Welcome to the weekly update of the Rappahannock River District of the UMC 
A word from our DS....
Reasons to Equip and
Empower the Laity

Recently I read a book entitled The Ephesians 4 Church : A Framework to Equip and Empower People (Caton, 2015). Many of you have heard me talk about the grace and joy of empowering the laity. Reading this book further affirms and solidifies my belief that the most successful tenure of a pastor is when she or he prepares the congregation to lead.

In the context of a pastor, leadership is both a discipline and a virtue. First, leadership is a discipline because pastors who employ this element of governance are capable of teaching and are willing to be taught. These pastors find this discipline to be a humbling obligation, and they are capable of exercising this form of leadership without restraints. These pastors do not micromanage the laity, nor are they intimidated by the laity’s gifts. Second, leadership is a virtue because this kind of guidance demonstrates the quality, value, and worth the pastor places on the leadership development of the laity. Importantly, the pastor assures the sustainable future of the church with or without her or him.  

Sustainability is something that the universal church has continue to struggle with over the years. My conversation with our church leadership revealed that they continue to lament over what the church used to be; they continue to relive their past. They have not been able to sustain past successes, which may not necessarily be their fault. They must realize, however, that such was the time, and now is the condition. To move beyond thinking about their past glory, the pastors must help lead the laity in such a way that readies them for the present situation. A shared pastoral and laity led congregation could assist many of our churches in spending less time on their past and embrace the gifts they have, cultivate and nurture those gifts, and formulate new plans for the future. The above is what the Ephesians 4 church adopted.

The Ephesians 4 church was cognizant of their limitations, but they were also mindful of their strength and resilience. The leadership of the Ephesians 4 church realized that they were responsible for and called to equip the laity. Equipping the laity means that we should invest in them and empower them to lead. When we invest in our laity, we will eventually change the culture and improve the spirituality of the church, and ultimately, improve their mentality and lives.

The process of equipping the laity is systematic and methodical; it is a process and not a program . The process eventually leads to spiritual maturity, which addresses most of our problems. When we are spiritually mature, our thinking changes, and we begin to think spiritually and differently about our realities.

If we intend to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, draw seekers, and breed leaders in our churches, we must begin a pragmatic approach to our shared ministry and meet the laity where they are in their spiritual development. Let us allow for personalized and individualized spiritual growth and development for our laity. Let us embrace an apprenticeship mentality where the mentorship of our laity will lead them into a dynamic relationship with God. This relationship, I hope, will be lasting. Accomplishing the above goal requires two things. First, we must be willing to invest in our laity for the long term. Second, our laity must allow the pastors   to pastor them and help them to be the best pastors they can be. Remember, all of the above can only happen when we embrace the idea of a shared ministry between clergy and laity.   

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

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. The event will be held February 8, 2020, from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Woodlake UMC in Chesterfield. 

"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;
Adams-Bloxom Mission Cooperative Parish, Eastern Shore District.
The event is free and open to all laity. Lunch will be served.

Questions may be directed to the Rev. Dr. Ted Smith, Director of Connectional Ministries, (804) 521-1133.  TedSmith@vaumc.org
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
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, Fredericksburg
February 20 at Tappahannock Memorial UMC

Please RSVP to Lynn Manley at rappahannockriverdistrict@vaumc.org . We need to have 15 people to hold the classes.

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
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    
White Stone United Methodist Church will host an auction to raise money for church upkeep and repairs on May 9th, 2020. More Details Soon!

Thank you from Irvington UMC
Irvington UMC had a very successful meatloaf dinner on January 17. As a church we selected the LINK in Lancaster VA as our Intentional Ministry Outreach for 2020. We tithed 20% on the proceeds from the dinner and sent a check to Tom Coye for the LINK to use. Our next dinner will be the baked spaghetti dinner on April 17 and once again we will tithe and support the LINK. Please make plans to join us!

Upcoming Meetings this month

January 28 Connectional Ministries, 7 pm (Wright's Ch)
January 30 UM Day at General Assembly
February 4 District Finance Committee 7pm (FUMC)
February 5 Scholarship Committee 7 pm (District Office)
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 13 Church Location & Building, 7 pm (District Office)
February 20 Finance Training 7 pm (Tappahannock Memorial UMC)


District Superintendent: Rev. Charles 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)