March 12, 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 Six)

In today’s edition of the frame of reference, we will be discussing Spiritual Gifts . Spiritual gifts are mentioned several times in the New Testament, and they are one of the most controversial issues in the Christian church today because different Christian denominations have different interpretations of what it truly means to have and use a spiritual gift.
For the sake of this discussion, we will use the spiritual gift of speaking in tongues as an example. Speaking in tongues tends to be the most controversial of any spiritual gift. While Pentecostals fully affirm this spiritual gift, other denominations have gone so far as to say that speaking in tongues is offending the Holy Spirit. Yet these same denominations embrace other spiritual gifts and even encourage their members to take spiritual inventory tests to see where they are best equipped to serve the church. The question is: What motivates the Pentecostals to affirm the gift of speaking in tongues entirely? What drives other denominations to affirm other spiritual gifts fully and partially embrace the gift of speaking in tongues? Let us explore their frame of reference.

Pentecostals’ beliefs are grounded in Romans 8:26-27. They believe that the Spirit intercedes for believers through tongues. In other words, when a believer prays in an unknown tongue, the Holy Spirit is supernaturally directing the believer’s prayer. They believe that faith must be powerfully experiential and less formalized. The above attributes form their frame of reference.

The tongues spoken on the Day of Pentecost were real human languages. If this view is correct, then a miraculous charisma of the Holy Spirit (the gift of interpretation) was given to every unbeliever present on the Day of Pentecost. However, there is no evidence that tongues-speech in Acts Chapter 2 (or elsewhere) served as an evangelistic purpose. The content of tongues-speech was “the mighty deeds of God” (Acts 2:11). The Pentecost experience was a doxology or worship. The people did not hear an evangelistic message. Therefore, how can tongues be evangelistic when the only two occurrences of tongues outside of Acts 2 (Acts 10 and 19) took place when only believers were present?

Speaking in tongues is the Spirit-prompted ability to pray and praise God in a heavenly dialect. Paul states that the one who speaks in a tongue “speaks not to men but God; no one understands it-they speak mysteries by the Spirit” (1 Cor. 14:2). Our interpretation of this scripture is that tongue is a form of self-edification (1 Cor. 14:4), prayer
(1 Cor. 14:14), praise (1 Cor. 14:15), and thanksgiving to God (1 Cor. 14:16-17). One may argue that since those who speak in a tongue “speaks not to men but God,” why shouldn’t they do so privately rather than publicly? This statement makes sense because the prayer, praise, and thanksgiving in this context are all self-edifying and has nothing to do with corporate worship. While we do not know the answer to the above question, we do know that when the Holy Spirit summons us, we will respond, regardless of being in a private or public setting. It is at that point that we are worshipping within our contexts; it is our frame of reference.

People worship differently. Some people shout for joy, and others stomp their feet. Some people applaud, and others sit or stand and raise their hands in adoration of God’s love. Some worship quietly with tears streaming down their cheeks, maybe contemplating on their brokenness. Perhaps it is these forms of worship experiences that move people from one dimension of personal, devotional intimacy with the Lord to a free and public way of expression-speaking in tongues. So, let us not be judgmental because we do not know the frame of reference of others unless we explore them; our preferences for public worship and private devotion are different.

Paul preferred to exercise the gift of speaking in tongues in private, in the context of his personal, devotional intimacy with the Lord. The potential for each of us to pray in tongues in private devotion exists; however, this same opportunity does not exist in a public or corporate gathering unless there is one who can interpret. And even at that, let us resist the temptation of rendering judgment. The reason is, we do not know the frame of reference for that person.
As we end this edition, we should note that our intent here was not in support of, nor was it against speaking in tongues. The purpose was to describe the nature and function of tongues speech and help us to see the frame of reference of those who practice the gift of speaking in tongues, thereby making this topic less controversial.

In next week’s edition, we will discuss one of our two sacraments, Baptism. 

Blessings to you!

Church Actions Pertaining to COVID-19/Coronavirus
 Dear Virginia Conference:
As cases of COVID-19 (coronavirus) continue to spread in Virginia and are expected to increase, the Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church is carefully monitoring this situation and what it means for our clergy and congregants.
Safety and preventing the spread of the virus is paramount. With church services and other activities in public settings, we must be especially rigorous and cautious. We ask that you do the following:
Stay home if at all ill or concerned and worship online.  Anyone who is feeling ill, particularly from fever, cough or shortness of breath, should stay home. Please consider viewing a livestream of your church’s service. If your church does not livestream a list is attached of churches and links for United Methodist worship services throughout Virginia as well as  tips  to start livestreaming your worship services.
Understand and be flexible if clergy are not present.  I have also asked that pastors not perform services if they are not feeling well. This may cause some disruptions and even cancellation of worship as many of our churches are small and have just one pastor. Please be understanding about this and, time permitting, consider worshiping online or at a different church.
Maintain excellent hygiene.  This message from our public health authorities cannot be emphasized enough. Please wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face. Hand sanitizer should also be in highly visible places at all churches. Please use as necessary.
Be a loving, non-anxious presence.  Encourage those in your church and community to be non-anxious during this time and to use best cleanliness practices. We are people of faith and, as such, should lead from love and not fear. We trust in God and will extend compassion to those suffering.
Pray.  Placing our trust in God, let us continue to pray for those suffering from COVID-19 and their families as well as for leaders and professionals in the United States and worldwide working to contain COVID-19 and find a vaccine. 
Below are additional resources that I encourage you to review and check for updates.
Peace and Blessings,
Bishop Sharma D. Lewis
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)
We have several Important Upcoming District Events - See Articles Below for more details
  • March 22 Presentation on Protocol on Grace & Separation through Separation for Laity

  • April 18 District Training on Multigenerational Mission & Ministry

  • April 24 - 26 District Youth Retreat

  • May 1 - 2 Lay Servant Training
District Discipleship Training April 18 - Multigenerational Mission & Ministry
Have you struggled to engage the children, youth, young adults, and older adults in ministry and mission together? Often, we separate our ministries by age. What does the youth group want to focus on? What do the older adults want to be involved in? A gap and a lack of understanding exist between generations these days caused by all kinds of societal issues and technologies. We even find that to be the case in the church. We as the church have an opportunity to bear witness to how multigenerational individuals of a congregation can work together in mission and ministry. This is especially important with rural churches that have only a handful of children, youth or young adults. How can we involve everyone and collaborate to do the best ministry we can together?

We would like to invite all clergy and at least 2 laity from every congregation to our next Discipleship Training Event on Saturday, April 18, 2020.   The training event with lunch will be at Wright's Chapel from 10 am-2 pm. Bryan Tener, the Director of Contextual Evangelism, Community Engagement & Church Planting, will be here with us from Discipleship Ministries and will lead a workshop on how to go out into our communities to do ministry with a multigenerational team.

Please let your pastor know if you're able to come. Pastors will RSVP to Lynn with a total number that will be attending from your congregation by April 11 for the lunch meal preparation.
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.
Attention Laity!
Presentation on our district regarding Protocol of Grace & Reconciliation through Separation
Rappahannock River District Laity,

As you may be aware, a  Protocol of Grace and Reconciliation through Separation  was brought forth as a plan to be presented at General Conference 2020 in May. There have been so many questions regarding what this will mean for the denomination, the conference, the local church, laity, and Clergy.  

We, the Clergy Association along with our District Superintendent Charles Bates, want to make sure that you have accurate information, and can have as many of your questions answered as possible.  

We will be hosting a laity session with presentations and Q&A with Ms. Martha Stokes and the Rev. Keith Boyette. The meeting will be Sunday, March 22 from 2:00pm to 4:00pm at Wright's Chapel UMC. Wright's Chapel is located at 8063 Ladysmith Road in Ruther Glen 22546 (Ladysmith Exit 110 off I-95).

If you are unable to attend this event on our district, we invite you to attend one at another district. You can find a list here .

Grace and Peace,
Becca Minor
Clergy Association President
Rappahannock River District
From Conference Lay Leader Warren R. Harper
Please click below to read the General Conference Laity Delegation letter from our Virginia Delegation which was recently sent out via Laity Net and Clergy Net.

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!

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. 
We've gotten great response from those who attended the previous class - useful information, interesting format!

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

March 12 7:00pm - 9:00pm

March 12 at Tappahannock Memorial UMC, 345 Earl Street, Tappahannock

Please RSVP to Lynn Manley at .

Youth Retreat 2020 - March 27 Deadline
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 .

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

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: .  
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

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    
Irvington Upcoming Events
March 29 covered dish lunch after service with the movie 'Staircase' to follow at 1:00.

Good Friday service April 10 at 7:00 p.m.

Sunrise service April 12 at 7:00 a.m. in front of church with light breakfast to follow.

Baked spaghetti dinner April 17 4:30-6:30.  It will be eat in or take out.  We are only printing 100 tickets, so buy yours early. Cost is $12.00 and it includes dessert
Upcoming Meetings this month

March 8 Youth Council (Hillcrest, 2 pm)
March 12 Financial Training ( new date), Tappahannock Memorial, 7:00 pm
March 14 - UMW Spiritual Day Apart
March 22 - Protocol Presentation for Laity (Wright's Chapel, 2 pm)
March 22 - Youth Council (Hillcrest, 2 pm)
March 23 - Connectional Ministries (Wright's Chapel)
March 25 - Full Clergy Meeting (Wright's Chapel, 10 am)


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)