March 19, 2020
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Welcome to the weekly update of the Rappahannock River District of the UMC 
A word from our DS....

Vibrant Faith

My fellow sojourners in the Faith!

Last week we promised to continue our series on the Frame of Reference, and that we would discuss Baptism. However, in today’s edition, we will talk about things we can do in the wake of COVID-19. Our decision to address this concern is out of the abundance of caution each of us needs to exercise and to help inform us how we can still be the church as we seek to curb the spread of COVID-19. With the uncertainty of our denomination looming, the stress associated with COVID-19, the pending Easter holidays, and the financial health of our churches, we write to you today with a spirit of Vibrant Faith , to let you know that we are proud of your support during these unsettling times. We are grateful that you have not Checked Out on us.

Some of our small churches are living from Sunday to Sunday. For those churches, it is Make or Break , yet we are asking you to close your doors. The reason why we are asking you to remain closed on Sundays is that we do not have the luxury to coalesce at this time. The COVID-19 is a health concern, and so we solicit your continued engagement on this journey because we are confident in your leadership as pastors and support as laity.

Asking you to close your doors may sound counterintuitive to the essence of being a church in such a time as this. For many of you, your church is your family; you look forward to meeting each Sunday–now we have taken the unusual step to take away your autonomy, something no adult likes to happen to them. This action breaks our hearts, but again this decision is about Medical Safety . We want to encourage you to continue to utilize this unfortunate situation as opportunities to be Agents of Redemption to your communities.

We believe that you are Agents of Redemption because this is why you want to continue to feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, invite the strangers into your churches, clothe the naked through your clothes closet, visit the sick members, and continue your prison ministry (Matthew 25:35-40). The above is doable if we are creative and innovative without compromising our health and the health and safety of staff and the recipients of the hospitality we offer. To this end, please follow the CDC’s guidelines.  

My fellow sojourners in the Faith: We may not be theologically correct, and we do not profess to be. But we are trying our very best to live into the reality that is at hand. If the local church refuses to uphold the mandate to close, and someone gets ill, there could be a lawsuit. The fact is, the suit will not be a legal issue of the Conference or District, it will be a legal issue of the local church. In that case, you will have to defend how you decided to remain open, especially when the Conference mandated you to close. So, let us not take for granted the seriousness of this pandemic in this time of uncertainty; let us do all that we can to prevent a situation rather than trying to cure one.

As we write to you, there are some confirmed cases in our conference. As a matter of transparency and accountability, we reluctantly report to you that we currently have two unconfirmed cases on our District, and we are working closely with the pastors, the families involved, and the Health Department. The above statement is a good reason to maintain social distancing of about 6 feet per the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Today, we want to name your emotions and feelings: You are frustrated and feel disconnected and isolated from the people you love to see each Sunday. We encourage you not to lose heart, remain faithful, and embody a Vibrant Faith amid these uncertainties. And so, we leave with you Paul’s words as recorded in 2 Corinthians 4:7-11. They are words of encouragement during this time of uncertainty and perplexity. May these words help us see the power of Christ’s resurrection and the efficacy of grace in and from the risen Christ, manifested in and toward us. Paul writes the following:
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.  We are  hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed;  we are  perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh (NKJV).”

It is our utmost pleasure to serve you, especially during these trying times. 

Blessings to you!

  Front line workers share COVID-19 information

A letter from Bishop
Sharma D. Lewis

March 19, 2020
Dear Virginia Conference,

As Christians, many of us are wondering what we can do to be of help during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Rev. Chris Barbieri, a former colleague of mine and a United Methodist minister from Georgia, and his wife, Dr. Jennifer Barbieri, are on the front lines working to contain the spread of the virus.

In this letter the pair shares why the situation is exceedingly serious and why we must all follow social distancing and related guidance. They also share the importance of supporting healthcare workers and the rising need for blood donations.

You will be better informed about COVID-19 and inspired by reading their letter. Please abide by all Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance, look for ways to support healthcare workers, consider giving blood – and pray!

Thank you.
Peace and Blessings,
Bishop Sharma D. Lewis

Coronavirus Resources
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)
The church & district events listed below may be canceled based on the situation at that time
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.

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!

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

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
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

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)