March 5, 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 Five)

Two weeks ago, we discussed women in leadership in the church. In our concluding thoughts, we raised the question: “In as much as they (women) are allowed to participate, why can't women be permitted to lead?” We also offered a proposition: “Is it possible that women are experiencing this overt resistance because male leaders feel threatened by the growing challenge to their self-pronounced male-exclusive rights as leaders of the church?” We concluded our discussion by recognizing and honoring the significant leadership roles that both men and women offer the church. In today’s edition of the frame of reference , we will discuss the type of worship music .

We want to begin by giving a little history lesson about worship music. Did you know that the music of the Catholic Church was sung not by members of the congregation but by highly trained choirs? What changed? You may recall that the “Jesus Movement” took place in Southern California in the late 60s, and that was the time when Sacred Music changed to Contemporary Christian Music (CCM). Most churches had an organ, a piano, and a choir. It was after the emergence of the CCM that different genres of worship music emerged. Since then, the role of the choir in many worship services has changed. Some churches have opted for a smaller group of singers that we now call Praise Team . In other instances, the congregation is encouraged to participate in the form of Corporate Worship that allows them to contribute to the music. But what motivates a church to consider praise team over sacred music, or a praise team over corporate worship? Let us investigate further.

Whether a church engages in using sacred music, utilizes a praise team, or adapts a corporate worship style, points to that church’s frame of reference . For example, a decline in membership, different time for rehearsal, a lack of participation or leadership, and a desire to connect with or attract younger audiences, are all reasonable frames of reference that could lead to using a praise team. The above list may also suggest why a music director may choose a spiritual, a piece of contemporary or traditional music or hymns versus modern worship songs. Instead of asking the Chairperson to convene a meeting to discuss the firing of the music director, consider the music director’s frame of reference because many times the participation of choir members determines the type of musical selection for the day.

During my pastoral ministry, the music director occasionally changed the songs or hymns on Sunday mornings because those in rehearsal could not make it to service due to emergencies or other reasons. These issues often spark debates and controversies within many churches because members of the church may have heard the choir rehearsing and came to service with an expectation of hearing a particular song or hymn. Without knowing the frame of reference of the music director or the choir, members of the church sometimes decide to criticize or even leave the church. This approach is unhealthy and should be discouraged.

Music is essential to the life of the church. Music can sometimes be a deciding factor when someone is deciding to join a church. So, when hiring the music director, make sure you inquire about the person’s philosophy of music. Explore their frame of reference . While the type of instruments in one church might be considered acceptable, the same may not be acceptable in another church.

A good example is a drum set. A church may opt not to have a drum, but another church may opt to have an entire drum set. One church may sing all spirituals while another church may sing all anthems. The reason is that their frame of reference may be different; their contexts may be different. We must learn how to celebrate our uniqueness and respect our differences.
Many churches have sought to solve the controversy of worship music by using both contemporary songs intermixed during their worship service. However, other churches have decided to offer two different kinds of services, traditional and contemporary services. We do not think that these churches are avoiding the controversies; instead, we believe that they are addressing them by offering the alternative. We believe that this is what we should be doing.

Next week we will discuss Spiritual Gifts.

Blessings to you!

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.
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.
Fredericksburg United Methodist Church will have a bone marrow drive this weekend to benefit Jase Hallman, the 7 month old great nephew of Tony & Donna Marino (church members). Jase has Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome and no other treatments have worked for him.  They have been unable to find a match for him in the family or on the national registry.   
This weekend's screening will consist of just a simple cheek swab. You must be between the ages of 18 and 44.  
Please help us spread the word to your churches. The event will be Saturday, March 7, from noon to 5 p.m., or Sunday, March 8, from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Fredericksburg UMC is located at 308 Hanover Street in Fredericksburg.  
Please keep little Jase in your prayers.  

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!

Lay Servant Training Offered
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.
The Scammers are active on our district!

Some of our church members have received fake texts and emails from people impersonating their pastor or district leadership asking for gift cards or other assistance. They are using the pastor's name and title but it is coming from an incorrect email address and phone number. 

Don't fall for this - your pastor won't ask for donations in this manner.

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
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
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. 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    
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 10 DCOM (Wright's Chapel)
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 25 - Full Clergy Meeting (Wright's Chapel, 10 am)


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
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     FAX        804.448.8328 
Office Location: Inside Wright’s Chapel UMC at 8063 Ladysmith Road, Ruther Glen, VA (do not use for mail)