November 20, 2019
Welcome to the weekly update of the Rappahannock River District of the UMC 
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A Word of Encouragement
By Thursday of the week, we will have completed the 2019 Charge Conferences of the Rappahannock River District. Thanks to our two able co-district Lay Leaders, Terry Bain and David Berry, who traveled with me to model the way of a shared ministry between pastor and laity. Thanks to both of them for the stewardship of their time. I would be remiss if I did not thank our district office staff, Lynn Manley and Connie Davenport, for their tenacity and attention to detail. Thank you both. And then to our pastors and laity across the district, for receiving us and blessing us with your presence. To each of you, I want to say thanks. 
And now what? Amidst the busyness of the charge conference season, I was privileged to preach last week. Parts of my message below are excerpts from my sermon.

There are many things that keep us awake at night, and I might dare to add, during the day as well. Some of the fears that keep us awake might be global economic crises that may lead to recession. For example, the Chinese crisis, the European crisis, trade wars, fiscal policies, the government shutdown, the political divide, and the fear of the unknown in the wake of what is happening in the United Methodist Church, just to name a few.

Paul’s second epistle to the Thessalonians was a follow-up on his first letter to them. He gave further clarification on how to live the Christian life in light of the return of Christ. He began by saying, Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you ... STAND FIRM and live useful lives, because the return of Christ might be in the distant future.
Power, signs, and wonders are evidence of God's acts, however, I want you to know that Satan also has the power to perform deceptive and supernatural acts. So, we must be able to examine the source of the act and the content of the message being promoted so as to avoid deception.
We are living in an unbelieving and wide-scale deceptive world. As Christians, the above statement should motivate us to dare to be different from the world. I had a friend who I consistently invited to church. He refused because he claimed he could not see the difference in the lives of church folk and the life he was living. His words broke my heart and it still does. If unbelievers are rejecting the truth that saved them, then believers must embody and present the truth in such a way that is revealing and unquestionable.

And so I am calling upon us to be faithful in our walk with the Lord because God has chosen us for salvation through the Holy Spirit. We are the first harvest; the instruments and vehicles of God's grace. So Hold Fast; STAND FIRM. Hold on to the traditions. In other words, hold on to God's TRUTHS. Jesus Himself and God our Father loved us and through grace gave us eternal comfort and hope. Therefore, let our hearts be encouraged. Let us be noble in every good thing we do and say because people are watching us. Let us trust the Lord and hold on because God is with us even to the end of times.

When I think about trust, I think about David (Psalm 34:8). He writes: Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! David trusted God. He tasted the tendencies of God and he liked them. He discerned that they were of good quality and high standards. And so he invites us to taste and see for ourselves. I invite you to taste and see.

When I was leaving my last appointment to serve as your DS, many organizations of the church wanted to honor me separately. I thought it would be very emotional to sit through each gathering. Instead, my family and I decided to cook and serve the church lunch on a Saturday, as our way of saying thanks for allowing us to serve them as a pastoral family; they agreed.

During Sunday service on the following day, a lay member of the church stood up after the announcements were read. He said: I have something to say to you pastor, and I know that everyone here will agree with me. He continued: You have been a wonderful pastor; we will miss you. He concluded: I want you to know that you and your family did something to us that we will never forgive nor forget . He was referencing the meal, especially the marinated chicken. He wondered why we waited to leave before sharing our gift of cooking with them. The meal was too delicious to have had only once. To this member our gifts were hidden from them. To him our actions were unforgiving (of course jokingly).

And now what? What gifts do we bring to our church, our district, our conference, the general church? What gifts are we keeping until the last day? Could someone benefit from those gifts now? If so why keep them? I believe each of us can bless someone like my family blessed my extended church family (lesson learned). So, below is the recipe.

The marinated sauce was prepared overnight and the chicken was placed in the sauce for 24 hours. What was regular chicken was transformed into delicious and mouth-watering tasteful marinated chicken. The reason was, time was taken to prepare the sauce and the chicken. The chicken was soaked in the marinated sauce overnight. If the sauce was made and the chicken was sitting nearby and not placed into the sauce, the chicken would not have been flavored. The message is, we cannot simply stand by the sauce (scripture); we must jump into the sauce so that we can become marinated and flavored so like Davis we can invite others to taste and see .

We live in a fast paced society and sometimes we do not have the time to marinate in God's Word. Therefore, we sometimes lack the Spiritual Flavor that is needed to take us through trying times. We are shaken by every wind and wave that blows. But if we are marinated in God's Word, then like David we can testify, Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good . When we are marinated in the Word, we become knowledgeable of who God is in our lives. Our decisions are less emotionally based. Our decisions are intentional and purposeful. We become less anxious and more patient. Let us not microwave ourselves into spiritual maturity . Let us not microwave our biblical knowledge ; it takes time.

And now what? Friends, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him…We ask you, not to be shaken in mind or troubled...STAND FAST; HOLD ON .

Blessings to you!

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District Delegates elected for 2020 Annual Conference (shown in alphabetical order):

Jack Almy
Matthew Blackley
Julie Boucher
Mary Beth Bryant
Kayana Cloud
Danielle Cloud
Karen Elmore
Patty Erickson
Matthew Ewoldt
Jim Helm
Judith Mooers
John Nelson
Carolyn Nelson
Stephanie Serrett
Suzanne Shrader
Pam Smith
Barbara Swingle
Larry Tubbs
Patricia Vaughan
Catherine White
Kelsey Wilson
Kay Wright

Alternates (Shown here in Alaphabetical Order. If needed, they will be called in order of ballot results)

Annette Ashton
Susan Driggers
Sequoyah Fortune
Mary Ella Fuquay
Mary McIntosh
Judah Perez
Jenn Robinson O'Brien
A Word from our District Scouting Director, Rev. Thomas Swingle

Scouting for Food

           During November, Scouts in Virginia collected food from their neighbors and donated their collections to local food banks. In Stafford County Scouts collected and donated over 17,000 pounds of food. Troop 516, from Andrew Chapel in Stafford collected and donated over 200 pounds of food to our food pantry. This nationwide service project, called Scouting for Food, began near Saint Louis in 1985 and continues to provide food to those in need. Scouting for Food also teaches Scouts of all ages the importance of service and the joy in serving others. 
           The colder weather and the coming holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas remind us of our blessings and open our hearts to be more considerate and compassionate to others. This is a great thing since the need is greater in the colder, darker months. But the need doesn’t end with the coming of spring. Neither does the need for us to serve others. One of the keys to Scouts’ rank advancement is regular participation in service projects.
           So what can we do to help our communities and our Scouts? First, let’s celebrate the outstanding job our Scouts and our neighbors have done during Scouting for Food. Then, we can work with our Scout units to set up a regular schedule of service projects; maybe a clothing drive, or a spring food collection, or maybe another way to bless our community. Scouting for food is a great start to our Scouts’ lifetime of serving others. 
A direct and compelling headline
All God's Children Camp
This year All God's Children Camp will be participating in #givingtuesday again. Our goal is to get all 90 kids sponsored for 2020 camp. This camp is for children with an incarcerated parent. Here they will learn self esteem building and conflict resolution as well as enjoy and experience camp life! Each child cost $425. This covers a full week overnight camp where they will be involved in the activities camp has to offer (stand up paddle board, boating, fishing, swimming, tubing, canoeing, archery, ropes coarse, rock walls, zip lines and much more). Please consider helping us out this year during #givingtuesday either through Facebook, our website below, or mailing it in to The Virginia United Methodist Conference Center at P.O. Box 5606 Glen Allen VA, 23058, attn: Becky Tate. You don't have to wait for #givingtuesday (November 26). You can donate through mail or our website at anytime. However, Facebook donations will not be available until November 26. Thanks to all of you in advance for supporting this wonderful United Methodist Ministry put on by our conference! The website is . Please contact Lori Smith at 571-245-9591 or with any questions.
New Lay Servant Training Offered
To become a Lay Servant or to complete continuing education requirement:

10 hour training will be held over 3- 3.5 hour sessions.
January 4 th , 18 th and February 1 st . 8:30am-noon. at Mount Horeb UMC 10867 Elk Run Road, Catlett.

To register contact Rev. Gayle Porias at or 540.788.9838

To become a Lay Servant you must take the Basic course. The following book is required for participants and may be purchased
from the or Amazon:
Lay Servant Ministries by Sandy Zeigler Jackson and Brian Jackson
Participant’s Book DR626 • 9780881776263 • $11.00
(also available in Kindle and ePub formats)

Two advanced courses will be offered for continuing education of Lay
Preaching: The following book is required for participants:   From
Pew to Pulpit. Clifton F. Guthries.  9780687066605 or Amazon

God’s Mission, Our Journey: The following book is required for
participants: A Mission Journey- A Handbook for Volunteers.   9780835817868
Available at or Amazon. Also available in Kindle and ePub formats.
UMFS December offering support
United Methodist Family Services (UMFS) is the Virginia Conference designated offering for December. UMFS deeply appreciates the support of local churches in this ministry, helping high-risk children create a brighter future. In the next few days, each church in the district should receive a packet to support you with the offering, including 25 bulletin inserts and 25 offering envelopes. If you contacted us earlier for a different amount, you will receive a custom order with the amount you requested. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you would like additional materials. This year we also have an electronic printer-friendly version of the bulletin insert, a short UMFS video, and other worship resources available on our website at . Please contact Jill Gaynor (  or 804-254-9463) with any questions, or to place an order for additional materials. Thank you for your support!

Jill Gaynor  Annual Giving Officer UMFS Unwavering champions
for children and families. Tel:  804.254.9463 x Fax:  804.353.7683 3900 West Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23230

Part time salaried position: Director of Music, responsible for overall leadership of the music program at Dahlgren United Methodist Church, to include traditional, contemporary, and children’s music. Candidate should be a Christian with a strong commitment to Jesus Christ, have a demonstrated capability or experience in directing a music program, be able to maintain a positive, professional atmosphere in all aspects of the music program, be able to work well with others, exhibit good communication skills, and have an ability to read music, as well as an understanding of the function of music within the overall worship program and life of the congregation.
Please mail resumes to Dahlgren United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 1797, Dahlgren VA 22448 or emailed to by 15 November 2019.

Emmanuel UMC

Emmanuel UMC is 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) 
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
Regester Chapel UMC

Regester Chapel UMC is seeking applications for a Music Accompanist . The Music Accompanist shall be qualified to play both the organ and piano for worship. The Music Accompanist shall be skilled in music, including performance and interpretation. This shall include a good knowledge of the function of music in the church service and ability to demonstrate its suitable interpretation. The Music Accompanist should be willing to keep abreast of modern trends in church music and participate in workshops and training events. Contact Barry Dillon at (540) 850-5865 or Ethan Murphy at  for more information and a copy of the position description.
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 Meeting:
 Jan. 12th at Hillcrest at 2pm

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

T.J. Oliver, District Youth Coordinator    

On Sunday, November 17th, Afton United Methodist Church in Ophelia celebrated and recognized Alexis Crabbe. Alexis is the 2019-2020 recipient of the Betty Smith Gaskins Memorial Scholarship sponsored by Afton. She is attending Rappahannock Community College in their Registered Nursing Program.

Following the church service, all were treated to Afton UMC's annual Thanksgiving Dinner, including turkey, ham, and all the traditional sides and desserts. It was a joy meeting this deserving nursing student, and we know, in the future, Alexis will do good things in our community.

 In the photo shown, Alexis (5th from left) is joined by family members, Rev. John Wright, members of the Gaskins family, and members of the Scholarship Committee. 
Afton UMC would like to extend an invitation to our community. All are invited to join us on Tuesday, November 26 th   between the hours of 5:30 and 7:30 PM for an open family communion service. You are welcome to come any time during the two hours. Please come as you are during these hours for a time of meditation, prayer, and communion. 
Your presence will be a blessing to us and we pray this time will be a blessing to you as well. Afton church is located at 5130 Hacks Neck Road in Ophelia. For more information, call 804-453-3770.
Upcoming Meetings this month

November 26 12:30 Clergy Officers Meeting, Timbers

November 27-28 District Office Closed


District Superintendent: Rev. Charles 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)