January 25, 2018
Welcome to The Bridge, a weekly update of the Rappahannock River District of the United Methodist Church 
Getting from Here to There
In performing my duties as the Rappahannock River DS I spend a great deal of time on the road. On average, I drive in the range of 42,000 miles per year. Yes, I’ve logged more than 252,000 miles and gone through two cars. The miles have enabled me to become very familiar with our area's primary and secondary roads, but there are still moments when I need the GPS to help figuring out how to get here and there (& everywhere). In all my travels I've come to understand there is no way to have a productive trip unless I know “how to get from here to there” reaching my destinations.

Recently I answered a very good question from one of our district clergy. In writing the answer, it occurred to me that the answer applies to laity, and I discovered that the answers are essential to the analogy of how laity and pastors can grow in effective ministry. How do laity and pastors get from the “here “ of our current ministry to the “there” of more vital ministry? So take a look at the question I was asked and the answers:

The Question: What events should I attend?

1) Any Conference event that offers ministry tools, solid biblical teaching, a path to intentional disciple making, and opportunities to build deeper Christian relationships like a) the February 24 th Chat & Chew 2.0, b) the March 24 th See All the People Disciple Training (mandatory for all clergy), c) regional cluster events d) District Conference, e) the Annual Clergy Retreat if you are clergy, f) the Lay Servant Training if you are laity, and many others like these;

2) Any UM event that appears to be a good use of your time;

You see friends, we all agree that we are not happy with shrinking attendance, not happy with the shrinking levels of diverse age levels in our congregations, not happy with having the sanctuary so very far from full each Sunday morning, and we are all very concerned about our financial uncertainty. We also recognize that it is not the responsibility of the thousands of un-churched neighbors to find us!  It is our commission from Christ to find and share the gospel with them. BUT How?

The answer to the "How do we reach the unchurched?" is the same as the answer of how we “get from here to there?” The March 24 th See All the People training is not just another program. Our March 24 th See All the People training will help us get from the “here” of dying churches to the “there” destination of genuine connection with the unchurched. But this will only happen if your church sends laity to be with your clergy on March 24 th .

I know how to get from my house on March 24 th to Wright’s Chapel, and I look forward to seeing you as we all learn how to get to more intentional disciple making. 

See you there!


See All the People: Intentional Disciple Making
March 24 th
10:00 am to 12:30 pm

Calling All Rappahannock River District Clergy
& 3 Laity from Each Church/Charge

This March 24 th training day will teach us how to be more intentional in disciple making. We will cover:
  • Investing in making & growing disciples: Bringing clarity to the ‘What’ ‘How’ and ‘Why’ of making disciples. Offering tools to bring the ‘Why’, ‘What’, and ‘How’ back to your ministry setting. Creating an intentional discipleship system (or pathway) - unique to your church’s context.
  • Discipleship begins with relationships. Equipping your disciples with the right heart and motivation for disciple-making.
  • Engaging Your Community: Listening, Learning, & Developing Strategies to reach the non-religious and nominally religious in your community

Our Leader for the Day: Rev Jeff Campbell serves as the Executive Director of Conference Relationships at Discipleship Ministries. He works to strengthen intentional disciple-making across the connection. Jeff served for 13 years as a senior pastor prior to coming to Discipleship Ministries.
Confirm Registration by email to rrdistrict@vaumc.org
Registration is now open!
Tim Swarens, brother of the Lay Leader of Grace UMC, has done extensive travel & research in order to write a very important 10-part series of columns called ‘Exploited’, which will be published in USA Today. The series covers the concerning issue of human trafficking that has become an epidemic in our modern world. Please google the music video for ‘Take Me Home’ by The Hunter Smith Band; it’s a powerful song written specifically for this issue; it will be released on January 28th.  Follow Tim Swarens’s column starting January 30 th – February 23 rd  at indystar.com/opinions/swarens. Those interested in responding as a faith community, in putting a stop to human trafficking, are invited to a meeting to discern where God may be calling us to respond to this situation, on Monday, February 26 th at 7:00 pm at Grace United Methodist Church 13056 Elk Ridge Road Fredericksburg, VA 22406. If you have any questions, please email Pastor Brenda pastorbrenda.grace@gmail.com or Bill Swarens at wgswarens@aol.com
Next Youth Retreat Planning Meeting is Sunday, Feb. 18 at Hillcrest UMC at 2:00pm- Please join us!
Two Positions Open:
Part-time Organist/Pianist wanted for Tappahannock Memorial United Methodist Church, Tappahannock, VA. This person will be responsible for providing music for two Sunday worship services, choir rehearsals and special worship services of the church. Salary negotiable. For more information, please contact the church office at tappmethodist@gmail.com or 804-443-2278.
Organist or pianist wanted for Midland United Methodist Church. This person will be responsible for providing music for the Sunday morning worship at 9:30. Could be a part-time or full time position. For more information please contact Faith Scott at
Untold Stories of a Search for Freedom
"Secret Codes, A Chatham Slave, and the Reverend Turner - Moments in Black History"
Friday, February 9, 2018
6:00 P.M. - 9:00 P.M.
Downtown Historic Fredericksburg, VA
"Witness" three untold stories of  African Americans  during and after the Civil War as they searched for freedom and civil rights. Join in commemorating Black History Month by participating in a living history event presenting three different vignettes at three historic churches in downtown Fredericksburg .  These scenes from the lives of enslaved persons as well as new freedmen during the Civil War era will take place on Friday, February 9, from 6:00 P.M. to  9 :00 P.M.  

The tours will start at the  Fredericksburg United Methodist Church , at  308 Hanover Street .   Visitors may find parking behind the church in the church parking lot on Charlotte Street, as well as street parking. Please use the entrance on the Charlotte Street side of the church, which is where the tours will originate. 

The first tour will start promptly  at 6:05 P.M., with subsequent tours   departing every 20 minutes. Each tour will last approximately one hour and involves moderate walking.  The tour will end with the third vignette at Shiloh Baptist Church  (New Site)  followed by refreshments. A nominal donation of $5 per person is suggested and will be taken at the door.   Cash or check only, please. 

Friends of Wilderness Battlefield is coordinating this event with the help of the three host churches:   Fredericksburg United Methodist Church , Shiloh Baptist Church (New Site) and St. George's Episcopal Church. Also collaborating with the event are the Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park, the John J. Wright Educational and Cultural Center Museum, the 23 rd  United States Colored Troops, and the Women of the Civil War.
To reserve a spot for a tour, please sign up at our website,  www.fowb.org , where you may request which tour you would like to take. Time slots for tours are: 6:05, 6:25,6:45, 7:05, 7:25, and 7:45 P.M. Please note that  space is limited  with only 25 spaces per tour, so signing up early is advised!
For more information, contact Kim Harmon, at  kimrharmon@excite.com  or  217-299-1102
Upcoming District Meetings & Training:

January 25 Connectional Ministries, Wright's Chapel, 7:00pm

January 27 UMW Local Officer Workshop, Providence UMC, Montross

February 1 UM Day at General Assembly

February 18 Youth Retreat Planning Meeting, Hillcrest, 2:00pm

February 20 Ordained Ministry, District Office

February 20 Church Location & Building, District Office, 7:00pm

February 22 District Board of Trustees, Hillcrest, 7:00pm

February 24 Chat & Chew 2.0, Ebenezer Stafford, 9:00am
District Superintendent: Rev. Dr. Theodore Smith
DS Email:   rappahannockriverds@vaumc.org Cell: 540.419.5131

2018 District Co-Lay Leader:
Debbie Dietrich      debbiedietrich6@gmail.com

2018 District Co-Lay Lay Leader:

2018 District Associate Lay Leader: Jim Helm jhelm320@outlook.com
2018 District Lay Servant Ministry Director  Dottie Garrison dottiegarrison@yahoo.com
Heartwood Director: Rev. Gayle Porias gayleporias@vaumc.org
District Secretary: Lynn Manley rappahannockriverdistrict@vaumc.org
Mailing Address: PO BOX 100, Ladysmith, VA 22501 Phone   804.448.8326     FAX        804.448.8328 Cell: 804.304.8566
Office Location: Inside Wright’s Chapel UMC at 8063 Ladysmith Road, Ruther Glen, VA (do not use for mail)