March 15, 2018
Welcome to The Bridge, a weekly update of the Rappahannock River District of the United Methodist Church 
Hello Rappahannock River District - This is a large newsletter so if you see a message at the very bottom of your browser that says, "Message Clipped. View Entire Message", you'll need to click that link to see the rest of the newsletter.
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When Are Numbers More Than "Just Numbers"?

It occurred to me recently that virtually all of our Lenten season focuses on personal piety. I began to wonder and think about whether there are ways a congregation might engage in self-examination during the Lenten season. This wondering came to a point of clarity through a question and recent conversation.  The question was, “ Does the UMC focus too much on numbers?" The question sent me deep in thought and created for me additional questions about numbers. The question also led me to think about more examination and self-reflection which congregations might engage around evangelistic ministry efforts. More specifically, the question caused me to wonder why UMC pastors and laity seem to be comfortable only with favorable numbers. For example, I’ve never heard church folks complain about the way attendance numbers swell during the high holy days. Church folks seem perfectly happy to see the worship space more full on Christmas, Easter, and Mother's Day.

So, the question of whether the UMC is overly focused on numbers made me wonder why we recognize high holy season numbers as a clear representation of actual people, but the frightening number of unchurched in every one of our communities are "just numbers" and don't represent actual people.

I also began to wonder if we also question the use and meaning of numbers in the Holy Bible. Yes, those who know the Bible know that when numbers are used there is a reason, a meaning, a purpose, and a message to be learned. Would it really show spiritual wisdom to disregard every chapter and verse that has a number? Obviously Not! Because there is an intentional message on scripture in the context of the numbers.

What answer did I give my clergy friend who asked if the UMC is too focused on numbers?  Thank you for asking! My response was that every congregation must be faithful to treat our community population numbers as a recognition of God's children.  I say congregations which care about their community won't rest until they have established a relationship with every un-churched
person within a 20 mile radius. Every one of the data-tracked people in our community represents a person who is seeking deeper meaning, spiritual depth, love, and are in need of grace.

Looking inward and then outward is certainly a worthy Lenten practice not just for individuals, but also for congregations. I think we can start ignoring numbers when our worship attendance on an average Sunday looks like the high holy day attendance; we can stop looking at numbers when our bible studies are full; let's wait on ignoring what the numbers represent when our communities are responding more effectively and aggressively to hurts, suffering, and anguish. I think we can begin ignoring counting when we are convinced that Christ tells us we've fulfilled the great commission as commanded. That's my opinion on the question. 

Ted Smith, District Superintendent

The speaker is sending materials ahead: please register soon so we order enough

See All the People: Intentional Disciple Making
March 24 th
10:00 am to 12:30 pm
Wright's Chapel UMC, Ladysmith

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.

Lay Servant Training will be offered at Warsaw UMC on Friday, May 4 and Saturday, May 5. Please join us!

Classes will be:

Basic Course
Teach us to Pray
In Ministry with Boomers & Beyond
Preaching from Your Heart
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Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
This is to inform you that, as a representative of Discipleship Ministries of the United Methodist Church, I will be visiting in the Fredericksburg District of the Virginia Conference on April 7, 2018.
My name is Hess B "Doc" Hall, Jr. and I am the Program Manager for  Face to Face , a new ministry in the Walk to Emmaus tradition, for people 60 and older. We are a ministry of the Upper Room and Discipleship Ministries. ( )
I will be representing The Upper Room and Emmaus Ministries at a training event for the Fredericksburg Emmaus Community and will have resources for people to look over. I will be offering information on how to  Face to Face  as well as other information meant to assist the local community to be successful in our mission of making 4 th -day leaders being the hands and feet of Christ in the world.
If there are any questions you may have, or if I may be of assistance in some way, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Hess B. "Doc" Hall, Jr.
Director of Older Adult Spiritual Formation Programs
The Upper Room
Local Phone  (615) 340-7288
PPR Chair/Committee Members: Clergy Evaluations were sent out this past Tuesday. They are due back in the district office by June 1. If you didn't get one, please contact Lynn at 804.448.8326 .
Next Youth Retreat Planning Meeting is Sunday, March 18 at Hillcrest UMC at 2:00pm- Please join us!
The Rose of Calvary
The Easter Cantata will be performed at the 8:30 and 11:00 services on Sunday, March 18.   The Rose of Calvary  is the poignant and impassioned sequel to our previous cantata, The Winter Rose. Using the same beautiful imagery, the work tells the story of Jesus’s ministry, passion, death on the cross and his triumphant resurrection. Come enjoy and experience worship through the music of our gifted Sanctuary Choir and Orchestra under the direction of David Kirven. 

Fredericksburg UMC
308 Hanover Street
426 Deacon Road
Fredericksburg, VA 22405
(540) 373-8759


March 25: Palm Sunday
                                   8:45 a.m. - Worship with a special message by
                                         Peter Vernimb
                                   11:00 a.m. - Cantata, followed by Covered Dish Luncheon and Easter Egg hunt

            March 29: Maundy Thursday worship at 7:00 p.m.

            March 30: Good Friday worship at 7:00 p.m.

            April 1: Easter Sunday
                                   6:30 a.m. Sonrise Service, followed by light breakfast
                                   8:45 and 11:00 a.m. Worship

           All are welcome to gather with us for any or all of the Holy Week 

The Heartwood Center will be packing food bags for the Easter break on March 27th beginning at 9am at St. Matthias UMC  426 Deacon Road, Fredericksburg . In addition to packers we will also need volunteers to deliver the bags to the Stafford County schools
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The Credit Union Wants To Donate To Your Church

Our vehicle loan program is benefiting churches across the Virginia Conference and so far we’ve donated over $4700 to conference churches. Each time a church member finances their next vehicle purchase with the credit union or refinances a vehicle loan that they currently have with another lender, The United Methodist Credit Union will donate $25 to their church. Our current rates start as low as  2.45% APR  and we finance church vehicles too! Visit   or contact Mike at  866-657-0004  for details. (For Virginia Conference clergy, church members and their churches. All loans are subject to approval and credit restrictions apply. Not applicable to the refinance of current TUMCU vehicle loans)
Gun Violence Family and Survivor Retreat
Gun violence kills 93 people daily in the United States and our faith communities are not immune. People in our congregations, communities, and families suffer the pain, trauma, and loss of gun violence. Church and Society and Heeding God’s Call to End Gun Violence are hosting  a Gun Violence Family and Survivor Retreat  on Wednesday, April 11 – Thursday, April 12 in Washington, D.C. This two-day, all-expenses paid retreat is for individuals in the Washington, D.C. and surrounding areas who have lost loved ones to gun violence or have themselves survived gun violence. It will provide a space of healing and empowerment for these persons who have suffered from gun violence, encouraging their presence and action in the movement to end gun violence. The retreat is open to any survivor of gun violence, regardless of faith affiliation. For more information and to register, contact the Rev. Jeania Ree Moore ( ) and Rebecca Cole ( ).
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 or 804-443-2278.
The Heartwood Center is seeking a Youth Mission Camp Coordinator for 2018. The camp will be held July 16-20 and August 13-17, 12 noon to 8pm Monday through Friday. For a copy of the position description, please email Rev. Gayle Porias at or visit This position includes a paid stipend.   4.8.2018
Upcoming District Meetings & Training:
March 18 District Youth Retreat Planning Meeting, New Hope, 2:00pm
March 24 Intentional Disciple Making Training, Wright's Chapel, 10:00am
April 3 District Board of Missions, Tabernacle, 7:00pm
April 5 Heartwood Board, New Hope, 7:00pm
April 7 El Salvador Team Meeting, Wright's Chapel, 9:30am
April 9 Connectional Ministries, Wright's Chapel, 7:00pm
April 10 Ordained Ministry, District Office
April 12 Church Location & Building, District Office, 7:00pm
April 13 - 15 District Youth Retreat, Camp Happyland
April 14 District UMW Mission Event, Warsaw
May 4 - 5 District Lay Servant Training, Warsaw
District Superintendent: Rev. Dr. Theodore Smith
DS Email: Cell: 540.419.5131

2018 District Co-Lay Leader:
Debbie Dietrich

2018 District Co-Lay Lay Leader:

2018 District Associate Lay Leader: Jim Helm
2018 District Lay Servant Ministry Director  Dottie Garrison
Heartwood Director: Rev. Gayle Porias
District Secretary: Lynn Manley
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)