Welcome to The Bridge, a weekly update of the Rappahannock River District of the United Methodist Church! 
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The first bowl was too hot, the second bowl was too cold, but the third bowl was just right.
Taste and see that the Lord is good;
    blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.
Psalm 34:8

Last week the Virginia Conference had about 25 persons who participated in a training event called the “School of Congregational Development.” Virginia Conference participants included laity, church pastors, DS’s, and a few Conference staff. The event is designed to help equip participants for more effective ministry. We gathered for worship, workshops, fellowship, and to share ministry ideas. 
 
One of the workshops that held my attention from beginning to end was titled “From Local Church to Local Dive.” The workshop leader is a pastor who has started three or four new churches in the Ohio area.  The leader kept us all interested in the topic by first asking us to name our favorite restaurants and describe the difference between the big chain restaurants and our best family or locally owned restaurant. It didn’t take long before folks were both calling out the name of a favorite eatery and wanting the next meal time to come more quickly.
 
In comparing our favorite eateries we discussed important dynamics of a successful restaurant, like a place that knows the character of the community, a place in which the owner/operator knows and connects personally with the community, a place where the diners know one another and enjoy one another’s company, and places that are personally invested in responding to the community’s greatest needs.
 
The discussion following the food talk was how wonderful it would be if the church was like the local eatery.  How wonderful it would be if each local church knew the character of the region, if each local church knew the greatest challenges of the region, and if each local church had a reputation for providing great spiritual feeding in the community?  Each workshop participant began to wonder what reputation our church has in the community; would folks in our community say our church is a great spiritual feast facility or would folks have a less pleasant impression about our church?
 
We shifted our discussion to how our churches could work to create a better reputation if the current reputation is less than desirable. The analogy fits perfectly when one thinks of it in this way; if you drive past an open restaurant that’s always empty it makes you want to eat elsewhere. You think that the locals know something you don’t know, or it gives the impression that the food and or service can’t be very good if the place is always empty.  Is your church parking lot giving the same impression that your worship is a less than desirable experience?  Does your church have a positive, neutral, or negative reputation?  When visitors drop in for worship, what will the taste and visual experience be?
 
As I continue to drop in for worship on the district, I’m hoping the taste and experience will be “Just Right.”
 
Pastor Ted
 
Call to Prayer 
Please click below for a prayer from the Board of Laity of the Western North Carolina Board of Laity. I ask you to spread this to all of your laity and clergy in your churches and begin seven days of prayer this Sunday. This call to prayer will envelop the entire Southeastern Jurisdiction in prayer.

Warren Harper, VA Conference Lay Leader
Sierra Leone Mudslide Relief
To donate for Sierra Leone Mudslide /International Disaster Relief by check, please make your check payable to Advance GCFA and write Sierra Leone/Advance number 982450 on the memo line.

Mail to:
 Advance GCFA 
PO Box 9068 GPO
New York, NY 10087-9068

Questions? Call Rev. Nancy Robinson
Southeastern Jurisdiction Mission Advocate at UMC Global Ministries
(804) 873 1487
Lay Servant Training Offered
T here are several training opportunities for Lay Servants available.

 The District will offer training at Regester Chapel UMC in Stafford on September 15 & 16. There are also On Demand opportunities and an Online Learning Ministry. See links below for more information.  
         Questions? 
Please Contact Greg Sokolowski at   121falcon@msn.com  or Debbie Dietrich at debbiedietrich6@gmail.com

You are invited to join us for...
RSVP to  zionumc @historiczionumc.org  ; or  540-582-6532  by September 11, 2017
Book of Esther Bible Study
Led by Rev. Kimberly Barker-Brugman
 
Saturday, September 16, 2017
10am-2:00pm

Zion UMC Fellowship Hall
8700 Courthouse Rd., 
Spotsylvania, VA 22553

Preparation:
·  Read the Book of Esther(any translation),
·  Bring a Bible, journal and pen or pencil ...
·  Salad with various toppings will be provided... tea and lemonade will be served.
 

 
Registration is now open for the  Live Your Faith Bold and Brave  Women's Conference to be held on our district at Ebenezer UMC in Stafford on Saturday, September 30, 2017 featuring Nicole Unice, Author of  Brave Enough  and Ministry Director at Hope Church.

Sessions include:
  • Created With a Purpose
  • Navigating Life’s Up’s & Down’s
  • Scheduling Time for God
  • Be Bold & Brave with Healthy Habits
Registration: $20.00 includes breakfast and lunch
Onsite child care available, $5.00 per child and includes lunch (max $20 per family)

We hope you will be able to come and join us in this great adventure of learning how to live out our faith with courage and boldness. 

Please click below for links to information on the event:

Live Your Faith Bold and Brave Women's Conference links:
 
Could Your Church Save By Refinancing?
Right now The United Methodist Credit Union has a special promotion on church loans. If your church has an unsecured loan with another lender,  we can refinance at a rate 2% less than the rate your church is paying now, down to a minimum of 4.25% APR. This is a limited offer available thru September or while funds are available. Contact Mike at  1-866-657-0004 for details.
All TUMCU loans are subject to approval and credit restrictions apply. Rates are subject to change.

 You are invited to attend the Matsiko World Orphan Choir  performance in the Regester Chapel sanctuary, located at 85 Bells Hill Road, Stafford, VA on Tuesday, September 12, at 7:00 p.m. 

The kids’ ages range from 7-14 years. The choir children come from Liberia, East Africa, Peru, Nepal, and India. The choir’s mission is to make known the plight of the many orphaned children of the world. The children are all orphans or labeled at risk because some of their parents have given up on them. Others have been rescued from human trafficking. The choir’s performance features an uplifting and inspirational array of songs and dances native to their respective cultures. At the performances, the kids experience the love, support and encouragement of those in attendance.

 There is no charge for this event, though a love offering is welcome. 
Carol Draper from the Conference Treasurer’s Office will be with us to discuss the annual statistical data required by the General Church. This includes how you record membership, ethnic diversity, small group participation, community outreach, as well as church assets and liabilities, income and expenses. She will provide line by line detail for you to take back to your church. Since apportionments are based on the data entered in these statistical tables, it is important that we categorize expenses, members, etc. correctly. This will be useful information for anyone who enters your statistics - whether it’s your pastor, treasurer, membership secretary or anyone else. 
Statistics Training
Two Statistics Training Classes will be offered on our District this fall:

Thursday, October 12 at 7:00pm at St. Matthias UMC, Fredericksburg
(426 Deacon Road, Fredericksburg, VA 22405)
or
Tuesday, October 24 at 7:00pm at Warsaw UMC, Warsaw
(287 Main Street, Warsaw, VA 22572)

Please register by contacting the District Office at rappahannockriverdistrict@vaumc.org or
calling 804.448.8326 so we have plenty of handouts.
 
Teaching Our Future

In light of recent events in Charlottesville and other places around the world, many of us wonder and worry about the future of our nation and of the world. But we can do more than wonder and worry. Through the Scouting program, we are teaching tomorrow’s leaders. So it’s important that we teach them well. 

Take a look at that Cub Scout racing his first Pinewood Derby car. Look at that new Eagle Scout proudly placing a pin on his mother’s lapel and giving her a hug. Watch as that Venturer rides the zipline on a high adventure trip that she helped plan. What do you see? Children playing and having fun? Young men and women growing in their self confidence and physical fitness? Yes those are some things you may be seeing in the Scouting program, but there’s more. 

I see a teacher, a construction worker, a church and community leader. Maybe I even see a future president. That Cub Scout who can’t even tie his shoes today will be making decisions about the world in which we live not many years from now. I see young men and women growing into spiritually and physically fit, confident young men and women.

I was disappointed when I heard reports from the National Jamboree that some Scouts booed President Trump while others booed when President Obama and others were named. This behavior does not reflect Scouting’s ideals. Scouts are taught to behave this way by imitating the adults in their lives. 

As Scout leaders we need to be teaching and modeling something different. We need to be teaching Scouts to respect all people because they are God’s creation. We need to be teaching the art of talking through our differences rather than silencing those who oppose us. We need to teach how to get along with others even though we disagree. We need to teach how to disagree without hating each other. We need to demonstrate these qualities to today’s youth because we are teaching tomorrow’s leaders. 

Our future depends on it!
Tom Swingle, District Scouting Director
Save the Dates: 

Sept. 15—16 LAY SERVANT TRAINING      Regester Chapel
Oct. 12      STATISTICS TRAINING                St. Matthias
Oct. 24      STATISTICS TRAINING                Warsaw
Nov. 18     DISTRICT CONFERENCE  & TRAINING     Wright’s Chapel UMC
  
District Superintendent: Rev. Dr. Theodore Smith
District Lay Leader:
Ms. Debbie Dietrich      debbiedietrich6@gmail.com
District Associate Lay Leaders:
District Lay Servant Ministry Director Greg Sokolowski  Gregory.sokolowski@navy.mil
Heartwood Director: Rev. Gayle Porias gayleporias@vaumc.org
District Secretary: Ms. Lynn Manley rappahannockriverdistrict@vaumc.org
Administrative Assistant: Ms. Pam Blalock pamblalock@vaumc.org
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)