February 1, 2018
Welcome to The Bridge, a weekly update of the Rappahannock River District of the United Methodist Church 
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Not Here, But There, Part 1

You might have heard that I’m not in the US right now. It is true that I’m not in the USA right not. As you are reading this week’s article, I’m in Burundi Africa. I left the USA on Jan 28 th, to travel to Burundi, having accepted an invitation to lead training workshops, to preach at the training Graduation, and to be the guest preacher at the Burundi Annual Conference. So, I’m in a land far away with our Christian Burundi brothers and sisters. 
Unlike our Christian churches in the USA, most of the African Christian churches are growing very fast and much of the growth are folks under 30 years old. Can I make a confession? As I prepared my sermons and workshop curriculum it struck me as odd that an American from a struggling denomination is providing workshops for a church that is fast growing. It seems a bit odd that churches that are growing would have need of training, help, or equipping. 
What I’ve come to understand about my African brothers and sisters is that they will not rest on their laurels! I’ve also come to understand that our African brother and sister churches feel a deep sense of urgency regarding spreading the gospel and making disciples. I’m humbled by the opportunity to share my passion for disciple making with folks who have committed themselves to gleaning everything they possibly can about disciple making.
My travel to Burundi, Africa presents me with tough questions like:  Are we in the United States UMC willing to do everything possible to make disciples? Would we go to a training event if that’s what it takes? Would we bring an experienced trainer to our church to train us? Would we stop doing things because we always have and begin to do that which will make disciples? Would our members start actively inviting neighbors instead of waiting to become a perfect church?
We would all agree that decline and closure is not why God called into being the Church. We’ve been on a steady march to decline but we keep doing the same things expecting different results while hundreds of unchurched drive past our buildings.  Even the lowest population Counties on the Rappahannock River District have more unchurched than churched!
If this Burundi trip is like my other international travels, I’ll encounter folks who testify to the many ways God has blessed them. I know I’ll meet new friends who are passionate about sharing their relationship with God, leading to amazing church growth.  This makes me deeply grateful for the reminder that faith is not a personal piety thing but faith is relationship thing, a relationship with Christ and one another.  My prayer is to bring home some of the revived passion. To see more about the trip before I return, take a look at my Facebook page – “Rev. Dr. Theodore Ted Smith or copy and paste this link: https://www.facebook.com/Rev-Dr-Theodore-Ted-Smith-679299488839484/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel.
See you in mid-February, when I return home.

Congratulations to Caitlin Delamar and Esther Agbosu for successful completion of their Virginia Board of Ministry Ordination interviews. They will both be Ordained at Annual Conference: Caitlin as a Deacon and Esther as an Elder.

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 rappahannockriverdistrict@vaumc.org
Registration is now open!
All God's Children Camp Needs You!
All God's Children Camp is just around the corner and we are in need of mentors this summer. We will need 90 mentors total, 30 for each camp, both male and female. Please consider giving a week of your time and mentor a camper whose mother or father is incarcerated. You will get a chance to just pour out some love on your camper, engage with them during bible, arts and crafts and worship. You can also encourage them through the week as they learn new activities the camp has to offer. For more information, please contact Lori Smith at  lttlelori@gmail.com  or  571-245-9591 . You can find the application on our website at  https://vaumc.org/page.aspx?pid=4190  
If you have any questions, please email Pastor Brenda Pusso or Lay Leader Bill Swarens by clicking buttons to the left.
Next Youth Retreat Planning Meeting is Sunday, Feb. 18 at Hillcrest UMC at 2:00pm- Please join us!
Rappahannock River District
El Salvador (UMVIM) Mission Trip
July 2 – 6, 2018

We are excited to reconnect with our International Methodist Mission Partner – The Evangelical Methodist Church in El Salvador. In 2018, we’ll send a District team to continue our relationship-building and food distribution. Interested team members may have an opportunity to engage in some construction work as well.

Applications are available from the District Office, the District website, or by contacting Rev. Craig Muffley, Team Leader, at craigmuffley@vaumc.org .

Trip Cost : Expected to be in the $750-$850 range, including airfare. $300 scholarships will be available to persons under 30 years of age.

Application and Deposit Deadline : March 15 th , 2018 - $250 deposit is due with your application. Make checks payable to “Rappahannock River District UMC”, memo: El Salvador Trip and mail to:
Eastland UMC - Rev. Craig Muffley
10718 Courthouse Road
Fredericksburg, VA 22407
Final payment will be due at the first team meeting – April 7. The application fee is non-refundable after airline tickets are bought.

Team Meetings – are mandatory (or must be made up) – April 7 th , May 5 th , June 2 nd (all first Saturdays) at a location to be determined, 9:30 am – 11:30 am.

It's Time to Connect
It's not news to you that most churches have been steadily "growing old." While the gospel of Jesus Christ remains as relevant as ever, we have struggled to capture the hearts of young people in our communities.

But what if there are ways we could help our churches grow young once again? And what if the answer has nothing to do with church size, money, or being "cool?"
This  April 21st , the Virginia Conference Next Gen Ministries have partnered with the Fuller Youth Institute to bring you Jake Mulder, coauthor of Growing Young.


At the Next Gen Summit, we hope pastors, youth and children's ministry leaders, and volunteer teams will:
  • CONNECT with each other
  • CONNECT with excellent resources
  • CONNECT with God
Click info button to learn more and register. Early Bird rates are just $25, but they end soon! Learn More & Register
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

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  heartwoodcenterfredericksburg@gmail.com or visit  www.theheartwoodcenter.org. This position includes a paid stipend.  
Financial Peace University Offered
With Dave Ramsey’s class Financial Peace University, you CAN take control of
your money and start planning for your future. If you’re interested in learning more
about the class, email Michelle Pinheiro at admin.assistant@tabumc.org! Because
we’re offering it at Tabernacle United Methodist church just for you starting
April 4, 2018 at 7 p.m. You may sign up and order you kit today by going to
http://www.fpu.com/1060360 or visit our website at www.tabumc.org and click
on the link to Financial Peace University.
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:

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)