February 20, 2019

Welcome to The Bridge, a weekly update of the Rappahannock River District of the United Methodist Church 
Spiritual Equilibrium
Proverbs 11:1 A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is his delight.

From all accounts and from a close look at the United Methodist Church, many would argue that the United Methodist Church has lost all equilibrium. In fact, a compelling argument could be made that the UMC is in a scary state of anxiety and total imbalance; in other words, we’ve lost our spiritual and emotional equilibrium. 

Just to be clear, equilibrium has these definitions:
a)     A state in which opposing forces or influences are balanced;
b)   Balance, symmetry, evenness, stability, steadiness;
c)    A state of physical balance;
d)   A calm state of mind.

From February 22 nd to 27 th, more than 800 United Methodist delegates from around the world will come together in St. Louis, Missouri to prayerfully discern a way to address differing Christian views and biblical interpretations of human sexuality. As one of the 800 plus delegates, my prayer, my focus, and my intent will be to pray, listen and ultimately vote my conscious. Let me assure you that I will resist with all my being the forces that sway based on politics, peer pressure, ideology, cultural preferences, and anything not undergirded by the Holy Spirit. In short, while at the General Conference, I will try to maintain spiritual equilibrium. 

I’ve come to understand that the success of the Christian faith requires people who differ to sit together, act like mature adults, demonstrate grace, and find ways to honor being the body of Christ. I’ve come to the place of stern disagreement with friends who have already decided that they will leave the UMC if they don’t get what they want through General Conference legislation. That view just strikes me as lacking emotional and spiritual maturity.  I confess that I’ve decided one thing prior to going to the General Conference, which is that I am and will remain United Methodist regardless of legislative action or a lack of legislative action by the General Conference.

2 Timothy 1:7 For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.

If we expect spiritual equilibrium through believing alike, through having the same ideological perspectives, through cultural perspectives, or even through the same biblical interpretations, we will remain disappointed, disillusioned, and disconnected from one another. If our current political dynamics have taught us anything, it has taught us that there’s nothing to be gained from partisan behavior.   At this moment, the UMC needs more spiritual covenants and less polity. In my view, we should be working toward Covenants of Faith and Accountability, not spinning our wheels on creating more church laws. In Covenants of Faith and Accountability we would agree that the most important thing is the body of Christ. We would become humbled and agree to live in accordance with our conscious while supporting others to do the same.  Am I trying to make the case for a particular plan? NO, I’m trying to make the case for Christian people doing the seemingly impossible thing of remaining accountable to one another in balance with staying focused on Christ's salvation as the only important thing.  If I’m arguing anything it is what my rural church laity have said, which is every congregation has LGBTQ people and hopefully always will, so we live together and behave like mature people who love as Christ loved and hold standards as Christ demonstrated and expressed standards. I’m not proposing to have the answers for the 800 plus delegates, but am comfortable sharing what I’ve figured out thus far.

In any event, when General Conference has ended, Bishop Lewis will lead us in hearing more about the outcome. In addition, we have scheduled regional information and listening sessions throughout the Rappahannock River District on February 28 and March 2 (see next article). 

I want to also discourage reactionary responses to whatever might occur or not occur at General Conference!  Because when it is all said and done we will
“seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”  Matthew 6:33-34

In Christ


Pastor Ted

You can follow the event from the conference website by clicking this link:

Regional Post General Conference Update

Please feel free attend any of the following meetings for an update on the results of the General Conference:

Thursday, February 28 Tabernacle UMC, Fredericksburg 7:00pm

Saturday, March 2 Trinity Catlett UMC 10:00am

Saturday, March 2 Warsaw UMC 4:00pm
Bishop Sharma D. Lewis will hold an address titled “ State of the Church: Where do we go from here?” on Monday, March 4, following the Special Session of General Conference. The event will be livestreamed at  www.livestream.com/vaumc/stateofthechurch  from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. featuring an address by Bishop Lewis as well as time for questions and answers.

The event footage will be archived at the same link for later viewing.

Open Table Model
Most of our work as pastors and laity in our communities is transactional- paying for or providing food, shelter, clothing, utilities assistance.  Transactional ministry doesn’t change the situation much. Transformational ministry brings us into direct relationship with people and leads to friendship, healing, purpose and changed lives. 
What is Open Table? It’s a model for creating “community and transformation through relationships with individuals and families who are homeless or experiencing poverty, including young adults, veterans, probation/re-entry, survivors of human trafficking, refugees and others.” Open Table, a licensed model based on research and 15 year experience provides training, on-going education and resources to non-profits, faith-based groups as well as others who want to make a sustainable difference in people’s lives. 
How does it work? A person of family is identified and assessed for readiness to enter into this relationship with a Table of volunteers. 6-8 volunteers work with an individual and 10-12 volunteers work with a family. The volunteers act as encouragers, life specialists, and advocates for the individual of family. The Table of volunteers, individual or family develops goals and accountability that become the overall plan of transformation.
Want more information? Go to www.theopentable.org.
Interested in forming a Table? Email: gayleporias@vaumc.org
A Farewell, Welcome & Installation Celebration

Sunday, June 30, 2019 at 3:00pm at Wright's Chapel

Save the Date!

Save the Dates:

May 3 & 4, 2019  Lay Servant Training, (will include  Intentional Discipleship  Training). You do not have to be on the Lay Servant track to attend the training. Warsaw UMC

September 20 & 21, 2019 Lay Servant Training (will include  Ministry of the Laity  Training) You do not have to be on the Lay Servant track to attend the training. Location TBS. 

November 16, 2019   District Conference & Training.  Training will include  Best Practices - Romans 12 , and  Children Ministries . Wright's Chapel UMC

March 14, 2020   Church Leaders  Training . Tappahannock Memorial UMC

April 25, 2020  Intergenerational & Family Ministries, Best Practices - Roman 12.  Remington UMC
What :     Peace United Methodist Church Potato Drop (sponsored by Society of St Andrew)


  •  Funds to pay for transportation costs - ~$6,000
  •  Workers to bag potatoes on March 23rd
  •  Workers to distribute sacks of potatoes to food pantries/food banks
  •  Prayers to pray for the success of this community service project

Info:         Drinks and light lunch provided for workers

Please Notify us if you or your organization can support this community service project.

       Peace UMC Office
       Email:     UnitedMethodistMen@passthepeacechurch.org
       Phone:   (540) 786-8585
       Bob Harbick - Cell  703-727-1457

Grants Available

The Rappahannock River District Board of Missions is an incorporated elected body of laity and clergy providing leadership and support for a variety of mission opportunities. Our focus areas include The Heartwood Center, Crossroads Mission Center, El Salvador UMC along with Volunteers in Missions, the Builder's Club, support of new faith communities and expansions of existing faith communities are our main ministry areas. We also maintain grant money to support local church mission outreach events.  

Youth Embracing Service (YES!)
The Heartwood Center Youth Embracing Service

This past Saturday 7 youth and 4 adults volunteered at Micah Ministries Hospitality Center. Micah Ministries is a faith-based ecumenical organization that focuses on the needs of people who are homeless. Micah is supported by several churches in the area as well as other community organizations. This Saturday, YES served the homeless by scrubbing floors, cleaning out a refrigerator, organizing clothes, socks and other supplies that are distributed to Micah's guests. YES provides a monthly opportunity for youth to learn about the needs in the community and to work together with other youth to serve people in need.

 The events will be on Saturdays 10am-3pm at 64 Hartwood Church Road, Fredericksburg 22471 ( behind the Hartwood Fire Station ).
Future dates: March 16, April 20, May 18.

All youth need to complete a registration. Go to:  www.theheartwoodcenter.org/registration-info/. Adult volunteers are welcome.
Need more information? Email  youthcamp@theheartwoodcenter.org  or call 540.788.9838.  
Rev. Gayle Porias
Pastor Mount Horeb UMC
The Heartwood Center Director 
Rappahannock River District
Youth Retreat Registration
Now Hiring......
McKendree United Methodist Church at 4347 Manfield Road, in King William County is searching for a pianist to provide music at its weekly 9:30 am Sunday worship service. This is a paid position, salary negotiable. McKendree is located about 20 minutes east of Mechanicsville. Contact Pastor Betty Jo Sims at 804-839-2769 if interested.
Wright's Chapel UMC , Ruther Glen, is looking for a part-time Music Director. Key duties include leading two Sunday morning traditional services and one contemporary service. To recruit, develop and engage members and musicians to be involved in the worship experience. Piano (Keyboard) and Singing skills are required. For details, visit the Virginia Conference website at www.vaumc.org/jobs
Upcoming Meetings

Feb. 16 Youth Embracing Service
Feb. 21 Heartwood Board, New Hope
Feb. 23 - 26 Called General Conference
Feb. 28 Update on General Conference, Tabernacle, 7:00pm
March 2 Updates on General Conference: Trinity Catlett UMC at 10:00am and Warsaw UMC at 4:00pm
March 4 Bishop Lewis Address 10:00am - 11:30am
March 14 Location & Building, Wright's Chapel, 7:00pm
March 14 Heartwood Board, New Hope, 7:00pm
March 13 - 18 Lynn at PAUMCS Conference
March 20 FULL Clergy Meeting, Wright's Chapel UMC
April 1 Connectional Ministries, Wright's Chapel UMC


District Superintendent: Rev. Dr. Theodore Smith
DS Email:   rappahannockriverds@vaumc.org Cell: 540.419.5131

2019 District Co-Lay Lay Leader:

2019 District Co-Lay Leader:

District Lay Servant Ministry Director  Dottie Garrison dottiegarrison@yahoo.com
Heartwood Director: Rev. Gayle Porias gayleporias@vaumc.org
Crossroads Minister: Rev. Mark Roscoe markroscoe@vaumc.org

District Secretary: Lynn Manley rappahannockriverdistrict@vaumc.org
Cell: 804.304.8566

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)