September 21, 2017
Welcome to The Bridge News Section, a weekly update of the Rappahannock River District of the United Methodist Church! Local Church EVENTS are in separate email.
There’s so much going on right now! We have major events coming up on the district, we are responding to disasters near and far, and we are doing all we can to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. Below are three different ways we are responding to the good news of Jesus this fall and winter.

Charge Conference
It’s coming soon.  All 74 of our congregations are getting ready. And I think it’s going to be both interesting and exciting. On Saturday, October 7 th , we begin at Wright’s Chapel with our churches answering the essential question: “What are your step by step ways of making disciples? “ We’ll get a chance to have churches hear how each other are taking very specific actions to get folks growing deeper in faith. One heartfelt request, Please don’t answer the question with a list of programs! Unfortunately, many congregations have come to the last six years of Charge Conference with the same list of programs regardless of the charge conference focus.  This year, we have an opportunity to respond to the vision we heard at Annual Conference. This year we have a chance to go much deeper in how our churches are helping develop deeper Christian maturity through discipleship.
Hurricane/Disaster Relief
Historians and weather forecasters will long remember the 2017 hurricane season and the names. Harvey, Irma, and Maria hit the shores of our nation followed by an earthquake that took down more than 40 buildings in Mexico including a school full of children. Our UMC and UMCOR will long remember the call to unite in showing the love of Christ in tangible and sacrificial ways. Our nation will remember the powerful spread of unity and the brief respite from division.  Here on the Rappahannock River District, we came together as our Disaster Coordinator, Pastor Penny Rasnake, motivated and organized us resulting in the assembly and delivery of an amazing 513 flood buckets and donations of $4,000 from our District!   This was over half of the total Conference goal of 1,000! As the flood buckets are being transported to disaster sites, UMCOR is working with our ministry partners in Mexico to determine how and when we can next be the hands of Christ to folks buried under rubble, to folks without homes, and to God’s people who are suffering and looking for hope. This is a moment to recall the words of Christ, “in the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world.” 

What is the Builder’s Club?
Praise God for our theological, practical, and compassionate understanding that Charity Does Begin at Home!  I feel so deeply blessed that the Rappahannock River District is passionate about giving in a way that immolates God’s generosity. This week we are asking every District United Methodist to respond to the request for $10 through the District Builder’s Club. What is the Builders Club? Thanks for this important question! When some of our congregations were part of the Ashland District, we created the Builder’s Club as a way to allow District United Methodists to give a $10 gift or more to congregations that are building, renovating, or making capital improvements. The former Ashland District grew to 300 Builder’s Club members, which meant that a call to donate brought in between $5,000 and as much as $11,000. This act of compassion showed our commitment to our connection and to our fellow United Methodists here in our region. So, we again have the opportunity to have our donation show Christ’s love here in our neighborhood. Currently, we have 85 members of the Rappahannock River Builders Club, but we know you will join today by making a donation for the current call to help Warsaw UMC with their sanctuary renovation (see article below).

Friends, our God is rich and generous. God shows the generosity by blessing us so that we can be a blessing to others.  While some are looking at all the disasters and believing there are not enough resources to respond, the people of God say, “God is a God of abundance, ” followed by transferring the abundance God gave us into the hands of those in need.  Thank You Rappahannock River District for your faithfulness in working to help those in need and for working to alleviate human suffering!

Builder's Club Announces Call for Warsaw UMC
 The Builder’s Club is a group of Laity and Clergy from across the District who have pledged financial support for building new churches and renovating and expanding exsting church facilities on the district.

The Club raises money by issuing a call to its members two or three times a year. When members receive a call letter, they will receive information about the church, the location and information about the project. Members are then asked to respond with a donation to the Club. You decide how much to donate - donations come in from $10.00 to $1,000.00. All donations are tax exempt and you decide the amount you wish to give for each call. No more than three calls will be asked of you during any given year. You can opt out of the Builder’s Club any time if your circumstances change.

This Call (the first in two years) will be for Warsaw United Methodist Church in Warsaw, Virginia. The request is for renovation of the lower structural part of the existing Sanctuary. This will include replacement of footings, foundation, sill plates, support beams and new floor joists where needed. 

Please click here to see the information packet for Financial Information and letter from the Warsaw Pastor explaining the project in detail.

Anyone who would like to contribute, please send a check payable to Rappahannock River District and mail to Rappahannock River District Builder's Club, PO BOX 100, Ladysmith, VA 22501.   Please indicate in the memo box that it is for Builder's Club Call #5. The call will end November 1, 2017.

Thank you for supporting and serving in this connectional ministry.
Laity Sunday, October 15, 2017

Methodism, in all its roots, has a long history celebrating and recognizing the ministry of the laity. In the early days of American Methodism, the laity served and maintained congregations between visits of the circuit riders. Today, lay people are the front line of daily ministry at the workplace, in the home and within the community.

The first recorded observance of Laity Sunday was in the Methodist Episcopal Church, South in 1929. Today, Laity Sunday is celebrated the third Sunday of October. Quadrennial themes are set by the Association of Annual Conference Lay Leaders and approved by the board of directors of Discipleship Ministries.

Laity Sunday is an opportunity to celebrate the ministry of laity in our local churches. I encourage every church in our district to honor this day in whatever way best fits your congregation. Some churches have lay members read the scripture, lead the call to worship, or give the children’s sermon. Others have a lay member deliver the message. Many of our local churches have members who are trained, certified lay servants. Consider asking them to participate in leading worship on Laity Sunday.

You can find worship resources on the UMC Board of Discipleship website at this link:

Debbie Dietrich, Lay Leader
Rappahannock River District
Call for Nominations for At-Large Delegates at Annual Conference 2018
At our District Conference at Wright's Chapel UMC on Saturday, November 18, 2017 the District will elect At-Large Delegates for next year's Annual Conference in Hampton (June 15 - 17, 2018). 

We need to elect 28 At-Large Delegates and 9 reserve delegates.  In order to be on the ballot, you need to complete a nomination form and return it to the District Office by November 1.   You can nominate yourself or someone else (with their permission). Please click on the links below for either a PDF or Word version of the nomination form and return it to:

Rappahannock River District Office  
Mail: PO BOX 100, Ladysmith, VA 22501 
FAX  804.448.8328 (call to confirm receipt)
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)
Tuesday, October 24 at 7:00pm at Warsaw UMC, Warsaw
(287 Main Street, Warsaw, VA 22572)

Please register by contacting the District Office at or
calling 804.448.8326 so we have plenty of handouts.
Contemporary Worship Leader Needed
Fredericksburg UMC is searching for a Contemporary Worship Leader to oversee the ministry of Fredericksburg UMC as it relates to leading and organizing the music for contemporary worship.
Part time, 20 Hours/week
Click below for more information.

Afton UMC awards scholarship
On Sunday, September 17, Afton United Methodist Church, recognized Imari Mitchell, of Northumberland County, as the seventh recipient of the $2,000 Betty Smith Gaskins Scholarship. Imari is enrolled in the pre-nursing curriculum at Rappahannock Community College. Several of Imari's family and friends as well as members of the Gaskin's family were on hand to witness the event. All were treated to a wonderful luncheon following church service.
Photo Names:
front row left to right: Sonja Pangle, Heather Gaskins, Ron Goheen, Imari Mitchell, D.J. Jones (friend), Thelma Cottrell (grandmother), Quintina Mitchell (mother), Bonnie Miller. 
second row left to right: Rev. John Wright, Dale Gaskins, Kyle Gaskins, Fran Gaskins, Allison Cockrell, Jamie Gaskins, Jimmy Gaskins, Betty Appleby.
Save the Dates: 
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
District Associate Lay Leaders:
District Lay Servant Ministry Director Greg Sokolowski
Heartwood Director: Rev. Gayle Porias
District Secretary: Ms. Lynn Manley
Administrative Assistant: Ms. Pam Blalock
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)
District Happenings September
Sept. 23 District UMW Annual Mtg.
Sept. 26 -27 District Clergy Retreat
Sept. 27 Clergy Officers Meeting