April 3, 2019

Welcome to The Bridge, a weekly update of the Rappahannock River District of the UMC 
THE Church: Who We Are & What We Do

“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell[c] shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18

Moments of crisis provide a great opportunity to revisit, reaffirm, and recommit to core values. Whether individual or organization, I highly recommend a spiritual reconnect when conflict, controversy, sin and evil rears its ugly head. I believe the United Methodist Church and the United States are experiencing the destabilizing forces of conflict, division, and sin trying to pass itself off as an “acceptable” influence. Studies and a casual view of human interaction both confirm that Americans are behaving in ways that are unashamedly rude and uncivil, specifically in cyber bullying and hate.  Much worse are the occasions of spiritual people and spiritual leaders making excuses for and/or participating in public displays of behavior Jesus would never support. Simultaneously, our UMC has entered into a moment, for some, of reaffirming values, but for others it’s a moment of deep pain, anguish, and hurt.

I can’t make our American culture behave in more gracious and civil ways, but I can use my influence to encourage Virginia United Methodist Churches to utilize every fiber of our being to reach back to the nature and purpose of the Church for navigating human sexuality challenges, racism, sexism, and every crisis that causes hurt and harm . Friends, if we can manage to treat every person in the way our 2016 Book of Discipline describes as, “persons of sacred worth,” our actions will show our communities that all are lovingly welcome. In churches of deep spiritual maturity it’s a reasonable expectation that we face conflict prayerfully, compassionately, listening to one another’s hearts, and balancing the full weight of scripture, rather than come across as bible bashers. I regret that the General Conference (in my experience) did more bible bashing, ignoring one another, and political maneuvering than spiritual joining of hearts and minds.

My immediate concern of the various reactions to the 2019 General Conference is the status of the Church Jesus Christ created and the status of the UMC. As a young teenager I entered into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Soon after receiving Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I felt and responded to Jesus’ call on my life to be a Christian pastor. Answering the call to be a pastor has come with both tremendous blessings as well as physical threats on my life and even an attempt to take my life. So, I don’t speak lightly of my call or the blessings and cost of committing my life to Jesus Christ. 

When I accepted the call to be an Ordained United Methodist, I was very careful to be sure I understood the nature and role of the Christian Church as described in the Holy Bible. I also was careful to be sure I understood the mission of the United Methodist Church. From my early days of confirmation at Central UMC, bible studies taught me that Jesus created the church a) to make disciples (Matthew 28); b) to enable Christians to use spiritual gifts (I Corinthians 11); c) to celebrate the Sacraments like Baptism (Matthew 3) and Holy Communion (Matthew 26, Mark 14, and Luke 22; d) to praise God through worship (Ephesians 5); and e) to be led by (emotionally and) spiritually mature leaders (Titus 1).

Since my confirmation days I’ve come to understand that the Church was created to be a Christ based ekklesia , which is the Greek word for assembly and community. Over the years I’ve come to understand that the Christian Church (universal) was created for healthy relationships totally driven by Jesus, not just a building where people gather. When Christian people faithfully follow Christ we recognize that we are all born into sin and redeemed by grace. In our imperfection, we are called to read the bible, remember the bible, live according to the bible and share the bible to the best of our abilities. This also means each Christian does their best to uphold one another in love, grace, and forgiveness. 

“I am the Church, you are the Church, we are the Church together.”  Again, I don’t feel that I can have any significant impact on how we behave in society, but I encourage the laity and pastors of the RRD to lean heavily into Christ, the bible, and spiritual tools to face current and future challenges. Do this because it’s the Christ way and because the body of Christ needs you!

Pastor Ted
Post General Conference and Judicial Council Conversation with Bishop Weaver

Our District is joining with the Richmond District for a Bi-District time of conversation with Bishop Weaver.

Please save Saturday, May 11 from 2:00pm - 3:30pm at Wright's Chapel UMC in Ladysmith (8064 Ladysmith Road, Ruther Glen). This will replace the Chat & Chew 3.0 and will be for clergy and laity.

       On Friday evening, April 12, from 5 to 8 pm, St. Matthias UMC, 426 Deacon Road, Fredericksburg 22405 (Grafton Village) is holding its first Messy Church event!  All are invited to gather for an evening of family dinner, crafts (messy!!) and games, with a short finale in the sanctuary.

       This event, the first of what we hope will be many more, is geared toward families with kids of all ages; a night to just have fun together over food and fellowship with other families.

       There is no charge for this event; just come and enjoy! For more information, call the church office at 540-373-8759.
Easter Blessings Food Packing
Easter Blessings Food packing for Stafford County schools will take place April 10th beginning 9am at St. Matthias UMC, 426 Deacon Road, Fredericksburg. Please join us!
Lay Servant Training Offered
Lay Servant Training can help anyone who is interested in learning more in their pursuit of being a better leader and servant for Christ’s church. These classes can be used as tools in discerning God’s call for your personal walk and ministry. 
We are pleased to announce that Lay Servant Training will be offered on May 3 & 4 at Warsaw UMC.

Classes Offered include:

The Basic Course
Discovering Your Spiritual Gifts
Policy in the UM Church
Leading Worship
Intentional Discipleship Making

If you have any questions, please contact Lay Servant Ministries Director Dottie Garrison at 703.403.8953 or dottiegarrison@yahoo.com
We hope you can join us!

El Salvador
UMVIM District Mission Trip
August 3-10, 2019

We are excited to reconnect with our International Methodist Mission Partner—The Evangelical Methodist Church in El Salvador. In 2019, we’ll send a District team to continue our relationship-building, food distribution and VBS.

Applications are available by clicking the buttons below or contacting the District Office.

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:  April 30 th , 2019 - $250 deposit is due with your application. Make checks payable to “Rappahannock River District UMC”, memo: El Salvador Trip and mail to:
Rappahannock River District Office
PO Box 100
Ladysmith, VA 22501

Final payment will be due at the second team meeting – June 8. No refunds after the airline tickets are purchased.

Team Meetings are mandatory (or must be made up) – May 11 th , June 8 th , July 13 th (all second Saturdays) at a location to be determined, 9:30 am – 11:30 am

If you have any questions, please contact Co-Team Leaders Rev. Carol Seeley ( carolseeley@vaumc.org ) or Rev. Robin BeMiller ( robinbemiller@vaumc.org)

Benefit - Betty Smith Gaskins Scholarship Fund
AFTON UMC – HAND-TOSSED PIZZA NIGHT Saturday, April 6 th   5-7 PM
The Betty Smith Gaskins Scholarship committee is having a pizza party and Mike DeGaetani will be hand-tossing the pizzas in the kitchen. Chef Lenny Gaskins and his crackerjack staff will be helping with all the fixin’s and the serving! We invite all to come on out to celebrate Spring with all you can eat HAND TOSSED PIZZA.  Delicious salads and tempting home-made desserts will accompany the pizza. 
Members of the Scholarship Committee are: Betty Appleby, chair, Allison Cockrell, Heather Conley, Fran Gaskins, Bonnie Miller, Ron Goheen, Joyce Jett, and our newest member, Chris Sauer.
Since the scholarship began in 2012, we have awarded eight scholarships in Betty’s memory to deserving second-year students from Northumberland County attending Rappahannock Community College. We hope you will continue to support this very worthy cause.
So, mark your calendars for Saturday, April 6th, 5:00 – 7:00 PM and bring your appetites and all your friends to Afton UMC, located at 5130 Hacks Neck Road in Ophelia.  If you love NY style pizza , you will not be disappointed! It will be our pleasure to serve you; in return, we ask for your donations.  SEE Y’ALL THERE!!


Irvington United Methodist Church
( Proceeds are for installing a handicap pad at the handicap entrance to the church)

Friday, April 12, 2019
4:30 P.M. TO 7:30 P.M.

  Educational Building 
26 King Carter Drive
Irvington, Va.

(Price includes Baked Spaghetti, Salad, Garlic Bread, Beverage, and Dessert)


For tickets, call Church Office (804)438-6800; Bonnie Pettey (804)438-5101;
Audrey Lowery at (804) 438-438-6122 or Pastor Jesse Blythe at 804-580-9723

Emmanuel UMC at Morattico is seeking a pianist/choir director. For more information, please contact taewonkang@vaumc.org
Kits for Conference
While other types of kits have been received in the past, UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) is currently focusing its efforts on  Cleaning Kits  (aka Flood Buckets),  Hygiene Kits , and  School Kits . Click buttons below for specific item listing and assembly instructions as well as our Kits for Conference logo for use to promote your efforts.

Collection of the kits will begin Wednesday, June 19 from 4—8 p.m. and continue Thursday, June 20 from 8 a.m.—7 p.m., and Friday, June 21 from 8 a.m.—5 p.m. Contact Kit Collection Coordinator, the Rev. Morris Fleischer (Newport-Mt. Olivet UMC/Roanoke District), at (540) 544-7183 or  morrisfleischer@vaumc.org  with any questions. A volunteer sign-up page will be available soon!

If you prefer to make a financial contribution to enable UMCOR to purchase relief kits, you can contribute $75 for each cleaning kit; $12 for each health kit; and $11 for each school kit. Additionally, UMCOR asks for $1 per kit ($1.50 for cleaning buckets) to cover processing and shipping and $1 for toothpaste for each health kit. Please do NOT bring checks to Annual Conference. All checks (for processing and shipping, for toothpaste, and in lieu of providing kits) should be made payable to “Virginia Conference UMC,” earmarked for “kits” and mailed to Treasurer, Virginia Conference of The United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 5605, Glen Allen, VA, 23058 any time prior to Annual Conference and no later than August 31. (If you don't see all 3 buttons, your browser has shortened the email - click "see entire message" at the bottom of your screen).
Peace UMC Easter Cantata
"COME, TOUCH THE ROBE"    Encounters with the Healer, the Servant, the Lord of Easter  words and music by Pepper Choplin
Please join our Chancel Choir as we present this beautiful, moving cantata, Sunday, April 7 th  at 4:00 pm in the sanctuary. Refreshments will follow in Burgess Hall.
We are located at 801 Maple Grove Drive in Fredericksburg.
Easter Sunrise Service will be held on Sunday, April 21 at 6:30am at the Merchants Square Pavilion in the Spotsylvania Courthouse area. Please contact Carolyn at 540.538.0034 for more information.
Upcoming Meetings

April 5 - 7 District Youth Retreat
April 8 Board of Missions, Tab UMC
April 9 Ordained Ministry, District Office
April 11 Location & Building, District Office
May 2 District Finance, FUMC
May 3 -4 Lay Servant Training, Warsaw UMC
May 9 Church Location & Building
May 11 Bi-District Conversation with Bishop Weaver, Wright's Chapel 2:00pm
May 29 Clergy Farewell Luncheon (for clergy and families)
May 30 Connectional Ministries, Wright's Chapel

Save the Date: Sunday, June 30 DS Farewell/DS Welcome, Wright's Chapel, 3 pm Everyone is invited!


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)