Danville District-E News

Calla Lily bloom at Lake Junaluska. Photo by Leigh Anne Taylor.

The family of Jessie Mae Vernon, grandmother of Rev. Keith Vernon (Providence); the family of Elizabeth Martin, mother of Lisa Westmoreland (spouse of Rev. David Westmoreland–Stanleytown); the family of Rev. Virgil Soots; those who are feeling exhausted, burned out, overwhelmed; those who spread joy in everything they do and everyone they meet. Clergy who are on renewal and those who expect to be on vacation or renewal soon. Appreciate your clergy and laity. 
Get your Vaccine. Wash your hands. Wear your masks. Stay safe. 

“I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness  and rivers in the desert.” —  Isaiah 43:19 (NRSV)
                These are ancient words.  Spoken by the prophet Isaiah on behalf of the Lord God, to the people of Israel, the chapter begins with a clear declaration of who the people of Israel are. “But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” (Isaiah 43:1, NRSV).  They are the “redeemed” ones, the ones whom God has made new.  The ones for whom God has transformed their current state into a fruitful state.  God knows the people and calls the people; calls them out into a new thing, a journey.  Their life, their journey is one of redemption and witness to Yahweh as the One God.  Their journey is one that may seem unlikely and even impossible.  After all, roads are not typically found in the wilderness and rivers don’t flow in a dessert.  But, God tells them, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.” (Isaiah 43:2, NRSV).   The people need not fear, because whatever they encounter God is with them.  Even if the obstacles seem overwhelming and obscure their view of the way forward, they are not alone.  Why? “Because you are precious in my sight, and honored, and I love you…Do not fear, for I am with you…” (Isaiah 43:4a, 5a, NRSV). 

                Yes, these are ancient words, spoken to an ancient community; but, Lordy, don’t they speak to our time and situation, both as community and as individuals?   This chapter of Isaiah has always spoken into my life.  In those times of change, these words encourage me to take that next step of faith, even if I can’t see clearly where it will lead.  In those times of distress and sorrow, these words encourage me that no matter what I am living through, no matter how hard or heartbreaking, God knows my name and loves me, and somehow will wring some good from it.  These words comfort and encourage me and remind me that even when my eyes cannot perceive the path, God goes before me making a way—God’s way– so my “blindness” and fear need not stymie me.  Even if I don’t “perceive it”, I can trust God and God’s abiding presence, because I am known and beloved by God.  This is true for me and is true for you.  This is true for your church and your community; it is true for each and every one of us.  This is God’s action, God’s love, God’s presence and power, and none of it is dependent on us.   

                But, that doesn’t mean we aren’t to be involved.   God invites us to be a part of this new thing that God is doing, to open our eyes and see the path, even in unexpected places visible in unexpected ways, “…do you not perceive it?”.    We are all living through times of tremendous change, further challenged by a global pandemic that has local impacts to our lives.  We have had to adapt how we live, how we meet, how we “church”.   Even before COVID, church world was changing.  The “way we have always done it”, was becoming less and less fruitful.  What if God’s redemption of these times is to call us out on a journey as God’s people?  What if God is building a way through the wilderness of COVID and opening a river through the desert of change that will lead us to a new fruitful place?  Do we believe God can do this?  Do we desire God to do this?  Do we trust God to do this Here is what God says about that: “I , I am the Lord, and besides me there is no savior.  I declared and saved and proclaimed, when there was no strange god among you; and you are my witnesses, says the Lord. I am God, and also henceforth I am He; there is no one who can deliver from my hand; I work and who can hinder it?”   (Isaiah 43:11-13, NRSV)

                As a response to the movement of God’s Spirit in this time, I invite you to be part of the “new thing” that God is creating in our midst.  All 16 districts are engaged in perceiving how to best come together in their local context for the future of ministry, drawing on the people of the districts, laity and clergy, in “perceiving” the shape of the “new thing” that will spring forth.  Creating 8 districts will facilitate the sharing of strengths and opportunities to transform our communities with the powerful love of Christ.  Bringing the Danville and Lynchburg districts together into 1 will create synergy and energy, so that together we can do the ministry God calls us to in this time and place, being connectional in new ways that are authentic and helpful to our context.    When I open my heart and mind to God’s possibilities in this “new thing”, I perceive a time of even more effective collaborative community ministry, a time when struggling churches can draw direct strength from their local connection with each other, and a time of deep discipleship and engagement that will foster spiritual revitalization, revival and impact.

                These possibilities are exciting and inspiring.  This journey will be awesome, because we will go together, and together go with God.  I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to see what God will do with us!  I invite you to join me in this adventure.  We all are an important part of God will accomplish and where God will lead us.  Each of us has the opportunity to be God’s witness and to offer God praise for this redemption opportunity.  What are your God-sized dreams and hopes for your church and your community?  This is a call to action for all of us.  I believe this call comes from God, for “such a time as this”.  Now is the time to prayerfully go on a journey of transformation and fruitfulness, fearless and faithful.   Let’s go with God together!
“You are my witnesses, says the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he.”  (Isaiah 43: 10a, NRSV)

DS Denise

Laity Sunday – Oct. 17, 2021
From Martha Stokes, Conference Lay Leader

Laity Sunday is a special Sunday defined by General Conference “to celebrate the ministry of all Christians” (The Book of Discipline – 2016, ¶ 264.2). Traditionally observed on the third Sunday in October, Laity Sunday is one way we express the deep conviction that all are called to participate in God’s mission and live this calling through the ministry of the church. Ministries of the laity include lay leaders, lay servants, lay speakers, lay ministers, lay missioners, deaconesses, home missioners, United Methodist Women, United Methodist Men, The Walk to Emmaus, Chrysalis, missionary service, and so many other significant forms of ministry.
The 2021 theme is Rise Up! And Revive God’s Gift (2 Timothy 1:3-7). While there are currently not any specific Laity Sunday resources on the Discipleship Ministries website, I would encourage you to look at the liturgical resources for the third Sunday of October. They are beautifully worded and may fit well with your worship plans.

On October 24, 2021, you must dial ten digits (area code + telephone number) for all local calls in Central Virginia, according to the Federal Communications Commission.

The reason for the change is the nation’s new toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL).

“Starting in July 2022, the NSPL will also be getting its own three-digit dialing number – 988,” a spokesperson for the Virginia State Corporation Commission wrote in an email. “Dialing 988 will therefore directly reach the NSPL. Before that can happen, dialing changes will be necessary in two Virginia area codes – 804 and 276.”

Thank you for your faithful ministry and witness throughout the pandemic. In recognition of all the time and attention you have given to learning new skills to make ministry happen, the Bishop, Cabinet, and Board of Ordained Ministry has passed a document entitled “C.E.U.’s for Skills Learned.”

Please use this document in order to log your C.E.U.’s for skills learned this charge conference season. Look at the directions to see how to log this information in EVC. You can find the form here: https://doc.vaumc.org/MinServices/CEUforSkillsLearned2021.pdf


The Foundation is now accepting applications for the 2021-2022 grant awards. 
Please visit https://vaumfoundation.org/about-us/grants/ for an application, guidelines for each type of grant and instructions on how to submit a completed application package. Deadline to submit an  application is October 31, 2021. Questions? Email us at foundationgrants@vaumc.org.

In His service and yours,
Tricia M. Louque

Marketing and Communications Manager

O: 804-521-1121 


October 10, 2021, is Pastor Appreciation Day.  

Clergy Appreciation Month began in 1992 as a way to encourage congregations to show their appreciation, love, and support for their pastors. This affirmation can provide new life and energy for a pastor who may be dealing with burnout, disillusionment, frustration, isolation, or stress. Because pastors are often “on call” around the clock, special recognition for the work they do is more than called for. Celebrated annually on the second Sunday in October falls a nonofficial holiday called Pastor Appreciation Day. Sometimes called Clergy Appreciation Day, this holiday occurs during Pastor Appreciation Month and celebrates the contributions of pastors in the U.S. Plan now to show your appreciation in some way during October.



Denise’s contact information includes her cell number:  
571.449.0650 and her email address:  DanvilleDS@vaumc.org         

To Keep Everyone Safe….
Based on the COVID transmission rates in the counties (and cities) of the Danville District all persons must mask when in the District office.  District meetings or meetings with the DS will be via zoom, unless extenuating circumstances arise. This will be re-evaluated and may change as local transmission rates improve.  We are in a COVID season that will be mitigated by nimble, responsive action based on local circumstances. Use of all the mitigation tools–vaccination, masking, social distancing, hygiene and screening–will help us move to a safer environment sooner.  The local church PRG will make these decisions for the local church, based on their local conditions.  See:   https://vaumc.org/latestcdc/
To reach Denise by email:  DanvilleDS@vaumc.org
To reach Sandra by email: DanvilleDistrict@vaumc.org 
or by cell phone 276.340.3650.

Saturday, November 6, beginning at 9:30 am
ZOOM meeting
Information has been sent to clergy regarding our District Palooza which will include the annual local church Charge Conferences and our District Conference. Please make plans to attend this event as we worship together and celebrate the mission and ministries of our churches and our District. We have a few spots left to fill for the At-Large District Delegates to Annual Conference in Hampton, June 16-18, 2022. Self-nominations forms were sent to all clergy last week to distribute among the laity who desire to be placed in the pool of nominees. 

If you would like to be placed in the pool, send an email to the District office (DanvilleDistrict@vaumc.org) requesting a nomination form. Those in the pool will be voted on at our District Conference. 

A ZOOM link will be sent to all voting members of the Charge Conferences and voting Delegates to District Conference. Contact the District office with questions.

October 18                Clergy Consultations
October 19                Clergy Consultations
October 21                Clergy Consultations
October 21                DCOM, ZOOM, 9:30 – 11:30 am
October 24                Bishop Lewis at Redwood UMC, 11 am
November 1              Clergy Consultations
November 2              Clergy Consultations
November 4              Clergy Consultations
November 6              District Palooza 9:30 am, ZOOM 
November 16-18       Cabinet Meeting
November 22            Clergy Consultations
November 23            Clergy Consultations
November 25-26       District office closed for Thanksgiving
December 6              Clergy Consultations
December 7              Clergy Consultations
December 9              Clergy Consultations
December 11             Cabinet Meeting
Danville District
Virginia Conference of
The United Methodist Church
E-mail: DanvilleDistrict@vaumc.org
Web: http://www.dandist.org/
Phone: 276.638.2688
Rev. Denise P Bates, District Superintendent
Sandra S Fulcher, District Administrative Assistant

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