On July 15, 2017, three buildings at the Chesapeake Crossing Senior Living Apartments caught fire in the early hours of the morning. The devastating 4-alarm fire caused much of the roof and upper walls to collapse at the senior living complex.
One hundred and forty four of the apartments were determined to be unlivable after the fire and more than 150 residents were displaced.
A few weeks ago Deep Creek UMC was honored to host a Helping Hands Mission Event for children. The two-day camp was such a blessing. 49 children and 20 adults from across the district and conference had a wonderful time serving God through serving others.
The campers were welcomed with worship and a commissioning service and then put straight to work helping others. The campers made and delivered over 180 appreciation bags to Chesapeake Fire, Rescue and Police. Not only did they receive the gift bags but each officer, fire fighter and rescue personnel was prayed over and for by the campers.
The first day concluded with dinner, worship and Communion on the beach. After returning to church the mission team worked hard finishing up the gift bags and enjoyed a movie together.
The next morning began by delivering more appreciation bags to our public servants and then all the campers moved on to sort toys for the upcoming Christmas project at Union Mission in Norfolk. The campers spent two hours and sorted a warehouse full of toys to help needy children experience Christmas this year. We contributed a total of 120 volunteer hours at Union Mission.
After we completed our service at Union Mission we returned to the church to package 600 pounds of rice, 300 hundred pounds of beans, and 500 pounds of potatoes for the food pantry that Deep Creek UMC operates. So many families will be blessed by the work of these hands.
We are so thankful to all the churches who sent missionaries to our community this year. We look forward to serving as a mission outpost again next summer for the Helping Hands Event. If you would like more info on how to get your children involved next year, contact Robin Cannon at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Marilyn Draughon from Community UMC in Virginia Beach was awarded the Susanna Wesley Award for Excellence during the John Wesley Fellows banquet at the 12th National Gathering of Men in Indianapolis, IN, on July 7, 2017.
The award was presented by her husband; Johnnie Draughon, a Men’s Ministry Specialist for the General Commission of the United Methodist Men. Johnnie stated, “Over the past 20+ years I have been privileged to touch the lives of hundreds of men for the Kingdom of God. Some seed fell on rocky soil and some on fertile soil. None of this would have been possible without the encouragement and support of my wife Marilyn. It was because of her that I became involved with the United Methodist Men in 1987.”
The award is presented to honor women who have served Jesus Christ and The United Methodist Church. The General Commission on UMMen state that the recipients of this award must “possess a distinctive intellect, a nurturing spirit, unwavering devotion and perseverance in the faith.” According to Johnnie this describes Marilyn to a “t”.
As the Community fellowship’s regular accompanist, Marilyn is also recognized, by certificate, as an honorary member of The United Methodist Men.
Summer brings with it weekend trips to the beach, family vacations, and trips to Grandma's house. Often times our summer plans take us away from church on Sunday mornings.
Great Bridge UMC offers a solution to this dilemma.
Since the end of June, Great Bridge has held a Wednesday evening worship service they call "Sundae" Worship. The service starts at 6:45pm and usually features guest musicians and a guest preacher. The service concludes with communion.
Following the service there is an ice cream bar to make your own sundaes, as well as games (like cornhole) and other fellowship opportunities. Designed as a way to provide a worship experience for those church members who are vacationing, "Sundae" Worship has drawn anywhere between 60-80 people per week. For some it has been the first time they worshiped at Great Bridge.
A portion of land surrounding Beech Grove United Methodist Church, in the Driver community of Suffolk, is doing a new thing. The congregation has started a new outreach project - a Community Garden - to provide for those in need and to engage the community.
The goal of the project is to transform this portion of land into a successful Community Garden Project, with the purpose of feeding people, building fellowship among church members and the community, and caring for God's creation.
Church and community members are encouraged to help plant, pick and sort the vegetables, which are then available free to anyone who wants local, healthy, and fresh food at no cost. Sharing God's bounty from the Community Garden has become a new way for Beech Grove UMC to share God's love with church and community members.
On Thursday June 22, 2017 friends and members of Portlock United Methodist Church gathered together for "Messy Church," a once a month worship service that seeks to reach out and include the unchurched/dechurched within the neighborhood.
During a prior Civic League meeting, Pastor Mary Sullivan-Trent met Tammi Ammick, a leader on the South Norfolk revitalization committee who had asked during the meeting if anyone wanted to take a Free Little Library to their corner of the community. She explained that the Little Library would be constructed, sanded, and primed. All it needed was a place to call home. When Pastor Mary went back to the church and presented the idea to the various committees, the people of Portlock UMC were excited to say, "yes" to this opportunity. It was decided that the Messy Church team would take on the project.
Every month Messy Church meets for a time of experiential worship through story telling, singing, art, music, and a communal meal. Since the theme for this particular month was "The Gift at Pentecost," our friends wanted to reciprocate God's graciousness, and so everyone helped to prepare a Little Free Library.
The Little Library will be filled with free books that are available to anyone in the community. Passersby and neighbors are invited to browse and take however many books they'd like and have the option of returning or keeping them once read. They are also invited to bring books from home to share with others and may donate them to Portlock UMC to place in the Little Library.
The Portlock UMC Little Free Library was painted and "decorated" with all of the Messy Church participant's handprints. Once the city permits are in place, the hope is to place the Little Free Library on the front of the church's property beside a nearby bus stop.
The mission of Feed Kempsville is pretty simple: "As the hands and feet of Christ, we are committed to ending hunger in our local community."
Recent estimates indicate that over 11.2% of the population is in need in Virginia Beach. In the zip codes closest to St. Andrew’s (23462 and 23464) it’s estimated that between 14,000 and 30,000 people experience food insecurity.
Feed Kempsville is a new feeding ministry that started in the spring of 2014 at St. Andrew's UMC in Virginia Beach. This feeding ministry is in partnership with the Virginia Beach City Public Schools and the food pantry at Church of the Ascension.
Feed Kempsville aims to feed the hungry in their local community, provide a focused, meaningful and energizing local mission for the people of St. Andrew's, to enchance the relevance of the church in the local community, and bring others to Christ.
In addition, Feed Kempsville planted a 500 square foot "community garden" on the church property. The harvest is donated to the Church of the Ascension's food pantry to help meet the nutritional needs of the poor in the community.
Recently Feed Kempsville was honored by Volunteer Hampton Roads as their faith-based organization winner for 2017. In addition, they were recently featured on WVEC-TV in Norfolk. The video was featured on the 13 News Now Facebook (click here to view it).
Recently, Feed Kempsville initiated a new program to help alleviate lunch money debt for kids in need at two local elementary schools. As a result of this ministry, the door has opened for the church to begin working with neighborhood children in developing their reading skills. Plans are being made to start fostering these relationships to equip and empower children through reading.
Click here to learn more.
30 youth and adults from the Elizabeth River District traveled to Richmond the weekend of May 19 for a Confirmation Retreat. While at the Roslyn Retreat center, students engaged in learning around mission and service, the 3 simple rules, and more.
During the retreat students went to the Highland Park neighborhood of Richmond to engage in mission work. Partnering with Hands Up Ministry, the students and leaders worked on the homes of two families in this low-income neighborhood.
Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church urged each conference to use the One Matters award to recognize one church that is turning zeros into positive numbers with a renewed focus on discipleship.
During Annual Conference 2017, held at the Hampton Roads Convention Center, Don Jamison of the conference Board of Discipleship presented the award to Bethel United Methodist in Virginia Beach. Bethel had been declining financially and in membership, fearful of closing. In July 2014, a new pastor was appointed and the church revamped programs, invited children, and held a confirmation class. The progress has been slow in professions of faith, but there has been an increase in membership.
Bethel UMC received the first One Matters Discipleship Award in the Virginia Conference.
On Saturday, March 25, 2017, commuters on the Norfolk Light Rail were greeted with an unexpected gift as they departed at the Newtown Station. Members from Aldersgate UMC in Norfolk handed out chocolate candy bars to passengers, along with a smile and a greeting. Church members plan to greet their communities in other ways throughout the year.
The latest information, reflections, and notifications from the Elizabeth River District.