Newsletter October 2021


Rev. Nancy Coleman Johnson


Administrative Assistant:

Melanie Stine


Choir Director & Organist

Sue Lamm


Substitute Pianist & Organist     

Ella Sue Coffey



401 North Main Street 

Post Office Box 451

Amherst VA 24521

Telephone (434) 946-7624



Administrative Council:

Bessie Kirkwood, Chair


Board of Trustees:

Maynard Campbell, Co-Chair


Mike Mozingo, Co-Chair


October 2021


Emmanuel United Methodist Church


Worship Service 10:30 am

A Letter from Bishop Lewis

Regarding the Afghan Refugee Crisis


Virginia Conference members,

Our admiration and gratitude go out to our military, diplomats, and civil servants who have been working on the front line of the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan. This work is soul-rending and heartbreaking as well as exhausting. We are thankful for their service and mourn the 13 service members who recently gave their all to save the lives of others.

We are grateful for the willingness of organizations, many of them faith-based, that are continuing the work of those who helped evacuate the Afghan refugees.  Many of these refugees have risked and sacrificed more for our country than most of us will ever be asked to do and these resettlement agencies are working to make sure that those individuals have as soft a landing and as warm a welcome as possible. The Virginia Conference is committed to working alongside these agencies, picking up the baton of the work of the frontline, and continuing this work of caring for all our refugee families.

As a church, we are called to serve people who are marginalized, regardless of their race, background, or religion. We also understand that this race is not a sprint, but a marathon.  Our work will continue for the coming months and years, ensuring our new neighbors and fellow children of God are loved and shown hospitality as we are commanded in the Scriptures “for by doing that some have entertained angels without knowing it” (Hebrews 13:2). I am grateful for all the work that has been done and anticipate the blessings to come as we continue on this long journey together!  Please continue to pray and seek God’s direction in our effort to care for these families!

Grace and Peace, Bishop Sharma D. Lewis, Resident Bishop, Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church


The Virginia Conference reminds churches that the connectional system can be a powerful tool to reach out to those who are in need. We are encouraged to help in the following ways:

 1. Pray and remember that Jesus Christ was also a refugee – Ask God

     how your church can be involved in supporting these families who are

marginalized. Pray for more people to hear God’s call to care for the ones

who are mourning (Romans 12:15).

2.  Give to UMCOR – Through the Global Migration Assistance fund, and

     their long-standing relationship with Church World Service, UMCOR is

assisting  with resettlement and temporary housing for Afghan refugees.

  1. Refugee Response Team– The Virginia Conference has assembled a Refugee Response Team to

     coordinate the efforts of our churches in the work to support the refugee families. Through the resources

provided by the Response Team, we have learned about partnering with Commonwealth Catholic Charities

that are providing hands-on assistance for refugee families arriving in Richmond, Roanoke and Newport

News.   In addition to financial gifts, this agency accepts items collected and donated to assist the families.

The list of needed items is currently being updated, so watch for further details in the church bulletin.

  1. International Refugee Committee: The IRC located in Charlottesville is actively engaged in assisting with

     refugee resettlement. Due to the overwhelming community response, they are not accepting donated  items at

     this time, but have expressed an urgent need for gift cards from Kroger, Food Lion, Walmart and Amazon to

     help these families who arrive here with nothing. If you would like to donate a gift card to the IRC in

     Charlottesville, please put it in a marked envelope and drop it in the “black buckets” located in the

     Sanctuary, or in the offering plate.


Our October Communion Offering is designated for the ministry of UMCOR and will be divided between their Global Migration Assistance Fund and National/International Disaster Relief fund that continues to aid communities in the aftermath from recent storms, flooding and earthquakes, both in the U.S. and around the world. Our black “UMCOR Buckets” will remain in the sanctuary through the month of October to receive your gifts for UMCOR and your gift cards for the IRC. For your UMCOR gifts, you may also use your October communion envelope, or mark your gift for UMCOR, and place it in the offering plate. May God help us to be generous as we seek to be the hands and feet of Christ to those in need through these gifts.


Society of St. Andrew Offerings: If you used a SoSA coin box to collect spare change through the month of September, please bring your box to church on Sunday, October 3 and place it on the altar. We will have a time of dedication for these gifts during worship.

October 17 is Laity Sunday: During the month of October, and usually on the third Sunday, United Methodist Churches across our connection are encouraged to observe Laity Sunday, which celebrates the ministry of all Christians to love and serve God by loving and serving all people. This special Sunday lifts up the vocation of all believers to follow Christ and lead others in becoming disciples of Jesus through relationships with those beyond our church walls. David Hewes, EUMC Lay Leader, will be this year’s Laity Sunday speaker.

Prayer Walk on Laity Sunday, October 17, 3:00 p.m. In recognition of the mission of Laity Sunday to reach out with the message of Christ to our neighbors, the Vitality Team will sponsor a Prayer Walk on the afternoon of Laity Sunday. What is a Prayer Walk? It is an opportunity to walk or drive through our neighborhood with a prayerful attitude, asking God to open our eyes and hearts to the needs of others around us. As we travel, we pray for the homes and people we pass. As we have opportunity, we invite others to pray with us, asking them how we can pray for them. We will gather in the Social Hall at 3:00 p.m. for prayer and instructions. After the walk/drive, we will gather back in the Social Hall to share what God taught us through the experience. The congregation is invited to participate in this opportunity.

Upcoming Meetings


Sunday, October 10, 11:45 a.m.                      Worship Team

     Tuesday, October 12, 6:30 p.m.                      Council/Finance Meeting

     Tuesday, October 26, 6:00 p.m.                      Board of Trustees


Halle-BOO-jah Drive Through Event, Sunday, October 31, 5-7 p.m.

The Vitality Team will sponsor a drive-through version of our annual Halloween on the Lawn this year. Set up will begin at 4:00 p.m. Volunteers are welcome and as always, the church family is invited to dress up in costume, bring your own lawn chair, and join in the fun! (We are not doing hot chocolate or hotdogs this year). If you can donate candy for this event, please leave it in the Narthex Tub by Sunday, October 24. Thanks for your help.


All Saints’ Sunday is November 7 when we remember our members, and the friends and loved ones of our congregation that have died since last All Saints’ Sunday, November 1, 2020. Since we were not worshiping in person for last All Saints’ Sunday, we will do our best to also include those in our church family that passed away between November 3, 2019 through November 1, 2020. If you have a loved one that you would like to include in this observance, please send an email to the church office, leave a message on the church answering machine (; 434-946-7624), or share the information on the back of your blue “connect with us” form in the Sunday worship bulletin. Please share the name of the loved one, their relationship to you, and the date or approximate date of death if known. We appreciate receiving this information no later than Sunday, October 24.

Drive-by Parade and Live Nativity: The Vitality team would like for the church to participate in the town “drive-by” Christmas Parade this year on Friday, December 3. Our “float” will be stationed on the church lawn. We would also like to offer a Live Nativity to our community on the church lawn on the evenings of Saturday, December 11 and Sunday, December 12. In order for these events to happen, we need your help. If there are grandchildren, great-grandchildren, or younger adults connected to our church family that would be able to participate as costumed nativity characters, please indicate this on the back of your blue “connect with us” form in worship, or contact Jeanie Combs (907-2487). Others from the church family are also needed to help organize the event and assist with logistics. Thanks for considering this opportunity!

News from the Lynchburg District and Virginia Conference

District Initiative Announced

Beginning October 1, each of the eight District Superintendents will convene a workgroup from their districts to integrate the two districts into one. This planning will be a collaborative effort of the Cabinet and District Leadership. It will be anchored in the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world, as we equip disciples who are life-long learners who influence others to serve. By centering this critical work at the district level, it will engage people who are experts on the geography, ministries, and missional needs of their communities.

The authority to set the number of districts rests with the Annual Conference, while the authority to set district boundaries rests with the Bishop. The Bishop recognizes and appreciates the collective wisdom of the laity, clergy, and the Cabinet, and is excited to see what God will do with this Spirit-led work.  We anticipate that the fruit of this work will be formally presented at Annual Conference in June 2022, so the members of Annual Conference may vote on the number of districts along with any Conference Rules changes that may become necessary with the new district configuration. By forming teams and developing these plans immediately, we can begin receiving broader input across our districts sooner.

The eight District Superintendents currently serving our 16 districts are already finding fruitful ways to collaborate across their two districts, using connection and community to share the Good News of Christ in real and tangible ways. The current “cross-pollination” builds on models of successful shared ministry throughout the conference, including the Northern Virginia Bi-District, and the 1 DS-2 District model piloted in the Danville and Farmville Districts from 2019 to 2021. Blending sixteen districts into eight requires building structural support and missional opportunities that foster increased community presence. It also requires resourcing for clergy and laity and creating fruitful synergy and efficiencies.

We are excited to begin this important work and know that God will bless our work as committed disciples of Jesus serving together in the Virginia Conference.  We ask that you cover this work in prayer, asking for the creativity, wisdom, and discernment of the Holy Spirit to guide all that we do.   Stay tuned for updates as we journey on together!

Serving with you in Christ, Bishop Lewis and Appointive Cabinet

Our former District Superintendent, Rev. Scott Davis, has recently been appointed by Bishop Lewis to serve as the new Director of District and Cabinet Support. His primary tasks will be to assist district superintendents with their individual and collective strategies for effectively leading two districts; to facilitate Cabinet training, teaming and coaching; to coordinate the strategic, operational, and tactical work teams in the individual districts; and to further strategize in resourcing clergy, increasing church to church collaboration, finding new effective ways to engage with people in our communities in support of the Cabinet.  Rev. Davis will serve on the Extended Cabinet.

Charge Conference Palooza, Saturday, November 13

Our District Superintendent, Rev. Denise Bates, has announced that all the charge conferences for the churches in the Lynchburg District, as well as our District Conference, will take place at one event on Saturday, November 13. Details on the time and format are forthcoming. All local church ministry leaders and committee chairs are encouraged to attend.

Mitigation Measures Continue in the Midst of the COVID-19 Surge

As we continue to experience a high level of community transmission of the COVID-19 virus in our area, everyone in the congregation, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, is strongly encouraged to wear masks and maintain some physical distancing when gathered in groups indoors (for worship, meetings, etc.) and when in close proximity to those outside your own household. Through the month of October, we will be limiting optional social events involving food and fellowship, until the situation improves. Please make sure that you schedule any meetings or events through the church office and follow the guidelines that are in place at this time. We ask that persons attending any gatherings at the church to continue signing in on the register provided after reviewing the Health Acknowledgement Questions. This provides the necessary information for contact tracing. If you test positive for the virus within 10 days of attending a church gathering, please notify Pastor Nancy immediately (434-401-5776) and follow the advice of your health care provider.

Church Safety Task Force Forms

          At their August meeting, the Church Council approved the formation of a Church Safety Task Force to guide us in the development of a comprehensive plan for preparedness in the case of emergencies. The Task Force will be exploring issues related to general security of the building (doors, outdoor lighting, etc.), as well as overall safety concerns that are important in every place where people regularly gather (fire safety, health emergencies, and incidences that may occur during group gatherings in the Sanctuary and elsewhere). Additionally, a Church Security Team is now in place to assist us during Sunday morning worship.

Once a plan is developed, the Task Force will provide information and safety protocols to the congregation so that we can all participate in this process. Until that time, the congregation can help in the following ways:

  1. Schedule Your Meetings and Events: All meetings and events that take place at the church need to be scheduled in advance and included in the church calendar so that the Security Team will know when people are gathering in the building. To add a gathering to the schedule, communicate with the church office by email (, phone (434-946-7624), or use the reservation forms located in the wall box outside the church office.
  2. If you enter the building at times other that Sunday mornings, either with a key or through the combination door, please make sure that the door is locked behind you after you enter (NOT only when you leave). It is not advisable for anyone to be in the building at unscheduled times when the external doors are unlocked. Please remember that the Sanctuary external doors DO NOT lock behind you, so you should always exit through the door beside the church office, or downstairs through the Social Hall, making sure that the doors are locked behind you. These doors are regularly found unlocked during the week, so your cooperation in this is most appreciated. Since some of our doors may stick and remain ajar, please shut them firmly and securely to ensure that they are locked.
  3. Be aware that we have resumed our previous practice of locking the Sanctuary and other external doors on Sunday mornings 10 minutes after the service begins. The main Sanctuary door will be monitored for latecomers.

We appreciate those that are willing to serve on the Church Safety Task Force and the Church Security Team as follows:

Church Safety Task Force: Chair: David Hewes Members: Mike Gamble, David Mears, Board of Trustees Representative (Mike Mozingo/Maynard Campbell), George Peters, Pastor Nancy

Church Security Team: Jeanie Combs, Head Usher; Jill Clark, Greeter; Mike Stinnett, Usher;

Bob Andercyk, Usher; Lindy White, Jack Brandell, Mike Gamble, others as needed.

Won’t You Be “OUR” Neighbor? Our Vitality Team continues to provide welcome gift bags for the congregation to use in welcoming your new neighbors that move in near you and inviting them to church! The bags include the Amherst Guidebook and map, as well as information about our church. You can add your own goodies and a personal note from you if you wish (totally optional). The bags are located on the table in the youth room upstairs (room with couches). Please use these bags as a means of helping you and our church connect with those new to the Amherst community.

Harold Swisher now resides in Fredericksburg near his daughter, Angela.  He really misses his church family.  Below is Harold’s new address. Please help him with this transition by sending him a card or a letter.

Harold Swisher

12100 Chancellor’s Village Lane

Apt. 4112

Fredericksburg, VA. 22407

Words of Thanks

* Dear Ladies, Thank you so very much for the food and meal you prepared for our family in the loss of Gary.

I can’t tell you just how much that meant to our family. You are the foundation of our church and community.

May God bless each of you!  The Jennings Family

* Thank you for the book of devotions and recognition that the church gave me.  Cameron Banton

* Dear Church Staff: Thank you so much for your  generosity and kindness.  The staff certainly appreciates the

goody baskets that the church gave us.  Best regards, Chief Bobby Shiflett

* Thank you to all who so generously donated food items and financial support to Amherst Cares during the

month of September.  Since the beginning of the school year on August 18 and because of your continued

support,  we have been able to distribute 1,545 bags of food to designated food insufficient students in Amherst

County Public Schools.  This weekly mission continues. We appreciate your steadfast encouragement as we

provide this service to our community.  Once again you have proven to us and to the Amherst Community your

willingness as a congregation to expand beyond the walls of Emmanuel to address the needs of others.

Again, thank you. Sincerely, Beth Gamble

Beginning the first week of October, Church Office hours will be Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. weekly. Please let Melanie know in advance if you need special assistance with a church project. Thanks for remembering to communicate all changes for the Sunday announcements, calendar, or printed prayer list on the back of the Sunday Paper to Melanie in the church office by noon on Wednesdays via email ( or by phone (434-946-7624).  You may also leave items in the wall box outside the church office door.



We give God thanks and praise for God’s gracious provision for us, and for the faithfulness of our church family in the giving of God’s tithes and offerings. To God be the glory!



                                Sunday        In Person       Online           General Fund             Other                                                     

August 22 52 2        $2,185        $     25
August 29 41 25        $1,917        $   100
September 5 40 20        $2,876        $   350
September 12 45 16        $2,864        $1,395
September 19 36 22         $1,195         $     50


Lay Leadership for October

Lay Reader:   Ella Sue Coffey                

                                                                Check-In:       Jill Clark/Nancy Pormann     

                                                                Ushers:           Need Volunteers

                                                                           Altar Flowers


October 3                    Communion

October 10                  Jeanie Combs

October 17                  Ella Sue Coffey

October 24                  Janie & Tom Hall

October 31                  Marsha & Maynard Campbell

October Birthdays

10/02   Paul Ogden

10/08   Bruce Johnson

10/08   June Kilgore

10/10   Bev Kryspin

10/10   Sam Tucker

10/13   Jill Granger

10/13   Jonathan Mears

10/13   Renell Meeks

10/14   Mallory Tucker

10/15   Elizabeth Coffey

10/17   Bobby Joe Bondurant

10/18   Ben Burks

10/20   Betsy Faughn

10/25   Mary Catherine Coates

10/25   Mike Gamble

10/25   Katie Hunt

10/25   Caitlyn Ondrick

10/25   Ralph Seay

10/28   Emily Maddox

10/28   Deborah Shrader

Newsletter Editor:  Cat Brandell, Phone: 946-9102, Email: Deadline to submit newsletter information:  20th of the month.  If you can send your information by email, it would be appreciated.  If you do not have email, your information  may be left at the church office in the newsletter basket.