From Our Pastor

Annual Conference

Posted 14 June, 2018 by Pastor Keith Ritchie

I will be leaving for Annual Conference in Hampton tomorrow morning. Though the conference does not conclude until Sunday, I will return to Martinsville on Saturday evening. I appreciate Paul Geib serving as the representative to Annual Conference for First UMC. For further information about all that is taking place in Hampton, and if you are interested in a live stream of the event, you may go to this link:

Jesus' ministry of parables is before us as we worship on Sunday (Mark 4:26-34,) recalling "Jesus, the Storyteller." I look forward to this time of worship and to honoring and remembering our fathers on this Father's Day.

There are many questions about next year's General Conference regarding the church's conversation regarding sexuality, questions that were spoken at the June 3rd District event we hosted. Some of these questions are about who will represent the churches of the Virginia Conference at General Conference in February. An equal number of clergy and laity have been elected by the Virginia Conference to represent us; their names and emails you find listed here:

Related to this conversation, we will hold a six-week study of "Living Faithfully: Human Sexuality and the United Methodist Church," beginning Tuesday, September 18, at 7pm. The Rev. David Mucha, from Roanoke, will lead this study. Copies of this book are available at the church.

Thank you for your many contributions in support of the Food Bank and Clothes Closet. These ministries will be in full operation at the Uptown Ministry Center this Saturday, beginning at 9am. I will miss being there due to my time in Hampton; I invite you to come and volunteer as part of these vital ministries.

How about lunch and a movie? You have the opportunity to enjoy this next Tuesday at the Uptown Ministry Center. "I Can only Imagine" will be shown at 12 noon; bring your lunch and enjoy (popcorn will be provided!)

Remember the church picnic, Tuesday, June 26th, Fieldale Park, at 5:30pm. This is always a highlight of the church year; I look forward to seeing you there. Remember as well the opportunity to support the ministry of Vacation Bible School (We will hear more about this on Sunday!) Finally, "Small Hands; Big Mission" is a two-day mission experience for rising 4th-7th graders on June 29-30.  This will take place in the Uptown Ministry Center; see your bulletin for ways you can support this exciting ministry.