Roanoke District & Virginia Conference News/Events

NMO-UMC is part of the Roanoke District of the Virginia Conference.  The Roanoke District connects sixty-nine United Methodist Churches in Bedford, Botetourt, Craig, Floyd, Franklin, Giles, Montgomery, and Roanoke Counties and the cities of Roanoke and Salem with the Virginia Annual Conference, The United Methodist Church, and the World in ministry to others on behalf of Jesus Christ.  The Virginia Conference is composed of 16 districts serving over 1,200 local United Methodist congregations across most of the Commonwealth of Virginia-from the Eastern Shore to the New River Valley.

Hurricane Maria was a Category 5 hurricane that devastated Dominica and Puerto Rico in September 2017.  It is regarded as the worst natural disaster on record to affect those islands and is also the deadliest Atlantic hurricane since Jeanne in 2004.

Vieques is a smaller island located about seven miles off the Southeast coast of the mainland of Puerto Rico.  The power authority has no current plans to restore the underwater cable that transmitted electricity from the Puerto Rico mainland to Vieques before Maria hit, instead aiming to put in place a new system using microgrids and renewable energy that could prove more resilient ahead of future storms.  For now, the small island is running entirely on generators.  But being “an island off an island,” as some describe it, has disproportionately slowed down recovery efforts for the roughly 9,000 Puerto Ricans living in Vieques.

The Roanoke District Common Table is working to assist some of these families who were devastated by Hurricane Maria in Vieques.  During the Season of Easter, the churches of the Roanoke District are invited to receive financial gifts toward the purchase of solar equipment.  A solar panel emergency power system offers a clean, renewable energy source without the need for expensive generators or fuel.  The Roanoke District is working with the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) towards transportation of these systems and to send volunteer teams to assist with their installation later this summer.

Our challenge is to raise $50,000, enough to provide 400-watt Solar Panel Kits for 50 homes in Vieques.  For Christians, Easter is not just one day, but rather a 50-day period.  The Great Fifty Days, or Eastertide, begins at sunset on the eve of Easter and ends on Pentecost, the day we celebrate the gift of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the Church.

Easter is also more than just an extended celebration of the resurrection of Jesus.  In the early church, Lent was a season for new converts to learn about the faith and prepare for baptism on Easter Sunday.  The initial purpose of the 50-day Easter season was to continue the faith formation of new Christians.

Today, this extended season gives us time to rejoice and experience what it means when we say Christ is risen. It’s the season when we remember our baptisms and how through this sacrament we are, according to the liturgy, “incorporated into Christ’s mighty acts of salvation.”  As “Easter people,” we also celebrate and ponder the birth of the Church and gifts of the Spirit, and how we are to live as faithful disciples of Christ.

As our response to the Resurrection of Jesus, you are invited to make a gift of light and hope for families in need.  Visit www.roanokeumc.org or www.facebook.com/SharethelightPR/ to find out more.

 

Alta Mons is a summer camp and retreat center owned by the Roanoke District of the United Methodist Church and located in Shawsville.  Alta Mons is open year-round, providing space for others to experience God through our outdoor ministry.  Registration is now open for summer camp at http://www.altamons.org/summer-camp.html.  This year’s theme is Hope in the Valley based on Romans 15:13— “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him.” Registration forms are also available in the Fellowship Hall.