September 2022 * Volume 23, Issue 6

President's Message by Albert Weal, Jr.

Unity and Diversity in the Body

Good Morning,

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. And God has placed in the church first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, of helping, of guidance, and of different kinds of tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? Now eagerly desire the greater gifts. (1 Corinthians 12:12-14, 27-31)
In the above passage, Saint Paul was writing to his church at Corinth—a church which he had established—a church that he loved—but a church that had problems. So, Saint Paul wrote, giving them guidance—to get them on the right path again. One of their problems was spiritual pride. Each of the various Christians in Corinth had different gifts—different talents—and some of them were acting as if they were more important than the others because of their gifts and talents.

The various gifts and talents seemed to be the greatest problem for the people of Corinth. We are faced with several problems today. Below, we are sharing, with permission from, the blog post Is Unity Even Possible? Despite our differences, we have more in common than we often realize.

Please plan to join us on Tuesday, September 20 for our next Love, Learn, and Lead webinar focusing on Heart Havens. Join us to learn about our partnership with Heart Havens as we all can help adults with developmental disabilities thrive and live in community.

On behalf of David Collins, Bob Longworth, Mark McKinney, Gary Lupton, Paul Smith, and myself, thank you for your support and friendship as we begin a new term of office. Please contact me if you need assistance or have ideas about how to reach men in your communities.

Keeping our focus on who we have in common,

Albert Weal, Jr., President
[email protected]

Discover Heart Havens

Love, Learn, and Lead Webinar September 20 at 6:30 PM EDT

Heart Havens
Please join us on Tuesday, September 20 at 6:30 PM for a Love, Learn, and Lead webinar about Heart Havens with Jennifer Boyden and Rebecca Huff.
Heart Havens is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that provides a home and 24-hour support to adults with developmental disabilities. Heart Havens has homes across Virginia in Richmond, Ashland, Lynchburg, Stuarts Draft, and Virginia Beach with about 25 clients. Heart Havens empowers adults with developmental disabilities to live and thrive in their community.

We welcome Jennifer Boyden, Chief Executive Officer, and Rebecca Huff, Chief Operating Officer, as our speakers. Jennifer loves the people of Heart Havens and sincerely believes in its mission. What Rebecca loves most about Heart Havens is the people – from individuals who truly are the heart and soul of Heart Havens - to dedicated Direct Support Professionals and House Managers who are the best in the field. Every day comes with its challenges and triumphs, but every day is a good day because the residents thrive and live in community.

Join us as we learn more about this ministry and how the men of the Virginia Conference can support Heart Havens.

Join Zoom Meeting
Tuesday, September 20 at 6:30 PM EDT

Meeting ID: 898 2460 7164

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Webinar recordings from previous Love, Learn, and Lead webinars are posted on our website

Is Unity Even Possible?

Focus on Jesus


Originally published July 2022 by Used by permission.

Over the last few weeks, I have begun the planning process for a fairly large retiree gathering that I will be leading next year. I have no experience in planning such an event and immediately realized the complexity of just getting the process started.
Fortunately, I quickly found that I have a friend who, in turn, has a friend in the host city that leads a large hospitality company there. So, by having a mutual friend, that company president and I connected. And my task instantly became more manageable.
Then when I first talked with that company president, I found out that he had worked for a time at the same company that I am retired from. So immediately, we had something in common, which has fostered a sense of partnership beyond that of just an ordinary business transaction.

Having something in common is clearly a big deal.

So why do we so often focus on our differences rather than on what we have in common? Why is our society so saturated with hostility and anger over our different perspectives? Why can we not navigate life with at least some semblance of unity?


I believe it is because we have been conditioned to position ourselves from the perspective of our differences first. It seems that looking for something we have in common takes a profound backseat to focusing on our differences.

We find this scenario in every area of life.

In the U.S., we focus more on whether we are Republican or Democrat than we do on our common identity as Americans. We seem pitted against one another by divisions of race, gender, status, morality, relationships, politics, religion, and every other division imaginable.

Even within the common ground of our Christian faith, we find it harder and harder to focus on what we have in common than on where we differ. And the resulting division, disunity, and disharmony is damaging our effectiveness and influence for Christ.
Such divisiveness is not, and never has been, the message or the model of Jesus.

Jesus taught and modeled unity, not division.

He taught and modeled inclusion – not exclusion. His focus was on building relationships – not divisive requirements.

He offered grace – not condemnation.

His entire being was one of love – not animosity. And none of that has changed.
But many of us have somehow gotten lost along the way.

The unfortunate truth is that Jesus deserves better than what we so often model through our words, actions, and attitudes. If it’s not about unity, inclusion, relationships, grace, and love, it’s not about Jesus.

Several years ago, I had the opportunity to partner in some mission work with the pastor of a predominantly black church in the area we lived. Not being a pastor myself, and being from a predominately white church, our differences were obvious. But we chose to focus on what we had in common, which was our love for God and for people. And I believe that we represented Jesus well in those efforts.

After some time, the unexpected topic came up of me speaking at their church one Sunday. I responded that I was not a preacher. But he asked that I consider it anyway and so I did. But during that consideration, I lost my focus on what we had in common and instead began to focus on our differences.

Certainly, the style and culture of their services were different than I was accustomed to. So that was a concern.

I knew that he and I differed tremendously in our political views. So, I worried about that.

I even researched some doctrinal information from his church online and found some points of disagreement on those. So, I turned down the offer by saying that I just didn’t know what to talk about.

His response stung like a bee when he said, “You can talk about Jesus, can’t you?”
You see, I had let our differences divide us instead of letting what we had in common unite us. To this day, I regret missing the opportunity to talk about Jesus to those dear people.


Now that I have stirred up those feelings of regret, I hope you will allow me a few more minutes to soothe that regret by not missing this opportunity to talk a little more about Jesus with you. Specifically, four characteristics of Jesus that we all can have in common.

1. Jesus is our teacher.
I am fully convinced that if we would just follow the spoken teachings of Jesus, our lives and our world would be drastically improved. Even if you are not a Jesus or a Bible person, I encourage you to spend a little time reading the words spoken by Jesus in what we refer to as the Sermon on the Mount with an open mind. They can be found in Matthew 5-7. These three chapters will give you the most critical teachings of Jesus in short order and I promise that you will benefit from taking the time to do that.

2. Jesus is our model.
Unlike us, Jesus’ words always aligned perfectly with His actions and attitudes. And He modeled perfectly what our actions and attitudes should look like. Even if you never study any other parts of the Bible, I encourage you to study at least one of the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John. Seek to understand the behavior and principles Jesus modeled. And imagine what our world would look like if we replicated those behaviors and principles.

3. Jesus is our Savior.
This simple statement is the foundation and cornerstone of our Christian faith. To be blunt, we cannot rightly even call ourselves Christians without believing in the truth of this statement. We must understand our need for a Savior and accept by faith that Jesus is that Savior by His death on the cross. This is the most critical decision of our lives both now and for all eternity. If you have any doubts about this, I encourage you to seek help and counsel to guide you in that direction immediately.

4. Jesus is our Lord.
The words “Lord and Savior” are often used together. But in reality, they are two different things. It is entirely possible for us to accept Jesus as our Savior by faith but fail to submit to His leadership and lordship of our lives. And we will never experience the best God has to offer us until we submit to that lordship. What a shame it is to have so much available to us and not take advantage of it.

So, I close by thanking you for letting me soothe the regret of a missed opportunity to talk about Jesus back then by talking to you about Him now. I hope there is something here that is helpful to you. Maybe it will even encourage you to talk about Jesus to someone else.

Until we sharpen our focus on what we all have in common instead of our differences and manmade divisions, we will not see “on earth as it is in heaven” unity remotely becoming a reality.

And what we all have in common is the availability of Jesus as our teacher, model, Savoir, and Lord.

Clearly, having that in common is a big deal.

Copyright © 2022 All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from

Originally published July 2022 by Used by permission.

Methodist Scouting Conference

Join us in Philmont September 25-29

Please plan to join us in September at Philmont NM. We will be refurbishing two Protestant chapels, learning, educating, and navigating our UMC Scouting programs into tomorrow!

Bill Chaffin
UMC Virginia Conference - Director of Scouting Ministries
[email protected]

Grace UMM BBQ and Bluegrass

Celebrate with Grace UMM on October 1 from 4-7 PM

Grace United Methodist Church invites you to join us for our UMM BBQ & Bluegrass on Saturday, October 1 from 4:00 – 7:00 PM.

Come enjoy Bluegrass music, gospel style, with special guest Naked Mountain Boys. The menu will include a delicious pork platter or sandwich, with all the fixins’, sides and dessert. All are welcome!!

DATE: October 1, 2022
TIME: 4 - 7 PM EDT

Grace United Methodist Church at Hartwood
13056 Elk Ridge Road
Fredericksburg, VA 22406-4073

Church Office at (540) 752-5462
Email: [email protected]

Grace United Methodist Church has faithfully and lovingly served God and community for 136 years (1886-2022). Grace is a rural church, resting in the forest and farmlands of the eastern edge of Fauquier County and the northwest part of Stafford County of Virginia. Our congregation of some 200 members is a blend of long-term residents and those who have recently found the joy of rural living while raising young families and pursuing careers.

BMCR SEJ Meets in Richmond October 13-15

Registration is open

Save the Date BMCR
The purpose of Black Methodist for Church Renewal (BMCR) is to call Black United Methodists and the entire United Methodist Church to rebuild God’s church as a community of faith, to declare the traditions and stories of the Bible and Black culture, to reclaim the Black community, and to liberate all people from racism and injustice everywhere.

Registration forms for the BMCR SEJ meeting are available. Registration includes registration materials, one luncheon ticket, one banquet ticket, and 2022-2023 BMCR SEJ membership dues. Book your group rate for the conference soon.

If you do not wish to register for the conference, individual luncheon tickets are $45 and banquet tickets are $60. The keynote speaker for the banquet is Rev. Dr. Kevin R. Murriel, Senior Pastor at Cascade UMC, Atlanta, GA. Please contact Albert Weal, Jr. to purchase these tickets.

For more information about BMCR, please read the summary of the BMCR Virginia Chapter Host Annual Meeting.

Words to Live By


What Matters Most

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

Martin Luther King Jr., I Have a Dream: Writings and Speeches That Changed the World, 2003

Recommended Reading: 2 Corinthians 6:14-18
In continued efforts to fulfill the Virginia Conference goal of having Connectional Ministries become a greater resource to districts, laity and clergy, United Methodist Men are now partnered with Virginia UM clergy. Clergy, you are receiving the Beacon newsletter as part of your Virginia Conference connection.