October 2020 * Volume 21, Issue 8

President’s Message by Albert Weal, Jr.

When Something is Wrong

Good Morning,
I pray you and your loved ones are staying safe and healthy. The Covid-19 pandemic has drastically altered the way we continue to connect with each other. 2 Timothy 3:1-5 helps to explain the feelings of many churches today.

2 Tim 3:1: This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.

2 Tim 3:2: For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,

2 Tim 3:3: Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

2 Tim 3:4: Traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;

2 Tim 3:5: Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
There was a nature lover (Joyce Kilmer) who enjoyed looking at the trees and flowers along the road1. Across the street from him, a neighbor had a beautiful tree. Its branches went spiraling upward to the sky and lifted its limbs to receive the birds that were building their nests. Some days he would just stand on the corner and look at that beautiful tree. There was a fence around the neighbor’s yard and a locked iron gate in the front. To further protect his house the neighbor had a barking dog in the yard.

The nature lover wrote, “Poems are made by fools like me, but only God can make a tree." As he was coming home one day, Mr. Kilmer noticed that there was something wrong.
The gate to the neighbor’s yard was open, and the owner had chained the dog to a post. There in the yard, some men from the city were cutting down his beautiful tree. Kilmer was really concerned and walked over to the men. He recognized one of the workers and said to him, “Why are you cutting down that beautiful tree? Is something wrong? If you had to cut one down, why not that ugly one across the fence.” Right on the other side of that fence was a scraggly tree with no real beauty to it. It might have been doing a favor to cut that one down, but not the beautiful one. There must be something wrong!

The worker said to him, “Doc, come over here.” So, he went into the yard following the man. Already parts of the lovely tree had been cut, and now they were cutting through the heart of it. As they got to the base of the tree the man told him to look inside. There was something wrong. The whole heart of the tree was infested with termites. The outside still looked fine; the bark was intact; the limbs were majestic; and the leaves were green. But the core was providing food and shelter for an infestation of termites. The termites had gone right through the fence; the gate had been no obstacle, and the dog was unnoticed. Now because the core of the tree was missing, the tree endangered those living in the house, and anyone walking on the sidewalk. Yes, there was something wrong. The workers were called in to cut it down.

There is a lesson here for us as Christians. Despite the protections built around us, the enemy can enter and destroy us. When we are unaware and complacent, the enemy can cause something to be desperately wrong.

Today I am going to ask every one of us to look inside and see if there is something desperately wrong inside.

I would suggest that there is something wrong
a) When you fail to remember the blessings of God,
b) When you are serving God because of duty and not love, and
c) When you start living without asking for God’s will.

Living without asking for God’s will has a personal note for me. The second week of March is proof. My sister, a devoted Christian and minister in a non-denominational congregation, had heart surgery on Wednesday of that week. The Cardiologist at Salisbury General Hospital stated that there was a 97% - 99% chance of a full recovery as these operations are completed almost daily. The operation was a 6½ to 8-hour surgery with a 3% chance that an additional surgery for complications would be needed.

We prayed with the chaplain of the hospital along with my sister’s pastor and several other family members and her church family. We prayed for complete recovery and that the surgeon would perform his work, but we did not ask for God’s will. The unthinkable happened: 5½ hours into the surgery, the cardiologist dropped the graph for the heart valve into the internal organs of my sister. The late Rev. James Cleveland would ask, “Christian, where is your faith”? It took another 3½ hours to locate this small graph, clean it, and then continue with the surgery of repairing my sister’s heart. The surgery took 12½ hours, and the kidneys and liver had been without actual blood for more than 6 hours unbeknownst to the family. Late at night, I drove back home 3½ hours away. Christian, where is your faith?

The next morning as my brother-in-law was leaving the hospital to change clothes, the daughters returned to sit with their mother as she recovered in ICU. This is when the doctor entered the ICU and stated that there are some serious issues. (Christian, where is your faith?) My sister’s liver was not functioning, and her kidneys appeared to be shutting down. The doctor told my nieces to contact the family as we may have to make some decisions soon. My nieces called me at 9:30 am Thursday morning and requested that we return to the hospital asap. This is when the surgeon explained that the surgery had taken about 5 hours more than planned, and there might be issues with either the kidneys or liver if not both. We again prayed for the recovery of the body organs so that my sister would return to us as she was in a medical induced coma. We failed again to ask for the will of God. My sister died at 7:00 pm after we shut off all artificial life support items. It was only then did we asked for God’s will to be done.

The story does not end there. I left the hospital around 8:00 pm after speaking with the chaplain of the hospital and arrived in Chesapeake, VA. Around 11:45 pm, I was stopped by a Chesapeake City policeman on I-64, a location where he had no jurisdiction. He approached my vehicle with his hand on his gun and asked if I knew the reason why he stopped me. I told him, “No.” He angrily stated that he could not see my tag light for more than 50 feet. He then asked, “What have you have had to drink? What kind of drugs will I find in your vehicle, and what have you been smoking?” I drive a black SUV (Ford Explorer). I stated, “First, I do not drink or smoke anything, and second, there are no illicit drugs in my truck. He then asked, “What will the narcotic K-9 find?” While keeping his hand on his gun, he asked, “Why are your eyes so glassy?” I told him that my sister had just died on the Eastern Shore, and I was going home. This police officer then had to call the state police since he had no authority to be on I-64. I was placed in the police car, and my vehicle was searched for no reason other than my being a person of color. I asked the Virginia state trooper who arrived about the tag light, and he stated that there was nothing wrong with my tag light. I asked why I was stopped. He just walked away.

This could have had a tragic ending if I had failed in any way to comply with an illegal stop and search of my vehicle.

Christian, where is your faith?

Albert Weal, Jr., President
[email protected]

Editor’s Notes:
1) The story of the beautiful tree was inspired from Trees by Joyce Kilmer, 1913.
2) Watch a Glen Allen college student’s powerful video supporting nine Black students from her community.

GCUMM Give Day is October 19, 2020

Be a Part of Our Expansion Team

For I am convinced that neither Covid 19, nor racial tension, neither our presence in worship, nor our absence, neither a poverty of resources, nor divisions within our denomination, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
––A paraphrase of Romans 8:38-39
Paul assures us that no matter how many difficulties we face some 2,000 years after he walked this planet, nothing can separate us from the love of God.

The only question we face is, “How will we respond to this ever-present gift?”

The General Commission on United Methodist Men understands we face postponed events and division within our church, our country, our culture. We know we can’t do what we used to do because of pandemics, distrust, disappointment, limited resources, and uncertainty.

Nevertheless, leaders in men’s and scouting ministries have done the remarkable. We are expanding our ministries.

We invite you to join our expansion team on October 19, our second annual Give Day.

Paul assures us that neither life nor death can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. We are expanding opportunities to share that good news, and we hope you will join us in that effort on Oct. 19. The video may also be viewed at
The video may also be viewed at

Four easy and safe ways to contribute:

Text: UMMen to 44321


Send: a check payable to GCUMM to P.O. Box 440515., Nashville, TN 37244-0515

Phone: 866-297-4312

Find your Mission | Live your Mission

Scouting District Coordinators Needed

Our Conference Ministry of Scouting team needs you! We have openings for District Coordinators in a number of our districts, specifically the Danville, Eastern Shore, Lynchburg, James River, and Staunton districts.

We support BSA, Girl Scout, and Big Brother Big Sister programs through our churches. It is our call.

If you have the passion… If you have the time… If you care about our youth… please contact:

Bill Chaffin, Conference Coordinator, 804-356-6075 or [email protected].

Burnt Factory UMM Distributes Milk

Taking Action During the Pandemic

By Steve Cunningham, Winchester UMM District President

Early in the pandemic, stories abounded of farmers dumping milk and crops due to lack of demand. Through a grant from the government, the Stonewall District Ruritan Club in Clear Brook, VA was able to get weekly shipments of free milk from dairies in Reading PA.

Over the course of the late spring/summer, the Ruritans were able to distribute over 25,600 gallons of free milk in the Northern Shenandoah Valley. Members of the Burnt Factory UMMen were a huge part of the Ruritans' distribution of free milk.

Many thanks to Burnt Factory UMMen for taking action during the pandemic.

Virginia Conference UMM News and Updates

Love, Learn, and Lead Webinars Return in 2021

The Virginia Conference UMM Cabinet will meet on Saturdays December 12, February 13, and April 10 from 9am to 2pm ET. Cabinet meetings will be held virtually until the Virginia United Methodist Center in Glen Allen reopens. Connection information will be sent to the Virginia Conference UMM Cabinet members before each meeting. The Virginia Conference UMM Cabinet consists of elected officers, past presidents, the Virginia Conference Lay Leader, the Virginia Conference representative, ministry advocates, and UMM district presidents/team leaders.

Love, Learn, and Lead webinars are returning in January 2021. Please mark your calendars now for Tuesday evenings January 12, February 9, March 9, and April 13 starting at 6:30pm. Planned topics include intentional discipleship, prayer, racism, and men’s health. More details to come. Plan to join us!

Note: Topics for the 2021 Love, Learn, and Lead webinars are subject to change.

Words to Live By …


John Wesley’s Advice on Voting

  1. To vote, without fee or reward, for the person they judged most worthy;
  2. To speak no evil for the person they voted against;
  3. To take care their spirits were not sharpened against those on the other side.
The Journal of John Wesley
October 6, 1774

Recommended Reading: Romans 13:1 (NLT)