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“Therefore encourage one another to build one another up, just as you are doing.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (ESV)

I want to take this opportunity to give you an update on the Harrisonburg/Winchester District Initiative. As many of you know, back in the fall of 2021 a workteam of 10 individuals plus the district superintendent was created. It was represented by clergy and laity with equal representation from both districts, with the charge to create a plan for the District Initiative. The workteam met several times with open meetings for anyone who wish to attend and offer feedback and suggestions.  The workteam also invited both districts that on Fridays we would be intentional about fasting and praying.

We came up with the Shenandoah River District that is alive in Christ through ministries of connection, empowerment and transformation. In the plan, the workteam came up with an Administrative Board and a Discipleship Board to take care of the work and ministry of the Shenandoah River District. A new position was identified that would assist, especially small and mid-size churches to develop plans to offer streaming worship services, the use of Zoom, Internet access, etc.

This is very exciting as it is a contextual plan created from within. We have taken time of discernment, consideration, prayer and fasting.  It is amazing what we can do together in God’s name and for God’s glory!  Part of the plan was to locate a central office — an office that is accessible and can host the staff from both districts.  We prayed about it!  We are happy to announce that we found it and we thank God for this possibility.  We will be using one of our parsonages, so all stays within the family.

At this point we are projecting to move in May. More detailed information will be shared in the near future.  Many of you know that on a regular basis, the district superintendent is spending one week in Harrisonburg and one week in Winchester.  It is not sustainable but having all the staff together and one office will enhance our abilities to better serve God and God’s people.

As I read 1 Thessalonians 5:11, I am reminded to continue to pray and to observe fasting.  I also am reminded that we can accomplish more when we encourage one another, and when we build one another up.  During Lent, I continue to observe fasting on Friday mornings.  Please join me in prayer and fasting as we move forward in finding ways in making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the Harrisonburg, and the Winchester districts, and possibly for the Shenandoah River District.  May we continue to be the hands and feet of Jesus, and may we concentrate on making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of these two districts and therefore the world.

In God’s Service,

The Rev. Dr. Victor Gómez

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