Interim Bishop,
Virginia Conference:
Pete Weaver

Bishop Peter (Pete) D. Weaver began his duties as interim bishop of the Virginia Conference effective Thursday, March 7, 2019. He is serving as interim bishop while Bishop Sharma D. Lewis is on medical leave.

Peter D. Weaver was born into a parsonage family in Greenville, Pa.  Following education at W. Va. Wesleyan (BA), Drew University (MDiv) and Boston University (ThD) he served United Methodist churches in Pittsburgh, Pa. for 25 years focusing on making disciples through ministries with youth, young adults, older adults, the homeless, industrial workers and executives and with weekly radio broadcasts.  He was a founder of “Bethlehem Haven” for homeless women and “One Voice Against Racism.”

In 1996, he was elected a bishop and served the Philadelphia Area (1996-2004) and Boston Area (2004-2012).  From 2012-16 Bishop Weaver served in Washington, DC as Executive Secretary of the United Methodist Council of Bishops and now serves as Bishop-in-Residence at Drew University Theological School.

Pete (as he prefers to be called) and his spouse Linda now live in Williamsburg, Va. and have eight grown daughters and twelve grandchildren.  Along with enjoying family, Pete plays the trombone, does woodworking, water sports, and helping with ministry with persons who are homeless.

His “life verse” is:  “If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation!”  (II Cor. 5:17)

You can reach Bishop Weaver at (804) 521-1102 or TerriBiggins@vaumc.org

 


Bishop Pete Weaver RSS Feed
Who sits upon the throne?; district gatherings continue
5/21/2019

+THE GAME OF THRONES 
The last chapter of the fantasy TV series Game of Thrones was shown Sunday night. While I never really followed it, I was struck by the popular engagement the show had over the years with mythical, fictional characters engaged in dramatic battles of good and evil. Violence and deception reigned. Villains and heroes clashed. It seemed, as James Russell Lowell wrote in his great poem/hymn, that truth's "portion be the scaffold, and upon the throne be wrong."  This week, TV critics are now complaining about the last chapter of the series.
On one Monday morning show, the hosts passionately discussed the outcome of the Game of Thrones as if it were real news of eternal consequence. This was followed by a brief news report on the horror of war in Yemen, massive killings, thousands of children starving in a real place, with real people, with real devastating consequences. Even as you read this, in many parts of the world, the reality of the evils of violence and hatred seem to be overcoming the good of aid workers and peacemakers, including United Methodist missionaries. Why do fantasies of good versus evil captivate our attention more than the realities happening around us every day? And what about the resurrection promise that our Risen Lord ultimately sits upon the throne?
"I heard a loud voice from the throne say, ‘Look! God's dwelling is here with humankind.  He will dwell with them, and they will be his peoples.... Then the one seated on the throne said, 'Look!  I'm making all things new." (Rev. 21:3,5)
Let us join in living this real story that can transform lives and the world!  It's no game or fantasy!

+THANKS FOR ALL "WALKING THE JOURNEY TOGETHER"  AT DISTRICT GATHERINGS
Thank you to all who have been coming (some driving over two hours) to our "Walking the Journey Together" gatherings on the districts. As your interim bishop, I have been greatly blessed to be with you. 
These have been times of "listening, learning and loving" with each other as we are seeking to discern where God is leading us as United Methodists. I have appreciated the candor ("leveling") and authentic witness of minds and hearts that we have shared. Like those first disciples on the road to Emmaus after the resurrection, I have felt Christ walking with us, and again and again my "eyes have been opened" to new insights, deeper faith, fresh gratitude for the love and oneness we share even with our many differences.
If you have not been able to attend your own district's gathering, you are welcome to come to any of the last three gatherings: 
• June 1 – 9:30AM Charlottesville/Staunton; Crozet UMC, 1156 Crozet Ave Crozet, VA 22932
• June 1 – 3PM Lynchburg/Roanoke; Bethlehem UMC, 13586 S Old Moneta Rd Moneta, VA 24121-6210
• June 2 – 3PM Danville/Farmville; St. Luke’s UMC, 3090 N Main St Danville, VA 24540-1741
John Wesley reminded us that even in the most challenging times, "Best of all, God is with us!"

Standing against hatred; gleaning; 2019 GC decisions
4/30/2019

+ANTI-SEMITISM…ANTI-MUSLIM…ANTI-CHRISTIAN  Shots have sliced the sacred silence of yet another sanctuary!  Shots given birth in “anti” attitudes and hatred. Again this past weekend in Chabad Synagogue in Poway, Calif. we are compelled to face the growing hatred for “the other” and the violence it spawns, with the aid of automatic rifles. And again we ask “Why,” “What can we do?”
The last congregation I served in Pittsburgh, Pa. was close to the Tree of Life Synagogue where exactly six months before the Poway shootings, 11 were murdered on the Sabbath. Our congregations had worked together on many things.  I knew two of those killed: Daniel Stein, a very faithful Jew who was a classmate at “very Methodist” West Virginia Wesleyan, and Dr. Jerry Rubinowitz who cared for many of the HIV-AIDS patients with whom our congregation was seeking to minister through our “AIDS CARE TEAMS.” Those care teams were made up of our members who had all the different opinions about homosexuality, but were united in the certainty that Christ would have us love our neighbors as ourselves.  Wesleyan had persons of a variety of faiths, but encouraged us all to respect and care for each other, as all were children of God.  These were communities working to be “pro” rather than “anti” anyone.
What about your community… your congregation… your own talk and actions?

+GREENING AND GLEANING The wonder of spring greening surrounds us. The bounty of God’s creation embraces us. The miracles of bud, and leaf, and flower break out of winter slumber pointing toward the seasons of growth and harvest. For some United Methodists on the Farmville District the season moves from seeding to sharing and from greening to gleaning. 
The Southside Gleaning/Salvaging Network of the District gleaned and distributed 130,000 pounds of fresh produce in 2018.  The food was delivered to individuals in twelve counties.  Plus, 16,000 pounds of potatoes from a Society of St. Andrew Potato Drop at Heritage UMC in Lynchburg were distributed! 
If you want to know more about this ministry, call Mrs. Martha Reed at 434-294-3002.
I also know of urban churches that do community gardens on vacant lots, and a church near a mobile home park that helped farm undeveloped land nearby.  And the hungry were fed and the seeds of wonderful friendships sown.  Plan such a ministry of greening and gleaning that creatively fits your area and Jesus will be there to help!

+INFORMATION ON THE STATUS OF 2019 GENERAL CONFERENCE DECISIONS  I sent this letter to our Virginia Conference following the Judicial Council (our Supreme Court) rulings announced last Friday, April 26.


The cross in the rubble; important step forward
4/23/2019

Dear Partners in Ministry,

+THE CROSS IN THE RUBBLE:  Easter Sunday morning we heard the bad news of the devastating bombings in Sri Lanka targeting, in part, Christian churches and Easter worshippers. Nearly 300 had been killed. But as the news camera panned the scene, in the background you could hear someone shout the Good News: “He is Risen!” And in the center of the rubble, a cross was still standing, strong.

Thousands of miles away in Paris, Easter crowds gathered around the ruins of Notre Dame and sang and called out: “He is Risen!” And in the center of the sanctuary rubble, a cross was still standing, shining.

Whatever the “bad news rubble” of our time, or place, or life, hear the Good News: “He is Risen.” See the cross guiding us to hope, peace, life, and salvation, through it all! Let us all respond and live in the truth, “He is Risen, indeed!”

+ANOTHER IMPORTANT STEP FORWARD: Join me in praying daily for our United Methodist Church Judicial Council which is meeting this week in Evanston, Ill. This group of nine United Methodist followers of Christ are the “Supreme Court” of our church which will consider all of the legislation that was passed by our General Conference in February and determine whether the legislation is in keeping with our church’s Constitution or not. This is another important step forward on our denomination’s journey of decision making around matters of human sexuality.

Some people have asked me, “Who are these nine people who will make this decision?”

Here’s a glimpse. They were elected by the General Conference over a number of years. They are five laity and four clergy (no bishops). They are five men and four women. Three were born in the United States and five now live here. There are six lawyers, three of whom are women. Six are persons of color. They include a former dean of a law school, retired Justice of the Philippine Supreme Court, and Harvard Law School graduates. One was born in Vietnam, worked for the Swiss Justice Ministry, was a missionary in Kenya, and serves a local church. One was a Bible study leader for the Philadelphia Eagles Football team and a pastor of the same church for 27 years. Other countries where our Judicial Council members have lived include Norway, the Congo, Liberia, Mozambique…California, Kansas, Ohio, New Jersey (Oh, aren’t they countries? Well, they can be as different as countries!)

And most of all, like you and me, they yearn to follow where Christ leads us as a United Methodist people, and they seek to make fair and impartial judgments about the General Conference decisions. Please keep them in your prayers.

Learn more about the Judicial Council and its members and the decisions at: http://www.umc.org/who-we-are/judicial-council.

Holy Week and Easter
4/16/2019

Dear Partners in Ministry,

Some thoughts and observations from this past week…

+ UNTYING DONKEYS   The Chair of the church’s Board of Trustees spotted a brand new, never ridden in, SUV (Savior’s Ultimate Vehicle) in the parking lot.  When the owner came out of church, the Trustees Chair said to the owner, “Give me the keys, so I can use your SUV!”  Question: “Why are you taking it?”   Answer: “The Lord needs it.”

The Palm Sunday story is more about the disciples than it is about Jesus. More verses are devoted to the disciples providing the vehicle for Jesus to enter Jerusalem, than to the entrance itself.  They were the key partners in making Palm Sunday happen.

Maybe the story was told again and again to remind us all that we disciples are called to untie some of our cherished “donkeys” if Jesus is ever going to have a vehicle to come into our world today.  We are necessary partners in this ministry!  Why?  “The Lord needs it!”  (Luke 19:29-38)

Know of any donkeys that need untying?

+ SPRING CLEANING… SPRING GLEEMING Trinity UMC on the Amelia Charge is made up of older Anglo adults and young Latino adults. Pastor Callie Walker writes that this spring, cleaning the church inside and out took only three hours!  Why?  See the picture of the team and the gleem! Trinity started a Spanish outreach 15 years ago that has borne fruit in the form of 30 new members with young families and lots of gleaming community and witness for Christ.  These days, Trinity has one worship service in English, and two in Spanish. Quote: “The energy and new life that this has given to Trinity are a blessing to all.”

+ CROSS WORK Coming into worship last Sunday, we had all been handed palm leaves. In the pew behind us a wonderful new member from Liberia began to shape her palm into a carefully crafted cross.  Soon others in front of her, beside her, behind her, different ages, backgrounds, nationalities were learning from her how to shape their palm leaves into a cross (the picture is of one of them).  There was great joy in the cross work.

Isn’t that the way with the Cross of Christ.  We are bound together by the cross, learning from each other, working together, sharing “new creation,” rising to new, life-giving relationships with one another and God!

+ THE ESSENCE OF NOTRE DAME The tragic fire and loss at Notre Dame in Paris has stirred many responses. For some it is the art and architecture, for others the national/global landmark status. My most abiding memory of visiting Notre Dame on a cold December day as a seminary student, was the dozens of homeless people sleeping in the aisles near the heating grates and the nuns and others trying to minister to them.
 
As one of the observers yesterday said, "The essence of Notre Dame is the Living Christ and the people gathered to follow Him." Whatever the art and architecture, or humble simplicity of your church building this Holy Week, like Notre Dame, the real essence is the Living Christ and those gathered to follow Him. Celebrate it. Serve those whom Christ loves. Don't just go to the church building. Be the Church! Christ lives!

May it be so for you, and all of us this Holy Week and Easter.

Grace and Peace,
Pete Weaver

Partners in Ministry
4/9/2019

Dear Partners in Ministry,

+THANKS BE TO GOD for all the partners in ministry, laity and clergy who make up the Virginia Conference.  Last week I met with the conference Cabinet for four full and long days (in retirement I had forgotten how long some meeting can be!)  But the Holy Spirit was in our worship, our prayerful conversation about appointments (over 100 made), our “weeping with those who weep,” and our “rejoicing” in many of you who are engaged in life-changing and world changing ministry (I spotlight a few below).

+THE “McDONALD’S GOLDEN ARCHES” became a sanctuary for sharing the “bread of life.”  This innovative ministry was started by members of the New Hope UMC in Stafford as they sought to reach and build relationship with new people by going to McDonalds.  Eating, fellowshipping, relating, connecting with people’s needs, praying….sounds like Jesus.  Where better to do it than under the big “M” (for “mission”).  Now, even the workers at the McDonalds help to look out for folks in need and direct them to the New Hope “Bread of Life” folks!  Maybe the “M” means “miracles.”
If you want to know more are this ministry for your church, call the Rev. Teresa Smith at 540-370-4875.

+THREE LOCAL CHURCHES ARE A TRINITY OF PARTNERSHIP in feeding, praying for, and being Gospel (Good News) for folks living around the Prince Edward Charge in the Farmville District.  People from the Beulah, Mt. Pleasant, and Mt. Harmony congregations meet twice a week, 51 weeks of the year to organize donated food, collect fresh grown food, pray and then each Saturday to share with over 200 families the caring and bounty…..”the gifts of God for the people of God!”
If you want to know more about this ministry for your church, call the Rev. Evelyn Penn at 434-223-8237.

+THE LATINO CLERGY CAUCUS welcomed me as a partner in ministry last Friday with joyous singing and fervent laying-on-of hands prayer.  We are greatly blessed as a conference to be able to partner together in sharing Christ in different languages and cultural traditions.  I shared how much my own spiritual journey had been enriched through Latino ministries in the areas I have served and Nicaragua.  The joy and challenge has been spreading here as Latino leaders from Trinity UMC in Amelia, Ramsey Memorial UMC in Richmond, and Floris UMC in Herndon have been trained as “Lay Servants.”  Creative new strategies are being developed with the help of Dean Wingeier-Rayo of Wesley Seminary.  What great partners in ministry!  The Spirit is moving!
If you want to know more about this ministry for your church, call the Rev. IIeana Rosario at 804-776-6250.

The Virignia Conference Latino Clergy Caucus

Grace and Peace to you all as we share the Lenten Journey!

Partners in Ministry
4/2/2019

Partners in Ministry is meant to be some periodic, random thoughts, prayers and experiences which God is stirring in me as I journey with you in following Jesus and serving Virginia while God brings healing to Bishop Lewis. It was only four days before I started serving you as your interim bishop that I had any notion that this might happen. God is full of surprises. 

Bishop Lewis assured me that there are great people…partners in ministry… in Virginia. And she is right. So far in my short time serving, I have met wonderful children, scientists, retirees, farmers, artists, youth, teachers, military personnel, conference staff, and, yes, pastors (!) and, yes, one very friendly United Methodist dog in the parking lot of the church hosting the Danville District conference! God is full of gifts.

I will confess, that when I started, having never served in the Virginia Conference, I felt really challenged to learn new names of people and places I had never heard of before (how do you spell Rappahannock again?). And I knew, as you do, that we are living in a time when the church is experiencing many different challenges. But then I remembered the night that I was very unexpectedly elected a bishop and a teenager handed me a small card that said, “The task ahead of you is never as great as the power behind you.” That card still sits on my desk…and still stirs my soul. God is full of faithful promises.

So I write to you, as Paul did to the challenged and sometimes conflicted church in Corinth, “We are God’s servants working together…The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. My love be with all of you in Christ Jesus.” (I Cor. 3:9, 16:23-24) God is full of surprises, gifts, promises and grace making us Partners in Ministry together.

 

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