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Legislative Update

Sixth District Perspectives with Congressman Ben Cline: May 11th, 2019

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Not everything in Washington is partisan politics. On Thursday in the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Members had the opportunity to question Andrei Iancu, Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. It was a wonderful opportunity to address a concern residents of Virginia’s Sixth Congressional District grapple with each time they fill a prescription.

It is no secret that prescription drug prices are at record highs and experts do not expect prices to fall back to Earth anytime soon. In fact, a recent study found prescription prices rose 3.3 percent in 2018, are protected to grow 4.6 percent this year, and could average 6.1 percent per year through 2027. With prices continuing to rise, Congress must ensure that the marketplace includes timely access for citizens to affordable generic drugs.

While Thursday’s subcommittee hearing was bipartisan, I was disappointed Wednesday to see my colleagues put politics ahead of policy and the law. Led by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, Democratic Members of the committee voted to hold Attorney General William Barr in contempt of Congress for his refusal to release protected grand jury material, a violation of federal law. This is despite the fact that the Attorney General has provided transparency to Congress and the American people, releasing the Mueller Report to the committee and the public. The vote on Wednesday was simply designed to score political points rather than further debate on important issues facing our nation.

On the floor this week, we passed bills that reaffirm long-standing relations with Taiwan and promote American business diplomacy abroad.

H.Res. 273 not only reaffirms the U.S. relationship with Taiwan but encourages strengthened relations with one of Asia’s most mature and stable democracies. America’s friendship with Taiwan is as vital now as it was 40 years ago. I support increased relations and was proud to support this bill.

H.R. 1704, the Championing American Business Through Diplomacy Act of 2019, would require American ambassadors to promote American economic interests in the nations where they are based. Ambassadors and their staffs would receive training on economic diplomacy, which would promote the export of American goods and services. This has the potential to grow the American manufacturing sector and further strengthen our nation’s already impressive economic growth and record employment figures.

As I have discussed in previous columns, the nation’s economy continues to show strength. Just this week, Hershey announced a $104 million expansion in Stuarts Draft which will add 65 new jobs. Last week, Merck announced a $1 billion expansion in Elkton which will add dozens of jobs paying high wages. These are just a few examples of how tax cuts and a reduction in Washington red tape has led to investment in our communities and its citizens. I believe the economy can continue to charge forward if Congress identifies and cuts areas of the federal bureaucracy which are impeding growth. I am committed to protecting Virginia jobs and growing our economy. This is how job creators will invest in expansion and add more people to the payroll, allowing more Virginians to achieve the American dream.

I thank you for the opportunity to serve as your representative in Congress. Please reach out with questions or if you need assistance with a federal agency by calling (202) 225-5431 or visiting cline.house.gov.

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Legislative Update

Sixth District Perspectives with Congressman Ben Cline – August 24, 2019

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Israel Visit

I recently had the honor of participating in a bipartisan visit to Israel and the West Bank alongside over 50 Democratic and 30 Republican Members. There, we met with political and military officials from Israel and the Palestinian Authority. I gained a deeper understanding of the security threat faced by Israelis and remain steadfast in my support of America’s closest ally.

Since taking office in January, I have been committed to the continued viability of the Jewish State and have cosponsored and voted in favor of several pieces of legislation to that end. One such resolution I signed onto was H. Res. 246 – Opposing efforts to delegitimize the State of Israel and the Global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) Movement targeting Israel. For those who might not know what the BDS Movement is, it is a global campaign led by Palestine intended to economically harm Israel through international sanctions, pressuring companies to cut ties with Israel, and pushing individuals around the world to boycott businesses who support the nation-state. These targeted attacks are designed to promote the destruction of the state of Israel, and is why I was proud to join 397 of my colleagues in passing this bill in the House.

I also cosponsored H.R. 1837 – the United States-Israel Cooperation Enhancement and Regional Security Act. Israel is under constant threat from its neighbors, and the United States must stand with the greatest stabilizing force in the Middle-East. H.R. 1837 authorizes increased security assistants to Israel, which includes the transfer of reserve stock weapons and boosts defense funding over the next five years. Legislation such as this is important to ensuring the continued security of our strategic partner in the region.

Anniversary of the 19th Amendment
This week began with the celebration of the 99th anniversary of the enactment of the 19th Amendment, and it is important to remember the women and men whose forward thinking made for a stronger and more unified country.

In July 1848, the first Women’s Rights Convention was convened in Seneca Falls, New York. There, a Declaration of Sentiments was brought forth and signed by 68 women and 32 men in support of equal rights for women, most notably the right to vote. After decades of trials and tribulations, Congress voted to approve the 19th Amendment in the Summer of 1919. One year later, Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote.

On this 99th anniversary, I am proud to recognize the many notable Virginia suffragists who fought for their God given right to equality. Most notably was Mary Johnston, a distinguished author from Buchanan and founding member of the Equal Suffrage League of Virginia. A Bath County native, Ms. Johnston believed that women were wholly capable of achieving any successes in which they aspired to.

As an outspoken woman ahead of her time, Mary Johnston had multiple articles published in the Equal Suffrage League’s monthly paper, the Virginia Suffrage News. She helped further the goals of the women’s suffrage movement in a positive and expeditious fashion. Today, and every day, I am thankful for women like Mary who advocate for their equal and unalienable rights in this nation. We are stronger because of them.

Passing Legislation
If you follow my column weekly, then you are certainly aware of the Small Business Reorganization Act. I am proud to announce that this bill, which I authored, was signed into law by the President this week. While it is my hope small business owners will never need to use the provisions of this bill, I am pleased that they now will have the necessary resources to make successful the businesses that they have worked so hard to build.

For more information regarding this bill, I encourage you to read last week’s column at: https://cline.house.gov/sixth-district-perspectives

It is an honor to serve you and all people of Virginia’s Sixth Congressional District. If my office can ever be of assistance in the future, please do not hesitate to reach out. I also encourage you to like my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages to stay up to date on legislative initiatives and District happenings.

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Legislative Update

Sixth District Perspectives with Congressman Ben Cline – August 18, 2019

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Legislative Update
In the eight months since becoming your representative in Congress, the office has been busy serving the people of Virginia’s Sixth Congressional District. We have received and answered over 41,000 pieces of mail from constituents, and have also successfully closed 562 casework inquiries related to federal agencies. While providing reliable and timely constituent services is a top priority as your representative, I have also cast more than 400 votes on the House floor, and I have jumped into my assignments on the House Judiciary Committee and the House Education and Labor Committee with vigor.

At times, I have been on the opposite side of tough debates with my Democratic colleagues. However, much of my work has been in a bipartisan spirit as well. Of the 50 bills I have co-sponsored, 19 of them have a Democratic lead and 35 of them have a Democratic co-sponsor.

This week, two bills I authored and championed through the House and Senate are on the President’s desk awaiting his signature. H.R. 3311 – the Small Business Reorganization Act – and H.R. 3304 – the National Guard and Reservists Debt Relief Extension Act of 2019 – both passed the chambers of Congress by large margins and are examples of the work taking place behind the scenes.

As you may know, the Small Business Reorganization Act is a bill which opens a portion of the bankruptcy code to small business owners so they can restructure in much the same way as small family farmers. Instead of shutting down and auctioning bits and pieces of a business in order to only pay back a portion of debt, this bill allows companies with otherwise sound business models to keep the doors open and employees on payroll as they renegotiate with lenders. It gives the opportunity for small businesses to regroup and make their debtors whole at the same time. This legislation is a win-win for local economies where community banks are often the ones providing funding for the region’s small businesses.

The National Guard and Reservists Debt Relief Extension Act is a piece of legislation many may not be familiar with but is just as important. All of us know citizen service-members who serve in the reserves or the National Guard. Often, this commitment means our nation’s guardsmen and reservists are recalled to active duty with little lead time resulting in personal finances and other responsibilities being placed on he back-burner. When a member of the Guard or a reservist returns from active duty, there can be a lot of time and effort rebuilding their personal lives, including personal finances. This legislation extends a law already on the books that allows these American heroes the ability to streamline the restructuring of their finances.

I am proud that these bills will be signed into law, much as I have been honored to see other bills I have sponsored and co-sponsored be signed into law. These include bills which would designate the National George C. Marshal Museum and Library at Virginia Military Institute; establish a permanent 9/11 Victim’s Compensation Fund to aid those impacted from their service at Ground Zero; expand the jurisdictional waters for veterans impacted by Agent Orange exposure during the Vietnam War; and of course the LEGION Act which opens membership to the American Legion for all those who honorably served.

Be sure to keep up to date on my work in Congress by visiting cline.house.gov and clicking on the “Votes & Bills” tab at the top of the page. You may also visit Congress.gov to research any of the bills I have co-sponsored so far this Congress.

White House Christmas
While it may seem early to start thinking about Christmas, the White House has already begun to plan for the holiday season. The First Lady and her team are seeking volunteers to assist in their efforts, and I wanted to be sure that constituents of the Sixth District have the opportunity to participate. The White House is looking for individuals not only to help decorate the hallowed halls of the President’s home, but is also in need of greeters to welcome guests during the Holiday Open Houses. Further, the White House is hoping to find musicians, high school bands, and other holiday themed entertainers to preform throughout the Christmas season. This is an exciting opportunity, and I hope you have the chance to assist our President and be a part of history.

Individuals interested in decorating the White House or serving as a greeter at the Holiday Open Houses may apply HERE. The application will close on August 27, 2019. Please note each person must sign-up individually, as no group sign-ups will be accepted. Applicants may outline specific requests and previous, relatable work experience using the online form. Applicants will be notified by September 25, 2019.

Musicians – either individuals or groups – may apply HERE through September 10, 2019. Please note the form allows applicants to select a range of dates during the month of December. All confirmed applicants will be assigned a particular date and time for their performance. Additional requests or requirements may be outlined using the online form. Applicants will be notified by October 2, 2019.

All questions should be directed to volunteers@who.eop.gov.

It is an honor to serve you and all people of Virginia’s Sixth Congressional District. If my office can ever be of assistance in the future, please do not hesitate to contact my office at (540) 885-3861. I also encourage you to like my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages to stay up to date on legislative initiatives and District happenings.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve.

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Legislative Update

Sixth District Perspectives with Congressman Ben Cline – August 10, 2019

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Tragedy and Terrorism
This week, our nation was struck by tragedy as two assailants took the lives of at least 31 people in El Paso and Dayton. We must call these events what they are – terrorism. When an individual commits heinous acts of mass violence to further a cause based in racial, religious, or political hatred, no other word fits the bill. Hate of any kind has no place in America. We must continue to call out this evil if we are to ultimately defeat it.

Over the last seven months, I have worked with my colleagues to offer realistic solutions to address the issue of violence in America. One piece of legislation I have co-sponsored is H.R. 1339, the Mass Violence Prevention Act. If passed, the legislation would address the challenges underlying repeated tragedies, including failures in law enforcement coordination and response. Further, it gives law enforcement the resources necessary to prevent and deter gun violence by prosecuting criminals for firearm-related crimes and reducing the flow of firearms into the black market. Another bill, the Threat Assessment, Prevention, and Safety Act would provide states the resources needed to establish multidisciplinary behavioral threat assessment units within law enforcement agencies to root out potential threats.

Border Visit
Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to travel to McAllen, Texas, to see for myself the conditions of migrant men, women, and children who have been detained after illegally crossing our southern border. While hundreds of these migrants are entering the U.S. at official ports of entry, many thousands more are crossing our border illegally before claiming asylum.

Some of the individuals I encountered may have been facing immediate danger from war or religious persecution, but most of them are simply seeking better lives for themselves and their families here in America. While wanting to live in America is certainly understandable, and I am happy to assist those individuals who want to apply for citizenship through our legal immigration process, it is not a reason to enter the country illegally or to be granted asylum. For these individuals, it is important that they receive quick consideration by immigration officials and are returned to their home countries as soon as possible.

While there, I was pleased to see that conditions at the Customs and Border Patrol detention and processing centers are much different than those portrayed by some of my Democratic colleagues. Families are kept together, and migrants are provided with immediate medical care, evaluated for sickness and disease, provided with hot showers, clothing, shoes, blankets, and meals. I saw children with crackers, granola bars, juice boxes, and amenities like cartoons, books, and soccer balls. The conditions in the holding facilities are not the picture some of my colleagues and the mainstream media want you to believe.

I was also pleased to visit with the brave men and women of Customs and Border Patrol. Understaffed and underfunded, the officials at CBP have a nearly impossible task. They cannot turn anyone away, and they must address the humanitarian needs of those coming into the country, but that leaves too few to actually do their primary job: patrol the border. They face dangerous surroundings with Mexican cartels just across the Rio Grande river, and they must use their limited resources to prevent drugs, gangs, and criminals engaged in human trafficking and sex trafficking from crossing the river. I was given a boat ride by CBP along the Rio Grande and saw individuals entering the river from the Mexican side. Each day, these brave CBP officers risk their lives to keep us safe here at home from the dangers coming across our border.

Mobile Office Hours
For those in need of constituent services, my staff has already begun to host August Casework Staff Mobile Office Hours. Staff members will be available to meet with citizens to assist with problems they might have with a federal agency and hear their views on current issues before Congress. Mobile office hours may be found at http://cline.house.gov/about/events and there you can locate the Casework Staff Mobile Office Hours near you. If you cannot attend a mobile office hour, my office can always be reached at (540) 857-2672.

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Legislative Update

Sixth District Perspectives with Congressman Ben Cline – August 4, 2019

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Tuesday was a special day for veterans across America as President Donald Trump signed into law the LEGION Act. If you read this column regularly, you have heard about this important legislation which would expand American Legion eligibility to men and women who served during conflicts which were not previously classified as wars. This means veterans of conflicts ranging from Vietnam to Iraq and Afghanistan have the opportunity to join the Legion, connect with veterans, and have an organization to advocate on their behalf.

I was honored to join veterans and fellow lawmakers in the Oval Office on Tuesday when this legislation was signed into law. I co-authored this bill with Democratic Congressman Lou Correa in the House, while a bipartisan group pushed this bill through the Senate. It is an example of how we can work together to get things done.

Another example of working across the aisle occurred in the Senate this week, where the Small Business Reorganization Act passed the Senate and is now on its way to President Trump for his signature. I authored this legislation which Democratic Congressmen David Cicilline and Steve Cohen. House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Doug Collins also co-sponsored this legislation, which provides a legal avenue for businesses with less than $2.5 million in debt to file for bankruptcy in a timelier and more cost-effective manner. While in bankruptcy reorganization, a small business would be able to negotiate with creditors while keeping the doors open, employees on payroll, and suppliers and vendors paid.

The legislation works much like a provision in Chapter 12 of the bankruptcy code which helps family farms restructure while continuing to operate. I am excited that the House and Senate have both agreed with me that this option should be available to small businesses which have had a rough year but have an otherwise sound business. Another bill passed last week which I co-authored is an extension of the National Guard and Reservists Debt Relief Act, which gives guardsmen and reservists who served active duty since 9/11 a streamlined process for restructuring their debt and rebuild their financial life. I am excited for these bills to land on the president’s desk, where I expect him to sign it into law.

I am excited that we have worked this year to pass laws benefiting veterans and small business owners. At the same time, we have been hard at work on legislation which will help all Americans who are dealing with the deluge of robocalls. You and I all have experienced a robocall. Not only are they annoying, but often the calls are from fraudsters trying to cheat you out of your hard-earned money. Laws on the books right now are not only preventing the calls but as I noted in an email to Attorney General William Barr, enforcement against bad actors have collected less than $7,000 of the more than $200 million in fines issued by the FCC.

That is why I was proud to co-sponsor H.R. 3375, the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act, which passed the House last week. The bill mandates efforts to stop these calls before bad actors can hit the “Send” button, including free robocall blocking provided by phone service providers and technology to prevent spoofing (using a fake caller ID phone number). The Senate has passed similar legislation, a sign to the American people that we will not stop working on this important issue that impacts each and every one of us.

Thank you for the opportunity to work on veterans issues, small business legislation, and ways to prevent robocalls. If you have an issue that needs to be addressed legislatively, I ask you to call my Washington office at (202) 225-5431.

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Legislative Update

Senate passes Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019; sent to President to sign

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WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), a member of the Senate Budget Committee, issued the following statement today following the Senate passage of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019, a two-year bipartisan budget deal that would suspend the debt ceiling until July 2021:

“Today I voted to preserve the full faith and credit of the United States and steer us away from another harmful government shutdown in the fall. By suspending the debt ceiling for two years, the bipartisan budget agreement guarantees that the United States will continue to pay our bills, while also preventing harmful sequester cuts that would hurt our military and jeopardize important programs that serve our veterans, prepare our children for the future, and rebuild our crumbling roads and bridges.

“Even with this deal, overall spending on education, research and development, homeland security, and other important investments will still be near historic lows as a percent of the economy. Our nation’s long-term fiscal challenges are real, but they are primarily due to declining tax revenue and a failure to reform our mandatory spending programs. It is disappointing that congressional and White House negotiators chose to pay for only a fraction of this deal, with fee increases and cuts to spending, when there are more sustainable and equitable ways we could have paid for this must-pass legislation. We should be asking large corporations and the wealthiest among us to contribute more—not putting $2 trillion in tax breaks that disproportionately benefit them on the nation’s credit cards. I continue to believe that we must do more to strengthen our nation’s balance sheet, so it is strong enough to sustain continued economic growth for the long term, and I urge my colleagues from both parties to more seriously address our financial challenges in the future.”

The legislation, which passed the House of Representatives on July 25 by a vote of 284 – 149, now heads to the President’s desk for approval.

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Legislative Update

President Trump signs Cline’s LEGION Act into law

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Official White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian

WASHINGTON – President Donald J. Trump signed the LEGION Act into law Tuesday, July 30. Congressman Ben Cline, who co-authored the bipartisan House bill with Congressman Lou Correa (CA-46), attended the bill signing at the White House. The legislation, which would expand American Legion membership criteria to include all honorably discharged veterans who served during unrecognized times of war, was also co-sponsored by Congressman Gil Cisneros (CA-39).

“This is a momentous occasion for all veterans who have honorably served in the United States Armed Forces,” Cline said. “I thank President Trump for signing the LEGION Act into law and expanding the reach of the American Legion to even more of our nation’s heroes. This is the type of bipartisan work I am proud to do in Congress. I will continue to join with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to best serve the people of Virginia’s Sixth Congressional District as we tackle the challenges facing our nation.”

Cline and Correa’s House version of the bill had 108 co-sponsors from both parties.

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Upcoming Events

Aug
24
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4:30 pm Front Royal Salvation Army Corps... @ Salvation Army
Front Royal Salvation Army Corps... @ Salvation Army
Aug 24 @ 4:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Front Royal Salvation Army Corps BBQ Cookout @ Salvation Army
The Front Royal Salvation Army Corps will host a BBQ Cookout on Saturday, August 24, 2019, from 4:30 pm to 8:30 pm at 296 South Street, Front Royal. A BBQ chicken meal, including chips and[...]
Aug
27
Tue
1:30 pm Botanicals in Watercolor I @ Art in the Valley
Botanicals in Watercolor I @ Art in the Valley
Aug 27 @ 1:30 pm – 4:00 pm
Botanicals in Watercolor I @ Art in the Valley
This four week course with the instructor, Elena Maza, will deal with the basic three-primary color palette, different pigments and how they interact, how to mix all colors from three primary colors, how to apply[...]
Aug
29
Thu
1:00 pm Substance Abuse and Recovery Summit @ Mountain Home Bed and Breakfast
Substance Abuse and Recovery Summit @ Mountain Home Bed and Breakfast
Aug 29 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Substance Abuse and Recovery Summit @ Mountain Home Bed and Breakfast
The McShin Foundation and RSW (Rappahannock, Shenandoah, and Warren County) Regional Jail would like to invite you to our substance abuse and recovery summit to be held on August 29, 2019, in Front Royal, Virginia.[...]
Aug
31
Sat
1:00 pm DJ Skyhigh’s End of Summer Blast @ Warren County Fair
DJ Skyhigh’s End of Summer Blast @ Warren County Fair
Aug 31 @ 1:00 pm – 9:00 pm
DJ Skyhigh's End of Summer Blast @ Warren County Fair
Come join DJ Skyhigh for his end of summer blast. Lisa Bell will be hosting wine tastings (at an additional charge) of over 50 international wines. Wines may also be purchased by the bottle to[...]
Sep
3
Tue
1:30 pm Watercolor Landscapes @ Art in the Valley
Watercolor Landscapes @ Art in the Valley
Sep 3 @ 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Watercolor Landscapes @ Art in the Valley
This four week course with instructor Elena Maza will focus on learning basic skills to create watercolor landscape paintings: basic composition and use of color and value to create a sense of depth and distance.[...]
Sep
4
Wed
1:30 pm Botanical Drawing @ Art in the Valley
Botanical Drawing @ Art in the Valley
Sep 4 @ 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm
Botanical Drawing @ Art in the Valley
Learn and practice the art of botanical drawing in pencil with local artist and instructor Elena Maza. This four session course will focus on learning basic drawing skills as applied to botanicals: basic line drawings[...]
Sep
7
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10:00 am SHS Marching Band Mattress Fundr... @ Skyline High School
SHS Marching Band Mattress Fundr... @ Skyline High School
Sep 7 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
SHS Marching Band Mattress Fundraiser @ Skyline High School
Skyline High School Marching Band is having a mattress sale fundraiser on Saturday, September 7, 2019, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Skyline High School (151 Skyline Vista Drive, Front Royal, Virginia). There will[...]
12:00 pm 2019 NFL Kick Off Party @ Sly Fox Golf Club
2019 NFL Kick Off Party @ Sly Fox Golf Club
Sep 7 @ 12:00 pm – 8:00 pm
2019 NFL Kick Off Party @ Sly Fox Golf Club
Golf – “Captains Choice Format” 12pm Shotgun “Tail Gate” Food and Drinks – 5pm to 8pm Golf + Food & Drinks $45 Tail Gate Food & Drinks Only $15
1:00 pm Strokes of Creativity: 1-year ce... @ Strokes of Creativity
Strokes of Creativity: 1-year ce... @ Strokes of Creativity
Sep 7 @ 1:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Strokes of Creativity: 1-year celebration @ Strokes of Creativity
Join us for our 1-year celebration on Sept. 7 from 1-6 pm. We will have demos, and Artist meet and greets. Unique and one of kind items, face painting, crafts and Chase from Paw Patrol will[...]
6:00 pm FRUMC Celebrates Homecoming @ Front Royal United Methodist Church
FRUMC Celebrates Homecoming @ Front Royal United Methodist Church
Sep 7 @ 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
FRUMC Celebrates Homecoming @ Front Royal United Methodist Church
In tandem with the 110th anniversary of the church building, the Front Royal United Methodist Church will host Homecoming ceremonies on Saturday and Sunday, September 7th and 8th. Five previous pastors have agreed to return[...]