Tuesday, May 1, 2018
Blog Posts

May 1, 2018

by Nancy Rankin

I greet you in the name of Jesus Christ and thank you for our shared ministry in our Western North Carolina Conference.  I have decided to retire in June at our Annual Conference.  After much prayer and discernment Terry and I made this decision last fall and I told Bishop Leeland in October.  Then I shared the news with my District Superintendency Committee and then to our District.

I have truly loved the challenge and privilege of working with the people of the Northern Piedmont District to establish a new District that functions through thirteen Missional Networks.  Many of you have gladly embraced our Wesleyan values of connectional ministries of sharing resources and engaging our communities as groups of churches rather than as competing, isolated entities.  Your joint efforts have made positive impacts on the lives of children and adults through ministries that have addressed food and hunger, race relations and reconciliation, community engagement, discipleship training, spiritual formation, and faith sharing.  Healthy congregations have reached out to struggling congregations and have brought new hope and the ability to continuing serving. 

Christ UMC in Greensboro has led the way in partnering by their sharing of a pastor and resources with St. Timothy UMC.  On Sunday, February 25th, they voted overwhelmingly to merge with Glenwood UMC which was dying.  Now both churches can join together to see that ministry in that neighborhood continues and expands while caring for the elderly congregation that remains.  Included in that outreach will be their ministry with the Immanuel UMC Hispanic, Latino Mission congregation which meets there.  

We have celebrated other positive mergers with Summerfield UMC and Peace UMC joining together as our first cross racial merger.  Jamestown UMC merged with Oakdale UMC, Montlieu UMC merged with Hickory Grove UMC and Christ UMC in High Point merged with Oakview UMC.  Woodmont UMC merged with First Reidsville UMC which was renamed “Mission First,” that now houses non-profit groups and hosts a thriving Monday night worship service and meal.  Mayodan welcomed the members of the Vida Nueva Mission to their worship services after it closed.  Ward Street and Rankin Memorial Mission Churches in High Point continue to change the lives of the people in their neighborhoods in profound ways. 

We welcomed the Neighborhood Seminary as a pilot in our District in partnership with Duke Divinity School.  This is designed for laity and is a two year certificate program equipping laity to be leaders in their congregations and communities.  We have a School of Spiritual Direction for clergy seeking certification as Spiritual Directors.  And we have a new, multi-cultural congregation in Greensboro named The Good Neighbor Movement led by Rev. Brandon Wrencher. 

We now have eighteen cross racial, multi-cultural appointments in our District.  Our churches are trying to model what it is to be the beloved community. 

I have been so blessed to work with Landa Wallace, Lynne Gilbert, and Maria King in our District Office.  These women are deeply committed, hardworking servants of Christ.  One could not ask for a better team in ministry.  I will miss them more than I can express.

And to Bishop Leeland and my dear colleagues on the Cabinet and the Conference Staff, I thank you for the joy it has been to work with you.  We have become a family and I will so miss our time together and the support we have given to one another. 

June of 2018 will mark 35 years since I was ordained and this year will complete 7 years of service as a District Superintendent in this term.  I served previously as a District Superintendent from 1996-2001.  I have pastored churches and been the Conference Director of Congregational Development.  It has been a challenging, wonderful journey, and I give thanks for the privilege.  Be assured I will complete this appointment season and all that remains until I hand it off to my successor, Rev. Bev Coppley.  Thank you for this time together.  God has been so gracious. 

Your fellow Servant of Christ,
Nancy B. Rankin

Rev. Dr. Nancy Rankin will be retiring as of July 1 as the superintendent of the Northern Piedmont District