The Latest Edition of E-News - COVID-19 Update for Local Churches, Advent Study from WNCC Resource Center, Creating Diverse, Just, & Equitable Spaces, and more

November 18, 2020

E-News - November 18, 2020

E-News is an email newsletter sent out by the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. It contains important news, stories, and events from around our conference. Submit articles for the next e-news. Submit events.


*UPDATED* Phase Three Extension Guidelines for In-Person Worship & Ministry During COVID-19
Yesterday, Governor Cooper released a new COVID-19 County Alert System to give individuals, businesses, community organizations, and public officials another tool to understand the community spread in their county and to make decisions about actions to slow the spread of the virus. The Bishop and Cabinet urge pastors and church leaders to use this system to monitor their county and to reconsider their decision to hold indoor worship, particularly if their county is “red." All local churches are asked to use extreme caution in response to the recent rapid spread of the virus.

Find the latest update and the full Phase Three Extension Guidelines here

This video from the North Carolina Conference "is designed to be used with your church’s leadership team and those who help make decisions about worship gatherings over the next few weeks and months...We encourage you to watch the video and have some discussion with your teams as you prayerfully consider how you will gather as faith communities."


Funds Available for Expenses Incurred During COVID-Related Food Relief Ministries
Resourceful Communities is working with Livingstone College to manage an application and selection process to reimburse community and faith partners in rural communities for expenses incurred during COVID-related food relief ministries between March 1, 2020 to November 12, 2020.

Resourceful Communities will offer two informational webinars on November 19 (at 12 noon and 6 pm).  You can find details on their Facebook page, and they will also record and post the presentations their website. Online applications will be due Wednesday, December 2, 2020 by 11:59 p.m. 
Means of Grace: Creating Diverse, Just and Equitable Spaces of Faith

In this episode, Dr. Otto Harris, the senior pastor of St. Mark’s United Methodist in Charlotte and the Interim Director of the Conference Comprehensive Plan of Equity, has an important conversation on diversity, inclusion and belonging with local diversity experts, Veronica Calderon, Chief Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Officer at Aldersgate Continuing Care Retirement Community and Fernando G. Little, Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer at Atrium Health.

New Advent Resource from the WNCC Resource Center

Zoomed out? Tired of technology? Can't stand to look at a screen for one more minute? We get it.

This Advent, go back in time and engage with ancient spiritual practices designed to help you find more hope, peace, joy and love in your life.

Adventus: Ancient Practices for an Advent at Home - the latest resource from the WNCC Resource Center - includes five lessons: one for each week of Advent plus an extra lesson for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

Resource Roundup - Week of November 16, 2020

We scanned the internet for resources that will be of interest and value to you and your ministries. This week's roundup includes "What to Consider Before Regathering Face-to-Face," Advent books and social media graphics, and creative ways to safely celebrate Advent and Christmas during a pandemic.

Spring Sessions Canceled

Due to rapid spread of COVID-19, the Spring 2021 sessions of the Antiracism Ethics Trainings have been canceled. The sessions will be rescheduled at a later date with new locations. Anyone who already registered will be issued a refund and will need to register again for another training. Additional trainings will be announced at a future date. Please check the Ethics webpage for updates and more information.


Means of Grace: Starting a House Church Network
Several churches across the conference have started house church networks since the onset of the pandemic and countless more are beginning to experiment with them in the coming months as the weather gets colder and outdoor worship gets harder. In this episode Luke Edwards sits down with Rev. Sam Burleson and Amy Cochran of Salem UMC in Bostic. We hear about the house church network that arose this year at their church and some of the lessons they’ve learned so far.

Applications Now Accepted for Intentional Growth Center Grants
The Intentional Growth Center is pleased to announce it is now awarding grants to local congregations and church organizations.   Grants will be available for ministries that increase Christian Discipleship and Church Leader Development for clergy and laity of all denominations, but with primary attention to persons of the Southeastern Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church.


Resource Roundup - Week of November 9, 2020
We scanned the internet for resources that will be of interest and value to you and your ministries. This week's Roundup includes resources for Student Day (Sunday, November 29), free coloring page prayers for when you feel anxious, and Advent & Christmas resources for worshipping together and at home.


Dismantling Racism Events
Upcoming conversations on November 18, December 9, 1 p.m. EST
Around the connection, United Methodists are gathering online and in-person to do the difficult work of dismantling racism. Find an event to attend or watch the video of one that has already occurred.
Racial Healing and the Gospel of Reconciliation
The next conversation will be held November 19, 9 a.m.

Using racial healing as our focus, participants will learn a 6-step process of reconciliation that can be taken back to congregations as a resource tool for further healing and reconciliation in their communities.
Journey Inward - The Big Silence Retreat
January 17-20, 2021

We are all on a spiritual journey in this life, but so much of our journey is spent outside of ourselves. How often do you get away from the distractions of this world to find a holy place within? When was the last time you just hung out with God with no expectations whatsoever? Maybe it’s time for you to journey inward at The Big Silence Retreat. Start the New Year with a different kind of experience.

Director of Communications: Melissa McGill

Communications Ministry Assistant: Aimee Yeager