The Latest Edition of E-News - Means of Grace with Rev. Dr. Sam Wells, Winter Leadership Training, MLK, Jr. Commemoration, and more

January 7, 2021

E-News - January 6, 2021

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.


Means of Grace: The Heart of Our Calling with Dr. Sam Wells
In this first new episode of 2021, we have a guest host, Parker Haynes, pastor of Trinity UMC in King, NC and member of the Leadership Development Team. He interviews the Rev. Dr. Samuel Wells, Vicar of St. Martin-in-the-Fields in London, parish priest of the Church of England, and former Dean of Duke Chapel, and research professor of Christian ethics at Duke Divinity School.

Dr. Wells speaks to us as a follow-up to a recent webinar that he participated in through Duke Divinity School called “Soul-Tending in a Virtual Age: How to Preach, Pastor, and Disciple in these Challenging Times.” In the webinar, Dr. Wells offered eight beatitudes that seek to realign our imaginations from the incarceration of lockdown to the joy of salvation. In the podcast he digs deeper into that concept by moving us from the mindset of scarcity to the mindset of God’s abundance by helping us see the opportunities during this challenging season.

Winter Leadership Training Webinar Series Begins this Sunday

Like most events during the pandemic, our District Winter Leadership Training Events will look a little different for 2021. Rather than hosting in-person events in each district, we will offer a series of Conference-wide training webinars during the week of January 10-14 to resource and equip all areas of your Church leadership.
Jason Moore of Midnight Oil Productions will lead the keynote webinar to launch the series on “Telling the Old Story in a New Time.” Other topics will include: Financial Faithfulness in Uncertain Times, The Ministry of the Staff-Parish Relations Committee, Evangelism During A Pandemic, Leadership During a Pandemic for Church Councils, Racial Equity and Justice, Courageous Conversations, and much more. *The deadline to register is Saturday, January 9th*


2021 WNCC Martin Luther King, Jr Commemoration 
Saturday, January 16, 2021, 10 a.m. EST.
The WNC Black Methodists for Church Renewal, the Justice & Reconciliation Team and the Commission for Religion and Race are pleased to sponsor the 2021 Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration Service. The theme for this year's service is "The Urgency of Now - Ushering in the Kingdom of God," and the keynote speaker will be the Rev. Dr. Joseph Daniels, the Senior Pastor of Emory Fellowship United Methodist Church, Washington DC. With four ways to watch (Zoom, YouTube Live, FB Live, and the WNCC website), we invite you to join us for this important service.
2021 LEAD Conference Moves Online

LEAD creates space for Christian leaders to be vulnerable and courageous, connects them around their hopes for the future, and equips them to bring those hopes into reality. Now, more than ever, in the era of COVID-19, increasing political polarization nationwide, and heightened awareness of racial, social, and economic injustices bursting forth, LEADERS NEED LEAD. 
LEAD 2021, directed by WNCC clergy Brandon Lazarus, will take place online January 25-26 and will feature 14 speakers and leaders (including WNCC clergy Sarah Howell-Miller) who will offer stories of how they’ve led through these unprecedented times.

Mental Health First Aid for Youth Ministry Leaders
The conference is thrilled to partner with Hinton Rural Life Center to offer Youth Mental Health First Aid virtual training on January 26, 2021. Youth Mental Health First Aid is designed to teach adults who regularly interact with young people how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or addiction challenge or is in crisis. The course introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical adolescent development, and teaches a 5-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations. 
Statistical Reporting for 2020 is READY and AVAILABLE!
The GCFA/Western North Carolina Conference statistical system will open on January 2, 2021 and be available for input of 2020 information.  All statistical information must be entered and complete by Monday, February 1, 2021
Join the WNCC Christmas Offering & Donate to Project AGAPE
Project AGAPE is a collaborative effort that we share with our sister Conference, the North Carolina Conference. For 27 years, United Methodists of North Carolina have built churches, schools and medical clinics and have sponsored homes for children. And yet, today, the need is greater than ever before. 
IRS releases 2021 mileage rates

Beginning on January 1, 2021, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:

  • 56 cents per mile driven for business use, down 1.5 cents from the rate for 2020,
  • 16 cents per mile driven for medical, or moving purposes for qualified active duty members of the Armed Forces, down 1 cent from the rate for 2020, and
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations, the rate is set by statute and remains unchanged from 2020.

The release can be downloaded here:

2021 Explore Summer Internships

The Explore Summer Internship exists to help young adults (18-25 years old) discern their call to vocational ministry by providing an environment for exploring their gifts and giving the intern opportunities to explore particular aspects of ministry and/or program development in a safe and encouraging environment.   The internship is a hands-on experience in a church setting or a church affiliated organization. Interns engage in a broad range of ministerial work and/or program development then reflect on their experiences. The application deadline is February 25th, 2021.

Virtual Buzz Session by Innovators' Table

Dreaming up a new form of ministry? Not sure what to do next to make it work? Come be part of a Buzz Session! Our next virtual Buzz Session is tentatively scheduled for Jan 27, 2021, in the afternoon via Zoom. 


HIRING: Conference Director of Equity and Justice Ministries
The Western North Carolina Conference is seeking a Conference Director of Equity and Justice Ministries (CDEJM) to direct our strategic efforts in diversity, equity, belonging, and advocacy and to help implement these practices in all areas of Conference and local church ministry.


Check Inz: A New "Contact Free" Check-in App from the Western NC Conference
COVID-19 brought many new challenges, including checking in worship attendees for safety and contract-tracing protocols. In order to help you streamline this process - as well to keep it paperless and contact-free - the Western NC Conference is pleased to introduce Check Inz, a safe way to check people into your location or event that is easy, secure, and socially distanced approved! Sign up is now active to join the BETA test group. The app will be ready for full release in mid-January. For additional questions, contact Chris Hampton, director of web and database administration, at
Reynolds Grants Coming Soon!

Reynolds Ministry Grants will be available to United Methodist ministries in the Western North Carolina Conference yet again! Details will be posted to the United Methodist Foundation of Western North Carolina's website on January 13, 2021. Applications will be due in February 2021.

Ministry Innovation in 2020
Check out all the Ministry Innovation stories you may have missed from 2020!


Webinar: Ways to Start and Improve Small Group Ministry

Tuesday, January 12, 2021 12 p.m.
During the last ten months, small groups have had to adapt. Some small groups started meeting through videoconference, some found ways to meet through physical distancing, and sadly, some stopped meeting altogether. What some churches have found during this time is that even following the COVID-19 crisis, there will be an ongoing need for the use of online small groups. The question is how do we do online small group ministry well? Join the panel of Scott Hughes, Angela Schaffner, and Allen White as they discuss ways to start and improve online small group ministry.

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.

Eating Together Faithfully Online Introductory Training
Friday, January 22, 2021, 12 p.m.

As we look ahead to the possibility and promise of a new year, many of us are wondering how we can make 2021 a time for healing, rebuilding, and cultivating compassionate and equitable communities. Let's begin around the (literal OR virtual) table! The team at Life Around the Table joyfully invites you to join our next Eating Together Faithfully (ETF) Online Introductory Training on Friday, January 22nd!
National Caring Congregation Training
February 26-27, 2021

2020 is coming to a close and now is the time to start planning your training needs for the new year! The Caring Congregation is excited to announce that our next National Webinar has been set for February 26-27, 2021. This live streamed 2-day event covers the Basic CCM Model of Care Training to equip and inspire your staff and volunteers to revitalize your church's care ministry. Take advantage of our Holiday Discount and save $50 per registrant now through Epiphany Jan 6, 2021.

Director of Communications: Melissa McGill

Communications Ministry Assistant: Aimee Yeager