The Latest Edition of E-News - Dr. Bill White announced Director of Equity & Justice Ministries, Bishop Leeland releases updated COVID-19 guidelines, Bishops call for special session of General Conference, and more

March 3, 2021

E-News - March 3, 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.


Bishop Leeland Announces Rev. Dr. Bill White as Director of Equity and Justice Ministries

Rev. Dr. William (Bill) M. White, Jr. has been hired and appointed as the Director of Equity and Justice Ministries of the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church, effective April 1, 2021. The Director of Equity and Justice Ministries will direct our Conference strategic efforts in diversity, equity, inclusion and advocacy and help implement these practices in all areas of Conference and local church ministry.

Update to COVID-19 Guidelines for In-Person Worship & Ministry

Last week, Governor Cooper issued an easing of COVID-19 restrictions. The Bishop and Cabinet remain committed to our biblical mandate to “love our neighbors as ourselves” and our Wesleyan call to “Do no harm. Do all the good we can. Follow the ordinances (stay in love) with God.” Using Governor Cooper’s Executive Order No. 195 as a guide, the Bishop and Cabinet make these updates to the WNCC COVID-19 guidelines.

Bishops call Special Session of General Conference, issue timeline forward

In response to the further postponement of the 2020 General Conference, the Council of Bishops (COB) is calling a Special Session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church (UMC) to be convened online on May 8, 2021.

Click here to read the press release from the Commission on the General Conference regarding the further postponement of the 2020 General Conference. 

General Conference 2020 FAQs prepared by the SEJ College of Bishops.

Means of Grace: Journey to Wholeness Using Contemplative Prayer and the Enneagram

In this week's episode, host Kim Ingram shares an intimate conversation with Rev. Jill Smith. Jill has been a church pastor for 20 years and last summer embarked on a new journey that she calls Flourishing Souls. Her ministry uses contemplative prayer for a deeper connection to God and the Enneagram for self-awareness. The conversation covers both. Jill loves dogs (they have two collies), dark coffee, world travel, and deep conversations.

Mission Engagement Blog - March 2021
Check out the Mission Engagement Blog page for a new blog by Rev. Kris Mares. This month's topic is "Start with God".

Apply for Scholarship Funds Today!
Scholarship funding is available through the United Methodist Foundation of Western North Carolina! The deadline to apply for Dollars for Scholars scholarships has been extended through March 19, 2021 for scholarships to help fund the 2021-2022 academic year.
UMHEF Scholarship Deadline Extended
The United Methodist Higher Education Foundation has extended its application deadline for scholarships through March 19, 2021. United Methodist students planning to attend a UM-related college, university, or seminary for the 2021-2022 academic year are encouraged to take this extra time to apply for the more than $2 million available in scholarship funds from UMHEF. 

Racial Healing and the Gospel of Reconciliation
Rooted in 2 Corinthians 5:16-20, this workshop will teach reconciliation as spirituality, highlighting biblical examples of reconciliation and our call to be ministers of reconciliation as followers of Christ. With this theological foundation, participants will learn practical strategies for the Church to live out our role in the reconciliation process.

Three sessions remain - Sunday, March 7 (2-5 p.m.); Tuesday, March 16 (9 a.m.-12 p.m.); and Saturday, April 24 (9 a.m. - 12 p.m.). Please note, two of these sessions will be held on the weekend to accommodate those who cannot participate during the week. Registration is required and spaces are limited.

Certificate for Church Treasurers
The Conference Office of Treasury Services and the United Methodist Foundation of Western North Carolina will offer a certificate training program for United Methodist volunteer treasurers within our conference. Only a few spots remain! Register today.


Council of Bishops Concordat Working Group requests submissions of case studies from churches ministering with migrant/diaspora groups
Since 2018, the ecumenical and interreligious staff with the Council of Bishops have been working to renew and invigorate the concordat agreement we have with the Methodist Church of Britain (MCB). 

For 2021, one of the foci the Concordat Working Group selected was migrant and diaspora ministry. Bishop Patrick Streiff has worked with his counterpart from the MCB to create a method to collect information about migrant ministries. The information collected will be used to learn how migrants are faring in our United Methodist churches and in areas in which The United Methodist Church exists.

In order to collect this information, we are asking that all United Methodist churches who minister with migrants consider submitting one or more case studies. From these stories, the Concordat Working Group will begin to discern both the pains and the joys of migrants in The United Methodist Church.

NC Council of Churches Partners in Health & Wholeness Collaborative Pledge and Mini-Grant Cycle Now Open
The PHW Collaborative Pledge is a commitment to continuing to put your faith into action for healthier more abundant communities.
PHW mini-grants support Collaborative congregations to begin or expand projects that promote health and wholeness while engaging the community. Faith communities must have submitted a PHW Collaborative Pledge in the last 12 months to be eligible for a mini-grant.
Council on Finance & Administration to offer grants for churches serving as COVID-19 community stations
The WNCC Council on Finance & Administration is setting up a fund for churches to make application for COVID 19 strategies, principally testing and vaccine administration. We know our congregations are being called upon to assist as stations for COVID 19 needs. There is a cost to such in both set up as well as cleaning afterwards. Therefore, the CFA has set aside $250,000 for this effort, with $125,000 specifically set aside to assist our churches of color. Learn how you can apply.
Recognition of Anniversary Churches
As has been the practice for some years, the WNC Conference Commission on Archives and History will recognize all churches celebrating their 100th, 150th, and 200th anniversaries in 2021.  If your congregation is celebrating one of these anniversaries this year, please contact Jim Pyatt, Archivist, at by April 1, so that your church will be included in this year’s recognitions.


Both/And Worship: Maximizing Hybrid Worship Experiences for Online and In-Person Audiences
Sunday, March 14, 2 p.m.
Join us for Both/And: Maximizing Hybrid Worship Experiences For Online and In-Person Audiences.  The Western North Carolina Conference Office of Church Development is making this opportunity available at no cost to you.  This two and a half hour workshop will delve into strategies for how to create powerful, transformative worship where no one feels like they’re an afterthought. Registration is required.

WNCC UMM presents an eight-week study on The Class Meeting
Sunday, March 14, 3 p.m.

The WNCC United Methodist Men invite you to join them as they study Kevin Watson's The Class Meeting. Beginning Sunday, March 14 at 3 p.m., Dick Strachan, an experienced presenter of this course, will lead us through an eight-week study of this book via Zoom meetings.

Free Continuing Education Event for United Methodists
Tuesday, March 16, 1 p.m.
Join Union Presbyterian Seminary for a continuing education event specifically designed for and offered to United Methodists.

WNCC Christians Engaged in Faith Formation (CEF)
Thursday, March 25, 10 a.m.- 12p.m.
We are excited to begin our work on intentionally connecting people who are leaders in faith formation, especially during our current times.  Be on the lookout for more information that is forthcoming.



Director of Communications: Melissa McGill

Communications Ministry Assistant: Aimee Yeager