The Latest Edition of E-News - Second Sunday of Easter Worship Video Available, Holy Week Meditation, Technology Grants, and more

March 31, 2021

E-News - March 31, 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.


WNCC Second Sunday of Easter Service

The Western NC Conference is pleased to offer a conference-wide virtual worship for the Second Sunday in Easter, led by the District Superintendents, with a homily from the Bishop, and music from churches around our conference. Clergy and worship leaders, take a much-needed break after the rush of Holy Week and Easter services, and worship with friends around the conference. All files are now available to be viewed and/or downloaded. You can share these on your own social media platform and/or website, or direct your congregation to the Conference website, YouTube, or Facebook for viewing on Sunday, April 11th.

Means of Grace: A Meditation for Holy Week with Dr. Melanie Dobson
In this episode, Dr. Melanie Dobson shares a Lovingkindness meditation for Holy Week. This is a beautiful prayer practice that offers God’s lovingkindness to each of us and gives us space to offer it to each other—both to those whom we love, and those who really bother us. As Christians, we understand that the source of lovingkindness is the three-in-one God whose very being is love (1 John 4:16). We receive this prayer as a gift from another tradition and practice it with the gentleness and respect it offers to us.
Both/And Worship Technology Grants

The Office of Church Development is making up to 200 grants available to help churches assess their needs, purchase equipment, and provide training improve BOTH their online AND in-person worship presence. 

Apply as soon as possible - grant applications will only remain open while funds last. Approvals will be made in batches. Applications received by the first of the month will be answered by the 15th of the same month. Applications received by the 15th of the month will be answered by the 1st of the following month.

Project AGAPE Spring Collection

Traditionally, the WNCC-UMC hosts a spring donation drive with a coordinated pick-up in April each year for this long-standing mission of our conference. This year, however, due to the forced relocation of the Project AGAPE offices and warehouse as a result of the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan, Nara Melkonyan, the in-country director, informed us the staff will not be ready to receive shipments of goods until June 2021.

Therefore, for this year's AGAPE Sunday (traditionally the fourth Sunday of April), we encourage all of our churches to provide their members with the opportunity to financially support the ministries of Project AGAPE. In-kind donations are not needed at this time. Learn how you can donate financially to Project AGAPE and/or support our ministry partnership by volunteering at the Mission Response Center. 

The Color of Compromise Book Study and Reflection

The Yadkin Valley District invites laity and clergy to join in taking another step together in the work of “racial justice as discipleship” through a ten-week study of Jemar Tisby’s book, The Color of Compromise, to be facilitated by Rev. Dr. Jim Melson. This transformational learning experience is offered by the YVD for all who desire to cultivate further learning about racialized culture, to deepen relationships with God and neighbors, and to discern with others how we may more fully embody God’s love and grace in our communities.

Mission Engagement Virtual Book Club

We are very excited to announce that we are launching our first four week virtual book club! We will offer two different weekly meeting times: Wednesdays at 10:00 a.m and Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m. Participants will remain in the same weekly time slot for all the meetings for the four weeks. The first meeting will be on April 21st. The classes will cap at 12 participants, so make sure to reserve your spot quickly!


School of the Spirit registration open

School of the Spirit is an online and in-person twelve-month journey into contemplative practices that bring the seeker closer to God. School of the Spirit offers five 2-day retreats designed to equip, empower and nurture transformation through the ancient spiritual disciplines of Jesus and the early church. There is still time to apply. Early registration is encouraged as space is limited to 24 clergy and lay ministry professionals. School of the Spirit 12 begins July 26-27, 2021

The COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Program

In early April, FEMA will begin providing financial assistance for funeral expenses incurred after Jan. 20, 2020 for deaths related to coronavirus (COVID-19) to help ease some of the financial stress and burden caused by the pandemic. The policy was finalized on March 24, 2021, and FEMA is now moving rapidly to implement this funeral assistance program nationwide.

COVID-19 Update to CARES Act, PPP, Employee Retention Credit
As previously announced, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) passed in March 2020 contained an incentive that encourages employers to retain—rather than terminate—employees despite current economic constraints due to COVID-19. The recently passed Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (CAA) extended the ERC into the first two calendar quarters of tax year 2021 and made significant changes, including increasing the credit amount and making it available to more employers. The previously announced deadline of March 31st has been EXTENDED to May 31, 2021.


Bishop Leeland Announces Cabinet, Staff Changes
Bishop Leeland announces the following changes to the cabinet and conference staff:
  • Rev. Dr. Carl Arrington has announced his retirement effective July 1, 2021. 
  • Rev. Lory Beth Huffman will succeed Carl as the District Superintendent of the Appalachian District.
  • Rev. David Hockett will be appointed as the Teaching Pastor at Davidson UMC, effective April 1, 2021.
  • Rev. Dan Pezet will be appointed as District Superintendent of the Metro District, effective July 1, 2021.
  • Rev. Rob Hutchinson will succeed Dan as the Director of Church Development, also effective July 1, 2021.
Join the Annual Conference Virtual Choir!
The Worship Committee for the 2021 WNC Annual Conference is creating a virtual conference choir for the opening hymn. Singers of any age from WNC are invited to video record themselves singing the hymn, “And Are We Yet Alive.”
Laity Preaching Cohort
This course provides laity who already have experience in developing and delivering sermons additional insights into the art and practice of preaching. Participants will learn from the experience and feedback of other laity while being guided by an experienced instructor.
COVID-19 Guidelines for In-Person Worship & Ministry - UPDATED 3.24.21
On Tuesday, March 23rd, 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. 204 as a guide, the Bishop and Cabinet make these specific recommendations for United Methodist Churches in the Western NC Conference.



ReConnect NC Faith Gatherings
Tuesdays (10 a.m.) and Thurdays (12 p.m.) in March and April
Join the Institute for Emerging Issues' ReConnect Faith Gatherings every Tuesday morning and Thursday afternoon in March/April. We're so excited to continue the themes from our ReConnect for the Future Forum that faith leaders asked for, including: "Facilitating across lines of difference" (April 6), "Community rooted practices and bridge building leadership" (April 13), "Food distribution updates: The food ecosystem and your faith community" (April 20), and "Economics, solidarity, rest, work, and collective liberation: What working?" (April 27).
LSM Training: "Transformational Prayer"
Sundays, April 11 through May 2, 2-4:30 p.m.
The Catawba Valley District will offer a 4-week Lay Servant Training course, "Transformational Prayer", held via Zoom. This course is open Conference-wide and will be based in part on the book Transforming Prayer by Daniel Henderson.  
This course qualifies as an Advanced Lay Servant course. Attendance on all four Sundays is required to complete the hours needed for certification. No exceptions can be made. Note: Completion of the Basic Lay Servant Course is a prerequisite for this course. Deadline for Registration is April 8, 2021.

Racial Healing and the Gospel of Reconciliation
Saturday, April 24, 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.
ONE SESSION REMAINS! Please note, the final session will be held on a Saturday to accommodate those who cannot participate during the week. Registration is required and spaces are limited.

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.


Director of Communications: Melissa McGill

Communications Ministry Assistant: Aimee Yeager