The Latest Edition of E-News - 2020 State of the Church Report, Updated COVID-19 Guidelines, Celebrating Creation Care, and more

May 5, 2021

E-News - May 5, 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.


2020 State of the Church Report: Blessed is the Church

The United Methodist Church has continued to carry out its mission despite the unique challenges and uncertainties of 2020. That’s according to the new 2020 State of the Church Report produced by the Connectional Table and United Methodist Communications, themed “Blessed is the Church.”

The report uses the framework of the Beatitudes to share a compilation of stories that provide an inspiring look at the ways the church responded in an unprecedented year – which included a global pandemic, renewed calls to end racism, a delayed General Conference and the possibility of a denominational split.

COVID-19 Guidelines for In-Person Worship & Ministry - UPDATED 4.29.21

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 latest Executive Order as a guide, the Bishop and Cabinet make these specific recommendations for United Methodist Churches in the Western NC Conference.

Racial Unity

The Leadership Development Team is committed to intentionally modeling racial unity, racial healing, and racial reconciliation. As a first step toward working in love and unity in the body of Christ, and toward the endeavor of ethnic equality, the Leadership Development Team seeks to ensure that equal opportunities are given, not only within the ministry of the LDT, but in actual leadership placement and practice for ethnic minorities. In that spirit, Rev. Kari Howard, the chairperson of the WNC Leadership Development Team, made the following statement, affirmed by the Leadership Development Team, at the most recent meeting of the Connectional Table.

Project Agape Virtual Mission Trip
Whether you have traveled with us in the past or simply would like to know more about the work being done by North Carolina Methodists in Armenia, join us for a Virtual Mission on the evening of July 15th.  We will learn about the history of Armenia and Project AGAPE, hear from past mission participants, have a live chat with Project AGAPE board and get an update from the Project AGAPE Country Director, Nara Melkonyan.  The event is FREE to everyone who registers.  
Means of Grace: Green Spaces in Ministry, Part 3

This edition of the Means of Grace podcast is a three-part series highlighting four ministries in Western North Carolina who are using green spaces in ministry. These ministries meet people where they are and invite them to something new – an orchard, a story walk, a worship service, exercise, a meal. Part 3 features George Eubanks, Mark Hovis, Sean Bloom, and Rev. Noel Sweezy, friends from the multi-faceted ministry, Common Ground, in Stanley.

These episodes are airing on the Tuesdays surrounding Earth Day to encourage you to consider how you might connect the earth and its Creator with the lives of people in your community. It doesn't take much green space to start an innovative and inspiring outdoor ministry! Be sure to check Part 1 - featuring The Village Green and G.I.F.T. Aquaponics - and Part 2 - featuring Way in the Wilderness: A Church Without Walls.

Redeeming Creation Conference

Join the North Carolina Conference’s first-ever creation care conference, Redeeming Creation. Learn from Duke professors Dr. Jerusha Neal and Dr. Ellen Davis. Celebrate the justice work being done by the Rural Advancement Foundation International. Explore the disconnect between faith and science. All from the comfort of your own home.

Creating power through energy efficiency

Did you know the roof of the WNC Conference Center is covered in solar panels that not only provide enough energy to power the entire building but also provide excess energy that can be redistributed in the community? Rev. Dr. Mark King, WNC Conference Treasurer & Director of Administrative Services, and Joel Gilland, President & CEO of Wesley Community Development, share how the UMC values of creation care and energy efficiency played a role in the design of the WNC Conference Center.


Both/And Worship Technology Grants
During the Covid-19 quarantine, most churches were forced to focus on online worship in new ways. As the quarantine comes to an end, churches will be exploring what it looks like to offer both in-person and online worship. The Office of Church Development is making up to 200 grants available to help churches assess their needs, purchase equipment, and provide training improve their online worship presence. This grant is designed to help churches explore and implement best practices for offering BOTH online AND in-person worship. Learn more and apply today!

Now Accepting Denman Award Nominations
Do you know someone in your church who has excelled in evangelism this year? The Western North Carolina Conference is now accepting nominations for The Harry Denman Evangelism Award for Clergy, Lay, and Youth.


The Sacred Invitation

The Sacred Invitation is a twelve-month program specifically designed for those who hunger for a holistic approach to the inner work that deepens their life with God. It equips and empowers them to love and lead from the Center out.


ONDCP Rural Faith-Based Series: Connecting Faith to Prevention
Thursday, May 13, 1 p.m. EST

The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) has organized a series of four workshops for rural faith leaders to come together to discuss, learn, and share information and resources to help individuals with substance use disorder (SUD). This workshop is free. If you would like to attend the event, please RSVP to Betty-Ann Bryce by emailing your name, title, organization, state, county, and contact information to Registered participants will receive the details to join the webinar closer to the event date.
Experiencing Fresh Expressions
Saturday, May 15, 2021

Come enjoy a day of interactive learning about Fresh Expressions, new ways of thinking about evangelism, and how you can impact your local community for Christ. Sponsored by the Uwharrie District, Experiencing Fresh Expressions will be held on May 15th at the Mount Shepherd Retreat Center. Learn more and register today!

Annual Conference 2021
Save the dates for Annual Conference 2021! 
Virtual Clergy Session (Private Livestream) - Friday, June 11, 10 a.m. *Clergy will receive more information and a link for this session*
Virtual Annual Conference (Facebook Live, YouTube Live, Conference Website) - Saturday, June 12, 10 a.m.
Ordering of Ministry Service (Stuart Auditorium at Lake Junaluska) - Saturday, June 19 - Commissioning Service, 10 a.m. - Ordination Service, 2 p.m.

Stay up to date with the latest Annual Conference news, updates, and announcements at

Harambee 2021: Apart but Connected!
June 25-26, 2021 - Registration Closes May 21, 2021
The National BMCR Youth Harambee, a retreat sponsored by the national office of Black Methodists for Church Renewal, Inc to celebrate and nurture the gifts, talents, and willing hearts of United Methodist Youth - will be held virtually this year due to COVID-19. As we shift to this virtual method, our registration will also look a bit differently as well. We look forward to seeing you all on June 25-26th for Harambee 2021! Although we will be apart, we will still be connected!

These events focus on helping youth and young adults understand BMCR's history, purpose, and focus on equipping and supporting Christian youth. This event is for youths ages 12-18. 
Director of Communications: Melissa McGill

Communications Ministry Assistant: Aimee Yeager