The Latest Edition of E-News - Updated COVID-19 Guidelines, Bishop Carter to lead WNCC, AC2021 news, and more

May 19, 2021

E-News - May 19, 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.


COVID-19 Guidelines for In-Person Worship & Ministry - UPDATED 5.18.21

The CDC and Governor Cooper have issued new guidance regarding masks, social distancing, and mass gathering limits for those who have been fully vaccinated. In response, the Bishop and Cabinet offer these updated recommendations.

Bishop Carter to Lead Western NC
The Council of Bishops has announced that Bishop Ken Carter will serve as the resident bishop of Western North Carolina Conference (Charlotte Area), in addition to his role as resident bishop of Florida Conference (Florida Area) beginning on September 1, 2021. We look forward to welcoming Bishop Carter home to Western NC and fruitful ministry together. 

Last week, Bishop Leeland announced his intent to retire effective September 1, 2021. We express gratitude for Bishop Leeland and his faithfulness in guiding Western North Carolina for the past five years. This year's Annual Conference offering is being collected in honor of Bishop Leeland and his wife, Janet, with gratitude for all they have done during their time of ministry with the Western North Carolina Conference. Visit the Annual Conference 2021 Offering Page to make a gift in their honor. 

Join us for WNCC Connection Points

Join us each evening throughout the week leading up to Annual Conference, June 7-10, for WNCC Connection Points, live webinars connecting us to Christ, each other, and ministry in the world. The live streams will begin at 7 p.m. each evening.

AC2021 Program and Reports Book now online!

The 2021 Annual Conference Program and Reports Book is available online. Clergy and Lay Members of the 2021 annual conference are invited to read about the ministries of WNCCUMC, still active in spite of the pandemic!

Means of Grace: Square Breathing Practice with Dr. Melanie Dobson

In this time of stress and burnout, Dr. Melanie Dobson guides us through the Square Breathing Practice. It’s been proven to lower heart rate, de-stress and shift mental state …within just two minutes. We hope these meditations allow you to pause and take a breath as the world begins to reopen.

New Leadership Resources

The Leadership Development page has new resources! Three times a year, the resources on the Leadership Development page will be updated. There are 4-5 resources highlighted in each of these areas: Faith & Theology, Innovation & Change, Relationships & Conflict, Leading in Community.  These resources are recommended for leaders needing growth or help in particular areas.  The topics align with the Fruitful Clergy Leadership characteristics.

Brewery Bible Study
If you have ever met Rev. Randy Blanton, you will quickly learn that he has a love of craft beer and theology. When he moved to Aldersgate UMC in Shelby in 2016 he decided to combine two of his loves and host a Bible study at Newgrass Brewery in downtown Shelby. His first fall doing this he thought there may be ten to fifteen people who came out. When he showed up for the first study there were almost fifty people there. They had planned to have it inside, but with this number they instead moved into the alleyway connected with the Brewery. Rev. Meg Gaston has the story.

WNC United Methodist Women featured in Response Magazine
The Western North Carolina Conference United Methodist Women are featured in the May/June issue of Response magazine. The story highlights their virtual Mission U event based on the study "Finding Peace in an Anxious World," edited by Erin James-Brown. Read the full story.
Clergywomen's Retreat with Pastor Juanita C. Rasmus

On May 25 at 11:00 a.m., join Pastor Juanita for a 2-hour virtual retreat of self-care and reflection. As a certified spiritual director, she will guide participants through step-by-step meditation practices and help us dream about life beyond the pandemic.



JUNETEENTH Freedom Celebration at Lake Junaluska
Join the Smoky Mountain District's Justice and Reconciliation for a JUNETEENTH Freedom Celebration on Saturday, June 19th @ Lake Junaluska. The event is free and open to everyone! The day will include worship featuring a keynote address by Rev. Dr. Stephanie Moore Hand, Metro District Vitality Associate, acclaimed storyteller and historical interpreter, Novella Nimmo, and music from gifted musicians in the Western NC Conference. After worship, the community is invited to party on the grounds (3:00 – 6:00 p.m.) with food trucks, inflatables, horseshoes and cornhole, vendors and exhibits, dancing, and family fun.

Launching a Non-Profit
This peer learning cohort is designed for clergy and/or laity who are working to develop a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. There are unique aspects of beginning a non-profit as a ministry within a local church. The cohort will share challenges, lessons learned, and best practices.
ImagineHub Summit on Missional Innovation
You are invited to join the ImagineHub learning network of missional innovation centers first annual ImagineHub Summit the afternoon of Thursday, June 3. 

ImagineHub provides a learning network, training programs and support solutions for churches that desire to reimagine and deploy their space and resources as a means for improving economic empowerment in their community.

Resilience Resources
Ministry Leaders make a commitment for the long haul.  They are faithful to their call and respond to God with their lives.  Serving the local church is full of joy and it’s really hard.  Changing communities is exhausting and rewarding.  Leading requires constant adaptation, creativity and imagination, and a great deal of hope!  How do ministry leaders persevere? How can they build capacity? The Leadership Development Team shares resilience resources which offer glimpses into what it takes to thrive in the long-term.


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. 

Project Agape Virtual Mission Trip
Thursday, July 15, 6 p.m.
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 Trip to Armenia.  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. 



Director of Communications: Melissa McGill

Communications Ministry Assistant: Aimee Yeager