The Latest Edition of E-News - WNC Delegation Update, Grants for Sabbath renewal and continuing education, "Just in Time" Emergency Response Team training, and more

September 8, 2021

E-News - September 8, 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.


SEJ Update from WNCC Delegate Rev. Uiyeon Kim
Rev. Uiyeon Kim shares an update on behalf of the WNCC Delegation to the Southeastern Jurisdiction Conference reminding us that we are the Church together.
Virtual Clergy Meetings with Bishop Ken Carter
Many WNCC clergy had the opportunity to welcome Bishop Carter in the first of two virtual clergy meetings. The next virtual meeting will be October 6 for clergy to greet Bishop Carter and enter into dialogue around the question: What is our focus as an annual conference? Or said differently, what is the one thing that is necessary? (Luke 10:41). Learn more and register for this virtual conversation with Bishop Carter.
Just-In-Time ERT Training
Join us for a "Just-In-Time" Early Response Team Training which includes an online course and one virtual session which will take place on September 19th at 2:00 p.m.


Duke Divinity Wind in Our Sails Webinar Series: Nurturing the Spirits of Clergy and Christian Leaders
Wind in Our Sails is a webinar series that seeks the Christ-loving nurture of clergy and Christian leaders, both professionally and personally, by supporting them throughout their ministry vocation. Wind in Our Sails Webinar Series will offer six webinar sessions for all Duke Divinity Alumni, Donors, and Friends throughout the 2021-2022 academic year.

Spiritual Renewal Grants for Clergy and Ministry Professionals
This season of ministry has been hard on leaders and many are exhausted, discouraged, and in need of time away.  The WNCC Leadership Development Team wants to help nurture your own spiritual growth, as you nurture the spiritual walks of others. This could be through a renewal retreat or by engaging with a Spiritual Director.  Ministry leaders (clergy and lay professionals) who sign up for a Spiritual Renewal offering, and pay a personal investment of $50 toward the experience, are eligible for up to $500 to cover the cost of registration, fees, and lodging/travel expenses.  Funds are available because of the generosity of churches who pay their apportionments.

Clergy Continuing Education Grants Available
Grants are available for members in full connection, provisional members, diaconal ministers, and licensed local pastors who receive $55,000 or less in base salary (salary + utilities). Grants may be used for CEUs, DMin or ThM programs, District Continuing Education Seminars, and Study Tours (if earning CEUs). Learn more about the grant requirements and application process.

Disaster Response Efforts
The  Committee on Relief is accepting donations to be designated specifically towards Tropical Storm Fred relief efforts in Western NC and relief efforts for victims of Hurricane Ida. Learn more about ongoing response and how you can contribute.

Read Rev. Brandon Lazarus' reflection on Tropical Storm Fred's rampage through Western North Carolina and how the churches, clergy, and conference are responding to the devastation.
Updates from Northern Haiti Ministry Partners
Our Northern Haiti ministry partners, along with Dr. Eugene of New Hope Hospital, continue to assist with medical response efforts and mobile clinics in southern Haiti. 
Means of Grace: Celebrating Partnership with the Catawba Valley District
The Catawba Valley District is experimenting with new church partnerships. What looks like an old model is being made new through shared leadership and resources. In this week's episode of the Means of Grace podcast, we talk to leaders of five churches that are joining in two partnerships and highlight the value of the connection.

First UMC, Franklin, NC "Burns the Burden" of medical debt for nearly 3,000 families
Partnering with the charity, RIP Medical Debt, First United Methodist Church in Franklin, NC was able to eradicate over $4 million of medical debt for nearly 3,000 families in Western North Carolina, North Georgia, and Eastern Tennessee.

Retiring Well: A Webinar from Wespath for Clergy 3-5 Years from Retirement
Hear engaging presentations with representatives from Wespath Benefits & Investments and Ernst & Young, Financial Advisors. Register before October 20th and a personalized, confidential Benefit Projection will be mailed to you. PLUS sign up for a 30-minute individual virtual consultation with a member of the Wespath Benefit Education Team. Spouses are welcomed to join the webinar and consultation!

Preaching Like Peter: Preaching Cohort
A preaching cohort for WNC clergy centered around studying and applying Peter’s sermons in the Gospel of Acts. The cohort, led by Rev. Dr. Mary Brown, will meet once a month on Thursdays from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. at Central UMC in Asheville.


Explore Summer Ministry Intern Highlight: Matthew Waddell, Intern at First UMC, High Point
Meet another of our 2021 WNCC Explore: Summer Ministry Interns, Matthew Waddell, a junior at Pfeiffer University, studying counseling and psychology, interned at First United Methodist Church in High Point, NC, where Rev. Willis Greene served as his clergy mentor.

The Explore internship is for young adults, ages 18-25, interested in exploring ordained ministry through 10-week summer internships in United Methodist settings within the Conference. If you would like to learn more about the WNCC Explore: Summer Ministry Internship and how you might support the ministry please contact Rev. Annalee Allen, Associate Director of Ministerial Service, at
2021 Project Agape Christmas Boxes
Fall 2021 collections for Project AGAPE will be held from Monday, September 27th through Friday, October 1st. Learn more about items needed, packing instructions, and drop-off locations. You can bring Christmas joy to a child in Armenia this year!



Congregations for Children Back to School Letter
As a new school year begins this month across our Districts, we hope you and your congregants will celebrate and encourage educators and students throughout the year beginning with a suitable Back to School recognition.

Disposable Face Masks & Hand Sanitizer Available
The Committee On Relief has received a large quantity of disposable face masks and hand sanitizers through the local non-profit Restore Global. The Committee On Relief will distribute them in kits including 500 face masks and 2- 1 Liter bottles of hand sanitizer.
2022 Clergy Health Insurance Memo
The Conference Board of Pension and Health Benefits upon recommendation from the Health Benefits Subcommittee of the Board has approved the 2022 rate schedule for our Conference Active and Retiree Health Plans.


Rural Faith Communities: Connecting in a Crisis Live Webinars
Tuesday, September 9

"...Let’s work together. Let’s not recreate the wheel. Let’s share what’s working. Let’s be honest when it’s not working." Join the Rural Faith Communities team for live Peer Network conversations around COVID-19, clergy mental health, and rural digital inclusion.

Learn more about WNCC Creation Care and Justice in the WNCC
Tuesdays in September, 12-1 p.m.
All clergy members in the WNCC are invited to join in a conversation with Rev. Jonathan Brake, an ordained elder serving Mount Pleasant UMC (Sherrills Ford), and Kim Richmond, a lay member and organizer of Creation Care Ministry at Maple Springs UMC (Winston Salem), as they discuss The Mission of Creation Care and Creation Justice in the WNCC. These conversations will take place via Zoom on three consecutive Tuesdays during the Season of Creation – September 14th, 21st, and 28th – from noon to 1pm, so bring your lunch and eat, relax and listen, then share comments and questions after each presentation.


Antiracism Ethics Training Has Gone Virtual
Due to rising COVID delta variant cases, Antiracism Ethics Training will be virtual this fall. The objectives and the content of the virtual workshop will be the same as the in-person model. However, the structure, delivery, and length of the virtual workshop are tailored to meet the needs of a variety of learners while utilizing the opportunities and diminishing the restrictions associated with an online learning environment.

Justice Matters In a Pandemic
Tuesday, September 14, 12 p.m.
South Carolina Christian Action Council invites you to attend a Webinar on Justice During a Pandemic. Panelists Bambi Gaddist, Regina Moore and Maria King will lead a discussion on how we claim justice in our local communities.
Finding God in our Neighbor Webinars
Thursday, September 16, 10 a.m.
How can your church see its community as co-creators of ministry? On Thursday, September 16, 2020, De’Amon Harges, Mike Mather, and Seana Murphy transformed their church and their Indianapolis neighborhood by looking for their neighbors’ assets instead of only seeing their needs. They will share their stories and give you practical tips on how to transform your church's outreach to the community.
Register for Upcoming Innovator's Buzz Session
Monday, October 4, 12 p.m.
Here's a little invitation for you: can you join us for a little while on October 4 by Zoom? A Buzz Session is a gathering where Christian innovators (typically from WNCC churches, though not always!) talk about the project they're working on, and then have give-and-take of ideas and suggestions for next steps of development from the folks on the call.
Director of Communications: Melissa McGill

Associate Director of Communications: Aimee Yeager