CORRECTED The Latest Edition of E-News - Bishop Carter's First Message to the Conference, Special Offering for Tropical Storm Fred Relief Efforts, Reflecting on 20 Years since 9/11, and more

September 15, 2021

E-News - September 15, 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.

Correction Notice: We apologize for the broken link to view Bishop Carter's message in the previous issue of E-News sent at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, September 15, 2021. The link has been corrected. You can find Bishop Carter's message here or by clicking on the article image or headline below.

In addition, the article titled "Both/And Learning Lab Rescheduled for September 29th" contained errors in both the headline and description of the event. The headline should read "Both/And Tech Talk Scheduled for September 29th." This event is distinctly different from the Learning Lab events. The corrected event information can be found here and in the article below. 


Bishop Ken Carter shares his first message as Resident Bishop of the WNCC
Bishop Ken Carter shares his first message as Resident Bishop of  the Western North Carolina Conference including four values and areas of focus for our work together.
Learn more about Bishop Carter here

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.
Special Offering Sunday, September 26th: Tropical Storm Fred Relief
United Methodist Churches in the Western NC Conference are encouraged to participate in a Special Sunday Offering on September 26th. The funds from this offering will go towards relief efforts in the North Carolina mountains following the destruction caused by Tropical Storm Fred.

The damage from this storm has been extensive and devastating. According to the North Carolina Department of Safety, recovery from Tropical Storm Fred will likely be a three- to four-year process. WNCC Disaster Relief has been on the ground providing support for first responders and other disaster recovery professionals since the beginning - providing flood buckets, PPE, and a shower trailer. WNCC churches and partners, including Cruso UMC, First UMC-Waynesville, and Lake Junaluska, have served and continue to serve as operation centers and places of hospitality and rest for relief workers.

Clergy, please watch your conference email for a prayer, written by Bishop Carter, which can be used during your time of worship on this special day.

One of our greatest assets and privileges as United Methodists is to know we are not alone in our ministries but are part of a greater connection. We pray the communities impacted by Tropical Storm Fred will be blessed by the generosity, prayers, and support of our connection in the Western North Carolina Conference.
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. This is a UMCOR-certified training for Volunteers in Mission's Disaster Response ministries.
Neighborhood Seminary offers 10-week course on Jemar Tisby's "The Color of Compromise"
Join Neighborhood Seminary in a ten-week study of Jamar Tisby’s book, The Color of Compromise, facilitated by Rev. Dr. Jim Melson, Tuesdays October 5-December 14, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. Western North Carolina (WNC) United Methodist clergy and laity are eligible for a $115 scholarship.  You must pay the full registration fee and will then be reimbursed. To access this scholarship, please send an email to Kim Ingram. WNC clergy in extension ministry or an appointment beyond the local church (only) may utilize this training to meet the quadrennial ethics training requirement. Full participation is expected.
Hinton Rural Life Center 60th Anniversary Celebration Service
Hinton Rural Life Center celebrates 60 years of ministry on Saturday, September 25, at Hayesville First UMC. Everyone is invited to this Service of Celebration. 11am to 12:15pm. Masks will be required. Bishop Ken Carter is the guest preacher, and Smoky Mountain District Superintendent Rev. Jae Lee will also be participating in the service. The service will offer worshippers an opportunity to reflect on and give thanks for Hinton's ministry "roots" and the "fruits"
Both/And Tech Talk for September 29th

Get ready to get your "geek" on around all things techy with Both/And Worship. Jason Moore and Chris Carson will join us in a town hall format as we continue to discover and share best practices for the equipment and technology we are using in our Both/And hybrid worship experiences.

This VIRTUAL event is FREE and open to anyone who wants to to learn, share, ask questions, and engage in conversation around the technical side of Both/And worship. For more information, contact Rev. Rob Hutchinson

Unshrinking Faith: September Mission Engagement Blog from Camille Roddy
"A visit to almost any North Carolina beach during August and early September will offer a likely encounter with volunteers overseeing sea turtles hatch. The protective patrols are trained to safeguard nests from predators and often assist in guiding hatchlings safely to sea...The faithfulness of volunteers walking along the beach daily ensuring the safety of sea turtle offspring resembled countless lay and clergy efforts to safeguard learning pressed by school closures and remote learning."

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.

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!

Future of 'First Churches': Foundations, Partnerships and Legacies
Duke Divinity School's Office of Wesleyan Engagement is hosting a free two-part interactive lunch time seminar with Bishop Ken Carter and Rev. Dr. Audrey B. Warren entitled "The Future of “First Churches”: Foundations, Partnerships and Legacies." This event is geared toward clergy and laity serving churches that have historically found themselves at the geographic and spiritual center of their community regardless of whether the church is called “First Church.”

2021 United Methodist Men Give Day
The General Commission on United Methodist Men is committed to our mission to “Coach men & youth to THRIVE through Christ, so others may know Christ.”  We also know that we are not in this race alone. Leaders in men’s and scouting ministries are doing the remarkable. We continue to expand our ministries.  All of this requires additional funding beyond our normal revenue resources. We invite you to join us in this race for new disciples on October 18, our third annual Give Day.


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.
Reflections on 9/11 on the 20 Year Anniversary, Written by Rev. Steve Autrey
"Twenty years ago I was attending an Order of Elders retreat at Kanuga Conference Center in Hendersonville, NC. Close to two hundred of my fellow clergy in the Western North Carolina Conference and I were enjoying a great fall morning in the mountains when word started circulating that something significant was happening in New York and Washington, DC. This was the era before smartphones, and Kanuga was a land with only one ancient TV located in the main hall, far away from conference rooms and lodging; still the word began to spread. Eventually, the retreat was stopped, and we all gathered in that main hall to watch history play out in grainy analog color..."

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!

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.

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.



Rural Faith Communities: Connecting in a Crisis Live Webinars
Next conversation “Talking Rural Clergy Mental Health”
Thursday, Sept 16, 2 p.m.

"...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.

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.


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.
Eating Together Faithfully Training Retreat
Friday-Sunday, October 1-3, 2021
Join other community and church leaders to learn how to use the Eating Together Faithfully Framework to facilitate conversations in your community about what it looks like to eat with God’s intentions for all creation in mind. Participants will experience and explore the ETF program together and be equipped to begin to lead ETF small groups in their congregations. We are excited to safely host this in-person retreat at the beautiful and peaceful Chestnut Ridge Camp & Retreat Center in Efland, NC.
Transforming Minds: The Role of the Church in Mental Illness
Sunday, October 3, 7 p.m.
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a very detrimental effect on mental health, such as significant increases in mental health symptoms, difficulty accessing treatment, increased risk for mental illness symptoms post-COVID in persons without prior mental health disorders, and poorer outcomes for those with mental illness. The COVID-19 pandemic has also raised awareness of disparities in the health care system. Faced with this sobering situation, how can the church help those who are affected by mental illness? What do persons affected by mental illness need from a faith community? Can the church actually do harm to persons with mental illness?  These are some of the many topics that will be discussed during this important and timely event.


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