Extended Cabinet Shares Updates, Prepares for Episcopal Transition

May 20, 2021

By: Melissa McGill, Director of Communications

The Extended Cabinet met virtually on Monday, May 17 to continue to align the work of the various ministry areas and districts around the mission of the Conference. Bishop Leeland opened the meeting by expressing gratitude for the work and friendship of the Cabinet during his tenure in Western North Carolina the last five years. With Bishop Leeland retiring and Bishop Ken Carter returning to Western North Carolina as Resident Bishop on September 1, the Extended Cabinet began preparing as we enter this time of transition for the conference. Small groups formed to discuss transitional issues of importance and Bishop Leeland offered a Prayer of Thanksgiving. “Thank you for the path forward, for your presence to guide and sustain us. We offer our prayers for Ken and Pam as they return home to Western North Carolina. May his wisdom and strength be a gift and a joy to the conference. In these demanding moments, we lift up Ken and all Bishops taking an additional conference. Prepare us all for the next steps of ministry in front of us for we know that with You all things are possible.”  
Members of the Extended Cabinet presented updates to the group to enhance opportunities for continued collaboration. Our virtual Annual Conference and in-person Ordering of Ministry services are quickly approaching. Director of Ministerial Services and Conference Secretary Rev. Kim Ingram and Director of Communications Melissa McGill gave updates on progress. For information on AC2021, please visit www.ac2021.org.
Other updates center around preparing and assisting churches in relaunching in person worship and activities. Kim shared a new Leadership Development initiative with Kay Kotan titled Being the Church in the Post-Pandemic World, beginning with a webinar in June and cohorts in the fall. More details will be shared soon. Director of Church Development Rev. Dan Pezet lifted up the ongoing efforts to help churches maximize their online and in person audiences as churches reopen. Two Both/And educational webinars have been held with Jason Moore and Both/And Worship Grants program is still accepting applications here
Director of Missional Engagement and Connectional Ministries Caroline Wood highlighted a virtual mission trip with Project Agape in July and a new Innovation Buzz session series where ideas are presented on zoom and attendees give feedback and recommendations. She also spoke about the RISE Anti-Racism training the Extended Cabinet and Districts will be participating in this fall.
Director of Equity and Justice Ministries Dr. Bill White shared details from his whirlwind first six weeks on the job, with the goal of increasing collaboration, coordination and communication around justice and equity efforts in the Conference. He shared that he is engaged in deep listening with many individuals and groups across the conference and also engaged in deep reading through compiling information, statistics and reports to help guide the work. 
Conference Lay Leader John Crane shared pandemic lessons from the Board of Laity, impacting the ways in which Lay Servant Ministry programs are offered. He also shared that the Board is engaging in deliberate work to engage the districts and coordinate with district lay leaders. 
United Methodist Foundation of Western North Carolina President Rev. David Snipes shared that the Foundation reached an important milestone at the end of the first quarter of 2021, surpassing the 3 million mark in total assets. This achievement helps the Foundation to continue to reinvest in the work of the Church, giving away 1.2 million total to ministries including the Comprehensive Plan of Equity, Church Vitality Both/And Technology Grants and much more. He also shared about the Foundation’s partnership with the Conference Committee on the Episcopacy to create the Paul and Janet Leeland Endowment Fund that will financially support in perpetuity two ministries dear to them: The Northern Haiti Partnership and UMAR. You can learn more here and donate on the Foundation website.