Top 10 Means of Grace Episodes of All Time

July 25, 2022

Means of Grace, a podcast from the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church, equips church leaders through expertise and examples. The podcast launched in October 2019 and continues to launch weekly episodes on any platform that you get podcasts. We’ll be back on August 2, 2022 with new episodes but in the meantime, check out our top ten episodes by listener numbers.

1. Ignatian Examen Guided Meditation - Published on March 31, 2020
Dr. Melanie Dobson leads a practice of Ignatian Examen. This prayer was developed by Ignatius of Loyola for his fellow monks, the Society of Friends, in the mid-1500s. Ignatius thought that by the self-examination of times of desolation and consolation in a person’s life, they could see more clearly the presence of God at work. This particular practice is adapted from Daniel Wolpert in his book, Creating a Life with God.

2. Heart Math Stress Reduction Guided Meditation - Published on March 31, 2020
Rev. Ashley Pickerel Thomas leads a Heart Math Stress Reduction Mediation on Special Care Focus: Coronavirus (Technique for Reducing and Overcoming Fear). For this meditation, the care focus is replacing fear with Intelligent Concern. The tool is intentionally simple but effective.

3. Grief at Christmas - Published on December 9, 2019
In this episode of Means of Grace, Director of Communications Melissa McGill sits down with Rev. Toni Ruth Smith to talk about experiencing grief in this time of great joy and how churches can create space for stillness, hope, and even sadness in the midst of the holiday rush. 

4. Welcoming Prayer Guided Meditation - Published on March 31, 2020
In this meditation, Rev. Ashley Pickerel Thomas leads the Welcoming Prayer, created by Mary Mrozowski. According to Contemplative Outreach, the Welcoming Prayer is a method of consenting to God’s presence and action in our physical and emotional reactions to events and situations in daily life. The purpose of the Welcoming Prayer is to deepen our relationship with God through consenting in the ordinary activities of our day.

5. Will There Be a Place For Me in The UMC? A Panel Discussion From the 2022 Annual Conference - Published on June 21, 2022
In this episode, we get to listen in on a conversation that took place during the 2022 Annual Conference. On Thursday evening, Bishop Carter, along with a group of clergy from across the conference, of various races, ages, genders, and ministry roles sat down for a panel discussion on the future of the UMC. Their goal was to answer a question you may have asked yourself a time or two – will there be a place for me in the continuing United Methodist Church?

6. Border Pilgrimage - Published on October 1, 2019
On our first episode, Melissa and producer Andy Goh accompany a team from Myers Park United Methodist Church in Charlotte on a pilgrimage to the US-Mexico border to walk alongside legal asylum seekers. Rev. Nathan Arledge and lay trip leader Maddie Myers share about the trip and the theology behind it. You'll also hear several first-hand stories from people seeking asylum, who we met at Catholic Charities Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen, Texas.

7. The Heart of Our Calling with Rev. Dr. Samuel Wells - Published on January 5, 2021
In this episode, we have a guest host, Parker Haynes, pastor of Trinity UMC in King, NC and member of the Leadership Development Team. He interviews the Rev. Dr. Samuel Wells, Vicar of St. Martin-in-the-Fields in London, parish priest of the Church of England, and former Dean of Duke Chapel, and research professor of Christian ethics at Duke Divinity School. Dr. Wells speaks to us as a follow-up to a recent webinar that he participated in through Duke Divinity School called “Soul-Tending in a Virtual Age: How to Preach, Pastor, and Disciple in these Challenging Times".

8. Adaptive Leadership - Published on October 14, 2019
Jesse Enniss and Rev. Kim Ingram, from the Leadership Development Team, have a conversation with Rev. Lory Beth Huffman, Rev. Mark Key and Rev. Chris Westmoreland on adaptive leadership. Each of these leaders has guided congregations of various sizes and contexts. They share their experiences and learnings so that other leaders might connect and grow. They also talk about a program they will facilitate in early 2020 called ADAPT: Leading Off the Map.

9. Q&A with Rev. Amy Coles, WNCC Episcopal Nominee - Published on March 2, 2020
In this episode, Melissa sits down with Rev. Amy Coles, the Western North Carolina Conference Episcopal nominee, to talk about faith, her calling, and the future of the Church.

10. Being the "Rural" Church in a Pandemic: The Vital Role the Church Plays in a Rural Community - Published on April 27, 2020
The Rural Church has a vital role to play during this current pandemic. The nature of the rural church is built around relationships – relationships with church members, but also the community. Rural churches have a unique opportunity to provide resources, connections, and hope during these stressful times. This episode of the Means of Grace podcast features a conversation with three leaders who have experience and expertise in leading and understanding churches in rural areas - Rev. Allen Stanton, a clergy member of the WNC conference and the Executive Director of the Turner Center at Martin Methodist College in Tennessee; Rev. Santosh Niroula, the pastor of Fountain Hill and Mount Moriah United Methodist Churches in the Uwharrie District of WNC; Rev. Kristen Richardson-Frick, a clergy member of the SC conference and the Associate Director of the Rural Church Division at The Duke Endowment. They discuss the role of the church in a rural community and how it can build the kingdom through these connections.

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