News

Below are news stories published by the Western North Carolina Conference.  We recommend that you also subscribe to ENews and bookmark the United Methodist News Service to be more aware of what is going on in the conference and denomination. 

Articles for the news can be submitted here.

A Video Message of Hope, Peace, and Thanksgiving from Bishop Leeland

A Video Message of Hope, Peace, and Thanksgiving from Bishop Leeland

11/23/2020
As we continue to face the fallout from a divided national election, racial injustice and tension, concerns about the differences within our denomination, and the global pandemic, Bishop Leeland brings a message of hope, peace, and thanksgiving.
Advent Devotion Guide from Church of the Resurrection

Advent Devotion Guide from Church of the Resurrection

11/23/2020
This Advent devotion guide was created for Church of the Resurrection members in 2020 to help them fully engage in the lighting of the Advent candles at home during online worship or on their own. Use this guide as a standalone piece, or as part of an Advent kit containing a wreath, Advent candles, Christ candle and invitation card to Candlelight Christmas Eve services.
Advent Family Experience Kit

Advent Family Experience Kit

11/23/2020
Church of the Resurrection’s Children’s Ministry created a Family Experience Kit to help families engage more fully in Advent. These resources were created in 2020, while all worship was online at Resurrection, but these materials can be used by families any year or adapted as part of Sunday School curriculum.
*UPDATED* Phase Three Extension Guidelines for In-Person Worship & Ministry During COVID-19

*UPDATED* Phase Three Extension Guidelines for In-Person Worship & Ministry During COVID-19

11/20/2020
With Governor Cooper’s extension of Phase Three, along with the implementation of additional measures necessary to protect public health, the Bishop and Cabinet have also extended their Phase Three guidelines for WNC United Methodist Churches. Please note, while worship guidelines remain the same, all other indoor gathering should be limited to 10 persons or less. In additions, The Bishop and Cabinet urge pastors and church leaders to use the NCDHHS COVID-19 Alert system to monitor their county and to reconsider their decision to hold indoor worship, particularly if their county is “red."  All local churches are asked to use extreme caution in response to the recent rapid spread of the virus. We advise that all churches continue following CDC, state and local guidelines for indoor and outdoor gatherings, including handwashing, wearing masks, and observing physical distancing rules and group size limits.
Resource Roundup - Week of November 16, 2020

Resource Roundup - Week of November 16, 2020

11/20/2020
We scanned the internet for resources that will be of interest and value to you and your ministries. This week's roundup includes "What to Consider Before Regathering Face-to-Face", Advent books and social media graphics, and creative ways to safely celebrate Advent and Christmas during a pandemic.
The Latest Edition of E-News - COVID-19 Update for Local Churches, Advent Study from WNCC Resource Center, Creating Diverse, Just, & Equitable Spaces, and more

The Latest Edition of E-News - COVID-19 Update for Local Churches, Advent Study from WNCC Resource Center, Creating Diverse, Just, & Equitable Spaces, and more

11/18/2020
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.
Covid-19 Update for Local Churches

Covid-19 Update for Local Churches

11/18/2020
Yesterday, Governor Cooper released a new COVID-19 County Alert System to give individuals, businesses, community organizations, and public officials another tool to understand the community spread in their county and to make decisions about actions to slow the spread of the virus. The Bishop and Cabinet urge pastors and church leaders to use this system to monitor their county and to reconsider their decision to hold indoor worship, particularly if their county is “red." All local churches are asked to use extreme caution in response to the recent rapid spread of the virus. We thank the United Methodists across Western North Carolina for “loving their neighbor” by doing all that they can do to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Funds Available for Expenses Incurred During COVID-Related Food Relief Ministries

Funds Available for Expenses Incurred During COVID-Related Food Relief Ministries

11/18/2020
Resourceful Communities and The Conservation Fund are working with Livingstone College to manage an application and selection process for COVID-related food relief. Because funds are limited, we are looking to help community and faith partners in rural communities that incurred COVID-related food relief expenses between March 1, 2020 to November 12, 2020; and can submit documentation of expenses, including proof of payment. Resourceful Communities will offer two informational webinars on November 19 (at 12 noon and 6 pm).  You can find details on their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/resourcefulcommunities), and they will also record and post the presentations their website (link in full article). Online applications will be due Wednesday, December 2, 2020 by 11:59 p.m.
Spring Sessions of the Antiracism Ethics Training Canceled

Spring Sessions of the Antiracism Ethics Training Canceled

11/18/2020
Due to rapid spread of COVID-19, the Spring 2021 sessions of the Antiracism Ethics Trainings have been canceled. The sessions will be rescheduled at a later date with new locations. Anyone who already registered will be issued a refund and will need to register again for another training. Additional trainings will be announced at a future date. Please check the Ethics webpage for updates and more information.
Creative ideas for Christmas Eve worship 2020

Creative ideas for Christmas Eve worship 2020

11/17/2020
Although we won't be able to enjoy packed-full sanctuaries on Christmas Eve, there are a variety of ways to gather safely and to celebrate the coming of Jesus. Twin Cities District pastors recently shared some ideas with each other, and they are so creative that we want to lift some of them up to the whole conference:
Means of Grace: Creating Diverse, Just and Equitable Spaces of Faith

Means of Grace: Creating Diverse, Just and Equitable Spaces of Faith

11/17/2020
In this episode, Dr. Otto Harris, the senior pastor of St. Mark’s United Methodist in Charlotte and the Interim Director of the Conference Comprehensive Plan of Equity, has an important conversation on diversity, inclusion and belonging with local diversity experts, Veronica Calderon, Chief Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Officer at Aldersgate Continuing Care Retirement Community and Fernando G. Little, Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer at Atrium Health.
ZOE Empowers - Virtual Mission Trip

ZOE Empowers - Virtual Mission Trip

11/16/2020
Pack your bags for a virtual trip to Rwanda, Kenya, and India! Glimpse the kingdom of God with orphaned and vulnerable children around the world lifting themselves permanently out of poverty. What does this unique travel experience include?
Video: What to Consider Before Re-Gathering Face-to-Face

Video: What to Consider Before Re-Gathering Face-to-Face

11/16/2020
This video from the North Carolina Conference "is designed to be used with your church’s leadership team and those who help make decisions about worship gatherings over the next few weeks and months. Dr. Wallace gives a brief overview of the science behind the coronavirus and why practices like wearing masks and physical distancing make a difference and then moves into a discussion of the risks and considerations associated with various types of worship gatherings your church may be thinking about. We encourage you to watch the video and have some discussion with your teams as you prayerfully consider how you will gather as faith communities."
Resource Roundup - Week of November 9, 2020

Resource Roundup - Week of November 9, 2020

11/13/2020
We scanned the internet for resources that will be of interest and value to you and your ministries. This week's Roundup includes resources for Student Day, free coloring page prayers for when you feel anxious, and Advent & Christmas resources for worshipping together and at home.
The Latest Edition of E-News - Updated Phase Three Guidelines, At-Home Advent Resource from WNCC, Starting a House Church Network, and more

The Latest Edition of E-News - Updated Phase Three Guidelines, At-Home Advent Resource from WNCC, Starting a House Church Network, and more

11/12/2020
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.
Applications Now Accepted for Intentional Growth Center Grants

Applications Now Accepted for Intentional Growth Center Grants

11/11/2020
The Intentional Growth Center is pleased to announce it is now awarding grants to local congregations and church organizations.   Grants will be available for ministries that increase Christian Discipleship and Church Leader Development for clergy and laity of all denominations, but with primary attention to persons of the Southeastern Jurisdiction of the United Methodist Church.
Leading in Crisis: When Internet Access Becomes a Barrier to Education

Leading in Crisis: When Internet Access Becomes a Barrier to Education

11/11/2020
On Monday, Nov. 16, GBHEM will host the final 2020 edition of its “Leading in Crisis” e-panel series. The discussion topic is “When Internet Access Becomes a Barrier to Education.” Panelists will include the Deputy Vice Chancellor for Africa University in Zimbabwe, Prof. Peter Mageto, and President Suzanne Walsh of Bennett College in North Carolina.
New Advent Resource from the WNCC Resource Center

New Advent Resource from the WNCC Resource Center

11/11/2020
Zoomed out? Tired of technology? Can't stand to look at a screen for one more minute? We get it. This Advent, go back in time and engage with ancient spiritual practices designed to help you find more hope, peace, joy and love in your life. Adventus: Ancient Practices for an Advent at Home - the latest resource from the WNCC Resource Center - includes five lessons: one for each week of Advent plus an extra lesson for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
Means of Grace: Starting a House Church Network

Means of Grace: Starting a House Church Network

11/10/2020
Several churches across the conference have started house church networks since the onset of the pandemic and countless more are beginning to experiment with them in the coming months as the weather gets colder and outdoor worship gets harder. In this episode Luke Edwards sits down with Rev. Sam Burleson and Amy Cochran of Salem UMC in Bostic. We hear about the house church network that arose this year at their church and some of the lessons they’ve learned so far.
Mission Engagement Blog - November 2020

Mission Engagement Blog - November 2020

11/4/2020
Check out the latest Mission Engagement Blog.
Global Mission Fellows Application is Open!

Global Mission Fellows Application is Open!

11/4/2020
We are now accepting application for young adults, ages 20-30, to serve within the United States. U.S. Citizens, Residents, Green Card holders, and DACA Students are all eligible to apply to the GMF: US-2 Track.
Manna: Soul Tending Space for Pastors

Manna: Soul Tending Space for Pastors

11/4/2020
Living through a pandemic is very much a wilderness experience, and for the past eight months, pastors have been called upon to help their communities navigate the pain and loss of this season. Clergy, like Moses, are holding space for the people around them as the world dreams of life on the other side. But who’s holding space for clergy? Where are pastors finding manna in this pandemic wilderness? This Advent, the NCC Center for Leadership Excellence and the Rev. Lisa Yebuah will host a 3-session soul-tending platform for pastors to name and even grieve the realities of clergy life during these stressful times, while also acquiring spiritual practices to buoy their hope.
Means of Grace: Leading in Politically Divided Times

Means of Grace: Leading in Politically Divided Times

11/3/2020
America is divided and the church is not immune. The divisions are largely motivated by this and the previous election cycle. In this episode, Jesse Enniss is joined by Dr. Trevor Eppehimer, Academic Dean and Associate Professor of Systematic Theology at Hood Theological Seminary, Rev. Jan Brittain, Lead Pastor, Williamson’s Chapel UMC, and Rev. Jamie Hamrick, Senior Pastor, Rocky Mount UMC who discuss the role of the church in this political climate.
Bishops Called to Bring Stability in Chaos

Bishops Called to Bring Stability in Chaos

11/2/2020
United Methodist bishops opened their online meeting in a season of turmoil. Around the globe, people are contending with the pandemic, struggling economies, natural disasters and a reckoning with racial injustice. In the U.S., United Methodists also face political polarization on the eve of Election Day on Nov. 3.
Dinner Church at New Covenant UMC

Dinner Church at New Covenant UMC

11/2/2020
After reflecting and assessing the neighborhood and needs of the residents in Lenoir, New Covenant UMC decided to re-engage and restore the community.
Retiring Well: A Pre-Retirement Webinar from Wespath

Retiring Well: A Pre-Retirement Webinar from Wespath

11/2/2020
Clergy who are 3-5 years from retirement are invited to join representatives from Wespath and EY to discuss retirement provisions, plans, and services. Register before November 4th 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!
The Latest Edition of E-News - Remembering the Saints, Keeping Western NC Warm this Winter, Praying for Peace, and more

The Latest Edition of E-News - Remembering the Saints, Keeping Western NC Warm this Winter, Praying for Peace, and more

10/28/2020
E-News - October 28, 2020 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. NEWS Means of Grace: Remembering the Saints As we approach All Saints Day, we want to pause to remember the Saints we’ve lost this year in our churches, in our ...
Important Notice About Boy Scouts Bankruptcy

Important Notice About Boy Scouts Bankruptcy

10/28/2020
Important information for churches concerning Boy Scouts of America Bankruptcy.
Simpler PPP Forgiveness for Loans of $50,000 or Less

Simpler PPP Forgiveness for Loans of $50,000 or Less

10/28/2020
The U.S. Small Business Administration, in consultation with the Treasury Department, today released a simpler loan forgiveness application for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans of $50,000 or less. This action streamlines the PPP forgiveness process to provide financial and administrative relief to America’s smallest businesses while also ensuring sound stewardship of taxpayer dollars.
Advent 2020: Seeking Jesus, The Advent of Justice and Peace

Advent 2020: Seeking Jesus, The Advent of Justice and Peace

10/27/2020
Advent is a time for church leaders to guide their congregation through a soul-enriching time of reflection, lamentation, anticipation and renewal. The General Commission on Religion and Race announces a five-week Advent resource, Seeking Jesus: The Advent of Justice and Peace.
Dismantling Racism Events

Dismantling Racism Events

10/27/2020
Around the connection, United Methodists are gathering online and in-person to do the difficult work of dismantling racism. Find an event to attend or watch the video of one that has already occurred.
High Point University Fall Lecture Series: “A Century of Struggle: The Battle for Women’s Rights in American Religion and Politics” Virtual Lecture

High Point University Fall Lecture Series: “A Century of Struggle: The Battle for Women’s Rights in American Religion and Politics” Virtual Lecture

10/27/2020
Join High Point University as they welcome Dr. R. Marie Griffith, the John C. Danforth Distinguished Professor in the Humanities at Washington University in St. Louis, director of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics, and editor of the Center’s journal, Religion & Politics, for “A Century of Struggle: The Battle for Women’s Rights in American Religion and Politics” Virtual Lecture.
Local Church Learning Sessions: Technology for Worship, Small Groups, and Giving

Local Church Learning Sessions: Technology for Worship, Small Groups, and Giving

10/27/2020
As the COVID-19 pandemic continued and more churches shifted to or increased their digital ministry, United Methodist Communications began developing a series of Local Church Learning Sessions. All have been developed specifically to support local United Methodist churches during this extraordinary time. New sessions will be added here as they are produced..
Means of Grace: Remembering the Saints

Means of Grace: Remembering the Saints

10/27/2020
As we approach All Saints Day, we want to pause to remember the Saints we’ve lost this year in our churches, in our communities and in our world. The pandemic has impacted every aspect of our lives including death, dying and how we celebrate life and find ways grieve together. How do we balance sacred and safety in our rites surrounding death? Melissa McGill talks with Kay Morrison-Sanders, a cemetery bereavement counselor and lay member of St. Mark’s United Methodist in Charlotte and the Rev. Carter Ferguson, who pastors Prospect UMC in Archdale and Pleasant Hill UMC in Thomasville.
When the frost is on the pumpkin...

When the frost is on the pumpkin...

10/27/2020
St. Mark's celebrates five years of pumpkin patch fun.
WNCC Christmas Service

WNCC Christmas Service

10/27/2020
On the Sunday after Christmas, the Western NC Conference will offer a conference-wide virtual worship with a homily from the Bishop, music and liturgy from pastors and churches around our conference. Clergy and worship leaders, take a much-needed break after the Advent season and worship with friends around the conference. More information to come soon.
WNCC Disaster Response helps Woodchuckers keep Western NC warm this winter

WNCC Disaster Response helps Woodchuckers keep Western NC warm this winter

10/27/2020
WNCC Disaster Response and the Mission Response Center delivered two log splitters to the Hinton Rural Life Center to assist with their firewood ministry, the Woodchuckers.
Youth Mental Health First Aid

Youth Mental Health First Aid

10/27/2020
The conference is thrilled to partner with Hinton Rural Life Center to offer Youth Mental Health First Aid virtual training on November 21, 2020.
Four denominations pray for peace

Four denominations pray for peace

10/26/2020
On October 31, you are invited to join with members from four denominations in praying for peace and healing, in a non-partisan way, in preparation for the 2020 election. There will be speakers from the AME, CME, AME ZION, AND UM CHURCHES.
Journey Inward - The Big Silence Retreat: January 17-20, 2021

Journey Inward - The Big Silence Retreat: January 17-20, 2021

10/26/2020
We are all on a spiritual journey in this life, but so much of our journey is spent outside of ourselves. How often do you get away from the distractions of this world to find a holy place within? When was the last time you just hung out with God with no expectations whatsoever? Maybe it’s time for you to journey inward at The Big Silence Retreat. Start the New Year with a different kind of experience.
Grace Kitchen To Go: Wednesday Meal Program Adapts to COVID-19

Grace Kitchen To Go: Wednesday Meal Program Adapts to COVID-19

10/22/2020
Bob Bamberg, editor of The Alleghany News, shares the story of Sparta UMC - a story about the grace that manifests through the simple acts of kids playing basketball, neighbors sharing a meal, and a church willing to open their minds, doors, and hearts.
Weekly Resource Roundup

Weekly Resource Roundup

10/22/2020
We scanned the internet for resources that will be of interest and value to you and your ministries. This week's roundup includes: Discipleship Ministries 2021 Revised Common Lectionary Calendar, Illustrated Ministries pre-recordable, Zoom-able Virtual Christmas Pageant, best ways to distribute weekly bulletins to your congregation, and more.
The Latest Edition of E-News - Peace Scholarship for Clergy, Collected Wisdom from Rural Churches, Means of Grace podcast, and more

The Latest Edition of E-News - Peace Scholarship for Clergy, Collected Wisdom from Rural Churches, Means of Grace podcast, and more

10/21/2020
This week's E-Newsletter includes peace scholarships for clergy from the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center, collected wisdom from WNCC rural churches and pastors from the United Methodist Rural Advocates, the latest Means of Grace podcast episode, and more.
Rev. Mark King Retains Certification as UMC Administrator

Rev. Mark King Retains Certification as UMC Administrator

10/21/2020
It is with great joy, we share that Dr. Mark King, Conference Treasurer and Director of Administrative Services, has retained certification as a United Methodist Church Administrator.
WNCC United Methodist Women - Mission U 2020 LIVE

WNCC United Methodist Women - Mission U 2020 LIVE

10/21/2020
At this time of COVID-19 we are surrounded by much uncertainty and anxiety all over the world.  We are not able to  “Pass the Peace” at our houses of worship, our children are not able to attend school, so many lives have been lost and many are facing economic uncertainty.  Across the country there are marches everyday demanding justice and calling for police reform following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others.  The stress level for many of us is at an all-time high. Sandrea Williamson will lead us through the study using the Serenity Prayer as a guide to help us de-stress and refresh so we may continue to live out our Purpose as United Methodist Women.
Means of Grace: Meet Our Church Planters

Means of Grace: Meet Our Church Planters

10/20/2020
In this episode, Luke Edwards catches up with two church planters, Ashley Crowder Stanley of the Wellspring Congregation near Asheville and Rev. Charlie Rivens of The Place in Charlotte, to talk about their ministries, the highs and lows of starting a church and how they’ve adjusted during the pandemic.
NC Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions Program

NC Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions Program

10/19/2020
The Housing Opportunities and Prevention of Evictions (HOPE) Program is a new statewide initiative that may provide rent and utility assistance to eligible low- and moderate-income renters experiencing financial hardship due to the economic effects of COVID-19. The new program will help prevent evictions and utility disconnections in order to promote housing stability during the ongoing pandemic.
Announcing a 2-Part Online Eating Together Faithfully (ETF) Training Sponsored by MTSO on Nov 5th & 6th

Announcing a 2-Part Online Eating Together Faithfully (ETF) Training Sponsored by MTSO on Nov 5th & 6th

10/16/2020
Join us for a new 2-Part Online Eating Together Faithfully (ETF) Training with Life Around the Table, sponsored by the Methodist Theological School in Ohio (MTSO) on November 5th & 6th!
Collected Wisdom from Rural and Small Membership Churches

Collected Wisdom from Rural and Small Membership Churches

10/16/2020
The United Methodist Rural Advocates would like to offer some help to churches who are struggling with worship in these tumultuous times. As churches decide to move back to indoor worship it is important that this decision be arrived at with much prayer and interactive planning. The virus is serious, as is the need for gathering as the body of Christ. Safety must be of utmost concern as we endeavor to do no harm, do good and stay in love with God. Our hope is to offer at the very least hope and acknowledgement that you are not alone. Here is some of the collected wisdom, as well as some advice from rural pastors.
Pastor's Breakfast Brings Small Community Together

Pastor's Breakfast Brings Small Community Together

10/15/2020
When we find ourselves living in remote places it can be hard to find ways to fellowship. If you find yourself in a small town with no places to gather, perhaps it is time to consider making the local diner a new favorite for community gathering.
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