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.

COVID-19 Guidelines for In-Person Worship & Ministry - UPDATED 5.18.21

COVID-19 Guidelines for In-Person Worship & Ministry - UPDATED 5.18.21

5/18/2021
The CDC and Governor Cooper have issued new guidance regarding masks, social distancing, and mass gathering limits for those who have been fully vaccinated. In response, the Bishop and Cabinet offer these updated recommendations.
Means of Grace: Square Breathing Practice with Dr. Melanie Dobson

Means of Grace: Square Breathing Practice with Dr. Melanie Dobson

5/18/2021
In this time of stress and burnout, Dr. Melanie Dobson guides us through the Square Breathing Practice. It’s been proven to lower heart rate, de-stress and shift mental state …within just two minutes. We hope these meditations allow you to pause and take a breath as the world begins to reopen.
Brewery Bible Study

Brewery Bible Study

5/17/2021
If you have ever met Rev. Randy Blanton, you will quickly learn that he has a love of craft beer and theology. When he moved to Aldersgate UMC in Shelby in 2016 he decided to combine two of his loves and host a Bible study at Newgrass Brewery in downtown Shelby. His first fall doing this he thought there may be ten to fifteen people who came out. When he showed up for the first study there were almost fifty people there. They had planned to have it inside, but with this number they instead moved...
Bishop Carter to Lead Western NC

Bishop Carter to Lead Western NC

5/15/2021
The Council of Bishops has announced that Bishop Ken Carter will serve as the resident bishop of Western North Carolina Conference (Charlotte Area), in addition to his role as resident bishop of Florida Conference (Florida Area) beginning on September 1, 2021 upon Bishop Leeland's retirement. We look forward to welcoming Bishop Carter home to Western NC and fruitful ministry together.  Bishop Carter shares this message: This weekend it was announced that I will begin to serve as bishop of two ...
JUNETEENTH Freedom Celebration at Lake Junaluska

JUNETEENTH Freedom Celebration at Lake Junaluska

5/12/2021
Join the Smoky Mountain District's Justice and Reconciliation Team hosts a JUNETEENTH Freedom Celebration on Saturday, June 19th @ Lake Junaluska. The event is free and open to everyone! The day will include worship featuring a keynote address by Rev. Dr. Stephanie Moore Hand, Metro District Vitality Specialist, acclaimed storyteller and historical interpreter, Novella Nimmo, and music from gifted musicians in the Western NC Conference. After worship, the community is invited to party on the grounds (3:00 – 6:00 p.m.) with food trucks, inflatables, horseshoes and cornhole, vendors and exhibits, dancing, and family fun.
Saint Matthews UMC's summer garden provides food in the desert

Saint Matthews UMC's summer garden provides food in the desert

5/12/2021
Saint Matthews UMC, in the historic neighborhood of East Greensboro, has the distinction of being the oldest and largest African American church in the Western North Carolina Conference. Now, this church, which is over 150 years old, is doing something new. Their garden ministry is providing healthy nutritional options for their neighbors who live a food desert in Guilford County.
Bishop Leeland Announces Retirement

Bishop Leeland Announces Retirement

5/11/2021
Bishop Paul L. Leeland has announced his intent to retire, effective September 1, 2021. We express gratitude for Bishop Leeland and his faithfulness in guiding Western North Carolina for the past five years – the four years of the quadrennium plus one additional year due to the postponement of General and Jurisdictional Conferences due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Conference has benefitted from Bishop Leeland’s emphases on collaboration, clergy leadership development, anti-racism efforts, and the planting of new churches. A celebration of Bishop Leeland’s ministry will be held during the virtual Annual Conference on June 12, 2021.
Launching a Non-Profit

Launching a Non-Profit

5/11/2021
This peer learning cohort is designed for clergy and/or laity who are working to develop a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. There are unique aspects of beginning a non-profit as a ministry within a local church. The cohort will share challenges, lessons learned, and best practices.
Means of Grace: Metro District - Vaccinating Our Neighbors

Means of Grace: Metro District - Vaccinating Our Neighbors

5/11/2021
In this week’s episode of the Means of Grace podcast, Luke catches up with Rev. David Hockett, Metro District Superintendent, and Rev. Dr. Stephanie Moore Hand, Metro District Vitality Associate, to talk about some exciting things that are happening in their area. They share about churches that are hosting community vaccination clinics, how churches are re-missioning their properties, and the multicultural/multiethnic cohort happening in their district.
ImagineHub Summit on Missional Innovation

ImagineHub Summit on Missional Innovation

5/10/2021
You are invited to join the ImagineHub learning network of missional innovation centers first annual ImagineHub Summit the afternoon of Thursday, June 3.
All Hood Alumni and Friends Symposium to Take Place June 18

All Hood Alumni and Friends Symposium to Take Place June 18

5/7/2021
The Sixth Annual All Hood Alumni and Friends Symposium will take place June 18, 2021 from 8:45 a.m. – 2:45 p.m. This will be a virtual event hosted via Zoom. The theme will be "Re-Imagining Church: Reboot-Rebound-Recover." There will be a diverse array of speakers discussing numerous topics related to the theme. Registration is required to attend the event.
Mission Engagement Blog - May 2021

Mission Engagement Blog - May 2021

5/7/2021
Check out the Mission Engagement Blog page for a new blog by Camille Roddy, Chair, Congregations 4 Children.
The Latest Edition of E-News - 2020 State of the Church Report, Updated COVID-19 Guidelines, Celebrating Creation Care, and more

The Latest Edition of E-News - 2020 State of the Church Report, Updated COVID-19 Guidelines, Celebrating Creation Care, and more

5/5/2021
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. This week's issue includes the 2020 State of the Church report, updated COVID-19 guidelines, creation care resources, and more.
2020 State of the Church Report: Blessed is the Church

2020 State of the Church Report: Blessed is the Church

5/4/2021
The United Methodist Church has continued to carry out its mission despite the unique challenges and uncertainties of 2020. That’s according to the new 2020 State of the Church Report produced by the Connectional Table and United Methodist Communications, themed “Blessed is the Church.” The report uses the framework of the Beatitudes to share a compilation of stories that provide an inspiring look at the ways the church responded in an unprecedented year – which included a global pandemic, renewed calls to end racism, a delayed General Conference and the possibility of a denominational split.
Means of Grace: Green Spaces in Ministry, Part 3

Means of Grace: Green Spaces in Ministry, Part 3

5/4/2021
This edition of the Means of Grace podcast is a three-part series highlighting four ministries in Western North Carolina who are using green spaces in ministry. These ministries meet people where they are and invite them to something new – an orchard, a story walk, a worship service, exercise, a meal. Part 3 features George Eubanks, Mark Hovis, Sean Bloom, and Rev. Noel Sweezy, friends from the multi-faceted ministry, Common Ground, in Stanley. These episodes are airing on the Tuesdays surrounding Earth Day to encourage you to consider how you might connect the earth and its Creator with the lives of people in your community. It doesn't take much green space to start an innovative and inspiring outdoor ministry!
Resilience Resources

Resilience Resources

5/4/2021
How do ministry leaders persevere? How can they build capacity?
Creating power through energy efficiency

Creating power through energy efficiency

5/3/2021
Did you know the roof of the WNC Conference Center is covered in solar panels that not only provide enough energy to power the building but also provide excess energy that can be redistributed in the community? Rev. Dr. Mark King, WNC Conference Treasurer & Director of Administrative Services, and Joel Gilland, President & CEO of Wesley Community Development, share how the UMC values of creation care and energy efficiency played a role in the design of the WNC Conference Center.
Project Agape Virtual Mission Trip

Project Agape Virtual Mission Trip

5/3/2021
Please join us for a Project AGAPE Virtual Mission trip on Thursday July 15, 2021 at 6:30 PM EST via Zoom.
COVID-19 Guidelines for In-Person Worship & Ministry - UPDATED 4.29.21

COVID-19 Guidelines for In-Person Worship & Ministry - UPDATED 4.29.21

4/29/2021
Governor Cooper has issued another easing of COVID-19 restrictions. The Bishop and Cabinet remain committed to our biblical mandate to “love our neighbors as ourselves” and our Wesleyan call to “Do no harm. Do all the good we can. Follow the ordinances (stay in love) with God.” Using Governor Cooper’s Executive Order No. 209 as a guide, the Bishop and Cabinet make these specific recommendations for United Methodist Churches in the Western NC Conference.
Racial Unity

Racial Unity

4/29/2021
The Leadership Development Team is taking the lead on intentionally modeling racial unity, racial healing, and racial reconciliation. As a first step toward working in love and unity in the body of Christ, and toward the endeavor of ethnic equality, the Leadership Development Team seeks to ensure that equal opportunities are given, not only within the ministry of the LDT, but in actual leadership placement and practice for ethnic minorities.

The Latest Edition of E-News - Creation Care, the Sacred Invitation, Reynolds Grant for Leadership, and more

4/28/2021
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. This week's issue includes resources for creation care, spiritual retreat, the Reynold's Grant for Church Leadership, and more.
Means of Grace: Green Spaces in Ministry, Part 2

Means of Grace: Green Spaces in Ministry, Part 2

4/27/2021
This edition of the Means of Grace podcast is a three-part series highlighting four ministries in Western North Carolina who are using green spaces in ministry. These ministries meet people where they are and invite them to something new – an orchard, a story walk, a worship service, exercise, a meal. Part 2 features "The Kevins" – Kevin Miller and Kevin Bates – who are starting a new faith community in the outdoors called Way in the Wilderness: A Church Without Walls. These episodes are airing on the Tuesdays surrounding Earth Day to encourage you to consider how you might connect the earth and its Creator with the lives of people in your community. It doesn't take much green space to start an innovative and inspiring outdoor ministry!
Your Conference Creation Care Ministry Team is Gearing Up!

Your Conference Creation Care Ministry Team is Gearing Up!

4/27/2021
Do you love the beauty of God's creation? Would you like to become more actively and intentionally engaged in caring for it in order to honor and glorify God? Well, your Conference Creation Care Ministry Team is gearing up to help local congregations do just that - either by helping to expand existing creation care ministries or to begin new ones. We are here to serve you!
ONDCP Rural Faith-Based Series: Connecting Faith to Prevention

ONDCP Rural Faith-Based Series: Connecting Faith to Prevention

4/23/2021
The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) has organized a series of four workshops for rural faith leaders to come together to discuss, learn, and share information and resources to help individuals with substance use disorder (SUD). The next workshop will be held on Thursday, May 13, 2021. Learn more and register today.
The Sacred Invitation

The Sacred Invitation

4/22/2021
The Sacred Invitation is a twelve-month program specifically designed for those who hunger for a holistic approach to the inner work that deepens their life with God. It equips and empowers them to love and lead from the Center out.
Bishops call for dismantling systematic racism in aftermath of George Floyd verdict

Bishops call for dismantling systematic racism in aftermath of George Floyd verdict

4/21/2021
A jury on Tuesday convicted former police officer Derek Chauvin of murder and manslaughter in the death of George Floyd, nearly a year after a viral video of the Black man gasping for breath pinned beneath the White officer’s knee sent millions into the streets demanding justice and forcing a national reckoning on race and policing. (Washington Post) Here is the statement from the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church on the verdict.
Laboring with God for the Kingdom on Earth: A Devotion Given to the Asian Ministries Network on March 31, 2021

Laboring with God for the Kingdom on Earth: A Devotion Given to the Asian Ministries Network on March 31, 2021

4/21/2021
Rev. David Lee offers a moving devotion reflecting on his experience as a Korean-American in school, society, and the United Methodist Church. Rev. Lee reminds us that it is our call as Christians to work with God towards the fulfillment of God's kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.
Harambee 2021: Apart but Connected!

Harambee 2021: Apart but Connected!

4/20/2021
Harambee 2021 will be a virtual experience due to COVID-19, and as we shift to this virtual method, our registration will also look a bit different.  The end of Early Bird registration is coming up quickly in 2 weeks. We look forward to seeing you all on June 25-26th for Harambee 2021! Although we will be apart, we will still be connected!
Means of Grace: Green Spaces in Ministry, Part 1

Means of Grace: Green Spaces in Ministry, Part 1

4/20/2021
This edition of the Means of Grace podcast uses two episodes to highlight four ministries in Western North Carolina who are using green spaces in ministry. These ministries meet people where they are and invite them to something new – an orchard, a story walk, a worship service, exercise, a meal. Part 1 features Ann Self, the executive director of The Village Green in Cashiers, and Chris Harbin and Edmari Correya deCastro, who share about their aquaponics and biodiverse orchard ministry. These episodes are airing on the Tuesdays surrounding Earth Day as a way for leaders to consider how they might connect the earth and its Creator with the lives of people in their community. One of the many blessings of living in North Carolina is access to beautiful spaces and God’s earth. These podcasts encourage you to think about your own outdoor space – it doesn’t take much – and how it can be used in ministry. Be sure to check out Part 2 next week.
Mission Pastor Cohort

Mission Pastor Cohort

4/20/2021
If you are a pastor or staff person involved in missions and seeking on-going community and training, consider becoming a part of the Mission Pastor Cohort.
Join the Annual Conference Virtual Choir!

Join the Annual Conference Virtual Choir!

4/19/2021
*DEADLINE EXTENDED! Video submissions are now due Friday, April 23rd.* The Worship Committee for the 2021 WNC Annual Conference is creating a virtual conference choir for the opening hymn. Singers of any age from WNC are invited to video record themselves singing the hymn, “And Are We Yet Alive.”
The Latest Edition of E-News - Join the AC2021 Virtual Choir, Nominations for Harry Denman Awards, Mission Engagement Virtual Book Club, and more

The Latest Edition of E-News - Join the AC2021 Virtual Choir, Nominations for Harry Denman Awards, Mission Engagement Virtual Book Club, and more

4/14/2021
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.
PPP Loans For Churches

PPP Loans For Churches

4/14/2021
PPP Loans are available until May 31, 2021. If your church has not applied and needs the assistance, The United Methodist Credit Union would be honored to help!
News from Hood Theological Seminary

News from Hood Theological Seminary

4/14/2021
A lot is going on at Hood Theological Seminary! Learn more about the 2021 Chaplaincy Didactic, three new graduate programs, and three virtual meet & greet sessions for potential new students.
Experiencing Fresh Expressions

Experiencing Fresh Expressions

4/13/2021
Come enjoy a day of interactive learning about Fresh Expressions, new ways of thinking about evangelism, and how you can impact your local community for Christ! Sponsored by the Uwharrie District, Experiencing Fresh Expressions will be held on May 15th at the Mount Shepherd Retreat Center. Learn more and register today!
Faith into Action: Advocating for Children in NC

Faith into Action: Advocating for Children in NC

4/13/2021
Join us on May 6th for Faith into Action: Advocating for Children in NC! The Western NC Child Advocacy Network, Congregations4Children (WNCCUMC), and NC Child will share their experience and expertise related to child advocacy.
Means of Grace: A Conversation with Greg Jarrell

Means of Grace: A Conversation with Greg Jarrell

4/13/2021
In this episode, Brian talks with Greg Jarrell, founder of QC Family Tree in Charlotte and author of "A Riff of Love: Notes on Community and Belonging." Since 2005, Greg and his wife have been serving their neighborhood of Enderly Park in West Charlotte through QC Family Tree, an organization that seeks to build a better community through affordable housing, youth development, and art. Brian and Greg talk about building community, the dangers of white centrism in minority neighborhoods, and the work QC Family Tree is doing in Charlotte.The Mission Engagement Team will be hosting a virtual book club discussing "A Riff of Love" beginning April 21st. Learn more in the show notes.
Equity is the quality of non-violence

Equity is the quality of non-violence

4/12/2021
Equity is the quality of non-violence.  This sentence packs a punch to how we live our days within the community of faith. Quality of non-violence speaks to the depths of how we think, react and develop as a disciple. In the fall of 2020, Northern Piedmont District communities had to think, react and form as ones who understood the past and strive to change our former violent ways of racism. The vaccine was coming into our communities, and how would we bring equity and honesty to our discipleship? Read more of the Northern Piedmont District's response to the call for equity.
Mission Engagement Blog - April 2021

Mission Engagement Blog - April 2021

4/12/2021
"Just over a week ago, many of our churches gathered, in person or virtually, to celebrate Maundy Thursday, a night when we remember how Jesus’ command to ‘love one another as I have loved you” was instituted around the table. Throughout Jesus' ministry, he was regularly feeding others. Food and feeding the hungry was a way Jesus showed love and a way God invites us to show love...Many churches have food-related ministries: gardens, pantries, community meals. Yet, often, we struggle to feel like these ministries are having the impact we want them to have. " Read more of the latest Mission Engagement blog by Rev. Laura Byrch discussing this month's topic, "Come to the Table."
Mission Engagement Virtual Book Club

Mission Engagement Virtual Book Club

4/12/2021
We are very excited to announce that we are launching our first four week virtual book club! We will offer two different weekly meeting times: Wednesdays at 10:00 a.m and Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m. Participants will remain in the same weekly time slot for all the meetings for the four weeks. The first meeting will be on April 21st. The classes will cap at 12 participants, so make sure to reserve your spot quickly!
Hood Theological Seminary Launches Three New Programs

Hood Theological Seminary Launches Three New Programs

4/8/2021
Salisbury, NC – The mission of Hood Theological Seminary is to prepare women and men for bold and creative leadership for the Christian church for a diverse world. Hood continues to live its mission through the creation of a new Master of Arts in Chaplaincy program and two new Graduate Certificate programs.
Innovation and Change

Innovation and Change

4/8/2021
Have you missed any of the WNCC Innovation articles? Click here to check them out!
The Latest Edition of E-News - Second Sunday of Easter Worship Service, Bishop Leeland Announces Cabinet Changes, Burning Out & Coming Back Leadership Clinic, and more

The Latest Edition of E-News - Second Sunday of Easter Worship Service, Bishop Leeland Announces Cabinet Changes, Burning Out & Coming Back Leadership Clinic, and more

4/7/2021
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.
'I See You' Webinar Series: Working Class Rage with Tex Sample

'I See You' Webinar Series: Working Class Rage with Tex Sample

4/7/2021
Join Scott Hughes as he talks with Rev. Dr. Tex Sample about his book Working Class Rage for a two-part webinar series. 1 John 5:20-21 reminds us that part of loving God, who is unseen, is seeing and loving those around us who are hurting and feel neglected. This webinar series is part of the Courageous Conversations project, yet it is open to all pastors and all church leaders who are seeking to better understand and love those who feel as though their voice doesn’t matter.
Five Metro District churches help provide over 1500 COVID-19 vaccines

Five Metro District churches help provide over 1500 COVID-19 vaccines

4/7/2021
For five Metro District churches, Holy Week in 2021 brought socially-distanced lines of masked community members eagerly anticipating their turn to roll up their sleeve.
Leadership Clinic with Carey Nieuwhof:

Leadership Clinic with Carey Nieuwhof: "Burning Out and Coming Back"

4/7/2021
Chances are that you know someone who has burned out or might be on the edge of it yourself. Burnout today seems almost to be a rite of passage. In this talk, Carey looks at signs of burnout and identifies several types of burnout that impact more leaders than most people realize. He shares about how to recover from burnout and stay healthy. Carey’s LIVE training will be followed by an interactive interview with Bishop Palmer of the West Ohio Conference about the future of the Church, and your questions.
N.C. Council of Churches Honoring Michael Regan at 2021 Legislative Seminar

N.C. Council of Churches Honoring Michael Regan at 2021 Legislative Seminar

4/7/2021
The North Carolina Council of Churches will host its 2021 Legislative Seminar virtually from Monday, April 26 through Friday, April 30 daily at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Held biennially when the General Assembly holds its “long session,” the Seminar offers people of faith the factual tools they need to faithfully consider the policy matters that affect our lives and the lives of our neighbors.
Neighborly Advice Webinar Series: Effective Communication to Postmodern Families

Neighborly Advice Webinar Series: Effective Communication to Postmodern Families

4/7/2021
The pandemic and the use of new technology have challenged our way of preaching and communicating with our congregations. How do we communicate effectively to the entire congregation? Discipleship Ministries is introducing a new three-part webinar series that delves into a deeper conversation around preaching and communicating to children and families in a postmodern neighborhood.
Oak Grove UMC Delivers Easter Joy

Oak Grove UMC Delivers Easter Joy

4/7/2021
Like so many churches, Oak Grove UMC in Ellenboro has two beloved mission projects they participate in year after year. In 2021, however, the congregation had the opportunity to expand their ministry outreach to include a feeding ministry for families who are living in a local motel. This Easter, the children of these families received an extra special surprise with their regular food delivery.
Three Churches Building Online Community

Three Churches Building Online Community

4/7/2021
The church has moved online. And this year has taught us that some aspects of church are harder than others to practice on the internet. Online worship void of community is not a complete picture of church. Church is not a production to be consumed (in-person or online), it is a people gathered around the risen Christ, worshiping God together. Luke Edwards, Associate Director for Church Development, helps us answer an essential question: how can we create community online?
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