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.

Commissioning & Ordination Worship Book Now Available

Commissioning & Ordination Worship Book Now Available

6/15/2021
The worship book for the 2021 Ordering of Ministry services, including the commissioning of provisional elders & deacons, and the ordination of full-connection elders & deacons, is now available for viewing and downloading. The Ordering of MInistry services will be held Saturday, June 19th at Lake Junaluska.
Means of Grace: Celebrating Juneteenth in Western North Carolina

Means of Grace: Celebrating Juneteenth in Western North Carolina

6/15/2021
Jesse Enniss and Kim Ingram talk with persons from two different communities who are celebrating Juneteenth for the first time. D’Andre Ash is helping to coordinate the Smoky Mountain District celebration at Lake Junaluska and Lakeysha Medlin and Bruce Handy share the plans for celebrating in Marshville. Learn more about Juneteenth and ways you can celebrate!
Convocation on the Rural Church

Convocation on the Rural Church

6/14/2021
The next gathering of the Convocation on the Rural Church has been rescheduled for August 7-9 2023
Mark Your Calendars for AC2022!

Mark Your Calendars for AC2022!

6/14/2021
Mark your calendars for next year's Annual Conference at Lake Junaluska, June 17-19, 2022!
2021-2022 Local Church Appointment List

2021-2022 Local Church Appointment List

6/12/2021
Bishop Leeland and the Western North Carolina Cabinet have made the following local church appointments for the 2021-2022 year.  View the full list here.
AC2021 Schedule and Order of Worship

AC2021 Schedule and Order of Worship

6/12/2021
Download the schedule and order of worship for Annual Conference 2021.
2021 Conference Award Winners

2021 Conference Award Winners

6/10/2021
On June 10, the Conference gathered on Zoom to celebrate outstanding leaders in ministry across the Western North Carolina Conference. Learn more about this year's WNCC award recipients.
First United Methodist Church of Hendersonville Receives Humanitarian Award

First United Methodist Church of Hendersonville Receives Humanitarian Award

6/10/2021
First UMC of Hendersonville partners with the Safelight shelter, counseling, and training services to bring hope to survivors of domestic violence, sexual abuse, and child abuse in Henderson County. Safelight recently recognized the First UMC contributions by selecting them as the 2021 Faith-Based Institution Humanitarian Award recipient.
The Latest Edition of E-News - It's time for Annual Conference, Join us for Connection Points, Support the AC2021 Offering, and more

The Latest Edition of E-News - It's time for Annual Conference, Join us for Connection Points, Support the AC2021 Offering, and more

6/9/2021
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.
Juneteenth Freedom Celebrations

Juneteenth Freedom Celebrations

6/9/2021
Juneteenth Freedom Celebrations are happening across the Conference on June 19th. Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. From its Galveston, Texas origin in 1865, the observance of June 19th as the African American Emancipation Day has spread across the United States and beyond. In churches across our Conference, people of all races are joining hands to truthfully acknowledge a period in our history that shaped and continues to influence our society today. Find a Juneteenth celebration near you and join with Americans across the nation as we tell the stories of our past and celebrate the hope that comes through freedom!
NC Pastors Survey for UNC Research Project

NC Pastors Survey for UNC Research Project

6/9/2021
Prominent UNC professors, Liesbet Hooghe, Gary Marks, and Stephanie Shady, are requesting pastors in the WNCC to participate in a short, confidential survey for research they are conducting regarding the moral underpinnings of political change in North Carolina. Please consider participating in this important study.
A Few Words on Innovation: Still Waters Landing

A Few Words on Innovation: Still Waters Landing

6/8/2021
Check out this interview with Bryan Wilson with the Hickory Stand and Oak Forest charge about their innovative food-and-faith-based ministry to serve the local community in the mountains of Western North Carolina.    
Both/And Learning Lab #1

Both/And Learning Lab #1

6/8/2021
BOTH Current Grant recipients AND Potential Grant Recipients of the BOTH/AND Grants are invited to join us for the first Hybrid Worship Learning Lab. Participants will worship, learn, experiment, share, ask questions, and discover best practices around hybrid worship experiences. Learn more and register today.
Mission Engagement Blog - June 2021

Mission Engagement Blog - June 2021

6/8/2021
Check out the Mission Engagement Blog page for a new blog post by Rev. Alexis Coleman titled "Transforming the World (or your little piece of it) Really Can Happen". 
The Latest Edition of E-News - Pre-Conference Video Reports, Connection Points schedule, Highlights from the Smoky Mountain District, and more

The Latest Edition of E-News - Pre-Conference Video Reports, Connection Points schedule, Highlights from the Smoky Mountain District, and more

6/2/2021
Watch the Pre-Conference video reports now online, check out the full schedule for Connection Points next week, learn about the great work God is doing through the leadership, clergy, and laity in the Smoky Mountain District, and so much more! 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. Sign up at https://wnc-email.brtapp.com/subscribe to receive E-News in your inbox each week!
Join the Missional Collective

Join the Missional Collective

6/2/2021
What if you could be a part of a peer group that was committed to helping you foster empowerment and change in your community? The Missional Collective is just that. Watch this video and visit the 2021 Missional Collective page to learn more.
Pre-Conference Video Reports Available Online Now

Pre-Conference Video Reports Available Online Now

6/2/2021
Video reports from various WNCC committees, commissions, and task forces are available for viewing prior to the virtual Annual Conference session next week. Hear details regarding the proposed 2022 budget, pension & health benefits, clergy vacation and continuing education policies, and more. Full reports and petitions can be found in the AC2021 Program & Reports book, as well as the P&R Supplement at www.ac2021.org.
Support the AC2021 offering, collected in honor of Bishop Paul and Janet Leeland

Support the AC2021 offering, collected in honor of Bishop Paul and Janet Leeland

6/2/2021
This year's Annual Conference offering, collected in honor of Bishop Paul and Janet Leeland, will support the ministries of UMAR and the Northern Haiti Mission Connection. Give generously to these valued ministries, out of the abundance which God has given generously to you.
WNCC Innovators' Information Survey

WNCC Innovators' Information Survey

6/2/2021
Are you an innovator in our conference? Do you know someone who is? We want to hear from you!
A Few Words on Innovation: Community Yoga

A Few Words on Innovation: Community Yoga

6/1/2021
Check out this interview with Dawn Lynch of West Church in Mooresville, NC about their Community Yoga Program.   
Disaster Response District Orientation

Disaster Response District Orientation

6/1/2021
If you are a Disaster Response leader in your district, an ERT Leader, or involved in Disaster Response within your district office, please sign up for the two-part District Orientation.
Means of Grace: Smoky Mountain District - Pursuing Community & Racial Justice

Means of Grace: Smoky Mountain District - Pursuing Community & Racial Justice

6/1/2021
In this episode, Director of Communications Melissa McGill catches up with the Smoky Mountain District as part of our ongoing series highlighting the incredible ministry of our districts. District Superintendent Rev. Linda Kelly, District Vitality Associate Rev. Nicole Jones and Communications Coordinator Rev. D’Andre Ash share about how the Spirit is moving in their district around racial justice, ministries during the pandemic and more.
Project Agape Virtual Mission Trip

Project Agape Virtual Mission Trip

6/1/2021
Please join us for a Project AGAPE Virtual Mission trip on Thursday July 15, 2021 at 6:30 PM EST via Zoom.
Renfro Trust Fund

Renfro Trust Fund

6/1/2021
The Renfro Trust Fund awards annual bricks-and-mortar grants to small rural United Methodist congregations in the Southeastern Jurisdiction. Please check with your Annual Conference to determine your respective deadline for application (typically in mid- to late summer).
Restoration House WNC

Restoration House WNC

6/1/2021
The Restoration House serves as a physical location for services of healing through in-house services and partnerships with other not-for-profit organizations that offer medical services, financial counseling, and relational mediation in the Bryson City, NC area. To support, check out the upcoming fundraisers and volunteer opportunities!
AntiRacism Ethics Training

AntiRacism Ethics Training

5/28/2021
This workshop is designed for clergy and laity together. It is essential for each pastor to identify a key lay person to attend it together with him/her as a partner in advancing the work of antiracism.
Financial assistance available for families struggling to afford internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic

Financial assistance available for families struggling to afford internet service during the COVID-19 pandemic

5/28/2021
Clergy and lay leaders, a new state program has been established to provide financial assistance for broadband service and laptops to help households struggling to afford internet service during the pandemic. This new benefit will connect eligible households to jobs, critical healthcare services, virtual classrooms, and so much more. Please share this resource with your communities.
Launching a Non-Profit

Launching a Non-Profit

5/28/2021
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. As needed, the cohort will bring in guest speakers to discuss technical skills/areas related to non-profit work such as 501(c)3 applications, accounting that tracks funding streams, bylaws, memorandums of understanding, board development, grant writing, and other topics as determined by the participants.
ReLaunch Playbook

ReLaunch Playbook

5/28/2021
For leaders thinking about what it means to be the local church and how to show up differently in the community as both a faith community and as a disciple. It is for those who have already opened their doors and are thinking toward fall and for those who are still figuring it all out.
The Latest Edition of E-News - Conference Center Opening June 1, Bishop Leeland Joins NCDHHS for COVID-19 Panel, Extended Cabinet Updates, and more

The Latest Edition of E-News - Conference Center Opening June 1, Bishop Leeland Joins NCDHHS for COVID-19 Panel, Extended Cabinet Updates, and more

5/26/2021
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 announces the reopening of the WNC Conference Center, a replay of the NCDHHS Fireside Chat with Secretary Mandy Cohen and Bishop Leeland, Connection Points schedule, and more.
Bishop Leeland joins NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen to discuss COVID-19 vaccines in North Carolina

Bishop Leeland joins NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen to discuss COVID-19 vaccines in North Carolina

5/26/2021
On Tuesday, May 25, 2021, Bishop Leeland joined NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen and NC Rural Center President Patrick Woodie for a panel discussion on COVID-19 vaccines in North Carolina. If you missed their conversation live, you can now watch the video on the WNCC website, Facebook page, or YouTube channel.
Grants Available for Local Church Racial/Ethnic Ministries

Grants Available for Local Church Racial/Ethnic Ministries

5/26/2021
Grants up to $10,000 will be available this fall from Discipleship Ministries to strengthen leadership training, small groups, worship, stewardship, and spiritual formation in ethnic local United Methodist churches.
Rev. Lynda Ferguson Receiving 2021 Ray of Light Award

Rev. Lynda Ferguson Receiving 2021 Ray of Light Award

5/26/2021
Rev. Lynda Ferguson of Asheboro, NC has been chosen to receive the 2021 John A. (Pete) Eberhart Ray of Light Award from Boundless Impact for her leadership in creating inclusive and welcoming congregations, and her legacy of breaking down boundaries in communities across NC where she has served as pastor. The Ray of Light award, which recognizes individuals who exemplify Boundless Impact’s vision of building thriving communities that are intentionally diverse, inclusive and equitable, will be presented to Rev. Ferguson at the inaugural ImagineHub Summit on June 3, hosted by Boundless Impact.
SEJ College of Bishops calls for special session

SEJ College of Bishops calls for special session

5/26/2021
The College of Bishops of the Southeastern Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church, in accordance with ¶521 of the 2016 Book of Discipline, calls for a special session of the jurisdictional conference on July 21, 2021. The meeting will begin at 10 a.m. EST and will be held virtually. The purpose of the special session is to vote on a proposed resolution to unite the Memphis Annual Conference and the Tennessee Annual Conference into the Tennessee-Western Kentucky Conference. Delegates will also receive a report from the Southeastern Jurisdiction on the pandemic response in the jurisdiction, the work of anti-racism across the jurisdiction, and the work of the jurisdiction moving forward into the next 18 months.
WNC Conference offices to reopen June 1, 2021

WNC Conference offices to reopen June 1, 2021

5/26/2021
Beginning June 1, the Western North Carolina Conference Center will again open for employees and the public with appropriately guarded requirements. A new post-infectious disease outbreak plan has been approved and will go into effect that same day. Read more for the full plan and safety guidelines.
Does Creation Care Ministry Have a Biblical Basis?

Does Creation Care Ministry Have a Biblical Basis?

5/25/2021
Many people view a Creation Care Ministry as a type of special interest or “boutique” ministry, something that is popular now but really has no basis in the Bible. But the theology of creation care is firmly established throughout both the Old Testament and the New Testament. For details, read on…
United Methodist Agencies 2020 Reports

United Methodist Agencies 2020 Reports

5/24/2021
View the 2020 video reports from United Methodist Agencies including Global Ministries, Church & Society, General Commission on United Methodist Men, and United Methodist Communications.
Extended Cabinet Shares Updates, Prepares for Episcopal Transition

Extended Cabinet Shares Updates, Prepares for Episcopal Transition

5/20/2021
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.
The Latest Edition of E-News - Updated COVID-19 Guidelines, Bishop Carter to lead WNCC, AC2021 news, and more

The Latest Edition of E-News - Updated COVID-19 Guidelines, Bishop Carter to lead WNCC, AC2021 news, and more

5/19/2021
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 newsletter includes updated COVID-19 guidelines, an announcement from the Council of Bishops on future episcopal leadership of the WNC Conference, Annual Conference updates, and more.
AC2021 Program and Reports Book now online!

AC2021 Program and Reports Book now online!

5/19/2021
The 2021 Annual Conference Program and Reports Book is available online. Clergy and Lay Members of the 2021 annual conference are invited to read about the ministries of WNCCUMC, still active in spite of the pandemic!
Clergywomen's Retreat with Pastor Juanita C. Rasmus

Clergywomen's Retreat with Pastor Juanita C. Rasmus

5/19/2021
On May 25 at 11:00 a.m., join Pastor Juanita for a 2-hour virtual retreat of self-care and reflection. As a certified spiritual director, she will guide participants through step-by-step meditation practices and help us dream about life beyond the pandemic.
Fireside Chat: COVID-19 Vaccines

Fireside Chat: COVID-19 Vaccines

5/19/2021
The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services will host a live fireside chat for rural communities on COVID-19 vaccines on May 25 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. NCDHHS Sec. NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D., will be joined by Patrick Woodie, president of the NC Rural Center, and Bishop Paul Leeland, resident bishop of the Western North Carolina Conference United Methodist Church. Kelly Calabria, president and CEO of the Foundation for Health Leadership & Innovation will moderate the event. The event will stream live from the NCDHHS, NC Rural Center, and WNCCUMC social media accounts, and through a telephone townhall feature.
St. Mark's UMC member and rising sophomore at Bennett College receives OZY Genius Award

St. Mark's UMC member and rising sophomore at Bennett College receives OZY Genius Award

5/19/2021
Marcinia Johnson, sophomore at Bennett College and member of St. Mark's UMC, is a 2021 OZY Genius Award Winner for her “Anti-gentrification low-income homes for seniors” initiative. Marcinia is one of 10 recipients of the prestigious award. Previous award winners include National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman.
WNC United Methodist Women featured in Response Magazine

WNC United Methodist Women featured in Response Magazine

5/19/2021
The Western North Carolina Conference United Methodist Women are featured in the May/June issue of Response magazine. The story highlights their virtual Mission U event based on the study "Finding Peace in an Anxious World," edited by Erin James-Brown. Read the full story.
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.
New Leadership Resources

New Leadership Resources

5/18/2021
The Leadership Development page has new resources! Three times a year, the resources on the Leadership Development page will be updated. There are 4-5 resources highlighted in each of these areas: Faith & Theology, Innovation & Change, Relationships & Conflict, Leading in Community.  These resources are recommended for leaders needing growth or help in particular areas.  The topics align with the Fruitful Clergy Leadership characteristics.
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...
Join us for WNCC Connection Points

Join us for WNCC Connection Points

5/17/2021
Join us each evening throughout the week leading up to Annual Conference, June 7-10, for WNCC Connection Points, live webinars connecting us to Christ, each other, and ministry in the world. The live streams will begin at 7 p.m. each evening. No advanced registration is necessary.
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 ...
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