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.

WNCC Easter Service

WNCC Easter Service

4/12/2020
Bishop Leeland and the Western North Carolina Cabinet are preparing an Easter worship video for our conference. Many of you are finding wonderful ways to connect with your church communities online and we celebrate that! However, if North Carolina’s restrictions on gathering are impacting your worship planning, use this worship video as a resource for celebrating Easter together. Bishop Leeland will share an Easter message and our District Superintendents will lead us in worship. The link will be sent to clergy on Saturday, April 11 and posted on the Conference website and Facebook page on Easter morning for your use.
2020 SEJ Conference Postponed

2020 SEJ Conference Postponed

4/7/2020
Greetings, Delegates and Alternates to the SEJ Conference:   Grace and peace to each of you in this most unusual of Holy Weeks for all of us. As some of you may have heard by this time, the decision has been made to postpone all 2020 U.S. Jurisdictional Conferences scheduled for July. According to our Book of Discipline, all Jurisdictional Conferences occur simultaneously on a date set by the Council of Bishops. As soon as the dates for the rescheduled General Conference are released, the ...
Making Funerals Meaningful in the Age of COVID-19

Making Funerals Meaningful in the Age of COVID-19

4/7/2020
The Hospice Foundation of America shares a webinar on how to make funerals meaningful during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
WNCC Churches Are Livestreaming! Join Us For Virtual Church!

WNCC Churches Are Livestreaming! Join Us For Virtual Church!

4/7/2020
Numerous churches across the conference are livestreaming their worship services, Bible studies, prayer services, bedtime Bible stories, and more. Connect with them here!
WNCC Churches Can Help COVID-19 First Responders Now

WNCC Churches Can Help COVID-19 First Responders Now

4/7/2020
We are quickly surveying all WNCC churches to determine which churches can help with healthcare needs of their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Holy Week Spotify Playlist

Holy Week Spotify Playlist

4/6/2020
Davidson UMC has curated a soundtrack for your Holy Week experience.
Rendering Unto God

Rendering Unto God

4/6/2020
How do you raise funds faithfully during a crisis?
Resources for Christian Leaders During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Resources for Christian Leaders During the Coronavirus Pandemic

4/6/2020
Faith and Leadership offers a collection of resources for Christian leaders during the Coronavirus pandemic.
A Church in Motion: Putting Legs on Our Prayers

A Church in Motion: Putting Legs on Our Prayers

4/4/2020
There is a graphic making the rounds on social media that makes a powerful statement about the church in our current times, times like none that we have experienced before. It reads: The church is not empty. The church has been deployed. First UMC (FUMC) of Hendersonville put that thought into action. Knowing that the church needed to be active in service and ministry during these challenging times, the church stood up a Coronavirus Response Team (CRT) of seven lay members and the senior pastor to address the needs of their members and their community.
Holy Week & Easter Guide for Reflection from the Christian Century

Holy Week & Easter Guide for Reflection from the Christian Century

4/2/2020
We hope this guide will help you reflect on the final days of Jesus’ earthly ministry, his death, and his ultimate victory over death. We have selected nine previously published articles to help you journey through this time. Each one includes questions and activities to help you reflect on and celebrate these significant days of our faith this week. The guide includes a week's worth of articles for Palm Sunday through Easter Sunday. We invite you to share this resource with friends and family. You may want to talk with them about it, or you might choose to use this guide in your personal study. We pray your Holy Week will be filled with the presence of Christ. – the editors of the Christian Century
Stations of the Cross: Social Distance Edition

Stations of the Cross: Social Distance Edition

4/2/2020
Fresh Expressions offers a guide for setting up a social distancing Stations of the Cross for your community.
Adaptable Easter Egg Hunt for Families During COVID-19

Adaptable Easter Egg Hunt for Families During COVID-19

4/1/2020
This Holy Week Scavenger Hunt/Easter Egg Hunt activity from Resource UMC may be used in a variety of ways. The activities could be done throughout Holy Week or on Easter Sunday. They may be done indoors or outdoors. You may do this activity with or without plastic Easter eggs. Please feel free to customize and adjust this resource as needed.
Church Pulse Weekly: Online Discipleship and the First Digital Easter - A Podcast from The Barna Group

Church Pulse Weekly: Online Discipleship and the First Digital Easter - A Podcast from The Barna Group

4/1/2020
Carey Nieuwhof and David Kinnaman talk to Bobby Gruenewald and Nona Jones about digital discipleship and how to make your Easter service powerful and effective.
COVID-19 Resources Hub

COVID-19 Resources Hub

4/1/2020
We have gathered all COVID-19 related resources into one page organized by category. Here you can find Messages from the Bishop, Event Cancellations and Closings, Financial and Administrative Resources, and Virtual Ministry Resources (including Holy Week/Easter ideas and a list of livestreaming services across Western NC). We hope this page will serve as a vital tool for you and your community as you navigate the uncharted territory of ministry and social distancing.
COVID-19: Update from Bishop Leeland and Other Resources for Preparedness

COVID-19: Update from Bishop Leeland and Other Resources for Preparedness

4/1/2020
Important message from Bishop Leeland of the Western North Carolina Conference. Links to additional resources for church and community preparedness can be found following the Bishop's message.
Easter Story Cookies

Easter Story Cookies

4/1/2020
If you are looking for a yummy way to celebrate Easter, gather the kids in the kitchen and make a batch of Easter Story Cookies. Click here for the recipe and corresponding scriptures.
Financial and Administrative Resources for COVID-19 Relief

Financial and Administrative Resources for COVID-19 Relief

4/1/2020
Find all of the financial and administrative resources now available in on place - including Financial Responses to COVID-19, Online Giving Platform for Churches, Telehealth Benefits, Grants and Financial Aid through the United Methodist Foundation, and Financial Assistance for Zoom Pro Accounts.
GBHEM Loans & Scholarships to Offer Financial Relief Measures

GBHEM Loans & Scholarships to Offer Financial Relief Measures

4/1/2020
In response to the economic impact of the global pandemic, the GBHEM Office of Loans and Scholarships has made some important updates to its policies. New 2020 guidelines – including a loan payment suspension option – are outlined here.
Holy Week Prayers

Holy Week Prayers

4/1/2020
Each day listed below will provide an opportunity for you, either individually or with friends, to experience Jesus' life as He fulfilled His ultimate purpose here on earth. Through these daily encounters with scripture and prayer you will walk in His steps and follow His path to the cross. These Holy Week Prayers are brought to you by Anne Bosarge at Bright Ideas for Church Leaders.
IMPORTANT Update on CARES Paycheck Protection Program

IMPORTANT Update on CARES Paycheck Protection Program

4/1/2020
IMPORTANT Update on CARES Paycheck Protection Program   We have received information that you are NOT required to have a charge conference to apply for this loan.  Please do make sure that your Finance Committee and Church Council know that you are applying.   We have also learned that the application process will open on April 3.  Please work with your bank to get your application in on that date or as close to it as possible as there is a limited pool of money available for these loans. View ...
Not A Normal Holy Week Resources from the North Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church

Not A Normal Holy Week Resources from the North Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church

4/1/2020
Find resources from the NC Conference to help as you live into the sacred emptiness of this year's Holy Week.
Three Ecumenical Organizations Unite in Holy Week/Easter Celebration Requests

Three Ecumenical Organizations Unite in Holy Week/Easter Celebration Requests

4/1/2020
The leaders of The National Council of Churches, Christians Uniting in Christ, and Christian Churches Together issue a joint letter asking churches across the nation to join together in specific Holy Week remembrances and Easter celebrations. Read the letter and find the ideas and resources here.
Means of Grace: Guided Prayer Meditations with Rev. Dr. Melanie Dobson and Rev. Ashley Pickerel Thomas

Means of Grace: Guided Prayer Meditations with Rev. Dr. Melanie Dobson and Rev. Ashley Pickerel Thomas

3/31/2020
The latest batch of mini-episodes on the Means of Grace podcast shares guided prayer meditations with the Rev. Dr. Melanie Dobson and Rev. Ashley Pickerel Thomas. In the midst of this pandemic, we invite you into a space of stillness to check in with God and with yourself. Listen on our website at www.wnccumc.org/meansofgrace or wherever you get your podcasts.
UMF Offers Grants and Financial Aid During COVID-19

UMF Offers Grants and Financial Aid During COVID-19

3/31/2020
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on United Methodist ministries in the Western North Carolina Conference, the United Methodist Foundation of Western North Carolina, Inc. will offer financial aid to qualified ministries. The funding will be distributed from the Reynolds Ministry Fund.
Update from Bishop Leeland and the Cabinet Regarding

Update from Bishop Leeland and the Cabinet Regarding "Drive-In Worship"

3/31/2020
While honoring the desire to gather for worship, Bishop Leeland and the Cabinet ask all UMC churches in Western North Carolina to follow the Governor's guideline and refrain from holding "drive-in worship" services.
Committee on Relief Collects 14,500 Masks for Gastonia and Charlotte Area Medical Providers

Committee on Relief Collects 14,500 Masks for Gastonia and Charlotte Area Medical Providers

3/30/2020
Volunteers worked to retrieve 10,000 masks (mostly n95) from UMCOR cleaning kits and from Mission Response Center donations this past week.
Engaging Your Livestream

Engaging Your Livestream

3/30/2020
Derek Hanson offers advice on how to engage your livestream audience while hosting church online.
Financial Responses to COVID-19

Financial Responses to COVID-19

3/30/2020
We realize many churches may be struggling financially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, the Conference wants to partner with you in these ways - (1) A three-month waiver of the local church component of pension and health benefit premiums. (2) The establishment of the WNC Connexion Fund to help our WNC congregations support clergy and their families as they continue to lead our ministries. (3) Interpretation of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Holy Week and Easter Season Online Worship Ideas from Dr. Marcia McFee

Holy Week and Easter Season Online Worship Ideas from Dr. Marcia McFee

3/30/2020
Dr. Marcia McFee offers resources for conducting Holy Week & Easter Season services online.
IgniteUS 2020 Cancelled

IgniteUS 2020 Cancelled

3/30/2020
The IgniteUS middle school retreat, planned for April 24-26, 2020, has been cancelled.
Join the Transforming Center for a Virtual Good Friday Prayer Service

Join the Transforming Center for a Virtual Good Friday Prayer Service

3/30/2020
The Transforming Center will be hosting a prayer service to keep us connected as we hold vigil on Good Friday, just as Jesus asked the disciples to cover him in prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. Visit the Transforming Center website for more information.
Making the Most of Online Small Groups

Making the Most of Online Small Groups

3/30/2020
Scott Hughes of Discipleship Ministries shares advice and resources for making the most of online small groups during a time of virtual ministry.
Remembering Holy Week, Celebrating Easter at Home

Remembering Holy Week, Celebrating Easter at Home

3/30/2020
Cindy Solomon and Resource UMC offer tips and ideas for remembering Holy Week and celebrating Easter at home.
The Church is Changing Podcast - Pastoral Care in a Time of Social Distancing with Luke Edwards and Melanie Childers

The Church is Changing Podcast - Pastoral Care in a Time of Social Distancing with Luke Edwards and Melanie Childers

3/30/2020
In this episode of the Church is Changing Podcast Luke talks with Melanie Childers, Clinical Chaplain at the Watauga Medical Center in Boone, NC about offering pastoral care during this time of social distancing.
Worship Matters Podcast: Special Response Episode

Worship Matters Podcast: Special Response Episode

3/30/2020
"In this special edition of the Worship Matters podcast, the worship team weighs in on worship during the COVID-19 quarantine. Despite being unable to gather as a body, there are ways we can connect as a worshiping community. Listen in as we discuss the struggles and possibilities, and then offers a word of hope and comfort to all those struggling with being the church in this unprecedented time."
COVID-19 Virus and Xenophobia, A Statement from the Inter-Ethnic Strategic Development Group (IESDG)

COVID-19 Virus and Xenophobia, A Statement from the Inter-Ethnic Strategic Development Group (IESDG)

3/26/2020
"IESDG unequivocally denounce the disturbing and continual use of the term “China or Chinese Virus”, correctly known as the COVID-19 virus. We urge President Donald J. Trump and other public officials to discontinue the use of the term “China/Chinese Virus” so that misinformation and animosity will be replaced with a love that respects the dignity and sacred worth of every person and community."
Telehealth Program Available, Now Includes Behavioral & Mental Health

Telehealth Program Available, Now Includes Behavioral & Mental Health

3/25/2020
Your telehealth benefits now include behavioral and mental health. The CDC advises the use of telehealth and telemedicine when available to avoid overloading doctor's offices and emergency departments.
Update to Suspension of Public Worship Gatherings and Guidelines for Communion

Update to Suspension of Public Worship Gatherings and Guidelines for Communion

3/24/2020
March 24, 2020 Dear Western North Carolina Conference UMC Family and Friends,   The decision to suspend all in-person worship and gatherings is an effort to assist in halting the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).  This change certainly creates a new set of challenges for all of us.  We really are building the bridge as we are walking across it. One new challenge we are facing is addressing ministry needs in situations that are different from our traditional ways of doing ministry.  Our ...
General Conference to Move to 2021

General Conference to Move to 2021

3/23/2020
The Commission on General Conference made a determination that the General Conference will not meet in 2020 as originally planned and elected to work toward setting a date in 2021.
WNCC Offers New Online Giving Platform for Churches

WNCC Offers New Online Giving Platform for Churches

3/23/2020
In response to new needs from our churches, the Western NC Conference is please to announce a free online giving platform! Donors will be able to specify which church should receive their donation. The Conference will remit payments to the churches monthly.
COVID-19 and Your Retirement: A Message and Resources from Wespath

COVID-19 and Your Retirement: A Message and Resources from Wespath

3/19/2020
To Wespath Benefits and Investment Participants:
United Methodist General Conference To Be Postponed

United Methodist General Conference To Be Postponed

3/19/2020
Out of concerns for the health and safety of all those affected amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Executive Committee is announcing that the General Conference will be postponed and will not occur May 5-15, 2020 as planned.
Getting Started with Online Giving: Resources from WNCC Treasury Services and WNCC United Methodist Foundation

Getting Started with Online Giving: Resources from WNCC Treasury Services and WNCC United Methodist Foundation

3/18/2020
As churches continue to meet online, WNCC Treasury Services and the United Methodist Foundation have produced this resource that provides several options for online giving. While many of our churches already have online giving procedures in place, we know many do not. We hope these options will prove helpful for you. It is times like these that we are appreciative of the United Methodist connection. We want you to know we are here to assist you and your congregation in whatever ways we can. Please let us know if there are other ways that we might be of assistance to you.
March 19, 2020 – Electronic Recurring Giving: Needed Now More Than Ever!

March 19, 2020 – Electronic Recurring Giving: Needed Now More Than Ever!

3/18/2020
Join Ken Sloane, Director of Stewardship and Generosity at Discipleship Ministries, as he hosts Horizons Stewardship’s Joe Park, CEO and Managing Partner, and Richard Rogers, Senior Vice President and author of eGiving Guide for Every Church from Abingdon Press. Together they will share steps every church should be taking today, outlines mistakes to avoid, and share a free downloadable guide to increasing recurring electronic giving during the Coronavirus outbreak.
The Latest Updates and News Related to General Conference 2020

The Latest Updates and News Related to General Conference 2020

3/18/2020
In these rapidly changing times, stay up-to-date on the latest news and updates related to General Conference 2020.
Virtual Ministry Resources

Virtual Ministry Resources

3/18/2020
To help during this time of social distancing, check out this list of virtual ministry resources compiled by the WNCC Resource Center.
Conference Office & All District Offices Closed

Conference Office & All District Offices Closed

3/17/2020
The Conference Office in Huntersville and all District Offices are closed due to governmental recommendations. Our Conference and District staff are working from home, with email as the most effective means of communication. Click here for the latest updates and news related to COVID-19.
Means of Grace: Welcome to Dinner Church

Means of Grace: Welcome to Dinner Church

3/17/2020
In this episode of Means of Grace, Luke visits Rev. Myer Dahn and the New Covenant Dinner Church in Lenoir. Dinner Church is a way of being church around the dinner table. Please note, this was recorded before COVID-19 reached North Carolina. We recommend all churches follow the CDC guidelines of avoiding hosting in person gatherings at this time. Some dinner churches are offering to-go meals in the meantime. Listen on our website at www.wnccumc.og/meansofgrace or wherever you get your podcasts.
WNCC CEF Update

WNCC CEF Update

3/17/2020
The Western North Carolina Conference Christians Engaged in Faith Formation (CEF) is in the process of re-visioning our purpose and the means by which we offer educational opportunities for our members, and we value your help and input. Please complete the following form so that we can keep you informed as we proceed through this process.
Worshiping Apart: Rural Churches in COVID-19

Worshiping Apart: Rural Churches in COVID-19

3/17/2020
"As churches decided to suspend worship services during the outbreak of COVID-19, many opted to move their worship services online. For larger churches who do this on a weekly basis, this was an easy task. For some churches, this was unexplored territory, as pastors learned new technology..."
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