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.

Body, Soul, Soil, and Sacrament

Body, Soul, Soil, and Sacrament

12/1/2020
Here's a terrific post on environmental stewardship as social innovation from Nate Stucky at Princeton Theological Seminary's Farminary. Innovators, give it a look! https://thethread.ptsem.edu/articles-1/body-soul-soil-and-sacrament  
Means of Grace: Youth Perspectives on Faith, Technology and Community During a Pandemic

Means of Grace: Youth Perspectives on Faith, Technology and Community During a Pandemic

12/1/2020
In this episode, Melissa McGill and Jeremy Coffey check in with the 11th grade youth small group they co-lead at Myers Park UMC. Four youth – Hayden, Nathan, Lucy and Bobby – share their thoughts on how faith, community and technology intersect for teens during the pandemic. We’ve pivoted in all areas of Church life this year – here’s what it looks like for this high school small group and how their Church continues to play an important role in their lives.
HIRING: Conference Director of Equity and Justice Ministries

HIRING: Conference Director of Equity and Justice Ministries

11/30/2020
The Western North Carolina Conference is seeking a Conference Director of Equity and Justice Ministries (CDEJM) to direct our strategic efforts in diversity, equity, belonging, and advocacy and to help implement these practices in all areas of Conference and local church ministry.
The Latest Edition of E-News - Message from Bishop Leeland, Pray for Armenia, Advent Study, Christmas Virtual Worship, and more

The Latest Edition of E-News - Message from Bishop Leeland, Pray for Armenia, Advent Study, Christmas Virtual Worship, and more

11/24/2020
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.
2021 WNCC Martin Luther King, Jr Commemoration

2021 WNCC Martin Luther King, Jr Commemoration

11/24/2020
The WNC Black Methodists for Church Renewal, the Justice & Reconciliation Team and the Commission for Religion and Race have set the 2021 Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration Service for Saturday, January 16, 2021, 10 a.m. EST. The keynote speaker will be the Rev. Dr. Joseph Daniels, the Senior Pastor of Emory Fellowship United Methodist Church, Washington DC.
Means of Grace: Meet the Howells - Incorporating Business Management into Ministry Leadership

Means of Grace: Meet the Howells - Incorporating Business Management into Ministry Leadership

11/24/2020
Vincent Howell and Vince Howell are a father-son team who have co-authored the book, MBA Quick Book for Ministers. In this episode of the Means of Grace podcast, Kim Ingram and Jesse Enniss talk with the Howells about their experience writing together. Vince shares about his experience as a PK and how he incorporates his faith and his MBA into life and ministry. Vincent tells of his experiences as a church pastor and in engineering management. The leadership skills and tools for each overlap. Meet the Howells and learn how leaders can grow skills like identifying and developing lay leadership.
Mental Health and Care: Coping with Stress During This Season and Beyond

Mental Health and Care: Coping with Stress During This Season and Beyond

11/24/2020
This year, because of COVID-19 and the inequalities it has exacerbated, adults are reporting considerably higher mental stress. According to the CDC, “younger adults, racial/ethnic minorities, essential workers, and unpaid adult caregivers reported having experienced disproportionately worse mental health outcomes, increased substance use, and elevated suicidal ideation.” Please join our therapeutic and pastoral experts as we discuss the practical and spiritual disciplines needed for surviving this season.
Project Agape and Armenia: Update & Call to Prayer

Project Agape and Armenia: Update & Call to Prayer

11/24/2020
The war between Armenia and Azerbaijan has come to an end. Our Armenian brothers and sisters and our partners at Project Agape still need our prayers. Bishop Leeland and the Project Agape Board give an update on the situation and call all Western North Carolina United Methodists to prayer.
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.
New Resource Center Website

New Resource Center Website

11/23/2020
We have a NEW online catalog! Check it out at https://wncc.library.site/
*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.
Virtual SIT Event (Staffers-in-Training)

Virtual SIT Event (Staffers-in-Training)

11/19/2020
Hinton's Virtual Staffers-in-Training event, January 15-17, is a fun, informative, leadership development event for high school juniors/seniors and college freshmen/sophomores. The event includes breakout sessions led by clergy and laity, hands-on activities, interactive worship, and more! Keynote speaker is Nora Stanger, author of Diamonds in the Dew: An Appalachian Experience. The weekend event also features Appalachian Culture Night with music by The Pressley Girls. The even is being offered at NO COST through funding from the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry Young Clergy Initiative of The United Methodist Church. Registration ends December 12, 2020.
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.
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