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.

Innovation and Change

Innovation and Change

4/8/2021
Have you missed any of the WNCC Innovation articles?
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?
Recording PPP Loan Proceeds as Income

Recording PPP Loan Proceeds as Income

4/6/2021
Dave Leininger is a CPA whose church is part of the River Valley District of the Minnesota Annual Conference. He wrote the following piece to help churches who have participated in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) with their reporting – not just reporting back numbers but how to best tell the stories of ministry and impact that the PPP Loan made possible. Dave has graciously invited me to share this with the wider audience of church leaders. If your church secured a PPP loan, this is a “must-read.”
Virtual Worship Resources for Earth Day

Virtual Worship Resources for Earth Day

4/6/2021
Your church is invited to celebrate Earth Day with resources from Global Ministries. Earth Day is April 22; churches typically observe Earth Day Sunday during the month of April. It is an opportunity to reflect on the goodness of God’s creation and the human responsibility to steward it through worship, education and action.
Bishop Leeland Announces Cabinet Changes

Bishop Leeland Announces Cabinet Changes

4/5/2021
Rev. Linda Kelly has announced her retirement effective July 1, 2021. Linda has served as the District Superintendent of the Smoky Mountain District since 2018. Rev. Dr. Hyung Jae Lee will succeed Linda as District Superintendent of the Smoky Mountain District. Most recently, Jae has served as pastor of Calvary UMC in Charlotte since 2013.
General Secretary Search for the General Commission on United Methodist Men

General Secretary Search for the General Commission on United Methodist Men

4/5/2021
Due to the retirement of our General Secretary, the General Commission on United Methodist Men is seeking a qualified individual to serve as its General Secretary. This person will serve as the Chief Executive Officer of the Commission on United Methodist Men, exercising general administrative oversight over the activities and policies of the Commission. This person is accountable to the Commission for the planning, coordination, interpretation and implementation of goals and objectives to support the mission of the General Commission on United Methodist Men and the directives of General Conference.
Mustard Seed Migration Grants

Mustard Seed Migration Grants

4/5/2021
The Mustard Seed Mitigation Grant program will grant up to $2000 each to 50 United Methodist churches in the United States to engage in service with refugees and migrants in their own cities and towns. The application deadline is May 16, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. EST.
The Latest Edition of E-News - Second Sunday of Easter Worship Video Available, Holy Week Meditation, Technology Grants, and more

The Latest Edition of E-News - Second Sunday of Easter Worship Video Available, Holy Week Meditation, Technology Grants, and more

3/31/2021
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.
Now Accepting Denman Award Nominations

Now Accepting Denman Award Nominations

3/31/2021
Know someone in your church who has excelled in evangelism this year? The Western North Carolina Conference is now accepting nominations for The Harry Denman Evangelism Award for Clergy, Lay, and Youth.
School of the Spirit registration open

School of the Spirit registration open

3/31/2021
School of the Spirit is an online and in-person twelve-month journey into contemplative practices that bring the seeker closer to God. School of the Spirit offers five 2-day retreats designed to equip, empower and nurture transformation through the ancient spiritual disciplines of Jesus and the early church. There is still time to apply. Early registration is encouraged as space is limited to 24 clergy and lay ministry professionals. School of the Spirit 12 begins July 26-27, 2021
The Color of Compromise Book Study and Reflection

The Color of Compromise Book Study and Reflection

3/31/2021
The Yadkin Valley District invites laity and clergy to join in taking another step together in the work of “racial justice as discipleship” through a ten-week study of Jemar Tisby’s book, The Color of Compromise, to be facilitated by Rev. Dr. Jim Melson. This transformational learning experience is offered by the YVD for all who desire to cultivate further learning about racialized culture, to deepen relationships with God and neighbors, and to discern with others how we may more fully embody God’s love and grace in our communities.
WNCC Second Sunday of Easter Service

WNCC Second Sunday of Easter Service

3/31/2021
The Western NC Conference is pleased to offer a conference-wide virtual worship for the Second Sunday in Easter, led by the District Superintendents, with a homily from the Bishop, and music from churches around our conference. Clergy and worship leaders, take a much-needed break after the rush of Holy Week and Easter services, and worship with friends around the conference. All files can be downloaded to share from your own social media platform and/or website on Dropbox or viewed on YouTube and Vimeo.
Both/And Worship Technology Grants

Both/And Worship Technology Grants

3/30/2021
The Office of Church Development is making up to 200 grants available to help churches assess their needs, purchase equipment, and provide training improve their online worship presence.
Means of Grace: A Meditation for Holy Week with Dr. Melanie Dobson

Means of Grace: A Meditation for Holy Week with Dr. Melanie Dobson

3/30/2021
In this episode, Dr. Melanie Dobson shares a Lovingkindness meditation for Holy Week. This is a beautiful prayer practice that offers God’s lovingkindness to each of us and gives us space to offer it to each other—both to those whom we love, and those who really bother us. It is called a “metta meditation.” The word “metta” comes from the Buddhist tradition and means “lovingkindness”: it is a way of offering and receiving goodness, grace, and wellness for ourselves and for others. As Christians, we understand that the source of lovingkindness is the three-in-one God whose very being is love (1 John 4:16). We receive this prayer as a gift from another tradition and practice it with the gentleness and respect it offers to us.
Project AGAPE Spring Collection

Project AGAPE Spring Collection

3/30/2021
Traditionally, the WNCC-UMC hosts a spring donation drive with a coordinated pick-up in April each year for this long-standing mission of our conference. The Project AGAPE staff in Armenia is diligently working to relocate its offices and warehouse in order to serve the thousands displaced by the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan.  The transition to new facilities, along with the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, has hindered our partners ability to distribute donations as they would ...
Mission Engagement Virtual Book Club

Mission Engagement Virtual Book Club

3/29/2021
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!
The COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Program

The COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Program

3/26/2021
In early April, FEMA will begin providing financial assistance for funeral expenses incurred after Jan. 20, 2020 for deaths related to coronavirus (COVID-19) to help ease some of the financial stress and burden caused by the pandemic. The policy was finalized on March 24, 2021, and FEMA is now moving rapidly to implement this funeral assistance program nationwide.
The Latest Edition of E-News - Cabinet & Staff Changes, Updated COVID-19 Guidelines, AC2021 Virtual Choir, and more

The Latest Edition of E-News - Cabinet & Staff Changes, Updated COVID-19 Guidelines, AC2021 Virtual Choir, and more

3/24/2021
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.
Conference Staff Celebrates National Puppy Day

Conference Staff Celebrates National Puppy Day

3/24/2021
Enjoy a midweek smile and meet our furry family members for National Puppy Day.
COVID-19 Guidelines for In-Person Worship & Ministry - UPDATED 3.24.21

COVID-19 Guidelines for In-Person Worship & Ministry - UPDATED 3.24.21

3/24/2021
Yesterday, Tuesday, March 23rd, Governor Cooper issued an 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. 204 as a guide, the Bishop and Cabinet make these specific recommendations for United Methodist Churches in the Western NC Conference.
COVID-19 Update to CARES Act, PPP, Employee Retention Credit

COVID-19 Update to CARES Act, PPP, Employee Retention Credit

3/24/2021
As previously announced, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) passed in March 2020 contained an incentive that encourages employers to retain—rather than terminate—employees despite current economic constraints due to COVID-19. The recently passed Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (CAA) extended the ERC into the first two calendar quarters of tax year 2021 and made significant changes, including increasing the credit amount and making it available to more employers. The ERC available for the first two calendar quarters of 2021 is summarized. The previously announced deadline of March 31st has been EXTENDED to May 31, 2021.
Join the Annual Conference Virtual Choir!

Join the Annual Conference Virtual Choir!

3/24/2021
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.”
A Few Words about Innovation: A Few Words with Mark DeVries

A Few Words about Innovation: A Few Words with Mark DeVries

3/23/2021
What's the first thing to know about innovating in your ministry context? Rev. Meg Gaston spends a few minutes with our colleague Mark DeVries of Ministry Incubators to learn some of the tools and tips he's picked up along the way. Click here to watch this 15-minute video.  Innovating in the WNCC? Let us know! Visit  minc.link/WNCCinnovation  to tell us you’re out there.
Means of Grace: Reimagining Connectionalism with the Appalachian District

Means of Grace: Reimagining Connectionalism with the Appalachian District

3/23/2021
In today’s episode Luke Edwards sits down with Carl Arrington, District Superintendent of the Appalachian District, and Gloria Hughes, District Vitality Associate. They share about some exciting things happening in the district. In particular, a weekly Zoom call where clergy in the district have found support and courage to learn in this challenging season.
Bishop Leeland Announces Cabinet, Staff Changes

Bishop Leeland Announces Cabinet, Staff Changes

3/22/2021
Bishop Leeland announces changes to the cabinet and conference staff.
Bishops Reconsider May 8 Special Session of General Conference

Bishops Reconsider May 8 Special Session of General Conference

3/22/2021
The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church met on Monday, March 22, 2021 in an additional meeting to consider pressing matters related to the Council’s work. After much conversation, the bishops reached a decision that in the best interest of the church at this time, they would cancel the Special Session of the General Conference which was set for May 8, 2021.
The Latest Edition of E-News - Litany of Lament for one year of COVID-19, Youth Ministry Survey, ReConnect NC Faith Gatherings, and more

The Latest Edition of E-News - Litany of Lament for one year of COVID-19, Youth Ministry Survey, ReConnect NC Faith Gatherings, and more

3/19/2021
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.
Laity Preaching Cohort

Laity Preaching Cohort

3/18/2021
This course provides laity who already have experience in developing and delivering sermons additional insights into the art and practice of preaching. Participants will learn from the experience and feedback of other laity while being guided by an experienced instructor.
Amplify Live Webinar: The Courage of Jesus with Tom Berlin and Rachel Billups

Amplify Live Webinar: The Courage of Jesus with Tom Berlin and Rachel Billups

3/17/2021
In Tom Berlin’s new study—Courage: Jesus and the Call to Brave Faith—he challenges us to unlock the courage that we already possess as Christ followers. Join Tom and Rachel for this live conversation as he shares what inspired him while writing Courage: Jesus and the Call to Brave Faith. There will be time at the end for audience questions.
March 18th, 2021 Severe Weather Threat

March 18th, 2021 Severe Weather Threat

3/17/2021
With a Severe Storm Threat across the WNC conference for March 18th, begin preparing a necessary for heavy wind and rains with the possibility of tornados.
ReConnect NC Faith Gatherings

ReConnect NC Faith Gatherings

3/17/2021
Join the Institute for Emerging Issues' ReConnect Faith Gatherings every Tuesday morning and Thursday afternoon in March/April. We're so excited to continue the themes from our ReConnect for the Future Forum that faith leaders asked for.
Litany of Lament for One Year of COVID-19

Litany of Lament for One Year of COVID-19

3/16/2021
We find ourselves in a spiritual place where we need spaces and words of lament, while clinging to (and perhaps wrestling with) the hopeful promises of God. Rev. Stacey Lundy, associate pastor for adult discipleship and pastoral care, at First United Methodist Church - Salisbury, NC, offers us this grace-filled gift - a COVID-19 litany of lament.
Means of Grace: Wisdom for the Journey with Mary Ana Smith

Means of Grace: Wisdom for the Journey with Mary Ana Smith

3/16/2021
In this episode, Melissa talks with Mary Ana Smith about her podcast for young women called Wisdom for the Journey. Mary Ana addresses topics like body image, perfectionism, social media, mental health and much more in an authentic, accessible way for teen girls. You’ll hear clips from several of her episodes and you may recognize some familiar voices – several WNCC clergy women have been guests on Wisdom for the Journey including Mary Ana’s mom Rev. Toni Ruth Smith, Rev. Sally Queen, Rev. Sarah Watkins Davis, Rev. Carrie Wright and Rev. Susan Heafner-Heun.
The Latest Edition of E-News - Hybrid Worship Webinar with Jason Moore, WNCC Second Sunday of Easter Worship, Save Money with HealthPERX, and more

The Latest Edition of E-News - Hybrid Worship Webinar with Jason Moore, WNCC Second Sunday of Easter Worship, Save Money with HealthPERX, and more

3/10/2021
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.
HPU 2021 Charles Franklin Finch Lecture

HPU 2021 Charles Franklin Finch Lecture

3/10/2021
The Religion and Philosophy department is pleased to announce our annual Spring lecture to be held virtually on Thursday, March 25th at 4 p.m. This year's guest lecturer is J. Warren Smith, Professor of Historical Theology at Duke University Divinity School.
Save money by activating your healthPERX/MDLIVE benefit today!

Save money by activating your healthPERX/MDLIVE benefit today!

3/10/2021
When you activate your healthPERX/MDLIVE benefits - now through April 30th - the Western NC Conference will send you a $25 gift card. Telemedicine with MD LIVE offers you 24/7 access to board certified physicians with NO COST consults - no waiting rooms, no bills, and the benefit includes your spouse and children EVEN if they are not on the conference health plan! The average family of 4 saves more than $1,100 a year!
United Methodist Seminary Fair

United Methodist Seminary Fair

3/10/2021
Are you a United Methodist who is applying to seminary? Are you interested in vocational ministry or further study in theology or religion? Register for this (free) virtual seminary fair with each of the 13 United Methodist theological schools. The event will take place via Zoom on Thursday, March 25th @ 3pm (EST)/12pm (PT).
Means of Grace: Mental Health Conversations with Jay Cobb of Sanctuary Counseling Group

Means of Grace: Mental Health Conversations with Jay Cobb of Sanctuary Counseling Group

3/9/2021
In this week’s episode Brian Mateer has a conversation with Jay Cobb, the Executive Director of Sanctuary Counseling Group. SCG is dedicated to the healing of heart, mind, and soul, providing excellent emotional, spiritual, and relational health care to all people of the Carolinas.
Best Teleprompter Apps for Churches

Best Teleprompter Apps for Churches

3/8/2021
Do you find yourself having a hard time remembering scripts for a sermon, or even just a speech? Thankfully, there are teleprompter applications that you can download on your devices. We’ve taken the time to gather some of the best teleprompter apps for churches. These come in handy to help you perform with ease, not worrying about forgetting your next line.
Church helps drill more than 80 boreholes in Malawi

Church helps drill more than 80 boreholes in Malawi

3/8/2021
In Malawi, home to over 19 million people, water for drinking, personal hygiene and agriculture is a scarce commodity. One U.S. congregation, the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection, with five locations in the greater Kansas City area, works in partnership with the Malawi United Methodist Church to address a variety of humanitarian needs. Most recently, the church enabled the drilling of more than 80 boreholes in the east Africa country between September 2020 and February 2021.
How to ask people to give even during a pandemic

How to ask people to give even during a pandemic

3/8/2021
“How can I ask people to give to our ministry when they are struggling and there are so many life-and-death places to give?” one church leader asked me recently. Here are my five best ideas on how to ask people to give, even in the most uncertain of times.
Tips for launching an online campus

Tips for launching an online campus

3/8/2021
With the help of the internet, local churches can grow and expand their reach beyond their walls. Not only do churches have the potential to build and expand an online community by having a strong digital presence, but it will also help them grow their local congregation. So here are some resources and tips for launching an online campus.
Ministry Innovation Blog: Everyday Monasticism: How We're Finding Life in Benedict's Rule

Ministry Innovation Blog: Everyday Monasticism: How We're Finding Life in Benedict's Rule

3/4/2021
When I was growing up, Dairy Queen was flanked by a little market on one side and Dean’s Dugout on the other. Dean sold collector’s cards. Pokemon, Magic: The Gathering, as well as baseball and football cards. He sold figurines and boards and books for playing Dungeons and Dragons and Warhammer. No one would describe the mix of sports paraphernalia and fantasy figurines as fashionable. Two long tables for tournaments or battles filled the middle of the store. I shopped there sometimes, but my ...
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