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.

Hurricane Sally Response

Hurricane Sally Response

9/25/2020
This past weekend the WNC Conference delivered about 400 UMCOR Cleaning Kits to Dauphin Island, Alabama to fill a shortage of buckets caused by other recent hurricanes.
Advent & Christmas Music in the Midst of COVID-19

Advent & Christmas Music in the Midst of COVID-19

9/24/2020
"How do you plan for Advent and Christmas music when you don’t know what to plan for? Who to plan for? Where to plan for? What we do know is why we plan for the Advent/Christmas/Epiphany season."
Eight ways to serve other people during a pandemic

Eight ways to serve other people during a pandemic

9/24/2020
COVID-19 shut down many parts of our lives - but certainly not all parts. The needs of our friends and neighbors and our own needs to both be in community and to help one another will never shut down. Since the needs are still there - and we want to meet the needs safely - we have to be creative about how we serve one another during a pandemic. Thankfully, there are some great examples of ways people have maintained social distancing while extending care, comfort and justice to their neighbors.
Pandemic challenges music ministers, choirs

Pandemic challenges music ministers, choirs

9/24/2020
"COVID-19 has disrupted United Methodist life in many ways and it’s done a number on congregational and choir singing, causing music ministers to scramble to keep music going and keep sidelined choir members engaged."
Conference Council on Youth Ministries Report

Conference Council on Youth Ministries Report

9/23/2020
On September 12, 2020 the Conference Council on Youth Ministries (CCYM) met at First UMC, Newton. "We as CCYM want to be the voice for young people all over the conference on a multitude of matters. We want the people in the WNCC to understand who we are and what we stand for. We are more than a bunch of teenagers. We are a collective group of youth using our voices for the better good of the Church." - CCYM President, Joseph Navarro
ERT Deployment

ERT Deployment

9/23/2020
The Alabama-West Florida and the Louisiana conferences both have current ERT requests open.
I AM Her Women's Leadership Summit

I AM Her Women's Leadership Summit

9/23/2020
The I AM Her Women’s Leadership Summit is not your ordinary conference. It’s a movement of women coming together to Be Inspired, Be Empowered, and to Be Equipped to do the work both personally, professionally and within the United Methodist Church to connect. This summit will focus on worship, relationship building and network mapping along with various courses to help participants learn how women in leadership have overcome challenges, and created solutions that supported their success. There will also be opportunities to learn how to build your professional network and maximize its potential.
Join us for Adventures in Ministry!

Join us for Adventures in Ministry!

9/23/2020
Are you a high school student discerning a call to ministry? Or are you an adult who would like the opportunity to mentor a 9th-12th grade student through their discernment journey? Adventures in Ministry mentor, Kate, and high school senior, Jaya, share how excited they are to have five cups of coffee with one another and discover the ways God is calling Jaya to serve the world!
NC State's Institute for Emerging Issues Hosting ReConnect to Move Forward series online

NC State's Institute for Emerging Issues Hosting ReConnect to Move Forward series online

9/23/2020
NC State's Institute for Emerging Issues is hosting our ReConnect to Move Forward series online and invite rural faith leaders to join us virtually this fall. Focusing on issues affecting us all (the future of work and higher education, broadband adoption, and mental health during COVID), these three meetings and corresponding faith discussions are available for free with gratitude to The Duke Endowment.
Registration is OPEN For Sabbath Life 2021!

Registration is OPEN For Sabbath Life 2021!

9/23/2020
Register now for Sabbath Life 2021 with Life Around the Table!
UPDATED AC 2020 Offering Report: Thank you for giving generously!

UPDATED AC 2020 Offering Report: Thank you for giving generously!

9/22/2020
Thanks to your generosity, we have received a total of $9,913.50 for the Annual Conference 2020 Offering. The offering will be evenly divided between the Northern Haiti Mission Connection and UMAR at a gift of $4,956.75 each. Thank you for supporting the mission of these important ministries!
A Different-Kind-of-Summer Camp

A Different-Kind-of-Summer Camp

9/21/2020
There is nothing quite like the experience of summer camp. It is a hallmark moment for most young people’s faith development. This year, however, in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, camp looked a little different. Camps across the nation had to make rapid decisions about how they would provide a summer camp experience with social distance and pandemic-level safety protocols. It might seem impossible; but with determination, ingenuity, and God, camp staffs met the challenge and showed up for our young people. Here are some of the stories of Summer 2020 from the United Methodist camps here in Western North Carolina.
Churches pick up after Sally

Churches pick up after Sally

9/21/2020
Along with flooding, the coastal area is facing knocked-out bridges and piers, as well as many downed trees and power lines. The Associated Press reported that more than 500,000 residential and business customers were without electricity in Florida, Alabama and Georgia as of early Sept. 17.
Leading the Generations

Leading the Generations

9/21/2020
Join us for a FREE panel discussion Thursday, October 1st, as an intergenerational panel discusses what the crises of today are teaching us about the necessities, failings, and the future of the Church. Our four panelists include clergy from the network of HPU alumni, family, and friends in a variety of stages of ministry.
The Latest Edition of E-News - Bishop Leeland discusses discovering God's call, Spiritual Renewal grants available, and more

The Latest Edition of E-News - Bishop Leeland discusses discovering God's call, Spiritual Renewal grants available, and more

9/17/2020
In this week's edition of E-News, Bishop Leeland discusses discovering God's call, Rev. Meg Gaston tells the story of a Messy Dinner Church Fresh Expression at Bryson City UMC, learn how you can qualify for up to $500 in spiritual renewal grant funds from the Leadership Development Team, and more.
Means of Grace: Leadership, Technology, & Relationships

Means of Grace: Leadership, Technology, & Relationships

9/16/2020
Six months into stay-at-home orders, every church has had to make significant shifts in their ministry. In this episode of Means of Grace, Jesse Enniss talks with Rev. Dr. Andrea Smith, pastor of West UMC in Mooresville, NC, and Rev. Dan Hester, pastor of Skyland United Methodist Church in Asheville, NC about leadership in this time of change. They discuss how they have adapted their use of technology, their engagement with their communities, how they, as leaders, have been making decisions, and so much more! Listen for free at www.wnccumc.org/meansofgrace or wherever you get your podcasts!
Public Education Advocacy and Faith: Why The Church Should Care

Public Education Advocacy and Faith: Why The Church Should Care

9/16/2020
Join us Wednesday, September 16 at 7 p.m. for a discussion around the importance of equity in public schools and actions we can take to accomplish the vision of every child in North Carolina having a sound basic education through public education.
Recover.Restore.Retreat: Lord, Help! COVID Disparities in the Black Community

Recover.Restore.Retreat: Lord, Help! COVID Disparities in the Black Community

9/16/2020
Chenequa Walker-Barnes, PhD at the McAfee School of Theology at Mercer University, is closing out the Recover. Restore. Retreat. webinar series. She’ll be speaking on theories and praxis to COVID disparities in the Black community. You do not want to miss this!
Retiring Well: A Pre-Retirement Webinar from Wespath

Retiring Well: A Pre-Retirement Webinar from Wespath

9/16/2020
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!
Pass It On Cafe

Pass It On Cafe

9/15/2020
What do you get when you combine Dinner Church with Messy Church? A Messy Dinner Church.
Spiritual Renewal Grant Available Now!

Spiritual Renewal Grant Available Now!

9/15/2020
COVID has been hard on leaders and many are exhausted, discouraged, and in need of time away. The Leadership Development Team wants to help nurture your spirit in order to be renewed and restored in life and in ministry. This could be possible through a private, renewal retreat or by engaging with a spiritual director. Ministry leaders (clergy and lay professionals) who sign up for an offering and pay a personal investment of $50, are eligible for up to $500. Funds are available because of the generosity of churches who pay their apportionments.
Cell Tower Lease Survey

Cell Tower Lease Survey

9/14/2020
Wesley Community Development is seeking to develop some best practices for local churches regarding cell tower leasing.  Please complete this survey if your church is in a lease agreement for a cell tower on church property.  Thank you in advance for helping them assist local churches throughout our Conference.
Racial Healing and the Gospel of Reconciliation

Racial Healing and the Gospel of Reconciliation

9/14/2020
A Workshop on the Ministry of Reconciliation Rooted in 2 Cor. 5:16-20, this workshop will teach reconciliation as spirituality, highlighting biblical examples of reconciliation and our call to be ministers of reconciliation as followers of Christ. With this theological foundation, participants will learn practical strategies for the Church to live out our role in the reconciliation process
UMCOR COVID-19 grants help with housing and homelessness

UMCOR COVID-19 grants help with housing and homelessness

9/14/2020
Among the 230 grants given by Global Ministries to help communities respond to the coronavirus are a few requested by conference and national United Methodist institutions. These agencies bring years of experience to their specialized mission within their conferences and communities. Part I of this series covered grants received by Gum Moon Residence, Red Bird Mission and Henderson Settlement. Part II covers grants funded by the UMCOR COVID-19 Sheltering in Love campaign to Good Neighbor Settlement House in Texas and Restore Hope Ministries in Oklahoma.
Who are these with you?

Who are these with you?

9/11/2020
This is how we answer at Methodist Home for Children ...
The Latest Edition of E-News - Updated Guidelines for In-Person Worship & Ministry, Bishop Leeland & Discovering God's Call, and more

The Latest Edition of E-News - Updated Guidelines for In-Person Worship & Ministry, Bishop Leeland & Discovering God's Call, and more

9/10/2020
E-News is an email newsletter sent out by the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. This week's E-News highlights the updated Guidelines for In-Person Worship & Ministry During COVID-19, Bishop Leeland discussing God's call to ministry, updates on Hurricane Laura relief, and more. Subscribe to E-News at https://wnc-email.brtapp.com/subscribe.
Anti-Racism 101: Required Skills for White People Who Want to be Allies

Anti-Racism 101: Required Skills for White People Who Want to be Allies

9/9/2020
This online course centers on one big idea: that anti-racism is anything that actually interrupts and dismantles racism. As a 101 course, the content will focus on defining anti-racism, identifying anti-racism, and practicing anti-racism by interrupting racism. The three sessions will roughly fall under these categories: theory (big idea), practice [working with the big idea), and personal (implementing the big idea).
Called to Witness, Care, and Act:  A Message for the Laity of the UMC

Called to Witness, Care, and Act: A Message for the Laity of the UMC

9/9/2020
Recently, the Executive Team of the Association of Annual Conference Lay Leaders (AACLL) published a letter to all laity in the UMC. Entitled "Called to Witness, Care, and Act", the letter provides both encouragement and a call to action to laity in light of the dual pandemics with which we find ourselves engaged, COVID-19 and the sin of deeply rooted racism.
Chronic Condition Management Benefit Available

Chronic Condition Management Benefit Available

9/9/2020
The HealthMapRx Chronic Condition Risk Management program continues to be offered to WNCC clergy members and their dependents who are currently covered under WNCC-UMC health insurance. You are eligible for this program if you are diagnosed with or take a medication for: diabetes, pre-diabetes, blood pressure, cholesterol or depression.
Fresh Expressions Free Webinar: People Over Property

Fresh Expressions Free Webinar: People Over Property

9/9/2020
Our cities and towns are littered with deteriorating church buildings. It's easy to feel like time and energy is being lost that could be invested in loving and serving others. What if we could reimagine our buildings as spaces that exist to serve our communities? Join Rev. Dr. Audrey Warren and Bishop Kenneth Carter Monday, September 14, at 11 a.m. EST for this FREE webinar perfect for pastors, church leaders, or anyone who is more passionate about people than property.
Today, Shades of Grace served its 10,000th meal since March 13

Today, Shades of Grace served its 10,000th meal since March 13

9/9/2020
Instead of providing a hot meal from a full serving line inside the building, Shades of Grace immediately went to providing brown-bag meals in an alley behind its downtown building. The safety guidelines enforced by Holston Conference of The United Methodist Church also changed or suspended many of Shades of Grace’s high-contact ministries.
Mission Engagement Blog - September 2020

Mission Engagement Blog - September 2020

9/8/2020
Check out the latest Mission Engagement Blog.
Guidelines for In-Person Worship & Ministry During COVID-19 - Updated 9/4/20

Guidelines for In-Person Worship & Ministry During COVID-19 - Updated 9/4/20

9/8/2020
As faithful disciples of Jesus Christ in the midst of our response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we remain committed to our Biblical mandate to "love our neighbors as ourselves" and our Wesleyan call to “do no harm.” In doing so, we seek ways to engage faithfully in worship, study, and ministry while ensuring the health and safety of our members and communities. 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.
The Latest Edition of E-News - 30 Days of Anti-Racism, Update on Hurricane Laura Disaster Relief, and more

The Latest Edition of E-News - 30 Days of Anti-Racism, Update on Hurricane Laura Disaster Relief, and more

9/3/2020
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. Subscribe to E-News at https://wnc-email.brtapp.com/subscribe.
GCFA offers A/V assessments and services

GCFA offers A/V assessments and services

9/3/2020
The experienced AV staff of GCFA can help enhance and elevate your church’s ministry and worship encounters. We can provide you with tools and technology that help you carry out the vision and mission of your church in real and tangible ways.
New United Methodist advertising campaign encourages hope

New United Methodist advertising campaign encourages hope

9/3/2020
A new advertising campaign from The United Methodist Church urges people to find hope together amid the challenges posed by this year’s COVID-19 pandemic and heightened racial tensions.
Reimagining creative, safe yet socially distant holiday celebrations

Reimagining creative, safe yet socially distant holiday celebrations

9/3/2020
"With the number of coronavirus cases across the country, fall and winter holiday celebrations are likely to look very different this year. Adjust your church plans now for fall festivals, Halloween and Christmas. With a little creativity you can create celebrations that are fun and safe. Here are a few ideas to get the creative juices flowing."
7 tips to engage your virtual community during in-person worship

7 tips to engage your virtual community during in-person worship

9/2/2020
We can all learn and grow from our virtual worship experiences. As in-person worship becomes more frequent, we want to share some creative ways your church can merge your virtual and physical worship communities.
A Study of

A Study of "Sacred Companions" by David G. Benner

9/2/2020
The North Carolina Institute for Spiritual Direction and Formation is offering a seven-session book study on David Benner’s book, “Sacred Companions.” The sessions will be held via zoom, weekly on Monday evenings beginning September 14, 2020 through October 26, 2020, from 7:00-8:30 pm. We are offering these sessions for persons who have expressed serious interest in being a part of the Spiritual Direction Training Institute and are discerning a call to the ministry of spiritual direction and for continuing education for those who are already trained as Spiritual Directors.
Church and Society grant applications due September 4, 2020

Church and Society grant applications due September 4, 2020

9/2/2020
Church and Society awards three different grants available to United Methodist congregations and groups related to the UMC. Apply by September 4!
Committee on Relief Update: Hurricane Laura

Committee on Relief Update: Hurricane Laura

9/2/2020
The Committee on Relief has been in communication with the Louisiana Conference and is preparing to assist when it is deemed safe. At this time, ERT’s have not been asked to deploy as the assessment period is still ongoing. Please remember that ERTs cannot self deploy. If requested to deploy, the invitation will come from the host Conference through our Disaster Response Coordinator, Ben Rogers. If you have not taken the ERT certification course or are in need of renewing your badge, contact our Training Coordinator, Cailee Franklin.
Engaging Zoomed Out Youth

Engaging Zoomed Out Youth

9/2/2020
Are you struggling to keep young people engaged online? Join Sarah Leer and youth from her congregation to talk about how they keep online connections fresh and fun, but also how they engage each other safely offline in this season of life. Tuesday, September 2, 7 p.m. EST
Health benefits rates for 2021

Health benefits rates for 2021

9/2/2020
The Health Benefits Committee recommended and the Conference Board of Pensions and Health Benefits approved the Health rates for Active and Retiree Health plans for 2021.    In addition to the rate changes, the Active Health Plans will have new names for 2021.  The Basic Plan is now called Plan 6000 due to the maximum out of pocket expenses being $6,000.  It will increase for all ranges of premiums by 3%.  The Basic Plus Plan is now called Plan 4000 again due to maximum out of pocket and will ...
Join us for 30 Days of Anti-Racism

Join us for 30 Days of Anti-Racism

9/2/2020
Join us this September for 30 days of anti-racism. Each day we will engage in an activity that helps us to become more anti-racist in the ways we think and act. Share your progress with a picture or a reflection using #30DaysAntiRacism.
Means of Grace: Meet John Crane, WNCC Lay Leader

Means of Grace: Meet John Crane, WNCC Lay Leader

9/2/2020
In this episode, Caroline Wood has a conversation with John Crane, WNCC Lay Leader about the ministry of the laity and John’s passion for the church.
Mission Beyond COVID: Asian Americans, COVID-19, and Race

Mission Beyond COVID: Asian Americans, COVID-19, and Race

9/2/2020
The COVID-19 pandemic in the Unites States has been associated with an increase in discrimination against Asian Americans. How is the church responding to this form of racism? How do these anti-racist efforts intersect with the anti-racist efforts of the Black Lives Matter movement? What have been other significant features of the Asian American community's experience of the COVID-19 pandemic? On September 17, at 10 a.m. EST, join Dr. Eleazar Fernandez, President of Union Theological Seminary of the Philippines, Dr. David Scott, Mission Theologian at Global Ministries, and others to discuss these important questions.
Online and Virtual Gatherings: Inclusion for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Members

Online and Virtual Gatherings: Inclusion for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Members

9/2/2020
"Just about all churches have persons with hearing loss, a condition that is particularly true of seniors. In-person gatherings typically use public address systems as assistive technology, but online or live streamed worship services present challenges to ensure that persons with hearing loss can hear through computers, iPads, and laptops. We will look at several options to ensure that everyone can participate."
Pertinent information for churches regarding the Social Security Tax Deferral

Pertinent information for churches regarding the Social Security Tax Deferral

9/2/2020
Dr. Mark King, Conference Treasurer, offers pertinent information and advice for churches regarding the Social Security Tax Deferral option.
Producing your own virtual choir video from start to finish

Producing your own virtual choir video from start to finish

9/2/2020
Many virtual choirs debuted out of necessity during the COVID-19 pandemic, inspiring and comforting people during a difficult time. As I write, many of us are still practicing distance worship. Even after this crisis ends and potential weather-related closings begin, churches will benefit from having learned the steps to produce a virtual choir.
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