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.

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 ...
New Monastic Community:  A Modern Renewal Movement

New Monastic Community: A Modern Renewal Movement

3/4/2021
I knew fairly early in my days as a United Methodist pastor that something was going wrong.  I had only been assigned to my first church for a matter of weeks when a woman came to my office upset about some matter at church.   I tried my pastoral best to listen and understand, but to no avail.  When she stood to leave, she drew close and angrily pointed her finger just a short distance from my nose and said, “and YOU…YOU even expect us to live like Jesus!”    Although that was nearly ...
8 Things to Consider When Planning a Hybrid Event

8 Things to Consider When Planning a Hybrid Event

3/4/2021
The General Council for Finance and Administration offers advice on eight items to consider when planning a hybrid in-person and virtual event. Did you know the GCFA has meeting planners, AV techs, and other resources who are here to help you with your meeting needs? Whether you need the in-person logistical support of a professional meeting planner, the AV support from an experience in-person event producer, the production and technology support from a Virtual Meeting expert, or even virtual event logistics, GCFA is here to help.
New Documentary About Haywood Street Fresco Launches “Host A Screening” Campaign

New Documentary About Haywood Street Fresco Launches “Host A Screening” Campaign

3/4/2021
At the intersection of faith and art, a new documentary called "Theirs Is The Kingdom" follows the rare creation of a fresco mural painted inside the sanctuary of the Haywood Street Congregation UMC in Asheville, NC. The film team is launching a “Host A Screening” campaign to bring the story to communities and congregations around Western North Carolina. They’ve also created a virtual screening kit that includes all the tools necessary to host a successful event.
Older church, new tech: Why seniors want digital solutions

Older church, new tech: Why seniors want digital solutions

3/4/2021
If the majority of your congregation is resistant to a change and they represent the lion’s share of your church’s giving, you need a very compelling reason to make that change. But what so many older churches don’t realize is that their senior members aren’t actually resistant to digital solutions. In fact, they’re already using them, and they wish you did too...For aging church members who can’t attend in person and those who care about the future of your mission, adding more technology will be the difference to make it more than worth it.
Online engagement ideas for Lent

Online engagement ideas for Lent

3/4/2021
Lent is a time of reflection. It is also a time many individuals seek ways to deepen their spiritual relationships. Here are some creative ways churches can engage members and potential visitors during Lent.
The Latest Edition of E-News - Dr. Bill White announced Director of Equity & Justice Ministries, Bishop Leeland releases updated COVID-19 guidelines, Bishops call for special session of General Conference, and more

The Latest Edition of E-News - Dr. Bill White announced Director of Equity & Justice Ministries, Bishop Leeland releases updated COVID-19 guidelines, Bishops call for special session of General Conference, and more

3/3/2021
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.
Mission Engagement Blog - March 2021

Mission Engagement Blog - March 2021

3/2/2021
Check out the Mission Engagement Blog page for a new blog by Rev. Kris Mares, Uwharrie District Missional Engagement Associate. This month's topic is "Start With God".
Means of Grace: Journey to Wholeness Using the Enneagram and Contemplative Prayer

Means of Grace: Journey to Wholeness Using the Enneagram and Contemplative Prayer

3/2/2021
In this week's episode, host Kim Ingram shares an intimate conversation with Rev. Jill Smith. Jill has been a church pastor for 20 years and last summer embarked on a new journey that she calls Flourishing Souls. Her ministry uses contemplative prayer for a deeper connection to God and the Enneagram for self-awareness. The conversation covers both. Jill loves dogs (they have two collies), dark coffee, world travel, and deep conversations.
8 Ways to Lead in the New Digital Default Church

8 Ways to Lead in the New Digital Default Church

3/1/2021
Like it or not (and a lot of church leaders don’t seem to like it), digital is your new default as a leader...So what’s the key to leading digital church well moving forward? Here are 8 ways to lead in the new digital default church.
Bishop Leeland Announces Rev. Dr. Bill White as Director of Equity and Justice Ministries

Bishop Leeland Announces Rev. Dr. Bill White as Director of Equity and Justice Ministries

3/1/2021
Rev. Dr. William (Bill) M. White, Jr. has been hired and appointed as the Director of Equity and Justice Ministries of the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church, effective April 1, 2021. The Director of Equity and Justice Ministries will direct our Conference strategic efforts in diversity, equity, inclusion and advocacy and help implement these practices in all areas of Conference and local church ministry.

Religious, Nonprofit Groups Help Asylum Seekers as "Remain in Mexico" Ends

2/26/2021
As the director of Hispanic and Latino Ministries at Border Concerns with the United Methodist Church in the Pacific region, Hortiales has been helping migrants for almost a decade. As a father of three, Hortiales — who grew up in Mexico — was shocked to see the conditions the nearly 60,000 asylum applicants were living in south the border, and it bothered him to see children who should be in the prime of their education struggling to survive.
Update to COVID-19 Guidelines for In-Person Worship & Ministry

Update to COVID-19 Guidelines for In-Person Worship & Ministry

2/26/2021
Yesterday, 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. 195 as a guide, the Bishop and Cabinet make these updates to the WNCC
Bishops call Special Session of General Conference, issue timeline forward

Bishops call Special Session of General Conference, issue timeline forward

2/25/2021
In response to the further postponement of the 2020 General Conference, the Council of Bishops (COB) is calling a Special Session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church (UMC) to be convened online on May 8, 2021.
General Conference Postponed to 2022

General Conference Postponed to 2022

2/25/2021
Meeting on February 20, the Commission on the General Conference made a decision to further postpone the 2020 General Conference until August 29 – September 6, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minn. as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect the safety of mass gatherings and travel.
Amplify Live: Justice or Just Us? The Biblical Call to Confront Racism

Amplify Live: Justice or Just Us? The Biblical Call to Confront Racism

2/24/2021
Justice or Just Us? explores what it means to be a faith community that’s committed to anti-racist and justice-seeking work. Pastors Jevon Caldwell-Gross, Nicole Caldwell-Gross, and Rob Fuquay – who all serve at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Indianapolis, Indiana – developed this four-week study based on their experiences in leading the church to confront racism.
Council of Bishops Concordat Working Group requests submissions of case studies from churches ministering with migrant/diaspora groups

Council of Bishops Concordat Working Group requests submissions of case studies from churches ministering with migrant/diaspora groups

2/24/2021
Since 2018, the ecumenical and interreligious staff with the Council of Bishops have been working to renew and invigorate the concordat agreement we have with the Methodist Church of Britain (MCB).  For 2021, one of the foci the Concordat Working Group selected was migrant and diaspora ministry. Bishop Patrick Streiff has worked with his counterpart from the MCB to create a method to collect information about migrant ministries. The information collected will be used to learn how migrants are faring in our United Methodist churches and in areas in which The United Methodist Church exists. In order to collect this information, we are asking that all United Methodist churches who minister with migrants consider submitting one or more case studies. From these stories, the Concordat Working Group will begin to discern both the pains and the joys of migrants in The United Methodist Church.
Metro District hosts Journey to Transformation Lenten Study

Metro District hosts Journey to Transformation Lenten Study

2/24/2021
If you are not yet in a Lenten study, the Metro District invites you to journey with us, as we pray, read scripture, reflect and act during the 2021 Lenten Season.
NC Council of Churches Partners in Health & Wholeness Collaborative Pledge and Mini-Grant Cycle Now Open

NC Council of Churches Partners in Health & Wholeness Collaborative Pledge and Mini-Grant Cycle Now Open

2/24/2021
The PHW Collaborative Pledge is open as of January 15, and the first PHW Mini-Grant Cycle of 2021 opened on February 1. The PHW Collaborative Pledge is a commitment to continuing to put your faith into action for healthier more abundant communities. PHW mini-grants support Collaborative congregations to begin or expand projects that promote health and wholeness while engaging the community. Faith communities are able to request up to $1000 for an individual mini-grant, and up to $5000 for a community mini-grant among a minimum of 3 congregations. Faith communities must have submitted a PHW Collaborative Pledge in the last 12 months to be eligible for a mini-grant.
The Latest Edition of E-News - Spiritual Renewal Grants, Hybrid Worship Webinar, Getting to Know the United Methodist Foundation of WNC, and more

The Latest Edition of E-News - Spiritual Renewal Grants, Hybrid Worship Webinar, Getting to Know the United Methodist Foundation of WNC, and more

2/24/2021
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.
Means of Grace: Getting to Know the United Methodist Foundation of Western NC

Means of Grace: Getting to Know the United Methodist Foundation of Western NC

2/23/2021
In this episode, David Snipes, President and CEO for the UMF WNCC and Caroline Cox, Director of Reynolds Ministries and Programming have a conversation with Caroline Wood. They share part of their own stories as well as stories of the Foundation, its programs and offerings and how lives are changed through the ministries that build the church for generations to come.
Come Join the Journey at Hood!

Come Join the Journey at Hood!

2/19/2021
Hood Theological Seminary invites you to “Join the Journey!”
The Latest Edition of E-News - Grants for Churches Helping with COVID-19 care, Lenten Devotions from UMC Bishops, Maximizing Hybrid Worship with Jason Moore, and more

The Latest Edition of E-News - Grants for Churches Helping with COVID-19 care, Lenten Devotions from UMC Bishops, Maximizing Hybrid Worship with Jason Moore, and more

2/17/2021
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.
2021 Wesley Theological Seminary MILK, Jr. Lectures

2021 Wesley Theological Seminary MILK, Jr. Lectures

2/17/2021
Wesley is pleased to invite all to hear this year's guest lecturer, Allissa V. Richardson, PhD, assistant professor of journalism at The University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communications and Journalism (USCAnnenberg) in Los Angeles, CA.
Cloth masks available through the WNCC Mission Engagement Team

Cloth masks available through the WNCC Mission Engagement Team

2/17/2021
The Mission Engagement Team has nearly 3,500 cloth masks available. If your ministry or congregation can use them send your request to Ben Rogers at brogers@wnccumc.org.
Council on Finance & Administration to offer grants for churches serving as COVID-19 community stations

Council on Finance & Administration to offer grants for churches serving as COVID-19 community stations

2/17/2021
The WNCC Council on Finance & Administration is setting up a fund for churches to make application for COVID 19 strategies, principally testing and vaccine administration. We know our congregations are being called upon to assist as stations for COVID 19 needs. There is a cost to such in both set up as well as cleaning afterwards. Therefore, the CFA has set aside $250,000 for this effort, with $125,000 specifically set aside to assist our churches of color. Learn how you can apply.
Eating Together Faithfully Online Introductory Training

Eating Together Faithfully Online Introductory Training

2/17/2021
Life Around the Table invites you to join us for our next Eating Together Faithfully (ETF) Online Introductory Training on Wednesday, March 24th at 6pm-8pm EST.
ERT UPDATE: February 18th Ice Storm

ERT UPDATE: February 18th Ice Storm

2/17/2021
ERT’s, as we get ready for the potential for significant ice overnight, be sure to prepare in case you are called on to assist.
UMC bishops offer Lenten Season Devotions

UMC bishops offer Lenten Season Devotions

2/17/2021
The Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church will be offering a weekly devotion during the Lenten season which begins this week. Each Wednesday during Lent and every day during Holy Week, a 15-minute recorded devotion, led by a bishop and leaders from their episcopal areas will be released.
Means of Grace: Online Worship is Here to Stay with Jason Moore

Means of Grace: Online Worship is Here to Stay with Jason Moore

2/16/2021
In this week's episode Luke Edwards talks with Dan Pezet, Director of Church Development, and Jason Moore of Midnight Oil Productions about designing worship for both in-person and online participants. On Sunday, March 14, 2021, the WNCC Office of Church Development invites you to join Jason Moore for Both/And: Maximizing Hybrid Worship Experiences For Online and In-Person Audiences.
Recognition of Anniversary Churches

Recognition of Anniversary Churches

2/15/2021
As has been the practice for some years, the WNC Conference Commission on Archives and History will recognize all churches celebrating their 100th, 150th, and 200th anniversaries in 2021.  If your congregation is celebrating one of these anniversaries this year, please contact Jim Pyatt, Archivist, at jpyatt@wnccumc.org by April 1, so that your church will be included in this year’s recognitions.
Webinar: Justice for Black Farmers Act

Webinar: Justice for Black Farmers Act

2/12/2021
In honor of Black History Month, join the team at Life Around the Table for an important conversation about the Justice for Black Farmers Act. All are welcome and there is no cost to attend this virtual webinar! Register HERE. 
Who are Black women pioneers in US Methodism?

Who are Black women pioneers in US Methodism?

2/12/2021
Part 2 of a two-part series on pioneering Black women in Methodist history celebrates The Rev. Sallie Crenshaw and Bishop Leontine Kelly.
Bishop Leeland extends Lenten invitation, word of appreciation for WNCC clergy

Bishop Leeland extends Lenten invitation, word of appreciation for WNCC clergy

2/11/2021
As we enter the Lenten season, beginning with next week’s Ash Wednesday observance, Bishop Leeland extends a Lenten invitation and word of appreciation to Western NC UMC clergy.
The Latest Edition of E-News - Lenten Study from BWUMC, Resources for Black History Month, Brotherhood/Sisterhood Sunday, and more

The Latest Edition of E-News - Lenten Study from BWUMC, Resources for Black History Month, Brotherhood/Sisterhood Sunday, and more

2/10/2021
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. This week's edition features a new Lenten study from the Baltimore-Washington Conference, resources for Black History Month, a message about Brotherhood/Sisterhood Sunday, and more.
Means of Grace: Developing a Ministry of Reconciliation in Your Context

Means of Grace: Developing a Ministry of Reconciliation in Your Context

2/9/2021
Rev. Kim Ingram talks with Deborah Daniels and Cindy Thompson, active lay leaders in the Western North Carolina Conference about the ways they have been involved with ministries of reconciliation, specifically related to racial reconciliation. Cindy and Deborah reflect on their experiences and highlight ways leaders and churches can participate in reconciliation in their congregations and communities.
Brotherhood/Sisterhood of the WNCC 2021: Special Recognition and Membership Drive

Brotherhood/Sisterhood of the WNCC 2021: Special Recognition and Membership Drive

2/9/2021
The WNCC annually approves the third Sunday in February (or other times deemed more suitable) for special recognition of the Brotherhood/Sisterhood. The interest and support of local churches, organizations, and individual members is deeply appreciated and vital since this Affiliated Ministry is entirely self-funded. With the love of God, the grace of Jesus Christ, and the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, let us continue to affirm our clergy and their families.
New Lenten study offers hope, reconnection through covenant

New Lenten study offers hope, reconnection through covenant

2/9/2021
A new adult Lenten study, “Reclaiming and Living Covenant,” published by the Baltimore-Washington Conference, is a deep dive into biblical covenant and hope, and reconnecting relationships. This study has been endorsed by the WNCC Comprehensive Plan of Equity Education Task Team.
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