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.

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.
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 ...
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.
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.
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 ...
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.
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