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.

Bishop Harvey makes history as first Hispanic woman to be Council of Bishops President

Bishop Harvey makes history as first Hispanic woman to be Council of Bishops President

5/5/2020
Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey of the Louisiana Area has made history by becoming the first Hispanic woman to be president of the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church.
Gratitude and Next Steps from Bishop Leeland

Gratitude and Next Steps from Bishop Leeland

5/4/2020
May 4, 2020 As congregations, laity, and clergy, continue to deliver exceptional ministry to our communities, we have been inspired by the gracious spirit pervading our entire annual conference. Many churches have given careful thought to sharing worship online, expressing the faith of Jesus through hymns, music, scripture, and inspirational messages. Our communities have witnessed the kindness and compassion of the church through food and clothing initiatives. It has been inspirational and ...
2020-2021 Local Church Appointment List

2020-2021 Local Church Appointment List

5/3/2020
Bishop Leeland and the Western North Carolina Cabinet have made the following local church appointments for the 2020-2021 year.  View the full list at the link below. 
Financial Responses to COVID-19

Financial Responses to COVID-19

5/1/2020
We realize many churches may be struggling financially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, the Conference wants to partner with you in these ways - (1) A three-month waiver of the local church component of pension and health benefit premiums. (2) The establishment of the WNC Connexion Fund to help our WNC congregations support clergy and their families as they continue to lead our ministries. (3) Interpretation of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Camera Equipment for Livestreaming

Camera Equipment for Livestreaming

4/30/2020
As livestreaming worship becomes a higher priority, many churches are looking to level up their media production from a smartphone to more advanced camera equipment. Eric Brown, founder of Picnic Table Productions, shares some broad equipment options at various price points to aid in streaming online content for congregations.   LOW Cost option (<$400) This is ideal for small setups with one person only (like a pastor) on a stationary shot.  Audio will be taken from the sanctuary’s sound system ...
Update on Annual Conference 2020

Update on Annual Conference 2020

4/30/2020
UPDATE: For the most current information and news on Annual Conference, please visit www.wnccumc.org/ac2020 for information about the August 8 virtual session. April 30, 2020 Bishop Leeland and the Cabinet have made the decision to postpone the Western North Carolina Annual Conference due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of our traditional three-day event, the decision has been made to hold a one-day Annual Conference session on the afternoon of Saturday, August 8 at Lake Junaluska. The Ordering of Ministry Service where persons will be ordained, commissioned, and licensed for ministry will be held on Saturday, Aug. 8 at 7:30 p.m. in Stuart Auditorium at Lake Junaluska.
Peer Learning - Appointment Changes while Distancing

Peer Learning - Appointment Changes while Distancing

4/29/2020
Peer learning sessions for clergy and church leaders who are experiencing an appointment change during this season of physical distancing and disrupted church activities.
Distributed Church: Resources for Navigating The New Reality

Distributed Church: Resources for Navigating The New Reality

4/29/2020
Fresh Expressions is hosting webinars on how to navigate the complexities of being the church during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Dr. Otto Harris to Join the Western North Carolina Extended Cabinet

Dr. Otto Harris to Join the Western North Carolina Extended Cabinet

4/29/2020
Dr. Otto Harris will join the Western North Carolina Extended Cabinet, effective July 1, 2020. Dr. Harris leads the Comprehensive Plan of Equity, a conference-wide initiative centered around anti-racism in Western North Carolina launched last year.
How to Host Sunday School and Small Groups During Displacement

How to Host Sunday School and Small Groups During Displacement

4/29/2020
Small groups and Sunday school classes form one of the most powerful connections and means of support for members. Many people are asking: What happens to these connections during times of social distancing? How can leaders maintain these essential care mechanisms in the lives of members?
Join us May 28th for ‘ALL IN For UMAR’

Join us May 28th for ‘ALL IN For UMAR’

4/29/2020
Grab lunch and join us at noon on Thursday, May 28 for ALL IN for UMAR. This 30 minute virtual event will highlight UMAR’s mission and ministry for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities across western North Carolina. Be ALL IN for UMAR as we help people LIVE, WORK and THRIVE through housing, vocational services, art programs and community services.
Local Church Finance Procedures During the COVID-19 Crisis

Local Church Finance Procedures During the COVID-19 Crisis

4/29/2020
The constraints of social distancing could tempt churches to throw established finance procedures out the window. Please don’t! Here are some important procedures that are available through the use of technology to help us through a difficult time.
Means of Grace: Being the Rural Church in a Pandemic

Means of Grace: Being the Rural Church in a Pandemic

4/29/2020
Rural churches have a unique opportunity to provide resources, connections, and hope during these stressful times. This episode of the Means of Grace podcast features a conversation with Rev. Santosh Niroula, Rev. Kristen Richardson-Frick and Rev. Allen Stanton, three leaders who have experience and expertise in leading and understanding churches in rural areas. They discuss the role of the church in a rural community and how it can build the kingdom through these connections. Listen on our website at www.wnccumc.org/meansofgrace or wherever you get your podcasts.
North Carolina Day of Prayer

North Carolina Day of Prayer

4/29/2020
The North Carolina Council of Churches invites you to participate in a statewide Day of Prayer, Thursday, May 7 at noon.
Supporting High School Seniors During COVID-19

Supporting High School Seniors During COVID-19

4/29/2020
Our high school seniors are missing an important rite of passage due to COVID-19. Phillip J. Brooks, and Resource UMC, remind us not to overlook our students' pain. It is important that we find ways for them to express themselves and be honored.
UM Communications Offers Grant for Website Development Packages

UM Communications Offers Grant for Website Development Packages

4/29/2020
Website development grants are for local United Methodist churches and church entities who do not currently have a website. Through this new grant, United Methodist Communications will offer the following: -One year of webhosting -One year of domain name registration -Free WordPress online training through UMCOM -Free online support throughout your training and during your year of web hosting -Free pre-designed templates for easy development of your new website -Access to Google apps (includes 5 Gmail accounts, Google calendar, 2GB of storage on GDrive) United Methodist Churches and church entities who wish to replace their current website with a WordPress site may also apply.
Using Phones to Worship Remotely

Using Phones to Worship Remotely

4/29/2020
"Plenty of resources can help United Methodist churches offer online worship that is accessible by computer, tablet or cellphone. However, offering only online worship services when people cannot come together due to the COVID-pandemic or for other reasons may not be the best option for every congregation." Resource UMC offers advice for reaching people without access to computers or internet during social distancing.
UMC Stock Photo Sites to Add to Your Graphics Library

UMC Stock Photo Sites to Add to Your Graphics Library

4/28/2020
Some helpful resources to add to your graphics library.
Have students coming to UNC Chapel Hill in the fall?  Connect them to UNC Wesley Campus Ministry!

Have students coming to UNC Chapel Hill in the fall?  Connect them to UNC Wesley Campus Ministry!

4/27/2020
UNC Wesley Campus Ministry will have a Zoom call for admitted students on Wednesday April 29, from 11 AM - Noon.  Please share this link with your students so they can join in:  https://unc.zoom.us/j/92316858406.
Dr. Samuel Moore, Jr. Appointed Yadkin Valley District Superintendent

Dr. Samuel Moore, Jr. Appointed Yadkin Valley District Superintendent

4/26/2020
Bishop Leeland announces an appointment change to the Western North Carolina Cabinet, effective July 1, 2020.   Rev. Dr. Samuel Moore, Jr. will be appointed as District Superintendent of the Yadkin Valley District, succeeding Rev. Mike Bailey who retires this year. Sam has served as the senior pastor of Hickory Grove United Methodist Church in Charlotte since 2015. Prior to this appointment from 2008-2015, he served as the District Superintendent of the Northeast District and of the Uwharrie ...
From the WNC Cabinet: Considerations Before Reopening

From the WNC Cabinet: Considerations Before Reopening

4/23/2020
As we hear the announcements that our nation and state are going to slowly reopen, the Bishop and the Cabinet of the Western North Carolina Conference encourage all local churches to continue to follow the guidelines of the CDC as well as state and local officials regarding the resumption of in-person worship. Please continue to guide all your decisions by Jesus’ command to “love one another.”  COVID-19 has not been eradicated, and thus we continue to need to protect the most vulnerable among us. The following are 24 questions to consider as you make plans for persons to return to your church building and activities.  These have been adapted from the blog by Ken Braddy, “24 Questions Your Church Should Answer Before People Return.”
A Joint Message from Bishops Leeland and Morgan Ward

A Joint Message from Bishops Leeland and Morgan Ward

4/22/2020
April 22, 2020 Dear United Methodist friends,   Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ.   We express deep gratitude to you for your energetic response to the needs of children in this time of COVID-19 crisis.  Within the necessary constraints of physical distancing, you have found ways to offer support for public school children and teachers.  Thank you for providing food, school supplies, and other resources that encourage as learning continues in homes and through technology.     ...
Council of Bishops Releases Tentative Dates for General Conference in 2021

Council of Bishops Releases Tentative Dates for General Conference in 2021

4/22/2020
"After the pandemic-caused postponement, the new prospective dates for The United Methodist Church’s General Conference are Aug. 31-Sept. 10, 2021."
Five Important Tweaks to Make to Your Online Church Service This Sunday

Five Important Tweaks to Make to Your Online Church Service This Sunday

4/22/2020
Five basic tips for improving your online church service.
Live Stream Your Ministry

Live Stream Your Ministry

4/22/2020
Today millions share experiences together, no matter where they are, through live streaming. Let others "attend” your church on the internet in the same way. This resource can help your church live stream your own events on the web.
Local Church Learning Sessions: Technology for worship, small groups, and giving

Local Church Learning Sessions: Technology for worship, small groups, and giving

4/22/2020
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues and more churches shift to digital ministry, United Methodist Communications offers a series of Local Church Learning Sessions. All have been developed specifically to support local United Methodist churches during this extraordinary time. More sessions may be developed.
Update from Wespath: Payroll Tax Deferral and UMC Employers

Update from Wespath: Payroll Tax Deferral and UMC Employers

4/22/2020
In addition to PPP loans, the CARES Act creates a payroll tax deferral period (“Payroll Tax Delay”) running from March 27 through December 31, 2020. Employers—including tax-exempt nonprofits like UMC local churches, annual conferences and general agencies—may defer/delay payment of the “employer share” of Social Security taxes that they otherwise are responsible for paying to the federal government with respect to their employees.
Event Cancellations

Event Cancellations

4/20/2020
Stay informed on event cancellations for the WNCC, districts, and related organizations.
The Latest Edition of E-News - Financial Resources, Peer Learning Sessions for COVID-19, and more

The Latest Edition of E-News - Financial Resources, Peer Learning Sessions for COVID-19, and more

4/16/2020
The Latest Edition of E-News - Financial Resources, Peer Learning Sessions for COVID-19, and more...
How Rural Churches Can Help During COVID-19

How Rural Churches Can Help During COVID-19

4/16/2020
Ministry Matters offers some suggestions on how rural churches can use their unique status in the community to help during COVID-19.
UM Group Ruling Website Helps Churches Verify Non-Profit Status

UM Group Ruling Website Helps Churches Verify Non-Profit Status

4/16/2020
Nonprofits with a 501(c)3 status - including churches - are eligible to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program. GCFA has automated the process of obtaining the 501(c)3 documentation for your church or other United Methodist organization. We have updated our user guide to help facilitate this process. Be sure to read through it today. Visit www.umgroupruling.org to get started.
Understanding Virtual Worship Attendance Reporting

Understanding Virtual Worship Attendance Reporting

4/16/2020
As churches explore more digital ministry options, GCFA has developed some guidance on reporting and counting the number of viewers of your online worship and Bible study attendance.
Update on Appointments from Bishop Leeland and the Cabinet

Update on Appointments from Bishop Leeland and the Cabinet

4/16/2020
Bishop Leeland and the Cabinet share an update on appointments this year after discernment and reflection given the current circumstances of social distancing and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bishop Leeland's Guideline for Online Communion During the COVID-19 Crisis

Bishop Leeland's Guideline for Online Communion During the COVID-19 Crisis

4/15/2020
Bishop Leeland outlines specific guidelines for the practice for online communion during the COVID-19 crisis. Please note, this is only to be viewed as temporary. This is not a license to continue this practice when life returns to normal.
Coping with Coronavirus - One Retirement Community's Response to COVID-19

Coping with Coronavirus - One Retirement Community's Response to COVID-19

4/15/2020
Arbor Acres, a continuing care retirement community, responds to the COVID-19 pandemic with safety measures, fun, and compassion for residents.
Disaster Response Safety During a Pandemic - Advice from the Committee on Relief

Disaster Response Safety During a Pandemic - Advice from the Committee on Relief

4/15/2020
The Committee on Relief offers advice on how to respond to disaster situations safely during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Helping Children During the COVID-19 Crisis

Helping Children During the COVID-19 Crisis

4/15/2020
The times are not only troublesome for us, but for our children as well. United Methodist News helps us find the words to say to our children about all that is happening with COVID-19.
How Can I Identify Public Domain Hymns?

How Can I Identify Public Domain Hymns?

4/15/2020
"Ask the UMC" tackles the question of how to find public domain hymns for your worship live stream.
Means of Grace: Good Stewards of God's Creation

Means of Grace: Good Stewards of God's Creation

4/15/2020
In this episode of The Means of Grace Podcast, Kim and Jesse talk with three Western North Carolina Conference EarthKeepers about their passion for the stewardship of God’s creation. Jonathan Brake, pastor of Woodmont UMC in Reidsville, Bill Garrard, retired UM clergy, and Kim Richmond, a member at Maple Springs UMC in Winston-Salem, share with us about their journeys in which they have embraced the work of creation care. They share ideas for individuals, families, churches, and communities through which we can “care” for the resources in which God has entrusted us. You can listen at www.wnccumc.org/meansofgrace or wherever you get your podcasts.
Online Continuing Education Courses for Clergy

Online Continuing Education Courses for Clergy

4/15/2020
ClergyEducation.com is a resource for clergy and church leaders, offering CEUs accepted by most United Methodist annual conferences. Learn more here: https://clergyeducation.com/
Rural Faith Communities Connecting in a Crisis

Rural Faith Communities Connecting in a Crisis

4/15/2020
The rural faith team at the Institute for Emerging Issues is hosting two weekly Zoom chats to check in with faith leaders on HOW you are doing (Tuesdays) and WHAT you are doing (Thursday). Learn more and join: https://iei.ncsu.edu/faith/
Start Planning Your Church's COVID-19 Recovery

Start Planning Your Church's COVID-19 Recovery

4/15/2020
On Thursday, April 23, at 6:30 p.m. Discipleship Ministries will host a webinar to help you start planning your church's COVID-19 recovery ministry.
Join a Peer Learning Session: Learning from One Another During a Time of Physical Distancing

Join a Peer Learning Session: Learning from One Another During a Time of Physical Distancing

4/14/2020
Clergy are invited to participate in upcoming peer learning sessions facilitated by a professional coach to consolidate and share timely insights, experiences, innovations and resources that help them and their churches adapt during a time of physical distancing.
Bishop Leeland and Cabinet Lobby for Extended Unemployment Benefits for Church Employees

Bishop Leeland and Cabinet Lobby for Extended Unemployment Benefits for Church Employees

4/14/2020
Bishop Leeland and other Cabinet members lobby Governor Cooper to include church employees in extended unemployment benefits. Because churches are exempt from paying both federal and state unemployment insurance, church employees are not eligible to receive unemployment benefits at this time.
Information Regarding Continued, Faithful Giving of Apportionment Funds

Information Regarding Continued, Faithful Giving of Apportionment Funds

4/14/2020
Many churches have reached out regarding the payment of apportionment funds given the Conference office closure. WNCC Treasury Services continue to operate and process apportionment payments and payment disbursements weekly. Apportionment payments may still be sent to PO Box 2757,Huntersville, NC 28070. Thank you for your support of our connectional ministries.
The 2019 Journal is Available Online!

The 2019 Journal is Available Online!

4/14/2020
The 2019 Journal is now available for viewing and download on the WNCC Administration page!
The United Methodist Credit Union Helps Churches with CARES Act

The United Methodist Credit Union Helps Churches with CARES Act

4/14/2020
The United Methodist Credit Union (TUMCU) is a participating institution in the Paycheck Protection Program and would be happy to assist any UMC church or related organization who would like to apply. Our online application and other information about the SBA program is available at https://www.tumcu.org/sba-paycheck-protection-program/.
Committee on Relief and Niner United help with Disaster Response at UNCC

Committee on Relief and Niner United help with Disaster Response at UNCC

4/13/2020
Committee on Relief and Niner United work with university officials at UNCC to ready six residence halls in South Village to stage a massive field hospital or stable quarantine housing as needed for COVID-19 response.
WNCC Easter Service

WNCC Easter Service

4/12/2020
Bishop Leeland and the Western North Carolina Cabinet are preparing an Easter worship video for our conference. Many of you are finding wonderful ways to connect with your church communities online and we celebrate that! However, if North Carolina’s restrictions on gathering are impacting your worship planning, use this worship video as a resource for celebrating Easter together. Bishop Leeland will share an Easter message and our District Superintendents will lead us in worship. The link will be sent to clergy on Saturday, April 11 and posted on the Conference website and Facebook page on Easter morning for your use.
2020 SEJ Conference Postponed

2020 SEJ Conference Postponed

4/7/2020
Greetings, Delegates and Alternates to the SEJ Conference:   Grace and peace to each of you in this most unusual of Holy Weeks for all of us. As some of you may have heard by this time, the decision has been made to postpone all 2020 U.S. Jurisdictional Conferences scheduled for July. According to our Book of Discipline, all Jurisdictional Conferences occur simultaneously on a date set by the Council of Bishops. As soon as the dates for the rescheduled General Conference are released, the ...
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