Reflections on the Last Four Years: The Order of Deacons


The Order of Deacons, established in 1996 as an Ordained Order of Clergy in the UMC are "clergy leaders who are called by God, authorized by the church and ordained by a bishop to a lifetime ministry of word, service, compassion and justice. Deacons exemplify Christian discipleship, nurture others in their relationship to God and lead church people to respond to the needs of others, neglected and marginalized of the world." GBHEM website

It has been an honor and privilege to serve as the Chair of this gifted, passionate, and faithful Order of Deacons the last four years. The WNCC Deacons are connecting Christs' Body, the Church,with the community and world in countless ways of service beyond the local church as well as leadership within our local churches. Some of the ways include: Service in Haiti, Rural Church at Duke, Crossnore School and Children's Home, Atrium Health, School Based Services, and much more, Deacons are living out their Christian discipleship in ways that embody the nature and love of Jesus to the world. 

Over the last four year, we have worshiped together led by Bishop Leeland and our gifted Deacon worship leaders, we spent a day in service together at the Greater Hickory Cooperative Christian Ministry, and experienced various Fresh Expressions of Church at Haw Creek Commons led by our own Deacons and Rev. Luke Edwards. We were gifted time to rest and be renewed as the Sabbath Living Team offered us a Sabbath Retreat, and have gathered each year during Annual Conference for fellowship and a way to honor those retiring, being commissioned, and ordained. 

I have learned a great deal these last four years and am most grateful for the sacred opportunity to serve as the Chair of the Order.  It is an honor to pass on the leadership of the Order to Rev. Monica Childers, a gifted Deacon and sister in Christ. 
Rev. Gloria G. Hughes

Resources for Vital Congregations



Lewis Center for Church Leadership

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Books

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Serve Your Neighbor

GBHEM Leadership Resources


Living Faithfully: Human Sexuality and the United Methodist Church

Englewood Book Review

Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations

Ted Talks: The Golden Circle

Ted Talks: The Power of Vulnerability

Ted Talks: The Price of Invulnerability

Design Thinking

Meditations on the Ministry of All Christians


Be A Disciple

A Disciple’s Path; A Guide for United Methodist

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Adult Christian Studies from the Wesley Ministry Network

Traveling Together: A Guide for Disciple Forming Congregations


Living As United Methodist Christians

Methodist Doctrine: The Essentials

Reclaiming our Wesleyan Tradition: John Wesley’s Sermons for Today

John Wesley Sermons: Anthology


Get Their Name

Evangelism & Theology in the Wesleyan Spirit

Canoeing the Mountains

Fresh Expressions

Fresh Expressions: Dinner Church

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: Reach New Disciples

Lewis Center for Church Leadership: 50 Ways to Reach People

Community: The Structure of Belonging


Institute for Emerging Issues

Congregations 4 Children


The Royce and Jane Reynolds Ministry Fund Grants

The Duke Endowment


The Appalachian District Church Vitality Team has been prayerfully seeking ways to help support you and the ministries of your local congregation during this COVID-19 pandemic. Together they have diligently researched and connected with others throughout the conference and our denomination to identify resources and offer them to you. We hope they will be helpful to you and bless you greatly in leading your churches and communities through this unprecedented time. We are very grateful to the District Vitality Team and other contributors for their great work on this resource.
This faithful team has created three documents, two of which you are receiving today. They include:

  • Family Home Worship – designed to help families establish a regular worship space within their homes as well as a time where they can worship together.
  • Tech Strategies – to help guide you in selecting effective tools and resources within your budget to best communicate in the digital world.

We believe these resources will be of great benefit to you. Also know that the District Vitality Team is available to answer any questions you might have in regards to the documents attached. If you have questions, you may email Rev. Howard Fleming at