The Latest Edition of E-News - Message from Bishop Leeland, Pray for Armenia, Advent Study, Christmas Virtual Worship, and more


E-News - November 24, 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. Submit articles for the next e-news. Submit events.


A Video Message of Hope, Peace, and Thanksgiving from Bishop Leeland

As we continue to face the fallout from a divided national election, racial injustice and tension, concerns about the differences within our denomination, and the global pandemic, Bishop Leeland brings a message of hope, peace, and thanksgiving.

Project Agape and Armenia: Update & Call to Prayer

The war between Armenia and Azerbaijan has come to an end. Our Armenian brothers and sisters and our partners at Project Agape still need our prayers. Bishop Leeland and the Project Agape Board give an update on the situation and call all Western North Carolina United Methodists to prayer.

Advent Resource from the WNCC Resource Center
Zoomed out? Tired of technology? Can't stand to look at a screen for one more minute? We get it.

This Advent, go back in time and engage with ancient spiritual practices designed to help you find more hope, peace, joy and love in your life.

Adventus: Ancient Practices for an Advent at Home - the latest resource from the WNCC Resource Center - includes five lessons: one for each week of Advent plus an extra lesson for Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
WNCC Christmas Service

On the Sunday after Christmas, the Western NC Conference will offer a conference-wide virtual worship with a homily from the Bishop, music and liturgy from pastors and churches around our conference. Clergy and worship leaders, take a much-needed break after the Advent season and worship with friends around the conference. More information to come soon.

Means of Grace: Meet the Howells - Incorporating Business Management into Ministry Leadership

Vincent Howell and Vince Howell are a father-son team who have co-authored the book, MBA Quick Book for Ministers. In this episode of the Means of Grace podcast, Kim Ingram and Jesse Enniss talk with the Howells about their experience writing together. Vince shares about his experience as a PK (pastor's kid) and how he incorporates his faith and his MBA into life and ministry. Vincent tells of his experiences as a church pastor and in engineering management. The leadership skills and tools for each overlap. Meet the Howells and learn how leaders can grow skills like identifying and developing lay leadership.

2021 WNCC Martin Luther King, Jr Commemoration 
The WNC Black Methodists for Church Renewal, the Justice & Reconciliation Team and the Commission for Religion and Race have set the 2021 Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration Service for Saturday, January 16, 2021, 10 a.m. EST. The keynote speaker will be the Rev. Dr. Joseph Daniels, the Senior Pastor of Emory Fellowship United Methodist Church, Washington DC.

Virtual SIT Event (Staffers-in-Training)

Hinton's Virtual Staffers-in-Training event, January 15-17, is a fun, informative, leadership development event for high school juniors/seniors and college freshmen/sophomores. The event includes breakout sessions led by clergy and laity, hands-on activities, interactive worship, and more! Keynote speaker is Nora Stanger, author of Diamonds in the Dew: An Appalachian Experience. The weekend event also features Appalachian Culture Night with music by The Pressley Girls. The even is being offered at NO COST through funding from the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry Young Clergy Initiative of The United Methodist Church. Registration ends December 12, 2020.



Covid-19 Update for Local Churches
Bishop Leeland and Cabinet urge pastors and church leaders to use the COVID-19 Alert System to monitor their county and reconsider their decision to hold indoor worship, particularly if their county is “red." All local churches are asked to use extreme caution in response to the recent rapid spread of the virus. We thank the United Methodists across Western North Carolina for “loving their neighbor” by doing all that they can do to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Funds Available for Expenses Incurred During COVID-Related Food Relief Ministries
Resourceful Communities is working with Livingstone College to manage an application and selection process to reimburse community and faith partners in rural communities for expenses incurred during COVID-related food relief ministries between March 1, 2020 to November 12, 2020.
Online applications will be due Wednesday, December 2, 2020 by 11:59 p.m. 
Means of Grace: Creating Diverse, Just and Equitable Spaces of Faith
In this episode, Dr. Otto Harris, the senior pastor of St. Mark’s United Methodist in Charlotte and the Interim Director of the Conference Comprehensive Plan of Equity, has an important conversation on diversity, inclusion and belonging with local diversity experts, Veronica Calderon, Chief Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Officer at Aldersgate Continuing Care Retirement Community and Fernando G. Little, Vice President and Chief Diversity Officer at Atrium Health.


Mental Health and Care: Coping with Stress During This Season and Beyond
Upcoming webinars on December 1, 3, 8, and 10, 3 p.m. EST

This year, because of COVID-19 and the inequalities it has exacerbated, adults are reporting considerably higher mental stress. According to the CDC, “younger adults, racial/ethnic minorities, essential workers, and unpaid adult caregivers reported having experienced disproportionately worse mental health outcomes, increased substance use, and elevated suicidal ideation.” Please join our therapeutic and pastoral experts as we discuss the practical and spiritual disciplines needed for surviving this season.

Dismantling Racism Events
Upcoming conversation December 9, 1 p.m. EST
Around the connection, United Methodists are gathering online and in-person to do the difficult work of dismantling racism. Find an event to attend or watch the video of one that has already occurred.
Journey Inward - The Big Silence Retreat
January 17-20, 2021

We are all on a spiritual journey in this life, but so much of our journey is spent outside of ourselves. How often do you get away from the distractions of this world to find a holy place within? When was the last time you just hung out with God with no expectations whatsoever? Maybe it’s time for you to journey inward at The Big Silence Retreat. Start the New Year with a different kind of experience.

Director of Communications: Melissa McGill

Communications Ministry Assistant: Aimee Yeager

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


  • Resources
Follow Jesus. Make Disciples. Transform the World.