The Latest Edition of E-News - Project AGAPE Update, COVID Alert System, Report on SEJ Funds, and more


E-News - December 9, 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.



Project AGAPE Update from Nara Melkonyan, Director

Nara Melkonyan, Director of Project Agape, gives an update on the impact of the Armenian-Azerbaijan war on Project AGAPE's ministries.

Covid-19 Update for Local Churches
Yesterday, Governor Cooper released an UPDATED report of the COVID-19 County Alert System. The Bishop and Cabinet urge pastors and church leaders to use this system to monitor their county and to reconsider their decision to hold indoor worship, particularly if their county is “red."  


If your church is livestreaming and you are not on this list, submit your information here.

Bookmark the WNCC COVID-19 Hub and check it regularly for updates and resources. 

HIRING: Conference Director of Equity and Justice Ministries

The Western North Carolina Conference is seeking a Conference Director of Equity and Justice Ministries (CDEJM) to direct our strategic efforts in diversity, equity, belonging, and advocacy and to help implement these practices in all areas of Conference and local church ministry.

SEJ Committee on Finance and Administration Report

This letter is to inform you of recent actions (Friday, November 20, 2020) taken by the SEJ Committee on Finance and Administration (CFA) that will affect the annual conferences of the SEJ.

Means of Grace: The Methodist Home for Children’s Bruce Stanley

In this episode, Caroline Wood talks with Rev. Bruce Stanley, President and CEO of the Methodist Home for Children. The MHFC believes that every child deserves a chance. They provide safe, stable homes where children can thrive and live to their full, God-given potential. While not always traditional, an MHC home is where child and family are equipped to succeed.

Mission Engagement Blog - December 2020
Check out the Mission Engagement Blog page for a new blog by Kris Mares. This month's topic is "Mission Engagement  Blog - Year in Review". 
Cleaning Supplies Available from Mission Response Center

The Mission Response Center in Terrell has extra cleaning supplies available for pickup upon request. Items include: dish soap, laundry detergent, scrubbing pads, air freshener, bleach, all purpose cleaner, clotheslines/pins, and trash bags.

Treasury Services announces new Online Payments Portal for 2021

Treasury Services is pleased to announce a new avenue for making Apportionment and Benefits payments via electronic payments. This new feature will be available in early 2021. To get started, however, we need to set up the payers.

Resource Roundup - Week of December 7, 2020

We scanned the internet for resources that will be of interest and value to you and your ministries. This week's roundup includes: free resources from ShareFaith for a safe, social-distanced Christmas worship experience, a new free course form UM Communications on leading remote worship, 3 ways to encourage giving during a pandemic, and more!



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. 

The video files will be available for download by Tuesday, December 22 through Dropbox and Vimeo and for viewing on our website and YouTube.

Means of Grace: Youth Perspectives on Faith, Technology and Community During a Pandemic
In this episode, Melissa McGill and Jeremy Coffey check in with the 11th grade youth small group they co-lead at Myers Park UMC. Four youth – Hayden, Nathan, Lucy and Bobby – share their thoughts on how faith, community and technology intersect for teens during the pandemic. We’ve pivoted in all areas of Church life this year – here’s what it looks like for this high school small group and how their Church continues to play an important role in their lives.


Winter Leadership Training Webinar Series
Like most events during the pandemic, our District Winter Leadership Training Events will look a little different for 2021. Rather than hosting in-person events in each district, we will offer a series of Conference-wide training webinars during the week of January 10-14 to resource and equip all areas of your Church leadership.
Jason Moore of Midnight Oil Productions will lead the keynote webinar to launch the series on “Telling the Old Story in a New Time.”
Other topics will include: Financial Faithfulness in Uncertain Times, The Ministry of the Staff-Parish Relations Committee, Evangelism During A Pandemic, Leadership During a Pandemic for Church Councils, Racial Equity and Justice, Courageous Conversations, and much more.


Mental Health and Care: Coping with Stress During This Season and Beyond
December 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.

2021 WNCC Martin Luther King, Jr Commemoration 
Saturday, January 16, 2021, 10 a.m. EST.
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. The keynote speaker will be the Rev. Dr. Joseph Daniels, the Senior Pastor of Emory Fellowship United Methodist Church, Washington DC.
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.