Your Story- An Outdoor Baptism in January


baptism-9“United Methodists may baptize by any of the modes used by Christians. Candidates or their parents have the choice of sprinkling, pouring, or immersion; and pastors and congregations should be prepared to honor requests for baptism in any of these modes. Each mode brings out part of the rich and diverse symbolism given to baptism by the Bible.” (From The United Methodist Book of Worship, Copyright 1992, The United Methodist Publishing House) Since marrying four years ago, Maddy and Cyrus Burroughs had been searching for a church family.  Their first visit to Providence UMC was “amazing” according to Maddy, who says they were touched by many points in the sermon, and found Pastor John Fitzgerald’s delivery to be open and honest. A couple came up to them immediately after the service and made them feel welcome. The couple soon decided to become part of Providence UMC.  Cyrus, a Greensboro native, joined by transfer from Trinity Memorial UMC.  A Georgia native, Maddy grew up with a strong Christian faith, but had never been baptized or joined a church. She began to discuss her baptism with Pastor John Fitzgerald and was delighted to learn that immersion is an accepted mode of baptism in the United Methodist Church. “When I expressed my preference for immersion, John encouraged me to choose a place that was special to me,” said Maddy. On January 24 – a cool, crisp Saturday – Maddy Burroughs was baptized by Pastor John Fitzgerald in Black Rock Lake in her hometown of Clayton, Georgia with her husband, parents, grandmother, and other family in attendance. Baptized wearing slacks and a long-sleeved shirt, Maddy says, “I didn’t even shiver! After 28 years, I was so focused on it happening.  It was so special!” (Pastor John, however, admits to wearing his fishing waders beneath his robe!) Submitted by Donna Rogers, Providence UMC, Charlotte

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.