Gideon Grove UMC Consecrates New Building


Picture4In December 2012, an arsonist set fire to Gideon Grove UMC in Stokesdale, NC.  It destroyed a beautiful, old sanctuary with stained glass windows, a new office addition and half of their fellowship hall. Since then, they worshiped with their sister church on the charge, Palestine UMC.  They were finally able to occupy the new building last week. Because of their insurance settlement and the generosity of churches and individuals across the Conference, they entered a new building debt free.  It was consecrated and dedicated on Sunday, June 28, 2015 with the Rev. Dr. Nancy Rankin leading the service.  People from across the Northern Piedmont District and Conference were welcomed to the celebration. This small, but dedicated congregation witnessed to the world their attitude of love and forgiveness through the process.  Rev. Wanda Lancaster pleaded for mercy for the young arsonist at his trial and he was not given prison time. A catch phrase was adopted shortly after the fire and was a constant refrain: “Our building was destroyed but our church is still here.” Their choir director composed a song, “Out of the Ashes,” and they have sung it often to rally them through the ordeal of grieving and rebuilding. Picture8Their new building is beautiful, practical and energy efficient.  The sanctuary space can expand directly into their fellowship hall and the kitchen space doubles their capacity to seat people. The floors are polished concrete.  It is a multi-use space with movable chairs.  Flat screens are mounted on the sanctuary walls and were used in the dedication service.  Though the congregation misses their old sanctuary, they built this one with a mind toward their future and the needs of their community. In further witness to the community, Rev. Lancaster and her Lay Leader, Laura Harrell, served as the local Missional Network leaders through this ordeal.   During the past 18 months, neither asked to be replaced as leaders but, instead, lead their Network to provide the Backpack Food Ministry to Huntsville Elementary which needed that ministry.  They have faithfully gathered food from their Network churches to supply 75 families per week.  Next year they plan to expand to 100 families. Other photos of Gideon Grove UMC Information and photos provided by Dr. Nancy Rankin, Northern Piedmont District Superintendent    

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
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