FUMC Hickory Featured in SEJ Newsletter


In January 2015 the Southeastern Jurisdiction College of Bishops and Annual Conference Lay Leaders committed to make children in poverty a common ministry focus across the Southeast. This article was featured in the July 2015 of the SEJ Newsletter featuring stories of churches working with children in poverty.

Last year First United Methodist Church in Hickory, North Carolina, contacted the local school district social workers and asked what particular need was not being met.  The response was “beds so that children can get a good night’s sleep.”  First Church responded and then shared the vision with its missional network. The “difficult situation” is there are hundreds of children throughout the area that either live in substandard housing (sleeping on the floor or in one bed with multiple children), or are functionally homeless moving from house to house — sleeping on the couch of an aunt this week, the floor of a cousin next week. The children cannot get a good night’s sleep and are coming to school tired, sick, etc. [caption id="attachment_3374" align="alignright" width="300"]The bedding kit is both is sturdy and portable.The price tag for each kit is under $100. The bedding kit is both is sturdy and portable.The
price tag for each kit is under $100.[/caption] During Advent, the missional network churches raised enough funds for more than 225 bedding kits and have committed to making this an annual event.  The bedding kit consists of a backpacking cot (can support 200 lbs), a fleece blanket, a mattress/cover, a pillow, and tote bag. The price tag for each kit is under $100. The bedding system is sturdy, but lightweight. It can be easily and quickly folded up for immediate mobility. This spring, the churches came together at Highland UMC in Hickory and celebrated with a “Build-a-Bed” workshop rally during which the network churches compiled all the components of the bedding kits to be delivered to the area school districts (Hickory City Schools, Catawba County Schools, and Conover Schools).

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 hfleming@wnccumc.net.


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