A More Excellent Way
April 25, 2016
Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ.
We write to you to express our deep gratitude for life together in the United Methodist Church here in the state of North Carolina. With you, we love our state and yearn for our lives to reflect the more excellent way described by Paul in I Corinthians 13.
We share your deep concern in regard to the increasingly divisive nature of life in North Carolina. We urge United Methodist people to cultivate community that is welcoming and nurturing to all people.
Our founder, John Wesley, described the humility that is appropriate for life together when he said that "Methodists may not think alike but that we do love alike." It is essential that we live into the world with the willingness to engage, to listen and to speak the truth in love. We are called to live the hospitable welcome of God in a world with increasing boundaries, borders, fences and walls.
Our faith gives us courage to trust the power of grace, mercy and love. We dare not add to the increasing levels of fear, suspicion and divisiveness in our state and in our nation. Our calling to welcome, to forgive, and to love both God and neighbor is our powerful gift to the world.
We observe the hurried passage of House Bill 2 (HB2) and its resultant harm to North Carolina - to individuals, to our economy, to our engagements with other states and nations, and to our future. We call for the repeal of HB2 as the legislature returns to Raleigh today.
We urge all United Methodists to engage in prayer, in study of the issues, in patient listening and persevering conversation with others who hold differing opinion, and in courageous advocacy for what is right, just and good for all people in North Carolina.
With gratitude for our life together,
Bishop Larry Goodpaster, WNCC
Bishop Hope Morgan Ward, NCC
Bishop Ray Chamberlain, Retired, Winston-Salem
Bishop Charlene P. Kammerer, Retired, Lake Junaluska
Bishop Lawrence McCleskey, Retired, Lake Junaluska
Bishop C. P. Minnick, Jr., Retired, Raleigh
Bishop Thomas Stockton, Retired, Winston-Salem
Bishop William H. Willimon, Retired, Durham
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
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: 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
RESOURCES TO CONNECT WITH THE COMMUNITY:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.