Bishop Goodpaster Celebrated at SEJ 2016


ColesOn Thursday evening at SEJ 2016,  all of the bishops who retired at this session were recognized. Each bishop was given a tribute by a person from their annual conference. Rev. Amy Coles, assistant to the bishop, gave the tribute for the Western North Carolina Conference. "This evening, we give thanks for passionate and visionary leadership of Bishop Larry Goodpaster, who for the past 16 years has served as bishop in the Alabama-West Florida and Western North Carolina Conferences, and for his wife, Deborah, who has modeled before us grace, strength, and deep faith in Jesus Christ. We are grateful for the ways, that through the power of the Holy Spirit, he has lived before us a patient, steady trust and hope in the future of Christ’s holy Church. In both conferences, he’s been known for travelling the connection; encouraging us to risk, to be creative, and always reminding us that it's all about the mission. We also quickly realized that whether he was preaching at annual conference or in a local church, when his gestures became something like this (hand gesture), we better buckle our seatbelt, because what was coming might just turn our world upside down. Bishop G has challenged us not to perpetuate the church of the segregated south - rather that we dare to reflect the Kingdom  and (referring to another gesture) when his hand began to rub his furrowed brow, it was a clear sign that he wasn’t pleased with our settling for the status quo – among other things. He has particularly encouraged, supported, and mentored young clergy and laity, many of whom would say that their preaching and teaching were transformed as he led them on a pilgrimage in the Holy Land. Widely read, Bishop G always has 2 or 3 or, if he's honest, probably 10 more books for his cabinet and conference staff to read.  Interpreting what he's read and learned through the lens of the Gospel, he helped both conferences set the trajectory of being real and relevant for future generations. His world-wide service in places such as the DR Congo and Southeast Asia has been a tangible witness that there is power in the connection. Goodpaster & DeborahAs he and Deborah move into the next season of their lives, we pray for more time for family and especially their five grandchildren, as well as for his ministry as the Bishop-in-Residence at Candler, where he will continue to form and transform the lives of future leaders of our church. With humble strength, Bishop Goodpaster, you have answered this call of the Church and we pray that this evening you will receive God’s affirmation, “Well done."  

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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