Celebrating New Beginnings


For more than a year the WNC Conference Center, like so many buildings around the world, was quiet - a place normally bustling with activity forced into stillness by the realities of COVID-19. Tuesday morning, however, the walls once again reverberated with laughter and joy as the conference staff celebrated the ministry of Bishop Paul L. Leeland and welcomed three new district superintendents, Rev. Lory Beth Huffman (Appalachian), Rev. Dr. Hyung Jae Lee (Smoky Mountain), and Rev. Dan Pezet (Metro). 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bishop Leeland's term in Western North Carolina was extended by one year, totaling five years of service to the United Methodist churches in the Western NC Conference. During the celebration, staff members offered words of gratitude for Bishop Leeland's "prayerful and pastoral leadership."


Bishop Leeland shared his plans upon retirement to "spend more time with [his] wife, family, and friends" and to intentionally leave space in his life (and on his calendar) for discernment and rest as he navigates this new beginning. Bishop Leeland closed his remarks to the staff saying, "I will always support the United Methodist Church. I will support the work and ministry of our pastor and support the leadership of my bishop. I love the United Methodist Church."

Rev. Kim Ingram and Rev. Annalee Allen, Director and Associate Director of Ministerial Services, closed the celebration asking the staff to lay hands upon or extend hands towards Bishop Leeland as prayers of gratitude and blessing were offered on his behalf. 

Following Bishop Leeland's retirement celebration, the Office of Ministerial Services hosted Rev. Huffman, Dr. Lee, and Rev. Pezet for ministerial training as they step into their new roles as district superintendents in the Western North Carolina Conference. As we celebrate these new beginnings, we offer gratitude for all God is doing in and through the United Methodists of the Western North Carolina Conference. 

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
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