Concord UMC, Catawba shares the love of Christ through their Advent Acts of Worship in 2020


Concord UMC's Advent Acts of Worship in Giving 2020

This Advent, Concord UMC in Catawba began with a challenge to boost their food pantry giving. They collected almost half a ton of food to divide between two local food pantries! The outpouring was beyond generous and the food pantries were in shock. While Concord UMC may not be an incredibly large congregation, they are certainly large-in-heart.
  • The first week's Act of Giving was to perform "surprise" gifts to strangers or those who don't often receive affirmations. They saw gifts of flowers, diapers for shelters, mittens, gloves and scarves for the homeless, dinners bought, groceries donated...the Spirit really began to flow.
  • The second week's Act of Giving was to support and provide hygiene kits, gift cards and adopt families for Rosenwald. The church provided over double the kits that were required by our missional network ( #7), adopted double the amount of families, and gave 20 gifts ( $40 per student!). Through tears of joy, they watched as the Spirit began to increase
  • The third week's Act of Giving was to provide a lunch for the ER staff of both Hickory hospitals ( Catawba Valley and Frye), both day and night shifts. They delivered 140 meals to a shocked and grateful group of tireless workers. One nurse expressed that in her 10 years of working at the hospital, no one had ever done such a thing. And the Spirit of Christmas continued...
  • On the fourth week's Act of Giving, they wrote Christmas cards and delivered them to all the inmates in the Catawba jail...again, fulfilling a ministry hole that had not yet been filled!
As disappointed as the congregation was to return to online worship, they couldn't help but notice that their viewership was in the 200's instead of the normal attendance of 65-70 they would normally expect inside the sanctuary. The Word of God continued to spread, in spite of how quickly COVID-19 was spreading. The year of 2020 may have tried to slow the Spirit of God, it may have played the role of The Grinch this Christmas, but Central UMC saw what so many WNCC churches saw this year - they saw that the Spirit of Christ gives and gives and continues to give, no matter what else might be happening.

And, Concord UMC has decided to keep on working on their Acts of Worship in Giving even into 2021.

(Pictured is only a quarter of the food the church collected for their food pantry challenge!)


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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