Convocation on the Rural Church


Bishop Hope Morgan Ward and Bishop Paul Leeland joined 500 clergy and their families from the North Carolina and Western North Carolina Conferences for the 2019 Convocation on the Rural Church. This annual convocation invites pastors from both conferences serving rural churches to join with Duke Divinity School and The Duke Endowment to discuss issues that are important in transforming rural churches and communities and sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The theme “That All May Be Healed,” provided a context whereby clergy were engaged for reflection and guidance to provide healing within their congregations and communities. Dr. Warren Kinghorn, jointly appointed within Duke Divinity School and the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences of Duke University Medical Center, drew from his Christian experience to offer assurance that we are deeply and profoundly known by God and therefore it is important to have a social understanding of health and not only a medical understanding of health. Clergy were reminded that the church is uniquely placed to contribute to healthy relationships. The Rev. Dr. Melanie Dobson, professor of Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary, directed the convocation in spiritual reflections that allowed participants to experience the ways in which healing can be seen as a central theme in the Christian faith. The convocation allowed vibrant worship as Elder Rev. Avery Brown, Presiding Elder of the Beaufort District AME Zion Church and Rev. Dr. Fatimah Salleh, graduate of Duke Divinity School and ordained Baptist, preached. The clergy of our rural churches selected various workshops that including, “Reimagining Your Role in the Community,” “Waging Peace, Right Where We Live,” and “Healing Conversations,” among others, all contributing to how clergy create communities “That All May Be Healed.”

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







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