Means of Grace: Being the "Rural" Church in a Pandemic


Being the "Rural" Church in a Pandemic: The Vital Role the Church Plays in a Rural Community - Episode No. 21

The Rural Church has a vital role to play during this current pandemic.  The nature of the rural church is built around relationships – relationships with church members, but also the community. Rural Churches have a unique opportunity to provide resources, connections, and hope during these stressful times.  This episode of the Means of Grace podcast features a conversation three leaders who have experience and expertise in leading and understanding churches in rural areas.  They discuss the role of the church in a rural community and how it can build the kingdom through these connections.

Show Notes - Episode 21

- Rev. Allen Stanton, a clergy member of the WNC conference and the executive director of the Turner Center at Martin Methodist College in Tennessee.

- Rev. Santosh Niroula, the pastor of Fountain Hill and Mount Moriah United Methodist Churches in the Uwharrie District of WNC

- Rev. Kristen Richardson-Frick, a clergy member of the SC conference and the Associate Director of the Rural Church Division at The Duke Endowment

The Turner Center has launched a new series, “Leading During COVID19.” Each episode features an interview with experts, thinking with churches on leading during challenging times:

Cullowhee United Methodist Church worship during the pandemic:

Christian Century article, “The Gifts of Small Church During a Pandemic,” by Kara Root:

Resources from the North Carolina Council of Churches:

Two articles by Allen Stanton:



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
Follow Jesus. Make Disciples. Transform the World.