Opening Worship: The Long View


Opening Worship at Annual Conference was held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, June 21 in Stuart Auditorium. You can view the service order on pp. 2-5 in the 2019 Worship Book.
After the Prelude, Rev. Susan Suarez Webster led the congregation in a bilingual Call to Worship. Then a video was shown of testimonies of faith during stormy seasons in life.
Following the Processional Hymn, a variety of voices led the Prayers of the People, which continued the service’s theme of Jesus calming the storm and bringing peace during tumultuous times.
Throughout the service, the Conference Choir, composed of 70 clergy and laypersons from all across the Western North Carolina Conference, sang special music.
Bishop Ruben Saenz, Jr. offered a sermon entitled “The Long View” based on Genesis 11:31-12:5b, read by Rev. Jessica Dayson.
The Offering collected in this service will go toward disaster response efforts in North Carolina and Alabama-West Florida Annual Conferences in which individuals and churches suffered extensive damage from hurricanes Florence and Michael.
After the Offering, Bishop Paul L. Leeland and Bishop Ruben Saenz, Jr. presided over Communion with a liturgy focusing on peace and reconciliation. They were assisted by Rev. Gloria Hughes, chair of the Deacon order. Communion servers included District Superintendents, Conference Staff, Deacons, Local Licensed Pastors, and Laity.
Following Communion, the service was closed with the hymn Trust and Obey, a connection to this quadrennium’s theme based on The Great Commission, and a Benediction by Bishop Leeland. Upon departing, members of the congregation were encouraged to dip their hands in the bowls situated outside of Stuart Auditorium to remember their baptism and their call to partner with the work of the Holy Spirit in the world.

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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