Sixty-five Pastors Celebrated in Ordering of Ministry Service


A group greatly diverse in age, gender and ethnicity were honored by family and friends and celebrated in their ministry in the Western North Carolina Conference Saturday night at Stuart Auditorium.
Fifteen Elders and one Deacon were ordained, nine were commissioned as Provisional Members, and 40 were licensed as Local Pastors in the tradition-laden Ordering of Ministry service. 

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All were asked the questions of the General Examination of their beliefs and call to ministry by Bishop Paul Leeland. These questions go back to John Wesley. 
Guest preacher Bishop Mike Lowry of the Central Texas Annual Conference based his sermon using the Great Commission in the final chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, the “Those who wait upon the Lord” passage from Isaiah Chapter 40, and words from the hymn “Trust and Obey,” which is the theme of the 2019 Annual Conference.
Lowry, who has been in ministry for 45 years, 11 as a bishop of the church, told those being ordained, commissioned and licensed that there would be difficult days in their church careers. 
“Remember to ‘Trust and Obey,’ and let that settle into the very core of your being,” Lowry said. “There will be those tough days for you. They’re still there for me and I’m a bishop.”
Lowry also used as an illustration the story of the soccer team whose plane crashed high in the Andes Mountains. After many passengers died in the initial crash or of their injuries shortly thereafter, those who survived were eventually airlifted out by helicopter after two team members made an arduous journey to get help.
“Our rescuer is Jesus Christ, as both Lord and Savior,” he said. “It’s not Captain America coming to save us. It’s not Captain Marvel or the Black Panther. And Thor is not even in the right universe!”
In addition to Leeland and Lowry, three other bishops participated in the laying on hands ceremony for those being ordained. Bishops Charlene Kammerer and Lawrence McCleskey, two former WNC bishops who are retired at Lake Junaluska, and Council of Bishops President Ken Carter, who also has a home in the area and was present to ordain his son-in-law, Rev. 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
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