Sorrow, Lament, and Prayers from Bishop Leeland


Word of grace to our Western North Carolina Conference
from Bishop Paul L. Leeland
We gather for this first day of worship in August 2019, with the horrific news of two terrible incidents of violence and death impacting the El Paso, Texas community, where 20 people were killed and 26 injured; and Dayton, Ohio, where 9 people were killed and 26 injured.
These incidents leave us in shock.  During this horrendous moment we join our hearts, sympathy, and prayers with the victims, families, and communities as they grieve and react to these dreadful acts of violence.  Words alone are not enough.
We also give thanks for the first responders, police departments, hospitals, and health care professionals, who have acted quickly and bravely.  
While there will be time for in-depth reflection on issues related to firearms, community safety, racism, hatred, and mental health, this is a moment of national grief.  At this moment, we grieve with all who are impacted by these violent actions and we draw upon the gifts of our faith, compassion, kindness, and generosity as we support these families and communities.
During our worship services and prayer services, may we offer respectful silence for these victims and communities; prayers for healing and support; pleas and supplication for conversion of heart and mind; prayers to end violence and harm in all our communities; grace to live the gospel life that all our communities may increase in faith, hope, and love.  
In this moment of sorrow and lament, Lord in your Mercy, hear our prayers…

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.