Category: News


PAST UPDATESWeekly-Update--Post-Tag

Here are the major changes for the past week to the website.   What did you miss?




PAUMCS Fall Retreat – October 27-28, 2017

Mourning’s Dawn: Healing and Living with Grief Workshop November 12-14, 2017



Special Events Schedule (revised)

Food Options at AC




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Mary Brown- Come Thou Fount


Extended Cabinet meets to strategize and prepare for future

The Extended Cabinet of the Western North Carolina Conference met Monday, June 12th in Huntersville with Craig Robertson of Spiritual Leadership, Inc.

The extended cabinet has been meeting monthly since January working to align the various ministries of the conference, and create strategies for generating new congregations and disciple making systems.

During each session, there is time for spiritual formation as a group.  The group shared a variety of “glory sightings” from across the conference of clergy and churches who are exhibiting the Good News of the Gospel.  In light of statistical data pertaining to WNCC churches from the past five years, discussed in last month’s meeting, a number of the stories centered on the work and ministry of small membership churches.

This month, the extended cabinet discussed the book, The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals. This is typically a book for business leaders, so much of the discussion revolved around how it can be used in the spiritual/theological context of the Church.

The group is beginning to formulate one or two major goals or “vital signs” that the conference will focus in the coming years that will make a difference in our overall vitality and witness.  Beyond that, every team and organization in the conference will be challenged to develop a narrow focus that will enhance the impact of their work.

A significant portion of the day was spent on articulating our values as an Annual Conference which reinforced our commitment to the importance of collaboration of clergy and laity; the belief that every church, no matter location or size, can be missional and invitational; and finally, that we trust in our Wesleyan heritage to be a model for effective, spiritual discipleship.

Ordinands spend the day with Bishop Leeland

Last Saturday, clergy approved by the Western North Carolina Conference Board of Ordained Ministry for ordination and full membership in The United Methodist Church were invited to the home of Bishop and Mrs. Leeland.

The day was shaped by a cookout at the episcopal residence, offering a time for conversation and reflection on the nature of ministry and ordination.

The twenty ordinands who will be ordained at Annual Conference on June 24th at Lake Junaluska were invited to spend the day sharing their faith stories with each other and reflecting on why they chose to be ordained in The United Methodist Church.  In addition, they reviewed the historical examination for admission into full connection and engaged Bishop Leeland in conversation about their calling into ministry and the unique nature of the denomination.

Many of these newly ordained clergy will participate in a reading group over the next year with Bishop Leeland, meeting one full day each month as they explore issues of leadership, spiritual authority, and “ordering the life of the church.”  Bishop Leeland said he offers this time each year to those being ordained as “a means of investing in the next generation of clergy and developing a relationship with those I am privileged to ordain.”


PAST UPDATESWeekly-Update--Post-Tag

Here are the major changes for the past week to the website.   What did you miss?










Gordon-Conwell Alumni Gathering is June 24

Registration and Check-In Procedures (updated)

Special Events Calendar (updated)


ENews Archive




Latest ENews: View the June 6th mobile edition
View the Full Version 
Next issue is June 20, 2017
See the past issues at the ARCHIVES

Conference Blog

Conference Blog 2.0this week’s blog
Burt Williams- Why I am waiting for the Commission on a Way Forward and The General Conference

Annual Conference reports from across the connection

It is Annual Conference season across the United States.

Check out some of the reports that have already been published at:

Many of the conferences in the Southeastern Jurisdiction have just had their conferences, or have them scheduled in the coming weeks.

The Western North Carolina Conference is actually one of the later scheduled conferences in the denomination.  Our Conference is meeting June 23-25, 2017 at Lake Junaluska.  Currently, all of our pre-conference materials are available at

During the course of those three days, all of the business of the conference will be reported, complete with photos, videos, presentations, and a live feed of all of the Annual Conference sessions.

Over the next two weeks, all of the latest news and announcements for Annual Conference will be posted.

Why are gracious accountability discipleship groups important?

As Christians, and as United Methodists, why should each of us be in a gracious accountability discipleship group? What is so important about small groups of disciples seeking to follow Jesus, while supporting, encouraging, and holding each other accountable to “live out” His teachings in our everyday lives? What happens in this type of small group that makes it different from other study small groups?

Jesus tells us, in three passages of Matthew, what is important if we are to follow him: Matthew 22: 36-40, Matthew 28: 18-20, and Matthew 25: 31-46. (All passages are from the NRSV.)

Matthew 22: 36-40

36 “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37 He said to him, ” “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

Jesus calls us first to serve God and others in love. Jesus’ Great Commandment (Matthew 22: 36-40) calls us to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind, plus to love our neighbor as ourselves. And yes, our neighbor includes our enemies. We can point to success, as well as some failure, in fulfilling the Great Commandment. It is both easy and hard to follow this commandment. It’s easy, because Jesus says His yoke is light and He is with us every step of the way. It’s hard because we have to maintain our focus on Him in the midst of all the distractions our culture throws at us every day.

John and Charles Wesley preached and sang about love being the goal. Yes, faith is our foundation, but love is always the goal. Always. We are saved by God’s grace, and when reflecting on this grace, our response is love. “Love divine, all loves excelling”, Charles’ well-known hymn says it well.

Matthew 28: 18-20

18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Secondly, Jesus calls us is to make disciples. The Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) calls us to go and make disciples of all nations. Note that Jesus is not asking us to make believers, or church members, but disciples. So, we are called to love everyone and make disciples. What is a disciple of Jesus? What characteristics should one have to be a disciple?

If we are following Jesus, we can expect to exhibit different behaviors over time. These behaviors will look a little like how Jesus acted. When thinking about these behaviors, we could think of the Golden Rule (Matthew 7:12), do unto others, as you would have them do unto you. Or, we could think of the Fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23): love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

But how do we know if we are on the right path? How do I know if my behaviors and how I treat others are what God asks of me? As my friend and District Superintendent Beth Crissman likes to say, this question is similar to one we all asked our teachers and professors in school: “What will be on the final exam?” Jesus gives us the answer to what will be on the final exam in Matthew 25: 31-46.

Matthew 25: 31-46

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33 and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. 34 Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? 38 And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? 39 And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ 40 And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’ 41 Then he will say to those at his left hand, “You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?’ 45 Then he will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’ 46 And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Wow! So, we are to love God and others, make disciples, and provide care for those who need food, drink, hospitality & shelter, clothing, and medical care plus visit those in prison. That seems like a very tall order. How can anyone manage to keep all of this in mind as we live our busy lives? Alone, I don’t think it’s possible to do this for a lifetime. But Jesus gave us a model (and John Wesley borrowed it) for doing it together: small groups that hold each other graciously accountable to a group covenant.

Jesus had a small group that learned from Him the way of discipleship. Twelve men and probably several women learned from Jesus as they journeyed together for three years.

Wesley initiated small groups that he called class meetings. Class meetings consisted of up to 12 women and men that met weekly as a “gracious accountability” group. Their focus was to individually answer the question: “How is it with your soul this week?”

Alone we will eventually be distracted by the competing demands of life. It will be difficult to maintain our focus over the long term. Together, we admittedly still have the distractions and demands of life. But, when we come together weekly, we remind each other of the covenant we have made together. We can each rejoin our journey with Jesus, and become the kind of disciple Jesus calls us to be.

Those in Wesley’s Class Meetings did not study a book. They may have sung a song, read a Bible verse, and had prayer. But, their main purpose was not Bible study, but a review of the state of their souls. It resulted in a wildly successful movement to revitalize the Church of England, and start the Methodist movement in North America.

So, if you want to start small gracious accountability groups in your church, what do they look like? How do we get them started? That will be the topic next time.

Ron Ballard
District Lay Leader, Blue Ridge District, WNC Conference

Van Hoever to retire from Greensboro consultant role

Nashville, Tennessee – David Van Hoever, the Cokesbury Community Resource Consultant in the Greensboro, North Carolina, area, announced his retirement May 15, 2017. His last day with the company will be December 10.

Van Hoever, who has been with Cokesbury since January 2011, is strongly committed to his customers, no matter their size or their location in the greater Greenboro area, according to Steve Toombs, director of Cokesbury’s Community Resource Consultant team. “Dave is committed to a smooth transition during his retirement and has offered to stay with Cokesbury until mid-December for that transition.

“We wish Dave all the best in his journey,” added Toombs. “But we will certainly miss his strong work ethic, commitment to his customers and co-workers, and his dedication to this ministry.” Van Hoever, the father of four, will enjoy more time with his wife, Pat; his grandchildren; and his hobby of restoring classic automobiles.

Van Hoever will continue consulting with and visiting customers in their churches throughout this time. He welcomes the opportunity to see customers at the Western North Carolina Annual Conference, starting June 23.

In addition to Van Hoever’s retirement, another Cokesbury change is happening in the Western North Carolina conference, effective August 1, 2017. At that time, two North Carolina-based community resource consultants (Leigh Reynolds and Drew Neill) and a Nashville-based, North Carolina-focused phone consultant (Mechele Brown) will expand their reach to work with all of the Western North Carolina conference churches, instead of being limited to the greater Charlotte, Greensboro and Winston-Salem areas.

“This concentration has worked extremely well in 11 other UM conferences throughout the country,” explained Toombs. “It allows us to develop even stronger conference relationships, while equipping church leaders to make disciples. We are excited to bring this model to North Carolina.”


About Cokesbury

Cokesbury is the retail and customer service arm of The United Methodist Publishing House, which serves more than 11 million United Methodists worldwide as well as a broad ecumenical audience representing many denominations and independent churches, with books, Bibles, curriculum, worship resources, and church supplies. Cokesbury offers more than 200,000 products to congregations through and the Cokesbury Customer Care Center 1-800-672-1789.

Reverend Maegan Daigle Habich to join Pfeiffer University as university chaplain and director of church relations

Misenheimer, N.C.—Pfeiffer University announces that Reverend Maegan Daigle Habich will join its staff on July 1 as university chaplain and director of church relations. In this new position, Reverend Habich will direct the implementation of a traditional campus ministry and chaplaincy, and work closely with the Francis Center for Servant Leadership to coordinate faith-based and secular service programming.

Under a campus ministry model, Pfeiffer will continue to offer weekly worship, student-led opportunities and mission trips, while developing new opportunities for interfaith understanding for students of all faith traditions. Henry Pfeiffer Chapel, always a vital part of campus and community life, is projected to expand in purpose and prominence to accommodate new and updated programs and opportunities.

“Reverend Habich’s expertise in church relations, pastoral functions and professional discernment—in addition to Christian leadership and campus ministry—make her uniquely qualified to guide our students’ spiritual growth as well as support the institution’s commitment to community engagement,” said Dr. Colleen Perry Keith, president. “With the intentionality of the design of this role, Pfeiffer honors and strengthens its

United Methodist affiliation, and fulfills the missions of both the university and Francis Center for Servant Leadership.”

Since 2011, Reverend Habich has served associate director of the Christian Leadership Center for Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport, and in 2016 was appointed by the president to be the college’s chaplain. At Centenary, she oversaw religious life, supervised students and counseled those requiring vocational discernment, organized and led chapel programs, and represented the institution for a number of United-Methodist Church-related matters. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Centenary; master’s degree in religion from Iliff School of Theology, Denver, Colo.; and is currently enrolled in Basic Graduate Theological Certification courses at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, Evanston, Ill.

Established in 1885, Pfeiffer University is a globally engaged, regional university distinctive for its transformational undergraduate experiences and leadership in professional and graduate programs that fill demonstrated needs on its campuses in Charlotte, Misenheimer and Raleigh, and online. Vested in its history as a United Methodist-related university and propelled by an innovative faculty and staff, Pfeiffer prepares its students for a lifetime of achievement, scholarship, spirituality and service. Visit Pfeiffer at or Pfeiffer University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award baccalaureate and master’s degrees.