Category: News

Conference Trustees propose new conference center for 2018

The Conference Board of Trustees, with endorsement from Bishop Paul Leeland and the WNCC Cabinet, will be proposing to the Western North Carolina Annual Conference the construction of a new conference office building, with construction beginning this year.

Bob Wilhoit, chair of the Board of Trustees, said, “With this new conference center proposal, the Western North Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church is on the threshold of a new chapter in its distinguished history.”

The proposal will be brought before the 2017 Annual Conference at Lake Junaluska in June.  The proposed timing for the report of the Board of Trustees is during the afternoon session on Friday, June 23rd. In the coming months, more information about the proposal will be shared with the clergy and lay members of the Annual Conference.

Over the past eighteen months, the Board of Trustees investigated numerous options, including both owning and leasing properties, to replace the current facility located at Shamrock Drive in Charlotte.

After a total of nine different locations were explored, the Trustees propose that the new location be located in the West Torrence Professional Center on Professional Center Drive in Huntersville, North Carolina. This location is beside the United Methodist Foundation offices in the same community.

The proximity to the three major interstates in western North Carolina (I-77, I-85 and within 30 miles, I-40) and the Charlotte Douglas International Airport, as well as being outside of the Charlotte city limits was deemed most desirable.

The new structure will be a 2 story building of approximately 29,000 square feet. One floor will be devoted to housing the offices of Ministerial Services, Treasury Services, the Episcopacy, Missional Engagement and Connectional Relationships, Information Technology and multiple size conference rooms and media space.  The other floor may be leased to enterprises, with attention to organizations that do not conflict with the mission and purpose of The United Methodist Church and the Annual Conference.

“Building a Conference Office Center is a once in a lifetime opportunity.  We want to offer the annual conference an edifice that will be representative of what is the best of our connection at an economical cost that will serve our mission and ministries for generations,” commented Dr. R. Mark King, Conference Treasurer.

Bishop Paul Leeland reflected on the proposal, “This year our Annual Conference will respond to and vote on the Conference Board of Trustees recommendation to relocate and build a new conference center.  This can be a positive moment in which our Western North Carolina Conference adapts to the changing conditions that have led them to make this recommendation.  May the wisdom of the Annual Conference allow us to prepare for the coming decades of ministry in the same way that we have been positioned to address the needs for ministry over the last four decades in our current location.”

 After Easter, the Board of Trustees will be providing further information about this proposal to members of the Annual Conference.  This will include specifics about the need of a new facility, expected costs, and other details that were considered in this proposal.


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An invitation from Bishop Paul L. Leeland regarding the appointment process

Dear friends:

March 28-31, 2017, will begin the process where pastoral appointments are made for the Western North Carolina Conference.  Much of this conversation and work will be instigated by the 50 plus retirements that we have received as of this date, leaving a large number of churches without pastoral leadership.  As members of the PPR/SPRC Committee in your church, I want to invite you to link into a video that will express some of my thoughts related to the work of identifying and appointing clergy to our congregations.  In a sense, I will step out of the appointment making process to address the work we are doing and to invite your prayers of intercession  and support for all our congregations.

Beginning Tuesday, March 28th at 8:00 AM, you may visit the Conference Website and view the video entitled, “Bishop Leeland Speaks of the Appointment Process.”  Hopefully, this will allow all members of the PPR/SPRC Committees to receive the same information as we invite you to pray for our district superintendents, for me, as your Bishop, and for our churches.

Thank you for your willingness to serve your local congregation as a member of this committee; thank you for your consultation responses in the months preceding our work; and thank you for your prayers for all our churches and pastors.

May we begin by praying, Christ, our Lord, in Your light, may we see light.

Paul L. Leeland, Ed.D.
Resident Bishop
Western North Carolina Conference
The United Methodist Church

3400 Shamrock Drive
PO Box 18005
Charlotte,  NC 28218
(704) 714-2324

Bishop Leeland represents Council of Bishops at election of new German bishop

Bishop Leeland (R) with former Bishop Rosemarie Wenner (L)

(Revised from UM News Service article by Klaus Ulrich Ruof)

The Rev. Harald Rückert, senior pastor at United Methodist Church of the Redeemer in Reutlingen, Germany, has been elected as a United Methodist bishop by delegates at the Germany Central Conference meeting.

Bishop Paul L. Leeland of the Western North Carolina Conference represented the Council of Bishops at the conference and presided over the election process for Bishop Rückert.

Rückert, 58, was elected March 15 at the quadrennial meeting in Hamburg, Germany. On the fourth ballot, he received 57 of the 81 votes cast to reach the required two-thirds majority.

“We are a church together,” said the newly elected bishop in his first statement after the election. “I am very pleased to be able to shape and carry on the way of the church together with you.”

Bishop Ruckert

The 58-year-old theologian will succeed Bishop Rosemarie Wenner as bishop of the Germany Central Conference of the United Methodist Church on May 12.

In Germany, bishops are elected for a four-year term and can be re-elected for an eight-year term for a maximum of 12 years. If they are serving at the time of their retirement, they are considered a bishop for life. If they are too young to retire after 12 years, they return to the pastorate. Wenner is retiring after Rückert takes over.

The new bishop preached on March 18 at the conclusion of the Germany Central Conference and was blessed for his service as supervisory bishop of the Germany United Methodist Church.

Read the entire article from UM News Service

United Methodist Now- a new biweekly newsletter

The United Methodist Church invites you to check out their new biweekly e-newsletter specially created for all church members.

United Methodist Now will highlight examples of Christian living, share inspirational messages and focus on what it means to be part of our connection. You can subscribe for free.

Some samples from the first edition:

What to watch for in “The Shack:”  United Methodist pastors’ advice

The movie version of the 2007 best-selling book “The Shack” is a hot box office ticket these days, but its unorthodox representation of the Trinity could unsettle some believers. We asked United Methodist clergy how they think the pop culture phenomenon integrates with Christian faith.

A Wesley hymn devotion for Lent

There are many ways to find added meaning in this season of preparation for Easter. Writer Joe Iovino looks at how Charles Wesley’s “Come, Sinners, to the Gospel Feast” reminds us that Lent is not only a time for engaging in reflection but also a time to extend welcome.

Women who made history

We celebrate Women’s History Month in March. Did you know the U.S. holiday dedicated to moms was started by two Methodist women?

Reimagining Health Collaborative – The Church and Mental Health

Do you feel called to work for the health and wellness of your community? Does your church have health ministries in place, but long to do more? Does your church want to work with other congregations and organizations to develop theologically-based wellness programs in your community?

The Reimagining Health Collaborative invites churches and Christian communities to engage more fully in God’s healing and restoring work through innovative and faithful practices of health and health care. This year’s cohort will focus on the church and mental health.

Approximately 45% of Americans will develop some form of mental illness — especially depression, anxiety, and substance use. Suicide is a leading cause of death among adolescents and adults. Living with mental illness, particularly serious mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, is filled with both challenges and opportunities. The church must be equipped and energized to respond faithfully.
Your congregation is a great fit for RHC 2017: The Church and Mental Health if:

· Your congregation feels called to learn from and to walk faithfully with persons with mental illness in your congregation and community.
· Your congregation wants to explore and discover new models of ministry, and develop a lasting relationship with another organization within your community.
· You believe God is at work healing and restoring the world in Jesus Christ, and want to participate in this healing work.

To learn more, please see the program page. Applications must be submitted to by April 15th, 2017.

Blackburn Community Outreach recruiting for 6th cohort

Blackburn House has been an enriching experience for many young people over the past five years. Residents have in turn enriched the community of Todd with service and tremendous creativity. This is a unique program, and like it’s rural home, it is off the beaten path. But as the 2016 election revealed, more people are aware of the conditions that so many rural communities face. Now more than ever is the time for diverse, faithful, creative young people to live and serve in rural communities ready to sustain the important work that’s already being done in those places, and bearing witness to Jesus’ love, hope, and inclusivity.

We believe that you are connected to young people and we need your help spreading the word about this invaluable program to those individuals or groups. 

This is the information that you can share with your colleagues, students, and friends. We invite you to share the attached information in three ways: 1) to directly invite young people you know to consider this “gap year” residential program; 2) to blast this invite over your social media and email outlets; 3) print and post on bulletin boards. Be sure to indicate that applications are due by March 31!

Blackburn House Information Letter

Blackburn House Application

Printable Postcards


SouthPark church says goodbye to ‘ski slope’ home, embraces change

This article was posted on Sunday evening in the Charlotte Observer: