Response magazine is an official publication of the United Methodist Women. In their current issue I was surprised to discover an article about a trip my wife, Denise, and I took in the summer of 2014.

The article was written by Joann Crawford, UMW President at St. Luke's UMC where I last served as pastor. As an introduction, I have been a recreational cyclist off and on since the late 1970's. I started commuting to my work by bicycle when gas prices first hit a dollar! In the years since I have enjoyed bicycle-riding vacations in various southern states like Georgia, Virginia, Tennessee, and of course, North Carolina.  Continue Reading
Lay Servant Training
Deadline for registration - March 17 , 2017 
Monday nights, 6:30 - 9 pm - April 3, 10, 17, 24 at St. Mark's UMC

Saturday and Sunday - April 1 and 2 at Central UMC, Charlotte
April 1 (9 am until 4 pm); April 2 (2 pm until 6:45 pm)

Cost $30 for all courses

Get more Info and Register Here

Disaster Response

Many of you have heard of the great devastation across the southeast by the recent major storms. So much brokenness, death, injury, and destruction have been left by these storms. Two specific requests for assistance have been forwarded to me as the district disaster response coordinator. First, let us surround those who have been affected and those who respond with our continual prayers.
If you are interested in giving to the South Georgia Storm Recovery you may use conference advance special #6796 with checks mailed to PO Box 13145, Macon, GA 31208.
If you are interested in responding, Mississippi has expressed a need for trained UMCOR emergency response teams. Contact 601/544-5115 or 601/310-7700 before you respond. Please be sure to notify the Metro District Disaster Response Coordinator of your response at athompson@wnccumc.net. On another note, there continue to be opportunities for construction teams to eastern NC in the wake of Hurricane Matthew and volunteer opportunities at the Mission Response Center.  Also, feel free to contact me with questions.  Yours in Christ, 
Rev.  Alan Thompson

Local Church
Justice and Reconciliation - St. Mark's UMC

The below link highlights the work one of our local churches efforts towards Justice and Reconciliation in the Charlotte Community. The young adult Small Group ministry ask a question in response to the killing of African American boys and men, the thick racial tensions between white, black and brown  people. The question was how does Christ church, being th e Hope of the World, the light in darkness be on the front lines advocating Justice for all humanity and create a platform of authentic reconciliation between ethic groups, diverse cultural sin the Charlotte community. St Marks & Rev. Otto Harris, in partnership WNCC Justice and Racial Reconciliation ministry and our connectional sister church Myers Park & with Rev's Nathan Aldridge and James Howell. Great snippet article, but opens dialogue pertaining to one way your church can engage in Justice and Reconciliation in our beloved community.
If you would like more information please contact St Marks UMC, 917 Clayton Road, Charlotte NC, Rev Otto Harris at oharris@wnccumc.net or Brenda Egleston begleston@bellsouth.net church administrator.

All proceeds go to benefit:
Servants With A Heart
When : Saturday, Feb. 25, 2017
: Centenary United Methodist Church 620 Centenary Ch Rd, Mount Ulla, NC  
The money raised by this 5K will go to help people that are literally starving to death. This is our 6th year helping Servants With a Heart pack food that aids thousands of people.  By running this event you help buy enough food for 133 meals.  Thank you in advance for helping us make this event a success. 

Continue Reading and Register
Happening in our Conference
Praying Our Way Forward

Many are aware of the Commission on the Way Forward which arose out of last year's General Conference.  The Commission is asking that all United Methodists join in a spirit of prayer in support of the work of the Commission and for the future of our Church. The Western North Carolina Conference has been asked specifically to pray intentionally the week of February 19-25.  Look to the conference website for additional prayer resources as the date nears. Please follow this link for more information . . .

Fellowship of Local Pastors

The Fellowship of Local Pastors and Associate Members will meet Thursday, February 16 at First United Methodist Church in Newton, NC at 9:30 am.  First UMC Newton is located at 300 North Main Street, Newton NC 28658.  We will meet for a time of worship and Holy Communion.    Rev. Lara "Willis" Greene, the Pastor of First UMC Newton will be leading us in our Service of Holy Communion.  Rev. Kim Ingram, Director of Ministerial Services and Conference Secretary will be with us for a time of Questions & Answers.  She is our "go to" person for help with our education and mentoring.  Here's your chance to ask Rev. Ingram questions that you may have.  Rev. Ingram is looking forward to spending time with us!
We also hope that you will take advantage of the day and check out some of the local restaurants in Newton and have lunch with you fellow clergy,
Rev. Tony Owens
Preaching to Confront Racism

Wofford College  will host a conference on South Carolina's last lynching, the subsequent trial, a courageous sermon and the continuing challenge of preaching to confront racism.  The conference will be held February 17, 2017, from 9:30-4:00pm in Wofford's Leonard Auditorium.
The event features the launch of Will Willimon's latest book, "Who Lynched Willie Earle: Preaching to Confront Racism."
The day includes:
  • ·      Lectures from Will Willimon, retired Methodist bishop and former dean of the chapel at Duke University, and Will Gravely, professor emeritus at the University of Denver and longtime scholar on the Willie Earle lynching and trial.
  • ·      Panel discussions on preaching to confront racism with Bishop Jonathan Holston and other clergy from South Carolina.
  • ·      Actors will be reading an excerpt from THE LYNCHING, a two-act play by John Jeter and Lucy Beam Hoffman.
To register contact Elizabeth Fields in Wofford's Halligan Center for Religious & Spiritual Life.  
Email: fieldsem@wofford.edu   
Phone: 864-597-4050
Brotherhood / Sisterhood

The Brotherhood/Sisterhood of the Western North Carolina Conference has been actively caring for the families of deceased clergy members ever since this voluntary association of clergy and laity was organized in 1894. With the founding 121 clergy members pledging $5.00 and with laity who joined as honorary members pledging $1.00 or more after the death of a member, clergy families  received $400.00 to help with funeral and other expenses.  Continue Reading
EXPLORE - Summer Internship

The Explore Summer Internship exists to help young adults (18-25 years old) discern their call to vocational ministry by providing an environment for exploring their gifts and giving the intern opportunities to explore particular aspects of ministry and/or program development in a safe and encouraging environment.
The internship is meant to be a hands-on experience in a church setting or a church affiliated organization. The interns should engage in a broad range of ministerial work and/or program development then reflect on their experiences. Interns are not meant to fill a certain hole in the ministerial staff (youth ministry or children's ministry, for instance). Rather, they are to be given opportunities to experience the full breadth of pastoral ministry; to dream, vision, implement -- to learn by doing as well as by observing and discussing.  Continue Reading 
Grace Break... Planning Your Renewal Leave

Nine times out of ten, renewal leaves are not sought after by clergy or their district leaders until a crisis situation. We at Big Sigh Ministries are changing the conversation from burnout crisis to prevention and ministry resilience with our GRACE BREAK program. Through this informative program, we help clergy dream and plan ahead for renewal leaves; we educate church Staff and Pastor Parish Relations Committees as to the unique numerous stressors clergy face, the real threat of compassion fatigue in their clergy, as well as the win-win benefits when a pastor takes renewal time away and returns refreshed, renewed, rested and re-connected with God.  Continue Reading
Rev. Mark Andrews | District Superintendent |  MAndrews@wnccumc.org 
Ravonda Britt | District Administrator |  RBritt@wnccumc.org