Smoky Mountain District Newsletter May 2022
As a spiritual leader on the margin, Rev. Jae Lee has led people from the edge. From the Edge* will become a voice for diverse perspectives and encouragement among the Smoky Mountain District's churches and leaders. In addition, Jae may ask the district lay and clergy leaders to write a short article from our edges.
Together in One Spirit
Then Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for an entire year, they met with the church and taught a great many people, and it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called “Christians.” (Acts 11:25-26)
On April 28, twenty-seven pastors of the Smoky Mountain District gathered for a day apart at Hinton Rural Life Center. We could not get together in person for the last two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I quickly observed joyous smiles, unceasing talks, and welcoming hugs. The opening worship was led by a clergy couple, Revs. Eric and Jessica Henson. We praised the Lord with our musical voices, which filled the room without vacancy, and were touched by the Word of God
The church leadership presentation from Rev. Dr. Bob Boozer was beneficial as he reflected on his ministry experiences with his professor’s career. After lunch, we were awed by the beautiful lake view. Those who came to Hinton for the first time deeply appreciated the breath-taking view from the chapel.
As we concluded our day apart with Tong-sung Kido, we sat around four round tables. Each participant shared their prayer request with the table members and selected only one prayer theme per table. Then we shared our prayer theme with the whole group. Each prayer focus was meaningful, but we chose one prayer for the entire group. It was “unity among us” as we reflected on our denominational conflicts and divisive culture among us. Then we prayed aloud in our voices. The room was full of our different voices, but no one could hear another persons’ prayers because our voices were mix-mingled and mysteriously became a united sound. Our praying voices sounded like a collective voice of one gigantic body.
Some United Methodists may consider leaving the denomination searching for a more orthodox way of Wesleyan faith. I believe the UMC is “a mindful evangelical and missional church.” The DNA of the UMC includes rational or intelligent thought processes to interpret the Word and our contexts (mindful) and passionate hearts for the less privileged, forgotten, and outcast (evangelical and missional). We emphasize both personal and communal holiness to transform the world. We are people who live a practical theology in our daily lives in the balance of Scripture, tradition, reason, and experience.
As we work together in one Spirit, we can truly experience God’s tangible presence among us. Wesleyan orthodox way is not found in the doctrinal statement. Instead, it is experienced while we gather, pray, serve, witness, and work together toward sanctification by God’s grace.
Dear United Methodists, let us renew our identity as mindful evangelicals. Yes, United Methodists are people who actively learn and live the Word of God through small groups, thoughtfully reflect on God’s grace, and passionately serve and love our sisters and brothers with open hearts, seeking both personal and social holiness.
Together in one Spirit as the United Methodist Church, we can become a renewed body of Christ!
Blessings and peace, Jae
The Smoky Mountain District & Lake Junaluska will present
the 2nd annual Juneteenth Celebration!
This gospel music celebration will be held at the Nanci Weldon Open-Air Gym at Lake Junaluska. It will begin at 1pm with gospel music, dancing, and family fun until 5pm.
We need volunteers to be hosts and greeters, to monitor our inflatables, to support our vendors, and to help keep the Lake Junaluska grounds clean.
All volunteers will receive a free t-shirt!
Plains United Methodist Church, Canton, North Carolina
Part time position (10 - 15 hrs/wk)
Plains United Methodist Church is seeking an energetic, music professional to provide leadership and oversight in managing the role of music in the ministries and outreach of this church.
The selected applicant for this position will plan, implement and oversee music for weekly worship and special services in collaboration with the pastor and the church accompanist.
Please send cover letter and resume to Alecia Jones at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sylva First UMC, Sylva, North Carolina
Sylva FUMC is still looking for that just-right person to build a youth ministry program that serves both the congregation and the community. Thanks to a grant the salary range has been increased to $36,000 - $48,000 (plus health insurance), depending on experience. Responsibilities include:
- Developing a ministry for grades 6-12 that allows youth to experience Christ through worship, education, service, relationships, and personal spiritual disciplines (20-25 hours/week).
- Working under the direction of HIGHTS to create and lead an afterschool program for vulnerable youth, hosted at Sylva FUMC (15-20 hours/week).
Interested candidates should submit a resume or questions to Mary Brown at email@example.com.
Givens Communities was founded by the Western NC Conference in 1975, and our Board of Directors continues to be approved by the Conference. For nearly four decades The Council for Finance and Administration has approved Givens Communities as the recipient of the Mother’s Day Offering from the churches in the Blue Ridge and Smoky Mountain Districts. Givens directs every penny of this offering to a vital fund, the Resident Assistance Ministry.
Please watch for more information at your church on Sunday regarding the Mother’s Day Offering for Givens!
Long's UMC is seeking advice on a new church sign!
A few months ago, while we were removing a dead oak tree from the Long's United Methodist Church yard, the trunk of the tree fell and completely demolished our church sign. We collected some money from insurance, but will likely need to fundraise for a new sign.
Besides the financial burden, we are also overwhelmed by the variety of options for church signs that are out there? Has your church recently replaced a sign? Are you happy with it? Would you be willing to share any information you have with us regarding types of signs you considered, installation services, and pricing information? Even if you haven't replaced your sign recently, if you have suggestions for us, we will take them! Any advice would be helpful! Click here to email Peter!
Thanks so much,
On WEDNESDAY May 18, Long's Chapel UMC is hosting Dr. Stephen Rankin a Wesley Scholar, to discuss the best practices of early Wesleyan teaching and practice that need to be reclaimed for today’s church and culture. It will be a lunch and learn from 11-1, which is open to anyone who would like to come. Planning to have Chick-fil-A on-site and there is no program cost to attend. Come join us! If you wanna know more about Stephen check out:
Registration is open for the next Laity Forum
Monday, May 23, 6:30-8:00 pm via Zoom!
Topic: Dismantling Racism through Celebration: the significance of commemorating Juneteenth in our churches and communities.
Our very own D'Andre Ash and Nicole Jones will share their
experiences with planning the Juneteenth Celebration at Lake
Junaluska, as well as share resources for worship and ideas for
partnering with your community to mark this year's event.
WNCC Laity Forums are opportunities to connect with others across the conference for collaboration, learning and sharing of resources. All are welcome to attend!
Sponsored by The Laity Engagement and Transformation Design Team
WNC Clergy who are in full connection, provisional members, associate members, and local pastors are required to attend the Western North Carolina Annual Conference meeting, June 16-19, 2022. Annual Conference will be live-streamed for at-home viewing, but registration and full participation (including voting) is only possible in person.
We are looking forward to this time together!
For all things pertaining to the Annual Conference, including registration, schedule and excused absences please click on the link below!
Long's Chapel UMC will be hosting Dr. David Wilkinson and family from Durham, England on July 29th and 30th
This British Methodist family has such rich experience in seeing fresh expressions of the Wesleyan Faith lived out and bearing fruit in Northern England. Theme for the 2-day event: "Evangelism in the post Christian context - Lessons and Learnings from sharing the Gospel in the UK."
Save the dates and plan to bring your church leaders with you!
Please reach out to Pastor, Chris Westmoreland, if you have any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Updates will be on the church website, as will a link for registration soon.
We would love to share your church events, celebrations, and needs in our District Newsletter! Please email the NEW District Administrator,
Angela Young, items you would like included in future editions!
Angela comes to us with over ten years of experience in administrative assisting and fourteen years in marketing. She is a native of WNC and
lives just over the mountain in the small community of Alexander.
Angela has two daughters, Anna (21) and Abigail (18).