Smoky Mountain District Newsletter July 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.
Re-Evangelism (Rediscover Wesleyan Evangelism)
“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that someone took and sowed in his field; it is the smallest of all the seeds, but when it has grown it is the greatest of shrubs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and make nests in its branches.” (Matthew 13:31-32)
American Methodism began from a tiny seed in the late 18th century and grew as a large tree by the mid-19th century. John Taylor, touched by a Methodist preacher’s sermons in Ireland, wrote a letter to John Wesley and asked him to send ordained preachers to America (The Heritage of American Methodism by Kenneth Kinghorn). Through the collaborative efforts of lay and clergy, American Methodism blossomed and became one of the largest Protestant denominations. Passionate preaching, fervent prayers, and loud congregational singing were characteristics of the early Methodist movement. Methodism in America was a faith movement for personal piety and social holiness, led by both lay and clergy with the help of the Holy Spirit.
Amid the current conflicting situation of the UMC, I would like to focus on Wesleyan evangelism. I want to restore our devoting hearts for God and neighbors through this spiritual movement. “Re-Evangelism” is an intelligent journey to study American Methodism in our history and a spiritual journey to seek God’s spirit who works among us here and now. By rediscovering Wesleyan evangelism, I pray that the UMC experience another thriving momentum, overcoming the present crisis.
The Smoky Mountain District is a homogeneous, predominately white mountain community and includes many conservative Christians. The surrounding communities have an apparent gap between the haves and have-nots with a high poverty rate. “Re-Evangelism” will rekindle the hearts of United Methodists by equipping lay and clergy leaders in our unique contexts and creative practices to reach the communities we live in. I approach “Re-Evangelism” not as a strategic plan for church growth. Instead, I consider it a heart movement that places our Christian mindset on the love of Jesus Christ.
“Re-Evangelism” will consist of four “Evangelism School” sessions and an “Evangelism Pilgrimage.” The first evangelism school will be held on Oct. 27-29, Thursday evening through Saturday afternoon, at Hinton Rural Life Center. I invite clergy and lay leaders to participate in the “Re-Evangelism.” Our district clergy and lay persons will be invited to attend, hoping that it will be an intentional collaboration of both lay and clergy. It may become a renewal movement of American Methodism and help our churches experience God’s spirit and love for our neighbors.
I dream of Jesus’ dream for the kingdom of God from a tiny mustard seed. In our smallness, I anticipate experiencing God’s spirit among us. “Oh, Holy Spirit, come and reignite our passion for Jesus Christ and our neighbors by rediscovering Wesleyan evangelism!”
Blessings and peace, Jae
Thursday, August 11th
10:00 - 11:30am via Zoom
We will welcome our incoming pastors (five new pastors to our district), share important news on the disaffiliation process, annual charge conference, and evangelism school (Re-Evangelism), and check in and pray as small groups. All clergy are requested to attend it. Zoom link will be emailed closer to meeting date.
Reporting Church Updates
for the 2022 Journal
The Conference Office is collecting information for the 2022 Journal, and as in years past, is requesting churches to report church and parsonage renovations, remodeling, new buildings, dedications, etc. that took place over the past year (July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022). For your reference, a copy of the 2021 Journal Historical Data pages gives examples of information reported most recently.
- Examples of of information to report would be: Question #6: Churches Remodeled:
- Replaced roof
- Remodeled restrooms to be handicapped-accessible
- Remodeled chancel; painted and carpeted sanctuary
- Installed sump pump
- Other questions include:
- Dedications / consecrations
- Parsonage changes, such as purchase or building, remodeling, or selling a parsonage.
- "all other changes" are often activities such as paving the parking lot, installing a new AV/media system, or purchasing assets like a plot of land or 15-passenger van
- If in doubt about whether to include something, please do!
- If you don't have anything to report, no need to submit a form!
To make this quick and easy, we have created an online form to share these changes. Please complete the survey form at:
Please submit the online form by Thursday, August 25, 2022.
If you had no changes at your church or parsonage, please do not submit the form! If you have questions, please contact Angela at the district office! 828-454-6820 or email@example.com.
We know the last few years have been strange and difficult in many ways, so we look forward to hearing about these positive events in the life of your church!
Thank you for your help!
During the Asian Clergy and Family Convocation of North Carolina and Western North Carolina Conference on July 11 to 14 at Lake Junaluska, volunteers from the group worked for flood relief efforts in the Cruso area. Our D.S., Rev. Jae Lee, and D.S., Rev. Jon Strother, from the NC Conference led the group.
It has been a while since some of you have heard from me, but let me assure you, the work of recovery in Cruso continues and your selfless acts of service have not been forgotten! I'm writing to ask for your help again and I've asked Rockstar Duke Divinity Pastoral Intern Scott Oglesby to share the details. Please see his note below:
Hello all this is Scott and Peter,
We are looking for volunteers to come to a special weekend organized by Haywood County, Baptists on Mission, and United Methodist Disaster Ministries to get together and do a lot of debris cleanup work at once.
Friday - Sunday
July 22, July 23, and July 24
From 9-4 each day
Please bring gloves and wear closed toed shoes.
Sign up with the link below. If you could get a team of people together that would be helpful. But if not come as you are! We'd love to see you!
If you can't make it the whole weekend that is okay just come for whichever day you can.
For more questions reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
To stay up to date with the work Canton Missional Network churches are doing, please attend our next meeting: Monday, August 8, 2022, 7pm at Canton Central United Methodist Church. The meeting will be facilitated by Rev. Erin Yow.
Questions related to volunteering to help with flood recovery work should be directed to email@example.com or you may call 828-476-6009.
Many thanks for your love and support of our community,
Rediscovering Your Spiritual Gifts
July 23rd and July 30th
9:00am - 4:00pm
Sylva First United Methodist Church
$35.00 class fee includes book
The Methodist Church cites, “Every child of God is filled with the power
of the Holy Spirit, specially gifted to play a unique and valued role
in the body of Christ. No one is without gift or purpose.
Spiritual gifts are not our talents or skills. They are the grace of God at
work within us, empowering us to match our deep passions with the world’s deep need. The gifts are given to individuals, but they are given to build and strengthen community and to meet the needs of those around us.
Begin your journey. Discover your gifts. Talk about your gifts with
others. Strive together to understand your gifts and how you can
use them to serve God, neighbor, and world. You have been gifted.
You have been given a purpose.”
The cost is $35.00 for the class/book included.
For more information, please contact
the Smoky Mountain District Office at (828) 454-6820.
Be on the watch: Basic Preaching Class to be offered in Fall 2022!!!
Two Great Options for this REQUIRED Training!!!
VIRTUAL RISE! Workshop
July 25th through August 6th
In-Person Two- Day Fall 2022 Workshop
Franklin First UMC
October 7th and 8th
10am - 6pm both days
Please plan to take advantage of one of these workshops
Lunch and Snacks Provided at In-Person Training
$100/person to attend
Clergy are encouraged to use continuing education money offered through your church(es), if applicable. No, dinner or overnight accommodations provided. No childcare provided.
Racial Healing and Reconciliation
Upcoming Events at Hinton Rural Life Center
Hayesville, North Carolina
Hinton Youth Lead Academy – Aug 5-7, 2022, at Hinton Rural Life Center For leadership-wired high school youth with passion and ideas for ministry. Due to generous funding from the Royce & Jane Reynolds Ministry Fund, this all-inclusive, leadership training weekend is ONLY $30/person. For more details and Student Registration form (online and pdf), visit www.hintoncenter.org/training . Limited to 20 student spots plus accompanying adult mentors (youth leaders, church members, pastors and/or family members). Questions? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
“Swing for Hinton, Swing for Hope” Charity Golf Tournament – Saturday, Aug 20, 9am-2pm, Mountain Harbour Golf Club, Hayesville NC. Details and registration (online and pdf) for golfers and sponsors at www.hintoncenter.org/charity . Last year’s tourney was a big hit with golfers and sponsors. Register for yourself, for playing partners, or a team! Prizes, giveaways, breakfast and lunch, swag bag. There will also be a silent auction. For more information, contact email@example.com.
Rural Clergy Renewal Retreat – September 12-14, 2022, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest.” — Jesus (Matthew 11:29, MSG) This renewal retreat for United Methodist clergy serving rural appointments offers opportunities to breathe deep, exhale, commune with nature, rest, and take in scenic views of Lake Chatuge and the Appalachian Mountains that will restore your soul. Options for this lightly-scheduled retreat include morning and evening devotions, conversations with seasoned pros on rural ministry topics (for those who want some content!), delicious meals with your rural ministry colleagues, campus amenities, and area activities. Cost: $300 -- Includes 2-nights lodging, 5 meals, resource leaders, and Hinton amenities.
Registration deadline is September 1. For more information and to
register (online or pdf form), visit www.hintoncenter.org/retreat .
The Wesleyan Way Adult Confirmation Experience – Nov 18-20, Hinton Rural Life Center. Led by Rev. Dr. Chris Hughes, this adult experience is for newcomers to Methodism and those wanting a refresher course. Includes music, worship, and creative and engaging activities, culminating in a celebration of each one’s place in the ministry of all Christians. Great opportunity for church leaders, teachers and small group leaders, Confirmation mentors, and those exploring membership. For more information and to register (online and pdf form), visit www.hintoncenter.org/retreat . Spots are limited.
Plains UMC Homecoming
Sunday, August 7th
Plains UMC welcomes everyone to attend
their upcoming Homecoming and enjoy the Cockman family from Sherrills Ford, North Carolina.
Dinner on the grounds to follow!
Man of the Shroud - Shroud of Turin article
for Exhibit – dates August 14-21, 2022
The Yadkin Valley Heritage and Trail Center
Some say enough pieces of the "one true cross" of Jesus exist to build a thousand crosses, but there is only one Shroud of Turin. As the possible burial cloth of Christ, its significance in Christian history remains unparalleled, which is why it is the most intensely studied and debated "possible" relic in the world today. This 3.5 by 14-foot piece of cloth resides in Turin, Italy, where it has undergone extensive examinations over the past fifty years, including carbon 14 dating. The results of these investigations and more are found in “The Man of the Shroud” exhibit, coming to Elkin, NC, August 14-21, 2022.
The "Man of the Shroud" exhibit is free to the public and appearing in the South for the first time. The Yadkin Valley Heritage and Trail Center (located at 257 West Standard Street in Elkin, NC) is hosting this even from Sunday to Sunday, August 14 - 21, 2022. At this beautiful, new facility, parking is plentiful, there is handicap access, and numerous places to eat and visit, all within a short drive.
Why does this exhibit matter? If it is the burial cloth of Jesus Christ, it is a 2,000-year-old piece of evidence for the most significant event in history. On the other hand, if it is a forgery from the mid-1200s, the Shroud provides amazing medical insight into the suffering experienced by those crucified.
Though mentioned only a few times in historical writings, the Shroud came to prominence in the modern era when photographed in 1898. At that time, the photographic negative revealed the incredible details of wounds experienced by a man crucified, wounds not visible to the naked eye.
This unique event is free of charge and open to the public. We ask that, to prevent excessive wait times, visitors register at our website, ShroudinElkinNC.org. We also have a Facebook page - Man of the Shroud Exhibit – Elkin, NC.
This is a multi-denominational effort sponsored by Ebenezer and Maple Springs United Methodist Churches along with support from the Catholic Knights of Columbus 11605, and while the exhibit is free, the "Man of the Shroud" owners welcome love offerings to help keep the exhibit free to the public. A donation box will be available (please make checks out to "Marytown - The National Shrine of St. Maximillian Kolbe” memo – Shroud." Should you have any questions, please visit our website shroudinelkinnc.org or our Facebook page.
Mulberry UMC will be celebrating their
145th year homecoming on August 21st!
Everyone welcome to come celebrate!
Pass It on Café
(A Fresh Expression Dinner Church)
As more and more fresh expressions ministries continue to pop up, some of these ministries have gained momentum during the pandemic while others have disappeared because of it. The mission of "Pass It On Café" (PIOC) is to proclaim the love of God by building relationships across the dinner table while having a hot, nutritious meal.
After taking extensive training with Verlon Foster on how to open a dinner church, a team of twelve members was trained on hygiene issues, proper food preparation, and handling, and they were certified through Serv-Safe. ServSafe is a food and beverage safety training and certificate program administered by the U.S. National Restaurant Association. The Café opened its doors on Jan 28, 2020, with sixty-three community members attending its first dinner. By the second month, they already had eighty-eight people attending the dinner church. Unfortunately, Covid broke out and the virus grew into a pandemic shutting the fresh expression ministry down.
However, after doing extensive research and following conference and state protocols, and two months after the doors were closed, Dr. Pati Graham (A certified lay minister for the Smoky Mt district) and her team decided the café could operate under the new modified conditions and revamp the dinner church to adhere to the new regulations. The whole team was in agreement and the café move forward with precautionary measures in place. The team’s resolve was strong to continue this ministry and to serve those in the community who needed so much help during a challenging time.
Two and half years later, the café has grown tremendously with its visitors and with extension ministries. With currently ten core members and an un-exhausted amount of additional volunteers, meals are now prepped the day before with the most amount of energy utilized the following day to meet guests, box up meals, and deliver groceries to our local neighbors who are widows/widowers, and the disabled.
The PIOC runs strictly on community donations. We also have three benefactors who give to the ministry as well as a couple of small grants. The PIOC is in partnership with the Swain County food pantry and Bojangles. The food pantry supplies groceries to the PIOC for individuals who are housebound and live in rural areas who otherwise might not be served. Bojangles supplies free tea and ice to the café each month.
A usual evening at the café usually starts with prayer, and then the PIOC team goes into full-on hyper-mode. The angel chefs, expediters, greeters, tea-mavens, prayer-partners, drivers, and artisans who lead the craft table, all work together like a well ran machine. Each month a devotional is written by Dr. Graham, and the message is put into boxes of groceries, and bags of call-in orders, and handed out to families if they come through our drive-through. Additionally, the greeters offer prayer for those who need it. For their June meal, they served 180 meals in just an hour and half.
The café is now slowly transitioning back to the fellowship hall while they continually monitored covid numbers. If you would like more information about the Pass It on Café please visit them at Bryson City United Methodist Church on the last Tuesday evening of each month from 5-6:30 p.m. or call them at the church number at (828) 488-2680 -Rev Wayner Dickert or (828) 736-6044 Dr Pati Graham. Pass It on Café can also be found on Facebook.