Smoky Mountain District Newsletter November 2022

posted on November 22

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.


God in Us

No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us,
and his love is perfected in us. (1 John 4:12)

In October and November, I experienced both a promised land and brokenness. With the annual charge conferences, I affirmed that God has journeyed and worked among us even in this very challenging season. Yet, simultaneously, I sensed our brokenness because we often failed to seek God’s presence in the disaffiliation process.

“Where is God?” 1 John 4 speaks of the body of Jesus Christ. We, Christ’s “beloved” body, must love one another. By loving each other, we know God because God is love. By loving God, we abide in God, and God lives in us!

During the charge conference season, I trusted wherever my auto GPS led me in the mountain communities. I must have been lost in the middle of nowhere without following her guidance. So likewise, our lifelong guiding light is the LORD Jesus, who invites us into God’s loving ways and redirects us in our life’s journey, telling us that we must love God and love our neighbors.

God in us implies at least three things: First, you and I become one with mutual love in Christ Jesus. By loving one another, there is no more you or me. In our mutual love, you and I become “us,” while you and I may recognize our unique identities. Through ongoing growth in mutual love, we may have a transformative experience, becoming a new creation.

Second, God in us means that we cultivate our spiritual gardens, filling our hearts and minds with God’s love. The more we increase God’s love, the deeper we will go in loving relationships with Christ Jesus and others. Through this intentional spiritual gardening, we will gradually move toward perfection in love. Cultivating our heart’s spiritual garden will be a lifelong process, and we will begin to produce spiritual fruits in our word and deed.

Finally, God in us will make us an “outward church.” Loving God and loving our neighbors cannot be separated. As we deepen our love for God, we will become a church that invites more diverse people and matures our love for others. We will become a vibrant evangelistic and missional church as God’s abiding church.

As we celebrate Thanksgiving next week, I pray that we experience “God in us” in our homes and churches and cultivate our promised lands for loving God and loving neighbors!

Peace and blessings, Jae


The workshop is designed for those who have
experienced any kind of loss. Please share this invitation
with anyone who may be interested.
There is no charge. If there are any questions,
please Sharon Davis at 

The main objective of the CCTR is to provide a learning opportunity that equips pastors and church leaders with theological and practical skills to foster reconciliation efforts in our increasingly divided country and Church. 
The CFR is offering full-tuition scholarships to pan-Methodist pastors
and church leaders accepted to the program. 
We would like to offer our next CCTR cohort (ideally 20-25 participants) in the Smoky Mountain District if there are enough applicants.  Preference will be given to teams of two to four participants (clergy and lay leadership) serving in the same congregation.  The application process is now open. So, if you are interested, please apply by Thursday, December 1, 2022, so we can begin making logistical preparations (if necessary) for the first in-person session on March 7-9, 2023.
You can apply at


Mental Health First Aid Virtual Trainings

Saturday, Dec. 3, 9:30 am - 3:30 pm

Now more than ever, faith communities need to offer support for mental health care, including destigmatizing mental health issues and diagnoses and encouraging self-care. Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) teaches how to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental health and substance use challenges among adults. You’ll build skills and  the confidence you need to reach out and provide initial support to those who are struggling. You’ll also learn how to help connect them to appropriate support.

WHO SHOULD PARTICIPATE? Church/nonprofit leaders, business/organizational leaders, community volunteers, police/security officers, medical staffs, first responders, those in service industries, and other caring adults!

  • Participants will complete a 2-hour, self-paced online course prior to the instructor-led Zoom training on either Mon, Oct 24, or Sat, Dec. 3, 2022. Rev. Dawn Martin and Rev. Karen Kluever -- clergy serving at Hinton Rural Life Center -- are certified MHFA trainers and will be coordinating and leading the training.
  • For the virtual training, participants should have access to a computer and internet connection.

Cost: $30/person.
Questions? Email

Click HERE for more info and to register ?

A sweet Christmas offering from our
friends in the Metro District!

Each Monday through Thursday (November 28 – December 22), a meditative video message will be delivered to your email.
Clergy and laity from across the Metro District will share a devotional message using scripture passages from the lectionary. Use these videos in your personal, family, or small group devotional time.
Register below to receive the video devotionals. Register your friends and family or send them the link so they can register. You do not have to be a part of the Metro District, or a part of a church, to receive these video devotionals.
Contact Jatana Royster ( with any questions.

Register Here ?



HIGHTS is a nonprofit that serves vulnerable youth and their families across all counties of the Smoky Mountain District. Our continuum of care includes Clinical Mental Health services, Workforce Development and Education programs, free school suspension, after school, and summer programs, restorative justice services for justice-involved youth, and mentoring. HIGHTS works closely with faith communities of all sizes, especially UMCs, to connect their gifts, passions, and resources with the needs of youth in their communities.

If you're interested in learning more, please visit or
email our very own Rev. Julia Trantham Heckert at


Seeking Shalom: Justice, Community,
and the Church's Mission

Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023; 9:30-11am ET -- In person (and online) at Hinton Rural Life Center Tuesdays, Jan. 17 through Feb. 21, 6:30-8pm ET -- Online 

Instructor: Dr. Ryan Bonfiglio, director of The Candler Foundry and professor of Old Testament at the Candler School of Theology. 

Often translated "peace," the biblical word shalom entails far more than just the absence of war and conflict. This study, which spans 7 weeks, offers an in-depth concept of shalom, including its various spiritual, social, and economic dimensions. Emphasis will be placed on how we can respond to the call to shalom through the ministries of the church and our own lives of faith. 

Following the first class, offered in person and online Saturday, January 14, 9:30 - 11am, at Hinton Rural Life Center, the remaining 6 classes will be offered online on Tuesdays, from 6:30-8pm, January 17 through February 21, 2023. 

The course is free and offered by The Candler Foundry’s Courses in the Community.


Register Online by Clicking Here ?


Questions? Contact  

UMC Communications offers this great church search feature for all United Methodist Churches! Find your church today and update your information so people in your community can find you!!! What a great tool! 



                                                 Find a Church ?


Central UMC in Clyde
is seeking to hire a part-time music person!

This position would play at the 11:00am
service and lead a small choir. 

If you are interested or would like more
information, please contact the church at 828-627-2287
or Diana Little at 828-456-4749. 

Job Opening: WNC PHW Regional Associate Director -
NC Council of Churches (


Job Description and Information HERE ?

Smoky Mountain District Newsletter November 2022