Smoky Mountain District Newsletter December 2022

posted on January 05

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.


The Christmas Gift

 All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet: 
 “Look, the virgin shall become pregnant and give birth to a son,
    and they shall name him Emmanuel,”
which means, “God is with us.” (Matthew 1:22-23)


Christ’s birth is a mysterious event that God has come into human reality. God lowered and emptied Godself to be with us. The coming Messiah was promised through the prophet Isaiah and received by the faithful obedience of Joseph and Mary, ordinary people on the margin. The Gospel of Matthew witnesses the baby’s name Emmanuel, “God be with us.” The gift of Christmas is “God’s tangible presence in and with us.”

Where have you experienced the presence of God? This year was a very challenging season for me to deal with denominational conflicts caused by the human sexuality issue. I have observed humanness in the process. At the same time, I have experienced God’s grace and presence through many faithful Christian leaders. Emmanuel, “God be with us,” can be experienced when we open our hearts, minds, and spiritual doors and let God’s will and actions move us.

I pray that all of us experience God’s tangible presence this Christmas season. I am grateful for you, who helped me perceive God’s presence through your faithful living and witness! Have a blessed Christmas, and let us live every day with Emmanuel, the gift of Christmas!

Blessings and peace, Jae 


Living Nativity will be on December 16-17 (Fri-Sat) 6-8 pm
in front of Bryson City UMC 76 Main Street, Bryson City.

Here's a link to more info:  Living Nativity Drive Through - Bryson City United Methodist Church (

 Enjoy these fun "interview videos" for potential cast members: 
Casting Call - Angel
Casting Call - Herod
Casting Call - Teen Mary
Casting Call - Joseph
Casting Call - Wise Men
Casting Call - Adult Mary



Dear Clergy and Lay Leaders of the Smoky Mountain District,
From my experience of participating in the first cohort of the Certificate Conflict Transformation and Reconciliation, I strongly recommend you and your church leaders to take advantages from the CCTR.
“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 Center for Reconciliation at Duke Divinity School is offering full-tuition scholarships to pan-Methodist pastors
and church leaders accepted to the program.” 
The CFR is offering the next CCTR cohort 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, and please apply by Friday, December 30, 2022The first in-person session will be on March 7-9, 2023 at Lake Junaluska so that you can commute!

You can apply here now at

Peace, Jae

 Re-Evangelism Session

January 12th, 2023 • 10am - 3pm
(Lunch Provided)

Clyde Central UMC

Brainstorming session to discuss what worked during the holidays and share ideas for the upcoming Easter season! 

Please RSVP to Angela Young at 

Maple Grove United Methodist Men, 79 Maple Grove Church Road, just off of Russ Avenue near Lake Junaluska's main entrance, invite all who are interested to attend
a "potluck" breakfast on January 21, 2023 at 10 a.m.  
Sponsored by the United Methodist Men's group at Maple Grove, the featured speaker is Dr. Blake Hart, the new Executive Director of Haywood Christian Ministries.  Blake will be sharing about the many ministries of HCM in addition to hopes and plans for the future.  He is especially excited about expressing gratitude for the robust and long-standing support of the Haywood County United Methodists.  The Maple Grove UMM always invites women of the UMC to attend. Attendees are invited to bring a favorite breakfast food to share whether donuts, a breakfast casserole or "cat head" biscuits!  The new tradition of the Maple Grove UMM is to take any extra food to a local fire department. 

     Additionally, Maple Grove will share information about their partnering with the national United Methodist Men's organization in getting a year-long, daily devotional book in the hands of Haywood County first responders, beginning with our fire department and then moving on to others who serve our community (police, EMS, Sheriff's Department).  More, for anyone in the district who has a family member who is on active duty in any branch of the military, please contact either Michael Bailey ( or Ken Baughn, ( and Maple Grove will commit to providing a year long daily devotional book to all who are serving our country from our district. At our breakfast, attendees will be able to see the first responders and military devotional books.  The UMM nationally has a wonderful site for more information on this vital ministry, visit:


Maggie Valley UMC
Grief Share
Once a Week on Tuesdays at 1:00pm

Murphy 1st UMC
Alzheimer's Support Group
Call church office for current meeting
location/time at 828-837-2718

Franklin 1st UMC
Good Grief - Women's Group
2nd Monday of each Month at a Local Restaurant
Call church office for current meeting
location at 828-524-3010


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  

Andrews United Methodist Church
is seeking to hire a piano accompanist for its Choir Position! 

Requires excellent piano skills and ability to follow director. Must be available Wednesday evenings for one hour rehearsal and two Sundays a month for anthems during worship. Additional rehearsals may be required on occasion. Organ playing ability a plus! 

Salary: $300/month

Send resumes to


Smoky Mountain District Newsletter December 2022