Smoky Mountain District Newsletter February 2023

posted on February 27

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.


Dear laity and clergy of the Western North Carolina Conference,

I am inviting you to join me for a Lenten study of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's "Life Together." The format for this study has been amended since our original invitation, in order to support and encourage small group discussion in your local communities. I hope you will join us. You can do so from wherever you are.

This Wednesday, March 1, the Wednesday after Ash Wednesday, we will gather online at 6pm for a reflection on John 15 and an introduction for our reading for Lent, which will be Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s "Life Together." The Bible Study will conclude before 7pm and will be recorded for distribution on that Friday at noon.

On each Wednesday (March 8, 15, 22, 29) I will send out a note, around 500 words or so, about Christian community—how we discover it, how we rediscover it, how we build it. And during March we will drop a podcast episode responding to your insights and questions about Christian community and Life Together—where you are finding it, the obstacles, the brokenness, and the depth and joy of relationship.

It is about grace, connection, holiness.

I was in a conversation with a wise person this week and she was commenting on our mission—“to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world”—and she said, “What if that really needs to be, 'to create communities that make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world?'”

I think she is onto something profound. Our calling is to create the conditions where disciples can grow together, be sustained together. John 15 and Bonhoeffer will help us with that. "Life Together" is a spiritual classic, but it is also brief enough to complete, and we will support each other in doing that.

And then at 6pm on April 5, the Wednesday of Holy Week, we will meet via Zoom to study John 17 (Jesus’ prayer for unity) and summarize what we have learned from "Life Together".

I hope you will join us, and if you are in a small group, it would be great if you came alongside this conversation with us during Lent. This could also be a Wednesday night study in your church or missional network or covenant group. I look forward to the conversation and learning.

+Bishop Ken Carter
Resident Bishop of The Western NC Conference
The United Methodist Church

Click Here to Register for the Study! ?


Our Bishop, Ken Carter, will spend two days in the Smoky Mountain District, listening to diverse voices from various leaders in our district.

Here are two options to join in the conversation with our Bishop.
Please make plans to attend! 

 April 2, Sunday

• 11:00am – 2:00pm: Bishop preaching and having lunch with Native
   American UM members at Cherokee UMC
• 4:00pm – 5:30pm: Bishop will meet with lay and clergy at First UMC, Franklin
• 6:15pm – 7:15pm: Bishop will meet with the Wesley Foundation at WCU at       
  Cullowhee UMC

April 3, Monday

• 8:00am – 10:00am: Bishop will have breakfast and conversation with leaders
  of non-profit organizations at Lake Junaluska
• 11:00am – 2:00pm: Bishop will meet with lay and clergy at Central UMC, Canton


Join us for the next session of Re-Evangelism
and get in on this great adventure! 

Grassroot Evangelism in Our Local Context

"Understanding and Practicing
Grassroot Evangelism"

Spring Session  - April 30 - May 2, 2023
(Starting with Sunday Evening Dinner through Tuesday Lunch)

Hinton Rural Life Center in Hayesville

Re-Evangelism pursues to become a collaborative movement of lay and clergy by renewing our hearts for our neighbors with the Good News. It is not only a movement that should encourage church growth but a spiritual renewal among United Methodists. By revisiting Early American Methodists in our mountain communities and confronting our realities with courage and faith, we will restore our passion and love toward God and others.

Timeline for Re-Evangelism:
Second Evangelism Session April 30 - May 2, 2023
Evangelism Pilgrimage to South Korea in the early fall of 2023,
Third Evangelism Session in the winter of 2023.



The cost includes two nights stay and six meals at Hinton! 

$30 for Smoky Mountain District Clergy and Laity
and $80 for anyone in the WNC Conference!

If you need assistance with the cost,
please contact Angela at

This discounted cost is possible through a generous grant from 

Please register by April 14th! 

Click HERE to Register for the Spring Session Today! ?


Smoky Mt’s Lay Servant Ministries will offer a polity course on
April 15th and 29th at Sylva First UMC from 9:00am-3:00pm.

The cost for this course will include the book and a complimentary light lunch for both Saturdays. The price for both days is a total of $35.00. 

Register for Living Our Beliefs HERE! ?

This course will explore the history, heritage, beliefs, mission, and culture of the United Methodist Church – whether you are a newcomer or a longtime member – you will understand what makes us distinctive as United Methodist Christians. Finally, we’ll explore the unique gifts of theology and Wesleyan traditions.
From District Lay Leader, Dr. Pati Graham: On another note, I would like to
dispel any myths associated with these classes. To become a certified lay
servant, you only need the foundation and one advanced course. This polity course is one of the advanced courses being offered this year. Under no circumstance
does it mean the district will call you to preach behind the pulpit or require you
to go to another church. However, if you are a local church lay leader, you are strongly encouraged to become certified as a lay servant or speaker. In the
book of discipline, under paragraph 251f states, “The lay leader is urged to
become a certified lay speaker.” 
Because you represent the voice of the
laity within your church, you must at least know the basics to be equipped
to comply with the responsibilities needed to fulfill this position. 

Pine Grove merged with Crabtree UMC in the Fall
and they have this great sign available for FREE! 

For more information contact Bill Hunteman at

Be sure to check your area's sign ordinances! 


Make Plans to Attend This Great Event
at Bryson City UMC on April 6th! 

“Breaking Bread”
 A Historical Reenactment of the Last Supper

Bryson City United Methodist Church is excited to present a historical reenactment of the Lord's Last Supper. As most Christians are aware, Jesus had ridden into Jerusalem on a donkey to celebrate a festival with his disciples called the "The Feast of Unleavened Bread." However, before the evening finished, Jesus was betrayed by one of his followers.

Early in the service, the audience will be aware that this will not be the typical rendition of this meal. DaVinci's interpretation of the biblical meal has been presented in the past. The setting of this reenactment is designed to portray the Last Supper as it would have been experienced in the days of Jesus’ own ministry.

A cast of actors from four different ecumenical backgrounds have been preparing for two months for this event. Costumes, relics, foods, and even the dining room table's preconceived design were considered when developing the set design. The simplicity of the set reinforces the theology of Christ as being a humble place to gather for a meal.

One unique component to this extraordinary drama is the opportunity for the audience to literally become part of the last meal. The Last Supper service will allow the audience to share in the meal, recite a prayer with Christ, hear traditional and contemporary Jewish songs sung in Hebrew, and lastly be part of a foot-washing with the disciples, if viewers choose to do so.

This service promises to be filled with spiritual blessings and experiential opportunities for all who take advantage of this beautiful service.

Everyone is invited to attend and be part of the Lord’s Supper. This service will be held on Thursday, April 6 at 6:00 pm at the United Methodist Church in the Fellowship Hall located at 76 Academy Street. There is no cost to attend.

For more information, you can contact the church office from 10am-Noon Tuesday-Friday at (828) 488-2680.

Franklin First United Methodist Church
is seeking to hire someone for their Children's Ministry!

Franklin First United Methodist Church is seeking the right person(s) to take their ministry with children and families to new levels. The position is currently a 30 hour a week position. As we are looking for the best, either one position or two positions of roughly 10-15 hours with one focusing on ministry within the church and another focusing on ministry in the community will be considered. FUMC is a vibrant downtown church with an emphasis on ministry both within and beyond the walls of the church. The church is proud to be inter-generational, with a history of strong ministry to children and their families. Making a commitment to helping address the needs of children out in the community, the church is ready to go that next step in a larger way. With both a strong staff and strong leadership from church members, we are excited about the possibilities ahead!

For more information, see the attached job description. Applications
will be accepted until the position is filled.
Please send a letter of interest along with a resume to Rev. Margaret Freeman, Minister of Discipleship,  

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 February 2023