Smoky Mountain District Newsletter July 2023

posted on July 14

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.

Moving Forward: Renew & Revitalize the United Methodist Church

 July is a transitional month for the United Methodist Church. Newly appointed pastors begin new faith journeys in new community settings, and returning pastors to their church communities plan new things for the future. In this sense, July is a new beginning for the United Methodist Church.
Out of a pandemic and the denominational conflict, the United Methodist Church seeks new opportunities for renewal and revitalization. In the Smoky Mountain District, I want to ensure our churches focus on the priorities for our missions in our particular contexts.
Renewing – I invite our clergy and lay leaders to revisit our core values as a denomination. We are a church, emphasizing God’s grace toward all people in our different human conditions. We are biblical (not reading the Bible literally but seeking the heart of God through our studies), ever-seeking God’s holiness in manyfold levels (not only satisfied with personal salvation but working together for community’s transformation), graceful living (living practical theology by doing what we believe), outward minded (mission and outreach-oriented locally and globally), and active engaging in justice (for women, children, immigrants, ethnic minorities, prisoners, etc.). By renewing our authentic being as God’s church, we can renew our hearts, minds, and spirits in our faith journey. Yes, we are conservative, moderate, and progressive, representing a broad theological spectrum of perspectives, but we are a grace-filled people who love God and our neighbors.
Revitalizing – We refuse to be a social club for religious rituals. We revitalize our churches with the spirit of Jesus Christ by renewing our United Methodist core values and identities. The Smoky Mountain District will continue providing practical tools for Wesleyan evangelism, cultivating outward mindsets for missions and outreach, and developing faithful church leadership for future generations. We will listen to the voices of local churches and share their stories through storytelling. We will invest our resources in church growth and vital ministries among the mountain communities.
On August 24, we will have a district meeting with clergy and lay leaders at First UMC, Franklin. We will listen to each other for renewing and revitalizing our churches, and each church sets priorities based on its gifts and strengths. During the charge conference, we will report our stories and celebrate God’s work among us. As the District Superintendent, I will visit our local churches, listen to diverse voices, and connect your needs with appropriate resources.
Dear church communities, it is time to move forward with God’s kingdom vision. I pray that we hear the voice of God, who cries out for the poor, marginalized, and lost. Let us participate in this sacred call by renewing and revitalizing our hearts, minds, and spirits.
Blessings and peace, Jae

We welcome our new pastors in
the Smoky Mountain District
some are completely new to our
wonderful district and others are familiar
faces in a new church home! 

They will bring new and creative leadership
to our local churches and district.

Welcome Faith Community Nurse,
Cynthia Warner


Cynthia Warner will begin her ministry as the Faith Community Nurse in the Smoky Mountain District on August 1. Cynthia bring years of nursing experience from her time as an Intensive Care Neonatal nurse at Mission Hospital, private care nursing for individuals who needed extra care to be able to stay home and in recent years as part of the disaster relief team after the flood in Canton. More information will be shared with your church in coming weeks about how Cynthia's role can be of assistance to our churches and how to access her as a resource! 


On Saturday, August 5, you are invited to join
Bryson City UMC for our annual trip to Hazel Creek to experience some of God’s most beautiful creation as we
share in fellowship, get a little exercise, and paddle/ride across the lake in the boat of your choice and then hiking around the remote town of Proctor NC. 
Click here for more information about the trip. Click here to watch a video from our 2013 trip.

If you, or a group from your church would like
to join us, send Wayner a message at to get in on the holy fun. 


Take advantage of this great
training opportunity for volunteers
and paid youth ministry staff!!! 

Register HERE! 



Because of the more aggressive and confrontational tactics we hear about today in other denominations, evangelism has developed a bad connotation. Doors are shut hurriedly, phone calls end abruptly, and emails are left unanswered. After all, isn't this a task better handled by the pastor?

Perhaps it's time to re-examine John Wesley's model of evangelism as a whole, natural circle - where it's a communal beginning point rather than a solitary end. The central motive of authentic evangelism is: Having received a message that's made all the difference in our lives, we desire to share that message with others in the hope it will transform their lives as well. Wesley models an evangelism that reaches out, welcomes, invites, nurtures, and speaks to both head and heart. "Faith-sharing is about creating relationships. How we are in relationship to God, who can transform us into new beings. How we are in relationship to our neighbor, whom we must love like ourselves."

This day-long event will help develop the deep connection between John Wesley's thoughts, Charles Wesley's hymns, scholarly thinking about evangelism and biblical understandings of the gospel - all in relation to the needs, concerns, and hopes of everyday people." From this practical study, we will learn to live a faith-sharing life that demonstrates the transforming power of loving God and neighbor.

Lunch is included.
Free shirts will be given to the first thirty individuals who sign up early.

Participants who wish to receive credit for this event for laity certification are asked to purchase the book from the district office and read it in advance. In addition, those individuals will be required to do a poster presentation later in the afternoon about ministries in their own church that create relational opportunities with their church and/or community. 

Click Here to Register for this FREE Event! ?

Praxis Bible Study on Human Sexuality

Questions about human sexuality and church?

There will be a six-week Bible study on human sexuality on Wednesdays of July 19, 26, Aug. 9, 16, 23, and 30 at Long’s Chapel UMC, 6:30 -8pm. Our District Superintendent, Rev. Dr. Jae Lee, will lead this reflective Bible study session for those who want a deeper understanding of human sexuality. No registration is required. 

District Superintendent, Rev. Dr. Jae Lee, and District Vitality Associate, Rev. Dr. Nicole Jones, recently had the pleasure of enjoying lunch with several Duke Divinity interns that have been serving churches and ministries in our area for the Summer! It was a great time of fellowship and discussion. Mascot, Eliana, made the day even better!

Central UMC in Clyde was kind enough to host the luncheon.
Please keep all of these great students in your prayers! 

District Lighthouse Congregations

Lighthouse Congregations are local churches in the WNCC that are particularly equipped to welcome anyone whose church has closed or disaffiliated. If you find yourself in these circumstances, a Lighthouse Congregation may be just what you need to fulfill your desire to Remain-UMC. Consider these United Methodist faith communities a resting place, with people who will care for you while providing a haven of peace and grace.  

Find a Lighthouse Church Near You! ?

Lighthouse Congregations are part of the UM Collective Movement, which seeks to be a connecting space for those who find themselves displaced because of disaffiliation. Its mission is to provide care, a place to belong, and tangible pathways to explore the next steps for those on this challenging journey. The UM Collective is an online community that will connect you with real people for anyone who might be wondering about different ways to remain United Methodist. For more information and to learn how to become a Lighthouse Congregation, visit

Crabtree UMC
is seeking a Music Director!

The Music Director will be responsible for developing and presenting a quality music program that will enhance and complement the worship services. The music director will involve as many youth in all aspects of the music program as possible.
Worship service is at 11:00am on Sunday. The choir meets one evening a week to practice. Crabtree UMC primarily uses the United Methodist Hymnal and also occasionally uses the Celebration Hymnal.  Our Choir currently has 8-9 members.
Salary based on experience.
For more information, contact Julie Sawyer, PPRC Chair
Resumes can be mailed to:
 Crabtree UMC
Attention Julie Sawyer
5405 Crabtree Rd.
Clyde NC  28721

Or emailed to:

Wesleyanna UMC
is seeking a pianist!

Wesleyanna UMC is looking for someone to play a prelude, offertory, and postlude, and accompany three lectionary-based hymns every Sunday. $75/Sunday. The sanctuary piano is available during the week for rehearsal. Start immediately!

Please contact Jean Carr at 828-243-7998 or for more information.

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 July 2023