Annual Conference 2016

Quilt-400-300x225It’s the time of year again when United Methodist engage in Annual Conference.  For many, Annual Conference is a time of what John Wesley called “holy conferencing,” a term that seems to many nowadays to be a bit oxymoronic–for what on earth can be holy about a conference?  Well, in Wesley’s day, holy conferencing was a way of speaking about being involved with other like-minded individuals about the relevant theological conversations of the day.  It was not that we were all to agree with one another in every way, shape, and form, but there was an understanding that an attitude of mutual respect and engagement took the limelight.

It is my hope that such a wonderful tradition will continue in our mountains at Lake Junaluska this week and weekend as meet together to chart the course for the Western NC Annual Conference together for the upcoming year.  We may not all agree, but I have always viewed those times in my life when I’ve been an outsider as a real gift to me personally as I’ve found out more of who I really am–and I imagine you’ve had the same experience in your life as well.  Please keep the lay and clergy delegates to Annual Conference in your prayers.  If you’d like to find our more about what has happened at Lake Junaluska this past week, you can see all the updates by going to the conference website at

A briefing of what happened the opening day of Annual Conference is located here.


2016 Bicentennial of Francis Asbury’s Death

francisasburyimage1This year marks the 200th year since Bishop Francis Asbury, the first bishop of the Methodist Church in America and our congregation’s namesake and founder, died in rural Virginia.  There are many events happening around the world to celebrate Asbury’s legacy, and I’d like to share a few of them in this post.

An individual has put together a recent podcast retelling the events of Bishop Asbury’s last days.  It can be accessed by clicking this link.

A recent short documentary about him entitled Francis Asbury: A Flame Spirit can also be found on YouTube by clicking on this link.

The World Methodist Museum in Lake Junaluska also has a number of museum items related to Asbury, among them the chair that is property of our church (on permanent loan to the WMM), which can be seen anytime the museum is open.  Admission is free, and it is so close that you’d be missing out on a great blessing by not going at some point.

I will also be travelling next month to his birthplace and cottage outside of Birmingham, England and I’ll be sure to take pictures and other notes to share with everyone.  If you’d like to know more about Francis Asbury, you can find the notes from our study of the book about his life entitled  American Saint in the Bible Studies section of the website, or by clicking on this link.

General Conference 2016

General Conference is a meeting that happens every four years in the United Methodist Church, and it is the only body that speaks and makes official decisions for the denomination that extends to all areas of the UniteGCLOGOd States and across a large portion of the rest of the world.  It is composed of a group of clergy and lay delegates from all over who will be coming together in Portland, Oregon to make some very important decisions that will have a direct impact on our denomination for years to come.

If you’d like to learn more about General Conference or see a list of clergy and lay delegates from the Western NC Annual Conference, you can check out the General Conference page on our annual conference’s webpage by clicking on the link here.  Please be in prayer for those who will be participating in General Conference in the coming weeks.