In This Issue:

Words from Angela
District Leadership Conference 
Catawba Valley Happenings
Mark Your Calendars
Heart at Peace
Methodist Polity Class
Don't Forget!
Exploring a Call to Ministry






























Words from Angela

During our District Committee on Ordained Ministry meeting, Reverend Sally Queen led us in an opening devotion. She asked us to share what we are looking forward to this Advent season. It was a joy to hear everyone’s response around the table filled with hope and anticipation.  
My first Advent as District Superintendent was an adjustment. I was so used to running on all cylinders preparing for the local churches many activities. I was not used to not being a part of planning for Love Feast, Cantatas, parties and much more. But, I did learn a great lesson. In the past, I was so busy planning that Advent and Christmas went by in a blur. Now celebrating Advent from a different position I am learning to slow down and reflect upon the season. I enjoy visiting the churches and sharing in your Advent celebrations as well as taking the time to reflect afterward.
I will encourage you during this season of busyness, don’t forget your time of reflection and quiet rest. Advent involves spending time in spiritual preparation. Sometimes we are so busy leading our churches in this time of preparation we forget to prepare ourselves.
It is easy during this season to get caught up in overdrive mode. We begin our day with five hours of sleep and gulp down caffeine to give us that extra boost. Often we are sleep deprived, caffeine driven, and overscheduled.
The disciples had much work to do. Jesus sent them out to preach, drive out demons and anoint the sick and heal them. When they gathered around Jesus, they were filled with excitement as they shared their experience. As a result of their faithfulness to God’s mission, more people responded. Crowds began to gather around Jesus and his disciples. Jesus noticed the crowds and instead of saying, “Go work harder,” Jesus said, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:31b NIV.
Often, I think how all other creation know when to work and when to hibernate except humanity. Christian ministry is an extension of Jesus mission and ministry. There will always be work to do, but there must also be a time of rest. Our bodies are not designed to work non-stop.
When was the last time you stole away to a quiet place to rest and renew your weary soul? When was the last time you unplugged your tablet, laptop, or iPhone and enjoyed the stillness of the moment?
The crowds continued to follow Jesus and the disciples. Jesus told the disciples, “Give them something to eat.” There is a time to serve, and there is a time to rest. Make sure you observe the holy season of refreshment as well as serving. Your living will be more productive.


District Leadership Conference 

January 6, 2019

St. Luke's UMC (Hickory)

52 16th Ave. NW, Hickory, NC

We will begin our time at 2:30 p.m. with worship where Dr. David Goatley, Director of Black Church Affairs at Duke Divinity School will be preaching and the praise leader from Denver UMC will provide our worship music. Following worship, we will break up into small training sessions.

Sessions include:

Leading with Purpose - Leading a local church with purpose keeps the focus on God’s activity through the congregation and community so that personal preferences, points of view, and power are diminished. We will discover communication strategies, how to overcome obstacles, how to deal with the reactions of congregants, and basic characteristics of leading with purpose.  Laity in leadership roles and clergy will benefit from this workshop.  Kim Shockley, District Church Vitality Specialist

Health and Wellness -- Ms. Lisa Mariddaiah, Parish Nurse, First UMC Gastonia

Local Church Historian – This session is open to local church historians, church secretaries, anyone who is interested in the history of their church, or anyone interested in their church’s records and historic documents.  We will focus on which records to keep and which records can be discarded (and why), how best to keep these records for posterity, and where to look to find records from the past.  Those attending are encouraged to share their questions regarding the preserving and recording of their church’s history and its records. Jim Pyatt, WNCC Archivist/Historian

A Better Way – As congregations continue to come to grips with the changing context of shifting demographics and economies, declining giving and attendance, and new ways of being church, some are finding innovative ways to use their buildings and land to reach new people, enhance income, connect with neighbors, and live into their mission.  Wesley Community Development is helping them lead the way to a brighter future.  Come learn how. Reverend Karen Easter Bayne, Vice President, Wesley Community Development Corporation

What Are the Ten Essential Needs for Local Church Finance and Stewardship? – This session will examine the ten most important and significant issues that local church finance and stewardship leaders should be most concerned.  The issues and needs will stem both from the Book of Discipline but also practical and logistical relevant.  Topics will include Audits, Annual Reporting, Apportionments, Financial Policies and Giving. Reverend Dr. Mark King, Conference Treasurer/Director of Administrative Services

The Call and Ministry of a Lay Servant and Certified Lay Minister This session will focus on the call and ministry of Certified Lay Servants and Certified Lay Ministers from the experience of Mr. Bridges. You will learn requirements for each level of laity service opportunities and concentrate on Mr. Bridges experience as a CLM. Tom Bridges

Making Room for One More -- Does the church have anything to say and show to a world of growing segmentation and fragmentation? Are we destined to reflection, or might we have hope for illumination? This workshop will explore tensions between being stranger and neighbor and imagine possibilities for reclaiming the spirit of hospitality in some cultures that believe in "making room for one more."Reverend Dr. David Goatley, Director of Black Church Affairs at Duke Divinity School

Creation Care -- Encouraging Christians in their efforts to care for God’s creation, and to be faithful stewards of God’s provision. Mr. Bill Garrard, Earthkeeper

Pastor and Parish -- The Staff Parish Relations Committee plays a critical role in fostering a healthy relationship between the pastor and the congregation. SPRC is a ministry that supports the mission of the local church. This session will help you seek ways to strengthen communication across the church and serve as good stewards of your pastor’s time and gifts. It will introduce you to the study of Pastor and Parish. Reverend Dr. Dennis Sheppard

For more information and to register, click below.

Register Now →


Catawba Valley Happenings

What are these wonderful things taking place around our district? Welcome to the Catawba Valley Happenings. As I travel around the district, I will be taking photos to add to our Happenings board.

Network 10
From the vision of Reverend Jay Bissett, Missional Network 10 sponsored a two-day event, Rise vs. Hunger at Warlick Academy. Seventy-five members of the network packed 10,000 meals and those who gave financially helped the network to reach its goal of $7,500.00.



District Wellness Team Hike

The Wellness Team hike for November was a blast at South Mountain State Park. We will take a break in December and dust off our hiking boots for 2019. Come and join us.





Boger City (Lincolnton)

Professions of Faith and discipleship happening at Boger City UMC where Reverend Ron Perry serves as pastor.


Mark Your Calendars

Dec 5 - 6: Conference staff training; District Office closed
Dec 17: dCOM interviews, Myers Memorial UMC
Dec 21 - Jan 1: District Office closed 
Dec 31: Advisories & Profiles due
Jan 6: District Leadership Conference
Jan 12: Mental Wellness Training
Jan 24 - 26: Methodist Polity Class



Heart at Peace

By Kim Shockley
Catawba Valley Church Vitality Strategist

Those of us who have been attending and paying attention to the work of the Commission on the Way Forward have been hearing about the book – An Anatomy of Peace, published by the Arbinger Institute with several editions between 2006 – 2015. The main purpose is to define the difference between a heart at peace and a heart at war so that we can negotiate toward peace. The Commission studied this book in order to develop a heart of peace because their personal viewpoints spanned the spectrum of ideas and opinions on the LGBTQ conversation. This Commission needed a solid foundation from which to do their work. The following Covenant came out of their study of this book:
• We will carefully listen to one another.
• We will be careful not to judge one another.  read more...


Methodist Polity Class

Open to clergy and Laity

This course will explore our connectional nature as a denomination. It will include a brief history, an understanding of the Book of Discipline, an exploration of leadership roles, and, of course, an solid overview of church structure from the local church to the global community. 

Dr. Jonathan LeMaster-Smith has offered 2 classes in the fall of 2018, and will be offering one more class in January of 2019. These classes are structured as 3-day workshops, held on Thursday evening, all day Friday, and Saturday.  The cost of the workshop will be $25, which covers the cost of refreshments and lunches.  There are also books that are required, which you will need to purchase before class and bring with you. The books are available at and/or

 Classes will be held at St. Luke’s UMC (52 16th Ave. NW, Hickory, NC 28601).

United Methodist Polity
Course meets 3 days: January 24 - 26, 2019
Thursday, Jan. 24, 6 pm - 8 pm
Friday, Jan. 25, 9 am - 4 pm
Saturday, Jan. 26, 9 am - 2 pm


Register Now →



 Don't Forget!

Advisories, Church Profiles, and Clergy Profiles are due to be completed by December 31, 2018.

Advisories can be emailed or mailed to the district office (

Church Profiles are located on the church dashboards; Clergy Profiles are located on the Clergy Dashboards.



Exploring a Call to Ministry

The Explore Summer Internship exists to help young adults (18-25 years old) discern their call to vocational ministry by providing an environment for exploring their gifts and giving the intern opportunities to explore particular aspects of ministry and/or program development in a safe and encouraging environment.

The internship is a hands-on experience in a church setting or a church affiliated organization. Interns engage in a broad range of ministerial work and/or program development then reflect on their experiences. Interns are not meant to fill a certain hole in the ministerial staff, they are to be given opportunities to experience the full breadth of pastoral ministry; to discover, dream, develop and deliver, to learn by doing as well as by observing and discussing.  Applications are being accepted Dec. 1 - Feb. 15. 

Click here for more information →






 Aldersgate (Shelby)

1207 West Dixon Blvd., Shelby, NC




Catawba Valley District
166 E Main Ave
Gastonia NC 28052-4110