50 Years As The UMC

50 Years As The UMC in Western NC!

Yes, actually, The United Methodist Church is only 50 years old!

We often think of the Methodist church as being around a few centuries.  This is true!  Yet also untrue, since the “United” part of our church is having its 50th birthday in 2018. 

In Dallas, Texas, on April 23, 1968, The Methodist Church and the Evangelical United Brethren merged to create a new Christian denomination, The United Methodist Church.  The union was facilitated by theological traditions steeped in the Protestant Reformation and Wesleyanism, and similar ecclesiastical structures.  On that special day fifty years ago, institutional segregation also ended with the denominational merger, as the Central (black) and Southeastern (white) Jurisdictions of The Methodist Church merged.  Since becoming the Western North Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church in 1968, WNCC has appointed more than 125  clergypersons in cross-racial appointments, further cementing the unity to which our predecessors strove.

Today, we call ourselves United Methodists because of the foundation laid nearly three hundred years ago and the diligent and prayerful work of those people who, in the midst of the civil rights movement, believed the church itself should be one.

1 Corinthians 1:10 (CEB) Now I encourage you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ: Agree with each other and don’t be divided into rival groups. Instead, be restored with the same mind and the same purpose.

Interested in learning more and hearing memories of the merger within Western NC?

More, in-depth information is available at www.umc.org/umc50 and www.gcah.org as well as resources located in the WNCC archives. Interviews from our own clergy and lay members as well as other resources are available below.


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Remembering the Merger in WNC

A compilation video, as shown in the opening worship service at Annual Conference 2018.  Featuring the Rev. Drs. Brown, Dickson, Ferree, Gilland, and Powell; presented by the WNCC Commission on Archives & History and the Justice & Reconciliation Team.

Remembering the Merger – Extended Cut

A rough-cut compilation video, featuring the Rev. Drs. Brown, Dickson, Ferree, Gilland, and Powell; presented by the WNCC Commission on Archives & History and the Justice & Reconciliation Team.

Rev. Dr. Andrew W. Brown Jr.

Rev. Dr. Andrew W. Brown Jr., Retired Elder
Ordained 1973, Western North Carolina
In 1968: St. Luke (Asheboro)

Rev. Dr. C. Harley Dickson Jr.

Rev. Dr. C. Harley Dickson Jr., Retired Elder
Ordained 1953, Western North Carolina
In 1968: Waynesville District Superintendent

Rev. Dr. James W. Ferree

Rev. Dr. James W. Ferree, Retired Elder
Ordained 1955, North Carolina-Central Jurisdiction
In 1968: Union Memorial-Celia Phelps (Greensboro)

Ms. Mary Belle Gilbert

Ms. Mary Belle Gilbert, Lay Member
Retired Chair, Older Adult Ministry, West Market Street UMC

Rev. Dr. Jim C. Gilland

Rev. Dr. Jim C. Gilland, Retired Elder
Ordained 1959, Western North Carolina
In 1968: Cullowhee

Dr. Theodore Powell

Dr. Theodore Powell, Retired Elder
Ordained 1957, North Carolina-Central Jurisdiction
In 1968: Galilee-St. Paul's (Kings Mountain)

A special thank you goes to Robert Ralph of Red Bicycle Photography for his great work on the interviews and videos commemorating the 50th anniversary of the merger.

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A Summons to Witness, Protest, and Promise

We give thanks for this Summons to Witness, Protest and Promise written by the cabinet of the North Carolina Conference.  In our ongoing collaboration, we affirm these words alongside them.  Across our state, we invite all United Methodists to be a part of building “the new world God promises as heaven in time descends to earth.” (Revelation 21)

A Summons to Witness, Protest, & Promise

We, United Methodists in The Western North Carolina Conference, join our voices with The North Carolina Conference in witness, protest and promise in these times of violence against our Black brothers and sisters.

We believe. . .

We believe that the Holy Spirit is indeed poured out upon all people.
We believe that in baptism, we are incorporated into God’s mighty acts of salvation, and commissioned to resist evil, injustice and oppression, in whatever forms they present themselves.
We believe that God’s intent for humanity is community, compassion, and holiness, and that justice has been marred by the history of enslavement and racism.
We believe that repentance is urgent for the historic and ongoing violence against Black girls and boys, men and women.
We believe that in the wounding of Black bodies we see Christ crucified.
We believe that those who have been steeped in white privilege, through repentance, can be transformed into humble servants of the living God.
We believe we are called to work for the day when God’s will is done on earth as it is in heaven.

We protest. . .
We protest violent murders of Black men and women, most recently Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd.
We protest the narratives of fear and suspicion that divide people from one another.
We protest our historic failure to ensure all our churches are places of hospitality, welcome, and belonging for our Black brothers and sisters.
We protest the historic and continuing suppression of voting and other basic rights.
We protest all incendiary public leadership in this time of crisis and turmoil.
We protest the lack of will in our communities, our state and our country to protect the lives of our Black brothers and sisters, and especially the most vulnerable, the young and the old.

We promise. . .
We promise to use our voices, resources and power to dismantle white privilege and racist systems, especially within our own United Methodist Church.
We promise to read the Scripture with ear and eye attentive to the continued call toward God’s will for all people.
We promise to exercise the right to vote and to work against voter suppression.
We promise to create around ourselves at all times hospitable space for all people.
We promise to name prejudice when we see it and to receive the correction of others who see prejudice in us.
We promise to be life-long learners, to constantly make adjustments in the way we use our power and influence, to be active participants in the building of the beloved community, and ultimately growing always in holiness toward the perfection we see in Christ.


Bishop Paul Leeland
Laura Auten
Carl Arrington
Michael Bailey
David Christy
Amy Coles
Bev Coppley
Beth Crissman
Otto Harris
David Hockett
Kim Ingram
Linda Kelly
Mark King
Melissa McGill
Samuel Moore, Jr.
Dan Pezet
Mark Ralls
David Snipes
Caroline Wood
Jane Wood

Bishop Hope Morgan Ward
Tim Russell
Edie Gleaves
Ray Broadwell
Gil Wise
Gray Southern
Mike Frese
Kenneth Locklear
Randy Innes
Linda Taylor
Dena White
Tara Lain
Ismael Ruiz-Millan
Jon Strother
Beth Hood
Lisa Yebuah
Greg Moore
Steve Taylor

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