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WELCOME to the website of the Potomac Highlands District of the West Virginia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church!

Praying Healthy Disciples Under the Management of Christ

We are one of nine districts of the West Virginia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. Our fine district is composed of eight counties: seven in the Potomac Highlands of West Virginia including:  Grant, Hampshire, Hardy, Mineral, Pendleton, Preston and Tucker AND includes Garrett County, Maryland.

Staff of the Potomac Highlands District office:
Rev. Scott M. Ferguson, District Superintendent

Barbara H. Scott, Administrative Assistant

Meet our new DS, Scott Ferguson and family. Below is a short bio and photo of Rev. Ferguson, his wife, Beckie, and their two children.

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Travel the conference & serve with new Mission Passport!


By Joe Webb

Our new Mission Passport is now available!

The West Virginia Conference supports seven ongoing mission projects, two service agencies, and a host of other mission and service opportunities. Now’s your chance to not only learn more about them, but to engage with them in a variety of ways!

Mission Passports are available in all of our District offices, each of our Mission Project and Service Agency sites, and in the Conference Center in Charleston. Our district superintendents are also distributing them to pastors to take to local churches.

Our Conference Board of Global Ministries, which oversees our mission efforts, is excited for you and your churches to connect with our projects and agencies in the coming year.

If you or your church would like to receive copies of our Mission Passport, please contact the Conference Communications office at wvumc@wvumc.org.

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A Way Forward

As our General Conference delegates enter into a time of discernment the entire United Methodist Church is invited into a season of prayer and shared learning.

The resources on this page are intended to assist us as we learn and grow together.

You may also learn more about the Commission on A Way Forward on their webpage.  Follow this link.

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Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball invites all members of The United Methodist Church in West Virginia to join in prayer daily from 2:23-2:26.  To learn more follow this link.

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Get a grant to start your church website!

UM Communications grants offer first year free

Does your church want a website but hasn’t been able to find the startup costs in the budget? United Methodist Communications and your WV Conference Communications team are here to help!

For a limited time, churches can apply for a Website Development Grant through UMComm that includes one year of free website hosting and domain registration.

Click here to learn how to get a grant for your church website!

Get a grant to start your church website!

UM Communications grants offer first year free

Does your church want a website but hasn’t been able to find the startup costs in the budget? United Methodist Communications and your WV Conference Communications team are here to help!

For a limited time, churches can apply for a Website Development Grant through UMComm that includes one year of free website hosting and domain registration.

Click here to learn how to get a grant for your church website!

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Your Good Name: protecting your church and website domain name


By Deborah Coble

Back in 2005 one of our WVUMC churches launched a website.  Things were going well.  However, over time the website became out dated and volunteers stopped making the necessary updates, so when the time rolled around to pay for the website name (domain name) it just didn’t get done.

A new pastor brought to the church a new focus on communicating to the larger community and formed a team to re-brand and re-launch their website, but there was a problem.  Because the registration for the domain name had been left unpaid for, another company swept in and launched a website with their name but with XXX-rated content.  This was a horrifying realization by the local church and unfortunately there really isn’t anything that they can do at this point.

A website domain name is as valuable as any other church property. 

This hard lesson learned reminds us all to do a monthly tune up of our church websites.

– First, check out your domain name registration information, make sure that the contact information is correct so that someone from the church receives the registration reminder emails.

(Most churches have .org as their domain name.  Go ahead and purchase .com as well, this will help prevent confusion and ensure that no one can mimic your church or use your good name for bad things. While you’re at it – pay for a few years in advance, that way you’re good to go for a while.)

– Second, do visit your website weekly (even daily) – and keep the content fresh. Make sure that posts reflect what is happening NOW in your community, not what happened 3 months ago.  Also, be sure to take a look at Find-A-Church to make sure that the right info for your church is presented!

(Most people searching for a church home will first visit your website. A good website is an important evangelism tool in the 21stCentury.)

– Third, maintaining content on a website can sometimes seem daunting. This is a great time for a team to be formed to focus on communications for the entire church.  Websites, lively social media pages and even livestreaming of worship services is being done by churches of all sizes in our conference!

(The WVUMC communications team has a team to walk alongside your church to launch a new website, with free training and a FREE template that reflects the values of The West Virginia conference!  Contact your district office for more details)

We have been called to develop, discover and deploy passionate spiritual leaders who make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world!  Using the tools at hand we can share our stories with our broken and hurting communities and make a real difference in the world!

If you have any questions or concerns about your website or social media platforms send us an email: wvumc@wvumc.org

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What If…?


By Deborah Coble

The What If?… program was designed to be used during this past Lenten Season, believing that God would call each of us and each church into the first steps of a ministry responding to the opioid epidemic. We have heard of very creative uses of the What If?… materials over the past few weeks. Some churches used the bulletin inserts and videos for Bible studies, some have used the Bulletin inserts for the bases of a sermon series, some have used the videos during worship (sorry about the length of the videos!), some have used the materials just as it was planned for individual spiritual growth. No matter how the material was used, I believe that seeds have been planted and new ministries are about to be born.

So what are the next steps?

1. If you have received a clear vision of what to do…do it, what are you waiting for?!

2. If you feel led to respond but not 100% sure what to do, visit organizations that are responding already in your community. Visit your local elementary school, meet your Drug Court Personnel, visit your local Family Resource Network there are dozens of groups that are responding…it is time to make connections and get involved. Remember how the disciples were holed up in their apartment after Jesus had ascended into heaven, and then the Holy Spirit came into their midst and empowered them to go out into the streets and proclaim the Gospel at Pentecost? We have been holed up in our sanctuaries for way too long, let the spirit move you!

3. Remember all ministries start small, what is a first step you can take, what is a first step your church can take?

4. If you want some more motivation, email me and I will come and present a program at your church or with a group of churches. My email is steinerball@gmail.com

5. If you did not use the What If?… program during Lent, use it now! Just ignore the Lenten language and use it now. People are dying, people are lost, people are hurting…we have got to respond with the good news of the empty tomb.

6. If you have started a ministry…no matter how small, let us know about it. We want to collect the stories of how we are responding and tell others about the faithful witness in West Virginia. As we collect the stories our hope is to put them on our webpage so others who are considering their response can gain creative ideas from what is already happening. We are in this together and there is no need to re-invent the wheel.

What if we allowed God to use us in ways we had never considered before?..

What if? For more, visit the Conference Website at www.wvumc.org


(MESSAGE FROM THE WV CONFERENCE DISASTER RESPONSE CO-COORDINATOR, Dan Lowther: )
Dear West Virginia Conference,

As most of you are aware, natural disasters have brought great destruction and devastation to several of the southern states and Carribean islands.

Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and now Maria, brought to these regions horrific rain and winds that have disrupted the lives of many. In events such as these, our hearts break for the survivors and creates in us a desire to help.

Our first call, as people of faith, is to pray.  UMC Discipleship has prayer and worship resources to use at home and in your faith communities.  Click here for more.

We also know that the steady stream of news, meant to inform us of the great needs, also fosters in us a sense of urgency to send items to bring relief to those who are hurting.

Often this information becomes misleading and what we in the disaster relief world call “the second disaster” occurs. The second disaster is when a community or region gets overwhelmed with donated goods creating a new area of chaos and confusion for those who are trying to help others find some sense of normal. With this, I wanted to send a message to help you to be able to help others.

We ask that you please do not send items directly into the affected areas. Often these areas are not equipped or do not have the means to receive or manage donated items.

Sue and I, the West Virginia Conference Disaster Response Co-Coordinators, are on conference calls with UMCOR and the Conference Disaster Response Coordinators in each of the affected areas. During these calls, each shares the needs of their communities and where these needed items can be sent.

Please, before you collect items for the relief effort contact either Sue Lowther at 304-642-0896 or Dan Lowther at 304-642-0897 to find what is needed and where it is needed.

We do know that a great need is Flood/Cleaning buckets and Hygiene Kits. These have been distributed in the affected areas, and more will be needed. In some cases these will be used to replenish UMCOR’s depleted stock to prepare for the next event.

Instructions for building relief supply kits may be found by following this link. http://www.umcor.org/UMCOR/Relief-Supplies.

Once your group has assembled the kits please make arrangements with Sue Lowther at 304-642-0896 or Dan Lowther at 304-642-0897, to deliver them to New Vision Depot in Beaver, WV.

New Vision Depot is working with UMCOR’s relief supply system to get supplies directly where they are most needed, quickly and efficiently.

If a congregation or individual would prefer to make monetary donations, instead of building kits, you may donate toward the purchase of supplies so that kits may be made at New Vision Depot making the donation payable to UMCOR or the Conference Treasurer following instructions in following paragraphs..

Monetary donations may also be made to UMCOR to be able to purchase what is needed in the affected areas to help others. Remember, 100% of what you give to UMCOR goes directly to help survivors. Click here to give an online donation directly to UMCOR.

If you would like to give a financial donation to UMCOR through your local church, you may do so as well. To ensure that your gift reaches the disaster area quickly, give through your local church, and note “Hurricane Irma #112” or “Hurricane Harvey #114” or “New Vision Depot” on the memo line.
Church treasurers, please make your checks payable to Conference Treasurer and please use remittance forms when sending checks to the WV Conference Treasurer’s Office, PO Box 2469, Charleston, WV 25329. Donors, you may also send your check directly to the WV Conference Treasurer’s Office made out to “Conference Treasurer” with “Hurricane Irma #112” or “Hurricane Harvey #114” or “New Vision Depot” in the memo line and mailed to the above address.

Please help us to lessen the chaos so that we may better assist those who are in need. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to give us a call. Thank you.

Blessings,

Dan Lowther
WV Conference Disaster Response Co-Coordinator  

p.s. If you are interested in helping to rebuild homes affected by natural disasters close to home, in West Virginia or if you’d like to do recovery work in Florida or Texas please contact David Stilgenbauer or me for more details.

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