“These people honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me.  They worship Me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.”

–          Matthew 15:8-9


What rules do you follow?   Are some rules more important than others?  Why do we have rules?  I have found that rules are often intended to keep order and peace.  With that said, there should be a purpose for the rules we are given to follow.  It can’t just be “Because I said so” or “Because we’ve always done it that way”.  There must be a valid reason for us to embrace, and enforce, the rules we’ve been given to follow.  Jesus provided us with the rules to “Love God and Love others.”  He reminded us that there are no other commands greater than these.  He provided us with rules that we are to live by.  If our church rules (aka…traditions) keep us from being an expression of God’s love, then our Worship comes in vain.  You see, in the passage above, Jesus was reminding some of the religious leaders that their rules were in vain.  Their customs and traditions were not embraced well or appropriately.  They spoke honor to the Lord but their heart was not in their worship.  Their teachings were not based on God’s rules but were human rules.  Without the power of God’s amazing love, rules become hollow.  Rules are intended to be made because of love and genuine concern, not because of oppressive power.  As people of faith, we follow the rules to “Love God and Love others” because Jesus provided these rules to us out of love and genuine concern for all of humanity.  Our daily focus must be upon honoring God with our words and our hearts.  When we do that, then the rules Jesus has blessed us with become part of the core of our existence.  We will be genuine in our expression of God’s love and not simply go through the motions of Christian living.  Let us honor the Lord with our words, our hearts, our Worship, our teachings…and may our rules lead all people into a closer walk with God.  May God Bless you!

In Christ,



 Inline image

Pastoral Interviews

·         Pastoral Interviews (with dates and times) have been set.  You should have received them by now.  If not, you can find them on the district website.  If you are unable to make your date/time, please switch with someone else and contact Sonnie (304-822-4191) to let us know.  In addition, please come prepared to discuss your clergy evaluation and the plan to meet each goal; your plan for each church on the charge to meet 100% of their apportionment and fair share goals; and local pastors should bring their license with them.  We will also be taking time to update your profile and talk about any important items that you may wish to share.

Charge Conference Dates

·         An e-mail was recently sent with all the charge conference material you will need.  For those who requested hard copies, Sonnie has already mailed them to you.  In addition, you can find all needed information on the district website.  Please make sure that all SIGNED documents are prepared and sent to the office 10 DAYS prior to your conference.  In addition, as we strive to conduct individual charge conferences this year, the schedule is very tight and leaves very little room for movement.

Difference between a Certified Lay Speaker, Servant & Minister

(Please make sure that the laity in your congregations have the correct form to fill out for charge conference.)

Certified Lay Servant

  • Requires taking the BASIC course and at least 1 Advanced Course.
    • For renewal, an Advanced Course must be taken within the last 3 years.
  • Requires Annual Report & Renewal Application.
  • Approval from:  Pastor, Charge Conference & District Committee on Lay Servant Ministries.

Certified Lay Speaker

  • Requires taking the BASIC course and all 6 Advanced Courses. (Worship, Prayer, Spiritual Gifts, Preaching, UM Heritage & UM Polity)
    • For renewal, an Advanced Course must be taken within the last 3 years.
  • Requires Annual Report & Renewal Application.
  • Approval from:  Pastor, Charge Conference & District Committee on Lay Servant Ministries.
    • Approval from the Conference Committee on Lay Servant Ministries after the above has been completed.

Certified Lay Minister

  • Requires completion of a Track of Study as defined in Paragraph 268 in the Book of Discipline.  Must complete all 4 Modules.
  • Must have previously been certified as a Lay Servant or Speaker.
  • Approval from: Pastor, Charge Conference, District Superintendent & District Committee on Lay Servant Ministries.
    • Approval from the Conference Committee on Lay Servant Ministries after the above has been completed.
  • Requires Annual Report
    • An Advanced Course must be taken each year.
  • Approval from the District Committee on Ministry every two years.


Lay Academy – 


Ministry Spouses Fellowship Retreat

·         When – September 24th-26th

·         Where – Saint John XXIII Pastoral Center (100 Hodges Rd., Charleston, WV  25314)

·         Who can attend?  – Any spouse of clergy in the WV Annual Conference

·         Cost – Dependent upon Lodging and Meals

o   Dorm – $22 per person/night

o   Double Room – $42 per person/night

o   Private Room – $52 per person/night

o   Breakfast – $8

o   Lunch – $10

o   Dinner – $10

o   Sunday Brunch – $10

·         For any spouse of clergy in the PHD that would like to attend this retreat, we will reimburse $125 of the total cost.  Please contact the District Office after registration.

·         Activities – Making Hanger Snowflakes; Make greeting cards with folded strips of paper; Self-Care; End of Life Planning; Trip to Heart+Hand Ministries

·         Registration – Kathy Helmick (907 Glendale Ave.  South Charleston, WV  25303)

·         Ministry Spouses Annual Fall Fellowship | West Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church (wvumc.org)



C.O.M.E Update

  • Through June 30 the churches of the WV Conference have provided $86,805.53 in Celebration of Mission Event cash funds, which is nearly $10,000.00 more than the total received for all of Covid-riven 2020.
  • A major reason for the increase was the Hot Wheels “race” conducted by the Cabinet members, which raised in excess of $60,000.00.  (THANKS!)
  • Each Conference Mission Ministry has received a distribution of $8,343.00 for their ministries thus far this year, with a 1/2 share given to our one Church and Community Ministry.  A second distribution will be made at the end of the year.
  • In addition, each mission project received a distribution of $1,150.00 from the Mission Projects Trust Fund held by the United Methodist Foundation and solely supported with 10% of Celebration of Mission Event undesignated funds.
  • 2021 COME funds may be sent to the Conference Treasurer (or District Offices) until December 31, 2021.
  • Tangible gifts of food and other items may be collected and taken to the mission ministries at any time.
  • Remittance forms are available for local churches to send COME funds directly to the Conference Treasurer.  The forms are able to be printed from the COME Booklet, which is available on the Conference and some District Websites.
  • https://www.wvumc.org/change-the-world/special-ministries/celebration-of-mission-event-booklet/



·         Portico is a newly developed Conference Learning Management System.  Some of the classes being offered include:

o   Discipleship

o   Lay Member to Annual Conference:  What you need to know

o   Website 101 – Introduction to Creation of a Church Website

o   How 2 Zoom

o   Invitation vs. Recruiting

o   Servant Leadership

o   5 things your Visitors are Thinking But Won’t Ask

o   Contextual Communities:  Finding new opportunities amidst shifting cultures

o   …and many more!!!

·         Register at www.wvumc.org.  Click on “Portico” and then sign up.  It’s that easy!!!!



Support Resources available for UM Clergy

·         Counseling Fund

o   Licensed and Ordained Ministry | West Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church (wvumc.org)

o   Scroll to the bottom and click on “Counseling Fund Guidelines”.

·         Spring Heights Pastor Sabbath Retreats:

o   Spring Heights offering free Pastor Sabbath Retreats | West Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church (wvumc.org)

o   Both can be found on the Conference Website at www.wvumc.org

·         Karen Hickman is willing to open her cabin at a reduced rate for clergy who are looking for a quiet place of respite.  It is located near Oakland, MD and is on the property that she and Mark had visions of sharing with others.  You can find information at the link below.

o   https://docs.google.com/document/u/0/d/1548FocPBeeGLiaw0mEg7CEiG-KY9fAbCbkzKsDL6FPA/mobilebasic


Potomac Highlands Apportioned Churches – 2021


        Jan.       Feb.     March    April     May    June     July     Aug.     Sept.     Oct.       Nov.      Dec.                                                                                                                    

Total # of churches on track to meet 100% 39 63 74 79 77 90 71          
Total # of churches that have already met 100% 4 9 14 15 16 17 22          
Total # of churches behind but have paid more than 0% 4 20 17 34 40 33 58          
Total # of churches that have paid 0% 99 62 41 33 29 22 16          
Total % paid from Potomac Highlands 5% 12% 21% 26% 33% 41%






What % should we be at? 8% 17% 25% 33% 42% 50% 58% 67% 75% 83% 92% 100%
Total % paid for District Fair Share


24.5% 38.3% 45.9% 48.1% 57.8% 62% 65.4%          


COVID-19 Information:


Link to Bishop Sandra Steiner Ball’s June 16th letter

Bishop Addresses Lifting of State Mask Mandate | West Virginia Conference of the United Methodist Church (wvumc.org)



Helpful Links:

·         WV Conference Website – www.wvumc.org


·         Living Hope High School – http://www.livinghopehighschool.org/


·         Course of Study Registration (Spring Heights) – https://www.courseofstudy.org/


·         On-line Courses for COS – https://www.gbhem.org/clergy/licensing-course-of-study/


 Inline image


WVUMC Vision

To be a Christ led, spiritual breath of fresh air that changes the world.


WVUMC Mission

To discover, develop and deploy passionate spiritual leaders who make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Potomac Highlands District of the UMC