Conversation with Robert Jones

Sunday, March 12

WaterRock Institute & The Blue Ridge District invite you and your congregation to

A Conversation with Robert Jones, Ph.D.,

Author of The End of White Christian America

on Sunday, March 12 at Covenant Community Church, 11 Rocket Drive, Asheville. Check-in is at 2:45 pm;
the Program begins at 3 pm.

Dr. Jones is a leading scholar and commentator on religion, culture, and politics. He is frequently featured in major national media such as CNN, NPR, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. Drawing on more than four decades of data, Dr. Jones will discuss findings related to the changing status of what has been our nation’s dominant model of church. We will have the opportunity to dialogue about the findings, potential consequences, and strategies.

Registration will open soon (we will alert you via email).  The cost is only $10.

Pastors, please SAVE THE DATE – March 12 – and help to spread the word by including this event in your church bulletin and newsletter.

We look forward to your presence with us!

Location: Covenant Community UMC

Webpage and directions:

Registration Form to download and mail: click here.

Playscape Workday at Haw Creek

The team at Haw Creek Commons is excited to announce that we are building a Natural Outdoor Playscape in the woods between Haw Creek Commons and Haw Creek Elementary.

This will provide a curated space for kids to more imaginatively, safely, and spiritually connect with nature and to improve the ecological health of the forest by delineating trails and play spaces. It will include fort building areas, natural balance beams and sandbox, several low climbing/swinging platforms, an outdoor kids chapel/meditation space, tunnels, slides and more!

We would like to invite you and your family/friends to participate in community workdays to make this dream a reality. We have two workdays planned.


  • Saturday, January 28 from 1:00-5:00pm
  • Saturday, February 4 from 1:00-5:00pm

Where: Haw Creek Commons at 311 Old Haw Creek Road, Asheville 28805

Work will include but not be limited to: 

  • Clearing brush, debris, and branches
  • Stacking/organizing branches for building material
  • Digging holes for various features
  • Setting log seats
  • Moving mulch and limbs to make and border pathways
  • Weaving arbors from woody material
  • Setting up cattle panel tunnels (to be planted with hops in the future)
  • Painting Nature Art Tables (kids project)

Please RSVP so we can properly plan work, and let us know which date/s you will be able to come. It is absolutely fine if you cannot attend the entire day. We would love for you to be here however long you can. Children are welcome if accompanied by an adult. Please indicate how many adults and children plan to come.

Please wear closed-toed shoes and gloves (if desired) as well as appropriate clothing for the weather that you don’t mind getting dirty. Snacks and water will be provided.

If there are any builders (you or someone you know) who are willing to donate time, please let us know. The project manager, Jarad Barkeim, would be happy for your help at another date.

Thank you and hope to see you Saturday!

District Office Closed

Due to the snow on the ground and icy conditions the District office will be closed on Monday, January 9, 2017.

The Blessing of Christmas to all

For the Grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all,
training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions,
and in the present age to live lives that are
self-controlled, upright, and godly,
while we wait for the
blessed hope
and the
manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.
He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin,
to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people,
totally committed to doing good deeds.

Prayers and blessings over you and your family
for a joyous Christmas
and a blessed and fruitful year of ministry.

Beth, Debra, Ruth

New District Congregational Vitality Strategist Announced

rev-rob-parsonsWe are excited to welcome Rev. Rob Parsons to the Blue Ridge District staff and ministry team effective January 1, 2017. Rob, who has served as the pastor of Saluda and Columbus United Methodist Churches since 2008, is no stranger to the District! In addition to his pastoring churches, Rob has also served with Hospice of the Carolina Foothills, Polk County Behavioral Task Force, Head Start Policy Council, and the Board of Directors for the UNC-Asheville Campus Ministry while teaching part-time at UNC-A.

In his current appointment at Saluda-Columbus, Rob has found his deepest joy in working with others to bring to reality a Welcome Table, Congregations-4-Children in Polk County, and Stone Soup – a worship laboratory. Rob is an avid white water kayaker as captured in his TED Talk “Increasing My Capacity for Awe and Other Lessons Learned Kayaking on the Green River.”

Rob is a graduate of Furman University and Yale Divinity where he met his wife Ali Heston. Rob and Ali have three children: Zoe, 16, is a junior at Polk County High School; Caleb, 21, is a senior at Emory University; and Micah, 23, is the media manager for a nonprofit camp and experiential school outside of Brevard.

According to Rob, “The mountains and the rivers that define this area are some of the oldest in the world and yet when we turn aside like Moses, we can see how they are aflame with the presence of the living God.

The same Good News of Jesus Christ that Francis Asbury brought down the pathways and byways of our area is accompanying us today in our commutes.

And the same Holy Spirit who moved over the chaos at creation and accompanied our local ancestors in faith is breaking into the lives of our churches and our commumities in wild and beautiful ways here!”

Fall Gathering Sermon


Sermon by District Superintendent Beth Crissman on Luke 14: 15-24.

A Share in the Kingdom of God.

Fall Gathering Handout as a pdf.

Flood Bucket Drop Off Locations

Groce UMC, 954 Tunnel Road, Asheville, NC 28805 – this Wednesday and Thursday 10:00 am – 5:00 pm and Friday between 10:00-12:00

Rev. Gerald Davis, 828-298-7647

First Marion UMC, 176 Robert Street, Marion, NC 28752 – 9:00 am – 12:00 noon, Wednesday – Friday of this week.

Instructions for drop off: come to the back of the church and signs will be there to sanctuary where the flood buckets are to be dropped off.

Rev. Warren Owens, – 828-652-7010

Cleaning Buckets Needed for Eastern NC

The Western NC Conference will be shipping cleaning buckets and health kits to the North Carolina Conference for help in areas impacted by Hurricane Matthew and subsequent flooding.

For additional questions please contact Ken Anderson our Western North Carolina Conference Disaster Response/ Domestic UMVIM Coordinator at his cell phone: (828) 260-3724.


Instructions and guidelines for cleaning buckets from UMCOR are below.

See instructions here as a downloadable pdf.

Link to an instruction video is here.

UMCOR website with instructions.

ABCCM Offers Room for Evacuees

The Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry has about 20 beds available for the evacuees escaping Hurricane Matthew. The following is contact information.

Rev. Rick Schilling – MDiv, MSW
Ministry Development Officer
Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry
30 Cumberland Ave
Asheville, NC 28801