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As a family of faith, we celebrate together the many ways that we are blessed and seek to bless others.

Celebrating the Life & Witness of Sister Glenna

Highland enjoys an enduring relationship with Methodist communities in Guyana (South America). Highland sent work teams through United Methodist Volunteers in Missions (UMVIM) from 2005 to 2013, helping with projects at Methodist churches and community buildings throughout the country. Since then, Highland has continued to support ministries and projects through contributions.

We received news this week of the death of one of our many friends in Guyana, Reverend Glenna Spencer, the former President and Bishop of the Guyana District Conference of the Methodist Church in the Caribbean and the Americas.  

Reverend Spencer (or Sister Glenna as we fondly called her) always welcomed our teams on our arrival in Guyana, visited our work sites, and joined us for worship services. She loved children and youth and worked diligently to be sure that the church served them and helped them learn of God’s love. In addition to our work projects, Highland contributed to the purchase of a set of steel drums and several months of instruction on playing them for one of the churches. Her intent was for these to be used by church youth both in worship and in the community to lead youth to Christ. 

The former work team members are saddened by this news, but rejoice in her life dedicated to loving and serving God. Her faith and witness touched many lives. She is now at rest from her labors in this part of God’s vineyard (a phrase we often heard in Guyana). 

Congratulations, Alice!

Highland celebrates with Alice Irby on the publication of her book South Toward Home: Tales from an Unlikely Journey.  In it, Alice described 26 stories from her life, honoring the men and women who have graced her story over several decades. Among these stories are tales from her home Methodist Church, a trip with Highland members to the Holy Land, and being touched by music in Highland's sanctuary.

Curious about the book? You can learn more about it from her publishers and/or Amazon.com.

Food Drive Success!

Thanks to everyone who contributed to our Food Drive for Interfaith Food Shuttle on Sunday, May 3. The collection filled not just the back, but every row of seats in one of Highland's mini-buses.The donations filled two pallets when delivered on Monday -- that's a LOT of food! Thanks also to Amy Takahashi for coordinating, to Tom Lamb for delivering the load to IFFS, and to all the volunteers who helped out on Sunday.

Disaster Response Continues

Highland & Avent Ferry UMC's Disaster Response Team was back on the road Saturday, May 2, to remove a tree from a home in Aurora, NC. We give thanks for this team's commitment, as well as for their safety on the job.

Easter Worship and Celebration

Highland was fortunate to join with United Methodists from across eastern North Carolina for this year's Easter worship. We are grateful for all the people who contributed and for the grace-filled leadership of our Bishop Hope Morgan Ward.

Backpack Buddies Gladly Received

We packed bags for Backpack Buddies at the last Wednesday night supper before closing for the pandemic. Those bags were picked up by Interfaith Food Shuttle staff to be distributed to Wake County students facing a tremendous need for food resources with schools closed. (Interfaith Food Shuttle is doing pick-ups with staff only, protecting their volunteers during this difficult time.) We are grateful for the work of our ministry partners like Interfaith Food Shuttle and for the folks at Highland who help make the Backpack Buddies ministry possible.

Another Piece Completed in the Bradley Renovation

Take the opportunity to walk through Bradley Hall on a sunny morning and enjoy the beauty of the newly-installed stained glass cross on the new stage.

Celebrating Scouts

Boy Scouts from across the area gathered at Highland on Saturday, February 22, for Merit Badge University. The next morning, Troop 357 joined us at the 11:00 service to present the colors and offer a word of thanks (and a gift!) to Highland for hosting them each week. We're grateful for the ways the scouts give back to Highland throughout the year, and we celebrate the adults who help lead this fine group.

An Evening of Service

We give thanks for all the "super heroes" who packed backpacks for Backpack Buddies and health kits for Church World Services on Wednesday, February 12.

Making a Joyful Noise

We give thanks for the musical gifts of our children, who helped to lead worship on February 9 at the 8:30 service, and the Cardinal Singers, who performed for the Highlanders on Tuesday, February 11. 

Circle 7 Sharing the Love

Circle 7 gathered on February 3 for their annual tradition of crafting Valentines for homebound Highland members.  With food and laughter, a good time was had by all!

Winter Youth Retreat

21 Highland youth and adults enjoyed a weekend in the NC mountains, worshiping at Lake Junaluska and enjoying snowy fun in the surrounding area.

Micah 6:8 Hosts Opportunities for Education and Awareness

We are grateful for the continuing work of our Micah 6:8 social justice team. Each month, they help sponsor a forum with guest speakers to cover a variety of social justice topics. January 21's session on Reversing Global Warming was standing-room only, with over 150 people in attendance from Highland and our larger community. We give thanks for Micah 6:8's ongoing challenge to put our faith into action for peace and justice.

A Renewed Space for Worship and Fellowship

We celebrated the completion of the Bradley Hall stage last Sunday, January 19, at the Connection worship service. In addition to having the Praise Band on the stage for the first time, the entire congregation was invited to lay hands on the stage and share in the prayer of consecration for this newly renovated space. There are still a few remaining items on the check list before we can officially say the renovation work is complete, but we are thrilled to be already living into the vision for this renewed space. During the week, the curtain will typically be closed, helping to protect our instruments and equipment, but the stage extension and wonderful new sound equipment will be regularly used by groups throughout the week. Thanks again to all the folks who have helped bring this project to fruition!

Highland Sanctuary's 50th Anniversary

Many thanks to everyone who participated and helped with our celebration on Sunday morning. We were blessed by the pictures and stories of so many people! As Alan encouraged us, share your witness! Tell your story!

If you weren't able to be present for the 11 service, here's the video that was shared during worship.

An Epiphany Party!

Sunday, January 5, we celebrated the Epiphany of our Lord with 3 guests who traveled from afar bearing gifts for an infant king. Children and their parents shared in king cake, crafts, and games after a visit from some wandering wise men.

Youth Winter Lock-in

Highland's youth kicked off the new year with an all-night event at the church on January 3. Thanks to the 5 brave chaperones who welcomed 23 youth for a full night of fun!

Moravian Love Feast

We continued our celebration of the Christmas season with a worship service from the Moravian tradition, a Christmas Love Feast. Thanks to Ellen Fortenberry for organizing it, and thanks to Jo Anne Swartz, the Highland Winds, and all our musicians for helping to lead the service.

A Year at Highland

Enjoy some images from this past year in the life of Highland UMC.

Scenes of the Season

Highland has been enjoying the sights and sounds of the season, wonderful worship, and joyous fellowship together.

Welcome Neil!

Neil Smith will begin at Highland as our new Youth Director on January 1. Here's a little bit from Neil about himself:
"I grew up in Mount Airy, North Carolina where I was very active in youth groups all through middle and high school. I graduated from Appalachian State University with a Religious Studies and History degree.
I have spent the majority of my adult life working with youth groups at churches and my professional life has been spent working as a Youth Care Worker at a group home for youth and at DSS as a Child Protective Services Investigator. As a follower of Christ, I seek to show love to all people and meet the needs of the communities I am involved in. I am passionate about conveying a message of love through actions to all people and seek to transform the lives of youth to do the same now and have the tools to do so in the future.
My life and passions have led me to Highland and I am beyond blessed and excited for the opportunity to be apart of such a loving church family. "

Celebrating Another Harvest

Ten seasons and ten tons. This is what we are celebrating in Highland’s Community Victory Garden. This
season, God took the efforts of many, many volunteers, and "granted the increase" of another ton of
sustainable, organic, nutritious, and tasty produce donated to Plant a Row for the Hungry. From Plant a
Row, the food is distributed to food banks, soup kitchens, Meals on Wheels, and to local "food deserts."
The garden is still producing good winter crops, although the flowers are gone, and some beds lie fallow.

Of the 133 garden volunteers in 2019, 30 were church members, including families with small children.
An astonishing 67 came from the National Charity League, a group that coordinates service
opportunities for moms and their middle-to high school aged daughters. Such a blessing to us that they
discovered the garden! One of my favorite memories from this year is the close friendship that
developed in the garden between the daughter of a refugee and a church member. So fun! We grow
more than veggies.

Thanks to all of you who support the garden with your labor, your prayers, and your gifts. We will start
up again in mid-February, and anyone is welcome to join us for 2020. 'Til then, stay warm and dry, relish
the fallow season, and celebrate what the Lord has done through our church and community.

A Singing People

Thanks to Kevin Quick, Highland Winds, and the Highland Choir for a wonderful afternoon of singing and learning about our hymns and their role in worship.

From Paris to Madrid

We give thanks for all the many talented musicians who shared their gifts on November 10 at "From Paris to Madrid," a community concert featuring French and Spanish composers.