eNews - January 18, 2023
Bishop Dan Schwerin is pleased to announce two appointments, effective July 1, 2023. Rev. Fabiola Grandon-Mayer to the role of Director of Connectional Ministries (DCM), and Rev. Arlene Christopherson to the role of Assistant to the Bishop.

Rev. Grandon-Mayer currently serves as the District Superintendent for the North Prairie District. Bishop Schwerin observed that “With the enormous potential to develop our Northern Illinois Conference capacity and impact, it is time to conceive of a strategic appointment to pick up the work of a full-time Director of Connectional Ministers with a special emphasis in developing conference leadership."

Rev. Arlene Christopherson currently serves in the role of Director of Connectional Ministries and Assistant to the Bishop. In 2016 when the roles of Director of Connectional Ministries and Assistant to the Bishop were combined, Rev. Christopherson was to serve as a bridge while a taskforce re-visioned program staffing. During that time, attention soon turned to the launch of the Annual Conference Shepherding Team in 2017 and the Conference Strategic Goals in 2019. With the retirement of Bishop Dyck and the onset of COVID, this work was never pursued.
In returning to a full-time Assistant to the Bishop, Bishop Schwerin said “I am aware of all the ways an Assistant to the Bishop maintains the integrity of the episcopal office through their work. The assistant gives oversight to training new District Superintendents and, in this case, the new DCM. Rev. Christopherson has done the work of two people for a long time and for that, we are grateful.”

An opportunity for saying “thank you” to Rev. Grandon-Mayer for her service as a District Superintendent on the Prairie North District will be publicized when details are made available.

Watch the video above for an invite from Bishop Dan Schwerin to join in the District Leadership Trainings to help our congregations be vital.
Click on the district names below to find out more details and register.
  • Prairie South - Sat., Jan. 21, 8:30 am - Noon at Dixon: First UMC
  • Prairie North - Sat., Jan. 28, 8:30 am - Noon at Freeport: Faith UMC
  • Lake North - Sat., Jan. 28, 8:30 am - 12:30 pm Online and at Buffalo Grove: Kingswood UMC
  • Prairie Central - Sat., Feb. 4, 8:30 am - 12:30 pm at Wheaton: Gary UMC
  • Lake South - Sat. Feb 25 - More details coming soon.
Deadline for Disaffiliation Inquiries in the NIC
There are a handful of congregations in the Northern Illinois Conference that have started to explore the Disaffiliation process as they come to a crossroads in their theological identity. Paul reminds us that: “when one part of the body hurts, we all hurt together.” We prayerfully hold these congregations in our hearts.

We are United Methodist and remain United Methodist. No congregation needs to make any decisions concerning their identity. The United Methodist Church will always be theologically diverse. John Wesley said: “Though we may not think alike, may we not love alike? May we not be of one heart, though we are not of one mind?”

The process to disaffiliate is a thoughtful journey requiring extensive time to explore. Should the congregation choose to pursue disaffiliation, the culmination of this process is a vote of the annual conference during the session in June.

Due to the intense work needed to move toward disaffiliation, the NIC Cabinet has named February 1, 2023, as the deadline for a Church Council to initiate exploration of disaffiliation. This process begins with a formal letter of request to their District Superintendent from the Church Council.

If you have further questions, please be in touch with your District Superintendent.
The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) will be awarding over 2,000 students a total of $4 million in financial assistance for 2022! These future leaders range from first-year Freshmen to Doctorate level students across the denomination.

The local recipients include:
  • Ryan Novak, Woodridge UMC
  • Sungmin Lee, Salem Korean UMC
  • Danaelyn Grace Baroja, Edison Park UMC
  • David Makobo N'shikala, First UMC at Chicago Temple
  • Lyda Hong, Minooka UMC
  • Jae Han Bernado, Bolingbrook: Friendship UMC
  • Minju Oh, Dekalb:First UMC

Thank you for your support in recognizing United Methodist Student Day, World Communion Sunday, and Native American Sunday, which help fund a portion of our scholarships. The remaining funds for these awards come from gifts, annuities, and endowments GBHEM has invested and administered for decades.

Scholarship Applications are now being accepted for the following UMC-based scholarships:
The NIC Anti-Racism Task Force is excited to be selected as one of the 38 projects chosen by the General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR) for a CORR Action Fund Grant. The transformative initiatives supported through these grants will have far-reaching impacts both within the United Methodist Church and throughout the world.

The NIC grant will alleviate some of the cost for those who are attending the Civil Rights Pilgrimage. (April 26, 2023 - May 1, 2023) This pilgrimage will take members to the heart of the Civil Rights movement to share and experience the history of those who fought for Civil Rights. It will also connect them to the social principles against racism and encourage on-going engagement and advocacy upon their return. Plans have been finalized and seating is limited. The cost is $999 for a single room ($599 per person for double occupancy). Click here for more information.
Communicator's Corner
The annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity begins TODAY, January 18 and runs through January 25. The theme for this year's week is "Do good; seek justice." This simple call is from Isaiah 1:17. With roots going back over 100 years, the dedicated octave of prayers has been jointly commissioned and prepared since 1966, by the Roman Catholic Church and the WCC. Learn more about the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and download materials to use from the World Council of Churches here.

NIC Discipleship Task Force is pleased to share that Discipleship Ministries’ 2023 Wesley Pilgrimage is now open for registration. Join United Methodist travelers worldwide on this 10-day pilgrimage (July 10-20, 2023). Click here for details. Scholarships are available, but the deadline is January 30, 2023. We are interested in hearing from you if you decide to go on this pilgrimage. Please email Amania Drane at adrane@umcnic.org.

It’s that time of year again when each local church gathers its attendance, program, and financial records and submits its statistical report to the Conference. The NIC office uses the statistics you report to asses how your church is doing, to report to the larger denomination, and to calculate apportionments for your church. It’s very important that we have accurate, up-to-date information. This way, your apportionments accurately reflect your church’s ability to contribute to the conference’s connection. 2022 statistics can be entered at umctables.org. The deadline is February 28, 2023. For resources and more information, click here. If you have questions, contact David Quinn at dquinn@umcnic.org.
Click here to get started.

The United Methodist Foundation of Northern Illinois Conference and Horizons Stewardship are partnering to provide on-demand generosity coaching to Northern Illinois United Methodist Churches at no cost and no obligation to you or your church. Click here to learn more and connect with Horizons.
Around the Denomination
Rep. Delia Ramírez Hernández (D-Ill.) was sworn into the 118th U.S. Congress on Jan. 7, becoming its first United Methodist Latino woman. She was elected Nov. 8, 2022, to Illinois’ 3rd District with more than 67% of the vote.

She is also the first Guatemalan-American to achieve such a high office in the political history of the United States, and, at 39, is one of the youngest members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Ramírez Hernández grew up attending Humboldt Park United Methodist Church in Chicago. She has served as a leader in the local church and the denomination, including roles with the Hispanic-Latino caucus of The United Methodist Church and the National Plan for Hispanic-Latino Ministry.
A record number of United Methodist early response teams have responded since a band of tornadoes devastated Selma and other Alabama communities. The United Methodist Committee of Relief (UMCOR), the denomination's relief arm, also gave the Alabama-West Florida Conference a $10,000 solidarity grant for immediate needs. The conference has this update on the need and the church response. Read more here.
Mark your calendar
  • Winter Leadership Training Events Click on the district name for locations and more details.
  • Prairie South - Sat., Jan. 21
  • Prairie North - Sat., Jan. 28
  • Lake North - Sat., Jan. 28
  • Prairie Central - Sat., Feb. 4
  • Lake South - Sat. Feb 25
  • Bishop's Days on the District - Clergy 10:00 am, Laity 7:00 pm unless otherwise noted. Click here for locations and more details.
  • Prairie North - Wed., Feb. 8 (Laity at 6:00 pm)
  • Prairie Central - Thurs., Feb. 9
  • Lake North - Mon., Feb. 13
  • Prairie South - Wed., Feb. 15
  • Lake South - Thurs., Feb. 16
  • Laity Convocation - Sat., Feb. 11 from 9 am - 12:30 pm Available online and at three in-person locations (Barrington UMC, Disciples UMC in Mt. Morris, IL, and Faith UMC in Orland Park, IL *Location Change). This year's theme is Thinking outside the Church, Making Community Ministry Happen. The guest speaker is David Teel, Director of Laity & Leadership at Discipleship Ministries. Registration is now open! Click here for details and to register.
  • Order of Elders - Tues., Feb. 28, 9:30 am - 1:00 pm at Sycamore UMC, 160 Johnson Ave, Sycamore. Pastoral colleagues will speak in a TED Talk platform (short presentations) to share their ministry, followed by group conversations with a couple of questions. The Bishop will share a message about his vision with a short Q&A afterward. Cost $15. Click here for details and to register.
  • Black Healing Collective Workshop - Sat., March 11 from 9 am - 1 pm at St. Mark UMC, 8441 S. St. Lawrence Ave., Chicago. This 4-hour workshop is for people of Black African descent and will define racial trauma, discuss the significant impact that racial trauma has historically had and continues to have within the Black community, including the UMC, and discuss coping strategies that have been used within the Black community for healing our trauma. Cost: $25 (includes lunch). Learn more and register here.

Around the Connection
The United Media Resource Center has several book titles to help our churches more forward in a post-pandemic world. Check out this listing of over 15 titles!

Resources include:
  • Digital Ministry and Leadership In Today's Church
  • Fresh Expressions in a Digital Age
  • From Social Media to Social Ministry: A Guide to Digital Discipleship
  • Inside Out: Everting Ministry Models for the Postmodern Culture
  • Launching a New Worship Community

Find the online catalog here. The UMRC email address is umrc@igrc.org. 
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