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News & Updates

August 25, 2022

Many churches have been holding Vacation Bible School and Day Camps through out the summer. Because of COVID, many churches had canceled, paused or altered their summer education plans in the past few years. We enjoy seeing churches getting back together - all the different themes, kids and fun being had.

Cornerstone UMC in Elgin welcomed over 60 children to Vacation Bible School as they went together to Adventure Island.

We would love to hear your stories and see your photos. Share with us by sending information and photos to

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Christian Education Sunday

September 4

Labor Day

September 5

Renewable Energy Summit

September 10

CPRES Retreat

September 11-13

UMM Spiritual Congress

September 16-18

Fresh Expressions 2022

September 18-21

Race, America and the Church - Undenied

September 22

NIC Fall Youth Retreat

September 23-25

Pastor Appreciation Month


Mission Links Highlight -

Kids Above All

Kids Above All (Advance #50000011) is one of the highlighted projects in the NIC Conference Mission Links.

Kids Above All is a Chicago based organization that places the safety, well-being and education of kids and families above everything else, so they can build better lives. The mission of the agency (formerly ChildServ) is to protect, heal and educate children and families so they can build better lives. Kids Above All is also an agent for increased advocacy for equal justice, equal rights and equal opportunity for all kids, in every community.

In addition, Kids Above All offers home-based early childhood and daycare programs to address a growing need in communities across the Chicago area. Those services –along with its work in foster care and adoption, housing for teens and formerly homeless young adults, and counseling – help kids, youth and families who are at risk in Cook, DuPage, Kane and Lake counties to have the best life possible. Find out more at

Kids Above All Backpack Drive is almost over!

Since 1894, Kids Above All (formerly ChildServ) has placed the safety, well-being, and education of kids above everything else. Running through the summer, you can help ensure that the hundreds of kids in their care have the supplies they need to succeed this school year through the agency's annual backpack drive. Click for details.

Nueva Vida UMC Wecomes New Pastor

On Sunday, Aug. 21, more than 50 people came to welcome their new pastor, Rene Bello at Nueva Vida UMC in Aurora.

2nd Annual Rally Against Racism

Approximately 1,400 cars passed by Friendship UMC in Bolingbrook on Aug. 14 as members participated in the 2nd Annual DIY Rally Against Racism event sponsored by the NIC Anti-Racism Task Force. This year, the church’s Faith Formation ministry

team incorporated this activity into their Intentional Discipleship System’s community engagement efforts.

There's still time to hold your own rally. Learn more and sign up today.

Gardening Community in South Wheaton


Aldersgate UMC is celebrating the successful start to a new gardening ministry in south Wheaton. Located on South Blanchard Street, just to the north of Rice Pool and Water Park, the community garden is designed to provide immigrants and refugees resettled through World Relief an opportunity to raise their own fresh produce. Aldersgate member and garden director Jeff Bray, who regularly serves as a tutor with World Relief, notes that “coming to a new country with a different culture takes many familiar things away. Growing familiar foods gives you back some sense of control.”

Many of the current garden plots are cultivated by members of a Burmese congregation that meets for worship at Aldersgate. Bray observes that these families are experienced farmers, and they “have done a great job of using the space available to grow a large selection of plants, using innovative trellises to maximize the yield.” Van Ro Sung, a member of the Burmese congregation, shares that her community “loves to see the garden because it brings them relaxation, peace, and happiness.” She adds that it is a blessing to share the harvest within the congregation, with members of Aldersgate, and with neighbors in the community.

Jeff Bray and co-director Ian Grigsby have plans to expand the garden in 2023. They will develop the existing watering system to support additional plots for new refugee families as well as settled residents looking for land to cultivate. In a possible partnership with Gary United Methodist Church, Aldersgate plans to dedicate a large plot to growing fresh produce for local food pantries. Question or comments may be directed to Pastor Daniel Cochran at

September Reporter Available Online

The September Reporter is now available to read online and is delivering to mailboxes soon.

In this issue, learn more about a grant awarded to St. Mark UMC in Chicago to start a Freedom School to provide equitable educational opportunities to K-12 students.

Also, Bishop Hopkins reflects on how the Boy Scouts shaped his early Christianity.

This month's Ministry Makers highlights First UMC in DeKalb and the church's groundbreaking on a new building to help expand their community outreach and read more about a group of NIC lay missioners completing licensing school through courses in Spanish at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. To read the full issue, click here.

Due to the lack of registrations, the Prairie Central District Picnic, planned for August 28 has been cancelled. We understand many of you are returning from vacations and/or are in the middle of back to church celebrations. We are sad that we will not get together, but are planning a future event that we hope to see many of you attend! 

Safe Sanctuaries Added Training

If you missed one of the six Safe Sanctuaries training opportunities this summer, the Northern Illinois Conference is offering one additional date to help meet our goal of ensuring safe spaces in our churches.

Date: Sat., Aug. 27 at 12 noon

(registration limited to 100 people)

Register and More Information

**This free training is an alternate for those who cannot participate in other training options and does not include a background check. For videos, policies, FAQs, downloads, and more resources, visit

Watch a message from Bishop  Hopkins about the NIC Renewable Energy Summit

Online Via Zoom & In Person - Euclid Avenue UMC, 405 S Euclid Ave, Oak Park, IL

Free event with lunch included.

Learn about sustainable renewable energy practices for local churches, ways to reduce your carbon footprint and hear a report on the United Methodist Interagency Just and Equitable Net-Zero Commitment

  • Presentations by Rev. Jenny Phillips, Senior Technical Advisor for Environmental Sustainability at Global Ministries, and Jake Barnett, Wespath Benefits and Investments
  • Solar and Geothermal tours
  • Resource Tables

More information here.

Fresh Expressions makes space for leaders and pastors to use both traditional services as well as innovative forms of church to live out Christ’s mission. One does not replace the other, but rather creates a mutual benefit for both—a “mixed economy of church.”

Prairie Central Event

Tuesday, September 20 - 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Naperville: Grace, 300 E. Gartner Road, Naperville

Other Events

  • Sunday Worship Experience with Rev. Dr Beck - Sunday, September 18 at 9:30 am at Schaumburg: Our Saviour's, 701 E. Schaumburg Rd., Schaumburg, Ill. (847) 352-8181
  • Teaching Option - Sunday, September 18 at 2:00 - 5:00 pm at Schaumburg: Our Saviour's, 701 E. Schaumburg Rd., Schaumburg
  • Prairie North Teaching Option - Monday, September 19 - 9:00 am to Noon - Freeport: Harmony, 2600 W Pearl City Road, Freeport
  • Prairie South Teaching Option - Monday, September 19 - 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm - Dixon: First, 202 S. Peoria Ave, Dixon
  • Lake South Teaching Option - Tuesday, September 20 - 9:00 am to Noon - Oak Lawn: First, 10000 Central Avenue, Oak Lawn
  • Lake North Teaching Option - Wednesday, September 21 - 9:00 am to Noon - Park Ridge: First, 418 Touhy Ave, Park Ridge

Register and find out more information here.

Prairie Central Informal Gatherings with the District Superintendent

Beginning Thursday, September 8 and every second Thursday through May 11. 

Zoom Links (The links will stay the same for all meetings, though clergy links and lay links will be different)

Clergy Gathering 9:00 am link.

Lay Gathering 7:00 pm link.

Lay persons: This is NOT for Lay Leaders only. It is intended for all lay persons who want to know more about what is going on and be connected.

CPRES (Clergy Peer Reflection & Engagement Series) was created for clergy. The premise is simple offer a brave space for clergy to have the difficult conversations about racism without fear of judgement, condemnation, and always in a spirit of understanding. The retreat (Sunday, September 11, 6:00 pm - Tuesday, September 13, 12:00 pm Noon) is designed to build a beloved community, willing to share from deep within their hearts. Participants will spend 3 days and two nights at the retreat, building community through worship, Eucharist, spiritual renewal, and holy conversations in small groups. Learn more and register here.

Speaker Series: Race, America, and the Church

The Northern Illinois Conference, in partnership with the Indiana Conference and other groups, is pleased to announce a 2022 Speaker Series.

The third event will be held September 22.

Undenied: No Longer Willing to be Unheard

Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022, 12:00 - 1:30 pm

Rev. Chebon Kernell shares insights and learning related to indigenous communities’ history, present work being done, and how we can be in solidarity as we prepare for the future.

In-person at Our Redeemer's in Schaumburg and online

Register and Learn More

NIC Job Opening - Events Coodinator

We are currently seeking a qualified candidate to come join the NIC Program Area team as an Events Coordinator/Administrative Assistant.

The event planner is responsible for all events and registration offered at the conference and district level, either through planning, or guidance for those who do the planning, so every event will have the same high quality of branding and execution. The event planner must have exceptional customer service skills and support capabilities with a passion for planning events. They must be able to work with staff teams and engage volunteer committees to accomplish the task.

This job is a hybrid, full-time position with flexible hours. Some weekend and evening work is required for event support. The position includes both Health Insurance upon hire (with wellness incentives) and Pension Benefits after a vesting period. 

If you know someone who would be interested, click here for the job description and to apply.

Do you have news to share?

We are always looking for stories of what is happening in the local church.  We welcome articles from churches highlighting ministries, outreach, and missions which tell the story of being vital Christians. Events considered should be of conference-wide appeal and United Methodist-related. 

District eNews are sent out the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of the month. Please submit stories and events by end of business on the 2nd and 4th Mondays. Space is limited. Stories of fewer than 250 words are preferred. Submissions will be edited at the discretion of Communications staff. Information can be emailed to

Check out our Submit News page for more details. 

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Resources for the Local Church

  • Volunteers in Mission Sunday (Any Sunday in July or August) - Songs, Liturgy, Posters, Mission Moments, Sermon Starters, and more
  • Christian Education Sunday (September 4) -Tips for getting your christian education started and to continue it growing.
  • Labor Day (September 5) - Ways Churches can honor the weekend.
  • #BeUMC Resources -Tool Kits, Social Media Kits, Graphics, and more.
  • Social Media Shareables - Free graphics for social media for different events, months and ministries. (Through Outreach, log in is needed but resources are free)
  • UMC Giving Resources - Mission Moments, Special Sunday Info, Leader Kits, Pew Cards and more.
  • United Media Resource Center - Lending library of Christian materials for local churches - for small groups, pastors, children and individuals.

Like Us on Facebook: Prairie Central District

Rev. Jeffry Bross

Prairie Central District Superintendent

312-346-9766 ext. 783

Leola Tucker

Administrative Assistant

312-346-9766 ext. 733

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