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News & Updates

December 14, 2023

** Note ** You are receiving the district eNews because your name is in our Lay Leadership Database as a leader in your local church. If you are no longer interested in receiving the District eNews, please click the Update Profile link at the bottom of the email. (Clicking UnSubscribe means you will not receive ANY emails from the conference including appointment announcements, sympathy notices and weekly eNews)

Click the video above to watch an Advent Greeting

from Prairie Central District Superintendent

Rev. Jeffry Bross.

Check out this video showcase for more Advent and Christmas Greetings. Videos are downloadable and able to be shared with your congregation.

There will be only 1 district eNews in December due to Christmas.

The next district eNews will be on January 11. Stay up to date with the latest conference events on the calendar, the latest News on the news page, and the lastest eNews in the weekly eNewsletter.

New Hope for Fire Victims  

People who lost their homes due to an apartment building fire in West Chicago last week have found hospitality and help from New Hope UMC, which made room to shelter their neighbors. You can help with financial donations by giving to We Go Together For Kids. All donations given there through Dec. 31 will benefit fire victims. If you are a landlord and can provide housing for the displaced families, please contact Molly Beck Dean.

Read the Daily Herald story here

Click here to donate

Upcoming Events.png

Click on the event title below to find out more information

Financiar las visiones de Dios/ Funding God's Visions

Dec 16

Blue Christmas/ Longest Night

Dec 21


Dec 25

United Voices for Children Sunday

Dec 31

New Years Eve

Dec 31

New Years Day

Jan 1


Jan 2

NIC UW Faith Mission u

Starts Jan 7

Human Relations Day

Jan 14

NIC MLK Celebration

Jan 14

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Jan 15

NIC Delegates to General Conference meeting

Jan 21

Prairie Central Leadership Training

Jan 27

SAVE THE DATE: Sat., Jan. 27

Barrington UMC (98 Algonquin Rd, Barrington)

SAVE THE DATE: Thurs., Feb. 13.

December Reporter Available Online

Learn about the Plarn project that is being woven across the conference, the UMM Potato drop and more conference updates. Bishop Schwerin talks about apportionments and how we are all connected. Rev. Arlene Christopherson talks about our reach beyond the our parish. Co-Lay Leader Eugene Williams reminds us of the anticipation of the season.

Check out the issue online and read the news stories here.

Small-town or rural ministries may apply for Keagy grants

Is your church in a small town or rural area (that is, not in an urban or suburban location)? Have you been dreaming of a creative ministry opportunity in your community, but need a little financial help? The Northern Illinois Conference offers two grants that are funded by a bequest from Martin Keagy, who had a big heart for small-town and rural churches. The deadline to apply is March 31. Learn more.

Mission Links Highlight - Human Relations Day

Human Relations Day is one of six denomination-wide Special Sundays that is celebrated on January 14. Human Relations Day is a denomination-wide Special Sunday designed to celebrate and raise awareness to further the development of better human relations by involving congregations in community and youth outreach. Gifts received for the offering build King’s vision of “the beloved community” through programs such as Community Developers and United Methodist Voluntary Services and Youth Offender Rehabilitation Programs. Learn more.

Bishops call for special North Central Jurisdictional Conference

The North Central Jurisdiction College of Bishops will convene a virtual special session of the North Central Jurisdictional Conference on Tuesday, January 23, 2024, at 7 p.m. CST for the sole purpose of approving new episcopal areas. Specifically, delegates will consider a proposal to form two new episcopal areas: (1) Northern Illinois and Wisconsin; and (2) East Ohio and West Ohio. Read more.


Volunteer at the Elgin: First UMC Warming Center 

First UMC in Elgin opened its doors to One Collective and its unhoused clients every night from Dec. 1 to March 31. The organization oversees its shelter sites and provides services from counselors, therapists, and case managers to help people to move out of homelessness permanently. You can volunteer to help them with check-in/check-out, implementing shelter guidelines, checking on guests, and cleaning. You can also train to be a shift leader and learn skills in de-escalation, overdose treatment, and other safety issues. Volunteers need to be 18 years old and submit to a background check. Questions can be directed to Rev. Felicia LaBoy. Sign up here. 

Other Upcoming Conference Events:


Apply for a Grant for Your Church's Ministry 

Looking for a financial boost to help get a ministry off the ground? Healthy churches look share God’s love with their neighbors in meaningful ways. The NIC offers a number of grants to turn your church’s plan into reality. The deadline for the Connectional Ministry grants is December 15.

Read more

For survivors’ sake, pledge to the Repair the Harm Fund today

What would you give to keep a child safe?

What would you give to help the wounded heal?

Northern Illinois Conference’s Bishop Dan Schwerin asks churches to prayerfully consider these questions as they make a pledge to the conference’s Repair the Harm campaign. It’s time for churches to submit their pledges and initial contributions to the Repair the Harm fund. Bishop Schwerin encourages churches to make their pledge as soon as possible. Contributions are payable over three years. Learn more.

Apportionment Deadline Approaching

A friendly reminder that the deadline to pay apportionments is approaching quickly. Be sure to check your Prosper account at before the year is over. As United Methodists, we are committed to connectional giving, and our primary way of doing that is through apportioned giving. By being a faithful 100% church, you allow the United Methodist faith to continue to grow around the world and here at home. Help spread our ministry and mission by catching up on your apportionments payment today. To find more information about apportionments, visit the Apportionments page.

Subscribe to Language-Specific UM Info & More

Pastors and lay people whose preferred language is Spanish, Portuguese, or Korean can receive the latest UM ministry ideas, updates, and resources in their language. Twice‑monthly UMCOMtigo and weekly DuruAllimi are both carefully planned for their readers. Click on these to subscribe:

Property Insurance Invoices Online

Churches enrolled in the NIC Property insurance program may retrieve their quarterly invoices online and may be viewed anytime here. Note, the website is the same site used for apportionments and health/ pension invoicing, but your log-in is different. If you sign-in and see your Apportionment invoice, please sign-out and sign-in using your church four-digit id followed by “@churches.nicum”. Questions on password reset should be sent to David Quinn. Questions on the Property insurance program may be directed to Dwayne Jackson

Tell Students: Apply Soon for a UMC Scholarship

  • Each year the UM Board of Higher Education and Ministry awards over $5.5 million in scholarships. The application portal will open Dec. 15. Applicants must be active, full members of the UMC for at least one year and pursuing a degree at an accredited U.S. institution. Read more
  • The UM Higher Education Foundation’s UM Dollars for Scholars program matches a sponsoring church’s $1,000 scholarship for a total of up to $4,000. Plan now to partner with UMHEF to help a student attend a UM-related college (such as North Central), university, or seminary. Matches in the NIC are made possible by UMHEF and the Midwest Methodist Foundation. Students may apply from Jan.1 to March 1Read more.

'The Recap' takes a look back at 2023

The latest episode, episode 13, of “The Recap” video series celebrates new and growing congregation, shares about UMCOR work in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and highlights United Methodists putting their faith into action. Produced by United Methodist Communications, “The Recap” helps viewers gain a better understanding of what is going on in The United Methodist Church, find inspiration in stories of ministry and learn how the denomination is transforming the world. Watch episode.

Payroll Partners Available to Assist Churches

The UMC General Council on Finance & Administration has added Payroll Partners, a national cloud-based payroll, timekeeping, and human resources solution provider, to its Ministry Partner Program. Payroll Partners, the newest addition to GCFA’s collaborative alliance, is dedicated to providing ministries in the connection with cohesive workforce management solutions. This service is available to NIC churches. Read more.

Company Helps Churches Fundraise with Parking Lots 

The UMC Council on Finance and Administration has named Park Thrive a ministry partner. This parking management organization aims to help congregations monetize underused parking lots and maximize funds from existing paid parking operations. "Park Thrive is excited to partner with the United Methodist Church to help congregations maximize parking income from their underutilized parking lots and existing paid parking operations,” says Matthew Kingsbury, chief operating officer of Park Thrive. “Through this exclusive revenue share program, UMC congregations can earn more from their parking lots to support their invaluable work and mission." Read more.

NIC Prayer Network Monthly Zoom Meetings

The NIC Prayer Network is an entryway for joining in common prayer for the ministries of the Northern Illinois Conference. NIC Prayer Network team meets every month on the 2nd Thursday at 10:00 AM to pray for the churches, pastors and ministries of Northern Illinois. The next meeting is Thursday, January 11, at 10:00 a.m. All are invited to join.  No preparation is necessary; just log in. The Zoom link is available here. Meeting ID: 813 9510 9144, Passcode: 459872. You can also call 312-626-6799.

If you’d like to pray but have other appointments at that time, email Katherine Howell at [email protected] and request the agenda or add to the agenda. Also, pray along each week for clergy, churches, leaders, and NIC Advances by visiting the Prayer Network website.

Other Resources

  • #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, small groups, pastors, children, and individuals.

Like Us on Facebook: Prairie Central District

Rev. Jeffry Bross

Prairie Central District Superintendent

[email protected]

312-346-9766 ext. 783

Leola Tucker

Administrative Assistant

[email protected]

312-346-9766 ext. 733

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Do you have news to share?

We are always looking for stories of what is happening in your church.  We welcome articles from churches highlighting ministries, outreach, and missions that 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 [email protected].

Check out our Submit News page for more details. 

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