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News & Updates

February 8, 2024

** 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)

Laity Convocation 2024

Join the Board of Laity in Learning to Have Courageous and Respectful Conversations.

Registration closes at 2 p.m. TODAY Feb. 6!

Saturday, February 10

9 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

lunch options available

Belvidere: First UMC,

610 Bonus Ave, Belvidere

Click here to learn more and register.

Thank you to the 105 participants and leaders who showed up for District Leadership Training at Barrington UMC. We enjoyed fellowship, time with the Bishop sharing his vision and learning. Participants learned about theology, evangelism, stewardship, and communications.

Tuesday, February 13

Clergy - Elmhurst: First UMC

(232 S. York Rd., Elmhurst, IL.)

Laity - Lombard: First UMC

(155 S. Main St., Lombard, IL.)

Please join Bishop Dan Schwerin for a day of reflection and conversation on your district.

  • Clergy will gather for fellowship at 9:30 a.m. with the program beginning at 10 a.m. and concluding with lunch. (Registration needed.)
  • Laity will gather for an evening conversation from 6:30 to 8 p.m. (Registration is not needed.)

You are encouraged to join in the gathering for our district, but should the one planned for our district not work for you, any gathering can be attended.

Find all the details here

Upcoming Events.png

Click on the event title below to find out more information

Black History Month

February (Month)

Scouting Ministries Sunday

Any Sunday in Feb or March

Laity Convocation

Feb 10

NIC Delegates to General Conference meeting

Feb 11

Prairie Central Bishop's Days on the District

Feb 13

Ash Wednesday   

Feb 14

Valentine’s Day 

Feb 14

President’s Day 

Feb 19

Clergy Tax Seminar

Feb 22

Vital Partnerships

March 2

UMCOR Sunday

March 10

Daylight Savings Begins

March 10

NIC Delegates to General Conference meeting

March 10

Palm Sunday

March 24

Maundy Thursday

March 28

Good Friday

March 29


March 31

United Voices for Children Sunday

March 31

Play Showing at Elmhurst: First UMC

Join Elmhurst: First UMC for the viewing of Late: A Love Story, a one-woman show and a true story about Rachelle Zola and the truths she learned too late. A tribute to the people that so many deem as invisible, dismiss, and or/hate because of the color of their skin. Late: A Love Story, is captivating and will leave you thinking about and reimaging the world we live in. Sat., Feb. 24, 9 a.m. Learn More.

Mission Link Highlight -

General Board of Higher Education Scholarships

The General Board of Higher Education (GBHEM) offers financial aid to United Methodist students pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees. 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.

GBHEM, with your support, awarded over 2,100 students $3.9 million in financial assistance for 2023! These future leaders range from first-year freshmen to doctorate-level students across the denomination. 

A total of 27 students from the Northern Illinois Annual Conference were awarded a total amount of $62,100! Congratulations to all the winners! Listed here are those who have provided permission to share their award publicly.

Congratulations to those awarded from Prairie Central:

  • Aliza Joyce Bernardo - from Bolingbrook: Friendship UMC, studying at Loyola University 
  • Michelle Curiel - from Aurora: Wesley UMC Aurora, studying at Aurora University 
  • Kelly McKune - from Princeton: First UMC, studying at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary  
  • Joshua Lim - from Schaumburg: Salem Korean UMC, studying at University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign  
  • Samuel Oh - from Schaumburg: Salem Korean UMC, studying at University Of Wisconsin-Madison  
  • Chan Mi Park - from Schaumburg: Salem Korean UMC, studying at Boston College  
  • Collin VanDer Karr - South Elgin: Community UMC, studying at University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign  
  • Nicholas Zaccaria - from Naperville: Grace UMC, studying at Hendrix College 

Students who are members of The United Methodist Church may apply for a Fall 2024 GBHEM scholarship until March 13, 2024. Click here to learn more.

  • Considering higher education? - School Showcase is a great place to start. This powerful tool helps students learn about schools, seminaries, colleges, universities and other institutions serving United Methodists. Learn more.


General Conference Delegates’ Update

NIC delegates to the UMC General Conference, scheduled for April 23 to May 3, are now poring over new and updated legislation, looking forward to the orientation session, and considering topics they’ll be voting on, like regionalization of the UMC, changes to clergy pension plans, creation justice, and more. Their report describes their latest steps. Read more.

Volunteers Needed for Conference Ministries

The NIC needs the skills of lay and clergy to help guide program ministries, the administrative functions of the conference, and more. Learn what talents are needed and how to volunteer. Read more.

Sat., March 2, 2024

9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Hope UMC

2506 Caton Farm Road, Joliet 

Read more.

Other Upcoming Conference Events:


Statistical Reports Tutorial added

The 2023 Statistics Reports for local churches are due on Thursday, February 29. Thank you to those who have already started and to those who have submitted their data. If you have yet to start, please find instructions and a new tutorial here. If you have questions, contact David W. Quinn at [email protected]g. Click here to get started

Organ and other items available

Gary UMC in Wheaton is clearing out items that it no longer uses. Items available:

  • Dozens of glass communion cups and 3 metal communion trays
  • Estey reed organ, Style U with a Vox Humana Tremolo. Style U appears in the Estey Organ Co. of Brattleboro, VT catalogs from 1904-1909. Gary UMC inherited it from the Wheaton Historical Society almost 10 years ago, but it has not been used at the church. 

Interested people contact Deb Evans at [email protected], 630-668-3100

Apply for a Migrant Ministries Grant

Is your church in ministry with migrants in your community? Apply for a Migrant Needs grant, funded by the 2023 Bishop’s Appeal. Priority will be given to proposals that directly assist individuals or families and include cost-sharing or additional sources of support, whether in-kind, volunteer hours, or financial contributions. Read more.

Other grants available

  • The Foundation for Evangelism grants are given to be a catalyst to equip disciples to share the Good News of Jesus Christ. They focus on three specific areas: Raising Up Gospel Leaders, Engaging the Ministry of the Laity, and Equipping the Local Church. Deadline: Feb. 29 Read more.
  • The PACK (Planned Act of Christian Kindness) Grant is meant to support churches' work to be a blessing to those in the neighboring community to show them the love of Jesus Christ. Awards range from $100 to $500. Deadline: March 31 Read more.
  • The Keagy Grant is for larger ministry projects that benefit the community and strengthen the church through evangelism, discipleship, justice, and compassion. Awards range from $500 to $5000.Deadline: March 31 Read more.

It's Black History Month. The NIC offers you a variety of resources to observe this part of American history through worship, learning, and action. Find it here.

Encounter God with a Daily Photo Challenge  

Are you looking for a simple spiritual practice for Lent? Try the Lent Photo-a-Day Challenge, a daily devotional created by Rethink Church, a UMC organization. Each day, a scripture-inspired word is offered for your consideration. Throughout the day, see how the word inspires you or shows up in your life, and share your thoughts by posting a picture. Read more.

Free Methodism Course Offered

“Radicle Methodism: Back to our Roots,” a four-part, in-depth history course is now available from General Commission on Archives and History. It is a free resource available to individual United Methodists, local congregations, annual conferences and anyone interested in examining Methodism from the earliest days to the present. Read more.

NIC Property Insurance News

  • Diligent steps are underway to release the 2024 property insurance invoices. NIC churches enrolled in the conference property & casualty insurance program can expect a 10 percent increase over 2023 premiums. 
  • 2024 Certificates of Insurance are available on the Lay Leadership Portal Instructions are available here. Contact Debbie Rogers [email protected] for assistance accessing the portal. Contact Dwayne Jackson, Director of Ministry Protection & Ministry Protection [email protected], with questions and/or changes.
  • Additional information on the NIC Property & Casualty Insurance program is available on the conference website under Risk Management.

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, March 7, 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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