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News & Updates

January 12, 2022

** 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 apportionment announcements, sympathy notices and weekly eNews)

First United Methodist Church

232 S. York Rd., Elmhurst, IL

January 14, 2023, 10:00 am - Noon

Cost: $5.00

Join us for a morning of peaceful reflection and mindful painting. We will spend some time pausing from our hectic life and preparing our minds for thoughtful creativity through group meditation and Scripture.

Find out more and register by clicking here.

Martin Luther King, Jr Day is Monday, January 16

Bishop Dan Schwerin calls us to remember the living legacy of Dr Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorate the day with your church by sharing a video from Bishop Dan Schweerin (downloadable on Vimeo).

Join in the Conference event: Notes of Rest for Martin Luther Kind, Jr. Day at First UMC of Oak Park (324 N. Oak Park Ave., Oak Park, IL) on Sun., Jan. 15 at 4:00 pm. This event will highlight how rest can fuel and re-charge Dr. King's dream of the Beloved Community and the quest for justice. More information can be found here.

The NIC offers workshops on Becoming the Beloved Community for your church or district, there are openings for 2023. Please contact Dr. Richard Guzman at if you are interested in hosting a workshop. Learn more about the workshops by clicking here. Learn more about the NIC Anti-Racism Task Force here.

Mission Links Highlight - Human Relations Sunday, January 15

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.

A special offering taken the Sunday before Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday. 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. Churches are encouraged to donate through their local churches or give online here.

For more than half a century, United Methodists have observed this churchwide special Sunday in recognition of the message Jesus demonstrated during his life: all of God’s children are important.

One of the wonderful aspects of The United Methodist Church is that we can do so much more together than we ever could do on our own. Our gifts are part of building “the beloved community.” Find out more and access worship resources here.

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Prairie Central Mindfulness Painting

January 14

Human Relations Day

January 15

Martin Luther King, Jr Day

January 17

United Voices for Children Sunday

January 29

Black History Month


Scouting Ministries Sunday

Any Sunday in Feb or March

Prairie Central Leadership Training

February 4

Prairie Central Bishop's Day on the District

February 9

Laity Convocation

February 12

Ash Wednesday

February 22

Bishop Schwerin's Installation

February 26

Order of Elders

February 28

Prairie Central Informal Gatherings with the District Superintendent

Informational gatherings will be TONIGHT, on the second Thursday, January 12. 

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.

Next meeting will be February 9, 2022

Join leaders in your district in various training opportunities

Classes include:

  • Staff Parish Relations Committee Workshop - Rev. Arlene Christopherson
  • Connecting Money to Mission - Rev. Tammy Scott
  • Don't Give Up on Evangelism and Outreach but Don't Invite Them to Church - Rev. Jeffry Bross
  • The New Landscape of Christian Education - Rev. Sherry Steele
  • Loving God and Loving Ministry: Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me Earlier - Rev Mary Zajac and Rev. Cynthia Anderson
Register and Learn More

Please join Bishop Dan Schwerin for a day of introduction, reflection, and conversation on your district on Thursday, February 9. 

  • Clergy will gather at Naperville: Grace UMC - 300 E. Gartner Road, Naperville, IL. There will be fellowship at 9:30 am with the program beginning at 10:00 am for a time of worship, bible study, and dialogue together, concluding with lunch. Register here.
  • Laity will gather at Elgin: Journey of Hope UMC - 37W040 Highland Avenue, Elgin, IL. The gathering will be an evening conversation from 7:00 to 8:30 pm. Registration not needed.

Ministry Items Available

Frankfort UMC & Mokena UMC have rolled their ministries into New Lenox UMC.

The following are just a few items available…

  • Books
  • Audio/visual equipment
  • Tables & chairs
  • Book shelves
  • Desk
  • Dishes
  • Glassware
  • Kitchen Appliances

Should there be interest feel free to contact the following trustees for additional information:

  • Frankfort UMC, Doug Newman, (cell) 815-867-0901 
  • Mokena UMC, John Rothenberger, (cell) 708-557-6070

Thank you for making wishes come true with

Kids Above All this Christmas


Join us for Laity Convocation online or at one of our three in-person locations: Barrington UMC, Disciples UCM in Mt. Morris, and Faith UMC in Orland Park (new location). The theme is Thinking Outside the Church, Making Ministry Happen. We will be focusing on ways to reach out to our communities. A highlight will be to hear from our new resident Bishop - Bishop Dan Schwerin. We will also hear from David Teel as the keynote speaker, gather in Break Out Sessions, and hear from IC Churches working in Community Ministry.

Register for Laity Convocation Now

Educate to Advocate: Walk a mile in their shoes - NIC 2023 Civil Rights Pilgrimage

The NIC 2023 Civil Rights Pilgrimage was first reported in the December Reporter. Plans have been finalized and we can assure you that we will educate so that you can advocate and participate. Seating is limited. The cost will is $999 for a single room ($599 per person for double occupancy) for an inclusive 6-day, 5-night trip that will cover transportation, accommodations, entrance fees, and meals as we visit Nashville, Birmingham, Montgomery, Selma, and Memphis sites. Other occupancy options are available. Please contact Amania Drane at for questions and more information.

Pre-registrations are being accepted now.

Click Here to find out more and fill out an interest form


New sessions for Soul Reset!

It is a good thing to be about our Father’s work. But maybe we need to begin by listening to our Creator to get our priorities straight. Two new classes are starting - Rev Caleb Hong on Zoom class Sunday evenings January 8 - February 19 at 7:00 PM or Rev Becky Nicol's Zoom class has a new start date and will run from January 17th to February 21 at 2:00 PM. Books are available through Cokesbury, Upper Room, and Amazon. Click here for more information and to register.

Two Scholarships Opportunities Available for United Methodist Students

  • United Methodist Higher Education Foundation - Every year, UMHEF awards $2+ million to students planning to attend one of the 100+ UM-related colleges, universities, and seminaries across the country. Scholarship applications are open until March 1st, 2023. To learn more and apply, click here.
  • The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry - GBHEM offers financial aid to United Methodist students pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees. Every year, they award an average of $5.5 million to help students in the United States and abroad pursue their dreams through higher education. Scholarship applications are open until March 30th, 2023. To learn more and apply, click here.

Feedback Opportunity for United Methodist Parents with Young Children with Chance to Win Gift Card

The Family Faith Formation Initiative is seeking feedback from United Methodist parents with kids ages 0-3 to create faith resources for parents. If you are in this demographic and would like to participate, take the survey here - or pass it along to parents with young children in your congregation. Thirty participants will be selected at random to receive a $25 gift card. Feel free to contact Rev. Adrienne Stricker (Central UMC Skokie) for more information:

Ethnic Young Adult (EYA) internship program is now receiving applications for young justice seekers

The Ethnic Young Adult (EYA) program, through the United Methodist General Board of Church and Society (GBCS), is for young justice seekers willing to unpack their faith and identity and develop a deeper understanding of justice. Interns gain professional experience by serving with a placement organization (network partner of Church and Society) to address social injustices. These partner organizations do advocacy, public policy, nonprofit and grassroots organizing. EYAs work with their placement organization four days a week. Program Dates: June 4th – July 29th, 2023 Applications for the 2023 Summer Co-hort are due by March 6th, 2023. To learn more and apply, visit the internship page.

It is time to update the Lay Leadership Portal.

The new year often means new people serving in leadership positions at your church Please access the NIC Portal to our database to be sure that we have the correct names and contact information for your key church leaders. (Click here for a list of Leadership chairs we use.) To access the Northern Illinois Conference Lay Leadership Portal, click here. Contact David Quinn if you need access assistance. For instructions on how to update leadership portal, click here. If you have any other questions, please contact your District Administrative Assistant, Leola Tucker

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. As we draw near to God, we can listen and ask for direction and inspiration. This team meets every month on the 2nd Friday at 10:00 AM to pray for the churches, pastors and ministries of Northern Illinois.  The next meeting is Friday, January 13 at 10:00 am. All are invited to join.  No preparation is necessary, just log in.  The Zoom link is available here. Meeting ID: 897 7835 0821 Passcode: 152529 For more information email the Discipleship Task Force at

Resources for the Local Church

  • #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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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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