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News & Updates

January 26, 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 appointment announcements, sympathy notices and weekly eNews)

Mindfulness Painting Night a Success

Fifteen people gathered on January 14th for the Prairie Central District Mindful Painting Workshop at FUMC Elmhurst. Marie Strauch, a local art teacher, and Reverend Joseph Johnson led the workshop. In advance, Ms. Strauch invited participants to select 1-7 word passages of scripture to paint in acrylics. After blending white with either a “warm” or “cool” palette of colors, the participants were encouraged to embellish with themes from their scriptures.

Rev. Johnson led the participants through Lectio Divinia. They were asked to focus on a word or phrase which the Holy Spirit was suggesting to them. After some time, they were invited to pay attention to the thoughts or feelings evoked and to ask God to speak to them through those. Spiritual curiosity was encouraged as was speaking directly to God about the desires awakened. Finally, participants were encouraged to rest with God and say “Thank you.”

The participants expressed appreciation for this time to contemplate and paint. The room was abuzz with spiritual energy and appreciation for the fellowship.

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
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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

NIC Prayer Network Monthly Meeting

February 10

Laity Convocation

February 11

Ash Wednesday

February 22

Bishop Schwerin's Installation

February 26

Order of Elders

February 28

Prairie Central Lay Academy Spring

March 5, 12, 19 & 26

Black Healing Collective 4-Hour Retreat

March 11

Day Light Savings Begins

March 12

Becoming the Beloved Community

March 18

UMCOR Sunday

March 19

February Reporter Available Online

The February Reporter is now available to read online and will be delivered to mailboxes soon.

In this issue, we focus on how we can be welcoming. Get to know Bishop Dan Schwerin and learn about his first few weeks in our conference. Come to the table and find out more about 2023 Annual Conference.

Also, read about how we can practice hospitality and create spaces that are safer and more welcoming with Safe Sanctuaries (and find out which 143 churches met the high level of commitment). Plus, read about how two churches are continuing a toy ministry legacy. Get more information on events in the new year and read how your churches can be more welcoming.

Click here to read all this and 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.
  • 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.

Click here for more information and register.

Apportionments Highlight

NIC Anti-Racism Task Force

The Anti-Racism Task Force (ARTF) of the Northern Illinois Conference was created after NIC goals were established at the 2019 Annual Conference. They focus on helping our conference accomplish action toward living out the conviction that racism is incompatible with Christian Teaching.

The task force has been working diligently on many programs and offerings. In 2022, they presented a 4-part speaker series to prayerfully learn, engage, and tackle our personal and corporate role in addressing racism. Visit the Speaker Series webpage to watch the recordings, learn from the resources, visit the sponsors, and find recommended books to further your learning.

In 2023, one of the biggest events will be 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 on the pilgrimage.

A new offering in 2023 will be a Film Series (keep an eye on your eNews for more information). Other programs and offerings include Clergy Peer Reflection and Engagement Series (CPRES), Becoming the Beloved Community workshops, the Black Healing Collective, The Ephasis Project, and more.

The Anti-Racism Task Force is looking for input for ways we can make systemic changes, please take the survey here. If you are interested in joining the NIC Anti-racism Champion Team, click here.

We have seen an increase in email scams with people pretending to be the new Bishop. If you receive emails from the conference that are not from, it is a spam email. To be clear, the conference will NOT contact you or solicit anything via generic email. All financial gifts always go through the conference's regular collections process. If you ever get an email or phone call that seems strange or odd, contact your district administrative assistant to check it out before responding to such a request.


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 NIC Churches working in Community Ministry. Registration open until Friday, Feb 3

Register for Laity Convocation Now

Fifth Sunday Appeal for United Voices for Children

Since 1979, Northern Illinois congregations have provided more than $1 million to support United Voices for Children’s affiliated agencies—Kids Above All, MYSI, and Rosecrance—through the Fifth Sunday Appeal. Through this collaborative giving effort, United Methodist congregations of all sizes can make a real difference in the lives of at-risk children, youth, and families.

The next Firth Sunday is Sun., Jan. 29. Click here to learn more.


February is Black History Month! The General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR) created a list of 29 Ways You Can Participate in Black History Month. The list includes small and big things you and your church can do.

There are also many resources available throughout the United Methodist denomination for you to use.

Lent and Easter Resources

Lent starts on February 22. There are many resources available around from around the denomination. Check out the links below:

John Wesley Stained Glass

2023 Wesley Pilgrimage

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

Generosity Coaching Hotline available

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.

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

Statistical reports due

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 The deadline is February 28, 2023. For resources and more information, click here. If you have questions, contact David Quinn at

Click here to get started.

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.

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, February 10 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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