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News & Updates

September 22, 2022

Are you tired? Are you weary?

Well, your pastor may be as well. I remember sharing with my congregation how I was struggling with something and a few of the members were shocked. One of them, Carla, was very honest when she said, “Honestly Jeffry, I didn’t know pastors struggled too.” She expressed the sentiment of many, I came to find out, who thought a call to pastoral leadership meant we magically had a buffer to being tired, fearful, hurt or exhausted. I reminded the congregation that indeed that is not the case, and we do not have to look any further than Christ himself how doubted and cried out. (Rev. Martin Lee, Director of Development and Redeveolpment, shared with the cabinet a great article from the New York Times by Tish Harrison Warren, titled "Why Pastors are Burning Out", that explores the stress of the position)

October is coming up and it is Pastor Appreciation Month. Please do not forget to thank your pastor for all the work done for Christ and for you. Love them, even if you have disagreed with them this year. Care for them, even though they may not show they need it.

Looking for some ideas?

Gift cards are great. Notes of appreciation go a long way. Children can paint a picture. A weekend get-away could be a life-changer for a burned out pastor. Send them to dinner and a movie. There is probably no need to buy them a Bible or meditation materials as I am sure they have all they need. Give them something they normally wouldn’t do for themselves. If they like the outdoors, Bass Pro Shop, if they like gardening, give them a gift card to a local nursery. Find out their likes and help them purchase something they may not purchase for themselves.

Finally, do not forget about spouses or children. They often live in a glass bowl and much is expected of them. I remember my children at Flowing Grace at 7am setting up even when they really didn't want to. I wonder how many times a pastor and spouse are going out for dinner and they end up at the hospital before the meal as there is an emergency call. I have missed a few dates in my life. 

While gifts are great to give, nothing will be better than a verbal thank you. I would also share that the thank you comments that stay embedded in my memories are not just when someone says those words but they tell me why. They share a story or reason they are thankful for something. That is a gift that will be treasured forever.

Thank you pastors. You are loved!

Rev. Jeffry Bross

Prairie Central District Superintendent

Prairie Central Informal Gatherings with the District Superintendent

October's Informational gatherings will be on the third Thursday, October 20. 

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.

*Note - Going forward, the meetings will be on the second Thursday of the month

Upcoming Events.png

Hispanic Heritage Month

Sept 15 - Oct 15

Leadership Institute

Sept 28 - 30

Pastor Appreciation Month


World Communion Sunday

October 2

Black Healing Collective 2022 4-Hour Retreat

October 8

Fellowship Asian Americans Lecture

October 9

NIC Latinx Ministries Celebration

October 15

Laity Sunday

October 16

Prairie Central Information Gatherings with the DS

October 20

NIC United Women in Faith Annual Meeting

October 22

United Voices for Children Sunday

October 30

National Native American Heritage Month

November (month)

All Saints Day 

November 1

Jurisdictional Conference

November 2-5

Prairie Central Fall Lay Academy

November 5 & 12

at Cornerstone UMC, 41W170 Russell Road, Elgin, IL, Registration $40.00

Books may be purchased at your favorite bookseller. More information here.

Help needed to welcome incoming Immigrants

More than 750 asylum seekers from Central and South America have now arrived on buses sent from Texas since Aug. 31, according to the city of Chicago.

In collaboration with local, state, and federal agencies, the city of Chicago is taking action to welcome and ensure these migrants have access to shelter, food, and other resources.

NIC Collection sites for newly arriving Immigrants/Asylees

Several churches across the conference in each district are serving as donation collection sites to be convenient, centralized locations in order to bring the items to the city. For the list of locations, contact and drop-off instructions, click here.

For information on volunteering, donation requests and other ways to help, click on the following links:

Contact Good Samaritan UMC in Addison or visit their website for more information.

A big THANK YOU to all who participated in Safe Sanctuaries trainings this past year either online or in person.

We are continuing to have more and more people trained in ways to protect the vulnerable in our communities.

You can learn more about Safe Sanctuaries here. If you have not been trained, please check out the online trainings through Safe Gatherings.

If you have any questions, contact Rev. Arlene Christopherson via email.

Mission Links Highlight - World Communion Sunday (October 2)

United Methodists join Christians of different traditions to celebrate World Communion Sunday on the first Sunday in October. World Communion Sunday began in 1936 as a way to recognize our ecumenical oneness in Christ and to bring Christians together in a spirit of unity and peace.

In The United Methodist Church, congregations throughout the denomination will also join together to receive a Special Sunday offering, you equip gifted, qualified students from around the globe to become the world changers God created them to be. Your gifts support racial and ethnic students in achieving their educational goals while also transforming communities. Fifty percent of the offering provides scholarships for graduate students from the U.S. and other countries. Thirty-five percent supports ethnic scholarships for undergraduate students. Fifteen percent funds In-Service Training Programs for racial and ethnic persons.

Need downloadable resources to get your congregation ready for World Communion Sunday? UMC Giving has assembled a collection of resources that you can download to promote this Special Sunday.


4-Hour Healing Workshop

Sat, Oct 8, 2022 9:00am - 1:00pm

St. Mark UMC, 8441 S. St. Lawrence Ave., Chicago, IL

The content of this 4-hour workshop is for people of Black African heritage and will:

  • Define racial trauma.
  • Discuss the significant impact that racial trauma has historically had and continues to have within the Black community including the UMC.
  • Discuss coping strategies that have been used within the Black community for healing our trauma.

Cost: $25 (includes lunch)   Space is limited.

Registration and more info here.

at First United Methodist Church, 232 S. York Street Elmhurst, IL

Lecture is FREE. A catered dinner will be available for $12 with advance registration.

More information and tickets here.


Laity Sunday is coming up

Laity Sunday is a day set aside to remember that every person is invited to embody God’s restoration project of healing love, justice, and world-repair. Sunday this year is October 16th, 2022, but Laity Sunday may be celebrated any Sunday in October to meet your church’s worship schedule. The theme for Laity Sunday this year is RISE UP! And Reveal God’s Grace (2 Timothy - 1: 8-12). Take the opportunity in your church to be in partnership with your pastor and give rest to your pastor by having a laity run worship service. Find resources here.

Accessibility Committee

Are you working to make your church more accessible to everyone? The NIC Committee on Accessibility Ministries invites you to apply for this year's grant program! An inquiry form can be found here. The national Disability Ministries of the UMC also has a grant program that is accepting applications through the end of September, which you can learn more about here.  To stay up to date with the committee's work, follow their Facebook page here.

They are also working to grow our committee and would love any volunteers who are passionate about inclusive ministry. Please contact Violet Johnicker if you are interested / 847-651-4857

Don’t miss discounted Advent resources!

Invite your community to worship with you this Advent with the help of customizable outreach resources. Choose from banners, signs, postcards, invitation cards, posters and more. All are available in a wide variety of designs, languages and messaging. Get up to $250 off these resources by using code UMCA22. This code is available on a first-come, first-served basis until funds are depleted, so don’t delay! (Free social media graphics always available)

Resources in English    Resources in Spanish

Looking for a new study for your small group, congregation or family this Advent? Cokesbury, the retail arm of the United Methodist Publishing House, has put together an interactive comparison chart of its Advent studies so Christians can find the study that best fits their need. Learn more.

Resources to help celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month

During National Hispanic Heritage Month, we recognize the achievements and contributions of Hispanic Americans in The United Methodist Church and around the world who have inspired others to achieve success. Find more resources here.

Church Conference Forms Available Online

2022 Church Conference materials, including the agenda, are available online at Please encourage your church leadership to begin working on gathering the information as soon as possible. The forms are designed for online submission and will look very similar to last year’s.

NIC Program Ministry Grants Now Open

Applications are being accepted for the NIC's three ministry grants, Social Reform, Congregational Development, and Creative Ministries. The deadline to apply is Nov. 14. To learn more about each grant and for an online application, click here.

Change Management Seminar | October 22nd | Evanston, IL

Supported by a grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc., join Rev. Dr. Reginald Blount on October 22nd from 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. on Garrett-Evangelical's campus for a free seminar on change management!

This seminar will teach congregational leaders how to:

  • Understand key issues that arise during organizational transformation
  • Develop tools for managing challenges, mitigating risk, and balancing priorities
  • Learn new methods for motivating others, engaging teams, and leveraging resources and networks
  • Think through a potential change initiative in your ministry setting and consider the necessary steps for successful implementation

Congregations can register as a team of up to 4 persons – one pastor and up to three lay leaders. Space is limited so register today!

Find out more and register here. 

Resources for the Local Church

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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