eNews  · August 10, 2023
 It's been a great vacation Bible school summer! NIC congregations have engaged neighborhood children in fun while teaching them about God's love. Faith in the Wild; Hero Hotline; Laugh, Learn, and Grow; and a food-truck party were just a few of the themes. Take a look at what they've been up to!

A Black Healing Collective Cohort is forming to enhance individuals’ capacity to help churches and communities become more trauma-informed and resilient. Black NIC lay and clergy will meet for 12 to 18 months to explore how racial trauma affects themselves as well as congregations and society. Monthly meetings will include skill-building and leadership development. Additional activities will include outings, travel, and learning and engagement opportunities. This will be a life-changing experience.

NIC's Lonnie Chafin Accepts NY Conference Post
Lonnie Chafin, who has served NIC as treasurer and director of administrative services for 24 years, has accepted the position of treasurer of New York Annual Conference, effective Oct. 1. Bishop Thomas Bickerton, who oversees that conference, has also invited him to serve on a team that will explore new expressions of Methodism during this time of change and opportunity in the UMC. “When Bishop Bickerton described forming a team to explore the potential for our future, I felt a whisper of call,” Chafin said.

“While we have big shoes to fill, we can be in prayer and joy for Lonnie and thankful for his 24 years of service to the Northern Illinois Conference,” says Bishop Dan Schwerin. “The Conference Council on Finance and Administration (CCFA) is working on a transparent, diverse, and in-depth process as we address our next steps. We will also call on the General Council on Finance and Administration to help equip our personnel conversations.”

“My first reaction to learning that Lonnie was accepting a position with the NYAC was of deep gratitude and awe for the way that he has served the NIC with grace and love while managing financial responsibilities and changing conference staff and structures for the past 24 years,” says Rev. Tammy Scott, chair of the CCFA. “We will be creating opportunities for the NIC to thank Lonnie and send him off to New York in good Chicago/Midwest fashion.”

Chafin expressed appreciation for his time with the NIC.

“I deeply love the Northern Illinois Conference and I’m so grateful for the trust placed in me as conference treasurer and what we accomplished together,” he said.
"Disciples Living Generously," a three-session online course, helps church leaders see stewardship and generosity as more than “How do we pay the bills?” but rather, “How do we grow generous disciples?” Learn how to move the focus from the church’s need for money to the disciple’s need to experience the joy of a generous life. This course is made available to you by your apportionment giving. Read more.

The COVID pandemic pulled the church into cyberspace, ready or not. Congregations that offered worship and small groups online in those years find that these still draw people. The UM Communications podcast "Pastoring in the Digital Parish" provides community and resources for leaders adjusting to ministry in digital space. In each episode, hosts talk with coaches and teachers who guide listeners in building an online presence for ministries, engaging individuals in community, and ushering faith communities into digital discipleship. Read more.
Flood survivors in the Nigeria Episcopal Area are getting much-needed food and other support through a $150,000 grant from the UM Committee on Relief. Last year, severe flooding between June and November killed more than 600 people and displaced some 1.4 million in the region. “Brothers and sisters,” Nigeria Episcopal Area Bishop John Wesley Yohanna said, “what we are witnessing today is the act of God through the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries. Today, all of us are witnesses of God’s love.” The government alone cannot meet the needs of all the flood victims, said Bryson Ahmed Ben Taraba, permanent secretary engineer of the State Emergency Management Agency. “If other churches and non-governmental organizations can imitate what UMC is doing, people will not suffer.”

  • Keep the Dream Alive, Aug. 27, First UMC at the Chicago Temple and Daley Plaza, Clark and Washington, Chicago.

Here are some resources for supporting your community's schools, teachers, and students.

  • Engaging Local Schools, DVDs and print material produced by the Lewis Center for Church Leadership 

  • The Mission-Minded Guide to Church and School Partnerships, by Jake McGlothin 

  • The Jonathan Effect: Helping Kids and Schools Win the Battle Against Poverty, by Mike Tenbusch 

Find the online catalog here. To contact the center, send a message to [email protected]. 
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