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eNews  · December 14, 2023

NUM Men 'Drop' Potatoes for Hungry Neighbors   

United Methodist Men from Grace UMC (Rockford), New Lenox UMC, and the Prairie North District partnered with Society of St. Andrew to give away fresh produce and other basics to their neighbors. The give-away at Grace distributed 42,000 pounds of potatoes (1.4 million servings of food) for people in seven counties. The New Lenox UMM's drive-through event distributed 45,000 pounds of potatoes and many other groceries.  

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Applications Due Dec. 15 for Church Ministry Grants

Grants for Creative Ministries, Congregational Development, and Social Reform are available from the Northern Illinois Conference office of connectional ministries. DEADLINE TO APPLY IS DEC. 15.

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How to Measure Clean Energy Progress

“Are we there yet?” is a good question for us to ask ourselves as we travel the road toward net zero emissions. Experts recommend that to avoid crucial tipping points, organizations should work to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. How will we know if we are getting there? The NIC Net Zero team offer some clear ways to measure your progress.  

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Anticipating Christ—in Our Neighbors 

At this time of year, the air is filled with joy, hope, and anticipation, with thoughts of Mary, Joseph, the star, the wise men, the angels, and of course, the Christ Child. As we embrace the love of Jesus, let’s remember to serve those in need, says Eugene Williams, NIC co-lay leader. Let us consider what gifts we can offer others, since we have already received the greatest gift of all.  

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Volunteer at First UMC Elgin's Warming Center 

First UMC in Elgin opened its doors to One Collective and its unhoused clients every night from Dec. 1 to March 31. The organization oversees its shelter sites and provides services from counselors, therapists, and case managers to help people to move out of homelessness permanently. They seek volunteers to help with check-in/check-out, implementing shelter guidelines, checking on guests, and cleaning. You can also train to be a shift leader. 

Sign up here

Property Insurance Invoices Are Available Online 

Churches enrolled in the NIC property insurance program may retrieve their quarterly invoices online. Your church four-digit id followed by @churches.nicum is your log-in name. The initial password is your church six-digit GCFA number. Note that the website is the same site used for apportionments and health and pension invoicing, but your log-in is different. If you sign in and see your apportionment invoice, please sign out and sign in again using the criteria above. If you need to rest your password, please send an email to David Quinn. (Passwords are not rest over the phone for security reasons.) If you have questions about property insurance, contact Dwayne Jackson, NIC's director of risk management and ministry protection.

Find the invoice portal here


50 Ways to Strengthen Ministry with Youth

How can your church help youth claim a vital faith, especially when there are so many voices competing for their attention? Remember that parental influence is the greatest factor, including with older teens, so equip parents. Give teens permission to ask questions and talk about their doubts. Extend leadership opportunities to as many youth as possible, including areas of church ministry other than youth group. These are just a few of the Lewis Center's 50 suggestions for how your congregation can strength ministry with teens and their families.


UM Missionary in Uruguay Leads Students to Serve

The Rev. Dr. Luis de Souza Cardoso is a United Methodist missionary in Uruguay serving as coordinator of a lay pastoral team and as chaplain at the Crandon Salto School. "One of my responsibilities as a missionary has been coordinating the chaplaincy and Christian education team at the Methodist school in Salto city in northwestern Uruguay," he says. "Many students at this school come from families with medium and high economic levels. They often do not directly know the needs and difficulties of other children living in poor suburban neighborhoods. In this context, the Christian education team seeks to help them learn and experience valuessuch as solidarity, respect, empathy, compassion and mercy toward those in need. We want to encourage children and adolescents to practice love for others as service and worship of God. One way we encourage our students to express solidarity it is to learn to give gifts generously. With this in mind, we coordinate two donation campaigns each year. This year we collected warm clothes for winter. In addition, our children and adolescents of the Methodist school had the opportunity to meet, play, and eat a lunch together with the children served in the YMCA project. We saw God acting in this meeting and how the feeling of empathy, affection, care and friendship flowed between them. We are grateful to God when we see the work in the mission producing results, leading new generations to look toward God and our neighbors with a look full of love, mercy and compassion. May we look around us this Christmas and discover where Christ is, to worship him and serve him with love." 

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Around the Conference

Around the Connection

  • Exploration 2024, Feb. 16-18, Orlando, FL. For young adults ages 18-26 who are considering a calling to ordained ministry. Registration is now open.

Books for Exploring Clergy Health

The United Media Resource Center has books to help clergy examine and make decisions for their health, as individuals or in groups. A sampling:

  • Extraordinary Ministry in Ordinary Time: An Invitation to Renewal for Pastors, by James A. Harnish 
  • Flourishing in Ministry: How to Cultivate Clergy Wellbeing, by Matt Bloom 
  • Health, Holiness, and Wholeness for Ministry Leaders, by John Matthews, Kristina Gutierrez, and Ross Peterson 
  • Pastor’s Family: Shepherding Your Family through the Challenges of Pastoral Ministry, by Brian and Cara Croft 
  • Path to Belonging: Overcoming Clergy Loneliness, by Mary Kay DuChene and Mark Sundby 

List of more selected resources

Find the online catalog here. To contact the center, send them an email message

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