February 16, 2022
Join the NIC Book Club this Lent
What kind of experience do you have in your prayer life? Is it full of joy or does it fall flat? Gary Neal Hansen, author of the Discipleship Task Force’s first selection for the NIC Book Club, suggests if your experience is the latter, conceivably you haven’t found a prayer method that you really connect with.

In his book,Kneeling with Giants,” Hansen offers a wide range of approaches to prayer that are all classics. What better time than Lent to search out a deeper relationship with the God who so loved the world…? Join the Discipleship Task Force in dropping to our knees by joining a group this Lenten Season. If you're interested, visit umcnic.org/Discipleship/NICBookClub to sign up.
Laity Convocation Videos Available to Download
Nearly 200 lay and clergy participated in the 2022 Laity Convocation via Zoom on Feb. 12. If you missed the event, you may download and share videos of the presentations.

Local Church Outreach Ministries

  • Greenstone UMC shares the story of the church's renovation project in the historic Chicago Pullman district.
  • Disciples UMC in Mt. Morris shares more on its children's outreach ministry Lot 12.
  • River Forest UMC leaders share a twist on traditional ministry and its partnership with Urban Village Church.
  • Roselle UMC shares how its online study group NitWits got its name and formed.
Order of Elders Meeting Registration Open
Registration is open for the 2022 Order of Elders gathering on Feb. 24. The event will be held via Zoom with speaker Kaitlin Curtice, author of "Native: Identity, Belonging, and Rediscovering God." Click here for details.
Registration Open for Vital Partnership Workshop
Communicator's Corner

Wespath Offers First Aid for Mental Health Training
First Aid for Mental Health erases the stigma surrounding mental health and emphasizes that it’s OK, not to be OK. It also teaches attendees how to accept their own mental health struggles without embarrassment or shame. The online training is being held on March 10 and 24 and is open to all UMC clergy and their spouses, church leaders, staff and congregation members, at no cost. Click here for details and to register.

BSA Charters Extended Through June 30
United Methodist leaders and the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) have agreed to extend existing United Methodist-related Scouting charters through June 30. The charters had been extended through March 31, but a longer period was worked out as the BSA’s bankruptcy case continues. Read press release.

Early-bird Discount for Five-Day Academy Retreat
Registration is open for the Five Day Academy for Spiritual Formation, "Come to the Waters," at the Siena Retreat Center in Racine, WI on Lake Michigan from Oct. 2 - 7, 2022, sponsored by the NIC Spiritual Formation Committee. The cost is $625 per person if you register before March 20, 2022. This includes tuition, private room and bath, and all meals. Registration cost after that date is $700 per person. Click here for details and registration. Download the brochure.

Town and Rural Grant Applications Open
It's grant application season again for the Keagy/Town and Rural Committee. If you are a small town or rural congregation in need of financial assistance for ministry opportunities, we encourage you to apply for a Keagy/Town and Rural Committee grant. If your ministry is in need of minor funding ($300-$500) be sure to apply to the PACK application. If you have a more expensive ministry in mind ($500-$3,000,) then the Keagy application is the one you need. Applications must be completed online by March 15.

Global Ministries EarthKeepers 2022 Trainings Open
Global Ministries EarthKeepers is a training program that equips U.S.-based United Methodists to launch and grow environmental projects in their communities. Topics include eco-theology, anti-racism, community organizing, and project planning. Spring classes are March 18 - April 2 online (application deadline March 1). Summer classes are July 18 - August 11 online (application deadline June 30). Find out more information here.
Mark your calendar

Around the Conference
  • Gospel History Event - (Feb. 21) 7 pm at Gary UMC, 224 N. Main St., Wheaton. Take a journey through the centuries of Gospel music, lyrically narrated by soloist Tanya Egler, member of the Weeden Family Singers and Director of the Wheaton College Gospel Choir. “How Can We Sing the Songs of Zion in A Strange Land?” is open to the public and will also be livestreamed at garychurch.org. Click for more info.

  • NIC UMM Annual Breakfast - (Mar. 12) 8:30 am. In-person and livestreamed from Grace UMC, 3555 McFarland Rd, Rockford, IL. Guest Speaker Greg Arnold, UMM's new General Secretary. Cost $10. No cost for pastors. Click here for details.

  • Harmony For Hunger Concert - (Mar. 18) 6:30 - 9 pm. Hosted by the Prairie North District UMM at Hononegah High School Performing Arts Center, 307 Salem Street, Rockton, IL. Cost $15. 100% of the proceeds will go toward area food pantries and the Society of St. Andrew's meals for millions. Click here for details.

Around the Connection

  • Resources for Observing Black History Month - The United Methodist Commission on Religion and Race has several resources available for churches and individuals looking to honor Black History Month in February. They include children’s activities, tips and best practices for white congregations as they observe the celebration, and a list of 29 different ways anyone can participate. Click here.

  • UMCOR Sunday - (March 27) Giving to this Special Sunday offering allows us to make a difference in the lives of communities and individuals whose lives have been upset by storms, wars, fires, displacement and climate change. This offering underwrites UMCOR’s “costs of doing business,” allowing UMCOR to keep the promise that 100% of any gift to a specific UMCOR project will go toward that project, not administrative costs. Click here for resources.
United Media Resource Center
Click here for a list of new books that can be mailed to your church or home address.

Go to igrc.org/umrc to access the online catalog.

Questions, comments? Contact UMRC Director Jill Stone at umrc@igrc.org.
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