February 2, 2022
Laity Convocation Coming Up - Feb. 12
The focus of Laity Convocation 2022 is spiritual formation. In Romans 12, Paul tells us “Don’t be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds.” We can do that by forming and growing our spiritual self, so join us on February 12 online to learn how and what you can do to grow your spiritual life.

Join the Board of Laity via Zoom for a morning of conversation with speakers:

  • Kara Lassen Oliver - Associate Publisher with The Upper Room
  • Rev. Dr. Regina Bridges Davis - Spiritual Clinical Counselor & Ordained UMC Deacon
  • George Groves - NIC United Methodist Men President

Cost is $10. Registration deadline is Feb. 11. Click here for more info.
Registration Open for Vital Partnership Workshop
Communicator's Corner

February Reporter Now Available
Check out the new design! In this issue, Bishop Hopkins shares what he learned about generosity from his childhood and thanks NIC churches for stepping up their apportionment giving in 2021. As we celebrate Black History Month in February, learn how the Heritage Center is working to preserve stories of Black Methodists in America. Also, read how the latest omicron surge is affecting churches and learn about the CodeRed bus tour across the conference. Read more.

NIC Risk Management Ministry Memo - Winterizing your church
As winter arrives, the change of seasons brings with it special challenges for churches in all climates. Whether it is as obvious as ice and snow in the North or as simple as a change in temperatures or dropping leaves in the South, the changes call for attention in order to protect the ministries of your church and those in attendance. Read more.

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.

Join the Conference-wide 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.

Easter Outreach Resources
Encourage those in your community to take part in your Easter worship services with the help of our outreach resources. Choose from banners, signs, postcards, invitation cards, posters and more that feature a wide variety of designs and messages. Order here and use promo code UMCEA22 to get up to $200 off. Resources are also available in Spanish here (use promo code UMCEASP22). This offer is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Once funds are depleted, the code will expire.

Invitation to join #BeUMC campaign
United Methodist Communications has launched a new #BeUMC online toolkit to assist church leaders in creating engagement in their church communities focused on the work of the Holy Spirit being done through the people of The United Methodist Church. #BeUMC is a grassroots effort built upon powerful stories of congregations and individuals living their faith. Read more.

In the News: Cedarville UMC Sewing Circle
Every Monday, the sounds of sewing machines and loud laughter echo from Cedarville UMC's common area. The source? Wanda's Circle. A group of women gather every week ready to knit, sew and stich the day away. "We started almost two years ago. We have found so many projects that people call me all the time and ask can/will you be able to do this we'd really appreciate it," Wanda's Circle founder Pamella Ferguson told WREX-TV.
Mark your calendar
Around the Conference

  • 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

  • Clergy Get Smart About Your Taxes - (Feb. 7) 11 am - 12 pm. Join this free webinar presented by Discipleship Ministries. Clergy face some unique challenges when it comes to things like Social Security payments, estimated tax payments, housing allowances or exclusions, and reimbursed expenses. Join the Rev. Don Joiner, a certified financial planner, to help navigate the preparation of taxes and planning for a sound financial future. Click here to register.
United Media Resource Center
Click here for a list of new DVD studies 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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