February 9, 2022
Laity Convocation Registration Closes Friday
There's still time to register for Laity Convocation 2022 coming up this Saturday, February 12 from 9 am - 12 pm.

Join the Board of Laity via Zoom for a morning of conversation to learn ways to grow your spiritual life 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 at noon. Registration is required to receive an emailed Zoom link. Click here for more info.
Registration Open for Vital Partnership Workshop
Communicator's Corner

The Council of Bishops (COB) of The United Methodist Church has condemned the recent hatred and racist attacks on houses of worship and institutions of learning in the United States. In a statement, the Council of Bishops referred to the recent attack on a synagogue in Texas and bomb threats against historically Black colleges and universities. “We cannot remain neutral when it comes to hate crimes, hate speech, and fomenting and committing violence in our world. We won’t have any moral grounds if we say we love God and yet take no action against racism and hatred,” said the statement, signed by Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey, COB president. Read the full statement.

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.

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.
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

  • 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.

  • Free Mental Health Seminars - United Methodists are invited to participate in "First Aid for Mental Health," a two-part webinar set for March 10 and 24. One in five Americans experiences mental illness each year, and the 2021 Clergy Well-being Survey revealed a steady decline in the mental and emotional health of clergy. The sessions will be led by Chris White, a hostage and crisis negotiator. Click to learn more and register.
United Media Resource Center
Click here for a list of new DVD studies and here for Lent and Easter resources 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 [email protected].
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