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eNews · February 1, 2024

Update from Equitable Comp Task Force

The Equitable Compensation Task Force, established by last year’s annual conference session, is in the data collection and analysis phase of its work. The task force is charged with doing "a deep dive" into clergy compensation and report back to the 2024 annual conference. Learn about their progress so far.  

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Join the Civil-Rights Pilgrimage Lobby Day, April 18

The travelers on the Civil-Rights Pilgrimage last year will be going to Springfield, IL, for Lobby Day. They have a few seats available on the bus. Participants will visit their legislators to discuss racial justice and equity issues. The $15 fee includes transportation and lunch. Training will be provided. Register soon, while space is still available. Contact Rev. Toni Lucas at if you have questions.

Register here

Apply for a Migrant Ministries Grant

Is your church in ministry with migrants in your community? Apply for a Migrant Needs grant, funded by the 2023 Bishop’s Appeal. Priority will be given to proposals that directly assist individuals or families and include cost-sharing or additional sources of support, whether in-kind, volunteer hours, or financial contributions. 

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Property Insurance Invoices Are Coming

Diligent steps are underway to release the 2024 property insurance invoices. NIC churches enrolled in the conference property & casualty insurance program can expect a 10 percent increase over 2023 premiums. Notice of the release date for placement of the 2024 property insurance invoices on the prosper website will be communicated shortly. If you have questions, contact Dwayne Jackson, director of risk management & ministry protection.

Get a Preview of General Conference

Want to learn more about what will happen at the UMC General Conference this spring? Tune into the livestreamed orientation and briefing for General Conference delegates. It takes place on Feb. 29 and March 1, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sign up in advance as a visitor. There is no fee. 

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What to Do When You're a Church's Last Pastor

When Rev. Lorrin Radzik started her first appointment after seminary, the congregation excitedly expected her to increase attendance. Instead, the decline continued. Just nine months after arriving, 25-year-old Radzik led their final worship service. She observed, “I was sent to a church that had already died.” What can a pastor in that situation do?  


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In Case You Missed It . . .

  • Register Now for Laity Convocation: Growing Together in Love,” NIC’s Laity Convocation, will demonstrate how to have courageous and respectful conversation. Lay and clergy are urged to attend this gathering on Feb. 10, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at First UMC in Belvidere. Read more.

  • Volunteer for Conference Ministries. The NIC needs the skills of lay and clergy to help guide program ministries, the administrative functions of the conference, and more. Learn what talents are needed and how to volunteer. Read more.

  • Statistical reports are due this month. Time to collect and submit attendance figures and financial records. These reflect your church's health and inform apportionment calculations. Pastors and/or church administrators can enter 2023 statistics here. Deadline: Feb. 29. For resources and more information, click here. If you have questions, contact David W. Quinn. Start here.

Black History Month Resources

It's Black History Month. The NIC offers you a variety of resources to observe this part of American history through worship, learning, and action. Find it here.

Fresh Expressions Resource Site 

UM Communications has created a website for Fresh Expressions resources. Fresh Expressions ministries are developed for those who are not yet members of any church. These ministries include listening, service, contextual mission, and making disciples. UMCom’s website presents resources recommended by Michael Adam Beck, Florida Conference’s cultivator of Fresh Expressions. Read case studies, watch informative videos, and find recommendations on how you can start your own. Read more 

UM Chaplain Advocates for Sámi Rights in Norway

Encouraging justice and understanding is a big part of the Rev. Jon Erik Bråthen’s job. Based at Porsangmoen near Lakselv in Finnmark, Norway, the major has been a UM military chaplain for almost three years. His “congregants” are Sámi-speaking peoples, whose best-known means of livelihood is semi-nomadic reindeer herding.

Three years ago, a female Sámi soldier asked to speak with Bråthen after a nurse had downplayed her concerns. “She talked about individual incidents that were not so serious in themselves, but I realized that the sum of this made it serious,” Bråthen said. “The officers probably mean no harm. But they still don't realize that what they say and communicate is part of more than 200 years of systematic Norwegianization and discrimination.” At a later meeting, the soldier spoke of not being allowed to speak her own language or to use her knowledge during exercises.

“That conversation,” the chaplain said, “did something to me. All these incidents, from small stings to invisibility, are not OK. It needs to be addressed. What am I risking? By saying something, I'm taking a stand.”

Bråthen strives to model Jesus. “Jesus saw people,” he said. “He spoke out against injustice and was not afraid to take a stand.” (Photo: Rev. Bråthen, left, gets to know a community member, in a photo by Emil Skartveit.)

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Around the Conference

  • Every Wednesday at noon: Weekly Methodist Liaison Office update and virtual prayer meeting. Participants will hear from a Palestinian speaker and meet in small groups for prayer. Methodists and others from around the world participate. Send an email message to the MLO for instructions on how to join the online meeting. 

Clergy will meet from 9:30 a.m. through lunch.

Lay will meet from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Information for all locations can be found here.

  • Prairie South, Feb. 7: Both gatherings will meet at First UMC, DeKalb.
  • Prairie North, Feb. 8: Both gatherings will meet at First UMC, Freeport.
  • Lake South, Feb. 12: Both gatherings will meet at New Lenox UMC.
  • Prairie Central: Feb. 13: Clergy will meet at First UMC, Elmhurst. Laypeople will meet at First UMC, Lombard.

Clergy: be sure to register! Organizers must plan for lunch.

  • Laity Convocation, Feb. 10, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at First UMC, Belvidere. Theme: "Growing Together in Love: Learning to Have Courageous/Respectful Conversations." Clergy and lay are welcome.

Around the Connection

  • Scholarship Night, Feb. 2, 5 p.m., online. Learn about UMC scholarships and how to apply. Register by Jan. 31 to be entered for a $1,000 scholarship.

DVD-Based Studies for Adults

Looking for DVDs to prompt discussion in adult faith-formation groups? The United Media Resource Center has a number available to borrow. Here are some examples:

  • “Gospel of Mark: A Beginner's Guide to the Good News," a six-session study with Dr. Amy-Jill Levine
  • "On Purpose: Finding God's Voice in Your Passion," a four-session study with Magrey deVega, Sam McGlothlin, Jevon Caldwell-Bross, and Susan Robb
  • "Take the Flag: Following God's Signals in the Race of Your Life," a six-session study with Adam Hamilton

List of more selected resources

Find the online catalog here.

To contact the center, send them an email message.

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