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eNews · February 21, 2024

Victor Melad Named to Lake North District

Bishop Dan Schwerin has announced the appointment of Rev. Victor O. Melad Jr. as Lake North District Superintendent, effective July 1. Rev. Melad currently serves at Edison Park and Oak Park: St. John’s and will follow Rev. Brittany Isaac, who has been appointed as lead pastor at Arlington Heights: First, effective July 1, 2024. 

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Shared Bishop Planning Looks at Office Space & More

Now that the North Central Jurisdiction of the UMC has confirmed that Wisconsin and Northern Illinois will share a bishop, the work of NIC's Shared Bishop Task Force has moved from hypothetical to reality. On Feb. 15, the committee considered possible locations of an episcopal office and residence, the budgetary implications of sharing a bishop, and gathering questions and concerns from conference constituents.  

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General Conf. Delegates Hone Parliamentary Skills

Meeting on Feb. 11 in Evanston, the delegation met with Bishop Cedrick D. Bridgeforth of the Greater Northwest Episcopal Area in the Western Jurisdiction, learned and refreshed their parliamentary procedure skills, and heard an opinion about proposed changes to the Wespath pension program.   

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Take Part in an Ethnic Leadership Panel

UM Communications' research department is seeking people who identify as Black, Latino, and/or Asian and who are in leadership roles within UM churches to participate in ethnic leader panel discussions. Panelists will take part in online surveys and focus groups throughout the year. Additional panels will be introduced soon. Use the links below to volunteer. 

Black leader panel

Latino leader panel

Asian leader panel

Historic Mother Bethel AME Church Vandalized

One of the most historic African-American churches in the U.S. was vandalized on Feb. 19, causing an estimated $15,000 in damages to clear and stained-glass windows that date to 1890. Mother Bethel is the oldest church in the country’s oldest African-American denomination. The AME (African Methodist Episcopal) Church is a full communion partner of the UMC. The Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia is collecting donations to help repair the damage.

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Good News and WCA Continue Lobbying

Good News and the Wesleyan Covenant Association, two unofficial traditionalist caucuses within the UMC, have advocated for conservative denominational policies. But for the past two years, both groups have been urging congregations to leave the UMC for the Global Methodist Church, a new breakaway denomination. Though aligned with the GMC, the two groups plan to lobby at the next General Conference. That doesn’t sit well with some UM loyalists.

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In Case You Missed It . . .

  • Insurance billing has been simplified. Churches with property and casualty insurance through the annual conference now need to log in only once to the web portal. Now available for download are certificates of insurance and auto ID cards. Watch for announcements of when insurance invoices are posted. (Churches can expect a 10 percent increase over 2023 rates.)


Grant for Young Women to Study Internationally  

United Women in Faith is accepting applications for the Theressa Hoover Community Service and Global Citizenship Award. The grant is awarded to a laywoman between the ages of 21 to 35 who wishes to travel to explore and study in a country or region other than her own. Priority will be given to projects that explore climate justice or racial justice. Read more.  

Beginners' Guide to General Conference

Who makes decisions for the UMC? What happens at General Conference? How are delegates chosen? Who can propose changes to UM rules and practices? Here's a helpful guide for those who've wondered about this worldwide gathering and legislative body. Read more

Participate in a Grief Survey

Share your experience of grief during this time of change in the UMC by completing this survey. Data will be combined with interviews, focus groups, and other research by Rev. Lynette Moran (PhD candidate), who researches the dynamics of individual and collective grief. Take the survey

UMC Helps Fight Measles in Congo

The UMC has launched an emergency plan to combat measles in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the disease is in resurgence. The strategy includes intervention in four priority areas: awareness, surveillance, vaccination, and case management. UM Global MInistries' Global Health ministry is working with the coordinators of the church’s four Congolese health councils to implement the program.

Dr. Damas Lushima, coordinator of the UMC's health department in Eastern Congo, said measles is a highly contagious and potentially fatal disease, especially for children. It can cause serious complications, including pneumonia, encephalitis, and death. 

“Children under the age of five are most at risk,” Lushima said. “A person carrying the virus can infect up to 90 percent of the unvaccinated people around them, so ensuring maximum vaccination coverage is vital.” 

The vaccine offers almost total protection if administered twice, said Dr. Joseph Assumani, coordinator of the Expanded Program on Immunization in South Kivu. [Photo by Chadrack Tambwe Londe]

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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. 

Around the Connection

More DVD Studies for Adult Groups

Some more DVDs that can prompt engaging conversation among adult learning groups:

  • “Be Like Jesus: Am I Becoming the Person God Wants Me to Be?” with Randy Frazee, 8 sessions 

  • “Encounter the Spirit,” with Carolyn Moore, 8 sessions 

  • “Lord’s Prayer: The Meaning and Power of the Prayer Jesus Taught,” with Adam Hamilton, 6 sessions 

  • “Signs and Wonders: A Beginner’s Guide to the Miracles of Jesus,” with Amy-Jill Levine, 6 sessions 

List of more selected resources

Find the online catalog here.

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