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eNews · February 7, 2024

Latest Conversation on Sharing a Bishop

Wisconsin Conference and NIC will start sharing a bishop on Sept. 1. (This is NOT a merger of conferences.) Participants on the two conferences' Shared Bishop Task Forces express increasing confidence and enthusiasm for the partnership. At their most recent meeting, members took a deeper look at the practical details of sharing a bishop.  

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General Conference Delegation Updates & More

NIC delegates to the UMC General Conference, scheduled for April 23 to May 3, are now poring over new and updated legislation, looking forward to the orientation session, and learning more about the proposed regionalization of the UMC. Two people stepped down from the delegation and were replaced by reserves. The delegation’s latest report describes their most recent steps. Read more

How you can participate: The Western North Carolina and North Carolina conferences have launched an informational website to help visitors attending the UMC General Conference in Charlotte, NC, April 23-May 3. It shares opportunities to serve at the legislative assembly, ways to connect with local churches, and tips for navigating Charlotte. Read more

Are you attending? If you will be serving the UMC General Conference as a marshal, page, or in another role, your conference communications team would like to know. We are also interested in hearing from churches that are sending choirs or other groups for worship leadership or other performances. Send a message to NIC communications to let us know. We’d like to brag about you!

In Case You Missed It . . .

  • 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.


Save Coins for Missions as a Lent Discipline  

One way to involve the whole family in observing Lent is to collect coins for a special ministry during this season. Consider choosing an NIC Missions Link ministry as a recipient. Once you have selected a project, decide what coins you want to collect. You may want to contribute a quarter a day. Or you may want to simply collect loose change each day. Make a container for your coins out of a plastic tub, a jar, or a box you can decorate. You can also use Discipleship Ministry’s Coins for Lent giving calendar as a guide. Read more  

Black History Month Resources

The NIC has created a resource list from a variety of UM organizations to help your church observe this part of American history through worship, learning, and action. Find it here

Methodist Church in Mexico is an Oasis for Migrants

As the number of migrants passing through Apaxco, a small town in central Mexico, has skyrocketed in recent months, the community’s Methodist church has continued to offer food, shelter, and hope to weary families riding freight trains north toward the U.S. A sign outside declares the Center for Attention to Migrants, housed in Holy Trinity Methodist Church, an “Oasis in the Middle of the Journey.”

Brian Jose Rivas Romero spent a night in the church in December with his wife and four small children. They fled their home in Honduras 27 days before, leaving two older children behind with relatives.

“We migrants have a hard journey. We’re tired. But then we find a place like this where we can rest, we can bathe our children, and the next day, we can continue our journey with a lifted spirit and renewed hope. It’s a blessing to stay here,” he told UM News during an interview at the center.

Over the years, the ministry expanded. With help from the UM Committee on Relief, church members remodeled part of their building to become a dedicated shelter, with areas for eating, sleeping, and bathing. Donated clothing fills several rooms. Free wi-fi and phone chargers are available. The local government provides water to the shelter at no cost and assigns health-care professionals and medicines for the shelter’s clinic. [Photo and story by Paul Jeffrey]

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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 North, Feb. 8: Both gatherings will meet at Faith 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. Registration deadline: Feb. 8, 2 p.m.

  • NI Justice for Our Neighbors Webinar, Feb. 15, 2 p.m. The rights of migrants seeking safety in the US is threatened by a Senate bill that would close the southern border, enact more severe expedited removal without due judicial process, and increase surveillance and criminalization of individuals. Learn what you can do.

Around the Connection

Black History Month Resources to Borrow

Here are some DVDs and books that would make good discussion resources this month:

“Chisholm '72: Unbought and Unbossed,” a 77-minute DVD 

“Standing On My Sisters’ Shoulders,” a 61-minute DVD 

The Cross and the Lynching Tree, by James Cone 

Freedom’s Prophet: Bishop Richard Allen, the AME Church, and the Black Founding Father, by Richard Newman 

Heritage and Hope: The African-American Presence in United Methodism, edited by Grant S. Shockley 

List of more selected resources

Find the online catalog here.

To contact the center, send them an email message.

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