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eNews · January 3, 2024

Shelter at FUMC Elgin Warms Bodies and Hearts   

First UMC in Elgin opened its doors to One Collective and its unhoused clients every night from Dec. 1 to March 31. The social-service agency offers counseling, therapy, and case management to help people successfully move out of homelessness. “The church is proud of the work they are doing. The world isn’t looking to hear a sermon, they are looking to see one, says Rev. Felicia LaBoy, FUMCE’s pastor.

Read more and learn how you can help

Join Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration, Jan. 14

Clergy and laity from across the conference will gather at St. Mark UMC in Chicago for the conference's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day observation. The celebration includes music, prayers, and readings. Rev. Dr. Iva Carruthers, general secretary of the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Conference, will speak. A light supper follows.

Read more and register

Latest Plans for 2024 Annual Conference Session

Under the theme "Yield," clergy and elected lay members will gather for NIC's 185th session, June 16-18, at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center. Bishop Dan Schwerin chose the theme from John Wesley’s Covenant Prayer, which includes the vow that “I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.” Many Methodists renew this covenant at the beginning of the new year.

Read more

Take the Wesley Pilgrimage This Summer 

Want to experience the beginnings of Methodism and discover how it can shape your practice of faith today? Join Discipleship Ministry’s Wesley Pilgrimage, July 27-Aug. 6. You’ll visit Epworth, Oxford University, Bristol, and London in the United Kingdom. It’s not just a tour; it’s a spiritual pilgrimage. Application deadline is April 15. Scholarship deadline for those preparing to be clergy or CLMs is Jan. 15.

Read more

Opportunities for lay and clergy to sharpen their skills take place this month. Here is the schedule for District Leadership Training days, with links to more information.

Property Insurance Invoices Are Available Online 

Churches enrolled in the NIC property insurance program may retrieve their quarterly invoices online. Your church four-digit ID followed by @churches.nicum is your log-in name. The initial password is your church six-digit GCFA number. If you need to reset your password, please contact David Quinn. If you have questions about property insurance, contact Dwayne Jackson, NIC's director of risk management and ministry protection.

Find the invoice portal here


Where Does Your Dollar Go from the Offering Plate?

The UMC General Council on Finance and Administration guides viewers on a "Journey of a Dollar" through a short video that traces the path a dollar takes once it enters the offering plate. You will see how 12 cents of every dollar given to your church supports individual congregations and our UMC ministries around the world. (The remaining 88 cents stays at your church for its ministries.)

Watch the video   

Get Your 2024 Special Sunday Planning Calendar

This calendar highlights all the Special Sundays, Awareness Sundays, and Annual Conference Sundays. You'll also find tips and tools to ensure you do not miss any opportunities for your church to come together and make an impact across the globe.  


UM Elder Curates Native American Heritage Display

To counter an Atlanta history exhibit at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta Airport that skimps on the Native American experience, UM elder Rev. Chebon Kernell has curated an exhibit featuring Indigenous artists to accompany the original display. It will be available to thousands of travelers for who pass through the airport over the next year.

The show, “This Land Calls Us Home: Indigenous Relationships with Southeastern Homelands,” features more than 60 paintings and objects by 26 contemporary Native American artists. Some of their work subtly refers to issues such as missing and murdered Native American women, abuse at Indian boarding schools, and climate change.

“The installation offers a unique opportunity to help facilitate a greater understanding of Native American and Indigenous peoples of the Southeast,” said Roland Fernandes, the top executive of Global Ministries and the United Methodist Committee on Relief. “Many of the artists have close ties to specific ancestral sites now in the greater Atlanta and Georgia region, which may also be of special interest to travelers visiting the Atlanta area.”

Read more and view some of the displayed work

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.

  • 2024 District Trainings. See story above.

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.

  • Lake North, Feb. 1: Clergy meet at Trinity UMC, Mt. Prospect. Laypeople meet at First UMC, Park Ridge.
  • 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.

  • Lay 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."

Around the Connection

Speed Sketch Bible Stories

Speed Sketch recounts Bible stories in an easy-to-understand narrated paraphrase from the New International Version. Each story on the DVD is offered in English and Spanish. In Speed Sketch, the listener starts with creating a very simple image, almost like a stick figure drawing. When you can turn a complex object into two simpler shapes, it is much easier to recall from memory. This is a huge help for overall simplification.

Some of the Resource Center offerings that you can borrow:

Speed Sketch Bible Stories, published by Wesleyan Publishing House

  • “Story Begins” (contains six Bible stories)
  • “Stories of the Patriarchs" (contains seven Bible stories)
  • “Parables of Jesus” (contains six Bible stories)
  • “Stories of Jesus in Luke” (contains six Bible stories)


List of more selected resources

Find the online catalog here. To contact the center, send them an email message

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