June 15, 2022
2022 Annual Conference Highlights
The 183rd Northern Illinois Annual Conference wrapped up on Friday, June 10 after three days of worship, business, Bible study, ordination, and reconnecting with one another after being apart for three years.

Highlights:

Day One: The 2022 Annual Conference began with a standing-room-only Laity Session, which included updates from each district lay leader and worship. Bishop John L. Hopkins opened the Annual Conference session with the Memorial Service, honoring and remembering clergy, spouses and lay members who have passed away since our last gathering. The day included table talks led by the Annual Conference Shepherding Team (ACST) Co-Chairs around the #BeUMC campaign. Business ended with legislative sections for the first time in more than a decade and voting on legislation for the consent calendar, which included 17 items of concurrence and one non-concurrence. Click here for photos of day one.

Day 2: The Retirement Service opened the second day by celebrating 16 retirees with a combined 364 years of service. Click here to find the list of retirees, read their bios and watch the recorded livestream. The day included a vote on the consent calendar, which passed. One piece of legislation was lifted from the consent calendar - 700.12 (Elections for General Conference). After a substitute amendment to include the phrase: unless Judicial Council requires the 2020 delegation to be seated in 2024, the legislation passed. Bishop Hopkins delivered his Episcopal Address, asking if we are ready for a "spiritual awakening." He said, "Can we let the Holy Spirit of Pentecost weave us together and join with others to spread scriptural holiness across the nation? Are you ready to go? Let’s do it!" Watch the video. The afternoon included a Bible Study with Rev. Jane Eesley focusing on the story of the Philip and Ethiopian Eunuch in Acts 8: 26-40 and the Laity Address delivered by NIC Co-Lay Leader Eugene Williams. Click here for photos of day two.

Day 3: The morning included a vote to approve the 2023 budget totaling $6,073,45 - an $82,036 decrease from 2022. The day continued with award recognitions and the Bishop's Appeal offering. The Annual Conference closed with the Ordination and Commissioning Service welcoming back Bishop Jonathan Keaton to preach. Bishop Hopkins commissioned four candidates toward Elders Orders and ordained seven (six elders and one deacon). He recognized one person for the office of Deaconness. Photos may be viewed and downloaded for free at nicordination22.shutterfly.com (you will need to create a free account to download photos.)

Look for a complete wrap-up report and photos in the July/August Reporter and on the Annual Conference webpage at umcnic.org/AC2022.

For those who attended Annual Conference, please watch for a survey that will be emailed to you soon.

Save the date for the 2023 Annual Conference scheduled for June 6 - 8 and returning to the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center.
Record Collection for Bishop's Appeal to Support Ukraine
Churches and individuals across the Northern Illinois Conference responded with overwhelming generosity to this year's Bishop's Appeal to help support Ukraine through Global Ministries relief efforts. A total of $275,000 was raised!
Special thanks to Rev. Keck Mowry for organizing special t-shirt sales to support the offering. More than 150 shirts were sold on-site during the conference, totaling $2,370!
AC Mission Challenge

The NIC Board of Global Ministries thanks the more than 60 churches who helped fill the truck for the Annual Conference mission challenge. We collected nearly 4,500 pounds (and still counting) of most-needed items for the Midwest Mission Distribution Center (MMDC)! An additional $700 plus in cash was donated. Special thanks to the youth and adult volunteers from Our Redeemer's UMC in Schaumburg who helped take in the donations, even in the rain. Watch a video update from Chantel Corrie, MMDC's Executive Director.
Annual Conference Awards
Five churches received a One Matters award, which was created by the Discipleship Ministries in 2015 with the purpose of lifting up churches that have in recent years moved from 0 baptisms and 0 professions of faith into positive numbers as they redirected their focus toward intentional discipleship. In addition to the One Matters Discipleship plaque, each church will receive $1,000 to encourage the continuation of their work in discipleship. Other awards included Mission Links giving and Golden Cross. Click to read more.
Help Share Stories of Difference Makers
Have our churches “Made a Difference?" Of course, they have! Every one of our churches has helped change lives. We need stories to tell us how.

The NIC Board of Pensions introduced the “You Made a Difference” initiative at the 2022 session of the Annual Conference on June 9 to help share stories of how others within the UMC connection made a difference in our lives and also raise funds to support future clergy pension programs.

Please go to umcnic.org/differencemakers and click on “Tell Your Story” to open an online form. You can also click on the “Honored Difference Makers” tab to read stories that have been told by others.

To share more about this initiative and encourage people to participate, download the flyer. If you’re unable to copy and print flyers, email differencemakers@umcnic.org. We will send some to you. You can also email us to request paper forms to be used to submit stories.

We need your help to create a rich tapestry of stories that remind us how God is using those in our United Methodist connection to make disciples and change lives every day! Share a story!
2nd Annual Rally Against Racism

Last summer, the NIC Annual Conference Shepherding Team (ACST) and the Anti-racism Task Force (ARTF) joined together to spearhead a way for churches to visibly show their commitment “to live out the conviction that racism is incompatible with Christian teaching.”

Several churches participated by holding rallies in a variety of different ways. Churches were encouraged to be creative and hold Do-it-Yourself or DIY rallies. Click here to watch a video from last summer's rallies.

Join with churches across the Northern Illinois Conference this summer (May through September) to Rally Against Racism. Learn more and sign up today.
Communicator's Corner

GCUMM Shares New Path Forward for Scouting Ministry
The long-anticipated wait is coming to an end as a new era of Scouting ministry in The United Methodist Church makes its way forward. After months of negotiation between the Ad Hoc Committee of United Methodist’s leadership team and the Boy Scouts of America, a new “Affiliation Agreement” has been finalized and approved by the UMC Ad Hoc Leadership Team, BSA top executives and General Commission on United Methodist Men (GCUMM) top executives. The new agreement defines the roles and responsibilities of the various parties – the Boy Scouts of America, the local councils, affiliated organizations, and Scouting units – and specific information regarding indemnity and insurance agreements. Click here to read more. Learn more about the United Methodist and BSA future foundations at their informational webinar on June 16, 6:30 pm CDT. Click here to register.

In the News: Sterling UM Church Offers Free Crosses in
Support of Ukraine
Drive past the East Jordan United Methodist Church in Sterling and you'll see small, white wooden crosses sticking out of the grass. Members of the church started building the crosses when Russia invaded Ukraine as a way to symbolize their support for Ukraine. "When the atrocity started in Ukraine, the bombs started falling in Ukraine, our hearts break for all the people in the rest of the world that are in peril," Rev. Jim Miller said. Anyone can stop by the church to take a free cross to put in their yards. Miller said the crosses are a reminder to pray for those around the world. Watch the report from WQAD8. Read more from Sauk Valley news.

UVC 2022 Award Information
It’s time to nominate individuals or groups who exemplify service and advocacy efforts on behalf of children, youth and/or families throughout the Northern Illinois Conference. Any United Methodist member or congregation in Northern Illinois can nominate individuals both laity and clergy to receive one of these awards presented by United Voices for Children (UVC). To learn more about the three distinguished awards – Bishop Jesse. R. DeWitt, Katherine B. Greene, and Rev. Margaret Ann Williams – please go to unitedvoicesforchildren.org/programs/awards for descriptions, nomination forms and event information. Nominations are due July 31. These awards will be given virtually during the Raising Our Voices Through Resources; A Bridge for the Gap event on Tuesday, Sept. 13 at 11:00 am.

Racial Justice Prayer & Action Challenge
The General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR) recently launched the Racial Justice Prayer & Action Challenge, which starts on Juneteenth. Check out the resource webpage which now features weekly prayers and litanies, and will soon include French, Korean, Spanish, and Tagalog translations. Click here for more details.

Kids Above All Back-to-School Drive
Since 1894, Kids Above All (formerly ChildServ) has placed the safety, well-being, and education of kids above everything else. Beginning June 20 and running through the summer, you can help ensure that the hundreds of kids in their care have the supplies they need to succeed this school year through the agency's annual backpack drive. Click for details.
Mark your calendar

Around the Conference
  • Juneteenth Celebrations - First UMC in Orland Park is celebrating Juneteenth during their weekend services on June 18-19. Worship times: Saturday at 4 pm, Sunday at 9 & 11 am. Livestream at 9 am. Guest Speaker: Rev. Dr. Norval I. Brown. Download the flyer for more information. Trinity Church in Mt. Prospect and the b.r.e.a.t.h.e community are hosting a Juneteenth celebration on Saturday, June 18 from 3 - 7 pm. Click here for more information.
  • NIC Early Response Team (ERT) Training: Dates: Thurs., June 16 and Fri., June 17 from 7 - 9 pm for virtual recertification training. Cost: Free. A new member basic ERT training class will take place Sat., June 25 at First UMC in Morris from 8:30 am - 4:30 pm. Cost: $20. Click for details. If you are interested in either class, please contact NIC Disaster Coordinator Colin Monk at monks5@comcast.net
  • Safe Sanctuaries Training - The Northern Illinois Conference is offering six training options this summer to help meet our goal of ensuring safe spaces in our churches. The training is being offered both online via zoom and in person. For dates, more information, and to register, click here. **This free training is an alternate for those who cannot participate in other training options and does not include a background check. For videos, policies, FAQs, downloads, and more resources, visit umcnic.org/safesanctuaries.
  • Speaker Series: Race, America, and the Church - (June 23) 12 - 1:30 pm via Zoom. The Northern Illinois Conference, in partnership with the Indiana Conference and other groups, is pleased to host the second webinar of the 2022 Speaker Series with the topic "Unafraid: Stand up for Social Justice." Speakers: Rev. Derrek Belase, Rev. David Lagos-Fonseca, Rev. Dana Neuhasuer, Rev. Brian Tillman, & Rev. Kathy L. Williams. Moderator: Rev. Pamela Pirtle. Representatives from different conferences will discuss what the local church and their conferences are doing to address racism. Register and learn more here.

Around the Connection

  • Advertising Campaign Combats Summer Slump - thru June 19. Summer may be vacation time, but a denominational advertising campaign from United Methodist Communications reminds us that local churches don't take a break from serving and ministering to communities. The ads are expanding to additional outlets while encouraging people to join The United Methodist Church in engaging in a season of togetherness. Learn more.
United Media Resource Summer Update
Hi UMRC friends!

Please note that the services of the UMRC will be paused in June and July to prepare for and implement the transition of the UMRC to the Kumler Outreach Ministry in Springfield, IL.
 
* Items will not be mailed in the transition period but I encourage you to explore the UMRC online catalog for ideas for fall programming. You can request resources during the transition time using the online catalog and items will begin shipping in August. What ministries would you like to expand or begin this fall? What topics might new small groups like to explore? Borrow some resources and try something new!
 
* In June and July, continue returning resources to the UMRC at the usual address:

United Media Resource Center
P.O. Box 19207
Springfield, IL 62794-9207
 
* If you have overdue UMRC resources that are not being used this summer, please get them returned. Thank you!

Blessings!
Jill Stone
 
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