June 29, 2022
July/August Reporter Available Online
The July/August Reporter is now available to read online. This double issue is packed with photos and a wrap-up of the 183rd Northern Illinois Annual Conference. Also, Bishop Hopkins reflects on being connected to Christ at Annual Conference in his monthly column.

Read more about the AC Mission Challenge and special awards presented to churches across the conference. Also, be inspired by East Jordan UMC in Sterling, Ill., a recipient of the One Matters Award and is handing out hundreds of free crosses to show support and prayers for Ukraine.
Bishop Names New Annual Conference Shepherding Team Co-Chair
We give thanks to Rev. Myron McCoy for serving more than four years and beyond his term as the first clergy Co-Chair of the Annual Conference Shepherding Team (ACST).

Bishop Sally Dyck named Rev. McCoy and layperson Elizabeth "Liz" Gracie as the first ACST co-chairs in 2017. They've led the team from its start through the planning and development of the Conference's three strategic goals.

As Rev. McCoy rotates off, Bishop Hopkins names Rev. Hannah Hwa-Young Chong as the new Co-Chair to serve alongside Gracie. Rev. Chong serves Community UMC in Naperville and is the Board of Ordained Ministry rep on ACST. At Annual Conference Bishop Hopkins gave thanks to Rev. McCoy for his calm and steady leadership and introduced Rev. Chong. "We are going to miss Myron but I think I'm replacing him with someone as equally spiritual and gifted," said Hopkins.

Rev. Chong said while she was surprised when the Bishop called and asked her to take on this role, she's humbled and grateful for the opportunity.

"I have the highest admiration and respect for Myron and I don't know how I can follow in his footsteps," she said. "I look forward to working with Liz and I think we can all trust that the spirit will guide us with wisdom and empowerment as we work together and support one another."

The next ACST meeting is scheduled for September 10. Learn more about the team at umcnic.org/shepherdingteam.
2nd Annual DIY 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

Bishops Bemoan Supreme Court's Abortion Ruling
Quoting The United Methodist Church’s Social Principles, the denomination’s Council of Bishops released a statement saying the U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. denied the sacred worth of women who face “the tragic conflicts of life with life that may justify abortion.” Council of Bishops President Thomas J. Bickerton noted that the overturning of Roe v. Wade is a call for the church to rise above the fray to offer words of support and hope. Read press release.

Mission Journey Grants Available
New grants through United Methodist Volunteers in Mission (UMVIM) provide financial support for Northern Illinois Conference (NIC) districts and local churches with a passion and plan for organizing, funding and leading youth and/or adult Mission Journey teams. Teams supported by this grant must register with the UMVIM North Central Jurisdiction Coordinator and have medical/accident insurance coverage. In addition, teams must include a trained UMVIM Team Leader who has completed conference-approved training within the past three years. Grant funds of up to $1,000 per team can help cover expenses for UMVIM Team Leader Training, insurance, and Safe Sanctuaries Training. Summer/Fall 2022 UMVIM Mission Journey applications due July 1. Learn more and apply at umcnic.org/grants/umvim-mission-journeys-grant.

Share Stories of Difference Makers in your Life
The NIC Board of Pensions is seeking stories for its “You Made a Difference” initiative introduced at the 2022 Northern Illinois Annual Conference. The goal is 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. After hitting submit, click on the donate button to give a gift in honor of your Difference Maker. Click on the “Honored Difference Makers” tab to read stories that have been told by others.

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.

Kids Above All Back-to-School Drive
Running through August 26, you can help ensure that the hundreds of kids in the care of Kids Above All have the supplies they need to succeed this school year through the agency's annual backpack drive. Recommended donation drop-off is between July 27 and August 12. If you have a small group interested in volunteering, Kids Above All needs many helping hands to assemble the backpacks. To find a link to the Amazon wish list and more information, visit kidsaboveall.org/bts-drive. To volunteer, please contact Catherine Inserra, Manager of Faith & Community Relations, cinserra@kidsaboveall.org or 847-224-2870.

Every day, thousands of people flee their homes in search of a better life for their families. Mustard Seed Migration Grants, inspired by the well-known parable, are available to provide up to 50 congregations in the United States with up to $2,000 in funding to support one-time, community-based projects that assist refugees, asylum seekers, undocumented persons and migrants of all types. Applications will be accepted at any time prior to the September 1, 2022 deadline, and will be reviewed and processed within a month of receipt. Churches receiving grants in 2021 are not eligible for the 2022 program (review 2021 list here). For information on the application process, including selection criteria, please visit here

Mark your calendar

Around the Conference

  • Safe Sanctuaries Training - The Northern Illinois Conference is offering 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 remaining 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.
  • From Surviving to Thriving: Platinum Rule Leadership for Changing Times - Wednesdays July 27, Aug. 3, and Aug. 10. Fun and insightful online workshops that empower you to communicate with greater emotional intelligence! Sponsored by the United Methodist Foundation of the Northern Illinois Conference. Cost: $99. Limited to 36 participants. Click here for details.

Around the Connection
  • Social Media Day - June 30 With billions of active users, social media platforms can be an effective way to reach and engage new people. United Methodist Communications will celebrate Social Media Day on June 30, highlighting the many resources the agency provides to help churches maximize their social media potential. The agency will host a live learning session on Facebook Groups at noon on June 30 at Facebook.com/UMCom. It will cover key social media concepts and will include Q&A time. 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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