March 2, 2022 - Ash Wednesday
Bishop Hopkins' Instructions for Lent
As we begin a forty-day journey into Lent on this Ash Wednesday, I give thanks for the seasons of the Christian calendar that draw us into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.

During Advent, Christmas and Epiphany, we focus on the anticipation and birth of the Christ child for the whole world. Now, it is time to focus on Jesus as the one who suffers and dies to conquer sin and death. 
Beginning with Ash Wednesday, we slow down on our journey to Easter in order to appreciate the extent of God’s love for us. We shed all that keeps us from knowing, loving and serving God. We take on relationships that need to be mended and service that needs to be rendered. 
As we look toward the cross of Christ and reflect on our lives, I offer some instructions for Lent. In short, Lent is a time to slow down, breathe in, let go, and look up. 
United Methodists Stand with Ukraine
United Methodists around the world are condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine. As Christians “we believe war is incompatible with the teachings and example of Christ. We, therefore, reject war as an instrument of national foreign policy.” (2016 Book of Discipline, Social Principles ¶165.C).

We also know our God stands with the oppressed and calls on us to support them. See some of the ways United Methodist leaders, organizations and individuals are responding to the invasion of Ukraine through their prayer, aid and witness.

How you can help
  • Donations may be made to the United Methodist Committee on Relief’s International Disaster Response and Recovery through Advance #982450.
  • United Methodist Global Ministries’ Advance #14053A supports pastors in Ukraine and Moldova. 
Still Time to Register for Vital Partnership Workshop
Speaker Series: Race, America, and the Church
The Northern Illinois Conference, in partnership with the Indiana Conference and other groups, is pleased to announce a 2022 Speaker Series.

During this 4-part series that extends into December and includes a 6-week book study in the fall, we will journey together to prayerfully learn, engage, and tackle our personal and corporate role in addressing racism. We invite you to journey with us.

The first event will be held March 24.

Thursday, March 24, 2022, 12 -1:30 pm
via Zoom
Speakers: Tim Alexander, Sandy Harlan, Dr. Betty Hart, and Rev. Dr. Michelle Oberwise Lacock
Communicator's Corner

Nominations Seeking to Fill Board of Trustees Committee
Have you enjoyed volunteering with the Appalachian Service Project (ASP) but want to serve closer to home? Are you a home inspector? Realtor? Construction worker? Insurance broker? Project manager? Please consider offering your time and gifts to the NIC Board of Trustees. Three people will be completing their terms of service and special consideration will be given to laywomen. The NIC Nominations Committee has begun its work for the 2022-2023 year and beyond. If you are curious about volunteering for this committee or any other ministry area, please find more information and the interest form on the NIC's Committee Volunteers webpage. 

Wespath Offers First Aid for Mental Health Training
First Aid for Mental Health erases the stigma surrounding mental health and emphasizes that it’s OK, not to be OK. It also teaches attendees how to accept their own mental health struggles without embarrassment or shame. The online training is being held March 10, 17, 23 and 2. It's open to all UMC clergy and their spouses, church leaders, staff and congregation members, at no cost. Click here for details and to register.

Early-bird Discount for Five-Day Academy Retreat
Registration is open for the Five Day Academy for Spiritual Formation, "Come to the Waters," at the Siena Retreat Center in Racine, WI on Lake Michigan from Oct. 2 - 7, 2022, sponsored by the NIC Spiritual Formation Committee. The cost is $625 per person if you register before March 20, 2022. This includes tuition, private room and bath, and all meals. Registration cost after that date is $700 per person. Click here for details and registration. Download the brochure.

Town and Rural Grant Applications Open
It's grant application season again for the Keagy/Town and Rural Committee. If you are a small town or rural congregation in need of financial assistance for ministry opportunities, we encourage you to apply for a Keagy/Town and Rural Committee grant. If your ministry is in need of minor funding ($300-$500) be sure to apply to the PACK application. If you have a more expensive ministry in mind ($500-$3,000,) then the Keagy application is the one you need. Applications must be completed online by March 15.

Summer Internship Application Deadline Extended
Those interested in the Ethnic Young Adult Internship 2022 program now have until March 20 to submit applications. The eight-week program offers students of color experience working in Washington with Church and Society and partner organizations for social advocacy and justice. This year’s program is scheduled for June 5 through July 30. Click to apply.

Global Ministries EarthKeepers 2022 Trainings Open
Global Ministries EarthKeepers is a training program that equips U.S.-based United Methodists to launch and grow environmental projects in their communities. Topics include eco-theology, anti-racism, community organizing, and project planning. Spring classes are from March 18 - April 2 online (application deadline March 1). Summer classes are July 18 - August 11 online (application deadline June 30). Find out more information here.
Mark your calendar

Around the Conference

  • NIC UMM Annual Breakfast - (Mar. 12) 8:30 am. In-person and livestreamed from Grace UMC, 3555 McFarland Rd, Rockford, IL. Guest Speaker Greg Arnold, UMM's new General Secretary. Cost $10. No cost for pastors. Click here for details.

  • Harmony For Hunger Concert - (Mar. 18) 6:30 - 9 pm. Hosted by the Prairie North District UMM at Hononegah High School Performing Arts Center, 307 Salem Street, Rockton, IL. Cost $15. 100% of the proceeds will go toward area food pantries and the Society of St. Andrew's meals for millions. Click here for details.

Around the Connection

  • UMW Day of Giving - (March 23) starting at 9 am. Embrace the future for women, children and youth by giving to the Legacy Endowment Fund online through Facebook Live. You will hear from United Methodist Women staff and members as they share the impact of our work together. Find more information here. 

  • UMCOR Sunday - (March 27) Giving to this Special Sunday offering allows us to make a difference in the lives of communities and individuals whose lives have been upset by storms, wars, fires, displacement and climate change. This offering underwrites UMCOR’s “costs of doing business,” allowing UMCOR to keep the promise that 100% of any gift to a specific UMCOR project will go toward that project, not administrative costs. Click here for resources.
United Media Resource Center
Click here for a list Seedbed resources that can be mailed to your church or home address.

Go to to access the online catalog.

Questions, comments? Contact UMRC Director Jill Stone at
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