The Current Week in Review
September 7, 2018
Bishop to host meetings on 2019 General Conference

Bishop Frank J. Beard has announced he will host meetings throughout the Illinois Great Rivers Conference discussing the three plans which have been offered as plans for A Way Forward with regard to the issues of human sexuality and unity.

Three of the six sites have been confirmed:
  • Sunday, Nov. 11 -- Edwardsville St. Johns UMC, 4 to 6 p.m.
  • Monday, Nov. 12 -- Jacksonville Grace UMC, 4 to 6 p.m.
  • Saturday, Nov. 17 -- Chatsworth UMC, 10 a.m. to noon

Additional sites will be added as they are confirmed.
Summaries of the three plans

The center spread of the September issue of The Current includes a summary of the three plans being forwarded to the 2019 Special Session for consideration. These summaries were developed by Bishop Scott Jones, episcopal leader of the Texas Annual Conference in the South Central Jurisdiction.

Several persons have requested copies of the three summaries for download. You can click the links below to access all three plans.
Arguments mount on Way Forward proposals

Nearly 30 briefs, totaling more than 400 pages, confront the Judicial Council as it prepares to consider the constitutionality of three plans for dealing with The United Methodist Church’s schism-threatening division over homosexuality.

The  Judicial Council’s next meeting  is Oct. 23-26 in Zurich, Switzerland, and the bishops’ request is just part of a full docket. Oral hearings are scheduled in the matter, with each plan to get one hour.

The bishops asked the Judicial Council to decide in advance whether petitions in the One Church, Traditional and Connectional Conference plans — all due to be considered at a  special session of General Conference  Feb. 23-26, 2019, in St. Louis — would violate the church constitution.

Both the One Church and Traditional plans as proposed would require multiple changes in church law, but not changes in the church constitution. Many of the briefs, though, argue that certain petitions in those plans would violate the constitution and thus would have to be approved as constitutional amendments.

Changing the constitution is a high hurdle, requiring a two-thirds vote of General Conference and two-thirds ratification votes in the annual conferences. Other changes to denominational policies require a majority vote at General Conference.

The volume of writing from interested parties is among the most ever for a single Judicial Council docket item and suggests the high stakes as the church tries to make changes that will avoid a breakup.

In one brief, the United Methodist Council of Bishops asserts that “the present request for a declaratory decision may be the most important matter that the Judicial Council has ever faced.”
WCA officers in IGRC for a weekend

Keith Boyette and Walter Fenton, president and vice president of the Wesleyan Covenant Association (WCA) will be in the Illinois Great Rivers Conference to share insights, respond to questions and engage in discussion with interested clergy and laity regarding the upcoming Special General Conference and the Way Forward Process. Their schedule to date is as follows:
  • Friday, Sept. 14 - Marion Aldersgate UMC, 9 a.m. to noon
  • Friday, Sept. 14 - Fairfield First UMC, 2 p.m.
  • Saturday, Sept. 15 - Belleville St. Matthew UMC, 9 a.m.
  • Sunday, Sept. 16 -- Keith Boyette preaching at Alton Main Street UMC, 8, 9 and 11:15 a.m.

The WCA is backing the Traditional Plan and is offering several amendments as well.
Charge Conference forms on church portal page

The forms for the 2018 Charge Conferences are now available through the Church Portal page on the IGRC website.

Churches can access them by clicking on the Church Portal Page link on the IGRC Homepage. Click on the appropriate District from a dropdown menu. Select the appropriate church from a second drop-down menu and then enter the six-digit GCFA code as your password. Once on the Church Portal Page, select 2018 Charge Conference Forms, which will provide links to all of the forms.

Please note: complete ALL forms that apply to your congregation. Some forms (such as Parsonage Report, Pastor’s Report or Lay Servant Report) are listed as optional, but are required if you own a parsonage; each pastor needs to complete a pastor’s report as do lay servants.

Links to all of the “paper” forms which attach to the electronic forms are also provided for download and completion. Please attach these forms on the appropriate form.

A training event will be held from 10 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, Aug. 28 at the Conference Center. This session will be recorded and made available for playback. All other training events will be coordinated through your District offices.

Please contact your District Offices with any questions.
Online charge conference forms training

IGRC Communications conducted an Aug. 25 charge conference training at the Conference Center. The training was videotaped and is provided above as a guide to changes in the process since last year.

The video is also loaded on the Church Portal Page above the links for the 2017 and 2018 charge conference forms.

District offices are responsible for training within the district. Questions may be directed to them if you need assistance
Bishop issues challenge to IGRC churches

Bishop Beard has issued a challenge to IGRC congregations to grow their mission outreach:

Our commitment to generosity is one of the strengths of our denomination. 

Allow me to issue a challenge to each of the IGRC churches : I invite you to host a special Sunday between now and the end of the year dedicated to helping community ministries. You pick the Sunday, you choose the project, you collect and distribute what is gathered. 

Some of you will want to collect can goods to help stock a food pantry, some will want to collect blankets to be used by first responders, some will choose to collect back packs, and others will want to gather items that can be used to comfort someone that is grieving or sick. Of course, you can always bring items and funds for the OCOK campaign. The list of possibilities is endless.

My suggestion is to advertise what you are doing, set a realistic goal, invite folks to bring their items to worship, bless and consecrate the items on the altar and then distribute them to the places that have been selected. 

I look forward to hearing that your church took the challenge. If you need ideas just call the Midwest Distribution Center. There are many ways to let folks know that we care.

Generosity is contagious, let’s start an epidemic!
Call for Early Response Teams in Wisconsin

Early Response Teams are needed immediately in Wisconsin to assist with the aftermath of the recent tornadoes, heavy rain, and straight line winds.
Call or text Lynnette Jordan at 262-370-0707. Or email at:
Les and Debbie Dornan
Missionaries to itinerate in IGRC

Les Dornon  and  Debbie Dornon  are missionaries at a hospital in Nepal and will be in the Conference from Sept. 4 -18.

Visit the IGRC Missionary Itineration calendar. Find a time you would like to have the Dornans join you and contact Carolyn Yockey, 309-452-3936 or  to schedule a time for your visit. The Dornans' schedule will take travel time into consideration; stops should be relatively convenient and not require excessive miles each time.

Churches are asked to be supportive with meals, room and expenses.
2018 Journal-Yearbook

The 2018 Journal-Yearbook is at the printers but you can have a look as it is posted on the Conference website. This PDF can be downloaded or viewed by clicking on the icon above..
Living our Principles

A six-video curriculum with leader's guide on the Social Principles of the church. Produced by the General Board of Church and Society.
United Methodist Center Contact Information
USPS (U.S. Postal Service)
P.O. Box 19207, Springfield, IL 62794-9207
Office Phone: 217-529-2040
UPS and FedEx deliveries only use the street address:
United Methodist Center
5900 S. 2nd Street
Springfield, IL 62711
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