News

Board of Pensions approves navigator help for pastors

published 11/14/2016
Cost Stewardship has partnered with the Gravie company. I like to call them “Navigators on Steroids.” The Gravie company (www.gravie.com) specializes in empowering employees to make good decisions with their benefits dollars. The fit of what they do with what we felt we needed was unmistakable.

Right now, this program is only available to full-time pastors of local churches who receive the health insurance allowance in addition to salary. This is because the Conference Board of Pensions is paying for the service with health insurance dollars that remain from the former plan. Since the money was originally received for and by full-time pastors, it makes sense that they should enjoy the benefit. However, the program could be expanded if another source of funding is found.

Springfield Laurel hosts post-election unity service

published 11/10/2016
By Paul Black SPRINGFIELD – Rev. Dr. Kent Lolling, directing pastor of Springfield Laurel UMC, noted the irony as he welcomed more than 100 people to a post-Election Day Service of Unity.   “On 9/11, people of our country reached out to one another, drew strength and hope from one another, and from their individual faith experience,” Lolling said. “We are here on 11/9 to seek healing and peace for our nation following a divisive and polarizing election.  Once again we come together to draw ...

27 IGRC students benefit from United Methodist scholarships

published 11/7/2016
A total of 27 students have been awarded a combined total of $44,000 to further their education with scholarships from General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.

Funds for the scholarships are derived from the United Methodist Student Sunday offering which will be observed on Sunday, Nov. 27 this year.

Church leaders challenged to lead with courage

published 11/7/2016
Bishop Grant Hagiya told the 750 church leaders gathered at the Council of Bishops’ Extended Cabinet Summit to lead with courage for the sake of the future of The United Methodist Church.

Hagiya, who leads the California-Pacific Conference, was one of the keynote speakers at a summit that focused on cultivating vital congregations to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Sunset Home -- a Golden Cross Ministry

published 11/7/2016
Sunset Home is a non-profit Golden Cross ministry delivering all levels of senior care in a Christian environment including Skilled Nursing, Intermediate Care, Short-Term Rehabilitation, two Independent Living communities, plus has the largest State Certified Alzheimer’s Unit in Southern Illinois. As we continue to serve in faith, over half of our residents are financially unable to pay the full cost of their care.

United Media Resource Center expands service area

published 11/7/2016
The United Media Resource Center, housed in the Illinois Great Rivers Conference office, will be expanding its service area Jan. 1.

Persons and churches in the Northern Illinois Conference will be offered the opportunity to use the UMRC in an agreement reached between the Northern Illinois Conference and the Illinois Great Rivers Conference.

Currently, Northern Illinois Conference has had its own resource center but due to the recent retirement of staff, an opportunity presented itself to work in partnership.

Bishop calls IGRC to prayer Jan. 22-28

published 11/4/2016
Bishop Frank J. Beard is asking that the Illinois Great Rivers Conference set aside the week of Jan. 22-28, 2017, as a Week of Prayer for the Way Forward Commission and its work.

Bishops planning for 2019 General Conference

published 11/2/2016
The Council of Bishops said it intends to call a special General Conference in 2019, but stopped short of actually making the call — expected after the Commission on a Way Forward begins looking at the church’s teachings on homosexuality and church unity.

The conference would be in February or March, and the council asked the business manager of the General Conference to move forward with exploring venues and a bid search. The 2020 General Conference is already scheduled for May 5-15 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Albion honors first responders

published 11/1/2016
Albion UMC held a service to honor its area first responders. In all, 22 active duty fire, police and EMS personnel attended with their families. A new banner was hung in the sanctuary as a permanent fixture representing the armed forces and first responders. The church’s United Methodist Men donated $300 for the purchase of Strength for Service to God and Community books, which were given to the first responders. Photos courtesy of Bryan Hart

Decatur Christ UMW completes mat project

published 11/1/2016
United Methodist Women from Decatur Christ UMC completed 24 sleep mats and presented them to Jerry Pelz, director of Northeast Community Fund.

Decatur Sharon UMC celebrates Heritage Sunday, honors 50-year members

published 11/1/2016
Sharon UMC recognized 50-year members of its congregation in a special Heritage Sunday worship service Oct. 30.

Registration for Covenant Keepers now open

published 11/1/2016
Online registration is now open for Covenant Keepers 2017 which will be Jan. 30-31 at the Holiday Inn and Convention Center in East Peoria.

Registration and more information can be found at: www.igrc.org/CK2017. Registration is $30 per person and includes a Monday noon luncheon.
The theme for this event is: CK2017: Keepers of the Covenant.

Keynote speakers for the event are Dr. Jay Carter and Dr. Sandra Whitacre Herron.

UMC #GivingTuesday set for Nov. 29

published 11/1/2016
Mark your calendars!

UMC #GivingTuesday is Nov. 29. Last year, thanks to the extravagant generosity of United Methodists, $2.8 million was raised on UMC #GivingTuesday.

UMC #GivingTuesday is part of an international movement to extend the spirit of giving thanks into the Advent season. It offers an opportunity to start off the holiday season by giving instead of receiving.

Court to bishops: Rule on 'proper' questions of law

published 10/30/2016
Bishops must answer all questions of law that are properly before them, The United Methodist Church’s top court said in two cases stemming from the ordination of gay clergy.

Two cases, from the New York and Northern Illinois annual conferences, centered on a bishop’s decision of law regarding the conference board of ordained ministry and qualifications for candidacy and ordination.

Judicial Council looks at clergy penalty questions

published 10/30/2016
How penalties imposed by trial courts were handled in two cases involving clergy was the subject of separate oral hearings Oct. 25 before the United Methodist Judicial Council.

In a case from the Illinois Great Rivers Annual Conference related to a trial court penalty imposed on a clergyperson, the Judicial Council referred to earlier rulings that a bishop has no authority to make substantive rulings on judicial or administrative matters.

50 years at the console: celebrating organist Marcia Hishman

published 10/24/2016
This fall marks the 50th Anniversary that Marcia Hishman has served as the organist of Bloomington Wesley UMC. Marcia and her husband, Richard, arrived in Bloomington in 1966. The couple had been living on the East Coast, when Marcia’s husband accepted a position to teach at Illinois Wesleyan University. During the summer of 1966, Wesley had been looking for an organist and after receiving Marcia’s resume, recommendations, and tapes, the church offered her the job before the couple even arrived in Bloomington. And 50 years later, she is still inspiring and delighting the members of Wesley UMC.

Trailblazing pastor celebrates 100th birthday

published 10/24/2016
Retired pastor, the Rev. Mary Erwin celebrated her 100th birthday Oct. 3 at the care facility where she lives in Marion. While the 100th birthday is a milestone in and of itself, Erwin was a trailblazer for women in ministry as the Illinois Great Rivers Conference found out when she was presented a Certificate of Completion for the Five-Year Course of Study in 2006. What makes this trailblazing was that she completed the Course of Study 51 years earlier – in 1955 – a year before women were granted ordination rights by the General Conference.

Liberian Ebola survivors report sight problems

published 10/19/2016
Two health facilities of The United Methodist Church in Liberia have confirmed that most of the Ebola survivors seeking care have complaints about their sight and general body weakness. Authorities at these facilities — Ganta United Methodist Hospital in Nimba County and Weala United Methodist Clinic in Margibi County — said most of the sight problems reported by their patients are a lingering result of suffering from the Ebola virus.

2017 Annual Conference to be shortened by half day

published 9/26/2016
Bishop Frank J. Beard, in consultation with the Executive Team of the Annual Conference Sessions committee has announced that the 2017 Annual Conference will be held June 8-10 at the Peoria Civic Center.

Plans are to have the clergy and laity sessions begin at 10 a.m. Thursday with the opening worship set for 1:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon with the Service of Ordination and Commissioning being held on Saturday morning.

Beware of employment poster scam

published 9/26/2016
It appears that another round of scam threatening letters is going around regarding employment posters. These letters look very "official" and threaten the church with dire consequences if you don't buy their posters. Churches are not exempt from posting requirements, but ALL the posters you need are available for FREE download from the Illinois Department of Labor.

GCFA clarifies insurance letter

published 9/26/2016
The general secretary of the General Council on Finance and Administration has sent out a follow-up letter in an attempt to clarify matters for local churches as it relates to insurance coverage.

Grace joins Brachear's gold medal team

published 9/26/2016
Karter Brachear, a 17-year-old student at Taylorville High School, inducted Grace Herschelman into the Gold Medal Team just before the start of the Hillsboro High School football game Sept. 2. Grace, her parents and grandparents are members and active participants in the Hillsboro UMC.

Important numbers for 2017

published 9/26/2016
Clergy salary and benefits costs for 2017 have been posted on the IGRC webpage at www.igrc.org/numbersfor2016. These will be helpful to you as you prepare 2017 budgets and Charge Conference forms.

Mt. Vernon UMC celebrates 142 years of ministry

published 9/26/2016
Mt. Vernon UMC, located in east central Champaign County, marked its 142nd anniversary of the dedication of its building Aug. 14. However, members recently found old records that date the congregation back 175 years. The first service of the Methodist Episcopal Church was held in Hezekiah Phillippe’s log home in 1841. Those early pioneers met in each other’s homes until 1874, when the current building was erected on land donated by the Phillippe family; their descendants are still members.

Second VIM trip to the Philippines underway

published 9/26/2016
The 2017 Philippines VIM Team is in need of generous donors and outreach partners to help empower the ministries and church workers in that region to help bring the Good News of the Kingdom of God in that part of the world. Individuals who are interested in joining the 2017 Philippines VIM Team may do so through Bunny Wolfe, IGRC Coordinator of Missions and Outreach or the team leaders: Rev. Steve Granadosin (Industry/Vermont UMC) or Rev. Cecilia Granadosin (Mt. Sterling, Columbus UMC.)

The Well for youth workers

published 9/26/2016
TROY -- The Well, a seminar for youth workers, will be hosted in several locations around Illinois in October.  Hal Hamilton, youth and college ministry team leader for Tulsa First UMC in Tulsa, Okla., will be the presenter (either live or video, depending on the site).    Additional presenters include Clint Benesh, Tim Price and other guests depending on the site.  The registration fee covers the program and meal. Bring members of your team with you and the registration is about half the cost ...

Training grants applicants sought

published 9/26/2016
The Office of Congregational Development is offering training grants for the remainder of 2016. The grants are being offered to church teams which include non-paid lay people.

Grant monies are not limited to United Methodist-sponsored workshops. The deadline for the requests is Oct. 15.

Umembudi to itinerate in IGRC Oct. 24-Nov. 7

published 9/26/2016
General Board of Global Ministries missionary Jacques Umembudi will be itinerating in the Illinois Great Rivers Conference Oct. 24-Nov. 7.
Umembudi, program director of Wings of Caring aviation ministry in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is supported by six IGRC churches and will be open to additional engagements while in the IGRC.

Vera Madlem celebrates 90 years of church membership

published 9/26/2016
Vera Madlem, the eldest member of Geneseo First UMC, passed a milestone Sept. 26 when she celebrated 90 years of church membership.
Vera is 99 years old and joined the church as a girl. She is currently a resident at Hammond Henry Extended Care.

Bishop Frank Beard stopped by Hammond Henry facility Sept. 24 when he was in town to speak at Geneseo First UMC. He congratulated Vera on her incredible anniversary of church membership.

Waynesville's church building marks a century

published 9/26/2016
Waynesville UMC celebrates its building's 100-year anniversary with a special worship and rededication Aug. 21.

CONAM donates humanitarian aid to Standing Rock

published 9/15/2016
The IGRC Committee on Native American Ministries is calling for prayer for a standoff on the Standing Rock Reservation and has donated $1,500 in humanitarian aid to the encampment.

A message on Standing Rock from Bishop Bruce Ough

published 9/12/2016
I stand with my Lakota and Dakota brothers and sisters because I believe the central question of the creation story is at the heart of their lament and their protest: What will we do with the blessing of power God has given us? This is a particularly poignant God-question for those of us who have the power of privilege in our country and the world. I urge all Dakotas United Methodists to wrestle with this question so central to our faith and witness.

United Methodists stand with Standing Rock

published 9/12/2016
Shortly after a federal judge’s decision was released, the US Army Corps of Engineers, Justice and Interior departments jointly announced they would stop, at least temporarily, pipeline work under Lake Oahe. The government agencies asked the pipeline company to voluntarily halt construction within 20 miles of Lake Oahe while the Army reconsiders the decision to proceed under the National Environmental Policy Act or other federal laws.

A thumb's up for education

published 8/22/2016
Now is the time to think about the next school year. As we begin school in August, schools in Liberia will also begin. A donation of $175 to IGRC Advance # 6995 - Liberia Scholarships will help children as well as older students attend school in Liberia. This small amount will make a huge difference in the life of a student and that student’s family. Will you consider sponsoring a student in one of the Liberian United Methodist Schools?

Beardstown UMC builds new parsonage

published 8/22/2016
Beardstown First UMC had an Open House for new church recently. The parsonage, which conforms to The Book of Discipline, was constructed utilizing local vendors who had opportunity to showcase their skills.

Beulah Camp builds new dormitory

published 8/22/2016
The shell of a new dormitory has been erected at Beulah Camp where the former 65-year-old dormitory was demolished. The stone blocks were used for the footings of the building as well as being used for pillars for 14 new cabins. The second-story floor of the old dormitory was cut into sections to provide flooring for the new 16 x 20 foot cabins and the roofs are also sections of the old dormitory roofs. These new buildings are being used for classrooms and some are available for purchase. ...

Chaddock cuts ribbon on new Education Center

published 8/22/2016
As hundreds of friends, supporters and staff looked on, the ribbon was cut and the doors officially opened Aug. 14 on the newly-constructed Chaddock Education Center. Built in response to a dramatic increase in demand for the specialized services Chaddock offers, the $11 million project provides the therapeutic and emotional environment their students require for optimal learning and therapy. It replaces the former school building, which was built in the late 1950s and designed for about 45 students. Chaddock’s current student enrollment is 90 students, and is expected to climb.

Community gardening resources

published 8/22/2016
For more information on community gardening, check out the following resources

Disability Awareness Sunday Sept. 25

published 8/22/2016
Churches in the Illinois Great Rivers Conference observe Disability Awareness Sunday on the fourth Sunday of September or another date convenient to the congregation. Churches are encouraged to receive a special offering, which is remitted to the conference (IGRC # 0020 - Disability Awareness Sunday) for use in supporting congregations seeking to increase their architectural or attitudinal accessibility to people with disabilities

Kreeb honored for 35 years of service

published 8/22/2016
Bill Kreeb, former executive director of the Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House was honored for his 35 years of service to the agency with an Aug. 20 celebration at the Gateway Convention Center. Kreeb, who retired May 1, saw the agency grow from a community center serving several hundred residents to serving more than 18,000.

Monument stands as reminder of Methodist scandal

published 8/22/2016
One of the most prominent monuments in Oak Ridge Cemetery serves as a reminder of a thoroughly unconventional religious sect that got its start in Williamsville.

Neighborhood House ministry continues to give back to God

published 8/22/2016
As a United Methodist Community Center, and Golden Cross ministry, Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House strives to bring God’s Love to all people. We believe God has truly hidden Himself within the many faces of individuals and families seeking help. There are thousands of children and families in our community, who are suffering tremendous hardships, who often have no one to turn to, and have given up hope. As a Mission of the United Methodist Church, the Neighborhood House believes that “in God’s Name all things are possible.”

Profiles of IGRC community gardens

published 8/22/2016
Profiles of IGRC churches that have community gardens.

Ripe for the harvest: Community gardens in the IGRC

published 8/22/2016
United Methodists around the world are called to steward the land and care for one another as a reflection of our love of God. And the Illinois Great Rivers Conference is answering that call in amazing ways: by hosting community gardens.

Saluki Food Pantry result of IGRC Leadership Grant

published 8/22/2016
Concerns about students having enough to eat led SIU student Loran Morris to secure a Leadership Grant through the Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference of The United Methodist Church and work with SIU’s Wesley Council, a registered student organization and campus ministry, to establish the Wesley Foundation Food Pantry in early 2012. Morris, a Steeleville native, earned her bachelor’s degree in human nutrition and dietetics that year and two years later received her master’s degree in nutrition at SIU. She is now a registered dietitian.

Shirley annouces retirement Jan. 1

published 8/22/2016
IGRC Coordinator of Camping Alice J. Shirley has announced that she will retire on Jan. 1, 2017. A search is already underway for a new coordinator of camping and retreat ministries that will be able to build on the strong foundation Shirley has laid in her five years of leading the conference camping program.

Shreve selected as higher education coordinator

published 8/22/2016
Amy Shreve of Owensboro, Ky., has been named as the IGRC Coordinator of Higher Education and Campus Ministry. Shreve, who will begin her duties Sept. 1, is the first to hold this part-time position which previously was filled with a contracting consultant. Many of her responsibilities will center around resourcing Wesley Foundation boards and campus ministries in the areas of goal setting, fundraising, board development, and accountability.

The UMC is a disaster denomination

published 8/22/2016
We come together from the left and right, from the top to the bottom. We act as one solid body. We put aside our differences. We put away our issues. We let go of our grudges to work side by side with one another. There is not another denomination that does more than the United Methodists do. I remember report after report during the recovery from Hurricane Katrina and Rita. As we were mucking out a house, a person said that she was Roman Catholic but she had seen more Methodists working than any other denomination. Another person remarked that the United Methodists are not usually the first people to arrive at a disaster, but they are always the very last people to leave. We stay longer and help more in recovery after a crisis.

Ways to assist Louisiana

published 8/22/2016
There are a number of ways to assist in disaster response in the Louisiana Annual Conference. IGRC Coordinator of Missions Bunny Wolfe provides the various ways to connect.

What does a hospital chaplain do?

published 8/22/2016
Through the Golden Cross Offering, the chaplain at Methodist Hospital in Peoria and at Alton Memorial Hospital in Alton, along with the eight other Health and Welfare ministries within the boundaries of the IGRC receive funds to extend the grace and love of Jesus Christ to the communities we serve.

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