The Service of Ordination and Commissioning on Saturday morning capped off the 2017 Annual Conference on Saturday morning – a morning devoted to celebrating those that have been recommended for ministry and the giving and receiving of appointments deployed for service throughout the 87 counties in the southern two-thirds of Illinois for the upcoming year.
Summary story of the highlights of the 2017 Annual Conference June 8-10, 2017, at the Peoria Civic Center.
This sense of boredom, futility, melancholy, and tiredness that settles on the human spirit is a tragic characteristic of life to our hectic, frenzied, stressful modern world. The sad truth is that while we have done so well and have been so creative in so many dimensions of life, we have all too often missed the main thing. Life does not have to be boring or monotonous or tiresome. I don’t think that God intended life to be that way. I think that God meant life to be celebrated, zestful, meaningful, and joyful. God wants us to be fired up on life not burned out.
A common inquiry for folks who haven’t spoken in a while, she proposed “How are the kids?” is one of the most important questions any conference can ask and a key measure by which all conferences should be judged.
How are the kids? Well, the United Methodists of this part of Illinois are about to raise $2.5 million to permanently endow the care of their souls and the sharing of God’s love through Jesus Christ at five child-serving agencies until Christ returns.
You do the math.
Every one of us, in one way or another, says “Thank you” - to God, the Bishops and cabinets, present or past, spouses, children, parents, congregations whom we have served, colleagues with whom we have served, and to the annual conference - or some combination of these. In all things, we are grateful, because, it has all been a gift. Our vocation and whatever talents, we have to exercise – gifts. The church and its mission – gifts - The life we are living – a gift.
The Cabinet has been blessed in witnessing what God is doing in IGRC! Yes, we grieve when individuals and congregations struggle, but your Cabinet continues to rejoice as you take risks in working to build God’s Kingdom, moving outside your comfort zones and adapting to the ever-changing multi-cultural world around us.
However, what has surprised me in these six years is the rapidly changing landscape of finding, recruiting and nurturing leadership --- both lay and clergy --- in The United Methodist Church.
By Paul Black PEORIA – Elmwood journalist Jeff Lampe recalls his nervousness when news circulated in spring 2013 of an East St. Louis pastor being appointed to the local United Methodist Church. “My initial response was that Elmwood seemed like the wrong fit for Pastor Brad Watkins,” Lampe said. “I’ve been very pleased to have been wrong.” For his work in the area of evangelism, Watkins is the 2017 Denman Evangelism Award winner for clergy. And for the first time since the award began in the ...
Bishop Frank J. Beard, using the stories of Lazarus and Elisha, reminded those gathered for Thursday evening’s Memorial Service that God’s fire can and will sustain us beyond the grave.
Retired IGRC pastor, the Rev. Miley Palmer has been named the 2017 Cramer-Heuerman Social Justice Award winner. The award was announced at Thursday’s Social Justice Dinner during Annual Conference.
The Illinois Great Rivers Conference of The United Methodist Church will be meeting in Peoria for the 16th consecutive year June 8-10. The Peoria Civic Center will serve as the conference’s central location for the more than 2,400 expected to attend.
The theme of the conference is Let’s Get Fired Up for Kids, and will be the official launch of the $2.5 million Our Conference, Our Kids campaign. Funds generated by the campaign will endow the spiritual life ministries at the five children’s welfare agencies – The Baby Fold, Chaddock, Cunningham Children’s Home, Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House and Spero Family Services (formerly the United Methodist Children’s Home).
General Conference delegates had their say last year. Now, it’s up to annual conference voters to determine whether five amendments will become part of The United Methodist Church’s constitution.
In the coming months, the voters will consider changes that address matters of gender equality, inclusiveness in membership, delegate and bishop elections, as well as bishop accountability.
To be ratified, a constitutional amendment first requires at least a two-thirds vote at General Conference, which happened in May 2016. Then, it must win at least a two-thirds majority of the total voters at annual conferences around the world.
Each year at Annual Conference, you may see people in albs (white or flax colored wrap-around robes) with bright red scapulars (aprons), especially during a worship service which includes Holy Communion. These helpers are members of the IGRC Chapter of the Order of Saint Luke (OSL). OSL was founded in 1946 by members of the Methodist Church (a predecessor body to The United Methodist Church) and continues today as a religious order dedicated to sacramental and liturgical scholarship, education, and practice. The moving and sustaining force of OSL is the vision of John and Charles Wesley who sought to bring about a revival within the Church that was sacramental as well as evangelical.
IGRC Communications will be working to keep you connected during the 2017 Annual Conference through its Sched app, The Daily Current, Web streaming and the post-Annual Conference issue of The Current.
Recognizing the financial hardship that the current health insurance environment has placed on some of our pastors, the Conference Board of Pensions will present a group health insurance plan alternative to the 2017 Session of Annual Conference.
Several items related to the 2017 Annual Conference which will be June 8-10, at the Peoria Civic Center has been posted to the IGRC website.
The Annual Conference schedule is still being finalized. However, the starting time for the Annual Conference will be at 10 a.m. Thursday, June 8, with clergy and laity sessions running simultaneously. Adjournment will be following Ordination and Commissioning service on Saturday, June 10, at noon.
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.