Pastoral letter on Pakistan floods


Every  natural disaster reminds us of the valuable ministry our connection provides through the United Methodist Committee on Relief. Over the past five years, UMCOR's capacity has been stretched to serve the needs in earthquake ravaged Haiti and even more recently, in the upper Midwest, with flooding in Iowa. This is by no means a complete list of all that UMCOR does in the name of Jesus with your help and support.
But our mission and the mission of UMCOR is one that circles the globe. UMCOR was there and remains in Southeast Asia where a tsunami hit in December 2004 and they also have a presence in flood-stricken Pakistan.

Global Young People's Convocation and Legislative Assembly - Friday, July 23 (Day 2)


Kara Crawford's Reflections on the second full day of the Global Young People's Convocation and Legislative Assembly, a quadrennial gathering of United Methodist young people (and adults who work with them).

Global Young People's Convocation and Legislative Assembly - Thursday, July 22 (Day 1)


Kara Crawford's Reflections on the first full day of the Global Young People's Convocation and Legislative Assembly, a quadrennial gathering of United Methodist young people (and adults who work with them).

Pastoral letter on June 5 tornadoes


As you look for ways to provide a loving witness to our sisters and brothers, consider the following ways in which you can be a part:

  • Be in prayer for not only the storm victims but for those who come to lend a hand. Pray especially for public safety officials and utility line personnel who will log an enormous number of hours as these communities begin the journey toward normalcy.
  • Prepare teams of personnel to travel to Streator and Dwight to volunteer. If you have particular gifts, such as carpentry, electrical work, plumbing, construction or cooking, you indeed are gifted for this type of ministry. But even if you don’t, there is a place for general manual labor that can be a healing presence to those who have lived through these storms.
  • Encourage your congregation to take up a special offering to provide financial resources for the IGRC Conference Disaster Relief Fund - IGRC Advance # 6800. We are just at the beginning of the storm season. Having funds in hand enables us to respond when the need arises.

Additionally, conference staff are arranging disaster response and pastoral care training. Prayerfully consider attending and become equipped for this much needed type of ministry.

Reflections from Annual Conference


Though the session is over, the robust energy and spiritual blessing abide. I pray the time on the proverbial mountain top will translate into continued fruitful ministry in all the congregations, ministries and communities of the Illinois Great Rivers Annual Conference.

We started Annual Conference with many signs of faithfulness and fruitfulness. I am persuaded that the opportunity to celebrate and reflect together June 2-5 further positions us to have sharpened focus about the strengths we bring to address the mission of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Claiming the future God holds for you


Change for the sake of change is foolhardy at best. But change is real and often necessary. So I invite you to experience change (whether you sought it or it sought you) – in your life, ministry, relationships – as an opportunity to claim the future that God holds before you. Harry Emerson Fosdick said ‘Christians are supposed not merely to endure change, nor even to profit by it, but to cause it”. Let’s embrace the changes before us as blessed opportunity and every now and again even summon up the courage to initiate change.

Worship is Our Business


In a few short weeks we will be in Peoria for Annual Conference. This is the 14th session of the Illinois Great Rivers Annual Conference. Wow we really sound young don’t we? But if count figure our age from the oldest antecedent conferences this is session 188.

Could it be that we are really old, by some calculations? Or is the angle of view that we are new and fresh in ministry but we have a deep heritage? Not a bad position to be in. So from that bi-focal viewpoint we might sing with gusto A Charge to Keep We Have with a keen awareness that we are called “To Serve the Present Age”.

Resurrection: To Forgive and To Be Forgiven


During these Lenten days I have been thinking a great deal about the practice of forgiveness. I did not necessarily begin this season with a plan to spend a lot of energy focused on forgiveness as a Christian practice, but for a number of reasons it took a prominent place on my radar screen. This was mostly as a result of things that I was invited to help tend through my work. As these things came to me the fractures in relationships especially in the body of Christ simply could not be ignored. So beyond the work, I needed to claim anew the reality and power of forgiveness.

Pastoral Letter on One Great Hour of Sharing offering


These past few weeks have been filled with headlines of disaster around the globe. Whether it is in the Philippines, Haiti or Chile, the United Methodist Committee on Relief has been there as the hands, the heart and the hope of the church wherever people are suffering.

As a church, we are able to accomplish great things because of faithful and generous giving to the One Great Hour of Sharing offering, one of six denominational offerings. Funds received from One Great Hour of Sharing pay the administrative overhead of UMCOR. Because UMCOR does not receive World Service funds or any other apportionments, support of this offering is vitally critical.

Bible Study Invites Us to Breathe Together


To conspire is to breathe together. I want to invite you to conspire with me and your sister and brother United Methodists across the Illinois Great Rivers Conference by engaging a six-week study of the biblical book the Acts of the Apostles during the 50 Great Days (Easter to Pentecost).

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