Clergy General Conference candidates

Andy AdamsAndy Adams #1003

Status/Year of Ordination: Elder, 2007

Current Appointment: Troy UMC

Relevant Leadership Roles: Board of Ordained Ministry - 2012-present, Course of Study 423 Instructor - Mission

Experience: General Conference delegate 2012, 2016, 2019; Jurisdictional Conference delegate 2012, 2016

Gifts and Passions: Spiritual Gifts: Leadership, Administration, Evangelism, Teaching; Passion: Creating a missional church with a culture of redemption

Other: Doctor of Ministry (2017) - Impact of Church Health on Merger; Church Planter

Personal Message: God reached into my unchurched world and set my feet on a solid rock through the ministry of the United Methodist Church – first the local church, in camping ministry and through the ministry of a new church start. Not only was I brought to transforming faith in Jesus, but I responded to God’s call to ministry. I’ve had the great privilege of planting a church that impacted countless people with the gospel of Jesus Christ – primarily young adults. I feel God has gifted and called me to create cultures of redemption in the local church where it is normal to expect God’s Spirit to transform lives through authentic and vulnerable community. It is a humble privilege. I believe this type of ministry was the heartbeat of John Wesley in a contextually different time and place but is still relevant today. My hope and prayer are that the United Methodist Church (and any of its offspring) will maintain or recapture the passion for the gospel of Jesus Christ to transform individual lives and societal institutions for the glory of God and blessing of the nations. If you elect me to represent you at GC 2020 that will be my end goal.

Pat AllinPat Allin #1006

Status/Year of Ordination: Elder, 1993

Current Appointment: Moweaqua/Sanner Chapel

Relevant Leadership Roles: DCOM Chair, DCOM registrar, BOM, College of Christian Life Dean, board member

Experience: Over 28 years serving churches as a pastor, counselor and mental health worker

Gifts and Passions: Conflict resolution and healing after conflict

Personal Message: None submitted

Keith AndersonKeith Anderson #1013

Status/Year of Ordination: Elder, 1996

Current Appointment: Preachers' Aid Society and Benefit Fund

Relevant Leadership Roles: Board of Pensions and Health Benefits - 9 years, Chair for 4 years; Conference Council on Finance and Administrative - 9 years; Board of Ordained Ministry - 12 years, Chair for 2 years

Experience: I have served as associate pastor, lead pastor, and administrator, giving me the opportunity to experience different types of ministry.  In my current appointment, I have traveled around the conference to many different churches.

Gifts and Passions: Preaching, fundraising, financial planning, retirement benefits, estate planning, helping meet the needs of retirees and spouses, people person.

Personal Message: Wespath will be bringing a proposal for a new retirement plan.  I have the skills to evaluate the details of the new plan and ramifications. My dream is for the church to be united instead of divided.  By working together, we can expand God's kingdom as we live into our motto of Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors.

Jessica BaldygaJessica Lauer Baldyga #1030

Status/Year of Ordination: Elder, 2013

Current Appointment: Effingham Centenary UMC

Relevant Leadership Roles: Secretary of Board of Pastoral Care and Counseling, Conference Board of Church and Society, Embarras River DCOM, Conference Council on Young Adult Ministry, East Bay Site Support Team, NOW (YAR) Planning Team, New Streams Team, Illinois River District Church Buildings and Locations, Bishop's Team on Relational Ethics, Conference Council on Youth Ministry (as a youth).

Experience: Summer camp counselor at East Bay Camp for 2 years, college intern for the Peace with Justice Ministries of the former Nebraska Annual Conference, ministry intern for the United Methodist campus ministry at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Gifts and Passions: Pastoral care, leadership, justice work, helping young people and the marginalized find their voice, teaching, listening, sharing the unconditional love of God with all God's children, and children and youth ministry.

Other: MDiv, Wesley Theological Seminary; BA, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Personal Message: As a lifelong United Methodist, the church has always been an important part of my life.  It is where I learned the love of Christ and found my passion for sharing that love with others.  I love the United Methodist Church.  How we welcome all to join us at the communion table, is a beautiful reminder of the breadth of God’s love for all people.  God’s love reaches far beyond political parties, theological perspective, and socio-economic status and God invites us all in to be an important and valuable part of the Body of Christ.  It would be a great honor to serve as a delegate to General or Jurisdictional Conference to do the important work of the United Methodist Church, while focusing on what we have been called to do in making disciples of Jesus Christ, loving God with all that we are, and loving our neighbors.

Becky ButterfieldBecky Butterfield #1655

Status/Year of Ordination: Deacon, 2017

Current Appointment: Port Byron First UMC and Ann's Helping Hands

Relevant Leadership Roles: Jensen Woods Program Manager (Lay, 2014), East Bay Staff Chaplain (2015), Spiritual Director, Quad City Chrysalis Community, FCA Huddle Coach (Riverdale Middle and High Schools)

Experience: RIM Team member, Candidacy Mentor, IGRC Youth Action Team, IGRC Youth Annual Conference planning team and workshop presenter, CCRM, Clergy team for several Walk to Emmaus and Chrysalis weekends, Camping ministry.

Gifts and Passions: Gifts:  Compassion; Mentoring youth and young adults as they discern their call; Leadership developer; Relational ministry. Passions:  Empowering people to be the church in their community/world; Bridging the gap between the church and the world; Reaching out with the hospitality and love of Jesus to all youth in our community.

Other: Since August of 2015 I have also been serving as a volunteer for Ann's Helping Hands, a local nonprofit.  I assist with the youth work program twice a week, help prepare and distribute backpacks of school supplies, Thanksgiving baskets and Christmas baskets to families in need within our school district.  As Ann prepares to transition into retirement, I will be taking over both the backpack and Thanksgiving basket ministry. Master of Divinity, University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, 2015

Personal Message: I found my home in the United Methodist Church when I was in my early 20’s.  The United Methodist Church is where I have been shaped as a disciple of Jesus and the place where I have learned to love God, neighbor and myself. As an ordained deacon, John Wesley’s quote, “the world is my parish” resonates deeply with my ministry.  I am intentional about reaching out beyond the confines of the four walls of the building to share the hospitality and love of Jesus with the youth in the community I serve.   I desire nothing more than for youth and young adults to know they are precious and loved by our awesome God no matter what. I am passionate about following, living out and teaching Jesus’ great commandment.  I believe we can’t truly love others if we don’t first love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength.  In addition, I believe that when we show love for all of our neighbors no matter who they are, where they live, or what they do, it is the ultimate expression of living out the gospel and being the church in the world.

Ethan CarnesEthan Carnes #1091

Status/Year of Ordination: Elder, 2017

Current Appointment: Glasford UMC

Relevant Leadership Roles: IGRC Committee on Nominations, Registrar; incoming Annual Conference Secretary; General Board of Church and Society: 2018 Young Clergy Leadership Initiative; Teacher, Lay Servant Courses; Morning Manna Preacher, 2015 Illinois Great Rivers Annual Conference; Illinois River District Leadership Team, 2015-2016; District Committee on Ordained Ministry, Illinois River District- Present; Youth Annual Retreat, Workshop Leader; IGRC Staff Counselor, 2009; IGRC Camp Counselor/ Chaplain 2009-Present; Order of Saint Luke; trained clergy mentor; Member of the Our Conference, Our Kids Steering Team.

Experience: M.Div., Eden Theological Seminary; License to Preach, IGRC License to Preach School; B.A., Western Illinois University; A.A., Carl Sandburg College.  IGRC Intern St. Paul UMC. Student Chaplain, Every Child's Hope Residential Facility. Pastor Assistant at Abingdon UMC, 2008-2012 and St. Johns UMC, 2012-2013.  I am very familiar with the conference and how it operates relationally, logistically, and culturally. I have served on a great deal of leadership positions in a short amount of time as a young adult, laity, and clergy.  I have experienced the conference as a youth, lay person in ministry, licensed pastor, and ordained elder.  While I have only served two churches not as experienced as many clergy and lay persons in the conference, I do think I have a good perspective of experience as a young clergy.  I have served local churches for over 10 years.  I also have 6 years of pastoral ministry experience.

Gifts and Passions: I have the spiritual gifts of Administration, Shepherding, and Wisdom.  I am extremely detail oriented and have a great deal of knowledge concerning the Book of Discipline.  I have a passion for the people of The United Methodist Church.  My passion is in serving and sharing the good news of a relationship with Jesus Christ.

Personal Message: I am a child of God, the IGRC, and The United Methodist Church.  I thrive in committees, details, and administrative work.  As a delegate, I do not hold to any theological/ ideological agenda.  My desire is to be faithful to the denomination and do what is best for the future.  I believe that our delegation should focus on theological processing, active listening, and relationship building for our ecclesial mission.  It is my belief that I will bring to the delegation the perspectives and mindset of a theological centrist, young clergy, minority, and a variety of ministry experiences.  My theological view of being a delegate is one of "co- creator."  A delegate has the opportunity to be moved by the Spirit.  Thus, changing the ecclesial community in order to change the kingdom community.  My theology of the general conference process is that our ecclesiology is part and parcel of our pneumatology.  A delegate is a part of the conversation in uncovering the nature of God and God's people. This is an eschatological moment!  To be elected would be a most sacred calling.  I am honored to give back to the Church and the God that saved my life.

Nicole CoxNicole Cox #1111

Status/Year of Ordination: Elder, 2010

Current Appointment: Springfield First UMC

Relevant Leadership Roles: Currently serving on CCRM, Communications, Committee on the Episcopacy,

Lead clergy for AIR camp at Little Grassy, participant in the Sangamon River District Think Tank for church growth

Experience: I served on the 2016 Delegation as a reserve delegate to Jurisdictional Conference

Gifts and Passions: I have a passion for walking with other through difficult times, helping people discovery and deploy their spiritual gifts, engaging people in missional opportunities, and helping youth and young adults discern their calling.

Personal Message: I am an ordained elder in my 12th year as a full-time pastor where I serve as an associate at Springfield First UMC.  Having worked with youth for 13 years in part time and full-time positions, I have a deep passion for ministries that work with youth and young adults.  I have a heart for the people of Liberia, where I led a young adult mission trip to teach on the importance of clean water and sanitation.  My great love of our camping ministry has developed since I welcomed Christ as my savior at a UM camp at the age of 9; thus serving on the Conference Camping Commission and Retreat Ministries team has been quite fulfilling.  I am also currently serving on our conference Communications Team and on the Committee on the Episcopacy. As a 36-year-old, 9th generation Methodist, my heart has been instilled with a deep sense of social justice and I absolutely believe we need to work together to change the world. I would be honored to serve at General Conference.  It is my desire to see the United Methodist Church unite around our shared Wesleyan values in order to serve a hurting world. 

Mike CrawfordMike Crawford #1113

Status/Year of Ordination: Elder, 1989

Current Appointment: IGRC Coordinator of Congregational Development

Relevant Leadership Roles: Since 2003, I have been a member of the National and Jurisdictional Congregational Developers Networks. From 2009-2015, I served as the convener of the NCJ Network. I was one of the co-leaders of the Global Delegates Hospitality Team for the 2019 General Conference allowing me to build relationships with several delegates from around the world. I currently serve on the LaMoine River District Committee on Ministry.

Experience: I have served in a variety of ministry settings, including rural, small town, county seat, bedroom community, and larger city. My ministry in Congregational Development in the past 16.5 years has allowed me the opportunity to work with churches of all sizes and theological backgrounds toward greater effectiveness in mission. The ability to communicate effectively in ways which encourage a diversity of people to work together for the common mission is essential. My role has allowed me to understand the hopes and concerns of a wide variety of churches. In addition, I have been honored to help equip dozens of church planters and teams from throughout the North Central Jurisdiction and beyond.

Gifts and Passions: I am passionate about equipping churches to fulfill their purpose in their ministry context. I seek to equip leaders and churches to serve from their strengths and sense of call. I especially enjoy equipping and empowering young leaders in the church. I am excited to see the global impact of The United Methodist Church through its gospel witness.

Personal Message: I am deeply passionate about and committed the mission of The UMC. I believe that my network of relationships across the connection increase my ability to serve as an effective delegate, providing me a broader perspective and relationships to work together in the legislative process.

Gay King CredeGay King Crede #1115

Status/Year of Ordination: Elder, 1985

Current Appointment: Cunningham Children's Home, Chaplain

Relevant Leadership Roles: Past president of National Chaplain's Association for Youth at Risk; served on Board of Ordained Ministry, Pastoral Care and Counseling Board, and as a clergy mentor; currently serve on Iroquois District Committee on Ministry

Experience: Endorsed Chaplain by United Methodist Endorsing Agency; 15 years working with traumatized youth and ministry to staff; over 20 years serving as a pastor in small, medium and large churches; attended 2012 General Conference as alternate delegate

Gifts and Passions: Creative in helping people connect with God; a heart for mission and ministry to all; joyful and accepting; careful listener; reliant on God

Personal Message: I celebrate the diversity of thoughts and unity of spirit found within United Methodism.  I want others to experience the extraordinary blessings of acceptance and faith development that are the hallmarks of the United Methodist Church.  I believe in the call to bring others to Christ through our loving example and trust the Holy Spirit to transform lives. It is my deepest prayer that our denomination will make decisions that show the world Christ's wide embrace.

Sid DavisSidney Davis #1131

Status/Year of Ordination: Elder, 1988

Current Appointment: Toulon UMC

Relevant Leadership Roles: I have served on many Conference and District committees over my 36 years as a pastor.

Experience: 36 years pastoral ministry including 2 years as a chaplain in the US Navy.

Gifts and Passions: I love Jesus. I love people.

Personal Message: None submitted

Jennie Edwards BertrandJennie Edwards Bertrand #1153

Status/Year of Ordination: Elder, 2004

Current Appointment: Bloomington Hope UMC and Executive Director ISU Wesley

Relevant Leadership Roles: IGRC Board of Higher Ed and Campus Ministry, IGRC Church Planting Audit Task Force, Reynold's Academy of Campus Ministry in the UMC, Illinois State University Campus Ministry Association

Experience: Building a youth ministry from a few students to nearly one hundred. Learning traditions and rituals serving in England. Creating new systems and structures on a staff team at a fast-growing congregation. Revitalizing a campus ministry to reach hundreds of college students and mentoring over a dozen young adults who are now in vocational ministry. Launching a congregation from scratch that is 87% Millennial. Coaching others who are building new ministries.

Gifts and Passions: Creative Vision for Building Ministries, Relational Evangelism, Preaching, Mentoring Leaders

Other: One of my favorite ministries is leading a Christian pilgrimage for young adults to England!

My doctoral research on creative communication with Millennials caused me to become passionate about the importance of face-to-face conversations for all of us. My husband, Ryan, and I feel incredibly blessed with our two children Van (6) and Serena (1)!

Personal Message: I love Jesus and I love The United Methodist Church. I've loved our big theological tent, with a focus on growth in God's grace. I love learning leadership principles and preaching styles and evangelical passion and discipleship strategies from a diversity of colleagues! I've loved the ways our whole denomination has worked together to engage in meaningful acts of mercy, compassion, and justice. I don't know what the future holds, but I approach it with a strong respect for what has been, a desire to be a part of a diverse church, and a preferential concern for those not currently connected to any faith community.

Gary FairchildGary Fairchild #1164

Status/Year of Ordination: Elder, 2004

Current Appointment: Casey UMC

Relevant Leadership Roles: Currently- Chair of the Embarrass River Dist BoM, CBoOM, Pastoral Care and counseling member, ERD Comt. on Church building and location, District Nominations Comt. Have served as IGRC Night Owl Co - camp director, IRD BoM, IRD Church Location, Conference Care Guide, Lay Speaking School Instructor, have in the past and still am very active in Clergy groups/circles, strong participation in local community clubs and activities, always participate in food pantry ministry and area Ministerial Associations. 

Experience: Growing up in a Central Illinois farming community (Foosland, IL), taught me not to be afraid of hard work. I have been blessed to have experienced a wide variety of vocational calls before answering the call to become an Elder in the UMC. For 25 years I was a professional musician and during most of that time I also worked a "day-job". Believe me when I say, " I have had A-LOT of experience. 

Gifts and Passions: I am passionate about staying faithful to Jesus Christ and helping others find their passion for Jesus. The strongest gifts that I see helping me live into this passion are preaching, music, hospitality, teaching, and meeting people where they are.

Personal Message: Like all of you, I truly do LOVE the fact that Jesus has given us all a “church family”.

We all know that God’s heart breaks when even one of “us” becomes lost. My hope is that I will be someone that helps shine “Jesus’ light” in such a way that others will find their way back home, back to God. The reason I want to go to General Conference is to be part of a team that helps our “church” become stronger, together. There is no doubt in my mind that the United Methodist Church is at its best when we all work together at fulfilling Jesus’ mission here on earth. In closing I feel that you need to know that I don’t believe that the United Methodist Church is, or ever will be the church that is all things to all people. In fact, I believe that no church here on earth will ever be able to accomplish that. I do believe however, that we can be a force for Jesus here on earth that will make a huge impact for Christ, one life at a time!

It would be a great honor to represent the Illinois Great / Rivers Conference in Minneapolis in 2020 and want you all to know that I will do my utmost for you, and for Jesus while there. Thank You. 

Beth FenderBeth Fender #1658

Status/Year of Ordination: Deacon, 2011

Current Appointment: IGRC Coordinator of Discipleship and New Streams-Decatur First UMC

Relevant Leadership Roles: Co-chair, Order of Deacons; BOM; LaMoine and Sangamon DCOM; Disciple Bible Outreach Ministries of Illinois; Bishop's Resource Team on Relational Ethics; Order of Saint Luke; Course of Study Faculty; 2016 Jurisdictional Conference Delegate; Prayer Room Volunteer at GC 2019

Experience: Conference staff since 2007, currently relating to the Board of Discipleship, New Streams Team, Committee on Accessibility Ministries, CEF (Christians Engaged in Faith Formation), Safe Sanctuaries, and IGRC Intern Program. Completed the Two-Year Academy for Spiritual Formation in 2018. Volunteer chaplain at Little Grassy Camp.

Gifts and Passions: Creating safe spaces for people to connect with others to discuss their faith journey and other matters of significance; spiritual formation; lifelong learning; practice of spiritual disciplines; children's and intergenerational ministry; vocational discernment; developing new generations of spiritual leaders

Other: Graduate of MacMurray College, G-ETS, and (if all goes well) Saint Paul School of Theology with a D.Min. in Spiritual Formation in 2019.

Personal Message: As a deacon specializing in discipleship and spiritual formation, I live out my call by creating spaces in which people can build trust, listen respectfully, and share honestly. I believe that people of faith, including those whose deeply-held convictions may not always align, can talk about the things that really matter, not out of desire to change the minds of others, but in the hope that we might begin to broaden our own perspectives to embrace the perspectives of others who are equally loved and gifted by God, equally people of sacred worth, and equally devoted to love of God and love of neighbor. Such conversations allow space for transformation to occur through the power of the Holy Spirit. I am inspired by the witness of members of the Commission on a Way Forward who affirmed at GC2019 that they were able to build meaningful relationships with each other even when their experiences and theology differed significantly. It would be an honor and a privilege to seek this sort of connection with others from throughout the global UMC as the first deacon ever elected by the IGRC to serve on a General Conference delegation.

Curtis FlakeCurtis Flake #1173

Status/Year of Ordination: Elder, 2018

Current Appointment: Greenville First United Methodist Church

Relevant Leadership Roles: Currently Serving on the Conference Personnel Committee

Experience: Pastoral Ministry, graduated from Eden Theological Seminary, Served as Youth Minister, Undergraduate degree in Education, Born and Raised in the United Methodist Church

Gifts and Passions: Listening to people’s stories, Sharing the love of Jesus Christ through life, preaching and teaching, being a peace-maker, Wesleyan Heritage, the Apostle Paul, local and global missions

Other: Married to Taryn (Born and Raised United Methodist); daughter, Samantha (7), Daughter, Addison (2)

Personal Message: I am a servant of Jesus Christ and my passion is sharing this experience with all.  One of my favorite things about the United Methodist Church is that we are a global church and in each of our congregations, we likely serve diverse expressions of theology that all fit under our one roof. I believe all people are children of God and we must serve and share the love of God with all that we meet.  I also believe, as a 34-year-old, that our Wesleyan heritage is incredibly relevant to the current church and younger generations.

Larry FrankLarry Frank #1179

Status/Year of Ordination: Elder, 2016

Current Appointment: Lead Pastor, Tremont UMC

Relevant Leadership Roles: Chair, IGRC Evangelism Committee; IGRC Board of Discipleship; Chair, Illinois River District Evangelism Committee; Illinois River District Leadership Team; Illinois River District Committee on Superintendency; Former Chaplain, Evenglow Lodge; Former Church Planter; Frequent speaker for camps, Walk to Emmaus/Chrysalis; Certified Clergy Mentor.

Experience: Graduate of Asbury Theological Seminary, 2018 Inductee to World Methodist Evangelism Order of the Flame

Gifts and Passions: Evangelism, Church systems, Discipleship pathways, Assimilation, Church revitalization, Wesleyan theology, Global connection

Other: Married to Brittney for over 10 years; 2 Daughters: Marqui (4) and Selah (3).

Personal Message: As a young adult clergy member, I love the United Methodist Church; it’s the only church tradition I’ve ever known. I love the IGRC; I’ve been a member of this annual conference since I was 14. I am passionate about seeing awakening in our branch of the global Wesleyan family. I am excited about strengthening and bringing revitalization to the local church while building up the whole connection. I want to offer my leadership, tenacity and passion to the decisions about the future of our beloved Church and help us restructure for greater missional effectiveness. It would be my honor to serve my Church in this way.  I pledge to be an open listener; a voice for integrity, connectionalism and holding fast to the doctrine, spirit, and discipline with which we first set out.

Adrian GarciaAdrian Garcia #1187

Status/Year of Ordination: Elder, 1992 (Mexico); 2000 (IGRC)

Current Appointment: Peoria First UMC, Peoria, IL

Relevant Leadership Roles: 2012- to present time - Member of Ordained Ministry Committee IGRC

2003- to present time; IGRC Conference Coordinator of Hispanic Ministry; Member of various committees such as the Committee of Religion and Race; 2013 - 2017 Chair Person of the NC Jurisdiction Hispanic Caucus; 2008 - to present time Board Member of the NCJ Centro Hispano (Hispanic Center);   2013 - to present time  Member of the Hispanic-Latino and Connectional Ministries Conference Coordinators and Directors; 2013- 2017 Member of Board of directors of the Salvation Army Peoria Headquarters; 2017 - to present time -Member The Peoria County Sheriff’s Citizen Advisory Board's (PCSCAB); 2002   Recipient of the Denman Evangelism Award

Experience: Administrator: 1983-1987 Director of "Sierra Linda" Methodist Camp, Monterrey, NL. Mexico; 1990-1992 Director of "Sierra Linda" Methodist Camp, Monterrey, NL. Mexico. Church Plant: 1992- 2010 Jesus Es El Señor UMC, Cobden, IL; 2000- to present time.  Helping to start new Hispanic Ministries in:  Momence, IL, Kankakee, IL, Beardstown, East St Louis Area, Caseyville, IL, Cape Girardeau, Mo, Mayfield,  KY, Kansas City, Mo, Emporia, KS; 2010- to today Started the Hispanic Bilingual Worship Service and Discipleship at Peoria First; 2011-  Started and Coordinate the alive Worship Service at the Loaves and Fish Ministry (homeless Soup Kitchen, medical, education, and food pantry, etc.). Church Coaching: 2008-2011 La Trinidad UMC, East Los Angeles, CA; 2010-2011 Oregon-Idaho Conference Rev Jorge Rodriguez in Wilder, Idaho; 2015 La Trinidad Las Americas UMC, Des Moines, IA; 2018- to present date Kingswood UMC, Clovis, NM. Leadership Development: IGRC and NCJHC Jurisdictional events to scout for new people with the call to ministry and to train clergy and laity; Spanish Ministry Education Liaison for the Seminario Metodista Juan Wesley Extensions in the Nor-Central Jurisdiction; Outreach Ministry - Illinois has graduated 8 people.

Speaking Opportunities: School of Congregational Development- N Carolina, St Louis, etc., 2018 CAO Annual Conference of Iglesia Metodista A.R. Monterrey, N.L. Mexico. Globally: 2017- to present time Conference Coordinator for Honduras Initiative

Gifts and Passions: Evangelism, Administration, Faith, New Ministries, Latino and Multicultural Ministries, Missions, Church Renewal, Leadership Development

Personal Message: I received Christ as my Savior in the Methodist Church in 1978. I owe all of my spiritual, ministerial, and professional development to the many United Methodist teachers and mentors God has placed in my life in the years since. Spiritual - I am committed to supporting a church that lives by God’s Kingdom principles, reaching all people for our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. “God is no respecter of persons,” Acts 10:34.  Cultural - My cross-cultural and inter-generational experience is an intricate part of who I am, and of what I offer our denomination. Church Organization - My experience as a Conference Coordinator of the Hispanic Ministries has immersed me in our Conference, Districts, ministries, and vision. I’ve come to know the General Church intimately through leadership opportunities in the areas I’ve served. I’ve worked closely with national agencies such as Religion and Race, Church and Society, Global Ministries, and Higher Education, by training churches, and offering church planting/church developing consultation to other conferences, and Mission opportunities. I humbly offer my nomination as a candidate for General Conference not only as a Hispanic voice, but in representation of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference, that I love, respect, and serve.

Cecilia GranadosinCecilia Granadosin #1202

Status/Year of Ordination: Elder, 2014

Current Appointment: Peoria Forrest Hill UMC

Relevant Leadership Roles: Board of Ordained Ministry since 2014, also part of Resident in Ministry Program leadership since 2014; Certified Clergy Mentor; Certified Volunteers in Mission Team Leader; Team Leader, Volunteers in Mission - Philippines since 2016

Experience: Graduate of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary; a Georgia Harkness Scholar; recipient, Bishop Edsel A. Ammons Award for Racial Justice and Understanding; member: Theta Alpha Kappa National Honor Society for Religious Studies and Theology.  Has been in ministry with local congregations in IGRC and in other conferences, as well as, abroad including ministries with Filipinos, Mexicans, Salvadorians, Hmong, Vietnamese, Samoans, Canadians, Germans.  Formerly a historian in the Philippines and worked in Mechanical Design.

Gifts and Passions: Organizing for local missions, especially children’s ministries in cooperation with community and educational institutions, as well as, feeding programs. Missions with women in the church and the community; and missions abroad – regular leader of Volunteers in Mission to the Philippines, have also participated in mission to Honduras.

Other: Married to Rev. Stephen Granadosin (District Superintendent, Spoon River District); three children:  Amber, Joshua and Isaac.

Personal Message: I am deeply rooted in ministries in IGRC, having pastored here since 2012.  I love the deep passion of this Conference for local, regional and global missions. I believe that this is an expression of its great love for God and for neighbor.  I am also acutely aware that the Lord has allowed me to experience ministry with many people around the world, giving me a global perspective.  As I have grown more deeply in love with the people and the churches here in Illinois, so the Lord has increased my desire to help create bridges between our local churches and other congregations and ministries in the world.  As our church expands globally, we want to continue to be faithful to Christ’s mandate to “go into all the world to proclaim the Gospel” even as God unfolds a new chapter in the life of the church. It shall be a great privilege for me to serve by bringing the voice of the local churches of IGRC to the global forum in order to help create connections between our Conference and our brothers and sisters in the world.

Janice GriffithJanice Griffith #1206

Status/Year of Ordination: Elder, 1997

Current Appointment: Executive Assistant to the Bishop

Relevant Leadership Roles: I have served on the Cabinet for 13 years which has given me a breadth of understanding of the conference and the denomination which is both deep and wide.  I have also served on the Wespath Board of Directors for the past 7 years. 

Experience: Nearly 40 years ago, I chose the UMC as a young adult because its theology was so balanced.  I was drawn by the Wesleyan interweaving of acts of piety and acts of mercy, personal and corporate holiness, personal and corporate social action, and encouragement of all persons to be included at God's table.  The UMC understanding of prevenient, justifying and sanctifying grace was life-giving to me.  It all made sense.  Here I found a place to discover God's call on my life and serve out these many years of ministry.  I'm very grateful for all the opportunities the Illinois Great Rivers Conference has afforded me.

Gifts and Passions: I believe God has given me some specific gifts/passions which may be helpful for such a time as this: 1.  A whole hearted commitment to the spiritual journey, which is grounded in prayerful, life-giving relationship with the Triune God and supported by my long-time accountability to a covenant group of clergy which meets every week; 2.  A deep wisdom that is birthed out of dynamic spirituality coupled with the breadth of experience and education I have acquired through my relationship with the Illinois Great Rivers Conference; 3.  A sincere trust in God's love for the World (John 3:16) and for the Church which grounds my ability to risk speaking the truth in love, and to risk listening to the truth in love and allowing it to change me; 4.  A contagious, calming presence that helps others to listen to each other and see beyond the limit of their own understanding to a bigger picture that we can only see as God's people together.

Personal Message: Four years ago, I decided that I would probably not run for the General Conference delegation again.  I thought I needed to allow younger colleagues to have a chance to lead in this way.  However, God began stirring in my heart earlier this year, nudging me to be open to running one more time. And in recent weeks, I've had other voices encouraging me to submit my name.  So, in obedience, I offer myself as a candidate for the delegation. Theologically, I am a primarily a centrist - though progressive-leaning.  My leadership goal is to work to support effective ministry across the entirety of the United Methodist Church. I believe that we are stronger together and our diversity best displays the grace of God when we can welcome all to the Table and allow God to ultimately do the judging.  In this post-GC 2019 season, I offer myself to your discernment as you elect delegates to the 2020 General Conference.

John HackmannJohn Hackmann #1215

Status/Year of Ordination: Elder, 2012

Current Appointment: Marion First UMC

Relevant Leadership Roles: Chair of Conference Communications; Executive Session & Sessions for Audio & Visual; Connectional Table; BHECM. I have worked with the Twigs for Kids program in my last two appointments. I am on the executive team of the Ministerial Alliance in Marion

Experience: In addition to having been a pastor for the past 12 years, I previously managed a retail store for 6 of the 10 years I was employed by that company. I worked as a manager with this company while attending Seminary.

Gifts and Passions: I have a passion to connect people with Jesus. I believe this can best be done through relationships. I also believe that technology has a vast, untapped potential to help us make disciples. I have the gifts of listening and leading, of organization, and teaching. I have the gift of using and understand computers and related technology.

Personal Message: I am from Belleville and am the oldest of 7 children. My wife Jamie and I have been married for 22 years and we have 3 children. I was not raised in the UMC, but I have been in church my entire life. I chose to join the UMC because I read about John Wesley and the Wesleyan understanding of the Christian life resonates with my soul. I believe that the Wesleyan path of discipleship is founded in Scripture, illuminated through Tradition, applies faith through reason and questions our assumptions by our experience, all of which is leading to a state of Christian Perfection. I attended Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, Mo.  I enjoy reading, cooking and building a good Lego set. I am a centrist and I study diligently to understand the beliefs of other United Methodists. One of the many adjustments I had to make when I joined the UMC was the concept of the “big tent” of Methodism. I think that it is one of our greatest opportunities to show the power of the love of God. When we can work together despite our differences, we show that God’s love can change our world.

Ted HartleyTed Hartley #1232

Status/Year of Ordination: Elder, 2009

Current Appointment: Mt Zion/Bethany

Relevant Leadership Roles: Commission on Religion and Race - Sec/Jurisdictional, Annual Conference Secretary Staff, Older Adults Ministry, Board of Higher ED - Scholarship Chair, Africa University

Annual Conference Session, District Board of Ordained Ministry, Annual Conference Choir Director

Wesley Foundation Board EIU-SIU, Order of St. Luke

Experience: Page at 3 General Conferences - Louisville - Tampa - Portland

Gifts and Passions: Evangelism - Social Justice - Worship Arts

Personal Message: I am very concerned about our church, and after working at 3 General Conferences I feel I would be able to step in and understand my responsibilities as a delegate without much learning curve.  I am a person with no personal agenda other than bringing our church together and heal the wounds that have happened.  I am a good listener and I am willing to be open in my judgement and deliberation.  After serving the church 27 years and being a leader in public government for 10 years I believe I have the understanding and leadership qualities to serve our conference.  I still believe in our Denomination and Our Purpose.

Camilla HempsteadCamilla Hempstead #1245

Status/Year of Ordination: Elder, 1996

Current Appointment: Washington Evangelical UMC

Relevant Leadership Roles: Standing Rules (current chairperson); DCOM in 3 different districts (registrar in 2 districts); clergy mentor; teacher, LP School; teacher, Lay Leader's school; trustee representing IGRC to MacMurray College

Experience: 29 years pastoral experience in churches with attendance ranging from 6 to 500; I have served several churches in conflict and have successfully helped them come to a place of healing.

Gifts and Passions: I am a gifted teacher and speaker.  I am passionate about helping people develop deeper relationships with Christ in order to become more passionate disciples.

Personal Message: I would like to represent the IGRC at GC2020 because I believe I have some skills and experience that could be helpful in finding a way toward healing in our hurting denomination.  I believe there is more than one way to be in service to Christ and that the United Methodist Church has historically been the flagship for those looking to be in service and dialogue with others of like mind as well as others whose opinions differ.  I would like the opportunity to work with the 800+ other delegates from around the world for the ultimate goal of making disciples for Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Stan IrvinStan Irvin #1277

Status/Year of Ordination: Elder, 2007

Current Appointment: Cache River District Superintendent

Relevant Leadership Roles: District Superintendent, former Conference Trustee, former Chair of Conference Personnel Committee

Experience: Assistant States Attorney in Jackson and Williamson Counties, 1982 - 1990, Senior Assistant District Attorney in the Brooklyn District Attorneys Office, serving in the Homicide Bureau prosecuting murder cases, 1992 - 2000; Clergy 2004 - Present

Gifts and Passions: My five greatest ministry passions are: reaching out to and serving young adults, university age students and teens; serving small rural churches; missions; visioning and implementing new faith communities; and striving to reverse the decline of Christianity within the U.S.

Personal Message: As the Cache River District Superintendent I have five priorities which I pray that our denomination addresses: looking straight in the eye and working to reverse the decline of Christianity and our United Methodist denomination throughout the United States; sharing the love of God particularly with young adults, university aged adults, teens, and children, in order to share our faith with future generations; planting new faith communities; supporting our small churches, and particularly Local Pastors and Lay Ministers across our denomination; and, continuing to walk alongside our seniors and retired clergy in their faith journey, in thanks of their years of service to our churches. Our Cache River District Consists of fifteen counties, with fourteen of our counties ranking in the bottom 1/3 of the State of Illinois economically.  Eight of our counties are among the eleven poorest counties in our entire state.  Yet, despite our economic challenges, we are optimistic as we birth new faith communities and seek new manners in which to do ministry.  For our churches in the Cache District the future is bright, as we share God’s love with all around.  My hope and prayer is that this optimism spreads, as our denomination offers God’s hope.

Sara IsbellSara Isbell #1278

Status/Year of Ordination: Elder, 2006

Current Appointment: Bloomington Wesley UMC

Relevant Leadership Roles: IGRC Worship Chair, Sessions Committee; Worship Faculty, License to Preach School; IGRC Board of Church & Society; Christian Response to Violence Task Force; Sangamon District Committee on Ministry; IGRC Committee on Episcopacy; North Central Jurisdiction Committee on Episcopacy (current chair)

Experience: General and Jurisdictional Conference delegate: 2008, 2012, 2016, 2019

Gifts and Passions: Worship/Music; Teaching/ Bible Study; Compassion/Pastoral Care; Ecumenical/Interfaith Relations; Holy Conferencing/Peacemaking

Other: Garrett-Evangelical Board of Trustees (2005-present), Wesley Foundation UIUC Corporation (since college)

Personal Message: The UMC is my home and my family. The Church has always offered me unconditional love, affirmation, encouragement, and help in hearing my call from God, and I am grateful. I work and pray for that gift to be made available to everyone. I delight in sharing my faith with others, because I believe the unconditional, saving love of God changes lives for the better. I am proud when my family, the Church, bears witness to the grace of God by welcoming all people to the Table of Grace. I love our motto: "Open hearts, open minds, open doors," and I believe the gospel points to a God who just keeps opening the door wider and inviting more people in. Our mission - my mission - is to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. Our best witness to that mission is to love, listen, honor and respect one another as we reach out in faith to bring hope to a hurting world.

Rebecca KlemmRebecca Klemm #1306

Status/Year of Ordination: Elder, 2017

Current Appointment: Wyoming/New Hope

Relevant Leadership Roles: District Nominations Committee, Chair of Rural Fellowship Team, COSROW, District Leadership Team, District congregational development greenhouse

Experience: Prior to attending seminary, I completed 4 units of CPE and served 8 years as a hospital chaplain.  I have also served as fire department chaplain for 8 years, and a volunteer firefighter and first-responder (EMR) for 4 years. 

Gifts and Passions: Preaching, teaching Bible studies, and pastoral care visits

Other: Active in the community serving on the school parents club, Chamber of Commerce Secretary, volunteering in the school library, and running the annual book fair. 

Personal Message: I love the United Methodist Church because of our diversity.  I was raised in a conservative household, growing up in the Missouri-Synod Lutheran church.  These days, I consider myself a progressive centrist.  I still hold to my Evangelical upbringing, particularly when it comes to my belief in the faith expressed in the Apostle’s Creed and the importance of the sacraments.  I also believe it is essential to love others as Christ loves us.  This includes making space for our wide spectrum of theological and social beliefs while holding fast to those core teachings that unite us.  My primary goal as a delegate would be to make the United Methodist Church a space where we can find unity in diversity and make a welcoming space for all.  This includes not only the major issues that divide us, but all decisions regarding our life together as a global church. 

Angie LeeAngie Lee #1317

Status/Year of Ordination: Elder, 2009

Current Appointment: Iroquois River District Superintendent

Relevant Leadership Roles: Co-chair of the Order of Elders, Board of Ordained Ministry, Pastoral Care and Counseling Committee, Commission on Religion and Race, Bishop’s Task Force Committee on Clergy Health and Wellness

Experience: When I was 17 years old, I heard God’s calling to ordained ministry. However, I buried my calling deep in my heart. Although God called me again and again, I was not courageous enough to answer the call. I thought I was not good enough. Thus, I decided to pursue a professorship at a theological seminary, and I worked toward a Ph. D. in the Old Testament Theology at Ewha Women’s University in Seoul, Korea, where I also received my M. A. in the Old Testament Theology and B. S. in Mathematics Education. When I was working on my Ph. D dissertation on the Moses’ Law and their community, I was given the opportunity to come to the U.S. as a visiting scholar through Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, OH. There, God called me again into ordained ministry in the United Methodist Church. This time, God helped me to respond affirmatively to my calling through the encouragement of many people. The United Methodist Church opened its arms toward me and welcomed me with full encouragement. I finished my Master of Divinity from United Theological Seminary in Dayton, OH. Ordained in 2009, I am currently serving as the Iroquois River District Superintendent.

Gifts and Passions: My spiritual gifts are in the area of compassion, preaching, teaching, pastoral care, and evangelism. I am very enthusiastic about helping people – adults and children alike – to know Christ and to grow in Christ through worship, Christian education, fellowship, mission, and service. I am also an empathetic listener, team player, relater, and hard worker.

Other: I come with open mind. I usually do not, at least try not to, go to the meetings with a set-mind or closed mind. I am open to other people's thoughts and experiences, discussions at the table, and the spiritual guidance and movement.  I do not believe my way is the high way. We have only one way to follow together, which sometimes seems ambiguous in daily reality. I discern God's call for the individual and the community through working together, listening to each other, and praying together.

Personal Message: I was not born into Christianity or the United Methodist Church. When I was a child, I was surrounded with Confucianism, Buddhism, Shamanism, and Atheism. However, even as an atheist child from outside of the church, I always looked up to Christianity, because Christianity was playing its role as the salt of the earth and as the light of the world. I cannot deny the colonial evangelistic influences on many parts of the world. Yet, I also cannot deny the church’s role in advocating for women’s and children’s rights and equal statuses, and human rights in general. I chose the United Methodist Church because of its balance between personal piety and social holiness, its heart for the least and the last, and its intentionality to become an inclusive church. “Open hearts, open minds, and open doors” has been my value not only for how I treat people or do ministry, but also how I understand the Scripture. I hope and pray we, as the United Methodist Church, live our lives as a people of hope and grace, and work together to create the beloved community. May we position ourselves to receive grace upon grace. May we go this journey together.

Lance LeedsLance Leeds #1319

Status/Year of Ordination: Elder, 1997

Current Appointment: Marion Aldersgate UMC

Relevant Leadership Roles: Spoon River District Board of Ordained Ministry, Conference Committee on Higher Education & Campus Ministry, Vermillion River Chair of Committee on Congregational Development, Vermillion River District Cluster Leader, Vermillion River District Committee on Ministry, Cache River District Committee on Superintendency, Cache River Committee on Congregational Development

Experience: Served on the former Central Illinois Conference Dialogue Group that was formed back in the 1990's to explore where the Conference was on issues of sexuality.

Gifts and Passions: Passion is to see people's lives transformed by Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.

Personal Message: Having graduated from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and done Doctoral work at Asbury Theological Seminary through the Beeson Pastor's Program, I believe I am equipped to speak the language of both sides to try to help us work to attain God's best solution for the United Methodist Church.

Don Long, Jr.Don E. Long, Jr. #1329

Status/Year of Ordination: Elder, 1999

Current Appointment: O'Fallon First UMC

Relevant Leadership Roles: Certified Layspeaker at age 15, Youth Ministry Coordinator for several churches, Church Camp Director/Counselor (East Bay for 26+ yrs.), 2004 Denman Award Recipient

Conference Board of Ordained Ministry (Treasurer), Conference Committee on Investigation

District Committee on Ministry (Secretary), United Methodist Village Board Member (Godfrey, IL)

Walk to Emmaus Teams

Experience: Created and led youth programs at four different churches, launched an English/Spanish service with Hiram Gonzalez that connected communities of different cultures, brought 2 congregations together forming and building a new church, began a local mission project that brought 8 different community churches together Organized and led leadership, team building and marriage retreats, organized and led mission trips to Kentucky and Tennessee, organized and led a mission team to Mission Guatemala

Gifts and Passions: Gifts - listening, discernment, consensus building, servant-leader, Passions - building community, missions, teaching the bible with real life application

Other: I have effectively worked with a variety of congregations both in rural communities and in downtown churches. I have taught and preached in contemporary and traditional worship settings. I consider all opinions as important to the owner and I respect and learn from those with whom I may disagree.

Personal Message: My life verse is, "...I have become all things to all people that I might, by all means save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, so that I may share in its blessings." (1 Corinthians 9:22b-23) Every day I strive to authentically live into this calling. The people of the United Methodist church have cared for me in times of heartache, have nurtured my growth and development as a disciple of Christ and Methodism has been the path I have chosen to journey with others on their walk with Christ. I believe that we are stronger because of, not despite, our diversity. My ministry has always focused on the “both/and.” We can encourage change while respecting tradition. We can worship, pray and serve together while holding differing opinions.  We can hold on to the teachings of our founder, John Wesley who said “all Scripture is given by the inspiration of God … But as to all opinions which do not strike at the root of Christianity, we think and let think.” It is my prayer that as we move forward, we keep our hearts focused on God working together with compassion, understanding, integrity and love.

Pablo MartyPablo Marty #1340

Status/Year of Ordination: Elder, 2017

Current Appointment: Sharon UMC

Relevant Leadership Roles: Pastor, worship leader, preacher, teacher and outreach leader for over 25 years. Board member of IGRC Hispanic Ministry, ELCC Chair person. Elder in full connection (IGRC)  

Experience: Feb. 2007 and New church start; (E. St. Louis Trinity UMC, Outreach Ministry in Washington Park. 2008 called to serve at St. Jacob UMC, 2015 Provisional Elder, 2017 Elder in Full Connection.

Gifts and Passions: I love to lead people to Christ. I love to advocate for justice and to serve people who have been rejected, ignored and underserved by the church and the society. I love to work as a team member. I Love God and the UMC.

Other: I am willing to serve at any place I can use my knowledge and experience

Personal Message: I think I can be a person who can represent the minority groups in my conference and beyond.

Robb McCoyRobb McCoy #1350

Status/Year of Ordination: Elder, 2010

Current Appointment: Two Rivers UMC - Rock Island

Relevant Leadership Roles: Board of Church and Society, IGRC Youth Action Team, IGRC Connectional Table

Experience: I have a blog and social media presence as "The Fat Pastor," and have been producing the Pulpit Fiction Podcast for six years. Pulpit Fiction is a weekly Bible study based on the Revised Common Lectionary and monthly author interviews. I have had the pleasure of doing hour-long interviews with Diana Butler Bass, Barbara Brown Taylor, Richard Rohr, Adam Hamilton, Walter Brueggemann, Brian McLaren, Rob Bell, Lisa Sharon Harper, and many more.

Gifts and Passions: My greatest passion is to share the good news of Christ's transforming love. I also like to run, play golf with my daughter, and play volleyball with my wife and friends (Moline Parks and Rec C-League Runners Up 2019).

Other: I pray that God may open our hearts to the story of Christ's love, open our minds to new ways of knowing the Spirit, and open our doors to all who the Creator would welcome.

Personal Message: I believe that in Christ we have been given a ministry of reconciliation. Just as Christ reconciled all people to God, we must be reconciling ourselves to each other and to the world. For far too long, the loudest message coming from the Church is one of fear, condemnation, and division. It is time to move forward with a spirit of love and grace. We must be creative in how we may continue our ministry of reconciliation. As a GC delegate, I would be open to new relationships, forging new pathways, and hearing new ways the Spirit may lead. Ultimately, I believe that God is love, that we are called to love each other, and that calling someone else's love a sin is never productive.

Donald MeeksDonald Meeks #1361

Status/Year of Ordination: Elder, 1992

Current Appointment: Pinckneyville First UMC

Relevant Leadership Roles: 1996 Clergy Delegate, General & Jurisdictional Conference, So. IL Conference, 2000 Clergy Delegate, General & Jurisdictional Conference, IGRC, 2000-04, North Central Jurisdiction, Conference Location & Episcopal Election Committees, 2014 - Conference Bd. of Ordained Ministry, 2012 - Kaskaskia River District, Committee on Ministry, 2000-04, Direct on Board of United Methodist Development Fund, 2004-11, Louisiana Conference, Continuing Education Committee, 1996-2004 Conference Representative to Gen. Bd. of Global Ministries, served in the areas of Mission Development, Vice Chair of Mission Personnel, Evangelism & Congregational Develop. Represent the UMC in meeting Cuba and in Pan-Methodism events in Panama, Merger Committee for the IGRC, 1995 - Mississippi River District, Committee on Ministry, Conference Congregational Development Committee, Candidacy Mentor, Mississippi River District, SIU-C Wesley Foundation Bd, Building & Funding Committees, Little Grassy Camp Bd, Property Committee, Previous Director of Aldersgate Camp at Little Grassy Counselor & Teacher at Beulah & Aldersgate Camps

Experience: I have leadership experience at many levels of the United Methodist Church, and particularly the inner workings of General and Jurisdictional Conferences. I also have friendships throughout our international church. Through campus ministry, I have direct experience with youth and young adults, and the complexities of ministries that are vital for growing and strengthening the church for the long term. These are important relationships and experience for these complex times in the church. I consider myself a moderate with openness to be in dialogue with all parties at table, with experience in negotiation that are critical to the developing, future church. Particularly vital to the future is developing new vision and strategic planning for a healthy vibrant new mission, both globally and nationally.

Gifts and Passions: My gifts are in the areas of congregational development and revitalization, with a passion for young adults and new faith communities.

Personal Message: I am a life-long United Methodist. I am a moderate-evangelical. I am committed to furthering the development of a new Methodist movement. My hope has been to sustain a unified single denomination. However, I see the need for serious consideration for multiple expressions to be developed. The current climate of polarity is unsustainable and counter-intuitive to productive ministry growth and development for the long term. I have a high value for some form of connectionalism, one which acknowledges the current impasse by providing a transition to separate, but potential future partnership, with national and global constituencies. I believe my experience throughout the current connection and relationships across the great divide provide the kind of gifts needed at this pivotal time in the life of our church. I would appreciate your consideration and support. 

Walter MillerWalter Miller #1372

Status/Year of Ordination: Elder, 2010

Current Appointment: Westfield UMC

Relevant Leadership Roles: Volunteer Ministry Asst. - Wesley Woods Camp & Retreat Center (IA) '91-'92, Dir. Outdoor Ministry - WWCRC (IA) '92-'99, ACA-CCI (IA) Camp Leaders Spring Workshop Trainings Mid '90s, Prayer Chair/Steering Comm.-Billy Graham Assoc.- South Central IA Crusade '98, East Bay Camp Site Board, IGRC – CCRM, IGRC - Evangelism Committee, ERD - BOM

Experience: American Camping Assoc. Visitor (camp accreditation) '94-'99, Horse Riding Instructor-Basic Western '92-'99

Gifts and Passions: Spiritual Gifts: Discernment, Healing, Teaching; Passion: Jesus.  And Training, Preaching, Evangelism.

Other: Youngest of 9, Diversified family farm and agribusiness

Personal Message: There is an obvious struggle in the church.  Right now, it seems like division is an obvious path for the UMC from all theological sides; or even worse, continued fighting with each other.  If we don’t divide, how can there be respect while we maintain unity.  If divided, my concern is that all sides are both cordial and gracious with each other in the process.  Divisions will never be fair, or pleasant, but can we find ways to bless each other as we shake hands? How will all theological sides plan for a strong future?  The strength of the UMC is our diversity.  It is also our Achilles’ heel.  Any new start denominations (etc.) need to plan how to reinsert the missing pieces of diversity, adjusted to their theology.  My concern is that whether we are united or divided, we would take steps of growth to build up the body of Christ. Either path, we must maintain love.  The other option is like a bad marriage, constant fighting or spiteful divorce, both cause great harm. 

Michael PaulsonMichael Paulson #1415

Status/Year of Ordination: Elder, 2010

Current Appointment: Lincoln First UMC

Relevant Leadership Roles: Chair-Elect (pending Annual Conference 2020 adoption of Nominations Report), Conference Congregational Development Team; Secretary, Conference Council on Finance and Administration

Experience: Member of Bishop Beard's team that birthed IGRC's "Reach 1000" effort to make new disciples through new ministries; many formal and informal leadership opportunities in the Conference, beyond the Conference, and with local congregations to lead and coach change by discipling people in personal and social holiness

Gifts and Passions: Passionate about seeing lives transformed through Jesus by the power of the Spirit, whether someone has seen themselves as "down and out" because of addiction, poverty, or race, or "up and out" due to self-sufficiency; Gifted in shaping environments where personal and group transformation can occur, and in transforming or creating systems to begin or sustain that work

Personal Message: Jesus came to give life in the full. Jesus said his apprentices would do greater things than He had done and would be marked by loving one another as He loved. Sadly, we have been more often life-stealing than life-giving for some time at the General Conference and Annual Conference levels because we have been collectively committed to keeping a fight going rather than organizing to be light and hope in the world. I have been personally mentored by people now leading both sides of that fight. My family of Methodist pastors going back many generations has had members in each “camp.” For the sake of Jesus, for the sake of women and men made in the image of God, for the sake of the world, we must do better. I have strong faith that Christ still lives, reigns, and has enormous faith in and hopes for God’s church—even the United Methodist Church. With experience and training in organizational behavior and systems/strategy for large organizations both inside and outside the church, I hope to offer service that can help us move beyond the fight and reorient us toward offering hope, healing, and life through Christ.

Adam PennAdam Penn #1421

Status/Year of Ordination: Elder, 2017

Current Appointment: Marshall Armstrong UMC

Relevant Leadership Roles: IGRC Board of Discipleship - Jan. 2018 to present; Embarras River District Committee on Superintendency - Jan. 2019 to present; Mississippi River District Congregational Development Team - Jan. 2016 to July 2017; Illinois Prairieland Walk to Emmaus Clergy - 2016

Experience: M.Div., University of Dubuque Theological Seminary - Graduated May 2015; President, Dubuque Seminary Student Council - May 2014 to May 2015; Led Overhaul of Seminary Student Council Bylaws

Gifts and Passions: Teaching; Preaching; Discipleship; Wesleyan Theology; Church Revitalization; Peacemaking; Administration; Discernment; Music Ministry

Other: Married to Jessica for almost 8 years; 2 children: Levi (3) and Judah (1)

Personal Message: I am a young adult clergy person who loves Jesus, loves the Bible, and loves the United Methodist Church. As a young adult, I am passionate about the decisions we make today, because they will determine what tomorrow’s church looks like. Although I have only been in pastoral ministry since 2015, I have held multiple church staff/leadership positions, and have years of experience in handling conflict. I support the language concerning human sexuality found in our current Book of Discipline, but acknowledge that after GC 2019, major restructuring is needed if our beloved connection is to flourish. My interest is not in preserving the status quo in our denomination, but rather in seeking creative ways to keep our shared ministries intact, while allowing those with divergent understandings of our mission to be faithful to those understandings. Although I believe some level of formal division is necessary, I also believe we can continue to partner together in service to a broken and hurting world. If elected, I will commit to being a compassionate listener, to conducting myself with procedural and relational integrity, and to devoting myself to humility and prayer.

Stephen PichaskeStephen Pichaske #1432

Status/Year of Ordination: Elder, 2005

Current Appointment: Prospect UMC - Dunlap, IL

Relevant Leadership Roles: IGRC Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry (Past Chair), IGRC Board of Church and Society, IGRC Course of Study Instructor, IRD District Committee on Ministry

Experience: 17 years of full-time pastoral ministry in urban, rural/county seat and suburban congregations.  

Personal Message: Over the past 17 years, I have served traditional leaning, progressive leaning and "centrist" congregations in urban, rural and suburban settings.  Significant numerical and spiritual growth throughout socio-economic and generational demographics has been experienced within each setting through an intentional effort to keep our congregational and community eyes focused on "growing deep in the love of Jesus and reaching wide with the love of Jesus."  I would be honored, and humbled, to bring this leadership mindset in service to our annual conference at General/Jurisdictional Conference in 2020.

Dennis PriceDennis Price #1444

Status/Year of Ordination: Elder, 1978

Current Appointment: Retired

Relevant Leadership Roles: Conference and District Board of Ministry; United Methodist Village, Godfrey Board Chairman; Conference and District Congregational Development

Experience: Jurisdictional Delegate, 2008 and 2012; Alternate Jurisdictional Delegate, 2016

Gifts and Passions: Leading local church growth and development

Personal Message: If elected, I will serve to the best of my ability to “contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people.” (Jude 3)

Shalom RennerShalom Renner #1459

Status/Year of Ordination: Elder, 2000

Current Appointment: Metropolis First UMC

Relevant Leadership Roles: Care Guide 2007-2012, Co-Chair of the Elders 2012-2016, IGRC BOOM 2012-Present, IGRC BOOM Secretary 2017-Present, United Methodist Foundation Board Member 2004-2015 (VP 12-15), Cache River DCOM Chair 2016-Present, Pastoral Care and Counseling 2012-2014

Experience: Dean of Summer Games Camp, 1999-2015 (Living Springs Camp), Core Staff for Beginnings Camp, Beulah Camp 2010-2015, Helped to oversee Covenant Keepers 2013-2016, Director of the IGRC New Pastor Training 2016 to Present, DMin from United Theological Seminary, Dayton, OH Dec. 2004

Personal Message: Having served in half of the IGRC Districts, I have a broad view of our conference from North to South.  From youth, congregational, district and conference levels, I bring a broad scope of experiences to seek to serve this large and diverse body. Having served with the DCOM and Conference Board, I have gained a familiarity with our Discipline.  I am proud to have served the IGRC in various ways over these years of ministry--and I hope to be a part of the future direction of the United Methodist Church in 2020 and years to come.

Chris RitterChris Ritter #1474

Status/Year of Ordination: Elder, 1999

Current Appointment: Geneseo First/Cambridge Multisite

Relevant Leadership Roles: General Conference Delegate (2016 & 2019), Author, Seven Things John Wesley Expected Us to Do for Kids (Abingdon, 2016), Presenter, "Legislation Writing Workshop" The UM Africa Initiative (2018), Editor,, a site dedicated to United Methodist vitality and unity, IGRC Board of Ordained Ministry (2001-2008), IGRC Board of Ordained Ministry Executive Team (2004-2008), IGRC Mentor Training Coordinator (2004-2008), Spoon River District Committee on Ministry (Present),

Spoon River District Committee on Congregational Development (Present), Chair, Embarras River District Committee on Superintendency (1999-2001)

Experience: I have labored intentionally in the interest of United Methodist unity since 2014 and this work has put me in touch with like-minded leaders from across a wide spectrum of our denomination.  My blog has become a primary resource for thinking around structural solutions for United Methodists.  My travels in the service of our church have taken me to Dubai, Kenya, Liberia, Guinea, Italy, Israel, and Costa Rica.

Gifts and Passions: Evangelism and Church Growth are my primary passions.  I hold a doctorate in Evangelism from Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University.  Every appointment I have served in full-time ministry has received the IGRC Church Growth Award at least once.  Conceptual thinking on the topic of our United Methodist impasse over human sexuality has led me to offer and refine multiple proposals.  I am also passionate about our church raising up the next generations.

Other: My daily updates from General Conference have sought to take readers beyond the headlines to an understanding of the inner dynamics of our church.  These and many other resources on the issues facing The United Methodist Church can be found at

Personal Message: The UMC is poised for a season of dramatic change.  It would be my honor to bring the extensive knowledge I have attained on United Methodist issues to our 2020 GC delegation.  Worthy solutions to our impasse on human sexuality will move us all, regardless of ideology, to a place where we can conduct the ministry to which God has called us without penalty, moral compromise, or limitation.  Keeping our annual conference informed about United Methodist issues from all perspectives will be a continued focus.  You can expect a policy of transparency with regards to my thinking on the major issues facing our church.  I favor full clergy rights for local pastors, keeping our promises to active and retired clergy, vital partnerships with our growing central conferences, and creative structural solutions that move us beyond our current gridlock.  The nature and design of our general agencies and general superintendency are also matters for intentional and urgent dialog. Wise stewardship of our present opportunities and challenges will lead us to a fresh flowering of evangelism, church planting, and disciple-making in the Wesleyan spirit.  Thank you for your consideration.

Randy RobinsonRandy Robinson #1476

Status/Year of Ordination: Elder, 1983

Current Appointment: Danville St. James UMC

Relevant Leadership Roles: General & Jurisdictional Conferences; Board of Ordained Ministry; VIM to Liberia; Standing Rules Committee; Jurisdictional Election Committee; Jurisdictional Committee on Investigation; Bishop's Task Force on Clergy Sexual Misconduct.

Experience: Service to local churches ranging in size from 30 to 800+ members; oversight of 90 local churches and 50 pastors each year for 8 years.  Trained Stephen Ministry Leader and Disciple Bible Study Leader.   

Gifts and Passions: Local and Global missions; spiritual formation, discipleship development; local church renewal through intentional practice of Wesley's means of grace. 

Other: As a pastor, I am called to equip local churches to become healthy, growing, spiritually vital, risk-taking centers for making and equipping disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. 

Personal Message: My passion is to live and serve as a disciple of Jesus Christ and to serve Christ's church in ways that achieve "the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."  Our church's mission has the power and potential to form us as a distinct people of God as we embrace it, are shaped by it, and unleash its power.  Our Spirit-driven mission has the power to unite and propel The UMC, enabling us to fulfill our call and drive every ministry from the local church to the General Church.  It should be the determining factor by which every General Conference proposal is measured.  I believe it is time for a complete denominational overhaul to help us more effectively achieve our mission.  I have been deeply formed by our covenants of baptism and ordination and I work to reform the church from within these covenants.  Above all, I believe the Lordship of Jesus Christ transcends labels of "traditionalist, centrist, progressive."  Jesus Christ is Lord of all, and especially of the Church.

Vince RohnVince Rohn #1480

Status/Year of Ordination: Elder, 2003

Current Appointment: Galesburg First UMC

Relevant Leadership Roles: Current Chair of the IGRC Board of Ordained Ministry, current member of Spoon River DCOM, past Vice-Chair of BOM, past Chair of Conference Relations Team, past chair of IGRC Commission on Equitable Compensation

Experience: Serving in a variety of leadership positions in the IGRC, Serving a variety of churches throughout the IGRC

Gifts and Passions: Preaching, vision casting, inclusion of all people in the community of faith

Personal Message: I have been a United Methodist all of my life and love our church and its heritage. I desire to see the United Methodist Church not only weather its current struggles, but to once again grow and thrive in the United States. If we are going to do that together, I believe that we need a gracious unity that respects the multitude of perspectives within our denomination but also allows us to offer all in our communities a true welcome. Solutions that question the faithfulness, commitment to Scripture, or compassion of our brothers and sisters are not in keeping with our Wesleyan heritage of doing good rather than harm or Jesus’s teaching that his followers will be known by their love. As a General Conference delegate, I would desire to see the United Methodist Church find a way forward that allows us all to minister to our communities in truly gracious but faithful ways that honor our diversity. My experience as the chair of the Board of Ordained Ministry, as well as serving a variety of churches throughout the IGRC, has equipped me with a unique perspective and skill set that I bring to this work.

Bruce RushingBruce Rushing #1489

Status/Year of Ordination: Elder, 1985

Current Appointment: Wesley UMC, Canton, IL

Relevant Leadership Roles: I have served on Board of Pensions for several years. I have worked in the Division of Camps and Conferences. I have served on the Illinois Rivers District Ministry Teams for 6 years. I am current chairperson of Church Building and Location Committee in Illinois River District. I was the 2018 recipient of the Harry Denman Evangelism Award for our conference.

Experience: I have been a United Methodist Pastor since I was eighteen years old. Through these years I have sought to lead the church in being an effective witness for Jesus Christ in this world. I have participated in challenges in the local church and the annual conference and I believe I have been effective.  My guide for this work has been Scriptural Understanding, The United Methodist Discipline, and the Mission statement of the local church.

Gifts and Passions: My passion is to see individual lives changed by the power of the gospel. I believe the local church is the best place for this to happen and so my passion has always been finding ways to enable the local congregation to be an active body where everyone has a place to serve in Kingdom work. I have organizational and interpersonal skills that have served well in this quest. 

Personal Message: I believe we are at a time where the United Methodist covenant is being greatly challenged. The greatest challenge is not that we do not agree with one another on certain and various issues. The challenge that is most devastating is the breaking of covenant with one another to force change. This behavior basically says that we do not believe in our own process and this can never have a unified result.  I have always been one who follows the Discipline of the Church and where change has been needed, I have worked to facilitate it through the Conference process. I am saddened that our General Conference acted, and yet many have defiantly said they would not comply. This stretches the very fabric of our covenant together. I am willing to work for integrity in the United Methodist Church through the Conferencing process. If you are looking to vote for one who believes in the process and the power of covenant, I would ask for your vote.

Robert Sabo, Jr.Robert (Bob) Sabo, Jr. #1492

Status/Year of Ordination: Elder, 1995

Current Appointment: Watseka First UMC

Relevant Leadership Roles: I have served on the: Conference Commission on Race and Religion; Cache River District Board of Church Location and Building; Iroquois River District Committee on Ordained Ministry; Iroquois River District Lay Servant Ministry Committee where I have taught both basic and advance classes.  I served as President of the Board for the Wesley Foundation at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale.

Experience: As a follower of Jesus Christ and as a United Methodist pastor, I have been blessed to participate in a Walk to Emmaus.  I was further blessed to serve on a team and offer a talk on prevenient grace.  Another great joy I have experienced is serving as a camp chaplain for three years at Little Grassy.  In the past 4 years I have served our community as a member of the Long Term Recovery Committee following 3 major floods.  I have dispersed Salvation Army funds for the past 5 years to assist those in need in our community. 

Gifts and Passions: My passion is calling and leading the local church to embrace and live out it's mission.  I am passionate about extending the love of Christ to those who are struggling, hurting - those on the edges of society.   I am passionate about honoring Jesus in my life and ministry. 

Personal Message: I have served Christ and his church since my youth in various communities and churches as both a lay person and as an ordained pastor.  In working with a broad range of individuals, I have appreciated more and more the faith, love and concern people have for Christ's church and his Kingdom.  I would consider it a privilege to serve the Conference as a clergy delegate in 2020.  I would ask that you prayerfully consider me as you discern those who are to represent you in this important ministry role.    

Joy SchlesselmanJoy Schlesselman #1502

Status/Year of Ordination: Elder, 1989

Current Appointment: Manteno UMC

Relevant Leadership Roles: I have served on 3 District Committees on Ordained Ministry, the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry, currently I’m on the Conference Hispanic Ministries Committee. I have also been in leadership in several civic and community organizations, including the Interfaith Alliance, Lions Club, Rotary Club, school PTO, Ministerial Alliances.

Experience: I am a graduate of Grinnell College and St. Paul School of Theology, as well as the 2-year Academy for Spiritual Formation. I currently am a leader of the 5-Day Academy for Spiritual Formation.  I have had opportunities to observe and/or volunteer at 3 different General Conferences in the past.

Gifts and Passions: My gifts are in preaching, leading, listening and ministries with children and youth. I have a passion for empowering others to lead and to take initiative to follow God's leading. I am deeply rooted in prayer and spiritual disciplines.

Other: I am eager to represent our Conference at the General Conference, to listen to our own people, and to listen, most importantly, to how God is leading our church. If I am elected, I will study and prepare, and be ready to speak up for what is right, and for what is best for our church.

Personal Message: I’ve been a pastor in the United Methodist Church for 34 years, and I believe in our denomination because we are grace-filled, mission-oriented, and rooted in our faith in Jesus Christ, as expressed in our Wesleyan practices. I have served small and large churches, rural and small town. Though our denomination is strong, I also believe that there are changes that need to be made as we seek to be more inclusive, and representative of all the different kinds of people that make up our church, worldwide.

Eric SwansonEric Swanson #1563

Status/Year of Ordination: Elder, 2011

Current Appointment: LeRoy First UMC

Relevant Leadership Roles: Episcopacy Committee, Sessions Worship Chair, Young Clergy Initiative, IGRC for Unity Team

Experience: I have been to 3 General Conferences and Jurisdictional Conference in volunteer and observer roles and have led the worship teams for the last Jurisdictional Conference we hosted.

Gifts and Passions: I have a passion for Evangelism and leadership renewal within the UMC.  My strengths are in seeing new strategies and ideas for helping guide the church into the future God is calling us towards.

Personal Message: The United Methodist Church has been the formative body of my personal and pastoral life and for that I will always love and respect this body.  It is not just in the details but in the essence and purpose of our Discipline that I find my strengths and offer my services as a delegate.  As a clergy person who has 15 years of service and 30 more years of ministry to offer, I want to focus on the connectional strength of our church.  For those who desire personal definitions, I consider myself an Evangelical Progressive Centrist, but I want everyone to hear that my value is for all of God's Children to be at the communion table together in worship and ministry.  I desire a denomination that has truly created space for mutual empathy, the uniqueness of each person's story and the great power of the Holy Spirit to empower us to forge new and yet unseen pathways into the Kingdom of God here on this earth.

Bob SwickardSwickard, Bob #1566

Status/Year of Ordination: Elder, 1995

Current Appointment: St. Matthew UMC Belleville, IL

Relevant Leadership Roles: Member of Conference Evangelism Team

Experience: None submitted

Gifts and Passions: None submitted

Personal Message: None submitted

Sarah Beth Mayfield WanckSarah Beth Mayfield Wanck #1606

Status/Year of Ordination: Elder, 2018

Current Appointment: Crossroads UMC, Associate

Relevant Leadership Roles: Spoon River District Youth Representative, Spoon River District Committee on Superintendency, Conference Council on Youth Ministry, Leadership Teams for Youth Annual Retreat

Co-Creator and Director of Marked Leadership Camp, Illinois River District Committee on Congregational Development

Experience: Bachelor’s Degree in advertising, Public Relations, and Communications from Kentucky Wesleyan College, 2001; Masters Degree in Youth Ministry from Asbury Theological Seminary, 2003;

Masters of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary, 2016; Toured with Harvest Ministry Team, 1999, 2000; IGRC Summer Intern, assigned to Flora UMC, 2001; Director of Youth Ministry at First UMC Montgomery, Alabama, 2003-2006; Director of Student and Family Ministry at Geneseo First UMC, 2006-2007; Bible Teacher at Beulah Youth Institute, 2017 & 2018; Member of The Order of The Flame with World Methodist Evangelism, 2018

Gifts and Passions: I have a deep desire to share the message of hope and transformation in Christ with students and young adults, to reach people who feel far from God or the church, and to walk with people through the questions of life and faith. Communicating the gospel through preaching and teaching is my great joy and honor. And I'm discovering more passion for the things of the Holy Spirit every day.

Other: I dabble in lots of different things to fully enjoy life, like baking, watercolors, knitting, writing, and digital design. But the joy of my life is being mom to our incredible little boy Hudson who's (almost) 8 years old and supporting my clergy husband as he shares ministry with the people of Morton UMC.

Personal Message: I have vivid memories of a rich upbringing in the Illinois Great Rivers Conference. As a child, I was nurtured in the ministry of Aldersgate UMC. I watched as my father answered a call to ministry when I was young. Then I began to hear the voice of God in my own life. At eight years old, I heard God call me to salvation at the altar rails of Energy UMC. In High School, I found myself at the altar yet again, as I accepted a call to ministry at Beulah Camp. The people of the IGRC have loved me as I learned to listen to God and answer God's call. If elected to represent the Illinois Great Rivers Conference, I will commit with you to continuing the call to reach all people with the message of life in Christ. As we walk through transition in our beloved church, I will prayerfully consider our next steps. I will work to honor our rich Wesleyan history with a calm heart, care for people, and a priority on our mission to make disciples - so others might find what I have been so blessed to receive in the IGRC.

Sylvester WeatherallSylvester Weatherall #1611

Status/Year of Ordination: Elder, 1993

Current Appointment: Sangamon River District Superintendent

Relevant Leadership Roles: Chair of 2016 and 2019 Delegation, General Board of Church and Society, North Central Jurisdiction Commission on Race and Religion, North Central Jurisdiction of Black Methodist for Church Renewal, North Central Jurisdiction Structure Task Force, General Conference Delegate – 2016 (First Clergy elected and head of the Delegation), Jurisdictional Conference Delegate -2016, Candidate For Bishop 2016, General Finance Administration Task Force for Tithe Based Apportionments, Conference Commission and Race Chair, Member of the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry, General Conference Delegate 1996 (1st Reserve) 2000,  2008, (2nd  Reserve)  2012, Jurisdictional Conference Delegate -- 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016

Experience: Rural and inner-city ministry.

Gifts and Passions: I bring a broad range of gifts and experiences, from Urban, Suburban and small Town.   I have been gifted with the ability to bring a people together.  I love people and have the ability to see Christ in all people.  I love preaching.  God has blessed with me oratorical gifts.  I love to teach.  I have the heart of a teacher.  Some of my other gifts are service, encouragement, generosity, church growth, music, and

Personal Message: My leadership style is relational.  I believe that each person is a unique gift of God.  I lead by equipping.  My equipping style is to help people discover their God giving gifts for the Church.   To help people use those gifts in the Church and the world.  I approach churches, districts and our global church as a living system. The term "systems" is derived from the Greek word "synistanai," which means "to bring together or combine."  The United Methodist is a global system. I believe successful leaders (Pastors, Superintendents and Bishops) must create precedents in supervision successfully by following innovative ways and means so that it becomes a good precedent for our Districts, Churches and Conferences. In the United Methodist Church there is always change, (The Itinerant System and the assignment of Bishop).  Change is the inevitable. I believe that Bishops, Superintendents and Pastors must have standards in place that future incoming Leaders can follow. They can incorporate their gifts, ideas and innovations in to Churches, Districts and Conferences.  The system I put in place is one that is collaborative, relational and respectful of all people’s gifts and abilities.

Jarrett WellsJarrett Wells #1616

Status/Year of Ordination: Elder, 2010

Current Appointment: Beardstown UMC

Relevant Leadership Roles: LaMoine River DCoM, Commission on Camping and Retreat Ministries, Committee on Standing Rules

Experience: Serving predominately small-membership churches and their communities since 2001; Counselor and clergy leader at East Bay Camp; Involved in domestic and international missions

Gifts and Passions: Communicating the Gospel, Spiritual Formation, Dreaming and envisioning the "big picture"

Personal Message: We all know the reality in which our beloved Church finds itself. For the sake of Christ and the world, we must find a way to get past our battles. As painful as it is to acknowledge, I believe the time has come for us to separate. I believe forced unity for the sake of institutional preservation will serve only to deepen the divide. I support an amicable separation, while retaining our partnerships in those things on which we agree. As we have these difficult conversations, I offer myself as a new voice to the table. It would be a privilege and honor to represent the IGRC.

Mike WhitakerMichael Whitaker #1624

Status/Year of Ordination: Elder, 2011

Current Appointment: The Connection United Methodist Faith Community

Relevant Leadership Roles: Pastor, Speaker/Consultant for churches seeking to engage new people and multigenerational ministries, IGRC new church starts strategic team, Various district and conference boards

Experience: 16 Years of Pastoral ministry including: Directing pastor of new church start, Pastor in charge of discipleship, director of youth and young adults (various churches,) Director of Music/Contemporary Worship, (various churches,) directed launch of new worship services, multi-site, and new faith community.

Gifts and Passions: I love finding new ways to introduce people to Christ and help others deepen their faith. I'm passionate about music, ministry, and my St. Louis Cardinals.

Other: I've been going to Annual Conference since I was 12, so I won't have to learn Robert's Rules of Order. #winning   I love to laugh and have fun, but I would take this role very seriously, and listen to the wishes of the awesome people of the IGRC.

Personal Message: The UMC has been fighting for years over who is right... I'd rather fight to remain United.

Bill WiggsBill Wiggs #1629

Status/Year of Ordination: Elder, 2001

Current Appointment: Sunfield-Greenwood

Relevant Leadership Roles: Currently serving on the Conference Committee on Nominations. Have Served previously on Conference Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry. Board of Directors United Methodist Village Inc. Committee on Annual Conference Session. Dean Director Beulah The Beginning Camp, Spiritual Director Jr. High Alive Camp. Pals Task Force (A Richland County committee organization dedicated to helping children and youth stay off and get off drugs, encouraging young people to make positive choices and become leaders in their community.)

Experience: Since 1992 I have served as a pastor in small membership and rural churches. This has given me the opportunity to work with many wonderful people: the regular, church going, United Methodists who make up the majority of our denomination. This has given me a little different perspective on church life than I had as a member of a large membership church (Belleville St. Matthew) before entering ministry. Because of the experience I have developed strong negotiating skills and have had to learn to listen beyond words to the heart. My work in camping and youth ministry has helped me to better understand the needs of youth and young adults and has allowed me to walk with them as they have made important life decisions, especially their relationship with God in Christ. Through the work I have done on conference committees I have been able to engage with people at many places in the theological spectrum and learn from them.

Gifts and Passions: I have a passion for sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with those who are lost in this world, regardless of where they find themselves. I greatly want to see youth and young adults understand their need for God and to find a place in the church. Many people today are lost in a world that tells them they are worthless. It brings me great joy to share with them that they are worth the life of the very Son of God. I spend much of my time helping Christians grow deeper in their faith and leading them to godly decision making. I am gifted in the area of negotiating, helping everyone to feel heard and cared for as the best decision is made.

Other: xx

Personal Message: Although I did not grow up in the United Methodist Church, I came to Belleville St. Matthew shortly after giving my heart to the Lord. I was very much a baby Christian when I walked into St. Matthew, where I found a loving community of committed Christians who helped me grow in my faith, taught me the spiritual disciplines, gave me a love for liturgy and traditions of the church, saw potential in me and helped me discover my gifts and graces for ministry. It was there that I felt the call to ministry and was nurtured by some of the finest pastors I have known. I was educated in a United Methodist college, McKendree, and furthered my education at Asbury Theological Seminary, receiving my M.Div. in 1999.   I have raised my family in a UM parsonage and my son is a candidate for ministry, serving as a pastor in the church. I am committed to the historic faith of the church and am proud of our United Methodist heritage and discipline. I have given my life to the ministry of this wonderful church and long to see us reach the next generation with the life-saving message of Jesus Christ.

Beverly Wilkes-NullBeverly Wilkes-Null #1630

Status/Year of Ordination: Elder, 1991

Current Appointment: Highland Hope UMC

Relevant Leadership Roles: Recent and Current Leadership Roles: 2016 to Current Chair of IGRC Africa University Committee, 2016 to Current Chair NCJ Committee on Appeals, 2012 - 2016   Trustee Saint Paul School of Theology, 2004 - 2012 Global Connectional Table NCJ Representative, 2000 & 2004 General Conference and Jurisdictional Conference Delegate

Experience: My most recent experiences have included the following training events as train the trainer:

2018 Do No Harm designed for responding to Sexual Misconduct within the church, 2015 - 2018 Veteran Advocacy: Preparing Rural Pastors to assist with Veteran and Family Transitions, 2018 The Committee on Appeals: Conducting a Hearing in a way that honors our Book of Discipline while also exercising as much grace as is possible.

Gifts and Passions: I am gifted in the area of understanding that it is important to know not only the constraints of our Book of Discipline but to also understand the liberties and grace that is contained in it.  I have a passion for helping people to hear and to love each other though their theological differences may be from opposing points of view.  I also have been gifted to be able to help people to address human conflict and find ways to mediate win/win solutions. My spiritual gifts include discernment, administration, generosity, mercy and prophecy from the stand point of being able to speak an appropriate God message for the situations that are before me. I have also been trained in the area of Conflict Resolution/Mediation/Negotiation by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Other: I was a member of our inaugural Global Connectional Table (GCT) in 2004. What I witnessed during those eight years was our capacity to Do No Harm, Do Good and Stay in Love with God though we were contextually very diverse as The United Methodist Denomination. Unless you were a member of the GCT most people would not know that the Four Areas of Focus and the Budget that was presented at the 2008 General Conference were never formally voted upon because they were presented by an inter-generational team and received by a standing ovation. It was a moment of hope that has not captured the hearts of our beloved UMC since.

Personal Message: I am currently serving as the Chair of our IGRC Africa Univ. Committee and as Chair of our NCJ Committee on Appeals. My hope for our beloved United Methodist Family is that we will work together to reflect the love of Jesus Christ amid our kaleidoscopic view of theological and social difference.  I have spent my entire professional ministry in cross-racial and/or cross-cultural settings that are uniquely different from my personal experiences. Yet in the midst of our differences the one thing that has propelled us forward has been a common understanding that our love for Jesus compels us to love beyond our differences. General Conference 2019 left me grieving for my beloved United Methodist family as I witnessed massive brokenness. Therefore, it is with humility that I seek your support to serve as a General Conference Delegate who will seek to preserve the Unity of Christ in our family while embracing the full spectrum of human fragility. We are a global family doing and being the Church while trying to be contextually relevant around the globe; this should be our strength and not our weakness, our guiding post and not our hitching post.