News

Historic church organ cabinet finally reassembled after being taken apart decades ago

published 5/22/2018
With the help of a power lift at Union United Methodist Church in downtown Belleville, three church members were able to finish reassembling an historic organ cabinet that had been taken apart decades ago.
 
The 21-foot-tall wooden cabinet was originally part of an organ installed in 1937 in the former First Methodist Church on Washington Street.
 
But since then, it has taken many twists and turns before Mike Engel, Dick Frette and Don Stein attached the cabinet to a wall May 9 in the atrium of Union United Methodist Church at 721 E. Main St.

Wanda, Wood River UMC’s partner with students on community projects

published 5/22/2018
Roxana High School students are taking to the streets to better the community.

Students have taken on projects to benefit the community including painting houses and making pillowcases.

It’s all a part of what the Roxana School District is about, according to Superintendent Debra Kreutiztrager.

“The purpose is to develop partnerships between the school and community to improve the lives of individuals, the community, and our students,” said Kreutiztrager. “The District vision is ‘excellence with passion, pride, and partnership.’ We believe in serving others and providing diversified experiences to promote the vision.”

Additionally, in a collaborative effort, some students joined together with Wanda United Methodist Church and Wood River United Methodist Church to make sleeping mats for the homeless.

“We ended up getting the churches involved and it took off from there,” said Floyd.

2018 Bishop's Open

published 5/21/2018
Beardstown UMC emerged as the top team among 35 foursomes that participated in the 2018 Bishop’s Open at Piper Glen Golf Course in Chatham May 11. The foursome of Dan McClenning, Larry Kight, Wayne Kight and Wade Mathis is pictured with Bishop Frank Beard on the 18th green. The team from Bloomington Wesley placed second. Members included Brad Schumann, Dave Koth, Rusty DePew and Craig Lutes. In all, more than $22,000 was raised for the Our Conference Our Kids campaign.    

Church ceiling collapse displaces Ellsworth congregation

published 5/16/2018
Services at Ellsworth United Methodist Church have been relocated to the nearby American Legion after the sanctuary ceiling collapsed last week.

Shortly after members left choir practice at 8:30 p.m. May 9, neighbors heard a crash from inside the building at 101 Main St., said Roger Wilke, the church's board of trustees chairman.

No one was in the church, which has about 50 members, at the time of the ceiling collapse.

2018 Annual Conference materials

published 4/25/2018
The main Annual Conference page is located at: www.igrc.org/ac2018 
From the main page, pages for a variety of items will be located on the right-hand side menu. Those that are already live on the website include the following:

Christ Church exploring possibility of Carbondale area satellite campus

published 4/25/2018
Christ Church in Fairview Heights has begun the exploration phase for its next satellite campus in the Carbondale area.

Living Biblically

published 4/25/2018
A couple of weeks ago, I happened upon a new television show called, Living Biblically. It’s a sitcom which airs Mondays on CBS.

Plan now for 2018 Annual Conference

published 4/25/2018
The 2018 Annual Conference will be June 7-9 at the Peoria Civic Center in Peoria.

Franklin promoted to Associate Coordinator of Camping and Youth Ministry

published 3/26/2018
To better support the Conference Camping and Youth Ministries, Curt Franklin has been named Associate Coordinator of Camping and Youth Ministries.

Mississippi River District Administrative Assistant

published 3/20/2018
The Mississippi River District office has announced that Bonnie C. Abel has joined its staff as administrative assistant.

Prentice Sermon at Mt. Vernon First April 8

published 3/20/2018
MT. VERNON – The IGRC Commission on Archives and History has announced that the annual Prentice Memorial Sermon will be held at Mt. Vernon First UMC, April 8 at 10:45 a.m. The Rev. Dr. Paul Stroble, chair of the IGRC Commission on Archives and History, will be the speaker. Stroble has done extensive research on Zadok Casey, the organizer of the Methodist Society in Mt. Vernon which later became Mt. Vernon First. The site was selected to correspond with the church’s 200th anniversary and how it ...

Annual Conference app wins UMAC award

published 3/19/2018
The 2017 Annual Conference mobile app was recently awarded top honors by the United Methodist Association of Communicators meeting held March 7-9.

Abuse survivor moves forward, one act of kindness at a time

published 3/16/2018
Dan Koenigs is a man who'd give you the shirt off his back.

Statham dismissed as McKendree men’s basketball coach

published 3/16/2018
McKendree University Coach Harry Statham, who with 1,122 wins over a storied 52-year career became the winningest men’s basketball coach among four-year colleges and universities, was dismissed from his post March 6.

Serving others strengthens Anderson’s faith

published 3/7/2018
Before 2006, Miles, Iowa, native and current Monmouth resident Anita Anderson had no passport and had never been farther from home than Colorado.

Cunningham Home hosts 14th Annual Festival of Quilts

published 3/5/2018
Cunningham Children’s Home will host the 14th Annual Festival of Quilts on Friday, April 13 and Saturday, April 14 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., in the Spiritual Life Center on the Cunningham campus in Urbana. The Festival is Cunningham’s largest fundraiser and honors the tradition of the United Methodist Women, and the quilts they, and quilters from across Illinois, have donated for our kids for more than 120 years.

Phillips selected as conference archivist

published 3/5/2018
Lynne Phillips of Appleton, Wis., was selected from a field of 35 candidates for the shared position between the conference and college. The recommendation was forwarded to the Conference Commission on Archives and History which affirmed the decision at its Feb. 13 meeting. Phillips begins work at MacMurray’s Pfeiffer Library – the location of the Conference Archives – on March 1.

To the Point: Suggestions for churches with young pastors

published 3/5/2018
Churches that receive a young pastor need to remember how lucky they are. Many congregations say they want a younger pastor, but few have the opportunity. They ought not, however, assume their church will automatically reach younger people simply because of the age of the pastor. Having a young pastor might improve the likelihood of a congregation connecting with young people, but not without openness to other kinds of change. Congregations sincere in their desire to work with a younger pastor to reach emerging generations must be flexible and open to new ideas and possibilities. Take the initiative in asking the young pastor for ways in which your church can become more inviting for younger people.

Bishops wrestle with refining options for A Way Forward

published 3/1/2018
Council of Bishops President Bruce R. Ough challenged colleagues to be open to changing their minds as they grapple with how to avoid a breakup of The United Methodist Church over homosexuality.

Clergy Spouse fellowship groups forming

published 3/1/2018
Being a clergy spouse can be hard and isolating. Clergy have their covenant groups for support and fellowship, but often there's no such group for spouses. Pastoral Care and Counseling would like to change that!

Conference staff realignments announced

published 3/1/2018
Following a complete assessment of responsibilities, the General Council on Finance and Administration recommended several changes to Conference staffing that have been accepted by both the Conference Personnel Committee and the Council on Finance and Administration.

Flooding along Iroquois, Kankakee, Rock rivers

published 3/1/2018
The Conference Center received reports Feb, 23 of flooding in the far northeast corner of our conference in the Iroquois and Vermilion River Districts. We are aware of significant damage in Watseka, Cissna Park, and Aroma Park and the waters were still rising along the Iroquois and Kankakee Rivers and their tributaries at that time. A week later, there were reports of flooding along the Rock River.

IGRC mission team assists with hurricane repairs on St. Croix

published 3/1/2018
Ten members from a United Methodist church in Illinois are on the island assisting with repairs to three Methodist churches that sustained damages during Hurricane Maria last September.

Rev. Wally Carlson, representative of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference, said the mission team, which arrived here Feb. 6 went straight to work when they arrived. The churches being assisted are located in the Estate Richmond, William’s Delight and near downtown Fredericksted.

IGRC one of 29 annual conferences paying 100 percent in general church apportionments for 2017

published 3/1/2018
Twenty-nine annual conferences – 52 percent of conferences in the United States – marks the fourth year in a row that the number of conferences paying 100 percent of general Church- apportioned funds has increased over the previous year. The list of 29 includes the Illinois Great Rivers Conference who paid 100 percent for the 15th consecutive year.

Invest in mission trips for a life-changing week

published 3/1/2018
(Editor’s note: Spring Break is a time where many campus ministries take students on mission trips. The immersion experience is often identified as transformational and life-changing. As you think of your financial support, consider contacting one of the campus ministries or church-related schools to see how you can support such experiences for students like Jaclyn)   By Jaclyn Tekiela Illinois State University Wesley Foundation   “My name is Jaclyn Tekiela, and I was a member of the Illinois ...

Jensen Woods Camp sold to St. Louis developer

published 3/1/2018
The trustees of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference of The United Methodist Church announced Feb. 28 they have reached agreement for the sale of the 550-acre property located in northwestern Brown County, Ill., that previously was the site of Jensen Woods Camp.

Mt. Vernon First celebrating 200 years of ministry and service

published 3/1/2018
Rather than just celebrating the past, members of Mt. Vernon First UMC are seeing God’s work in their midst now and are planning for the future.

Mt. Vernon First to host 2018 Prentice Sermon

published 3/1/2018
The IGRC Commission on Archives and History has announced that the annual Prentice Memorial Sermon will be held at Mt. Vernon First UMC on April 8 at 10:45 a.m.

The Rev. Dr. Paul Stroble, chair of the IGRC Commission on Archives and History, will be the speaker. Stroble has done extensive research on Zadok Casey, the organizer of the Methodist Society in Mt. Vernon which later became Mt. Vernon First.

Plans coming together for 2018 Annual Conference

published 3/1/2018
By Paul Black PEORIA -- The Illinois Great Rivers Conference of The United Methodist Church will be meeting in Peoria for the 17th consecutive year June 7-9. The Peoria Civic Center will serve as the conference’s central location for the nearly 2,000 who are expected to attend.   The theme of the conference is Let’s Get Fired Up: Moving Forward, with Bishop Frank J. Beard presiding over his second annual conference session.   The Sessions Committee has been working to refine the agenda in ...

United Methodist Village celebrates 110th anniversary

published 3/1/2018
The United Methodist Village is proud to announce its 110th anniversary of providing Five-Star quality care to older adults.

Irvin, Barnett tapped as new District Superintendents

published 1/30/2018
Bishop Frank J. Beard has announced the appointment of the Rev. Stan Irvin and the Rev. James Barnett as conference superintendents, effective July 1.
Irvin will be serving as Cache River District Superintendent and Barnett will be the new Vermilion River District Superintendent, succeeding the Rev. Roger Russell who is retiring and the Rev. Leah Pogemiller, who has served seven years as superintendent.

Potts selected as Director of Administrative Services

published 1/25/2018
Bishop Frank J. Beard, in consultation with the Conference Council on Finance and Administration, the Conference Personnel Committee and the Cabinet of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference announced Jan. 25 the appointment of the Rev. Mike Potts as the new Conference Director of Administrative Services, effective March 1.

Council of Bishops condemns Trump's remarks

published 1/12/2018
We are appalled by the offensive, disgusting words attributed to President Donald Trump who is said to have referred to immigrants from African countries and Haiti, and the countries themselves, in an insulting and derogative manner. According to various media accounts, President Trump made the remarks during a White House discussion with lawmakers on immigration.

As reported, President Trump’s words are not only offensive and harmful, they are racist.

We call upon all Christians, especially United Methodists, to condemn this characterization and further call for President Trump to apologize.

'Underway replenishment' marriage and ministry retreat in Elsah

published 12/5/2017
ELSAH -- In their 30 years of ministry in the Navy chaplaincy, Bob and Christy Phillips led numerous marriage retreats for couples (and single spouses where the partner could not be present). The intense commitments and total claims of the military parallel the realities of marriage for those in ministry. This weekend marriage self-care retreat is the product of facing the challenges, realities and possibilities of being married and in ministry. The dates are Thursday, March 1, beginning with ...

How did you learn to express gratitude?

published 11/27/2017
Rev. Matthew Filicsky and retired pastor, Rev. Beth Tickner tell of how they learned gratitude in a We Asked/You Answered column in Interpreter magazine.

Jacksonville Brooklyn UMC closing after 151 years

published 11/27/2017
Aging demographics, along with multiple generations that haven’t re-filled the pews — an all-too-familiar tale, said pastor Jean Hembrough — have taken their toll on Brooklyn UMC. The retirement of another part-time pastor, the Rev. Nancy Wood, earlier in the summer, and a shrinking pool of pastors to dip from, made the congregation take a more serious look at closing, said Hembrough, who also is retiring next summer.

Living in Gratitude

published 11/27/2017
What might sound like a platitude can actually redirect one's life, say United Methodists who have joined a quiet movement of people emphasizing gratitude in personal and community life. Churches turn to the praises present in so many of the psalms to stress gratitude in worship. Individual Christians keep gratitude journals. Clergy teach and preach the value of gratitude in a confusing, sometimes less than soulful world.

Technology is part of our history

published 11/27/2017
Technology is deep in our DNA as United Methodists. John Wesley used cutting-edge printing technology to do more than make copies of the Bible. He printed everything from hymnbooks to texts filled with home remedies by the thousands. With the world at our fingertips, United Methodists are continuing to do the same thing we always have: leverage technology for personal spiritual growth.

UMC road tour aims to unwrap Christmas, Champaign one of 21 stops

published 11/27/2017
The United Methodist Church is hitting the road in 16 states throughout December on “The True Meaning of Christmas Tour.” Champaign-area United Methodist churches will host the come-and-go event during The Nutcracker performance on December 10 from noon until 4 p.m. outside the Tryon Festival Theater, located at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at Illinois, 500 S. Goodwin Avenue in Urbana. An easy-to-find, bedecked tour truck will be the centerpiece of the festivities and the whole community is invited.

Equalization members to annual conference announced

published 10/31/2017
Equalization members to annual conference announced Editor’s Note: the list published in the November issue of The Current was incorrect.  Please see the list below for the most up to date information.    By Paul Black SPRINGFIELD – Annual Conference Secretary Joy Caschetta has announced that 161 additional lay delegates from Illinois Great Rivers Conference churches will be needed in 2018 to equalize the number of clergy and lay delegates at annual conference.   According to the conference ...

Local disaster relief center sends supplies to Puerto Rico, but more help is needed

published 10/27/2017
MIDWEST MISSION DISTRIBUTION CENTER warehouse supervisor BRAD WALTON told a group of volunteers Friday who witnessed the loading of a container with supplies to Puerto Rico for Hurricane Maria relief that the island is “devastated.”

Cantrall UMC celebrates 130 years despite devastating tornado

published 10/23/2017
For some 10 years within the 130-year life of Cantrall United Methodist Church, current member Dixie Kelso tried looking beyond her church home for a congregation she thought would be bigger and thus better to fit her needs.

But a disaster that struck Cantrall United Methodist’s building on May 9, 1995, brought Kelso back to her church “home.”

Bissell UMC's bell missing as 100 years of service celebrated

published 10/8/2017
On the same day members of Bissell United Methodist Church celebrated 100 years of service, a piece of the church’s history went missing.

Pawnee UMC celebrates 165 years

published 10/6/2017
Heartfelt fellowship in the congregation of about 100 members is among things helping it survive 165 years despite struggles common to small-town churches, such as dwindling membership, said Pastor Chuck Kurfman, pastor of The United Methodist Churches of Divernon, Pawnee and Thayer.

A new beginning at Spero Family Services

published 7/28/2017
It’s a new beginning for the former United Methodist Children’s Home – recently renamed Spero Family Services.

Let's get fired up!: Answering the call to ministry

published 6/10/2017
The Service of Ordination and Commissioning on Saturday morning capped off the 2017 Annual Conference on Saturday morning – a morning devoted to celebrating those that have been recommended for ministry and the giving and receiving of appointments deployed for service throughout the 87 counties in the southern two-thirds of Illinois for the upcoming year.

Let's Get Fired Up...For Kids

published 6/10/2017
Summary story of the highlights of the 2017 Annual Conference June 8-10, 2017, at the Peoria Civic Center.

Burned out? or Fired Up?

published 6/9/2017
This sense of boredom, futility, melancholy, and tiredness that settles on the human spirit is a tragic characteristic of life to our hectic, frenzied, stressful modern world. The sad truth is that while we have done so well and have been so creative in so many dimensions of life, we have all too often missed the main thing. Life does not have to be boring or monotonous or tiresome. I don’t think that God intended life to be that way. I think that God meant life to be celebrated, zestful, meaningful, and joyful. God wants us to be fired up on life not burned out.

How are the kids?

published 6/9/2017
A common inquiry for folks who haven’t spoken in a while, she proposed “How are the kids?” is one of the most important questions any conference can ask and a key measure by which all conferences should be judged.

How are the kids? Well, the United Methodists of this part of Illinois are about to raise $2.5 million to permanently endow the care of their souls and the sharing of God’s love through Jesus Christ at five child-serving agencies until Christ returns.
 
You do the math.

Our continuing journey

published 6/9/2017
Every one of us, in one way or another, says “Thank you” -  to God, the Bishops and cabinets, present or past, spouses, children, parents, congregations whom we have served, colleagues with whom we have served, and to the annual conference -  or some combination of these. In all things, we are grateful, because, it has all been a gift. Our vocation and whatever talents, we have to exercise – gifts. The church and its mission – gifts -  The life we are living – a gift.

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