News

Conference elects delegates, generous in giving

published 6/8/2019
The Illinois Great Rivers Annual Conference gathered around the theme, Let’s Get Fired Up: Hearts Strangely Warmed by the Blaze of the Holy Spirit, June 6-8 at the Peoria Civic Center.

Prayer breakfast a time of support for Our Conference, Our Kids

published 6/8/2019
After the testimonies, attendees gathered around the staff to pray. Together they prayed for their ministries that they might touch the hearts and minds of each person that they meet, but they also prayed for each volunteer individually. At each table in the room, agency staff sat while a group of United Methodists huddled around them and laid hands on them. The room echoed with prayers as roughly 15 were prayed over several times each.

The Spirit moved in the attendees that morning, and tears welled up in the eyes of persons prayed for as they felt each prayer.

The power of the Spirit: restoration and revival

published 6/8/2019
Bishop Beard told several stories about how he and others had witnessed the Holy Spirit worked miracles through prayers. When he was stationed as a pastor in Indiana, Beard was a witness to two separate occasions of miraculous medical recoveries spurred by the power of prayer.

The disciples needed to get their spiritual clothes on, so they met together in that room to do both corporate and personal prayer. The Holy Spirit responds to prayer and it responded to them.

“They argued about who was gonna sit on the right and the left of Jesus before,” said Beard, “but they came together that day in unity and prayed, and they received the Spirit because they didn’t want to keep it to themselves. When the Spirit comes restoration follows and revival is the result. The wind came into the room and they were pushed out into the street. Lord, do it again.”

Melgreen, Howell honored as Denman Award recipients

published 6/7/2019
The Denman Evangelism Award is named for the late Dr. Harry Denman, distinguished lay evangelist, who the late Dr. Billy Graham called, "my mentor in evangelism." The award is made possible by the Foundation for Evangelism, which was founded in 1949 by Dr. Denman, who felt it was the business of every Christian to be an evangelist. Today, annual conferences honor United Methodist lay, youth and clergy persons who carry out the spirit of Harry Denman.

Never give up on God...speak with authority

published 6/7/2019
“When the harvest doesn’t look good. when you wonder if anything matters, when your reputation is damaged, when waiting on God seems endless, don’t give up! God will renew your strength! God’s grace will renew you every time you need it. Though we may have signed on the dotted line and changed from active to retired clergy; there is no retirement with God. We are called to speak the word of God to its fullest potential. We speak for tomorrow, and when we speak God heals. Jesus is still on the throne. He is our savior, and he is our shepherd.”

Our Conference, Our Kids: removing obstacles to reach potential

published 6/7/2019
The children from Matthew could reach heaven without Jesus’ help, but he chose to let them come to him anyways. He didn’t just let them live their lives; he removed obstacles in order to allow them to come to him more easily. In the same way, (Amanda) Richards’s flower could grow without her help, but in order to thrive and reach its fullest potential all she had to do was put forth a little bit of effort. The programs supported by OCOK will provide love and service without the support of the IGRC, but removing obstacles by giving our time and money will help these programs to reach their fullest potential.

Pinkstaff, Harmony garner One Matters Awards, church growth awards also presented

published 6/7/2019
Now in its fifth year, the One Matters Discipleship Award is an effort for annual conferences to renew their focus on discipleship, especially at congregations in the United Methodist connection where annual baptisms and professions of faith too often are nonexistent, by honoring churches with the new One Matters Discipleship Award.

Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church is urging each conference to use the award to recognize one church that is turning zeros into positive numbers with a renewed focus on discipleship. The Illinois Great Rivers Conference has annually recognized two congregations.

Something is about to happen

published 6/7/2019
Anything that you do that comes to you easy without struggle, be wary of it. Because sometimes, you have to have a struggle so big that only God can step in and intervene to solve the problem. The good news is this: when God is on your side, that's more than the whole world against you.

We may never ever see the Promised Land of a unified, uniform church, not in the Protestant Church, not in the Catholic Church, not in the Jewish church. But the good news is there is a place that we preach about every single Sunday. There is a place where God has promised where the servant will never end, where the wicked will cease from troubling. There is a place where the weary will find rest. There is a place where faith will become sight, where mansions are awaiting all of us, where you've got to robe, I've got a robe, and all of God's children will be under a big tent called Children of God.

The secret of their success

published 6/7/2019
It changed the lives of the disciples who were gathered there that day, and they went to every corner of the world to share the good news of Jesus Christ with every person they could find. Now, the early church had none of the things that we think are necessary for success today. They didn't have buildings, they didn't have money, they didn't have political influence, they didn't have social status, and yet the church, became multitudes through Christ in the Roman Empire, because they had the power of the Holy Spirit and it was energizing their ministry. The good news, brothers and sisters, is that we have that same spirit available to us today. We just have to step out in faith and use that power.

Turning the old ship around

published 6/7/2019
Now, it will take the power of God to hold our denomination together. I'm aware of that. My prayer continues to be for the Illinois Great Rivers, yea even in my personal life, my prayer is this. You've heard it many times. “Lord, send the gentle wind of Holy Spirit. Blow upon the embers of my heart and fan me into flames for Jesus once again.”
 
We can determine what type of annual conference we want to be. I don't know about you, but my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus' name, on Christ the solid rock I stand. All other ground is sinking sand.
 
When we stand for Christ and with Christ and we're motivated to move in Christ, I believe the old ship will turn around. God bless you.

IGRC General and Jurisdictional Conference delegation

published 6/6/2019
Here are the results of delegate elections in the Illinois Great Rivers Conference for the 2020 General Conference and the 2020 North Central Jurisdictional Conference

Joy comes in the morning

published 6/6/2019
The “morning” might not always be tomorrow, and your suffering may not disappear overnight, but joy will come. “There is no night so dark that morning fails to come,” Sims said.
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego told King Nebuchhadnezzar had faith that God could save them from the furnace, but they told him that even if God didn’t, they would still never worship another God.

“This was not the hedging of a bet, but an incredible statement of faith,” Sims said. “Even when the vote doesn’t go our way or when someone that we love dies, we worship God anyway. We know that God can change these things, but we are called to love and worship Him regardless of whether we get what we want.

Message of Pentecost draws people together to get past division

published 6/6/2019
The Rev. Dr. Safiyah Fosua, assistant professor of spiritual formation at Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University noted that there can’t be a Pentecost without the crucifixion or the resurrection.

“Even before the stone was rolled away God was speaking to us,” Fosua said. “When Jesus told Mary and John to treat each other as mother and son following Jesus’ death, he was also telling us that the people around us aren’t strangers, they’re family. This family is one that can band together to get past our division and one that God can make a difference to people of every tribe, color, and nation.”

Additional voting numbers for General Conference elections

published 4/29/2019
Annual Conference Secretary Alice Shirley has announced the assignment of voting numbers for additional clergy and the numbers for lay delegate candidates for the 2020 General Conference.

Due to an oversight, numbers were not assigned among clergy for deacons in full connection -- which are eligible for election as a General Conference delegate. The error was discovered last week and Shirley announced those numbers today. In addition, seven probationary elders have also been assigned number pending their election as full members at the 2019 Clergy Session. Upon election, they, too, are eligible to be elected as General Conference delegates.

Among laity, candidates were still completing the application process when printing deadline for the Pre-Conference workbook occurred. In all, 43 lay candidates which met the qualifications will be among the field in which lay members to annual conference will vote. Additional nominations may be made from the floor and upon certifying their eligibility, will be assigned a number for voting.

Cancelled-Larnelle Harris concert June 7

published 4/23/2019
Due to low ticket sales this show has been cancelled.Ticketmaster will refund at the point of purchase. Internet & Phone orders will automatically be canceled & refunded.

51 clergy, 43 laity vying to represent IGRC at General Conference 2020

published 4/18/2019
Annual Conference Secretary Alice J. Shirley has announced that 51 clergy members and 43 laity have expressed interest in serving as delegates to General Conference.

In 2019, the Illinois Great Rivers Conference will elect five clergy and five lay delegates for General Conference to be held in Minneapolis, Minn. May 5-15, 2010. Five additional clergy and five additional lay delegates will be elected to serve with the General Conference delegates as delegates to the North Central Jurisdictional Conference in Fort Wayne, Ind., July 15-18, 2020. The first two elected Jurisdictional delegates will serve as General Conference alternates.

Following the election of both General and Jurisdictional Conference delegates, three jurisdictional alternates will be elected.  Elections will occur on Thursday, June 6, during the respective clergy and lay sessions of Annual Conference. Those sessions will run concurrently from 1 to 4 p.m.

Post-General Conference 2019 Briefings

published 2/6/2019
Bishop Frank J. Beard has announced he will host meetings throughout the Illinois Great Rivers Conference following General Conference to discuss the action taken by the special session of General Conference. Persons planning to attend one of the five sessions are asked to register in order to ensure adequate accommodation for those wanting to attend and the seating capacities of the venues. Register here 

Conference Committee on Evangelism

published 2/5/2019
I was 14 years old, and because I didn’t know any better, I had agreed to be the lay member to annual conference for my local church. I was a brand, new Christian attending a gathering that I knew nothing about, it was my first time in Peoria…I was out of my element.   The theme was Making Room in the Promised Land. I remember being in awe of the opening processional as the robed Bishop and cabinet made their way to the platform. I remember hearing the booming organ and singing And Are We Yet ...

Larnelle Harris will play the Peoria Civic Center Arena

published 2/4/2019
Gospel singer and songwriter Larnelle Harris will play the Peoria Civic Center Arena on Friday, June 7 at 7:30 p.m.  Harris is a five-time Grammy Award winner and has won 11 Dove Awards - three of which were for Male Vocalist of the Year, and a Stellar Award for Best Solo Performance.  He has achieved nineteen #1 radio singles and countless top 10 hits. 

The concert is an event sponsored by the Illinois Great Rivers Conference of The United Methodist Church, the regional body of denomination in the southern two-thirds of Illinois. The event is underwritten by the Larson Trust of The United Methodist Foundation, the Peoria First UMC Foundation, Preachers’ Aid Society and Benefit Fund and GFI Digital, a business technology company specializing in copiers, managed print, information technology and network services. Proceeds from ticket sales will be for the Our Conference, Our Kids campaign, a $2.5 million campaign to endow the chaplain and spiritual life ministries of five child and welfare agencies – The Baby Fold in Normal; Chaddock School in Quincy; Cunningham Children’s Home in Urbana; Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood in East St. Louis; and Spero Family Services in Mt. Vernon.

Bloomington Wesley UMC on a mission for Honduras

published 2/1/2019
 In 1994, the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church launched The Honduras Initiative. Today, the United Methodist Church in Honduras has 12 vital congregations and many others under development. Knowing that God continues to ask each of us to move beyond our comfort zones and to walk our faith journey alongside Christian brothers and sisters in other cultures, the Illinois Great Rivers Conference launched a mission partnership with the United Methodist Church in ...

Beard appoints Walker, Renner as new DSes, Zimmerman named interim superintendent

published 1/25/2019
Bishop Frank J. Beard has announced the appointments of Rev. Allynn Walker and Rev. Charliam Renner as conference superintendents, effective July 1. Walker will be assigned to the Mississippi River District and Renner will be assigned to the Embarras River District.

Beard also announced that the Rev. Dr. Keith Zimmerman has been named interim superintendent of the Vermilion River District, effective Feb. 1. Zimmerman will be filling in for the Rev. James Barnett during a convalescent period after Barnett underwent open heart surgery earlier this week.

Two congregations serve up pancakes, sausage for missions

published 1/21/2019
Two congregations have a long-standing tradition of serving up pancakes and sausage in the first month of the new year.   Mt. Vernon UMC, located in the Iroquois River District, held its 51st annual fundraiser on Jan. 19, while the McDowell UMC, located in the Vermilion River District, held its 71st pancake and sausage stuffer Jan. 10..   Mt. Vernon UMC   Last year, the men of the church served more than 300 guests and sold the extra pounds of pork sausage processed from eight hogs, which were ...

Living Springs Camp sold, buyer to continue camping tradition

published 12/18/2018
LEWISTOWN – The trustees of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference announced Dec. 18 that they have reached an agreement with a buyer for the purchase of Living Springs Camp near Lewistown.   Contracts were signed between the conference and Mr. and Mrs. Hector Corona of Chicago.  Plans for the property are to continue using it as a camp for children and youth in Chicago who are in need of new directions for their lives and live in communities which are filled with drugs and crime.   The final ...

Fairview Heights kicks off national Christmas tour

published 11/20/2018
“The True Meaning of Christmas Tour,” sponsored by The United Methodist Church, will be bringing its signature gift-wrapped truck to the mall on Sunday, Nov. 25 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., outside the food court entrance located between Macy's and Dillard's. The family-friendly festivities are free and open to everyone.

Camping and Retreat Ministry Staffing Changes

published 11/15/2018
Camping and Retreat Ministry Staffing Changes   On November 3, 2018, the Conference Commission on Camping and Retreat Ministry met to discuss creative options to decrease administrative expenses and to best position the ministry to achieve an increased quality of programs. The Commission determined that several changes would be made in 2019 to accomplish these goals. It is our desire to be the best stewards of our resources and we have determined that we are overstaffed and utilizing strategic ...

Booker-Jones to retire Dec. 31, Russell to stay on as interim until June 30

published 10/25/2018
Bishop Frank J. Beard has announced that Rev. Dr. Rose Booker-Jones has requested retirement, effective Dec. 31, and that Rev. Roger Russell, who retired in June and has been interim district superintendent since July, will continue in his role until June 30, at which time a new superintendent will be named.

Hall of Fame singer, five-time Grammy winner in concert at 2019 Annual Conference

published 10/25/2018
The only person in history to be a member of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame and the Amateur Radio Hall of Fame is 5-time Grammy and 11-time Dove Award winner Larnelle Harris. Harris will be in concert on Friday, June 7, 7:30 p.m. at Peoria Civic Center’s Carver Arena in a concert for the Our Conference, Our Kids campaign.   Harris recently released his first memoir entitled, Shaped Notes: How Ordinary People with Extraordinary Gifts Influenced my Life and Career ...

A Story of Hope

published 10/24/2018
As a Golden Cross ministry, Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House is called to provide support services to the East St. Louis community. For many in the community, daily life is a constant struggle. However, through our programs we strive to transform lives for those we serve. One of those life-changing transformations came in the life of Angelita.   Angelita had a rough start in life. She was mixed up in drug use and much more. However, when her father died, she had a wakeup call and knew she ...

Christ Church named one of the fastest-growing churches in America

published 10/24/2018
Outreach Magazine and Lifeway Research announced that Christ Church in Fairview Heights as a member of the 2018 Outreach 100, that includes the 100 fastest-growing churches in America. Christ Church is listed as 54th on the list of 100.   Rev. Shane L. Bishop, the church’s senior pastor, attributes much of the success of Christ Church to remaining focused on their mission to connect people to Jesus Christ. “When we connect people with Jesus, we are able to overcome other things for which we may ...

Contact the IGRC delegation

published 10/24/2018
The Illinois Great Rivers Conference elected five clergy and five lay delegates for the 2016 General Conference to be held in Portland, Oregon, May 10-20, 2016. They will also represent the Illinois Great Rivers Conference at the special called session of General Conference Feb. 23-29, 2019, in St. Louis, Mo. Clergy Sylvester Weatherall, Delegation Chair, 3100 Saint Helen’s Ct, Springfield 62704-6501, sweatherall@igrc.org Andy Adams, 312 Old Homestead Dr, Troy 62294-1295, andy@troyumc.org Sara ...

Drawing from the Sun to Draw to the Son

published 10/24/2018
There are three things a pastor loves to do -- tell the congregation they are saving money, use catchy plays on words, and create opportunities to tell people about Jesus. It is a rare occasion when one can do all three.    But when Colchester UMC installed its new solar panel last summer, the opportunity to do all three was created as a result.    The church found out Tri-States Renewable Energy (Tri-States) through electrician Mark Lowman of Nauvoo. He was making sure the church knew it was ...

Field of greens: Bethalto UMC gives youth club a lesson in gardening

published 10/24/2018
“If you plant it, they will come.” A group of volunteers from the United Methodist Church in Bethalto pursued a different field of dreams this summer in the backyard of the church property. Rev. Bill Pyatt’s vision was to offer a community garden project to be used by the children attending the Bethalto Boys and Girls Club during their summer camp sessions. The church would offer positive adult mentors to engage kids in a fun, hands-on experience of gardening. Boys and Girls Club Executive ...

I spent my summer witnessing everyday miracles at the Baby Fold

published 10/24/2018
This past summer, I got to spend a week in one of the most magical places on Earth. It may sound impossible, but in this place, miracles are common. They happen everyday, not that their abundance makes them any less astounding to witness.   And no, I’m not talking about Disney World.   The place I’m talking about is East Bay Camp in Hudson, Illinois, a camp where, every year, lives are changed in just one week’s time. The site plays host to a variety of organizations throughout the summer, all ...

IGRC elder Margaret Siemer promoted

published 10/24/2018
IGRC elder Margaret Siemer was promoted on September 1 to the rank of Commander in the US Navy at a ceremony held at the Navy Yard Chapel in Washington, DC. Administering the oath was another IGRC elder, retired Navy chaplain Bob Phillips, who was pastor of the Navy Yard chapel in the mid-1980's. Margaret is the only conference clergy member serving in active duty ministry to military members and their families. Entering the Navy from appointment as associate pastor at Springfield First UMC, ...

Mississippi River District mission team travels to Montana

published 10/24/2018
A total of 11 persons from five congregations formed a district mission team traveling to Montana to engage in mission at the Blackfeet United Methodist Parish (BUMP) Aug. 6-10.   BUMP serves the people who live on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation located just East of Glacier National Park in the State of Montana. The majority of the present day residents living on the Blackfeet Reservation are bloodline descendants of the original indigenous inhabitants of this area. Since 1882, the United ...

Trio on lunch break run into smoke-filled home and rescue woman near Belleville

published 10/23/2018
Had three church employees just kept driving to work after lunch Oct. 4 instead of stopping to check out a smoking house on Thursday afternoon, Signal Hill Fire Chief Tom Elliff said there “certainly would have had a tragic outcome.” A house in the 1300 block of Express Drive near Belleville had a kitchen fire that rendered the occupant helpless, Elliff said. But St. Matthew United Methodist Church’s children’s minister, contemporary worship leader and the associate pastor drove by at just the ...

Danville St. James UMC renovation project ‘a great joy’

published 10/3/2018
With a major renovation project nearly finished at St. James United Methodist Church, the Rev. Randy Robinson said, “We’re all smiles.”

Rossville UMC celebrates 150th anniversary

published 10/3/2018
The Rossville United Methodist Church observed its 150th year with a celebration Sept. 30 with worship services at 9 a.m. and a dinner at noon followed by a celebration at 1:30 p.m.

Conversion of former Springfield First downtown location moving along

published 10/2/2018
The long-awaited conversion of a former downtown church to apartments, office and retail space could be complete by late spring to early summer, according to project stakeholders.

Fairfield First UMC celebrates 200 years of ministry

published 10/2/2018
On Sunday, Oct. 14, the members of Fairfield First United Methodist Church will be celebrating 200 years of Methodist worship in Wayne County.

Wooden It Be Lovely

published 10/1/2018
Their next sale date is November 10th at Douglas Avenue United Methodist Church

Bloomington Wesley converts bank into distribution ministry

published 8/31/2018
No family with young children can thrive without toilet paper, diapers and bandages.

Galesburg First renovates for children’s wing

published 8/31/2018
The children’s ministry at Galesburg First United Methodist Church is on track for an exciting year. The children’s area of the church just completed its first renovation since 1962, and the colorful new railroad theme was chosen with Galesburg in mind.

Rutland, Moore keynote speakers for Covenant Keepers 2019

published 8/31/2018
Bishop Frank J. Beard has announced that Dr. Mark Rutland and Dr. Joy Moore will be the keynote speakers for Covenant Keepers 2019 which will be Jan. 28-29 at the Regency Convention Center in O'Fallon.

Suits for Success helping parolees get back on their feet

published 8/31/2018
Getting out of prison can be a jarring experience, especially when it comes to finding employment. One organization is helping parolees across the state find employment by providing them with professional clothing.

Bishop, conference working with UM Village to repair relationships, build trust

published 8/30/2018
Bishop Frank J. Beard and conference officials are working with the administration and board at the United Methodist Village in Lawrenceville following a summer of financial stress triggered by the state’s delay in reimbursements of Medicaid payments for residents at the main and North campuses.

Decatur Grace hosts block party for neighborhood

published 8/30/2018
Grace United Methodist Church in Decatur believes the mission to reach souls for Jesus doesn’t have to involve a lot of travel.

Donovan Gardner Room dedicated at Evenglow Lodge

published 8/30/2018
Donovan Gardner had a long association with Evenglow. He served as Administrator for almost 15 years beginning in 1965. He later returned to Evenglow service as a member of the Board of Trustees, and in 2002 for two years as Interim President and CEO.

Living Faith celebrates six Eagle Scouts

published 8/30/2018
Living Faith UMC in Bowen has been the Charter Sponsor of BSA Troop 32 for many years. Ranking high on a list of proud moments has been the advancement of six Eagle Scouts from the same patrol.

Preachers’ Aid Society unveils mission and giving websites

published 8/30/2018
The primary mission of Preacher's Aid Society and Benefit Fund is to take care of our IGRC pastors in their retirement years.   We accomplish that mission by providing a medicare supplement to our retirees (certain conference qualifications must be met); providing emergency financial assistance to retirees; providing pre-retirement training; providing numerous fellowship opportunities and much more.

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