News

Social Principles bulletin inserts available for download

published 1/27/2011
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) has developed bulletin inserts featuring individual United Methodist Social Principles. The new resource, designed to be included in church worship bulletins, can be downloaded for free from the agency’s Web site. It is located under Social Principles Resources in the Leadership Development section of the website at: www.umc-gbcs.org The bulletin inserts are designed in two colors that reproduce excellently in black and white. They ...

Social Security tax break creates UMPIP opportunity

published 1/27/2011
On Dec. 17, President Obama approved a tax relief package that includes a Social Security tax break. The tax break goes into effect in January 2011 and will result in higher take-home pay for many employed individuals who pay into Social Security. The new law decreases the percentage of annual earnings* that employees pay into Social Security (the OASDI portion of FICA taxes) in 2011 from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent. This is for 2011 only.    If you are a clergyperson, the new law also applies to...

The Multi-Site Church Movement

published 1/27/2011
A new report by the Leadership Network reports on the current state of churches having more than one site. Below are some of the findings from Multisite Is Multiplying by Warren Bird and Kristin Walters. There are an estimated 3,000 multisite churches in 46 U.S. states, plus D.C., and six Canadian provinces. Two-thirds of multisites are denominationally connected, with the most represented being Baptist, United Methodist, Christian Church, and Lutheran.     Overview of the Multisite Church ...

Zimmerman announces retirement

published 1/27/2011
It is often said that pastors never really retire and the Rev. Dr. J. Keith Zimmerman seems to be making sure of that. In an announcement shared with pastors of the Vermilion River District Jan. 3, Zimmerman announced he will enter retired relationship with the conference effective July 1.   For Zimmerman, retirement will mark the end of a 7 ½ year tenure as superintendent of the Vermilion River District. The Book of Discipline sets a term of six years as the length of time a superintendent ...

Scholarship opportunity for daughters of clergy

published 1/6/2011
A Distinguished Alumnus of MacMurray College is providing a one-time scholarship opportunity for the daughter of a Christian clergyman to receive a MacMurray education. Lila Underwood Judkins, who graduated from MacMurray in 1936, is endowing the scholarship as she attended MacMurray in part because of scholarships, loans and a position in the school's Pfeiffer Library. Recognizing the support that made her education possible and wanting to affirm her commitment to the College, Judkins, herself ...

Society of St. Andrew offers Lenten devotionals

published 1/6/2011
In keeping with the traditions of Lent, the Society of St. Andrew invites your congregation to participate in a program of spiritual reflection, prayer, and giving. Our Lenten devotion program challenges readers to take seriously the scriptural injunction to care for the poor, while it also provides an opportunity to feed our hungry brothers and sisters. Each day during Lent, one of our gifted writers, using the theme We’ve a Story to Tell, describes how knowing Jesus has made a difference in ...

IGRC opens hands, hearts and pocketbooks in 2010

published 12/16/2010

Rescue workers search the rubble of building following earthquake in Haiti


 


 


 


 


Members of Fairfax County Urban Search and Rescue conduct a rescue operation in a collapsed section of the Hotel Montana in Port-au-Prince, Haiti during a search for survivors of a 7.0 magnitude earthquake. The unit was activated by the U.S. Agency for International Development. Eight people, including 7 Americans, have been rescued from the rubble of the hotel. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joshua Lee Kelsey/Released)


Year In Review, page 3

published 12/16/2010
Click here to return to Page 1 Click here to return to Page 2 Developing new congregations and revitalizing existing ones The Office of Congregational Development embarked on a new concept in 2010 aimed at assisting churches in their core processes.   The Fruitful Congregations Leadership Institute, based upon the best-selling book by Bishop Robert Schnase, began its initial offering with a workshop on Passionate Worship in Normal in September.   FCLI is designed to bring new life and ...

2011 Program Calendar available for download

published 12/9/2010
Utilizing the theme of Imagine No Malaria, the 2011 IGRC Program Calendar is now available for download at: www.igrc.org/2011programcalendar Due to rising production costs, the 2011 program calendar was not printed but is available for download. Persons can download the entire document and print it out. The PDF file will not be updated throughout the year. Changes to the calendar will be updated on the conference calendar, located at: www.igrc.org/events/calendar.   Groups are reminded that as ...

IGRC Launches Imagine No Malaria Campaign

published 12/9/2010
The Illinois Great Rivers Conference has begun its campaign to raise between $2.3 and $3.5 million over the next three years as part of the denomination’s Imagine No Malaria campaign. The campaign will launch in the Spoon River District with a Celebration to Save Lives on Sunday, Dec. 12 at Monmouth UMC. District events will be scheduled in the near future and the IGRC Communications Team, working in cooperation with Imagine No Malaria, have developed a number of resources to keep you informed. ...

New Streams to post Bible studies online, offers re-designed e-newsletter

published 12/9/2010
Church leaders will have a new tool to help people deepen their understanding of a variety of spiritual disciplines beginning in January. Best of all, there is no book or DVD to purchase – these new resources will be available as a free download from the conference website. The New Streams Team will be posting a series of short Bible studies, each focusing on one specific spiritual practice. Disciplines covered will include both acts of piety, such as prayer, fasting, and searching the ...

Technology Replaces Phone Cards

published 12/9/2010
NASHVILLE -- The world back in 2003 was quite different from the world today. No Facebook or Twitter. No one had yet heard of Lady Gaga or “The Situation.” People used phones exclusively for placing calls. Plenty of things were not as they are now, but one fact has endured: The people of The United Methodist Church have always reached out to those who are in need. Thus, on Veteran’s Day 2003, the long-running Phone Cards for Military program began as the result of an initiative that began in the...

ELCA seeking mutual ministry partners

published 11/29/2010
The Central/Southern Illinois Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is seeking mutual ministry partnerships with IGRC congregations. One of the upcoming opportunities is formation of a cluster of 12 to 15 congregations to participate in a congregation revitalization process called Partnership for Missional Church (PMC).   “PMC has been used successfully in a number of places and is a structured process that leads congregations on a journey of spiritual discernment where they ...

12 Ways of Christmas Giving

published 11/24/2010
Rev. Mike Slaughter, pastor of Ginghamsburg UMC in Tipp City, Ohio, recalls how a five-year journey changed how he viewed Christman. “In 1999, I was reading the Dayton Daily News when my eye was caught by an ad featuring a new luxury sedan, a BMW, for lease,” Slaughter recalls. “Being a car fan, I found myself checking out the various features. Then, my eye was drawn to a picture on the opposing page of a clearly emaciated child featured in an article about famine in the Sudan and the tragedies ...

12 Ways of Christmas Giving, page 2

published 11/24/2010
View Page 1 of 12 Ways of Christmas Giving... Contribute to food pantries or volunteer to deliver Meals on Wheels The holiday season always brings additional demands for feeding individuals and families. Food pantries are inundated with requests for assistance. Contact the local food pantry and see what the high demand items are and focus your attention on providing a week’s supply of that item. Additionally, the elderly and those that live alone depend on others to bring hot, nutritious meals ...

A New Way to "Do" Christmas

published 11/24/2010

Tuscola UMC Alternative Christmas


 


 


Members of Tuscola UMC look over the various projects in the church's first Alternative Christmas market.


More than $1,500 was collected to benefit eight selected missions.


Photo courtesy of Patty Johansen


Chaddock specialists to travel to Liberia in January

published 11/23/2010

Karen Buckwalter


Michelle Robison


Thomas Donovan


 Angel KnovereckClockwise from top right: Karen Buckwalter, Michelle Robison, Thomas Donovan, Angel Knovereck


Pastors appointed as chaplains

published 11/8/2010
Carl C. Johnston, Chaplain, U.S. Army, 5535 Wilkerson Pass Dr., Colorado Springs, CO  80917 John D. Read, Chaplain, U.S. Army, 14 Staff Post Rd., San Antonio, TX  78234-1304 Margaret E. Siemer, Chaplain, U.S. Navy, 101 N. Roaring Springs Rd., Fort Worth, TX  78114   Individual participation of clergy in armed forces reserve or National Guard units Howard S. Bell, U.S. Air Force Reserve, 706 E. Washington Ave., Casey, IL  62420-2046 Phillip L. Glick, U.S. Naval Reserve (Retired), 109 Dodson Rd., ...

Former members of Congress urge civility, cooperation

published 10/29/2010

None of us shrank from partisan debates while in Congress or from the partisan contests getting there. During our time in Congress, partisans on the other side may have been our opponents on some bills and our adversaries on some issues. They were not, however, the enemy.



We often had heated debates over policy, but we avoided challenging the motives or good will of those on the other side. At least as often as debates formed on partisan lines, we found ourselves with allies from the other side of the aisle, aligned against some similarly diverse and bipartisan group who viewed things in a different way. An adversary one day could and did easily become an ally the next. All of us shared an overriding concern in common: we were in office to solve the problems facing Americans at home and America abroad.


Learn more about the candidates, parties

published 10/29/2010
To find out more about the candidates and their platforms on issues, visit the following websites: Political parties Democratic Party of Illinois: http://www.idems.com Republican Party of Illinois: http://www.weareillinois.org Green Party of Illinois: http://www.ilgp.org Libertarian Party of Illinois: http://www.il.lp.org   Governor/lieutenant governor William E. Brady, Jr. and Jason Plummer (Republican): http://www.bradyforillinois.com Scott Lee Cohen and Baxter Swiley (Independent): http://www...

Running Green in a Red and Blue State

published 10/29/2010

Don Crawford, Green Party candidate for lieutenant governor“I always saw John Wesley as an advocate for those who don’t have much … whether it be the mentally handicapped or single mothers,” he said. “I am running for lieutenant governor because by virtue of the office, that officeholder chairs the Rural Affairs Council, the Main Street program for small business and is considered the state’s chief advocate for small communities.”


United Methodist state office holders and candidates

published 10/29/2010
 (Editor's note: Candidates and office holders who identifed themselves as United Methodists were contacted by email at their campaign office, asking for additional information. The following information has been gleaned from a variety of sources. Those candidates which are not quoted did not respond to the request for additional information. The following is presented for informational use and should not be considered an endorsement of any candidate or party). Sheldon Schafer, Green Party ...

United Methodists represented in Congress, governors' mansions

published 10/29/2010
Editor’s note: Information in this story is based on the religious affiliations reported by congressional staffs to Congressional Quarterly, the Almanac of American Politics and VoteSmart.com. Information on the governors’ religious affiliation comes from CNN and The Almanac of American Politics. WASHINGTON (UMNS) -- Fifty-three United Methodists served in the 111th Congress, a decline of eight from the last three Congresses, but the denomination still ranks third in total congressional ...

United Methodists third largest group in Congress

published 10/29/2010
Editor’s note: Information in this story is based on the religious affiliations reported by congressional staffs to Congressional Quarterly, the Almanac of American Politics and VoteSmart.com. Information on the governors’ religious affiliation comes from CNN and The Almanac of American Politics. WASHINGTON (UMNS) -- Fifty-three United Methodists served in the 111th Congress, a decline of eight from the last three Congresses, but the denomination still ranks third in total congressional ...

IGRC Communications garners two UMAC Awards

published 10/27/2010

Paul BlackMike HembroughMichele WillsonSuzy Burns 


Pictured from left, are IGRC Director of Communication Ministries Paul Black, IT Manager Mike Hembrough, Assistant to the Director and webmaster Michele Willson, and Video Production Manager Suzy Burns 


IGRC walkers win Elite Eight Conference Challenge

published 10/27/2010
Walkers from the Illinois Great Rivers Conference combined to finish in first place during the Elite Eight Conference Challenge, sponsored by Virgin Health Miles. The IGRC team total finished with an average of 302,074 steps per team member. In second place was the Detroit Conference with a 293,503 step average followed by: Arkansas (289,811); East Ohio (280,033); East Pennsylvania (279,508); Iowa (266,343); Peninsula-Delaware (246,839); and California-Pacific (228,793). In all more than 264 ...

43 students receive scholarships, loans

published 10/22/2010
NASHVILLE – A total of 43 college, university and seminary students received $65,550 in loan and scholarship funding as part of more than $5 million awarded by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry for the 2010-2011 school year. The recipients include the following:   Special Seminary Scholarships Leanne Noland from O’Fallon First UMC, attending Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. Noland also received $750 Conference Merit Award. Alexander Thompson from Pawnee UMC, attending ...

Bishop Jones keynote speaker at Covenant Keepers 2011

published 10/22/2010
Bishop Scott Jones, resident bishop of the Kansas Area, will be the keynote speaker for Covenant Keepers 2011, to be held Feb. 28-March 1, at the Pere Marquette Hotel in Peoria. Australian native and Dove Award-winning artist Grant Norsworthy will lead the worship.   The theme of the two-day gathering will be The Evangelistic Love of God and Neighbor: Growing Evangelistically Effective Congregations. Online registration is now open at: http://www.igrc.org/CK2011.   During Covenant Keepers, Shane...

Haiti Response Plan approved for three additional years

published 10/22/2010

Haiti volunteers


 


 


 


Members of an UMVIM Team from Southwest Texas Conference work

with a Haitian construction worker to clear debris and rubble from the back

courtyard and inside of the District Superintendent’s home in the Carrefour

District in September. Photo courtesy Lara Whitley.

Hustedt named to General Commission on Communications

published 10/22/2010
PHOENIX, Ariz. – Former IGRC Communications staff writer and editor Stephen J. Hustedt has been appointed to serve on the General Commission on Communications. The appointment came from the Western Jurisdiction College of Bishops and was announced Oct. 6. The General Commission on Communications provides oversight to United Methodist Communications in Nashville and is responsible for sharing the story of the people of The United Methodist Church both within the church and with the world.   “I ...

Parish nurse retreat a time of networking, renewal

published 10/22/2010
SPRINGFIELD --Parish nurses working in churches throughout the Illinois Great Rivers Conference met together Aug. 6-7 for a weekend of renewal, networking, worship and celebrating a shared heritage of healing established by Florence Nightingale. Retreat leader for the second annual parish nurse retreat was Helen Chigaros, co-founder of the Parish Nurse Network of the Kankakee River Valley and Executive Director of the Azzarelli Outreach Clinic in Kankakee, a faith-based free health care clinic....

United Methodist students disappointed as giving shrinks

published 10/22/2010

Churches are encouraged to observe Student Day on Nov. 28 or any other day that this is convenient for the church. In addition, individuals can now contribute online with a credit card at any time at www.umcgiving.org/umstudentday, where you can also order free promotional resources, video presentations, and worship resources. Or call United Methodist Communications at 888-346-3862 to order resources.


Links to give online for all three Special Sundays with Offerings in support of scholarships can be found at www.gbhem.org/loansandscholarships/givenow.

 

To learn more about loans and scholarships, visit www.gbhem.org/loansandscholarships.

Mentoring for effective clergy leadership

published 9/22/2010
As a seminarian, I served as a student pastor in a very large church for three years. There were several full-time “real” pastors on that staff, and one of them became a mentor for me. He was there to listen when I was unsure about some aspect of my ministry, he provided suggestions about how to move ministry forward, he encouraged me, and he taught me a lot of important lessons that I still apply in my ministry today.   Good mentoring is vital in the journey toward becoming a clergyperson. In ...

Vehicles needed in Liberia for IGRC mission teams

published 9/22/2010
Two four-wheel-drive vehicles capable of eight people are needed as soon as possible for the IGRC mission teams traveling in Liberia. A special fund is now established to raise funds to purchase two four wheel drive vehicles for IGRC mission teams use in Liberia. The need is simply for safe, dependable vehicles to help us continue to reach destinations in Liberia to further our partnership. These vehicles do not need to be new vehicles – only in good repair and capable of traversing very poor ...

Bishop Palmer: The First Two Years

published 9/16/2010

(Editor’s note: On Sept. 1, Bishop Gregory V. Palmer had served two years as resident bishop of the Illinois Area of The United Methodist Church. Bishop Palmer sat down with Director of Communication Ministries Paul Black for this two-year retrospective.)


Council of Bishops issue September 11 pastoral letter

published 9/9/2010
The following pastoral letter was issued on Sept. 9 by the Council of Bishops of The United Methodist Church: As we approach yet another September 11, we are reminded that the world we live in continues to be fragile place where emotions and tensions run high. There are not many of us who will ever forget where we were on that September morning nine years ago. We should never forget those whose lives were taken away in the horror of just a few hours.   September 11 should be, for all of us, a ...

Flexible Spending Account changes coming in 2011

published 9/8/2010
Active pastors who participate in the IGRC FLEX plan (also called Section 125 Plan, Cafeteria Plan, Flexible Medical Spending Plan, FSA Plan) will notice a change in the rules regarding the purchase of over-the-counter (OTC) medications with the FLEX plan beginning in 2011. The recent Health Care Reform Act (PPACA)  vastly reduces your ability to claim reimbursements for OTC medications. Pastors should consider these changes in making plans for their salary-reduction amounts in 2011. Beginning ...

Shane Bishop named 2010 Distinguished Evangelist

published 9/7/2010
LAKE JUNALUSKA, N.C. -- Rev. Shane Bishop of Fairview Heights Christ UMC encourages his congregation to be evangelists when he says, "We exist to connect people with Jesus Christ; that is all we do here." He practices Wesleyan Evangelism in every aspect of his leadership, which is why he has been named the 2010 Distinguished Evangelist of The United Methodist Church by the Foundation for Evangelism.. Rev. Bishop has been the senior pastor at Christ UMC since 1997. Under his leadership the...

Arson suspected in Midland UMC fire

published 9/2/2010
KINCAID – Arson is suspected in an Aug. 1 fire that damaged the Midland UMC and community leaders have called in federal authorities to investigate the matter. The church, located in this Christian County community, sustained damage throughout the building and sidelined the community food pantry. The fire was discovered about 4:45 a.m. as firefighters and deputies had just put out a fire of a van located not far from the church. That fire has also been termed “suspicious.”   Despite the damage, ...

Bishop Hill designated historic site

published 9/2/2010

Bishop Hill UMC became the most recent congregation to be designated as a United Methodist historic site. Dedication of the historical marker took place Aug. 22.


Pictured from left are Jonathan Dixon, chair of the IGRC Commission on Archives and History; Rev. Dr. Donald Jones, member of the Conference commission and a former pastor at Bishop Hill; Rev. Richard Chrisman, conference historian; Cheryl Dowell, local church historian; and Rev. Ann Champion, current pastor of Bishop Hill UMC.

 

Photo courtesy of Don Jones

Compassionate care: diverse group of parish nurses graduate

published 9/2/2010

SIH Health Ministry Coordinator Jo Sanders smiles during a ceremony marking the completion of the 2010 Parish Nurse Basic Preperation class on Wednesday, Aug. 4, at John A. Logan College.


Photo by Paul Newton, The Southern


Cunningham Home celebrates 115 years of ministry

published 9/2/2010
URBANA -- Cunningham Children’s Home alumni representing every decade from the 1930’s to the early 2000’s came home to reminisce and reconnect on July 25, 2010. In celebration of the Home’s 115th Anniversary, Cunningham opened its campus to more than 300 former residents, staff, and guests. Visitors were invited to tour the schools, cottages, recreational facility, and most other buildings. The Heritage Room was filled with photo albums for alumni to sift through memories of the past. ...

First Thursdays: Cabinet's call resonates with IGRC United Methodists

published 9/2/2010

Members of the Virden and Girard UMC’s assemble more than 200 goodie bags for all the employees of the newly-formed North Mac District 34, which began its first year of operation as a merged district Aug. 16. As a follow up of August’s "First Thursday," church members wanted to show their support for the newly formed school and also tell the district employees they will be praying for them and the students throughout the year. Each bag included an apple, small school supplies, sweet treats and a card of encouragement.


Photo courtesy of Mary Alice Cunningham


O'Fallon First UMC partners with Polish congregation

published 9/2/2010
If you have ever met Pastor Janusz Daszuta you would never forget his big booming voice, his energy, or his visionary spirit. There is no doubt he is a “Man of God” by his actions and his speech. Pastor Daszuta is the lead pastor of  Kielce UMC in Kielce, Poland and conducts a huge   Vacation Bible School Day Camp in the rural community of Zaborze, Poland.   In June seven members from O’Fallon, First UMC departed for Poland full of enthusiasm and anticipation. Several members of the team have ...

Advocacy for Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House

published 7/30/2010

Lessie Bates Neighborhood House is asking every person or church in the Illinois Great Rivers Conference to write a letter to the Governor and ask that he take the necessary steps to assure the Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House receives at least part of the payments that are owed to the agency. Please let the Governor know that the Neighborhood House, as one of the oldest and largest faith-based organizations in the greater East St. Louis community, works with some of the poorest and most isolated children and families in the community. Emergency Services, Homeless Youth Services, In Home Health Care Services and Employment Services that Neighborhood House provides are extremely important. The Neighborhood House operates the largest Food Pantry in the entire St. Clair County area serving more than 4,700 people every month.


Beulah Holiness campers tackle Habitat projects during Mission Blitz 2010

published 7/29/2010


Campers from Beulah Holiness Camp's Mission Blitz worked on two Habitat for Humanity houses in Saline County as well as some smaller projects on the campground during their stay July 23-30. (Photo by Carolyn Black)


Conference approves 2011 budget with less than 1 percent increase

published 6/9/2010
PEORIA -- Members of the annual conference approved a budget for 2011, created a committee to address disability concerns, amended a resolution concerning immigration reform prior to its approval and while voting not to recommend shortening the annual conference session by a day, recommended that budgetary matters be put on the front burner and dealt with earlier. 2011 budget The 2011 conference budget (LI 103) approved by the 2010 Annual Conference will have a different impact for different ...

Cabinet calls for streamlined assessments, day of prayer and fasting

published 6/4/2010
Listen to the Cabinet Address Download and read the Cabinet Address PEORIA – While the 2010 Cabinet address may have resembled a coach’s speech, it was also a call for renewed commitment to the vision and mission of the church. Cabinet co-chairs Randy Reese and Janice Griffith shared reflections of the past year and challenged those gathered for the 2010 Annual Conference to a time of prayer and fasting.   “Over the past several years, the Cabinet and conference leadership team have been calling...

Commission on Religion and Race Monitoriing Report

published 6/4/2010
The Commission team has attempted to offer some sense of the inclusivity of our annual conference attendees. Indeed, every event has not been monitored, thus we offer this summary as a snapshot. Did you know that? The Conference Nominations Report reflects that ·         581 members across are serving on Conference level committees and among these 75 ethnic members are represented. ·         The District level has 314 members serving and 14 members are ethnic. ·         The eight educational ...

Friday's legislative update

published 6/4/2010
A proposal to recommend shortening annual conference by a day (LI 202) was defeated following a lengthy discussion during Friday’s session of the 2010 annual conference. The measure, offered by Sangamon River District Lay Leader Pete Paulson, sought to make it easier for younger persons and persons who are actively employed to attend by requiring less time away from home.   But others, such as retired pastor Stan Haxton noted that clergy have their only membership in the annual conference.   “...

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