LaMoine River District, Canton Wesley works in Tubmanburg on second mission trip

published 2/25/2011

More photos can be found with the related story

Pogemiller, Rorex, Russell named superintendents

published 2/25/2011
Two superintendents are returning to familiar geographic territory while a third finds his assignment as being very compatible to his ministry, as Bishop Gregory V. Palmer has announced the appointment of three superintendents to the IGRC Cabinet, effective July 1. Revs. Leah Pogemiller, C. Douglas Rorex and Roger Russell will assume superintending responsibilities in the Vermilion, LaMoine and Cache River districts respectively. Pogemiller will succeed the Rev. J. Keith Zimmerman, who has ...

2011 Camping catalog available online

published 2/17/2011
The 2011 Camping catalog was a part of the February issue of The Current and has been mailed to those who registered for a camp in 2010. Additional copies of the catalog may be downloaded from the IGRC website.   Here’s a rundown on things to consider when registering for camp: Register online and save Register online and take $25 off of the registration fee up to three weeks before the camp begins. If mailing registrations, full payment must be sent before April 13 in order to receive the ...

Conference scholarship applications available through March 31

published 2/17/2011
The Illinois Great Rivers Conference Board of Higher Education and Campus Ministry is offering two types of scholarship opportunities for the 2011-2012 school year. Forms and applications are available by visiting the Higher Education page on the IGRC website. For more information or if you have questions, contact Christy Blickensderfer. Applications must be received at the United Methodist Center by 4:30 PM, March 31. Illinois Great Rivers Conference Merit Awards   From the United Methodist ...

Disaster Response Training slated

published 2/17/2011
Two disaster response training events have been scheduled in preparation for tornado season this spring. Pekin First UMC will host the first training on Saturday, March 12 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Registration is available online until March 7. Trainers for the session at Pekin are Ken Miner and Steve Schoeffel. Bonfield Evangelical UMC will host the second training session on Saturday, April 2, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Registration is available online until March 28. Trainers for the session is Steve...

IGRC one of 15 conferences to pay 100 percent in 2010

published 2/17/2011
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) reports that 15 annual conferences paid 100 percent of their apportioned funds in 2010, with seven of those conferences being from the North Central Jurisdiction. The conferences are Alaska, Baltimore-Washington, Dakotas, East Ohio, Greater New Jersey, Illinois Great Rivers, Iowa, New York, North Carolina, Northern Illinois, Oklahoma Indian Missionary, Peninsula-Delaware, Red Bird Missionary, West Michigan, and ...

Imagine No Malaria -- a 'Nets-plus' approach

published 2/17/2011
The United Methodist Church’s ambitious goal for Imagine No Malaria is to eradicate malaria by 2015 in sub-Saharan Africa, which has 90 percent of worldwide deaths from malaria. In 2010, the Illinois Great Rivers Conference joined this commitment. Bishop Gregory V. Palmer challenged the conference to raise between $2.3 and 3.5 million over a three-year period. Training for this initiative began in the Spoon River District last year and other districts have or are launching their efforts in early...

Mission trip opportunities, UM Volunteers in Mission response

published 1/28/2011
Rev. Matt Henson of Living the Adventure Ministries has made several trips to Haiti and has four trips scheduled for 2011: “On my most recent trip to Haiti, we went up to an overlook area above Port au Prince. The bird’s eye view was very moving, as our group could see the destruction and need for many workers,” Henson said. “We found ourselves pointing to tent cities, homes without roofs, and homes that were in great need of repair. The overlook gave me an opportunity to see Port au Prince in a...

Change in Five Star Mission Program for 2011

published 1/27/2011
A change has been made to the Five Star Mission program for 2011. The change involves the support level of a congregation's support of a missionary.  In addition to paying all conference apportionments in full and contributing to a General Advance Special, a Conference Advance Special and an UMCOR Advance Special, a church must have a covenant relationship with a United Methodist missionary.   To be in a "Covenant Relationship," a congregation needs to give a minimum of $5 per member of $2,500, ...

Fairview Heights Christ UMC announces launch of second site

published 1/27/2011

Fairview Heights Christ UMC sanctuary -- Easter 2010


A capacity crowd fills the sanctuary at Fairview Heights Christ UMC on Easter Sunday. Capacity issues are one of the main reasons for the church’s announcement of launching a second site in the Collinsville/Maryville area.



Photo courtesy of Fairview Heights Christ UMC

Fountain of Life struggles after $160,000 theft

published 1/27/2011
An employee of a Springfield-area United Methodist Church has been charged with four counts of theft following her arrest Jan. 20. The Buffalo-Mechanicsburg Police Department and U.S. Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force arrested Deborah A. Moore, 46, charging her with theft of more than $160,000 from Fountain of Life UMC, located in Buffalo.   The charges allege that Moore took the money between October 2009 and December 2010, making checks payable to herself with forged church leaders’ signatures and...

Haiti: One Year Later

published 1/27/2011

Champaign New Horizon UMC doubles its efforts to assist in rebuilding of Haiti following earthquake

Hoffman to be honored by Iliff School of Theology

published 1/27/2011
DENVER, Colo. -- Rev. Vaughn Hoffman, pastor of Bloomington Wesley UMC, has been selected as one of six alumni from Iliff School of Theology to be honored for their contributions to Iliff and the greater community. Hoffman is being honored for his Outstanding Contribution to Parish Ministry at the school’s annual awards banquet Feb. 3.   Hoffman, a native of central Illinois and 1984 Iliff M.Div. graduate, served appointments in the Illinois Great Rivers Conference for 28 years and student ...

MacMurray professor honored as exemplary teacher for 2010

published 1/27/2011
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A MacMurray College professor is one among 14 professors at United Methodist-related schools, colleges and universities to be honored as an exemplary teacher for 2010 by the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry.   Robert Seufert, professor of English at MacMurray, was selected for the award during the fall semester.   This program, an important partnership with United Methodist-related educational institutions, expresses the church’s support of and appreciation for ...

Register online for childcare for Covenant Keepers

published 1/27/2011
Child care is available at no cost during Covenant Keepers 2011 which will be held Feb. 28-March 1 at the Pere Marquette Hotel. However, parents must register their children by Monday, Feb. 21. Child care requests will be handled on a first-come, first-served basis to the first 10 registrants.   Parents may register at: (there is an underscore between the two sets of words).   Registration for Covenant Keepers continues through Feb. 21 at:   ...

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: 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: 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:   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: Republican Party of Illinois: Green Party of Illinois: Libertarian Party of Illinois:   Governor/lieutenant governor William E. Brady, Jr. and Jason Plummer (Republican): 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 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 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:   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, 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


To learn more about loans and scholarships, visit

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.)

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