God's call: being trustworthy prophets

published 6/4/2010
Listen to Bishop Palmer's sermon PEORIA – Bishop Gregory V. Palmer said the call to be trustworthy prophets is not exclusive to clergy but is a call to “get with God’s program.” Palmer said that such prophets learn to listen, develop skills to deeply listen and tell the truth.   “May it be said that when God looks for trustworthy prophets, God will say, ‘I found them in central and southern Illinois,” Palmer said. “God doesn’t need a lot and if a few will be obedient, God can rock this world. In...

Worship: it's about what we're giving

published 6/4/2010
Listen to the Laity Address PEORIA – Conference Lay Leader Rhonda Whitaker had a confession to make.   “For six years now, I’ve been preaching the partnership of laity and clergy,” Whitaker said. “But I didn’t mean it. Oh, I knew the clergy couldn’t do it all without us, but to be honest, I’ve always thought the laity really could do it without them.”   Whitaker proposed that a new term be used – claity – to describe the partnership of laity and clergy for the purpose of fulfilling the mission ...

Bishop outlines four major initiatives

published 6/3/2010
Listen to the Episcopal Address PEORIA – Bishop Gregory V. Palmer called on United Methodists in southern and central Illinois to join in a revival movement that involves four major initiatives – a means of getting back to the Why while paying attention to the What and How. “Will you join me? Let’s get in the revival,” Palmer urged at the conclusion of his 45- minute episcopal address, which was greeted with a standing ovation by the nearly 2,000 in attendance.   Palmer noted that in each of ...

The privilege of serving God

published 6/3/2010
PEORIA – To Dr. John Hamilton, ministry has been a great privilege of serving God. And he used the commissioning service and retirees recognition to recall that privilege to fellow retirees and to provide guidance to two who are just beginning their ministry. In litany fashion, Hamilton listed the nature of the privilege.   “We have had the privilege of serving the interested and the bored, the committed and half-committed (including ourselves); of seeing thousands who have faith in Jesus ...

Thursday's Legislative Action

published 6/3/2010
As part of the first full day of annual conference, lay and clergy members acted upon a number of legislative matters. The item that drew the most discussion as well as the closest vote was a resolution offered by Sangamon River District Lay Leader Pete Paulson which sought to consolidate the legislative business of the annual conference into a single day.   Paulson said his motivation for the legislation was to make it possible for more persons to attend annual conference and participate in the...

Annual Conference begins today

published 6/2/2010
PEORIA – The Illinois Great Rivers Conference of The United Methodist Church will meet in Peoria for the ninth consecutive year, beginning today and running through Saturday, June 5. The Peoria Civic Center will serve as the conference’s central location for the more than 2,400 expected to attend. The theme of the conference is Lost in Wonder, Love and Praise, which will focus on passionate worship.   Rev. Taylor Burton-Edwards, director of worship resources for the denomination’s General Board...

Passionate attitude of gratitude leads to passionate worship

published 6/2/2010
Listen to the sermon  PEORIA – When Martin Luther was asked about the truest form of worship, he looked to the Parable of the Ten Lepers in Luke 17 as the best example.   “It has both an inward and outward focus,” recalled Dr. Karen Westerfield Tucker. “Inward in that it expressed love for the One who first loved use and makes us open to receive what God has for us. It is outward in that the extent of human love for God must well up in speech and song.”   Tucker spoke at the annual conference ...

Dunlap Prospect UMC shares God's love

published 5/6/2010
When Mike Crawford, the Director of Congregational Development for the Illinois Great Rivers Conference, visited with the Administrative Council at Prospect United Methodist Church in Dunlap, he told them about his own church’s free—completely free—car wash. They were intrigued by his words and began to consider the possibilities. When the Change the World event was shared with them only a few weeks later, it all started coming together. There was no question about their participation in the...

Baby Fold CEO named Administrator of the Year

published 4/28/2010
The United Methodist Association (UMA) recently named The Baby Fold’s President and CEO Dale Strassheim as Child, Youth, and Family Services Administrator of the Year. The award was announced on March 6 during the UMA’s 70th National Convention in Burlingame, Calif. The UMA, a national body which oversees the health and welfare ministries of the United Methodist Church, cited Strassheim’s resourcefulness and consistent dedication to the well-being of children and families. The award ...

Woman's heart reaches out to Romania's children

published 4/28/2010
(Editor’s note: Melissa Melvin is a member of Saunemin UMC and has made several trips to Romania. She has cerebral palsy and walks with the aid of two canes). Abandoned, abused, forgotten, neglected, malnourished and unwanted. These are the themes the run through the life stories of more than 160,000 children living on the streets, in the sewers, and in hundreds of placement centers throughout the small, poor, spiritually dark country of Romania. For so many of these children hope is not ...

Speakers announced for memorial, retirees service

published 4/21/2010
Dr. Karen Westerfield Tucker, an IGRC elder, will be preaching the opening worship of the 2010 Annual Conference to be held in Peoria June 2-5. Rev. John Hamilton, pastor of Springfield Laurel UMC, will be preaching at the Thursday afternoon Service of Commissioning and Retirees Recognition. Hamilton is one of 15 clergy members that comprise the retiree class of 2010. Tucker is professor of worship at Boston University School of Theology and has done extensive work in the area of liturgical ...

WIU Wesley Foundation announces new director

published 4/19/2010
The Board of Directors at the Wesley Foundation at Western Illinois University, Macomb, announces that Nathan Hopping has been hired to serve as the director beginning July 1, 2010. Nate is a graduate of WIU and will graduate from Garrett-Evangelical Divinity School in May. Previously, Nate has served in the IGRC summer camping program and as a student pastor while in seminary. Nate’s wife, Meredith, is the daughter of Rev. Ray and Susan Owens (Pontiac First). The Board would also like to ...

IGRC selected for scouting pilot project

published 4/13/2010
The United Methodist Office of Scouting Ministries is looking for advocates to help Illinois Great Rivers Conference churches establish and expand scouting ministry opportunities. The National Office of Scouting Ministries has selected the area as a pilot conference to test the effectiveness of “scouting ministry specialists.”  Volunteer specialists will provide neighboring churches with information about the Programs of Religious Activities with Youth (PRAY), training opportunities, ...

Rayson to lead worship at annual conference

published 3/15/2010
Evangelist Mike Rayson will be leading worship during the 2010 Annual Conference, Bishop Gregory V. Palmer announced. Rayson, of Pleasant View, Tenn., is a native of Australia and no stranger to the Illinois Great Rivers Conference, as he has ministered in a number of local congregations and most recently, served as worship leader for Covenant Keepers 2009. After completing his education in tiny rural Australian schools, Rayson went on to a career in the media. After hosting number 1 rated ...

Burton-Edwards conference speaker

published 3/11/2010
The Rev. Taylor Burton-Edwards will be the guest speaker at the 2010 Annual Conference, Bishop Gregory V. Palmer has announced. Burton-Edwards serves as Director of Worship Resources for the General Board of Discipleship of The United Methodist Church. The 2010 Annual Conference theme is Passionate Worship: Lost in Wonder, Love and Praise. An elder in the North Indiana Conference of The United Methodist Church, Burton-Edwards was Director of Community Impact with United Way of Madison County...

CCFA forwards 2011 budget plan to annual conference session

published 3/11/2010
The conference Council on Finance and Administration approved an $11.5 million budget plan for 2011, which will be forwarded to the 2010 Annual Conference session for action. The budget plan provides a plan to fund an additional $2.9 million in payments to the General Board of Pensions and Health Benefits due to the downturn in the economic markets in 2008 and early 2009. The $2.9 million in additional payment is over and above the $3.2 million already paid annually for pensions. At the same ...

Acts Bible Study to be released for post-Easter use

published 2/26/2010
A six-week Bible Study on the Book of Acts, which brings together scripture, the teachings of John Wesley and the Four Areas of Focus, will be released online March 1 for IGRC congregations to use in the 50 days leading up to Pentecost. The Acts of the Apostles: Hearts Afire and the Four Areas of Focus is a collaborative effort that has involved a team of writers and resource people across the United Methodist connection. “Following last year’s Annual Conference, Bishop Palmer came to me with ...

Pastoral counselors are available

published 2/24/2010
David Wence, Decatur, Linda Horrell, St.Louis area, and Steve Busick, Champaign, have all been providing therapy for clergy, spouses, and family members this past year. The first three visits are free with additional sessions provided by insurance. Presently the Board of Pastoral Care and Counseling is evaluation and revising the service but therapy continues to be available. Contact David Wence at 217-872-1700 or ; Linda Horrell at 636-527-7615 or ; or Steve Busick at 217-363-1700.  

By Paul Black The year 2016 has certainly been busy for New Testament scholar and IGRC Elder Craig Hill. In July, Hill was named Dean of Perkins School of Theology, succeeding the retiring William Lawrence. It was during this time that Hill was completing the manuscript for Servant of All: Status, Ambition and the Way of Jesus (2016, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 203 pages, available through Cokesbury).  And Hill said that much of the material for the book came from hard-won lessons in ...

Stolen bell returned to Bissell UMC

A piece of history stolen from Bissell United Methodist Church has been recovered.

The Rev. Don Goodenow said the church’s 100-year-old bell, which went missing Oct. 8, was returned Wednesday (Oct. 11) by a local antique dealer.

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