Cabinet urges to 'step up your faith'

published 6/11/2015
Rev. Sylvester Weatherall encouraged lay and clergy members to step up their faith by ensuring Jesus is in the house, that Jesus is the reason we invite others to church and that Jesus is worth the trip.

Utilizing the story of Jesus and the paralytic in Mark 2, Weatherall asked, “There are 318.86 (2014) million people living in the United States today. With all of those people, why isn’t every church, represented in this room, filled to capacity?”

Keeping the 'united' in United Methodist

published 6/11/2015
As we continue on in our Annual Conference journey, as we explore the importance of the healing circle; of repentance, forgiveness, love, grace, healing, and unity, may we remember that it starts with knowing that strength can be found in differences, that our church is fortified by variety of thoughts and beliefs. We are one body with many parts, seeking to serve God through our differences, united behind our shared mission.

Living Memorial Stones: testimonies of the saints

published 6/11/2015
Weaving the story of the Israelites crossing over into the Promised Land, Rev. In-Sook Hwang urged those gathered for Thursday’s memorial service to get their feet wet, to stand tall holding up God’s Word is the middle of the uncertain and risky current of changes and disruptive journey.

Retirees challenged to continue in ministry

published 6/11/2015
The Retiree Class of 2015 was challenged by one of their own to stay connected even in retirement.

Referring to the second verse of the song Hymn of Promise, Rev. Mark Myers said he firmly believes that the key to the future life and growth of The United Methodist Church is to be found rooted in the experiences and continued ministry of the church's retired pastors. "Take some trips, visit the grandkids, relax and enjoy life," he said. "But heal and stay healthy; age gracefully and remember the words, 'From the past will come the future; what it holds a mystery. Unrevealed until its season something God alone can see."

Rucker, CRAVE named Denman Award winners

published 6/11/2015
Mike Rucker, pastor of Trenton First UMC in the Mississippi River District, was named the clergy Denman recipient and CRAVE, a ministry of Rosewood Heights St. Paul UMC in the Mississippi River District, was the laity recipient.

Rev. Chris Ritter, pastor of Geneseo First UMC in the Spoon River District, and the Rev. Linda Vonck, pastor of Midland UMC in the Sangamon River District, were selected as the first One Matter Award recipients.

We Do Not Lose Heart

published 6/11/2015
“Recipients of God’s mercy and ministry ought not lose heart,” Bishop Jonathan Keaton said in the opening worship of the 2015 Annual Conference. It’s a great antidote for people of faith who grow weary of fights, differences and struggles in the church.”

Keaton noted the Corinthian church was growing, but that trouble was robbing them of their courage, vision and hope. “Instead of a beam-like focus on their mission, rival groups are dividing the church,” Keaton noted. “The struggle for unity of the church is not new. It has a 2,000-year history.”

Financial commitment made to Africa University campaign

published 6/10/2015
A total of $568.089 in financial commitments were made tp the Africa University Making Dreams Possible Scholarship Campaign at the opening night service of the 2015 Annual Conference.

Camping Resolution, General Conference petitions among legislation to be considered

published 5/28/2015
A resolution seeking the retirement of three conference-owned camps along with four counter-proposals and four petitions to General Conference are among the 37 legislative items that will considered by the 2015 Annual Conference session.

Combined with the voting for lay and clergy delegates to General and Jurisdictional Conference and seven reports, the agenda is quite full for the three days the Annual Conference will be in session.

Stay Connected during Annual Conference

published 5/28/2015
IGRC Communications will be working to keep you connected during the 2015 Annual Conference. Information about a downloadable app, a daily electronic newsletter, web streaming and social media links are all included as part of the communications emanating from the 2015 Annual Conference.

IGRC clergy email accounts to end March 1

published 2/2/2015
Due to recent problems with the IGRC email system that cannot be resolved, IGRC clergy email accounts will be ended on March 1 if a policy change is approved in the next few days by the Conference IT User's group.

Pastors are being asked to provide their District office with an alternative, non-IGRC email address which they would designate to receive IGRC email. If the pastor changes his/her email address, it will be their responsibility to notify the District and Conference offices of the change of address. Cards were provided to Covenant Keeper attendees to complete if they wished to get "a head start" in addressing this issue. Conference staff and district offices will retain their IGRC email addresses.

Internships help in discernment process for ministry

published 1/27/2015
Are you discerning God’s call? Are you open to the challenge of walking alongside a young adult as he or she discerns? Applications for this summer’s Intern Program are available at and will be accepted until March 1.

Obert named Vice President of Operations

published 1/27/2015
QUINCY -- Matt Obert has been named the Vice President of Operations at Chaddock in Quincy. Obert has been with the agency for 7 1/2 years and was Director of Operations, previously.  He will be responsible for day-to-day management of program and facilities at Chaddock. He has a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Illinois and is a graduate of the Executive Leadership Institute at the University of Michigan. Before his work with Chaddock, Obert was Director of Developmental...

Candidate profiles sought

published 1/26/2015
Candidates profiles are now being accepted for clergy and laity that wish to be considered as delegates to the 2016 General and Jurisdictional Conference until March 16. The election page can be found by visiting:

Hester leaving MacMurray College

published 1/26/2015
After eight years as president of MacMurray College, Dr. Colleen Hester will be departing May 31, Board Chair Charles O’Connell announced Dec. 30.

News Release: CCRM 2015 Resolution

published 1/20/2015
The IGRC Commission on Camp and Retreat Ministries (CCRM) has announced that it will be bringing a recommendation in the form of a resolution to Annual Conference in June that will position the IGRC outdoor ministry for a vital and sustainable future by obtaining permission to take the following bold steps: Retiring, selling, and reallocating the property assets at Epworth Camp, Jensen Woods, and Living Springs. Redesigning East Bay Camp and reducing property size if the design allows and it is...

365 Day Bible Reading Plan

published 1/1/2015
Courtesy of the new Conference Leadership Team -- plan to read through the Bible in a year. Download the Bible Reading Plan...

Eisenbergs available for local church speaking

published 1/1/2015
Looking for someone who would like to speak at your church this year? John and Colleen Eisenbergs are willing and available to come and share their experiences as missionaries in Paraguay. If you want to check out their ministry, visit: or call them at: John 618-409-6429 or Colleen 618-610-7920.

Lay Servant Ministries and the new Lay Speaker track

published 1/1/2015
Under the newly titled Lay Servant Ministries program there are no changes to the requirements to become or remain as either Local Church or Certified.  The only thing that changed is the new title of Lay Servant rather than Lay Speaker. The New Step of Lay Speaker   The new "step," if you will, only affects those who feel called to provide pulpit supply (preaching) in the occasional  absence of a pastor (while on vacation, serving on retreat, mission trip, at a camp, revival, etc.). Download ...

Changes coming to Five-Star Mission program in 2015

published 10/18/2014
Beginning January 2015, there are some significant changes in the IGRC Five-Star Giving Program. These changes were adopted to help IGRC congregations renew their Five-Star recognition. The new and combined categories should help churches of all sizes to quality.

Ebola puts additional financial strain on Liberian pastors

published 10/18/2014
In 2006, $20 was a significant contribution to the cost of a bag of rice. Today, the average cost of a 50 pound bag of rice has risen to $40 to $60 depending upon the quality of rice purchased. This increase is partly due to devaluation of their currency and the increasing cost of essential commodities within the country. However, this increase in food cost is also directly related to the economic situation happening due to the Ebola crisis.

Three IGRC Merit Scholars announced

published 10/18/2014
The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry has announced three individuals have been awarded Merit Scholarships for the 2014-15 school year.

Let's Do Math 4 Chaddock campaign for school expansion

published 8/25/2014
This fall the youth ministry of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference, in partnership with Chaddock in Quincy, will begin an ambitious campaign to raise $150,000 over three years to build a classroom in the new education facility at Chaddock.

Mattoon First UMC builds partnership with Hungarian church

published 8/25/2014
By the end of our time in Budapest the question had changed. No longer did they ask, "Why did you come?" We had answered that question in light of the command, call, and concern of God. Now they asked, "When will you come back? When can we see you again?" We could only answer, "God willing, it will be soon." Thank you for your response to God's love for the people of the world.

UM Children's Home receives $1.1 million grant for YouthBuild

published 8/25/2014
The United Methodist Children's Home has been awarded a $1.1 million U.S. Department of Labor grant. YouthBuild, which sponsored the grant, is a non-residential, community-based alternative education program providing class instruction and occupational skills training to youth ages 16 to 24 who have been in the juvenile justice system, are aging out of foster care, have dropped out of high school or are otherwise at-risk of failing to reach key educational and career milestones.

Baby Fold elects new officers

published 7/23/2014
The Baby Fold Board of Directors elected four new board members to serve three-year terms for the organization beginning July 1, 2014.

From one generation to another...

published 7/23/2014
While the first generation of preachers were the pathfinders, preaching wherever they could find a place to do so, organizing classes and churches, the second generation consolidated these gains and built institutions. The center of attention shifted from the circuit rider to a local church and its program. Circuits were reduced in size from 20 or more preaching places to a station or a much smaller circuit. Log cabin churches were replaced by frame buildings, and later by brick churches; building and maintaining churches and parsonages required much money, time and effort.

Neighborhood House seeking grant, needs your help

published 7/23/2014
The Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House's Continuum of Life Homeless Outreach Center needs your support to win a grant from the Monsanto Grow St. Louis program in 2014.

2014 Liberia Partners Summit dates announced

published 7/22/2014
The 2014 Liberia Partners' Summit will be Nov. 13-14 at Nardin Park UMC in Farmington Hills, Mich.

Liberia Partnership launches new scholarship initiative

published 7/22/2014
Please consider making a difference in the life of a child and that child’s family in Liberia. Only $175 per year will not only provide the tuition, but also provide a school uniform, shoes and school supplies. This amounts to less than $15 per month and is much lower than the current sponsorship of children through other organizations.

McKendree University named 'College of Distinction'

published 7/22/2014
McKendree University has been honored as a College of Distinction for the 2014-2015 school year. It is among a select group of colleges to earn this prestigious designation, based on excellence in four distinctions: engaged students, great teaching, vibrant campus communities and successful outcomes.

Africa University scholars graduate, begin their careers

published 7/21/2014
Two recipients of graduate-level scholarships have finished their studies at Africa University and are beginning their professional careers.
Melvin Nye Payekar of Liberia and Ivan Milosi of the Democratic Republic of the Congo have been recipients of two graduate study scholarships where one of the recipients is from Liberia and the other from another African nation. Both biographies have similarities and both saw their dreams fulfilled for an education met through the generosity of offerings within the IGRC. Both graduated from Africa University's Institute of Peace, Leadership and Governance, the newest of Faculties (Schools) at Africa University, which seeks to train students to return to their country and assist in ways to bring about peace and reconciliation.

Gifford churches host Camp Noah

published 7/21/2014
Funds from the Conference Disaster Fund were used to finance Camp Noah, a week-long camp helping children in Gifford cope with the aftermath of a Nov. 17 tornado. The camp focused on where children were at and their needs. Providing a safe space to tell their story, leaders helped the children process the disaster and assist in a week of healing that enabled the children to move forward and a new a perspective for the future. Working cooperatively with the Gifford United Methodist and ...

Making Dreams Possible...Africa University Scholarship Campaign launches, aims to raise $1 million in two years' time

published 7/21/2014
Since the groundbreaking of Africa University took place in 1991 at Old Mutare this Illinois Great Rivers Conference and its predecessor conferences have been involved in “The Dream” of making Africa University possible. Mr. Jim Salley, Associate Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement for Africa University made comments in his 2014 IGRC Annual Conference address saying, “The Illinois Great Rivers Conference is in the DNA of Africa University.”

Building relationships and hope ... one swing set at a time

published 7/18/2014
Youth groups throughout the United States have been coming to Washington, Ill., for Hope Swings in Washington, a seven-week mission blitz that is builiding realtionships, hope and 100 swing sets in 42 days. In all, more than 300 will rotate in for a week and build swing sets before the work is completed July 25.

IGRC youth equipped to challenge a culture of violence

published 7/18/2014
It says something about our youth today that spiritual formation through Christian conversation, worship, and acts of mercy trumped the nightlife in Times Square, a visit to The Top of the Rock, Fourth of July fireworks, and even the cute guy in the hostel café.

2014 Annual Conference Special Offerings Report

published 6/9/2014
Summary report of the special offerings collected at the 2014 Annual Conference.

2014 Annual Conference Wrap-Up

published 6/9/2014
The Illinois Great Rivers Annual Conference was held in Peoria, June 4-7, under the theme of Ministry of the Laity. The 2014 session is the first of a three-year celebration focused on ministry.

Don't Table That Motion! Walking Challege Results

published 6/9/2014
Results of the Top 21 finishers of the Don't Table that Motion! walking challenge during the 2014 Annual Conference.

Health insurance, Connectional Table proposals among legislation approved

published 6/9/2014
Lay and clergy members approved a proposal to change clergy health insurance and a new, streamlined Connectional Table during the 2014 Annual Conference session.

Listening: a generous, powerful gift

published 6/7/2014
In conversations and meetings, more often people clamor to be heard, to prepare pithy statements that others will be impressed by or remember. Yet, when actively or empathically listening to others, in other words, being in the moment and paying attention to what the other person is saying or emotionally reflecting, a person can find his or her voice by knowing that there is an attentive and caring person who will listen.

A call to serve in higher education

published 6/6/2014
“When we speak of ministry of the laity, we are speaking of the ministry of the people of God,” said MacMurray College President Colleen Hester said. “All members of the Church can be called to serve in love.” While one’s calling may be service outside one’s employment, it can also be a vocation. “Vocation talks of a deeper response to God’s call. It, is, a response to God’s summons,” Hester said.

Congregational development celebrates new church starts

published 6/6/2014
Exciting things are happening throughout the Illinois Great Rivers Conference as the Office of Congregational Development has had opportunity to partner with local churches in ministry.

Growing into your call as disciples

published 6/6/2014
Jessica Davenport, the campus minister/associate director of the Illinois State University Wesley Foundation shares her faith story at Friday's Morning Manna service.

IGRC's Honduras Initiative: An invitation to serve...and learn

published 6/6/2014
The United Methodist Church has had a significant presence in Honduras following the devastation of Hurricane Mitch in 1998. After 16 years of "relief" as we traditionally know it, the Honduran Mission is in place and overseeing the growth of 18 United Methodist church plants throughout the country...many in the true spirit of Wesley's movement.

Laity address offers glimpse into disaster response

published 6/6/2014
When two dozen tornadoes blazed a trail of destruction across Illinois last Nov. 17, no one could imagine the enormity of the challenge and the way in which pastors and laity in the Illinois Great Rivers Conference would respond.

Liberia Partnership rolls out new scholarship initiative

published 6/6/2014
The Liberia Partnership announced a new scholarship initiative during its report to the 2014 Annual Conference in which church or individuals can sponsor a Liberian child's education.

Recognizing greatness

published 6/6/2014
In a world that confuses success with significance, Bishop John Hopkins asked those attending this year's ordination service, "Can we recognize greatness?"

Annual conference homecoming for Army chaplain

published 6/5/2014
Chaplain Capt. John Read shares how his call to the chaplaincy was shaped by laypersons from his home church, Granite City Good Shepherd UMC and how their prayers and support have sustained him throughout his ministry.

Connectional ministries: It's all about focus...

published 6/5/2014
When it comes to making disciples, it's all about focus. And for the connectional ministries of the annual conference, it is about equipping the local church for ministry and providing a connection to ministry beyond the local church.

Home is a relationship

published 6/5/2014
"I have often found it difficult to answer where home is,” said the Rev. Cynthia Jones during her sermon at the retiree recognition service. “The easy answer is the address to where mail is sent and where I presently live. But home is also the rooms of my family of origin….We know deep inside us home is not a place, but a relationship!”

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