Statham part of 9 OT high school basketball game

published 2/18/2016
Although Harry Statham has made his mark in college basketball, he did coach five years of Illinois High School basketball and his name will always be associated with one of the longest high school basketball games in the state’s history. The game lasted two hours and 25 minutes and with nine overtimes, stands as the Illinois state record for the longest high school basketball game.

One million reasons to tee-it-up for Africa University

published 1/29/2016
The Fifth Annual Bishops' Open will be Friday, April 22, at the Edgewood Golf Club in Auburn, just minutes south of Springfield.

The Bishop’s Open offers you many ways to touch the lives that enter the corridors of Africa University:
Pray for Africa University
Bring a Foursome for an Awesome Day of Fun
Be a Recruiter. We need 144 golfers and you can pass the word around
Register early as an individual and we will help you to find three new friends
If you are not a golfer, volunteer for a shift or for the whole day
Donate gifts that can be auctioned off to benefit this endowment

The Year in Review: The challenge of loving one's neighbor

published 12/17/2015
The year 2015 provided many challenges for United Methodists in the Illinois Great Rivers Conference as changes on many fronts swept through and much of the challenge was how to respond. Jesus summed up the totality of the law by teaching we are to love God and to love neighbor. The second half of the Great Commandment seemed to be the struggle of 2015. The conference was not alone in those changes.

January mission trips to Liberia postponed

published 12/10/2015
Due to the U.S. State Department’s heightened international travel alert until late February 2016, and the recent three new cases of Ebola in the outlying area of the capital city of Monrovia, the January teams scheduled for travel to Liberia are being postponed. Although there have now been 21 days with no new cases of Ebola in Liberia, it will take 42 days for CDC to declare Liberia once again Ebola free.

Hoke appointed to new camping position

published 12/4/2015
In consultation with the IGRC Camping Commission and the Cabinet, Bishop Jonathan D. Keaton has announced the appointment of the Rev. Ed Hoke to a newly-created Minister of Mission Expansion, effective Jan. 1. Hoke, pastor of the Goreville and Creal Springs UMC’s in the Cache River District and chair of the IGRC Commission on Camping and Retreat Ministries for the past three years, will be leaving both assignments to accept the new, full-time position within camping.

Lawsuit against Ohio Chapel dismissed, IGRC to refile

published 11/12/2015
A Pulaski County Circuit Court judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Illinois Great Rivers Conference against a breakaway congregation that declared its independence in March, but the judge left open the possibility of the conference refiling its suit after “connecting the dots” in a case involving the denomination’s trust clause.

Weatherall endorsed for episcopacy by IGRC delegation

published 11/12/2015
The IGRC general and jurisdictional conference delegation has unanimously endorsed Spoon River District Superintendent, the Rev. Sylvester Weatherall as its candidate for bishop. Weatherall emerged from a field of four finalists Nov. 7 that capped a month-long period of prayer and discernment by the IGRC delegation as to whether to offer a candidate to the 2016 North Central Jurisdictional Conference, which will be held July 13-16, in Peoria

African bishops issue statement on global terrorism, marriage and sexuality, unity of church

published 11/4/2015
From September 7-11, 2015, we the Bishops of the Central Conferences of Africa gathered at the Elephant Hills Resort, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, as part of our Annual business meeting. Highlights of the meeting included worship, fellowship, and evaluation of ministries and responsibilities God has entrusted to our care as Shepherds of His flock.

Campus ministry: a place of authentic connection

published 10/29/2015
These moments have shown me how deeply college students have a desire to be known, a desire to find people to have authentic connection with in a world where that authenticity can be difficult to find. They are reminders that the role I play in this campus ministry is important to helping these students find that genuine connection. Most importantly, these moments have taught me that our campus ministry must always be a place where these authentic connections happen. These students have stories to tell and so much to teach the rest of us, and they are looking for a place to do just that.

Construction underway at Chaddock

published 10/29/2015
Construction crews are starting to erect structural steel on the new school at Chaddock. More than 15,000 cubic yards of dirt have been moved, 1,500 cubic yards of concrete poured and 4,000 tons of gravel laid. The plan is to have the building under roof before winter weather sets in so that work can start on the inside during the winter months. The project is still on its timeline for children to occupy the new school by the start of the 2016-17 school year.

Earl Dickey celebrates 100th birthday

published 10/29/2015
Retired pastor Rev. Earl Dickey gathered with family and friends to celebrate his 100th birthday Sept. 8. Earl wasn’t the only centenarian that week. Marie Mitchell, widow of Rev. Carl Mitchell, also celebrated her 108th birthday in September. Rev. Mary Erwin celebrated her 99th birthday Oct. 24.

Godly values: Qualities that transcend time

published 10/29/2015
(Editor’s note: The following is a transcript of the Peter Cartwright Memorial Sermon delivered by the Rev. Dr. John Sims on Oct. 11, 2015, at the Peter Cartwright UMC in Pleasant Plains. The scriptural text is John 2:18-22.)   By Rev. Dr. John Sims Retired IGRC clergy The title of my sermon this morning, Godly Values, is misleading. When I sent this title and Scripture to the pastor here at Peter Cartwright UMC, my thought was to focus upon the values Peter Cartwright lifted up during his life ...

Hearing on Ohio Chapel set for Nov. 10

published 10/29/2015
A hearing has been set for Nov. 10 at 9 a.m., in Pulaski County Circuit Court on a lawsuit filed by the Illinois Great Rivers Conference against Ohio Chapel Church, a breakaway congregation that declared its independence from the denomination in March.

IGRC episcopal field narrowed to four

published 10/29/2015
The IGRC delegation to the 2016 General and Jurisdictional conferences will interview four candidates who have offered themselves for consideration to the episcopacy following a screening committee meeting that narrowed the field.

Six candidates reportedly completed the paperwork necessary to be considered with a maximum of four candidates being forwarded to the full delegation on Oct. 31. At that meeting, the delegation will interview each of the four candidates with the goal of naming an endorsed candidate on Nov. 7.

Illini Fighting Hunger honored by Foodbank

published 10/29/2015
Illini Fighting Hunger (IFH), a student program of the Wesley Foundation at the University of Illinois, was recognized in September by the Eastern Illinois Foodbank as Community Partner of the Year award for 2015 for its work in facilitating meal packaging events with various groups to assist local food banks and food pantries in the fight against hunger. IFH has led the packaging of over 1.4 million meals, many of which have been distributed through the Eastern Ilinois Foodbank.

In Cartwright's Shadow: The ministry of Braxton Parish

published 10/29/2015
Illinois’ Peter Cartwright (1785-1872) was known for his frontier hardiness, camp meetings, passion to spread the gospel and involvement in Illinois state politics. He cast a long shadow across early Illinois Methodist Episcopal Church history. But he was not alone. Braxton Parish (1795-1875) also migrated from a southern state, preached in Illinois from 1822-1875 and started scores of Methodist Episcopal churches in southern Illinois Counties (Franklin, Williamson, Saline, Gallatin, Hamilton and Jackson).

Medicare Part D open season underway

published 10/29/2015
Retired pastors and spouses are reminded that Medicare Part D, the portion of Medicare that covers prescription drug costs, is now conducting its Open Season for 2016. Persons have the ability to change your Part D Plan anytime between Oct. 15 and Dec. 7. If you choose to stay with your current coverage, it will continue without doing anything.

New President/CEO at United Methodist Children's Home

published 10/29/2015
John Shadowens has been selected to be the next President/CEO at the United Methodist Children's Home in Mt. Vernon. Shadowens will assume duties as President and CEO Nov. 1.

Philippines VIM trip slated for March 2016

published 10/29/2015
The Illinois Great Rivers Conference will send a Volunteers in Mission Team (VIM) to Palawan Island in the Philippines March 3-17, 2016. The VIM Team will partner with the churches in the Philippines to build an Activity Center in one of the expansion areas of The United Methodist Church in the Philippines. The team will also help establish relations with brothers and sisters there for future mission partnerships.

WIU speaker series discusses Faith on Campus

published 10/29/2015
The Wesley Foundation at Western Illinois University is always looking for ways to connect with the campus and the Macomb community. On three consecutive Monday evenings in September the campus ministry held a speaker series at the Foundation.

The Board of Directors and students brainstormed on ways to promote faith on campus. This collaboration led to the creation of the “Talking Faith On Campus” events, which greatly exceeded expectations. Over the summer, students invited seven campus administrators, faculty, staff, and community leaders to participate in these forums. The students of Wesley Foundation decided to use a question and answer format and then developed specific questions for each guest.

NCJ to retain same number of bishops, NEJ to lose one

published 10/28/2015
The General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA) announced Oct. 28 that it will not make any recommendation to the General Conference for a review of the number of bishops for the North Central Jurisdiction after the NCJ College of Bishops submitted revised figures in response to an announcement in September that the NCJ had fallen below the threshold for its current number of bishops.

Religion scholar boycotts BYU conference in protest

published 10/5/2015
An IGRC clergyman on honorable location is boycotting Brigham Young University's International Law and Religion symposium this week in protest over a college policy toward students who enter the school as Mormons but who then either lose or change their religion during their time there.

GCFA reports NCJ, NEJ could lose a bishop

published 9/25/2015
The General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA), notified the North Central and Northeastern Jurisdictional leadership that the number of bishops representing the areas could be reduced based on reported membership numbers.

Illinois Wesleyan names Jensen its new president

published 9/14/2015
The Illinois Wesleyan University Board of Trustees announced on Sept. 14 that Eric R. Jensen of Hamline University has been selected to serve as the University’s 19th president. Jensen was named following a national search, which began in February. He succeeds Richard F. Wilson, who announced his retirement in December 2014 and will step down at the end of October.

IGRC delegation outlines discernment process

published 9/3/2015
The IGRC delegation has announced its process for endorsement of an episcopal candidate. The delegation has set Saturday, Nov. 7 for naming a single candidate which will be offered to the jurisdiction for consideration at the North Central Jurisdictional Conference in Peoria in July 2016.

Emeline A. Hypes

published 8/28/2015
By virtue of her election as a delegate to the 1904 General Conference, Emeline A. Hypes was the first woman from the Southern Illinois Conference to serve as a General Conference delegate.

Mission team to Hungary builds on previous relationships

published 8/28/2015
A mission team from Illinois Great Rivers Conference visited Budapest, Hungary, in June 2015. The team partnered with Pest United Methodist Church of Budapest for outreach and training.

Normal First UMC celebrates 150 years of ministry

published 8/28/2015
The motto of Normal First UMC for many years was “Serving Christ: Community and Campus.” The church’s history has demonstrated that the words, “and Beyond” could have been added as individuals have gone on from here to serve Jesus Christ all over the world.Members and guests will celebrate that 150 years of history in September as they take a look at total span of history and how visions and dreams were planted for others to harvest.

Other Illinois ties to women's firsts in United Methodism

published 8/28/2015
Lydia Sexton 1799-1894 First woman to be voted recommendation as a Pulpit Speaker by the General Conference of The United Brethren Church, 1851. First presented to the General Conference by the Illinois Conference, United Brethren Church. Frances Willard 1839-1898 American temperance leader and reformer, well-known lecturer, writer, and educator, Frances Willard is remembered among Methodists for her strong stance in favor of women’s participation. She was elected by the Rock River ...

The legacy of Mattie McMahon

published 8/28/2015
Mattie Yates McMahon was born near Griggsville on Aug. 5, 1851. Although largely forgotten by history, she holds the distinction as the first woman elected to the General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Women's suffrage at General Conference

published 8/28/2015
What we take for granted was a long struggle within the church and its predecessor denominations to grant both representation of women as well as eventually, ordination of women clergy – something that wasn’t attained until some 60 years later. And there are some Illinois connections.

Conference files suit against breakaway congregation which occupies building

published 8/10/2015
The Illinois Great Rivers Conference filed a lawsuit Aug. 6 seeking to keep property now used by a breakaway congregation. The lawsuit, filed in Illinois’ Pulaski County Circuit Court, asks for a permanent injunction that would bar the church from “occupying, possessing or otherwise exercising control over the real and personal property.”

Trust Clause

published 8/10/2015
Disciplinary paragraphs relating to The United Methodist Church's Trust Clause.

Understanding the Trust Clause

published 8/10/2015
What is at stake and what are the legal implications from the current lawsuit between the Illinois Great Rivers Conference and Ohio Chapel Church in the Cache River District.

Conference files suit against breakaway congregation

published 8/6/2015
The Illinois Great Rivers Conference has filed suit against one of its member congregations which declared its independence from the denomination in March.

The lawsuit was filed today in Pulaski County Circuit Court against Ohio Chapel Church, formerly known as the Ohio Chapel United Methodist Church, based in Grand Chain in the Cache River District.

Budget impasse impacts Neighborhood House, Kumler

published 7/10/2015
The inability of state lawmakers and Gov. Bruce Rauner to develop a state budget has created major havoc for social service agencies that provide services to the poor and most vulnerable segments of the state’s population.

With the beginning of a new fiscal year without a budget, funding for several programs have been slashed including the Child Care Assistance program operated by the Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House in East St. Louis. And programs such as GED programs and pharmaceutical assistance offered by Kumler Outreach Ministries in Springfield are either shut down or severely cut.

Tornado hits Coal City again

published 6/23/2015
Five tornado touchdowns were reported Monday night (June 22) in five Illinois counties, including a tornado that caused extensive damage in Coal City in Grundy County – located in the northernmost region of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference. It is the second tornado in 19 months for the community of about 5,000 people.

Liberia Partnership perseveres during Ebola outbreak

published 6/16/2015
This past year Ebola raged through Liberia killing more than 4,800 persons and created an estimated 2,000 orphans as it shattered a weak economy and an inadequate healthcare system.

We have stayed in touch with our partners via phone and e-mails and kept our relationship with Liberia strong.

Annual Conference wrapup

published 6/15/2015
The Illinois Great Rivers Conference was held June 10-13, under the theme, Healing the Circle, which included an Act of Repentance toward Indigenous People. The conference also approved a proposal to close three of the conference’s five campsites due to declining headcounts over the past 10 years. Discussion was passionate and spirited as four counter-proposals were also debated.

Memorial Service

published 6/15/2015
Transcript of Memorial Service message at the 2015 Annual Conference, preached by Rev. In-Sook Hwang June 11, 2015.

The How-to Guide to Healing

published 6/13/2015
Let’s heal together, learn together, and be sure not to hoard all of God’s grace for ourselves. For it is by Christ’s wounds that WE are healed, and with our wounded, scarred hearts, we can create a safe, compassionate space for future wounded disciples who may humbly love and serve the Ultimate Healer.

Cabinet Address

published 6/12/2015
Manuscript of Rev. Sylvester Weatherall's Cabinet Address at 2015 Annual Conference delivered on June 12, 2015

Honduras Partnership 'on the rise'

published 6/12/2015
The IGRC's Team Honduras 2015 is busy making final preparations for their June 21-28 trip to Tegucigalpa, Honduras.

The Conference has been sponsoring Mission Trips to Honduras annually since 2012 and has been working specifically in the capital city of Tegucigalpa on the new Mission HQ site.

IGRC Historical Society honors Chrisman for 31 years of service

published 6/12/2015
Conference Historian, the Rev. Richard Chrisman, was honored by the IGRC Historical Society at its annual luncheon for 31 years of service in preserving the stories and history of the people called Methodists in Illinois.

It' time to thrive not survive

published 6/12/2015
Transcript of the Director of Connectional Ministries Address delivered by the Rev. Dr. Thomas Logsdon at the 2015 Annual Conference June 12, 2015.

Laity Address

published 6/12/2015
Transcript of Laity Address at the 2015 Annual Conference given by IGRC Lay Leader Ken Miller.

Repetitive repentance

published 6/12/2015
Healing the circle is healing the space to enter into steadfast love, which like a circle never ends. Repentance is not a mechanical movement; it’s a doxology of redemption. Until we all can offer our pain and love, it will never be healed. But this, brothers and sisters, is the night watch, and the morning… well… the morning of redemption is coming soon enough as future hope is met with repetitive repentance.

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.

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