News

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.

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 www.igrc.org/interns 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: www.igrc.org/ac2015elections.

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: www.themissionsociety.org/people/eisenberg 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.

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