2017 Annual Conference overview
By Paul Black
PEORIA – The Illinois Great Rivers Conference of The United Methodist Church will be meeting in Peoria for the 16th consecutive year June 8-10. 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 Let’s Get Fired Up for Kids, and will be the official launch of the $2.5 million Our Conference, Our Kids campaign. Funds generated by the campaign will endow the spiritual life ministries at the five children’s welfare agencies – The Baby Fold, Chaddock, Cunningham Children’s Home, Lessie Bates Davis Neighborhood House and Spero Family Services (formerly the United Methodist Children’s Home).
For the eighth consecutive year, the plenary and worship sessions of the annual conference will be broadcast over the internet. Persons wishing to view the webstream may visit: www.igrc.org/ac2017live. The Twitter hashtag for the event is #2017IGRC.
Rev. Dr. Terry Teykl will be the conference’s keynote speaker, preaching the clergy session on Thursday, Friday’s Morning Manna and Saturday’s Community Prayer Breakfast at Peoria Bethel UMC.
Friday’s All-Conference Dinner will be the official kickoff of the Our Conference, Our Kids campaign. As part of the kickoff, IGRC Communications has prepared three promotional videos, brochures and bulletin inserts which can be used by local congregations in promoting the three-year campaign. DVD’s with these resources will be on the banquet tables for persons to take home with them.
Lay and clergy members will be bringing offerings for the Tom Brown Scholarship at Wiley College and for the Bishop’s Ordinand Trip in Spring 2018 for the newly ordained clergy. Lay members will also bring an offering to the Laity Session on Thursday morning for the John Kofi Asmah School in Monrovia, Liberia, a school constructed with funds collected by IGRC laity.
The conference will also be bringing items for various kits assembled by the Midwest Mission Distribution Center: kitchen dishwashing gloves; Insect repellent spray, 6 to 14 oz. (ex. Off, Cutter); scouring pads; pens -- no advertising and protractors. The Center will also be collecting the following items for Fair Hope Ministry, a Danville-area agency in the Iroquois River District: socks -- Infants 0-3 months to boys and girls large (4-10 girls and 3-9 boys); onesies; and underwear -- All sizes from 2T-3T to girls size 16 and boys 18-20
Health insurance proposal
The conference will consider a proposal from the Conference Board of Pensions concerning a new health insurance proposal for full-time clergy. Materials on the proposal are available at: www.igrc.org/ac2017
The Council on Finance and Administration will present a $12.2 million budget for 2018. The budget is a $42,835 increase over 2017 or 0.35 percent.
The Committee on Equitable Compensation will be recommending salaries for full-time clergy be increased by 2 percent for 2018. This would set minimum salaries for clergy in full connection, associate members and provisional elders at $42,448; and $38,952 for full-time local pastors.
The committee is also recommending that each charge with an active full-time pastor pay the pastor $15,000 health insurance allowance – up from $13,200 – if the Conference does not approved the health insurance proposal recommended by the Conference Board of Pensions.
Location of Annual Conference
The Annual Conference Sessions committee is recommending that the conference meet in Peoria for the next five years (2018-2022).
The Sessions Committee solicited bids and only two bids were submitted – Peoria and Springfield. Committee members are recommending the Peoria bid due to an analysis of costs to conduct the annual conference session. The new proposal is actually $693 less that the 2013-2017 contract. Additionally, the Peoria Civic Center Authority has awarded a $40,000 grant each year that will cover the cost of renting the facility.
The Peoria proposal was the lone bid in which the facility could provide parking, special meals and child care under one roof.
The Conference Board of Pensions is recommending a 2 percent increase to $762 for each year of service prior to 1982 – up from the present $747. No change is recommended for the contribution rate of active pastors covered under the pension plan.
Churches completing their mission
Eleven churches will be recognized during Thursday evening’s Memorial Service as completing their missions -- West Frankfort First UMC and Dale UMC, Cache River District; Dexter UMC and Marshall Brick UMC, Embarras River District; Pleasant Grove UMC, Iroquois River District; Ebenezer UMC, Kaskaskia River District; Baylis UMC, LaMoine River District; Waterloo Real Life UMC, Mississippi River District; Hartsburg UMC, Sangamon River District; Carbon Cliff UMC and Colusa UMC, Spoon River District.
- Constitutional Amendments from General Conference. This legislation cannot be amended and rafitication votes will not be disclosed until all annual conferences have an opportunity to vote on these matters.
- A resolution expressing concerns about contemporary music used in annual conference worship services
- A resolution asking each church to send letters to legislators seeking an end of federal funding to Planned Parenthood
- A resolution seeking to have the Conference encourage Muslims to reform Islam from within
- Policies of IGRC Camping and Retreat Ministries