District office locations, names announced as reorganization continues


IGRC District Map-July 2023By Paul Black
SPRINGFIELD – The Extended Cabinet of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference will be bringing legislation to the 2023 Annual Conference formalizing new names for the five configured districts as part of its reorganization efforts.

The Cabinet announced Dec. 8 that interim names using the existing districts names together, will be used from July 1 to Dec. 31, 2023, with the new names, if approved, becoming effective Jan. 1, 2024. The names are as follows:

  • The Kaskaskia-Cache River District, with an office based in Marion, will become the South District
  • The Embarras-Iroquois River District, with an office based in Champaign, will become the East District
  • The Illinois-Vermilion River District, with an office based in Pontiac, will become the North District
  • The Spoon-LaMoine River District, with an office based in Jacksonville, will become the West District
  • The Mississippi-Sangamon River District, with an office based in Springfield, will become the Central District
Although the Book of Discipline (2016) does not require Annual Conference action in the naming of districts, conference leaders believed the Annual Conference, which gave the existing districts its names following the uniting of the former Central Illinois and Southern Illinois conference, should have voice and input on the new names.

In 2005, the number of districts reduced from 12 to 10, with the Okaw River District (based in Decatur) and the Little Wabash River District (based in Olney) were dissolved and merged into the other 10 districts.

At the 2022 Annual Conference, members approved a Cabinet proposal to reduce the number of districts from 10 to five, effective July 1, 2023. The recommendation on names and office locations came as a result of listening sessions held in October and November centered around three questions:

Bishop Beard said he is inviting United Methodists to consider these three questions during the Listening Session:
  • “What if anything, is unique about this district, that we do not want to lose?”
  • “How do we assist two districts in coming together to form a new district?”
  • “How do we assist our district laity and clergy in being better connected?”
Superintendents will be convening leadership in the five new districts to develop transition plans and to structure a new way of superintending.