Plans coming together for 2018 Annual Conference


By Paul Black
PEORIA -- The Illinois Great Rivers Conference of The United Methodist Church will be meeting in Peoria for the 17th consecutive year June 7-9. The Peoria Civic Center will serve as the conference’s central location for the nearly 2,000 who are expected to attend.
The theme of the conference is Let’s Get Fired Up: Moving Forward, with Bishop Frank J. Beard presiding over his second annual conference session.
The Sessions Committee has been working to refine the agenda in response to suggestions made by those attending the 2017 Annual Conference. This is the second year in which the schedule has been shortened by a day.


Materials for attendees of the 2018 Annual Conference are posted online.
The main Annual Conference page is located at:
From the main page, pages for a variety of items will be located on the right-hand side menu. Those that are already live on the website include the following: Online registration goes live April 2 and ends May 17.

New process for registration materials

All 2018 Conference registration material packets will be picked up ON SITE in the Registration Office in the Terrazo Lobby beginning Thursday, June 7 at 7:30 a.m.


Thursday begins with pre-conference workshops from 10 to 11:30 a.m. One of the workshops will be on the work of the Commission on a Way Forward, another will be on Community Ministry and Ministry with the Poor; and a third on Vital Conversations, how to discuss difficult issues in a safe environment. Additional workshops may be added.
Opening worship is set for 1 p.m. Thursday and will be held prior to the Clergy and Laity sessions. Rev. Bert Kite, a clergy member from the Indiana Conference and a John Wesley portrayer, will be present for the service.
The conference’s new superintendents – Rev. Stan Irvin and Rev. James Barnett – will be installed during the service with the Granadosin Brothers, including Spoon River District Superintendent Stephen Granadosin, providing music.
Following the service, the Annual Conference will be called to order with roll call and organizational motions.
At 2:30 p.m., the Clergy Session will begin in the Grand Ballroom on the fourth floor and Laity Session will be held in Halls B and C.
The full session will reconvene at 4 p.m. with the Board of Ministry Report, presentation of ordinands, associate members and commissionees, Course of Study graduates and those with professional certifications. Initial presentation of the 2019 budget, the nominations report and the trustees report will follow.
Following dinner at 5:30 p.m., the Memorial Service will begin at 7 p.m., with the Rev. Sarah Beth Wanck preaching.
Friday will begin at 8:30 a.m. with Morning Manna at 8:40 p.m. Rev. J. Keith Zimmerman, chair of the Our Conference, Our Kids steering team, will be speaking.
A recognition of retirees will be from 10:45 a.m. to noon. At press time, 19 pastors have announced their retirements and will be honored for their years of service. Rev. James Slone, pastor of Belleville St. Matthew UMC and a member of the retiree class, will be preaching.
The afternoon will include the laity, Cabinet and Director of Connectional Ministries’ addresses and a presentation from the Black College Fund ambassador. At 5:10 p.m., the children of the Annual Conference will visit to sing for the Annual Conference and business will adjourn for dinner at 5:30 p.m.
As needed, the session will reconvene at 7 p.m. for an update on the Commission on A Way Forward, completing any reports or resolutions and final approval on the Conference budget and Nominations Report.
Ordination and Commissioning is set for 9:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday with Bishop Beard preaching. Clergy are to robe and join the processional. Stole color is red.

Mission Fair

A Mission Fair designed to provide a dedicated time to generate awareness, enthusiasm and involvement of the mission and ministries, will be held on Friday evening during the 2018 Annual Conference.
All members of the Annual Conference will be encouraged to attend with ice cream bars and popcorn available for everyone.
A request is being made to every group that is requesting display space to have a representative present to answer questions and share ideas with attendees.
The Mission Fair is taking the place of the Annual Conference dinner this year.

Offerings during Annual Conference

Three offerings will be collected during the 2018 Annual Conference.
  • An offering will be taken Friday morning during Morning Manna for the Our Conference, Our Kids campaign.
  • The Conference will also take up an offering in the 2:30 p.m. time block for the Tom Brown Scholarship at Wiley College following the Black College Ambassador’s greetings.
  • The final offering, for the Ordinand’s Trip with Bishop Beard, will be during Saturday’s Service of Ordination.
The laity session has traditionally collected an offering and the Midwest Mission Distribution Center has had collections of materials, but no announcement has been made yet.