December 2021/January 2022 Reporter

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REPORTER

HopkinsremainsNICInterimBishopin2022

Atthecloseoftheirfallmeeting,the UnitedMethodistCouncilofBishops approvedtheextensionofretiredBishop JohnL.HopkinsasNorthernIllinois ConferenceInterimBishoppasttheinitial enddateofDecember31,2021.

TheNorthCentralJurisdictionCollege ofBishopscalledtoextendBishop Hopkins'assignmentintheNorthern IllinoisConferenceuntileithernew episcopalelectionsareheldwithinthe jurisdiction,oranotherplanfor episcopalcoverageisbroughttothe CouncilofBishops.

In2020,theNCJCollegeofBishops madeaplantocoverforretiringbishops andBishopHopkinsagreedtoservein theinterimthrough2021.Withthe NorthCentralJurisdictionConference postponementuntil2022,theCollegeof Bishopssaidtheyneededtoextendthe interimassignments,including MichiganConferenceBishopDavid BardwhoisalsocoveringtheMinnesota ConferenceandIowaConferenceBishop LaurieHallerwhoisalsocoveringthe DakotasConference.

Whilenotnecessarilyinhisplans, Hopkinssaidhejoyfullyacceptsanother yearofinterimassignmentwiththe NorthernIllinoisConference.

"Ithoughtmyinterimministrywould beconcludingsoon.Ithoughtthe pandemicwouldbeoverbytheendof summer.LastOctober,Ithoughtwecould haveanin-personannualconference," BishopHopkinssaid."Althoughmy expectationshavenotturnedout,Ihave beensurprisedbytheblessingofserving inNorthernIllinois.Icontinuetomeet peoplewithaloveofJesusandhis Church.Iamsurroundedbypeoplewho wanttheKingdomofGodtobeonearth asinheaven.Iaminspiredbyyourfaith, hope,andlove."

BishopHopkinsthanksallthechurches, clergy,andlaityintheNorthernIllinois Conferenceforwelcominghimandhis wifeElainethispastyear.

"NorthernIllinoisalreadyfeelslike hometoElaineandme,"saidBishop Hopkins."Stayinginaplaceyoulovewith peopleyouloveisablessing.Godisgood."

NorthCentralJurisdictionspecialsession

addressesracism,inclusionandnumberofbishops

ByChristaMeland,Dir.ofCommunicationsMinnesotaConference

WhenRev.RonBellwasinhighschool,his fatherbecamesuperintendentoftheEastern DistrictoftheDelawareAnnualConference.

Astheirfamilywasmovingintothe superintendents’big,beautifulparsonagein EasternMaryland,theentirelocalpolice departmentsurroundedthehousewithguns drawnandtoldBellandhisfathertogeton thegroundwiththeirhandsbehindtheir heads.Why?

“Becausealittlewhitegirlacrossthestreet sawblackfolkinherneighborhood,”saidBell, whoservesCamphorMemorialUMCinSt. Paul,Minn.“That'swhenIknewracematters.”

Rev.JuyeonJeon,seniorpastoratFirst UMCinBensenville,Ill.,cametotheU.S. fromSouthKoreain2008andsaid“she workedveryhardtoassimilatetotheculture andlanguage.”

Butsaysshedeeplyrealizedthatrace mattersthroughhersix-year-olddaughter.

“ItwasrightafterGeorgeFloyd’sdeath andIwastakingawalkinour predominantlywhiteneighborhoodwithmy daughter,wholooksjustlikeme,”saidJeon. “About100feetawaytwomeninacar drivingbystartedshouting‘heyChinese’ andtheykeptcallingouttous.”

Jeonsaidsheheldherdaughtercloseandkept walkingbutsaidtheexperienceisstillhurtful.

“Whatevertheirintentionwas,Iwas feelingthreatenedandmockedandtothink thisistherealitymydaughterwilllive,Iwas soupset,”Jeonsaid.“Thisneedstobe changedandstopped.”

JeonandBellwereamongsix“truthtellers”whosharedtheirpersonal experienceswithraceatavirtualNorth CentralJurisdictional(NCJ)gatheringthat tookplaceNov.10and11.

Approximately250delegatesparticipated intheofficialZoommeeting,andothers fromacrossthe10-conferencejurisdiction watcheditliveonline.Delegatesspentthe majorityoftheirtimetogetheronthreebig topicsofconversation—dismantlingracism, thefutureofepiscopalleadership,andthe futureofTheUnitedMethodistChurch.

Dismantlingracism

Inthedismantlingracismportionofthe session,retiredBishopHopeMorganWard remindedattendeesthattheministryofantiracismcentersindiscipleship.

“Thearcofhistorybendstowardjustice, andwewillbeforcefulinpullingthatarc

downtogether,alltothegloryofGod,”she said.ShenotedthattheCouncilofBishops hascenteredtheministriesofequity, inclusion,justice,diversity,andantiracism— andindoingso,hasappreciatedtheworkof BrianStevenson,founderoftheEqualJustice InitiativeinMontgomery,Alabama,and chiefcreatoroftheNationalMemorialfor PeaceandJustice.Heurgesfourpillarsfor anti-racismefforts:

•Hearandsharetruestories;in particular,givespacetoandhonor storiesofpeopleofcolor.

•Get“proximate”tothesufferingand painofracismandinequality.

•Expectresistance.

•Protectyourhopefulness.

AfterhearingfromWard,thesixtruth-tellers eachissuedachallengetotheNorthCentral JurisdictionandtheChurch.

“Justicetakesmorethanjustwords;it requiressacrifice,”saidAndresDeArco, NationalAssistantDirectortotheUnited MethodistHispanicYouthLeadership AcademyandamemberoftheWestOhio Conference.“Whatareyouwillingto sacrificeforjustice?”

December2021-January2022|Volume167|Issue10 TheReporter ispublished10timesperyearbyNIC Communications.Postmaster:Sendaddresschangesto:NIC,77 W.WashingtonSt.Suite1820,Chicago,IL60602 FromtheBishop: Livingwith expectationand findingjoy ...2 www.umcnic.org NonPro f i tOrg U.S.Postage PAID Permit#130 Homewood,IL DONOTDELAY.DATEDMATERIAL. NorthernIllinoisConference ofTheUnitedMethodistChurch 77W.WashingtonSt.Suite1820 Chicago,IL60602 INSIDE THEISSUE Landmark grant awardedto Chicago church ...6 Delegates support covenant ...3 Discipleship launches bookclub ...8 continueonpage2,seeFromtheCover:Beloved
BishopJohnL.Hopkinswelcomesguestsandonline viewerstotheordinationandcommissioningserviceheld Oct.1,2021.

FROMTHEBISHOP: Livingwithexpectationandfindingjoy

AsIreturntotheNorthernIllinois Conferenceforanotheryear,Iwish youanearlyMerryChristmasanda HappyNewYear.Ilooktonextyear expectingGodtobreakintoourlivestosaveourworldand giveushope.IexpectGodtogiveusjoyaswefollowthe wayofJesus.

Yes,Iknowthetimesarehard.TheywerehardwhenJesus wasborn.IsraelhadbeenwaitingalongtimeforaSavior. Godseemedsodistant.WhenMatthewinterpretedthe birthofJesus,herememberedIsaiah's(7:14)prophecy almost735yearsearlier:

"AllthistookplacetofulfillwhathadbeenspokenbytheLord throughtheprophet:

'Look,thevirginshallconceiveandbearason, AndtheyshallnamehimEmmanuel…’ whichmeans,"Godiswithus."

WhenJosephawokefromsleep,hedidastheangelofthe Lordcommandedhim;hetookherashiswifebuthadno maritalrelationswithheruntilshehadborneason;andhe namedhimJesus."Matthew1:22-25(NRSV)

FromtheCover:Beloved

Achild,bornofavirgin,calledEmmanuel—"Godwithus." Whatasurprise!Whatjoy!Ofcourse,MaryandJosephboth neededangelstoseethejoyinsuchasituation.

Joyisoftenbornofsorroworpainorfearasagift.Atthe time,Mary—andcertainlyJoseph—weremoreafraidthan filledwithjoy.Shewasavirgin—whowouldbelievethat? Hetookherashiswife—wondering,trusting—buthadno maritalrelations.Theyhadnomoney,orhome,or security—onlyfaith.

Jesususuallycomestousinsituationswherewearenotin control,when"ourway"isnotworking.Adventisatimeto waitforthatwhichwecannotsee.Doyourememberbeing achildwaitingforChristmastocome?Iimagineyoudidnot likethewaiting,buttheanticipationandexcitement openedyourhearttoawonderyouhaveneverforgotten. PerhapsthatiswhyJesussaidyoumustbecomelikeachild toexperiencethekingdomofGod.

Irememberwaitingforourthreesonstobeborn.During thattime,Ilearnedthat"expectation"isnotthesameas "hoping."To"hope"meanstowishforsomethingthatweare notsureisgoingtohappen.Whenwe"expect"something, wearesureitisgoingtohappen.Thatiswhyawomanwith childisnotsaidtobe"hoping";sheissaidtobe"expecting!"

AsElaineandIbegantoprepareforthebigevent,we purchasedbabyfurniture,lookedforbabyclothes,and boughtfoodandtoys.Ipracticedorpretendedtoputthem tobedandkissthemgoodnight,evenbeforetheywere born!MyworldchangedasIwaitedandanticipated.The fruitoflivingwithexpectationwasabirththatwasnot withoutstrugglebutfilledwithjoyandeverlastinglove.

Expectationchangesourlivesbecauseweliveinanew realityevenbeforeitarrives.Ourfaithismuchthesameway. WeliveintherealityofthatfirstChristmasandcontinueto liveeachnewdayexpectantly.Christnotonlycomestous onChristmasDay,buteverytimeweopenourhearts, changeourlives,shareourfaith,andserveourneighbor. Ultimatelyjoy—likehope,love,andpeace—isagift.God surprisesuswiththebirthofaspecialchildnottoterrifyus andrunusawaybuttobringuscloser,evokeourloveand admiration,andgiveusjoy.

AsyoulookforwardtoChristmasandtheNewYear,slow downandlivewithexpectationagain.Payattentiontowhat Godwantstobebornintoyourworldagain.Actlikeachild. Lookforthejoyinexpectation.Listenfortheangels.Donot missthemiracles!

Thedismantlingracismsessionendedwithsmallgroup discussionsamongdelegates.Theyreflectedaloudona questionposedbyBishopTracySmithMalone,resident bishopoftheEastOhioConference:Asyouthinkaboutyour contextandyourdiscipleshipjourneyandlifeinChrist,how mightGodbecallingyoutomakeadifference,tostepout moreboldlyandprophetically…toputyourweightonthearc ofhistory,bendingtowardjustice?

NICClergyDelegateRev.Hwa-YoungChong,wholeads CommunityUMCinNaperville,Ill.,saidthewitnessesfrom the"truth-tellers"hadaprofoundimpactonher.

“Itwaspainfultohearhowstructuralracismcontinuesto harmanddehumanizethecommunitiesofcolor,”saidRev. Chong.“Atthesametime,thesewitnessesweresopowerful andIthinkweneedtokeeptellingthestoriesandnamingour hurtsandwounds,eventhoughitisverypainfultodoso.”

Thefutureofepiscopalleadership

Ontheseconddayoftheconference,delegatesvoted 142-13infavorofaproposaltoreducethenumberofactive bishopsintheNCJfromninetoeighttoalignwiththe membershipthresholdforbishopsthat’ssetbyGeneral Conference.

Inapresentationbeforethevote,Rev.SaraIsbell,chairof theNCJCommitteeontheEpiscopacyandamemberofthe IllinoisGreatRiversConference,explainedthatifa

jurisdictionfallsbelowacertainthresholdinmembership, theGeneralConferencemakesadecisionaboutthenumber ofbishopsneededforthatsmallernumberofmembers. AlthoughtheGeneralConferencehasnotyetmettovoteon areduction,forseveralyears,theNCJhasbeenbelowthe numberneededtosecureninebishops—sosuchavoteis expectedatthepostponed2020GeneralConference,now slatedforAug.-Sept.2022.TheNCJcouldvotetostaywith ninebishops,butthenitmustfigureouthowtopaythem, apartfromtheEpiscopalFundthattypicallycoversthiscost. Isbellalsopointedoutthatwe’vehadanopportunityover thepastyeartopracticeoperatingwitheightbishops.Since Jan.1,BishopDavidBardhasbeenservingMinnesotaonan interimbasisinadditiontobeingresidentbishopforthe MichiganConference,BishopLaurieHallerhasbeenserving theDakotasonaninterimbasisinadditiontobeingresident bishopforIowa,andBishopJohnHopkinsleftretirementto leadtheNorthernIllinoisConference.Beforethevote, delegatesmetinsmallgroupstoexploreavarietyof questionsaroundepiscopalleadership.

“Everyoneinmysmallgroupwascommittedtotheprocess andparticipated,”saidNancyPendergrass,NIClaydelegate. "Ifoundthediscussionaboutepiscopalleadershiphelpful, especiallythepriorityweplaceontherolesenumeratedin paragraph403.1ofTheBookofDiscipline.Wewereableto shareourthoughtswiththejurisdictionalCommitteeonthe Episcopacy,butalsoIclarifiedwhatIbelievearetheessential giftsandgracesournextelectedbishopshouldexhibit."

ThefutureofTheUnitedMethodistChurch

DrawingonJohn6:1-14,BishopLaurieHallertoldthe storyofJesusfeedingthe5,000toclosethedayon Wednesday.Shepointedoutthatafterthemeal,Jesustoldhis disciplestogatherupthefragmentsleftover,sothatnothing maybelost.

“Mydearfriends,Iknowthatyouaretired,”saidHaller. “Weoftenthinksomebodyelsewillgatherthefragmentsof ourbelovedUMCandtransformtheworld.Butnowit’stime forustodosomethingintheNorthCentralJurisdiction.The futureofTheUnitedMethodistChurchisinourhands,aswe gatherheretohope,todream,tosharethegospel,andto claimourconnectionalism.”

Jesussendsyouandmeouttogatherupthefragments, Hallernoted,whichareareourmixedloyalties,our stubbornnesstoforgive,ourreluctancetoacceptthosewho

aredifferent,andourfondnessforjudging.Butthefragments arealsothelovingwordswesay,thesongswesing,the moneywegive,thefoodweshare,andthecareweofferto thediscardedandbatteredofthisworld.

“Nomatterhowmanyfragmentswegatheruporgiveaway, thebasketwillalwaysbefilledwithGod’slove,forthecircle iswide,andnooneshouldeverhavetostandalone,”shesaid. “Thatmyfriends,isbelovedcommunity.That,myfriends,is ourvision.That,myfriends,isthefutureofourchurch.It’s timeforustodosomethingrightnow.”

BishopHopkinswhosharedtheclosingprayeronthefirst dayofthesessionsaidwhilemostparticipatedviaZoom,it wasajoytomeetinthesameplace,inpersonwithhis colleaguebishopsforthefirsttimeintwoyears.Hesaidthe NCJConferencedemonstratedthatwecanhaveavirtual meetingwithsmallgroupsandhavemeaningfuldiscussions. "Wewereabletotellstories,shareperspectives,andlearn fromeachother.,"Hopkinssaid."Whilenoteveryonehasthe sameviewsaboutourchurch,myprayeristhatwecanfinda wayforeveryonetofeelincludedinthechurchweloveand serve.Afterall,itisthebodyofChrist!"

Delegatesspenttimeinbreakoutgroupstodiscusswhat theyseeasprioritiesfortheNCJgoingforwardandwhatthe NCJshouldaccomplishinthenexttwotofiveyearstofulfill thesepriorities.

“Overall,thisspecialsessionoftheJurisdictional Conferenceprovidedamuch-neededsenseofhopeand direction.IdeeplyappreciatethehardworkofourBishops, organizers,andthewritingteam,”saidRev.Chong. *AnneMarieGerhardt,NICDir.ofCommunicationscontributedtothisarticle.

December2021-January2022|TheReporter|2
PicturedwithherdaughterRev.JuyeonJeon,pastoratFirstUMCin Bensenville,wasamongsixtruth-tellerswhosharedtheirpersonal experienceswithracismatthevirtualNorthCentralJurisdictional (NCJ)gathering.PhotocourtesyJuyeonJeon. TheNCJspecialsessionwasheldviaZoomandlivestreamed. Towatchvideosfromtheconference,visit vimeo.com/miumc. PhotobyRickWolcott

NICDelegationsupportscovenanttobuildabelovedcommunity

TheNICGeneralandJurisdictionalDelegationactively participatedinthevirtualNorthCentralJurisdictional (NCJ)ConferenceforthetwodaysinNovember.Delegates spentmostofthefirstday,engagedinsmallgroup conversations,discussingthreemaintopics:dismantling racism,episcopalleadership,andthefutureofTheUnited MethodistChurch.

Thereportsfromthesediscussions,andotherpre-work reports,helpedasix-personwritingteam(selectedby delegationheads)todevelopacovenant.OurownRev. BrianGilbertservedonthewritingteamthatbrought the“CovenanttoBuildaBelovedCommunity”tothefloor. Thedelegatesoverwhelminglysupportedandadoptedthe covenant,whichisgroundedintheUnitedMethodist baptismalvows,connectingoursacramentallifetoour praxisoffaith.

“Itisimportanttounderstandthat,justasourbaptismis onestepinalifelongjourneyoffaith,sotooisthiscovenant onestepinajourneytowardbeingtheBelovedCommunity thatGodcallsustobe,”saidRev.Gilbert.

ThecovenantcallsontheNorthCentralJurisdictionto:

•Namecolonialism,racism,sexism,classism,and heterosexismassins;

•Committotheongoingworkofendingracism;

•RequesttheNCJBishopsofColorconveneall BIPOCdelegatestoaddressthetraumain communitiesofcolor;

•RequesttheMissionCounciltoaddresswhite supremacyandChristiannationalismatthe nextNCJsession;

•SupporttheworkoftheConferenceCommissionson ReligionandRaceandAnnualConferenceanti-racism taskforceAvoidpursuingchargestoLGBTQIA+clergy;

•RequesttheBishopstodismisschargesrelatedto LGBTQIA+identityorofficiatingsame-genderweddings;

•ConveneaspecialsessionoftheNCJonNovember2-5, 2022,ifthe2020GeneralConference,currently scheduledfor2022,isfurtherpostponedorcanceled;

•Useexistingdisciplinaryandconferenceprovisionsto accommodatelocalcongregationsandclergyseeking disaffiliation;and,

•Encourageconversationsaboutcontextualizationand regionalunity.

TheNICdelegatesactivelyengagedandoffered leadershipinthepre-work,strategydevelopmentand buildingcollaborationwithotherAnnualConference delegates,fullysupportthecovenantandcommittoliveinto it.WehopeforourAnnualConferencetoalsoadoptthis covenantandcontinuetheworkofendingracism.

Pleasefeelfreetogetintouchwithourdelegationchair, Rev.AlkaLyallbyemailat pastoralkalyall@gmail.com if youhaveanyquestions.

Toreadthefulltextofthecovenant,visit umcnic.org/NCJ

Settingcriteriafor2022GeneralConference

Organizersare pressingforwardwith planstoholdwhat manyexpecttobea pivotalGeneral Conferencenextyear. Atthesametime, theyacknowledge thatthepandemic mayonceagain thwartthoseplans.

TheCommissionon theGeneral Conferenceaimsto decideinthefirstthreemonthsofnextyearwhetherThe UnitedMethodistChurch’stoplegislativeassemblycango aheadasscheduledAug.29-Sept.6inMinneapolis.

Inthemeantime,theinternationalelectedbodymetonline Nov.18tocontinuepreparations.Commissionmembersalso unanimouslyapprovedalistofvaluesthatwillguidetheir decisiontogoforwardordelayonceagain.Themain obstaclestoGeneralConferenceremaintheavailabilityof travelvisasandvaccines.

Thecoronavirusalreadyhastwiceforcedpostponementsof theassemblyoriginallysetforMay2020.Thebishops alsofounditimpossibletoholdaspecialone-dayvirtual GeneralConferenceearlierthisyear.

KimSimpson,thecommission’schairandaveterandelegate fromtheCentralTexasConference,urgedfellowmembersto makeclearthattheeventwillbe“asinclusiveaspossible.”

“ItwillnotbejustU.S.delegates,”shestressed.“Weasa commissionaretheonesthatmakethedecision,soweasa commissionneedtomakesurethatweallaythefearsthat areoutthere.”

GeneralConferenceistheonlybodythatcanofficially speakforthechurch.Thecominggatheringhas862voting delegates—55.9%fromtheU.S.,32%fromAfrica,6%from thePhilippines,4.6%fromEuropeandtheremainderfrom concordatchurchesthathaveclosetiestoTheUnited MethodistChurch.Halfofthosedelegatesarelayandhalfare clergy.Bishopsfromaroundtheglobeaswellasinterpreters andotherstaffalsoplaykeyrolesintheproceedings.Bishops presidebutdonothaveavote.It’spossibletohaveaquorum withjustU.S.delegates,butcommissionmembersand GeneralConferencestaffagreedthatisnotgoodenough.

“Thefactthatweareaninclusivechurchmeansthatweshould beworkingtirelesslyforgettingasmanypeoplethereasis possible—andnotbeingcontentwithjustreceivingthequorum,” saidtheNewYorkConference’sBishopThomasBickerton,the CouncilofBishopsrepresentativeonthecommission.

WhilethetimingofGeneralConferenceremainsaquestion mark,noonequestionsthatthecomingassemblywilllikely marksomekindofturningpoint.Afterdecadesof intensifyingdebateoverthestatusofLGBTQpeopleinthe denomination,thecomingGeneralConferencefaces multipleproposalstodividetheglobaldenominationalong theologicallines.AllweredraftedbeforeCOVID-19became ahouseholdword.

ThemostendorsedoftheseproposalsistheProtocolof ReconciliationandGraceThroughSeparation.Ifadopted,the protocolwouldallowtraditionalistchurchesandconferences (thosethatsupportrestrictionsongaymarriageand ordination)toleavewithchurchpropertyand$25millionto startanewdenomination.Theproposalalsosetsaside$2 millionforothergroupsofchurchesthatmightleave.

WiththeimportanceofthisGeneralConferencein mind,thecommissionapprovedthefollowingvalues forconsideration:

•Reasonablethresholdfordelegateparticipation(overall andbyglobalregion)

•HealthandsafetyofGeneralConferencedelegates,staff, volunteersandguests

•Inclusion

•Anti-racism

•Integrity

•Credibility

•RecognitionofTheUnitedMethodistChurch’smission tomakedisciplesofJesusChristforthetransformation oftheworld

•Owningtheresponsibilityofthecommissiontosetthe timeandplaceofGeneralConference

MarieKuch-StanovskyofthePacificNorthwestConference addedtothevalueofinclusionthatthecommissionshould considertheparticipationofyoung-adultdelegates.TheRev. BethAnnCookoftheIndianaConferencealsoreemphasized thevalueofnotusingonlyU.S.delegatestoreachaquorum. Commissionmembersbrieflydebatedwhetherit’spossible toholdahybridGeneralConferencewheremostdelegates meetinpersonwhileothersmeetonline.Lastyear,the commissionnamedatechnologystudyteamtolookintothe possibilitiesofholdingGeneralConferenceonline. Theteam’sreportoutlinedseveralobstaclesinthewayof suchaconference.

Thosehurdlesincludethemultipletimezonesbetween delegateswholiveinthePhilippinesandtheU.S.,the inequityofinternetavailabilityandthedifficultyin safeguardingvoting.AfterthespecialGeneralConferencein 2019,thecommissionfoundevidenceoffourineligible peoplecastingvotesusingthecredentialsofdelegateswho werenotpresent.

December2021-January2022|TheReporter|3
TheNorthCentralJurisdictionBishopsleadaQ&AviaZoom withthesix-personwritingteamthathelpedshapethe “CovenanttoBuildaBelovedCommunity.”NICClergy DelegateandPrairieSouthDistrictSuperintendentRev.Brian Gilbert(bottomleftonscreen)servedonthewritingteam.
continueonpage5,see2022GC

TendingtheHarvestweekendhighlightsdiscipleship

TheNICDiscipleshipTaskForce thanksallthosewhoattendedthe TendingtotheHarvestweekend eventsNov.13-14.Itwasagreatjoy tobeinpersonfortheconferencewideworshipserviceatOur Saviour'sUMCinSchaumburg.

TheRev.OluBrown,leadpastorat ImpactChurchinAtlanta,broughtan inspiringmessageon“Making Disciples”focusingonMatthew9:37: "Thenhesaidtohisdisciples,'The harvestisplentifulbuttheworkersare few.’”Brownsaidtomakedisciples weneedto“see”people,“connect” witheachother,and“follow”Jesus.

“Whatisyourchurch'scallto action?”askedRev.Brown.“Inthe

finalchapterofMatthew'sgospel,we aretoldtogointoalltheworld, makingdisciplesofJesusChrist.The calltoactionofthechurchisstillthe same.Andinmyopinion,weare livinginthegreatestevangelistic seasonofourlifetime.Weneedto shiftfromseeingpandemicproblems topandemicpossibilities–thisisa greattimetomakedisciples.”

AlsoaspecialthankstoRev.Kyungsu Park,NICelderandformeryouth/ youngadultpastorlivinginCalifornia servingasahospitalchaplain,forleading aZoomsymposiumonSaturday,Nov. 13.Hespokeabouttheconnection betweenrelationshipbuildingand discipleshipmakingwithyouth.

TheBibleasaresourcefordiverseperspectives,wisdom,andlove

Iteachbiblicalstudiesasanacademicdisciplineincollege, andIalsoteachtheBibleinadulteducationclassesat church.Inourchurch,weareblessedtohavethoughtful, encouraging,andchallengingsermons,andahostofother opportunitiestoexperiencethetransformativepowerofthe Bible'smessage.TheBibleismorethanafoundationforthe church'slife,itisalsoanever-presentsourceofinspiration forlovingGodandlovingourneighbor.

OnespecialblessingthattheBibleoffersisdiverse perspectivesoncomplextopics.TheBiblegivesusacenter ofgravityinJesus,butitalsoprovideswell-rounded viewpointstohelpusthinkaboutchallengingissues.Ona hostoftopics,suchasdivineprovidenceandhuman freedom,orcommunityobligationsandindividual responsibility,biblicalpassagespresentuswithameasureof blesseddiversity.Becausethesetopicsarenotsimple,the Bibleisnotsimplisticinhowitaddressesthem.Wecan learnfrombiblicaldiversityhowtothinkwithbalance, depth,andcharity.SometimestheBibleoffersdiverse perspectivesbecauseitsancientcontextsdifferedfromeach other.Thisteachesusthatcontextsmatterandthat applicationscanchangeascontextschange.

WhenwereadtheBible,wearenotlookingforpat answers,butwisdomthatcanguideustoapplyabiding truthstonewsituations.InthestoriesofGenesis,thepoetry

ofPsalms,theteachingofJesus–andallscripture–wefind corevaluesthatanchorus,evenaswelearnnewinsights thatextendthereachofbiblicalteachingintonewareas. Oneofmymaingoalsasateacheristohelpusseebeyond thecontext-specificfacetsofbiblicaltexts,suchasancient warfareorslavery,tofindtheunderlyingmessagethathas transformedChristiansthroughoutthecenturies.This messagehasmajorthemes,suchaslove,justice,holiness, andmercy.ItcomestousthroughtheBible'srichliterary formsanddiversevoices,whichhelpustocultivatethe wisdomweneedtoapplyscripture'smessagetoday. Biblicalinterpretationisaprocessthattakesplacein community.Weinterpretandapplytheteachingof scriptureinconversationwitheachother.Ilovestudying theBiblewithmembersofmychurchfamily.Theinsights Ilearnaremorepreciousthangold.ThemoreIstudy,the moreIsensemyneedtobehumbleaboutwhatIthinkI see,andtolistentowhattheSpiritmaybesayingthrough theBibletoothers.Inordertogainthefullmeasureof wisdomfromscripture,weneedtobedeeplyconnected toeachanother,listenwelltooneanother,andinviteall totheconversationofbiblicalinterpretation.Perhapsthe mostbeautifulthingabouttheBibleisthat,inorderto interpretitwell,wemustbeboundtoeachotherinlove.

Onlinecoursesfocusonbiblicaleducation,interpretation

Apairofupcomingonlinecoursesfrom BeADisciple.com willfocusonBibleeducation,withenrollmentopen now.“TeachingAdults”and“BiblicalInterpretation”are two-weekclassesthatwillbegininJanuary.

Thecourses’instructor,Rev.BethPerry,hasmorethan 30yearsofexperienceinthepastorateandhastaughtthese classesmultipletimeseachyearforthepastsixyears.

“Oneofthethingsthathashappenedduringthepast coupleofyearsisthatthenumberofBibleusersactuallyhas goneup,”Perrysays.“ResearchbytheBarnaGroupshows thatasCOVID-19tookover,therewasadropinthe proportionofAmericanswhoneverusetheBible,downfrom 35percentin2019to29percentinJanuary2021.Butmy experiencealsohasshownthatchurchleadersandteachers oftenstruggletoeffectivelyhelppersonsinBiblestudy.”

“TeachAdults”isatechniquecourse,focusingonhowto bestcapitalizeoneachperson’slearningstyles.Thefirst weekoutlinesgenerationalcharacteristics,multiple intelligences(innatewaysinwhichapersonlearns), influentialfactors,stagesofdevelopment,andtheroleofthe

teacher.Learnersalsolookatmissionstatements, spiritualdevelopment,andtheclassroomclimate.Inthe secondweek,participantsexplorelearninghooksand teachingmethods(suchasstorytelling),developmission statements,andcreatelessonplans.

Bothnewandexperiencedteachersenrollintheclassand participateintheonlineformat.“Becauseeveryone respondstoourdiscussions,it’samuchricher,fuller educationthanyouwouldgetinanin-person coursewithoutinputfromquietpeople,”Perryadds.

“BiblicalInterpretation”isallaboutcontext,Perry says,recognizingthattherewasacontextfortheoriginal writersofScripture,contextforus,andcontextforallothers acrosstimewhohave(orwill)accessedtheBible.

"Thisisdesignedforpeoplewhoreallyenjoydigginginto Scripture,wholovehearingwhatpeoplehearinthe Scriptureandlearningfromthat,”Perrysays.“It’sforpeople wholovewordsandlookingatmultiplemeanings,people forwhomtheintellectualelementoffaithispartoftheir spiritualjourney.”

“Youcan’thavediscipleship withoutrelationship,”saidRev.Park. “Inthatsense,ourleadershaveto ‘growtogether’withtheiryouthif theyhopetohelpmakedisciplesof JesusChrist,”saidRev.Park. Followingthepresentation, participantslearnedmoreaboutthe IntentionalDiscipleshipSystem (IDS)process.TheTaskForcehas severalresourcesavailabletohelp congregationsdeveloporenhancean IntentionalDiscipleshipSystemfor yourcongregation,includingIDS ResourceTeamcontactsforeach districtwhocanhelpguideyou.To findoutmore,visit umcnic.org/ intentionaldiscipleship

Therequiredtextbook(whichisreadbeforeclassbegins) askskeyquestionsaboutScripture,readersoftheBible,and howthosetwointeract.Itexplorestheinterpretation methodandgivesexamplesofitsapplication.

“AsBibleusagecontinuestogoup,wewantourlearnersto haveaccesstothetoolstomakebothteachingandlearning Biblemoremeaningful,”Perryconcludes.“Thesetwoclasses dojustthat.”

Morein-depthinformationandenrollmentinformation on"TeachAdults"and“BiblicalInterpretation”isavailable at BeADisciple.com underthecourseschedule.

BeADisciple.com isaministryoftheRichardandJulia WilkeInstituteforDiscipleship,aUnitedMethodist institutioninWinfield,Kansasthatisdedicatedto providingChristianresourcesandeducationforbuilding disciplesandstrengtheningministries.

Moreinformationisat InstituteforDiscipleship.org

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*MichaelGraves(PhD,HebrewUnionCollege)isaprofessorofbiblical studiesatWheatonCollege(IL)andisamemberofGaryUnitedMethodist ChurchinWheaton.Heistheauthorofnumerousbooksandessaysonthe OldTestamentandearlyChristianandJewishbiblicalinterpretation.Hismost recentbookistitled“HowScriptureInterpretsScripture:WhatBiblical WritersCanTeachUsaboutReadingtheBible.” Rev.OluBrown,seniorpastoratImpactChurchinAtlanta,deliveredthe messageonDiscipleshipMakingattheconference-wideworshipservice heldNov.14atOurSaviour’sUMCinSchaumburg.

AurorachurchhostsKAIROSblanketexercise

"Whatyoudotoonecolor,youdotoallcolors,"saidan OjibwenationmemberatWesleyUnitedMethodist ChurchinAuroraSunday,Nov.7.

JosephStandingBearSchranz,aUnitedMethodist, chronicledcenturiesofinjusticesimposedonnative AmericansbytheU.S.government,settlersandEuropean explorers.HekeynotedaKAIROSinteractiveblanket exerciseoutdoorsonthechurch'seastlawn.

SchranzfoundedtheLockport-basedMidwest SOARRING(SaveOurAncestorsRemains&Resources IndigenousNetworkGroup)Foundation.Accordingto Schranz,injusticesincludedforcedremovaloftribesfrom ancestrallands,prohibitionofworshipcustomsandno votingrightsuntilthe1950s.

"Wedon'twantahandout,"Schranzsaid,"Wewanta handup."Hepointedtopoorschools,highratesof alcoholismanddrugaddictionandlackofopportunities asNativeAmericanissues.

Thetwo-hourafternoonprogramattractedabout50 persons.Blanketsarrangedonthegroundinsideacircle offoldingchairsrepresentedNativeAmericanlands.

MichelleCuriel,directorofWesleyworshipand childrenandfamilydiscipleship,narratedthescript providedbyKAIROS,aCanadianministryworking towardspeaceandjustice.Ahalfdozencongregantsread preparedstatements.Refreshmentswereservedbefore andaftertheprogram.

MembersoftheNorthernIllinoisConferenceAntiRacismTaskForceandNICCommitteeonNative AmericanMinistriespartneredwithWesleyUMCin organizingtheevent.Rev.JohnBell,WesleyUMCpastor, saidhischurchbeganacelebrationofNativeAmerican HeritageMonthonNov.1.

MichelleCuriel,right,narratesaKAIROSblanketexerciseSunday,Nov.7,at Aurora'sWesleyUnitedMethodistChurchtoteachhistorybetweenU.S. Indigenousandnon-Indigenouspeoples.Curieldirectsworshipandchildren andfamilydiscipleshipatWesley.PhotobyAlBenson.

"Whatwedon'tlackiscourage,"hesaid. "We'renotcrushed."

Smallgroupdiscussionsfollowedpresentations. AccompanyingSchranzwasAnnetteMcFeely,another activist,whoinvitedthepublictovisitaNativeAmerican culturalcenterinGlenEllynthatiscurrentlyin developmentandwillopensoon.

"Itisatimetocelebraterichanddiversecultures, traditions,andhistoriesandtoacknowledgethe importantcontributionsofNativepeople,"hesaid quotingtheNationalCongressofAmerican Indians."HeritageMonthisalsoanopportunetimeto educatethegeneralpublicabouthowtribeslostaccessto theirlands,toraiseageneralawarenessabouttheunique challengesNativepeoplehavefacedbothhistoricallyand inthepresent,andthewaysinwhichtribalcitizenshave workedtoconquerthesechallenges."

FollowingthefallofKabul,anestimated75,000Afghans arearrivingintheUnitedStatestorebuildtheirlives.They arefleeingretributionorpersecutionfromtheTalibanand haveonegoal:toliveinsafety.

TheUnitedMethodistCommitteeonRelief(UMCOR)is supportinglong-timepartnerChurchWorldService (CWS)inwelcoming,resettlingandprovidingthese familieswithhousing,legalassistance,casemanagement, mentalhealthsupport,medicalcare,schoolenrollmentand communitysponsorship.

Communitysupportisessentialforsuccessfulresettlement. UMCORandCWSareappealingtolocalUnitedMethodist churchesintheU.S.toengageinresettlementeffortsandenter asponsorshiprelationshipwithCWS.Congregationswith priorexperienceresettlingrefugeesandthosewithoutprior experiencearewelcometoparticipate.

UMCORrecognizesthatprovidingresettlement supporttorefugeespresentscongregationswithnew responsibilities.Therefore,becausethechurchis explicitlycalledto“welcomethestranger,”becauseJohn Wesleyclaimedforusabroaddefinitionofpastoralcare whenhedeclared“Ilookuponalltheworldasmy parish,”because“thereisnoholinessbutsocialholiness” andbecausethereisalongtraditionofofferingwelcome

2022GC (continuedfrompage3)

TheRev.JoeDiPaolo,acommissionmemberfromthe EasternPennsylvaniaConference,urgedthecommissionnot tocompletelyruleoutthepossibilityofholdingahybrid GeneralConference.

“Technologyhasbeenevolving,”hesaid. Butaparticularconcerntomultiplecommissionmembers ishowahybridUnitedMethodistgatheringwouldhandle legislativecommittees—thefirststopformostlegislationat GeneralConference.Duringthecomingassembly,therewill be14legislativecommittees—eachwithdelegatesfrom multipledelegationsandinneedofinterpretersworkingin multiplelanguages.

“Ijustthinkaboutthepracticalfactthatlegislative committeesarealreadyhardinpersonandtomakesure

torefugees,UMCORwillpartnerwith localUnitedMethodistchurchesto sharesomeofthecostsassociatedwith Afghanrefugeeresettlement.

TheAfghanRefugeeResettlementReimbursement programwillreimburseupto$1,000perlocalUnited MethodistchurchintheUnitedStatesthatisina sponsorshiprelationshipwithChurchWorldService. UnitedMethodistchurchesintheUnitedStatesina sponsorshiprelationshipwithChurchWorldServiceare eligibletoapply.LocalUMCswhohavenotyetenteredinto sponsorshipbutareinterestedcanvisitCWS’websiteat cwsglobal.org formoreinformation.

ApplicationmaterialsincludetheAfghanRefugee ResettlementReimbursementformandtheWireTransfer Requestform.Applicationsmustbesignedbythesenior pastorandbyaChurchWorldServicestaffmember (affiliateornational).

Completeapplicationswillbereceivedonarollingbasis throughApril30,2022.(Note:Thisinvitationtoapplydoes notguaranteefunding.UMCORreservestherighttodeny anyrequestforfundingatanytimetoanyorganization withoutprovidingcause.)

UMCORmustreceivescannedreceiptsforexpenses

everyoneisincludedintheconversation,”saidtheRev.Laura Merrill,acommissionmemberfromtheRioTexas Conference.“Inthiscase,howdoesitworktohavea delegationinoneplacewhenthey’reonsixdifferent legislativecommittees?”

TheRev.MujingaKashala,thecommission’svicechair,said throughaninterpreterthatinternetconnectivityremainsa bigchallengeinhercountryofCongo.

“Forinstance,Imissedtheexecutivecommitteebecause, again,Ihadconnectivityproblems,”shesaid.“Sometimeswe canconnectforalittlewhilebutthenwearecutoffagain.”

Ultimately,DiPaoloagreedthatthecommission“is workingtotrytohaveasmuchfullparticipationinaninpersonconferenceaspossible.”

listedintheAfghanRefugeeResettlementReimbursement form.Expenseseligibleforreimbursementmustfitthe followingcriteria:

•Pre-arrivalsupport,suchas:settingup/furnishingan apartment;providingaculturallyappropriatewelcome meal;welcomingafamilyattheairport.

•Post-arrivalsupport:assistinginEnglishLanguage Learners(ELL)tutoring;providingtransportationto medicalappointments;assistingwithgroceryshopping orcommunitynavigation;mentorship.

•Providingotherfinancialsupporttoanewlyarrived AfghanfamilytohelpthemadjusttolifeintheU.S. Questionsabouttheapplicationformortheprocesscan besentto migrationsp@umcor.org.Toapply,visit umcmission.org/umcor/afghan-refugee-resettlementreimbursement-program.

Learnmoreaboutlocalresettlementeffortsbycontacting theNorthernIllinoisConferenceRefugeeCoordinatorsRev. JonathanandRhodalyneCrailat jcrail@firstumc.net

Bickertonsaidthatthevaluesthegroupadoptedset “averyhighbar.”

“Ithinktheembracingofthesevaluessignalstothe wholechurchthatthiscommissionistakingthiswork veryseriously.”

ThegroupnextplanstomeetinJanuary,butitmaytake morethanonemeetingtodecidewhetherthe2022General Conferenceisago.

*HahnisassistantnewseditorforUMNews.

December2021-January2022|TheReporter|5
*BensonisafreelancephotojournalistbasedinAurora,Ill. UMCORlaunchesAfghanrefugee resettlementreimbursementprogram

LOCALCHURCHNEWS

JesusLovesetsnewchapterasacharteredchurch

Throughmanyprayersandsupportformorethanadecade-longjourney,Jesus LoveKoreanNewFaithCommunity(NFC)becameacharteredUnitedMethodist ChurchonNov.14.

"AswehaveheardfromAfricanwisdom,'Ittakesavillagetoraiseachild!'That hasbeentrueintheprocessofthisnewfaithcommunitycomingtofruition,"said Rev.MartinLee,NICDir.ofCongregationalDevelopmentandRedevelopment.

"SinceweplantedJesusLoveNFCin2008,asapartoftheconferenceHarvest2020 movement,somanypeoplehavebeeninvolvedintheprocess.AstheapostlePaul said,'Iplanted,Apolloswatered,butGodmadeitgrow.'"

Alongtheway,JesusLovehasgonethroughmanychanges,includingthree bishops,threeDistrictSuperintendents,twopastors,andapandemicthat postponedtheircharteringfortwoyears.Today,thecongregationhasgrownto 145charteringmemberswithamissiontoserveandlovetheircommunity.They sharespacewithCentralUMCat8237KentonAve.,inSkokie,Ill.

JesusLove'sleadpastorRev.SunHyungJosaysonly30peoplewere attendingwhenhefirstcamein2013.Today,90%oftheKoreancongregation isintheir20s,30sandearly40s,andtherearenearly40familieswithyoung children.Thecongregation'syoungerpopulationincludes30%workingyoung adults,20%undergraduatestudentsfromNorthwesternUniversity,and35 childrenandsixyouth.

BishopJohnL.Hopkins,LakeNorthDistrictSuperintendentBrittanyIsaacand Rev.Leepresidedoverthecharteringservice.Thechurch'sofficialnameisChicago JesusLove.BishopHopkinssaidduringhismessage,"Todaywearestandingonthe shouldersofthosewhocamebeforeus."

HereferredtotheapostlesandprophetswhosecornerstonewasJesusChrist. "TheycarriedthemessageofGod'sawesomeloveinJesustothosewhodidnot knowthepeaceofChristandfeltincludedinGod'ssalvation,"saidBishop Hopkins."Nowisyourtimetobuildonthefoundationoftheapostlesandprophet andmakeJesusChristyourcornerstone."

Rev.JosaidtheserviceandtheBishop'smessagefeltlikeanewcallingfromGod andforJesusLove,especiallyinChicagolandandworldwide.

"Ifeellikeit'sanewstartforthiscongregationandhowtobepartofuniversal churchforthegloryofGod,"saidRev.Jo."Ourmissionissimple:Wewanttomake anewchurchtoconfessJesus'loveinaction,bylovingworship,lovingtheword, lovingchurchandlovingpeople."

Sincehisappointmentin2013,PastorSunHyungJohasbaptized20peopleand threepeoplearecurrentlyinabaptismalclass.Thecongregationhassixactive smallgroups,supportsamissionaryinJordan,advocatesforundocumented immigrants,andfullypaysconferenceapportionments,saidRev.Lee.

Thecongregationhasbeenblessedfinanciallyovertheyears.Inrecognitionof thatblessingeachyearduringtheiranniversarycelebration,thecongregationgives backbytakinganofferingtodevelopothernewfaithcommunitiestotalingmore than$6,000.

"IthankGodforthefirstchurchplantingPastor,Rev.KookJinYunandhiswife, Mi-Kyung,fortheirsacrificialworkandforthecurrentPastorSunHyungJoand hiswife,Monsoon,fortheirresilienceandloveforthe1.5generationofKorean peopleinChicagoland,"saidRev.Lee.

KellyYangwhoisonthechurch'sleadershipteamsaysJesusLovefeelslikehome forherfamily."MyhusbandandIhavetwodaughtersandwefindcomforthere," saidYang."WorshiphereisabigpartofourlifeandIcanfeelitinmyheart.”

RyanandJessicaLeeandtheir2-year-oldsonmovedtotheChicagolandarea fromNewJerseyaboutayearagoandfoundachurchhomeatJesusLove."This churchisagraceforourfamily,"thecouplesaid.

NumerouspartnersbeyondtheNorthernIllinoisConference,includingthe KoreanNationalPlanoftheGeneralBoardofGlobalMinistries,theNorth CentralJurisdictionKoreanMissionandtheconnectionofKorean congregationsthatstretchesfromCaliforniatoNewYorkIslandhelpedJesus Lovegrowalongtheway.

"Thesupportbothspirituallyandtemporallyfromtheseorganizationshasbeen essentialtothesuccessofthiscongregation,"saidRev.Lee.

ChicagoJesusLovehasseenmanyyoungprofessionalscometohavefaithin JesusChristduringitsministry.

"ThereisarichpoolofgiftsinthiscongregationthatIamconfidentwillbean assettothereignofGodformanyyearstocome,"saidRev.Lee."Thischurchwill haveanimpactaroundtheworld.Italreadydoes,aswithitsshort-termmissionto Mongolia,Guatemala,andCostaRica.

ThepeopleofthechurchhaveexperiencedJesusmakingaway,somethingthat BishopHopkinsalludestoregularly."

LearnmoreaboutChicagoJesusLoveat jlchurch.org

December2021-January2022|TheReporter|6
BishopJohnL.Hopkins(left)presidedoverthecharteringserviceforChicagoJesusLoveonNov.14,2021with LakeNorthDistrictSuperintendentBrittanyIsaac(center)andRev.SunHyungJo(right).PhotobyAnneMarie Gerhardt. ChicagoJesusLove's145charteringmembersposemakingsignsofaheartfollowingtheservice.Photocourtesy ChicagoJesusLove. Ayounggirlmakesthesignofaheartinherhandshowingherloveforherchurchduringthecharteringservice. PhotobyAnneMarieGerhardt

AUnitedMethodistChurchinthehistoric Pullmandistrict,aKenwoodsynagogueandtwo homesassociatedwiththeGreatMigrationofBlack AmericanstoChicagoareamong12recipientsthat areselectedforAdopt-A-Landmarkgrantsfrom Chicago’sDepartmentofPlanningand Development(DPD).

Valuedatmorethan$4.3million,thetentative grantawardsarethelargesttobeallocatedin supportofplannedrestorationprojectssincethe Adopt-A-Landmarkprogramdebutedin2016.

“Thisroundofgrantawardsisfocusingon neighborhood-scalebuildingsandstructuresthat helpdefinewhoweareasacity,”Commissioner MauriceCoxsaid.“Whetherit’sforahouseof worship,acornercommercialbuilding,ora neighborhoodtavern,thegrantswillhelppreserve thesestructuresforgenerationsofneighborhood residentstocome.”

GreenstoneUMC,locatedat11211S.St. LawerenceAve.,wasawarded$1.08million.After receivingagrantfromtheNationalTrustfor HistoricPreservation,GreenstoneUMCbegan restoringits135-year-oldchurchbuildingin October2020andembarkedonitscampaign, "Raise,Repair,andRestore.”Workhasincludeda fullroofreplacement,restoringthe“greenstone” facadeandstabilizingthebelltower.Greenstone UMCpastorLutherMasonsaystheDPDgrantwill putthetotalrestorationprojectthatincludes exteriorfacadework,interiorimprovementsand restorationaheadofscheduleby2-3years.

January/February2022CalendarEvents

DistrictLeadershipEvents

•LakeSouth-Jan.22.Detailstocome.

•PrairieSouth-Jan.22,9a.m.-12noon,DeKalbFirst UMC.NoCost

TheNICBoardofOrdainedMinistryRecruitmentTeamis workingtohighlightGod’spersistentcallingofall servantstolivesofholinessandministry,andsome servantstotheset-apartministryoftheordained.This yearwearehighlightingtheseasonofEpiphanyand offeringresourcesthatcouldbeusedinworshipon January2or9.

Clergyareencouragedtoshareyourowncallstory, reflectingonthecallofMary,Elizabeth,JohntheBaptist andtheMagi,orthejoyfulresponseoftheshepherdsto theangels’proclamationandtheirexperienceofthe goodnewsofChristmas.

Ifyouwouldliketoreviewliturgicalresources(prayer, calltoworship,Scripture,song),orneedavideo resourcethatcouldbeplayedduringliveorvirtual worship,pleasereplytousat srpastor@fumcbelvidere.com

Epiphanyistheseasoninwhichwedeclarethatnew lightfromGodcontinuestoshineinthedarknessand thedarknesshasnot,cannot,andneverwillbeableto overcomeit.Thankyouforyourministryandpleaselet usknowhowwecansupportyouasyoustewardthat trust.Formoreinformation,visit umcnic.org/dayofcall2022

•PrairieNorth-Jan.29,8:30a.m.-12noon,Freeport •FaithUMC,$10,WorshipwillbeLivestreamed •PrairieCentral-Jan.29.Detailstocome.

•LakeNorth-Jan.29,8:30a.m.-12noon,Glenview UMCandonline.Nocost

Forfurtherdetailsandregistration,visit umcnic.org/calendar

NICUMWMissionu

January21-23

“There’sFarMoreThan MeetstheEye”

Missionuispresentedby UnitedMethodistWomen forall(children,youth, menandwomen).

Purpose: LearningfortheTransformationoftheWorld. Organizerswillofferatleasttwoadultclasses,possibly hybrid(in-person&online).

Possiblestudyoptionscanbefoundat unitedmethodistwomen.org/mission-studies

Fordetailsandregistration,visit umwnic.org

TheGreenstoneChurchwasbuiltbyindustrialist GeorgePullmaninhis“companytown”ofPullman in1882.DesignedbySolonBeman,itfeaturesa uniquefacadeofgreenstonequarriedin Pennsylvania.Theoriginalcostofthebuildingwas $57,000,andseats600.Withtheexceptionofthe chancelarrangements,thesanctuaryhasremained unchangedsincethe1880s.Thecherrywoodthat comprisesthealtarandpews,over90%ofthe stainedglasswindows,andthetwomanual-tracker pipeorganareoriginaltothebuilding.

Thecity’sAdopt-A-Landmarkawardisoneofthe largestgrantsforaNorthernIllinoisConferencechurch. PastorMasonsaystheMethodistChurchhas beenamajorpartofthePullmanhistoryfor139 yearsandthisgranthelpsputthechurchinaplace tocontinueservingthecommunity.

"Wehavegottensupportinthiseffortfromthe Pullmancommunity,andtheyrealizethatit'snot justthehistoricalsignificanceofthebuilding,but thefactthatthechurchhasbeenthe'community center'andthatthecommunityneedsaplaceof faith,justice,andservicewithinthePullmanhistoric districtandbeyond,"saidMason.

Financedbydowntownconstructionprojects throughtheNeighborhoodOpportunityBonus system,theDPDawardsaremadeavailableto individuallandmarksandlandmarkdistrictbuildings onanannualbasis.The12projectswereselectedfrom 16applicationsreceivedbyDPDstaffthissummer. Awardsweredeterminedbasedonprojectviability, neighborhoodneeds,projectscope,andotherfactors.

LaityConvocation2022

Saturday,Feb.12,9a.m.-12noon (OnlineviaZoom) "HoldFastToTheMast”

StrengtheningOurSpiritualLives

Speakers: KaraLassenOliver, AssociatePublisherofThe UpperRoomandGeorge Groves,UMMPresident.

Breakoutsessionswillbeheld forsmallgroupconversations followingthepresentations.

Registrationwillopenin

January.Fordetails,visit umcnic.org/calendar/laity-convocation-2022

SavetheDate:VitalMergersWorkshop

March19, 9a.m.-3p.m.

Location: FirstUMC,503N.LilyCreelRd.,Freeport,IL.

Registrationfee: $20-lunchboxprovided

Speaker: DirkElliott,DirectorofCongregational VibrancyandLeadershipDevelopmentforthe MichiganConference.

Attendthisworkshopandexplorenewwaysyour churchmightbecomehealthierthroughamerger.

Registerat

umcnic.org/calendar/vital-merger-workshop-2022. SponsoredbytheNICOfficeofCongregational DevelopmentandRedevelopment.

December2021-January2022|TheReporter|7
Chicagohistoricchurchreceiveslargepreservationprojectgrant LOCALCHURCHNEWS

Rollingwiththechanges

AsIwritethisreflection,weareinan in-betweentime.In-betweenfalland winter.In-betweenAdventand Christmas.In-betweenthecurrentyear andtheNewYear.In-betweenasense thatweareontheothersideof COVID-19butalsofacinganother variantcirclingtheglobe;itsimpactis yettobedetermined.

2021hasbeenfilledwithupsand downs,adjustments,andcompromise. Whileweclingtosomesemblanceof normality,wearealsoawareofthe fragilestateofourday-to-dayexistence. Mostchurchesaregatheringfor worshipandpreparingforthefirstinpersonChristmasEveServicesince 2019whilealsogrowingintheirskill andcapacitytolivestream.Most congregationsaremovingcautiously, onestepatatimeintotheirfutures, knowingthatcontingenciesarenow necessaryforallourplanning.

TheNorthernIllinoisConference Cabinethasalsobeenadjustingand readjustingoverthesepasttwoyears.In 2020,wequicklylearnedhowtowork asateamonZoom.In2021,we welcomedBishopHopkinstoour

Newdiscipleshipbookclubkicksoffin2022

TheNICDiscipleshipTaskForceis seeking12peoplefromacrossthe conferencetoparticipateinapilot 4-sessionbookdiscussionstarting inearlyJanuary.Participantswillbe readinganddiscussing"Kneeling withGiants"byGaryNealHansen. Afterthepilot,theTaskForcewill launchaconference-widebook clubreadingthissamebook.The intentionistodeepenourprayer livesandourfaithjourney,aswellas makeconnectionsandfriendships withotherUnitedMethodists aroundtheconferenceinpersonor viaZoom.

Ifyouareinterestedinparticipating inthepilot,pleaseemailAmania Drane,NICStrategicInitiatives ProjectManagerat adrane@umcnic.org byWednesday, Dec.22orvisit umcnic.org/ Discipleship/NICBookClub

JobOpenings

ForthelatestjobopeningsintheNorthernIllinois Conference,visit www.umcnic.org/jobs.

StayConnected

SignupfortheweeklyNICeNews,Appointment AnnouncementsandSympathynotices. Visit www.umcnic.org andscrolldownandclickon “SignupforourNewsletter”toenteryournameandemail.

Zoomtableandtentativelymetin personafewtimesintothesummer. Thisfall,aswereacquaintourselves within-personmeetingsandintroduce BishopHopkinstothegeographyofthe conference,wehavebeenalternating betweenZoomandin-personmeetings whiletravelingtochurchesacrossthe conference.Ateachsite,wehave respectedtheguidelinesofourhost churchasaguestintheirspace.

InMay,wemetinSchaumburgat OurSaviour's(PrairieCentral).InJune, wemetinChicagoatAfrican Community(LakeNorth)andenjoyed afeastofAfricanfoods.InAugust,we metatStarvedRockinUtica,Ill.,fora three-dayretreat.InSeptember,South SuburbanKoreaninFlossmoor(Lake South)graciouslyhostedus.In October,wemetatDeKalb:First (PrairieSouth)andheldatailgatebreak inthechurchparkinglotbecauseof foodrestrictionsinsidethebuilding.In November,wemetatBelvidere:First (PrairieNorth)andinDecember,we metatElgin:First(PrairieCentral). Everywherewegathered,thechurches welcomedandtreateduswith

outstandinghospitality.ComeJanuary, thecabinetwillmeetforourannual appointmentretreatinNorthbrook (LakeNorth).

Ithasbeengoodtoreacquaint ourselveswiththedepthandbreadthof theconference,showingoffour churches,theirministriesand leadershiptoBishopHopkinsateach site.Ithasbeengoodtorefamiliarize ourselveswithworkinginpersonwhile wecelebratethecommunitiesweserve. Inlate2020,wealllookedtowardthe NewYearwithhopeasavaccinewas onthehorizon,andwethoughtthe pandemicwouldsubside.2021wasn't whatweenvisioned;weneededto remaincautiousthroughouttheyear.It isn'teasythesedaystounderstandwhat mightbeinstorefor2022.Whatwecan countonisthegraceofGod,the faithfulnessofChrist'sdisciples,and theagelesscommitmentofthechurch tobeinmissionandministrynomatter thechallenges,bringinghopeand comforttoourworld.

Iamgratefulforthatspiritthatsustains andnurturesusintotheunknown.

NIC 2021-2022 Journal Available

The 2021 Journal of the 182nd Northern Illinois Annual Conference held July 16 -17 and Oct. 1 - 2 is now available to purchase online through Amazon.com. The cost of the paperback is $14. A free downloadable pdf is available on the Conference website. Visit umcnic.org/journal.

HowtoContactUs

Pleasesubmititemsatleasttwoweekspriorto publicationdate.Includeyourname,address,email, phonenumberandnameoflocalchurch.Spaceislimited. Electronicsubmissionsarepreferredwithhigh-resolution attachedjpegs.Submissionswillbeeditedatthe discretionofCommunicationsstaff.

Submissions

Foreditorialcontent,subscriptionsandaddresschanges:

AnneMarieGerhardt

Dir.ofCommunications

312-312-346-9766ext.766

77W.WashingtonSt. Chicago,IL60602

agerhardt@umcnic.org

December2021-January2022|TheReporter|8
TheNICCabinettakesatailgatebreakoutsideFirstUMCinDeKalb duringoneoftheirin-personmeetingsacrosstheconference.
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