December 2022/January 2023 Reporter

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WelcomeBishopSchwerintotheNorthernIllinoisConference

Ashisnamewasread,Rev.DanSchwerinhumbly bowedhisheadandplacedhishandoverhisheart, almosttakenabackbytheannouncementhewas electedbishoponthesixthandfinalballotatthe NorthCentralJurisdictionalConferenceonNov.3. “Thosefirstmomentsaftertheelectionwerenot mymostgatheredmoments,”Schwerinadmitted. “Notmindfulofthecrowd,Ijustprayed,‘thank you,’givingthankstomymakerandguide.”

Schwerinhadn’tpreparedaspeechsincehenever thoughthewouldbeelected.Butasheaddressed theroomofdelegatesandvisitorsintheGrand WayneConventionCenterinFortWayne,Ind.,he proclaimedhisjoy,gratefulness,andhopeforthe callreceivedatbaptism.

"Iamsothankfulformybaptism.Becausein everybaptismisthepowerandpresenceofJesus Christ.Ineverybaptismisacalling,"saidSchwerin. “Partofthebaptismalcallisacallforwardtostep out.Inthatsteppingforward,wediscoverourutter relianceonJesusChrist.Byfaithinthatdiscovery, wediscoverthenewnessofGod."

For35years,Schwerin(rhymeswithtangerine) hasservedinmanypastoralministrycontexts, includingurbanandruralchurches,anewchurch plant,andamulti-staffdowntownsettingthat becameareconcilingcongregation.Healso launchedabelovedcommunityofnon-profitsto benefitpersonswithdisabilitiesandchildren.

IntheWisconsinConference,hemostrecently servedastheAssistanttotheBishopandwasa districtsuperintendent.BishopHee-SooJung selectedSchwerintoleadacollaborativeeffortwith conferencepartnerstoincreaseracialjusticeand radicalinclusion.

“Peoplewhoknowmyministrywouldtellyou I'mgrounded.Istartthedayinthescripturesand trytostaygroundedthroughouttheday,”said Schwerin.“Peoplewhoknowmyministrywould alsotellyouI'vebeeninnovative.I'vestartednew churches.I'vehelpedchurchesreconnectwiththeir neighborhoodsinwaysthathavefound transformation.”

Hewaselectedin2019asadelegatetoGeneral ConferenceandtheNorthCentralJurisdictionand servedontheGeneralConferenceTaskForceon FundingPatternsinTheUnitedMethodistChurch. SchwerinservedasamemberoftheNorthCentral Jurisdiction'sEpiscopacyCommittee.

In1991,Schwerinwasordainedasanelderinthe

WisconsinConference.HegraduatedfromPerkins SchoolofTheologyinTexasandcompletedpostgraduateBowenfamilysystemstheoryworkthere.

Schwerinisapublishedpoetandwritesevery morning.In2019,hereceivedtheHaiku FoundationTouchstoneAwardforDistinguished Books.

HumbleandGrateful

Attheconsecrationservice,BishopSchwerin learnedhewouldbeassignedtotheNorthern IllinoisConferenceeffectiveJan.1,2023,forwhich heexpressedhisgratitude.

“I'vebeenyourneighborformany,manyyears.I amsogratefultobeassignedtotheNorthern IllinoisAnnualConference,"saidSchwerin."You haveahistoryofjustice-seekingministrythat humblesmeandmakesmegratefultobecalledto beassignedtoyou.”

NorthernIllinoisConferencedelegateRev.Brian Gilbertsaidhe'sknownBishopSchwerinforsome timeandisexcitedhewillbetheNIC'snext Bishop.

"Danisarealgift,andhe'ssomeonewhohasa truepastoralheartforGodandthechurch,"said Gilbert."Wearesoblessedtohavehimcomingto us."

Rev.Hwa-YoungChong,aclergyjurisdictional delegateandco-chairoftheAnnualConference ShepherdingTeam,alsoexpressedherexcitement.

"IlookforwardtoworkingwithBishopDan Schwerinalongwithmyco-chairLizGracieonour strategicgoals,"saidChong."Ifeelhopefulforthe futureoftheconferenceaswecontinueto collaboratewithallourconferenceleaders."

ChairoftheNICdelegation,Rev.AlkaLyall,who introducedajointstatementwiththeWisconsin delegationtoexplorethepossibilityofsharingone Bishopforbothconferences(seepg.3),saidthis assignmentisagoodmatch."Becauseofthe possibilitiesofpartneringwithourconference, BishopJungknowsus,andDanknowsWisconsin,” saidLyall."Ithinkthiswillbeagoodpartnership andabeginningofanewepiscopalarea."

NICDir.ofCongregationalDevelopmentand RedevelopmentRev.MartinLeeacknowledged Schwerin'sgiftsofbuildingupchurches."Hehas plantedanewchurchstartandtransformeda multi-staffsetting,"saidLee."HeknowsWisconsin, sowhenthetimecomesforourannualconferences topossiblybecomeoneepiscopalarea,wewill

Reporter
The umcnic.org Volume168 | Issue8 December2022/January2023 2 Bishop’sFinalColumn: Hearingthecall 4 SpanishSafeSanctuaries training 5 Editor’slastassignment 6 Bringinghopetohurricane disasterrelief TheReporter ispublished10timesperyearbyNICCommunications.Postmaster:Sendaddresschangesto:303E.WackerDr.,Suite2020,Chicago,IL60601
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(continuedonpage3,seeFromtheCover)
Rev.DanSchwerinreactsashisnamehisannouncedasthethirdelectedbishopat theNorthCentralJurisdictionalConferenceinFortWayne,Ind.PhotobyLisaWink. RetiredBishopSharonRaderplacesthestoleonnewlyconsecratedBishopDan Schwerin.
Delegates,clergy,laityandstaffgatherwithBishopSchwerinatareceptionafter theconsecrationserviceonNov.5.

“Iwillwhistleforthemandgather them,becauseIhaveransomedthem.”

Zechariah10:8(CEB)

WhenIthinkofbeingcalledinto ministry,Ithinkofmyfather.Oh,he wasn’tapastor.Hewasamechanicwhoquitschoolinthe eighthgradeandwasmostlya“home”Baptist.Thatmeans hedidnotgotochurchverymuch.Hewas“spiritual”but not“religious”longbeforethoseweresociological categories.

Iwasbornaboutninemonthsandtwoweeksaftermy fathercamehomefromWWII,whereheservedinNorth Africa,Sicily,andItaly.Hemusthavelovedmealot becausehealwayswantedmetocomehomewhenhe whistled.Thatwasthesignal!

Icanrememberhimwhistlinglikeitwasyesterday,even thoughmyfatherdiedin1983.Sometimeshewoulduse twofingersinhismouth;othertimeshedidn’tneedto.In eithercase,hiswhistlewasashrillsoundthattraveled throughtheneighborhoodandbeyond.

Onmorethanoneoccasion,whenIwasoutplaying severalblocksawayataneighbor'shouse,ornearbypark,I wouldhearthatwhistle,andIknewwhattodo.Therewas nohesitation—Iwasonmywayhome!

Icouldbeatbatinthesand-lotchampionship.Thegame couldbetiedinthebottomofthe9thinning.Thecount couldbethreeballsandtwostrikes.Thepitchercould havestartedhiswindup,butifIheardmyfather’swhistle,I woulddropthebatandrunhome.

Oh,itwasn'tthatIwantedto,butIknewfrom experienceIhadbetter!Often,Iwasupsetathavingto dropeverythingandgohome.SometimesIwouldarrive tofindmyfatherangrybecauseIhadn'tcompletedyard workortakenoutthetrash.SometimesIwouldseehim smilingandreadytohopinthecartogoonaspur-of-themomentfishingtrip.

Ialwaysdidalotofthinkingandprayingonthatdoubletimetriphome,tryingtofigureoutwhatDadwanted.That couldbehowIlearnedtoprayontherun.ButIalways knewwhatthatwhistlemeant.

AsIreflectonGod’scallinmylife,Ithinkofmyfather’s callingmehome.Evenwhenthecallmeantgoingtoplaces andpeoplethatwerenewtome,Iknewwhattodo.It mustbenormaltohaveanxietyabouttheworkthatneeds tobedone.Thisiscertainlytrueforclergyordainedto servewhereverJesusandhisChurchneedyou.

OrdinationrequiresacallfromGod,arelationshipwith Jesus,andaloveoftheChurch.Italsorequiressacrificefor themission.So,whenIwasbaptizedin1960,ordainedan Elderin1974,andlaterconsecratedasabishopin1996,I vowedtoserveGodwheneverandwhereverthechurch calledmetoserve.“IcouldnotseparateJesusfromhis Churchanditsmission.”

Therefore,whenIreceivedthecalltoserveasInterim BishopoftheNorthernIllinoisConferencestarting January1,2021,Ileftretirement,packedmybags,and

headedforChicago.Ialsostartedprayingontherun.And whatarunithasbeen.

•IbeganinthemiddleoftheCOVIDpandemic,just beforetheJanuary6attackontheCapitolBuildingin Washington,D.C.,theinaugurationofPresidentJoe Biden,amidcontinuedracistattacksonpeopleof color,especiallyBlacksandAsianAmericans.

•Ipresidedoveravirtualandanin-personClergy Session.

•IconductedthreesessionsoftheAnnualConference, includingtwovirtually.

•Iordainedandcommissionedthreeclassesofclergy andrecognizedclergyretiringaftermanyyearsof service.Atotalof42candidatesand30retirees.

•IworkedwiththeCabinetandappointed100pastorsto localchurchesandextensionministries.Iissuedmany localpastorlicenses.

•IgreetedLaityConvocations,UnitedMethodistMen, WomenofFaith,theRenewableEnergySummit,and trainingevents.

•IZoomedwithindividualsandmanysmallgroupsof clergyandlaity.

•Imetwithavarietyofprogramandadministrative committeesaswellastheAnnualConference ShepherdingCommittee.

•Isharedsermonsonlineandwroteover20articlesfor TheReporterandeNews.

•Ireachedoutasapastor,madecalls,andsentnotesto clergyandlaymembersstrugglingwithillness,grief,or despair.

•IrejoicedwithNorthernIllinoispayingallofits apportionmentsin2021andraisingover$250,000for ministryinUkrainethroughthe2022Bishop'sAppeal.

•Ihavetriedtobehonestinsharingthegoodandbad realitiesconfrontingourChurch.

•Ihaveprayedanddreamedaboutwhatispossible whenwefocusontheworkinourlocalchurchesin ordertohaveastrongConference.

•Ihaveimaginedeverychurchwithbaptisms,new members,missionoutreach,andabalancedbudget payingallapportionments.

Ofcourse,Ileavewithsomeregrets.Mostofall,Iregret notpreachingmoreinlocalchurchesanddistricts. Worshipinlocalchurchesfuelsourministriesandbuilds upthebodyofChrist.Ihadhopedtohaveatourofthe conferenceandjoinDavidPriceplayingguitarinhisband toraisemoneyforUMCOR.Itwouldhavealsobeen wonderfultoplaytenniswithJeremiahLee!

Itisimpossibleforabishoptoserveeffectivelywithout thesupportofothers.AlthoughIcannotsingleoutevery committeeandtaskforceleader,IamgratefulforourLay LeadersEugeneWilliams,ConnieAugsberger,andMark Manzi.TheCo-ChairsofourShepherdingTeam,Liz Gracie,MyronMcCoy,andHwa-YoungChong,have providedsteadyvisionaryleadership.

SpecialthanksgototheExtendedCabinet:JeffryBross,

ArleneChristopherson,JacquesConway,BrianGilbert, FabiolaGrandson-Mayer,BrittanyIsaac,MartinLee,and DarneatherMurph-Heath.OurDistrictSuperintendents supportourpastorsandchurchesasanextensionofthe bishop’soffice.Theirpastoral,administrative,and personnelsupportiscrucialtokeepingourconnection vital.

ArleneChristopherson,servinghalf-timeasDirectorof ConnectionalMinistry,coordinatedtheworkofour boardsandagenciesandstaffedtheAnnualConference ShepherdingTeam,theAnnualConferenceProgram Committee,theNominatingCommittee,SafeSanctuaries Training,andmanymoregroups.

LonnieChafin,Treasurer/DirectorofAdministrative Service,hasledustopayapportionmentsinfullin2021, spentcountlesshoursontheBoyScoutsofAmerica settlement,securedsupportfromthePaycheckProtection ProgramduringtheCOVIDpandemic,andworkedwith theTrusteestorelocatestaffofficesto303E.WackerDr.

MartinLee,DirectorofCongregationalDevelopment, keptusfocusedonmakingdisciplesofJesusChristforthe transformationoftheworld.Hisacademies,workshops, andtrainingeventshaveequippedpastorsandchurch leadersfortheworkofevangelismandoutreach.Hehas alsoservedasmypersonalchauffeur,drivingmeinheavy traffictomeetingsaroundtheconference.

AnneMarieGerhardtwalkedmethroughthevirtual world,helpingmewithmanyvideos,eNewsupdates,and Reporterarticles.Herjoyfulspiritandenthusiasmfor tellingthestoriesofourministrieswillbemissed.

Finally,MarvaAndrews,myExecutiveAssistant, provideddailyassistancewithphonecalls, correspondence,speakingrequests,scheduling,and tendingtotheEpiscopalResidencewhenIwasin Indianapolis.Shehasprovidedconciergeservicesfor everythingchallengingandfuninNorthernIllinois.

Asyoucansee,respondingtothecalltobeyourinterim bishophasblessedElaineandmewithanabundanceof relationshipsandsignificantservice.Thankyoufor memoriesthatwilllastalifetime.

WhenJesuscalledhisfirstdisciplestofollowhim,he wenttopeoplewhowerewoundedfromsin,sorrow,and brokenness.Hepreachedgoodnewstothepoor,releaseto theprisoner,recoveryofsighttotheblind,andliberation totheoppressed.Hisfollowerswerecalledtogivewitness toaResurrectedChristwhoforgivessinandhealsallthat isbroken.

GodstillcallspeopletocarryontheministryofJesus. Canyouhearthatcall?AreyouwillingtofollowJesusand givewitnesstoaliving,loving,healingLord?Ihavebeen withyoutobearwitnesstoJesusChristsoyoucan respondwhenGodcallsyou.

Evenaftertwoyears,thereissomuchmoretoshare,but Imustgonow.IthinkIhearmyfather’swhistle!

Visit umcnic.org/news/bishops-column-hearing-the-call toviewtheBishop’sfarewellvideo.

NorthCentralJurisdictionaldelegateselectthreebishops,celebrateretirees,

Clergyandlaydelegatesfromconferencesacrossthe NorthCentralJurisdictionofTheUnitedMethodist ChurchconvenedNovember2-5inFortWayne,Indiana, forJurisdictionalConference2022.

Inhisopeningservicemessage,“GodHasUsRight WhereGodWantsUs,”retiredBishopBruceOughspoke fromEzekiel37:1-14,TheValleyofDryBones.

“Ezekielponders,cansomethingbetoofargone?Isit toolate?Inthecontextofconstantwarfare,hunger,and deathinEzekiel’slandscape,hepondersifthepeoplecan berestored;iftheycanknowhealing?”Oughsaid.Hethen added,“GodhasusrightwhereGodwantsus.Thewordis thatthedrybonesinourlivesandourUnitedMethodist Churchwillliveagain.”

Duringbusinesssessionsonthefirstday,delegates electedtwonewbishops:theRev.KennethaBigham-Tsai,

whobecamethefirstbishopintheNCJtobeelectedon thefirstballot,andtheRev.Dr.LanettePlambeck.

OndaytwooftheConference,EastOhioConference BishopTracyS.Malonepreachedfrom2Corinthians 4:7-18,statingthatGod’sgraceandendlessmercy empowerustoremainfaithfulandhopefulevenamidst trials.

“Itisthispowerthatkeepsussustainedinthemidstof separationanddisaffiliation.Itisthispowerthathelpsus toremainsteadfastinthemidstofthemanypoliticaland culturalwars.ItistheChristinus,livingandworking throughus,thatisthehopeofglory.Andguesswhat?We canclaimitevenwhilewe’resuffering,”Maloneshared.

InhisEpiscopalAddress,NCJCollegeofBishops PresidentBishopDavidBardstatedthatTheUnited (continuedonpage3,seeJurisdictionaldelegates)

FromYourBishop: Hearingthecall 2 December2022-Janauary2023 Reporter
addresschallengingtopics
Nearlytwoyearsafterofficially retiring,BishopSallyDyck,who servedtheNICfrom2012-2020, wascelebratedatthe retirementserviceattheNorth CentralJurisdictional ConferenceonNov.3.

Lookingatthepossibilityofasharedepiscopal area,Rev.AlkaLyallandRev.KrystaDeede, delegatesfromNorthernIllinoisandWisconsin conferences,broughtforthajointstatementatthe NorthCentralJurisdictional(NCJ)conference duringthelastafternoonsession.Thestatementisin responsetothechallengesfacingtheUnited MethodistChurchandhowitwillbestcontinueto makedisciplesofJesusChristforthetransformation oftheworld.

Bothconferencesareopenandcommittedto dialogueandcollaborationtoexplorethepossibility

ofsharinganepiscopalleaderafterGeneral Conferencein2024.TheNCJCommitteeon EpiscopacyrecommendsNorthernIllinoisand WisconsinconferencesandEastandWestOhio conferences,especiallyAreaCommitteeson Episcopacy,ExtendedCabinetsandConference Directors,beginsimilarconversationsaboutsharing anepiscopalarea(notmerging),iftheideais approvedbytheNCJbeginningassoonas2024.In fact,theEpiscopacyCommitteerecommendsall AnnualConferencesbegintheseconversations.

(continuedonpage4,seeDelegationsstatement)

MethodistChurchisinanoddspacethatisrooted, magnanimous,evangelical,anddisciple-making.

“Thespacewecreatemovingintothefuture… mustberootedinthehistoryofourChristianfaith, rooted,andgroundedinScripture,tradition, reason,andexperience,withScriptureasthe constitutivewitnesstoJesusastheChrist.Whenit issorooted,itwillallowforcreativityand curiosity,”Bardsaid.

Duringbusinessonthesecondday,theday concludedwiththelong-delayedServiceof RecognitionofRetirementhonoringBishopSally Dyck,BishopBruceOugh,andBishopLaurie Haller.

BishopDyckreflectedonlifelivinginNapa, CaliforniawithherhusbandKenEhrmanandthe joyofhikingandgettingbacktoplayingpiano.Still busyastheCouncilofBishopsEcumenicalOfficer andInterimbishopfortheCalifornia-Nevada AnnualConference,shereflectedonheryearsof ministry.

“Inadditiontoprovidingadministrativeand governancetotheannualconferencesthatI've served,mypassions,I'vetriedtosqueezeintothe cracksoftimeandinfluencehavebeentohelplocal churchesthinkaboutusingwhattheydohave insteadofwishingthattheyhadsomethingelse,” Dycksaid.“Holy,healthyhabits,holycomfortand careofcreation,whateverseedshavelandedin whateverfertileplaces,Isimplyrejoice.”

OndaythreeofNCJ2022inFortWayne, Indiana,hostBishopJuliusTrimbleexhortedthe bodyofdelegatestostandupwiththegood newsbecauseJesusisreal.

“Wecanpresson–orbeafootnoteintheannals ofhistory,soIstoppedbytotellyouthatJesusis real!Youmayconsideryourselfleft-leaningor right-leaning,butweallbetterbeleaningonthe everlastingarms!”hesaid.

Havingcompletedtheelectionofbishops, delegatesfocusedonhowwearecalledtoliveas theChurchandstandupwiththegoodnewsin termsofgunviolenceandhomophobia.Rev. AngeloMantesharedoflosingacousintogun violencein2016,whichpromptedhimtostarta ministrydirectedtowardpeacemaking.Rev.Angie CoxtalkedaboutbeingdeferredbytheBoardof OrdainedMinistrymultipletimesbecauseofher sexualorientation.KiriAnneRyanBereznaispoke ofbeinganautistic,non-binary,transwomanwith alongpedigreeofexperienceinTheUnited MethodistChurchandyetnotbeingfullyaccepted.

FromtheCover

Rev.MaryAnnMomanrecountedherexperience withheterosexisminpresidingataweddingoftwo menandtheobjectificationtheyexperiencedinthe pressafterthestoryoftheweddingwentpublic.

Delegatesthenpassedtheresolution“Queer Delegates’CalltoCenterJusticeand EmpowermentforLGBTQIA+PeopleinThe UMC.”Theyalsoapprovedthe2023-24 Jurisdictionalbudgetandpassedseveral resolutions.

DuringherConsecrationServicesermononthe finaldayoftheJurisdictionalConference,Bishop SallyDyckspokedirectlyandpersonallytothe threenewlyelectedbishopssaying,“Youmust alwaysclaimthatfirstandforemostyouareachild ofGod.”Sheadded,“Beingabishopisn’tabout havingpower.It’saboutempoweringotherstobe whotheyareandtolookatwhatJesusdidoverand overagain.”Finally,shetoldthethree,“Youwere notelectedtosavethechurch…youarecalledto helpinspireandequipandbringnewlifeintoour belovedUnitedMethodistChurch.”

AttheconclusionofTheOrderforthe ConsecrationofBishops,NorthCentral JurisdictionCommitteeontheEpiscopacy ChairpersonSaraIsbellannouncedtheseepiscopal assignmentsfortheshortenedquadrenniumthat beginsJanuary1,2023andendsAugust31,2024:

•Dakotas-MinnesotaConferences:Bishop LanettePlambeck

•EastOhioConference:BishopTracySmith Malone

•Illinois-GreatRiversConference:BishopFrank Beard

•IndianaConference:BishopJuliusC.Trimble

•IowaConference:BishopKennethaBighamTsai

•MichiganConference:BishopDavidBard

•NorthernIllinoisConference:BishopDan Schwerin

•WestOhioConference:BishopGregoryVaughn Palmer

•WisconsinConference:BishopHee-SooJung

ThenextNCJJurisdictionalConferenceis scheduledforJuly10-13,2024,inSiouxFalls, SouthDakota.

GeneralConferencewillbeheldApril23–May 3,2024,attheCharlotteConventionCenterin Charlotte,NorthCarolina.

*LizWindersistheIowaAnnualConferenceDirectorof Communications

createsomesynergyandsomethingweneverdreamedof before.ThankGod,thisisanamazingtime.”

BishopSchwerinsaidhelovesthelocalchurch,clergy colleagues,andtheleadershipoflaityandislooking forwardtoworkingtogether.

“WeneedeachothertomakeChristknown.Wecannot dothatalone,”saidSchwerin.“I'mgoingtoneedyour prayers.I'mgoingtoneedyourwisdom.Buttogether, we'regoingtomakeChristknowninoursteps.”

Jurisdictionsseeshiftinbishops

UMNews-Thefivejurisdictionalconferences—meeting simultaneouslyacrosstheU.S.—electedanewclassof13United Methodistbishopsthatincludesahigherpercentageofwomenand peopleofcolorthanpreviouselectioncyclesandmanyfirsts.This yearsawtheelectionof:

•BishopDavidWilson,thedenomination’sfirstNativeAmerican bishop,bytheSouthCentralJurisdiction.WilsonisChoctaw.

•BishopCarloA.Rapanut,thedenomination’sfirstFilipino Americanbishop,bytheWesternJurisdiction.

•BishopHéctorA.Burgos-Núñez,thefirstHispanic/Latinobishop intheNortheasternJurisdiction.

•BishopDelores“Dee”Williamston,thefirstBlackwomanbishopin theSouthCentralJurisdiction.

•BishopCedrickD.Bridgeforth,thedenomination’sfirstopenly gayandmarriedBlackmalebishop,bytheWesternJurisdiction.

Otherfirsts:

•TheSouthCentralJurisdictionmadehistorybyelectingthree bishops—Williamston,WilsonandBishopLauraMerrillonthe firstballot.AccordingtotheUnitedMethodistCommissionon ArchivesandHistory,onlytwicebeforehaveU.S.Methodists electedmorethantwobishopsonthefirstballot—bothtimes inthe19thcenturybeforethecurrentjurisdictionalelection system.

•Ofthe13U.S.bishopselectedatthe2022jurisdictional conferences,sevenarewomenandeightarepeopleof color.BishopKennethaBigham-Tsai,thefirstbishopelectedthis year,isaBlackwomanandthethirdBlackwomanelectedtothe episcopacybytheNorthCentralJurisdictiononthefirstballot.

•Withtheelectionofsevenwomenbishopsthisyearandsevenin 2016,about44%ofU.S.bishopsarenowwomen.

•TheRev.Ruby-NellM.Estrella,treasurerofthePhilippinesCentral Conference,waselectedthefirstfemalebishopinTheUnited MethodistChurch’sPhilippinesCentralConferenceduringits meetingNov.26atWesleyanUniversity-Philippinesin CabanatuanCity.

Healsosaidthisisahopefultimeandthesearedays fullofopportunitiestogetclearaboutwhoweare.

“WeareaWesleyan,biblical,grace-centered,missionfocused,justice-seeking,globalbodythatmakesknown JesusChristaswemakedisciplesofJesusforthe transformationoftheworld,”Schwerinsaid.“Ilook forwardtolearningaboutyourministryandhearing abouthowyouaretransformingthecommunitiesGod hasgivenyoutolove.SoIlookforwardtothisnext

seasontogettoknowyouandforustobeinministry together."

BishopDanSchweringrewupinWisconsinandcomes fromafamilyoffarmersandmachinists.Heisadad, grandpa,andhusbandtohiswife,Julie.He proclaimsJesusisthe“goldinhislife.”

TheNICEpiscopacyCommitteeisworkingonplans foraninstallationserviceforBishopSchwerinin early2023.

3 December2022-January2023 Reporter
Jurisdictionaldelegates (continuedfrompage2)
CollegeofBishopsPresidentThomasJ.Bickerton(right)duringthe PhilippinesCentralConference.PhotobyGladysP.Mangiduyos,UMNews. NorthernIllinoisandWisconsinDelegationsencouragetalksofsharedepiscopalarea ByAnneMarieGerhardtandLisaWink*
NewlyelectedBishopRuby-NellEstrellareceivesherepiscopalpinfrom
TheextendedcabinetsofNorthernIllinoisandWisconsincollaborateinSun Prairie,Wis.,atahalf-dayretreatinSeptember.

SafeSanctuariesTrainingofferedinSpanish

OnSaturday,Nov.19, participantswiththeConference [Hispanic/Latinx]Academyfor FaithCommunityDevelopment receivedtheSafeSanctuariestraining inSpanishthankstotheNorthernIllinoisConference programstaff.SafeSanctuariesaimstoensure congregationsaresafeplaceswherechildren,youth,and eldersmayexperiencetheabidingloveofGodand fellowshipwithinthefaithcommunity.

Rev.ArleneChristopherson,Ass’ttotheBishopandDir. ofConnectionalMinistries,presentedthetrainingwith PastorAuderineRochetinterpreting,whichwaswell received.

“Iplannedtohave30people,butaltogether46people came,saidRev.MartinLee,Dir.ofCongregational DevelopmentandRedevelopment.“Theylearnedalot.In thecurrentculture,itisimportanttonotonlycreatea welcomingcongregationbutintentionallybuildasafe spaceforall."

Overthesummer,morethan100congregations participatedinsafesanctuariestrainingsaroundthe Conference.Nearly300layandstaffweretrainedand77% ofNIC’schurcheshaveatleastonepersontrained. Christophersonsaysshe’sexcitedtheHispanic/Latinx

leadershiphasmadethecommitmenttoprovidingsafe spacesforworkingwithchildren,youthandvulnerable adults.

“Statisticstellusthatchildrenonthemargins,faced withlanguagebarriers,immigrationstatusandisolation, canbegreatertargetsforabuse,”saidChristopherson. “OurHispaniccongregationsareheighteningtheir awarenessandthatoftheirmemberssotheycanspot signsofabuseandpredatorybehaviorandtrulybeasafe spaceforeveryone."

Rev.Leesaiditwasagreatlearningday,andheis invitingRev.ChristophersontoteachKoreanSunday schoolteachersandleadershipaboutsafesanctuaries' practicesinthespringof2023.

Visit umcnic.org/safesanctuaries tolearnmore. ParticipatingHispanic/LatinxChurches

•FranklinPark:FirstUMC

•FranklinPark:LivingWatersO'HareNFC

•FranklinPark:LivingWaters

•BlueIsland:LaGraciadeDiosNFC

•Chicago:AmordeDiosUMC

•Aurora:FirstNuevaVidaUMC

•OakLawn:PotentialChurchPlanter

•Joliet:CristoEsElCaminoNFC

ParticipantswiththeConference[Hispanic/Latinx]AcademyforFaith

‘Ghosts’actressisalifelongUnitedMethodist

ThestoryofFlower,thehippieghostwith scarsfromabearmauling,isincrementally comingtogetherontheCBSsitcom“Ghosts.” UnitedMethodistswillalsowanttoknowthe storyofSheilaCarrasco,theactresswhoplays Flower.She’salifetimeUnitedMethodistand thedaughteroftheRev.OscarCarrasco,a retiredpastorandformerNorthernIllinois ConferenceDistrictSuperintendent.

“Myparentshavebeenreallydevotedtothe Methodistchurchmywholelife,”saidSheila duringaninterviewwithUnitedMethodist News.“Theysetareallywonderfulexamplefor meofwhatitmeanstobeamemberofthe community,whatitmeanstohelppeopleand lendanempatheticear.”

Thepremiseof“Ghosts,”nowinitssecond season,followsacouplewhobuyacountry homewithabunchofghostswhoformerly residedthere.Sheilasaidthat“Ghosts”isa “dreamjob”forher.

“I'musedtobigensemblework,coming

fromthetheaterandcomingfromsketch comedy,”shesaid.“I'vealwayswantedtobein abigensemble,kindofaworkplacecomedy. That'sreallywhatthisfeelsliketome.”

Growingup,Sheilawastheclassicyoungest child,workingtogetattentionfromher parentsandbrotherandsisters.

“Allofmysiblingsareincredibly accomplishedandhilarious,”shesaid.“ButI alsowasveryinmyownworld.…Ihadan imaginaryfriend.Ipreferredtoplayalonein myownimagination.”

Theseeminglycontradictorytraits ofattention-seekingandlivinginherown worldworkedtogethertohelpshapeherintoa performer,Sheilasaid.Growingupinher father’schurchesintheNorthernIllinois Conferencealsopresentedopportunitiesto perform.

“Wewouldbetheacolytesifanacolytedidn't showuporsingthesoloifweneededasoloist thatweek,”shesaid.“Itreallygotususedto (continuedonpage8,seeGhosts)

TheextendedcabinetofbothNorthernIllinoisand Wisconsinconferenceshadtheforethoughtandgathered inSunPrairie,Wis.,forahalf-dayretreatonSeptember13 tomeetoneanother,shareideas,andcontemplatehowthe twoconferencesmightbecomeoneepiscopalarea.

BishopHee-SooJungoftheWisconsinConference emphasizedthatthiswouldbeonebishopservingtwo conferences–notamerger.

“Thereisamazinglife-givingworkthatwearedoingin theNorthernIllinoisandWisconsinconferences,"Bishop Jungsaid."Wehavelotsofcommonthreads.Wehopethat Godwillblessusduringthistimeofexploration.”

"I'mencouragedthatleadersfromourneighboring conferencesarelookingtowardasharedbishopinthe future,"saidinterimBishopJohnL.Hopkinsofthe NorthernIllinoisConference."Buildingrelationshipswill openuppossibilitieswecannotyetimagine."

TheEpiscopacyCommitteealsorecommendstheNCJ formaTaskForcetostudythe“roleoftheepiscopalinthe NCJ”toimaginewaystomakesharingepiscopal leadershipmanageable,sustainable,andfruitful.TheTask

ActressSheilaCarrascoincharacterasthehippieFlowerontheCBSshow“Ghosts.”Sheisthedaughterof theRev.OscarCarrasco,retiredNorthernIllinoisConferencepastoranddistrictsuperintendent.Photoby BetrandCalmeau/CBS.

Force’sfindingsandproposalswillbebroughttothe2024 sessionoftheNCJ.

Fullstatementfromthedelegations:

“Asweallknow,theUnitedMethodistChurchfaces uniquechallengesinhowitwillbestcontinuetomake disciplesofJesusChristforthetransformationofthe world.Thisincludesdecliningchurchmembershipandthe reductioninthesizeofannualconferencesduetochurch closures.

Thisshiftinrealitychallengesannualconferencestobe creativeinhowwemaximizetheimpactofourresources. Wemustcontinuetobegoodstewardsofthe apportionments,offerings,andfinancialgiftsentrustedto ourcare.

Inaccordancewiththat,andassuggestedbytheNorth CentralJurisdictionalCommitteeonEpiscopacy,the NorthernIllinoisconferenceandWisconsinconference delegationsstandtomakethisstatement:

•Wehaveenoughincommonthatasharedepiscopal leaderwouldallowbothourconferencestobefiscally

responsiblewithouthinderingthegoalsofour ministries.

•Ourconferenceleadershipteamshavebegun conversationsandwillcontinuetodotheworkof exploringthepossibilityofbecomingoneepiscopal area.

•Thetwoextendedcabinetsandourdelegationshave alsohadmeetings.

Goingforward,inconsultationwithournewly appointedEpiscopalleaders,weenvision:

•Ourconferencetreasurerstoconverse,

•Ourtrusteestomeet,andthetwocommitteeson episcopacytoconferwithoneanother.

•WeencourageandinviteallWisconsinandNorthern Illinoisconferencememberstoprayerfullyconsider thebenefitsandpossibilityofsharingabishop.Wewill askthisbodytosupportamotionatthe2024 JurisdictionalConferencetomakeWI/NILone episcopalarea.”

*WinkisthedirectorofcommunicationswiththeWisconsin Conference.

4 December2022-January2023 Reporter
Delegationsstatement (continuedfrompage3) CommunityDevelopmentlearnaboutSafeSanctuariesduringa recenttrainingatFirstUMCinFranklinPark.

arewell

AsIlookbacktoApril 2011andmyfirstdayon thejobasthenewNIC DirectorofCommunications, myfirstintroductionwastothe monthlyprintReporterandtheprocessofpublishingit.

fromyoureditor ByAnneMarieGerhardt

AssociationofCommunicatorsAwardsCeremony.

TheReporterwouldn’tbepossiblewithoutNatalieRowe's dependableassistance,whosegraphicdesignskillshave broughtafreshlooktothepaperoverthelastnineyears. Thankyou,Natalie!

IrememberlookingoverformerNICMediaResource DirectorSusanGieseler’sshoulderasshemadeeditstothe finalprooftobesentofftoUMRCommunicationsinDallas tobeprinted.Thiswouldbemyfirsttaskandnowmylast assignment.

Elevenandhalfyearslater,I’mturninginmyNIC“press credentials”andstartinganewchapteratanon-profit tradesassociationasacommunicationsmanager.

ThroughtheyearsastheNIC’sroamingreporter,I’ve coveredlotsofconferencenews,eventsandhappenings underthreebishops(closetofour),publishingmorethan 100issuesoftheReporteranddozensofonlinearticles.

WhenUMRCommunicationsstoppedthepressesinMay 2013,endingapublicationcoveringMethodismsince1847, wescrambledtofindanewprinter.Withoutmissinga deadline,wekeptaNICReportereditionrolling.I’mproud theReporterhaswonseveralawards,includingfirstplacein thenewspapercategoryatthe2022UnitedMethodist

Ienjoyedevolvingwiththeever-changingdigitaland socialmediaplatformsandincreasingtheConference’s presencefirstlyonFacebook.Iremembercelebratingand postingtheNIC’s1,000th“like”onourtimeline.Today,we havehundredsmorefollowersonFacebook,Twitter,and Instagram.We’veplayedwithSnapchatfilters,andI’ve watchedpastorsgainfollowersonTikTok.Now,reelsand storiesaretheattention-grabbers.

Ihelpedrollouttwomajorwebsiteredesignsand increasedourvideopresenceonYouTubeandVimeo,which becamecriticalduringthepandemic.Pastorsbecamelike TVproducersovernightandZoombecameahousehold word.Whowouldhavethoughtwewouldbeparticipating inAnnualConferenceandOrdinationservicesfromthe comfortofourhomesorconductingbusinessinour pajamas?

MovingoutofmyofficeattheChicagoTemple,Ipacked upmysavednamebadgesfromeachGeneraland JurisdictionalConferenceIcoveredfromTampa,Portland,

UMFoundationwelcomesnewstaffmember

PleasehelpuswelcomeDemetra

KiddtotheNorthernIllinois ConferenceUnitedMethodist FoundationstaffastheClient RelationsAssociate.Sheofficially startedonOctober17,2022.

DemetrajoinstheFoundation afterasuccessfultwenty(24)year careerwiththeNorthernTrust CompanyinvariousrolesbothwithinTreasury ManagementandAssetManagement.Hermostrecentrole wasaVicePresident,SeniorConsultantontheClient AdministrationteamwithinAssetManagementwhereby

shewasresponsibleforensuringthatalltheInstitutional clientswereonboardedandtestedsuccessfullywithinthe (BPM)BusinessProcessManagementSystem.

"DemetrabringstotheFoundationtonsofexperiencein thebusinessworld,”saidRev.ChrisWalters,Foundation President&CEO."Sheislearningthevarioussystems employedbytheFoundation,andthenDemetrawillgrow intothenewroleofexpandingclientrelationshipswith Foundationministrypartnersandserviceprovidersto benefitlocalchurchesandotherclientsoftheFoundation. Shebringsadeepcommitmenttothelocalchurchandthe missionofspreadingtheGoodNewsofChrist!" SheattendedLangstonUniversityinOklahomawhereshe

St.Louis,Akron,PeoriaandFortWayne.Ireflectedonthe challengingtimesandreasonstocelebratethechurchIlove. IamgratefulfortheUMAssociationofCommunicators andmytimeontheleadershipboard.Ourannualmeetings tookmetoAlbuquerque,WashingtonD.C.,Savannah,New Orleans,andPortlandfortimesoflearning,collaborating andfellowship.WealsohostedameetinginChicago showcasinglocalministries.UMCommunications continuestoprovidedynamicresources,andIencourage localchurchestotakeadvantageofthemat ResourceUMC.org

Iwillmisstellingthefaithful,uniquestoriesofchurches, laity,andclergymakingadifferenceintheircommunities acrosstheNorthernIllinoisConference.I'vetraveledthe Conferencefromurbantoruralareasandcontinuetobe inspiredbythemanycongregationswhocontinuetobein ministrytoreachnewpeopleinnewways.

Whilealothaschangedinchurchcommunications, ourmissionremainsthesame:tomakedisciplesofJesus Christforthetransformationoftheworld!Ihopechurches willcontinuetotelltheirstoryinwhateverformat,whether hereintheReporter,onyourwebsite,onsocialmedia, livestreaming,orthenextexcitingtrend.Seeyouinthe Metaverse?

obtainedadegreeinBusinessAdministration.After graduating,sheworkedastheOfficeAdministratorforthe CityofTulsaFireMarshal'sofficeforsixyears.

DemetraisamemberofNewLifeCovenantChurch.She enjoysteaching,readingandvolunteeringwithinher community.

Shehastwoadultchildren:KhadijahandMarcusKidd alongwithafouryearoldgrand-daughterAmeera. Youcanreachherbyphoneat(312)803-4801or emailat dkidd@umfnic.org.PleasenotetheUM Foundation’snewaddressis155NorthWackerDrive,Suite 4250,Chicago,IL60606.

DeliaRamírezbecomesfirstMidwestLatinacongresswoman

DeliaRamírezbecamethefirst UnitedMethodistofLatinoorigin toreachtheUnitedStates CongressonNovember8,2022. ShewonIllinois’newlyredrawn 3rdCongressionalDistrict, makingherthefirstLatinaelected toCongressfromIllinoisandthe firstGuatemalan-Americanto achieveapositionofthislevelin U.S.politicalhistory.Also,sheis oneoftheyoungest representativesinCongress.Since 2018,she’sservedasthestate representativeofIllinois’4thHouseDistrict.However,Delia ismoresignificantlyknownforherleadershipand testimonyoffaithandserviceinTheUnitedMethodist Church.

BorninthecityofChicago,DeliaisthedaughterofMaría ElviraRamírezGuerraandLuisAntonioRamírez,who emigratedfromGuatemalaandhavededicatedtheirlivesto servingtheircommunityandchurch,accordingtoDelia.In 2021shemarriedBorisHernández,whoaccompaniesand supportsherpoliticalcareerservingthecommunitiesshe represents.

“SinceIwasthreemonthsold,IgottoknowtheUnited MethodistChurchinHumboldtPark-anareawherealarge PuertoRicancommunitytraditionallylived,”saidDeliawho livedabovethechurchinanapartmentwithherfamily.“In thischurch,myparentshaveshownmysiblingsandmethat beingaChristianismuchmorethanwordsand,certainly, muchmorethanparticipatingonSundays.Beinga Christianisawayofliving,awayoftreatingpeople,and showingGod'slightthroughouractions.”

Thechurchasaschoolofvocationandinspiration

Deliarecognizesthechurchiswhereshefoundhercalling anddevelopedtheabilitiesandtalentsshereceivedfrom Godtoserveothers.Currently,asaleaderinU.S.politicsat thecongressionallevel,sherecognizesthattheseedsthat thechurch'steachingsplantedinherhaveborneprosperous fruitforthebenefitofmanypoorpeopleandneedyfamilies inthecityofChicago.

Shebecametheexecutivedirectorofwhatwouldbecome theCenterforChangingLivestoprovidejobtrainingand placement,housingassistance,andfinancialcoachingtothe LoganSquareneighborhood.Attheconferencelevel,she servedontheHispanic/LatinxMinistryTeamandNIJFON BoardofDirectors.ShealsovolunteeredwithMARCHA, theHispanic-LatinocaucusofTheUnitedMethodist Church,andservedasachaperoneontheyouthPlumbline TourinNewYorkCity.

Inhertenureasastaterepresentative,Deliahasexcelledin proposinglawsthathavebenefitedthemostimpoverished sectorsofthecityofChicago.

“Inthechurch,Iwasformedinthefaith,thereIfoundthe calltoservemycommunity,thereIdevelopedasaleader andlearnedhowtoleadmylifeasaChristian,”saidDelia. “HumboldtParkUMChasbeenabeaconforme,afortress. Thatchurchfoundedahomeforhomelesspeopleinthe80s. Perhapsbecauseoftheirhumility,Godcalledthatsmall congregationtoservethousandsofpeople".

Atbarely27yearsold,Deliabecameamemberofthe ExecutiveCommitteeoftheNationalPlanforthe DevelopmentoftheHispanic-LatinoMinistrythankstothe effortsandorganizedworkoftheyouthofMARCHA.

“Theseexperienceswereaschoolformeonhowtorelate, howtofindcommonground,howtobuildcoalitions,which allowthechurchtobeaforcethatadvocatesforallthosein

need,basedonloveofneighbor,withoutdifferences,”Delia said.

Movedbyherconvictionsoffaith,thetrainingshehas receivedfromherfamilyandherchurch,hervocationto servehasledhertoacceptenteringthepoliticalarena, convincedthatitisarealwayofdoingmoreforpeopleand ofgeneratingchangesthathelptotransformtheworldas statedinthemissionprinciplesofthechurch.

AmessagetoUnitedMethodists

“AmessagethatIwanttoleavetomybelovedchurchis thatwestoptalkingaboutthechurch,let'sfocusratheron beingachurch,”saidDelia.“Let'sbeachurchsupporting peoplewhentheyarevictimsofinjustice,let'sdemandthat politicalrepresentativesfulfilltheirresponsibilities.Iinvite youtohelpfulfillthemissionoftransformingtheworldnot onlythroughwordsbutwithouractions."

WatchandreadadigitalreportonDeliainSpanishat umnews.org/es/.

*Rev.GustavoVasquezistheHispanic/LatinoDirectorofUnitedMethodist News.

DeliaRamírez(left)helpsleadaconferencegatheringandlearning dayonimmigrationApril22,2017atOurSaviour’sUMCin Schaumburg.

5 December2022-January2023 Reporter
F
hernewcongressional credentials,oneofthe youngestinCongressand thefirstLatinato representIllinois.Photo courtesyofDeliaRamírez.
DemetraKidd DeliaRamírezshowsoff

Aneye-openingfirstexperiencehelpinghurricanevictims

Asarecentlycertified ERT(EarlyResponse Team),Igotthe opportunitytojoina groupfromthe NorthernIllinois Conferencetohelpwith thecleanupfrom HurricaneIaninPort Charlotte,Fla.Iworked alongsidemembersfrom FirstUMCinMorris andKingswoodUMCin BuffaloGrove.Even thoughIhave participatedonseveral missiontripsabroadand throughourmissionteamattheFirstUnitedMethodist ChurchofNorthville,Mich.,whatIwasabouttowitness upclosewasdevastatingandheartbreaking.

SeeingthedestructionofaCategory4hurricaneup closeisnotlikeseeingitonYouTubeorTV.Debrislined thestreetseverywherewithtwistedmetalroofsandsiding, drywall,cabinets,insulation,appliances,andfurniture piledhigh.Wesawtreesuprootedrandomlywhilethe onesstillstandingweretiltedfromthewind’spowerful directionalforce.Insomeareas,itremindedmeofsnow driftsupnorth,piledashighas6feetandaslongasthe propertyallowed.

Overonemillionhomeswereaffected,manywith significantflooddamageand/orwindandwaterdamage. Besidesallofthedamageanddestructionwesaw,those wholivedinthesehomeswereuprootedfromtheir normallives.Theirpersonalitemswerestrewnalongthe streetsandtheywereunabletolivenormallyduetolackof somanyamenities.Itwillneverbethesameforanyof them.Oncewehadconversationswiththem,welearned thatsomewouldbeunabletorebuildbecauseofthecosts involved.Somewouldbeleavingtheareaandnever comingback,fortheriskfarexceededthebenefitofliving there.Theyhadformedacommunityoffriends,andit seemedlikethatcommunitywasalreadyfracturing.Could theygetbacktowhatitwaslikebeforethehurricane?

ThePortCharlotteUnitedMethodistChurchhostedour groupandgaveusaplacetosleep,akitchentocookin andashowertrailerfordailyuse.Itworkedwellforus,but Iquestionedwhythechurchwouldbringusinwhenthey hadtheirownsignificantissuescausedbyHurricaneIan. Thesanctuary'sroofwasseverelydamaged,makingit

unusableanditcouldtake1-2yearstorebuild.Additional water-damagedareasforcedthemtoconstantly movechurchfunctionsintosuitablespaces,including Sundayservices.Thestaffworkedhardmakingthose changes,butyouknewtheywerestrugglingfromthe additionaltasksIanhadputontheirshoulders.

Ourmorningstartedearlyonthefirstdayaswedrove outtoahomethatexperiencedoverthreefeetofwaterin thehouse.It’sincrediblehowmoldcangrowsoquickly: drywall,insulation,cabinets,andevenflooringneededto beremoved.Thepileofconstructiondebrisonthesideof thestreetgrewwiderandlonger.Threegenerations, includingadaughterandherson,livedthere.Theystayed intheirhomeduringthehurricaneandevacuatedina boatduetothefloodwater.Theirstoryofthepounding windandtorrentialrainwasunthinkable.Wespentthe entiredayremovingdrywallandcabinets,repositioning sinksonframes,andinstallingplasticmaterialforprivacy andwaterprotectioninthebathrooms.Last,wemadesure theappliancesworkedbeforeweleft.Whenwesaidour goodbyes,themomrequestedapictureofuswithher. Thencameaconstantflowofappreciationforeachofus fromtheentirefamily.

Forthenextfewdays,weworkedonvariousmobile homes,tarpingroofsandremovingflooring,drywalland insulation,takingittothesideoftheroad.Furnitureand personalitemswerealreadyoutonthestreetexceptfor smallapplianceitemsandkitchendishesleftbythe homeownerforanyofherneighborstotake.The homeownermadeitverycleartousthatshewasdone livinginFloridaandwasmovingupnorthwithher children.Wecontinuedworkingatherhomeforafew daysandmetsomeofthe neighborswhocameoverto sharetheirappreciationofall weweredoing.

Mosthomeownerswe workedwithwereretirees livingofftheirnesteggswith fixedincomesand,inmost cases,uninsured.Flood insuranceisevenmore expensiveifyoucouldgetit.

Ourdutywastomaketheir homesafetoliveinandput someorderbackintotheir liveswithoutthemhavingto payforit.Somehadfamilies helpingthemmake

decisions,coordinatinglivingquartersandcontacting FEMA,butsomanyothersdidnot.Unlessyouhavegone throughahurricanebefore,itcanbeextremelyconfusing andfrustrating.Theyneededanon-siteadvocatetohelp themsiftthroughtheprocessofgainingaccesstowork crews,temporaryshelterandfundsavailablethrough FEMA.Mostofall,theyneededhelpincommunicating theiractualneeds.Ourgroupleader,NICDisaster ResponseInterestedinERT?ContactNIC'sDisaster ResponseCoordinatorsat

monks5@comcast.net.CoordinatorColinMonkdidan exceptionaljoblisteningtoindividualsandgivingthem informationabouttheprocessofourmissionofassessing thedamage.

OurERTdeploymentinPortCharlottewasnotonly abouttheworkthatneededtobedonebutthe connectionswemadewithourteammembersandthe homeowners.It’shardtolookforGodwhenyouare surroundedbysuchdevastation.Perhaps,Godbroughtus notjusttohelpwithtasksbuthelpinstillsomehopein people’slives.

MyfirstdeploymentwithanEarlyResponseTeamwasa greatexperience.Itbroughtfellowshipandthemessageof JesusChristtothosewhoneededitmostatsuchadifficult time.

IamgratefulforourleaderandalltheindividualsI workedwithduringtheweek.Notonlydidwebringsome hopetothoseinneed,butwealsostrengthenedourown hope.Wemadeadifference,andbecauseofthat,Iwillbe backformore.

InterestedinERT?Email monks5@comcast.net *JackWilsonisamemberofFirstUMCofNorthville,Michigan.

Conference-wideservicebringssong,praiseandconversation

Whatajoyitistobeinthehouseofthe LordtoheartheWordandsingsongsof praisetoGod.Forthesecondyear,theNIC DiscipleshipTaskForceheldafall conference-wideworshipserviceonNov.13. Thisyear’sservicewasheldatJourneyof HopeUMCinElgin.Theservicewasalso availablevialivestream.

Rev.P.DevonBrownofSt.MarkUMC (Chicago)andRev.HeewonKimofEvans UMC&HarlemUMCs(Rockford)andNew LifeUMC(MachesneyPark)ledtheworship serviceplanning.

Rev.Dr.Mai-AnhLeTran,VPfor AcademicAffairsandAcademicDeanand AssociateProfessorofReligiousEducation andPracticalTheologyatGarrett-Evangelical TheologicalSeminary,wasthepreacher.She deliveredaninspiringcall-to-actionmessage onwhatthechurchshouldbeasa “redemptivecommunitythatisunafraidof thelife-changingchallengesandlife-giving possibilitiesofskin-to-skincontactwiththose whoareprofoundlyothertous.”Hermessage

wasclearthatforthechurchtothrive,itmust havean“unshakablevisionthatthesuffering andbrokennessofthisworldisreparable, redeemable,andchangeable.”

Garrett-EvangelicalisaUnitedMethodist seminaryinEvanston,Ill.Participants gatheredforareceptionfollowingtheworship serviceandjoinedinconversationaboutways inwhichtheNICandGarrett-Evangelicalcan continuetoworktogetherinministryand mission,andtheologicaltrainingand advocacywork.

TheDiscipleshipTaskForceworkincludes IntentionalDiscipleshipSystemcoaching,an NICPrayerTeam,anNICBookClub (currentlyreadingthelateRev.Junius Dotson’sbook,SoulReset),YouthLeader Support,andotherdiscipleship-supporting eventsandresources.Ifyouareinterestedin growingand/orworkinginanyoftheseareas, weinviteyoutocontactusat discipleshiptf@umcnic.org

Towatchavideorecording,visit vimeo.com/770929382

6 December2022-January2023 Reporter
AninememberERTteamledbytheNICDisasterResponseCoordinatortakesabreakafterhelping homeownersinPortCharlotte,Fla.,fromNov.10-19. ThechoirfromJourneyofHopeinElginsang“TheChurchisanArk”duringtheconference-wide worshipserviceheldattheirchurch. JackWilsonfromtheMichigan Conferencehelpsrepairaroof damagedbyHurricaneIaninFlorida.

ThankyouBishopHopkinsfromthe BoardofLaity

“Donothingoutofselfishambitionorconceit,butinhumility, valueothersaboveyourselves.” Philippians2:3NIV

“Choosesomewise,understandingandrespectedmenfrom eachofyourtribesandIwillsetthemoveryou.” Deuteronomy 1:13NIV

IwashonoredtointroduceBishopHopkinstoouronline audienceattendingthe2021LaityConvocation.AlthoughI didn’tknowhimwellthen,Iwasalreadystruckbyhowhe embodiedthesewordsofscripture.

Inmid-2020,whenitseemedliketheentireworldwasin chaos,BishopHopkinswascomfortablyretiredinhisIndiana home,withnoneedtoventurefarortravelwhilethevirus wasincharge.Heneverthelessansweredacalltoservice–he agreedtostepoutandstepup–toserveourConferenceas interimbishopfollowingtheretirementofBishopSallyDyck.

Ourinterimbishoparrivedinthenickoftime–andhe broughtwithhimmanygifts:patience;practicality; compassion;realism;experience;perspective;personal warmth;alivelysenseofhumor;adesiretocommunicate;and apassionforourLord.Welearnedearlythathiswarmthand compassioncouldtranscendelectroniccommunication.His naturalenthusiasmwasirresistible,andhiswarmthwas undeniable.

BishopHopkinsagreedtobeourspiritualleaderforour denominationandourcountryatadifficulttime.Thathe standsfirmlyonthegroundandthinksbeforehespeakshas servedhimanduswell.Weneededaleaderwhowasboth strongandloving,ateacherwhowasbothcreativeand rational,andapastorwhowasbothinspiredbyfaithand groundedinscripture.

BishopHopkinsdidnotsomuchas“takecharge”astake stock.Hedidnotaccepttheinterimappointmentforpersonal glory–overthecourseofhislongandvariedcareer;he’s earnedaccoladestospare.Hedidnottakethepositionto imposeapersonalagendaordrawlinesofdivision.Neither didheagreetobeourinterimtoserveasaplaceholderorto merelymarktime.

Instead,BishopHopkinsembarkedonaninterestingand challengingjourneytokeepourConferenceheadedtoward perfection.Hecameataparticularlyfractioustimeinour denomination’shistoryandduringaworldwidehealth emergencythatnecessitatedhugeandtraumaticchangesin ourdailylivesandupsettheverywaywe“dochurch.”

Heencounteredawarmyetwaywardcommunityof believerswhoaretryinghardtomanageourlocalchurches andconferenceadministrationfinanciallyasnationwide trendsofshrinkingchurchattendanceandgiving,coupled withrisingpricesandinflation,forceChristianseverywhereto makedifficultchoicesinchurchclosings,staffreductionsand thedownsizingoreveneliminationofprogramsandevents.

Insteadofpushingapanicbuttonorsoundingastrident alarm,BishopHopkinsofferedsteadyandcalmcounsel;he notedourgiftsanddidnotdenyourproblems.Hedescribed oursituationwithneutralityandsuggestedapproacheswe mightneverhavethoughtoforconsidered.Heneverjudged, andhedidnotblame.Hedidnotinsistonhisway;rather,like afather,heguidedusinapositivedirectionandcountedon ourimpetuousnessandenergytoprovidethewindstofillour sails.BishopHopkins’jobherewasnottorockourboatbutto tryhisdarnedesttoseewedidn’tallfalloutofit!

Weofferthesewordsofthankstoahumbleservantwho doesnotseekthemyetdeservesthem.BishopJohnHopkins: wearegratefulyouagreedtocomeoutofretirement(asecond time,noless!)tobeourinterimBishop2020-2022.We imaginethatservingtheNorthernIllinoisConferenceofthe UnitedMethodistChurchasourbishopthesepasttwo-plus yearshasbeenachallenge–wehopeitwasalsoajoy!

Educatetoadvocate: Walkamileintheirshoes

September15,2023,willmarkthe60thanniversaryofthebombingof 16thStreetBaptistChurchinBirmingham,Ala.,whichkilledfouryoung Blackgirls.ThatchurchisjustoneoftheplaceswewillvisitontheNIC2023 CivilRightsPilgrimagefromApril26–May1.

WewillvisitimportantsitesinthestruggleforcivilrightsinNashville, Birmingham,Montgomery,Selma,andMemphis.Thisisnotasightseeing tour.Itisahistoricalandeducationaltourdesignedwithintentand discernmenttohelpjourney-goerstakeactionagainstracism.Seatingis limitedandwillbefirstcome,firstserved.Eachdaywillincludeadebriefing session.Theexpectationisthatparticipantswilleducateandadvocateintheir churchesandcommunities.Advocacytrainingsessionswillbeconducted.

TheNICAnti-RacismTaskForceisseekinggrantstohelpfundaportionof thecostofthetrip.Lookforadditionalinformationat umcnic.org/calendar/civil-rights-pilgrimage

January2023Events

WinterMission u2023

January8and29

AllareWelcome! Register: onorbefore-January4 (discountforearlyregistrationby December15)

Cost: $35(early-$25)Checkspayable toNIC-UMW(legallystill:United MethodistWomen)

Scholarships: Available-ContactYourDistrict President Registeronline: winter-mission-u.cheddarup.com Registerbymail: BettyErickson,39W265OsageDr.,St. Charles,IL60175 Registerbyemail: NILUMW.registrar@gmail.com Findtheformandmoreinfo.on classesandschedulesat umwnic.org.

January15

HumanRelations Sunday

UnitedMethodistscelebrateHuman RelationsDayontheSundaybeforethe U.S.observanceofDr.MartinLutherKing Jr.’sbirthdaytorecognizehisvisionof “thebelovedcommunity.”

JoinotherUMCcongregationsinthis specialofferingtosupport neighborhoodministriesthrough CommunityDevelopers,United MethodistVoluntaryServicesandYouth OffenderRehabilitationPrograms.

Givethroughyourlocalchurchor donateonlineat UMC.org/SSGive.Make checkspayabletoyourlocalchurchand write“HumanRelationsDayoffering”in thememoline.

SavetheDate:

DistrictLeadership TrainingEvents

Jan21 PrairieSouth: Dixon:First Jan28 PrairieNorth: Freeport:Faith Jan28 LakeNorth: BuffaloGrove:Kingswood Feb4 PrairieCentral Wheaton:GaryMemorial TBD LakeSouth Fortimesanddetails,visit umcnic.org/calendar

Thankyouformakingwishescometrue

Intheir128thyear,KidsAboveAll’smission continuestohelpchildren,youthandfamilies buildbetterlivestoreachtheirpotentialinlife. TheirHolidayGiftDriveislookingtobea wonderfulsuccessbecauseofthegenerosityofso manylocalchurches,theUnitedWomeninFaith, agencies,andmanyindividualswhosteppedup fortheirkids.

“Weareblessedtohavethesupportand friendshipofallaremissionpartnerswhoembrace andpracticethemissionoftheUnitedMethodist Church,onwhichKidsAboveAllwasalso founded,”saidCatherineInserra,Deaconessand ManagerofFaith&CommunityRelations.“Thank youagainforpartneringwithusaswestriveto improvethelivesofthechildren,youthand familiesinourcare.”

KidsAboveAllwisheseveryoneaMerry ChristmasandblessedNewYear.

7 December2022-January2023 Reporter
LeadingtheLaity

Reflectingonchange

AttheendofOctober,onourlastdayintheNorthern IllinoisConferenceofficesattheChicago:Temple,while packingboxesandsortingthroughyearsofmaterials,I foundthememoriesofthatspacebubblingupandsatdown tocaptureafewofthoseimages.Thismonth’sarticleismy reflectionatthatmomentofchange.

Somanyclergy,laityandstaffhavecomeandgone throughthedoorsoftheChicago:Temple,wherethe conferencehashadapresenceinoneformoranotherover the99yearsthisbuildinghasstood.Newlyordained pastors,confirmationclasses,youthgroups,layleaders, missionaries,andevencabinetshaveusedthisspace. Bishopshaveledfromhere.Morebishopshaveroamed thesehallsthanIcanname.Intheearlydays,annual conferencesessionswereheldintheTemplesanctuary.

Iremembermyexcitementasayoungclergythefirst timeIwasinvitedtotheconferenceofficeforameeting.I wasawedbythesanctuary'sbeauty,stained-glasswindows andthechurch’shistory.Rev.CharlesChacour,thefirst treasurerIknew,wasagregariousmanwhowouldtell visitorsstoriesofhowourchurchfundswerechangingthe world.Hewouldshowoffthebigwalk-insafewhere churchdonationswerekept.(Noelectronicmoney transfersinthosedays.)

Duringmyfirstappointment,Irecruitedmymother(a non-UnitedMethodist)todrivearoundtheblockwhileI ranmychurch'sfinalapportionmentcheckuptothe

conferenceofficetobesurewepaid100%beforethe deadline.Thestaffwaswaiting,cheeringonthosewho cameinwiththeirhand-deliveredcontributions.

IneverdreamedIwouldhavethehonorofworkingin thisbuildingfor15years.Ithasbeenmorethananoffice space;ithasbeenaplaceofmission,witnessand community.Onanygivenday,intheelevator,youcould bumpintoaMethodistfromaroundtheworldwhotook timeoutwhileinChicagotovisitthisiconicchurch building.We’vehostedpressconferences,international exhibitions,andwitnesseddemonstrationsinDalyPlaza, sometimesjoiningin.Wecelebratedinthestreetswhen Chicagosportsteamsbroughthometheirtrophies.I’ve heardthedrumbeatofmarchersaroundcityhallandthe sirenswhendemonstrationsgotoutofhand.

We’vebeenawindowontheworldfromourvantage point,kitty-cornerfromcityhall,nexttothecounty buildingandthecourts.TheChicago:Templeisthe churchonthecorner–andtheNorthernIllinois Conferencehasbeenapartnerintheworkofseeing Christinthecity.

Nextweekwewillbeat303E.Wacker.Anewday,anew placewithnewopportunities.TodayIremember,celebrate andshedatearforwhathasbeen.Tomorrow,westartall overagain.

~WrittenOctober26,2022

publicspeakingandnotbeingafraidofbeingupinfront ofpeople.Itdefinitelyhelpedmealot.”

Hermother,JoyceCarrasco,saidthatSheilawouldsing alongtorecordsasachild,andwhenshegotoldershe beganwritingscriptsforhersiblingstoperform.Sheila startedperformingpubliclyveryyoung,saidJoyce.She starredin“Annie”twiceincommunitytheaterproductions andalsoinaproductionof“Oliver!”

“IrememberverydistinctlywhenSheilawasinthe middle-schooltheaterprogram,asecretaryattheschool cameandtoldmethatIhadaphonecall,”saidJoyce,who workedattheschool.“ItwasacastingagentinChicago thathadseenSheila…andtheywereinterestedin representinghertobein‘TheUntouchables.’Ihadtostep awayfromthephonetogetabreath.”

JobOpenings

ForthelatestjobopeningsintheNorthernIllinois Conferenceandacrosstheconnection, visit www.umcnic.org/jobs

StayConnected

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

Sheilawouldearnherfirstprofessionalactingcredit (exceptforcommercials)asagueststarontwoepisodesof theshort-lived1993-94“Untouchables”televisionseries. ShestudiedatNewYorkUniversityandHarvardand stagedaone-womanshowcalled“AnyoneButMe”last yearatthePicoPlayhouseinLosAngeles.Shehasguest starredonmanytelevisionseries,including“Lifein Pieces,”“JanetheVirgin,”“TheGoodPlace”and “AmericanHousewife.”Shelandedindustrypowerhouse CreativeArtistsAgencytorepresenther,andultimately theroleon“Ghosts.”

AnativeofCuracautín,Chile,theRev.OscarCarrasco retiredafterservingseveralchurchesandeightyearsasthe superintendentoftheElginDistrictintheNorthern IllinoisConference.HehadhopesthatSheilawould

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becomeadoctor.

“Eachoneofourchildrenweregifted,inmyview,and wedidnotknowexactlywhatthegiftswere,”saidtheRev. Carrasco.“OneofthethingsImentionedtothemwhen theywereverylittle,wasthatIwantedthemtobehappyin life.”

WhenSheiladeclaredthatshewantedthelifeofan artist,hehadtokeephisword.“Well,Ihavetobetrueto whatIsaid,”hesaid.“WhatIloveaboutwhatshe'sdoing nowisthatsheisahappyperson.Now,Ihaveasenseof peaceinmyheart,andahappinessthatIdidnotpushher tobesomethingthatIwantedhertobecome.It'sallabout howgoodGodhasbeen,andI'mgrateful.”

*PattersonisaUMNewsreporterinNashville,Tennessee.Contacthimat 615-742-5470ornewsdesk@umcom.org.

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December2022-January2023 8 Reporter
StafffromtheNICsaygoodbyetotheChicagoTemplebefore movingtoanewlocationaboutamilenortheastonWacker Drive. Rev.ArleneChristopherson,Asst.totheBishop/Dir.ofConnectionalMinistries
DIDYOUKNOW?
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Ghosts
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