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Bishop's Appeal 2024

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After Annual Conference Update:

Bishop's Appeal Success for UVC

Churches and individuals across the Northern Illinois Conference responded with overwhelming generosity to this year's Bishop's Appeal to help children through UVC. A total of over $35,000 was raised so far. If you missed bringing your church's donation, you can still donate here.

Watch the Bishop's Appeal presentation from Annual Conference. 

Update 6/26/24: $37,701.13 raised

For 45 years, United Voices for Children has advocated on behalf of children, youth, and families for its three affiliated child-serving agencies: Rosecrance, Kids Above All (formerly ChildServ), and MYSI (formerly Methodist Youth Services Inc).  Bishop Dan Schwerin has identified UVC as the 2024 recipient of the Bishop's Appeal, in recognition of their important ministries in Northern Illinois communities.

9 29 Award Recipients And Group

Board members with some of the 2023 Child advocate award winnners.

Kids are at the heart of UVC! Join United Voices for Children in raising our voices for our child-serving agencies and the children they reach. 

Use the information below to interpret to your church the life-changing work of UVC's partner organizations and inspire them to give generously.

Encourage your church to take an offering for the Bishop's Appeal. Bring your congregation’s donation to Annual Conference for the Monday-afternoon collection or donate online (choose Bishop's Appeal 2024 from the drop down).

Donate online

45 Years of Uniting Our Voices for Children

Uvc Founders1 300x201 1978

UVC early leaders (left to right): Rev. Margaret Ann Williams, Marcy-Newberry Association; Phillip Eaton, Rosecrance CEO; Seymour J. Adler, Methodist Youth Services CEO; Rev. Coyd Taggart, Lake Bluff/Chicago Homes for Children CEO.

Full Table View Ac 2023

La Tonia Booth Johnson (MYSI), Deaconess Catherine Inserra (KAA), Lillye Hart, UVC Board member, 2023 Annual Conference

Since its inception in 1979, United Voices for Children has been serving as a catalyst for generating support and engaging congregations in advocacy and as a conduit for exchanging information and resources between congregations and the three agencies UVC promotes. 

Rev. Mason E. Scholl, a past UVC board president (2000-2002) who wrote a history of the organization, emphasizes the importance of recognizing how these agencies are rooted and grounded within the life and culture of the United Methodist congregations. They provide essential services that address the needs of poverty, violence, and mental illness affecting children and their families.


The Child-Serving Agencies

Impact Stories

Kids Above All: Abandoned by her mother, Elizabeth struggled with mental illness throughout much of her life. At 17, she entered Kids Above All’s Group Homes Program in DuPage County after years of treatment. Early on, Elizabeth’s behavior was erratic, resulting in hospitalizations and attempts at self-harm, but as time passed, Elizabeth worked with her therapist, Briana, to develop healthier, more effective coping strategies to address her self-harming thoughts. Elizabeth’s efforts helped her gain the confidence she needed to find a job, successfully graduate from both Kids Above All’s program and high school, and secure a stable, independent, and long-term living situation as she continues toward adulthood and stability.

Rosecrance: “Nick” is a 20-year-old man who is a resident of our Lakeview facility. He is an adopted son of overprotective parents. He confessed that he has tested them in every way possible. Yet, they support him. His resistance to accepting that his adoption indicates how much his parents want him to be their son offers him an excuse for not working on his sobriety. Until now. Beginnings are hard. None harder than beginning to take the road to recovery.

MYSI: Former youth, Fallon, who struggled with being in the Transitional Living Program (TLP), pushed through life challenges. She became a Chicago police officer and has purchased a home. She is raising children and recently opened a florist shop which was her life long dream. Fallon exemplifies MYSI's commitment to creating hope, providing help and strengthening lives one youth at a time.   

Kids Above All (formerly ChildServ) was founded in 1894 by Lucy Rider Meyer as the Methodist Deaconess Orphanage—later, the Lake Bluff Children’s Home—to shelter and find permanent homes for orphaned children in and around Chicago. Since that time, Kids Above All’s mission to build better lives for children and families experiencing poverty, violence, and injustice has impacted more than 150,000 clients. Currently, Kids Above All provides early childhood learning, safe, supportive housing, and trauma-informed counseling services to 4,583 youth and families in under-resourced communities in Cook, DuPage, Kane and Lake counties.

Rosecrance was founded in 1916 when Dr. James and Fannie Rosecrance left provision for their homestead near Rockford to become a Methodist orphanage. Years later, a residential campus was built in Rockford to house youth experiencing trauma. Today, the Rosecrance Health Network is a premier residential and community-based organization serving youth and families with alcohol and substance abuse addictions and providing mental health services to over 13,000 families in the region. It has expanded its locations and services.

MYSI (formerly, Methodist Youth Services Inc. and MYS), established in 1969 by United Methodist Men, was initially known for its work with older youth, many of whom were considered delinquent. These youth were helped through shelters and supervised independent living programs. MYSI is serving at-risk youth in collaboration with community and school programs. Approximately 4,200 youth have received services since 2006.

Some may remember the Marcy-Newberry Association, which had been affiliated with UVC. It was organized in 1883 by Elizabeth Smith Marcy, who was active in her church's Women’s Home Missionary Society. The association earned status as a National Mission Institution under United Methodist Women (now United Women in Faith). They served Eastern European immigrants and, over time, an African American population on the near South and West Sides of Chicago. It closed its doors in 2013 after 130 years of service, due mostly to lack of funding.

Annual Child Advocate Awards

UVC recognizes advocates with annual awards. These individuals or groups are nominated for their extraordinary work or ministry in advocating for children and families in Illinois.  The awards are named for three individuals who raised their voices for children and youth in the NIC. The Katherine B. Greene Child Advocate Award, the Bishop Jesse R. DeWitt Child Advocacy Award, and the Rev. Margaret Ann Williams Service Award highlight the impact of these three individuals who inspired who were passionate about children. 

For 2024 award information and how to make a nomination, click here.

Fifth Sunday Appeal

The Fifth Sunday Appeal for United Voices for Children started in 1981. Donations made by Northern Illinois United Methodist churches on all fifth Sundays that year totaling $34,361.          

Since 1979, Northern Illinois congregations have provided more than $1 million through the Fifth Sunday Appeal. Through this collaborative giving effort, United Methodist congregations of all sizes can make a real difference in the lives of at-risk children, youth, and families. 

(Congregations may submit the gifts they receive for UVC to the Northern Illinois Conference Treasurer’s Office along with other apportionment and benevolence giving.) 

Childrens Advocates For Change Logo

Partnership with Children’s Advocates for Change

United Methodists believe in bearing witness to justice for God’s children, which requires understanding the justice system and the legislative policies behind it. In 2019, under the leadership of former UVC president Rev. Robert Biekman, UVC began a partnership with Children’s Advocates for Change. CAFC is a fact-driven advocacy organization whose mission is to see that all Illinois children, regardless of their race, ethnicity, or zip code, have the resources they need to be healthy, educated, and thriving. Dr. Tasha Green Cruzat, president and a 2022 Recipient of the Bishop Jesse R. DeWitt Award, and Mitch Lifson, vice-president for public policy, regularly update the Board on the latest data regarding Illinois children and proposed legislation that may affect them. With this consultation, UVC is better equipped to mobilize for advocacy.


Rev. Timothy, Biel, Jr., Lois Voss, Lillye Hart, LaTonia Booth Johnson, Gaye Lynn Loufek, Dr. Rosemary Taylor, Rev. Bill Lenters, Deaconess Catherine Inserra, Rev. Esther Lee, Mitch Lifson, Nik Rana, Rev. Bob Burkhart, Rev. Robert Biekman, Lois Moreland Dean, Phil Eaton, Kim Coffing, and Rev. Rick Carlson

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