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2021 Annual Conference Scheduled for July as Virtual Session

Posted: February 23 2021 at 12:42 PM
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2021 Annual Conference is scheduled for July 16-17 as an all-virtual session again.

Continuing to keep the health and safety of clergy and lay members a top priority, the 2021 Northern Illinois Annual Conference will convene again as an all-virtual session from July 16-17 with Interim Bishop John L. Hopkins presiding. The Annual Conference Committee, which met Feb. 22 led by its new Chair Deborah Dangerfield, is working on a theme and schedule. 

Despite the trend of declining COVID-19 cases across Illinois, the future is still uncertain for large events. “We all miss the face-to-face interaction and look forward to the day when we can gather in one place again,” said Rev. Arlene Christopherson, Assistant to the Bishop and Director of Connectional Ministries. “But at this point, the state guidelines still don’t allow large groups to gather and meet, so hosting the Annual Conference virtually is the best option to safely and efficiently do our work.”

Good News TV, which provided production, a secure voting platform and live-streaming services for the 2020 virtual annual conference, will once again help coordinate and host the virtual gathering through a Zoom webinar. Barrington United Methodist Church has again graciously offered its sanctuary for the production space. In-person attendance will be limited to the Bishop, staff and the behind-the-scenes crew.

Since a rise in COVID-19 cases forced the cancellation of the limited in-person 2020 Ordination Service planned for Nov. 13, a new date is set for April 24 at 3 p.m. at Barrington United Methodist Church. 

“It is our hope that the improvements we are seeing in COVID-19 infection rates will hold and that we can conduct this service safely, with limited participation, and virtual attendees,” said Bishop John Hopkins in a letter to the 2020 class of ordinands. “We will follow the same plan set forth last fall – masks and social distancing, limited guests, and a shortened service. Bishop Sally Dyck will return to co-officiate the service. The service will be live-streamed on the Conference’s YouTube channel and Facebook page.

An ordination service for the 2021 class is scheduled for Oct. 1, likely with limited in-person participation and live-streamed. A fall session to consider the budget and other agenda items will be held Oct. 2 and will be held virtually as well. 

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