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Bishop Announces Two New Conference Leadership Appointments

Posted: January 17 2023 at 10:25 AM

Bishop Dan Schwerin is pleased to announce two appointments, effective July 1, 2023.
Rev. Fabiola Grandon-Mayer to the role of Director of Connectional Ministries (DCM), and
Rev. Arlene Christopherson to the role of Assistant to the Bishop.

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Rev. Fabiola Grandon-Mayer

Rev. Grandon-Mayer currently serves as the District Superintendent for the Prairie North District. Bishop Schwerin observed that “With the enormous potential to develop our Northern Illinois Conference capacity and impact, it is time to conceive of a strategic appointment to pick up the work of a full-time Director of Connectional Ministers with a special emphasis in developing conference leadership”.

“In addition to her organizational capacity and proven gifts in planning and development. Rev. Grandon-Mayer brings skill and experience that will help us as we continue to develop our Hispanic leadership, furthering our strategic goal of congregational vitality. I have been impressed with Fabiola’s leadership and am looking forward to the ways she will advance God’s kin-dom for the work of the church,” the bishop added.

"The last four years as Rockford/Prairie North District Superintendent has strengthened my appreciation for the variety of contexts where we serve the Lord, and I have grown in my understanding that every context (rural, suburban, and urban), and every church (big, mid-size, small) are very important in our mission as a Conference. I give thanks to every clergy and laity of the Prairie North District who welcomed and accepted me as their Superintendent for the last four years. I’m looking forward to continuing the work that has been done so far and to look for new ways to strengthen the variety of ministries and programs in our conference” said Rev. Grandon-Mayer.

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Rev. Arlene Christopherson

Rev. Arlene Christopherson currently serves in the role of Director of Connectional Ministries and Assistant to the Bishop. In 2016, when the roles of Director of Connectional Ministries and Assistant to the Bishop were combined, Rev. Christopherson was to serve as a bridge while a taskforce re-visioned program staffing. During that time, attention soon turned to the launch of the Annual Conference Shepherding Team in 2017 and the Conference Strategic Goals in 2019. With the retirement of Bishop Dyck and the onset of COVID this work was never pursued.

In returning to a full-time Assistant to the Bishop, Bishop Schwerin said “I am aware of all the ways an Assistant to the Bishop maintains the integrity of the episcopal office through their work. The assistant gives oversight to training new District Superintendents and, in this case, the new DCM. Rev. Christopherson has done the work of two people for a long time and for that we are grateful.”

“In her full-time position as Assistant to the Bishop, Arlene will continue to provide oversite for the disaffiliation discernment work in our conference and she will coordinate collaborative conversations related to the possibility of sharing an episcopal leader in 2024. She also works with clergy immigration, clergy recruitment, research into matters of church law, and the support of our Board of Ordained Ministry, among other important tasks for the good of the conference,” Bishop Schwerin added.

“I am grateful for the trust Bishop Schwerin has put in my leadership and skills. I will miss working closely with laity and clergy giving leadership in the program area of our conference. I look forward to diving more deeply into the work of Assistant to the Bishop as we position the NIC for the future. During my years in this combined role there has been much I could not address in either position. I am excited to work alongside Bishop Schwerin as our Episcopal leader and Rev. Fabiola Grandon-Mayer as Director of Connectional Ministries. This new opportunity will allow for more intentionality in both positions,” said Rev. Christopherson.

An opportunity for saying “thank you” to Rev. Grandon-Mayer for her service as a District Superintendent on the Prairie North District will be publicized when details are made available.

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