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Bishop Dan Schwerin Installed

Posted: February 28 2023 at 12:01 PM
Author: Lisa Smith, Communications Specialist

Bishop Dan Schwerin installed as Northern Illinois Conference's new episcopal leader

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Photo captured by Rev. Alka Lyall of Bishop Dan Schwerin during the song "We Shall Overcome"

The sunlight shone through the elegant stained-glass windows at First UMC in Elgin, Ill., on Feb. 26, 2023 for the Installation Service of Bishop Dan Schwerin. Rev. Alka Lyall caught a moment when a beam of light shone directly on the bishop during the song, "We Shall Overcome".

“The light falling on Bishop Schwerin as we sang gave me immense hope for our conference! It felt like an anointing from the heavens - the Spirit of the divine falling on him as he prepares to shepherd our conference during a very stressful season in the United Methodist Church,” commented Rev. Lyall. “I look forward to having Bishop Schwerin as my pastor and episcopal leader.”

Bishop Schwerin was elected to the episcopacy by the North Central Jurisdiction in November 2022. He began as the resident bishop of the Chicago Area in January.

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The Filipino American Northern Illinois Choir performed "I Need Thee Every Hour"

The installation service included performances by the Filipino American Northern Illinois Choir performing "I Need Thee Every Hour", an Anthem performed by the choir from Victory UMC (a Swahili new faith community from Rockford), and organ hymns performed by Rev. Josiah Montgomery. It also included scriptures read in the different languages spoken around our conference, including Korean, Spanish, Hindi, Tagalog, and English. It truly was a celebration of the diversity found in the Northern Illinois Conference.

During the Installation service, Bishop Schwerin was presented with the signs of episcopal ministry, including a bishop's crook, a baptismal pitcher, communion bread and cup, towel and basin, elder's stole, a Book of Discipline, and a gavel.  The gavel held special meaning as it was crafted out of wood saved from the log cabin where the Rock River Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church started. (The Rock River Conference became the Northern Illinois Conference following the merger of The Methodist Church and The Evangelical United Brethren Church in 1968.)  The stole, made by Elizabeth Judd of Big Mama Stoles included an outline of the conference and the date embroidered on the inside.

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The choir from Victory UMC (a Swahili new faith community from Rockford) performed an anthem.

In his sermon, Bishop Schwerin reminded us that God needed to make room for creation and for possibilities to exist. As people, agencies, and systems, we need help to make room. “Relationships open us to revelations and transformations,” he stated. Bishop Schwerin talked about the importance of relating, repeating, and reframing. He gave thanks for our Annual Conference and the work we have done. “Let’s prayerfully (and musically) commit ourselves to make space for others, for possibilities, and for relationships,” he urged. He ended the sermon encouraging those in attendance to join in singing, "Lord, Prepare Me to Be a Sanctuary".

An offering was taken to help support children in the Northern Illinois Conference who have an interest in participating in the NIC Camps. Over two-thousand dollars was collected for scholarships.

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Rev. Mark Meyers presenting Bishop Dan Schwerin with a gavel crafted out of wood saved from the log cabin where the Rock River Conference started.

Retired Bishop Sharon Zimmerman Rader provided the dismissal and blessing. Bishop Rader is a mentor of Bishop Dan Schwerin, whom he credits for profoundly shaping his life. “Let’s go forward into growing, changing, and living. Let’s go forth relating, repeating, reframing,” she reminded us. “Go in God’s continuing presence, with the power to love and the strength to serve.”

In addition to clergy and laity from the Northern Illinois Conference, the installation was attended by many episcopal and judicatory leaders from the Chicago area. Representatives from United Methodist schools and agencies were also in attendance. The full list can be viewed below.

After the installation, attendees enjoyed cake and fellowship. In the receiving line afterward, Bishop Schwerin took the time to greet each person warmly and with joy. He lived into his preaching about creating relationships, seeking connections, and greeting others.

Gifts to the Bishop included a book from Sharan Kaur Singh about the Sikh community, a homemade matching friendship bracelet from Pedro Mayer, and other mementos.

The installation service was planned by the Episcopacy Committee.

View a Recording of the Service

View photos on Flicker

Installation Service Participants:

  • Rev. Rachel Birkhahn-Rommelfanger
  • Rev. Jeff Brace
  • Greg Chapman
  • Rev. Hwa-Young Chong
  • Rev. Jacues Conway
  • Rev. Kimberly Davis
  • Rev. Wesley Dickson
  • Elisa Gatz
  • Rev. Brian Gilbert
  • Elizabeth Gracie
  • Rev. Fabiola Grandon-Mayer
  • Rev. Gregory Gross
  • George Groves
  • Rev. Wendy Hardin Hermann
  • Joy Hayag, Deaconess
  • Rev. Felicia Laboy
  • Rev. Alka Lyall
  • Rev. Ester Lee
  • Rev. Mark Meyers
  • Rev. Luis Felipe Reyes
  • Rita L. Smith
  • Marilyn Steenwyk
  • Eugene Williams
  • Bishop Sharon Zimmerman Rader

Judicatory Leaders in attendance:

  • Ms. Barbara Abrajano, Board Director, Partners for Sacred Places
  • Rev. Molly Carlson, Conference Minister, Illinois Conference United Church of Christ
  • Mr. Nisan Chavkin, Executive Director, Council of Religious Leaders of Metropolitan Chicago
  • Rev. Fr. Andreas Garabedian, The Armenian Church, Eastern Diocese
  • Most Rev. Jeffrey S. Grob, JCD    Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago
  • Ms. Asayo Horibe, President, Buddhist Council of the Midwest
  • Mr. Daniel Olsen, Ph.D., Director, Office for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs of the Archdiocese of Chicago
  • Bishop Sharon Radar, Retired, United Methodist Church
  • Mr. Rohinton Rivetna, Zoroastrian Association of Metropolitan Chicago
  • Mr. Kyle Severson, Associate to the Bishop at Metropolitan Chicago Synod Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
  • Ms. Sharan Kaur Singh, SIKA Religious Society
  • Ms. Sara Trumm, Director, A Center of Christian-Muslim Engagement For Peace and Justice, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago

United Methodist School and Related Agencies Representatives in attendance:

  • Ms. Sally Draper, Executive Director, Rosecrance Health Network 
  • Mr. Andy Hendren, General Secretary and CEO, Wespath
  • Mr. Larry Morris, Executive Director, Inclusive Collective, Chicago
  • Mr. Mike Moser, Major Gift Officer, North Central College
  • Rev. Dr. Javier A. Viera, President, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary

Episcopacy Committee:

  • Rev. Jeff Brace
  • Greg Chapman
  • Jessie Cunningham
  • Rev. Wesley Dickson
  • Rev. Jacqueline Ford
  • Elisa Gatz
  • Rev. Gregory Gross
  • Rev. Brian Gilbert
  • Rev. Wendy Hardin Hermann
  • Joy Hayes, Deaconess
  • Rev. Esther Lee
  • Rita L Smith
  • Eugene Williams

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