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Clergy Session Held Virtually

Posted: June 30 2020 at 11:10 AM
Author: Anne Marie Gerhardt, Dir. of Commuications


For the first time, clergy gathered apart either in front of a computer screen or via phone for the annual Clergy Session in order to follow social distancing guidelines due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Typically held in a church sanctuary and combining a learning opportunity, worship, and fellowship, the 2020 session was held via Zoom video conferencing on June 29, which allowed for NIC clergy and local pastors from across northern Illinois, the country and world — from California to as far away as Switzerland and South Korea — to log on. 

Bishop Sally Dyck opened and closed the meeting recognizing the challenging last four months from the pandemic to racial tensions gripping our nation. “Everything we’ve needed to do in ministry has been multiplied in complexity and difficulty because of COVID-19,” said Dyck. “The change came in spades these last few months and we didn’t have to be change agents; we just needed to be First Responders to change. And many of you have been amazing First Responders and are now finding ways to keep moving forward.”

More than 350 full-member clergy and other pastors connected to the meeting to approve candidates for ministry, acknowledge local pastors, recognize retiring pastors, and conduct other business. Board of Ordained Ministry (BOOM) Secretary Rev. Wes Dickson coordinated and hosted the Zoom meeting. 

Through the platform’s polling tool, clergy voted and approved seven candidates for provisional membership and commissioning as an elder and 12 for full membership and ordination as an elder in the Northern Illinois Conference. Clergy also approved two deacon candidates for provisional membership and commissioning, and three candidates for full membership and ordination as a deacon. Nineteen clergy and local pastors are retiring with more than 420 years of ministry combined. Those clergy and local pastors who have passed in the last year were also lifted up and given thanks for their faithful service.

Local Pastors Registrar Sharon Engert delivered her report recognizing there are two associate members, 27 full-time local pastors and 37 part-time local pastors in the NIC, noting they’re all doing good work. “Many times these persons are juggling bi-vocational employment, their churches, their personal lives, and school all at the same time,” said Engert. “And through it all, they are faithful to God and to their congregations and to the Conference. And we need to thank them.”

The Rev. Luke Pepper highlighted the work of the 40 active deacons in the NIC. He noted 15 are serving in the churches as their primary appointment and 25 serve in ministries beyond the local church, which is a much higher number than many conferences. "We are thankful for our deacons who continue to find ways to engage and be creative in their ministries during this pandemic and are finding ways to call upon our church and nation to commit to the work of anti-racism and ending white supremacy," said Pepper. 

The Rev. Danita Anderson shared her final report as BOOM’s chair after serving 22 years on the board in various roles – the last four years as chairwoman. “I want to thank all of the persons who have worked with me around this sacred work of credentialing persons to serve in the Northern Illinois Conference and especially this last year,” said Anderson who added that the board continues to make changes to be more hospitable and culturally aware. “This Board of Ordained Ministry has joined me in making sure that interviews were done with the greatest of care and compassion and the teams were representative of the candidate to the best of our ability.”

The meeting’s business concluded with the approval of the 2020-21 BOOM executive team electing a new chair, Rev. Mark Meyer. 

Bishop Dyck closed the meeting with a challenge for all clergy and local churches to continue to live out the conviction that racism is incompatible with Christian teaching. “It’s really important though our preaching, teaching, examples, and relationships that we help to educate and provide a will to make changes within us and around us to eradicate racism,” said Dyck. “If there’s anything to really ponder in these days before the 4th of July, we need to renew our commitment and find the ways, and I know that in many of your contexts that will not be easy, but I pray along the way we will change hearts and minds. We, as a church, can make a huge difference in this county and in this church to eradicate racism.”

Highlights from the 2020 clergy session agenda:

  • Candidates approved for provisional membership and commissioning as an elder: Beverly Doreen Dukes, James Chang Fu, Sung-Eun Kim, Matthew Mariani, Elsa Noemi Meza, Tyler Anthony Ward, and Daegyu Dave Yim. Deacons: Tura Foster Gillespie and Betsy Evans Ingstrup.
  • Candidates approved for full membership and ordination as an elder: Melwyn Solomon Alagodi, Joshua James Bailey-Green, Scort Samuel Christy, Daniel C. Cochran, Joseph Millard Garcea, Singyo Jung, Taekhwan Lee, Caitlyn Marie Butler Nesbit, Tammy Biltgen Scott, Ayla Samson, Jarrod Allen Severing, and Anna Voinovich. Deacons: Deborah Ingram, Lauren Rheingans, and Kathy Wellman.
  • Elder Retirees: Rosalee Blake, Raney Good, Anne Hampson, Frederick Bartels, Richard T. Carlson, Jan Comeford, Cecelia Harris, Charlette Hoffmann, Kolleen Ann Klemmedson, Lois McCullen Parr, Linda Misewicz-Perconte, SungJa Lee Moon, Lawrence A. Paris, Irene Taylor, C. Kay Turner, Christina Vosteen and Gary Waters.
  • Local Pastor Retirees: Thomas Hay, Jerry Martz, and Mary Steinwandt. 
  • Memorialized: Ernest Singh, Samuel Batt, David Fison, William Glenn Kirk, Don Leo, Guy Martin, Wayne E. McCarthur, Paul (Nick) Nicholas, William Alexander Nicoll, Wanda Y. Parker, Emery Percell, Susan M. Wessels, Billie Jean Westmoreland, Doug Williams, Preston Woods, and Carl Zagar. 

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