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DYK: Jesus Makes a Way in 2021

Posted: July 26 2021 at 04:12 PM
Author: Rev. Arlene Christopherson, Ass't to the Bishop/Dir. of Connectional Ministries

The first session of our 2021 Annual Conference is now behind us as we live into the theme "Jesus Makes a Way." We will meet again on October 1 and 2 for ordination and additional business. Evaluations are still coming in, but again we adapted to our circumstances, making the best of our pandemic limitations. From virtual worship services and Bible Study to electronic voting, the annual conference committee and staff found ways to help us connect, converse and move forward.

Our work included:

  • Approving our Mission Links sites.
  • Updating the list of laity who can vote at conference sessions.
  • Reorganization of program areas.
  • The addition of legislative sections for annual conference beginning in 2022.
  • Support for the UMCOR COVID-19 response.

Throughout the session, our strong commitment to missions was evident. 

With the arrival of July, the Northern Illinois Conference moved to a new district structure with five districts. Implementing this transition has been a major undertaking for administration, communications, finance, and district superintendents. The opportunity to reset, refresh and refocus our commitment to strengthening the local church is at the forefront for the new districts as they craft their goals and form their leadership.

As we look to the 2021–2022 year, the work of our strategic task forces continues to unite us with a common purpose and enrich us by developing stronger foundations for the life of our churches.

The Vital Congregations Task Force continues to work with a pilot project to strengthen the ministry of churches while also helping struggling congregations enter into discernment concerning their future.

The Discipleship Ministries Task Force is resourcing intentional discipleship systems programs in local churches and will sponsor an all-conference worship event on November 14 as we anticipate seeing one another again face to face.

The Anti-Racism Task Force will launch a Clergy Peer Reflection and Engagement (CPRES) program to build the clergy's capacity to offer leadership in anti-racism. Soon, they will also unveil new curriculum for local churches as we grow and learn together.

To see stories and reports on this work, I encourage you to watch the NIC Morning News first released during the annual conference session. You can find it on our website here.

Meanwhile, Bishop Hopkins completes his first six months as our interim bishop and has learned much about our conference's strengths and challenges. He shared his insights and recommendations during the annual conference session. His presentation can be found here.

We begin the 2021-2022 annual conference year with hope and anticipation.

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