Prayers for NCJ Conference
The Mission Council of the North Central Jurisdiction is calling on all United Methodists in the jurisdiction to prayerfully support the November 10-11 virtual jurisdictional conference.
We are witnessing an unprecedented time of chaos due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Corporations, school districts, universities, non-profit organizations are all suffering loss and uncertainty. Churches are no exception.
I’ve been impressed with how quickly churches have figured out how to live stream worship and how many people are joining in. People are bringing incredible creativity and energy to communicate, connect, and worship with their congregations in these unpredictable times. We need church. We need each other.
Your conference has demonstrated creativity in efforts to bring the power of the connection to support each church in their context. Some District Superintendents host weekly conference calls to check in with clergy, communicate about resources, and make sure their needs are met. Conference staff are publicizing helpful coronavirus resources, interpreting the applicability of government “rescue” programs, and adjusting to the new paradigm of online learning and the educational needs dictated by our current “stay-at-home” context.
Right now, the connection, the Conference and our mutual relationships are bringing as many quality resources to the local churches as possible, whether these be the advice of experts or timely help from a local colleague. Our connection is more important than ever!
The crisis has led the conference to shift its spending plan for conference apportionments to maintain robust service to local churches and to let other important ministries yield while resources are unavailable.
We’ve heard about other conferences offering “holidays” on payments, but those conferences have built a reserve by charging extra each month for benefits and apportionments. We have not done that. Our health, insurance, and pension premiums charge only what’s absolutely necessary to meet the costs of providing them.
While we hope to do all we can to lighten the load on the local churches, the reality is that the conference office needs $900,000/month to continue to provide resources, assistance, and communication that you’ve come to expect from us—and cover pension for active clergy and health insurance for active and retired participants. Our connection as a conference is made strong through our service to the local churches, and the strength many local churches have demonstrated through this crisis is truly inspiring. Continued payment of health, pension, and property insurance is critical.
Truly God is with us in the chaos and anxiety of this moment. God animates our community and inspires our care for each other. Be gentle with each other and know the Conference strives to do all we can to aid God’s mission even now.
Breathe deeply from the refreshing spirit of Christ’s community!
Lonnie Chafin, Treasurer
Northern Illinois Conference
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