Welcoming Bishop Schwerin to the Northern Illinois Conference
Bishop Dan Schwerin’s first day serving as episcopal leader in the Northern Illinois Annual Conference was January 3. Bishop Schwerin grew up just north of us in W…
For the last 20 years, Jill Stone has managed the United Media Resource Center (UMCR) housed in the Illinois
Great Rivers Conference Center (IGRC). In 2017, the NIC Media Resource Center merged with the UMRC adding to a large lending library of Christian materials and has enjoyed a great partnership with Jill.
We celebrate with Jill the news that she is retiring effective July 31 completing nearly 34 years of service. Her last day in the office is May 27.
Jill, a member of Normal First UMC, started working for IGRC in 1988 after applying for a job at the Conference
office in Bloomington at the urging of John Woodruff, then Conference Treasurer. It’s there where she met her husband Doug Stone, who is also retiring July 1 after 46 years of
Ironically, Jill’s first responsibility in the Conference office was working with Doug for about an hour. Doug
assisted with computer issues and became both the mailroom and print room manager.
“The persons who I would be working for were busy and so they sent me to Doug to familiarize me with the work at the Conference office,” Jill said.
“And obviously, she made an impression on me,” Doug said with a smile.
Jill’s first responsibilities were managing United Methodist Reporter subscriptions for Director of Communications Bettie Story as well as clerical and receptionist responsibilities. Later, a position opened in the United Media Resource Center (UMRC), which had three employees on staff, and Jill found her calling.
When UMRC Director Mary Lou Scott retired in 2001, Jill assumed the responsibilities as the sole person in the
UMRC and has managed its operations ever since. In more recent years, she has also returned to providing clerical assistance to both the Camping and Congregational Development ministries on a part-time basis.
In 2004, when the IGRC United Methodist Center opened, consolidating offices in Bloomington, Mt. Vernon and Springfield, the Stones were part of a handful of employees that relocated to continue their respective ministries to the Conference. Both Doug and Jill noted the number of changes in both of their positions as they near
For Doug, much of his work over the years included churning out large amounts of print materials and coordinated bulk mailings of resources from the Conference to churches. While print materials have been declining over the years, the COVID pandemic accelerated its decline as Annual Conference packets and materials were reduced to placing them online.
The one area that has emerged in Doug’s work is management of the Conference’s databases – so much so
that the person who will follow Doug will focus exclusively on the database work.
Jill’s work in the UMRC has also changed in that it was a partnership at one time with two Illinois presbyteries of the Presbyterian Church. More recently, as other conference media centers have closed their operations, the IGRC has provided its services to Northern Illinois, Iowa and the Great Plains Conferences.
“I appreciate the servant attitude and heart that both Doug and Jill display. They have served effectively and
tirelessly for many, many years,” IGRC Bishop Frank J. Beard said. “I was able to bear witness to their faith during tough times of personal challenge. Their commitment to ministry and mission, and their love for each other never wavered. They have served the IGRC well. And we are blessed because of them.”
Jill and Doug said they are looking forward to having more time to travel and pursue hobbies.
“We have family in New York, the Carolinas, Florida, Texas and the West Coast,” Doug said. “With COVID, we
haven’t been able to see family.”
Read more on future plans for the UMRC.
Here are 10 things that will help you get to know our new Bishop.
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