- January 18 – Islam 101 – including what is Islam and what are its tenets, what are the principal themes of the Quran, what are the various sects within Islam and how are they different? The presenter will be a knowledgeable person who is Muslim.
- January 25 – Radicalizing Islam – how and why do people become radicalized and what can anyone do to address radicalization?
- February 1 – The Palestinian Question – this section will present arguments for and against a separate Palestinian country, and discuss the ramifications
- February 8 – “Why can’t we just get along” – will address the topic which applies to all religions – what prevents humankind from accepting and working with one another across all cultures and religions?
With the large number of disasters encompassing a large area of the globe, UMCOR and the IGRC have established the following Advance Special numbers to channel disaster response giving.
- Advance Special #901670 — U.S. Disaster Response. This is the UMCOR number that is being used for offerings to assist in disaster relief efforts in the United States and U.S. territories. Donate online…
- Advance Special #982450 — International Disaster Response. This is the UMCOR number that is being used for areas outside the United States. Donate online…
- Conference Advance Special #6620 — Midwest Mission Distribution Center. MMDC has been in forefront of assembling and transporting flood buckets and other items from the conference and the North Central Jurisdiction to the affected areas. Donate online…
- Conference Advance Special #6800 — IGRC Disaster Response. Funds from this Advance purchased and shipped nearly 1,500 plastic totes to Texas following its hurricane, allowing families to begin rebuilding their lives. Funds given to this Advance also undergirds our conference’s disaster response whether inside the IGRC or beyond its borders. Donate online…
Offerings may also be made through your local church with the church treasurer remitting the offering amounts with the church’s monthly apportionment payments with the earmarking provided with the check to ensure proper accounting.
Sexual Ethics Training events will be Feb. 5-9, at various sites throughout the Conference. The training is required for all persons who are providing pastoral leadership in local churches. The training is a one-day event. Sites for the training are still being secured and will be announced in the near future.
Self-Care Retreat, sponsored by the Office of Pastoral Care and Counseling will be April 25-27, at Pere Marquette State Park Lodge near Grafton. The retreat has been extended an extra day and will include more free time in response to feedback from the 2017 retreat.
2018 Annual Conference is slated for June 7-9 at the Peoria Civic Center. And for those that plan ahead — the dates for future years, as set by Bishop Beard following the 2017 Annual Conference action to remain in Peoria are: June 6-8, 2019; June 4-6, 2020; June 10-12, 2021 and June 9-11, 2022.
Yes, I believe that. And as a Follower of Jesus Christ, I also believe ALL LIVES MATTER. It saddens my heart as Americans still struggle with the issue of race. The unrest in St. Louis after the verdict of a former police officer in the death of an African American male along with divisive words from government leaders only widens the divide before us. I do not believe that is God’s will or God’s plan.
I can attest that racial issues occurring in our Nation is not new to African Americans. The only difference is media and technology that makes it easier getting the message out. We’ve been living with injustice, hatred, terrorism and bias since our ancestors were forced to this country. While laboring, and building and assimilating and building and fighting and building and assimilating and building (I’m sure you get the point) this is our home and our country. While some (and I stress some) Americans still insist in living in denial, this America is home to Native residents, slave-descendant residents, Ellis Island residents, documented, and undocumented immigrants.
The Apostle Paul’s letter to the Galatians, states, “So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:26) We are all children of God. We are family. We are also taught to love family and care for one another.
We serve a God that loves diversity and beauty. We experience God’s beauty everyday especially during the change of seasons watching the leaves turn. Walk out into the field or farm land and count how many different arrays of color you see. Can you see the differences? Touch the flowers, corn stalks, or other plant life and observe the different forms and shapes of each one. Can you feel the differences? Drive from southern Illinois heading north and watch how the landscape changes. This is the same beauty we see every day in our brothers and sisters of various hues, shapes and sizes. That’s God!
I commend Rev. Carrie Carnes, Associate Pastor Belleville Union/Journey UMC, and others for joining the protest in St. Louis; seeking justice for all people. This is social justice in action.
I wish to challenge you. Instead of asking African Americans or other people of color their thoughts about the unrest in America; instead of asking what they’re doing about for justice. Why not share what you or your church is doing about the racial unrest in our Nation. You can make a difference.
The United Methodist Church General Commission on Religion and Race (GCORR) offers grants to local churches up to $35,000 for up to 24 months beginning February 2018. If you have an idea or project that will disrupt racism in your community, consider this resource. Deadline has been extended to October 4, 5p.m. (EDT). Simply check www.gcorr.org or contact Rev. Giovanni Arroyo at 202-495-2943 or email@example.com. The North Central Jurisdiction and the Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church are also working toward providing resources and training to local churches and conferences.
Jesus taught the greatest commandment is this, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39 NIV) Who is your neighbor? All children of God.
Real change starts with you! I challenge you to be the peacemaker and justice advocate that we need.
Be the difference in Christ!
(pictures from Rev. Carrie Carnes’ Facebook page)
A new season is upon us with charge conferences. Let’s not forget funerals, hospital calls, meeting, and the list goes on-and-on. As local church pastor, the question is often asked, “Who cares for you during personal or family joys and concerns?” That’s a good question. Who does care for you? Care Guides. Our Conference is blessed to have clergy brothers and sisters committed to care for our clergy. “Care Guides have been called on to give support and care for clergy and families who are going through positive (birth of child) and less than positive stress (hospitalization or death of a family member) and transition.” (IGRC resource)
I’ve requested our District Care Guides, Rev. Jim Tinzmann, Litchfield St. Timothy and Rev. Joy Caschetta, Caseyville to partner with me in the care and support of our Pastors. In the past three years as District Superintendent, I’ve found it difficult to be at all places… at all times. However, I do not want anyone neglected or forgotten during life joys and challenges. And as you know life will happen. You will hear from Jim or Joy during those times. You will also hear from me.
With grace and love I remind you, please do not expect us to reach out if we don’t know there’s a need. Just like with the local church, “you can’t expect for me to visit you in the hospital, if I don’t know you’re there.” The same is true for us. Even if you don’t want or request a visit, please contact the District office. Let us know so we can pray for you and with you. You are important to us. Remember… “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16) There’s power in PRAYER!
Blessings in your Ministry!
If your Church would like to help the people affected by Hurricane Harvey, United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) is a great place to give.
UMCOR is one of the first to arrive and one of the last to leave following a disaster. When you give to UMCOR, 100 percent of your gift will be directed
to the designated need. If you would like your church to get credit for this gift, make the check out to IGRC with 3770-Harvey in the Memo line. Please send to the following address:
United Methodist Center
P.O. Box 19207
Springfield, IL 62794-9207
Greetings! Now that I’m settled I greet you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I count it joy to serve with you in the Mississippi River District. My first appointment in this District began in 2003 with East St. Louis Trinity United Methodist Church. It was a true blessing and joy. Now, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to serve as your District Superintendent. Truly God’s gift. Please know that I will love you. I am a servant/woman of God and a true follower of Jesus Christ. I too am a sinner, saved by God’s Grace.
I thank Pastor Beverly Wilkes Null and Highland Hope for hosting our District Worship Gathering. Also, Thank Mike Rayson, Pastor Nameoki, Mr. & Mrs. Vic Mitchell, Highland Hope Worship Leader, and Gail Smith, Trinity East St. Louis for blessings everyone through song. A special thanks to Carmen Wuebbels, Christ Faith Community Coordinator team and Edith Lakizian for ministry of anointing and prayers.
During our Worship, I spoke on the importance of remembering your “Why.” My hope for our District is that because of our “why” we’ll continually reflect and live out our call and ministry in Christ Jesus. Many churches in our Denomination have become settings of social clubs and meeting places. Members are rarely welcomed for fear of change; offerings are received as membership dues instead of acts of stewardship and gifts to God; internal conflict becomes a norm instead of acts of love, forgiveness and compassion. Our America is increasingly becoming a nation of hate, intolerance, injustice, and destruction. I’ve heard commentators say, “It’s in our DNA. That’s how we were founded.” That doesn’t mean that’s how we should remain.
It’s my belief, remembering your “why” shifts your thinking from immoral/conflictive behavior to Christ-like living. Remembering your “why” alters your belief from selfish gratification of “how can I serve me” to “how can I serve others.” Remembering your “why” compels you to love others while uplifting peace and justice for all. When you bless others, you bless whom God loves most – all people. My prayer? We continue to live out our purpose as a District embracing God’s call as children of God and followers of Jesus Christ.
In the Apostle Paul’s letter to Timothy he wrote, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” (I Timothy 4:11-12 NIV) I encourage you, young and seasoned, to set an example as followers of Jesus Christ.
Alton Main Street will be celebrating 200 years of Methodism in Alton and the River Bend area August, September, and October 2017.
Saturday, August 26 we will host a dinner for all the surviving, former pastors, spouses, and families, at 6:00 p.m. followed by fellowship and a special music presentation.
During the month of September Pastor Tim and Debra will preach and are encouraging other pastors in the River Bend area to preach sermons that reflect the history of Methodism over the last 190 – 200 years.
Saturday, October 7, at 7:00 p.m. Bishop in Residence Bill Lewis, will speak on the history of Methodism in southern Illinois at the Main Street Pavilion near the United Methodist Village in Godfrey, weather permitting.
Saturday, October 14, Joel Catlin will portray Peter Cartwright after a pot-luck dinner that begins at 5:30 p.m. Performance will be in the sanctuary.
Sunday, October 15, Bishop Frank Beard will give the message at our 9:00 a.m. and our 11:15 a.m. services at Alton Main Street. There will be a brief dedication of an engraved stone outside, at the drive through canopy entrance commemorating the 200th anniversary of Main Street United Methodist Church. All our friends, families and the community are invited to the various events.
Thanks to all for the incredible farewell party at Caseyville UMC yesterday afternoon! Thanks to the DS Superintendency committee under the leadership of Ed Weston for an incredible afternoon. A special word of thanks to the Caseyville church for hosting and the wonderful refreshments and hospitality! What a great environment to socialize and visit! Thank you for all the gift cards! Unbelievable is all I can say.
Thanks from the bottom of our hearts
– Roger and Brenda Grimmett