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November 5, 2020

From the District Superintendent

Dear Rockford District’s friends,
 
COVID-19 has made a big impact on our lives, communities, churches and the world. It seems that the situation in our region (Region 1) is not getting better. I just received an update that the positivity rate in our region is over 14%. The trending is not going in the direction we would like.
 
I do understand your frustration and exhaustion. It’s been a long 8 months trying to figure out how to do ministry, how to keep connected with your people and how to be well with your soul. It has not been easy, and we know that it will not be easier in the future. We will continue maneuvering restrictions, cancellations and postponements of events and activities in our churches, but it does not mean that our churches are closed. Our churches are working and making a difference in the community creatively.
 
I want to encourage you to continue to do your best to keep your people safe and practice the best safety precautions. Please continue working with your leadership/health team in the reopening plan and your church's life in general.
 
We always need to remember that we are not alone in this journey. In the midst of the uncertainty and the tiredness of these times, God continues being faithful to us:
 
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you” (Isa. 43:1-2: NRSV).
 
Let's keep supporting each other in God's love and let's keep praying for each other. Pray for our conference, pray for Bishop Sally Dyck and the Cabinet, pray for the upcoming Interim Bishop John Hopkins, pray for each church in the Rockford District, and pray for each pastor and laity.
 
Peace and Blessings,
 
Rev. Fabiola Grandon-Mayer
Rockford District Superintendent

Shepherding Team

Our strategic goals for the Conference (approved at AC2019) to be implemented through a two-year plan are: 
  • To Grow and Reach New Disciples of Jesus Christ.
  • To Live Out the Conviction that Racism is Incompatible with Christian Teaching.
  • To Increase the Number of Highly Vital Congregations.
Click here to learn about the Annual Conference Shepherding Team and download the 2019 ACST Strategic Goals brochure. 

"Family Festival in Lena"

Contributed by Rev. Keri Rainsberger

Vacation Bible School (VBS) has been a tradition of Lena UMC for a long time. For the past several years they have collaborated with two other congregations on the same street to host a joint VBS on weekday evenings one week in the summer. With COVID-19 requiring safety precautions, Lena UMC and their partners knew the way they have “always done” VBS would not be possible this year. Yet the partners also wanted to provide a fun opportunity for their community's children to learn more about God. 
 
This year the three congregations created a “Family Festival” celebrating the Fruit of the Spirit. Each congregation created outdoor festival-style booths featuring stories, games, crafts and other activities centered around each fruit. Families were invited to come circulate through the booths like they would at a festival.
 
Four families visited the festival. While this low number disappointed the planning team, they really didn't know what to expect. They had thought “we could get no one” because COVID and a disruption of routines might hold families back. They had also thought “we could get a lot!” because not many other activities are going on around town. The planning team learned that this festival-style was a lot easier to coordinate and was also enjoyable for the volunteers. They saw potential in this format despite the low turnout.
 
Lena UMC's “traditional” VBS has also been seeing decreased attendance in recent years and it has become harder for the congregation to find volunteers.  A re-imagining of this beloved ministry was needed, and COVID-19 was the impetus the planning team needed to take action. The congregation hopes that this experience will spark ideas for new ways that they can provide valuable outreach and education to their community's children.

Observers Welcome!

"Join" us at annual conference on Saturday, November 14. We will livestream AC2020 from 10am to 3:30pm (with a break from noon - 1:30pm) on Facebook, YouTube and on our website. You can also "participate" in the Memorial Service on Thursday, November 12 at 7pm and the Retirement Service on Saturday, November 14 at 4:30pm. Details for livestream links coming soon.

Due to COVID restrictions, the Ordination and Commissioning Service has been postponed. 

Rockford United Methodist Men Update

The Rockford District United Methodist Men invite you to join the Fall Zoom Service 2020, a free online gathering the morning of November 7, 2020 from 9:00 am to 10:00 am (CDT). Click here to register. 

This semi-annual men’s gathering is traditionally held at one of our churches in the Rockford District. With the pandemic, we are not gathering in person and have moved the gathering online using ZOOM. Donations to the Society of St. Andrews "Meals for Millions" are accepted from the same web site.
 
Invite your friends and/or a group of men from your church.  Questions or more information contact Dave Hilton at (dvohilton@yahoo.com.)
Register

Bishop's Monday Message Nov. 1: "Upcoming Changes"

As we approach our virtual annual conference sessions and worship, I encourage you to be sure and attend the pre-conference briefings this week if you are a registered delegate. [Editor's note: registration is still open for Friday's briefing]. It is essential that you have read and been briefed on the legislation with the opportunity to ask questions during these briefings. We will have less capacity and time to do that during our virtual session. Saying that, I want to assure you that the essential work of the annual conference is our priority so that we can continue into 2021 with momentum and focus…because there are a lot of changes coming up! Click here to read more. 

Watch Bishop's Monday Morning Video. 

Sympathy Notice: Woody Bedell

It is with a deep sadness we announce the passing of NIC Director of Human Resources Woody Bedell. After a courageous eight-and-a-half year battle with cancer, Woody died on Nov. 1, 2020, surrounded by his family. Woody joined the NIC staff in March 2015 bringing years of experience in wellness and benefits services. Woody and his wife Joyce are members at Libertyville UMC, where he taught adult classes and played in the contemporary band for more than 20 years. They have three adult sons. Woody enjoyed spending time with his family and recently his 3-month-old grandson.

A virtual memorial service is being planned. We will share details as they become available. Woody's message for the AC Memorial Service was pre-recorded and will be shown on Nov. 12 at 7pm. 

Click here for the obituary and visitation information.
CLICK on graphic to visit, learn more or register.

Join NIJFON as They Launch Their Matching Campaign

Northern Illinois Justice for Our Neighbors (NIJFON) invites you to join them on Facebook Live on Thursday, November 12 at 6pm for the public launch of their Berry UMC/NIJFON $25,000 Matching Campaign. Click here for the event link OR find them on Facebook at facebook.com/NIJFON.  

Notice About Boy Scouts of America Bankruptcy

Last week NIC clergy serving churches and NIC church trustee chairs received a communication about filing a Proof of Claim with the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) bankruptcy administrator. The deadline to file is November 9, 2020, and we strongly encourage you to do so. If you have any questions about the process or whether or not you need to file, please contact David Quinn at dquinn@umcnic.org. 

Discipleship Task Force Encourages Churches to "Jumpstart" their Youth Ministry

To encourage church leaders to grow and make disciples in times like these—especially young disciples—the NIC Discipleship Task Force is presenting what they call a “Jumpstarting Youth Ministry” plan.  Each month they will have a theme with a video to accompany it, followed by a list of resources to help leaders, both clergy and laity, paid and volunteer, to “jumpstart” their youth ministry, whether it presently exists or whether they’re looking for a starting point! Click here to learn more. 

The first theme: "Just Show Up!" Click here to view this month's video of encouragement from Rev. Seamus Enright. Click here for a video of resources from Rev. Sharon Rice. Get ready to show up for your youngest disciples in new and fresh ways!

November Reporter Now Available

The November issue of the Reporter is in the mail but is available to read online now. Read  how some churches are creatively planning for Advent and Christmas under COVID-19 safety guidelines. 
 
Can't wait for the U.S. Mail? Click here to read and share the full pdf edition.
Rev. Fabiola Grandon-Mayer
Rockford District Superintendent
312-346-9766, ext. 781
fgrandon-mayer@umcnic.org

Debra Rogers
Rockford District Administrative Assistant

630-465-2941
drogers@umcnic.org

Northern Illinois Conference
of The United Methodist Church
77 W. Washington Street, Suite 1820
Chicago, IL 60602


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