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April 1, 2021

From the District Superintendent

Rev. BrossOver the past few weeks, I have been isolated in my bedroom after being diagnosed with COVID-19. Luckily, my symptoms have been minor, and the rest of my family was able to avoid the virus. However, during this time, two of my children came home from college for Easter and I had to look at them through windows and talk on the phone. I felt like the boy in the bubble.  The worst part for me is not the coughing, not the relying on others for basic necessities, and not even the boredom that was palpable. The worst part was the isolation from touch. Not being able to hug my kids when they came home, hold the hand of my wife or son who is still at home in high school or even pet my dog was devastating, especially for a person whose love language is strongly touch-centered. 
 
I wonder if this was one of the most difficult things for disciples and friends of Jesus. They thought they would never be able to hug him again or feel his loving hand on theirs. One of the things we often hear when someone passes is the longing for one more hug or one more touch of a loved one. 
 
The glory of the Resurrection is that it is the resurrection of the body. It brought the friends of Jesus back into physical touch with their Savior and friend. Even in their doubts, they could touch his scars. 

The beauty of Resurrection for us today is that it is the resurrection of the body, the body of Christ. No matter how isolated, alone or separated we might be, Easter brings the opportunity to once again be touched by the love of the community. We may experience moments or even long sessions of isolation brought on by our actions or those out of our control. The good news, however, is that the final victory is not loneliness or despair. The final victory is love, community, togetherness and salvation. The salvific touch of our savior has already been laid upon our shoulders and we will continue to be reminded of that when we gather as a body and feel the loving touch of our brothers and sisters in Christ. 
 
Ironically, on Easter Sunday I will be released from my isolation per CDC guidelines. The first thing I will do is hug the first family member I see and give thanks. I feel sorry for that person because it will probably be a long hug. I know that I will experience the joy of Easter Resurrection in a new and powerful way. I pray you will as well. Happy Easter! Hugs to all!

Rev. Jeffry Bross, District Superintendent
Aurora District

Seasonal Resources for the Local Church

church lilyUse these resources for both in-person and virtual Easter services:

Easter greetings from Bishop Hopkins
Click here to download Bishop's Easter video. Click here for the script in Spanish. Click here for the script in Korean. 

Virtual choir shares Easter joy
View and download the Easter Virtual Choir video from Discipleship Ministries for use in your upcoming service. Watch as hundreds of United Methodists from around the world join together to sing "Thine Be The Glory." To download the video, click here.
 
Cabinet Eastertide video
The NIC Cabinet has prepared an Eastertide worship video for churches to use in their Easter celebrations and afterward. Click here to download the video. Click here for a variety of resources, including Spanish and Korean translations, as well as a printable bulletin. 

Aurora United Methodists Hold "Stop Asian Hate" Rally & Prayer Vigil

WUMC prayer vigilOn Friday, March 26, Wesley UMC in Aurora held an outdoor Stop Asian Hate rally and prayer vigil near a local shopping center on the Aurora-Naperville border. 
 
The Rev. John Bell, Wesley pastor, led the rally. "We stand in solidarity with the Asian Pacific Islander community against hate and racism," he said. 
 
Bell concluded the event with a prayer vigil on site in memory of the victims and an open microphone for congregants and community members to express their grief. 

Photos courtesy of Jason Crane/The Voice newspaper, Aurora.

AC2021 Important Dates

The 2021 Northern Illinois Annual Conference with the theme "Jesus Makes a Way" will convene using a virtual format July 16-17 with Interim Bishop John Hopkins presiding.

April 24: 2020 Class Ordination and Commissioning Service at 3pm (with limited attendance)
May 3: Legislation and Historical Documents due (no exceptions). Send to ACdocuments@umcnic.org. 
June 1: Online registration opens. Cost: $30 (covers video production, voting technology, worship planning and other administrative expenses).
June 28: Clergy Session via Zoom,10am to 12 noon
June 30: Registration closes. 
July 16-17: Annual Conference Session
Oct. 1: 2021 Class Ordination and Commissioning Service
Oct. 2: Fall AC Session

Dates and times for Bible study sessions, technical training, and pre-conference briefings to be determined. Stay informed by watching the weekly eNews and checking umcnic.org/AC2021 periodically. 

UVC Accepting Nominations for Annual Awards 

United Voices for Children (UVC) is inviting nominations for its three annual awards that honor extraordinary service or advocacy efforts on behalf of children, youth and/or families throughout the NIC. For details and a nominations form, visit unitedvoicesforchildren.org/programs/awards. The submission deadline is April 15, 2021. Questions? Please contact Diane Strzelecki, UVC Communications Coordinator, at unitedvoicesforchildren@gmail.com.
CLICK on graphic to visit, learn more or register.

April Reporter is Now Available 

Reporter front pageThe print version will arrive soon via U.S. mail, but you don't have to wait! Click here to read this issue online. Be inspired by a Northern Illinois pastor serving in central Illinois who overcame challenges to distribute masks to urban churches. Get excited about NIC's Outdoor and Retreat Ministries' plans for the summer! Reflect on the Bishop's column presenting questions about the future of The United Methodist Church. And much more!  Read it or copy the link and share with others today!
Rev. Jeffry Bross
Aurora District Superintendent
312-346-9766 ext. 784
jbross@umcnic.org

Leola Tucker
Administrative Assistant
312-346-9766 ext. 733
ltucker@umcnic.org

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


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