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March 18, 2021

From the District Superintendent

Rev. Grandon-MayerDear Rockford District's friends,

A year ago, everything changed! Our world changed: the way we do things, how we interact with others, the way we do church and the way we do our daily ministries, changed. When the State of Illinois issued the “stay-at-home order,” we never imagined the year we would face. 

Today, even though there are some glimpses of "normality,” we are still facing uncertainty and anxiety because of the unknown in many areas, including the situation in our denomination. However, it is important to look at the future with faith, hope and joy because “Jesus Makes a Way.” This will be the theme for our upcoming virtual Annual Conference, announced by the Annual Conference Committee several weeks ago.

There are many things we don’t know, but what we do know for sure is that we have a mission to fulfill. We have not been alone facing this pandemic, and we will not be alone in this new year. God has shown and will continue to show us his faithfulness, guidance and love.

I invite you, people of the Rockford District, to continue to be faithful and courageous servants of Jesus Christ. Today more than ever, the world needs to hear words of hope, assurance, reconciliation, unity and love, and it is our responsibility to be Jesus' instrument wherever we go. Let us always remember that "Jesus Makes a Way" where there seems to be no way.

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” – Romans 15:13 (NIV)

Lenten Blessings,

Rev. Fabiola Grandon-Mayer
Rockford District Superintendent

Laity Zoom Gatherings Scheduled

Over the next few months, our Rockford District Lay Leaders ~ Melissa Ramirez and Scott Stich ~ will host Zoom gatherings with Lay Leaders and others from our local churches. The invitation will be emailed to the Lay Leader of each church, who will, in turn, invite one other key leader from their church to join in. 

As with the Clergy Zoom Gatherings, this will be a time for building relationships and strengthening communication between the laity as they share and listen to the joys and struggles they find in their local contexts. 

These gatherings will be held by Cluster areas.
  • Jo Daviess Cluster & Zion Cluster - Thursday, April 8 at 7:00 pm
  • Stephenson Cluster & Winnebago Cluster – Thursday, April 22 at 7:00 pm
  • Rockford Cluster – Thursday, May 13 at 7:00 pm
  • East Cluster & South Cluster – Thursday, June 10 at 7:00 pm
More information will be sent out soon.

Be Part of the Annual Good Friday Walk for Justice

The Rockford Urban Ministries (RUM) annual Good Friday Walk for Justice will begin at 9:00 a.m. on Good Friday, April 2, 2021, from the parking lot of Emmanuel Episcopal Church at 412 N. Church Street in Rockford and will be live streamed via Facebook. 

The walk will begin with a prayer against violence in Rockford led by Rev. Violet Johnicker and Rev. Stephen Bowie, who will also lead some of the prayers at the various stations along the walk. The event is free and open to those who wish to join RUM in prayers for the city.
 
“We will walk to 14 places downtown reflecting upon the stations of the Way of the Cross on Good Friday. At each stop we will say a short prayer,” says Stanley Campbell, director of Rockford Urban Ministries. This will be the 36th year of the walk.

The 14 stations or stops are “most representing the community’s assets, such as Luther Center and the Public Library,” says Rev. Bowie. “The stops have also included places that need improvement in the city’s compassion—such as the jail and a bank. We also pray for our leaders at the State and Federal buildings, for better communication through the media at the local newspaper's building, and a special prayer at the bridge for east-west relations.”

Last year, the Walk went virtual, but it usually takes an hour and 15 minutes. Average attendance ranges from 40 to 100 people. “At the first station, we honor Emmanuel Episcopal’s Shelter Care Ministries, which serves the special needs of the homeless,” says Rev. Johnicker. “From there, we carry our 8-foot, 50-lb. wooden cross to the Rockford Mass Transit terminal and pray for the people who use our city’s transportation system.”

 Questions? Please call Rockford Urban Ministries at 815-621-9417.

Seasonal Resources for the Local Church

Use these resources for both in-person and virtual services throughout the Lent and Easter season:

Bishop Hopkins Lenten greeting and Easter videos
Click here to view, download and share Bishop's Lenten video. Churches can also use the transcript of the video. Click here to learn more. Click here to download Bishop's Easter video. 

Free United Methodist hymn recordings
Revs. Youhan Go and Juhee Lee of the New England Conference along with a team of musicians recorded more than 40 United Methodist hymns to use during Lent and on Easter. Click here to learn more.

Cabinet Eastertide video
The NIC Cabinet is currently working on an Eastertide worship video for churches to use in their Easter celebrations and afterward. Please look for the announcement in the weekly eNews. Don't get the eNews? Click here to subscribe.

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 (limited attendance)
May 3: Legislation and Historical Documents due (no exceptions)
June 28: Clergy Session via Zoom,10am to 12 noon
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.

Intentional Discipleship Trainers Meet & Share Ideas  

Discipleship TF logoIn early March, NIC Intentional Discipleship Systems (IDS) trainers met safely to network and share ideas. IDS Trainer and Pastor Charles Straight (Dolton: Faith) shared this testimony:

"At Faith church, intentionally developing disciples also means incorporating our social principles that teach us to “improve the lives of those who suffer from debilitating conditions such as poverty, starvation, illiteracy, imprisonment, addictions, and disease”. We have a responsibility to innovate, sponsor and evaluate new forms of community that will encourage the development of the fullest potential in individuals in the place where we serve. That commitment to justice and to the community of Dolton has lead us to create a year-long project to make our church a center of community life and a public resource shared by and accessible to people in Dolton. We will create a more sustainable plan for Faith Church to engage with and serve our community, invite partners to use our space, and identify new sources of revenue consistent with our mission. We believe that every step towards the goal of loving community demonstrates our commitment to love God and makes us better disciples."

Intentional Discipleship Systems are valuable in carrying out our mission as members of The United Methodist Church. Visit umcnic.org/discipleship to find out more about IDS and see a list of trainers in each district who are standing by, ready to help.
CLICK on graphic to visit, learn more or register.

Read the March Reporter Online 

You have options! Read the March Reporter in print or online. Learn about Annual Conference 2021, explore NIC's progress on the three strategic goals, be encouraged by what local churches are doing in the community and much more!
Click here to read it online.
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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