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March 4, 2021

From the District Superintendent

Rev. Grandon-MayerDear Rockford District's friends,

We continue our Lenten journey! The Lenten season allows us as individuals and faith communities to deepen our commitment to Christ, to meditate on the great mysteries of our faith and to repent of our sins. I always remember a text that I received when I was serving in a congregation. The text said, “I want to do fasting and prayer…..Can you give me some steps or guidance?” Let me tell you, I will never forget that text. This is the attitude each one of us should have as Christians, not only during Lent, but always. 
 
The Holy Spirit empowers us to walk the extra mile in our spiritual journey. How many minutes do you dedicate to your devotional time? How many minutes do you dedicate to prayer? Are you studying the Bible?
 
I met with this person and we talked about the meaning of fasting and prayer based on what Jesus told to his disciples: “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. … But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” (Mt. 6:5-6, NIV)
 
I invite you to walk through this season intentionally. Remove distractions that take your gaze away from his glory, quiet the noise that pulls us from adoration, surrender what has been burdensome, and feel God's presence in our lives always. My prayer is that each of us could grow spiritually and in commitment to God and his church.
 
Let us continue praying for one another, for our local churches, our conference, and our denomination…“Pray, Pray, Pray more.”
 
Lenten Blessings,

Rev. Fabiola Grandon-Mayer
Rockford District Superintendent

“Passion in a Pandemic” – Dakota-Rock Grove UMC

Story and Pictures by Pastor Leslie Stanford
The COVID-19 pandemic has steered the Dakota-Rock Grove United Methodist Church on a different path. We have been able to steer our passion for ministry in different directions.  Like many churches we have moved to online (Zoom & Facebook) for our Sunday worship, meetings and Bible study.  Here are some things we have done to extend our ministry.

Parents did not want to add more screen time to their child’s day, so to keep connected with the children of our after-school program we have been sending out weekly blessing bags containing a lesson, activity sheets, snack and craft.  We adapted a Bible Black Belt curriculum and the kids have been moving up in rank each month. We are blessed that our school district helps us by having the teachers pass out some of the bags. We deliver the bags to houses of students who are remote or homeschooled. During Advent we did a weekly children’s time on Wednesday evenings. We did find that more adults were tuning in and learning sign language with us (kids at heart).

We also reached out to those in the community who might be cold. We placed bags with a hat and scarf in the snow by our church sign. The bag read “A Hat & Scarf to Help You Stay Warm.” Each day we find some gone and replace them with more bags.

Keeping with the bag theme, we built and delivered “Lent in a Box,” although we ran out of boxes so some were in bags. For each week in Lent, there is a hands-on activity, scripture, interactive prayer activity and a hero of faith, along with the supplies needed for the activities.

On Ash Wednesday, we opened the church from 9 am to 6 pm for a self-guided prayer walk. Those who came walked seven different stations, spending as much or as little time as needed at each station. This allowed those who are not comfortable being around others to come. The ashes were self-imposed or imposed by the family members that came together. At the last station, they took a nail to pray over and bring back for our Good Friday stations. It worked well, as families were able to come to church together, discuss the stations and worship together. We also included an “Ash Wednesday at Home” feature to our Lent in a Box for those who either did not wish to attend in person or could not come to the church.

As a church we know that our outreach ministries have changed and will continue to do so.  We are removing the phrase “we always do it this way” from our vocabulary. We have now opened our doors to in-person activities, but our outside-the-walls outreach will continue and grow.

United Methodist Men

The Rockford District UMM is hosting a Communion Service on Saturday, March 13, 2021 at 9 am. This service will be held at Grace UMC and you can participate in person in the sanctuary or view the service live at www.graceumcrockford.org. The guest speaker is Gil Hanke, general secretary of the General Commission on United Methodist Men. He will be speaking on "Why Men's Work is Important". Click here for the flyer. Grace UMC will observe all COVID safety protocols regarding mask-wearing, social distancing and room capacity. 

To reserve your spot, please contact Grace UMC at (815) 637-4561. Questions? Please contact Dave Hilton, Rockford UMM President (dvohilton@yahoo.com).

AC2021 Dates Announced

The Northern Illinois Annual Conference will convene using a virtual format July 16-17 with Interim Bishop John Hopkins presiding. Other important dates include the postponed Ordination Service for the 2020 Class, which will be livestreamed April 24 with limited in-person attendance, and a fall session to consider the budget and other agenda items on Oct. 2. Stay informed by watching the weekly eNews and checking umcnic.org/AC2021 periodically. 

Bishop Hopkins Lenten Video Available 

In his 6-minute Lenten video, Bishop Hopkins greets all NIC churches while reflecting on the meaning of the Lenten season. Click here to view, download and share the video. Churches may use this resource for both in-person and virtual services any time during the Lenten season. A transcript of the video is also available. Click here to learn more. 

The Cabinet is currently preparing an Eastertide video for churches to use in their Easter celebrations and after. Please look for the announcement in the weekly eNews. Don't get the eNews? Click here to subscribe. 
 
CLICK on graphic to visit, learn more or register.

Clergy Record Free Music Videos to use for Lent

musiciansChurches can benefit from a new resource created by the Revs. Youhan Go and Juhee Lee of the New England Conference. Together with a team of musicians, they recorded more than 40 United Methodist hymns to use during Lent and on Easter. Perfect to use for online worship without worrying about copyright!  Click here to learn more.

Read the March Reporter Online 

The March issue of the NIC Reporter is on its way to your mailbox, but in the meantime you can click here to read it 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!
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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