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News & Updates

July 14, 2022

Photo essay: United Methodists Stand with Ukraine

As we celebrate the generosity given to the 2022 Bishop’s Appeal to support Ukraine, know that your donations are helping hundreds of refugees and providing humanitarian aid in the country.

UM News reporter Joey Butler and photographer Mike DuBose traveled to Eastern Europe in late May to share stories of United Methodists’ humanitarian ministry. View photo essay.

Church Communities Gather to Grieve, Remember and Pray after Highland Park Parade Tragedy

What was supposed to be a day of celebration and fun turned into sheer chaos, trauma, fear and unimaginable heartache after a gunman opened fire on 4th of July parade-goers in Highland Park, Ill., killing seven people and wounding dozens more.

United Methodist churches and the faith community continue to be a place of comfort and healing.

Read more on how United Methodist pastors joined together to pray for the community.

Click here for photos from Won Jung Park for News Magazine Chicago.

Read Bishop Hopkins’ statement on the tragedy.

Gun Violence Prevention Resources:

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Volunteers in Mission Sunday

Any Sunday in July or August

Safe Sanctuary Trainings

July 16

July 30

August 6

August 20

United Voices for Children Sunday

July 31

Mission u

August 19

August 20

Renewable Energy Summit

September 10

Fresh Expressions 2022

September 18-21

Race, America and the Church – Undenied

September 22

Music, food, crafts highlight Aurora Methodists’ inaugural youth arts camp

Music, food and crafts highlighted an inaugural arts camp for youth at Wesley United Methodist Church in Aurora June 20-23.

Camp coordinator Michelle Curiel, Wesley director of praise and worship, said the free camp was held in partnership with Simply Destinee, an Aurora dance center.

About 40 neighborhood children ages 4-12 attended the camp from 5:30 to 8 p.m. evenings. Leaders included 15 youth and adults. Activities opened with a free dinner. Children were invited to bring home leftovers.

According to Curiel, “The kids had a fantastic time dancing, baking, creating music and art all while learning different ways to love themselves and those around them. “Highlights of the week included cheering on friends during dance circles, making music with Boomwhackers, creating self- representation nametags and baking Oreo balls!

“The kids learned self affirmations such as ‘If you can’t love yourself, how are you gonna love somebody else’, ‘I can ask for support!’, ‘I can acknowledge my feelings by noticing them’ and ‘If it doesn’t feed your soul, let it go!’” Curiel added that children participated in different activities to explore the affirmations through dancing, music, art and culinary activities.

In an art station, children created self-representation flags. After planning flags on paper, they crafted personal flags with felt. Many children chose bright colors and hearts to represent their kindness and love for others, Curiel said. “We’re very much looking forward to what next year has to bring!” she concluded.

For more information, call (630) 229-0231 or visit wesleyumcaurora.org

Since 1894, Kids Above All (formerly ChildServ) has placed the safety, well-being, and education of kids above everything else. Running through the summer, you can help ensure that the hundreds of kids in their care have the supplies they need to succeed this school year through the agency’s annual backpack drive. Click for details.

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The Northern Illinois Conference is offering 6 training options to help meet our goal of ensuring safe spaces in our churches.

The trainings are being offered both on-line via zoom and in-person.

The dates offered are:

  • Thursday, June 23 – 6:30 pm – Plainfield UMC (Event Complete)
  • Wednesday, June 29 – 6:30 pm – Plainfield UMC (Event Complete)
  • Saturday, July 16 – 1:00 pm – Des Plaines: First UMC

(Event Registration Closed)

  • Saturday, July 30 – 10:00 am – Rockford: Christ UMC
  • Saturday, August 6 – 10:00 am – Rockford: Christ UMC
  • Saturday, August 20 – 1:00 pm – Des Plaines: First UMC

Find more information and register here.

**This free training is an alternative for those who cannot participate in other training options and does not include a background check.

Also, we have redone our NIC Safe Sanctuaries Website. Check out the site for videos, policies, FAQ, downloads and more resources.

Apportionment Highlight –

Africa University

One of the seven funds in the UMC General Church Apportionments is Africa University. This fund supports the first fully accredited UM-related institution on the African continent that promotes independence and empowerment through a diverse student body from across the continent. Because of our 100% Apportionment payments, we helped ensure access to a life-changing higher education experience for Africa University students.

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2nd Annual Rally Against Racism

With recent racially motivated violence and deadly attacks in the news, once again we come together in solidarity to stand against hate and racism.

Last summer, the NIC Annual Conference Shepherding Team (ACST) and the Anti-racism Task Force (ARTF) joined together to spearhead a way for churches to visibly show their commitment “to live out the conviction that racism is incompatible with Christian teaching.”

Several churches participated by holding rallies in a variety of different ways. Churches were encouraged to be creative and hold Do-it-Yourself or DIY rallies. Click here to watch a video from last summer’s rallies.

Join with churches across the Northern Illinois Conference this summer (May through September) to Rally Against Racism. Learn more and sign up today.

Update Your Find-A-Chuch Profile

Find-A-Church is the official online directory of United Methodist churches in the United States, developed by United Methodist Communications. It is one of the most visited sections of UMC.org, averaging more than 1,000 page views a day. Find-A-Church helps you to connect with busy people in your community on their terms, on their time and in their comfort zone. It also serves as a companion to your church’s existing website — giving you twice the local visibility online.

You’ll achieve the best results from your Find-A-Church profile when you update your church’s information. (It’s free and easy to update) Here are some reasons why:

  • An updated profile is more relevant to your visitors’ needs.
  • You can link to your Facebook page, Twitter feed, Instagram and Flickr accounts
  • Visitors can search activities through the online calendar.
  • As worship schedules change (Christmas, Easter, etc.), you can edit as needed.

With pastoral changes and people looking to connect with a church, now is the time to make sure your church’s information is up to date.

Easy updating instructions here.

Ephesus Project Updates

The NIC Anti-Racism Task Force (ARTF) is making updates to its Ephesus Project, a church/pulpit exchange, which has gone through some changes since its initial start. A “do-it-yourself” guide with a template is now available providing resources to learn about racism and racial equity that can be done in phases. ARTF hopes the guide will give churches more flexibility to start a pulpit exchange on their own. Click here for the guide.

Help Share Stories of Difference Makers

Have our churches “Made a Difference?” Of course, they have! Every one of our churches has helped change lives. We need stories to tell us how.

The NIC Board of Pensions introduced the “You Made a Difference” initiative at the 2022 session of the Annual Conference on June 9 to help share stories of how others within the UMC connection made a difference in our lives and also raise funds to support future clergy pension programs.

Please go to umcnic.org/differencemakers and click on “Tell Your Story” to open an online form. You can also click on the “Honored Difference Makers” tab to read stories that have been told by others.

Aurora District Lay Academy

Please note that Anyone is welcome to attend a class or classes offered.  You can attend one or all, you do not have to be a lay leader or in training to be a lay leader.  
Hi. Just wanted to make you aware that there is an “open” Zoom meeting with our DS for Prairie Central and other Laity on the 2nd Thursday of every month starting up again in Fall of 2022.
Take care,
Pat Price