2007 Northern Illinois Annual Conference
June 9-12, 2007, St. Charles, Ill.
Bishop Hee-Soo Jung presided over the 168th session of the Northern Illinois Annual Conference. The theme was "Sharing God's Gifts: The Heart of Global Missions."
"In all we celebrate today, the hand of God is evident," said Jung. "God treasures the gift of each person in our conference and in our churches. No one is excluded from the family of God."
Jung reminded people about a lesson for today out of the season of Pentecost. "People went from timid and afraid to bold, turned from inward looking to outward looking for others, and the Holy Spirit overcame confusion, and unity came out of diversity."
The mission theme was celebrated with the presence of Bishop Gaspar Domingos of the West Angola Conference, Bishop Fritz Mutti speaking about the United Methodist Global Aids Fund, and retired Bishops Judith Craig and Sheldon Duecker along with the Rev. Grace Imathiu leading members in three days of morning Bible study.
The conference launched Harvest 2020, a major growth initiative seeking to: 1) revitalize existing congregations; 2) build closer cooperation for growing ministry within district clusters; and 3) plant 100 new faith communities by the year 2020.
Bishop Jung ordained 12 elders and two deacons and commissioned five toward elders orders and 3 toward deacons orders. Eighteen clergy retired. The laity address was delivered by Roger Curless, conference lay leader, who asked: "What is keeping us from risking more, trying more, dreaming more? God wants us to fly. &ellipsis; We need to see as God sees."
Lay delegates elected to the 2008 General Conference are: Roger Curless, Aurora; Harriett McCabe, Naperville; Irma Clark, Chicago; Jack Ryder, LaGrange; and Ana Kelsey-Powell, Lisle.
Clergy delegates elected to General Conference are: James Preston, Chicago; Deborah Fisher, Lake Bluff; Tracy Smith-Malone, Wheaton; Margaret Ann Crain, Evanston; and Ouk-Yean Kim Jueng, Rockford.
Lay delegates elected to the North Central Jurisdictional Conference are: Judy Siaba, Chicago; Matt Kuzma, Chicago; Mark Manzi, West Chicago; Elisa Gatz, Sterling; and Pong Javier, Chicago. Alternate lay delegates are: David Braden, Chicago; and Charla Antrobus, Cortland.
Clergy delegates elected to the North Central Jurisdictional Conference are: Larry Pickens, White Plains, N.Y; Alka Lyall, Freeport; Oscar Carrasco, Elgin; Juancho Campanano, Aurora; and Luis Reyes, Bensenville. Alternate clergy delegates are: Pamela Lightsey, Evanston; and Martin Lee, Wilmette.
The conference passed a budget of $7,563,190.
The assembly passed 23 resolutions. Five petitions will be sent to General Conference.
Highlights of the resolutions/petitions:
- Widen the definition of inclusiveness to include all families and make it clear that "inclusiveness means openness, acceptance, and support that enables all persons to participate in the life of the church, the community, and the world and denies every semblance of discrimination," and make it clear that the definition of "status" in Article IV of the Constitution of the church includes heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual and transgender status of single persons and persons who avow they are in committed, loving relationships.
- Seek farm worker justice in the fast-food industry supply chain--Contact Burger King, Subway and other large tomato purchasers to follow Taco Bell's and McDonald's lead to improve tomato pickers' wages and working conditions.
- Pursue Peace and Justice in the Holy Land--United Methodist agencies are encouraged to use financial leverage to push for accountability among corporations conducting business in regions of the world with civil and political unrest, particularly in the Holy Land.
- Authorize the development of a conference Task Force on e-Safety and Ethics to develop training materials and opportunities for children, youth, parents, clergy and church leaders on topics of safe and moral use of electronic media and communications.
Membership stands at 105,360, down 2,242 from the previous year. Average worship attendance was 45,829, down 389.
-Susan Dal Porto