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2010 Northern Illinois Annual Conference

Northern Illinois Annual Conference
June 13-16, 2010, St. Charles, Ill.

United Methodists of the Northern Illinois Conference took bold action to reach new people in new places by approving a second stage of new faith communities at its 2010 Annual Conference. The conference launched more than 20 new starts in 2009; this year, the conference approved a fundraising campaign of $5 million to add to that total in the next five years.

Spurred by the Rethink Church initiative, the conference has been finding new ways to see congregations as resources to accomplish the mission of the church, not just as end products. Several participants spoke of the great changes that are happening in their churches, as lifelong members and newcomers alike look to The United Methodist Church for opportunities to change the world.

Youth and young adults were given special recognition at this year's conference, performing special music, leading worship and preaching on the opening day of the session. About this focus on youth, presiding Bishop Hee-Soo Jung said, "Youth are not the future of our church; they are the present."

Guest speakers contributed to the challenging - but uplifting - tone of the gathering. UMC Dakotas Area Bishop Deborah Kiesey told members to not be discouraged by our human failures - that "success is simply being faithful." The Rev. Gil Rendle prodded lay and clergy leaders to go back to their congregations, ask tough questions, and "be willing to lead, not knowing if it will work." Domincan Sister Kathleen Flood led a two-day Bible study of John 15 and Jesus' image of the vine and branches. "The mark of a faithful community," Flood said, "is how it loves, not who are its members."

In legislative action, the conference voted to:

  • petition the UMC Judicial Council to reconsider its recent decisions on inclusive membership
  • divest conference investments from companies that profit from the occupation of the Palestinian territories
  • support the people of Haiti through ministries of mercy, love and justice
  • advocate for comprehensive immigration reform

Two offerings were collected: $2,829 for relief in Haiti and $3,394 for the Ministerial Education Fund. Members also donated 1,947 pounds of relief supplies to be delivered to UMCOR's Sager Brown depot.

Members of the conference voted to approve apportionments in 2011 of $7.09 million, unchanged from the 2010 budget, with a total budget of $8.60 million. Conference Treasurer Lonnie Chafin reported to the conference of some of the benefits and changes that will occur as a result of the Affordable Care Act.

Bishop Jung ordained six deacons and 13 elders, with an average age of 35.

Membership stands at 100,372, down 1,440 (-1.4 percent) from the previous year. Average weekly worship attendance stands at 40,396, down 2,657 (-6.2 percent). Church school attendance stands at 17.744, up 2,553 (+16.8 percent). For more information about the Northern Illinois Conference, please visit http://www.umcnic.org.

-Matt Kuzma Jr., Director of Communications