The 2021 meeting of the Illinois Great Rivers Annual Conference was held on Zoom instead of in-person this year, the theme being “A Time for Healing” based on Ecclesiastes 3. The single-day conference on June 12 presented inspiring preaching and music as well as dealing with conference business. <!–split–>
Some facts about this year in our conference are: 26 pastors retired; 10 churches closed; and 2 churches left our denomination to become independent. The 2022 budget of just over $11 million was approved. (This is a slight reduction from this year’s budget.) The budget included a new position in conference, a Director of Ministerial Excellence, which will help ministers from the beginning of their candidacy throughout their active ministry. 8 provisional pastors and 4 pastors in full connection were approved. Their ordination was held on June 19. 2 district superintendents have retired from the 10 districts in IGRC. It was decided not to hire replacements, but to distribute their duties to the 8 DSs that remain. The uncertainty of what will happen when the worldwide General Conference meets and makes decisions in August 2022 is making everyone cautious in their planning for the future.
The Our Conference Our Kids (OCOK) campaign has received $2 million of its goal of $2.5 million. The endowment has already been put to work as $10 million was given to each of the 5 child welfare agencies in our conference to help stressed budgets this year. Please remember the OCOK campaign in you giving this year! Please remember our Bishop Beard as he takes leave of absence for 6 months to deal with eye problems; the Rev. Gregory Palmer, a previous bishop of IGRC, will be standing in for him.
Next year’s conference will be June 9 – 11 in Peoria, and you are all welcome to attend or watch it on live stream.
Respectfully submitted, Joyce Hein, Lay Delegate from Moline Bethel Wesley