September 1, 2021, marked the 5-Year Anniversary of Bishop Frank J. Beard’s tenure as episcopal leader of The Illinois Area. He has provided steady leadership to our conference throughout a myriad of challenges:
- Denominational divides on the issues of sexuality
- Pandemic related pressures involving the economy and healthcare
- Adaptability following loss of laity and clergy due to retirements and deaths
- Vision in helping to outline and visualize organizational and structural changes
- Need for compassion and care for youth residing in residential support facilities
Bishop Beard’s passion in caring for children is but one more of his acts of Christian love. He has mobilized a variety of individuals from across the conference to bolster the efforts of Our Conference Our Kids Endowment Initiative which was approved at the 2016 Annual Conference. Bishop Beard’s passion in caring for children and introducing children to Christ is at the heart of the vision for Our Conference Our Kids to endow the Spiritual Life Ministries at The Baby Fold, Chaddock, Cunningham Children’s Home, Lessie Bates Neighborhood House, and Spero Family Services to ensure the continued inclusion of Christ-centered spiritual care in their healing work. This vision is what motivates us as we move closer to receiving $2M in gifts and commitments toward the goal of a $2.5M endowment.
The Bishop is NOT asking for personal contributions for his medical bills. Bethel Wesley will join with Illinois United Methodist churches in celebrating his ministry by engaging in prayer and by collecting a special offering for Our Conference Our kids each Sunday at church in September. Alongside our prayers, let’s honor Bishop Beard with our financial gifts to Our Conference Our Kids. Out of the abundance of God’s blessing, let us give abundantly.
We thank God for Bishop Beard and pray for healing as his eye surgery for glaucoma at Mayo Clinic is in progress. His first eye has been successfully operated upon and now needs 8-10 weeks of healing before the same operation on his second eye.