Northern Illinois Conference 2023

“Come to the Table”

Pastor Brian Smith, Deaconness Amy Reimer, and Lay Members from Trinity Wilmette – Sandy Metts, Anne Mason, and Abby Holcombe participated in the 184th session of the Northern Illinois Conference.  The theme for June 6-8 was “Come to the Table.”  Every annual conference includes services for ordination, commissioning, and consecration for ministry; clergy retirements; and a memorial for those who have passed.  This year, we celebrated the ordination of Rev. Mori Siegel as a full elder. She was a Trinity Wilmette student pastor from 2016-2017, and our congregation supported her as a candidate for ministry until her final approval.  We also remembered the passing of Rev. Burt Randle, who served Trinity Wilmette for nearly 30 years. 


Trinity Wilmette’s delegation presented offerings from our congregation to support healing for survivors of BSA abuse ($6,200) and help for migrants ($417).  They are pictured below standing in front of a display that was part of the moving prayer service for peace in Korea.

To learn more from the Northern Illinois Conference, [click here].  Here are some Annual Conference reflections from Lay Members from Trinity Wilmette.

Sandy Metts: “I thoroughly enjoyed this year’s annual conference!  I respected and was so proud of the compassionate, respectful, understanding, Christian manner in which the Disaffiliation of Local Churches was handled.  I appreciated the opportunity to learn more about Ending the War and Building Peace on the Korean Peninsula.  The individual stories were moving and the activity that culminated the session was such a good team-building activity.  I was in awe at the handling of raising the minimum clergy salaries.  Participants showed unrelenting grace as they disagreed, offered solutions, presented facts, and worked as committees, to come to a conclusion that allowed the body to take a vote.  I learned so much from new friends as we shared about our churches, what worked, what wasn’t working, new ideas, old ideas, suggestions, and Christian fellowship.  We are blessed to have such a compassionate Bishop that truly listens and has conversations with people to better our Northern Illinois Conference.  Our conference has so many quiet working parts that parishioners are unaware of.  The conference went smoothly and compassionately.  I am grateful for the opportunity to attend and look forward to next year.”
Anne Mason: “I am truly grateful for the experience.  I was impressed by the overall planning and organization of the conference. It certainly reflected the amount of thought, time, and effort that went into it. The Laity session started us off on the right foot. The tone was set for compassionate, active listening and thoughtful dialog. We had the opportunity to interact with other participants right at the start. This was a great “icebreaker” for the entire conference. I would have appreciated more opportunities for conversation. I thought that the disaffiliations were handled gracefully and compassionately. While the door was clearly closed behind them, it was not bolted. Bible study was really interesting. The Celebration of Ministry was moving, as were the Retirement and Memorial services. The life stages of ministry were played out before us. It was really a privilege to bear witness. The Korean Peace Reflections and Prayer presentation was a beautiful tribute to the Korean people. It gave a historical perspective that is seldom discussed. The Korean military action is a short chapter between WWII and Vietnam. We are reminded that it’s an ongoing struggle by Kim Jong Un’s saber-rattling. I admire the thoughtful, compassionate, and prayerful approach to reconciliation. Having the conference attendees participate with the prayer fence and the linked hands made it an especially engaging and meaningful experience.  Bishop Schwerin did a fine job. I liked his manner, his time management, the gratitude and appreciation he expressed for others, his handling of the disaffiliations, and the legislation. His sermon, “Wisdom First, Courage Second,” was timely and inspiring.  Lastly, Dr. McCoy’s sermon was joyous and uplifting. I felt like the size of the room increased with every word.”
Abby Holcombe: “One of my favorite things about being United Methodist is our Connection. Last week, a few of us were able to participate in holy conferencing by attending the Northern Illinois Annual Conference. I talked with friends and colleagues–old and new! It felt like all of us either had connections to one another or knew of mutual colleagues. Seeing people of all sorts of backgrounds, demographics, and places at this conference was truly a glimpse of God’s Kingdom. Annual conference solidified my belief in the possibility of an ever-welcoming, fully inclusive welcoming place. It all starts with people who have virtually nothing in common except shared faith in Jesus Christ. And that connection alone is strong enough to build and continue a movement–one we call United Methodist.”