United Methodist Men’s Annual Report for 2020

President George Groves

During 2020 the NICUMM reached out in ministry and mission to help others to know and grow in Christ.  The NICUMM men continue to develop Executive Committees in each District.  Our Spiritual Congress, Upper Room Prayer Ministry and our mission efforts continue to be focal points for our men.  Efforts were hampered, but not stopped, during 2020 because of the pandemic and our inability to meet and fellowship in person.  Many activities were converted over to ZOOM video conferencing which opened new opportunities and new audiences.  Our Spiritual Congress 2020 – Get Your Sandals Dusty was converted from a live men’s retreat to a ZOOM event and we changed the theme to addressing racism.  With a virtual event, we were able to expand our presenters who included:  Mississippi Bishop James Swanson and NIC Bishop Sally Dyck, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Father Michael Pfleger, Congressmen Danny Davis and Adam Kinzinger, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul, District Superintendents Rev. Jeffry Bross and Rev. Dr. Jacques Conway,  General Secretary of the GCUMM Gil Hanke, Director of the Center for Scouting Ministries Stephen Scheid, GCUMM Deployed Staff Mark Lubbock, Rev Caleb Hong and Rev Norval I. Brown.  Special music was supplied by men from throughout the conference.  We had an amazing 178 people register for SC, including over 30 women!  Younger men that receive special invitations to SC positively responded to the virtual event.  Videos of the event are available for viewing at our website www.nicumm.org .

Disciple Bible Outreach Ministries continues to be key mission for both Illinois Great River Conference and our Northern Illinois Conference UMM but activities were dormant in 2020 as the prisons were closed to visitors because of the pandemic.  A few new Class Meetings book study groups via ZOOM were established across the conference. Amending Through Faith, an 8-week men’s study to prevent domestic violence is also supported for the men in our conference but lagged because of the inability of men to meet.

Quadrennial elections were held at our Annual Meeting in February 2020 prior to the shutdown.  Officers for the next Quadrennium include: George Groves – President; Craig McGregor – Vice President; Eugene Williams – Treasurer; Dave Holland – Secretary; with Jim Loeppert – Youth Services Coordinator; Herb John – Prayer Advocate; Paul Callighan – Marketing and Web support.   

District Activities are reaching men for Christ.  Some of our 2020 highlights for the conference and common in all districts are:

  • Continued the 2018-2021 plan of work for the Conference UMM, and updated for including provisions for SMART goals.
  • Held the 60th Spiritual Congress via ZOOM rather than the in-person men’s retreat at Williams Bay Wisconsin in September.
  • Men’s Ministry Specialist: NICUMM have four men certified as MMS.
  • EMS/Legacy Builders & Charters, efforts to invite men to become involved in Men’s Ministry were hampered because of the restrictions on meetings.
  • Meals for Millions/Society of St. Andrews, continues as a major Mission Program and the NIC was recognized as the 2019 Top Conference with donations over $20,000to SoSA.
  • Prayer Ministry, the new Prayer Wall was hosted at Spiritual Congress; provided support to the Upper Room Prayer Ministry ($1000)
  • Scouting Ministries Programs and Reaching out to younger men and women. The United Methodist Men Supports, with National Memorandums of Understanding, Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of the United States of America, Big Brothers Big Sisters, and Campfire, USA.  Our Conference Scouting Coordinator, is working hard to establish a Conference Scouting Committee as well as participating in the National training of Conference Scouting Coordinators.  A strong emphasis on Scout Sunday, February 9, 2020 was made with our national Director of Scouting Ministries, Steven Scheid working within our conference to promote use of all of the organizations in our local churches’ Community Youth Outreach Ministries.  Changed to virtual training events with greater attendance than previous years.
  • Our men participated/attended in multiple UMM National Days of Prayer and an International Watch Night service facilitated by the GCUMM.
  • John Wesley Fellow:  Bernard Brantley was awarded/recognized as a Fellow in the Society of John Wesley by the men of Southlawn UMC, his local church.

Aurora District: President, Jim Simmons

  • Focused on what individual district men are doing in mission and spiritual growth
  • Hosted Lenten and Advent meetings and a Prayer gathering via ZOOM.
  • Hosted the election of District UMM officers by email for annual March meeting. 
  • District men worked with the men of New Lenox UMC to distribute food from a truck load of USDA Farmers to Families Food Box program made available to our area by the Society of St. Andrew. 
  • New Lenox Men started a mission program of suppling food from a local farmer’s market to local Pantries & Soup Kitchens.

Chicago Northwestern District:  President, Open

  • Work of establishing a formal NWD Executive Committee was restricted by the pandemic.

Chicago Southern District: President, Keith McClinton

  • Continued Monday night bible study for the 32th year
  • Though not able to host the Annual Awards Banquet, they still honored 4 deserving individuals from the district with plaques.
  • Hosted the NICUMM Annual Meeting with elections at Wesley UMC, Chicago.
  • Continued Food Pantries at Morgan Park UMC, Maple Park UMC, South Shore UMC, Transformation UMC and New Gresham UMC.

Elgin District:  President, Jim Nelson

  • Continued to re-establish an Executive Committee.
  • Held District Lenten meeting.
  • Supported SoSA, through Potato drops and donations and collected vegetables for a food pantry.  Produce from a church garden used to feed the hungry.
  • One unit hosts Saturday morning book study, the latest being “White Too Long”.
  • UMM unit participates in the local community by donating time material and talents in the form of handy man jobs for the homeless shelter program for women and children.

De Kalb District: President, Jay Stevens

  • Strengthen Leadership through Charters & EMS Members
  • Held district strategy meetings and a District annual gathering.
  • Continued to provide hunger relief through various pantries and gleaning sweet corn, and countless garden vegetables.

Rockford District:  President, Dave Hilton

  • Grace UMC, Rockford, IL hosted the Rockford District Spring Communion Breakfast, Gil Hanke as the guest Speaker. 
  • The 12th annual Harmony for Hunger concert was cancelled due to Covid19 concerns.
  • The Alleluia Quartet held a Facebook Live concert on October 4th to raise money for local food pantries and the Society of ST Andrew’s Meals for Millions.  $8000 was raised $1750 going towards Society of St. Andrew’s Meals for Millions.  $6250 distributed to the local food pantries in our District.
  • The Rockford District held a virtual Fall service with their District Superintendent Rev. Fabiola Grandon-Mayer, SOSA’s Wade Mays, and our guest speaker was Violet Johnicker speaking on Anti-Racism.  Our offering raised $5750 for Society of St. Andrews Meals for Millions.   
  • The Rockford District will be sending a total of $7,500 to Society of St. Andrews Meals for Millions program for 2020. 
  • Officers for the next 4 years include:  Dave Hilton, President; Ted Plum, Vice President; and John Vanderheyden, Secretary/Treasurer.

For the NICUMM,

George Groves

Conference UMM President