Day 2 of the Illinois Conference 42nd Annual Meeting started too early. It's my own fault, as I elected to stay at home and drive in each day. I also arranged for breakfast so I needed to get there by about 7:30 am. The weather was mostly nice so I hopped on the motorcycle and headed east. (imagine the "vroom, vroom!" sound effects in your head)
Our first business meeting (plenary) offered the discussion and passing of the Illinois Conference Youth Initiative's Resolution calling for the conference to place a priority on youth ministry. Nobody was going to vote against it. However, (well, not however, but I can't think of the right transition word) Jonathan Knight, Acting Fox Valley Association Minister and ICYI staff liaison, said something like this, "Don't vote for this resolution . . . Because you like youth. Vote for it and then go back to your home churches and do something about it!"
Associate Conference Minister Jorge Morales offered a vibrant report where he shared his passion for Illinois Conference church planting and nurturing, especially in the area of Hispanic congregations.
We also spent necessary and informative discussion time with the 2007 proposed budget. We passed that too.
Conference Minister Jane Fisler Hoffman presented her annual report. You can tell her passion lies in challenging congregations and pastors to have pastors truly lead -- not rule. She challenged us all to provide excellent leadership to congregations.
During the afternoon we spent time in a ministry marketplace -- part of or Open Spaces Technology plan for revisioning how conference ministries will work in the future. I spent my time in a group talking about Youth Ministry in the conference. (Others we in any of about 18 groups) In the Youth Ministry group, we decided to work on a plan that calls for a full-time, professional staff person devoted to youth ministry at the conference level as well as plans to provide more opportunities for youth in the conference to connect. We're gathering again July 15 to talk about sending at least 50 youth from the conference to General Synod 2007 in Hartford, Connecticut.
Our evening worship service was a weekend highlight. The service was planned and presented by the Illinois Conference Youth Committee. Katie Mellentine, a 16 year old leader of ICYI, delivered the sermon, "Timothy's Challenge." I know many were moved by her journey of faith.
The evening wrapped up with some silliness down in the Blue Jays Roost -- Magic tricks, games and Karaoke too!
It was starting to rain as I rode my motorcycle home.