October 24, 2020
Greetings from the Gatherings Team of the UCC Illinois South Conference:
As we all try to plan for future events, we are faced with many questions and considerations as to how we will function as a church for Sunday worship, Christian education programs, special events like funerals and weddings, and for our particular team, how to plan for our Conference annual meeting.
By this time in years past, your church would have received a pre-annual meeting mailing (90 days prior to the annual meeting, as per our by-laws) with a specific agenda of activities and registration information, as well as a reminder to send the names of your conference delegates to the ISC office. As much as the Gatherings Team would like to abide by the by-laws, we are just not able to provide a lot of specific information at this point.
The Covid-19 pandemic certainly threw a monkey wrench into the plans that we had been making since last November. By April we realized that a large, in-person annual meeting was not the best idea. For the safety of our church leaders and pastors, we recommended to the Conference Council that a virtual meeting be considered. The Conference Council determined in May that we would hold a “virtual annual meeting.”
After five months of planning, we had to “throw out the book” and reconfigure a meeting in a way we have never done before. We still have a theme, a guest speaker, and a guest musician. We will still have a business meeting and worship service, but how this is all going to happen is still a work in progress.
At this point, we would like to ask for your support in two specific ways:
- We ask for your patience as we put together a safe yet effective annual meeting. It will be held on October 24 with additional opportunities for continuing education and gathering during that weekend. There are still too many “unknowns.” Therefore, we hesitate to share specifics which may change a week later. Please know we will work to keep you updated with our plans. We will send out information as we have more clarity.
- If you are still in the process of determining your delegates for annual meeting, we would ask you to consider approaching church members who have a computer (with video capability) and email to serve in this capacity. You may also consider having an annual meeting “watch party” at your church where your delegates can come together to experience annual meeting in a smaller, safer venue and without the travel.
We are deeply grateful for your support of us as we will work to make this annual meeting a meaningful experience for all. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
The Illinois South Conference Gatherings Team
Walt Hart, Chair Carol Harms
Eileen Hoag Rev. Shana Johnson
Chilang Lawless Mimi Llamas
Christy Pursell Pastor Jon Tinge
Rev. Michelle Torigian Rev. Andy Wilson