Saturday, June 29, 2013

A Note of Gratitude from Michael Mann

Dear Chicago Northwestern District "Mission Kit" givers:

        I am writing to say a huge "thank you" to all of you who gave for the recent mission kit assembly at Annual Conference 2013. Your gifts enabled us to do far more than we could ever have imagined possible. Many of showed great generosity in your giving, and it makes a difference. You all saw the opportunity and knew of the need, and you responded.
        On that day, we received 2,906 hand towels, with about 1,000 of them coming from CNW district. All of the materials gifts received that day enabled 3,000 kits to be assembled. We assembled 1,178 on site at Annual Conference and the additional 1800 kits will be assembled throughout this summer.
Your gifts will continue to impact those who are in immediate need of relief. Whenever you hear of a hurricane or natural disaster, whether in this country or another, our relief work through UMCOR is able to be there. Your gifts will be among those that respond to the need, surrounding people with the care of Christian community.
        I pray that this gift from your congregation will continue to inspire them to be involved in God's mission in your community and throughout the world. Thank you for showing how much you care!

Michael Mann
Associate Director of Missions and Advocacy

P.S. For more information, see the article at

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Report on 2013 NIC Annual Conference by Vidette Mixon

I was grateful for the opportunity as annual conference Lay Member from Sherman United Methodist Church to attend the 2013 Northern Illinois Annual Conference.  According to the Book of Discipline, 251.2, local church Lay Members “…shall report to the local church council on actions of the annual conference as soon as possible, but not later than three months after the close of conference.”  In keeping with this responsibility, I submit the following summary of my attendance at annual conference during the first two days of the conference.

On Wednesday, June 5, 2013 the conference began with an opening worship service during which Bishop Dyck delivered her Episcopal Address—“Who Is My Neighbor?” from the Biblical parable of the Good Samaritan found in Luke 10: 25-37.  She challenged the conference to be in ministry with both our local immigrant communities and global neighbors.  In her address she provided sobering statistics about deaths of children due to malaria.  “In 2006, a child died of malaria every 30 seconds but now it’s up to one child every 60 seconds; still too many children are dying...but we can save lives.”  The bishop urged Northern Illinois Annual Conference churches to join the effort to raise $1 million dollars over the next three years for the Imagine No Malaria Campaign to eradicate the disease.

Health/Hygiene Kits for Missions-I delivered 50 hand towels as Sherman’s contribution to the Northwestern District  goal of 500 hand towels donated by various churches in the district.  The hand towels along with other items such as tooth brushes and soap were assembled into individual kits during the annual conference for distribution to those in need after weather disasters such as the tornadoes in Oklahoma.

On Thursday, June 6th the conference attendees participated in Bible Study that was led by Bill Mefford who is on staff at the General Board of Church and Society in Washington, DC.  The study was based on passages of scripture from the Book of Esther with a focus on historical and current immigration issues.  He challenged churches in the conference to learn about the Justice For Our Neighbor (JFON) ministry that has two clinics in Chicago and Aurora and suggested that each church should have a line-item in its budget for JFON.  JFON is a faith-based ministry welcoming immigrants into churches and communities by providing free, high-quality immigration legal services, education and advocacy

I have served as a member from Sherman to the Northern Illinois Annual Conference United Methodist Foundation board of directors for the past twelve years.  During the conference my three, four- year terms were acknowledged.  The executive director of the foundation reported that for the first time in 2012 the foundation’s assets surpassed $50 million.  The foundation has a proud history, when investment returns are favorable, of making monetary grants available to local churches for ministry projects.

A representative from the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits provided a brief presentation on the Clergy Retirement Security Program (CRSP) that is changing effective January 1, 2014.
During the conference, lay persons met in session separately from clergy and heard Lay Leader Arnold Rivera address the laity.  In his speech he  provided examples of the many ways that lay persons participate in  ministry to their neighbors in the annual conference.  The Laity Session also included a worship and communion service.

I became aware of a number of upcoming conference events:
  • Safe Sanctuaries, Conference-wide Training on internet and social media safety, Saturday, August 24, 2013, 9 AM-3 PM at 1st UMC, 216 E. Highland Ave., Elgin, IL.  Registration fee is $25.
  • Summer Summit on Stewardship, Saturday, July 20, 9 AM-3 PM the event will be available via live-stream at Park Ridge:  1st UMC, 418 Touhy Avenue, Park Ridge, registration fee is $25 per person or $70 for 3 or more persons from the same church
  • United Methodist Men’s 2013 Men’s Spiritual Congress, September 13-15, 2013, Williams Bay, Wisconsin.
  • Northern Illinois Annual Conference School of Evangelism-“Holiness of Heart, Life and Witness” Saturday, October 19, 2013 at Barrington UMC, 98 Algonquin Road, Barrington, IL 60010
  • Turnaround Church Boot Camp, October 26-27, 2013, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Northbrook, IL, registration fee $60 per person until October 1st
  •  Natural Church Development, September 27-28, 2013, 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM, St. Charles, IL, cost $60.

I have always found attendance at previous annual conferences to be inspirational and motivational. This session of annual conference was no exception.  I urge other Sherman Church leaders to personally experience this important annual event in the United Methodist Church. 

Vidette Bullock Mixon
June 11, 2013

Thursday, June 13, 2013


As I was sitting, thinking about how wonderful Sherman is as a community, I was also thinking about Sherman's role in the greater community. What is the "greater community?" Community might be geographical, political, religious, cultural, economic, or any one of so many more. The role we play may vary enormously with the definition and extent of the community in which we involve ourselves.

Sherman UMC is a wonderful community that is capable of doing and DOES do wonderful things. We have specific talents gifted to us for God's purpose. We have a lot to give and by giving we gain more. Two of Sherman's greatest assets are our amazing internal community and our willingness to involve ourselves in the world.

This month at Annual Conference, Sherman Methodist was awarded two important accolades. The first is that we paid 100% of our apportionments! The second was a recognition of our support of our Children's program. I have posted pictures of the certificates on the website. Also we are blessed that Pastor Berry has been appointed to serve Sherman for another conference year. This marks his tenth here at Sherman!

I am so proud to be a part of the Sherman community, and I am so proud of what Sherman does both inside and outside the church's walls. Let's keep it up, and let's do even more! Our possibilities are endless. May God continue to bless Sherman Methodist, our ministries, and our wonderful members. May he increase our portion, and may His hand be with us always to keep us from hurt and harm. Amen. (adapted from the prayer of Jabez 1Chron. 4:10 NRSV)

Go forth in love, in community, and in Christ with His blessings.

Sherman Notes - Change to the Blog Address

I changed the BLOG site address today from ShermanChurch to ShermanMethodist( since it's printed in the bulletin that way. The blog address now matches what I used for the church address ( If you are directing friends directly to the blog without going first through the website, the change will affect access because you won't find it at ShermanChurch( anymore. However if you are linking to it through the website you should have no problem getting to it.

I apologize for the delay in matching up the URL with what was printed, but now all is set to match what is printed.

In Christ,

Monday, April 15, 2013

Women's History Month Speaker 3 Mar 2013: Min. Gwen Edmonds

Gwen Edmonds was born March 13, 1940 on the West side of Chicago. She attended Hayes Elementary and graduated from Lucy Flower High School in 1958. She then continued her education at Crain Jr. College, then transferred to Roosevelt University, Depaul University, and then to Moody Bible Institute where she studied Christian Education and Music. Gwen met Walter L. Edmonds while attending Moody Bible Institute and they married in 1964.

Gwen and Walter moved to Mississippi where he served as pastor of Berean Bible Church. In 1968 they returned to Chicago. By this time, Gwen and Walter were proud parents of two daughters, Debra Lynn and Denise Marie. Walter went home to be with the Lord soon after they returned to Chicago, in September of 1968. Denise was two months old.

Saved at thirteen years old, Gwen credits God for keeping her out of nonsense. Her love for the Lord lead her to study Christian Education and Music as an adult. She knew she wanted to use music to help young people.

Gwen is a member of First Church of God Christian Life Center where she is involved in the music ministry. She is a musician for Sherman United Methodist Church and plays throughout the Evanston community. Gwen is a committed servant of God, always striving to do His will.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Black History Month Speaker Feb. 17, 2013: Dr. Harvey Echols, M.D.

Dr. Harvey L. Echols is a lifelong resident of the Chicago area. He is a proud graduate of Lindblom Technical High School, and he received his B.A. in biology from Monmouth College in 1981. He was a graduate student in the Medical/Dental Education Preparatory Program (MEDPREP) at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale during the 1982-1983 academic year, and earned his medical degree from Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in 1987. While at SIU, Dr. Echols served as both president and vice-president of the local chapter of the Student National Medical Association, and was a member of the Dean's Task Force on Minority Medical Education.
Dr. Echols served his internship and residency at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, and completed his residency in 1990. he was Chief Resident in the Department of Family Practice during the 1989-1990 academic yer. In 1992, Dr. Echols completed a fellowship on Sports Medicine at the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine.Dr. Echols is a past president of the Cook County Physicians Association, the component chapter of the National Medical Association. He is an appointed clinical assistant professor of Family Medicine at the University of Illinois Chicago College of Medicine, The Finch university of the Health Sciences at the Chicago Medical School, and Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. He is a member of the National Medical Association, the Cook County Physicians Association, the American Academy of Family Practice, the American College of Sports Medicine, and the American College of Medical Quality. Dr. Echols has previously served as a consulting team physician to the  Chicago Rush Arena League football team, Kennedy-King College, and Simeon Vocational Career Academy. He is the CEO and managing partner of Illinios Medical Consultants, a medico-legal consulting firm. As well, he currently serves as a physician adviser for Accretive Health Physician Advisory Services, a nationwide healthcare consulting group.
An accomplished public speaker, who haws delivered lectures on multiple topics, both medical and motivational, Dr. Echols, his wife, Dr. Millicent knight, and their son Matthew  reside in Evanston, Illinois.

Black History Month Speaker Feb. 10, 2013: Judge Sydney A. Jones, III

Judge Sidney A. Jones, III is a native of Chicago, having attended Hyde Park High School and the University of Illinois in Champaign, after which he served as an officer in the United States Marine Corps. After his discharge as a captain, he graduated from Northwestern University School of Law in 1973, and became engaged in the general practice of civil and criminal law, during which time he served as president of the Cook County Bar Association.

He was appointed a Circuit Judge by the Illinois Supreme Court in January, 1985, was elected in 1986 and retained in 1992 and in 1998. He served as the supervising judge of the Civil Trial Section of the First Municipal District and also as the Supervising Judge of the Mandatory Arbitration Program, effectively implementing time standards and guiding the emergence of mandatory arbitration in Cook County. Judge Jones became a highly acclaimed leader in court reform and the elimination of backlog, congestion and delay of civil cases. He was also active in continuing legal and judicial education, having attended, taught and presented dozens of seminars, workshops and classes throughout the legal profession and judicial system, including “Civil Mediation” at the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada. He also served as Chairperson of the Illinois Judicial Council, and as treasurer of the Judicial Council of the National Bar Association.

After having served as a trial judge in the prestigious Chancery Division of the Circuit Court, Judge Jones retired from the judiciary in April 2001 to join his wife, Linda RM Jones, in business. While in business, he served and an arbitrator and mediator and remained an active member of the Illinois Judicial Council and the Cook County Bar Association. He is also a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, the Montford Point Marine Association, and Coppin AME Church, where he serves as a member of the Board of Trustees and as president of the Music Ministry.

Judge Jones was recalled to again serve as a Circuit Judge by the Illinois Supreme Court in June 2008, and presently serves as a trial judge in the Circuit Court of Cook County. Within his division of the Circuit Court, Judge Jones’ calendar has the lowest number of pending cases, the fastest time to disposition rate, and the youngest average case age.

Judge Jones has resided in Chicago’s South Shore community continuously since 1986, and now resides with his wife of 23 years, Linda

Black History Month Speaker: Feb 3, 2013: R. Scott Rochelle

R. Scott Rochelle concentrates his practice in commercial litigation where he represents corporate clients in a myriad of areas such as premises liability, construction, and large scale loss claims. Scott gained extensive litigation experience through civil rights practice where he gained valuable experience in the federal court system. He has successfully represented municipalities, large and small, in numerous matters.

During law school, Scott served as a law clerk in the Office of the University Counsel at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus, where he worked closely with the university’s attorneys on large litigation matters involving civil rights, premises liability, and labor disputes.

In May 2004, Scott earned a Master of Education degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, concentrating on educational policy analysis. While at the College of Education, Scott served as a Summer Research Opportunities Research Fellow, a Pre-Doctoral Research Fellow, and a Graduate College Fellow, concentrating his research in the complexities of policy analysis within our nation’s education system.

Scott has immersed himself in community involvement and holds a masters degree in educational policy and is currently a member of the Evanston School District 202 Board of Education.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Beginning in Lent

What is this old tradition of giving something up for Lent? Do people really do that anymore? Some of those more stalwart traditionalists do still chose to observe Lent by giving something(s) up. Maybe that sounds like something you think you should do. Maybe that sounds like something that would make you feel like you're being a better Christian. So what will you give up for Lent?

What you give up for lent should be more than a little self-denial. I know life without chocolate or coffee feels like great suffering, but many of us (like me) console ourselves with the thought that it is temporary; we get to have it back after Easter. Does trying to make it seven weeks without your am kickstart do anything to deepen your relationship with God; or does it merely increase the suffering of those enduring your presence during that time? Lent shouldn't be a second shot at a new year's resolution.

Try making a change that puts your focus where it needs to be. That might mean actually adding something instead of giving something up. (stopping to pray in the middle of the day) or choosing to eliminate a habit that has the power to really transform. Perhaps consider the thought, "What can I take with me beyond Easter from this experience?" before you decide. That way what you give up (or take up) has a meaning that will last, one that will help you carry it through without asking, "How much longer do I have to do this?!?"