We have tickets available for the Men's Lenten Breakfast featuring Bob Muzikowski, the founder of Chicago Hope Academy. This year's breakfast will be held at 6:00am on Tuesday, March 5th at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Bloomington. Ticket cost is $25.00. If you are interested, please see Angie at the Connections Center kiosk in the Atrium.
Ladies, are you ready for some fun? Heart and Soul Women’s Ministry is hosting a games night for all ladies 6th grade and up. With everything from Twister to Yahtzee, there will be games for everyone. We hope that you can join us for a fun night out. Feel free to bring a friend! The event is Thursday, February 28th at Calvary from 6:30-8pm. Childcare will be available. Please visit the Connections Center kiosk in the atrium to sign up!
In just 11 days, brothers and sisters of the United Methodist Church will gather in St. Louis to make decisions for the church, people in the church and out of the church, and in some way attempt to navigate something that will, without a doubt, have an impact on the general church, the local church, our church, and the Kingdom of God.
With such a moment in time and history in front of us, I believe that individually and collectively we here at Calvary need to be on our knees, seeking the face of God, praying “thy kingdom come, they will be done,” and whatever else the Holy Spirit lays on our hearts. I usually pray my way around something - praying over the parts I can see and then, trusting God to hear when I don’t know how to pray over the parts I can’t see. Scripture says the Holy Spirit will intercede when we don’t know how to pray. I’ve relied on the Holy Spirit day after day after day since I came to Christ.
Let me offer a couple of thoughts:
There will be prayer direction and follow up conversation from General Conference the next three weeks in this Leader’s Update section.
Monday night - 2/25 - I’m inviting you, as a member of the Body of Christ, to gather at Calvary at 6:30pm to pray together as you are able. That’s the Monday before decisions are made on Tuesday, 2/26. We’ll meet in the Parlor (and hopefully need to move to the worship center if we outgrow the Parlor).
After the General Conference Session on the 26th, I will, to the best of my ability and understanding, share what happened and how decisions made there might affect Calvary. My guess is there will be a lot of questions on procedure even after General
Conference is over. I may need a bit of time to process, so please exercise the spiritual gift of patience.
Please be in prayer this week for the General Conference. Below is a suggested prayer activity for each day this week.
Give your ideas about the General Conference over to God - in others words: your views of General Conference, your views of the options, your views of notions and beliefs - give them over to God. Give the good, the bad, the confusion, and the unknown to God. Pray the name of Jesus over them and offer them God.
Pray over our delegates who are going. I know these folks and they are good people who love the Lord. We don’t agree on everything, but they are our brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus.
Clergy: Sylvester Weatherall, Andy Adams, Sara Isabell, Chris Ritter, Bob Phillips
Alternates: Randy Robinson, Roger Ross, Jan Griffith
Laity: Rhonda Whitaker, Bunny Wolfe, Kim Woods, Steve Shonert, Larry Weber
Alternates: Marian McCray, Anish Hermon, Carol Sims
Pray over the Bishops who are presiding over the conference. Pray for wisdom, discernment, capacity to help everyone stay focused, and grace to lead through the strong feelings and disagreements.
Pray over the witness of the church to the city of St. Louis and to the rest of the world. Pray that the Holy Spirit help us to be at our best in disagreement. Pray that love and grace are left in the ears of those who hear our dialogue.
Begin to pray for a peace that passes all understanding to settle into the venue, into the delegates, into the Church as a whole.
Pray that God would speak a word to people everywhere to be still and know that He is God. Again, begin to pray the name of Jesus over those who are starting the journey to St. Louis. Pray for all of those who will help with the logistics as delegates arrive.
This is a day set aside for prayer in St. Louis. Please pray with them: Come Holy Spirit, come. Come Holy Spirit, come.
Post Conference Briefings:
Bishop Beard will be hosting Post-General Conference Briefings.
The link to sign up is https://www.igrc.org/newsdetail/12748295You MUST register to go. If one of the sites below is not listed at the website, that means the site has filled.
Saturday, March 2 -- Champaign Faith UMC, 10 a.m.
Monday, March 4 -- Willow Hill UMC, East Peoria, 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, March 7 -- Geneseo First UMC, 7 p.m.
Saturday, March 9 -- O'Fallon First UMC, 10 a.m.
Thursday, March 14 -- Harrisburg First UMC, 6:30 p.m.
When Calvary hosts a funeral service, we have the opportunity to be the hands, feet, and heart of Jesus to those who have experienced loss in their lives. The service of worship held is meaningful; but often, the meal following the service is where the majority of ministry takes place. As people who follow Jesus, this shouldn’t surprise us. Much of Jesus’ ministry was done around the table at a meal.
For many years, there have been many Calvary folks who have worked hard and behind the scenes to make this much needed and much appreciated ministry of funeral meals happen. We’re now ready to train and equip the next generation of servants to continue this ministry into the future. Opportunities to help vary and can be matched to your availability. If you’re looking for a way to get connected to a ministry that makes an impact in the lives of hurting people, we’d love to get you connected and continue the great work that is already happening. See Amanda or Angie at an Atrium Kiosk, email Amanda Nesby at Amanda.firstname.lastname@example.org, or give Amanda a call at 309-808-4821.
By Val Funk - Director of Kid Connections & Lori Short - Managing Director of Family Ministries
Calvary Kid Connections preschool fills the building with laughter and learning throughout the week. Kid Connections was founded in 1970 as an outreach ministry of Calvary United Methodist Church. Christian values combine with an academically sound, research-based curriculum to provide a safe, stimulating Christian preschool program in which each child is encouraged to reach his or her full potential. Kid Connections is a nationally accredited program where all children of all faiths are loved and welcome.
Our wonderful, caring and creative preschool staff, comprised of 6 teachers and one director, combine to lead 7 classes that take place during the day Monday through Thursday and serve 92 children. A preschool board made of Calvary members serves to oversee the mission and vision. Many families without a church home find the preschool to be their first step to claiming Calvary as their church home. Calvary’s Kid Connections Preschool is a place where kids have fun, learn, are given a foundation of God’s love and are loved!
Calvary is excited to partner with Home Sweet Home Ministries in Bloomington/Normal. Home Sweet Home Ministries demonstrates Christ's love through innovative approaches that instill hope, restore lives, and build community.
Their vision is to be a ministry of refuge and renewal powered by Jesus Christ.
Volunteers are the lifeblood of the way they serve those in need at Home Sweet Home Ministries. Every year, volunteers dedicate over 48,000 hours of service to accomplish their mission and vision.
HSHM is always in need of volunteers who love to work with their hands. For example:
Monthly deep cleaning of shelter.
Light handy work.
Groundskeeping during summer months.
Furniture moving as needed.
Painting as needed.
Light construction as needed.
CIY Believe is a wonderful overnight retreat for 6th-8th graders that takes place Friday-Saturday, March 1-2. This national event will take place at the Bank of Springfield Center, in Springfield. We will stay nearby, overnight at Grace Lutheran Church. Registration cost is $65 per student. Each student can register here.
As winter weather begins to hit its stride, we wanted to take a moment to remind everyone where to find information about cancellations at the church (if they become necessary). We will always post cancellation information in two places:
The very top banner of our website (www.connectwithcalvary.org) and
On our voicemail message (or via live person) at the main church phone number 309-452-5413.
If the weather looks somewhat threatening or if you hear of other cancellations in the area, it's always best to check either of these two sources to find out about cancellations at the church. Thank you for helping us all stay safe together as we connect with God, one another, and our world through worship, wisdom, and works.
The CIY SuperStart is a popular overnight retreat for 4th & 5th Graders that takes place Friday - Saturday, March 1-2. SuperStart is a national event designed specifically for preteens where they can learn and grow in their relationships with friends, leaders, and most importantly God! While the program portion of this event takes place locally at Eastview Christian Church, please note that kids who register through Calvary will spend the night at Calvary Friday night and will stay with the Calvary youth group throughout the event. Friends are welcome! Registration cost is $60 per student. Each student who registers must complete a separate registration form. SIGN-UP EARLY, AS REGISTRATIONS MAY BE LIMITED.
As we close the books on 2018, we wanted to share a financial update with the congregation. In many ways, 2018 was a year to celebrate God’s provision financially at Calvary. Below are a few highlights:
The mortgage was paid off and the Good Samaritan Fund was endowed through a generous estate gift of $3,729,000.
We were able to increase our operating capital to the top end of our approved limit (3 months) by the end of 2018.
Our total expenses for 2018 were 10% under budget. This came without the assistance of the mortgage retirement gift and mortgage payoff.
Our total expenses for 2018 were also 3% lower than our total expenses for 2017; again, without the assistance of the mortgage gift.
We ended the year with a surplus of $228,116.
Even though pledged giving was down 18%, our non-pledged giving was up 76% for an overall reduction in giving by 3.5% from 2017.
Please take a moment to thank God for a good financial year for Calvary. Pray also for continued ways to partner together through the ministry of generosity to bless those in the community and around the world in the name of Jesus.
Pastor Randy will be leading a class on the Living Faithfully book on Human Sexuality. The class will be held on Wednesday evenings at 6:30pm in Room 111 starting January 16th and running until February 13th (except for February 6th). All are welcome to attend. If you need a book, please pick one up at the Connections Center kiosk.
*Please note - With the cancellation of class on January 23, in which we were looking at chapter 2, we'll come to that chapter but let's read chapter 3 as well. We may not get to chapter 3 but if we do, we'll be ready. Thanks and blessings.
Please keep these Calvary Leaders in prayer as they serve this congregation and Christ's church all over the world through ministry at Calvary.
Chair: Jon Butler (2020)
Secretary: Barb Bills (2018)
Lay Leader: Joe Landon (2020)
Mark O'Flaherty (Finance)
Amy Davis (outreach)
Jill Jones, Jon Butler, Alice Staley (Lay Members to Annual Conference)
Matt Swingler (Stewardship)
David Bollivar (Trustees Chairperson)
Dale Herring (SPRC)
Diana Brown (Lay Leadership Vice Chairperson)
Alice Staley (UMW)
**Rev. Randy Reese (Pastor)
**Dr. Isaac Gaff, **Lori Short, **Ray Slaubaugh (Staff Managing Directors)
Lay Members of Annual Conference
(2020) Jon Butler
(2020) Alice Staley
(2020) Ralph Smith
Committee on Nominations and Leadership Development
Chair of Nominations and Leadership Development: Rev. Randy Reese
Lay Leader: Joe Landon
Vice Chair: Diana Brown
(2019) Diana Brown, Ellie Dew, Tracy Vincent
(2020) Joe Perring, Tina Carby, Ralph Smith
(2021) Lindsay Mitchell, Beth Wall, Sarah Craft
Staff Parish Relations Committee
Chair: Dale Herring
(2019) Matt Harr, Amy Moser
(2020) Grethe Armstrong, Dale Herring, Judie Bennett
(2021) Elizabeth Simpson, Kaye Schroeder
Chair: Mark O'Flaherty
(2019) Mark O’Flaherty, Jim Brown
(2020) Cathe Carter, John Croft
(2021) Stephanie Mattson, Suzann Reid
*Randy Reese (Pastor)
*Ray Slaubaugh (Director of Operations)
*Jon Butler (Chairperson of Church Council)
*Sandy Theile (Accountant)
*Kevin Hoss (Treasurer)
*Dale Herring (or other representative of SPRC)
*Joe Landon (Lay Leader)
Chairperson of Trustees
* Matt Swingler (Chairperson of Stewardship)
*Member of Finance by Virtue of Office
Strategic Leadership Team
(2019) Dawn Sanner, Joe Landon
(2020) Heather Plattner
(2021) Stacey Tetzloff
Chair: Matt Swingler
(2019) Jim Brown, Diana Brown
(2020) Matt Swingler
(2021) Steve Seibring, Nancy Behrens
Board of Trustees
Chair: Ted Coussens
(2019) Gary Dickson
(2020) Larry Phillips, Susan Hoss, Rebecca Craig, Sandy Whiteley
(2021) Larry Oleson, Greg Webb, Jan Murray
Chairs: Libby Burns
(2019) Libby Burns, Betty Dorsey
(2020) Jean Wetter
United Methodist Women
President: Alice Staley
Chair: Amy Davis
(2019) Rob Wall
(2020) Ron Kennedy, Peggy Kennedy, Jim Jones, Trevor Perring(2021) Andrew Short, Mindy Goodman, Leann Fujimoto
Chair: Angie Bicknell
Treasurer: Marcy Dienslake
(2019) Sandy Dickson, Angie Bicknell
(2020) Brooke Frantz, Melanie Moody, Megan Lieb, Penny Brown
(2021) Sue Rutkowski, Carrie Green
The first meeting for the new study of Men's Faith and Fellowship on Tuesday evenings will be held on February 12th at 6:30pm at the Radisson Hotel in Normal. The new video series will be from Adam Hamilton titled "Simon Peter". Our following sessions will be on Tuesday evenings at 6:30pm at Calvary in room L8. To sign up, please visit the Connections Center kiosk in the Atrium.
Pastor Randy Reese - Directing Pastor
Looking ahead into 2019, here are some preaching - teaching plans that I’ve been working on.
The Words of Jesus - Who is Jesus?
The Ways of Jesus - How does Jesus do things?
The Witness of Jesus - To whom does Jesus witness or testify?
The Works of Jesus - What does Jesus do?
Series #1: Who Is Jesus?
1/06 - “I AM the Light of the World” (John 8:12-20)
1/13 - “I AM the Bread of Life” (John 6:22-35)
1/20 - “I AM the Gate and the Good Shepherd (John 10:7-18)
1/27 - “I AM the Way, the Truth, and The Life” (John 14:1-6) Ray Owens
Sunday, 1/27 at 9:00am in the parlor - Special Called Session of General Conference information
“Living Faithfully - Human Sexuality and the United Methodist Church” -Wednesday evenings at 6:30pm - 1/16, 1/23, 1/30, & 2/6
Due to the pile up of snow and side streets that have not yet been cleared, this event has been rescheduled for February 20th.
Parkside elementary is looking for 100 adults or more to line the sidewalks at Parkside to cheer on and encourage students as they return to school on Wednesday, February 20th from 7:15-8:15am. You can cheer, whistle, clap, sing, and shout words of encouragement along with the Parkside Promise Council members. Students who feel supported and encouraged do better in school. The Parkside Promise Council strives to give every student the opportunity to succeed through education. If you have questions or would like to sign up, you can contact the Promise Council.
By Pastor Randy Reese - Directing Pastor
In light of the upcoming celebration of the Christmas and New Year's holidays, the office and building schedule for the next week or so looks like this:
12/24 & 12/25 - closed
12/26 & 12/27 - 8am - 5pm
12/28 - 8am - 1pm
12/31 - 8am - 12pm
1/1 - closed
12/24 - gym closed
12/25 - closed
12/26 & 12/27 - 8am - 5pm
12/28 - 8am - 1pm
12/29 - closed
12/31 - 8am - 12pm
1/1 - closed
We will return to regular office & building hours on 1/2/19.
And …. From all of us called the staff at Calvary United Methodist Church, we wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. May God’s blessings and peace surround you.
By Matt Swingler - Chair of Stewardship
Back in November, I provided an initial update on behalf of the Stewardship Committee to share Calvary's progress toward achieving the 2019 stewardship campaign goals. The yearly campaign plays a significant role in establishing the operational ministry budget which includes funding for ministry programs, facility needs, outreach initiatives, and congregational care.
Here we are one month later and rapidly approaching the start of a new year. While we continue to see the totals increase week over week, the number of pledges coming in has slowed in recent weeks. As a result, we still have a little bit of work to do to hit our target goals in order to position Calvary to continue its ministry and mission in the coming year.
Stewardship campaign results thru December 5, 2018.
$1,041,487 in pledges target = $1,400,000
19 new pledgers target = 30
93 increased pledge amounts vs. prior year target = 150
218 total pledges
For those individuals that haven't pledged yet, but still intend to do so, please visit the stewardship page on the Calvary website to learn more.
May the spirit of Christmas bring you peace and joy as you celebrate Christ's birth this holiday season!
By Pastor Randy Reese - Directing Pastor
Our Director of Building and Grounds, Larry Gamblin, is having hip replacement surgery on Monday, December 10th. We pray and wish him the best for the surgery and recovery. Our staff of custodians Karen, Darren, Javy, Anna, Noah, and Greg will handle the daily cleaning needs, set ups, lock-up, etc. Steve Paulin will oversee all maintenance related issues. For your needs, contact the church office Monday-Thursday, 8-5 and Fridays, 8-1. Should something arise outside of those hours, you can call Pastor Randy. Call the church number and in the message under emergencies it will ring to his cell phone or you can leave him a message.
Extra patience will be appreciated during this season. If you’d be willing to help with short notice should something arise (i.e. ice or snow during the week or Saturdays), send a note, an email, or talk to Amanda or Angie at the Connection Center kiosk.
By Pastor Randy Reese - Directing Pastor
This past Sunday, I had a chance to meet with a number of folks who are interested in the matters before the 2019 Special Called Session of the General Conference of the United Methodist Church. The conference is focused on one subject - the matter of human sexuality - and the search for a way to come to some agreement or direction or decision how we, the United Methodist Church can live with each other, even though we are separated by thought and theology on the LGBTQ matter.
The response to the two gatherings was good, and a request was made that I repeat the session at least once, or maybe twice more. I plan to offer a session on a Wednesday night early in January while Wednesday evening programming is going on and once more on a Sunday morning in January at 9:00am - this time with a time of explanation and then allowing for a time of testimony or sharing about this matter.
For those of you who joined me last Sunday, thank you for your questions and your gracious spirit. I will at the next sessions again ask that we learn together what is coming before the General Conference without the debate of who’s right or wrong.
The notes from last Sunday can be found here. These are the Bishop’s notes from his gatherings.
I will also be leading (as may some others) a time of reflection and study using a book entitled “Living Faithfully - Human Sexuality and The United Methodist Church” from Abingdon Press. It can be used as a four week small group study for a short term group or an established small group. They can be found at Cokesbury and on Amazon. I have a few books left from last Sunday and have ordered another 25. They cost us about $10 if you want to make a donation or share in the cost, but I don’t want cost to be an issue - I would encourage you to just read with the hopes of understanding each other even if we never agree. Peace and Blessings!
By Jon Butler - Chairperson of Church Council
The Church Council is a part of every United Methodist Church and is established by the Book of Discipline. The Council serves as the decision-making and oversight body for the church, except when votes of the entire membership are required. The council uses their meetings to focus on the issues that help to make Calvary the great church home that we all love. The council works with the appointed pastors as well as the Managing Directors from the staff to help guide the church through issues that range from the annual budget to strategic planning and goal setting.
The council is comprised of lay leaders, the pastors, the managing directors from the staff, as well as the chairs of the Finance, Stewardship, Board of Trustees, SPRC, Strategic Leadership and Outreach Committees. Because of the work of the Church Council, we have also been able to recently authorize and appoint members to our Safety Team as well as our Investment Team (thanks to a significant donation to the church).
The group takes time to discuss and consider recommendations and actions from these committees as well as take a “whole church” look at how we operate and how all of these pieces fit together. Please be assured that we take this work very seriously and that we do our best to help Calvary connect with God, with one another and with our world.