Recent News

Love on Trial

On April 11, 2011, Rev. Amy DeLong, United Methodist Clergy in the Wisconsin Annual Conference, will be tried for living a larger love than is permitted by the United Methodist Church. Rev. DeLong finds herself on the wrong side of church law because of:

  • Pastoral Care (she officiated at the Holy Union of a loving lesbian couple) and
  • Love (she and Val, her partner of 15 years, share a life-affirming, deeply loving relationship).

In December, the Conference Committee on Investigation, following a required hearing with Rev. DeLong, forwarded the Bill of Charges needed to move into the trial phase of the judicial process. The committee also offered an unprecedented affirming statement:

"Rev. Amy DeLong has shown extraordinary courage to step forward and freely acknowledge her sexual orientation, and her commitment to be in ministry to all persons, regardless of their sexual orientation."

Wisconsin Bishop, Linda Lee, has named Bishop Bruce Blake as the Presiding Officer (judge) for the trial. Rev. Donald Frank has agreed to serve as Counsel for the Church (prosecuting attorney) and Rev. Scott Campbell of MASS. will serve as Amy's Counsel for the Defense (defense attorney); Rev. Ermalou Roller, who is affiliated with our church, serves with Campbell on Amy's Defense Team. A jury pool of Wisconsin United Methodist clergy will now be assembled and, from that pool, 13 clergy will be selected to serve during the trial and subsequent penalty phase.

Rev. DeLong is on a difficult path that has been well-traveled by gay and lesbian Christians and countless others (including women and people from a variety of racial and ethnic groups) who have been told by the Church that their identity and being are unacceptable.

Save the date! Mother-Daughter Tea

Tea ServiceOur annual Mother-Daughter Tea will be held on Saturday, March 19 from 2:00 to 4:00PM in the gym. Cost is $15 for adults and $8 for children 12 and under. Mark your calendars now!

Wanted: Aprons

The theme of the Mother-Daughter tea this year is APRONS. Do you have an apron that has a story or a history about it? Would you be willing to share it with us? We are looking for aprons in a variety of styles and from different time periods. Also, we are looking for dress forms to use to display them. If you have an apron or dress form you would be willing to loan to us, please contact Nancy Bifulco.

Guatemala Connection

UPAVIMasDuring Advent last year, many of you stopped by our table in the Parlor to look at and purchase some of the beautiful handmade crafts made by the women of UPAVIM. It was also a wonderful opportunity for those of us selling the crafts to share our experiences of our visits to Guatemala City and our relationship with these women. Some of you were able to purchase something made by one of the women you’d met when they visited us in November 2009. I hope that you and your friends who received these gifts are enjoying using them knowing that they have made a difference in the lives of the people of La Esperanza, a slum on the outskirts of Guatemala City where UPAVIM runs its cooperative. For many of the women, the income from the craft making is the only support for their families.

Thank you for your support in raising $2,500 toward our mission.

Fifth Sunday Appeal

United Voices for ChildrenThis Sunday, January 30, there will be an offering envelope in the bulletin for the United Voices for Children – Fifth Sunday Appeal. UVC is a coalition of groups and individuals within the Northern Illinois Conference of the United Methodist Church. Your gift will help with the work of ChildServ, United Methodist Youth Services, Marcy-Newberry Association and Rosecrance Health Network.

For more advocacy information, check out the web site at:



The Open Door

The youth group has a new name! And so does its home!


The youth group is now called Ignite, with the goal of being the spark that starts the fire. Our hope is that being a member of Ignite will change kids' lives and move them to help change the lives of their friends. The purpose of the United Methodist Church is to make disciples for Jesus Christ. Ignite will help to do that by building community through fun, fellowship and service.

The Open Door

The youth center is now called The Open Door to show that everyone is welcome. OK, the big joke is that The Open Door is locked most of the time. As we have found in the last few months, if the door is unlocked, furniture and equipment walks off and vandalism happens. But we are having fun in The Open Door. Movie nights, two weeks of watching the Bears in the NFL Playoffs, OB classes, playing pool and air hockey. 

Our latest improvement to The Open Door is to install black-out shades so the video system can be used during the day. So far the Youth Ministries Work Area has spent $525 buying them. If any one would like to help offset that cost the youth are happy to accept donations!

Car needed!

Can you help??

A low-income family of 5 has had their car stolen. They didn’t have full-coverage insurance and can’t afford another vehicle. The dad works 3 jobs, so transportation is a necessity! If you or anyone you know has a safe, running car to donate, please contact the church office.

Questions? Contact Julie Stone.

Environmental Stewardship Corner

Environmental StewardshipFor eight days this January, a group of students and I experienced the rain forest, cloud forest and volcanic regions of Costa Rica. This small country covers only 0.03% of the earth's surface, and holds more than 5% of all life forms. The effects of global warming are dramatic in this country. Species are moving higher in elevation and ecosystems are changing. Plant and animal species are becoming rarer and possibly extinct. Consequently, it is not surprising that Costa Rica has lofty sustainability aspirations, wanting to be the first developing country to become carbon neutral, i.e., have zero net output of carbon dioxide by 2021. Costa Rica is moving toward achieving that goal by having 95% of its electrical energy from renewable sources and protecting its rain forests. One person can make a difference. I strongly encourage you to visit the website: to see what you can do to move the U.S. toward sustainability. Don’t forget the 3 R’s: Reduce, Recycle and Reuse.

A Loving and Fair-minded Church?

On Thundering WingsDo you want to be part of a loving and fair-minded Church?

Are you aware that even though Jesus told us to love thy neighbor as thyself, our United Methodist Church law continues to belittle loving, committed relationships between gay and lesbian couples? Would you like to be part of ending the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy in this denomination? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to know that all of our friends and family members are warmly welcomed into our church?

I would like to make that happen. I have started the GENERAL CONFERENCE BOOK FUND, with the goal of sending a copy of On Thundering Wings: Homosexuality, Love and the Church on Trial to every delegate of our 2012 General Conference. I believe that reading this book will change delegates hearts and minds, resulting in a change of our church law to include all of God’s people in our care and love.

If you would like to be part of this important effort, please contribute generously. (We’ll need nearly $20,000!) Write checks to First United Methodist with the notation: GCBFund. Your gift is tax-deductible.

Pots and Pans for the PRC!

Do you have any extra stickers leftover from the recent pot and pans promotion sponsored by Jewel? Bring them to the church office by this Sunday, Jan. 23rd. Sarah Circle will buy pots to donate to the People's Resource Center, a food pantry located in Westmont. Let's put those extra stickers to work!

Lenten Devotional Meditations

The Adult Education Work Area is preparing a Lenten devotional for the congregation to use during Lent, which begins on March 9, 2011.

We are seeking submissions from the congregation for this "Upper Room"-style devotional. Please include a prayer and scripture to accompany your meditation. While we don't seek to limit your meditation, please keep it to 400 words or less.

Please send your contribution to Sharon Harman or bring your work to the church office by January 28.


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