September 21-22, 2018

The NCJ College of Bishops and the NCJ Mission Council have been planning for a gathering of NCJ delegations to learn about and to discuss the proposal of the Commission on the Way Forward to the Special Session of General Conference scheduled for early 2019.  We have high hopes that the event will deepen our understanding of the proposal and will provide an opportunity to evaluate its impact upon the varied contexts of our jurisdiction.

The goals of the gathering are: 1) Delegates will hear correct, explanatory information about the components and intent of the Council of Bishops proposal to the Special Session; 2) evaluate the impact and possible outcomes on our local churches, our conferences, and through dialogue with others to learn the impact upon the varied contexts of the connection; and 3) build trust with each other across delegations to strengthen the NCJ connection.

While some details of the event are yet to be determined, we write to communicate some of the decisions we’ve reached to aid in your preparation and planning to be in attendance:

  • The meeting will be held at the Wespath facility, 1901 Chestnut Avenue, Glenview, IL. For the security of Wespath employees who will be at their desks during this time, only registered participants will be allowed in the building. We can appreciate that there may be much interest in the gathering; there will be other opportunities for persons to engage their delegations outside of this event.
  • Participation is limited to delegates to the Special Session of General Conference and the first lay and first clergy reserves to General Conference.
  • The meeting will begin with a lunch at noon on Friday, September 21. The program will begin promptly at 1:00 p.m. We will end at noon on Saturday, September 22.  It is expected that those attending will be present for the complete time of the gathering.
  • The Mission Council has agreed to reimburse travel expenses for participants, up to $400 a person.  Each person should make their own travel arrangements. Wespath is a quick 30 minute drive from O’Hare airport; and a miserable 90 minute drive from Midway Airport.  If you are coming by train, transfer from Amtrack to the Metra suburban system at Union Station in downtown Chicago.  The Metra station to Wespath is an easy walk.  There will be plenty of parking for those who drive.  The NCJ reimburses drivers at 14 cents per mile, with an additional reimbursement amount for multiple passengers in the same car. We will not be reimbursing meals while traveling.
  • Registration for the event will be online starting August 1. We will send another email around that time with a link to the registration.
  • The Mission Council will provide lunch and dinner on Friday.  Participants will be on their own for Saturday breakfast and lunch.
  • Participants should make their own arrangements for accommodations Friday night at their own costs. In many cases annual conferences will make funds available to support the participation of their delegates.  We encourage you to talk with your conference about this.  The Northbrook Hilton (1-847-480-7500) is a 10 minute drive from Wespath and has rooms available for $123 per night single and $133 per night double when you request the “Wespath rate”.

We know that delegations will be discussing the proposal in their meetings and that there will be many voices sharing their views.  We are gathering to learn accurately what the proposal entails, to provide our delegations to engage directly with the Bishops on the merits and the intent of the proposal, to hear from each other about how the proposal may impact the varied contexts of the NCJ.  All of this is in service to the whole, beloved United Methodist Church which shapes us as disciples transforming the world.

Grace and Peace,

NCJ College of Bishops & Mission Council

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