Pastor Gary Erickson serves as assistant to Bishop Jeffrey Clements and deployed ELCA Director of Evangelical Mission.
Pastor James Mehltretter serves Shepherd of the Hills, Scales Mound.
Adjunct Criminology Professor, College of Dupage, Glen Ellen, IL
The Rev. H. Jeffrey A. Clements serves as bishop of the Northern Illinois Synod.
He was elected on June 18, 2016, to serve a six-year term as the third bishop of the Northern Illinois Synod. His term of service as Bishop of the Synod began on September 1, 2016, and he was installed by the presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, The Reverend Elizabeth Eaton on September 24, 2016, at First Lutheran Church, Rockford.
As bishop of the Northern Illinois Synod, Bishop Clements serves as the Synod’s pastor of Word and Sacrament. He is the Synod’s President and Chief Executive and Administrative Officer, spiritual leader, preacher, and teacher. As part of the ELCA Conference of Bishops, he serves as a member of the Roster Committee. In addition, he serves as the Region 5 bishop liaison to the ELCA Church Council and works on the council’s Budget and Finance Committee. Bishop Clements is honored to serve as one of the Lutheran Social Services of Illinois Board of Directors including serving as a member of its Executive Committee and to also serve on the Board of Trustees of Augustana College, which includes serving on the Campus Planning Committee and the Advancement Committee.
Bishop Clements earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1977 and a Master of Divinity from Luther Northwestern Theological Seminary (now Luther Seminary, a seminary of the ELCA) in St. Paul, Minn., in 1983. He was ordained August 7, 1983, and his first call was to serve as Pastor of St. John Lutheran Church, Massbach (rural Elizabeth), Illinois, beginning in 1983 until 1987. He then served as Associate Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Dixon, from 1987-1990, and as Pastor of First Lutheran Church, Prophetstown, from 1990-2002. Beginning in 2002, he was called to serve as Assistant to the Bishop of the Northern Illinois Synod, a position which he held until 2016 when he was elected Bishop.
Bishop Clements is married to Paulette and they have one son, Pastor Nathan (Emily Nelson) Clements and a grandson, Jonathan, of LaPorte City, Iowa. Bishop Clements is an avid Cubs fan. He has been active in the Boy Scouts and received the Servant of Youth award in 1998. He and Paulette are members of First Lutheran Church, DeKalb.
Micah is serving as Vicar at St. John’s, Rock Island
Pastoral Intern at Zion, Rockford
Michelle has passed year two of serving as program director for Lutheran Outdoor Ministries Center in Oregon, IL and loves a little sports competition whether volleyball or gaga ball. She served over 10 years in children and youth ministries at Faith, Rochelle, and sees the benefits and challenges to organized sports in both her church and family life. Michelle is currently in the synod diakonia class, owns a mean little scooter, can guess songs from the 70s and 80s like no one’s business, and loves laughing about a Jerry Seinfeld episode every now and again.
Rob recently became the executive director for Lutheran Outdoor Ministries Center in Oregon, IL and loves a good hike off-trail. Having served over 25 years at St. John’s-Bloomington, Rob has seen the rise and continued rise of sports in Central Illinois and how it has affected the local church. When not hiking off-trail he is probably listening to 80s music, reading something about Martin Luther, or chasing stink bugs out of his office.
Pr. Bill served as a pastor for 30 years in central Illinois, serving at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Toluca and Zion Lutheran Church in Clifton. Currently, he has served at St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Streator, Illinois since 2015.
Kelly Clason is a member of Salem Lutheran Church in Sandwich and currently serves on the Congregation Council.
Jon Pedersen has served as a minister of word in sacrament in the ELCA for over 24 years. For five years, he served on the Bishop’s Task Force for Healthy Boundaries in the Northern Illinois Synod.
Chaplain Vince Marolla – ordained since 1992 – worked in hospice since 2000. Christina Marolla – paramedic in St. Paul, MN who moved to Galesburg in 2019 to work with the Galesburg Hospital Ambulance Service
Pastor Paul D Carlson has served in Illinois for his whole ministry. serving in Franklin Park, Litchfield, Lena, and Bolingbrook. Throughout his 45 years of ministry Pastor Paul has participated in the church’s advocacy programs in Illinois and nationally. He is a long-time member of Bread for the World. He has been a regular participant at Lutheran Day in Springfield. Pastor Paul has been retired for four years, currently serving as part-time interim ministry at Bethlehem.
Stacie Leese is the Director at Grace Lutheran Preschool in Loves Park. She is also a regional ambassador for ELEA, the ELCA schools organization. Her mission is to help schools and churches in the area with any needs they may have.
Synodically Authorized Minister and Seminarian
Pastor Mack Patrick is the Campus Minister at Grace Place Campus Ministry at Northern Illinois University. Pastor Mack has a heart for social justice and is a strong advocate and ally for the LGBTQIA community. As a transgender man himself, Pastor Mack knows the importance of education and has found a home within the church.
Pastor Kenn Storck has served most of his 45 years in the ministry in Rockford in the Northern Illinois Synod at Grace (Loves Park), Rockford Lutheran High School, Trinity, and Gloria Dei. He is NIS Executive Director of Diakonia, a member of Bread for the World, and Rockford’s Mayor’s Hunger Luncheon working group. Now currently supply pastor at NIS congregations.
Elected as the ELCA’s fourth presiding bishop at the 2013 ELCA Churchwide Assembly, the Rev. Elizabeth Eaton earned a Master of Divinity degree from Harvard Divinity School and a Bachelor of Music Education from the College of Wooster.
Ordained in 1981, Eaton served three congregations in Ohio before being elected bishop of the ELCA Northeastern Ohio Synod in 2006 and re-elected in May 2013.
Eaton’s four emphases for the ELCA are: We are church. We are Lutheran. We are church together. We are church for the sake of the world. These four emphases are fundamental to identifying who the ELCA is.
In 2015, under Eaton’s leadership, the ELCA underwent an extensive vision process to help this church journey faithfully and effectively together in the years ahead. The process resulted in Future Directions 2025, a strategic framework that serves shared leadership across the ELCA to realize common aspirations and better face the challenges of this church.
In addition, with Eaton’s guidance, the ELCA launched Bishop Eaton’s Leadership Initiative, which encourages all ELCA members to seek out and inspire gifted people in our congregations and communities to consider a call to the ministry of the gospel.
Eaton also called together a task force in 2016 to draft a policy statement for inter-religious relations in the ELCA. As the chief ecumenical officer of the ELCA, she represents this church in a wide range of ecumenical and interfaith settings. She is the vice president for North America on the Council of The Lutheran World Federation and serves on the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA Governing Board and Development Committee, and Religions for Peace USA Council of Presidents.
As presiding bishop, Eaton travels extensively, representing the ELCA in a variety of capacities. This has included a visit to a Syrian refugee camp, commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation with Lutherans from around the world in Namibia and participating in an ecumenical service commemorating the Reformation in the Lund, Sweden, cathedral with Pope Francis.
Eaton’s husband is the Rev. T. Conrad Selnick, an Episcopal priest. They are parents of two adult children, Rebeckah and Susannah.
Pastor Richard Wehrs is NIS’s Regional Manager for the ELCA Mission Investment Fund, working with 13 synods in the states of Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and Kentucky. He brings to this position extensive experience as a consultant in church stewardship, fundraising, building projects, and strategic planning, having worked with scores of congregations around the country over the last 15 years. His educational background includes studies in Non-Profit Management and Fundraising for Non-Profit Organizations at the St. Thomas University School of Business/Center for Non-Profit Management.
50-year ELCA pastor, co-founder of Manitoumie Retreat Center, author of “The 3rd Species”, “Saving the Soul of Jesus”, “Song of the Universe”, and “While in the Grasp.”
Member of New Life Lutheran Church in Bolingbrook, Member of Northern Illinois Synod Subcommittee on Racial Justice, Former high school teacher.
Pr. Robert Franek
The work of the members of a congregation’s Altar Guild is often taken for granted. Yet, ensuring that the worship space of the congregation is appropriately prepared for each worship service is crucial to a joyful and meaningful worship experience. The NIS Worship Committee will facilitate this conversation about best practices as an Altar Guild, and a member of a congregation’s Altar Guild will share the resources she developed to help those serving as members of the Altar Guild to serve well. Feel free to bring any resources that your congregation has developed to share with others attending.
Light – the HS youth leadership team of the Northern Illinois Synod
It’s easy to focus on the negatives in youth ministry, but why not see the sunny side? There are amazing young people all over the synod who are dedicated to their faith and their church. Come find out FROM THEM what engages them in their faith and home congregation.
David Deeds, Adjunct Criminology Professor, College of Dupage, Glen Ellen, IL and representatives from the Jewish, Islamic, and Christian Faiths will present. Joan Soltwisch and Kim Choin will facilitate.
Recently the Northern Illinois Synod Women’s Organization (NISWO) partnered with the Jewish Community Against Sex Trafficking (JCAST) Chicago and the Office of Institutional Diversity at the University of St. Francis to bring the production of “The True Cost” by Still Point to the Joliet area. Our panel will encourage activism in your community by offering information about how to book this performance in your area and by educating individuals on the world of Human Trafficking.
I look forward to sharing some experiences from living in an Old Order Amish community as part of a seminary independent study some years ago.
Melinda Alekna, Gathering Synod Coordinator for the 2021 ELCA Youth Gathering
Every three years, 30,000 high school youth and their adult leaders from across the ELCA gather for a week of faith formation known as the ELCA Youth Gathering. Through days spent in interactive learning, worship, Bible study, service and fellowship, young people grow in faith and are challenged and inspired to live their faith in their daily lives. The next event will be June 29-July 3, 2021. This workshop will give you a preview of the event and help you get ready to register your group in September 2020!
Find out more at https://elca.org/gathering
Simple, step-by-step guidance on how your congregation can conduct an Offering of Letters to live out what Jesus said: “You give them something to eat.” (Matt. 14:16). The Offering of Letters campaign is the main way Bread for the World (www.bread.org) engages people in churches in advocacy with their members of Congress. In a broken patrician political system your signature on a letter can make a difference to bring health and healing to many who are the least of these in our nation and world.
More information at www.bread.org
Chaplain Vince Marolla, Beacon of Hope Hospice and Christina Marolla, Galesburg Hospital Ambulance Service
Decisions about healthcare and treatment are very complex, and never easy. Christina and Vince will draw on their experience to talk and answer questions about things like Do Not Resuscitate forms, Advanced Directive, Hospice Care and other things that they have experienced working in health care. They do so from the perspectives of both physical and spiritual caregivers.
Pr. Julie Monnard, Dean of the Southwest Conference
In the Northern Illinois Synod, congregations are working together in a variety of ways: sharing pastoral leaders – doing educational and other ministries together – Lenten “Round Robins,” and so forth. In this workshop, the Rev. Julie Monnard, Dean of the SW Conference, will facilitate a discussion on how congregations in that conference are talking about collaboration. Also invited are several other leaders and congregations experimenting with collaborations.
Denise Norman and Pr. Pat Esker
Is it time to update your congregation’s constitution? Constitutions are missional documents that free the congregation to serve Christ fully and in good order. If your congregation has not updated its constitution since the Model Constitution for Congregations was updated at the 2019 ELCA Churchwide Assembly, there’s no time like the present! This workshop will walk congregational leaders through the process of congregation constitution review and be a guide to update your “road map for ministry.”
Do you have a school or are you considering a school as part of your ministry? There are advantages and complications to consider. Let’s discuss together best practices and how we optimize the relationship.
Sharon Texley, New Life, Bolingbrook & NI Synod Racial Justice Committee and George Sanchez, New Life, Bolingbrook, NI Synod Council & Racial Justice Committee
An open discussion of practical ways in which the issues of racial justice can be addressed in our local congregations. What have you done in your congregation? What do you envision doing?
This workshop is dedicated to introducing attendees to the LGBTQIA+ community. Topics will be covered are terms, ideas, and meeting people from the community. Questions are welcome and encouraged.
Attendees will learn how to be advocates for the LGBTQIA+ community and what advocacy looks like and does not look like.
Pr. Richard Wehrs, ELCA Mission Investment Fund Regional Manager
Too often our congregational stewardship efforts focus only on the donor’s obligation to give when we should be attentive as well to our obligations to the donor! Learn about the 12 factors of “donor confidence” that can either bolster or undermine individuals’ willingness to provide generous support to your ministry, and what you can do, year-round, by learning from the non-profit fundraising industry.
Ryan Cumming, Program Director, ELCA Hunger Education
In this session, we will walk through a new tool that makes finding data about your community simple, and talk about some ways this data can help as you start, continue to grow hunger-related ministries in your congregation and community. Data can help you and others know more about the challenges your neighbors face – and additional assets that are available in your community. It can also help communicate the impact of your ministry, encourage supporters, and identify possible areas for growth or change.
Rev. Bob Dealey
This workshop will help you and your congregation to develop an effective outreach strategy for your specific context. Topics include: Organizing for outreach; Getting the word out about your congregation; Receiving & follow-up with guests; Inviting people to engage in God’s mission; Incorporating new disciples; Ministering to inactives; and Determining the next step. This workshop will help re-vitalize your congregation’s outreach efforts.
Dr. Peter Kivisto
We are sorry this workshop had to be canceled as the presenter was unable to attend today.
Vicar Michelle Knight
Vicar Michelle will share her testimony of God’s redemptive work in her life as a recovering alcoholic/addict along with practical tips for clergy and congregations in providing safe, welcoming and non-judgmental spaces for spiritual care and accompaniment to those who suffer from addiction.
Six years ago we started a recycling program at Trinity (Moline) through TerraCycle (www.terracycle.com) as a fundraiser to benefit Blessed Beginnings, our church preschool. With the help of the congregation and the greater Quad Cities community, this program has diverted over 3 tons of waste from our local landfills and raised over $2,000 for Blessed Beginnings Preschool.