The Illinois Conference of the United Church of Christ is blessed to be woven from strands of a vast variety of rich traditions that make up the UCC, both those that represent the historical denominational merger of 1957, and many that have added vibrant threads and emerging patterns to who we are, racially, ethnically, socially and liturgically. Formed in 1964, The Illinois Conference came into being through a consolidation of the North Illinois Synod of the Evangelical and Reformed Church and the Congregational Christian Conference of Illinois.
The Illinois Conference of the United Church of Christ is comprised of roughly the northern half of the state of Illinois, from the border with Wisconsin on the north to a line slightly south of the state capital of Springfield. The state of Illinois is the fifth largest state in the United States containing Chicago, the third largest US city.
The Illinois Conference, with 68,972 members and 241 churches is the third largest conference in the UCC. (The Ohio and Connecticut conferences being the first and second in membership.) The 241 churches of the Illinois Conference range from the largest UCC congregation in the nation – Trinity UCC in Chicago – to numerous small rural churches far removed from the large urban area of Chicago.
Of these total of 241 churches roughly 30% are in urban settings, 37% suburban and 33% rural. Local churches in the Illinois Conference might be as close to each other as a few blocks away, but there are congregations in the Quincy, Illinois area which are 280 miles away from Chicago.
Illinois Churches listing themselves as ethnic or racial in the most recent yearbook include 16 African-American churches, five Latino churches and six Pacific Islander and Asian American Ministries churches.
The Illinois Conference is Open and Affirming (ONA) – adopted at a conference meeting. Additionally, 42 Congregations, one campus ministry (NIU) and one seminary (CTS) are ONA.
The Illinois Conference is proud of its heritage and its incredible diversity. Our short history of 46 years has given us a strong foundation that sends us forward and a broad sense of ministry to celebrate.
IL Conference Mission Statement
The Illinois Conference is a United Church of Christ covenant community promoting congregational health and vitality and pursuing God’s peace and justice. (Adopted at the 2009 annual meeting)
IL Conference Core Processes
Consistent with this mission, the following are the essential core functions of the Illinois Conference:
1. Facilitating communication, participation, reconciliation, justice, and action;
2. Bridging local churches and pastors to concerns and relationships beyond the local church;
3. Training/equipping/supporting leaders and congregations;
4. Identifying and empowering Conference ministries for mission and outreach;
5. Developing and nurturing new churches and churches in transition; and
6. Linking the local churches and members to the national and global ministries of the UCC.