Bishop to speak at RUM Annual Dinner June 22

Rockford Urban Ministries welcomes back a distinguished guest as the keynote speaker for its 45th anniversary dinner. Retired Bishop C. Joseph Sprague will speak at the event Friday, June 22, at Christ United Methodist Church, 4509 Highcrest Road, Rockford.

C. Joseph Sprague was elected bishop in 1996 and assigned to the Northern Illinois Conference of The United Methodist Church. He served the NIC until 2004, when he retired. Prior to his election, Bishop Sprague served for 27 years as a pastor and seven years as an ecumenical officer. He is known for combining biblical scholarship, personal piety, preaching and teaching with social justice ministries and commitment. He is widely sought as a preacher and teacher. Sprague is a voice for peace, an inclusive church, racial justice and gender equality.

Bishop Sprague is a graduate of Ashland College, the Methodist Theological School in Ohio, and is the recipient of honorary doctoral degrees from Kendall College, Ohio Wesleyan University, and the Chicago Theological Seminary. He is the recipient of the AFSC Courage of Conviction Award, the Rainbow PUSH Civil Rights/Peace Award, and the William Sloan Coffin Award for Justice and Peace. He is co-author of a chapter in the seminary textbook, Pastor as Educator, and author of the book, Affirmations of a Dissenter.

Sprague now lives in Ohio with his wife, Diane, sharing life with their four adult children, their spouses and nine grandchildren.

Rockford Urban Ministries was established in 1962 by the Rockford District of the Northern Illinois Conference of the United Methodist Church to meet the pressing social problems of people in the city. The Rev. Edsel Ammons was appointed as the first director. Early programs fought racism and worked with alienated youth. Over the years, RUM has pushed social issues in the community, i.e., conflict management, equality in the schools, a needle exchange, prison reform and more. Several independent programs grew from RUM’s support: Northern Illinois Hospice, Promised Land Employment Service, JustGoods (fair trade) and T.H.A.T. The present director is Stanley Campbell.

Cost of the dinner is $20, or $30 for “angels.” For reservations, send a check to Rockford Urban Ministries, 201 Seventh St., Rockford, IL 61104, by Monday, June 18. The program following the dinner is free and open to the public. For more information, call RUM at (815) 964-7111.

from the June 13-19, 2007, issue

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