By Doreen Grosmire, Dakotas Conference UMC

The twelfth North Central Jurisdictional Conference opened with worship at the Peoria Civic Center. Bishop John L. Hopkins, president of the College of Bishops, East Ohio Area, officially opened the session.

After opening prayer, led by Bishop Sharon Brown Christopher, retired, a time of remembrance and thanksgiving followed. Three bishops who have deceased since 2012 were memorialized: Bishop Wayne K. Clymer, Bishop Rueben Job and Bishop Jesse DeWitt. Four bishops’ spouses were remembered: Mrs. Marjorie Duecker, Mrs. Jane Colaw, Mrs. Jan Ott and Mrs. Martha Lawson.

“Love your neighbor as yourself. And who is my neighbor; everybody,” said Bishop Jonathan D. Keaton, resident bishop, Illinois Area during the message, “A Plea for Unity.” “Can we all get along is another side of Jesus’ command to ‘love for God and love of neighbor?’ The behavioral question plagues our communion.“

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