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34th Annual Good Friday Walk and Stations of the Cross

Friday, April 7th, 2023

Rockford Urban Ministries will lead the annual walk from the parking lot of the church to 14 stations, or stops, along the way, and say a prayer at each stop. The walk is free and open to the public.    Most of the stops concern the city’s outreach to the poor or those in jail. Other stops include the Public Safety Building, the Federal Building, and the Rockford Public Library. The final stop, Beattie Park, is only one block from the beginning.   The walk lasts approximately 75 minutes and takes place rain or shine.

Good Friday Walk

Recordings of earlier events:


Stan’s presentation on Cuba


Mental Health Resource Funding: A Panel with the Winnebago County Community Mental Health Board
Panel discussion recording link from March 2022

Overdose Prevention: The Faith Community’s Role
Panel discussion recording link from August 2021

And earlier events:

Engaging Lent – Lent invites us to slow down our lives to take stock of ourselves and our community. It invites us to feel our smallness, our vulnerability, and our fears, to come to real transformation.

 FIRST WEEK OF LENT Tuesday, March 3rd, 6:30 pm

The Nones. ‘Nones’ – those who don’t claim affiliation with any specific religion – are now bigger than evangelicals and tied with Catholics as the largest religious group in the United States.  A chat with one of Rockford’s youngest pastors, Reverend Violet Johnicker of Brooke Road United Methodist Church, and those who have been on this non-religious march for the last 20 years.

LOCATION: The new Minihan’s Bar in the historic William Brown Building, 226 S. Main St., downtown Rockford

SECOND WEEK OF LENT – Tuesday, March 10th, 6:30 pm

הסכסוך הישראלי-פלסטיני. The Israeli–Palestinian conflict is an ongoing struggle that affects more than 750,000 internally displaced Palestinians in the West Bank. Meet Christian peace activists Rachel and Yousef Natsheh who will premiere their new 30-minute documentary ‘Hebron’ and share stories from local Palestinian refugees and Israeli supporters.

LOCATION:  Just Goods Fair Trade Marketplace, 201 7th St., midtown Rockford

 THIRD WEEK OF LENT – Tuesday, March 17th, 6:30 pm

Trans 101. Perhaps the biggest cultural shift in 2019 was the higher visibility and emergence of the trans community, along with the shifting definition of gender. Understanding Trans is a session on what it means to be trans and how to relate to and communicate with trans people. With Chase Norris, M.S.Ed, LPC, LGBT+ Community Center Founder, and Paula Randall, Miss Trans USA 2019.

LOCATION:  317 Art Collective, 317 Market St., downtown Rockford

 FOURTH WEEK OF LENT – Tuesday, March 24th, 6:30 pm

Okay, Boomer. Ageism–the stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination against people on the basis of their age–is a widespread growing practice. And Rockford baby boomers are seeing it as new evidence of age bias in hiring. Hear the stigmas and obstacles faced by seniors, learn the telltale signs of ageism in the workplace.

Longwood Gardens, 1055 E. State St.


FIFTH WEEK OF LENT – Tuesday, March 31st, 6:30 pm

Millennial Nuns. After 50 years of decline, more young women are being called to the religious life. A look at the changing ministry of the first sisters of Rockford, the Sinsinawa Dominicans. From the new organic farming ministry by 32-year-old Sister Cristin Tomy to the retreat and spiritual direction work of 86-year-old Sister Ellie Hoffmann,  how women religious are bringing new perspective into the needs of our world.

Womanspace, 3333 Maria Linden Dr., Rockford

SIXTH WEEK OF LENT – Tuesday, April 7th, 6:30 pm

Beggar to Entrepreneur. Bijender ‘BJ’ Bisht, House of India chef and owner, had humble beginnings living on the streets in the slums of Mumbai. A rags to riches story with a first-hand look at third world poverty and what giving back means to this successful entrepreneur. Followed by a full Indian vegan dinner. $15 suggested donation, Eventbrite reservation.

LOCATION: House of India Restaurant, 6430 E. Riverside Blvd., Loves Park

PAST EVENTS: RUM hosted a celebration of the life of Lee Schreiner the Friday before the funeral, at the Listening Room, 201 Seventh Street – enter from west side parking lot. That’s 6pm, Friday, Jan. 31. Lee’s funeral is Saturday Feb. 1 at 11:30am at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, with 9:30 am visitation.

The family has designated Rockford Urban Ministries as the receiver of memorials, and we will use the money to keep Lee’s work and spirit alive.

Cards and letters may be sent to Charmaine Schreiner, 1012 Parkwood, Rockford 61107.

RUM is hosting the listening room performances every Friday night, starting at 7:00. Most of the collection plate goes towards the performer (David Stocker is finishing up the Friday concerts in January. The collection on January 31 will go towards a Friday Schreiner memorial for RUM.) There is also a benefit hosted at the Irish Rose on Sunday, January 26, from 11-2. It will be a buffet that will include vegan options. Tickets can be purchased through EventBrite, through Rockford Urban Ministries, or at the door unless it’s sold out.

I will be leading a Rockford Urban Ministries trip to Cuba from February 3-20. We have eleven people signed up and will visit some of the churches opened by the United Methodists in the 1990s that are still operating. I’ll try to keep in touch via Facebook.

RUM is planning on hosting a program about energy conservation in the churches as well as homes somewhere around the end of April. If you have ideas, please contact me ASAP.

RUM will co-sponsor Lenten programs, starting on Tuesday, March 31, and ending with a vegan dinner at the India House on April 7. More information will be forthcoming, but if you have ideas, please let me know.

And finally, If there is any election that we should be watching, it is the State’s Attorney’s office for Winnebago County. We should make sure the candidates are aware of ideas for prison and bail bond reform as well as concern for the health and safety of the prisoners in the jail.

previous Events Calendar

What Happened to Kurdistan? With CPT peace activist Julie Brown, Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019, beginning at 6pm at 201 Seventh St. (the former JustGoods) Rockford.  Host Rockford Urban Ministries – free & open to the public.

Welcome Julie Brown to Rockford fresh from Kurdistan, where she witnessed Turkish tanks destroy the village where she’d been serving these last four years. She is a peace activist from rural Iowa, currently serving as Outreach Coordinator for Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT). She served on the CPT Iraqi Kurdistan field-team for four years (2016-2019).

The CPT Iraqi Kurdistan team partners with rural villages and migrant shepherd communities as they resisted displacement and destruction from Turkish and Iranian cross-border bombing campaigns. Julie also helped to document the effects of these ongoing attacks and advocate for a peaceful solution with groups such as the European Union, UN, and the US State Department.

Julie lives in a Catholic Worker community in Waterloo, Iowa, that works to shelter unhoused men in her community. In her free time, she enjoys making art, camping, and spending time with friends envisioning ways to promote peace and justice.

A free will offering will be taken for the work of Julie and of Christian Peacemakers. For more info: 815-964-7111.


Music every Friday night, 7pm at the “Listening Room” – 201 Seventh St. Musicians play for your generosity. January will be a special “month of David Stocker.”

Special Music Benefit Friday, Dec. 20, 7pm at the “Listening Room” – proceeds go towards Rckd New Hope purchasing the former JustGoods building. This is always the “show of the season.”

Chicago Folk Musicians Mark Dvorak and Eric Lambert will host the annual star studded music benefit at 7:00 p.m. Local musicians, including Emily Hurd, will grace the stage on Friday, December 20. This year’s benefit is for Rockford New Hope Community Development, which provides affordable housing in the City. RNH may purchase the building at 201 Seventh St.

This will take place at the Rockford Listening Room at 201 Seventh Street. There will be a free will offering. Rockford New Hope has refurbished and provided affordable housing since 1995 and it is considering purchasing the building at 201 Seventh Street. Proceeds may be matched be a city grant.

Mark Dvorak and Erick Lambert will host the event with a number of local performers joining in. Mark Dvorak is a Chicago-based folk singer and well know at the Old Town School of Folk Music. Eric Laqmbert is a Chicago Music Awards winner and a renowned flat picker.

A free will offering will be taken up.

RUM is sponsoring a trip to Cuba starting February 3, 2020. Nine people are signed up and will brave the wrath of the US Administration (some people will stay only for ten days, others 20). We will visit religious sites as well as the Protestant seminary in Matanza.

Previous Events:
Tuesday, October 8, 4:p.m.– RUM Executive Committee meeting at the RUM office.
Sunday, October 20, 1:00 p.m. — CROP Hunger Walk. Please pick up materials at the RUM office or call David Jones 815-
This Monday, July 29, 7:00 p.m.: Anita Bidell will address the need for preparing our community for the arrival of our new casino. She will also address the effects of slots (Winnebago County is number 1 in the state). This will be held at Third Presbyterian Church, Custer Ave., just west of N Main, and is free and open to the public.
Saturday, August 3, 6:30 p.m., School of Medicine — An Israeli will speak about peace with Palestine.
Monday, August 5, 6:00 p.m., JustGoods, 201 7th Street (use west side entrance) — Hiroshima commemoration — David Kraft from Nuclear Information in Chicago, will speak about the growing threats of nuclear power and weapons.
Tuesday, August 6, 5;00 p.m., CROP Hunger Walk planning session at JustGoods.
Tuesday, August 13, 4:00 p.m. — RUM Executive Committee meeting — planning for fall programming.
Saturday, August 24, 8:30 a.m. — CROP Hunger Walk rally: have a free breakfast and pick up materials for the walk in October. This will be held at Second First Church, 318 N. Church Street. Call David Jones so they know how many to feed: 815-540-3703
October 3, 7PM — Stanley Campbell celebrates his 69th birthday with a benefit for Rockford Urban Ministries with folk musician John McCutcheon, to be held at Court Street United Methodist.
Monday, 9/9, 2 p.m., at the RUM office — A discussion about going to Cuba. So far there are nine people signed up for sure with another possible eight. Call if you are interested.
Thursday, 9/5, 11:00 a.m. — Stanley Campbell will speak to students at Rockford University on ideas for organizing.
Tuesday, 9/10 — RUM Executive Committee  meeting at 4:00 p.m. at the RUM office.
Wednesday, 9/11, 10:30 a.m. — Interfaith Council meets at the Unitarian Universalist Church.
Saturday, 9/14, 11:00 a.m. — Peace activist Cele Meyer from Dekalb will be memorialized at the Dekalb Unitarian Universalist Church. Cele was a great motivator and friend of Lee Schreiner and Stanley Campbell. A former US Marine, she was a veteran for peace and strong advocate in this region.
Friday, September 20, 7:00 p.m. — Emily Hurd will kick off the Friday night concerts series. Concerts will be held each Friday night from September 20 through December 209.
Sunday, 9/22, 1:30 p.m. — Open House of Worship starting at Temple Bethel and then moving to the Muslim Community Center.
Monday, September 23 — a possible public hearing at City Hall on the casino proposals (may not take place – don’t hold your breath).
Saturday, 9/28 — An environmental sustainability summit with events taking place around Rockford including the RUM offices at 201 7th Street.
Thursday, October 3 — Benefit with folk musician and song writer John McCutcheon at Court Street UMC.

Dear Supporters of RUM,

We’ve been blessed with the gift of a speaker for our annual dinner to be held on Thursday, June 27, 6:00 p.m. at Second Congregational/First Presbyterian Church, 318 N. Church.

Judge Rosemary Collins will be our speaker. She was the 17th circuit court judge. She joined the bench in 1989 and retired in December 2018. She earned her Doctor of Jurisprudence from John Marshall Law School. Prior to joining the court, Ms. Collins was an assistant state’s attorney for Winnebago County. In an interview with “Northwest Quarterly,” Judge Collins said, “What I like is that I have a chance to do justice on an individual scale as well as on a bigger scale, changing systems that affect thousands of people. We are always looking for ways to improve the system.”

Judge Collins will be speaking at 7:00 p.m. and t will also join us for dinner. You are invited to join us as well. Cost is $30 (or $60 for “angels” who wish to support RUM).  I will be setting up an Eventbrite as well as mailing out invitations. In recent years people have been generous as well as donating to help us provide low cost or free tickets to those who need  them.

Rockford Urban Ministries is displaying “vintage art” for sale as a benefit during the months of February to April in the back room of JustGoods Fair Trade Store, 201 7th Street, Rockford, IL. Donations are appreciated!

UPCOMING EVENTS of Rockford Urban Ministries – 815-964-7111 for more info.

Monday, March 11, 6:30 pm, at JustGoods Listening Room, 201 7th Street — Dorothy Paige-Turner’s “Readers Theater” portrays women’s history. Always a good turnout, this one should be even more special.

Tuesday, March 12, 6:30 pm – First Lenten program, this one hosted at the Mosque (Harrison and S. Mulford) — Immigration with attorneys Sara Dady and Linda Zuba – see the attached Lenten Programs for more info.

Friday, March 15, 7:30 p m, at JustGoods Listening Room — Special benefit for RUM with James Lee Stanley, singer-songwriter. Tickets are $20 and are very limited and can be purchased through or at JustGoods.

Tuesday, March 19, 6:30 pm — Lenten program with Pablo Korona at The Norwegian, 1402 N. Main. Mr. Korona is a film maker, story teller and will talk about his film series about Rockford, “Our City, Our Story.”

Saturday, March 23, 5:30 pm — Vegetarian supper benefit for RUM at The Norwegian — $30 ($5 more if you want salmon).There will be Norwegian music and storytelling. 5pm doors open for cocktails (not included in price). Tickets must be purchased on

Tuesday, March 26, 6:30 pm — Lenten program on Women in Ministry with three United Methodist Clergy: Rev. Violet Johnicker, Rev. Fabiola Grandon-Mayer, and Rev. Pam Rossmiller. This will take place at Grace UMC, 355 McFarland Rd., just south of the Puri Peace Plaza.

Tuesday, April 2, 6:30 pm — Lenten program hosted at Fisher Chapel at Rockford University, 5050 E. State St. “Sex Abuse Crisis in the Catholic Church” with Fr. David Beauvais, Dick Kunnert, former Victim Assistance Coordinator with the Rockford Diocese; and Ruth Kolpack, former pastoral associate at St. Thomas in Beloit.

Monday, April 8, 6:30 pm – Dorothy Paige Turner’s Readers Theater at JustGoods Listening Room.

Tuesday, April 9, 6:30 pm – Lenten program: Midtown Ministry at the home of Miss Carly Rice, 1125 Fifth Ave. Please bring personal hygiene items to share with those in need.

Tuesday, April 16, 6:30 p.m. – Lenten program: A vegan meal at John’s Restaurant, 2914 11th Street. A simple three-course meal with suggested contribution of $10. Pastor Dina Lauman from Garden Prairie UCC will talk about a vegan lifestyle along with Chef Nadia Frisella.

Friday, April 19, 9:00 am – Annual Good Friday Walk, begins and ends at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, 412 N Church St,. A moving experience, come prepared to walk in whatever weather.

Monday, April 22, 7:00 pm — Earth Day concert, a benefit for JustGoods Listening Room. Free will offering.

RUM will host another Vintage Art Sale during the month of May at the JustGoods gallery. Your donations are welcome and can be dropped off anytime during store hours. Please leave name and address for our records.


In December RUM will place some of its best donated vintage art in the main gallery of JustGoods. Your donations are very much needed, and plan on visiting for your holiday needs.

Wednesday, Dec. 5, Rockford Urban Ministries Holiday Peace Program: Nuns Who Visit Detained Immigrants

Program begins at 6:30pm at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 4848 Turner, Rockford IL

Sister JoAnn Persh is director of Interfaith Committee for Detained Immigrants. She and Sister Pat Murphy, co-founders, will be speaking here in Rockford on Wednesday, December 5, as part of Rockford Urban Ministries’ annual peace program. These two nuns work in detention and deportation centers and immigration courts. They also accompany post detention immigrant unaccompanied minors (toddlers to seventeen years old). They are featured in a documentary: “Band of Sisters.”

Sister Persch was the one who called Rockford Urban Ministries and informed us of the possible use by ICE of the Winnebago County Jail two years ago.

Free will offering will be taken for Interfaith Committee for Detained Immigrants & Justice For Our Neighbors.

Friday, December 7, 7pm – Concert at JustGoods featuring “Mark Ambrose”

Friday, Dec. 14, 7pm – Concert at JustGoods featuring “Greg Herriges”

Friday, Dec. 21, 7pm – Holiday Benefit Concert at JustGoods featuring “

Most programs are free & all are open to the public.

Sometimes a free will offering is taken (we’re founded by United Methodists for God’s sake). Refreshments provided. Please, invite your friends.

For further information: Rockford Urban Ministries, 815-964-7111

Or email


Friday, Oct. 26, beginning at 7:00 p.m. free music concert at JustGoods. “Pass the hat” for Lee Murdock’s Great Lakes Ghost Stories. Boo!

Saturday, October 27, 10am to noon,  JustGoods benefit at Giovanni’s, co-sponsored  by Woman Space. $45. Call JustGoods for more information (815/965-8903).

Saturday, Oct. 27, 2pm – Council Choraleer Children’s Choir at JustGoods.

Friday, Nov. 2, 7pm – Concert at JustGoods featuring “Danny’s Gone Rogue”

Saturday, November 3, 2-4 p.m. — A reception for artist Amelia Simpson at JustGoods. A good percentage of her artwork, which is on display in the gallery, will provide donations to Justice For Our Neighbors (JFON), assisting immigrants with their paperwork.

Tuesday, November 6, is election day. We hope we win!

Wednesday, November 7, 6:00 p.m., Unitarian Universalist Church — A discussion of what to do now after the elections. Free and open to the public. Should be a good discussion.

Thursday, November 8, 12 noon — A wrap up of the Mayor’s Hunger Luncheon program which was very successful. Over 300 people donated $7,000 to Roots & Wings. Call if you would like to be involved for next year’s luncheon.

Thursday, November 8, 2 p.m. — Meet the Cuba travelers who’ll be leaving on January 12 and returning on January 22, 2019. So far we have nine people signed up for the tour.

Friday, Nov. 9, 7pm – Concert at JustGoods featuring “Truman’s Ridge”

Monday, Nov. 12, 6:30pm – Readers Theatre at JustGoods – scenes from classic African American Plays

Tuesday, November 13, 4 p.m. — Rockford Urban Ministries’ Executive Committee will meet with representatives from Rockford Public Library about their plans for the new downtown building.

Thursday, November 15, 5:30 p.m. — Wrap up of the CROP Hunger Walk Planning Committee, upstairs at the Discovery Center/Riverfront Museum Park. Call if you would like to be part of next year’s planning (Third Sunday in October).

Saturday, August 25, 8:30 a.m. – Recruitment rally for the CROP Hunger Walk. Breakfast at Second/First. Contact David Jones at 815/540-3703.

Sunday, August 26, 12 noon Ethnic Fest in the 400 block of Seventh Street, until 5pm. RUM sets up a table with JustGoods.

Tuesday, August 28, 5:15 pm – A Summer Evening JFON Benefit at Anderson Gardens hosted by Dady & Hoffman LLC. Food and beverages at 5:15, music with the Beth Kille Band and Harlan Jefferson starting at 5:45. $100 donation per person.

Saturday, September 1, 10:00 a.m., at JustGoods — Coffee talk discussion, “The State of the Unions, Labor Day Weekend” with Sara Doran, AFSCME Council 31. Free fair trade coffee, iced tea and chocolates.

September 14, 8:00 p.m. – Concert/benefit with James Lee Stanley — $20. Get your tickets in advance. Seating is limited.

Sunday, September 16, Stanley preaches at Chadwick UMC about the work of Rockford Urban Ministries.

Friday, September 21, beginning at 7:00 p.m. (and every Friday afterwards) free music concerts at JustGoods. “Pass the hat” for the musicians.

Tuesday, September 25, 6:30 p.m. – The Sierra Club and RUM sponsor a community talk back raising concerns about the environment and energy. Hosted at Emmanuel Lutheran Church, 920 Third Avenue (use north side entrance).

Thursday, September 27, 7pm at Third Presbyterian Church, 1221 Custer Ave. Pastor Stephen Bowie will lead a discussion about Cuba travel and the latest RUM sponsored trip. This will be paid for by the participants, and is scheduled for the end of March for 10 days. So far 6 people have signed up. Led by Witness for Peace, this will be a ground up look at Cuba, visiting schools, hospitals and churches. Transportation in Cuba is included, as well as housing, some meals, all translation and a busy itinerary.

Tuesday, October 9, Stanley speaks about trying healthy eating at the Vegetarians in Motion pot luck, 6:30 p.m. at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church.

Tuesday, October 16, 11:30 a.m., Mayor’s Hunger Luncheon. RUM is helping to restart this wonderful fundraiser at Cliffbreakers; $30 for a simple lunch which goes towards “Roots and Wings,” Angelic Organics Blackhawk Project.

Sunday, October 21, 1:00 p.m., Riverfront Museum Park – the 53rd CROP Hunger Walk. This year’s goal is $40,000 for local and world hunger relief.

Past programs:

Rockford Urban Ministries hosted
benefit for Justice For Our Neighbors (JFON)
on Thursday, August 24, 7:00 p.m.,
 at the JustGoods Listening Room, 201 Seventh St., Rockford
(use west door off parking lot).
         Ron Holm and Trinadora & company will share special Latin songs, as well as surprise musicians, and we
will have a report on the latest immigration law from JFON attorneys and an update on the local services offered, as well as a review of some of the important immigration news.
If you cannot attend, send a donation c/o RUM to the address below – make check out to JFON (Let me know if you want to volunteer as well)
Stanley Campbell
executive director
Rockford Urban Ministries
201 Seventh St
Rockford IL 61104
cell: 621-9417
older events

Tom McNamara photo

Mayor Tom McNamara will present the keynote at Rockford Urban Ministries’ 55th annual dinner: “How the Faith Community Serves the City.”  Thursday, June 29, dinner at 6:00 p.m. and program at 7:00 p.m. at Court Street United Methodist Church, 215 N Court St., please use the Chapel entrance.

Ron and Carol Burmeister, who are celebrating their 55th wedding anniversary, are sponsoring RUM’s 55th annual dinner. It will be a vegetarian meal by Chef Diana of Tasty Tidbits.

Reservations must be received no later than June 23. You may choose your donation: $25 per person or $50 “angel” gift per person or $10 low income, through website,, or mail to RUM, 201 Seventh St., Rockford IL 61104.

815/964-7111 or 621-9417 for more information.

Rockford Urban Ministries’ annual meeting is this Thursday, May 25, 7pm at JustGoods, 201 7th St. Rev. Keith Kelsey Powell will welcome and have people introduce themselves and their congregations. Jay Ware from United in Diversity will speak about the local group’s activities in supporting interfaith and anti-racism. (7 minutes).

Denver Bitner will share information about Lutheran Social Service’s Returning Citizens from State Prisons program for Rockford. RUM may decide to support this attempt at outreach. There may be other organization so engaged present.

Introduce the new director of Rockford Work Camps, Jeff Brace.

Vote on the slate for RUM Executive Committee & Officers: two new RUM Executive Committee members — Judy Long from Cherry Valley UMC, and Vern White from Davis Junction UMC. Vern has volunteered to sit on the board of JustGoods and brings with him an understanding of insurance as well as housing rehab. Judy Long is a longtime friend and supporter who helped us upgrade the Rockford Work Camp program, wrote grants, and is presently helping organize around the issue of gun control.

We will also have an update about the latest on ICE using the Winnebago County Jail as a detention center for immigrants.

The new mayor, Thomas McNamara, has agreed to speak at the annual dinner for Rockford Urban Ministries on Thursday, June 29. The program will start at 7:00 p.m. at Court Street United Methodist Church, 215 N. Court St., enter the Chapel entrance.

RUM will not have a dinner before hand, but invites you to make a donation in lieu of standing in line for food. If we do find a way to serve dinner you will be notified.


Rockford Urban Ministries will host interfaith prayers for the environment on Thursday, April 27, 6:30 p.m., at Klehm Arboretum, 2715 S Main St., Rockford.

So far the following religious leaders will offer prayers: Rev. Stephen Bowie, pastor at Third Presbyterian Church; Rev. TroyAnn Poulopoulos, pastor at Emmanuel Episcopal Church; and Mr. Earl Rowe from the Baha’i Community.

Stanley Campbell, director of Rockford Urban Ministries, says “It will be a miracle if we can preserve the environment in the coming years. With the increase of coal and other fossil fuels the environment will be changing and will affect the earth, especially those least financially capable of protecting themselves.”

The prayer service is open to the public and a free will offering will be taken in support of area environmental organizations. Music will be provided.

For further information or to share a prayer, please call Rockford Urban Ministries at 815/964-7111.


Tuesday Lenten Series: Six weeks of free mini-seminars for those looking to grow their individual spirituality. For more information call Rockford Urban Ministries at (815) 964-7111 or (815) 621-9417 on day of program.


FIRST WEEK OF LENT Tuesday, March 7th, 6:30 pm RETHINK: How can women find themselves if their own psychological principle is not included in the image of God? The imperative need for radical changes in the traditional Father God framework to include Mother God. Presenter: Psychologist Renee McArdle, hosted at Womanspace Rockford, 3333 Maria Linden Dr.

SECOND WEEK OF LENT Tuesday, March 14th, 6:30 pm CHANGE: The Grove at Keith Creek is a new housing development that is generating impassioned discussion. Hear the aspirations and worries of a new resident, a current neighbor and Ron Clewer, CEO, Rockford Housing Authority. Moderated by Mark Baldwin, Executive Editor, Rockford Register-Star. At Heartland Community Church, 1280 S. Alpine, Rd., Rockford.

THIRD WEEK OF LENT Tuesday, March 21st, 6:30 pm PURPOSE: Authentic Entrepreneurship: Staying true to your values. The story of a woman with big dreams baking delicious desserts from scratch, passionately sourcing local ingredients and supporting organic/fair trade practices. Annemarie Maitri of Bloom Bake Shop, Madison, WI. With a sampling of gourmet cupcakes at JustGoods fair trade market, 201 Seventh St., Rockford. Enter from west side parking lot.


Rockford Urban Ministries hosts a discussion of offerings for Self-Help Classes to the inmates of the Winnebago County Jail. The program will begin at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 23, 2017, at the JustGoods Fair Trade Store’s meeting room, 201 – 7th Street (use west side entrance off the parking lot) in Rockford.

Instructor Kathryn Brown, teacher is bringing a summary of the curriculum that she uses in her weekly class in the Winnebago County Jail.  “It has evolved over time” she says, “and has practical applications for daily living as well as deepening of faith.”

Ms. Brown has been leading an applied practical spirituality class in our local jail for 3.5 years, and in that time have become connected with numerous inmates who are in long term imprisonment.  “I correspond with 6 of them” she says, “and send them a package on a monthly basis. The materials I include are inspirational papers, pamphlets and books.”

Kathryn Brown needs donations of these items.  No particular religious faith need be represented.  They also need recreational reading of an appropriate type, which means no romance novels, but reading material that inspires hope and faith.

Many of these prisoners have no one out here in the world who supports them, thinks of them, or remembers them” she says.  “They are alone. I send them something on their birthday and at Christmas, and they write back to express their gratitude and their personal thoughts as to a friend.”

This program is free and open to the public.

Also, Rockford Urban Ministries is encouraging volunteers who would like to offer life training skills to those in the Winnebago County Jail. Rockford ReachOut Jail Ministry presently offers many bible study classes, and to help with these classes please call John Evans (who will also speak that evening) at 815/319-6629.

previous meetings:

Pastora Paula Cripps-Vallejo, “Preaching Peace and Justice in troubling and divided times”

Friday, December 9, 2016, 7:00 p.m.

Hosted at Christ UMC’s Our Masters Center, 5973 Darlene Drive, Rockford

One block south of Harrison at So Mulford, Rockford,

Please join us for the presentation, “Preaching Peace,” with Pastora Paula Cripps-Vallejo. She is United Methodist Clergy from a downtown Chicago congregation who has been active in anti-gun violence and immigration rights as well as other social issues. She will speak about preaching on controversial subjects. Paula has been able to encourage her congregants to get involved in social justice issues while at the same time not alienating her more conservative members. This program is free and open to the public.

For more information, please call Rockford Urban Ministries at 815/964-7111.

A Christmas present from RUM and local peaceniks.

previous programs: Dana Jones will speak about her work with Philippine quilters on Sat., Nov 5 at 10am at JustGoods – she is a longtime supporter and friend of RUM and is recently author of a book about the Philippine quilters, whom she helps.

Stanley Campbell has been invited to address the Veterans Day Nov 11 program in Janesville WI, 4pm at the County Courthouse Park.

Thursday, November 17, 7pm RUM hosts a program on Prison Ministry and a review of what’s available for the returning citizen – meet the new director of Reachout Jail Ministry, as well as leaders from Transform Rockford that is working on programs, and someone from the Winn Co Jail – hosted at Christ United Methodist Church, enter the south side of the building.

Sunday Nov. 20, 3pm – Interfaith Thanksgiving program -, Lou Ann Johnson, local environmental activist, at Fisher Chapel on the campus of Rockford University.  RUM co-sponsors.


So How do you Like Gambling Slots Now?

 Rockford Urban Ministries is sponsoring a program on Thursday, September 22 at 7 pm at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 4848 Turner St. in Rockford. The program is free and open to the public.

Anita Bedell, Executive Director of Illinois Church Action on Alcohol and Addiction Problems (ILCAAAP), will share information about video gambling and the impact on the economy.

Rockford ranks second in the state in the amount of money lost in the gambling machines—over TWO MILLION DOLLARS A MONTH!

Senator Syverson wants to increase the number of slot machines, especially at truck stops.  Enough is enough!  There are over 1,050 video gambling machines in Winnebago County—more slots than at five of casinos in Illinois!

ILCAAAP leads the statewide effort to oppose the expansion of gambling in Illinois.

The CROP Hunger Walk will be held on Sunday, October 16, and materials are available for pick up at JustGoods Fair Trade Store, 201 Seventh Street, in the back room.

Drop in and pick up some fair trade chocolate, coffee and/or tea and sign up for the CROP Hunger Walk. Materials will be available in the back room until the walk or you can call David Jones at 815/540-3703. You can also sign up at Registration for the walk is at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 16, and the walk steps off at 2:00. This year’s goal is $50,00

former programs (all successful):

Immigrant Stories and Songs Benefit raised almost $2000

A benefit for the free immigration legal clinic in Rockford was held Wednesday, Aug. 24 at JustGoods fair trade store. Sponsored by RUM, the public was invited to support Northern Illinois JFON (Justice For Our Neighbors) , a network of free immigration legal clinics that are staffed by qualified attorneys and serve those who could not otherwise afford legal counsel on immigration matters.

The program included Ekeng Bassey a Nigerian gospel singer, that had over 17 albums in his home country, but had to flee. He amazed the JustGoods audience  with his beautiful voice. We hope that he will be welcomed back to one of the Rockford area congregations. Centennial UMC Pastor Fabiola Grandon-Mayer, an immigrant from Chile, told her story and announced she had passed her test for citizenship. Fred Tsao, Senior Policy Counsel of the Illinois Coalition of Immigrant and Refugee Rights gave a report on the dismal chances of immigration reform; and NIJFON Supervisory Attorney, Jennifer Ansay told moving stories of their work. Tariq Shahadah, a young Palestinian/American, with his friends opened the program with song.  Refreshments were provided by Rockford volunteers and JustGoods.

For more information call Pam Herriott, JFON volunteer at 815-964-7426.

“Hot Tunes and Cool Treats,” Gospel and Jazz festival presented by Rockford Urban Ministries. The event was held on Sunday, August 14, 2016, beginning at 3:00 p.m., at Second Congregational/First Presbyterian Church, 318 N. Church Street in Rockford, in their fellowship hall (please use the North Church Street entrance. Free off-street parking. Wheelchair accessible. Valet parking available.). Raised over $800 for RUM.

Several of the area’s best-know musicians donated their time to help raise funds for Rockford Urban Ministries.

Vocalist, author, actress, educator and RAMI multi award winner Dorothy Paige Turner, who will perform a solo set and and a set with her Readers Theater Acapella Ensemble. Master saxophonist Harlan Jefferson will also perform his legendary jazz music. Paul Laprade, professor of music at Rock Valley College and music director at Second/First Church, will accompany Dorothy and play a suite of classics and jazz.

The Trinadora duo (Jannie Nelson and Ron Holm), brang their versatile, eclectic sounds on vocals, keyboard, guitar, ocarina, concertina, and harmonica. Ron was the stage co-ordinator, and Dorothy helped get the musicians.

More outstanding performers, including Andrew Holm and Betty Pumphrey. Watch for surprise performers as well,

A free will offering taken for the work of Rockford Urban Ministries, including materials for their volunteers who, with Jeremiah Development, will be working in the Haskell-Coronado neighborhood. Ice cream will be available as well as other refreshments. Mann poster 2 HotTunesCoolTreats_6-30v2

Saturday, August 20, 9:00 a.m., pick up your CROP Hunger Walk materials and join us for a free breakfast at Second/First Church, 318 N Church. For more information and to register call David Jones at 815/540-3703. (The CROP Walk is Oct 16)

Wednesday, August 24, 7:00 p.m., “Immigrant Stories and Songs,” a benefit for JFON’s free legal clinic. This will be hosted at JustGoods, 201 Seventh Street. Fred Tsao, Immigration Rights Coalition, will update us on the latest in legislation and politics.You can meet the attorney Jennifer as well as local immigrants who will share their stories and song. Free will offering and exotic treats.

Sunday, August 28, 12:00 noon, Seventh Street Ethnic Festival, including a parade, booths with food and gifts, a music stage, and RUM’s annual children’s book sale. Please donate any books that you have by dropping them off at JustGoods or by calling RUM for pickup. The books will be sold for a nominal amount to the attendees of the fest.

Wednesday, August 31, from 4:00-6:00 p.m. — You can pick up your CROP Hunger Walk materials at JustGoods, just drop in.

September 2016:

Stanley Campbell will be on sabbatical with his family from September 2 until September 24. Messages, etc. will be answered by Linda Goetz and Lee Schreiner.

previous events:

WHAT: Public is welcome to share a prayer for peace and against gun violence

WHEN: Sunday, July 24, 4pm

WHERE: at Seventh Street and Broadway.

ROCKFORD URBAN MINISTRIES hosts a prayer gathering for peace and against gun violence on this Sunday, July 24, beginning at 4pm, at Seventh Street just north of Broadway in sorrow of a juvenile girl who is presently fighting for her life after being shot multiple times today in the area of Seventh Street and 13th Avenue. The shooting occurred a week before.

Stanley Campbell, Director of RUM asks that we “Please keep the girl in your prayers. Please also pray for the perpetrators as well as this community that is suffering so.”

Rev. Keith Kelsey Powell will lead the prayer service, and Attorney Lee Goodman from Peaceful Communities will address gun violence.

The short prayer vigil is open & free.



Wednesday, March 23, 6:30 p.m.: A Lenten supper at Cornucopia Food Pantry – “Stone Soup.”

Tuesday, March 29, 6:30 p.m.: RUM program on prison release at Christ UMC –

Rockford Urban Ministries will present the program; “New Ideas for Prison Release Ministries,” on Tuesday, March 29, BEGINNING AT 6:30 p.m., at Christ United Methodist Church, 4509 Highcrest Road in Rockford (use south entrance).  We especially welcome anyone who wishes to do (or does) prison ministries of any stripe. Michael Williams, director of Rock River Training Corp., has made a proposal and will discuss how to welcome the returning citizen from the state prison system. Mr. Williams has extensive experience in helping indigents find meaningful work and straightening out their lives. He will lead a discussion on prisoner reentry resources in Rockford.        The March 29 program is free and open to the public. We especially welcome one and all involved in any type of prison ministries of any stripe.             Christ UMC is very welcoming. The program is in the “dining room” so use the southernmost entrance to the church. For more information please call Rockford Urban Ministries at  815/964-7111.

Friday, March 25, 9:00 a.m.: Good Friday downtown walk, begins and ends at Emmanuel Episcopal.

Thursday, April 28: Peace activist Kathy Kelly speaks at Emmanuel Episcopal. Call 815-964-7111.

The whole month of May: “Vintage Art Sale” at JustGoods – benefits RUM (donations needed)

Sunday May 1st 11am to 10pm CROP Hunger Walk BENEFIT at Hope and Anchor Restaurant, 5040 No. 2nd St, Loves Park, IL with Ron Holm and guests: A Day of Dining and Music to Help END HUNGER (Event details at 815-877-5008 or on line with Rockford Urban Ministries’ facebook page). FREE ADMISSION (CROP receives a percent of the tab, and you are welcome to give more). Music from 12:30pm to 7:30pm.

Thursday, May 26, 7:00 p.m.: RUM annual business meeting at JustGoods 201 Seventh St

Please feel welcome to join in any of the activities. Call if you have suggestions: 815-964-7111


This Thursday, September 24, 7:00 p.m., at Christ United Methodist Church, 4509 Highcrest Rd. — program with Judge Janet Holmgren and a plea for support for the RIC Center (Adult Resource Intervention Center).

Judge Janet Holmgren has reshaped the criminal justice response in Winnebago County, encouraging alternative services for the mentally ill, the addict, and ways to deal with family conflict, helping to establish the RIC Center (Adult Resource Intervention Center) as a way for judges to offer alternative programs instead of jail time.

We will learn how and why to support the program, both with our voices and our time.

When RUM first supported the construction of the new jail, we were promised that a certain percentage of the tax revenue would go towards alternative programs. The RIC Center is one of those programs and it seems to be working. Some County board members would like to see the fund used to hire more jail personnel and others are just opposed to “mollycoddling” the criminal. Please contact your county board members and encourage them to support the RIC Center’s vital work.

Judge Holmgren is highly respected and served as Chief Justice of the 17th District. I have asked her to bring staff from the RIC Center to explain how congregations and individual volunteers could assist in helping, and possibly mentoring.

Thursday, October 22, 7:00 p.m., at Court Street United Methodist Church, 215 N Court. Christopher Pierson, Director of Connectional Ministries, will speak about prisons and prison ministry; and George Hofstetter, Executive Director of Rockford Reach Out Jail Ministry, will explain their new outreach.

The October meeting will focus on specific programs that allow churches to receive the returning citizen from the prison systems, welcoming them back into the community, mentoring, and assisting in their spiritual and physical needs.

All suggestions for programs are welcome. Thank you for your prayers and support.

older programs:
This Sunday, July 26, Stanley Campbell will be at Beth Eden UMC (3201 Huffman Blvd., Rockford) -the 8:30 and 10:45 services, speaking about “What I learned during 30 years working in urban ministries.”  Also that same Sunday, come join us at Aldersgate UMC (4055 N. Rockton, Rockford) at their annual corn boil, 3 to 6pm.
On Sunday, August 9, Mr. Campbell will lead the service at Spring Creek United Church of Christ (4500 Spring Creek) at 10:30 a.m., commemorating the end of WII with the atom bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The service will include prayers for peace and the abolution of nuclear weapons. A discussion will follow the church service.
On Saturday, August 15, Shelter Care Ministries will lead a walk through the neighborhood, which will include portions of Jeremiah Development’s projects and where Rockford Urban Ministries has sent its summer work crews. The walk will begin at 9:00 a.m. from Emanuel Episcopal Church (412 N. Church, Rockford). $35 registration/donation.
On Thursday, August 20, Rockford Urban Ministries will host a meeting in support of the homeless with the director of the Illinois Coalition for the Homeless at JustGoods’ meeting room (201 Seventh Street, Rockford). Call to register.
On Sunday, August 30, Mr. Campbell will speak at Malta UMC at their 9:00 service about his thirty years as director of Rockforfd Urban Ministries.
Sunday, August 30, beginning at 12:00 noon, is the Midtown Fair, which will go until 7:00 p.m. RUM welcomes this opportunity to watch the ethnic diversity parade through Seventh Street and ending up around the 500 block (Rockford School Board building). JustGoods will have a table, selling their wares and RUM will join them, selling good, clean used children’s books (your donations are welcome).
Looking down the road, the CROP Hunger Walk will be held on sunday, October 18.


Sunday, July 5th, Stanley speaks at the 9:30 AM Service at 2nd Congregational/First Presbyterian, 315 N Church St. He’ll be reflecting on “Peace is Patriotic, A Vietnam Vet Reflects on War”

WHEN: Tuesday, July 7, 6:00 p.m.  Program on “Visiting Cuba as Friends”
WHERE: JustGoods Fair Trade Store, 201 7th Street, Rockford
This program is free and open to the public.
Marilyn McKenna of the Chicago Religious Leadership Network will speak about the latest prospects for dropping the embargo and our chances to visit that beleaguered country.
Ms. McKenna will be leading a tour to Cuba in October and understands necessary paperwork and problems. She will share a little history, and talk about what may have occurred to bring about the thaw in US – Cuba relations.
Other Rockfordians who have visited Cuba are invited to show pictures and talk about their experiences. This program is free and open to the public. You are especially invited to bring mementos of any trips to Cuba to share with the audience.
Cuban treats will be served, especially if you bring some!


stanley campbell , w815-964-7111

Sunday, July 19 Stanley will speak at Durand United Methodist about working for 30 Years at RUM

Sunday, August 9, Stanley will speak at Spring Creek Congregational about his reflections on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and our country’s love of weapons.

June 14, 15, and 16 –Northern IL United Methodist Conference, St. Charles. RUM will have a display table. Maybe they will say something nice about Mr. Campbell’s 30th Anniversary.

Friday, June 19 – RUM’s annual dinner at Court Street UMC. Keynote: Bishop Jonathan Keaton. This is one of our larger fundraisers, and we thank all the participants throughout the years.

Keaton Official Photo

You are invited to Rockford Urban Ministries’ 53d Annual Dinner

Friday, June 19

Dinner at 6:00 p.m. (reservations $30)

Program at 7 (free & open to the public)

at Court Street United Methodist Church,

215 North Court Street, downtown Rockford

Bishop Jonathan D. Keaton, the Episcopal leader of the Central and Southern Illinois Area of the United Methodist Church, is the keynote speaker. Bishop Keaton was elected to the Episcopacy in 1996 (he once served at Broadway UMC in the 1980s). There is no charge for the program, and it is open to the public.

The cost is $30 in honor of Stanley Campbell’s thirty years as director of RUM, “but it has been a great honor for me to serve you” says Mr. Campbell.

Please send $30 per person (“angels” are invited to send $50), with the names, to:

RUM Dinner, c/o Coralee Hardwick, 10970 Norman Ave, Machesney Park IL, 61115-7402

along with any dietary needs (i.e., vegetarian, gluten-free, etc.)

For more information call 815/964-7111 or email

previous activities

Sunday, April 19 at 10:30am – Stanley spoke to the Unitarian Congregation in Rockton about immigrants’ rights.

Sunday, April 19 – Interfaith Open Houses of Worship. Begin at 2pm at Temple Beth El, 3pm at the Mosque, and 4pm at the Lao Buddhist Temple. Pick up a flyer at JustGoods.

Earth Day Wednesday, Apr. 22, 7pm – RUM music benefit at JustGoods (in remembrance of Pete Seeger). Artists who have graced our stage will share environmental and peace songs written by Pete. Lots of sing-alongs. Money raised will pay ASCAP and BMI for the rights to sing Pete’s (and anyone elses) songs (RUM hosts Friday night music programs, 7pm, free will offering & open to the public)

Saturday April 25 – 30th Anniversary Workshops. Keynoter 12noon– Gary Cozette, Chicago Religious Leadership Network:

9:00 a.m.              Registration:     Introductions and continental breakfast. Ron Holm, local musician extraordinaire, will lead us in a rousing peace song and morning reflection.

9:45 a.m.              First series of workshops:

Food Security: Meeting the needs of the hungry at home and abroad. The needs are almost self-evident, but how can we meet them? Local actions and governmental policies. Bread for the World presenter and Rev. David Jones from the CROP Hunger Walk will lead discussion.

Homelessness – Lou Ness from Shelter Care Ministries and the Chicago Coalition on Homelessness will lead a discussion of local, state, and federal actions to find people homes.

Teaching Children Peace Making Skills — Mary Fox developed a one-hour interactive workshop for use at the “Call to Action” conference. More information at

Beyond Benevolence: An introduction to organizing for the common good, Part One — Broad-based community organizing in partnership with the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF). Bob Hillenbrand and Rev. Keith Kelsey-Powell, presenters

More workshops welcome and to be added.

11:00 a.m.   Second series of workshops — The same as above except Beyond Benevolence will be Part Two

12:00 noon  LUNCH — Vegetarian potluck. People are invited to bring a crock pot of their favorite soup (meatless, please). Bread provided by Great Harvest

Sunday April 26 – Stanley preaches at Pecatonica UMC on “Making Money From Your Friends Addictions.” How businesses dealing in addictive substances harm our family, friends, and community.

Sunday, May 3, 12:00 noon until 9pm — CROP Hunger Walk Benefit at Hope and Anchor, 5040 N. 2nd St.

Saturday, May 9, from 10 am to 2 pm, at 2nd. Con/1st. Pres. 318 N. Church St. World Fair Trade and Mother’s Day.  A Fair Trade Marketplace, and Fair For All, Fresh Fair Trade Rose’s. The perfect gift for Mother’s Day, a beautiful rose with the sweet scent of “Justice”

Thursday, May 21, 7pm – RUM Annual Business Meeting: election of officers, Holland Award

Sunday, January 11, 2015, beginning at 3:00 p.m.  –  We are invited to a “Celebrate Diversity” program at Brooke Road United Methodist Church, 1404 Brooke Rd.

Celebrating the diversity of the city as reflected  in two United Methodist Congregations, the program will open with David Stocker leading a procession of drummers and musicians. Included in the program will be a solo by Mimi Kwak, an organ solo by Roberta Gambrel, a solo by Bryan Latham, and music from two choirs.

The Brooke Road UMC choir will provide contemporary music and the Centennial UMC choir will perform traditional anthems. This is the fourth annual diversity program and a free will offering will be accepted for the diverse ministries of the two United Methodist Churches. For more information, please call Roberta Gambrel at 815-398-0352

Monday, January 12, 6:30 p.m.  –  Reader’s Theatre Series (coordinated and directed by Dorothy Paige Turner) “Scenes from Classic African American Plays” at JustGoods Listening Room, 201 7th Street, Rockford.

Actors read scenes written by well- and lesser-known playwrights from African American literature. Awareness of the contributions to this American art form will be heightened through the presentations of some of Rockford’s most talented performing artists.

Coordinated and directed by Dorothy Paige-Turner, this program is free and open to the public, and co-sponsored by Rockford Urban Ministries. Free will offering.

Saturday, January 17, from noon until 2:30  –  Cecilia Mann has set up a beautiful display of her quilts in the JustGoods’ gallery, 201 Seventh Street, Rockford. The display will be up throughout January.The reception is a chance to mingle with some of the most talented quilt makers in the community. Most of the quilts are for sale except for the baby quilt, which will be donated to the Neonatal Unit of Rockford Memorial Hospital. This program is free and open to the public.

9:00 a.m. on Sunday, January 18, 2015  –  Stanley Campbell will speak at Centennial United Methodist Church, 1503 Broadway, Rockford. He will talk about helping neighbors, and how the Church has supported homeless programs and housing. The special guest will be Shelton Kay, Director of Community Services at Crusader Clinic. Mr. Kay oversees the Living with AIDS program as well as the Health Care for the Homeless program. Shelton has lived in Rockford for more than 30 years, since graduating from Rockford University. The church service is, of course, free and open to the public.

Thursday, January 22, 2015, at 11:30 a.m. –  State Representative Litesia Wallace will meet with Rockford Urban Ministries council members and friends at JustGoods Fair Trade Store, 201 Seventh Street, Rockford. Representative Wallace won the election after being appointed to Chuck Jefferson’s 67th district. She was appointed to his house seat after serving as his chief of staff for four years.

Stanley says “I have asked Representative Wallace to talk about what some of the top issues will be in the state legislature. I have also asked her to prepare comments about the increase in legalized gambling, support for alternative energy, and police training and the use of violence.”

The meeting is open to friends and supporters of Rockford Urban Ministries, especially those who live in the 67th district.

And below: another successful event:

Afternoon tea with Jim Winkler,

President of the National Council of Churches

“How Churches can Help Bring about World Peace”

see it on YouTube!

Sunday, December 28,  began at 2pm

at Grace United Methodist Church

3555 McFarland Road, Rockford, exit I-90 at Riverside, go west ¼ mile

(just south of Puri Peace Plaza, and east of Perryville Rd)

Program is free & open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Jim Winkler was elected General Secretary/President of the National Council of Churches last year, and  is a member of the Justice and Advocacy Commission of the National Council of Churches of the United States of America, a member of the steering committee of the Campaign for Health Care Now, a board member of several organizations including the Faith and Politics Institute, Churches for the Middle East Peace, and Africa Action.

Winkler has served as general secretary of the General Board of Church and Society (GBCS), the international public policy and social justice agency of The United Methodist Church since November, 2000.

As the chief executive of the board, Jim has led a staff of 22 who seek the implementation of the Church’s Social Principles through education, witness, and advocacy. The board carries out a wide-ranging ministry of peace and justice throughout the world with offices in Washington and New York.

This is the annual peace program is sponsored by Rockford Urban Ministries

Call 815-964-7111 for more information.

past events:

Sandra Adell, professor of Afro-American Studies at the University of Wisconsin, and author of Confessions of a Slot Machine Queen

Wednesday, August 13 at 6:30 p.m.

at  Cherry Valley United Methodist Church, 112 S. Cherry Street, Cherry Valley IL,   The program is free and open to the public.

Dr. Adell’s book, Confessions of a Slot Machine Queen, looks critically at the expansion of casino gambling from the perspective of an African American woman who struggled as a young, uneducated and unwed teen mother to earn a Ph.D. in Literature and a position at a major research university, only to risk losing everything she worked for after becoming addicted to slot machine gambling. This program is sponsored by “Enough Is Enough” and receives support from Rockford Urban Ministries with the hope that people will take courage and overcome from the effects of addiction.

Lou Ness, Episcopalian deacon and director of Shelter Care Ministries, will lead an informal discussion about her walk to Washington, D.C. on Saturday, August 16, 10:00 a.m., at JustGoods Fair Trade market gallery, 201 Seventh St.

Fair trade coffee and tea will be provided. Lou spent two months walking the 930+ miles from Rockford to our nation’s capital to deliver a message of compassion for the poor and homeless. “I know that the impoverished families we serve need a voice. When one of us suffers, we all suffer and how we treat the least among us is a reflection of who we are.” This program is free and open to the public. You are invited to bring a love offering for Shelter Care Ministries as well as treats to pass.

This will be the first in a series of Saturday morning discussions. If you have suggestions or would like to offer a program, please contact the Rockford Urban Ministries’ office at 815/964-7111.

Returning Citizens Ministry Opportunity
Thursday, August 21, 6:00 pm
Christ United Methodist Church, 4509 Highcrest (enter south side of main building) 
In the Alpine Dining Room

The Returning Citizens Ministry is a mentoring program for persons who have recently been released from prison/jail. It is a ministry provided through Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LSSI) and is one part of a more comprehensive program of Prisoner and Family Ministries of LSSI.  The mentor volunteers in the program do not require special qualifications, except the ability to listen and care, and the desire to help people who have been incarcerated with their reentry into the community.  A few hours of training (usually one evening and the following morning) are required.  The training would be given in Rockford.
Mike Davis, who is the director of the LSSI ministry, will be here to present an information meeting about this ministry opportunity on Thursday, August 21, at 6:00 pm in the Alpine Dining Room.  Please plan to come and hear about this ministry and see if it would be a good fit for your gifts and skills. For more information call Nancy Vogel at 815-633-6894.

Work Camps A Success!

Eighty-seven (87) volunteers arrived this last Monday for one week of donating their labor including simple repairs, building a handicap ramp and repairing a roof for homes in the low income neighborhoods of Rockford.

The volunteers are part of Rockford Urban Ministries’ Work Camp program, which this summer has invited fourteen Christian congregations from around the country to do good work for those in need. The volunteers stay at area churches, including Second Congregational/ First Presbyterian Church downtown.

Work comes from the Jeremiah Project, an outreach of five downtown churches who survey homes in need of simple repairs in the Coronado-Haskell neighborhood. The volunteers this week come from churches in the United Methodist Conference of eastern Pennsylvania.

Next week three separate volunteer church groups will arrive in Rockford on Monday and work through Friday.


The whole month of June: RUM’s “Used Art” Benefit Sale

(Sale was a big success – we have leftovers in the basement)

WHERE: JustGoods Gallery, 201 Seventh Street

Mondays through Saturdays, 10 – 6

The benefit has been moved to June, but there is a preview of the art, which is donated by supporters of Rockford Urban Ministries, in the back room. This year so much art has been donated, the prices will be $20 for large framed prints, $10 for smaller framed pieces, and $10 – 3 for unframed prints.

Donations are still being accepted for the sale. Anything that could be considered art is welcome, donations may be dropped off at the gallery at 201 Seventh Street during store hours, Monday through Saturday, 10 – 6. Or call Stanley Campbell at 815-964-7111 for pick up or special arrangements.

All programs free and open to the public.

For more information, call Rockford Urban Ministries at (815) 964-7111.

2014 Annual Dinner SATURDAY JUNE 28

                Every year you get an invite to RUM’s annual dinner, and this year is no different for our 52nd anniversary.

Reverend Robert Biekman is our speaker for the RUM annual dinner on Saturday, June 28, 6:00 p.m. dinner, at Brooke Road UMC, 1404 Brooke Road; and at 7:00 p.m. we will hear from Reverend Biekman. You can register for the meal early by responding to this email and letting me know whether you want a vegetarian or a regular meal. Send for Tickets (suggested donation: $20 each, $40 for “angels”) to:  RUM Dinner, c/o Coralee Hardwick, 10970 Norman Ave., Machesney Pk IL 61115-7402

Reverend Robert Biekman is the United Methodist urban strategist from the Northern Illinois Conference in Chicago. He is also the senior pastor at the Maple Park UMC in South Chicago.

Reverend Biekman has taken a hands-on approach to dealing with the many social issues endangering the urban churches’ neighborhoods. His dedication links directly to his theology: “John Wesley (founder of the Methodists) said that ‘the world is my church and the least we can do is to begin in the neighborhood.’  I’m a firm believer that when God appoints a pastor, he is there to serve not just the needs of the members but also the needs of that community. The Church has to be a light in the urban setting. Besides shouting on Sunday morning, we need to be relevant Monday through Saturday.”

Please keep RUM in your prayers, and thanks for all that you do.


Gambling Addiction Program Tuesday, June 17, 6:30 p.m.

Last month I wrote about the addicted gambler, 5% of the population who cannot control themselves once they get in front of a video slot machine. I said there little help in Winnebago County.  I’ve learned of two:

Remedies Substance Abuse and Gambling Addiction Program is available in Rockford at 516 Green Street (815/962-0871) and in Belvidere, 2028 N. State Street (815/547-4502). They offer education about substance abuse and gambling addiction and provide prevention and intervention services. There are funds available to cover the cost of anyone seeking help. A client can also call 1-800-GAMBLER, and get a professional response 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Rockford Urban Ministries is host in Doug LaBella, member of the Wisconsin Council of Problem Gamblers. He is a social worker and will talk more specifically about treatment programs, what works and what might not work. He states that those who are addicted can be in denial and get worse as time progresses. People should seek help immediately if they believe they have a problem. Mr. LaBella has done workshops on gambling addiction in Illinois and Wisconsin. The program will be on Tuesday, June 17, 6:30 p.m., at JustGoods, 201 Seventh Street, Rockford, and is of course free and open to the public.

I was lucky enough to meet a wonderful woman who belonged to the Gamblers Anonymous programs in Minnesota. She is retired and says that she would like to help start a Gamblers Anonymous (GA) meeting here in Rockford. The more meetings, the greater resources the addict has. I believe there are other resources available. Please contact Rockford Urban Ministries (815/964-7111) if you can add to the list.


Earth Day Benefit Remembers Pete Seeger

Tuesday, April 22 was Earth Day and what better day to celebrate the life of Pete Seeger, folk singer, activist, and environmentalist.

We thank the over 80 people who donated almost $900!

Pete was famous for such politically aware songs as “Where Have All the Flowers Gone,” “If I Had a Hammer,” and “Turn, Turn, Turn.” He started singing with Woody Guthrie (author of “This Land is Your Land”) and then became famous as a member of The Weavers, especially with their recording of Lead Belly’s “Good Night, Irene.” It topped the charts for thirteen weeks in 1950, but they were blacklisted during the McCarthy era. (Pete never admitted to being a communist but always thought they had some “good ideas.”)

In the 60s he became a prominent singer of protest music and supported international disarmament and the counter culture. He was famous for popularizing the spiritual song, “We Shall Overcome,” and performed it regularly for civil rights protests.

In the 70s he was moved when he heard of the pollution of the Hudson River and worked to clean it up. He launched a sloop called “The Clearwater” and used it as a platform for organizing concerts and conducting environmental education programs for schools. The Great Hudson River Revival, also known as The Clearwater Festival, is an annual two-day event that now focuses on green energy.

In honor of Pete Seeger’s memory Ron Holm and area folk musicians shared songs and stories on Tuesday, April 22, beginning at 7:00 p.m., at the fair trade store JustGoods, 201 Seventh Street, Rockford .

We thank Emily Hurd for providing a wonderfully delicious home cooked meal for the performers, staff and those lucky few early birds.

Joining Ron Holm on the stage was Rockford’s own local musician and activist David Stocker, Ross Thompson, Trinidaro, Dirt Simple, Eric Lambert, Nic Juric, DK Kolars, and Olivia Dvorak as well as surprise guests. Mr. Holm is organizing the musical “event of the century” and promises that it will be as good as, if not better than, many of the Friday night concerts that he puts on for free at JustGoods.

Donations will be taken up for the work of JustGoods and Rockford Urban Ministries, which supports peace and justice activities. People are encouraged to come early as it is a small room but with excellent acoustics.

For more information, you can call Stanley Campbell, Executive Director of Rockford Urban Ministries, 815/964-7111.

annual Good Friday Walk for Justice began at 9:00 a.m. on Good Friday, April 18 from the parking lot of Emmanuel Episcopal Church at 412 N. Church Street

Rockford Urban Ministries’ annual Good Friday Walk for Justice will begin at 9:00 a.m. on Good Friday, April 18 from the parking lot of Emmanuel Episcopal Church at 412 N. Church Street. The walk is free and open to those who wish to walk and pray for the city. “We will walk to 14 stations, where we will stop and pray” says Mr. Stanley Campbell, director of Rockford Urban Ministries. This will be the 29th year of the walk.

The 14 stations, or stops, go through downtown, “most representing the community’s attempt to help those less fortunate, such as Luther Center and Frank Ware/Rosecrance” says Mr. Campbell. “The stops have also included places that need improvement in the city’s compassion—such as the jail and a bank. We also pray for our leaders at the State and Federal buildings, for better communication through the newspaper, and a special prayer at the bridge for east-west side relations.”

This year the new stop will be at the new Federal Building, where prayers will be said to welcome the immigrant.

The walk takes about an hour and 15 minutes. “At the first station, we honor Emmanuel Episcopal’s Shelter Care Ministries, which serves the mentally ill homeless,” says Mr. Campbell.  “Jesus wants us to help these, the least of His brethren. From there, we carry our 10-foot, 75 lb. wooden cross to the Rockford Mass Transit terminal and pray for the people who use our city’s transportation system.”

Last year, the Walk took an hour and 15 minutes. Average attendance is somewhere from 50 to as many as 100 people.
Call the sponsor, Rockford Urban Ministries:  815-964-711, with questions.

WHAT: Workshop on prison ministry; WHEN: Saturday, April 5, From 10:00 a.m. to noon

 WHERE: Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 1829 N. Rockton Ave., Rockford, (Across from West Middle School). FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

Please join us at a workshop on prison ministry (hosted by Rockford Urban Ministries) on Saturday, April 5, beginning at 10:00 a.m. at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 1829 N. Rockton Avenue (across from West Middle School). Michael Davis, Associate Director of Prisoner and Family Ministry of Lutheran Social Services, will speak to us about their new services in Rockford. Their mission is to establish connections for correctional center populations with community providers, including faith-based organizations. They help ex-offenders (“returning citizens”) become productive members of the community.

Mr. Davis has been involved in re-entry since 1995. He will speak about re-entry support and how everyone involved in the criminal justice system can work toward the healing of relationships that have been broken by crime. He will encourage individuals and congregations to offer “returning citizens” (people coming home from prison) and their families assistance in bringing about the needed healing. Mr. Davis will talk about the specifics of needed assistance and re-entry support that can include simple things like clothing, food, a place to meet; and then go onto more involved assistance such as housing, counselling, education, health care, transportation, and employment.

Please keep Lutheran Social Services of Illinois (LLSI) in your prayers. Please note that the workshop will be at the host site of LSSI services: Good Shepherd Lutheran Church. For more information, please call Stanley Campbell, Rockford Urban Ministries, at 815/964-7111.

Please join us for a documentary viewing and discussion of the film, “A Matter of Place,” by the Fair Housing Justice Center, on Wednesday, April 16, 2014, beginning at 5:30. This documentary film focuses on the history of housing discrimination and the fight for fair housing rights. It highlights the continued discrimination and damage it inflicts on individuals and the society. Join the discussion about how far we have come and how we can help advance the goals of housing choice and community integration in the future. This will be presented by Prairie State Legal Services and marks the 46th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act.

The program will be held at JustGoods Fair Trade Market, 201 7th Street, Rockford, and is free and open to the public. A Spanish interpreter will be available. Please RSVP by April 4, 2014 to Jasmina Popaja at 815-668-4412 or

JFON Benefit a Success

RUM raised over $1200 at a benefit for JFON (Justice for our Neighbors) to support the immigration attorney coming to Rockford. The benefit was held on Saturday, March 22, and began at 3:00 p.m. Hosted at Court Street United Methodist Church, 215 N. Court Street, Rockford, it was billed as a “Battle of the Church Bands (and invited guests).” Over 20 musicians  shared the stage in benefit for JFON! To seek legal counsel, please call 815-408-0498 or email

Stanley Campbell spoke about the work of RUM on Wednesday, February 5, 9:30 a.m., at the River of Life United Methodist Church in Clinton, Wisconsin. Even though new snow had fallen, over 15 women arrived to make it a very interesting discussion.

The CROP Hunger Walk Thank-You Program offering dessert and certificates of appreciation will be held on Sunday, February 23, 2:00 p.m., at Second/First (Second Congregational/First Presbyterian at 315 North Church Street). The committee is looking for volunteers for this year’s CROP Hunger Walk (October 19). Reverend Eric Lemmon Holm from Good Shepherd Lutheran Church has joined the committee. Why don’t you?

Do you wonder where all the refugees come from?

Join RUM as we learn more about our new neighbors.
Join RUM as we learn more about our new neighbors.

You are welcome to join RUM’s February program Thursday, February 27, 7:00 p.m., at Brooke Road United Methodist Church, 1404 Brooke Road (please use the west parking lot and enter from the west door).

Pat Winn, director of Catholic Charities,  and Janet Biljeskovic, of the Diocesan Immigration and Refugee Services program, will discuss the process of bringing refugees into this country, how they choose who is welcome, and why they end up in Rockford. We also would like to know how well the newcomers acclimate to this community and the services provided and where we could fit in. Rockford Catholic Charities have helped over 350 families a year, and there are at least 100 other diocesan offices in similar areas. They usually focus on the most vulnerable and include family members who are in harm’s way and cannot return to their homeland. Over two million refugees arrive in the U.S. each year.

Reverend Enrique Gonzales, pastor of Centennial United Methodist Church, now on Broadway, posted a sign, “English as a second language classes available.” When he arrived for the first class, he welcomed a number of people from Burma. It was a surprise and one in which the church responded wholeheartedly. They now have new visitors at their services, and Burmese food was served at a luncheon.

By the way, Centennial needs volunteers to help the youngsters with their school work. Please call Centennial at 815/965-8611 or Pastor Enrique at 847/345-6430.

The most recent refugees include those from the Middle East, Bosnia and the former Yugoslavia, Sudan, Burundi and other parts of Africa, as well as the many unique groups of Burma. For more information, you can call Catholic Charities at 815/399-1709.

Sheriff Candidate Forum at next Prison Ministry workshop. Rockford Urban Ministries is hosting a workshop on prison ministry on Saturday, March 1, beginning at 10:00 a.m. at Christ United Methodist, 4509 Highcrest, enter from south side, #6.

George Hofstetter from the Rockford Reach Out Jail Ministry will begin the program at 10:00 with a discussion of mentoring the parolee. When he is finished, we will then begin introducing the candidates. We will allow three to four questions from the audience for each candidate, and have asked them to focus their talks on these specific questions:

  1. What would you do about the overcrowding of the jail?
  2. Do you believe in alternative sentencing and if so, what suggestions do you have?
  3. Do you approve of educational resources for the people in jail?
  4. How would you support the work of the Rockford Reach Out Jail Ministry and/or other jail programs?

The following candidates for Winnebago County Sheriff have been invited: Randall Olson (D), Robert Redmond (D), Jeffrey Schroeder (D), Glenn Heidenreich (D), Robert Springer (D), Gary Caruana (R), and Frank Pobjecky (R).  So far Gary Caruana has said yes.

They will spend five minutes introducing themselves and will speak about their views on the Winnebago County Jail.

 Then the League of Women Voters’ hosts a Sherriff’s Candidate Forum the next afternoon:

They will get a more formal “grilling.” With the retirement of Sheriff Richard Meyers, the candidates are scrambling for the “top cop job” in Winnebago County. I believe there are five Democrats and two Republicans, and they will be introducing themselves at a RUM co-sponsored candidates’ forum on Sunday, March 2, beginning at 2:00 p.m.

The Rockford League of Women Voters is hosting this event. The forum is free and open to the public. It, too, will be hosted at Christ United Methodist Church (Highcrest and Alpine, use main entrance).

RUM’s main concerns include the treatment and accessibility of the prisoners in Winnebago County Jail to alternative programs and rehabilitation services as well as their attitudes on increased gambling and hand gun violence and concealed carry.

Rockford Urban Ministries is sponsoring a benefit for JFON at Court Street United Methodist Church on Saturday, March 22. We are looking at an afternoon program and encourage choruses, choirs, and groups to volunteer two songs to help raise funds for the free legal clinic for immigrants. Please enter the church through the northwest entrance.

Next meeting:

Saturday morning Prison Ministry Workshop, January 18, 10:00 am, Christ UMC, Highcrest and Alpine

Paying for Prison Ministry
– How and why”
A workshop free & open to the public
with keynote speaker    Paul Logli,
CEO & President at United Way of Rock River Valley
WHEN:   Saturday, January 18, 2014,
from 10 am until noon
WHERE:   Christ United Methodist Church,
                        4509 Highcrest, Rockford   (SE Corner of Highcrest and Alpine
Rockford Urban Ministries hosts this workshop, which is free and open to the public. Registering with Rockford Urban Ministries, 815-964-7111, is appreciated but not necessary. A short panel discussion will follow with area representatives from the various ministries.Discussion includes prison and release ministries, especially in Winnebago County. Phil Pilcher, grant writer, will talk about basic grantwriting, and Rev. Bill Gerber, Jericho Project, will share some ideas about housing.
We pray for the success of all prison ministries, and look forward to helping in whatever way we can. For more information, suggestions, and updates:
Call Rockford Urban Ministries, the host of the meeting, 815-964-7111, for more information. Visit our


Thursday, January 23, 7:00 p.m., place To Be Announced. “The Victims of the Drug War.”

Walter Boyd is the director of St. Leonard’s Ministries, which provides housing and support services for formerly incarcerated men and women returning to the community from Illinois prisons. There is a sister facility called Grace House, an all-women’s residence.  He will talk about the services they provide as well as an overall impression of the success (or failure) of the War on Drugs. One of his ministries includes “Back on My Feet,” where volunteers and mentors run with the returned citizens.