New Chairman of Rockford Urban Ministries Elected

By: WIFR Newsroom
By: WIFR Newsroom

ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- At the 52d annual business meeting of Rockford Urban Ministries Council, retired pastor the Rev. Keith Kelsey Powell was elected Chairman. He replaces the Reverend Enrique Gonzalez, who is leaving to serve in Wisconsin.

Rev. Kelsey Powell last served Court Street United Methodist Church here in Rockford, and retired in 2011 after serving 27 years in the denomination.

“My passion is urban ministry where,” says Pastor Keith “there is no shortage of opportunities to serve the last, the least, and the lost! I spent my entire ministry in small towns and urban settings, starting in Wyanet, Illinois, then in Chicago, University Park and now in a small city, Rockford, where I retired from Court Street United Methodist Church three years ago.”

RUM (as it is affectionately called) is the outreach of 22 churches, primarily United Methodist, whose mission is to bring the love of Christ, and social justice, to those in the urban setting.

During his time in Chicago, he served as President of the Annual Northern IL Conference, Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church. As President, he encouraged the Conference to be engaged in “Communities of Shalom” trying to bring God’s Peace to the inner city. One of the principles is identifying hidden assets, utilizing them to transform communities which are only as strong as the individual is willing to invest. “We encourage people to advocate for the poor, and share their gifts and creativity.”

Creative minds are necessary in times of scarcity. While serving in University Park, Illinois, he worked with the local United Way to make grants available to community organizations.

In Rockford, serving as Pastor of Court Street, Pastor Keith worked with three downtown Pastors who founded “Jeremiah Development.” He presently serves on the Rockford Interfaith Council and the board of ReachOut Jail Ministry.

“I’m most delighted to be joining Rockford Urban Ministries as Chairman in its second fifty years of illustrious service in advocating for justice, peace, unity and empowerment in our community.”

Rev. Keith Kelsey-Powell has also been appointed as an interim pastor for the German Valley and Winnebago United Methodist Churches. Pastor Keith, as he prefers to be called is married to the Rev. Judith Kelsey-Powell and they are living in Rockford, Illinois. Pastors Keith and Judith have two adult children, a son Luke and a daughter Ana.

The following are the RUM officers:

2014-2015 Executive Committee

Chair Rev. Keith Kelsey Powell
Vice-Chair Coralee Hardwick
Secretary .. Pam Herriott
Treasurer ... Lee Schreiner
Rockford Dist. Superint. ... Lisa Kruse-Safford,

Executive Committee Members:

Rev. Dick Wang, retired
Rev. Don Long, retired
Nancy Houtz Spring Creek UCC
Rev. Ivan Schoen, Spring Creek UCC,
Rev. David Poust, First UMC Forreston,
Karen Fysh Rockton UMC
Rev. Christopher Druce Jones, Poplar Grove UMC
Rev. Brian Channel, Durand UMC
Rev. Matthew Johnson, Unitarian Universalist, Rockford


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