Congregation to say farewell to ministers
The congregation of Champaign's Mount Vernon United Methodist Church will be saying goodbye to the Rev. L. Rachel Berry and her husband, the Rev. John Kraps, on May 18. The celebration of their ministry will start at 10:30 a.m., with Berry's final sermon, followed by a potluck lunch and a performance by the church's praise band, including a sing-along of favorite hymns and songs. A play room for kids on the church grounds is planned.
Berry, a native of Riverside and student at the University of Illinois and Garrett Evangelical Seminary in Evanston, and Kraps had churches in Chicago, but moved to California and ministered for 20 years in the California/Nevada Annual Conference of Methodist Church. They came back to Illinois as retirees to be near elderly family members. Their daughter, Rachel Rebecca Berry, came to the UI and was hired as an accompanist at Mount Vernon. When the minister at that time left her appointment midyear, the Rev. Berry filled in and has been "filling in" for seven years. Kraps has been her partner in ministering to the congregation.
Their children, Rachel Rebecca Berry, Imy Berry and John Kraps Jr., have also been a welcome influence in the church.
Berry and Kraps plan to stay in Champaign, but will travel extensively, "while we are still young enough to do it," the Rev.Berry said.
The church is at 2201 CR 900 East, Champaign. To reach the church, drive north on Mattis Avenue out of Champaign 3 miles past Olympian Drive, turn left at the church sign (CR 2200 north) and drive 1 mile. Call Berry at 217-359-0196 for more information.