The Northern Illinois Fellowship's activities are intended to strengthen unity among the churches and enhance each congregation's effectiveness in ministry. While Congregationalists believe in the autonomy of the local church under the lordship of Christ and the authority of Scripture, they also recognize cooperation between congregations as a New Testament imperative.
The nine CCCC churches of northern Illinois work together through the Northern Illinois Fellowship. The NIF Executive Committee meets annually in the spring for worship, a business session, and for other activities that strengthen ministry. The annual meeting rotates among the churches.
Pastors' Meetings and Installations
The ministerial members of the CCCC in northern Illinois, along with other leaders, gather regularly for prayer and discussion. Special ministerial occasions sometimes bring the churches and ministers together. These include the installation of a new pastor or the ordination of a new ministerial member of the CCCC. When a church has a candidate for ordination, ministerial members and other leaders are invited to a "vicinage council" to examine him or her.
Members of the CCCC community gather for special events. These include picnics for fellowship, special concerts, missionary presentations, anniversaries and church dedications. Seward Congregational Church's 165th anniversary and the dedication of Zion Church, Freeport's new facility, both in 2006, are examples of other special occasions that bring the churches together. The CCCC Annual Gathering each July is another occasion when member churches and pastors share worship, teaching and fellowship. The 2015 Gathering took place in Rochester, New York; the 2016 Gathering was held in Carlsbad, California; and the 2017 Gathering is scheduled for Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
The Conservative Congregational Christian Conference is a mission-minded fellowship, and each local church supports several missionaries, whether in North America and across the globe. The nation of India has been a special concern of CCCC members in northern Illinois; several pastors and lay people have been involved in mission trips to that land, or have served there on a longer-term basis.
The CCCC Area Representative represents the Conference Minister and the Board of Directors of the CCCC in northern Illinois, working with the Northern Illinois Fellowship to strengthen the work of ministry among the local churches. He is responsible for interviewing candidates for CCCC ministerial credentials and for helping new congregations affiliate with the denomination.