Church of the Brethren
Illinois & Wisconsin District

Kevin Kessler, District Executive
Rick Koch, Moderator
Blaine Miner, Moderator-Elect
Andrea Garnett, Administrative Assistant
Andrea Garnett, Newsletter Publisher
Jim Miner, District Webmaster


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  • IRS issues standard mileage rates for 2020

    The Internal Revenue Service today issued the 2020 optional standard mileage rates (PDF) used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.

    Beginning on January 1, 2020, the standard mileage rates for the use of a car (also vans, pickups or panel trucks) will be:

    * 57.5 cents per mile driven for business use, down one half of a cent from the rate for 2019,
    * 17 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes, down three cents from the rate for 2019, and
    * 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations

    The business mileage rate decreased one half of a cent for business travel driven and three cents for medical and certain moving expense from the rates for 2019. The charitable rate is set by statute and remains unchanged.

    It is important to note that under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, taxpayers cannot claim a miscellaneous itemized deduction for unreimbursed employee travel expenses. Taxpayers also cannot claim a deduction for moving expenses, except members of the Armed Forces on active duty moving under orders to a permanent change of station. For more details, see Rev. Proc. 2019-46 (PDF).

    The standard mileage rate for business use is based on an annual study of the fixed and variable costs of operating an automobile. The rate for medical and moving purposes is based on the variable costs. Taxpayers always have the option of calculating the actual costs of using their vehicle rather than using the standard mileage rates.

    A taxpayer may not use the business standard mileage rate for a vehicle after using any depreciation method under the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS) or after claiming a Section 179 deduction for that vehicle. In addition, the business standard mileage rate cannot be used for more than five vehicles used simultaneously. These and other limitations are described in section 4.05 of Rev. Proc. 2019-46 (PDF).

  • 2020 Christian Citizenship Seminar

    Registration opened Dec. 2 for the 2020 Christian Citizenship Seminar. This event for high school-age youth and their adult advisors takes place in New York City and Washington, D.C. It is designed to give youth the chance to explore the relationship between faith and a particular political issue and then act from a faith perspective regarding that issue. This year’s seminar focuses on pursuing economic justice. Dates are April 25-30, 2020. Go to

  • Church Planting Conference

    Church of the Brethren General Offices • Elgin, Illinois

    May 13 – 15, 2020

    The Reward of Risk

    “Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most ...”
    —Matthew 25:28 The Message

    Many times, in our conversations around church planting and church renewal, we talk about the possibility of failure in regard to risk. But have we ever stopped to ponder the possibility of reward in the midst of risk? What might it look like to celebrate those who stepped out and took a risk for the Kingdom of God? Join us as we explore and celebrate around the theme of The Reward of Risk.

  • 2020 National Young Adult Conference

    January 20 is the opening date to register for the 2020 National Young Adult Conference, to be held May 22-25 at Montreat (N.C.) Conference Center. The theme is “Love in Action” (Romans 12:9-18). Speakers will include Drew Hart, Paul Shaffer, and Richard Zapata, among others. Worship coordinators are Jessie Houff and Tim Heishman. Music coordinator is Jacob Crouse. The planning team is the Young Adult Steering Committee: Emmett Witkovsky-Eldred, Briel Slocum, Jenna Walmer, Karly Eichenauer, Krystal Bellis, and Mario Cabrera. Registration cost varies depending on the participant’s travel distance. Some scholarship assistance may be available. “Early bird” registration discount is available during January only. The conference is for participants ages 18 to 35. Infants up to 12 months old are welcome with a parent participant; childcare is not provided, contact the Youth and Young Adult Ministries office at Registration and more information will be posted at

  • Annual Conference: July 1-5, 2020

    2020 Annual Conference logo,

    The Annual Conference Program and Arrangements Committee has released the names of those preaching for the daily worship services at the 2020 Annual Conference of the Church of the Brethren. The Conference takes place in Grand Rapids, Mich., on July 1-5.

    In related news, the 2020 Conference will devote significant time to spiritual engagement around a proposed compelling vision for the Church of the Brethren. “The Annual Conference officers feel such a process is crucial to provide delegates ample, prayerful space as they move toward an affirmation of a compelling vision for the denomination,” said an announcement from the Conference office. “Though other business will be entertained, no polity/structural changes will be considered. It is the discernment of the Annual Conference officers that such items are best considered after the 2020 Annual Conference, after a compelling vision has been determined.”

    Annual Conference preachers for 2020

    On the opening evening of the Conference, Wednesday July 1, the sermon will be brought by Annual Conference moderator Paul Mundey of Frederick, Md.

    Thursday evening’s preacher on July 2 will be Richard Zapata of Anaheim, Calif., a pastor of Santa Ana Principe de Paz Church of the Brethren.

    On Friday evening, July 3, the sermon will be given by sister-and-brother team Chelsea Goss and Tyler Goss of Mechanicsville, Va., and Harrisonburg, Va., respectively.

    Saturday evening’s sermon on July 4 will be preached by Beth Sollenberger, executive minister for South Central Indiana District.

    The closing sermon of the Conference on Sunday morning, July 5, will be given by Patrick Starkey of Cloverdale, Va., who is chair of the denomination’s Mission and Ministry Board.

    For more information about Annual Conference go to 

  • 2020 Camp Emmanuel Schedule

    June 5-7 Women's Camp
    June 7-13 High School Camp (Completed 9th-12th Grade)
    June 14-20 Middle School Camp (Completed 6th-8th Grade)
    June 21-27 Junior Camp (Completed 3rd-5th Grade)
    July 10-12 Pre-Junior Camp (Completed K-2nd Grade)
    July 28-31 Day Camp (Completed K-5th Grade)
    July 31-August 2 Men's Camp
    September 4-7 Family Camp
    Camp work week is April 25 - May 1st.
    Camp work day/closing is October 24th

    Check for more details.

  • 2020 Camp Emmaus Schedule

    Here are the dates for 2020:

    July 9-11 - Women's Camp
    July 12-18 - Senior High
    July 19-22 - Elementary II
    July 22-26 - Young at Heart
    July 26-August 1 - Junior High
    August 2-7 - Elementary III
    August 7-9 - CIT Event
    August 8-9 - Elementary I 

    Memorial Day & Labor Day Family Camps are on the traditional weekends

    Check for more details.

  • Guest Speaker List

    There is a Speakers List for the Illinois/Wisconsin District. Persons included in this document have accepted the invitation to be available to preach during worship services or for other special events as indicated. Hopefully you will find this tool useful and valuable when the need arises for inviting a guest speaker.

    The speakers on this list are all credentialed ministers, either licensed or ordained. We would like to expand the list to include more credentialed ministers as well as interested laity. If your name is absent from the list and you have interest in serving as a guest speaker, please inform the district office. We would also welcome the names of persons you might suggest for inclusion on the list.

    Since this is a new venture, it is likely we may need to provide more information than is included. Your input as to how the list can be improved would be welcomed.

    Please share with the District Office any questions, comments, or concerns you may have.

  • Mission and Mortar

    The purpose of the Illinois/Wisconsin District is supporting the growth and development of the member churches. One means of support is financial assistance. Congregations in good standing are eligible to apply for assistance through the Mission and Mortar Program

    Sustaining and developing ministry (mission) within congregations, as well as maintaining property (mortar), is sometimes hindered because of inadequate financial resources. The Illinois/Wisconsin District realizes that this dilemma exists and desires to financially support congregations that are in good standing with the district and have specific needs. Application for assistance may be made for up to a three-year period with reductions in the amount of support for each subsequent year. In the event that multi-year assistance is needed, a graduated agreement for funding will be arranged, but a request for the funds must be made annually.

    Read the brochure for more details.

  • Information Reporting

    All ordained ministers, licensed ministers, and congregations need to keep the District Office informed of changes in contact information. Changes include: phone number, cell phone number, email address, mailing address, and congregational email or website. Please email Andrea Garnett,, or call (309)649-6008 with your updates. Your effort will save valuable staff time trying to track down these changes. Other information to share: changes in key leadership positions at the church or the death or serious illnesses of minister, retired ministers, or spouses. Help us serve better!

  • CEU Credits for Ordained Ministers
    Do not wait to begin to log your Continuing Education Units. The 2015 Five-year Ordination Review process for ALL ordained ministers will launch in 2014. Ordained ministers are required to produce verification of 5 CEU credits for this five-year period. It is your responsibility to secure certificates, letters or verifying documentation regarding CEU credit. Retired clergy are exempt from this requirement with the exception of those retired clergy actively involved in Interim Ministry.

    CEU Notation: The district does not grant CEU credit for personal study and/or self-designed experiences you have had and/or books you have read. It is the minister's responsibility to secure a CEU certificate, Letter of Verification, and/or authentication document for completed training, seminars or workshops, or learning experiences offered by the presenting organization. This verification should always state the number of hours of the training - 10 hours of training equals 1.0 CEU credits. Please take personal initiative to become a life-long learner and increasingly effective minister of the Gospel.

  • Gifts Discernment
    The Gifts Discernment and Call Committee seeks your help. We are commissioned to call active, informed, and committed members of congregations or fellowships from within our District to positions of service. These persons, both pastors and lay members, are to be called from all parts of the District and to represent the diversity among us. Our committee's knowledge of members eligible and capable to serve is limited. Therefore, we make this appeal for assistance.
  • Each congregation in the district has a Liaison Leadership Team member who may be contacted with any questions or concerns about the ministries of our district.
  • Add news, announcements, or your congregation's web site URL to the district site. Email your information to the

  • Please check the District Disaster Response website for disaster relief news.