Church of the Brethren
Illinois & Wisconsin District

Walt Wiltschek, District Executive Minister
Christy Waltersdorff, Moderator
Bill Williams, Moderator-Elect
Andrea Garnett, Administrative Assistant
Andrea Garnett, Newsletter Publisher
Jim Miner, District Webmaster



    emoji-timeline  Council of District Executives Midwest region meeting, June 20, 9 a.m.

    emoji-timeline  District Annual Conference briefing, June 22, 10 a.m.

    emoji-timeline  Council of District Executives meetings, Grand Rapids, Mich., July 1-3

    emoji-timeline  Church of the Brethren Annual Conference, Grand Rapids, Mich., July 3-7

    emoji-timeline  Church Revitalization and Development Team, Aug. 3, 9 a.m.

    emoji-timeline  Leadership Team, Aug. 6, 6:30 p.m.

    emoji-timeline  Ministry Leadership Development Team, Aug. 14, 6:30 p.m.

    emoji-timeline  Program & Arrangements Committee, Aug. 22, 7 p.m.

     [all meetings via Zoom unless otherwise noted]


    June/July Newsletter


    The Illinois/Wisconsin District will offer an Annual Conference briefing on Saturday, June 22, 10-11 a.m. Central Time, via Zoom. The link will be sent out at a later time. This time will include brief devotions, a video highlighting details from this year's conference, sharing from Standing Committee delegate Katie Shaw Thompson and hopefully one of the Annual Conference officers, and time for questions. It is open to anyone, but Annual Conference delegates and volunteers are especially encouraged to attend. 

    This year's Annual Conference will take place July 3-7 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Learn more at Annual Conference (


    The 2024 Church of the Brethren Annual Conference will take place July 3-7 (plus some pre-Conference meetings) in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Madalyn Metzger, who grew up in the Springfield First congregation, will serve as moderator, with the theme “Welcome and Worthy.”

    Daily scripture themes are as follows: Wednesday, July 3: Romans 16:1-4 (CEB) with supporting scriptures from Matthew 5:1-16 (CEB) and Revelation 7:9-10; Thursday, July 4: Luke 1:46-49 (NIV) with supporting scriptures from Jeremiah 1:4-10 and 2 Samuel 9:1-10a; Friday, July 5: Romans 12:3-10 with supporting scriptures from John 15:9-13 and 2 Chronicles 30:18-21; Saturday, July 6: Acts 2:42-47 with supporting scriptures from Ephesians 4:1-6 and 1 Peter 4:8-11; Sunday, July 7: Philippians 2:1-11 with supporting scriptures from Micah 6:8, Zechariah 7:8-10, and Galatians 6:2 and 6-10.

    Worship preachers will be moderator Madalyn Metzger on Wednesday; Greg Broyles of Roanoke, Va. (Germantown Brick Church of the Brethren) on Thursday; Brandon Grady of Glenville, Pa. (Black Rock Church of the Brethren) on Friday; Leonard M. Dow, vice president of Community and Church Development for Everence and previously pastor of Oxford Circle Mennonite Church in Philadelphia on Saturday; and Cindy Laprade Lattimer of Huntingdon, Pa. (Stone Church of the Brethren) on Sunday morning.

    Nathan Hollenberg of Broadway, Va., is serving as the Program and Arrangements Committee liaison to the worship team, which also includes Founa Augustin Badet of Delray Beach, Fla.; Calvin Park of Knoxville, Md.; and Amber Harris of Winston-Salem, N.C. The music coordinator is Seth Crissman of Harrisonburg, Va.; choir director is Julie Richard of Finksburg, Md.; and pianist is Jocelyn Watkins of East Peoria, Ill. The organist is Robin Risser Mundey of Frederick, Md., and the children’s choir director is Stephanie Rappatta of Elkhart, Ind.

    Advance registration has closed, but participants can still register onsite in Grand Rapids during the Annual Conference week. A virtual participation option is also available, at a rate of $225. New this year is an option for groups and institutions to participate virtually from a common location. For more information go to and select “Virtual.”

    Our own Leonard and Vicki Matheny (Peoria First) head up on-site registration. To date, the following Illinois/Wisconsin congregations have registered delegates: Canton, Cerro Gordo, Chicago First, Dixon, Dutchtown (Milledgeville), Freeport, Highland Avenue, Mount Morris, Naperville, Neighborhood, Peoria First, Polo, Springfield First, Woodland, and York Center. Katie Shaw Thompson (Highland Avenue) serves as our Standing Committee delegate this year.

    Don Fitzkee (Lancaster, Pa.) and Gene Hollenberg (Nappanee, Ind.) head this year’s ballot as candidates for moderator-elect. Complete biographical information for all nominees is at and will be printed in the Conference booklet.

    Volunteers are needed to assist with ticket sales at Annual Conference in Grand Rapids, Mich. This group will handle all onsite ticket sales for catered meal events. Responsibilities begin Tuesday, July 3, at 3 p.m. and end Saturday, July 6, at noon. If you are willing to assist, please sign up for one or more shifts at OR contact Don Anderson, ticket sales coordinator, at

    Registration for our camps’ summer programs is now open! Visit the camps’ respective websites (below) for registration links.

    Camp Emmaus (Mount Morris, Ill.) has announced its summer camping schedule for 2024. This year’s curriculum theme will be “Linked by Love”:

    June 15             Clean-Up Day
    July 7-11           Intermediate Camp (grades 3-5)
    July 12-14         Young Adult and Young at Heart Camp (YAAYAH)
    July 14-20         Senior High Camp (grades 9-12)
    July 21-27         Middle School Camp (grades 6-8)
    Aug. 2-4            CIT training
    Aug. 3-4            Elementary Camp (grades 1-2)
    Aug. 8-10          Women’s Camp
    Aug. 16-18         Men’s Camp
    Aug. 30-Sept. 2  Labor Day Family Camp

    Camp Emmanuel (Astoria, Ill.) has announced its summer 2024 camping schedule:

    Middle School Camp (grades 6-8)      June 9-15
    Junior Camp (grades 3-5)                 June 19-23
    Pre-Junior Camp (grades K-2)           June 28-30
    Creation Camp (grades 3-6)             July 12-14
    Day Camp (grades K-5)                   July 15-19
    Men’s Camp                                    Aug. 9-11
    Family Camp                                   Aug. 30-Sept. 2

    The “Escape to Emmaus” series at Camp Emmaus continued June 1 with a Target Sports day featuring archery and slingshots. For other upcoming events, see or the Camp Emmaus Facebook page or contact Other recent projects at the camp included putting new privacy dividers in the bathhouse, extending gutters on Hare Lodge (pictured), and installing a new door for the walk-in cooler.

    Camp Emmaus is looking for a lifeguard for this summer. If interested, contact

    Camp Emmanuel is working on adding air conditioning to the bunk cabins, installing new roofing, and getting a new washer and dryer for camp use.

    Stay up to date on what’s happening at our district camps! Visit for Camp Emmanuel news and for Camp Emmaus news.


    Church of the Brethren FaithX trips are short-term service experiences that challenge participants to be more aware of themselves, their communities, and their world.

    The trips provide opportunities for all ages to serve. Traditional junior and senior high youth trips are happening during summer, along with a family trip, adult trips in the US with Brethren Disaster Ministries and in Ecuador, a We Are Able trip for persons with intellectual disabilities, and options for combined junior and senior high youth groups to attend together. An older adult trip to Florida took place in February.

    Registration for this summer’s FaithX trips has closed, but please be in prayer for those who are participating and consider being part of a FaithX experience next year. Learn more at

    Brethren Disaster Ministries has updated its website with information for its second project response the weeks of Sept. 15 through Nov. 16. The site will tentatively be Letcher County in southeastern Kentucky. An online informational meeting about the new site will take place June 24 at 6 p.m. Central ( for those who might have interest.

    A tornado recovery project is also ongoing at least through the summer in Dawson Springs, Kentucky, where some of our district volunteers served this past fall. Another significant tornado passed through the area on May 26, but no damage occurred to homes that BDM has worked on, just some debris. Information is available at: Our district’s assigned week this year is Dec. 1-7.

    With the severe weather and tornadoes across the country, Children’s Disaster Services has been deployed several times. On May 4-5 CDS served in Minden, Iowa, after a tornado went through the town destroying approximately 50 homes. On May 29, a Children’s Disaster Services team served in Ironton, Missouri, after high winds and tornadoes came through the area in early April. The total number of children served during the spring tornado season, as of the end of May, was 34, with 13 CDS volunteers attending. And June 2-3, CDS was invited to serve in Greenfield, Iowa, where a May 12 tornado damaged or destroyed 153 homes and killed four people.

    A BDM volunteer appreciation breakfast will take place during Annual Conference. BDM will also again sponsor a blood drive at Annual Conference. Those who can’t attend but want to participate can join a virtual blood drive at



    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.


    Grants available through the district include the following:

    1. Mission and Mortar: 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, whose mission is to support the growth and development of member congregations, realizes that this dilemma exists and desires to financially support congregations that are in good standing with the district and have specific needs. More information can be found here.

    2. Being Jesus in the Neighborhood: Congregations can apply for $100 in seed money to start a new outreach project or initiative in their local communities, or to expand an existing one. These should be projects that intentionally engage with the neighborhood immediately around the congregation, or for those in rural locations, with the town or area around the church. Each congregation receiving a grant will be asked to share a little about their project at district conference. More information can be found here.

    3. Give Your Pastor a Break: Congregations can apply for up to $100 for a grant to cover or help cover a guest speaker for an extra Sunday to give your pastor a day off—or at least a day off from having to prepare and preach a sermon. We hope this might be part of the ways you care for your pastor. More information can be found here.

    4. Emerging Missions Fund: To facilitate the growth and establishment of new faith communities, this grant is available for church and ministry planting initiatives. New church and ministry plants are encouraged to apply by contacting the district office and/or the CRDT.


    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!


    Do not wait to begin to log your Continuing Education Units. The 2025 Five-year Ordination Review process for ALL ordained ministers will launch in 2024. 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.


    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.