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 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


    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.


    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

    Logo design by Debbie Noffsinger

    Church of the Brethren Newsline

    The planning team for the next National Older Adult Conference (NOAC), to be held Sept. 1-5, 2025, at Lake Junaluska, N.C., has announced the theme for the event: “Alive in the Spirit!”

    The theme scripture is Romans 15:13: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (NRSVue).

    The planning team includes Heidi Berkenbosch, Deanna Brown, Bonnie Kline Smeltzer, Leonard Matheny, Don Mitchell, Karlene Tyler, and coordinator Christy Waltersdorff.

    The NOAC 2025 theme statement:

    “As the Apostle Paul came to the end of his letter to the Christians living in Rome, he shared his hopes for them. He knew they were strong, if imperfect, followers of Jesus Christ. He knew the church communities had their ups and downs. He knew life was hard for Christians. He also knew that they didn’t have to handle life alone. His hope for them was in the power of God, which would bring joy and peace. The fuel of their faith was the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit.

    “We too are called to be ‘Alive in the Spirit!’ We too are called to claim the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit, which empowers everything we do. When we are alive in the Spirit we live with hope, with gratitude, with power, and with joy. Our world needs to experience the transforming love of God. Let’s welcome the wind and the fire of the Holy Spirit into our lives and into our Church so that we may truly be alive in the Spirit.”



    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.