Church of the Brethren
Illinois & Wisconsin District

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



    emoji-timeline Church Revitalizationand Development Team meeting, Sept. 23, 9 a.m.

    emoji-timeline Ministry Leadership Development Team, Sept. 27, 6:30 p.m.

    emoji-timeline Camp Emmanuel 75th Anniversary Celebration, Sept. 30,beginning 9 a.m., Astoria, Ill.

    emoji-timeline Leadership Team meeting, Oct. 3, 6:30 p.m.

    emoji-timeline Council of District Executives executive committee meeting,Elgin, Oct. 4-5

    emoji-timeline Potluck lunch and regional conversation time at Cerro Gordo,Oct. 8, 12 p.m.

    emoji-timeline Camp Emmaus District Campfire, Oct. 21, events beginning 5p.m.

    emoji-timeline Pre-conference Continuing Education event, "Deepening OurIntimacy with God", Lanark, Nov. 3, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

    emoji-timeline Illinois/Wisconsin District conference, Lanark, Nov. 3-4

    [all meetings via Zoom unless otherwise noted]


    September Newsletter


    Information and registration links can be found on the District Conference tab.

    District Conference, Nov. 3-4 at the Lanark Church of the Brethren. is only a few months away! Please register so that we know you are coming! Please follow the links below for additional information and registration:

    ♦ Delegate registration

    ♦ Non-delegate registration

    ♦ K-5th Grade Child Registration

    ♦ Nursery/Pre-K

    Please note that Lanark COB would like children to be registered by October 22. There will also be permission slips for parents/guardians to sign when they arrive at District Conference. 


    September 30th

    Activities starting at 9 am

    Meet in Chapel for the welcome, share stories and announcements of activities for the day.

    Throughout the day will have live music, merchandise for sale on the porch, balloon artist, bounce house, volleyball, basketball, gaga ball, bags.

    Camp tours: printed map and guide with camp features and history.

    Scavenger hunt, kids crafts, fishing derby


    Prizes and closing at 3:45

    Fishing derby winners for biggest, smallest, heaviest, and most fish.

    Bring your lawn chairs and spend the day!


    Leadership in Turbulent Times
    Fall Book Study on Quietly Courageous:
    Leading the Church in a Changing World

    God calls certain people into leadership in the church. And those that respond to that call are passionate about leading with purpose and care. Yet many pastors struggle to respond to the challenges of a changing culture, while remaining faithful to an eternal Gospel message. They recognize that leading a congregation isn’t the same as leading a civic group or business, yet realize that people often interact in predictable ways. Gil Rendle, in his book Quietly Courageous: Leading the Church in a Changing World, offers insight for church leaders who want to lead well, and respond to the unpredictable forces that shape our world with grace and courage.

    “Quiet courage is needed when there is no going back because the ‘back’ that is remembered doesn’t exist anymore. Our current reality is that we are not in a turnaround situation. Leaders cannot take us back to a more comfortable time when the church was established at the heart of the culture as a bedrock, trusted institution.”
    —Gil Rendle

    Circuit Rider John Fillmore will facilitate a 10-week conversation on Rendle’s book. Sessions will begin Oct 3rd and will be held virtually from 7-8 pm EST (4-5 PST) on Tuesdays. CEUs will be available to pastors, and the Part-Time Pastor/Full-Time Church Program will provide participants a copy of the text.

    Registration at:


    Camp Emmaus (Mount Morris, Ill.) is inviting the district to a campfire and other fall festivities on Saturday, Oct. 21. Come during the afternoon to enjoy relaxing or hiking around the camp on your own, and then come together at 5 p.m. for a pumpkin-decorating contest and light meal followed by the campfire starting around 6:15 p.m. The event is free, but donations are welcome. (In the event of rain, the event will take place in Hare Lodge.)


    IL/WI Pre-Conference CEU Event
    @ Lanark Church of the Brethren 


    Leader: Chris Douglas

    Friday, November 3, 2023

    10 A.M.-4 P.M. (w/ Lunch)

    Just as our bodies need to be revived from time to time, so do our souls. In today’s fast-paced world it sometimes seems difficult to even catch our breath. Yet we sense our own desire to live our lives in a way that is more deeply connected to God and to others. 

    In this pre-conference time, we will explore various contemplative practices. We’ll have times for silence and reflection on our own so that we can come away more attentive and responsive to God’s presence with us. 

    All are welcome to participate. Clergy participants will receive 0.5 CEU’s. Cost is $10 to cover lunch.

    Please register via the link or by contacting the district office: 309-649-6008

    Opening session: 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
    Lunch 12 p.m.-1 p.m.
    Afternoon session: 1-4 p.m.

    Chris Douglas is an ordained minister and a member of Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren. She is a 2002 graduate in spiritual direction from the Shalem Institute.


    Make plans to celebrate National Junior High Sunday! Suggested date: Nov. 5. 2023.


    As has been the practice in recent years, the Illinois/Wisconsin District has agreed to provide up to eight volunteers for the week following Thanksgiving, Nov. 26–Dec. 2, 2023. That week of volunteering again will be shared with the South/Central Indiana District. A major change from recent past Brethren Disaster Ministries assignments, is that the project site, Dawson Springs, Kentucky, is a relatively nearby “neighbor,” just 70 miles south of Evansville, Indiana. This provides a great opportunity for those who want to serve with BDM but hesitate to travel hundreds of miles to a project site.

    Dawson Springs was in the path of the devastating outbreak of tornados that swept through eight states in December 2021 with Kentucky, Illinois, and Missouri the most heavily impacted. Estimates are that around 75 percent of the town of Dawson Springs, which was home to around 2,500 people, was leveled by a tornado. More information about the Dawson Springs BDM project is at

    Click here to access a complete 2023 schedule for the Dawson Creek project. In addition to the week of Nov. 26, there are openings in other weeks in 2023 with the opportunity to join other districts. To register your interest in joining this year’s Illinois/Wisconsin group, contact our district disaster coordinator, Loren Habegger. To volunteer with other groups for the listed openings, contact Kim Gingerich at

    Our prayers are also with all the victims of the recent fires in Maui, Hawaii, where a Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) team was recently deployed to assist. Another small team recently traveled to Edina, Mo., to aid a tornado response. CDS is seeking to increase the number of trained and certified CDS volunteers to respond to future needs. Volunteer training workshops will be offered Oct. 21-22 at Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren and Oct. 27-28 at Skyridge Church of the Brethren, Kalamazoo, Mich. Cost is $55 postmarked three weeks before the event, $65 thereafter. Meals and camp-style accommodations are provided. To learn more, visit York Center member Carolyn Neher is CDS’ associate director.


    Camp Emmaus ( has the following upcoming events:

    emoji-timeline Oct. 21   District Campfire (events beginning 5 p.m.)
    emoji-timeline Nov. 11   Leaf Raking Day (Youth Leaf-Raking Retreat Nov. 10-12)

    The Sept. 16 Celebration Lunch and Open House will include a meal, fellowship, sharing stories and memories, celebrating volunteers, and a chance to browse new items in the camp store. Camping is also available through the weekend. Contact Sara Garner at or 630-923-9039 to reserve a space.

    The Camp Emmaus board this year launched the Camp Emmaus Endowment Fund. The board set a goal of raising $100,000 for the fund this year, helping to provide a new revenue stream for camp and allowing a wider range of planned and deferred gifts. More than $28,000 was raised for the endowment and unrestricted giving during a special campaign in June and early July. To learn more about this endowment, arrange to make a donation, or discover other ways to get involved, please reach out to treasurer Dan Radcliff at

    2024 Dates

    emoji-timeline July 7-11   Intermediate Camp
    emoji-timeline July 12-14   Young Adult and Young at Heart Camp (YAAYAH)
    emoji-timeline July 14-20   Senior High Camp
    emoji-timeline July 21-27   Middle School Camp
    emoji-timeline August 2-4   CIT
    emoji-timeline August 3-4   Elementary Camp
    emoji-timeline August 8-10   Women's Camp
    emoji-timeline August 16-18   Men's Camp

    Camp Emmanuel ( has the following upcoming events:

    emoji-timeline Sept. 30   Fish Fry and 75th anniversary celebration
    emoji-timeline Oct. 21   Fall Work Day and Camp Closing

    Camp Emmanuel is celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2023! A celebration at the camp, including the return of the traditional fish fry, is being planned for Sept. 30 with events beginning at 9 a.m. In addition to the signature fish meals, enjoy desserts, balloons, hiking around camp, good fellowship, and more.

    Visit the district's camp web pages to stay up to date on what’s happening.
    Save the dates: The Midwest's Powerhouse Regional Youth Conference, sponsored by Camp Mack and Manchester University with the help of local districts, will take place Feb. 16-18, 2024, at Camp Mack in Milford, Ind.

    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.”

    Advance registration (March 1-June 10) will be $330 for delegates and $150 for non-delegates attending the full conference (or $50 daily rate)).Current high school students and younger can attend with no registration charge; those post-high school through age 21 are $40.Fees are higher for on-site registration beginning July 2. For virtual participation only, the non-delegate rate is $195 (or $75 daily) before June 10 and $225 thereafter.

    Two hotel options, the Amway Grand Plaza and the Courtyard Grand Rapids Downtown, will be available for $119 plus tax (total of $136.90) per night with complimentary self-parking and in-room WiFi. Annual Conference registration and housing opens to the public March 1. For more information, visit

    Nominations are also sought for positions on the Annual Conference ballot. The list of open positions and links to make nominations can be found on the Annual Conference website.


    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.


    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, 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. Congregations in good standing are those that for the past two years have sent delegates to district conference and have supported the district financially with undesignated gifts of at least $100 per year for the past two years.

    Read the brochure for more details.


    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.