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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  • District Executive Search Committee News

    The District Leadership Team would like to announce the formation of a search committee, charged with finding the Illinois-Wisconsin District a new District Executive to fill the vacancy that will be left when Kevin Kessler leaves the office. The team consists of 8 members: Blaine Miner, moderator-elect; Jane Bicksler, Freeport; Allen Krall, Springfield; Leonard Matheny, Peoria; Purvi Satvedi, Neighborhood; Steve Voelker, Dixon; Christy Waltersdorff, York Center; Dennis Webb, Naperville.

    The committee has already begun its work. Christy Waltersdorff was called to serve as chair, Allen Krall is vice chair, and Leonard Matheny is recording secretary.

    While the search for a new District Executive continues, the Leadership Team is working on securing an interim DE. The Team hopes to make an announcement at District Conference. All seek your prayers during this period as Kevin finishes his work, an interim begins, and a search is underway.

  • National Junior High Sunday - November 1, 2020

    “Take the log out,”

    Matthew 7:3-5.

    Worship resources available at

  • 2020 District Conference

    The 2020 District Conference scheduled for Nov. 6-7, 2020, will be held virtually on Saturday, Nov. 7 from 9:30am to 12:00pm. Zoom will be the online platform used. Delegates and non-delegates need to register which can be done online at (delegates) or (non-delegates) As conference information becomes available it will be shared and distributed.

    Putting together a virtual rather than an in-person conference may have the appearance of being less strenuous. Be assured this is not the case. Granted, the allotted time for conference is significantly less. However, determining how to provide complete information, offer business as “usual”, and have meaningful worship stretches the creative imaginations of all those involved in planning the conference. In addition, knowing who will be present as well as who will be serving as delegates is vitally important, especially since delegates will not be seated in a designated area. Screen observers will be tasked with identifying delegates among the many who will gather virtually. While it is always very important to know who registered, this year it is even more important. Additionally, it is vital that registrations are made well in advance.

    The registration deadline is already past. Please, if you plan to attend, register soon! Registering only a few days before conference, especially if you are a delegate, may hinder your opportunity to cast a vote. Tellers will need to be able to identify delegates for voting, thus it will be important to know who delegates are prior to the conference.

    Please spread the word that all are welcome to participate in this virtual conference from the comfort of home!

  • Response to Racial Injustice

    August 3, 2020

    But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.  --Amos 5:24 (NRSV)

    ...what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?  --Micah 6:8b (NRSV)

    The Illinois/Wisconsin District of the Church of the Brethren continues the work of Jesus... peacefully... simply... together. Peacefully does not mean the work is without conflict. We enter conflict non-violently striving to treat everyone as we want to be treated. We stand on the side ofjustice and righteousness for all. The present socio-political climate has revealed that the lives of our black and brown brothers and sisters are under threat and that they are denied the protection and freedom that is justly theirs. We proclaim that we are all beloved children of God and that black and brown lives matter.

    We will stand together in solidarity. We will work together to create change. The needed transformation of oppressive systems requires us to understand racial oppression in our culture. We must listen to one another. We who are white must listen to those of us who are brown and black, to understand their experience and learn from their wisdom. We commit to being in courageous conversation with open hearts and generosity of spirit.

    The work before us is not simple. It is complex. It must be carried out with an intensity of kindness, humility, compassion, and adherence to the ways of Jesus. This work is not optional; it is required.

    The IL/WI District, in following the teachings of Jesus to dismantle racial injustice, must…

    * Listen actively. (John 4:4-42)
    * Stand in solidarity with all who seek justice. (Matthew 12:50)
    * Recognize where oppressive power dynamics within our own systems (denomination, district, congregations, communities) need transformation. (Matthew 7:1-5; Matthew 15:1-9)

    We therefore commit to engage in the following:

    * A district-wide anti-racism book study (using the Zoom platform)
    * A prayer service of lament and commitment
    * Publishing links to webinars and educational events provided by Discipleship Ministries of the Church of the Brethren
    * Including a resource page on the district’s website

    We hope for a world where justice rolls down like water, where righteousness flows on eternally, where loving-kindness is experienced as the norm, and where humility is the catalyst for understanding one another more completely. But let us do more than hope. Let us act, always,consistently, to make this hope reality.

    Kevin Kessler, District Executive on behalf of the District Leadership Team

  • District Book Study - Conversations on Race

    “Conversations on Race--Engaging and Transforming the Beloved Community”

    Facilitators: Dennis Webb, pastor of the Naperville congregation and Christy Waltersdorff, pastor of the York Center congregation


    Dates: 7:00-8:30 p.m. on the following Thursdays via Zoom

    Nov. 12
    Dec. 3, 17
    Jan. 7, 21
    Feb. 4


    A white woman named Christy Waltersdorff. A black man named Dennis Webb. Dennis was born and grew up in a country where almost everyone was black and familiar. Christy grew up in a country where white people were the dominant culture, and familiar to her. God would have it that the Church of the Brethren has brought us together. We met first as pastoral colleagues and chose to become friends. We have chosen to make our racial and cultural differences become a blessing, instead of an anemic, made-up, foundationless racial separation.We bring this as a part of our offering to you as the facilitators of this conversation. 

    We confess that we don't know it all. We would like to learn from you and with you, concerning this issue of race. Why? When the barrier of racial separation is overcome, its reality leads us closer to God’s vision of the beloved community. We see each other ‘face to face’-as God intended. We are not yet there. We all need help. And we are convinced that the book “White Fragility--Why It's So Hard For White People to Talk About Racism,” will help us greatly. We invite you to participate with us in this conversation. Truly listening and sharing with one another is the first necessary step to becoming the beloved community. Please join us.  

    For More Information or to Sign up for the Book Study- please contact the district office.

  • 2020 PowerHouse Regional Youth Conference

    The Powerhouse regional youth conference will take place on ZOOM this year, providing a weekend of worship, virtual games, music, virtual campfire, and more for senior high youth in the Midwest and their advisors. We hope you can join us November 13-14 for these events!

    On these pages you will find a variety of information and the link for folks to register. After a participant is registered, they will receive an email with the ZOOM link they can use to join us for these virtual activities.

    Since Powerhouse is taking place on ZOOM this year, there will be no cost for you to participate!

    Please be in prayer for this event, and encourage your youth and advisors to attend.

    Bekah Houff, University Pastor and Director of Church Relations

  • NYAC 2021 registration opens January 21

    January 21: National Young Adult Conference 2021 registration opens at

  • 2021 Christian Citizenship Seminar

    Christian Citizenship Seminar (CCS) 2021 

    Christian Citizenship Seminar registration opens at

    If you have questions, please contact the Youth and Young Adult Ministries Office at 847-429-4385.

    CCS 2021 will be a virtual event! 

    April 24 - 28, daily from 7 - 9 p.m., Eastern.

    Theme: Economic Justice, Luke 1:51-53

    Registration: $75 (will open later this fall) 
    Stay tuned for more information!

  • National Youth Sunday - May 3, 2020

    National Youth Sunday will be May 2, 2021.

    Theme and worship materials will be posted online by March 2021

  • Young Adult Conference 2021

    January 21: National Young Adult Conference 2021 registration opens at

    May 28-31, 2021 (Memorial Day Weekend)
    Montreat Conference Center (North Carolina).

  • National Junior High Conference 2021

    The next National Junior High Conference will be July 23 – 25: 

    National Junior High Conference at Elizabethtown College.

    Online registration opens in January.

  • 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.