Church of the Brethren
Illinois & Wisconsin District

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


  • Upcoming Meetings & Events
    • Church Revitalization and Development Team, Sat., Sept. 24, 9 a.m.
    • Shalom Team, Sat., Sept. 24, at York Center, 1 p.m.
    • CODE Midwest meetings, Sept. 25-27, at Camp Mack, Milford, Ind.
    • District Conference Planning and Arrangements sub-committee, Mon., Oct. 3, 7 p.m.
    • Leadership Team, Sat., Oct. 8, 9 a.m.
    • Ministry Leadership and Development Team, Wed., Oct. 19, 6 p.m.
    • District Campfire at Camp Emmaus, Sat., Oct. 22, 6:30 p.m.
    • “21st Century Youth and Young Adult Ministry” pre-conference CEU event with Becky Ullom Naugle, Peoria Church of the Brethren, Fri., Nov. 4, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
    • Illinois/Wisconsin District Conference at Peoria Church of the Brethren, Fri.-Sat., Nov. 4-5 (virtual options available)

      [all meetings via Zoom unless otherwise noted]
  • District Conference

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

    Mark your calendars for Nov. 4-5 at Peoria Church of the Brethren, when we will gather in person for the first time since 2019 for district conference (a hybrid option will also be available for those who want to participate virtually). Harold Rose (Canton) serves as moderator this year, with Phyllis Batterton (Woodland) as moderator-elect. Registrations are needed to the district office by Sept. 23 so that we can provide a meal count to our caterer.

    The theme this year is “Outside the Walls: Being Jesus in the Neighborhood.” The weekend will include worship, ice cream, business, fellowship, and more. Tim McElwee, the 2023 Annual Conference moderator, will be with us through the weekend and will be speaking at the Friday evening worship service.

    Key business items include the 2023 district budget, revisions to the district constitution and bylaws, approval of the slate of district officers and team members, recognition of ministry milestones, and reports from various denominational and district entities.

    Other highlights of the conference include equipping sessions on three topics (peacemaking, pastoral compensation, and theopoetics); an exhibit hall with information from various Brethren and Brethren-related organizations; and an auction to benefit district ministries.

    A mini-retreat for youth grades 6-12 will take place during the conference. Youth should also do the district conference registration and complete an additional form for the youth retreat. And a pre-conference continuing education event on youth/young adult ministry (with Becky Ullom Naugle, director of youth/young adult ministries for the Church of the Brethren) will be offered for pastors/ministers and others who have interest on Friday beginning at 10 a.m. [see more information above].

    A new “District Conference” tab has been added to the district website), and materials will continue to be added there as they become available. Please contact the district office with any additional questions.

    Lanark Church of the Brethren has agreed to be the host for the 2023 district conference, and York Center (Lombard) will tentatively be hosting in 2024.

    District Conference First Aid Volunteers Needed!

    The Peoria church is looking for a few volunteers to assist with staffing the first aid station during district conference. If you could help, please contact Leonard Matheny at

  • Youth Mini-Retreat/National Youth Conference Reuni

    A youth mini-retreat/National Youth Conference reunion is being planned during district conference, Nov. 4-5 at Peoria (Ill.) Church of the Brethren. Interested youth should register as non-delegates (including meal sign-up and purchase) and indicate that they want to be part of the retreat. More details will be coming soon.


  • 21st Century Youth/Young Adult Ministry - Nov. 4
    FRIDAY • NOVEMBER 4, 2022
    10 AM-4:30 PM
    Keynote leader: Becky Ullom Naugle, Church of the Brethren director of Youth/Young Adult Ministry
    COST: $15, including lunch (payable to IL/WI District)
       Peoria Church of the Brethren
       4714 N. Sheridan Rd.
       Peoria, IL
    309-649-6008 or

  • Moving Forward in Madison

    On Aug. 21, a group of about a dozen people including district executive Walt Wiltschek and Church Revitalization and Development Team chair Leonard Matheny met over dinner in a restored “IronWorks” building in Madison, Wis., to talk about a new church group beginning in the Badger State’s capital city.

    Quite a few Church of the Brethren members and others connected to the church have settled in Madison in recent years, leading to conversations earlier this year about the possibility of creating a Brethren gathering there. In all, 15-20 people have expressed some interest in being part of something.

    At the August meeting, the discussion included possible meeting places, ideas for Bible study materials and other resources, and the general shape of and timeline for a Brethren “house church” of some type, as well as what support the district can offer. Plans are still taking shape, but it’s hoped that some initial worship gatherings can begin this fall. Stay tuned for more news!

  • District Campfire - October 22, 2022

    Gather around the campfire ring with others from the district for a worshipful hour of singing, stories, and sharing—followed by s’mores, stargazing, and enjoying the spirit of camp in the beautiful fall season.

    Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022 at 6:30 p.m.
    Camp Emmaus
    Mt. Morris, IL

  • Children's Disaster Services Workshops

    Brethren Disaster Ministries has requested that information on an upcoming Children’s Disaster Services workshops forwarded to churches and other potentially interested parties in the IL/WI District.

    October 14-15, 2022
    Silver Lake Indiana
    Eel River Church of the Brethren
    2507 IN-14
    Silver Lake, IN 46982

    October 21-22, 2022
    Portland Oregon
    Fruit and Flower Child Care Center
    2378 NW Irving
    Portland OR 97210

    October 28-29, 2022
    West Point Nebraska
    Trinity Church UMC/UCC
    900 E Decatur St
    West Point NE 68788

     Additional information and registration can be found at

  • National Junior High Sunday - November 6, 2022

    National Junior High Sunday will be November 6, 2022.

  • Camp Emmaus Leaf Raking

    Everyone is invited to rake leave on Saturday, November 12th.

    On the weekend of November 11-13,  there will be a Youth Retreat.

    We are excited to offer the youth an opportunity to return to Camp Emmaus for a weekend of fellowship, worship, games, and serving the camp by raking leaves. The camp rakes leaves each year so that the camp grounds are in the best shape to be used next summer. This is a great opportunity to reconnect with camp friends and introduce people to the camp community We gather on Friday evening at 7 pm and will be dismissed at Noon on Sunday. You can come late or leave early so long as you are at the retreat on Saturday morning. Adult (Age 21 and above) advisors are welcome to come with their youth groups. Bring a rake, snacks to share, sleeping bag, towel, and work clothes. We recommend dressing comfortably and in layers - it can be chilly in the morning and you may warm up while raking leaves.

    Registration Information

  • Education Opportunities

    The Minister as Theologian

    The Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership will offer this online course, The Minister as Theologian, from Sept. 7 to Nov. 1. Joelle Hathaway, assistant professor of theological studies at Bethany Theological Seminary, will be the instructor and TRIM students will receive one credit in Bible/Theology upon completion and the BTS experience. EFSM students may create a Learning Unit for the course. Others can take it for continuing education or personal enrichment.
    As an introduction to theological thinking, this course will cover some of the “big topics” that Christians talk about, including: God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, humanity as the image of God, and Christian hope. We will read multiple genres, including sermons and poetry, to help us explore the deep, imaginative interconnections between various aspects of the Christian faith.
    The deadline to register for this course is Aug. 3. Register and pay online at There is a 3 percent service charge when registering online.

    Strength for the Journey

    A program from the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership, named “Strength for the Journey,” invites pastors and others serving in ministry to take part in cohort groups for support, encouragement, and accountability.
    Three types of cohorts are available: a “deep dive cohort” that will explore a topic of mutual interest in depth; a “specialized ministry cohort” that will provide networking and mutual support with others in fields such as chaplains, spiritual directors, outdoor ministries staff, etc.; and a “case study cohort” that will look at specific case studies from their ministry settings. Cohorts will have five to eight people and meet for 10 to 12 90-minute sessions via Zoom during the year. CEU credits will be available.

    Up to five groups will be approved each year. Ministers may apply as individuals or as a group. Applications will be accepted between Sept. 1 and Oct. 30, with groups to be formed by mid-December. Each group will be assigned a convener and will begin meeting after Jan. 1. Funding for registration, resources, and some travel assistance (if an in-person gathering is desired) is being provided by the David J. and Mary Elizabeth Wieand Trust.

     For more details and applications, visit

    NCP Learning Tours

    New Community Project is offering a Learning Tour to Arctic Village, Alaska, in mid-August. January 2023 will offer a trip to Nepal, and in June 2023 a tour will go to the Amazon region of Ecuador. These trips are open to all ages and explore the beauty of and challenges facing God’s creation and God’s children. Learn more at
  • Ministry Budget Tools

    Annual Conference approved some new tools for calculating pastors’ salaries and benefits. It doesn’t change most of the fundamental elements of the scale but rather is designed to help congregation determine what percentage of time they can afford while compensating pastors fairly. Those resources have recently been made available online at More information on these tools will be available in the coming weeks, and a training session will be offered at district conference. You can also contact the district office with any questions.

  • What Could You Do With $100?

    The district's Church Revitalization and Development Team (CRDT) is taking applications for two new grant programs. A total of 10 combined grants ($100 each) from the two programs will be given this year, and any congregation in the Illinois & Wisconsin District is welcome to apply.

    First, a Being Jesus in the Neighborhood Grant: 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.

    Second, a Give Your Pastor a Break Grant: 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. Any time can be challenging to be a pastor, especially when many are filling those roles part-time, and the pandemic and other current events have made it especially so. We hope this might be part of the ways you care for your pastor.

    Each congregation may receive only one grant per calendar year. Download and complete an application from the website, or contact the district office. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Blessings to each of you as you faithfully seek to serve your communities!

  • Disaster Response

    Illinois/Wisconsin District will be sending a team to the Brethren disaster response project in Waverly, Tenn., Nov. 27-Dec. 3, doing construction work in an area that was hard-hit by storms and flooding. At least four people have already committed to the team headed up by district disaster response coordinator Loren Habegger, and several others have expressed interest.

    The team is limited to eight participants. If you have interest, contact Loren at Deadline for registration is Nov. 12 or when all spots are filled.

    Brethren Disaster Ministries will be offering a Children’s Disaster Services training workshop in West Point, Neb. (northwest of Omaha), Oct. 28-29 (Friday 4:30 p.m. to Saturday 5 p.m.) at Trinity Church UMC/UCC, 900 E Decatur. Cost is $55 plus travel expenses to Nebraska. Meals and overnight housing are being provided by the host organization. Additional information and registration can be found at

  • National Youth Sunday - May 7, 2023

    National Youth Sunday will be May 7, 2023.

  • National Young Adult Conference - May 5-7, 2023

    Young Adult Conference will be May 5 – 7, 2023, at Camp Mack near Milford, Indiana.

  • 2023 Annual Conference

    Ephesians 5:1-2

    Annual Conference 2023

    “Living Gods' Love”

    Annual Conference 2023
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    July 4-8

    The 2023 Church of the Brethren Annual Conference will take place July 4-8 (a Tuesday-through-Saturday schedule) in Cincinnati with the theme “Living God’s Love.” Advance delegate registration will be $340 per person; non-delegate adult advance registration is $140 for the week ($40 for post-high school through age 21, free for high school age and below). Conference hotels will be $144 per night, including tax. Registration and housing reservations will open to the public March 1.

    The Annual Conference Office is seeking nominations for denominational positions to be considered for next year’s ballot. More detailed information about each office open for nominations is provided at in the “Information about Offices Open for Nomination” document. Please note that some nominations must be made according to specific categories and that certain areas of expertise are needed for some offices. If you know persons who work in one of the areas from which nominees need to come this next year, please make a special effort to prayerfully submit the names of persons you know who can make a valuable contribution to the denomination. All nominations are due by Dec. 1.

  • National Junior High Conference - Summer 2023

    The next National Junior High Conference will be in the summer of 2023.

    National Junior High Conference is for youth who have completed 6-8 grades and their advisors.

    Sing, laugh, worship, make friends from all over the country, and spend time with God!

  • District YouTube Channel

  • 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, 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.

  • 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 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.

  • 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.