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.

    The District Leadership Team has called Connie Burkholder to serve as Interim District Executive Minister, beginning her duties on January 1, 2021.
    An ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren since 1983, Connie Burkholder holds a Master of Divinity degree from Bethany Theological Seminary and a graduate certificate in spiritual direction and directed retreats from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.
    In addition to serving in pastoral roles in Northern Ohio, Western Plains, and Virlina districts, Connie fulfilled the role of District Executive Minister of Northern Plains district from 1996-2006. She has been a writer of adult curriculum and an active spiritual direction practitioner and retreat leader. For six years, she served as liturgy coordinator, program presenter, and spiritual director for the Heartland Center for Spirituality of the Dominican Sisters of Peace in Great Bend, Kansas. Connie is a musician and has been active in leading church choirs and piano accompanying. For four years, she was employed as accompanist by the music department of McPherson College.
    Connie lives in McPherson, Kansas where she serves as a member of the ministerial team of the Monitor congregation.
  • District YouTube Channel

  • 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.

  • NYAC 2021 registration opens January 21

    January 21: National Young Adult Conference 2021 registration opens at

  • 2021 Virtual District Potluck

    Extending Charity to the least who are members of my family. Matt 25:40

    The District Potluck has gone virtual in 2021!!
    A Zoom get-together includes:
    ★ Opening & Closing Worship
    ★ 8 sessions, and you can attend them all
    ★ CEU’s for Pastors
    ★ NO travel

    You can watch and participate daily or catch a recording later on the District YouTube channel.

    March 16th - March 20th.
    Tuesday - Friday: 6:30 to 8:30pm
    Saturday: 10:00 - 12pm

    Mark your calendars and tell your congregations. We cannot wait to be with you next spring!!

    Look for more information and details to come.

  • 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.