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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  • Resignation of Kevin Kessler, District Executive

    The District Leadership Team announces the resignation of Kevin Kessler as our District Executive at the end of 2020. It is with regret, yet understanding, that Leadership Team accepts his resignation, effective December 31, 2020.

    Throughout Kevin’s tenure as our DE, he has worked to bring cohesiveness to the District through his relationships with congregations, pastors, and District teams. One example of this is his work with Leadership Team to develop a response to congregational disagreements on human sexuality. District Conference passed this response in 2015, and it continues to serve IL/WI well. Kevin also helped set up the Endowment Fund that District Conference recently approved. When the New Church Development Team was functioning, Kevin worked closely with them. Later, he and the Leadership Team encouraged church starts such as Parables Community and The Gathering Chicago as their ministries emerged. Kevin has worked closely with the various District Teams and has done much of the communication that is necessary to the Teams. Kevin has worked with a number of congregations during their pastoral search and placement processes and has helped congregations with the evaluation of pastors. In addition, Kevin has served on the boards of Brethren Benefit Trust (currently vice chair) and the Illinois Conference of Churches (co-chair for 2 years) and has served on the executive committee of the Council of District Executives (vice-chair 3 years).

    Kevin has been a supporter, an encourager, and a counselor for many of us as we have served the District in various capacities. We are thankful that the Canton congregation graciously agreed to let us have Kevin part time, and our heartfelt thanks go out to Kevin. This District has been privileged to have Kevin’s leadership for 14 years, and we ask God’s blessing on whatever the future holds for him, Tammy, and their family.

    Leadership Team is working on calling a search committee. More about that will come later.

  • 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

  • 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.