The IL/WI District Conference was held November 4 & 5, 2016, at the Rockford Community Church under the theme Living Together in Unity with Brother Ellis Boughton providing leadership as moderator.>p>
The conference began Friday evening with spiritfilled worship including lively music led by the Rockford Community Church (RCC) praise team. The RCC youth performed a provocative skit pointing toward the embracing love of Jesus. Ellis Boughton offered a thoughtful message inviting listeners to strive toward unity in Jesus Christ amid our differences. Offering received totaled $899.25.
A photo album of conference can be found on the IL/WI District Facebook page. Follow this link: www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10155013791791874&set=a.10155013791711874.1073741836.513296873&type=3&theater
Highlights of business on Saturday encompassed:
• Hearing from two emerging ministries, Parables and The Gathering Chicago, led respectively by Jeanne Davies and LaDonna Nkosi. Parables provides a safe worship environment for persons and families with special needs. The Gathering Chicago is a movement for prayer and peace in the city of Chicago and globally. Both ministries are receiving financial support from the district and are seeking additional support from grants, fundraising, and district congregations and individuals. Prayer support is most vital.
• Hearing testimonies from three congregations— Rockford Community Church (implementation of mobile labs), First Church of the Brethren in Peoria (serving the community), and Neighborhood Church of the Brethren (finding ways to share their faith with all the groups and people who use space in their building).
• Calling people to serve on various teams and in a variety of leadership positions. Paul Kohler (Champaign COB) is called as moderator-elect.
• Receiving reports from Pinecrest Community, Pleasant Hill Village, Camp Emmanuel, and Camp Emmaus. Pinecrest and PHV continue to face challenges because of shortfalls in state Medicaid payments. Yet, they continue to faithfully and joyfully serve their residents and constituency.x` The two camps continue as place and space where young people find solace and faith. The camps, while providing separate programming, support their counterpart with prayer and encouragement, while good-heartedly adding a little jovial rivalry.
• Viewing a video of the work of Bethany Theological Seminary, On Earth Peace, Brethren Benefit Trust, and the Church of the Brethren, Inc. Jay Wittmeyer shared a report for the Church of the Brethren, Inc. speaking specifically about Church of the Brethren influence around the world. Cindy Weber offered greetings from On Earth Peace and spoke about the challenges the agency is experiencing in its relationship with the Church of the Brethren, noting that OEP desires to be a presence of peace among us.
• Vicki Matheny, Leadership Team Chair, reviewing the work of the Leadership Team in 2016. Two key emphases given attention were emerging ministries and endowing district reserves.
• District Executive, Kevin Kessler, offering thoughts
about his work in the district. Of continued importance is the building and maintaining of relationships. He noted that he will have, at the end of 2016, served as DE for 10 years. He offered gratitude to Beth Kelly, Administrative Assistant, for her years of service since she is moving on to a full-time office manager position at the church she attends. Andrea Garnett will be assuming the Administrative Assistant duties in earnest Jan. 3, 2017. He shared about the re-building project at Oakley Brick and the opportunity to contribute to a fundraising event the congregation is promoting.
• Loren Habegger, Disaster Response Coordinator making it clear (in a light-hearted way) that he does not coordinate disasters but response to disasters. He noted that our district is scheduled to provide teams of responders a couple weeks in 2017. Watch for announcements about these opportunities.
• Holding Silent and Live auctions. The total amount raised was $2,406.00.
• Consecrating Allegra Hess (York Center) to serve as moderator through district conference in 2017. York Center Church of the Brethren (Lombard, IL) is the site of the 2017 conference.
• Offering a heart-felt thank you to the Rockford Community Church for their wonderful hospitality as host of this year’s conference. Job well done, sisters and brothers!