Conference Schedule & Agenda
Make plans to join this year's Illinois/Wisconsin District conference, which will be held Nov. 3-4 at Lanark Church of the Brethren. Phyllis Batterton (Woodland) is serving as moderator this year and has chosen the theme "Encourage One Another." Madalyn Metzger, the 2023-2024 Church of the Brethren moderator-originally from the Springfield congregation but now living in the Elkhart, Ind., area, will be with us and will share the message during the opening worship service.
A pre-conference continuing education session for clergy (and other church leaders interested in attending) will feature Chris Douglas on the theme of spiritual practices. It will take place at Lanark on Friday, Nov. 3, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. with lunch. Clergy participants can receive 0.5 CEU's. Cost is $15 to cover the lunch.
Madalyn Metzger, the 2023-2024 Church of the Brethren moderator-originally from the Springfield congregation but now living in the Elkhart, Ind., area, will be with us and will share the message during the opening worship service Friday evening at 7:30 p.m. (hymn sing beginning at 7:10 p.m.). An ice cream social will follow. Registration opens at 5:30 p.m., and exhibits and the silent auction at 6 p.m.
Business kicks off Saturday morning at 8:30 a.m. , continuing to about 4:30 p.m. with a break for lunch. Among business items coming to the conference will be consideration of the 2024 district budget; approval of the slate for the coming year; consideration of a query, "Regarding Greater Congregational Latitude on Matters of Sexuality," coming from the York Center congregation; celebrating the long ministry of the Franklin Grove congregation, which closed its doors earlier this year, and the Pinecrest Retirement Community, which was sold to a for-profit corporation at the end of 2022; and marking the 75th anniversaries of our camps. A hearing on the proposed query, which would go to Annual Conference if district conference approves that action, will likely be scheduled in October.
Two equipping sessions will be offered: Ryan Braught of the denomination's Part-Time Pastor, Full-Time Church program, will lead a session on "Exegeting Your Neighborhood," looking at how we understand and meet the needs of our congregational communities; and Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren, will lead one on "Celebrating a Century in Nigeria," looking at the story of Ekklesiyar Yan'uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) from past to present, including this year's milestone events.
Among business items coming to the conference will be consideration of the 2024 district budget; approval of the slate for the coming year; celebrating the long ministry of the Franklin Grove congregation, which closed its doors earlier this year, and the Pinecrest Retirement Community, which was sold to a for-profit corporation at the end of 2022; and marking the 75th anniversaries of our camps.
Note that delegates will need to attend in person this year; no virtual option will be available. The church is working on being able to stream worship and business during the weekend, and segments will at minimum be recorded for later viewing.
Saturday lunch is available for pre-order by October 22. Registration for the conference and for the meal is available at the following links:
Delegate registration: https://forms.gle/RctPXGRxK8yCFdjD9
There will be no youth event this year, as Camp Emmaus is holding its annual youth retreat the following weekend, but youth are welcome and encouraged to attend. For housing, a block of rooms has been reserved at the Savanna Inn and Suites in Savanna, about 18 miles from the Lanark church near the Mississippi River (101 Valley View Rd.). To reserve, call 815-273-2288 at least two weeks in advance of your stay. Cost is $98.10 for a king room or $107.10 for two queens. Some other smaller local accommodations may also be available in the area.
Non-delegate registration: https://forms.gle/92s1tb2EoWiju2Kw6
K-5th Grade Child Registration: https://forms.gle/8R2YeFMWqh855ifi9
Nursery/Pre-K Child Registration: https://forms.gle/TN5CTxHSZYKX1Tcw6
Please note that Lanark COB would like children to be registered by October 22. There will also be permission slips for parents/guardians to sign when they arrive at District Conference.
The conference booklet will be sent out to congregations and registrants by the beginning of October. Additional updates will be posted here on the district conference page.
Query: Regarding Greater Congregational Latitude on Matters of Sexuality
Along with the budget and slate and our various reports, one of the business items coming to conference this year is a query, titled "Regarding Greater Congregational Latitude on Matters of Sexuality." The text of the query is attached, along with a document giving some additional background. Essentially, it asks whether decisions related to sexuality should be made at the congregational level rather than by the denomination or district given the personal nature of these matters, the wide range of viewpoints, and the inconsistent enforcement of policy from one part of the church to the other in recent years.
Per Annual Conference process, a query typically originates in a congregation, then goes to the district's Leadership Team for processing and placement on the district conference agenda, and then to district conference delegates before being sent to Annual Conference Standing Committee for discernment. This query originated in the York Center congregation with help and support from Highland Avenue, and the Leadership Team agreed recently to pass it on to district conference.
Note that a query does not provide the answer to the question but rather raises issues that might benefit from greater discernment in the wider church. In order to help familiarize delegates and others with the query and to answer any questions in advance of district conference, a hearing on the query will be available Oct. 28 at 10 a.m. via Zoom. The link is below. Anyone from the district is welcome to join us for this time.
Our district has a long history of journeying alongside one another as siblings in Christ even though we come from different places of theology, culture, and geography. We are grateful for these ongoing opportunities to continue the work of Christ together.
• Query Background
• Zoom Link