Friday, October 01, 2021

The Reflector - October 2021

The Village ILWIDIot

Just recently, I was talking with someone about how hard the pandemic has been on people—not just the physical effects, but the mental and emotional toll it was taking. They happened to work in the airline industry, which has had to deal with unruly passengers, staffing shortages, and other issues, but I suspect it’s been felt in some way by almost everyone.

I know in talking to pastors that many have felt the challenges of these past two years profoundly. One Barna survey described many pastors as feeling “tired, overwhelmed, and lonely”—and that was back in May 2020.

“The sense of exhaustion and frustration is very real in this time,” Anglican priest Tish Harrison Warren said in an interview at the time. “This is not the way we are intended to do ministry … But we need to now in order to love our neighbor well.”

Many other articles have expressed similar sentiments. Pastors have had to find new ways to provide worship and other services, care for members who have experienced effects of COVID-19 in various ways, and deal with the personal impacts social distancing and other disruptions have had on their own lives.

Some positives have come from this time in the wilderness, too—new ways of connecting, reaching people who seldom if ever took part in church life before, and in some cases making us more aware of issues of inclusivity and accessibility, instance. But those gains have come at a cost in time, energy, and the loss of other forms of community. And that has left many pastors feeling boneweary.

So during this “Pastor Appreciation Month,” as October is dubbed, take some extra time this year to say thank you to your pastor and others in ministry and let the know all their additional work is appreciated, and make sure they are being cared for, too. Even the shepherd needs some green pastures and cool waters now and then.

Walt Wiltschek

Moderator’s Musings

by Blaine Miner

As I write this reflection, this has become a hectic week. The type of week when there are things on the schedule and the usual anticipated items of business, and then something unexpected yet necessary comes up.

The unexpected yet necessary business is attending to a family who has lost a loved one. A member of the deceased’s extended family mentioned to me that she is always ready to drop everything to reach out and do for someone in need. But now that the shoe is on the other foot, she has found it hard to accept the caregiving she so readily offers. Sound familiar?

A year ago, I was ready to serve as the District Moderator. Over the past two years, as I have been in meetings with the various teams – first as Moderator-Elect and now as Moderator – I have been blessed by the relationships made with those who serve our district. I hope each of you holds these committees and their members in prayer as they give of their time and talent. For the past year I have been asking you to think about extending charity to those who are in need. But the comment of my parishioner this past week caught me by surprise. In my personal devotions, some of the reflections have challenged me to be open to God’s work in my life instead of being so caught up in the busyness of getting something done.

Over the past two years I have benefitted from the grace and charity of a whole host of individuals. The first is my wife, Nancy, who when I would remind her that I had a meeting for one committee or another, graciously accommodated the meetings. I am grateful to the Dixon congregation, which supported me in prayer as I went about the work of the district. And lastly, the various teams which are organized to complete the work of the district have graciously accepted my comments during the discussions at meetings. Again, I have been blessed by participating in these meetings with individuals who are passionate about the work they have been called to carry out.

Two years ago when I said yes, I did not anticipate our District Executive retiring. I doubt that it would have made a difference in my decision. I was honored to be asked to be on the search team for our new District Executive. The search committee is another group of individuals for whom I have a greater appreciation, having served beside them.

All of this is to say thank you for the grace and charity extended to me by you, the District of Illinois/Wisconsin. I pray the same grace and charity will be extended to Harold Rose as he serves as moderator in the coming year.

2021 District Conference Update

The Illinois/Wisconsin District conference is coming up soon! A prerecorded worship service will kick things off the evening of Nov. 5, at 7 p.m., with the main conference agenda beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 6. Both events will take place virtually this year, via ZOOM. The Program and Arrangements Committee made the decision to hold the conference online after prayerful consideration for the safety of all concerned. The conference will follow a similar format to the 2020 virtual district conference, which had a shorted format.

If you haven't yet registered, you can do so at the following links:
Once you register, you will receive ZOOM links for practice sessions (if needed) and the events Nov. 5-6. Conference booklets will be sent to registrants via email by the end of October. If you have already registered and haven't received a confirmation, please contact the district office at andreag.iwdcob@gmail.com.

Current plans are to hold an in-person district conference in Peoria in 2022.

Pastoral Transition

The Polo Church of the Brethren on Oct. 3 officially installed Jeff Davidson as their new pastor. Jonathan Shively represented the district for the installation service. Jeff and his wife, Julia Gilbert, have been living in the Washington, DC/Northern Virginia area. The Washington City Church of the Brethren has been their home base for a number of years, and Jeff has been part of the preaching and pastoral care ministry there. Jeff and Julia are both graduates of Bethany Theological Seminary. Jeff began his part-time ministry at Polo on Oct. 1. We welcome them to Polo and to the Illinois/Wisconsin District!

Pastoral Move

Leslie and Bob Lake moved to West Salem, Ohio as of mid-August. Leslie had pastored the Polo Church for several years before suffering a stroke. We give thanks for her leadership at Polo and within the district over these years. Bob was on the district’s Ministerial Leadership Development Team of the District and served as secretary. We give thanks for his faithful service as well, and pray for good health and God’s blessings for them both as they return to Northern Ohio District where they had lived and worked previously.

In Our Prayers

The Illinois/Wisconsin District is remembering with gratitude the life of Kres Lipscomb, who pastored the Springfield (Ill.) First Church of the Brethren for 32 years until retiring in 2018. Kres passed away Sept. 28 following an illness, with family at his side. In addition to serving as pastor, Kres was very active in ecumenical and interfaith work in Springfield and other volunteer efforts, and in denominational activities. Earlier in his career, he pastored several United Methodist congregations, as well as the Lower Miami Church of the Brethren in Dayton, Ohio. He was a graduate of North Central College and Bethany Theological Seminary. He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth (Liz), and daughters Corinne, Laura, and Rebecca, and their families. A memorial service is scheduled for October 30 in Springfield. Our prayers are with Kres’ families, friends, and the Springfield congregation.

A Memorial Service for Pauline Dulabaum was held on Saturday, September 18, at Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin. Pauline passed February 22, 2020. Her husband, Willard “Duly” is one of our district’s ordained ministers who has served in interim ministry in the district. Nevin Dulabaum, president of Brethren Benefit Trust, is Pauline and Duly’s son. Mary Dulabaum, Nevin's wife, is a member of the District Leadership Team. We extend our sympathy and care as they continue to remember Pauline’s life and ongoing legacy.

'Calling the Called' Event Postponed

Due to schedule conflicts for some participants in the district's "Calling the Called" online event that had been scheduled for Oct. 23, the planning committee has decided to reschedule it in late winter or early spring 2022. Look for more details soon. In the meantime, please continue to tap the shoulders of people in your congregation and community who might have gifts for ministry!

District Disaster Ministries

From district disaster ministries coordinator Loren Habegger:

It is time to begin to finalize plans for participation in the Illinois/Wisconsin District project to provide 8-10 volunteers for the Coastal North Carolina Brethren Disaster Ministries rebuild project near Bayboro, N.C., Nov. 28-Dec. 4. If you, or members or friends in your congregation think serving on the North Carolina BDM project is a possibility, please contact me by Nov. 1, if possible, at ilwi.ddc.lh@gmail.com. Detailed information about the project can be found at www.brethren.org/bdm/rebuild/coastal-nc/. The volunteer assignment will again be shared with South/Central Indiana.

Costs for travel by air from Chicago O'Hare, for example, to the Coastal Regional Airport (EWN) on American Airlines is currently at $429 plus tax, luggage fees, and transportation to the airport. Alternatively, for travel by car the N.C. site is about 1,000 miles or 2,000 round-trip. At the IRS rate of 14 cents per mile for charitable travel the estimated travel cost is $280 plus approximately $200 for two in-transit stays at a hotel, for a total of $480. As has been the past practice for travel to BDM project sites, the district is offering to assist with 50 percent of the cost of volunteer travel to the project, with the balance to be provided by the local congregation or personal funds.

Office of Ministry makes available documents for 2022 pastor salary and benefits

Church of the Brethren Newsline
July 16, 2021

The Church of the Brethren Office of Ministry has sent out its annual e-packet of documents for the Cash Salary Guidelines and Table for pastors for the upcoming year, 2022. The packet has been provided to the 24 district offices across the denomination, and select documents also are available to download from the Office of Ministry webpage for forms at www.brethren.org/ministryoffice/forms.html.

The annual start-up and renewal agreements for pastors and congregations are not included in the packet but are available online, as downloadable and fillable pdf forms on the Office of Ministry webpage for forms.

For more information or questions contact nsheishman@brethren.org.

2022 Annual Conference Information

The Annual Conference Office has shared that the cost of delegate registration for 2022 in Omaha, Neb., will be $310, and for non-delegates registration will be $130. Conference will meet at the CHI Convention Center in Omaha. There are two hotels in our Conference Block: the Hilton Omaha and DoubleTree. Our Annual Conference Room Rate will be $106 plus tax (18.16%) for a total of $125.25 per night. Parking fees at the Hilton Omaha are: Self-parking: complimentary. At the DoubleTree they are: complimentary parking in the Central City Garage (adjacent) and $10 daily in the First National Bank garage (attached). Basic wireless internet is complimentary for all registered Hilton Honors members (free registration to become a member). Annual Conference registration and housing reservations will open on Tuesday, March 1. Annual Conference is scheduled for Sunday, July 10 through Thursday, July 14. 

Moderator David Sollenberger’s “Moderator’s Musings” for October can be found at www.brethren.org/ac2022/moderator/musings.

Position Openings

Executive Director of institutional Advancement Open at Bethany Seminary

If you or someone you know might be interested in applying, please see the link below:

https://bethanyseminary.edu/jobs/executive-director-of-institutional-advancement/


Faculty position in Peace Studies at Bethany Theological Seminary

Bethany Theological Seminary has launched a national search for a new faculty member to teach Peace Studies, along with a secondary area of emphasis in support of the Seminary’s educational mission. Rank is open and candidates with a PhD in hand are preferred. (Candidates who are in the process of completing their dissertations will be considered.) Full information about this faculty position can be found here. https://bethanyseminary.edu/jobs/faculty-position-in-peace-studies


Program Manager, Part-Time Pastor/Full-Time Church program

The Program Manager will work with an Advisory Committee to implement the “Part-Time Pastor; Full-Time Church” program, a Lilly Endowment, Inc.-funded initiative that addresses the practical needs of multivocational ministers in the Church of the Brethren. This program will include recruiting and training qualified individuals to serve as Circuit Riders, those who assess ministers’ immediate concerns, as well as Resource Persons, those who provide expertise regarding concerns identified as most common for multivocational clergy. Peer groups are also formed to support pastors beyond their program participation. The Program Manager will manage requests for services, schedule service providers (Circuit Riders and Resource Persons) and meet ongoing administrative needs including completion of required reports to the grant provider. See more details at www.brethren.org/about/employment/.


Database Support Specialist (Elgin, Ill., or New Windsor, Md.)

The Church of the Brethren is seeking an individual to fill a full-time hourly position of Database Support Specialist. The Database Support Specialist is part of the Information Technology team and Organizational Resources. The major responsibility is to oversee and supervise the use of the organization’s database system and to enter and edit data that is collected across the whole organization, in consultation with the Director of Information Technology. Find more details at www.brethren.org/about/employment.

Link to Church of the Brethren video report

The video report of the Church of the Brethren ministries is now available at https://youtu.be/MwIypFFe7DM

This video report, as well as the written and pictorial Annual Report, is also posted on the Church of the Brethren website at https://www.brethren.org/about/annualreport/ The report will also be shown at district conference.

National Youth Conference 2022

National Youth Conference (NYC) 2022 will focus on Colossians 2:5-7 and the theme “Foundational.” The event will be held July 23-28, 2022. The registration fee, which includes food, lodging, and programing, will be $550. Youth who have completed ninth grade through one year of college at the time of NYC (or are age equivalent) and their adult advisors will gather at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colo. Online registration will open in early 2022. Keep your youth up to date at https://www.brethren.org/yya/nyc/


Wanted: Jesus in the neighborhood stories

From Newsline

We want to hear your “Jesus in the Neighborhood” stories! How is your congregation living “Jesus in the Neighborhood”? How are your members acting as Jesus’ hands and feet?

The Church of the Brethren congregations webpage at www.brethren.org/church now features stories about congregations from Messenger magazine and Newsline. Take a look for some instant inspiration.

We welcome photos, write-ups, or links to what your church is doing and being. Send materials to cobnews@brethren.org. Your submissions may be included in an upcoming issue of Newsline and/or Messenger, or may posted to the congregations page.

While on that page, check your church listing and send updates to yearbook@brethren.org. Recently, the congregations page at www.brethren.org/church has been viewed hundreds of times per week. Don’t miss the opportunity to offer updated links and contact information for your congregation or fellowship to those visiting the page.

Questions about “Find a Church” or the congregations webpage can be directed to cobweb@brethren.org.

Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership announces latest listing of courses

Following is the latest listing of upcoming courses offered by the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership, a collaboration between the Church of the Brethren’s Office of Ministry and Bethany Theological Seminary.

Unless otherwise noted below, find more information about these upcoming courses and register at www.bethanyseminary.edu/brethren-academy.

Winter/Spring 2022:

First two weeks of January 2022: “A Place of Refuge: Urban Ministry” is offered in Atlanta, Ga., as an intensive taught by Josh Brockway of the staff of the Church of the Brethren Discipleship Ministries. Registration deadline will be announced.

Feb. 2-March 29, 2022: “Church of the Brethren History” is offered as an online course taught by Denise Kettering-Lane of the Bethany Seminary faculty. Registration deadline: Dec. 20.

March 25-26 and April 29-30, 2022, Fridays 4-9 p.m. and Saturdays 8 a.m.-4 p.m. (Eastern time): “Pathways for Effective Leadership, Part 1” is offered as a Zoom intensive through the SVMC, taught by Randy Yoder. Registration deadline: Feb. 25, 2022. To register, contact Karen Hodges at hodgesk@etown.edu.

April 27-June 21, 2022: “Heaven, Hell, and the Afterlife” is offered as an online course taught by Craig Gandy. Registration deadline: March 23, 2022.

VENTURES IN CHRISTIAN DISCIPLESHIP

The next course in McPherson College’s Ventures in Christian Discipleship program (offered free or by donation) is “Everything You Wanted to Know About Race, But Were Afraid to Ask.” It will be presented by retired professor Eleanor Hubbard. Part I of the course will be held Saturday, October 16, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m., and Part II will be held Saturday, November 13, 9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Children as Peacebuilders: Equipping Resilient Leaders

On Earth Peace is launching a series titled "Children as Peacebuilders: Equipping Resilient Leaders" at 12:00pm Eastern Time on Saturday, October 23. The seminars will invite parents and educators from all around the US to address common, and sensitive topics that their kids are exposed to now more than ever surrounding justice and inclusion. This month will address Bullying Prevention as part of On Earth Peace's Bullying Prevention Month activities, equipping caregivers and educators with tools, such as storytelling using OEP's Read Aloud Program, to talk to children and the community about bullying prevention. To RSVP for the event click here!

District Leadership Team Meetings 2021


November 13, 2021: 9 a.m., Zoom
(Reorganization Meeting)

District Leadership Team
As of October 2021


Moderator (1 year term): Blaine Miner, Dixon

Contact: blaineminer86@gmail.com

847-404-6635

Moderator-elect (2 year term): Harold Rose, Canton

Contact: hrose@cantonusd.org

309-357-3590

Clerk (3 year term): Kristi Kellerman, Highland Ave.

Contact: kristi.kellerman@gmail.com

815-814-1360

Recording Secretary: Jan Dietrich, Mt. Morris

Contact: jdiet220@hotmail.com

815-738-2365

Standing Committee (3 year term): Dennis Webb, Naperville

Contact: djkrwebb@hotmail.com

630-236-8166

Financial Secretary (3 year term): Christine Knotts, Peoria

Contact: knotts.christine@gmail.com

309-253-6802

Treasurer (3 year term): Ellis Boughton, Yellow Creek

Contact: ellis.boughton@live.com

815-864-2049

District Executive: Walt Wiltschek

Contact: IWDDE@outlook.com

630-440-6089

Andrea Garnett, Administrative Assistant

Contact: andreag.iwdcob@gmail.com

309-649-6008

Carol Kussart, Chair; Cerro Gordo

Contact: ckussart@gmail.com

217-855-3258

Phyllis Batterton, Vice-chair; Woodland

Contact: pjbatterton@gmail.com

309-759-4897

Ed Watkins, Peoria

Contact: watrkinsedwardjc@gmail.com

309-397-2401

Mary Dulabaum, Highland Ave.

Contact: mdulabaum@gmail.com

847-695-2652

Kyle Brinkmeier, Yellow Creek

Contact: brinkky@hotmail.com

815-291-4664

Jonathan Shively, Highland Ave.

Contact: shively.jonathan@gmail.com

847-644-1174

District Website

When is the last time you visited the IL/WI District Website? There you’ll find helpful information about your district including but not limited to:

Don’t delay! Check it out! See what you can learn about your district!

Upcoming Events

November 6, 9 am: District Conference, Zoom

November 13, 9 am: Leadership Team

November 20, 9 am: CRDT Meeting

December 4, 9 am: MLDT Meeting

January 11, 9 am: District Potluck Team Meeting

Newsline

—Beth Sollenberger has announced her retirement as South/Central Indiana District Executive Minister after nearly 11 years of service. She began in the position on February 1, 2011, and she will conclude her ministry on December 31, 2021. During her years as a member of the Council of District Executives she served on the Ministry Advisory Council, Ministry Issues Committee, and as Council Representative to the On Earth Peace, Brethren Benefit Trust, and Bethany Theological Seminary boards. She was instrumental in organizing a Biblical Authority Conference for midwestern Districts in 2018.

Beth has served as Interim District Executive Minister for the Michigan district in 2018 and then as the District Executive Minister Representative on Michigan’s District Executive Interim Team since January of 2020. Prior to her service as District Executive Minister, Beth was employed by the Mission and Ministry Board (formerly General Board) as Director of Stewardship Education and then as the Congregational Life Team Coordinator for Area 2. She has served pastorates in Atlantic Southeast, Southern Ohio/Kentucky, Mid-Atlantic and Northern Indiana Districts.

—Scott Douglas has announced his retirement as of Jan. 31, 2022, as Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) director of Relationships and Growth (formally Client Relations). His last working day will be Jan. 27, 2022. He began his tenure with the Church of the Brethren when first employed by the former General Board in September 1997. In November 1998, he began serving as director for resources for the former Association of Brethren Caregivers, a position he held until May 2005. He returned Jan. 5, 2009, as director of the Brethren Pension Plan and Employee Financial Services for BBT. For the last 13 years, he has provided leadership for a multitude of projects.

—Nov. 7 is National Junior High Sunday in the Church of the Brethren. This year’s theme is “Build Wisely,” based on Matt. 7:24. Find resources at https://www.brethren.org/yya/jr-high-resources/.

—The Church of the Brethren National Older Adult Conference took place in early September. Here are some figures from this year’s event:
  • More than 430 people registered for NOAC 2021. However, this number may not include all of those who gathered for NOAC “watch parties” at Brethren retirement centers and other places. “I don’t think we can get an ‘actual’ number of participants,” commented coordinator Christy Waltersdorff.
  • More than $9,200 given in NOAC offerings. This includes $4,395 for the NOAC offering, $2,825 for the walk for COVID support, and $2,020 for the book drive for the Junaluska Elementary School library.
  • 3 “best sellers” in the NOAC Bookstore offered by Brethren Press online: The Very Good Gospel by Lisa Sharon Harper, The God Who Sees by Karen Gonzalez, and the unique NOAC News mug
  • 9 people in the NOAC Planning Team including coordinator Christy Waltersdorff, Glenn Bollinger, Karen Dillon, Jim Martinez, Rex Miller, Pat Roberts, Paula Ziegler Ulrich, and staff Josh Brockway and Stan Dueck.
—Brethren Disaster Ministries staff have directed a grant of $7,500 from the Church of the Brethren’s Emergency Disaster Fund (EDF) to fund a two-week response in King’s Lake, Neb., following spring flooding in 2019. COVID-19 rates in the King’s Lake area prevented a planned response from taking place in August 2020. A rescheduled response began Oct. 3, continuing through Oct. 16. There are 10-12 volunteers and leaders scheduled to serve each week, with most coming from the Midwest districts of the Church of the Brethren. A tool trailer is provided by Northern Plains District.

—There is still time to sign up for volunteer training with Children’s Disaster Services this fall. CDS has two volunteer trainings coming up, on Oct. 22-23 in Byron Center, Mich., and on Nov. 5-6 in Roaring Spring, Pa. “Have you signed up? Shared the information with a friend?” said an invitation. “We look forward to meeting you! If you have a heart for children, interest in serving, and want to learn more about the CDS mission, sign up today!” Go to www.brethren.org/cds/training/dates.

—Three nursing students are recipients of Church of the Brethren Nursing Scholarships for 2021. This scholarship, made possible by the Health Education and Research Endowment, is available to members of the Church of the Brethren enrolled in LPN, RN, or nursing graduate programs. This year’s recipients were Kasie Campbell of Meyersdale (Pa.) Church of the Brethren, Emma Frederick of Roaring Spring (Pa.) First Church of the Brethren, and Makenzie Goering of McPherson (Kan.) Church of the Brethren. Scholarships of up to $2,000 for RN and graduate nurse candidates and up to $1,000 for LPN candidates are awarded to a limited number of applicants each year.

—The latest issue of the Global Food Initiative (GFI) newsletter is available to download in full-color pdf format. Included in the two-page, front-and-back newsletter are short articles about Harrisburg (Pa.) First Church of the Brethren’s community garden, aid to Capstone 118’s urban farm in New Orleans following Hurricane Ida, GFI manager Jeff Boshart’s trip to the Dominican Republic at the invitation of leaders of Iglesia de los Hermanos (the Church of the Brethren in the DR), and more. Click the “ENews Fall 2021” link to download a copy of the newsletter to read and share with your church family or friends, go to www.brethren.org/gfi/resources.

— Manchester University in North Manchester, Ind., will name its Academic Center in honor of Manchester’s first African-American students, Martha and Joseph Cunningham. “I can think of no better way for Manchester to honor the Cunninghams than to name a hall of learning for them,” said Manchester president Dave McFadden. Siblings who grew up near Kokomo, Ind., the Cunninghams graduated in 1903. Martha “Mattie” Cunningham Dolby spent the early part of her career working to improve the lives of impoverished Black families in the segregated South. Having spent much of her childhood in the Church of the Brethren, she worked to establish several congregations in the South and Midwest. In 1911, she became the first woman to be installed as a Brethren minister. Her brother moved to Chicago after graduating from Manchester and became a physician.

— The Brethren Heritage Center in Brookville, Ohio, is seeking help to locate video recordings of the late Anna Mow, who was a well known and beloved leader in the Church of the Brethren. Wrote Neal Fitze, volunteer staff at the center: “I received an email from Becky Copenhaver of the Living Peace Church of the Brethren in Plymouth, Mich. Becky has taken on an interesting project. She wishes to develop a tribute performance of Anna Mow, in looks, sound, and gestures. She had been directed to our organization, the Brethren Heritage Center, thinking we might be able to locate sound and video recordings. She was told that the videos of Anna Mow had been destroyed in a fire. After an exhaustive search I found sound files but no video. If anyone might have a home movie of her from Annual Conference or any other of her speaking events please contact the Brethren Heritage Center by calling 937-833-5222 or by email at neal.fitze@brethrenhc.org.” Find out more about the Brethren Heritage Center at www.brethrenhc.org.

— New resources from Brethren Press include the 2021 Advent devotional booklet, this year titled Do Not Be Afraid and written by Angela Finet. Also new from the Church of the Brethren publishing house is Hoosier Prophet: Selected Writings of Dan West, a collection of the writings of the founder of Heifer Project, now Heifer International. Now available to pre-order is a new children’s book about the ministry of Children’s Disaster Services, titled Maria’s Kit of Comfort. Visit www.brethrenpress.com.

—A documentary about the York Center Co-op in Lombard, Ill., debuted on YouTube this month, as a film from Tim Frakes Productions and the Lombard Historical Society. The nearly hour-long film is titled Common Good: The Story of the York Center Co-operative. View the film at www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSD8FUKvS5s. A DVD copy is available from the Lombard Historical Society, which is receiving donations toward the project. For more information see www.frakesproductions.com.

—Franklin Grove (Ill.) Church of the Brethren honored the International Day of Peace through a special Sunday service and by giving away grant-funded, custommade peace bookmarks and Dove-brand mini ice cream bars. Peace Day this year was Tuesday, Sept. 21, and on that day members of the church were stationed at Casey’s General Store in Franklin Grove, on the Lincoln Highway, to give away ice cream and bookmarks featuring scriptures of peace and church contact information. Dixon (Ill.) Church of the Brethren collaborated with Franklin Grove. Their giveaway was the same day at Oliver’s Corner Market in Dixon.

Thrivent provided grant funds for the events’ expenses. This year, the day had special meaning; church member and Dixon businessman Ken Novak, who died in July, had asked as one of his last wishes to the church that they do more to promote peace this year than ever before. In addition, the Franklin Grove congregation held a special Peace Service on Sept. 19, which featured music and messages about nonviolence and the larger church’s overall work toward peace worldwide.

— Bobbi Dykema, pastor of Springfield (Ill.) Church of the Brethren, has written an article on “Visual Arts: Protestant” for the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Religion. A summary is online at https://oxfordre.com/religion/view/10.1093/acrefore/9780199340378.001.0001/acrefore-9780199340378-e-804. Access to the full article is available for a fee.

— Updated submission information for Messenger, the Church of the Brethren magazine, has been posted at www.brethren.org/messenger/submissions. The information may help those who would like to submit articles for consideration by the magazine’s editorial team. Subscribe to the magazine by contacting your congregation’s Messenger representative or go to www.brethren.org/messenger/subscribe.

Supporting Your District

The IL/WI District is active in a variety of ministry and mission efforts, both directly and indirectly. For these efforts to continue, resources are needed. Assets available to keep ministry and mission moving along include you (people serving people), tools (tool trailer w/ tools for disaster response work), knowledge and wisdom (years of experience and access to institutions of learning), and, of course, money (endowment, reserves, congregational and individual giving, bequests).

Assets are abundant but unless these gifts are cared for there is potential for depleting them. Therefore, district teams and the combined efforts of many work diligently to ensure asset sustainability.

Still, it is important to know where gaps exist, or a little extra boost would be helpful. For instance, our district has deep interest in and long-standing support of disaster relief efforts. A separate fund is established to assist folks who give of their time and travel great distances to assist. The district’s Disaster Relief Fund is hovering around $1,000.00. Sending a team to serve on a disaster response site can cost nearly $500 or more. To ensure the sustainability of this important ministry, designated gifts to this fund are welcomed and deeply appreciated. Having funds available to assist with travel may be the difference of someone sharing their gifts or staying home. Consider making a contribution!

Other options are available for contributing, as well, including the following:

  • Endowment Fund
  • Mission and Mortar Fund
  • General Fund
  • Emerging Ministries
  • Ministry Training

Every gift regardless of size is a significant boost to the abundance of assets in our midst. All contributions ensure that our district goes beyond the plateau of survival to the pinnacles of thriving, providing ample opportunities to serve faithfully.


Gifts Discernment and Call Committee

The Gifts Discernment and Call Committee (GDCC) is commissioned to discern the gifts of persons for the purpose of inviting and calling them in to positions of leadership and team/committee participation. The GDCC delves into this work based on the names and information available to them. The likelihood is that gifted persons are not invited and called to serve because the GDCC lacks names and information. If you feel compelled to serve in the district and have not been asked, you can connect to the district webpage and learn how to share your name and information with the GDCC. Simply complete the online profile form after clicking on the “online profile form” link in the website article. Or call the district office (649-6008)and a profile form will be emailed to you.

Do you know someone you believe has gifts to serve at the district level? Invite them to visit thedistrict webpage or share their name with the GDCC or district office.

Serving is rewarding!


District Mission and Mortar Grant/Loan Program

Is your congregation beginning a new mission outreach program but a little short on cash? Is your congregation faced with a major repair or capital improvement project that exceeds your congregation’s capacity to pay for it? Did you know that the district has a program to assist with your needs? It’s called the Mission and Mortar Grant/Loan Program and is available to help meet the needs mentioned above.

Grants are available up to $2,500.00 and non-interest bearing loans up to $5000.00. A congregation that applies must provide financial data and be a regular contributor to the district. Applications are considered on a first-come first-served basis and are reviewed/approved by the district Leadership Team.

If you would like more information or wish to apply, visit the district website. Send completed applications to the IL/WI District Office, 269 E. Chestnut St., Canton, IL 61520.