Saturday, May 01, 2021

The Reflector - May 2021

Reflections from the Journey

In this season of Easter, we reflect on the post-resurrection stories where Jesus engages with his disciples. Luke 24: 36-48 is one of them. “Ho hum,” you might say. But that’s not the way the disciples experienced these times. What wild experiences! So disorienting! They’ve been through so much trauma with Jesus’ arrest, trial and crucifixion, and then all of this! What does it mean? Is it real? So many disciples have stories to tell about Jesus. They don’t know what to think, and then Jesus appears to all together. He just appears! Who is this? What is this? A ghost? Is there some kind of mass hysteria - - all of them having the same apparition? They’re trying to make sense of it. But nothing in their previous experience gives them a frame of reference. Nothing in their life, in their world, has prepared them for this. As the text says, they are startled, terrified, disbelieving, and wondering. 

It strikes me how incongruent the words started, terrified, disbelieving and wondering are with the term witnesses. Jesus proclaims that the disciples are witness in the Luke 24: 36-48 passage.

Startled + Terrified + Disbelieving + Wondering = Witnesses

As you can see, I put an equals sign after those first four words and before “Witnesses”. For a while I thought it really should be a sign that indicates that these things are NOT equal. It seems like startled, terrified, disbelieving, and wondering wouldn’t add up to being witnesses. How could these disciples, who were still trying to make sense of their experiences, be effective witnesses? Here they are just a couple days after Jesus’ horribly cruel death, in the midst of their raw grief, in the midst of not believing the stories they’re hearing from their own companions, and Jesus is calling them witnesses.   

But you know what? As Jesus is there with them, he’s opening their minds and hearts. He shifts to a teaching role to help them understand what the scriptures have been pointing to all along. He’s starting the process for them of being transformed into people who are no longer only startled, terrified, disbelieving, and wondering. Over the next fifty days, the reality of the resurrection is sinking in. The disciples are then filled with the power of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost so that they really can live fully into the role of being witnesses to all that Jesus taught them, all that they experienced, all that God was doing in the world. 

What Jesus started with them that day, they continued – studying and praying over the scriptures, pondering what Jesus had taught. They weren’t ready that day to be witnesses, but they would be ready. 

As I think about us being witnesses, I’m reminded of the Compelling Vision that Annual Conference will be considering this summer. The language of it is a striking contrast to those four words (startle, terrified, disbelieving, wondering) from the post-resurrection story. Here is the Compelling Vision.

“Together, as the Church of the Brethren, we will passionately live and share the radical transformation and holistic peace of Jesus Christ through relationship-based neighborhood engagement.

To move us forward, we will develop a culture of calling and equipping disciples who are innovative, adaptable, and fearless.”

There’s a part of me that is ready to embrace that vision. I want us to be like that. I long with all my heart for the Church of the Brethren and every congregation in every district to reflect that language. Then I think – we are not ready to be like that. How can we possibly embrace that vision, that commitment, when we are struggling so much as a denomination with divisiveness and conflict? How can we even begin to do that with the year that we’ve just been through?  Maybe we’re not ready just yet, just like the disciples were not ready yet in the first few days after the first Easter. But they became ready; they got ready through their commitment to ground themselves in Jesus’ teaching, through living into the relationship with the risen Christ, through their study of the scripture, and through openness to the power of the Holy Spirit that would come upon them fifty days later. 

Now for us, it’s fifty-plus days until the beginning of Annual Conference when the whole church will come together to decide whether and how to adopt and embrace this Compelling Vision. I’d like to suggestion that we hold this vision close to us over these coming weeks. Perhaps some of you have been engaging in the Bible Study materials offered in connection with the Compelling Vision. I’d like to suggest that we pray for ourselves and for the whole church to change from being startled, terrified, disbelieving, and wondering, to being passionate, transformed, innovative, adaptable, and fearless disciples, as the Compelling Vision says. Will you pray for that with me?  I hope you will. 

Connie R. Burkholder
Interim District Executive

Information about the Interim District Executive Position

Connie lives in McPherson, Kansas, so her ministry will be done by email, phone, and Zoom. Since her ministry is to be ¼ time and she has responsibilities as part of a pastoral team in McPherson, she will generally not be available for Sunday morning commitments. Special circumstances would be negotiated. Her contact information is:

Cell phone: 620-245-4600

Moderator’s Musings

by Blaine Miner

I’ve been challenged each month by the concept of extending charity. The words of Christ push me to examine with more depth what it means to do or not do for those described as the least of the body of Christ.

Several years ago, I decided to attend the National Older Adult Conference (NOAC) sponsored by the Church of the Brethren, in part because of the keynote speaker, Sister Joan Chittister. I purchased one of her books, “The Time is Now: A Call to Uncommon Courage,” which has helped me reflect on the theme, “Extending Charity”.

The second chapter of the book focuses on paradox. Oxford Languages defines a paradox as, “a seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement or proposition that when investigated or explained may prove to be well founded or true”. In this chapter, Sister Chittister indicates there are two types of being holy.

In the Brethren context, there are two types of doing service or charity. The first is going out and doing the work in the worst conditions imaginable for the neediest in our community and the world. These would be represented by the Brethren Volunteer Service workers (BVSers) and missionaries. Sister Chittister calls these the saints, the courageous, the salt-of-the-earth people.

The second type are those who see the world and are angered by the circumstances which create the need for charity. These individuals are the passionate activists, the protesters, and agitators, and are often described as naïve, deluded, and out of touch at best. One group we praise, while the other group we ridicule and criticize their works.

Sister Chittister referenced Archbishop Camara of Brazil as he responded to criticism of his ministry. She quotes him as saying, ”If I give alms to the poor, I am labeled a saint; If I ask why they are poor I am labeled a communist”. Charity can be seen as one coin with two sides. But as Christians called to follow Jesus and to act righteously and justly, we must tend to the need and the cause.

Sister Chittister poses the question, ”Which holiness is greater: The doer, the martyrs or those who changers are - the prophets? Which is better,” she writes, “to be prophetic or pastoral? Which is more important, to do charity or demand justice?” She references Jesus healing a blind man on the sabbath and asks whether it was a political, pastoral, or prophetic act.

Extending charity is tricky business. Sister Chittister writes “Charity without prophecy can only serve to make the world safe for exploitation. Why pay more when there is a ’safety net’ for the poor?

On the other hand, prophecy may disturb society but not comfort it.” The danger is that the issue is intellectualized and becomes impersonal. The challenge in extending charity is to both provide care and comfort for those in need and address the situations which created the need.

Jesus’ words sting a bit. “As you have done, or not done, you have done or not done for me”.  What will be your part in extending charity? Will you be a doer, walking alongside, or a prophet who challenges the status quo? Or are you one who is comfortable and wonders what the fuss is all about?

2021 District Conference Update

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Program and Arrangements committee has made the decision to hold the 2021 District Conference virtually on November 6, 2021. This decision was made with prayerful consideration, out of an abundance of caution, and for the safety of all concerned. This year’s conference will follow a similar format to the 2020 Virtual District conference which was a shortened format. We will once again use Zoom to connect with one another. We look forward to being able to safely meet in person at the 2022 District Conference. Please watch for more information as it becomes available. 

Welcome to the new IL/WI District DE

The Leadership Team of the Illinois/Wisconsin District has called Walt Wiltschek to serve as district executive minister.  He will begin serving in this half-time position in a virtual capacity on September 1, 2021 until he relocates to the district in November.

An ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren, Walt currently is pastor of the Easton, MD Church of the Brethren in Mid-Atlantic District as well as an academic advisor at Chesapeake College in Wye Mills, Maryland.  Walt also serves as chair of the Camp Mardela board of directors and is a member of the district ministry interviewing task team. 

Walt has extensive experience in various areas of denominational life having served for 10 years on the Church of the Brethren communications staff, including six-plus years as editor of Messenger magazine. He held the position of University Chaplain and Director of Church Relations for Manchester University from 2010-2016.

Prior to serving as associate pastor of Westminster Church of the Brethren in Westminster, MD, Walt was a sports copy editor and staff writer of the York Daily Record in York, PA.

Walt is a graduate of York College of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Science in secondary education/mathematics as well as a Master of Arts in communications and journalism/media from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL.  His theological training includes a Certificate of Biblical Studies from Eastern Mennonite Seminary and a Master of Arts in Religion from Lancaster Theological Seminary with a concentration in education and youth ministry.

Walt brings a deep love of youth ministry and camping having given volunteer time serving in a majority of the Brethren church camps over the years.

The Office of Ministry is pleased to welcome Walt to his new role and wishes him well as he begins his service.

Church of the Brethren Guidance on COVID-19

Congregations in the IL/WI District are at a variety of places in matters of COVID-19 response. Some are meeting again in-person either strictly outdoors and others indoors, both with certain restrictions. Some have decided to wait until later to begin having in-person gatherings.

The Church of the Brethren denomination has posted helpful Guidelines for responding to the challenges of the pandemic. To access that information, visit this webpage:

Following local community guidelines, if available, is also advisable.

Utilizing best practices to ensure the safety and well-being of everyone is advised especially now that COVID cases are on the rise.

Moderator's District Q&A Sessions Complketed; Frequently Asked Questions Available


ELGIN, IL - Between October 2020 and February 2021, the Annual Conference Moderator, Paul Mundey, hosted the “Moderator’s District Q&A” sessions in partnership with the Annual Conference  Moderator-Elect, Dave Sollenberger, and the Annual Conference Secretary, Jim Beckwith. Twenty-four ZOOM sessions were held in fourteen districts across the denomination; all districts were invited and encouraged to participate. The focus of the sessions was the “state of the church.” The Q&As were open to all, both clergy and laity; districts were encouraged to publicize them widely. Resulting from these Q&A sessions was a set of frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) specifically related to the discussion that arose from those gatherings.

The questions are not exhaustive of every question on the hearts and minds of our constituency. Rather, they are representative of inquiries posed by both clergy and laity in a variety of districts. The responses to each question also are not exhaustive; additional detail, however, is found in the endnotes.

A link to the FAQs follows:

Additional questions are welcome.

It is hoped the FAQs will help respond to questions related to information needed, and questions related to concerns, surfacing from our constituency.

For additional information on the Moderator’s District Q&A sessions or the FAQs, please contact Moderator Paul Mundey directly at

Contact Information:

Paul Mundey, Moderator, Church of the Brethren

Introduction to White Supremacy/Hate Groups and a Discussion-Driven Exploration of Racial Identity

Thursday, May 13, 2021, 6:30-8:30 PM

Our Presenters from the Southern Law Poverty Center:
Lecia Brooks and Diane Flinn

Co-Sponsored by Ill/Wisconsin District Church of the Brethren Leadership Team and Ministerial Leadership Development Team

Clergy can receive Continuing Education 0.2 credits for attending by registering for the event with the District. Please register by contacting Andrea at 

Topic: Introduction to White Supremacy Workshop - SPLC

Time: May 13, 2021 06:30 PM Central Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

Meeting ID: 847 6156 9724

Passcode: 636242 

Program Description:

Hate and extremist groups are both harbingers of and symptoms of the persistent and historical, unrectified racism central to the United States and our culture. Knowledge of these groups and their recent proliferation can help us understand current socio-political forces and invite us to explore race and its role in shaping beliefs, relationships, and who we are. This session provides an informative presentation and a dialogic exploration of how our understanding of race and racism impacts our effectiveness in creating equity and safety within a community.

Our Presenters

Lecia Brooks is the Chief of Staff for the SPLC, where she provides counsel to senior leadership, assists with strategic planning and works with people from across the organization to ensure the SPLC’s success, whether it is achieving long-term goals or maintaining effective daily operations.

Before her current role, Brooks served as the SPLC’s Chief Workplace Transformation Officer, where she supported leadership and staff efforts to build a culture of inclusiveness and ensure a continued focus on diversity and equity.

Brooks also previously served as the SPLC’s Outreach Director, where she traveled across the U.S. and abroad to speak about hate and extremism. Earlier, she was director of the SPLC’s Civil Rights Memorial Center, an interpretive experience designed to provide visitors to the Civil Rights Memorial with a deeper understanding of the Civil Rights movement.

Brooks, who joined the SPLC in 2004, has a wealth of experience in diversity advocacy training for corporations and nonprofit organizations, including Walmart, Lyft, Pixar, the Salzburg Seminar, and the Newark Public Library.

Diane Flinn, Senior Consultant, Diversity Matters

Diane Flinn is a diversity and social justice professional with over twenty-five years of experience developing programs and facilitating dialogue on race and racial identity, gender and sexual identity, interfaith alliance, and building institutional capacity for equity. She has been a consulting partner on projects across not-for-profit and for-profit sectors, including the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Simon Wiesenthal Museum of Tolerance, City of Los Angeles, Raytheon, Marlborough School, Paradigm Treatment Centers, and the National Conference for Community and Justice.

Ms. Flinn comes to social justice and inclusive community building through her professional experience in social and mental health and education, as well as through her personal journey from a child of a small midwestern town to a long-time resident of Los Angeles; she is equally at home in both environs. She holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a teacher certification from the University of Washington.

The Gathering Chicago is 5!

Join us for the online celebration, Sunday, May 16th!

Sun, May 16, 2021 5:00 PM CST

The Gathering Chicago Anniversary #5


SHARE YOUR TESTIMONY~ If The Gathering Chicago has been a blessing to you, share with us just how. Share your testimony. Make a video (on your phone- vertical) 2-3 minutes or email us in writing that we may share as a part of the Anniversary Celebration. Send to

Share an anniversary gift here

Registration open at Camp Emmanuel!

Hello Friends of Camp Emmanuel,

Registration is open for the 2021 camping season!  We're thrilled to be having camps this year since we've missed you all very much! Like other camps, we will be following the state and local rules for COVID prevention and response in order to stay open and hold camps this year. These rules are similar to those in place at most schools across the country, so many of you will already be familiar with them. We'll be wearing masks and maintaining social distance when appropriate and washing hands frequently.

One other change this year is our limited capacity.  Currently, there can only be 30 people at each camp. We hope this regulation changes before the camping season begins, but right now, registration is first come, first served.

See our website for a camp schedule, to get registered, and for more information.  Please address any specific questions to your camp director.

We're looking forward to a great camp season! Can't wait to see you all!

The Camp Board

Insight Sessions and Networking Groups

If Annual Conference had been in Greensboro as scheduled this summer, you might have spent part of your days attending insight sessions, visiting exhibit booths, chatting with other Brethren, or dining around the table at a meal event. While the pandemic protocols won’t allow that sort of large-scale physical interaction this year, Brethren are invited to experience some of that virtually with a wide variety of online insight sessions (more than 40, from agriculture to writing) and dozens of networking groups involving colleges, camps, and numerous Brethren agencies and programs.  

Insight sessions will provide educational opportunities (including always-desirable CEU’s for pastors and others in ministry), while the networking groups allow less-formal forums to talk about shared interests, trade ideas, and catch up on the latest news. 

Don’t miss out on the Brethren buzz! All insight sessions and networking groups can be accessed via the online site by anyone registered. Insight sessions will run 12:30-1:30 p.m. and 9:15-10:15 p.m. Eastern (9:30-10:30 a.m. and 6:15-7:15 p.m. Pacific) each day July 1-3, while networking sessions run 12:30-1:30 p.m. and 5:30-6:30 p.m. Eastern (9:30-10:30 a.m. and 2:30-3:30 p.m. Pacific). For more details about each group click here.   

Click here to register for Annual Conference NOW!

In case you missed it:

April 27 email: May AC Newsletter

April 20 email: Compelling Vision and ballots

March 2 email: March AC Newsletter

February 22 email: Online Worship Gathering

January 26 email: AC pivots from hybrid to online 

Polo Pastoral Transition

The Polo Church of the Brethren is in negotiations with a candidate.  Let us hold their search committee, congregation, and candidate in prayer as they prepare for a negotiation weekend in early June. 

Annual Conference Delegates

The Annual Conference Office has shared a list of congregations that registered delegates to our Annual Conference scheduled for June 3 – July 4.  If you haven’t registered a delegate please do so soon!  Here’s a link for registration:

The Conference will be virtual, so anyone with an internet connection can attend virtually.  Find everything you need to know at:

On Earth Peace Community Meetup

I am excited to invite you to participate in an On Earth Peace Community Meetup on May 11, a Congregational Peace Health Checkup.  

This 90-minute version of our in-depth Congregational Peace Health Checkup provides an opportunity to reflect on your own congregation's life, assessing its vitality and opening up possible areas for growth. 

Brief conversations or explorations will be drawn from this list of topics: 

  • Biblical Foundations of Peace
  • Handling Conflict / Making Decisions
  • Leadership Development
  • Service Ministries / Justice Ministries
  • Life Transformation
  • Worship and other practices
  • Dismantling Systems of Oppression & Building Beloved Community
  • Community engagement  

In On Earth Peace's Community Meetups, started during the pandemic, we welcome new and returning friends and seek to build community, conviction, and capacity. These sessions provide a time for relationship and conversation, with focused content that we engage together.

The meetup will be taking place on Tuesday, May 11th, at 7pm EST and will last 90 minutes. You can CLICK HERE to see the start time in your local time zone.

Click here to RSVP

If you have any questions, please email Dennis at

National Youth Conference 2022 theme, dates, and cost are announced

Church of the Brethren Newsline
May 1, 2021
By Erika Clary

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 on

The National Youth Cabinet did not let coronavirus restrictions stop them from beginning their hard work of planning for NYC. They met virtually this winter and hope to meet in person for future meetings. Members are Benjamin Tatum, Oak Grove Church of the Brethren in Virlina District; Elise Gage, Manassas Church of the Brethren, Mid-Atlantic District; Giovanni Romero, York Center Church of the Brethren, Illinois and Wisconsin District; Haley Daubert, Montezuma Church of the Brethren, Shenandoah District; Isabella Torres, Nuevo Renacer Church of the Brethren, Atlantic Northeast District; and Luke Schweitzer, Cedar Grove Church of the Brethren, Southern Ohio and Kentucky District. Adult advisors are Kayla Alphonse, Miami First Church of the Brethren in Atlantic Southeast District, and Jason Haldeman, Elizabethtown Church of the Brethren in Atlantic Northeast District. The cabinet will be led by NYC 2022 coordinator Erika Clary of Brownsville Church of the Brethren in Mid-Atlantic District, accompanied by Becky Ullom Naugle, director of Youth and Young Adult Ministries for the Church of the Brethren.

The cabinet discussed theme ideas relevant to senior high youth. Ultimately, the theme that emerged was “Foundational,” based on scripture from Colossians 2:5-7, “For though I am absent in body, yet I am with you in spirit, and I rejoice to see your morale and the firmness of your faith in Christ. As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.”

We talked about all of the ways that God is revealed as the foundation for our lives throughout the Bible. Some examples of this are the cornerstone, the way that God can be seen as an anchor for our lives, and how we remain rooted in God in all circumstances.

Isabella Torres noted, “Picking the theme was difficult at first because we had so many different ideas, but all of our ideas always intertwined with having a foundation in God. To me, it is a great theme, and it is also something I find to be very important as a youth today.”

Luke Schweitzer shared, “I am really excited about this theme and I cannot wait to see what the speakers and youth do with it next summer.”

Watch for NYC 2022 updates at and social media of the Youth and Young Adult Ministries.

— Erika Clary will serve as coordinator of National Youth Conference 2022, working in the Church of the Brethren’s Youth and Young Adult Ministries through Brethren Volunteer Service.

NOAC service project will fund books for Junaluska Elementary School

Church of the Brethren Newsline
May 1, 2021
By Libby Polzin Kinsey

Participants at National Older Adult Conference (NOAC) love to serve. Past NOAC efforts have helped build the libraries of Junaluska (N.C.) Elementary School classrooms, providing hundreds of books to children living in the host town for the conference.

This year, when NOAC will be held virtually, participants are invited to help Ira Hyde, Junaluska Elementary School librarian, create a more culturally diverse library for the low-income community where he serves children in grades K-5.

Libby Kinsey and Ira Hyde have created a list of rich, diverse books for the Junaluska Elementary School library. The books are of all genres, focusing on characters of color, stories that show how much we all have in common, as well as the interesting ways we are unique.

NOAC participants and churches are invited to donate funds toward the purchase of books on the list. Hope Church of the Brethren in Freeport, Mich., already has donated $500 to get the ball rolling.

Donations of any size will go far in furthering this effort, revealing the beauty to be found in God’s rich, diverse global community.

Make checks payable to the Church of the Brethren with the notation “NOAC Book Drive 2021” on the memo line. Mail checks to Church of the Brethren General Offices, Attn: NOAC Book Drive, 1451 Dundee Ave., Elgin, IL 60120.

Or donate online at

— Libby Polzin Kinsey is the book drive coordinator for NOAC 2021. Find out more about the conference at

Attend the New and Renew Conference!

With the coming of the New and Renew Conference on May 13 - 15, the Church, Revitalization and Development Team is offering scholarships for a few lucky attendees. CRDT is offering to pay the attendance fee ($79) for the first 3 attendees that email the CRDT team. Here are the rules:
  1. Be one of the first 3 people to send an email to Bill Williams at -
  2. After you have been notified that you have won, you must pay for the conference and then send a copy of your receipt to Leonard Matheny at this email address: Leonard will then send the receipt to the district office and you will be reimbursed.
May everyone be blessed and renewed with the knowledge gained at this conference!

New and Renew workshop presenters include Coté Soerens and Darryl Williamson

Church of the Brethren Newsline
April 22, 2021
By Erika Clary

Join us for the New and Renew Virtual Conference, May 13-15. We will be exploring the theme “The Reward of Risk,” guided by many terrific workshop presenters and keynote speakers. Two workshop presenters for the event are Maria-José “Coté” Soerens and Darryl Williamson.

Soerens is a church planter in Seattle, Wash., where she is nurturing a faith community rooted in the South Park neighborhood where she lives. Born in Chile, she came to the US at the age of 25 and has since started a number of initiatives in the private and nonprofit sector. Her favorite is Resistencia Coffee, a neighborhood-owned and -operated coffee shop at the heart of South Park.

She also is a co-founder of Cultivate South Park, a neighbor-led asset-based community development group dedicated to identifying, connecting, and celebrating the gifts of South Park residents to co-create a more equitable community. There, she serves as part of the Urban Fresh Food Collective and the South Park Arts and Culture Collective. She also serves on the city of Seattle’s Equitable Development Initiative advisory board and the Cultural Space Agency Council, both focused on increasing access to community-controlled spaces for communities of color in Seattle.

Soerens’ workshop is titled “Trusting God, Trusting Neighbors: Mobilizing Power and Assets in the Neighborhood.” She writes: “Despite our best intentions for missional engagement, congregations can sometimes have an awkward relationship with the communities where we worship and serve.” Her workshop will explore practical ways to engage communities in liberating, collaborative, and generative ways that build belonging and common mission.

Williamson has been lead pastor of the Living Faith Bible Fellowship in Tampa, Fla., since January 2010. He helped transition the church from a primarily middle-aged African American membership to a multicultural, multiethnic, multigenerational congregation. He is active with three organizations whose ministries focus on seeing the gospel advance in marginalized communities in the US and abroad. He leads Arise City and is on the board of the Crete Collective and the Underground Network.

He also serves on the Leadership Council of the Gospel Coalition. He has a gospel-centered concern for spiritual formation, racial reconciliation, restorative justice, faith-work economics, ethics and theology, and church history. He has contributed to two books: 12 Faithful Men: Portraits of Faithful Endurance in Pastoral Ministry, and All Are Welcome: Toward a Multi-Everything Church.

Williamson will be presenting a workshop titled “The Promise of Church in Hard Places,” which will address why establishing churches in neglected communities will not only bring spiritual and holistic restoration to those neighborhoods, but also will usher in a mission movement in cities across the national landscape. In his workshop, the vision of the Crete Collective will be presented.

Worried that you will be unable to attend live sessions? Those who register will have access to recordings of all sessions and workshops until Dec. 15. Ministers who want continuing education units (CEUs) will receive a form to mark either attendance at live sessions or recordings to earn up to 2.0 units.

Registration costs $79, plus $10 for continuing education credit, and includes access to recordings of worship, sermons, and workshops. Register and find out more at

— Erika Clary is working temporarily for the Church of the Brethren Discipleship Ministries until starting a Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) position as coordinator for National Youth Conference 2022.

‘Play, on Purpose’ webinar to take place May 11

Church of the Brethren Newsline
May 1, 2021
By Erika Clary

“Play, on Purpose,” a virtual webinar featuring Lakisha Lockhart, associate professor of Practical Theology at Chicago Theological Seminary, will be presented by the Youth and Young Adult Ministries on May 11 at 8-9:30 p.m. (Eastern time). After registering for the webinar, participants will watch a 30-minute video before joining the live conversation on May 11. Ministers may earn 0.2 continuing education units through the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership.

Lockhart is from Columbus, Ga. She is a “daughter, sister, wife, mother, and the coolest auntie around.” She holds a bachelor’s degree from Claflin University, a master of divinity from Wesley Theological Seminary, a master of arts from Vanderbilt University, and doctorate from Boston College.

As part of “Play, on Purpose,” participants will learn about the theological, spiritual, and neurological dimensions and benefits of play–in addition to engaging in various play practices.

Those looking for a new burst of energy and practical tools for ministry with youth and young adults will appreciate this workshop. Lockhart’s work is well-grounded in theology and pedagogy, providing a unique opportunity for growth.

Register at For more information, contact Youth and Young Adult Ministries director Becky Ullom Naugle at

— Erika Clary will be serving as coordinator of National Youth Conference 2022 in the Youth and Young Adult Ministries of the Church of the Brethren, working through Brethren Volunteer Service.

Seminary Graduation

Vivek Solanky, a licensed minister in our district and a member at the Naperville Church of the Brethren, will graduate from Bethany Theological Seminary on May 8th with a Masters of Divinity degree. We rejoice with Vivek, his wife Shefali, and son Josiah, as they celebrate this accomplishment! Vivek has been approved for ordination by the Naperville Church and Illinois/Wisconsin District pending a pastoral placement. Let us hold Vivek in prayer as he seeks employment.

Multivocational pastors are invited to summer book study

Church of the Brethren Newsline
April 30, 2021
By Dana Cassell

The Part-Time Pastor; Full-Time Church Program invites multivocational pastors of Church of the Brethren congregations to join a summer book study of Part-Time is Plenty: Thriving Without Full-Time Clergy by Jeffrey MacDonald.

John Fillmore, who serves as a leader in the program and pastors the Nampa congregation in Idaho, will lead the six-week study over Zoom, from June 8 through July 13.

Multivocational pastors comprise 77 percent of all Church of the Brethren pastors, and the designation includes part-time pastors, pastors who serve as part of a pastoral team, pastors serving through the plural non-salaried ministry, and anyone whose congregational role is less than a formal, full-time agreement.

Learn more about the Part-Time Pastor; Full-Time Church program at Register to join the book study at The book may be purchased through Brethren Press at

— Dana Cassell is Thriving in Ministry program manager for the Church of the Brethren Office of Ministry.

New Website Promotes Environmental Awareness in Congregations

The Green Circle at Bethany Theological Seminary has created a website featuring resources for pastors and church leaders who want to promote environmental awareness in their congregations. 

The site includes resources for worship, activity suggestions for children and youth, and material on the theology of God’s creation — all geared to the needs of congregations in the Church of the Brethren. Curated by Ingrid Rogers, a student pursuing a Certificate in Theopoetics and Theological Imagination, the site began as a project for a course in ecotheology taught by Joelle Hathaway, assistant professor of theology. 

Rogers says that her interest in creating this website connects to the paper “Creation: Called to Care,” which the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference passed in 1991, urging congregations and individuals to educate themselves about environmental issues and take steps to limit negative impacts on the environment and to work to protect and restore creation. 

“Since this paper was adopted, the environmental situation of our planet has deteriorated exponentially,” notes Rogers. “More than ever, Christians need to respond. At Bethany, an environmental awareness group known as the Green Circle formed a few years ago in support of local initiatives. The group has now launched a new website pulling together resources for worship and education that can help pastors, congregations, and individuals who seek to address the call to creation care.” 

With the support of the Green Circle (a committee with representatives from Bethany faculty, staff and students), Rogers took the lead in creating the website. During her research phase, Rogers polled 11 Bethany students who currently serve as pastors of Church of the Brethren congregations and selected content based, in part, on those students' responses. Rogers drew on existing materials available on Mennonite, Quaker, United Church of Christ, and Roman Catholic websites. 

Dan Poole, assistant professor of ministry formation, believes that the Moodle site will be very helpful to pastors and congregations. “This site should serve handsomely for pastors and those desiring a more eco-friendly and eco-informed community.” 

Launched ahead of this year’s Earth Day (which will be celebrated on April 22, 2021), the Green Circle hopes that this new website will be a helpful resource for congregations for years to come. 

Note: We want to learn about steps your congregation has taken for creation care — like launching a community garden, organizing an event to promote environmental awareness, or making the church building more energy efficient. Pictures or short videos are welcome. Get in touch by email.

Join the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference Virtual Blood Drive

Help us continue the yearly tradition of donating blood during the Annual Conference even though we are not meeting in person.

Make a pledge through the Virtual Blood Drive and donate blood locally. Put the power of your faith into action.

How can YOU join the 2021 Virtual Blood Drive?

  • Pledge today to give blood at or by calling/emailing Brethren Disaster Ministries.
  • Find a blood drive near you at Make an appointment to donate, preferably between June 15-July 15, 2021.
  • Take a photo when you donate blood to encourage others and to celebrate your gift.
  • Tell us that you followed through with your pledge so we can keep track of total donations.
  • Send us your photo! You can also share it on social media:

It’s that easy!

Questions? Need more information? Call BDM at 1-800-451-4407 x1 or email

Network seeks mission advocates for each congregation and district

Church of the Brethren Newsline
April 8, 2021
By Carol Mason

Do you wonder about what is going on in mission work these days? Ever since the Mission Alive Conference of 2012, it has been the goal of the Global Mission office to have a network of mission advocates who want to answer this question for you.

At that time, volunteers were found in each of our church districts who would make sure mission prayer requests, news, and plans were presented at district conferences, printed in district newsletters, and made readily available to each congregation within a district. These volunteers are called District Mission Advocates.

As Mission Advocate Network coordinator, I am updating this network in time to welcome our new Global Mission executive directors Eric Miller and Ruoxia Li. In addition to district advocates, we are updating the Congregational Mission Advocates list as well, so the new directors know they have volunteers in every congregation willing to keep mission news in front of our church members.

If you have a passion for mission, and love to share what you learn about this growing work, consider becoming a mission advocate in your congregation or district!

The mission advocates help us host international visitors to district conferences and Annual Conference, arrange for pastor exchange Sundays and speaking engagements, and will be vital to the next Mission Alive event that may be held as soon as 2022. Remember hosting the EYN Appreciation Choir in 2015? We thank our mission advocates and their congregations for all the behind-the-scenes work they did for that massive undertaking.

Find out more about the Global Mission Advocate Network at, where you may contact me to express interest in becoming a mission advocate. Also, sign up today to receive the Mission Prayer Updates to continually lift up the joys and concerns of our global church. And keep watching this webpage for mission resources and news.

— Carol Mason is Mission Advocate Network coordinator for the Global Mission office of the Church of the Brethren.

Overflowing with hope: An interview with NOAC coordinator Christy Waltersdorff

 Church of the Brethren Newsline

March 12, 2021

This week, Newsline editor Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford interviewed National Older Adult Conference (NOAC) coordinator Christy Waltersdorff. The NOAC Planning Team has made the decision that the conference, held every two years, will be fully online in 2021 instead of in-person at its usual host site in Lake Junaluska, N.C. Dates are Sept. 6-10. Registration starts May 1 at

The theme is “Overflowing with Hope” inspired by Romans 15:13: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you believe so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Christian Standard Bible).

The NOAC Planning Team includes (from left) Paula Ziegler Ulrich, Karen Dillon, coordinator Christy Waltersdorff, Glenn Bollinger, Pat Roberts, Jim Martinez, and (not shown here) Rex Miller and staff Josh Brockway and Stan Dueck.

The planning team for NOAC 2021. Photo by Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford

Why take NOAC online?

We made the decision last October, and at that time there was no vaccine yet. We felt like for the common good for everyone, we shouldn’t meet in person. We were concerned about things like if the bus lines would be running. There were so many uncertainties. We decided it would be better to have it online rather than not at all. The NOAC demographic is in the highest risk category, and even now who is to say who all will be vaccinated by September?

This is all brand new. We’re making it up as we go along! We’re asking people who know what they’re doing to help us figure it out.

What will be the highlight of this online conference?

People who have not been able to attend can attend–people who can’t travel, or who are unable to get off work, for example. I’m hoping that this will especially help people with health issues.

I am hoping that congregations and Brethren retirement communities will safely invite people in to watch it together at viewing parties. And I am hoping that people will register to help pay for the costs such as speakers and technology. People think that because it’s not onsite, it’s not going to cost us anything, but it is. Even if people are watching it as a group, we’re encouraging each of them to register.

Will you be offering help for people to participate if they have trouble using the Internet or have difficulties accessing the online sessions?

Yes, I am going to be asking district offices to get information out to congregations to help people. That’s why we thought viewing parties would be a good thing, to help people who don’t know how or who don’t have the tech. I really am counting on local congregations and the Brethren retirement communities to help people figure it out. The churches that have the capacity for going online have really stepped up their game, and hopefully that will work to our advantage.

What are you looking forward to at NOAC this year?

We are really putting together a good conference. It’s the same speakers we were going to have in person, and the preachers, everything from our onsite plans are going to carry over. It’s going to be a good, powerful, strong experience.

Our keynote presenters are Karen Gonzalez, Lisa Sharon Harper, and Ken Medema and Ted Swartz. Our preachers are Andrew Wright, Paula Bowser, Don Fitzkee, Christy Dowdy, and Eric Landram. Our Bible study leader is Joel Kline.

I know that people will miss being together, however it’s a year of a pandemic. To keep everyone safe is our priority. Loving our neighbor, and all that stuff!

What will the schedule be like?

We are maintaining the same week as usual and are picking up the major pieces of NOAC, just figuring out how to make them work online.

We’re starting with Monday evening worship. Worship will be held each evening, Monday through Thursday. The mornings, starting Tuesday, will be Bible study with Joel Kline and then the keynote speakers. There will be afternoon workshops. We have ideas for virtual ice cream socials with the colleges. There will be a virtual fundraiser “Walk Around the Lake” and an opportunity to buy books for the Lake Junaluska elementary school. Libby Kinsey is working with the school librarian on a list of books about diversity that the library doesn’t yet have, and Brethren Press will be featuring the list on their website.

Exact times are still to be determined. In planning the daily schedule, we have to be aware of the different time zones from west coast to east coast. I’m always aware of how unfair the time schedule is for the western folks. But because everything will be recorded, that will help people catch up if they missed something.

What does the future look like for NOAC?

The plan is to be back at Lake Junaluska in 2023. We’re hoping that offering this year’s online will encourage new people to come to the next NOAC. We’ve looked at other locations but it’s hard to find any other place that’s comparable. Lake Junaluska offers the setting and the facilities.

How can people follow along with the planning?

Follow along on our Facebook page and our web page. And give input! The Facebook page recently asked what kinds of workshops people want, for example. Registration opens May 1 and that link will be available on the webpage. We will have paper forms available too.

— Find NOAC on Facebook at The NOAC webpage is at

COVID emergency grants for church workers are extended again

Church of the Brethren Newsline
March 26, 2021

A release from Brethren Benefit Trust

When the pandemic hit the US in full force in March 2020, it quickly became apparent to some that financial pressures were impacting a group of pastors and church, district, and camp employees. Brethren Benefit Trust (BBT) was one entity that quickly realized the need.

“Our customer service representatives started receiving calls by those who almost overnight found themselves in financial difficulty, for any number of reasons,” said Nevin Dulabaum, BBT president. “Our Employee Benefits team approached me with the message that we should address this need, and so we quickly assessed our options, and in the matter of a few days created the COVID-19 emergency relief grant program.”

The Church Workers’ Assistance Plan was created as an Annual Conference directive, which in 1998 asked BBT to serve as administrator of the benevolence program. Funds contributed by the churches, districts, and camps provide financial support grants to church workers in dire financial need. BBT distributes the grants through an application system that is cared for by BBT staff.

In 2020, the Church Workers’ Assistance Plan program provided $290,000 in grants to 45 people. However, once the pandemic hit, it was immediately obvious that the need for assistance might escalate.

BBT set aside a block of funds for a special COVID-19 Emergency Grant program; got a separate, streamlined application up and running; and put the word out. Working in conjunction with the district executives, the first round of grants became available on March 20, 2020, and applications were accepted for four months.

As the district executives let BBT know how helpful this grant money was and expressed worry that the need was going to continue, BBT responded by opening up additional grant funds, in four-month blocks, three more times since then.

The next round of grants begins April 1 and runs through the end of July 2021.

“In meeting with the district executives early this year, BBT heard their strong support for extending the COVID-19 grants through the end of 2021,” Dulabaum said. “BBT will consider doing so, based on how quickly the country recovers from the pandemic as the vaccination of Americans continues,” he added.

It is important to maintain strict privacy guidelines for our grant recipients, but we can share that of the 94 COVID-19 grants awarded so far, 76 have been distributed to church employees, and 14 have been distributed to camp employees.

Please visit the BBT website,, for more information and the grant application form.

Church of the Brethren hires new Director of Brethren Historical and Archives

Jennifer Houser has been hired by the Church of the Brethren as the director of Brethren Historical Library and Archives, working from the General Offices in Elgin, Ill. She is a graduate of Messiah College with a Bachelor of Arts in Christian Ministries; and of Duke Divinity School with a Master of Divinity degree, where she was also the archival assistant. Jennifer is currently working as a reference associate at Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library and part-time as pastor at Crest Manor Church of the Brethren. Jennifer will begin her work on August 2, 2021.

Bethany Seminary Launches New Professional Master's Degree

For students who hear a clear call and are following a specific path to practical ministry, Bethany Theological Seminary has launched a new master’s degree program that links spiritual formation with a focus on social change.

The Master of Arts in Spiritual and Social Transformation (MASST) degree program launches in the fall of 2021 and will significantly broaden the Seminary’s offerings to students who want to focus and specialize their ministries. The program is designed to serve individuals pursuing careers in non-profit leadership, social services, or spiritual direction. This new program is uniquely positioned to link Bethany’s Brethren heritage to the interests and needs of current students. According to Academic Dean Steve Schweitzer, MASST is a natural outgrowth of Bethany’s mission and draws on the strengths of the Seminary’s stellar faculty. The program is also a thoughtful response to trends across theological education in the U.S., and it is only the second master's program in the United States to focus on spiritual and social transformation in this combination and integrative way.

“In recent years, seminaries are conferring more Master of Arts than Master of Divinity degrees,” notes Schweitzer. “It makes sense for us to continue to expand our offerings, and we want to start with what we know we can do well.”

The Church of Brethren has, of course, always connected spiritual formation with a passion for social transformation. The new MASST degree provides students with options to deepen their faith and enrich their present and future ministries. Students will be able to take most of the required courses at a distance from campus and benefit from the same generous financial aid that is available to students in all Bethany programs. MASST will appeal to students who wish to pursue advanced degrees while continuing to work in their own communities.

This is the latest addition to Bethany’s robust offerings, which include the Master of Arts in Theopoetics and Writing, six certificate programs, as well as the updated Master of Divinity and Master of Arts programs. These expanded offerings will allow Bethany to build on its recent positive enrollment trends and appeal to new categories of students.

“This new MASST program allows students another educational option to pursue their vocational call through unique courses and practical experiences. We’ve designed the MASST to be flexible and focused in light of student interests and needs,” Schweitzer says.

Students in the MASST program can choose from five “Paths” or concentrations of courses, including Non-Profit Leadership (in partnership with Eastern Mennonite University) and two programs in Spiritual Practices and Direction (in association with Oasis Ministries). Other focus areas are History as Argument and Meditation and Public Theology and Witness. All concentrations will benefit from Bethany’s existing strengths, and students will learn alongside those who are seeking certificates, other M.A. degrees, and the M.Div.

“For anyone who is ready to say, ‘this is my call and this is my path,’ the MASST degree is a way to name and claim your ministry and your career,” says Schweitzer. 

As is true for all Bethany degree programs, MASST students will have access to generous financial aid, including the Pillars and Pathways Residential Scholarship, which allows students to earn a graduate degree without taking on additional student or commercial debt.

Read more about MASST here.



Yearbook forms due April 15

April 15 is the deadline for congregational forms to be received by the Yearbook Office in order for information to be included in the 2021 Yearbook.

Paper copies of the forms have been mailed to each congregation. If you have not received the forms or would like digital copies, please contact Jim Miner, Yearbook Specialist, at 800-323-8039 ext. 320 or

Mail completed forms to Yearbook, Church of the Brethren, 1451 Dundee Avenue, Elgin, IL 60120. If you've already put yours in the mail, thank you!

A new web page containing instructions, especially on how to count worship attendance for 2020, and other resources related to the Yearbook is found at

Bethany Peace Essay Contest

Bethany Seminary is now accepting submissions for its Peace Essay Contest. The theme for this year’s contest is “Civil Resistance and Non-Violent Social Change in an Increasingly Virtual World,” and the competition is open to students in high school, college, seminary, and graduate school. Prizes of $2000, $1000, and $500 will be awarded to the top three essays. The deadline for entry is May 15. Read more here.

Russell Haitch’s New Book

Dr. Russell Haitch, professor of theology and human science, has published a new book, Eyes of the Heart: Seeing God in an Age of Science (Fortress, 2021). 

The book offers a model for unifying Christian convictions and mainstream science, and it will be of special interest to pastors, small group leaders who work with youth, and youth themselves. Read more here.

Gab Sessions with Gaby

Admissions Counselor Gaby Chacón will host a series of information sessions for those interested in learning more about Bethany programs. If you, or someone you know, is interested in pursuing advanced study at Bethany, this is the perfect opportunity to learn more about degrees and certificates, scholarships, our residential community, and more. Sessions are scheduled for March 15, March 29, April 12, April 26, and May 10. You can join these sessions on Zoom.

Preaching the Fear of God

Dr. Dawn Ottoni-Wilhelm is editor of a newly published book entitled Preaching the Fear of God in a Fear-Filled World: Proceedings from the conference of Societas Homiletic, Durham 2018. The collection of conference presentations highlights rhetorical, biblical, political, and spiritual dimensions of fear. 

Learn more here.

Compelling Vision Bible Study

Dr. Denise Kettering-Lane will lead a bible study for youth and young adults on March 14, 8-9 p.m. Denise will contribute a scholarly perspective to this series of sessions focused on the Church of the Brethren's Compelling Vision. Her session will discuss passages from Matthew and will take place on Zoom.

You can register here.

Class of 2018 — Take Our Survey

Members of the Class of 2018 — please watch for Bethany’s alumni survey. We value your feedback about our programs, so please take a few minutes to share your thoughts. The alumni survey will be distributed by email on March 15.

Youth and young adult calendar lists upcoming events to be offered online

Church of the Brethren Newsline
February 26, 2021

An updated calendar of online events for youth and young adults has been announced by the Church of the Brethren’s Youth and Young Adult ministry. Most of the following events were shared in a letter from director Becky Ullom Naugle to youth advisors and pastors ( Information also is being shared via Facebook at

“It goes without saying that virtual events are not the same as in-person events, and I lament with you the loss this represents,” she wrote. “Yet, as we model for others how to find and follow the movement of the Holy Spirit in challenging times, I hope these new online opportunities enrich our faith and the faith of those we walk beside.”

She noted that the National Junior High Conference and Ministry Summer Service will not be offered this year because of complications related to COVID. Ministry Summer Service will resume in 2022, and the next National Junior High Conference will take place in 2023.

Feb. 28 – Deadline for junior and senior high youth groups to express interest in participating in the Youth Fellowship Exchange, an opportunity to connect youth from different congregations for online fellowship. Youth advisors are invited to fill out an interest form at Find out more at

March 7 – The second in a series of Compelling Vision Bible Studies for young adults, junior high and senior high youth, and accompanying adults. These studies will be held in the evenings on select dates through June. Groups as well as individuals are encouraged to attend. “Together” is the theme for the event on March 7, at 8-9 p.m. (Eastern), led by Audrey and Tim Hollenberg-Duffey. Register at

March 14 – Bethany Theological Seminary professor Denise Kettering Lane will lead the third session in the Compelling Vision Bible Studies series, focusing on “as the Church of the Brethren,” on March 14 from 8-9 p.m. (Eastern). Register at‐rqDopHNTMU‐BdDaJ‐bJ6JL5YRGHGt.

March 24 – “Living Letters” art workshop for young adults led by Jessie Houff, Community Arts minister at Washington (D.C.) City Church of the Brethren.

April 11 – “Living Letters” art workshop for junior high youth, led by Houff.

April 24-28 – Christian Citizenship Seminar for senior high youth and adult advisors. This year the theme is “Economic Justice” (Luke 1:51- 53). Online sessions will be held in the evenings. Registration costs $75 per person. For more information and to register, go to

May 2 – National Youth Sunday, an annual event calling congregations to celebrate their senior high youth by inviting them into worship leadership. Theme and worship materials will be posted by March 15 at

May 11 – “Play, on Purpose,” a webinar for youth advisors, led by Dr. Lakisha Lockhart. Continuing education credit will be available.

May 28-31 – National Young Adult Conference for young adults age 18-35. This year’s theme is “Unfolding Grace” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18). Registration opens Feb. 26. Cost is $75 per person. For more information and to register go to

Aug. 1 – “Living Letters” art workshop for youth advisors, led by Houff.

Nov. 7 – National Junior High Sunday, an annual event celebrating junior high youth, encouraging congregations to welcome them into worship leadership. Worship resources will be posted later this summer at

2022 – National Youth Conference. Planning is beginning now for next year’s NYC, a conference held every four years for senior high youth and first-year college students (or those of equivalent age), and their adult advisors.

New & Renew Conference 2021 is Virtual

Church of the Brethren Newsline

By Stan Dueck

Join us for the New and Renew Virtual Conference, May 13-15. New and Renew is an opportunity for pastors and leaders of new church plants and established churches to come together for worship, learning, and networking.

The conference theme is “The Reward of Risk,” developed from the Gospel of Matthew 25:28-29a.

Often in our conversations around church planting and church renewal, we talk about the possibility of failure regarding risk. But have we ever stopped to ponder the possibility of reward amid risk? What might it look like to celebrate those who have taken the risk for the Kingdom of God? Join us as we explore the Reward of Risk and celebrate those who risked for the Kingdom of God.

The three-day virtual conference has more than 20 sessions to broaden your knowledge of church planting and congregational renewal. Besides the workshops, inspirational worship, and keynotes will invigorate your calling and passion for ministry.

Unable to attend the conference? No problem! Registration means you can access the recorded sermons, keynotes, and workshops for six months after the event. That means you can watch recorded presentations that are helpful for your ministry context and earn continuing education units.

If you are looking for new and practical ways to engage your community and congregation, look no further than the New and Renew Conference 2021. You don’t want to miss out on this great experience!

Pricing: $79 per person plus $10 for individuals wanting continuing education credit.

For more information go to

— Stan Dueck is co-coordinator of Discipleship Ministries for the Church of the Brethren.

Delegate Registration for the 2021 ONLINE Church of the Brethren Annual Conference, June 29-July 4, 2021

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Registration for both delegates and non-delegates for the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference will open at 12:00 Noon Central Time on Tuesday, March 2, 2021. The delegate registration fee is $305 per delegate. Registration will stay open through the end of conference.

Delegate registration fees provide each delegate with a Conference booklet and the business materials packet. Each congregation registering a delegate will also receive a copy of the 2021 Annual Conference minutes.

Please note:

Unique to this year’s ONLINE Annual Conference, each delegate MUST HAVE THEIR OWN PERSONAL EMAIL ADDRESS, ACOMPUTER OR TABLET, AS WELL AS ADEQUATE WIFI SERVICE IN ORDER TO PARTICIPATE IN CONFERENCE. Please ensure thatyour selected delegate meets these requirements to participate so that your congregation can be fully represented at Annual Conference.

We are aware that some congregations do not have much access to the Internet and we hope delegates from those congregations will be able to participate. Perhaps your district office will have counsel as to how you can obtain individual Internet connections for each of your delegates.

One online site will be used for all business, insight sessions, networking groups, concerts, Bible studies and more. A link and password for access to the site will be emailed to each registrant in the days prior to the start of Conference. Training sessions will be provided in the weeks before Conference begins for those wanting to learn how to navigate the site. The many details of the event will be frequently updated on Please check back often! Also watch for weekly emails sharing information about all that Annual Conference will have to offer online.

Registering a Delegate

Beginning Tuesday, March 2, at 12:00 noon Central Time, congregations may register their delegates online at Click the “Registration” button and then choose “Delegate Registration.” Payment options include paying by credit card or sending a check. Each delegate’s complete name, address, email, and phone contact are required. Please use the delegate’s own email address, not the church email! If you need assistance, call the Annual Conference Office at 800-323-8039 ext. 366, or 847-429-4366.

Delegate Eligibility and Allotment

Delegates must be full members of the Church of the Brethren. The number of delegates for each congregation is based on the membership statistics as reported in the 2020 Church of the Brethren Yearbook. The number allowed is as follows:

Up to 200 Members 1 delegate
201-400 Members 2 delegates
401-600 Members 3 delegates
601-800 Members 4 delegates

Non-Delegate Registrations

Non-delegate registration opens the same day as delegate registration. When registering anyone other than a delegate, click on the “Non-Delegate Registration” button. This year’s reduced price of $99 for non-delegates provides access to the business sessions, insight sessions, networking groups, concerts, Bible studies and more. All five worship services will be available free of charge to all registered and non-registered persons.

New Delegates

Please encourage delegates who have never been or have not recently been to Annual Conference to attend the New Attendee Orientation session, online at 3:30 p.m. Central Time on Wednesday afternoon, June 29.

Online Information

Please check out our webpage at for more information about Annual Conference, including leadership, themes, schedule, concerts and much more. New information is added regularly so check back often.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions regarding registration.

Debbie Noffsinger, registration coordinator
Annual Conference Office
Church of the Brethren
1451 Dundee Avenue
Elgin, IL 60120
Dial direct: 847-429-4366
Toll free: 800-323-8039, x366