Wednesday, September 01, 2021

The Village ILWIDIot

September 2021

“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

I came across this quote by the great 20th-century poet T.S. Eliot during a recent visit to Minneapolis, on a display in Loring Park. It’s long been among my favorites, and it felt appropriate to come across it again now, as it feels like things have come full circle in many ways.

When I left Illinois in 2010 to serve as campus pastor at Manchester University, I didn’t expect that the road would lead back here again. “Way leads on to way,” as another poet, Robert Frost, once said. After I moved back to the East Coast in 2016 to help out with a family health situation, I figured I was probably out that way for the long term. Yet here I am. God’s call does indeed come in mysterious ways.

And as I return to Illinois/Wisconsin in this new role as district executive—arriving back where I started in many respects—I do feel like I know it anew. After the experiences I’ve had along the way and the people I’ve met, my appreciation for the blessings present in this district and its congregations and people and camps and other organizations has grown deeper. I’ve also come to better understand the tapestry of the larger church and how its various pieces work together to carry out ministry. Ministry can be hard, but it’s good, meaningful work.

So I’m eager to jump in as we seek together to continue the work of Jesus in our communities and our world. I’ll be balancing the half-time work of this position with a part-time call as chaplain at Illinois Wesleyan University, eventually splitting my time between Lombard and Bloomington. Sundays, Mondays, and Fridays will be my primary workdays for the district, and I plan to have a “satellite office” at York Center Church of the Brethren (1S071 Luther Ave., Lombard, IL 60148). For these first few months, though, I’ll be doing some of the work virtually as I complete some commitments in Maryland.

Most congregational visits thus will need to wait until late November, but in the meantime, I hope to do some virtual connections with you (including one noted below!), and please contact me via email or phone if you have questions or need anything, or you can contact Andrea at the district office.

As time permits, I want to do some regional meetings and listening groups, either in person or virtually as schedules and the pandemic permit. I also plan to send out a survey to get a better idea of the priorities and needs you see for our district, and the hopes you have. Some exciting events are already lined up for the coming months, and more will be added as ideas and plans come into focus.

Let’s begin the journey.

Walt Wiltschek