Friday, April 01, 2022

The Village ILWIDIot

By Walt Wiltschek

As I’ve been walking through Lilacia Park in Lombard the past few weeks as I’ve headed to town or the train station, I’ve noticed more and more green things pushing their way up out of the ground. They were barely discernible at first, but now they’re evident everywhere.

At some point back when the park was a private estate, the owners planted the grounds with an incredible number of lilacs and tulips, and more were added over the years—some 700 lilacs and 35,000 tulips reside there today, according to the park’s website. After a bleak Midwest winter, the promise of color and life bursting from every corner is especially welcome.

Those green shoots assure me that burst is coming, even though the weather the past few weeks (at least where I live) hasn’t felt all that spring-y. I almost feel like I should stop and encourage the little shoots along in the face of some chilly days, but I know they don’t actually need it. They always find their way. In the words of an English proverb: “No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow.”

In this season as we approach Holy Week and Easter morning, I feel that same promise and assurance. New life is coming. Always. Even when life feels as bleak as a Midwest January (or April!), resurrection is just around the bend or waiting at the next dawn.

Looking around our district, I see similar signs of hope and potential. For example:
  • The Ministry Leadership Development Team has approved three new people for licensing in our district this year, with a couple of others embarking on that journey.
  • More than two dozen youth and advisors from the district will be attending the Church of the Brethren National Youth Conference in Colorado this summer.
  • An energetic and creative Church Revitalization and Development Team is chewing on ideas for bringing new sparks to our existing churches and also actively pondering several new spots to begin new ministry ventures.
  • A special Potluck Experience event on May 18 will give us an opportunity to consider together how we move forward as a church from these two-plus years of pandemic realities.
  • In that vein, the Council of District Executives just gathered in Elgin recently—the first time in more than two years this group had met face-to-face—and the joy in that was palpable. Many of our congregations and other ministries are also enjoying greater in-person fellowship, and Annual Conference will gather in person in Omaha in July.
  • Springfield First is celebrating its 100th anniversary this month! Other churches in the district are near that milestone.
  • Our camps are gearing up for another summer of vital ministry and good community, serving children and youth from the district and beyond.
And the list could go on. As you gather around the love feast tables later this month—whether actual or virtual—and set your face toward the dawn of Easter, may you find the gleam of new life everywhere you look.

District executive schedule: In addition to regular meetings, Walt will be conducting a licensing service at Franklin Grove April 10 and speaking at Milledgeville April 24; attending the district clergy retreat in Rockford April 25-26; going to the Parish Collective “Inhabit” church planting & revitalization conference in Seattle April 28-29; attending the Annual Conference delegate briefing and Springfield’s centennial celebration on April 30; and taking part in National Youth Conference meetings in Elgin May 4-6. Walt is available for guest preaching and other events; to schedule, please contact