Friday, September 01, 2023

The Reflector - September 2023


Walt Wiltschek

“And what does the Lord require of you?” —Micah 6:8b, NRSVUE

“What does the Lord require of you?” These well-known words from Micah 6:8 echo across the ages. The author quickly answers his rhetorical question, with more words that many of us can likely recite from heart: “To do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.”

Some versions have variations, such as “act justly” or “love mercy,” in the text, but the general thrust is clear. The Message translation, as it often does, puts a somewhat more poetic spin on the phrases: “It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love, and don’t take yourself too seriously— take God seriously.”

The prophet’s question-and-answer comes in response to an exploration of what sort of offering God desires from people who have too often wandered off the path of righteousness. The conclusion seems to be that our actions and attitudes are ultimately paramount, not the motions we go through or the “stuff” that we contribute.

In an ironic twist, we often fall into the same sort of potholes as Micah’s audience all these centuries later: We know the words well, we go through all the calisthenics of church, and still we, too, frequently pull up short of committing to what God requires of us. Doing justice is hard and unending work. Expressing true kindness can be difficult, especially when others treat us less than kindly. And walking humbly with God can lead to unknown and unanticipated places.

Yet while serving as staff for the recent Church of the Brethren National Older Adult Conference (NOAC), I was reminded again of all the “elders” of the church who have tried to be faithful to this call of God over the years. I was amazed, for example, by Burt and Helen Wolf of Southern Ohio, who have been selflessly responding to disaster needs for at least a decade and brought a large van stuffed with relief kit supplies to NOAC. I continue to be inspired by Ken Medema, a musician and sage who has been blind since birth but brings powerful light to audiences across the country through his words and witness. I appreciate the biblical wisdom of Christina Bucher and Bob Neff, who turn over scriptural stones in gentle but provocative ways that challenge our assumptions and open us to new perspectives. The list could continue.

Many of these seasoned saints will tell you that they didn’t always get it right, but they have kept listening for what God might say next and doing their best to follow. Others who have gone before us have left a similar legacy, doing their part to create a more just and kinder world that nudges us more closely to where God calls and leads.

Individually, congregationally, and as a district and larger church, we do well to keep asking ourselves that same question: What does the Lord require of us?


In addition to regular meetings, Walt will be attending the Camp Appreciation Day at Camp Emmaus Sept. 16 and worshiping at Dutchtown (Milledgeville) Sept. 17, visiting in Stanley Sept. 24,attending Camp Emmanuel’s 75th anniversary celebration on Sept. 30 and preaching and visiting at Canton on Oct. 1, visiting Oakley Brick and doing a lunch and regional conversation time at Cerro Gordo Oct. 8, visiting and meeting with Rock Community in Fairfield Oct. 14, and preaching at York Center Oct. 15. Walt will also be taking a few days of vacation Sept. 20-22.

Walt is available to visit your church, do pulpit supply, lead sessions, have conversation times, or otherwise connect with your congregation. Please contact to schedule a time.


Camp Emmaus Camp Appreciation Day, Sept.16, Mount Morris, Ill.

Church Revitalization and Development Team meeting, Sept. 23, 9 a.m.

Ministry Leadership Development Team, Sept. 27, 6:30 p.m.

Camp Emmanuel 75th Anniversary Celebration, Sept. 30,beginning 9 a.m., Astoria, Ill.

Leadership Team meeting, Oct. 3, 6:30 p.m.

Council of District Executives executive committee meeting, Elgin, Oct. 4-5

Potluck lunch and regional conversation time at Cerro Gordo, Oct. 8, 12 p.m.

Camp Emmaus District Campfire, Oct. 21, events beginning 5p.m.

Pre-conference Continuing Education event, “Deepening Our Intimacy with God”,  Lanark, Nov. 3, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Illinois/Wisconsin District conference, Lanark, Nov. 3-4

[all meetings via Zoom unless otherwise noted]


A district prayer calendar has been created for your use in praying for our district and related programs through the year. We invite you to include the following in your prayers in coming weeks:

A district prayer calendar has been created for your use in praying for our district and related programs through the year. We invite you to include the following in your prayers in coming weeks:

Week of Sept. 11: Pray for the Girard congregation this week, and for the low-income housing ministry of Girard Area Homes.

Week of Sept. 18: Pray for the Mount Morris congregation this week, and for the work and ministry of Brethren Press.

Week of Sept. 25: Pray for the Canton congregation, and for the Church of the Brethren Office of Peacebuilding and Policy as it provides a witness in Washington, D.C., and beyond.

Week of Oct. 2: Pray for the Polo congregation, and for the Fellowship of Brethren Homes.

Week of Oct. 9: Pray for the Church of the Brethren Mission & Ministry Board, for general secretary David Steele, and for all the members of this district who work in denominational staff positions.

Week of Oct. 16: Pray for the Walnut Grove congregation, and for the Church of the Brethren in Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Uganda.


Randall Westfall
and his family (wife, Brenda, and children Hewyt and Heidi) officially moved to Camp Emmaus in Mount Morris in late August, assisted by a team of volunteers, and Randall has begun as the new manager of the camp. He has spent more than a dozen years as director of Camp Brethren Heights in Michigan, where he was recently ordained to the ministry. Randall is open to doing pulpit supply in the district. He can be reached at

Congregational vacancies:
  • Cherry Grove: Using regular pulpit supply
  • Chicago First: Using lay team and pulpit supply; considering future options
  • Dixon: Michael Cole is serving as interim
  • Girard: Terry Link is assisting in providing pastoral leadership
  • LaPlace: Steve Needham is serving as interim pastor
  • York Center: Christy Waltersdorff has announced her retirement effective December 2024
Grants available: The denomination’s Office of Ministry has shared that grants are available through the Part-Time Pastor, Full-Time Church program for pastors who would like to do a sabbatical or continuing education experience. For more information or an application, contact district executive minister Walt Wiltschek at

The Church of the Brethren Office of Ministry has created an online video resource of six segments featuring congregations that are creatively practicing the priesthood of all believers and thereby meeting their needs for pastoral leadership. At a time when congregations are struggling to find pastors to serve their needs, this series produced by videographer David Sollenberger is offered as a reminder that God places abundant spiritual gifts within congregations, just waiting to be discovered, affirmed, and nurtured. The series features three congregations, Warrensburg and Cabool in Missouri and Arkansas District, and Clover Creek in Middle Pennsylvania District. Their pastoral teams consist of as few as two to as many as five people. The series is a testimony to the effectiveness of the Brethren practice of the priesthood of all believers in fostering a culture of calling set-apart ministers. Find the new resource at


Highland Avenue (Elgin) recently gained media attention for hosting the first “Hygiene Hutch” in town. It was installed by Go with the Flow, a local nonprofit that collects and distributes women’s hygiene products to those in need. The organization was seeking “a shelter, school, or similar community resource” to help distribute donated products, and Go With the Flow president and founder Carrie Zaccaria “took note of the little community libraries and micro pantries gaining in popularity in the area.” She worked with the Elgin Area Men’s Shed, described as “a dynamic nonprofit made up of local, mostly retired, gentlemen that enjoy woodworking and creating things for the community,” who built the hutch. She worked with the Highland Avenue church to provide an ideal location. The full article is at

Highland Avenue long-time members Willard (Duly) Dulabaum and Howard Royer also recently shared stories of their involvement with the 1963 March on Washington at the Gail Borden Library in Elgin, part of an event titled “60 Years Later: Continuing the Call to Beloved Community.” According to a newsletter article, “Both men underlined the need to continue the work of the Civil Rights era in the face of persistent racial injustice today. Quoting his1963 Messenger article, Howard concluded that the church can never go back to the ‘sidelines’ of this work for racial equity. Duly shared behind-the-scenes stories of the hurdles, risks, and consequences to those who traveled to the March with him from the Manchester (Ind.) Church of the Brethren, where he was then associate pastor.” [from Newsline; photo by Nevin Dulabaum]

Cherry Grove (Lanark, Ill.) will be offering a wiener roast with homemade ice cream Sept. 16 at 5:30 p.m. and a movie night with pizza and snacks Oct. 14 at 5:30 p.m. The congregation has also been gathering supplies for several area service organizations.

York Center (Lombard, Ill.) is going through a process with church consultant Greg Davidson Laszakovits to create a vision and plan for its future ministry. Greg will be speaking at and sharing with the congregation this Sunday, Sept. 17.

As part of the build-up toward the 500th anniversary of the Anabaptist movement in 2027, the Illinois Mennonite Heritage Center is sponsoring a special presentation on Bishop Joseph Stuckey and the Stuckey Amish of Central Illinois on Saturday, Oct. 14 , at 10 a.m. at its museum(675 IL State Route 116 Metamora, Ill.) There will be a time for discussion and fellowship lunch following. This event is free and all are welcome.

Do you have congregational news: celebrations, milestones, “Jesus in the Neighborhood” stories or other things to share with our district family? Please send those to the district office:


Barbara Ober
, 84, formerly on the denominational staff of the Church of the Brethren, passed away Aug. 8 at Timbercrest Healthcare Center in North Manchester, Ind. Born July 1, 1939, in Richmond, Va., she served the church most of her life. Her first job after high school was working for the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board. Her church career continued when she became part-time secretary for East Petersburg (Pa.) Church of the Brethren. Later, she was assistant to the director of the Center for Professional Development in Ministry at Lancaster (Pa.)Theological Seminary. From there, she was called as administrative assistant and mission interpreter for the World Ministries Commission of the Church of the Brethren, working at the General Offices in Elgin, Ill.

While in Elgin, she earned a bachelor’s degree from National Louis University. In 2000, she was ordained in the Church of the Brethren. Her final professional position was as pastor of Live Oak (Calif.) Church of the Brethren, retiring in 2009. She also was active in prison ministry through the Death Row Support Project, was on-call chaplain for a women’s prison, and volunteered with a domestic violence shelter. She is survived by daughters Diane Garber of Elizabethtown, Pa., and Janet Ober Lambert of Richmond, Ind., and their spouses; grandchildren; and great-grandchildren. A celebration of life will be held Oct. 7 at 2:30 p.m. at Timbercrest Senior Living Chapel. A full obituary is at


Prior to district conference, members and friends of the district are invited to a continuing education event led by Chris Douglas, and ordained minister and a member of Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin and a 2002 graduate of the Shalem Institute in spiritual direction.

The event will take place Friday, Nov. 3, at Lanark Church of the Brethren, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. (with a break for lunch, which is included).Titled “Deepening Our Intimacy with God,” it will focus on various contemplative practices. Chris describes it as follows: “Just as our bodies need to be revived from time to time, so do our souls. In today’s fast-paced world it sometimes seems difficult to even catch our breath. Yet we sense our own desire to live our lives in a way that is more deeply connected to God and to others. … We’ll have times for silence and reflection on our own so that we can come away more attentive and responsive to God’s presence with us.”

All are welcome to participate. Clergy participants will receive 0.5 CEU’s. Cost is $10 to cover lunch. Register at the online link or by contacting the district office at 309-649-6008.


Make plans to join this year’s Illinois/Wisconsin District conference, which will be held Nov. 3-4at Lanark Church of the Brethren (326 High St., Lanark, Ill.). Phyllis Batterton (Woodland) is serving as moderator this year and has chosen the theme “Encourage One Another.”

A pre-conference continuing education session for clergy (and other church leaders interested in attending) will feature Chris Douglas on the theme of spiritual practices. It will take place at Lanark on Friday, Nov. 3,10 a.m.-4 p.m. with lunch (more information above).

Madalyn Metzger, the 2023-2024 Church of the Brethren moderator—originally from the Springfield congregation but now living in the Elkhart, Ind., area, will be with us and will share the message during the opening worship service Friday evening at 7:30 p.m. (hymn sing beginning at 7:10 p.m.). An ice cream social will follow. Registration opens at 5:30 p.m., and exhibits and the silent auction at 6 p.m.

Business kicks off Saturday morning at 8:30 a.m. , continuing to about 4:30 p.m. with a break for lunch. Among business items coming to the conference will be consideration of the 2024 district budget; approval of the slate for the coming year; consideration of a query, “Regarding Greater Congregational Latitude on Matters of Sexuality,” coming from the York Center congregation; celebrating the long ministry of the Franklin Grove congregation, which closed its doors earlier this year, and the Pinecrest Retirement Community, which was sold to a for-profit corporation at the end of 2022; and marking the 75th anniversaries of our camps. A hearing on the proposed query, which would go to Annual Conference if district conference approves that action, will likely be scheduled in October.

Two equipping sessions will be offered Saturday: Ryan Braught of the denomination’s Part-Time Pastor, Full-Time Church program, will lead a session on “Exegeting Your Neighborhood,” looking at how we understand and meet the needs of our congregational communities; and Cheryl Brumbaugh-Cayford, director of news services for the Church of the Brethren, will lead one on “Celebrating a Century in Nigeria,” looking at the story of Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria (EYN, the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria) from past to present, including this year’s milestone events.

Note that delegates will need to attend in person this year; no virtual option will be available. The church is working on being able to stream worship and business during the weekend, and segments will at minimum be recorded for later viewing.

Saturday lunch is available for pre-order with a new deadline of Oct.15. Registration for the conference and for the meal is available at the following links:

Delegate registration: 
Non-delegate registration: 
K-5th Grade Child Registration: 
Nursery/Pre-K Child Registration:

Please note that Lanark would like children to be registered by October22. There will also be permission slips for parents/guardians to sign when they arrive at the conference. There will be no youth event this year, as Camp Emmaus is holding its annual youth retreat the following weekend, but youth are welcome and encouraged to attend. For housing, a block of rooms has been reserved at the Savanna Inn and Suites in Savanna, about 18 miles from the Lanark church near the Mississippi River (101 Valley View Rd.). To reserve, call 815-273-2288 at least two weeks in advance of your stay. Cost is $98.10 for a king room or $107.10 for two queens. Some other smaller local accommodations may also be available in the area.

The conference booklet will be sent out to congregations and registrants by the beginning of October. Additional updates will be posted on the district conference page at


This year’s district conference silent auction is being dubbed “Baked Goods, Blankets, and Baskets." For the 2023 auction, which raises funds for district ministries, the organizers would like only baked goods, pies, cookies, and other tasty treats, as well as handmade blankets, quilts, wall hangings, and other handmade items. Congregations or individuals can also put together a themed basket, such as a movie night basket or a Thanksgiving or Christmas basket. “We understand you are used to bringing a much wider variety of items, but this year we just want these specific items,” auction organizer Rick Koch said. For questions, contact Rick at or via text at 815-499-3012.


Camp Emmaus (Mount Morris, Ill.) is inviting the district to a campfire and other fall festivities on Saturday, Oct. 21. Come during the afternoon to enjoy relaxing or hiking around the camp on your own, and then come together at 5 p.m. for a pumpkin-decorating contest and light meal followed by the campfire starting around 6:15 p.m. The event is free, but donations are welcome. (In the event of rain, the event will take place in Hare Lodge.)


Camp Emmaus
has the following upcoming events:
Sept. 16 75th Anniversary Celebration Lunch and Open House, 1-4 p.m. 
Oct. 21 District Campfire (events beginning 5 p.m.) 
Nov. 11 Leaf Raking Day (Youth Leaf-Raking Retreat Nov. 10-12)

The Sept. 16 Celebration Lunch and Open House will include a meal, fellowship, sharing stories and memories, celebrating volunteers, and a chance to browse new items in the camp store. Camping is also available through the weekend. Contact Sara Garner at or 630-923-9039 to reserve a space.

The Camp Emmaus board this year launched the Camp Emmaus Endowment Fund. The board set a goal of raising $100,000 for the fund this year, helping to provide a new revenue stream for camp and allowing a wider range of planned and deferred gifts. More than $28,000 was raised for the endowment and unrestricted giving during a special campaign in June and early July. To learn more about this endowment, arrange to make a donation, or discover other ways to get involved, please reach out to treasurer Dan Radcliff at

Camp Emmanuel has the following upcoming events:
Sept. 30 Fish Fry and 75th anniversary celebration
Oct. 21 Fall Work Day and Camp Closing

Camp Emmanuel is celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2023! A celebration at the camp, including the return of the traditional fish fry, is being planned for Sept. 30 with events beginning at 9 a.m. In addition to the signature fish meals, enjoy desserts, balloons, hiking around camp, good fellowship, and more.

Stay up to date on what’s happening at our district camps! Visit for Camp Emmanuel news and for Camp Emmaus news.


As has been the practice in recent years, the Illinois/Wisconsin District has agreed to provide up to eight volunteers for the week following Thanksgiving, Nov. 26–Dec. 2, 2023 . That week of volunteering again will be shared with the South/Central Indiana District. A major change from recent past Brethren Disaster Ministries assignments, is that the project site, Dawson Springs, Kentucky, is a relatively nearby “neighbor,” just 70 miles south of Evansville, Indiana. This provides a great opportunity for those who want to serve with BDM but hesitate to travel hundreds of miles to a project site.

Dawson Springs was in the path of the devastating outbreak of tornados that swept through eight states in December 2021 with Kentucky, Illinois, and Missouri the most heavily impacted. Estimates are that around 75 percent of the town of Dawson Springs, which was home to around 2,500 people, was leveled by a tornado. More information about the Dawson Springs BDM project is at

Click here to access a complete schedule for the Dawson Springs project. In addition to the week of Nov. 26, there are openings in other weeks with the opportunity to join other districts. To register your interest in joining this year’s Illinois/Wisconsin group, contact our district disaster coordinator, Loren Habegger. To volunteer with other groups for the listed openings, contact Kim Gingerich at

Two Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) teams recently assisted in the response to the wildfires on the island of Maui in Hawaii. CDS is seeking to increase the number of trained and certified CDS volunteers to respond to future needs. Volunteer training workshops will be offered Oct. 21-22 at Bridgewater (Va.) Church of the Brethren and Oct.27-28 at Skyridge Church of the Brethren, Kalamazoo, Mich. Cost is $55 postmarked three weeks before the event, $65 thereafter. Meals and camp-style accommodations are provided. To learn more, visit York Center member Carolyn Neher is CDS’ associate director.


The 2024 Church of the Brethren Annual Conference will take place July 3-7 (plus some pre-Conference meetings) in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Madalyn Metzger, who grew up in the Springfield First congregation, will serve as moderator, with the theme “Welcome and Worthy.”

Advance registration (March 1-June 10) will be $330 for delegates and $150 for non-delegates attending the full conference (or $50 daily rate)).Current high school students and younger can attend with no registration charge; those post-high school through age 21 are $40.Fees are higher for on-site registration beginning July 2. For virtual participation only, the non-delegate rate is $195 (or $75 daily) before June 10 and $225 thereafter.

Two hotel options, the Amway Grand Plaza and the Courtyard Grand Rapids Downtown, will be available for $119 plus tax (total of $136.90) per night with complimentary self-parking and in-room WiFi. Annual Conference registration and housing opens to the public March 1. For more information, visit

Nominations are also sought for positions on the Annual Conference ballot. The list of open positions and links to make nominations can be found on the Annual Conference website.


About 550 people attended this year’s Church of the Brethren National Older Adult Conference Sept. 4-8 at the Lake Junaluska Conference Center in western North Carolina, near Asheville, along with a contingent who joined virtually. That included several dozen members of Illinois/Wisconsin District.

Several district members were involved in prominent ways, including worship speakers Christina Singh (Freeport) and Katie Shaw Thompson (Highland Avenue), conference pianist Nancy Miner (Highland Avenue), logo/worship center designer Debbie Noffsinger (Highland Avenue), planning team member Leonard Matheny (Peoria), denominational staff Josh Brockway (Highland Avenue), and NOAC coordinator Christy Waltersdorff (York Center). District executive Walt Wiltschek did a workshop and hosted a talent night for Brethren Volunteer Service and served as a “minion” during the week.

“If we practice tuning into awe maybe we will tune…into a world made whole and holy,” Shaw Thompson said during the closing worship. She invited participants to go into their congregations and other settings and create “a community connected and made whole by God.” Bible study co-leader Bob Neff likewise said that events such as baptisms and common meals are “communal things that bring meaning” in church life. In Singh’s message Tuesday evening, she said, “However God calls you, he will always reveal it to you. How will you know? If you have a hunger that others do not have.”

Other worship speakers and keynoters included Jeremy Ashworth, pastor of the Circle of Peace congregation in Arizona; Mennonite actor Ken Swartz and pianist/improvisational artist Ken Medema; author Osheta Moore, ordained Church of the Brethren minister Deanna Brown, Harrisburg (Pa.) First pastor Lexi Aligarbes, and author Mark Charles, who addressed themes around the Doctrine of Discovery. The famous NOAC News team provided video highlights through the week.

Also on the conference schedule were morning Bible studies, daily workshop options and “talkback” sessions with presenters, arts and crafts, recreation opportunities, and evening ice cream socials and get-togethers.

More than $25,000 in offerings were collected during the week, and some participants also assembled and packed 1,375 disaster health kits to be taken to the Brethren Service Center in New Windsor, Md. More than 80 people did a fundraising walk around the lake’s 2.5-mile path to support a new NOAC scholarship fund. The next NOAC will take place in September 2025.


• Bethany Theological Seminary will offer a public lecture, available online, titled “Building the Beloved Community: What Does Peace Have to Do with It?” led by Dr. Richard Rose, professor of religion and philosophy at the University of La Verne, at noon Central Time on Friday, Sept. 15. The event is free. More details and Zoom information can be found at The “Beloved Community” and Peace | Bethany Theological Seminary (

• The Ventures in Christian Discipleship series, offered online by McPherson College, begins its2023-2024 schedule with a two-part course on “Supporting Those with Mental Illness in Your Congregation and Community” on Monday, Sept.18, and Monday, Sept. 25, 6-8 p.m. Central, led by David Eckert, director of Intersect. The October course, Oct. 28 from 10 a.m. to noon, will feature the McPherson Church of the Brethren Welcomers Group on “From Ukraine to Central Kansas: A Positive Refugee Experience.” Andon Nov. 18, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Central, Springfield First pastor Bobbi Dykema will present “Meet the Matriarchs.” Suggested donation for each course is $25. Learn more and register at

• A new webinar, “Leading in Alignment and Wholeness,” sponsored by the Church of the Brethren’s Discipleship and Leadership Formation program, will be offered Thursday, Sept. 28, at 1 p.m. Central Time. Led by Due Quach, author of Calm Clarity: How to Use Science to Rewire Your Brain for Greater Wisdom, Fulfillment and Joy, the webinar will be based on neuroscience and provide practical tools and exercises to strengthen the neural networks that integrate the brain to aid in finding more alignment and wholeness. Register at Continuing education credit of 0.1 is available. There is no charge to attend.

• Upcoming courses from t he Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership include “Engaging for Pastoral Care,” led by Debbie Eisenbise, Jan. 16-19 onsite at Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind. (registration deadline Dec. 5); and “Church History 2,”led by Josh Brockway, Jan. 24-March 19 online (registration deadline Dec. 19). CEU’s are available for clergy taking the courses. Register for other courses and pay online at Brethren Academy Course Registration/Biannual TRIM Payment | Bethany Theological Seminary( . “Church of the Brethren Polity” will be offered March 22-23 and April 26-27 online via Zoom by the Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center. Randy Yoder will teach the course. Register by contacting Karen Hodges at

• The denomination’s Part-Time Pastor, Full-Time Churchprogram will offer a webinar titled “Positively Irritating,” led by Jon Ritner, author of a book by the same name, on Sept. 18, 6 p.m. Central Time. A book study will follow for those who are interested, beginning Oct. 19 at 7:30p.m. Central and continuing on the third Thursday of each month. It will also offer a 10-week online book study beginning Tuesday, Oct. 3, from 6-7 p.m. Central, centered on Gil Rendle’s book Quietly Courageous: Leading the Church in a Changing World . Clergy can receive CEU credits. Register for either event (no charge) at

Lombard Mennonite Peace Center is offering a “Restorative Congregations” webinar via Zoom Nov. 2 (9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Central).“Conflict Transformation Skills for Churches” will be offered via Zoom Sept. 16 (9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Central with breaks). Cost is $99 including manual. For more details and registration information, and to see other events, go to

NCP Learning Tours: New Community Project will offer an educational trip to Nepal Jan. 7-21, 2024; to Ecuador’s Amazon region June 1-7; to Lybrook, N.M., June 20-26; to the Denali/Kenai Fjords region of Alaska July 28-Aug. 4; and to Arctic Village, Alaska, Aug. 4-12.These trips are open to all ages and explore the beauty of and challenges facing God’s creation and God’s children. Learn more at


Eder Financial is seeking an Accounts Payable/Accounts Receivable Associate. The full-time position can work remotely. The position requires at least a bachelor’s degree; business major preferred, 1 to 3 years of experience, effective oral and written communication skills, as well as being an adaptable problem-solver with attention to detail and documentation. This position involves processing receipts from banks and third-party vendors, preparing transactions for cash collections and disbursements, processing approved accounts payable, reconciling credit card transactions, creating and overseeing documentation of electronic file transactions, and assisting with month-end close. To apply, email a cover letter, resume, and three references to Tammy Chudy at

Camp Inspiration Hills, the Northern Ohio District camp in Burbank, Ohio, is seeking a gifted and visionary individual with a passion for outdoor ministry to serve as Interim Executive Camp Director. This full-time interim position is designed for two years with a possible opportunity to extend beyond. Housing on the camp property is available. Duties include working with staff to manage the day-to-day operations of the camp as well as overseeing all camp staff, and working to help restore the camp's financial stability. Applicants should support the mission and values of the Church of the Brethren, demonstrate honesty and good hospitality, have an appreciation for outdoor ministry, be experienced in finance and fundraising, preferably have a bachelor’s degree with business and management background, and previous camp experience. Please submit your resume and/or questions to Northern Ohio District executive minister Kris Hawk at

The Shine curriculum, a joint publishing project of Brethren Press and Menno Media, seeks applicants for two positions: full-time project editor for Shine’s quarterly faith formation resources, and full-time project facilitator to oversee Shine’s new Everyday Faith project, a Lilly Endowment-funded initiative that aims to help parents and caregivers share faith and values with their children. Both are remote positions with some travel requirements. Shine values diversity and encourages people of color to apply. Email a resume’ and cover letter to Find a full position description for the project editor position at Find a full positiondescription for the project facilitator position at

Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., seeks candidates for the position of admissions recruiter. This is a full-time, exempt, administrative faculty position. Responsibilities include overseeing direct contact with potential students to help generate robust enrollment and to work with students to complete the full application process. The position engages in face-to-face and virtual interactions and candidates must be able to demonstrate excitement and enthusiasm in a wide variety of recruitment situations, and discuss discernment with prospective students to solidify a start date. This position requires extensive travel within the US. Salary will be commensurate with qualifications. Minimum qualifications include admissions or relevant sales and marketing experience in higher education, preferred; a bachelor’s degree; familiarity with seminaries and theological education, preferred; affinity with the values and mission of the seminary, required; understanding of the Church of the Brethren in the Anabaptist-Pietist tradition, preferred; among others. Application reviews have begun and will continue until an appointment is made. For the full job description go to To apply senda letter of interest, resume’, and contact information for three references to, Attn: Lori Current, Bethany Theological Seminary, 615 National Road West, Richmond, IN 47374.

The Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership seeks candidates for the position of coordinator of Spanish-Language Ministry Training Programs. The academy is a joint program of the Church of the Brethren’s Office of Ministry and Bethany Theological Seminary, with offices located at the seminary in Richmond, Ind. The position will coordinate current and future Spanish-language ministry training and development programs for the Church of the Brethren through the Brethren Academy. It is a quarter-time position. Qualifications and requirements include fluency in Spanish and English, both in oral and written communication; experience in the Anabaptist Spanish-speaking church, either in the United States or abroad; completion of a ministry or theological training program in the Anabaptist tradition; practical experience in pastoral ministry; ability to travel to meet with students and supervisors as needed; ability to travel to the Bethany campus and to the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., as needed. Preferred qualifications include Spanish as a first language, licensing or ordination in the Church of the Brethren or another Anabaptist tradition, a bachelor’s or master’s degree in an appropriate field for the position. Applications will be reviewed upon receipt and will be accepted until the position is filled. Interested candidates should send their resumes, a letter of interest, and contact information for three references by e-mail to Janet L. Ober Lambert, Director, Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership, 615 National Road West, Richmond, IN 47374;

The Brethren Volunteer Service office has two full-time volunteer positions open (serving as a BVSer) for a BVS orientation assistant and as assistant FaithX coordinator. For information on those opportunities, contact BVS director Chelsea Goss Skillen at

The Brethren Heritage Center in Brookville, Ohio, seeks a part-time center manager. Responsibilities include overseeing operations and volunteers; facilitating, designing, and creating exhibits; promoting the center’s activities and collections; among additional responsibilities to be discussed at interview. Other desired skills and knowledge include a working knowledge of Brethren groups; computer/technology knowledge; and a focus on archives. The Brethren Heritage Center is an equal opportunity employer. Apply by sending a resume to or Brethren Heritage Center, c/o Gale Honeyman, Interim Director, Box 35, Laura, Ohio 45337.

The Church of the Brethren’s Mid-Atlantic District seeks candidates for the fulltime position of district executive minister. The district includes 59 congregations in five states: Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. The office is located in Westminster, Md. Travel is required both within and outside of the district. Responsibilities include direction, coordination, management, and leadership of the district ministries, as authorized by the District Conference and implemented by the District Leadership Team; work with congregations in calling and credentialing ministers and in placement/call and evaluation of pastoral staff; provide support and counsel for ministers and other church leaders; share and interpret program resources for congregations; equip congregations for growth and renewal and encourage new church planting, evangelism, and missions; provide an important link between the congregations and the district and denomination by working collaboratively with the Council of District Executives and with Annual Conference and its agencies and their staff. Qualifications and experience include ordination in the Church of the Brethren; a Master of Divinity preferred with other approved ministry training programs considered; skills in organization, administration, and communication; commitment to the Church of the Brethren locally and denominationally and willingness to work ecumenically; demonstrated leadership skills; pastoral experience preferred. Apply by sending a letter of interest and resume’ to Nancy Sollenberger Heishman, director of the Church of the Brethren’s Office of Ministry, via email at Applicants are requested to contact three people to provide letters of reference. Upon receipt of a resume, a candidate profile will be sent that must be completed and returned before the application is considered complete. Applications are accepted until the position is filled.

The Western Pennsylvania District seeks a half-time district executive minister. The office location is negotiable, working remotely or on location at the district office in Jerome, Pa. Travel is required both within and outside of the district. Responsibilities include the primary areas of: pastoral/congregational Transitions; pastoral support; leadership development with respect to calling and credentialing of ministers; consultations with congregations and throughout the district structure; and management of district staff and administrative oversight of district finances. Requirements include: Minimum completed SVMC or Academy level training and ordained in the Church of the Brethren; personal skills in organization, administration, and communication; committed to the Church of the Brethren locally and denominationally and willing to work ecumenically; demonstrated leadership skills; and pastoral experience. To apply, send a letter of interest and resume’ to Nancy Sollenberger Heishman, Director of Ministry, via email at Applicants are requested to contact three persons who are willing to provide a letter of reference.

On Earth Peace seeks a racial justice organizer intern focused on supporting the Church of the Brethren Standing with People of Color study/action team. The position description can be found at–kZnzdPu0Vhitwqg7529w/edit. Apply by sending a cover letter and resume to Marie Benner-Rhoades at Further information and application instructions for this paid internship can be found at


Jen Houser has resigned as the director of the Brethren Historical Library and Archives. She will conclude her work with the Church of the Brethren effective September 20, 2023. Jen began her role as BHLA Director August 2, 2021. She has provided consistent leadership, accessioned and processed hundreds of feet of archival materials, and raised the BHLA’s social media presence during her tenure. Jen and her husband, Zech, were ordained in the district last month at Highland Avenue.

Richard Wehrle has been hired as program manager for Thriving in Ministry, a program of the Church of the Brethren Office of Ministry, starting Sept. 5. He is pastor of Midland (Va.) Church of the Brethren. In addition to serving as a pastor in Mid-Atlantic District and previously in Shenandoah District, he has worked as a truss design project manager for the past 13 years. He also has been homeless outreach coordinato rfor Serving our Neighbors of Manassas, Va. Wehrle holds a Master of Divinity degree with an emphasis in inter-contextual biblical interpretation and is working toward completing a Master of Arts in spiritual and social transformation with an emphasis in nonprofit leadership, both from Bethany Theological Seminary. He also has a degree from the Christian Growth Institute.

Christy Crouse has been named as the Church of the Brethren representative on the board/steering committee of Community Peacemaker Teams (CPT). She was designated to the position by the Office of Peacebuilding and Policy. Crouse is a Church of the Brethren member and a legal researcher for the International Area of the Center of Study on Law, Justice, and Society (Dejusticia), a human rights NGO in Bogotá, Colombia. She is a US attorney with a J.D. degree from the University of Chicago Law School, where she focused on international human rights and immigration law. She has participated in several of the church’s peace-related programs, interned at the Office of Peace building and Policy in 2015, was a member of the Youth Peace Travel Team in2014 teaching nonviolent conflict resolution techniques at church camps, and served on the board of On Earth Peace Board from 2015 to 2018.


News was received in late August from the Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria(Church of the Brethren in Nigeria, EYN) Media Office that one of the Chibok schoolgirls who was abducted by Boko Haram in April 2014had been rescued by a Nigerian military operation in Borno State. “Glory be to God, one of our Chibok abducted girls, Mary Nkeki from Kuburmbula, was released four days ago,” said a text message from Joel Tabji, EYN District Church Council secretary for Chibok.

“We have come this far by faith, hallelujah!” sang members of the Germantown congregation in Philadelphia in a worship service that opened a day celebrating 300 years of the Brethren in the Americas. The celebration on Saturday, July 29, was the culminating day of the 7th Brethren World Assembly. The worship celebration held in the historic Germantown sanctuary was led by pastor Richard Kyerematen, pastor Barbara Elizabeth Short-Clark, and others from the congregation, alongside leaders from the planning team for the assembly. Visiting dignitaries and guests brought greetings in person and onscreen. Annual Conference moderator Madalyn Metzger and general secretary David Steele represented the Church of the Brethren leadership. Steele characterized the celebration as a homecoming: “The sacredness of being together and coming home, what it means to be family.” Also representing Church of the Brethren leadership from around the world were Ekklesiyar Yan’uwa a Nigeria president Joel Billi, who brought greetings from the Brethren in Nigeria, and Theoneste Sentabire, who attended from Rwanda Church of the Brethren. Video greetings were shared from the Church of the Brethren in Burundi. Germantown continues its 300th anniversary celebration on Sunday, Oct. 8, at 2:30p.m. An announcement added an invitation to also join the congregation for its regular worship service that morning at 11 a.m., and for lunch at12:30 p.m., before the anniversary event that afternoon.

The Church of the Brethren FaithX program is announcing three opportunities for adults and older adults in 2024, in addition to the usual range of summer trips: Older adults age 55-plus are invited to join anew short-term service opportunity at Camp Ithiel in Gotha, Fla., Feb.25-March 1. Registration is now open at An adult domestic trip for those 18 and older will occur in partnership with Brethren Disaster Ministries July 28-Aug. 3. Registration will open on Jan. 10, 2024. And a n adult international trip for those 18 and older will travel to Ecuador to serve at Fundacion Brethren y Unida (FBU) June 1-10. FBU traces its beginnings to Church of the Brethren mission work in the 1970s. It specializes in agroecology, rural development, water resource management, and environmental education. Registration will open Jan. 10, 2024. Dates and locations for more summer 2024 FaithX service trips will be announced soon.

Bridgewater (Va.) College has established its second endowed, named school: the Rev. Wilfred E. and Dr. Joyce A. Nolen School of Business and Professional Studies. The school is the largest on campus, said the announcement. Wil Nolen has served on the denominational staff of the Church of the Brethren, retiring as founding president of Brethren Benefit Trust, now Eder Financial. He is a 1963graduate of Bridgewater and has been on the college’s board since 1993. Joyce Nolen is retired from a faculty position in student development at William Rainey Harper Community College. She is a 1961 graduate of Manchester University, where she was on the board from 1980 to 1990. Both are former members of Highland Avenue Church of the Brethren in Elgin.

The Standing with People of Color Committee that was put in place by the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference in 2022 is laying groundwork for the denomination to engage issues of race for a decade into the future. The committee includes members of Southern Ohio and Kentucky District and staff of On Earth Peace and the Church of the Brethren.

“7 Prompts” facilitator training is now being offered as part of the process leading to church-wide conversations around the themes of standing with people of color and working for justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. The committee invites the entire denomination to participate in conversations–anywhere from the family dinner table to the round tables at Annual Conference–using seven prompts designed to start discussion. The prompts range from one’s own family history, through questions related to how we hear Jesus calling us now. Two training opportunities are scheduled for people who want to learn about the “7 Prompts” in order to help facilitate conversations. These online trainings are offered twice this month: Tuesday, Sept. 19, from 7 to 8:30p.m. Central Time, and Saturday, Sept. 23, from 12 to 1:30 p.m. Central. Find out more and register at

Jan Fahs of North Manchester, Ind., has been elected to serve as chair of the Eder Financial board for the 2023-2024 year, which runs from August through next July. Fahs was elected by her peers on Aug. 7 during the board’s annual reorganization meeting. She is beginning her third year of serving as one of 12 Eder Financial board members. She is recently retired as church administrator of Manchester Church of the Brethren in Indiana, and formerly taught accounting and business at Manchester University. Elected as vice chair was Wayne Scott, who has served in that role for two years. Scott is an attorney in Pennsylvania. He previously served as executive deputy chief counsel for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Utility Commission. Other 2023-2024board members are Kevin Boyer; Sara Davis; Dennis Kingery; Eunice Culp; Katherine Haff; Russ Matteson; Audrey Myer; Jerry Patterson; David Shissler; and Randy Yoder.

Western Plains District held a Brethren Volunteer Service 75th anniversary reunion event on July 22 at The Cedars retirement community in McPherson, Kan., with dozens of people gathering to celebrate and share their BVS memories. Monica Rice Frye, The Cedars director of development and constituent relations, hosted. “Those attending ranged from a ‘seagoing cowboy’ who served in BVS’ early years to a volunteer who had just recently completed her service,” said the report. “Monica called it ‘an amazing group of loving and generous people’ and said, ‘As we shared our units and placements around the room it became clear that the impact of BVS has been both global AND personal!’ Those interested in planning a BVS anniversary event are invited to contact

Ecumenism Metro Chicago and Chicagoland Christians United for the Care of Creation held a Declaration for the Care of Creation Signing Ceremony on Thursday, Aug. 17, at McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago. The signing was held in conjunction with the Parliament of the World’s Religions, which drew thousands of people from across the world.

Christian Churches Together (CCT) is holding its annual forum on Oct. 3-6 in Savannah, Ga. The event will gather leaders and representatives of the ecumenical organization’s 30-plus communions and organizations representing Orthodox, Catholic, mainline Protestant, Evangelical, Pentecostal, and historic Black churches to “pilgrimage together on the Historic Baptismal Trail, pray and dialogue with one another, and experience each other’s traditions in shared worship as we seek to love, learn, and lead together,” said an announcement. The theme is “Water that Unites and Water that Divides: Baptism and the Journey to Unity and Reconciliation.” The Church of the Brethren is a member denomination of CCT.

“Believing and Belonging,” an accessible Anabaptist membership curriculum from Anabaptist Disabilities Network, is now available at The curriculum is designed to help churches welcome people with disabilities into full fellowship in the body of Christ, according to a release from ADN.

Wood Travel Partners, a Brethren-affiliated travel agency, is offering a river cruise tour of Germany, including a stop in Schwarzenau, Aug.22-30, 2024. The cruise, down the Rhine and Danube rivers, will also include stops in Regensburg, Nuremberg, Bamberg, Wertheim, Cologne, and elsewhere. To learn more, call 765-274-3986 or email

A new book celebrating Brethren Volunteer Service’s 75th anniversary, A Year of Living Differently, by author Jim Lehman, is now available from Brethren Press. Cost is $19.48. Order at or call800-441-3712.

The Church of the Brethren Mission Advancement team has decided to no longer ask congregations to submit a Self-Allocation Form detailing projected giving to various denominational and district programs during the year. Instead, an annual narrative providing an overview of mission and ministry efforts will encourage congregations to support the work of the church.


Grants available through the district include the following:

1. Mission and Mortar: Sustaining and developing ministry (mission) within congregations, as well as maintaining property (mortar), is sometimes hindered because of inadequate financial resources. The Illinois/Wisconsin District, whose mission is to support the growth and development of member congregations, realizes that this dilemma exists and desires to financially support congregations that are in good standing with the district and have specific needs. More information can be found here.

2. Being Jesus in the Neighborhood: Congregations can apply for$ 100 in seed money to start a new outreach project or initiative in their local communities, or to expand an existing one. These should be projects that intentionally engage with the neighborhood immediately around the congregation, or for those in rural locations, with the town or area around the church. Each congregation receiving a grant will be asked to share a little about their project at district conference. More information can be found here.

3. Give Your Pastor a Break: Congregations can apply for up to $100for a grant to cover or help cover a guest speaker for an extra Sunday to give your pastor a day off—or at least a day off from having to prepare and preach a sermon. We hope this might be part of the ways you care for your pastor. More information can be found here.

4. Emerging Missions Fund: To facilitate the growth and establishment of new faith communities, this grant is available for church and ministry planting initiatives. New church and ministry plants are encouraged toa pply by contacting the district office and/or the CRDT.


The Illinois/Wisconsin District is active in a variety of ministry and mission efforts, both directly and indirectly. For these efforts to continue, resources are needed in the form of time, tools, knowledge, and especially finances.

Consider making a contribution to one or more of the following:

  • Disaster Relief Fund
  • Endowment Fund
  • Mission and Mortar Fund
  • Youth Fund (new!)
  • General Fund
  • Emerging Ministries
  • Ministry Training

Look for the donate button at, or send your checks to the district office: 269 E. Chestnut St., Canton, IL 61520. Thank you!