Sunday, October 01, 2023

The Reflector - October 2023


Walt Wiltschek

“Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.” —Col. 3:14 (NRSV)

If you have a rubber band handy—in a kitchen or desk drawer or some workspace, go ahead and pick it up. Stretch it a bit and get a feel for its elastic qualities.

In good condition, those rubber bands can be useful things. They bind things together, help items to hold their shape, and keep things shut. If you’re feeling a little mischievous, you can even twang one at someone across the room. They’ve been in use for more than 175 years.

They’re quite functional. Pull one too far, however, and it will break and snap, sometimes to painful effect. Or leave one unattended for too long and it can dry out and fall apart, perhaps leaving behind a bit of sticky residue. Overused or unused, the humble rubber band can cease to fulfill its purpose.

The church seems to be experiencing a similar dynamic these days, and perhaps it has since its beginning, really. How much elasticity can we tolerate as a community of faith? Stretch too much and our faith and beliefs become amorphous, with little that defines us or gives us identity. Stretch too little, and we become hardened, narrow-minded, and insular.

A phrase often attributed to John Wesley—but which some scholars say might actually have originated with the German Pietists—famously says, “In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity.” That sounds logical enough, but determining what is essential and what is not has often proven to be the challenge.

Those debates largely have been what has led to 200-plus different Christians denominations in the US, and tens of thousands across the world. Our own Brethren family tree has its share of branches, some sharper than others. All that despite other words that John Wesley did in fact say: “It is only when our love grows cold that we can think about separating from our brethren.”

In recent years, questions around human sexuality have been the driving force behind most of the anger, infighting, and separation in the church. Are we too narrow in hearing the Spirit, or are there places we have stretched too far? A query coming to our district conference this year poses the question of whether decisions on these issues should come from the top-down at the denominational and district levels, or whether the personal and complex nature of many of those issues should make them a matter of congregational discernment.

What’s essential? And how much elasticity can we give one another as we study scripture and seek to follow Jesus together, albeit sometimes with different understandings of the specifics? Whatever the answer, I hope that the love of God always encircles us.


In addition to regular meetings, Walt will be helping lead the district campfire at Camp Emmaus Oct. 21, visiting at Freeport Oct. 22, taking part in a Council of District Executives (CODE) meeting Oct. 25, doing district conference and pre-conference events Nov. 2-4, leading worship for the Madtown Brethren group in Madison Nov. 5, visiting Northeast region churches Nov. 12, and attending a CODE Midwest retreat in Indiana Nov. 14-16. Walt will also be taking a few days off Nov. 9-11 after district conference.

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. Walt is usually on district duty Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, plus Sundays.


  • Camp Emmaus District Campfire, Oct. 21, events beginning 5 p.m.
  • Program and Arrangements Committee, Oct. 23, 6:30 p.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
  • Leadership Team, Lanark, Nov. 4 following district conference
  • Church Revitalization and Development Team, Nov. 18, 9 a.m.
  • Ministry Leadership Development Team, Dec. 6, 6:30 p.m.

[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:

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

Week of Oct. 23: Pray for the Cherry Grove congregation, for the important financial stewardship work of Eder Financial, and for Eder Financial president Nevin Dulabaum.

Week of Oct. 30: Pray for all the delegates and others gathering in Lanark for the Illinois/Wisconsin District conference Nov. 4-5 and for good fellowship and good decision-making. Pray especially for moderator Phyllis Batterton (Woodland) and moderator-elect Christy Waltersdorff (York Center), and for district administrative secretary Andrea Garnett.

Week of Nov. 6: Pray for the Highland Avenue congregation, and for the work of the Brethren Historical Library and Archives in Elgin.

Week of Nov. 13: Pray for the Naperville congregation, and for the Church of the Brethren congregations in India.


Our prayers are with all those in Israel and beyond affected by the recent attacks in that nation, those who are caught in the middle in Gaza, and for all those in the region who are experiencing violence, loss, and hardship in the midst of war. May we all embrace the best of our heritage and our scriptural foundations as we continue to work for peace in the world.

The Church of the Brethren has joined more than 20 Christian churches and other faith-based and peace and justice groups from across the United States in sending a letter to Congress mourning the loss of life in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories and calling for a ceasefire and the release of all hostages. The letter says, in part: “As Church-based denominations and organizations with deep ties to the Holy Land, we mourn with our Israeli and Palestinian siblings as they grieve the loss of loved ones and remain fearful of continued violence. Our commitment remains to a future in which both Israelis and Palestinians can live in peace, with security and human rights protected for all.”


Michael Cole, who was called as interim pastor at Dixon this past spring, is moving into an ongoing pastoral role with the congregation. Blessings as you move forward in ministry together!

Prayers were recently requested for former pastor Leon Swigart, who has also been a regular volunteer at Camp Emmanuel. Leon is in the late stages of Alzheimer’s and recently came down with pneumonia. His daughter said his health is declining rapidly. Our prayers are with Leon and his family.


Cherry Grove: Using regular pulpit supply

Chicago First: Using lay team and pulpit supply; considering future options

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


Champaign gained a new member on Oct. 8 when it held a baptism services for one of its youth participants. Welcome to the Church of the Brethren family!

A group of more than a dozen Peoria First members recently volunteered at the local Midwest Food Bank to put labels on cans, completing about 6,000 cans in two hours. Peoria also continues to serve in Appalachia, with its next Mountain Mission trip coming up Nov. 9-12.

The Rock Community (Fairfield) congregation held a community garage sale and bake sale on Oct. 14. It is working to raise funds to put a new roof on its building.

Lanark was recently highlighted in the denomination’s Newsline for its series of family movie nights. The congregation received $1,600.80 from the Church of the Brethren Faith in Action grants for the endeavor. The church showed the “Chosen” series on Sunday evenings this past spring and invited the community for the movies and a time to fellowship and have discussion over snacks. The church planned a follow-up series on its lawn on Wednesday evenings in July and August, with Sunday morning messages based on the faith lessons in various family-friendly movies. Grant funds purchased a backyard theater kit, video license, movie fees, promotional materials, popcorn machine, and snacks.

Chicago First on Sept. 24 marked the Roca de Esperanza congregation’s final service in their building. The Spanish-speaking congregation had shared space there in recent years. They invited members and friends of Chicago First to join them for worship and gathering/meal the afternoon of the 24th, celebrating the partnership before Roca de Esperanza moved to Cicero, in the Fellowship Hall on September 24 at 2 pm after worship.

Girard has been working on renovations and upgrades to its basement space, which was damaged by flooding several years ago. Work so far has included painting the walls and applying waterproof masonry. A new drop ceiling, paneling in the stairwells, and some plumbing projects are on the agenda.

York Center (Lombard) has started a new “Kids Sunday” emphasis on the first Sunday of each month, with special involvement of children and youth in the worship service, and activities for younger children.

Members of Freeport took part in their community CROP Walk on Oct. 1, raising money for those dealing with hunger and poverty. The Freeport church served as a stopping place for walkers to get water or use the restroom.

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:


Margaret (Marge) Moeller, 83, a former denominational employee of the Church of the Brethren, passed away on Sept. 24. She lived in Kirkland, Ill., and was born on Dec. 2, 1939. She worked for the former General Board at the Church of the Brethren General Offices in Elgin, Ill., for more than a decade, from 1987 to 1998, serving in the Yearbook office and in Brethren Press customer service.


Along with the budget and slate and various reports, one of the business items coming to conference this year is a query, titled "Regarding Greater Congregational Latitude on Matters of Sexuality." The text of the can be found at Query2023.pdf ( Essentially, it asks whether decisions related to sexuality should be made at the congregational level rather than by the denomination or district given the personal nature of these matters, the wide range of viewpoints, and the inconsistent enforcement of policy from one part of the church to the other in recent years.

Per Annual Conference process, a query typically originates in a congregation, then goes to the district's Leadership Team for processing and placement on the district conference agenda, and then to district conference delegates before being sent to Annual Conference Standing Committee for discernment. This query originated in the York Center congregation with help and support from Highland Avenue, and the Leadership Team agreed recently to pass it on to district conference.

Note that a query does not provide the answer to the question but rather raises issues that might benefit from greater discernment in the wider church. In order to help familiarize delegates and others with the query and to answer any questions in advance of district conference, a hearing on the query will be available Oct. 28 at 10 a.m. via Zoom. The link is available via the district conference section of the website,, or contact the district office. Anyone from the district is welcome to join us for this time.

Our district has a long history of journeying alongside one another as siblings in Christ even though we come from different places of theology, culture, and geography. We are grateful for these ongoing opportunities to continue the work of Christ together.


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. 3-4 at 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 begins 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 and Stanley congregations, which have both closed their doors, 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. As noted above, a virtual hearing on the query will be offered at 10 a.m. on Oct. 28.

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 Community,” looking at how we understand and meet the needs of our congregational neighborhoods; 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. Worship and business will be streamed on Zoom for non-delegates who are unable to attend in person. Links were included in the conference schedule that was sent to congregations and registrants.

Saturday lunch is available for pre-order with a new deadline of Oct. 22. Registration for the conference and for the meal is available at the following links:

Please note that Lanark would like children to be registered by October 22. 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 was sent via email to congregations and registrants at 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., with s’mores to follow. The event is free, but donations are welcome. (In the event of rain, the event will take place in Hare Lodge.)


Both of our excellent district camps celebrated their 75th anniversaries in the past month, with Camp Emmaus holding a celebration lunch and open house on Sept. 16, and Camp Emmanuel bringing back its traditional fish fry and offering a full day of events on Sept. 30.

In addition to a delicious buffet meal, the Emmaus event included remarks by new manager Randall Westfall, music by Highland Avenue member Peg Lehman, highlights from the summer camp season, an opportunity to shop for items from the camp store, and the presentation of the first Bill and Betty Hare Volunteer of Distinction Award to Doug Firebaugh of the Freeport congregation for his 40-plus years of service to the camp.

At Emmanuel, the very warm and sunny day also included a buffet of good food along with a fishing derby, live music from a local Christian band, opportunities for hiking and fellowship, door prizes, crafts and a popular bounce house for kids, signing a commemorative banner, and historical displays.

Congratulations and thank you to our camps for your ongoing important ministries!


Camp Emmaus has the following upcoming events:

Oct. 21            District Campfire (events beginning 5 p.m.)

Nov. 11            Leaf Raking Day (Youth Leaf-Raking Retreat Nov. 10-12)

Camp Emmaus has also announced its summer camping schedule for 2024:

July 7-11 Intermediate Camp

July 12-14 Young Adult and Young at Heart Camp (YAAYAH)

July 14-20 Senior High Camp

July 21-27 Middle School Camp

August 2-4 CIT

August 3-4 Elementary Camp

August 8-10 Women's Camp

August 16-18 Men's Camp

Camp Emmanuel has the following upcoming events:

Oct. 21            Fall Work Day and Camp Closing

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


National Junior High Sunday is Nov. 5. This year’s theme is “Worried and Distracted,” drawn from Luke 10:40-42. Worship resources can be found at Junior High Sunday – Youth and Young Adult ministries (

The next Church of the Brethren Christian Citizenship Seminar, for senior high youth and first-year college students and advisors, will be April 11-16, 2024, in Washington, D.C. Online registration opens Dec. 1 at 12 p.m. Central. Those who register and pay in full by Dec. 31 will receive a free t-shirt! A non-refundable deposit of $250 is due within two weeks of registration in order to hold a spot. The 2024 theme is “And They Fled: Advocating for Just Immigration Policy,” drawing from Matthew 2:13-23. Registration cost is $500. Learn more at

The Midwest's Powerhouse Regional Youth Conference, sponsored by Camp Mack and Manchester University with the help of local districts, will take place Feb. 16-18, 2024, at Camp Mack in Milford, Ind.


Local service opportunity: In the wake of record-setting heavy storms and flooding this past summer, and continuing with more recent rains, Cook County, Illinois (Chicago area), was declared a federal disaster area. Nearly 85,000 people have already registered for needed assistance in part due to sewers backing up into garden level homes and apartments. Work is being done to support Long-Term Recovery Group formation, getting teams in to help with clean-up, supporting training of local volunteers, and finding volunteer housing. World Renew is doing mold remediation training and then starting some clean-up work. Team Rubicon and Mennonite Disaster Services are also scheduled to come. 

They are now seeking volunteers to begin the rebuilding/repair work. This is a wonderful opportunity for Illinois/Wisconsin District members to serve locally and support your own region’s recovery effort. For those interested in volunteering: You can volunteer individually, or organize a small group of friends or a team from your congregation or district. You can volunteer for a day or two or as often as you are able. Please contact Joy Medrano to make all arrangements by calling 309-509-3708 or contacting Please mention that you received this information from Brethren Disaster Ministries (BDM). BDM would like to receive any photos taken and would also be glad to receive any reflections from volunteers. Email those to Kim Gingerich, Program Assistant BDM Rebuilding, at If you sign up to volunteer or if you have questions, please contact district disaster coordinator Loren Habegger at

Annual disaster response trip: 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. That week of volunteering again will be shared with the South/Central Indiana District. 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. More information about the Dawson Springs BDM project, assisting with recovery from a tornado, 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

Children’s Disaster Services (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 $65. 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 Church of the Brethren Womaen’s Caucus is holding a nominating party on Thursday, Oct. 26, at 7 p.m. Central. Open offices on the ballot to be presented to the 2024 Annual Conference include moderator-elect, Program and Arrangements Committee, Mission and Ministry Board for areas 4 and 5, Bethany Theological Seminary board representing colleges, and the On Earth Peace board. The full list of open positions and links to make nominations can be found on the Annual Conference website. The Zoom link for the nominations party is


  • The Ventures in Christian Discipleship series, offered online by McPherson College, continues its 2023-2024 schedule Oct. 28 from 10 a.m. to noon, featuring the McPherson Church of the Brethren Welcomers Group on “From Ukraine to Central Kansas: A Positive Refugee Experience.” And on 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

  • Upcoming courses from the 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 “From Reformation to Today (Church History),” led by Josh Brockway of the Highland Avenue congregation, 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 Church program is offering a book study on “Positively Irritating,” by Jon Ritner, beginning Oct. 19 at 7:30 p.m. Central and continuing on the third Thursday of each month. An ongoing 10-week online book study centered on Gil Rendle’s book Quietly Courageous: Leading the Church in a Changing World began Oct. 3. 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). 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


The Church of the Brethren has an opening for a director of Intercultural Ministries. This position is full-time, salaried-exempt, with remote location, including travel as needed to carry out program objectives. Candidates should have five or more years in intercultural contexts, strong communication skills, program development and implementation experience, experience in a variety of urban and suburban settings, and work in areas of social justice and racial reconciliation. A bachelor’s degree is required, with master’s preferred. Interested applicants should send their resume to

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  

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. This position requires extensive travel within the US. 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. A full job description is at To apply send a 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 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA (NCC) seeks a Marketing and Communication officer. A talented professional is sought to drive the external and internal engagement of the organization’s ecumenical, advocacy, and activist agenda. This position offers an exciting opportunity to lead and implement strategic communications initiatives, from concept to reality, aimed at promoting NCC’s vision, mission, and values. The Marketing and Communication officer will manage the organization’s overall communication and marketing strategy, including written and verbal communications, media relations, social media presence, and relationship building with key contacts in Washington, D.C. Full-time exempt. Work is generally conducted Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. This is a hybrid position with at least one to two days in office each week. Occasional evening and weekend availability may be required. Eligible for paid time off and retirement benefits. Salary range: $65,000 to $75,000. To apply, go to

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 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 Church of the Brethren Mission and Ministry Board has hired as contract staff Allison Snyder to be interim manager of the Brethren Historical Library and Archives in Elgin, Ill., beginning Oct. 10. Snyder will serve in this role while the process of identifying the next director of BHLA is under way. Snyder previously served two years as an intern with BHLA, both during the shutdowns caused by COVID-19, and to bridge the gap between the retirement of one director and the hiring of a new one.

The Southern Pennsylvania District of the Church of the Brethren called Georgia Markey to serve as interim district executive minister beginning Oct. 1. Markey served the district previously beginning in 1989 as the district’s administrative assistant, then as assistant to the district executive, and beginning in 1998 as the associate district executive. In October 2011 she was named acting district executive, a role she held until the end of 2013. She will serve in this intentional interim role at a half-time level for six months. During this time the board will continue engaging in a period of review and discernment of its vision and priorities as a district as well as implementing the search process for settled district leadership. Markey is a graduate of York College with an associate’s degree in business administration. She completed her ministry training through the Training in Ministry (TRIM) program and was ordained in 2002.

The Northern Ohio District has unanimously approved the hiring of Andrew Kauffman as interim camp executive director for Inspiration Hills. Andrew will begin serving in this calling on Dec. 1. This will provide four weeks of overlap with current director Shannon Kahler before she retires at the end of December to provide for a smooth transition. Kauffman brings administrative and relational gifts to this ministry as well as a passion for Christian camping. He previously worked at Camp Mack for multiple years both as an employee and as a volunteer. He moved to Arizona in 2008 to teach, also serving as technology coordinator and dean of students before becoming principal and then superintendent of the school system. This is a 2-year interim position with the potential to continue as the financial situation of the camp stabilizes. 


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 a new 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 an 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 summer 2024 youth FaithX service trips will be announced soon. 

Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) Unit 334 held orientation Sept. 26-Oct. 4 at Camp Koinonia in Cle Elum, Wash. Nine volunteers took part in the unit, including Justice Westlake from Astoria, Ill. Six volunteers came from BVS’s partner in Germany, EIRENE, two from the US, and one from Canada. BVS director Chelsea Goss Skillen and volunteer coordinator Virginia Rendler led the orientation, with current BVS volunteer Benjamin Hoffmann assisting. If you know someone who might have interest in serving in BVS, contact or learn more at Two orientation units are in the works for 2024.

The World Council of Churches (WCC) and the Roman Catholic Church have begun preparing the 2025 materials for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which will commemorate the Council of Nicaea. The year 2025 marks the 1,700th anniversary of the Council of Nicaea, the first Christian ecumenical council held in 325 AD. The theme for 2025 will be taken from John 11:25-27: “Do you believe this?” The 2024 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, scheduled for Jan. 18-25, will utilize worship resources prepared by Christians in Burkina Faso on the theme, “You shall love the Lord your God…and your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27). Find resources at

New Community Project, a Church of the Brethren-connected organization led by David Radcliff, is marking its 20th anniversary this year. During that span, NCP has led 78 Learning Tours for about 800 people, operated two Sustainable Living Centers, made well over 2,000 presentations at schools and churches, and conducted several special campaigns.

Lilly Endowment Inc., through the Strengthening Youth Programs Initiative, has awarded Camp Alexander Mack in Milford, Ind., a three-year $620,926 grant to use the outdoor education program in support of local school districts and to offer a day camp during extended school breaks. Camp Mack is a ministry of the Northern Indiana and South Central Indiana districts of the Church of the Brethren.

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

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 $100 for 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 to apply 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!