Monday, April 01, 2024


Cerro Gordo held a joyous celebration on April 7 as pastor Larry Traxler, was formally commissioned to ministry in the Church of the Brethren after a long ministry journey. District executive minister Walt Wiltschek conducted the commissioning service, and a number of Larry’s family members and friends were able to be part of the day. A carry-in meal continued the celebration after worship. Congratulations, Larry!

Katie Shaw Thompson, pastor at Highland Avenue, has accepted a call to serve as our district’s Annual Conference Standing Committee delegate to complete the term of Bobbi Dykema, who resigned in March as she finished her service at Springfield First. The current term until the 2025 Annual Conference. Katie will be eligible to continue and serve a full three-year term (2025-2028) on Standing Committee as part of the ballot at this year’s district conference.

The five-year ethics training and CEU cycle for all ministers will be occurring in 2024-2025. An ethics training session will be held during the spring clergy retreat April 15-16 at Bishop Lane Retreat Center near Rockford. Another in-person training will likely be scheduled in the district at a later date for those unable to attend in April. A team of nine ethics trainers recently met in Elgin to prepare for the events around the denomination. Dennis Webb (Naperville) helped create a new intercultural element that will be included in this cycle’s trainings. All ministers should also begin gathering information for their CEU report, which will be due by early 2025.The Celebration of Christ congregation in St. Petersburg, Fla., has turned its parsonage into a hospitality house. They are inviting Church of the Brethren pastors to take advantage of this “retreat from the usual.” It is fully furnished with two bedrooms and two bathrooms, plus an additional office/bedroom combo, kitchen, laundry room, family room, screened-in porch, and patio. It’s within an easy drive of the beach or the city. A minimum one-week stay is required, no pets or smoking permitted. For details or reservations, call 727-381-0709 or email

Congregational vacancies:

Cherry Grove: Using regular pulpit supply
Oakley Brick: David Roe has announced his retirement effective November 2024
Springfield First: Bobbi Dykema completed her service in March. Springfield is using a congregational team ministry approach as its model going forward.
York Center: Christy Waltersdorff has announced her retirement effective Dec. 31, 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