Saturday, June 01, 2024

The Reflector - June/July 2024


This is the combined June-July issue of The Reflector. There will not be a separate issue in July. The next issue will be sent in mid-August.

The Village ILWIDIot

Walt Wiltschek

“Everything on earth has its own time and its own season.”
— Eccl. 3:1, CEV

Perhaps many of you, like me, have been noticing the abundance of cicadas recently. They’re everywhere, it seems—at least in this part of the state. More than once I’ve thought of Psalm 139’s question, “Where can I flee from your presence?”, as I find them buzzing through the air, sitting on tree branches and leaves, or nestled in the grass or on the sidewalk. (And no wonder: Scientists have estimated there could be a trillion cicadas this year!)

They can be a bit much, but I confess I kind of enjoy them, too: their big, bulgy red eyes, their translucent wings, their warbling hum as they sing together from the trees. And they don’t bite or sting, so I’m not much bothered when one dive bombs or comes to roost on my arm. I’ve even picked up a few in perilous positions to help them on their way.

But their most fascinating attribute, of course, is their unique life cycle. They lie underground for 13 or 17 years, waiting to emerge for a few weeks of singing, flying, mating, and laying eggs. That’s why they’re officially known as “periodical cicadas.” Once they’ve completed their mission, the cycle starts over again.

All of life has cycles. In recent weeks I’ve been to graduation ceremonies in Naperville, Sycamore, and Elgin, watching as hundreds and hundreds of students (including the handful I knew) walked—or on at least one occasion backflipped—across the stage to get their diploma and march on to the next phase of life.

I’ve always tried to make events like that, because they’re important: markers of our journey, rites of passage as we continue to grow and more fully become our God-created selves. Some congregations do a good job of recognizing such moments, by handing out Bibles to children or doing graduation celebrations or noting anniversaries and retirements or commissioning people for new calls and opportunities.

Annual Conference and district conferences and our camp events serve a bit of that purpose in our church life, too, bringing us together as we mark the turn from one year of faith to the next. Particular holiday traditions can also be markers along the way.

In his book From Beginning to End: The Rituals of Our Lives, author Robert Fulghum observed: “Rituals are one way in which attention is paid. Rituals arise from the stages and ages of life. Rituals transform the ordinary into the holy. … Rituals create sacred time.”

I’m not proposing that you need to go out and hold a festive cicada celebration this week replete with cicada carols and bulging red cupcakes. I do hope, though, that you might pause to recognize the rhythms of life around you. What occasion or event might you acknowledge this summer? What new emergence of life in your congregation deserves a shout-out? Much in this wild, wonderful life merits celebrating, so take notice—and lift up the moments you can.


In addition to regular meetings, Walt will be leading a session at Oakley Brick June 16, speaking at a church in Pennsylvania June 30, taking part in Council of District Executive meetings and Annual Conference in Michigan July 1-7, worshiping with Mount Morris July 14, assisting with camps at Camp Emmaus July 14-27, and doing church visits in the Northwest region July 21 and 28.

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. He is half-time, and is usually on district duty Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, plus Sundays.


Annual Conference moderator Madalyn Metzger, a former member of the Springfield First congregation now living in Indiana, recently shared these theme reflections for the 2024 Annual Conference:

In today’s society, we spend a lot of time wondering if we’re worthy. And, whether we admit it or not, we spend a lot of time assessing others based on our own standards. We do this because we’ve set up so many “rules” for ourselves since before we can remember—rules that have been influenced by our families, neighbors, teachers, and experiences. These rules are how we make sense of the world. They help us interpret and navigate our complex social constructs.

But, when taken to the extreme, they also can limit our understanding of the infinite worth of every human being. They can painfully and disruptively fracture our relationships. And they can run contrary to God’s Word and the Holy Spirit’s leading.

Since the early 18th-century beginnings of the Brethren movement, we’ve been a faith family that has chosen another way of living: the way of Christ. We are people called to live and experience our faith together in service to (and with) God and each other. And every person in our faith community shares in the spiritual direction of the church. All of our spiritual gifts are needed if we are to function together as a healthy Body of Christ. Each of us is called to extend and receive Christ’s love.

In his letter to the church in Rome, the Apostle Paul introduces Phoebe, a servant of the church in Cenchreae, and tells the Roman Christians to “Welcome her in the Lord in a way that is worthy of God’s people.” As the one and only mention of Phoebe in the Bible, we don’t know much about her. We don’t know if she was a prominent church leader and ordained deacon, or if she was Paul’s informal helper and supporter. We don’t know what she looked like, if she was married, how she earned a living, or what her political views were.

But we do know that Paul viewed Phoebe as a valued sibling in Christ and an integral part of the Body, and he encouraged the Christians in Rome to welcome and build an authentic relationship with her as a child of God.
Like Phoebe, each of us brings our own unique abilities, experiences, and perspectives to this community. And it is through our willingness to share our faith journeys with one another—and to receive one another in the fullness of each person’s being—that we can experience and see God’s vision for us more fully and, therefore, be transformed together by God’s Spirit.

Let’s explore our call to live together in community, abide in Christ and one another, and re-envision how we extend Christ’s love to each other and ourselves in ways that are worthy of God’s people.

What does “Welcome and Worthy” mean to you? How are you experiencing God’s welcome and worthiness in your life? If you feel so inclined, send me your thoughts on these questions – in the form of a short video recording or a few typed sentences – to


  • Church Revitalization and Development Team, June 15, 9 a.m. (rescheduled)
  • Council of District Executives Midwest region meeting, June 20, 9 a.m.
  • District Annual Conference briefing, June 22, 10 a.m.
  • Council of District Executives meetings, Grand Rapids, Mich., July 1-3
  • Church of the Brethren Annual Conference, Grand Rapids, Mich., July 3-7
  • Church Revitalization and Development Team, Aug. 3, 9 a.m.
  • Leadership Team, Aug. 6, 6:30 p.m.
  • Ministry Leadership Development Team, Aug. 14, 6:30 p.m.
  • Program & Arrangements Committee, Aug. 22, 7 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:

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 June 10: Pray for the Freeport congregation, and for all the youth and young adult ministries of our district.

Week of June 17: Pray for the Virden congregation, and for the work of the Church of the Brethren’s Global Missions office as it connects and works with Brethren communities around the world.

Week of June 24: Pray for the Oak Grove congregation, and for the Church of the Brethren in Haiti (Eglise des Freres).

Week of July 1: Lift up the Church of the Brethren Annual Conference as Brethren gather in Grand Rapids, Michigan, this week to do the business of the church, including consideration of a query brought by this district. Pray for all the delegates as they make decisions, for Annual Conference director Rhonda Pittman Gingrich, for moderator Madalyn Metzger and moderator-elect Dava Hensley, for Conference secretary David Shumate, and for the work of Standing Committee (and our delegate, Katie Shaw Thompson).

Week of July 8: Pray for the ministry of Camp Emmaus in Mount Morris and for all the children, youth, and others who will spend time in creation there this summer, as well as for new camp manager Randall Westfall and his family.

Week of July 15: Pray for the Girard congregation this week, and for the valued and valuable ministry of Girard Area Homes.

Week of July 22: Pray for the Mount Morris congregation this week, and for the work and publishing ministry of Brethren Press.

Week of July 29: Pray for the Canton congregation, and for the Church of the Brethren (Iglesia de los Hermanos) in the Dominican Republic.

Week of Aug. 5: Pray for the Polo congregation, and for the faculty, staff, and students of Manchester University in Indiana as they prepare for a new academic year.

Week of Aug. 12: Pray for the Walnut Grove congregation, and for all the chaplains in our district who serve in hospitals, hospice, prison ministries, and other locations.


Our prayers are with the family of Wilbur McFadden, 92, who died May 22 in North Manchester, Ind. Dan (Wilbur's son) and Wendy McFadden and their family are members of the Highland Avenue congregation in Elgin. Various other family members are part of Church of the Brethren congregations in Indiana. Wilbur's wife, Joyce, had passed away in 2011 after nearly six decades of marriage.

Wilbur worked in the global mission field for the Church of the Brethren as a doctor in Indonesia in the 1960’s and for a short time at Castañer Hospital in Puerto Rico. He later worked many years with the Manchester Clinic and other local health care. A 1953 graduate of Manchester College (later Manchester University), he was a supporter of the programs there, and the on-campus Wilbur's cafe' was named for him in 2013. He attended medical school at the University of Illinois. In his hobby time, he was also an avid model train collector/operator.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. June 22 at Manchester Church of the Brethren in North Manchester, with visitation to follow. From 9 to 10 a.m., there will be a visitation at the nearby Timbercrest Retirement Community. A full obituary will be posted in the days to come at 
Obituary for Wilbur McFadden | McKee Mortuary Inc.


Congratulations to Blaine and Nancy Miner (Highland Avenue), who have been called as the new part-time district executive ministers for Western Plains District! More information in below in the personnel section.

Congratulations to Dana McNeil, who will mark 20 years as pastor at Peoria First in July!

And congratulations and best wishes to Anna Lee Hisey Pierson (York Center), who is retiring July 13 from her chaplaincy role at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove. She has served there since 2005. A “de-commissioning” celebration of ministry will take place at the Neighborhood church in Montgomery, where Anna Lee earlier served, on July 14.

The Northwest Region pastors/clergy have re-started regular monthly meetings for connection and support. They met recently in Dixon and were scheduled to meet this month on June 11 at Yellow Creek.

Many of our district pastors and ministers were able to attend an ethics training at this spring’s clergy event in Rockford (see more below); we plan to offer another ethics training sometime in late 2024 or early 2025 for others who still need it. The training is required every five years as part of the ordination renewal cycle, which ends in 2025. All ministers should also begin gathering information for their CEU report, which will be due by mid-2025. Copies of the continuing education report form can be found at

2025 Denominational Clergywomen’s Retreat, an every-five-years event sponsored by the Church of the Brethren Ministry office, will take place Feb. 10-13 at San Pedro Spiritual Development Center in Winter Park, Fla., near Orlando. The theme, drawn from Ephesians 5:2, is “Love the World Like Jesus: with Courage, Care, and Healing.” The keynote speaker will be Meghan Larissa Good, author and lead pastor of Trinity Mennonite Church in Phoenix. Early bird registration is $325 for double occupancy, $450 for single. The district will be making some scholarships available for Illinois/Wisconsin participants. Cindy Weber (York Center) is among the planning team members. More details and registration information will be available in the coming months.

Congregational vacancies:
Cherry Grove: Using regular pulpit supply
York Center: Christy Waltersdorff has announced her retirement effective Dec. 31, 2024. York Center is currently interviewing interim candidates and putting together a search committee.

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


Freeport held its annual drive-through pork chop meal on June 9. This popular community event is a significant fundraiser for the church.

Chicago First welcomed the performance group Honey Pot, which uses space in the church’s building, to lead worship on June 2. The time focused on faith and arts.

Congratulations to Jonathan Stauffer and Courtney Thompson, who were married at the Polo congregation by pastor Jeff Davidson on June 8.

Polo also offered an outdoor community movie night on May 31.

Dixon welcomed several new members to the congregation during a service on June 2.

Canton on May 19 held a special celebration event following worship to recognize all the birthdays in the congregation. The time included cake, a contest to see how well people knew other members of the church, and lots of fellowship.

Peoria First members Sue Grabb and Joan Nelson recently volunteered time at the local Center for the Prevention of Abuse to beautify the front of the building.

York Center (Lombard) will welcome Brethren folk singer Mike Stern for worship on June 30, on the theme “Guns and Jesus.” He will be joined by musicians Louise Brodie, Michael Overman, and Brian Kruschwitz. Following worship, the congregation will hold a church picnic potluck at a local park.

Springfield First is sponsoring a local art contest on the theme “Jesus in the Neighborhood” through June 18. The contest has youth and adult categories, with up to $1,000 in prizes from a Healing Illinois grant to promote racial healing and antiracism. An advertisement said, “We’re looking to artists in Springfield to imagine Jesus here, now, and to show us what that looks like.” The congregation plans to host a gallery show of entries the evening of June 28.

Chicago (Ill.) First Church of the Brethren celebrated with long-time member Erma Purnell, who was recently featured at an event and in a series of profiles of Chicago Legacy Gardeners. From the event’s description: “Through the Legacy Gardener Project, the Chicago Community Gardeners Association (CCGA) captures the rich and living histories of outstanding community gardeners who have tirelessly provided guidance to many while helping community members build relationships with each other and the land. Their own journeys from rural farms to Chicago’s sidewalks and blocks are the stories we cherish. As their habits have become traditions, their traditions have become their legacies.” Purnell’s work with the New Horizons Garden, a garden started by Chicago First in the 1980s that continues today, was highlighted. The garden is adjacent to the church’s property and provides a place of respite in the city, as well as cultivation of native plants and vegetables to share with the community. [from Newsline, photo by Heidi Gross]

For congregations in Nicor Gas’ service area, the utility company is offering grants to non-profit organizations in areas including environmental stewardship, community enrichment, and basic human needs. Application deadlines fall between May 31 and July 31. Learn more about these “Pillar Grants” at

Congratulations to the following 2024 graduates from congregations in our district: Caleb Satvedi, Neighborhood, from UIC; Loren Miller, Woodland, from Western Illinois University; Addison Briggs, Woodland, from Astoria High School; Bethany Fike, Woodland, who is completing her Ph.D. from West Virginia University this summer; Keaten Altizer, Dixon, from Amboy High School; Laurel Alexis Chavera, Dixon, from Newman High School; Avery Gerdes, Dixon, from Sycamore High School; Davis Glaven, Dixon, from Sheboygan High School; Tyler Gross, Dixon, from Amboy High School; Owen Brooks, Dixon, from Illinois Firefighter Academy; Tristan Munroe, Dixon, from Eastern University; Rebecca Englebart, Dixon, from Grand Canyon University; Makayla Cripe, Dixon, from University of Dayton; Jakob Kime, Dixon, from Northern Colorado University; Kelley Kime, Dixon, from Mead High School; Levi Brockway, Highland Avenue, from Streamwood High School; Chris Brumbaugh-Cayford, Highland Avenue, from Juniata College; Nik Gameti, Naperville, from Naperville North High School; Emma Lauterbach, Peoria First, Dunlap High School.

(If you have other graduates who were not listed, please send them to the district office, and we’ll recognize them in the next newsletter.)

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:


An Annual Conference briefing for Illinois/Wisconsin District will take place Saturday, June 22, at 10 a.m. via Zoom. This time will include brief devotions, a video highlighting details from this year’s conference, sharing from Standing Committee delegate Katie Shaw Thompson and Annual Conference secretary David Shumate, and time for questions. It is open to anyone, but Annual Conference delegates and volunteers are especially encouraged to attend. Join the call at

This year's Annual Conference will take place July 3-7 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Learn more at 
Annual Conference (, or see details below.


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.”

Daily scripture themes are as follows: Wednesday, July 3: Romans 16:1-4 (CEB) with supporting scriptures from Matthew 5:1-16 (CEB) and Revelation 7:9-10; Thursday, July 4: Luke 1:46-49 (NIV) with supporting scriptures from Jeremiah 1:4-10 and 2 Samuel 9:1-10a; Friday, July 5: Romans 12:3-10 with supporting scriptures from John 15:9-13 and 2 Chronicles 30:18-21; Saturday, July 6: Acts 2:42-47 with supporting scriptures from Ephesians 4:1-6 and 1 Peter 4:8-11; Sunday, July 7: Philippians 2:1-11 with supporting scriptures from Micah 6:8, Zechariah 7:8-10, and Galatians 6:2 and 6-10.

Worship preachers will be moderator Madalyn Metzger on Wednesday; Greg Broyles of Roanoke, Va. (Germantown Brick Church of the Brethren) on Thursday; Brandon Grady of Glenville, Pa. (Black Rock Church of the Brethren) on Friday; Leonard M. Dow, vice president of Community and Church Development for Everence and previously pastor of Oxford Circle Mennonite Church in Philadelphia on Saturday; and Cindy Laprade Lattimer of Huntingdon, Pa. (Stone Church of the Brethren) on Sunday morning.

Nathan Hollenberg of Broadway, Va., is serving as the Program and Arrangements Committee liaison to the worship team, which also includes Founa Augustin Badet of Delray Beach, Fla.; Calvin Park of Knoxville, Md.; and Amber Harris of Winston-Salem, N.C. The music coordinator is Seth Crissman of Harrisonburg, Va.; choir director is Julie Richard of Finksburg, Md.; and pianist is Jocelyn Watkins of East Peoria, Ill. The organist is Robin Risser Mundey of Frederick, Md., and the children’s choir director is Stephanie Rappatta of Elkhart, Ind.

Advance registration has closed, but participants can still register onsite in Grand Rapids during the Annual Conference week. A virtual participation option is also available, at a rate of $225. New this year is an option for groups and institutions to participate virtually from a common location. For more information go to and select “Virtual.”

Our own Leonard and Vicki Matheny (Peoria First) head up on-site registration. To date, the following Illinois/Wisconsin congregations have registered delegates: Canton, Cerro Gordo, Chicago First, Dixon, Dutchtown (Milledgeville), Freeport, Highland Avenue, Mount Morris, Naperville, Neighborhood, Peoria First, Polo, Springfield First, Woodland, and York Center. Katie Shaw Thompson (Highland Avenue) serves as our Standing Committee delegate this year.

Don Fitzkee (Lancaster, Pa.) and Gene Hollenberg (Nappanee, Ind.) head this year’s ballot as candidates for moderator-elect. Complete biographical information for all nominees is at and will be printed in the Conference booklet.

Volunteers are needed to assist with ticket sales at Annual Conference in Grand Rapids, Mich. This group will handle all onsite ticket sales for catered meal events. Responsibilities begin Tuesday, July 3, at 3 p.m. and end Saturday, July 6, at noon. If you are willing to assist, please sign up for one or more shifts at OR contact Don Anderson, ticket sales coordinator, at


Registration for our camps’ summer programs is now open! Visit the camps’ respective websites (below) for registration links.

Camp Emmaus (Mount Morris, Ill.) has announced its summer camping schedule for 2024. This year’s curriculum theme will be “Linked by Love”:

June 15                        Clean-Up Day
July 7-11                      Intermediate Camp (grades 3-5)
July 12-14                    Young Adult and Young at Heart Camp (YAAYAH)
July 14-20                    Senior High Camp (grades 9-12)
July 21-27                    Middle School Camp (grades 6-8)
Aug. 2-4                        CIT training
Aug. 3-4                        Elementary Camp (grades 1-2)
Aug. 8-10                     Women’s Camp
Aug. 16-18                   Men’s Camp
Aug. 30-Sept. 2           Labor Day Family Camp

Camp Emmanuel (Astoria, Ill.) has announced its summer 2024 camping schedule:

Middle School Camp (grades 6-8)      June 9-15
Junior Camp (grades 3-5)                    June 19-23
Pre-Junior Camp (grades K-2)             June 28-30
Creation Camp (grades 3-6)                July 12-14
Day Camp (grades K-5)                        July 15-19
Men’s Camp                                           Aug. 9-11
Family Camp                                         Aug. 30-Sept. 2

The “Escape to Emmaus” series at Camp Emmaus continued June 1 with a Target Sports day featuring archery and slingshots. For other upcoming events, see or the Camp Emmaus Facebook page or contact Other recent projects at the camp included putting new privacy dividers in the bathhouse, extending gutters on Hare Lodge (pictured), and installing a new door for the walk-in cooler. Camp Emmaus is looking for a lifeguard for this summer. If interested, contact

Camp Emmanuel is working on adding air conditioning to the bunk cabins, installing new roofing, and getting a new washer and dryer for camp use.

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


Brethren Disaster Ministries has updated its website with information for its second project response the weeks of Sept. 15 through Nov. 16. The site will tentatively be Letcher County in southeastern Kentucky. An online informational meeting about the new site will take place June 24 at 6 p.m. Central ( for those who might have interest.

A tornado recovery project is also ongoing at least through the summer in Dawson Springs, Kentucky, where some of our district volunteers served this past fall. Another significant tornado passed through the area on May 26, but no damage occurred to homes that BDM has worked on, just some debris. Information is available at: Our district’s assigned week this year is Dec. 1-7.

With the severe weather and tornadoes across the country, Children’s Disaster Services has been deployed several times. On May 4-5 CDS served in Minden, Iowa, after a tornado went through the town destroying approximately 50 homes. On May 29, a Children’s Disaster Services team served in Ironton, Missouri, after high winds and tornadoes came through the area in early April. The total number of children served during the spring tornado season, as of the end of May, was 34, with 13 CDS volunteers attending. And June 2-3, CDS was invited to serve in Greenfield, Iowa, where a May 12 tornado damaged or destroyed 153 homes and killed four people.

A BDM volunteer appreciation breakfast will take place during Annual Conference. BDM will also again sponsor a blood drive at Annual Conference. Those who can’t attend but want to participate can join a virtual blood drive at            rtualblooddrive2024.


• The denomination’s Part-Time Pastor, Full-Time Church program will offer a webinar titled “From Weary to Whole-Hearted” on June 12 at 6:30 p.m. Central. Focusing on clergy burnout, the webinar will be led by author Callie Swanlund. It is free and will be offered via Zoom. Register ASAP at

• Upcoming courses from the Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership include “Interim/Transitional Ministry: More than Maintenance,” online July 31-Sept. 24, led by Tara Hornbacker (registration deadline June 16); “Church of the Brethren History,” online Aug. 21-Oct. 15, led by Denise Kettering-Lane (registration deadline July 17); “Introduction to the New Testament,” online Oct. 16-Dec. 10, led by Matt Boersma (registration deadline Sept. 11); “A Place of Refuge,” travel seminar to Atlanta, Jan. 7-15, led by Josh Brockway (registration deadline Nov. 1). Register and pay online at Brethren Academy Course Registration/Biannual TRIM Payment | Bethany Theological Seminary (

• Upcoming Susquehanna Valley Ministry Center (SVMC) continuing education courses include “Autism and the Church,” led by Lisa Kruse, Tim Miller, David Crumrine, and Stan Dueck, Sept. 26, 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Central, via Zoom, cost $45 (with 0.5 CEU’s); and “Grief Literacy,” led by Julie Guistwite, Oct. 1, 12-3 p.m. Central, via Zoom, cost $35 (with 0.3 CEU’s). Course prices are $10 less without CEU’s. Register by visiting the 
SVMC course page or by contacting Karen Hodges at

• Lombard Mennonite Peace Center offers a variety of training sessions. It recently added nine one-day online training events to the schedule, including “Healthy Congregations” June 19, “Conflict Transformation Skills” July 17, and “Restorative Conversations” Aug. 13. For details and registration information, go to

• NCP Learning Tours: New Community Project will offer an educational trip 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

• A Church of the Brethren L.E.A.D. (Listen – Equip – Adapt – Disciple) Conference is planned for Nov. 15-17, 2024, sponsored by the denomination’s Discipleship and Leadership Formation department. The event will be hosted at Ephrata (Pa.) Church of the Brethren on the scripture theme 2 Timothy 2:2. This will be a leadership development conference for congregational leaders such as pastors and church board members. The focus will be on raising the leadership skills of congregational leaders to help them be more effective in their local ministries. The event will be a mix of plenary and break-out sessions. Attendance will be capped at 250 participants. More information and registration will be available closer to the date.

• Video recordings of online events sponsored by the Part-time Pastor, Full-time Church program of the Church of the Brethren’s Office of Ministry are available online at Among them is a webinar with Jon Ritner, author of the book Positively Irritating: Embracing a Post-Christian World to Form a More Faithful and Innovative Church, hosted by Ryan Braught, church planter and pastor of Veritas Community, a Church of the Brethren congregation. For more information contact Tabitha H. Rudy, administrative assistant for Part-time Pastor, Full-time Church, at


The Church of the Brethren is seeking an individual to fill a full-time salaried position of executive director of Global Mission. The major responsibility is to guide and implement the Church of the Brethren's global mission program, direct and administer denominational mission efforts, generate a responsive and integrated denominational mission structure with grassroots support and involvement, and nurture an ongoing conversation about mission (evangelism, church planting, service, peace, and reconciliation) among membership. Applicants should be well-grounded in Church of the Brethren theology and polity, have significant understanding of mission theology and practice, have strong management and organizational and communication skills, have knowledge of cross-cultural issues, and language capabilities in addition to English. A seminary or other master’s degree in a related field is required. Location is negotiable. To apply, send a resume’ to

Eder Financial has an opening for a content marketing manager. Candidates should hold at least an undergraduate degree, preferably in marketing, journalism, writing, or other relevant field. The position will be responsible for coordinating inbound and outbound marketing projects including digital and traditional marketing collateral, social media content, blogs, website content, business development enablement materials, and lead generation content. The ideal candidate is a creative marketing professional, preferably with a writing and design background and up to date with new technologies and marketing trends. Working knowledge of marketing software such as SEMRush, ZoomInfo, Google Analytics, design software such as InDesign, Canva, programming skills, and social medial platforms is a plus. The position is remote, but some travel is required. To apply, email a cover letter, resume’, and three references to Tammy Chudy at

The Brethren Academy for Ministerial Leadership is seeking a part-time bilingual writing coach to assist domestic and international Brethren Academy students in improving their writing and editing skills to help them succeed in their non-graduate certificate level ministry training programs. This position will be considered an independent contractor, with payment to be made upon submission of monthly invoices. Candidates should have an undergraduate degree, excellent writing and editing skills, fluency in English and Spanish, and strong computer skills. The position will work remotely. To apply, send resume’, a letter of interest, and contact information for three references to Janet Ober Lambert, director of the Brethren Academy, at 615 National Road West, Richmond, IN 47374 or

Camp Emmaus is still in need of a lifeguard (camp support staff) for this coming summer camp season. The camp needs someone 16 or older who has lifeguard certification or is willing to get the training (camp will reimburse). Dates are from June 24 to Aug. 2, and then for a few days between then and Labor Day weekend. Camp pays salary and provides housing, food, and WiFi.

Please contact Randall Westfall at the camp if interested: or 815-734-4268.


The Western Plains District has called Blaine and Nancy Miner to serve as co-district executive ministers in a half-time role. While they will begin familiarizing themselves on a limited basis with the work of the district during June and July, their formal starting date will be Aug. 5 following the Western Plains District conference.  During the initial transition into the role the first few months, Blaine will offer more hours in the role while Nancy will work fewer of the hours until her retirement from employment in the Church of the Brethren general secretary’s office on Oct. 31. Blaine holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Elizabethtown (Pa.) College and a Master of Arts in Theology from Bethany Theological Seminary. He was ordained by the Illinois/Wisconsin District through the Highland Avenue congregation in 1996. His ministry experience includes a pastorate of the Dixon congregation and multiple positions as chaplain for the State of Illinois. He served as district moderator in 2021. He is currently pursuing spiritual direction training through the Christos Center for Spiritual Formation of Lino Lakes, Minn. Nancy holds a bachelor’s degree from McPherson (Kan.) College. Her employment with the Church of the Brethren began in 1993 with various administrative positions with Eder Financial (then Brethren Benefit Trust) and the Association of Brethren Caregivers/Caring Ministries. She has served as office manager for the general secretary’s office since May 2009. Blaine and Nancy are members of Highland Avenue (Elgin). They plan to relocate to the Cedars Retirement Center in McPherson, Kansas in the future. They are parents of two young adult children, Cori (Adam) and Grant (fiancé, Nikki).

Bethany Theological Seminary has hired Doug Macias as director of fundraising and constituent relations. Macias has served as community development officer at Natco Credit Union since 2021. He has 20 years of experience in the credit union industry. Macias has held positions with Atlas Community Credit Union, Missouri Credit Union Association, CUNA Mutual Group, and The Revenue Path Group. An active volunteer leader in the local community, Macias has served on the boards of the non-profit organizations Birth-to-Five, Girls Inc., and Safety Village of Wayne County, Ind. He is also active with the Wayne County Chamber of Commerce. In this new role, Macias will develop and lead the seminary’s “mass-market” fundraising efforts, as well as working with individual donors in support of the annual fund and Flourish: A Campaign for Bethany Theological Seminary. His first day in the office was June 3.

Jacqueline Claire Flowers has been hired by the Church of the Brethren as director of the Brethren Historical Library and Archives. She holds a Master of Divinity from Bethany Theological Seminary and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Argosy University. Claire will begin working from the General Offices in Elgin, Ill., on July 15.

Eric Miller concluded his work with the Church of the Brethren as executive director of Global Mission on May 15. Eric began his service on March 8, 2021, initially serving as co-director with his wife, Ruoxia Li. Roy Winter, executive director for Service Ministries, will provide interim leadership for Global Mission during the time of transition. 


The Church of the Brethren’s Standing with People of Color Committee has created a curated resource list featuring books, articles, media, and additional resources that provide insight, education, and understanding of anti-racism and racial justice. This guide will be continually improved as the committee obtains and identifies more relevant resources. It is designed to aid in reflection, discussion, and personal growth. For suggestions and comments on this guide, email The resource list can be found at or

The Mission Advancement Office shared special thanks to all who responded to the call for the recent Matching Gift Campaign. In addition to $100,000 of lead gifts for this campaign, congregations and individuals generously shared 239 gifts in support of Core Ministries totaling $102,242, surpassing the goal of $100,000.

Awards won by the Church of the Brethren’s Messenger magazine at the 2023 Associated Church Press “Best of the Church Press” event included an award of merit (second place) in the category “Science writing for the world of faith—Long Format” for the article titled “The bird carrier: A story of ecological knowledge, lament, and hope,” by William L. Miller; and an award of merit in the category “Convention or meeting coverage (Magazine)” for coverage of Annual Conference 2023.

Church of the Brethren members of Indian heritage made up the majority of the congregation at a special event held at the Gujarati Fellowship at Wheatland Salem Church and Salt and Light Ministry in Illinois. “We had a great gathering on May 18, six Indian church choirs, testimony from a Punjabi Church woman, Living Word preached by Rev. Dr. Sam George of Wheaton College and songs by the gospel singer Thomas Puthoor with appetizers and banquet meal,” reported Church of the Brethren minister Anet Satvedi. “We had around 175 people.”

The Anabaptist Community Bible invites you to read scripture with fresh eyes and to discover how key Anabaptist themes are woven throughout the stories of the Bible and your own life. Expertly designed using the Common English Bible translation, the Anabaptist Community Bible will connect you more deeply to the biblical story, the Anabaptist story, and your own story. More than 7,200 marginal notes alongside the biblical text feature commentary from Anabaptist scholars, historical notes from the tradition, and the insights of nearly 600 Bible study groups. This pairing of notes and introductions alongside the biblical text commemorates the 500th anniversary of Anabaptism by modeling a community-based approach to reading scripture and calling readers to follow Jesus in word and deed. Pre-publication discounts are available from Brethren Press through Oct. 15. Order online at or call 800-441-3712 to use your Brethren Press account. Orders will begin shipping in January 2025.

After more than 40 years of creating videos for the Church of the Brethren, David Sollenberger realized that nearly all of the recordings were in formats that are no longer used. As he converted film from three-quarter inch tape, betacam, and even DVDs, to digital files, he encountered significant moments that were not being seen by those who appreciate the history, heritage, and experiences of the Church of the Brethren faith tradition. With Sollenberger, Brethren Historical Library and Archives interim manager Allison Snyder and Church of the Brethren web producer Jan Fischer Bachman have created a new YouTube channel for historical Church of the Brethren videos. Among the more than 50 videos now posted on that channel are General Board live reports and wrap-up videos from Annual Conferences, National Older Adult Conferences, and National Youth Conferences. Also included are programs featuring significant Church of the Brethren ministries and events, including the original ABC News segment on the death of Ted Studebaker, the CBS News story of Enten Eller’s trial for failure to register with Selective Service, and a rare performance by legendary singer Slim Whitman at the 1982 Annual Conference. Find the Church of the Brethren historic video channel at; find a roughly chronological listing of the videos with descriptions and links at

The Church of the Brethren Gun Violence Prevention Action Team is seeking congregational ambassadors. A role description is available at To express interest, email the team at Also, the team now has a custom orange t-shirt available for purchase. Go to

“Harvesting Justice with Farm Workers” is a new video offered as a “tool to raise awareness about farm worker issues and the National Farm Worker Ministry. To help spread the message of Farm Worker Justice, we need your help. Please watch and share our video with your networks,” said an announcement. The Church of the Brethren has related to the ministry through the Office of Peacebuilding and Policy. Learn more at

The People’s Book is a collection of audio recordings of books of the Bible published by Friendship Press, which is related to the National Council of Churches (NCC). Go to

The 2024 Song and Story Fest family camp co-sponsored by On Earth Peace will be hosted at Camp Brethren Heights in the Michigan District, July 7-13, immediately after Annual Conference in Grand Rapids. This is the 28th Song and Story Fest. The theme for this year’s Muddy Waters Song and Story Fest is “Exploring the Heights and Depths of Community.” The event is billed as an intergenerational camp for all ages, individuals, and families. Storytellers, musicians, and workshop leaders include Rhonda & Greg Baker, Susan Boyer, Louise Brodie, Hannah Button-Harrison, Debbie Eisenbise, Jenny & Jeffrey Faus Family, Erin & Cody Flory Robertson, Chris Good, Anna Lisa Gross, Kathy Guisewite, Jonathan Hunter, Tim & Byron Joseph & Marlene Wood, Brian Kruschwitz, Jim Lehman, Peg Lehman, and Mike Stern. The schedule includes morning intergenerational gatherings and worship followed by workshops for adults, children, and youth; in the afternoons, family time, recreation, story swaps, and music-making; and in the evenings, campfires, snacks, and concerts or a folk dance. Register online at

Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) has announced the dates for the next two volunteer orientations that will take place in 2024. The summer unit (Unit 335) will have orientation July 28-Aug. 5 at Camp Colorado, located near Sedalia, Colo., southwest of Denver. The fall unit (Unit 336) will take place Sept. 17-25 at Camp Brethren Heights in Rodney, Mich., north of Grand Rapids. Online pre-orientation meetings also take place before each group gathers together in person. To apply or to learn more, visit


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!