Church of the Brethren
Illinois & Wisconsin District

Kevin Kessler, District Executive
Stan Rodabaugh, Moderator
Dana McNeil, Moderator-elect
Beth Carpentier, Administrative Assistant
Gil Crosby, Newsletter Editor
Debbie Noffsinger, Newsletter Publisher


  • From the Moderator - Dana McNeil
    Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord

    As we begin the advent season, looking toward remembering the Bethlehem Story, we are again reminded of God's word given through the Prophet Isaiah that is later connected with the ministry of John the Baptist.

    "The voice of one crying in the wilderness, 'Make ready the way of the Lord, Make His paths straight. Every ravine will be filled, And every mountain and hill will be brought low; The crooked will become straight, And the rough roads smooth; And all flesh will see the salvation of God.'" Luke 3:4b-6
    What does it mean to make ready the way of the Lord? John links it directly with repentance, the kind of repentance that brings forth fruit (Luke 3:8). As we seek the leading of the Lord through the trials of life, we must continually prepare the way for the Lord to lead us. We must prepare our hearts and our minds with the expectation, the absolute unswayable belief that God is going to do something amazing. [more...]
  • DE Ponderings - Kevin Kessler
    Above all, trust in the slow work of God. We are quite naturally impatient to reach the end without delay. We would like to skip the intermediate stages. We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new. And yet, it is the law of all progress that it is made by passing through some stages of instability - and that it may take a very long time.
    - Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

    After reading the quote above I concluded that God doesn't need to be in a hurry. There is all of eternity for God to work. Maybe this explains the impatience of humanity. We have only a brief time to work in this life, so let's hurry up and get things done. But if humanity is part of God's work that takes time to develop into what God has planned, then there really isn't a need to be impatient. What may be more appropriate is finding joy in what we are able to accomplish, be it little or much, in the time we are allotted on earth. Or would it be better to say that we find joy in what God accomplishes through us. [more...]

  • December Events
    1 - AIDS Awareness Day
    6 - Ministerial Leadership Dev. Team - Peru
    10 - Human Rights Day
    21 - First Day of Winter
    24 - Christmas Eve
    25 - Christmas Day
    31 - New Year's Eve
  • January Events
    1 - New Year's Day
    6 - Epiphany
    16-22 - CODE Meeting, Coco Beach, FL
    19 - Martin Luther King Day
  • Ventures in Christian Discipleship
    Ventures in Christian Discipleship is an initiative developed by the Plans to Pacific Roundtable (PPR). PPR is a self-appointed group of Brethren who have been meeting for about 10 years looking for ways to support and encourage small congregations in the Church of the Brethren, particularly west of the Mississippi and now including Illinois and Wisconsin.

    Equipping lay people of all ages and education levels with skills and understandings for faithful and dynamic Christian living, action, and leadership with special emphasis on small congregations.

    Registering online is the preferred method. All course times are Central Time. Costs listed are per person. Group rates of $75 per webinar are available for five or more participants who wish to gather in one location for viewing and discussion. Prices are highly subsidized to encourage participation.

    Ventures courses, while not for college credit, offer high-quality instruction at a reasonable cost. The goal of the program is to empower lay people, especially in smaller congregations, to more effectively carry out the work of discipleship, following in Jesusâ footsteps to transform ourselves and the world. You are invited to journey with others on this new pathway sponsored by McPherson College.

    The purpose of Ventures is to offer training in Christian discipleship for lay leaders in small congregations. The areas of training include courses each year in:

    * positive envisionment of small congregational life.
    * spiritual nurture.
    * human justice and world issues.
    * "how to" and operational training for effective small congregational life.
    download a brochure
  • Camp Emmaus Schedule for 2015
    Memorial Day Family Camp - May 22-25
    Elementary II Camp - July 5-8
    Women's Camp - July 9-11
    Church of the Brethren Annual Conference - July 11-15
    Counselor In Training Event - July 17-19
    Elementary I Camp - July 18-19
    Senior High Camp - July 19-25
    Junior High Camp - July 26-August 1
    Elementary III Camp - August 2-7
    Young Adult and Young at Heart Camp - August 7-11
    Labor Day Family Camp - September 4-7
  • Guest Speaker List
    There is a Speakers List for the Illinois/Wisconsin District. Persons included in this document have accepted the invitation to be available to preach during worship services or for other special events as indicated. Hopefully you will find this tool useful and valuable when the need arises for inviting a guest speaker.

    The speakers on this list are all credentialed ministers, either licensed or ordained. We would like to expand the list to include more credentialed ministers as well as interested laity. If your name is absent from the list and you have interest in serving as a guest speaker, please inform the district office. We would also welcome the names of persons you might suggest for inclusion on the list.

    Since this is a new venture, it is likely we may need to provide more information than is included. Your input as to how the list can be improved would be welcomed.

    Please share with the District Office any questions, comments, or concerns you may have.

  • 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. Congregations in good standing are those that for the past two years have sent delegates to district conference and have supported the district financially with undesignated gifts of at least $100 per year for the past two years.
  • Information Reporting
    All ordained ministers, licensed ministers, and congregations need to keep the District Office informed of changes in contact information. Changes include: phone number, cell phone number, email address, mailing address, and congregational email or website. Please email Beth Carpentier, or call (309)649-6008 with your updates. Your effort will save valuable staff time trying to track down these changes. Other information to share: changes in key leadership positions at the church or the death or serious illnesses of minister, retired ministers, or spouses. Help us serve better!
  • CEU Credits for Ordained Ministers
    Do not wait to begin to log your Continuing Education Units. The 2015 Five-year Ordination Review process for ALL ordained ministers will launch in 2014. Ordained ministers are required to produce verification of 5 CEU credits for this five-year period. It is your responsibility to secure certificates, letters or verifying documentation regarding CEU credit. Retired clergy are exempt from this requirement with the exception of those retired clergy actively involved in Interim Ministry.

    CEU Notation: The district does not grant CEU credit for personal study and/or self-designed experiences you have had and/or books you have read. It is the minister's responsibility to secure a CEU certificate, Letter of Verification, and/or authentication document for completed training, seminars or workshops, or learning experiences offered by the presenting organization. This verification should always state the number of hours of the training - 10 hours of training equals 1.0 CEU credits. Please take personal initiative to become a life-long learner and increasingly effective minister of the Gospel.

  • Gifts Discernment
    The Gifts Discernment and Call Committee seeks your help. We are commissioned to call active, informed, and committed members of congregations or fellowships from within our District to positions of service. These persons, both pastors and lay members, are to be called from all parts of the District and to represent the diversity among us. Our committee's knowledge of members eligible and capable to serve is limited. Therefore, we make this appeal for assistance.
  • Each congregation in the district has a Liaison Leadership Team member who may be contacted with any questions or concerns about the ministries of our district.
  • Add news, announcements, or your congregation's web site URL to the district site. Email your information to the

  • Please check the District Disaster Response website for disaster relief news.