Church of the Brethren
Illinois & Wisconsin District

Kevin Kessler, District Executive
Dana McNeil, Moderator
Ellis Boughton, Moderator-Elect
Jim Miner, District Webmaster
Beth Carpentier, Administrative Assistant
Gil Crosby, Newsletter Editor
Debbie Noffsinger, Newsletter Publisher


  • From the Moderator - Dana McNeil
    I Will Follow Jesus

    At the Peoria Church of the Brethren we are working our way through the Gospel of John during worship and bible study. A verse really jumped out at me a couple of weeks ago. A group came to Jesus saying,

    "How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.[more...]

  • DE Ponderings - Kevin Kessler
    I am not a regular listener of contemporary Christian music but I do occasionally indulge in it, mainly because I try to keep an open mind and engage all kinds of music.

    Recently, while listening to a contemporary Christian radio station, a song by Casting Crowns played that grabbed my attention. So often contemporary music of any kind feels as though it's shouting at me. I like more subtle tones, something more contemplative, if you will. This particular song from Casting Crowns has a simple beat, almost eerie (not the best descriptive term to use but a better word doesn't come immediately to mind). The tune alone got my attention. But then I started listening to the words, words that immediately drew me in, made me want to find out more about the song. [more...]

  • April Events
    Child Abuse Prevention Month
    2 - Maundy Thursday
    3 - Good Friday
    5 - Easter
    11 - District LT Meeting - Rockford
    20-21 - District Ministers Cont. Edu. Event
    25 - District Potluck, Naperville
  • May Events
    Older Adult Month
    2 - Ministerial Leadership Dev. Team
    3 - National Youth Sunday
    7 - National Day of Prayer
    9 - Bethany Commencement
    10 - Mother's Day
    14 - Ascension Day
    14-1 - Church Leadership Conf., Frederick, MD
    16 - Pleasant Hill Village Work Day
    22-25 - Memorial Day Family Camp - Camp Emmaus
    24 - Pentecost
    25 - Memorial Day
    31 - Trinity Sunday
  • Pleasant Hill Village Work Day - May 16th
    The Brethren Home of Girard
    Pleasant Hill Village

    Come and help beautify the grounds.

    "The Home" has set their Annual Work Day for Saturday May 16th starting at 8:00 am.

    We plan to paint some fencing, sealcoat the gazeebo and plant lots of flowers around the grounds. Please bring your gloves. A light lunch will be provided along with refreshments and fellowship throughout.

    Please call and let us know how many may be coming and confirm the week prior in case rain is predicted - by calling 217-627-2181 ask for Kyle Hood, Maintenance or email us at To all who have assisted in the past, a hearty Thank-You for your dedication to serve.

    Pleasant Hill Village is a good opportunity to be involved in serving some of the least among us.
    1010 W. North Street Girard, Il 62640

  • 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
  • Young Adult Conference 2015

    May 22 - 24, 2015

    Where: Camp Swatara in Bethel, PA
    When: May 22-24, 2015
    Who: All young adults are welcome (Ages 18-35)
    Cost: $125 ($150 after April 30)

    Go to: to register or for more information.

  • Camp Emmanuel Schedule for 2015
    March 8 - Directors Meeting
    March 8 - CIT Training
    April 11 - CIT Training
    April 11 - Camp Opening/Work day
    April 12-18 - Work week
    June 5-7 - Womens' Camp
    June 7-13 - High School Camp (9th-12th grade)
    June 14-20 - Middle School Camp (6th-8th grade)
    June 21-27 - Junior Camp (3rd-5th grade)
    June 25-27 - Pre-Junior Camp (K-2nd grade)
    July 31-August 2 - Mens' Camp
    September 4-7 - Family Camp
    September 19 - Fish Fry
    October 24 - Camp Closing
  • National Junior High Conference
    National Junior High Conference will be held June 19-21 on the campus of Elizabethtown (Pa.) College. The conference will invite youth and their advisors to consider Romans 12:1-2. The theme, “Living the Change: Our Offering to God,” asks participants to consider taking their everyday, ordinary life--our sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking around life--and place it before God as an offering.

    As junior high youth encounter a number of changes in their lives, the conference will encourage them to live the changes in ways pleasing to God. The event will be enriched by worship speakers Lauren Seganos, Steve Schweitzer, Amy Gall-Ritchey, and Eric Bishop. Seth Hendricks will be coordinating music, and worship will be coordinated by Rebekah Houff and Trent Smith.

    In addition to four celebrations of worship, there will be time for learning during workshops and time for play during recreation and evening activities.

    Online registration is open at Register now to take advantage of early bird rates! Through March 31, the cost is $160 per person. After March 31, the cost for regular registration is $185 per person. Travel scholarships are available to those who live west of the Mississippi River.

    For more information and to register, visit or call 847-429-4389. National Junior High Conference is sponsored by the Church of the Brethren Youth and Young Adult Office.

  • Explore Your Call at Bethany
    Bethany will once again be holding "Explore Your Call", a discernment event for high school students July 24-August 3 on the Bethany campus. Participants will study theology in the classroom, shadow pastors and discuss topics like faith and vocation. Classes will be taught by Bethany professors and attendees will also make congregational visits and perform service projects in the community. All qualified applicants will receive a full scholarship to "Explore Your Call." The only cost to participants is their transportation to and from Richmond, Indiana. More information and an online application for "Explore Your Call" can be found at
  • 2015 National Older Adult Conference
    Join us for the
    2015 National Older Adult Conference
    September 7-11, 2015

    Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center in the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina
    Come. Listen to the stories of Jesus...
    Discern what truths are being revealed for our lives.
    Explore the echoes of Christ's parables in our own life stories.
    Discover the unfinished chapters in God's story of our lives.

    Then go. Share the stories of Jesus and your own stories with others...
    "Go back and weave those stories into the lives
    of your grandchildren and great-grandchildren."
    Indeed, into the lives of everyone your life touches.
    NOAC is a Spirit-filled gathering of adults who love learning and discerning together, exploring God's call for their lives and living out that call by sharing their energy, insight, and legacy with their families, communities, and the world.

    Information about lodging reservations is in the registration brochure which is online. Conference center lodging can be arranged directly with Lake Junaluska Conference Center. People requesting special consideration due to age (75+) or physical/functional limitations can reserve lodging beginning April 1. All others are asked to wait to reserve lodging until April 16.

    Right now, only the NOAC home page is online, including a PDF of the registration brochure, but very soon all the conference information will be available there. Please encourage people to visit the website.

    Often people say that they don't want to attend NOAC because they aren't old! Please let people know the conference is for people age 50 and older, and many younger people - those in their 20s and 30s - love coming to NOAC to help the conference run smoothly. The younger adults don't understand why people age 50, 60, 70, and even older don't want to go to NOAC. The young adults encourage those over 50 to give it a try!

    PS: go to and click on the link to the registration brochure for a sneak peak at all NOAC 2015 has to offer!

  • Camp Emmaus Fall Festival
    Saturday, September 12

    Fun for the whole family.

    Activities Include:
    * Make and take crafts
    * Petting Zoo
    * Hay Bale Maze
    * Face Painting
    * Craft booths
    * Holiday decorations
    * Fresh Baked Items
    * Antique toys, etc.
    * Bar-B-Qued Food!
    * Games
    * Volleyball Tournament
    * Bean Bag Tournament

  • 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.