Church of the Brethren
Illinois & Wisconsin District

Kevin Kessler, District Executive
Allegra Hess, Moderator
Paul Kohler, Moderator-Elect
Andrea Garnett, Administrative Assistant
Debbie Noffsinger, Newsletter Publisher
Jim Miner, District Webmaster


  • Donate
  • Camp Emmanuel Schedule for 2017

    June 9-11 - Womens' Camp
    June 11-17 - High School Camp 9th-12th grade)
    June 18-24 - Middle School Camp (6th-8th grade)
    June 25-31 - Junior Camp (3rd-5th grade)
    June 29-July 1 - Pre-Junior Camp (K-2nd grade)
    August 4-6 - Men's Camp
    September 1-4 - Family Camp 
    September 23 - Fish Fry
    October 13-15 - Husbands and Wives Camp

    DIRECTORS MEETING – 3/4/17 1:00 p.m. (Virden)
    CIT TRAINING– 3/4/17 1:00 p.m. Virden and 4/1/17 1:00 pm – Camp Emmanuel
    SPRING WORK DAY/WEEK – April 1 / April 2 - 7
    FALL WORK WEEK – October 21 - 24
    CAMP CLOSING – October 24 

  • Camp Emmaus Schedule for 2017

    July 9-15 - Senior High Camp
    July 16-19 - Elementary II Camp
    July 19-23 - Young at Heart Camp
    July 23-29 - Junior High Camp
    July 30 - August 4 Elementary III Camp
    August 4-6 - Counselor In Training Event*
    August 5-6 - Elementary I Camp
    August 10-13 - Women's Camp
    September 1-4 - Labor Day Weekend Family Camp

    Camp Rep Meeting - Saturday, February 25 at 10 AM - Dixon Church of the Brethren
    Camp Director's Meeting - Sunday, March 12 at 2 PM - Camp Emmaus

    *There will be an earlier CIT event planned for in the Spring. Stay tuned for details.

  • IL/WI District Conference 2016

    The IL/WI District Conference was held November 4 & 5, 2016, at the Rockford Community Church under the theme Living Together in Unity with Brother Ellis Boughton providing leadership as moderator.>p>

    The conference began Friday evening with spiritfilled worship including lively music led by the Rockford Community Church (RCC) praise team. The RCC youth performed a provocative skit pointing toward the embracing love of Jesus. Ellis Boughton offered a thoughtful message inviting listeners to strive toward unity in Jesus Christ amid our differences. Offering received totaled $899.25.

    A photo album of conference can be found on the IL/WI District Facebook page. Follow this link:

    Highlights of business on Saturday encompassed:

    • Hearing from two emerging ministries, Parables and The Gathering Chicago, led respectively by Jeanne Davies and LaDonna Nkosi. Parables provides a safe worship environment for persons and families with special needs. The Gathering Chicago is a movement for prayer and peace in the city of Chicago and globally. Both ministries are receiving financial support from the district and are seeking additional support from grants, fundraising, and district congregations and individuals. Prayer support is most vital.

    • Hearing testimonies from three congregations— Rockford Community Church (implementation of mobile labs), First Church of the Brethren in Peoria (serving the community), and Neighborhood Church of the Brethren (finding ways to share their faith with all the groups and people who use space in their building).

    • Calling people to serve on various teams and in a variety of leadership positions. Paul Kohler (Champaign COB) is called as moderator-elect.

    • Receiving reports from Pinecrest Community, Pleasant Hill Village, Camp Emmanuel, and Camp Emmaus. Pinecrest and PHV continue to face challenges because of shortfalls in state Medicaid payments. Yet, they continue to faithfully and joyfully serve their residents and constituency.x` The two camps continue as place and space where young people find solace and faith. The camps, while providing separate programming, support their counterpart with prayer and encouragement, while good-heartedly adding a little jovial rivalry.

    • Viewing a video of the work of Bethany Theological Seminary, On Earth Peace, Brethren Benefit Trust, and the Church of the Brethren, Inc. Jay Wittmeyer shared a report for the Church of the Brethren, Inc. speaking specifically about Church of the Brethren influence around the world. Cindy Weber offered greetings from On Earth Peace and spoke about the challenges the agency is experiencing in its relationship with the Church of the Brethren, noting that OEP desires to be a presence of peace among us.

    • Vicki Matheny, Leadership Team Chair, reviewing the work of the Leadership Team in 2016. Two key emphases given attention were emerging ministries and endowing district reserves.

    • District Executive, Kevin Kessler, offering thoughts
    about his work in the district. Of continued importance is the building and maintaining of relationships. He noted that he will have, at the end of 2016, served as DE for 10 years. He offered gratitude to Beth Kelly, Administrative Assistant, for her years of service since she is moving on to a full-time office manager position at the church she attends. Andrea Garnett will be assuming the Administrative Assistant duties in earnest Jan. 3, 2017. He shared about the re-building project at Oakley Brick and the opportunity to contribute to a fundraising event the congregation is promoting.

    • Loren Habegger, Disaster Response Coordinator making it clear (in a light-hearted way) that he does not coordinate disasters but response to disasters. He noted that our district is scheduled to provide teams of responders a couple weeks in 2017. Watch for announcements about these opportunities.

    • Holding Silent and Live auctions. The total amount raised was $2,406.00.

    • Consecrating Allegra Hess (York Center) to serve as moderator through district conference in 2017. York Center Church of the Brethren (Lombard, IL) is the site of the 2017 conference.

    • Offering a heart-felt thank you to the Rockford Community Church for their wonderful hospitality as host of this year’s conference. Job well done, sisters and brothers!

  • 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

    The purpose of the Illinois/Wisconsin District is supporting the growth and development of the member churches. One means of support is financial assistance. Congregations in good standing are eligible to apply for assistance through the Mission and Mortar Program

    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 realizes that this dilemma exists and desires to financially support congregations that are in good standing with the district and have specific needs. Application for assistance may be made for up to a three-year period with reductions in the amount of support for each subsequent year. In the event that multi-year assistance is needed, a graduated agreement for funding will be arranged, but a request for the funds must be made annually.

    Read the brochure for more details.

  • 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 Andrea Garnett,, 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.