In This Issue
News around the Synod of Lakes and Prairies
Conferences, camps & other resources
Colleges, universities & seminaries
News from the Board of Pensions
News around the PC(USA)
Just one more
Quick Links
Synod of Lakes and Prairies


Presbyterian News Service



February 15, 2013

News around the Synod of Lakes and Prairies

Westminster Duluth slated for demolition,

seeks interest in stained glass

WestminsterWestminster Presbyterian Church in Duluth, Minn., is seeking someone interested in "possibly purchasing" the large stained-glass window in the church's sanctuary. The church, damaged in last summer's last summer's flood, has been condemned and will be demolished. The church is located at 429 83rd Ave. West. The stained-glass window, which measures 39 feet wide and nearly 11 feet high, is valued by its creator at $300 per square foot for a total of $62,000. Questions concerning the window should be directed to Paul Rigstad at 218.727.6576. The complete story is at "Window."


Harry Olthoff to leave general

presbyter post in East Iowa in May

Harry OlthoffHarry Olthoff, general presbyter in the Presbytery of East Iowa, will remain on the job until the May 4 presbytery meeting, but he took the opportunity during the Feb. 2 meeting to tell everyone how grateful he is for the blessings churches and individuals have been for him during his 11 years on the job. Mike Ferguson, editor of presbytery publications, wrote, "During [Olthoff's] talk he touched on two themes - grace and gratitude. He said he experienced what he later learned was 'living, breathing in-your-face grace' one day after getting in trouble as a junior high student." The complete story can be found at "Olthoff."


Change causes loss; loss

causes resistance to change

John HenrichMaybe it's not change that causes so many problems for churches. It's the loss associated with change - and the failure to recognize it - that causes resistance to change and the problems that go along with change. That's the message the Rev. John Henrich, staff psychologist at North Central Ministry Development Center in New Brighton, Minn., brought to a plenary session at the annual Synod of Lakes and Prairies COM/CPM Leadership Conference in Farmington, Minn., last month. The complete story can be found at "Change."


Acronym ACT can help

provide key to personnel work

Phil BarrettCreating a simple acronym for the important and sometimes complex issues that surround personnel matters in church settings, the Rev. Phil Barrett came up with three letters - ACT. Barrett, general presbyter and stated clerk in the Presbytery of Des Moines, addressed "How Churches Can Do Good Personnel Work" when he led a workshop by that name at the annual Synod of Lakes and Prairies COM/CPM Leadership Conference in Farmington, Minn., in January. He pointed out that atmosphere, clear understanding and thoughtful administration are keys to a church's personnel work. The complete story can be found at "ACT."


Iowa congregation nominated for award,

to be featured on 'Bizarre Foods'

The last few months have been pretty exciting for Cottage Grove Avenue Presbyterian Church in Des Moines, Iowa. In just a few days the congregation, 95 percent of whom are Sudanese, will be featured on the Travel Channel's "Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern" Monday, Feb. 25, at 8 p.m. According to a note from the Rev. David Madsen, pastor of the congregation, the show's production crew visited the congregation twice in August to tape its "Arabic language worship service, the procurement of two sheep for a traditional dinner, the overnight - 12 hour - preparation of the dinner, its consumption" and a "variety of tribal dancing." The congregation was also a finalist for the Des Moines Register's 11th annual Aurora Award. The congregation was cited for its work toprevent homelessness, combat poverty and as a secular and religious center for African refugees. The Register story can be found at "Cottage Grove."          


What does the synod do?

the synod's narrative budget
Synod Logo To help sessions and presbyteries get a better grasp of the ministry and mission of the synod, the synod's narrative budget can be found in the form of a letter and as a PowerPoint presentation. There is also a list of services currently provided by synod staff.


Lakes and Prairies can be

found on Facebook, Twitter
Facebook Logo The Synod of Lakes and Prairies is on Facebook and Twitter. The synod's Facebook group
has more than 240 members and there are frequent updates about news within the synod as well as the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The synod is also on Twitter, tweeting as @lakesprairies. Those on Facebook are able and invited to join the group. Those on Twitter are invited to follow.


Synod administers loan fund
for presbyteries, churches
The Synod of Lakes and Prairies administers a $5.5 million loan fund in support of congregation capital and major renovation projects including down-payment assistance to relocating presbytery staff. Congregations are invited to contact the synod when it's time to borrow for a new capital project. The synod relies on the loan application form of the Presbyterian Investment & Loan Program. The loan application can be found on the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) website. Additional information is available from J. Jay Wilkinson, stated clerk and treasurer of the synod, at or 651.357.1140 (ext. 205).
Conferences, camps & other resources

Bates Russell elected president of PCCCA board

Elise Bates RussellElise Bates Russell, associate director of Clearwater Forest, a Presbyterian camp and conference center near Deerwood, Minn., has been elected president of the board of the Presbyterian Church Camp and Conference Association. The Association includes more than 120 camps and conference centers and now includes Presbyterian camps in Canada. Bates Russell has served as secretary of the board for the past two years. The complete story is at "Bates Russell."



Stewardship Kal'Stewardship Kaleidoscope' event planned in March

The annual "Stewardship Kaleidoscope" event, "Generosity for Every Generation," is slated March 11-13 in St. Louis. The event will include sessions on an analysis of congregational giving, giving through technology, stewardship in small churches and more. Details can be found at "Kaleidoscope."


Synod's Presbyterian Women set

2013 Gathering in Storm Lake
Presbyterian Women in the Synod of Lakes and Prairies have planned their 2013 Gathering for Wednesday through Saturday, June 13-15, at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa. Details are in a flyer at "Gathering." 

Big Tent planned this summer in Louisville

Big Tent At least 10 national conferences within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will take place in one location at one time this summer when the Big Tent comes to Louisville. Planned Thursday through Friday, Aug. 1-3, the Big Tent gathers Presbyterian pastors, elders and other church leaders to study, share, worship and fellowship. Conferences planned at the Big Tent are those of Evangelism and Church Growth; Compassion, Peace and Justice; Healthy Ministries; National Elders; National Multicultural Church; Presbyterian Communicators Network; Racial Ethnic and Immigrants Convocation; Seminary Support Network; Theology, Worship and Education; and World Mission. Details can be found at "Big Tent."


Barnabas Leadership Cohort deadline approaches

The Barnabas Leadership Cohort, coming in April to Camp Calvin Crest in Fremont, Neb., will help leaders "Grow in their understanding of the essential practices of effective leaders, ... discover leadership strengths and areas for growth, ... [and] reinforce leadership competencies and capacities," and there's more, including a reduced fee for the first 12 Presbyterians who register. The first session of the Barnabas Leadership Cohort, a program of the Vital Churches Institute, Pittsburgh, Pa., runs April 2-3 and the registration deadline is March 1. The cohort will meet for two days twice a year for two years. Details can be found at "Barnabas." An application form is also available. Additional questions can be addressed to Bob Houser, general presbyter of the Presbytery of Central Nebraska at 308.236.6996, or by email


Homestead plans 'Effective

Communication' workshop at Calvin Crest

Communications Workshop Building communication skills for church support staff and volunteers is the thrust of a day-long series of workshops planned at Camp Calvin Crest in Fremont, Neb., Wednesday, April 24. Sponsored by the Homestead Presbytery Congregational & Leader Development Ministry and Mission Task Group, the workshops will address skills and practices related to printed materials, websites and social media. Kris Peterson, congregational resource coordinator for Homestead Presbytery, and Duane Sweep, associate for communications for the Synod of Lakes and Prairies, are workshop leaders. Additional details are at "Effective Communication."


Church Growth Leadership Summit

planned in April in Lincoln

Growth workshop logo A two-day Church Growth Leadership Summit, designed to offer practical strategies for church growth, is planned Monday and Tuesday, April 8-9, at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Lincoln, Neb. Among the speakers are Mark DeVries, founder of Youth Ministry Architects; Joel Sartore, a National Geographic photographer; Charles Arn, president of the American Society of Church Growth; and Candace Hill, coordinator of education ministries of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The summit is sponsored by The Grow Project in partnership with the Omaha Seminary Foundation, the Synod of Lakes and Prairies, and the presbyteries of Homestead, Central Nebraska and Missouri River Valley. Additional details are available at "Church Growth."


NEXT Church national gathering

planned in Charlotte in March

Next Church Gathering The NEXT Church national gathering is slated Monday and Tuesday, March 4-5, in Charlotte, N.C., around the theme "Born Again." NEXT Church, according to its website, "is a network of leaders across the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) who believe the church of the future will be more relational, more diverse, more collaborative, more hopeful and more agile." Information about the national gathering can be found at "National Gathering."


IRMS offers online searching, reservations

IRMSLOGO Visitors to the website of Iowa Religious Media Services can search for a specific resource, discover resources that will meet specified needs or browse the collection. When the search is over, resources can be added to the cart. An IRMS staff member will confirm that a resource is available and, if the resource is unavailable at a specific time, contact users to determine if an alternative resource can be substituted or if a later date is possible. IRMS is also supported in part by the Synod of Lakes and Prairies. Details about the IRMS catalog are available at "Reservations."


Resource Center for Churches lists

new resources for February

Resource Center Logo The Resource Center for Churches, an ecumenical resource center located in the Church Center in Minneapolis, regularly updates its materials. Supported in part by the Synod of Lakes and Prairies, its February newsletter notes, "Lillian Daniel makes a case for church-based spirituality in "When Spiritual But Not Religious Is Not Enough: Seeing God in Surprising Places, Even in Church." ... In "Cracking the Codes: The System of Racial Inequity" in a new DVD from World Trust." The newsletter can be found at "February Resources."


Synod is home to 5 camps,

conference, retreat centers

The five Presbyterian-related camps, conference and retreat centers across the Synod of Lakes and Prairies are already planning for the summer, and most of these camps are open all year. Clearwater Forest  near Deerwood, Minn., in the heart of the state's lake country, is a shared camp and retreat ministry of the presbyteries of the Twin Cities Area, Minnesota Valleys, Northern Plains and Northern Waters, and the Synod of Lakes and Prairies. The Presbyterian Camp on Okoboji, located on the shores of Lake Okoboji in northwestern Iowa, is a ministry of the presbyteries of North Central Iowa, Prospect Hill and Minnesota Valleys. Calvin Crest Camp, Conference & Retreat Center is affiliated with Homestead Presbytery and located just outside Fremont Neb. Camp Wyoming, outside Wyoming, Iowa, and nearly equidistant from Cedar Rapids, Davenport and Dubuque, Iowa, is a mission of the Presbytery of East Iowa. During the summer, campers can find Camp Rimrock and Pioneer Camp in the Black Hills of South Dakota - a mission of the Presbytery of South Dakota.
Colleges, universities & seminaries

UDTSLogoDeadline is March 1

for discerning-call session

The process of discerning and exploring a call to ministry and mission is a great adventure. According to the website of the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary website, "It is a journey that is best undertaken with a little help from friends and others who are familiar with the various twists and turns that you may encounter along the path." The seminary plans to conduct its semiannual "Exploring a Call to Seminary Conference" Wednesday to Friday, March 13-15, and the registration deadline is March 1. Details can be found at "Exploration."


Lecture provides view

of addiction, recovery

MoyersWilliam Cope Moyers, author of "Now What?" will look at the journey of addicts and loved ones through addiction to recovery when he speaks Thursday, March 14, at 7:30 p.m. in Bigelow Chapel at United Seminary of the Twin Cities. Moyers is vice president for public affairs and community relations at Hazelden, Center City, Minn., one of the world's largest and most respected alcohol and drug addiction treatment centers. Additional information is available at "Recovery."

News from the Board of Pensions

BOP Healthcare Committee postpones

dues restructure recommendation

BOP Connections Logo An announcement in "Board Connections," a newsletter of the Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), notes, "Voices from throughout the Church have been responding to communications by the Board of Pensions about a potential restructuring of healthcare dues for the Medical Plan Traditional Program for active members. From pastors to mid council staff to churches and other employers, we have heard many voices through many channels. We want you to know that we are listening. The Healthcare Committee has decided to reconsider portions of its proposal to better accommodate the thoughtful and heartfelt concerns you have raised and consider alternatives that seek to better balance the needs of all -- members, dues payers and the plan itself." The complete announcement can be found at "Reconsider."

News around the PC(USA)

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance

responds in Mississippi

In the wake of a tornado that tore through southern Mississippi Feb. 10, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance has deployed two National Response Teams to Hattiesburg, where a church and the Presbytery of Mississippi office have been damaged. No lives were lost; about 80 people were injured and hundreds of homes were destroyed or damaged. The office of the Presbytery of Mississippi was blown off its foundation and moved six feet. Westminster Presbyterian Church lost its roof and experienced other damage to its building. The response teams will stay in Hattiesburg for at least a week, working with local leaders to assess the damage and provide support. The complete Presbyterian News Service story is at "Hattiesburg."


Catholic, Reformed churches

agree to recognize baptisms

Leaders of Catholic and Reformed churches have signed an agreement to recognize each other's sacraments of baptism, a public step toward unity among groups that are often divided by doctrine. "Baptism establishes the bond of unity existing among all who are part of Christ's body and is therefore the sacramental basis for our efforts to move towards visible unity," reads the "Common Agreement on Mutual Recognition of Baptism." The document was signed, after seven years of discussion, at a worship service Jan. 29 at St. Mary Cathedral in Austin, Texas, which opened the annual meeting of Christian Churches Together in the USA, an ecumenical network created in 2001. The complete story can be found at "Baptism." 


GreenFaith, PC(USA) collaborate

in certification program

GreenFaith and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)'s Environmental Ministries announced collaboration on certification earlier this month that invites Presbyterian churches into the GreenFaith Certification Program. The program offers an opportunity to enhance and expand the earth care ministries of Presbyterian congregations and to build on the PC(USA)'s Earth Care Congregations program. The GreenFaith Certification Program will help Presbyterian congregations meet the requirements of PC(USA) Earth Care Congregations certification while also introducing them to interfaith approaches to caring for the earth and connecting them to other houses of worship. The complete story is available at "Environment."


MRTI approves resolutions

to align investments, church policy

With one eye on an approaching blizzard and the other on its meaty agenda, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)'s Mission Responsibility Through Investment Committee approved a host of shareholder resolutions Feb. 8 designed to put the denomination's investments where its beliefs are. MRTI's resolutions guide PC(USA) investors - chief among them the Board of Pensions and the Presbyterian Foundation - in voting their shareholder proxies consistent with the church's social policies. The complete Presbyterian News Service story is at "Investments."


David Chai honored as APCE

Educator of the Year

Widely recognized for his contributions toward Christian education in Asian-American congregations, the Rev. David Chai was honored as 2013's Educator of the Year by the Association of Presbyterian Church Educators Feb. 8. "What an honor to be an Educator of the Year," Chai said. "I would like to share this honor with my fellow Asian-American and Canadian church educators." A founding pastor of Korean Community Presbyterian Church and Korean Presbyterian Church of Rockville, Md., Chai also served the General Assembly for 16 years as associate for Asian-American leadership. The complete Presbyterian News Service story is at "APCE."

Just one more

Pastoral beards are illustrated in 'Out of Ur'

Illustrated by Kyle Rohane, the Leadership Journal's "Out of Ur" website featured a "field guide for pastoral facial hair." Its Feb. 14 entry notes, "The ministry beard has a long and glorious history among preachers, theologians and everyday men of the cloth. A skilled observer can identify nuances of theology, polity and diet from a pastor's beard." You can find the artwork at "Facial Hair."