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News around the Synod of Lakes and Prairies
Conferences, camps & other resources
News of colleges, universities, seminaries
News around the PC(USA)
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Presbyterian News Service



January 31, 2014

News around the Synod of Lakes and Prairies

St. Luke youth lead drive

for fossil-fuel divestment overture

Two high school seniors from St. Luke Presbyterian Church in Wayzata appeared before the Jan. 11 meeting of the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area, asking for divestment of the Presbyterian Foundation and Board of Pensions from all fossil fuel company stocks and bonds. The two high cody kirk, preaching, st luke  school students were addressing an overture brought to the presbytery by the sessions of St. Luke Presbyterian and Presbyterian Church of the Apostles, Burnsville, Minn., and that overture is now on its way to be considered by this summer's General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Joy Gresham, a ruling elder and youth group member at St. Luke, opened the overture statement saying this was "an opportunity to act in a new and prophetic way to shift the conversation on climate change." Cody Kirk, another youth group member, closed with the question, "How can we be moral leaders while investing in companies that destroy the planet?" The presbytery passed the overture with a strong voice vote and since then three other presbyteries have passed the same overture. (In the photo above, Cody Kirk preaches at St. Luke.) The complete story, by Teaching Elder Karen Larson, can be found at "Fossil Fuel Divestment."


Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story

looks at amicable Presbyterian split

"In recent years, as Christian denominations voted to allow openly gay and lesbian clergy, hundreds of congregations have broken away to affiliate with more theologically conservative bodies. It is a painful process, fraught often with acrimony, recriminations and lawsuits over property. But a Presbyterian congregation in Sheboygan County and the Presbytery of Milwaukee are trying to forge a new way." That's the way a Jan. 24 article, written by Annysa Johnson, begins in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The article explores what it calls "negotiating a reconciliation or amicable divorce." The complete Journal Sentinel story can be found at "Unity or Amicable Split." (The newspaper will allow a limited number of free story views.)


Synod's Presbyterian Women

publish latest edition of The Sower

Sower LogoMarilyn Stone, moderator of Presbyterian Women in the Synod of Lakes and Prairies, writes in the January edition of The Sower: "Perhaps your thoughts have also gravitated to persons who lack safe, warm shelter on these cold nights and days, as well as hot, nutritious food to sustain them. ... Another thought that I find myself pondering these days is how more women can become actively involved in Presbyterian Women in our presbyteries and congregations across the generations." Stone's complete column, as well as the complete edition of The Sower, can be found at "Presbyterian Women."

Conferences, camps & other resources

White Privilege Conference set in March in Madison

White privilege conference, MadisonThe 2014 White Privilege Conference, a conference that examines the concepts of privilege and oppression and offers solutions and team-building strategies, is scheduled Wednesday through Saturday, March 26-29, in Madison, Wis. According to the conference Web site, the conference "is a conference designed to examine issues of privilege beyond skin color." The conference "invites diverse perspectives to provide a comprehensive look at issues of privilege including race, gender, sexuality, class, disability ... and how we're all affected by that privilege." Additional details and registration information can be found at "Privilege."


'40 Days for Food Justice'

offers free Lenten resources

The phrase - food justice - can be nebulous because the number of topics covered by the food justice umbrella are so diverse and wide reaching. Enter "40 Days for Food Justice," a free, online Lenten resource for use in teaching, worship or devotional practice. The "40 Days for Food Justice" project will attempt both to acknowledge the diversity of issues, as well as give concrete, personal examples that will allow users to see the people affected by these issues, according to a Web site devoted to the project. The "40 Days of Food Justice" project is supported by the Minnesota Institute of Contemplation and Healing (MICAH) and the Presbytery of the Northern Plains. The project can be found on Facebook and on its Web site, which is being hosted by Patheos.


church growth conference, Project Grow offers practical

strategies to grow church

A group of successful church leaders will share a variety of practical strategies to grow a congregation in a two-day summit at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Lincoln, Neb. Sponsored by the Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation, the Synod of Lakes and Prairies, and the presbyteries of Central Nebraska, Homestead and Missouri River Valley, the event will run Monday and Tuesday, April 28-29. Featured speakers include Tex Sample, a well-known author and storyteller; Shannon Craigo-Snell, professor of theology at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary; and Charles Arn, a well-known author in the field of church growth. Details can be found at "Grow Project."


Summer Pastors School set in July,

registration suggested by March 15

Summer Pastors SchoolThe 58th annual Summer Pastors School will take place Wednesday through Wednesday, July 9-16, at Hastings (Neb.) College and organizers are suggesting that those who want to attend should submit registrations by March 15. Presenters this year include Mary Louise Bringle, professor of philosophy and religion at Brevard (N.C.) College; Philip W. Butin, co-pastor of First United Presbyterian Church of Fayetteville, Ark., and former president of San Francisco Theological Seminary; Daniel G. Deffenbaugh, professor of religion at Hastings College; and David B. McCarthy, professor of religion at Hastings College. The Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation is host to the annual school in conjunction with Hastings College. Additional information and registration materials can be found at "Summer Pastors School."


iPad version of 'Glory to God' is available

Hymnal LogoThere is an iPad edition of the Presbyterian hymnal "Glory to God" that offers, according to a Web site, "razor-sharp music, powerful search capabilities, piano recordings of hymns, interesting information about hymns and their authors, and the ability to access several different versions of hymns including pew, accompaniment, large print, projection, lead sheet, and instrumental (strings, brass, and woodwinds)." The free app includes the pew version of all 235 of the public domain hymns in the new hymnal. There are also options for in-app purchases of other resources. Details can be found at "Glory to God."


7th, 8th grade retreat

planned at Lakeshore Center
It will be a time for faith, discovery, meeting others, and some just plain fun - the seventh- and eighth-grade retreat at Lakeshore Center at Okoboji Friday and Saturday, Feb. 21-22. The Rev. Loren Shellabarger will lead discussions on "What is the Most Important Thing?" Check in will be Feb. 21 at 5 p.m. A flyer is available at "Retreat."


Dungy, resource, IRMSMore football - now Dungy -

offered by IRMS

Iowa Religious Media Services has the popular series, "Uncommon," written by Tony Dungy, a Super Bowl-winning coach and best-selling author. The Super Bowl is finally played Sunday, but this resource will work well beyond the football season. "Uncommon: Finding your path to Significance," "Dare to be Uncommon," and "An Uncommon Event" are a book, DVD and a resource kit in which Dungy shares his lessons in achieving significance and his journey with God.


'NEXT Church' opens at end

of March in Minneapolis

NEXT Church 2014The annual gathering of "NEXT Church," an organization fostering relationships among God's people as it looks to the future of the church, will take place March 31 through April 2 at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis. "NEXT Church" cultivates connections, celebrates emerging leadership and innovation, and works with congregations and leaders to form and reform faith communities. Details about the annual gathering and registration information can be found at "NEXT."


Eco-Palms can be ordered for Holy Week

Eco-palm artworkTo celebrate Palm Sunday, the Presbyterian Hunger Program partners with Eco-Palms to bring branches worthy of celebration. Conventionally, palms are harvested in rainforests that are critical habitats for migrating birds. The more fronds harvesters cut, the more income they generate, which results in over-harvesting and threatens the rainforest. But Eco-Palms ensure fair wages, environmental protection training and development assistance for harvesting communities throughout the rainforests of Guatemala and Mexico.  Palms are harvested sustainably and processed in the harvesting communities, ensuring more of the benefit goes to the workers and towns where the palms are grown.  Last year, almost 1,000 congregations in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) purchased Eco-Palms for Palm Sunday. Additional details and ordering information can be found at "Palm Sunday."


'Stewardship Kaleidoscope' set

in March in St. Louis

Stewardship Kal"Stewardship Kaleidoscope," an annual event established for congregation and mid-council leaders and volunteers, offers an opportunity to explore the many dimensions of Christian stewardship from a Reformed perspective. The event, which will feature about 40 workshops, is planned March 17-19 in St. Louis. Keynote speakers are Karl Travis of First Presbyterian Church in Fort Worth, Texas, and Carol Howard Merritt of Chattanooga, Tenn. Additional information and registration details can be found at "Stewardship."


Annual Rural Ministry Conference

planned in Dubuque

Wartburg Theological Seminary's 33rd annual Rural Ministry Conference is planned March 2-4, focusing this year on "Revitalizing Rural & Small Town Ministries." Wartburg, an Evangelical Lutheran Church in America seminary, is located in Dubuque, Iowa. This year's keynote speaker is Nancy Nyland, director for evangelical mission in the Indiana-Kentucky Synod of the ELCA. The plenary speaker will be Richard "Skip" Shaffer, associate dean and assistant professor of ministry at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary. Additional conference details and registration information can be found at "Rural Ministry."


10th Great Plains Wee Kirk Conference

runs in May in Sioux Falls

Co-sponsored by Presbyterians for Renewal and the Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation, the Great Plains Wee Kirk Conference, set Tuesday through Thursday, May 6-8, is designed to inspire, equip, motivate, encourage and provide rest for pastors and other leaders of small congregations. The conference takes place at the Holiday Inn City Center in Sioux Falls, S.D. Chip Andrus, pastor, and well-known composer and performer, of South Salem (N.Y.) Presbyterian Church, will be this year's worship leader. Details and registration information can be found at "Wee Kirk."

News of colleges, universities, seminaries

UDTS accepting applications for 2014 DM cohort; Christian Leadership Plus courses listed

UDTSLogoThe University of Dubuque Theological Seminary is accepting applications for the 2014 cohort of its Doctor of Ministry degree, a degree designed to help pastors revitalize their own ministry for the renewal of the church. The 2014 cohort will be led by Bradley Longfield, dean and professor of church history at the seminary, and Jerry Andrews, senior pastor of First Presbyterian Church of San Diego. The cohort's emphasis is "The People of God: Being Reformed through Scripture and Prayer in Community." Also, two Christian Leadership Plus courses, designed to inspire, engage and sustain a pastor's ministry, are now being offered. The two, five-week courses are offered online. Information about the Doctor of Ministry cohort and the Christian Leadership Plus courses can both be found at "UDTS."


Faculty at Carroll University

publish book on 'timeless inquiry'

Carroll University LogoIs it actually possible to make contact with God, gods or the divine? A new book published by two Carroll University faculty tackles this timeless inquiry, and its deeper cultural and societal implications. Christopher J. May, associate professor of psychology, and Scott E. Hendrix, assistant professor of history, have collaborated on "Integrative Mysticism," which was recently published by Inter-Disciplinary Press in Oxford, United Kingdom. This volume contains the voices and disciplinary insights of a range of international scholars to explore societal, cultural, and neurobiological elements of mystical traditions. Carroll is one of seven Presbyterian-related institutions of higher education in the Synod of Lakes and Prairies. The complete announcement from Carroll University can be found at "Mystical Traditions."

News around the PC(USA)

PDA honored for Superstorm Sandy relief efforts
PDA disaster assistancePresbyterian Disaster Assistance has been honored by New York Disaster Interfaith Services for its collaborative work in response to Superstorm Sandy. The NYDIS Partnership Award recognized PDA's collaborative work in response to the disaster, particularly on assessments and documentation for volunteer housing. The complete Presbyterian News Service story can be found at "Honored."


MRTI to recommend divestment

from Caterpillar, Hewlett Packard,

Motorola Solutions

The Committee on Mission Responsibility Through Investment has found three corporations - Caterpillar, Hewlett Packard and Motorola Solutions - not in compliance with General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) policy on socially responsible investing and will recommend to the 221st General Assembly this summer in Detroit that these corporations be added to the denomination's divestment list until such a time as their corporate activities are found in accordance with policy. The complete announcement from the Presbyterian Mission Agency can be found at "Divestment."


Mission Agency will look

for new collegiate ministries associate

UKirk, PCUSA, Collegiate MinistryThe Office of Collegiate Ministries in the Presbyterian Mission Agency recently published an update about the activities of the office. The update noted, "We are moving forward with the search for a full-time associate for collegiate ministries. ... A job description is being produced and applications for the position should be posted by March." The complete update can be found at "Collegiate Ministries."
ACSWP continues work
on reports to General Assembly
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)'s Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy spent three days in January refining several hefty reports to the upcoming 221st General Assembly next summer in Detroit. Though not yet in final form, reports on such issues as peace discernment, violence against women in the military, the use of drones in warfare and for surveillance, tax reform and the city of Detroit as a microcosm for urban ills will soon be ready for review by the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board before heading on to the June Assembly. The complete Presbyterian News Service story can be found at "ACSWP."


Special Offerings task force recommends

changes to Peacemaking Offering

Peacemaking offeringThe Special Offerings Advisory Task Force is recommending that the current Peacemaking Offering be converted to a Peace and Global Witness Offering to be collected on World Communion Sunday, Oct. 5 of this year. The task force has submitted its report to the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board and if approved by the board, the report will move to the 221st General Assembly planned in June in Detroit. The complete Presbyterian News Story can be found at "Offering."


Mission co-workers in Europe? Yes, there are

Karen MoritzKaren Moritz serves as a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) mission co-worker in the Czech Republic and recently the Presbyterian Mission Agency published through its news and announcements a piece she wrote for the Mission Yearbook. Moritz notes, "The central reason for having mission personnel in Europe is that we have been invited ... so that these two churches can mutually share and support one another in faith, learn from each other, and jointly contribute to the growth of the Kingdom of God." For the three years before her mission assignment, Moritz was pastor at Cornerstone Campus Ministry, an ecumenical outreach at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her complete column can be found at "Serving in Europe." 

World Communion of Reformed

Churches finds new home in Germany

World Communion of Reformed ChurchesThe World Communion of Reformed Churches has found a new home. On Jan. 12 a service of welcome took place in the Reformed Church of Hanover, followed by a reception and the dedication of the new WCRC offices. In his sermon, the Rev. Jerry Pillay, president of the WCRC told the congregation that "the decision to move out of Geneva (Switzerland) was not an easy one" and that "fears, concerns and anxieties had been expressed during the time of decision." The complete announcement from the World Communion of Reformed Churches can be found at "New Home."


Cuban churches celebrate

week of prayer for Christian unity

A number of factors probably contribute to Cuban Christians' fervent commitment to ecumenism. There is the relative isolation of the island nation due to geo-politics fueled by the 60-year-old U.S. embargo that makes Cuban Christians hunger for ecumenical contact with other churches around the world. There is the sense among all of Cuba's churches - even the dominant Roman Catholic Church - that Christians are a cultural and societal minority in this country and thus must stick together. And there is the deeply rooted commitment to Christian unity that has always been theologically and ecclesiologically central to the Christian churches' self-understanding. The complete Presbyterian News Service story can be found at "Unity."

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