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

Presbyterian News Service



May 15, 2014

News around the Synod of Lakes and Prairies

Summary, dues assistance,

task-force report all available online

Synod LogoAn unofficial summary of the spring Synod of Lakes and Prairies' meeting that ended April 29 can be found on the synod's website. The summary includes information about the report from the synod's Future of the Synod Task Force, a healthcare dues assistance plan, SDOP grants, collegiate ministry grants, officer elections and more. In addition to the summary, there are copies of the complete report from the "Future" task force and the complete Medical Dues Assistance Plan. It's all available at "Meeting Summary." The Presbyterian News Service also published a story about the "Future" task force at "Discerning."


Central Nebraska names

Traylor as transitional executive

The Rev. Charles "Chuck" Traylor, at right with his wife, Sarah, has been called by the Presbytery Council of the Presbytery of Central Nebraska to serve as that presbytery's transitional executive presbyter. A Texas native, Traylor is described as a fourth-career minister, having served in restaurant management, sporting goods management and journalism before entering the ministry. He also served as executive presbyter for the Presbytery of the Northern Plains. The complete announcement from Central Nebraska can be found at "Traylor."


Synod School: Less than 3 months away

Synod School 2014 catalog coverRegistrations for this summer's version of Synod School, the midsummer ministry of the Synod of Lakes and Prairies, now number well over 500 (the number still changes from day to day). Synod School 2014 runs July 27 until noon Aug. 1. And there's still time to register. Everything necessary for registration, including catalog, can be found at "Synod School." And, for those really curious about the number of days remaining, there's often an update in the Synod School Facebook group. notes first

report of harvested vegetables

It's happened. The first vegetable harvest of the season - at least one for one of the garden projects in - took place in Palestine, Ill., Just Good Food Community Garden. The gardeners there harvested more than 3 pounds of radishes. And about, it's for congregations looking for ways to establish or strengthen a partnership with organizations that provide fresh food to those in need. It does that through planting gardens, building community and distributing food. It is a project of the synods of Lakes and Prairies, Lincoln Trails and Mid-America. It can be found on Facebook and has a Web site.


Spring issue of 'The Sower' on synod site

Marilyn Stone, moderator of Presbyterian Women in the Synod of Lakes Sower Logo and Prairies, writes in the spring edition of The Sower newsletter, "As I review our 2013 end-of-the-year reports, I realize that Presbyterian Women in the Synod of Lakes and Prairies were not reluctant to give in 2013! Lives around the world have been changed because you have shared your time, talents, and financial gifts. Support for mission as well as justice and peace projects are remarkable." Stone's complete column and the rest of The Sower can be found at "Presbyterian Women."


Ebenezer Presbyterian congregation

celebrates companion animals

Animals We Love book The congregation of Ebenezer Presbyterian Church in George, Iowa, commemorates and celebrates its companion animals - both living and departed - in a book written by Paul Soderquist, interim pastor of the congregation, with the congregation. The book, "The Animals We Love - The Animals of Ebenezer," contains 45 animal biographies and photographs. It highlights a 2013 blessing of the animals at the church. Book details can be found at "Animals."

Conferences, camps & other resources

Festival of Homiletics takes place

in Minneapolis May 19-23

The Festival of Homiletics, a weeklong conference that brings together a variety of preachers and professors of homiletics for a discourse about Festival of Homiletics preaching, worship and culture, runs Monday through Friday, May 19-23, in Minneapolis. According to the Festival's website, "Individual preachers are invited to consider various styles and methodologies of preaching in the hopes that they will renew their faith and refresh their spirits through engaging worship, lectures and workshops. Throughout the week we aim to inspire preachers in their roles of proclaiming the gospel." Details about the event can be found at "Homiletics."


Administrative Personnel Association

APA logo sets regional conference in July

The Administrative Personnel Association Greater Midwest Region will conduct its 2014 conference July 27-29 at First Presbyterian Church in Lincoln, Ill. Vicki Thordsen of Waterloo, Iowa, is president of the Greater Midwest Region. APA classes will be available to all members. Event details can be found in the brochure at "Greater Midwest Region."


Camps across synod gear up for summer sessions

There are five Presbyterian camps in the Synod of Lakes and Prairies - actually six, if one counts the two camps of the Presbytery of South Dakota - Rimrock and Pioneer. And all of them are getting ready for summer. Camp Wyoming of Wyoming, Iowa, also uses a variety of social media. Calvin Crest Camp, Conference & Retreat Center is just outside Fremont, Neb., and it has a Facebook presence. Then, of course, there is Clearwater Forest near Deer River, Minn., a multi-presbytery and synod camp. It's on Facebook at Clearwater. And on Lake Okoboji in Iowa, there is the newly renamed Lakeshore Center at Okoboji and it's on Facebook, too. Speaking of those two camps in South Dakota, both are in the beautiful Black Hills region and both can be found in the same location online.


Church Administration Institute

offered this summer through OPSF

The fourth annual Church Administration Institute, a collaborative project of the Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation and the School of Public Affairs at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, will be offered as a distance education program July 23 through Aug. 29. It is designed to address church leaders' needs in key administration areas, including leadership, human resource management, grant writing, legal issues, and financial reporting and controls. Details can be found at "Administration."


Theocademy: Forming faith anytime, anywhere

For those who might be looking for a way to train ruling elders or those who are looking for new-member class material, Theocademy might Theocademy have some answers. According to its Web site, Theocademy "wants to provide members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) with the finest theological education they can get short of attending one of our 10 seminaries. Currently, we are working on two sets of video lessons, one for use in new-member classes and a second for helping ruling elders and deacons better understand the ministry they have been called to. It's a project of the Synod of Mid-America, with help from the partner synods of Lakes and Prairies, and Lincoln Trails, and more - Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation, Heartland Center, University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, Louisville Theological Seminary and McCormick Theological Seminary. It's all at "Theocademy."


Everyday prayer practices

are subject of 1-day retreat

Sponsored by the Minnesota Institute of Contemplation and Healing (MICAH), Oak Grove Lutheran Church in Richfield, Minn., will be the site of a one-day retreat Saturday, June 14,  titled "Prayer Practices for Everyday Life." The retreat runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  The MICAH Web site notes, "Many of us long for a deeper relationship with God but aren't sure how to get there. We are busy, stressed, often unfocused. Where is God in the midst of our everyday life? This one day retreat will help equip you to continue on your deepening journey of faith." Details are at "Everyday Prayer."


Presbyterians Today publishes 

special edition on young adult ministry

Including an article that questions the traditional format of Sunday Presbyterians Today school, Presbyterians Today magazine has published a special edition that addresses youth ministry. Addressing millennials, the article notes, "They also are on track to be the most educated generation in history. Millennials no longer need (or believe they need) experts - including those in the church - to pass on information from on high. They can listen to a TED talk for cutting-edge information on a wide variety of topics. Christian education, therefore, has to offer something that no YouTube video can: whole-life transformation. Regrettably, many congregations continue to employ the traditional Sunday school model - designed to transmit information that millennials no longer seek." The complete story, and others in the special issue, can be found at "Not Interested in Sunday School."


Western National Leadership

Training event set this fall

The Western National Leadership Training event this fall - "Grieving Loss, Embracing Hope" - runs Sept. 29-Oct. 1 at Jackson Hole (Wyo.) Presbyterian Church. Ken McFayden, professor of ministry and leadership development at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, Va., will be the plenary speaker. The complete event brochure, which contains registration information, can be found at "Western National Leadership Training."


IRMS resources have a definite spring sound

Iowa Religious Media Services, an ecumenical resource center in Urbandale, Iowa, supported in part by the Synod of Lakes and Prairies, IRMSLOGO has a number of resources that evoke the thought of spring - maybe summer. They write, "Just in time for spring, a new series sprouts. 'Seed Pack' is a six-part exploration of planting seeds for spiritual practices such as Enough, Control, Armor, and more." There is also "Seeds Dirt Fruit," an inter-generational resource that raises the questions of nurturing seeds and bearing fruit. And there's more. "Planting the Seeds of Peace" is designed for lower elementary through junior high students and includes mini-dramas, cartoons and on-the-street interviews about getting along with those who are not like one's self. And, too, there's "Growing Seeds of Faith: 26 Children's Sermons," 10-minute lessons that focus on scripture and how to apply it to life.


McFayden to lead leadership webinar

Ken McFayden, dean of the Leadership Institute and professor of ministry and leadership development at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, Va., will lead a webinar Tuesday, May 20, on new perspectives of leadership grounded in discipleship. The webinar, planned at 1 p.m. CDT, will also be made available in on-demand replay or DVD. The website of The Presbyterian Outlook, host to the webinar, notes, "For years, we have participated in conversations about leadership-a desire for better leaders, more entrepreneurial leaders, adaptive leaders. Too often, our conversations have espoused cultural values about leadership and have forgotten the identity of Christian leaders as disciples of Jesus, as people who first are followers." Details can be found at "Leadership."


Congregational Ministries Publishing Congregational Ministries

Publishing seeks partners

Congregational Ministries Publishing, the denominational curriculum publisher of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), is asking presbyteries and synods planning leadership events if they would be interested in a workshop in the fall of this year or the spring and summer of 2015 to introduce its new children's curriculum, "Growing in Grace & Gratitude." If there is interest, event leaders are invited to contact CMP with the dates and location of the event. CMP acknowledges that it cannot guarantee acceptance of every invitation, but all will be considered. CMP can be found online at "Publishing." Additional resources, including tools to help congregations evaluate curriculum and plan educational ministry, can be found at "2014 POINT Ministry Guide."


Foundation's Stewardship Resource

Center is partner for congregations

Foundation logo In a recent newsletter, the Presbyterian Foundation pointed to its Stewardship Resource Center, where it notes, "The Presbyterian Foundation is your partner for congregational stewardship. ... This site is your starting point for training, discussion, tools and resources, and ongoing support as you work to build a culture of generous giving in your congregation." The online material is at "Stewardship Resource Center."


Foundation newsletter looks

at 'odd' worship element: the offering

The May 1 edition of The Pastor's Life, a newsletter of the Presbyterian Foundation, "'The Offering' in our order of worship has long been an odd element. ... It is a bit like baseball's 'seventh inning stretch,' a time to relax and listen to the choir while ushers silently pass plates from row to row. It is a particularly odd element in an age of monthly or even annual giving, on-line giving, and automatic bank withdrawals. Is there any way to rescue the offering?" The complete blog post quoted in the newsletter can be found at "Offering."

News of colleges, universities, seminaries

Columbia Seminary faculty

call for witness to Christian love

The Office of Communication at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Ga., issued a statement last week calling for witness to Christian love. The faculty wrote, in part, "Though proudly a seminary of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), we are not only Presbyterians. We speak as one faculty composed of members of many communions and within hearing of the wider church ... " The complete faculty statement can be found at "Columbia."


Speaker at Pres House  Pres House Logo

addresses faith, service divide

There is a split between faith and service, according to the Rev. Wayne Meisel, who spoke last month at Pres House on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. Meisel, a Presbyterian minister described as an architect of the federal AmeriCorps service program, said faith is a motivator for service work. His presentation was covered Doug Erickson of the Wisconsin State Journal. The complete story can be found at "Meisel at Pres House."


Carroll University receives

Stackner Family Foundation grant

Carroll University has received a three-year, $30,000 grant from the Stackner Family Foundation to create an Interprofessional Wellness Carroll University Logo Program that will address the needs of individuals with cognitive and physical disabilities, a largely underserved niche of the population. The foundation has generously supported health sciences initiatives at Carroll for more than a decade. "We are grateful for the support of the Stackner Family Foundation over these many years," said Douglas N. Hastad, Carroll president. "Together, we have made a difference in the lives of people in our communities with disabilities ... " The complete story from Carroll University can be found at "Stackner."

News from the Board of Pensions

Multiple resources available from Board University

BOP Connections Logo The Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has a number of video resources available through its Board University and they're all free. There is a short list at "Board University."


News around the PC(USA)

PMA board approves 2014-2016 mission budget

The Presbyterian Mission Agency Board last month approved a revised 2014 General Assembly Mission Budget and proposed budgets for 2015 Mission agency and 2016 that PMA Chief Financial Officer Earline Williams said reflect "known factors such as increased health care costs, declining membership resulting in less per capita income and declining contributions from congregations and presbyteries." Upon recommendation of its Finance Committee, the board approved a revised 2014 budget that shows a decrease of $2.6 million from the budget approved in February. The complete Presbyterian News Service story can be found at "Budget."


PDA continues response

to tornadoes in central, southern U.S.

The Presbyterian Disaster Assistance situation report regarding April PDA disaster assistance 2014 tornadoes notes, "Severe thunderstorms moved across the Central and Southern United States April 25 through April 28, 2014. Strong winds, large hail and at least 30 tornadoes were reported. Mayflower and Vilonia, two towns located just northwest of Little Rock, Ark., sustained the most damage from the storm. At least 16 fatalities have been reported in Arkansas. Fatalities were also reported in Oklahoma, Iowa and Kansas." The complete situation report is at "April Tornadoes."


National Black Presbyterian

Caucus dinner to feature J. Herbert Nelson

J Herbert Nelson "A Change is Gonna Come" is the theme of the National Black Presbyterian Caucus dinner at this year's 221st General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The dinner will be held at the Marriott Hotel near Detroit's Cobo Convention Center on Monday, June 16. Keynote speaker for the evening is the Rev. J. Herbert Nelson, director of the PC(USA)'s Office of Public Witness in Washington, D.C. Music will be provided by  Parker Quintet with Opelton Parker featuring vocalist Roy Whitaker. The complete Presbyterian News Service story is at "Black Presbyterian Caucus."


Women church leaders to be hosts

of event at General Assembly

The Women's Leadership Institute and Young Women's Leadership GA 221 LOGO Development Event, taking place during the 221st General Assembly this summer, seeks to empower and guide women in their spiritual and leadership growth. The event is designed for all women in leadership roles throughout the church, including young and immigrant women who are or want to be leaders in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The theme of the conference is "An Abundance of Power: Vulnerability and Power." The complete announcement from the Office of Racial Ethnic and Women's Ministries/Presbyterian Women can be found at "Women Leaders."

Valentine addresses working with young adults

Linda Valentine Linda Valentine, executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, addresses the young-adult connection with this summer's 221st General Assembly, wrote earlier this month, "When we crafted our young adults directional goal - one of six in the mission work plan that guides the work of the Presbyterian Mission Agency - we intentionally stressed "joining" with young adults in the reformation of the church: not doing ministry on their behalf, but rather joining with them in doing Christ's mission." Valentine's complete column can be found at "Young Adults."


Veteran church leader named

Sue Krummel to mid council relations post

The Rev. Susan Davis Krummel has accepted a call to the position of associate for Mid Council Relations, a post shared by the Office of the General Assembly and the Presbyterian Mission Agency of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). "Sue's successful work in congregations and at presbytery and synod levels makes her a perfect fit for this critical position, which facilitates effective partnership ..." said the Rev. Gradye Parsons, stated clerk of the General Assembly. The complete announcement from the Office of the General Assembly can be found at "Krummel."


PMA remits offering share

to churches, presbyteries

Over the next couple of weeks the Presbyterian Mission Agency will begin remitting the portions of gifts to two special offerings - Peacemaking and Pentecost - that are earmarked for congregations and presbyteries within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Fifty percent of Peacemaking Offering gifts will be split evenly between presbyteries and receiving congregations, while 40 percent of Pentecost Offering gifts will be remitted back to congregations. "This process helps illustrate the healthy and growing partnerships that exist throughout the PC(USA)," said Linda Valentine, the PMA's executive director. "We are absolutely pleased to be able to help raise funds for mission through presbyteries and congregations," she added. The complete announcement from Special Offerings of the Presbyterian Mission Agency can be found at "Offerings." 

Just one more

Third languages appear in map from Slate

Mental Floss has been in this space before. The Synod of Lakes and Mental Floss Magazine Prairies is made up primarily of six states - yes, we know there's a portion in Michigan and congregations in Montana, but mostly six - and we find today that three of the "third" languages in those six states came as surprises to your editor. The map is at "Third Languages."