In This Issue
News around the Synod of Lakes and Prairies
Conferences, camps & other resources
News of colleges and seminaries
News of 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



August 15, 2014

News around the Synod of Lakes and Prairies

Synod School draws 617 to worship, classes, fun

They came to Synod School from Belfast, Northern Ireland, and Bergkamen, Germany, in the east and from Santa Ana, Calif., and Seattle in the west. They came from Hallock, Minn., in the north and all the way from Bradenton, Fla., in the south.

All in all, 617 people found their way to the Synod of Lakes and Prairies' Synod School 2014 at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa.


Those who attended took part in worship, classes and fun. With the theme, "Becoming God's Next Church," Synod School heard a series of presentations from Anna Case-Winters, professor of theology at McCormick Theological Seminary, address the intersection of science and theology. Her presentation outlines and slides can be found at "Convocation."


Synod School Wild GooseIn the mornings Scott and Pam Prouty - along with their family - led worshipers through a series of holidays, including Easter, Christmas and Thanksgiving. During evening worship, the Holy Spirit - through the Wild Goose - (see the artwork of Howard Chapman here and in Synod School's Facebook group) - flowed through the chapel.


And this year - just as in other years - more than 60 classes provided a range of options for Synod School-goers. The classes ran all the way from "The Joy of Smoking Meat" to "The Pastor's Spouse" to "Bonhoeffer and the Reconfiguration of Christianity" to the ever-popular "God at the Box Office."


The attendees included 186 children, and 142 who were making their first trip to Synod School.


Seeking, finding a church in western North Dakota

Keri Shelton, minister of pastoral care in the Presbytery of the Northern Plains, writes in the August issue of the Light of the Northern Plains, the presbytery's newsletter: "For vacation this year my family and I headed to Medora. As a part of our adventure we rented a small cabin near Rhame, N.D. ... As we traveled down dusty gravel roads we found ourselves surrounded by rolling hills, rocky outcrops, sheep, and the occasional prong horn galloping across the prairie. ... There sitting on a lonely hill, surrounded by grazing cattle and horses was a little white church. ... [We] discovered that the church was not locked. As we entered the sanctuary we were surrounded by the presence of the Holy Spirit. The wooden pews, the pump organ, and the rail around the pulpit had clearly seen many people come and go." Shelton's complete column can be found on Page 2 of the Light of the Northern Plains.


Jim Brasel named acting

executive presbyter in TCA

The Rev. Jim Brasel, an honorably retired teaching elder in the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area, has been named the presbytery's acting executive presbyter. Brasel officially begins serving in that capacity Sept. 1. He has served in a variety of interim positions, most recently at Presbyterian Church of the Way in Shoreview, Minn. He earned his Master of Divinity degree from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and a doctorate from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. A more complete biography can be found at "Jim Brasel."


Twin Cities minister interviewed

for podcast on writing site  Dean Seal podcast

Dean Seal, executive artistic director for Forgiveness 360 and an adjunct professor of religious studies at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, was interviewed recently by the podcast, "Shake up your Writing." Seal, also a Presbyterian minister, noted the podcast addresses "writing, and theology and the arts, and the sacred stories that we learn and teach and tell." The podcast is at "Stories with Meaning."


PNS features new worshiping  Through the Lens

community in South Dakota

Cathy Newcomb was on a spiritual journey when she decided to try connecting with God through an activity that she had only done professionally, not personally - photography. That initial step has led to Through the Lens, a new worshiping community in Sioux Falls, S.D. Through the Lens was recently awarded a $7,500 grant from the Presbyterian Mission Agency as part of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)'s 1001 New Worshiping Communities initiative. Last fall, Newcomb, a professional photographer and teacher at a Christian preschool, began taking contemplative photo walks after her pastor suggested the book, "Eyes of the Heart: Photography as a Christian Contemplative Practice." The complete Presbyterian News Service story can be found at "Through the Lens."


Church of All Nations offers pastoral

training as alternative to ordination

Church of All Nations logo Presbyterians Today magazine, which features seminary education in its August issue, includes an article about Church of All Nations in Columbia Heights, Minn., and its seminary program that offers pastoral training as an alternative to ordination. The story opens, "As if doing church a different way weren't enough, the Church of All Nations - a vibrant, multicultural church in suburban Minneapolis - is now doing seminary a different way. The church already had a reputation for innovation, with its practice of testimony sharing in worship, its unique pastoral internship program, and its oversight of eight intentional Christian communities, including one in the church building. But its most recent innovation is Underground Seminary." The complete story can be found at "Underground Seminary."


Collegiate ministries, churches

seek information of students in town

UKirk, PCUSA, Collegiate Ministry Every year, when fall arrives or is at least on the horizon, many students leave their homes and home churches, and move away to attend colleges and universities. Every year, there are many missed connections between ministries in those college and university towns and students who make that move away from their home church. There are ways to encourage that connection. Parents, ministers and youth leaders in home churches - along with students themselves - can find churches near where they attend school. Many Presbyterian churches are associated with a specific collegiate ministry in a "college town." Other collegiate ministries - and chaplains at Presbyterian-related colleges and universities, and at many other private schools - can typically be found under student organizations at respective campus websites. Another excellent resource is UKirk, the network of collegiate ministries supported by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). It can be found at "UKirk." It's also on Facebook.

Conferences, camps & other resources

Tollefson lectures scheduled

in October, feature Adrian Bird

Adrian Bird, visiting professor of church history at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Charlotte, N.C., will present two lectures in the Robert and Barbara Tollefson Reformed Lecture Series at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, Monday, Oct. 27. The lectures are slated at 3 and 7 p.m. in Siebens Forum on the university's campus. Bird teaches courses in missiology, Christian history and the Christian encounter with world religions. Details about the lectures can be found at "Tollefson Lectures."


OWLS plan fall celebration  OWLS logo

next month at Calvin Crest

The Older, Wiser, Livelier Saints (or OWLS) have planned what they call a "fly-in" Tuesday and Wednesday, Sept. 16-17, at Calvin Crest Camp, Conference and Retreat Center near Fremont, Neb. The OWLS event announcement notes the event will be "two fun-filled, enlightening, spiritual days." Details of the event and registration materials can be found through "Fall Celebration."


ARMSS/POAMN conference

planned in October in Missouri

The joint conference of the Association of Retired Ministers, Spouses and Survivors, and the Presbyterian Older Adult Ministry Network will take place Oct. 14-17 in Excelsior, Mo. The Rev. Nancy Copeland-Payton, author of "The Losses of Our Lives: The Sacred Gifts of Renewal in Everyday Loss," will be the keynote speaker. Details are in the brochure at "Joint Conference."


Resource Center Logo Resource Center for Churches

publishes new newsletter

The Resource Center for Churches, located in the Church Center in Minneapolis, recently published its latest newsletter, including plenty of resources for churches heading into the start of a new Christian education season. The new newsletter can be found at "Curriculum Resources."


At IRMS, Hollywood meets Christianity

IRMSLOGO Hollywood meets Christianity in Stephen Skelton's resources that focus on the intersection of culture and Christianity. "InSight: Harry Potter" looks at Harry Potter quotes and story imagery, developing a biblical response senior high students and adults will enjoy. "The John Wayne Movie Bible Study" is a four-session resource that takes the same approach to this movie icon.


'Being Reformed' study tied to 1001 initiative

1001 A new "Being Reformed: Faith Seeking Understanding" study for adults, published by Congregational Ministries Publishing, explores the Presbyterian Mission Agency initiative of 1001 new worshiping communities. The PMA initiative to establish 1001 new worshiping communities is an expression of the church's response to challenges and opportunities of present day social and cultural shifts. The complete announcement from Congregational Ministries Publishing can be found at "Study for Adults."


'Being Reformed' offers training

resources for leaders
Ruling elders workbooks from the "Being Reformed: Faith Seeking Understanding" series are now available from Congregational Ministries Publishing of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). "Ruling Elders: Workbook One: Formation" guides newly appointed leaders through the discernment process and helps them come to terms with election to office, preparation for ordered ministry, ordination, and installation as a ruling elder on the session. "Ruling Elders: Workbook Two: Transformation" introduces six aspects of becoming a transformational leader: embracing change and discomfort, practicing spiritual discernment, approaching work as worship, keeping the Sabbath, practicing and promoting spiritual disciplines, and committing to self-awareness. The complete announcement from Congregational Ministries Publishing is at "Leadership."


Joint publishing collaboration

announced in POINT newsletter

POINT newsletter Congregational Ministries Publishing and Presbyterian Publishing Corporation have begun collaborating in joint distribution of all resources. Through the new website,, the two publishing organizations will offer the opportunity to manage accounts and track orders, while still allowing churches of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) the convenience of billing to current accounts. The latest POINT newsletter, the publication of the Presbyterians Organized in Nurture and Teaching, can be found at "Collaboration."


2014 Peacemaking Advent devotional

written by Israel-Palestine tour participants

Israel/Palestine has been on the minds and hearts of many Presbyterians this year, especially in light of recent increased violence there and the 221st General Assembly's vote on divestment. About 100 Presbyterians also traveled to the region this spring as part of the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program's Mosaic of Peace tour.  Now, some of their reflections are available to the larger church as part of the Peacemaking Program's 2014 Advent devotional. "Proclaiming the Good News of God's Peace" contains 26 devotions written by Mosaic of Peace participants. The complete Presbyterian News Service story is at "Advent Devotional."


2014 Presbyterian Giving Catalog will arrive soon

Gifts through last year's Presbyterian Giving Catalog had an impact around the world in areas like sustainable sources of food and water, bedding and education. Now the Presbyterian Mission Agency of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is launching the new 2014 Giving Catalog and there are even more opportunities to share God's love. The same great gifts from last year are still available, as well as new items. PMA plans to release the new catalog in early fall. The complete announcement can be found at "Giving."
News of colleges and seminaries

UDTS offers 'Prayer for Pastors' online

Kneeling with Giants Hansen The University of Dubuque Theological Seminary is offering Gary Neal Hansen's class, "Prayer for Pastors," online beginning Sept. 15. The course is open to all ministers, but there are also a limited number of scholarships available for pastors of small churches, available through a grant from the Louisville Institute's Christian Faith and Life Program. Hansen, associate professor of church history at the seminary, is the author of "Kneeling with Giants: Learning to Pray with History's Best Teachers." Details are at "Pastor Prayers
News of the Board of Pensions

Board of Pensions newsletter

to replace many of its emails

BOP Connections Logo Board Connections, a newsletter launched by the Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), will replace many of the BOP's email announcements. Announcing the first issue last week, the BOP noted, "You'll still receive some emails from us regarding urgent or time-sensitive matters, but otherwise, the newsletter will keep you up to date on what you need to know." The inaugural issue can be found at "Connections."
News around the PC(USA)

Gamm writes column called 'great co-mission'

Marilyn Gamm PCUSA Marilyn Gamm, a teaching elder in the Presbytery of Milwaukee and recently named chair of the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board, is writing a monthly column called the "Great Co-Mission." In the inaugural issue, she notes, "Presbyterians have long valued education, particularly quality public education. For this reason, the Presbyterian Mission Agency - through its World Mission and its Compassion, Peace, and Justice ministry areas - has just launched a new 'co-mission' initiative called 'Educate a Child, Transform the World.' Our goal is to help 1 million children move out of poverty through strategic worldwide education endeavors over the next six years." The complete column is at "Collective Impact."


Rada writes of breadth, depth of PC(USA)

Heath Rada Heath Rada, moderator of the 221st General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), writing in a column released earlier this week, notes several highlights early in his term. "Next came a trip to the White House," he notes, "where we witnessed President Obama signing legislation that prevents discrimination against employees of the federal government based on gender orientation or related matters. One of the highlights was having so many people thank the PC(USA) for its ongoing attention to issues of justice. These weren't people who were saying they appreciated us for supporting gay marriage. They knew what we had done at our General Assembly, and expressed gratitude that we made provisions for people to follow their conscience rather than imposing restrictions on people, no matter which side they were on." Rada's complete column can be found at "Breadth and Depth."


Christine Hong offers tips

for meaningful interfaith relationships

Who was Lao Tzu? What is a Sikh house of worship called? What is the name for the teachings of Buddha? What is the sacred river for Hindus? What are the five pillars of Islam? Needless to say, participants in a workshop entitled "Faithful Discipleship in an Interreligious World" at the 2014 Evangelism and Church Growth Conference of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) struggled to varying degrees to come up with answers to these and other questions posed by Christine Hong, the denomination's associate for interfaith relations. "If you're not learning something every day, you are not doing interfaith relations right," Hong told workshop participants reassuringly. The complete Presbyterian News Service story is at "Interfaith."


PC(USA) moderator addresses

evangelism conference

The annual Evangelism and Church Growth Conference kicked off at St. Pete Beach, Fla., this month with a welcome and opening prayer from Heath Rada, moderator of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)'s 221st General Assembly. "In my many travels this summer, this is the only place I asked to come," Rada told some 500 Presbyterians gathered for "Go. Disciple. Live." - this year's conference theme. "I wanted to be a part of this conference I've heard so much about to participate in the extraordinary work these folks do," Rada said. The complete story is at "Evangelism."


Ebola virus frontline caregivers

face deadly dangers in their work

Many of the people helping in the fight against the deadly Ebola disease are priests, religious people and educators playing the role of caregivers to the stricken. The Ebola outbreak has created a quandary for some of the people most directly in danger: religious and other volunteer groups, whose members are on the front lines of the relief effort, NBC News reports. And Laura Sheahen of Caritas Internationalis told Vatican Radio the situation is deteriorating on the ground, despite the best efforts of first responders. The complete story, written by Peter Kenny of Ecumenical News, can be found at "Ebola."


'Presbyinnovate' newsletter

notes increase in regional reps

Presbyinnovate 1001 Two new teams have joined the national "Presbyinnovate" team to "equip organizations, churches and leaders joining the movement of 1001 New Worshiping Communities," according to the announcement in the Presbyinnovate newsletter. The team assists with "coaching, leadership assessments and discernment conversations about next steps," the newsletter notes. The complete newsletter is at "Presbyinnovate."

Just one more
It's Mental_Floss -- again
Mental Floss Magazine Your editor might be going out on a mission. Well, not really. But we admit that Number 1 on the list of "11 Disappearing Smells" got our attention - spirit duplicators. We started to think about "Ghost Busters" when we really should have been thinking about "ditto" machines. And, yes, we now want to that fluid. And we are really curious. Who uses it? The story, by the way, is at "Disappearing Smells."