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News around the Synod of Lakes and Prairies
Conferences, camps & other resources
News from the Board of Pensions
News around the PC(USA)
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Synod of Lakes and Prairies

Presbyterian News Service



September 15, 2014

News around the Synod of Lakes and Prairies

Jesus Moses Mohammed Synod meeting scheduled
to cover budget, staffing

The Synod of Lakes and Prairies will address its budget and staffing in addition to other business when it meets Oct. 5-7 at Mount Olivet Conference and Retreat Center near Farmington, Minn. Synod commissioners, staff and friends gather Sunday evening and typically adjourn late Tuesday morning. Synod Moderator Bill Stafford is asking commissioners to read "Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?" a book by Brian McLaren. The book, the call to meeting notes, "will form the basis of a discussion ... and its language will help us in our discussion of the Future of the Synod." Synod commissioners will be reimbursed for purchasing the book, which is available in both electronic and paperback editions - Kindle, Amazon, Nook, Barnes & Noble.The call to meeting notes, "The purposes of the meeting are to elect officers, to hear reports, to worship, to grow in fellowship and to take such actions as are necessary for a synod meeting."


Great Climate March 'March for Climate Action'

crosses synod in July, August

The Great March for Climate Action is currently in Indiana, heading toward Washington, D.C., from Los Angeles, where it started March 1. But through most of July and August the march trekked across the Synod of Lakes and Prairies, entering southwest Nebraska on U.S. Highway 34 near the beginning of July and crossing Iowa during the month of August. Robert Cook, a retired Presbyterian minister from Des Moines, has participated in the march - one of 320 marchers from seven countries - said, "Walking the march is the most difficult thing I have ever done. It hurts my 71-year-old body, especially my knees. The urgency of the crisis we face in global warming makes it essential to my faith to face the challenge the March presents me." The goal of the march, according to its website, is "to change the heart and mind of the American people, our elected leaders and people across the world to act now to address the climate crisis." The march is also on Facebook and Twitter.


Young adults from synod serve as YAVs

YAV logo Two Young Adult Volunteers from the Synod of Lakes and Prairies are currently serving in foreign locations this year. Will Massey, from the Presbytery of East Iowa and a recent graduate of St. Olaf College of Northfield, Minn., and Hannah Weinberg-Kinsey, from the Presbytery of Milwaukee and a recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, are serving in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)'s Young Adult Volunteer program. The YAV program is a one year service opportunity for young adults from 19 to 30 years. YAVs live in Christian community, deepening and developing their faith while serving in communities of need. Massey serves in Belfast and Weinberg-Kinsey serves in Zambia. A longer story about Massey appears in Out & About, the newsletter of the Presbytery of East Iowa. Details of Weinberg-Kinsey's service can be found on the PC(USA) website and her blog, according to Fresh Impressions, a newsletter of the Presbytery of Milwaukee, is at "Zest Zambia."

Conferences, camps & other resources

Communications workshops set in Lincoln

Lesser known social media You've heard about the use of social media to market your church, right? You've heard about push marketing? You use social media? That's Facebook and Twitter, right? But what about Snapchat, Instagram, or Flickr? Or what about Secret, Confide, Whisper, Tinder, Yik Yak? Or what about Protect My Rep? There are a couple of marketing workshops coming up - a shorter one Tuesday evening, Sept. 23, and a longer version Wednesday, Sept. 24. Both workshops take place at Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church in Lincoln. Details are at "How to Market Your Church."


International Day of Peace observed on Sept. 21

Peace Day International The International Day of Peace, often called "Peace Day," is observed around the globe each year Sept. 21. Established in 1981 by a United Nations resolution, the day is "devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations," according to a website devoted to the day. The work of the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations can be found in the ministry's newsletter, Discipleship in the Global Community.


Gary Neal Hansen Hansen to lead 'prayer life'

seminar at Lakeshore Center

Gary Neal Hansen, associate professor of church history at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary and author of "Kneeling with Giants: Learning to Pray with History's Best Teachers," will lead a three-day seminar on a life of prayer at the Lakeshore Center at Okoboji Oct. 9-11. Details are at "Prayer Life."


Food Week of Action,

World Food Day coming in October

PCUSA Hunger Program The Food Week of Action, running Oct. 12-19, includes World Food Day, Oct. 16, and is an opportunity for everyone around the world to act together for food justice. The same week also includes the International Day for Rural Women, Oct. 15, and the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, Oct. 17. Information about the activities for the week can be found through the Presbyterian Hunger Program. Multiple resources are also available through the newsletter, Enough for Everyone.


POAMN logo

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."


IRMS offers engaging format


to reveal Bible ancestors

A witty, engaging format reminiscent of Rocky and Bullwinkle, is used to reveal the real, unpolished and unexpected personalities of the old and new testaments in two new DVD resources from Iowa Religious Media Services. "Reform (Re:form) Ancestors Old Testament" and "Reform (Re:form) Ancestors New Testament" have teacher guides and "anti-work" books. The resources were developed for junior and senior high students, but they will also work for adults.


Blog offers "Twitter Chat" basics

Twitter Logo Bird

So you know Twitter. For everyone who "tweets" - a language unto itself - Nicole Miller, writing at the blog Buffer Social, writes, "Along the way, I've been learning the ins and outs of operating a Twitter chat and testing new tools and ideas to optimize our chat even further. It's amazing how much there is to know, both for the chat host and the chat participants. ... Whether you're a Twitter pro or newer to the network, whether you plan to host your own chat or if you look forward to participating in others, a bit of advance preparation could help. Here's what we've discovered so far to help you make the most of Twitter chats." Miller's complete post is at "Twitter Chat."


Book notes 'dos, don'ts'

for attracting young people to church

Riley Got Religion
The Sept. 2 issue of the Valley Bridge, the newsletter of the Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys, points to the work of Naomi Schaefer Riley, author of "Got Religion?' sharing some of her findings about religious institutions - churches, synagogues, mosques - that have succeeded in attracting young people. The newsletter directs readers to an article in Duke Divinity School's Faith and Leadership magazine that notes Riley "profiles seven religious institutions that have created new models for inviting young adults into lives of faith. Interestingly, she says, technology is not the answer." The complete article is at "Attracting the Young."

News from the Board of Pensions

Board Connections notes

upcoming medical dues guide mailing

BOP Connections Logo The current edition of the Board of Pensions' Connections notes, "This month, Traditional Program members, churches and employing organizations, and mid councils will receive the third, and final, mailing on the change to medical dues. [The change will] review the actions members and employers need to take during the upcoming annual enrollment period ... to make sure Traditional Program members have the 2015 medical coverage they want. The mailing will provide guidance on the process for members and support for mid councils in their role as a resource." The full story is in "Board Connections."
News around the PC(USA)

Grace Presbytery, Highland Park

Presbyterian Church settle lawsuit

Highland Park Presbyterian Church of Dallas will pay $7.8 million to Grace Presbytery in order to obtain both a release of its obligations under the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)'s trust clause and ecclesiastical dismissal from the denomination. The settlement agreement - which also includes an agreement between Highland Park and Grace Presbytery to send a joint letter to the members of Highland Park allowing them the opportunity to choose whether they wish to remain affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - will resolve the pending lawsuit between Grace Presbytery and Highland Park. The complete Presbyterian News Service story can be found at "Settle Lawsuit." The pastor of Highland Park, the Rev. Bryan Dunagan, offered his remarks in a video posted this week at "Settlement."


Heath Rada Rada offers thoughtful answers

to biblical questions

Heath Rada, moderator of the 221st General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), offers thoughtful answers this week to questions of biblical belief. He notes, "The query from the floor was, 'How does the PC(USA) believe it has the privilege of changing God's word to make it fit its own purposes? How do you get away with changing the wording of the Bible when it comes to marriage, which clearly states that marriage is between a man and a woman, to saying something else?' There was an air of distrust and a hint of anger in his voice when he asked me that question. He was seated near the back of the sanctuary where I was a guest answering questions. My answer? 'First of all, I want to thank you for coming tonight and caring enough about the church to ask your question. Your presence indicates you care, and that you are not closing others out who might think differently. Secondly, let me say that you are not the only member of the PC(USA) to ask those questions. Many others have wondered about it, and have entered into disciplined study about the matter. One person wrote to ask me why the committee dealing with same-gender marriage at General Assembly did not pray nor read the Bible. I assured her that they prayed and read the Bible with great care.'" Rada's complete column can be found at "Questions."


Current Presbyterians Today

issue addresses civil rights

Presbyterians Today In the current edition of Presbyterians Today magazine, Shaya Gregory Poku writes, "In the midmorning sticky heat of North Carolina, protestors brandish signs that read 'Stop Criminalizing Youth of Color,' 'Voter Suppression Is Unjust,' 'Student Power,' and, quoting Zechariah 7:10, 'Oppress not the widow, nor the orphan, the sojourner, nor the poor.' Led by the North Carolina chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the assembled are part of North Carolina's Moral Monday protests. Moral Mondays arose in 2013 in response to education reforms, cuts to social programs, and changes to voting laws that appear to target low-income families, people of color, women, seniors, and college students." The complete story can be found at "Justice Today."


Presbyterian Women's Justice,

Peace Committee issues letter

Presby Women Logo The chair of Presbyterian Women's Justice and Peace Committee issued a letter in a response to the violence in Ferguson, Mo., calling on herself to "be a change agent." Her letter appeared in an issue of Justice and Peace Notes which was published late last month. She writes, "As a mother, a woman of faith and an advocate for justice and peace I've had to reflect on the issues of "How did America get to this uncomfortable place? Are we as Americans that angry and full of hate? Does the life of a citizen have value regardless of race or socioeconomic status? What does it mean for a law enforcement officer to take an oath to protect citizens? ...  I will be challenging myself to discern what the Lord requires of me in order that I may be a change agent." Her complete letter is at "Justice and Peace."


Valentine's message writes

of racism in church, society

Linda Valentine "In the wake of the violence, unrest, and national outcry following the shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed, African American teenager, in Ferguson, Mo., let us continue to pray that we as a church would stand, speak, and be found on God's side as we name and confront the racism that persists in church and society," writes Linda Valentine, executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, in her Weekly Update. Her complete column, along with other information, "Violence, Unrest, Outcry."


Hunger figures show millions

of Americans have food insecurity

On Sept. 3 the U.S. Department of Agriculture released its annual report, "Household Food Security in the United States 2013," revealing 14.3 percent of U.S. households were food-insecure. This number is a slight decline since 2011, but remains well above the rates of food insecurity recorded before the recession. "Our elected officials need to make ending hunger a national priority," said the Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. "It is unacceptable that 17.5 million households in this country must choose between paying for medicine, rent, day care, or food." The complete story from Bread for the World Communications can be found at "Hunger Figures."   


'Reverse Food Truck' collects

food rather than selling it

Brent Barry picked up his iPhone on an early June Saturday morning and scrolled through his Twitter feed. A tweet from National Public Radio caught his attention. Reverse food truck? What is that? He clicked the link. After reading the story about a Minnesota beer company's reverse food truck that collected money for local food banks, Barry was inspired. "It hit me that this was something that we could do," said Barry, pastor at NorthPark Presbyterian Church in Dallas. The complete Presbyterian News Service story is at "Reverse."
Just one more

Thinking differently about what you remember

Upworthy Logo Your editor isn't sure if you watch the Discovery Channel, or if you've heard of Adam Savage, or even if you've ever watched "Mythbusters." But your editor does wish he had studied physics with Savage. In fact, your editor might have become an engineer. Really. The folks at Upworthy note "big discoveries always start with the simplest ideas." Here is "Things Your Brain Refuses to Forget."