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

Presbyterian News Service



October 21, 2014

News around the Synod of Lakes and Prairies

Synod elects Street-Stewart to be next executive

Elona Street Stewart The Synod of Lakes and Prairies elected Elona Street-Stewart, its current associate for racial ethnic ministries and community empowerment, to be its next synod executive effective Jan. 1. She will be the first Native American to serve as a synod executive in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). A ruling elder and a longtime staff member of the synod, she was elected when the synod met at the Mt. Olivet Conference and Retreat Center near Farmington, Minn., Oct. 5-7. Street-Stewart and her husband, the Rev. David Stewart, pastor at Dayton Avenue Presbyterian Church in St. Paul, have four children and three grandchildren. The complete Presbyterian News Service story is at "Synod Executive."


Synod meeting summary notes

retirement plans, budget, priorities

Synod Logo The Synod Summary, this time a 5-page summary of the synod meeting that took place earlier this month, includes stories on the next synod executive, retirement plans of two long-term staff members, the synod's 2015 budget and projections of Comprehensive Presbytery Support through 2018. The complete summary is available in portable document format at "Synod Summary."


Howard notes the impact of 'competitive church'

Craig Howard, executive director of strategic partnerships for the Presbytery of Milwaukee, wrote about the impact of "competitive church" in a recent edition of Fresh Impressions, the presbytery's newsletter. He noted, "What happens to the church in our early history is that an organizational structure that is based upon mutuality, sharing, and trust, runs into a nation based upon capitalism, competition, and profit. The competitive church has a goal of numerical growth of members and money." Howard's complete column is at "Being Competitive."

Conferences, camps & other resources

Lakeshore Center plans Christmas open house

Lakeshore Lodge "We know what you're thinking; it's too early to be talking about Christmas. But Christmas is not far off, and we want to invite all of you to our Christmas by the Lake open house event ... " That's the top story in the latest newsletter from the Lakeshore Center at Okoboji, the Presbyterian camp and conference center on Lake Okoboji in Iowa. That open house is set Dec. 6 from 1 to 4 p.m. The complete newsletter is at "Lakeshore Center."


Sundby to keynote 2015 Winter Pastors School

Mark Sundby, executive director of North Central Ministry Development Center, New Brighton, Minn., will keynote the 2015 Winter Pastors School at Hastings (Neb.) College Feb. 2-5. Sponsored by the Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation, the theme for the school is "Managing Stress, Discovering Happiness in Ministry." Details are at "Winter Pastors School."


Environmental Ministries

publishes October Eco-Notes

Earth Care Congregations logo The Oct. 13 edition of Eco-Notes, a newsletter of Environmental Ministries of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, has a note about fair-trade chocolate and Halloween. It states, "As you prepare goodies for little goblins on Oct. 31, consider purchasing some fair-trade chocolate. All too often Halloween 'treats' contain a trick of their own: child labor. Check out the child labor score card and learn how you can help end child labor in the chocolate industry." Details are in the newsletter at "Fair Trade."


Presbyterians Today's Advent

calendar is about decluttering

Presbyterian Today 2014 Advent The Advent calendar offered by Presbyterians Today offers a "different approach" to the season. "In the spirit of a spring cleaning, how about an Advent cleaning," the promotional materials states. "Let's use the four weeks leading up to Christmas as a time to unclutter - to empty our schedules, homes and hearts." Details about the calendar, including ordering information, can be found at "Calendar."


Resources offered for Christmas Joy Offering

Christmas Joy Offering Special Offerings of the Presbyterian Mission Agency offered a few reasons to continue participating in the Christmas Joy Offering, noting, "When you're busy, figuring out the best ways to promote the Christmas Joy Offering isn't easy. So, we've highlighted important facts, histories, numbers and programs the Offering works with to make getting your congregation involved easier." The complete note - and resources - from Special Offerings can be found at "Christmas Joy."


New 'Feasting on the Word' resources available

Feasting on the Word The 12-volume "Feasting on the Word" commentary series is one of the most extensive and well-respected resources for preaching on the market today, according to the announcement from John Knox Press. Now, new resources from the Feasting brand offer tools for preaching from the Gospels, preaching during Advent and Lent, preaching to children, and preparing for worship. The complete announcement can be found at "Feasting on the Word."


IRMS offers youth, life guidance resources

Iowa Religious Media Services in Urbandale, Iowa, offers a new IRMSLOGO resource that can assist in the battle against bullying, "Not in Our Schools: Stop Hate Together Video Action Kit," which uses video and storytelling to inspire youth to speak out about harassment. Other resources include two new studies that provide loving skills. The first is "This I Know For Sure" by singer-songwriter Babbie Mason, who uses her work and experience to bring you to a more personal relationship with God. The second study, "The Christ-Centered Woman: Finding Balance in a World of Extremes" identifies barriers to balanced living.


Latest Resource Center for Churches

newsletter offers numerous resources

The Resource Center for Churches, located in the Church Center in Resource Center Logo Minneapolis, notes numerous resources for Christian education in its most recent newsletter. Among the resources listed are the "Step Stone Bible" that features historical and cultural background, and "The Jesus Fatwah: Love Your (Muslim) Neighbor as Yourself," a five-session study with Islamic and Christian scholars. The complete newsletter is at "Resource Center."

Webinar planned to explore

revisions to 'Directory for Worship'

"Revising the Directory for Worship: Bread, Bath, and Beyond," a free webinar hosted by the Company of New Pastors, will be offered Tuesday, Oct. 28, at 1 p.m. CST. The webinar is one of a number of events that have been scheduled during the one-year season of study - July 1, 2014, to July 1, 2015 - ordered by the 221st General Assembly on a proposed revision to the denomination's Directory for Worship, the middle section of the "Book of Order, Part II," of the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The complete announcement from the Presbyterian News Service is at "Worship Webinar."


POINT newsletter Latest POINT newsletter

notes training opportunities

There are several opportunities for Presbyterians Organized in Nurture and Teaching representatives to hone their skills at the 2015 Association of Presbyterian Church Educators Annual Event, according to the latest POINT newsletter. The Event takes place Feb. 4-7 in Baltimore. The latest newsletter is at "POINT."


Des Moines Central offers discussions on aging

Mary Gottschalk Central Presbyterian Church in Des Moines will be host to a series of discussion on the bio-ethics of aging on Oct. 26, Nov. 2 and Nov. 9. Mary Gottschalk will present interactive discussions about healthcare in America, covering resources available to healthcare and the implication for public and social policy. Each session is a stand-alone event. Complete details are at "Aging."

News from the Board of Pensions

BOP announces annual enrollment period

BOP Connections Logo The Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has announced the annual enrollment period through Nov. 14 for participants to apply for or make changes to two optional benefits: dental and supplemental death coverage. Annual enrollment is the only time participants can enroll for or make changes to these two coverages without experiencing certain qualifying life events. Details are in the October issue of "Board Connections." 

News of colleges, universities & seminaries

Pres House notes 10-year achievements

Pres House Logo The opening letter of the 2014 annual report of Pres House, the campus ministry and housing on the University of Wisconsin-Madison, notes, "In 2004, Pres House ministry was on life support: no students, an old chapel building in disrepair, a pot-holed parking lot, one staff member, and less than $10,000 per year in annual donations. Fast forward to 2014: by God's grace, the board of directors, students, alumni, donors, and staff have worked to build a vibrant and comprehensive campus ministry - student by student and brick by brick." Among other details, the report notes that 3,500 students have been served by Pres House and that 15,000 hours have been volunteered by board members to help the ministry grow and flourish. The complete report can be found at "Pres House Report."


Buena Vista University recognized

Buena Vista University as civic engagement leader

Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, one of seven Presbyterian-related institutions of higher education in covenant with the Synod of Lakes and Prairies, has been recognized as leader in civic engagement by the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. The university is part of a consortium of 92 schools committed to making civic learning and democratic engagement part of every student's college education. The complete story is at "Civic Engagement."


Coe College launched new marketing initiative

Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, launched a new marketing and Coe College visibility initiative this fall, including a new logo, theme and messaging. The theme is "Make it Happen." Coe, one of seven Presbyterian-related institutions of higher education in covenant with the Synod of Lakes and Prairies, will emphasize its academic reputation, student-centered environment, and career opportunities associated with its Cedar Rapids location. The complete story is at "Make it Happen."
News around the PC(USA)

Leading from questions informs

John Vest blog confirmation experience

John Vest, associate pastor for youth ministry at Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago, blogs at "Adventures in Post-Christendom," and writes often about the new church. But often, too, he writes about something as traditional as confirmation class. He notes, "Each year I begin our youth confirmation experience by asking our eighth grade students to write down the questions they have about God, faith, and the church. The questions they ... come up with are always illuminating." A few of those questions about God asked, "Why does God not usually speak to people with his voice in their minds like people in the Bible? How do we know God is with us? What does God think of our world today? Why doesn't God intervene more in our world?" Many more questions are at "Confirmation Questions."


Mission Agency Board approves

budget changes, discusses other topics

Mission agency The Presbyterian Mission Agency Board has approved adjustments in the mission budgets for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) for the next three years - authorizing spending increases that the denomination will pay for by drawing down reserves. Also, funding for both the Ghost Ranch and Stony Point conference centers - both of which have significant needs for capital improvements - remains a subject of discussion. These conversations have significant implications for the denomination's financial future. With declining unrestricted revenue - and with reserves being drawn down closer and closer to the required minimum - the PMAB will face increasing difficulties in balancing its future budgets unless new sources of revenue are found. The complete story by Leslie Scanlon of The Presbyterian Outlook can be found at "Mission Agency Budget."


PDA works with others to mitigate impact of Ebola

PDA disaster assistance The announcement from Presbyterian Disaster Assistance notes, "As the Ebola crisis continues to escalate, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)'s One Great Hour of Sharing programs are working with its partners, the West Africa Initiative and Action by Churches Together Alliance, on the immediate medical crisis as well as the secondary impacts on communities in the region." The response is focused in several areas and there are ways to help. Margaret Chat, World Health Organization director-general noted, "This is not just a public health crisis. ... This is a social, humanitarian and economic crisis as well as a threat to national security beyond the outbreak zones." The complete PDA announcement can be found at "Ebola Response."


Justice, Peace newsletter addresses

domestic violence, immigrant children

Presbyterian Women The Oct. 8 edition of Justice and Peace Notes, a newsletter of the Justice and Peace Committee of Presbyterian Women, addresses a number of action items, including domestic violence, concern for immigrant children and food justice. The complete newsletter can be found at "Justice and Peace."


PC(USA) Self Development

of People posts stories of ministry

SDOP Self Development of People of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), through its Oct. 1 newsletter, posted stories of its ministries in Florida and New Orleans, and more. An effort of "people investing in people," the complete newsletter can be found at "SDOP."


Presbyterians Today seeks ideas

for church ministry guidebook

Presbyterians Today Presbyterians Today magazine is looking for content ideas for its March 2015 issue that will be a guidebook of ideas and resources for church ministry. The magazine notes, "Maybe you'd like to know, for instance, about the best ways to get involved when disaster strikes your community or elsewhere ... or maybe you're interested in the most successful ways to teach faith to children and to youth." Details can be found at "Presbyterians Today."


Valentine: Presbyterians called to be leaders

Linda Valentine In her weekly letter, Linda Valentine, executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, notes, "As Christ's church, we have been called to be leaders in the national dialogue about domestic violence, promoting nonviolence in all relationships and reaching out with Christ's healing love to the vulnerable, the frightened, and the abused. 'Violence is contrary to God's intentions for the world,' reads the theological statement of the Presbyterian Health, Education and Welfare Association. There is much to be done, and many ways to stand up, speak up, and be counted among those Presbyterians who are engaged more deeply in God's work of reconciliation." Valentine's complete letter can be found at "Many Ways."


New Presbyterian Giving Catalog

offers way to make a difference

Presbyterian Giving Catalog After a successful launch in the fall of 2013, the Presbyterian Giving Catalog has entered its second year with a new edition and with new tools to help congregations encourage alternative giving. "We are grateful for the wonderful response to the 2013 catalog," said Sam Locke, director of Special Offerings for the Presbyterian Mission Agency. The complete announcement from the Presbyterian Mission Agency can be found at "Giving Catalog."
Just one more

Paul Soderquist Top-10 reasons for living

(and serving) in a small town

Paul Soderquist, interim pastor at Ebenezer Presbyterian Church in George, Iowa, notes that he will really miss the congregation and the community when the interim time ends. He writes, "I get it. Not everyone is made to live in a small town. Sometimes circumstances just won't allow it. But I ask, what's not to like? Here are my top-10 reasons for liking it here and recommending it." And those top-10 reasons are at "Living in a Small Town."