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
Quick Links
Synod of Lakes and Prairies

Presbyterian News Service



November 4, 2014

News around the Synod of Lakes and Prairies

Synod School plans include 'Holy Enchilada'

Synod Logo round with people From San Francisco in the west to Illinois in the east, to Wisconsin in the north to Texas in the south, those who make up Holy Enchilada - a whimsical amalgam of seriously committed creative worship practitioners - will be worship leaders for next summer's Synod School that runs July 26-31 at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa. Theresa Cho, one of the members of Holy Enchilada and co-pastor of St. John's Presbyterian Church in San Francisco, will also be Synod School's convocation speaker. Cho, who is a prolific writer, is joined on Holy Enchilada by Ben Johnston Kruse, pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Racine, Wis.; Rob Mueller, pastor of Divine Redeemer Presbyterian Church of San Antonio, Texas; Corey Nelson, pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest, Ill.; and Beth Watson, director of worship arts and fellowship at Shepherd of the Hills Presbyterian Church of Austin, Texas. Synod School 2014 drew 617 to the midsummer ministry. Of those, about 530 were Presbyterians and the other 87 came from a diverse number of faith communities. Attendees represented 207 towns across 26 U.S. states, and Germany, Pakistan and Scotland. This story and more can be found in the Synod Summary, an unofficial summary of the recent meeting of the Synod of Lakes and Prairies.


Synod Logo CREM awards 9 scholarships

totaling more than $19,500

The Synod of Lakes and Prairies' Committee on Racial Ethnic Ministries, when it met this past weekend, awarded nine scholarships totaling more than $19,500 through its Student Scholarship Fund. The Student Scholarship Fund is an educational assistance program designed to encourage racial ethnic students in their pursuit of academic success in higher education. The scholarship is part of the synod's effort to partner with students and schools for leadership development and quality instruction for lifelong service. Awards are based on personal achievement, financial need and recommendations from a teacher and pastor.


Synod committee plans to support

attendance at White Privilege Conference

White privilege conference, Madison At its fall meeting, commissioners of the Synod of Lakes and Prairies voted to reallocate $25,000 of its ministry in higher education budget to its Committee on Racial Ethnic Ministries (see Page 5 of the Synod Summary). When it met this past weekend, the committee voted to use the funds to support attendance of students and committee members at the White Privilege Conference planned in March in Louisville, Ky. The White Privilege Conference "examines challenging concepts of privilege and oppression and offers solutions and team building strategies to work toward a more equitable world," according to its website. The conference attracts high school and college students, teachers, university faculty and higher education professionals, and community leaders.


Fall 'Sower' posted on website;

packet for churchwide gathering

Sower Logo Marilyn Stone, moderator of Presbyterian Women in the Synod of Lakes and Prairies, notes, "Fall brings with it crisp autumn air and spectacular color displays. It also is the time we reflect on the past year and begin to plan for the year ahead." Stone was writing in the fall edition of the organization's newsletter. She adds, "You are encouraged to promote the 2015 [Presbyterian Women] Mission Pledge so that we can continue to 'honor our past, celebrate our present, and provide hope for the future.'" Stone's complete column can be found in "The Sower." The synod's Presbyterian Women's spot on the synod's website provides a link to a promotional packet for the 2015 Churchwide Gathering of Presbyterian Women.


Sioux Falls Argus Leader features

video of 'Through the Lens' community

Through the Lens community Kathy Newcomb is teaching a photography class at next summer's Synod School, but she's also the driving force behind the new worshiping community, "Through The Lens," in the Presbytery of South Dakota. The community, part of the 1001 New Worshiping Communities Initiative of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), was featured recently in a video produced by Elisa Page of the Sioux Falls (S.D.) Argus Leader. The video can be found at "Worshiping Community Video."


Iowa woman writes about faith amid grief

Christine McMahon Sutton of Boone, Iowa, wrote last month in Presbyterians Today magazine about the grief of losing her husband to Alzheimer's disease. Her story opens: "People who doubt God's existence say that, despite the well-known adage, there have been plenty of atheists in foxholes. All I know is that until I found myself in a foxhole, it had been pretty easy to ignore the Lord. My time in a foxhole came in October 2007, a few months after my husband and I moved back to our hometown ... Gery - a 56-year-old family physician - was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's." The complete story, available by permission of Presbyterians Today, can be found at "Faith Amid Grief." Subscriptions to Presbyterians Today can be ordered online.

Conferences, camps & other resources

Camp Wyoming plans 'Relevant'

retreat; posts full-time position

Camp Wyoming, in Jones County, Iowa, will be host to a "Relevant" retreat for college students Nov. 7-9. The camp's website notes, "Studies Camp Wyoming Iowa indicate that 40 to 50 percent of all youth group students do not connect with a faith community after high school. Approximately half of the children and teens who fill our church halls throughout their adolescent years simply disappear once they leave for college." Details about the retreat are at "Relevant." The camp is also seeking a full-time program director. Details are available at "Camp Programs."


Clearwater's 'Camp in a Van' is back, expanded

Clearwater Logo Very soon - Nov. 10 at 9 a.m. to be precise - registration will begin for the summer schedule of  Clearwater Forest's popular "Camp in a Van." And the Nov. 10 option is only available for congregations that were ministry partners in 2013-2014. Registration for all congregations opens Nov. 13 at 9 a.m. Rich Swartwood, executive director at Clearwater, wrote, "We have expanded the program to offer 21 sites in 2015," and he advised, "There will be a waiting list." Other details are at "Camp in a Van."


Lakeshore Center offers respite

Lakeshore Lodge Beth Ehlers, executive director of the Lakeshore Center at Okoboji, notes in the Center's recent newsletter: "Tired of the rat race? We are approaching the time of year when quite often, we can feel as though the rats have won. Don't let that happen. If you need a time to retreat, come to Lakeshore Center. Come to this peaceful place and recharge your batteries. Come and rest and visit with God. Come and embrace the alternative to busyness. Be intentional. Make time for Sabbath." Her complete column - and the newsletter - can be found on Page 2 of "Talk."


Resources available on Confession of Belhar

GA 221 LOGO A quote from Linda Valentine, executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, introduces the section on the Confession of Belhar on the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) website. Valentine recently wrote, "Last summer, millions of people across the United States celebrated the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and Martin Luther King Jr.'s inspiring 'I Have a Dream' speech. Yet even as we reflected on the progress in civil rights since 1963, we painfully acknowledged the persistence of racism and its destructive consequences in our church and culture." A one-day conference at Montreat examined the Belhar Confession in depth through four speakers. Those presentations can be around at "Belhar Resources."


IRMS resources address alcohol, drugs;

IRMSLOGO center also lists librarian opening

Iowa Religious Media Services has resources for children in upper elementary ages and older that address alcohol and drug abuse. The "Top 10 Myths about Alcohol and Drugs" is a resource for children junior high age and older that blasts the myths of alcohol and drug abuse. Another resource, "Don't Drain Your Brain: How Alcohol Damages Your Brain," is geared for upper-elementary students and shows how early alcohol use causes brain damage. Beyond resources, IRMS is seeking a full-time "Specialist Librarian."


Clergy well-being seminar

planned next summer by NCMDC

North Central Ministry Development A week-long renewal retreat for clergy, rabbis and spiritual teachers, along with one of their primary support persons - such as a spouse, partner, best friend or adult child - is planned next summer at the Oakridge Conference Center in Chaska, Minn. Organized by North Central Ministry Development Center, the retreat, "Clergy Total Well-Being: Balancing Your Ministry, Re-Discovering Your Life," will run July 5-10. It will be led by Susan Nienaber, district superintendent of the Minnesota Conference of the United Methodist Church and licensed marriage and family therapist, and Mark Sundby, executive director of NCMDC and licensed psychologist. Additional details are at "Balancing Your Ministry."


Connection newsletter offers links to resources

Connection newsletter The Connection, a newsletter of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Resource Center Network, offers numerous resources for "congregations with vision." Among the resources in the current issue is a connection to the website of the 2015 Association of Presbyterian Church Educators Annual Event planned Feb. 2-7 in Baltimore. The complete Connection newsletter is at "Vision."

News from the Board of Pensions

Board of Pensions President

calls on directors to be optimists

BOP Bulletin Frank Spencer, new president of the Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), called on BOP's board of directors to take an optimistic view toward the future. Spencer said, "I encourage each of us to be optimists, keeping our eye not only on those who have served the church and those who are serving the church, but on those who will serve the Church in the future." The complete story is in the fall "Board Bulletin."

News of colleges, universities & seminaries

Outlook publishes award-winning

Hannah Rasmussen essay by Macalester student

A Macalester student won The Presbyterian Outlook's College Partnership Award and recently had her award-winning essay published in the magazine. Hannah Rasmussen was the servant team coordinator at Macalester College when she wrote the essay and now serves at Bethel Christian Fellowship in St. Paul. She's also writing a college-level curriculum about gender in the church. Rasmussen's essay begins, "Family members warned me of Macalester's secular reputation. It's true that the religious community is small. But this has been the best imaginable environment for my spiritual growth. After all, a mustard seed is small too." Rasmussen's complete essay can be found at "Christian Leadership." Macalester is one of seven Presbyterian-related institutions of higher education in the Synod of Lakes and Prairies.

News around the PC(USA)
Growing pains accompany innovation,
rapid growth in 1001 communities

1001 When 1001 New Worshiping Communities marked its official two-year anniversary on July 6, it did so not only by celebrating the initiative's unprecedented growth beyond what anyone in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) could have hoped or imagined, but also by humbly acknowledging the lessons learned from the occasional misstep along the journey. The 1001 movement, an initiative of the Presbyterian Mission Agency adopted by the 220th General Assembly, was already well ahead of schedule to ignite the creation of 1001 new worshiping communities over a 10-year period. The complete Presbyterian News Service story is at "1001."


Commissioners, advisory delegates
GA 221 LOGO give GA 221 high marks

Despite problems with the electronic voting machinery that left frustrated commissioners voting for moderator by paper ballot for the first time in more than 20 years, the 221st General Assembly last summer in Detroit received generally high marks, a survey of Assembly participants shows. "Thank God for one ballot (Heath Rada won a first-ballot majority in the decidedly low-tech election) and mid-council leaders who got the paper balloting handled for us," Office of the General Assembly chief operating officer Tom Hay told the Committee on the Office of the General Assembly at its Oct. 27-29 meeting on the campus of Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. The complete Presbyterian News Service story can be found at "Commissioner Survey."


James Rissler PILP names Jim Rissler president

The Presbyterian Investment & Loan Program board of directors has named James "Jim" Rissler as its next president and chief executive officer. Rissler will succeed James Hudson, who plans to retire at the end of 2014. "Following a search that included nearly 200 Presbyterian leaders from across the country, the search committee soon recognized Jim as the best next leader for PILP," said search committee chair Josephine Stewart. The complete announcement from PILP can be found at "Rissler."


Loyda Aja Aja resigns from OGA position

Loyda Puig Aja, veteran staffer in the Office of the General Assembly, has announced her resignation as director of ecclesial ministry and associate stated clerk. Aja has served OGA for almost 23 years. "Loyda Aja has been a tireless and effectifve colleague," said Gradye Parsons, stated clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Aja is departing to join her husband, the Rev. Tony Aja, in his new call as pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Santa Fe, N.M. Her resignation is effective Jan. 2. The complete announcement from OGA can be found at "Aja Resigns."


November Presbyterians Today
Presbyterians Today focuses on 'new evangelism'

The November issue of Presbyterians Today focuses on what has been called the "new evangelism." The lead article notes, "In many Presbyterian congregations, if you even mention the dreaded 'e' word, you're sure to get fearful glances and mentally picture street preachers castigating crowds. Yet, we are called to share the good news of Jesus Christ and God's love for us." Find the rest of this article and other stories in the November issue at "Presbyterians Today."


Lisherness writes about Middle East struggle

Sara Lisherness Writing recently from the Middle East, Sara Lisherness, director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency's Office of Compassion, Peace and Justice, notes, "As you read this, I have just returned from a three-week visit to the Middle East. ... Our travels took us to Lebanon and Iraq where we saw firsthand, the fear and anxiety that people across the region are facing as ISIS continues its reign of terror in Syria, Iraq and other neighboring countries. Christians, Ysedis, moderate Muslims and other minority groups are being targeted. Young men are recruited by force to join ISIS while women and young girls are being rounded up, raped and sold into servitude." The rest of Lishnerness' column can be found in the Compassion, Peace and Justice newsletter at "Mideast Struggle."


Presbyterian Mission Exchange
notes global day for giving back

Foundation logo The Presbyterian Foundation's newsletter, The Pastor's Life, included the following piece about Giving Tuesday: "On Tuesday, Dec. 2, the world comes together to give. We have a day for thanksgiving. We have two for getting deals (Black Friday and Cyber Monday). Now we have Giving Tuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. And what better way to give back and witness to the gospel than through your church? The Presbyterian Mission Exchange offers an easy way for Presbyterians to make online gifts to your congregation, presbytery or favorite mission or ministry cause." Details are at "Mission Exchange."


Eric Hoey Evangelism, Church Growth
newsletter recalls endurance race

Eric Hoey, director of the Office of Evangelism and Church Growth of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, notes in the latest Ministry Apps newsletter: "Recently I completed a 200-mile relay race along Kentucky's Bourbon Trail. ... The life I saw along this relay endurance race reminded me of the ministry work we do in the Presbyterian Mission Agency - inspiring, equipping, and connecting with you our partners, in our journey." The complete newsletter, along with resource links, can be found at "Ministry Apps."

Just one more

When you 'Google' mental illness ...

Upworthy Logo Quoting from an Upworthy blog curated by Rossalyn Warren: "An awesome blogger, Emma, who runs The Madvocate, created these thought-provoking images by copying Google searches of mental illnesses and pasting them on famous people who had them. It's interesting to see the negative stereotypes and misconceptions about mental illness on some of the world's most recognizable, successful people." You can find the images at "Mental Illness."