In This Issue
News around the Synod of Lakes and Prairies
Conferences, camps & other resources
News of colleges, universities & seminaries
News around the PC(USA)
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Synod of Lakes and Prairies

Presbyterian News Service



December 19, 2014

Best wishes in this wonderful Christmas season


From all of us at the Synod of Lakes and Prairies -- Dave, Diana, Duane, Elona, Jackie, Jay and Mary

News around the Synod of Lakes and Prairies

SDOP Synod's SDOP approves grants

for immigrant organizations

The Synod of Lakes and Prairies' Self-Development of People Committee approved $45,000 in grants to organizations in Moorhead, Minn., and Iowa City, Iowa, which represent immigrants and low-income residents. Awards went to the Kurdish Community of America in Moorhead, and to the Center for Worker Justice of Eastern Iowa. The Kurdish Community of America will receive $30,000 to support its effort to help immigrants overcome language barriers to obtaining driving permits. The Center for Worker Justice will receive $15,000 to support its advocacy of a county-wide identification-card program. The complete story is at "SDOP Grants."


Synod Logo Synod posts narrative budget,

slide show on website

The Synod of Lakes and Prairies' 2015 narrative budget, which outlines the ministry and mission of the synod in terms of receipts and expenditures, can be found on the synod's website at "Ministry and Mission." A slide presentation of the budget is also available on the same page. This fall the synod approved a budget of nearly $1.64 million in expenditures. The synod's share of per capita will be $5.20 in 2015.


Minnesota Council compiles denominational Black Lives Matter responses to grand jury rulings

The Minnesota Council of Churches has compiled a list of responses from denominational leadership in response to recent grand jury rulings and the subsequent actions in many communities in solidarity against pervasive racism. Elona Street-Stewart, the Synod of Lakes and Prairies' associate for racial ethnic ministries and community empowerment, noted that "racism dehumanizes the lives of our sisters and brothers from communities of color and tribal nations." Noting that Sunday, Dec. 14, was "National Black Solidarity Sunday," Street-Stewart added, "If your churches were not able to participate in the recognition of young black men and prayers for reconciliation, I encourage you to prayerfully consider the message in the near future." The denominational responses are linked to the denomination name below:

African Methodist Episcopal Church

American Baptist

Church of God in Christ

Disciples of Christ

Episcopal Church



Minnesota Conference UCC

Minnesota Annual Conference UMC

National Council of Churches
Conferences, camps & other resources

NEXT Church runs in March in Chicago

NEXT Church The National Gathering of NEXT Church is set to run March 16-18 at Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago. The event's website notes "our imaginations will be sparked by testimony to the ways the Spirit is leading us beyond ourselves: in campus ministry, building schools in Uganda, to the edges of business, and connecting with local schools." Details can be found at "NEXT Church."


Registration available for both

Winter, Summer Pastors Schools

There's still time to sign up for Winter Pastors School - "Managing Stress, Discovering Happiness in Ministry" - planned Feb. 2-5 at Hastings (Neb.) College. And registration is now open for Summer Pastors School that will run June 7-13, also at Hastings College. Both educational activities are organized by the Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation.


Presbyterian Foundation notes

news on charitable contributions

Foundation logo In a note distributed Thursday, Dec. 18, Minner Serovy, ministry relations officer for the Presbyterian Foundation, advised about HR 5771, a bill affecting contributions to qualified charitable organizations from retirement accounts. "Some donors may have been waiting for this news, and it could be helpful to them if you can publicize it, especially since a similar bill was rejected last week. ... It applies only to the 2014 tax year and contributions must be made before Dec. 31." The bill allows individuals age 70 and older to make direct transfers from traditional and Roth IRAs to qualified charities in amounts up to $100,000 free from federal taxation. Serovy's complete announcement can be found at "Charitable Contributions."


NAPC Triennium planned in April in Arkansas

The National Association of Presbyterian Clergywomen will gather for its Triennium April 16-19 at Ferncliff Camp and Conference Center of Little Rock, Ark. The theme for the event is "God Moves - Be Still." Stephany Graham, a pastor at Peekskill Presbyterian Church in Peekskill, N.Y., will be the keynote speaker and Adele Crawford, pastor at Valley Presbyterian Church in Brookfield, Conn., will lead worship. Crawford came to the ministry after a 15-year career as a professional singer. Details about the event can be found at "NAPC Triennium."

News of colleges, universities & seminaries

Union Seminary offers 8

Congregational Leadership Awards

Union Presbyterian Seminary of Richmond, Va., each year offers eight Congregational Leadership Awards to support innovative ministry of the recipient congregations. Since 1991, 110 churches in 29 states have received the $1,000 awards. The application deadline for the awards is Feb. 15. Additional information about the awards can be found at "Congregational Leadership."


APCU Update notes Carroll University's

Carroll University Logo online Christmas greeting

Gary Luhr, executive director of the Association of Presbyterian Colleges and Universities, noted a particularly spectacular online Christmas greeting from Carroll University of Waukesha, Wis. He writes, "Online greetings have become increasingly popular. They range from amusing to awe-inspiring. One of the neatest I've seen is this year's greeting from Doug Hastad and the folks at Carroll University. It lasts about five minutes, at the end of which it recognizes all of the people who contributed to its creation." The greetings from Carroll, one of the seven Presbyterian colleges and universities in covenant with the Synod of Lakes and Prairies, can be found at "Greetings."


Hastings College plans to construct

Hastings College logo building for art department

Hastings College plans to build a $6.2 million state-of-the-art facility to house the school's Art Department. The lead gift came from the parents of a student who died unexpectedly this year and for whom the art center will be named. The complete story is at "Art Department."
News around the PC(USA)

'Tis the season for statistical reports

Writing in the Office of the General Assembly's monthly resource for ruling elders, Kris Valerius, assistant stated clerk of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) for OGA records, notes, "It's that time of year when sessions groan a bit. It's statistics season. One of the most frequently asked questions regarding the Session Annual Statistical Report (SASR) is 'Why?' The short answer, ... the Book of Order requires churches to submit statistics annually to the presbytery ... and the General Assembly mandates presbyteries to collect specific data about their churches. ... But perhaps the longer response would be better than the 'because I said so.' After all, it is easier to do something if you know how it's going to be used and who needs the information." Valerius' complete column can be found at "Ruling Elders."


Rada notes reasons to celebrate

Heath Rada PC(USA) this Advent

Heath Rada, moderator of the 221st General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), provided a list in reasons to celebrate the church this Advent season. He began with this one: "I celebrate the PC(USA) as a denomination that unequivocally affirms the Lordship of Jesus Christ as our Savior. Each new member, when joining the church, confesses that she or he accepts Jesus as their personal Savior. In fact, they could not be members if they do not confess that as their position." Rada's complete column can be found at "Reasons to Celebrate."


Special Offerings Marketing Special Offerings campaign

hopes to make 'bold statement'

When Presbyterians see the marketing materials for the 2015 Special Offerings, organizers are hoping the provocative images will prompt them to continue their donations - or to become involved for the first time. Only about half of Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) congregations participate in the denomination's four Special Offerings, and the marketing campaign is designed to make people take a second glance and learn more about the offerings, said Sam Locke, director of Special Offerings. The complete Presbyterian News Service story is at "Special Offerings."


Documentary highlights farm work

Food Chain Documentary exploitation in United States

Farm work is described as one of the most difficult and underpaid jobs in America. Now, a new documentary is raising awareness of the abuses faced by farm workers in the United States. The film, "Food Chains: The Revolution in America's Fields," was released last month and focuses on a group of tomato pickers from southern Florida. The Coalition of Immokalee Workers, a mission partner with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), is a human rights organization with more than 4,500 farm worker members. For years, farmworkers have faced physical and sexual abuse, extremely low wages and poor living conditions. Meanwhile, large buyers such as fast food and supermarket chains have been cashing in on an estimated $4 trillion empire. The complete Presbyterian News Service story can be found at "Food Chains."


Moses as movie star, a time to look back

Edward McNulty, a movie fan who happens to be Presbyterian, takes a look at how Moses has been portrayed on screen. He writes: "The film "Exodus: God and Kings" is upon us. Released Dec. 12, it is bound to be a blockbuster with director Ridley Scott at the helm, so now is a good time to look back and see how in the past Hollywood has turned Moses into a movie star. Aside from Jesus, Moses has been portrayed in more movies than any other biblical character. Little wonder, as his life is crucial to the development of Judaism and Christianity and Islam. His leading his people out of slavery is a universal story of humanity's quest for freedom." McNulty's complete look back, released by the Presbyterian News Service, can be found at "Moses."
Just one more

Rescuing dogs: Yes, sometimes

Upworthy Logo it makes you feel good

Your editor must admit this section isn't one that often makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. (Yes, your editor now feels weird for writing "warm and fuzzy inside.") But the folks at Upworthy caught your editor's attention recently with this video about abandoned dogs. Note: "Seeing what a scared puppy forced herself to do pretty much melted my heart." There is a possibility - whether substantial or slim - you could feel warm ... no ... pleasant ... no ... good. It's at "Abandoned Dogs."