In This Issue
News around the Synod of Lakes and Prairies
Conferences, camps & other resources
News of the Board of Pensions
News around the PC(USA) and more
Just a few more
Quick Links
Social Media

June 30, 2015

News around the Synod of Lakes and Prairies

Thinking it's too late for Synod School? No, it's not

Synod School Catalog Yes, there is always room. The Synod of Lakes and Prairies' Synod School, the unique weeklong summer ministry, runs Sunday through Friday, July 26-31, at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa. And, yes, registrations are still being accepted. Synod School features six days and 70 classes. Theresa Cho, co-pastor of St. John's Presbyterian Church in San Francisco, and renowned author and speaker, is this year's convocation speaker. And about those classes? Well, they include "Christmas in July," "God and Young Adult Fiction" and "Unlocking the Secrets of Your Grill." That's right. And there are 67 more. Course details are in the catalog and other details are at "Synod School."


Synod continues to seek applications for 2 posts

Synod Logo The Synod of Lakes and Prairies continues to seek applications for two positions: stated clerk and director of leadership development. The director position will be full time while the stated clerk position will be part time. The synod plans to complete three searches this summer. The application deadline for the third position, director of financial services, passed last week. The deadline for both stated clerk and leadership development positions is July 15. Complete position descriptions, along with information regarding application procedures, can be found at "Service Opportunities."


East Iowa welcomes Jensen as 'pastor to pastors'

East Iowa Out About The Presbytery of East Iowa recently welcomed the Rev. Warren Jensen as its new pastor to pastors - a new position within the presbytery. Jensen has served in many capacities as a United Church of Christ pastor, including calls to congregations in Oklahoma, Massachusetts, Iowa and Idaho. He holds a doctor of ministry degree in pastoral counseling and psychotherapy from Garrett Evangelical Seminary in Chicago. In a note to the presbytery, Jensen wrote, "I'd also like to ask for your input and ideas to help us together, flesh out this position into work that will be helpful to all of us." The complete announcement, and Jensen's note to the presbytery, can be found at "Pastor to Pastors."


Memorials suggested by Brown/Ralston families

The Brown/Ralston families have discussed memorials for Phil Brown, former executive of the Synod of Lakes and Prairies who died June 21, and, according to a Caring Bridge post last week, "has decided that he would love to continue to support the Bread Oven Ministry, which is a program he had recently become involved in and really loved the ideas and purpose behind it. The Bread Oven Ministry at White Bear Lake United Methodist Church is centered around a wood-fired brick oven." Donations to support the ministry can be made to the White Bear Lake United Methodist Church at 1851 Birch Street, White Bear Lake, MN 55110. Details about the brick-oven ministry can be found at "Feeding the Hungry." A subsequent post on the Caring Bridge site, established by the family, noted, "Another memorial option ... is Clearwater Forest Camp and Retreat Center in central Minnesota. Phil really believed in the mission and programs of this organization as well, and it was there that he and Faith Ralston were married in 2009." Details about the camp can be found at "Clearwater Forest." A Celebration of Life is planned during the weekend of Oct. 16-18 and an informal celebration for those in the Twin Cities area is planned at White Bear Lake United Methodist Church on Monday, July 6, from 6 to 8 p.m. More details can be found at "Caring Bridge."


'Sermon Spectacular' planned

in August in Milwaukee Presbytery

Sermon Spectacular It could be called the Presbytery of Milwaukee's own "Festival of Homiletics," according to an article in Fresh Impressions, the presbytery's newsletter. Preachers in the presbytery, who yearn for an opportunity to receive the Word from one another, are being called to a "Sermon Spectacular," featuring preaching by members of the presbytery, Saturday, Aug. 15, from 9 a.m. to noon at First Presbyterian Church in Waukesha, Wis. The Rev. Nicole Farley, who will be host to the event, noted, "I want us to have a chance to experience one another's preaching. Maybe we'll hear sermon illustrations we could use, maybe we'll learn a style we'd like to try. ... Mostly, I hope we walk away feeling fed. For teaching elders and commissioned ruling elders in congregations, leading worship for many is not the same as worshiping, so receiving the Word from another is a huge gift." Details about the event can be found at "Preaching Spectacular."


Street-Stewart notes kinship,

sisterhood when speaking to NAPW

Elona Street Stewart Elona Street-Stewart, executive of the Synod of Lakes and Prairies, delivered the keynote address during the Native American Presbyterian Women's Conference in Minneapolis June 18. Her message to attendees focused on the concept of "kindom," and the importance of understanding and embracing richness of the Native American sisterhood in the "kindom" of God. The conference took place earlier in June in conjunction with the national gathering of Presbyterian Women in Minneapolis. The complete Presbyterian News Service story can be found at "Kinship and Sisterhood."


Galloway encourages community

engagement to fight sex trade

Alika Galloway In Minneapolis, Kwanzaa Community Church's Northside Women's Space is reaching some of the most marginalized people in the community -- women and children who are facing homelessness and precarious housing, poverty and unemployment, and those struggling to break the chains of sexual exploitation, prostitution and sex trafficking "On the north side of Minneapolis, we see poverty, violence, sexual exploitation, food scarcity and hunger on a daily basis," said the Rev. Alika Galloway, co-pastor at Kwanzaa, which began in 2002 as the first African-American led Presbyterian congregation in Minnesota. "At Northside Women's Space, 46 percent of the women we see exchange sex less than once a week," she says. "This is important -- this isn't a way of life for these women; this is a means of survival." Galloway spoke earlier in June at the national gathering of Presbyterian Women in Minneapolis. The complete Presbyterian News Service story is at "Fighting the Sex Trade."


Presbyterian Women works

to end violence against women, girls

Ending Sexual Violence A workshop at the churchwide gathering earlier in June of Presbyterian Women in Minneapolis focused on sharing strategies for successfully working to address sexual violence against women and girls. The Rev. Tony Jones addressed participants by asking, "We all can talk about violence against women as if it is some arbitrary thing that happens to some stranger, but what we are really talking about ... what we need to be talking about ... is ending men's violence against women. What are we doing about that piece? How are we addressing that?" The complete Presbyterian News Service can be found at "Churchwide Gathering."
Conferences, camps & other resources

New 'Book of Order' is now available

Book of Order 15-17 The new "Book of Order (2015-2017)" is now available for ordering. It incorporates seven constitutional amendments approved by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)'s 221st General Assembly and a majority of the presbyteries. The most closely watched amendment, approved by a 116-48 vote of the presbyteries, changes wording in a section in the Directory for Worship related to Christian marriage (W-4.9000). The complete announcement from the Office of the General Assembly can be found at "Book of Order."


Camps across synod run busy summer schedules

No, it's not too late to think about camp. There are five Presbyterian camps in the Synod of Lakes and Prairies - actually six, if one counts the PCCCA Camps Logo two camps of the Presbytery of South Dakota - Rimrock and Pioneer. All of the camps are in the middle of the busy summer season, but types of camp programs abound. For the even remotely curious, here are the camps and links to the camp websites: Camp Wyoming near Wyoming, Iowa, is located in the Presbytery of East Iowa. Calvin Crest Camp, Conference & Retreat Center is just outside Fremont, Neb. Clearwater Forest near Deerwood, Minn., is a multi-presbytery and synod camp. The Lakeshore Center at Okoboji is located on Iowa's Lake Okoboji. And South Dakota's two camps are Rimrock and Pioneer. Both are located in the beautiful Black Hills.

Board of Pensions slates financial seminars in Iowa

Board of Pensions logo The Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will be conducting a series of seminars in the Synod of Lakes and Prairies later this summer and early fall. On Aug. 25-26, Board University will present the seminar, "Growing into Tomorrow ... Today," at Lakeshore Center at Okoboji near Milford, Iowa. The seminar is designed for members and guests within 15 years of retirement. On Aug 27, at the same location, Board University will offer "Render unto Caesar," a seminar that addresses terms of call and clergy taxes, and is designed for treasurers, administrators and active clergy. "Growing into Tomorrow" is also scheduled Sept. 23-24 at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary. "Getting in Shape Fiscally," a seminar on managing personal finances, will follow the next day, Sept. 25, at the seminary. The seminars at UDTS follow the same two seminars that take place at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago Sept. 16-18. Details and registration information for the seminars can be found at "Board University."


Homestead Presbytery plans

2016 journey to Scotland, Ireland

Scotland Pilgrimage Homestead Presbytery is organizing a trip to Scotland - and an add-on trip to Ireland - next spring. The tour to Scotland will be May 20-28, 2016, and the add-on trip to Ireland runs May 28-June 1, 2016. The presbytery is inviting others "to learn about Scotland's role in the Protestant Reformation and Reformer John Knox, and see firsthand how the Christian faith spread ... " A minimal fully refundable deposit will reserve a space. Details are at "Scotland."


'Pursued by Grace' is theme for 1001 conference

1001 "I don't mean to be overly dramatic," says the Rev. Keith Gunter, planning chairperson for the upcoming 1001 New Worshiping Communities National Conference planned Aug. 10-13 in St. Pete Beach, Fla. "But this year, gathering together for the 1001 conference has the potential to be one of the most impactful things that could happen." Gunter pastors New Creation Church in Hendersonville, Tenn. The complete Presbyterian News Service story is at "1001 Conference."


'Mosaic of Peace' conference planned

in Middle East in April 2016

"Peace in the Middle East" has to be one of the most aspirational statements ever articulated since 1948 when the state of Israel was established and, soon after, the Arab-Israeli War broke out. For some faithful Presbyterians, however, it's more than just words; it's a call to action and witness. The"Mosaic of Peace" conference, sponsored by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)'s Peacemaking Program, invites Presbyterians of all ages to witness the diversity, history and culture of present-day Israel and Palestine up close and personal. It allows conference participants to engage with people who seek true peace in this troubled region. The next scheduled event, Mosaic of Peace 2016, will be held April 4-16 in the Middle East. The complete announcement can be found at "Mosaic of Peace."


Communicators Network newsletter

note churches engaging their communities

The most recent Presbyterian Communicators Network newsletter notes, "The United States is home to more Christians than any other country in the world. However, according to the recent Pew Research Center report, 'America's Changing Religious Landscape,' between 2007 and 2014 the Christian share of the U.S. population fell from 78.4 percent to 70.6 percent. Mainline Protestantism, which includes the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), experienced the greatest decline in absolute numbers, decreasing from 41 million in 2007 to 36 million in 2014." But the newsletter adds, "So, how do Presbyterian churches engage with their communities to turn this trend? In this edition you will hear one pastor share how his church worked to break down barriers and reach the community through church marketing." The complete newsletter is at "Turning Trends." 
News of the Board of Pensions

Summer edition of Board Bulletin

notes actions of its directors

BOP Bulletin After each regular meeting of the board of directors of the Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Board of Pensions publishes The Board Bulletin, providing a record of actions taken at the meeting. The Bulletin reports key information presented and actions taken at this summer's meeting that affect plans and programs administered by the Board of Pensions. The summer issue can be found at "Board Bulletin."

News around the PC(USA) and more

Gillette pens hymn to commemorate

Carolyn Winfrey Gillette slayings in Charleston church

The Rev. Carolyn Winfrey Gillette, co-pastor of Limestone Presbyterian Church in Wilmington, Del., released the hymn, "They Met to Read the Bible," last Saturday after the murder of nine people at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. The three men and six women were gunned down the evening of June 17 while attending a prayer meeting. "This hymn is a prayer that we as a society will find courage to change," said Gillette. "We need to live differently. We can't put our faith in weapons or in symbols of hatred any longer. We need to hope for justice, to pray for justice, and to work for justice. We need to realize we are all brothers and sisters. We're all children of God." The complete Presbyterian News Service story can be found at "Charleston Slayings."


PC(USA)'s Parsons issues statement

on Supreme Court's marriage decision

Gradye Parsons Gradye Parsons, stated clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), issued a statement on the U.S. Supreme Court's decision last week on same-gender marriage. After noting the denomination's definition of marriage, Parsons wrote that the Supreme Court's decision "granting equal protection under  the law for same-gender, loving people and allowing their marriages to be recognized in all 50 states is welcomed by many within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)." Parsons' complete statement can be found at "Marriage."


Office of Public Witness applauds

J Herbert Nelson affordable care decision

The Supreme Court of the United States decided last week, in a 6-3 vote, to uphold the Affordable Care Act, saying it authorizes subsidies to those living in states with their own exchanges and citizens of the 34 states currently utilizing federal marketplaces. The Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, director of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Public Witness, expressed praise for the decision of the court. "The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Public Witness has advocated for affordable healthcare for all citizens of the United States for more than sixty years," he said. "We are grateful that the Supreme Court upheld the legitimacy of state exchanges, which provide greater access to enrollment in states that are not participating in the federal effort to insure people." The complete Presbyterian News Service story is at "Affordable Care."


Jarvie Commonweal Service committee

files complaint, asks for standstill

Outlook Logo Changes are imminent in a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)-related agency that provides services to elderly people in the New York metropolitan area. And there is disagreement about whether that's the right direction in which to go. A complaint has been filed with the New York attorney general's office regarding the administration of the Jarvie Commonweal Service, which is financed through a $95 million endowment fund held by the Presbyterian Foundation. These actions come at a time when the leadership of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, facing declining PC(USA) revenues and membership, is looking carefully at what programs conform to the denomination's priorities and which do not. The complete story by Leslie Scanlon of The Presbyterian Outlook can be found at "Jarvie."


Hoey files defamation lawsuit against PC(USA)

Eric Hoey A second defamation lawsuit has been filed against the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) A Corporation, the denomination's corporate entity, stemming from an ethics investigation involving the 1001 New Worshiping Communities program. Eric Hoey, who has served as the PC(USA)'s director of evangelism and church growth, filed suit in Jefferson Circuit Court in Kentucky on June 16. Hoey is the second person involved with the investigation to file a defamation suit. Roger Dermody, who was hired in 2010 as the PC(USA)'s deputy executive director for mission, serving directly under Linda Valentine, executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, filed suit on May 29. The complete story by Leslie Scanlon of The Presbyterian Outlook can be found at "Second Lawsuit."


PMA Board issues churchwide pastoral letter

Mission agency Marilyn Gamm, chair of the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board, and Jo Stewart, vice chair, issued a churchwide pastoral letter last week to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), noting that in their call "is an implicit, mutual understanding that we will be faithful and accountable in carrying out Christ's mission, including execution of the day-to-day ecclesiastical foundations that support our faith." The letter adds, "Although we wish that we could share with you the many ways we are at work in the service of Christ Jesus on behalf of the church in our present circumstances ... we are unable to release any further information at this time ... " The complete letter can be found at "Pastoral Letter."


PC(USA) welcomes release

of Pope Francis' encyclical 'Laudato Sii'

Pope Francis Gradye Parsons, stated clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), acknowledged Pope Francis' papal encyclical "Laudato Sii," celebrating "the faithful witness and words [that encourage] responsible loving care for God's creation." Parsons noted, "[W]e join the Pope in the urgency of truth-telling: we humans are largely responsible for global warming and we have to find ways to reverse track." (Photo of Pope Francis reprinted from the Catholic Herald of England and Wales.) Parsons' complete statement can be found at "Papal Encyclical."


U.S.-Cuba relations thaw uplifts

Cuba and Florida Cuba's Presbyterian leader

For most of his 54 years, the Rev. Daniel Izquierdo Hernández, secretary general of the National Synod of the Presbyterian-Reformed Church in Cuba, has lived in a balmy, tropical country with a 55-year long winter in its political relationship with the United States. During a late-morning conversation on June 23, sponsored by the United Nations' offices of the World Council of Churches and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Izquierdo discussed the role of religion and U.S./Cuban relations with an ecumenical audience. Izquierdo, from the city of Santa Clara located in the heart of Cuba, recalled how hints about a potential exchange of U.S. and Cuban political prisoners began circulating last fall. Experience told him there would probably be a pre-Christmas thaw; he assumed the swap would be the three remaining members of The Cuban Five for American businessman, Alan Philip Gross. The complete Presbyterian News Service story is at "United States and Cuba."

Just one more

A few facts about 'Gilligan's Island'

Mental Floss Magazine There comes a time when humor is needed. This week is one. It's been 48 years since the last episode of "Gilligan's Island" was broadcast. But everyone has seen the episodes in syndication. Still, few know Gilligan's first name. Mental Floss is filling in a few blanks. Gilligan's first name and more are at "Fateful Facts."