In This Issue
News around the Synod of Lakes and Prairies
Conferences, resources in the synod
Conferences, resources outside the synod
News of collegiate ministries & higher education
News around the PC(USA) and more
Just a few more
Quick Links
Social Media

September 10, 2015

News around the Synod of Lakes and Prairies
Synod meeting set Sept. 27-29 at Mt. Olivet
Synod Logo The Synod of Lakes and Prairies will conduct its fall meeting Sunday through Tuesday, Sept. 27-29, at Mt. Olivet Conference and Retreat Center in Farmington, Minn. The synod will elect officers, hear reports and worship. Among items on the proposed agenda are retirement celebrations for longtime synod staff members Diana Barber, associate executive for leadership development, and J. Jay Wilkinson, stated clerk and treasurer.
Memorial service planned Oct. 17 for Phil Brown
The family of Phil Brown, former executive of the Synod of Lakes and Prairies who died this summer, is planning a memorial service Saturday, Oct. 17, at 2:30 p.m. at White Bear Lake (Minn.) Methodist Church. Bob Cuthill, also a former synod executive and colleague of Brown, will offer a tribute. Brown's granddaughter, Abigail Brown, will be a speaker. Bryce Johnson will lead the service.
4 from Lakes and Prairies receive
Apollos Scholarship awards
Gary S. Eller, president of the Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation has announced the recipients of Apollos Scholarship awards for this year, continuing the Foundation's tradition of support for seminary students who are pursuing a Master of Divinity degree with the goal to become ordained pastors in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Four of the recipients have ties to presbyteries of the Synod of Lakes and Prairies: Sharon Rees of the Presbytery of Central Nebraska; Christine Dempsey of Homestead Presbytery; and Madeleine Benishek and Benjamin Masters from the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area. The Foundation has provided support to seminarians since 1954 and has awarded more than $3.9 million directly to students. The complete announcement from the Foundation can be found at "Apollos."
Minnesota Valley recently
commissions Young Adult Volunteer
YAV logo Mindy Vande Brake, recently commissioned by the Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)'s Young Adult Volunteer program, is now serving in New Orleans. She is the first YAV commissioned from the presbytery. Vande Brake is helping elementary and middle school students at an after-school program called Mid City Ministries. The complete story can be found on Page 5 in the Aug. 25 edition of the Valley Bridge, the presbytery's newsletter. It's at "Young Adult Volunteer."
Duluth congregation fills 145
backpacks for 125th anniversary
Lakeside Presbyterian Church in Duluth, Minn., celebrated its 125th anniversary this year and set a goal to fill 125 backpacks with school Lakeside Presbyterian supplies for students in need in the area. It exceeded that goal. It provided 145 filled backpacks -- and more. With its theme, "Joyfully Serving Our Lord," Lakeside Presbyterian contributed $1,000 for tennis shoes through CHUM -- or Churches United in Ministry -- of Duluth, an organization dedicated to provide basic needs and services for homeless and marginalized members of the community. Lakeside also provided $450 to the Boys & Girls Club, and $450 to Life House, a ministry to homeless youth in the Duluth area.
Conferences & other resources in the synod
Homestead Logo Homestead Presbytery offers
marketing workshops next week
With a mini-workshop Tuesday, Sept. 15, and a full-day workshop Wednesday, Sept. 16, Homestead Presbytery is offering two marketing workshops that will address topics such as communications as something other than technology, hospitality, being a part of the news and word-of-mouth advertising. The evening workshop Tuesday takes place in Lincoln, Neb., and the full-day workshop takes place in Tekamah, Neb. Workshop leaders are Kris Peterson, resource coordinator for Homestead Presbytery, and Duane Sweep, associate for communications of the Synod of Lakes and Prairies. Details are at "Marketing."

Northern Plains plans 'Leading Long,
Northern Plains LeadershipWell' workshop
Mark Sundby, executive director of North Central Ministry Development Center in New Brighton, Minn., and Mary Kay DuChene, a leadership coach who is on a staff at Easter Lutheran Church in Eagan, Minn., will lead a two-part workshop, "Leading Long, Leading Well," at United Presbyterian Church in Jamestown, N.D., later this month. The workshop addresses adaptive leadership and resiliency in ministry. Part I of the workshop runs Monday and Tuesday, Sept. 28-29, and Part II follows the next two days, Sept. 30 and Oct. 1. Details, including registration information, are at "Leading Long and Well."
Church of All Nations logo Ecological Justice Conference
set at Church of All Nations
Church of All Nations in Columbia Heights, Minn., will be host to its fifth annual Ecological Justice Conference Oct. 9-11, titled "Identity, Theology & Place: Reinhabiting the Mississippi Watershed." Co-convened with Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries and Underground Seminary, the conference will explore a theology of restorative solidarity, ecological sustainability, and connection to place. Speakers include Ched Myers, Elaine Enns, Sharon Day, Jim Bear Jacobs, and Jin S. Kim. Music and performances by the Carnival de Resistance. Early bird registration deadline is Sept. 18. Additional details and registration information can be found "Watershed Conference."
Lakeshore Center heads into fall season
Lakeshore Center on Okoboji, a Presbyterian camp and conference center on Lake Okoboji in Iowa, hosts many church groups, serves Lakeshore Lodge hundreds of summer campers - but it also provides facilities for family reunions, weddings and retreats every year. Its website notes, "In order to serve so many, to maintain and improve our facilties, and to be good stewards of this beautiful, natural setting, we depend on contributions from individuals, churches and organizations." The Lakeshore Center also has a very specific "Wish List." (Located in a lower, left corner of the website's homepage.)
Clearwater Forest slates fall retreats, Snow Camp
Clearwater Forest, a Presbyterian camp and conference in the heart of Minnesota's lake country near Deerwood, has laid out plans for junior Clearwater Logo and senior high retreats this fall, and for Snow Camp in inevitable winter. Situated on more than 1,000 acres, Clearwater Forest presents 35 to 50 programs each year including summer youth camps, women's retreats, spiritual renewal events, non-summer youth retreats, confirmation class retreats, family events, and other senior adult programs. Details on the fall and winter retreats are at "Fall and Winter."
Second cycle of DREAM grants announced
A second cycle of DREAM grants is now underway. DREAM - Developmental, Risky, Experimental, Adaptive Mission -- grants are being offered through the Presbyterian Mission Agency to facilitate new ministries. The DREAM grant is meant to encourage risk-takers who are not afraid to fail in church cultures. One-time grants of up to $10,000 are available to churches and mid-councils. While designated for new ministries, DREAM grants are not part of the 1001 New Worshiping Communities initiative. The Synod of Lakes and Prairies has distributed information about this second cycle of DREAM grants to each of its presbyteries.
IRMS provides much information through website
Iowa Religious Media Services, one of three media resource centers supported by the Synod of Lakes and Prairies, answers a lot of questions IRMSLOGO through its website. Sharon Strohmeier, the resource center's executive director, answers questions about the ins and outs of subscribing to the center's media library in an online audio interview. IRMS is an ecumenical lending library with more than 10,000 DVD, VHS, audio, book and other resources available for use by subscribers and renters.
Conferences & other resources outside the synod
Evangelism Sunday available at PC(USA) website
A number of free resources are available on the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) website for Evangelism Sunday, Sept. 27. The scriptural theme for the special Sunday is taken from John 20:21 - "As the Father has sent me, I am sending you." The free materials include worship and liturgy materials. The information is available at "Evangelism."
OGA is host to Polity Conference
OGA symbol in Oregon Oct. 11-12
The Office of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will be host to the Polity Conference in Portland, Ore., Oct. 11-12. The conference provides opportunities for mid-council staff leaders to gather with OGA staff leaders to learn about polity issues and share common concerns. Polity Conference details can be found at "Conference."
Gathering of mission leaders
planned in Kansas City in November
Mission Magnified Local, regional and international mission leaders will be able to connect and learn from each other at a gathering of mission leaders Nov. 19-21 at the Heartland Conference Center in Kansas City, Mo. Called "Mission Magnified," the conference format will be retreat-style, with small group sessions complimenting plenary workshops. Worship will be included throughout. Details can be found at "Magnified."
Communicators Network
says 'We want to hear from you'
Communicators Net The newsletter of the Presbyterian Communicators Network is looking for best practices from Presbyterian communicators. The newsletter notes, "According to industry experts, clear, recognizable sender information and a well-written, descriptive subject line give users the information they need to make an informed decision about opening your email. We want to hear from you. Let us know what communication practices are working best for your church or ministry. If your tips or practices are selected they will be highlighted in this newsletter ... " The newsletter is at "Communicators."
NEXT Church seeks workshop leaders
NEXT Church The national gathering of NEXT Church, a network of leaders across the Presbyterian Church (USA) who are fostering a conversation about how to follow Christ in this particular day and age, is seeking workshop leaders for the Feb. 22-24 event in Atlanta, Ga. The planning team is seeking workshops -- 75 minutes in length -- that are engaging and thoughtful, and that spark new ideas and approaches to ministry. Workshops can be held on- or off-site Atlanta. Details can be found at "NEXT Church Workshop."
Presbyterian Writers Guild
offers 3-phase writing contest
Inspired by Jesus' practice of teaching with parables, the Presbyterian Writers Guild is offering a three-phase writing contest as it builds toward Presby Writers Logo its luncheon at the 2016 Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assembly in Portland, Ore. The Guild chose the format as a way to inspire theological reflection on issues that confront the church. Open to all members of the Presbyterian Writers Guild, the contests will accept submissions from any genre including mystery, romance, fantasy, historical fiction, science fiction and others. The complete story from the Presbyterian News Service is at "Writing Contest."
Point Connection newsletter
offers links to education resources
POINT newsletter The Point Connection, a newsletter that offers links to educational resources of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), noted recently, "Honor children, youth, adults and the leaders who nurture their faith by planning celebrations of Christian education and lifelong faith formation throughout the year, starting with a commissioning service or renewal of baptism in worship this fall." Prayers, liturgies and other resources are available. The complete newsletter is at "Point."
Hardwick visits Philippines,
writes of strengthening pastors
Chip Hardwick, director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency's Office of Theology, Formation and Evangelism, wrote in a recent edition of the newsletter Grace and Gratitude about his visit to the divinity school at Silliman University in the Philippines. He noted, "Silliman seeks to strengthen the church by strengthening its pastors. In this newsletter, discover ways that the ministries of theology, formation and evangelism seek to do the same thing." Hardwick's complete column and the entire newsletter are at "Grace and Gratitude."
News of collegiate ministries & higher education
UKirk devotional app in final stages of production
Jason Santos, national director of UKirk, the collegiate ministries office of UKirk, PCUSA, Collegiate Ministry the Presbyterian Mission Agency, noted in a recent newsletter that the UKirk devotional app is in the final stages of production. He wrote, "[W]e're hoping to release it when we launch our new website next month. It looks great and I'm certain your students will love it." The complete UKirk newsletter and Santos' letter can be found at "UKirk."
Coe College featured
in Princeton Review's 2016 edition
Coe College Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is one of the country's best institutions for undergraduate education, according to The Princeton Review. The education services company features Coe in the 2016 edition of its college guide, "The Best 380 Colleges." Coe is one of seven Presbyterian-related institutions of higher education in covenant with the Synod of Lakes and Prairies. The complete announcement can be found at "Coe College."
News around the PC(USA) & more
Youth Triennium looks for volunteer leaders
The 2016 Presbyterian Youth Triennium of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and Cumberland Presbyterian Church has issued the call for 2016 Youth Triennium small group leaders, community life volunteers and other key leaders. Position descriptions and applications seeking more than 100 adult volunteers with facilitation skill, enjoyment of young people and a passion for mission are available online. Gina Yeager-Buckley, Triennium director and associate for Ministries with Youth in the Presbyterian Mission Agency, describes the July 19-23 event as a five-day village, saying, "It takes a unique Presbyterian to staff that village. Hundreds of volunteers, youth, college-age young adults and adults give their time to serve God by serving among young people at the event." The complete Presbyterian News Service story is at "Triennium."
Parsons decides not to stand for a 3rd term
Gradye Parsons The Rev. Gradye Parsons, stated clerk of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assembly, announced last week that he would not stand for election to a third four-year term as the highest elected officer of the church. Parsons, ordained 36 years ago as a Presbyterian teaching elder, says his first job in the church was as a janitor. "It's been a privilege for me to serve," he said of his tenure. "All of my jobs in the church have been a pleasure to me." In his announcement, Parsons said the church "has entered into a new chapter of its common life," and he reflected on aspects of this new era in an interview with Presbyterian News Service. The complete story is at "Parsons."
Newsletter issues call to action to eradicate racism
Ask Why You Matter In last week's Racial Ethnic and Women's Ministries News, Rhashell Hunter, program director, issued a call to "join the movement and pledge to take action to eradicate racism." In addition to providing a link to sign the pledge, Hunter wrote, "'Ask Me Why You Matter to Me' is a churchwide effort to recommit Presbyterians to racial justice. Officially launched at Big Tent 2015, Presbyterians from across the country have pledged -- and continue to pledge -- to take action to eliminate racism in our beloved church and in our society." The complete newsletter, along with a link to the pledge, can be found at "Eliminating Racism."
Oklahoma UMC is looking
for disaster response work groups
UMC Disaster Response Oklahoma United Methodist Church Disaster Response, which has a long partnership with Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, is seeking work teams this fall to repair and rebuild homes damaged or destroyed by natural disasters. The organization hopes to start scheduling volunteers beginning in October and going forward into 2016. Details are at "Oklahoma Volunteer Teams."
PDA asks Presbyterians to stand
in the 'GAP' for Syrian refugees
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, along with other disaster responders of the ACT Alliance, is providing assistance in the Syrian refugee crisis. Presbyterians are being asked to stand in the "GAP" -- give, act, pray -- for those suffering through this forced migration. Additional details are available in an announcement from PDA. It's at "Syrian Refugee Crisis."
PDA stays long term after Katrina's devastation
The numbers surrounding Hurricane Katrina are staggering, almost unimaginable. The Aug. 28, 2005, hurricane is responsible for 1,833 PDA disaster assistance deaths. More than half of the people who died in Louisiana were 65 and over. Forty percent of them drowned. More than 134,000 homes in New Orleans -- 70 percent of occupied units -- were damaged or destroyed. Total damages are estimated at $135 billion. Less than a month later, when residents were finally returning to sift through the rubble and mayhem of what remained of their lives and belongings, Hurricane Rita hit the region, adding 120 people to the death toll and another $15 billion in damages. But Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is still there. The complete Presbyterian News Service story can be found at "Katrina."
SDOP PC(USA)'s Self-Development
of People celebrates 45 years
More than 5,600 in 67 countries. That's how many community projects have received support over the last 45 years from the Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People. SDOP is celebrating its 45th year this month and church leaders are thrilled with the progress communities have made. Working with a national committee as well as 25 presbytery and three synod committees -- the Synod of Lakes and Prairies is one -- SDOP partners with communities struggling with economic and social justice issues by providing grants to help them become self-sustainable. The complete Presbyterian News Service story is at "SDOP."
Presbyterians Today looks
at mission around the world
Presbyterians Today In its biggest issue ever, Presbyterians Today magazine takes a sweeping look at the ways Presbyterians are joining God's mission to heal a hurting world. The September-October issue looks at some of the world's greatest struggles and the ministries that tend to them. A number of stories from the issue can be found online at "Presbyterians Today."
Kwong Abazia: 'Every single day feels better'
Kwong Abazia Larissa Kwong Abazia, vice moderator of the 221st General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), has been blogging about her fight with cancer in "Each New Day." She recently wrote, "It's been about a week and a half since surgery and every single day feels better. It's a daily lesson to take things slowly, refraining from pushing myself so that I don't set myself back. The gift of all of this time has been the surrounding community offering prayers and words of encouragement." Her complete post, along with other blog posts about her fight, can be found at "Each New Day."
Fellowship Community calls
to 'weave together a new way in the PC(USA)'
Fellowship Community One by one, as nearly 500 people entered the courtyard of First Presbyterian Church of San Diego to register for the first national gathering of The Fellowship Community, their delight was palpable. The Fellowship Community -- the result of a 2014 merger of the former Fellowship of Presbyterians and Presbyterians for Renewal -- is "a network of churches and leaders called together to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ by growing in Christ's likeness, living by God's word, and joining in God's mission in the world." Among the vows published on the Fellowship's website -- not binding on all of its members -- is one that reads, "Because 'We promise to further the peace, unity, and purity of the church' we are committed to faithful living and witness, not fighting denominational battles or leaving, but affirming our constitutional right to not participate in actions or ceremonies that violate our understanding of Scripture and the Confessions." The complete Presbyterian News Service story is at "Continuing Together."
PC(USA) Special Offerings newsletter
interprets mission through generosity
"In an effort to better support you in sharing the good news of what God Special Offeringsis growing through the four church-wide special offerings: One Great Hour Of Sharing, Pentecost, Peace & Global Witness, and Christmas Joy, we are restarting our e-newsletter. In it you will find links to tools and stories that can help you and your congregation interpret the mission and ministry your generosity makes possible." That's the way Bryce Wiebe, manager of special offerings for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), describes the new newsletter produced by his office. It can be found at "Special Offerings."
Church leaders join others
in support of Iran nuclear agreement
A growing number of Christian organizations are coming forward in support of the recent nuclear agreement with Iran, which was negotiated by China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States and Germany. Christian leaders are urging members of Congress to support it when it comes up for a vote in the coming weeks. Leaders from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) as well as other denominations including Catholic, Pentecostal and Quaker recently sent a letter to Congress. The complete Presbyterian News Service story can be found at "Nuclear Deal."
Just one more
How do you feel when a book ends?
Upworthy Logo An Upworthy blog asks, "Have you ever been moved to tears by the end of a book?" Go ahead, admit it. I will. Wait. Well. Thom Dunn curates the Upworthy blog that shows a baby throwing "adorable tantrums every time a book ends." Dunn adds, "He should be a role model for us all." The blog, with a link to the full video, can be found at "Bookworm Baby Breakdown."