In This Issue
News around the Synod of Lakes and Prairies
Conferences, camps, resources
News of collegiate ministries & higher education
News from the Board of Pensions
News around the PC(USA) and more
Just one more
Quick Links
Social Media

October 8, 2015

News around the Synod of Lakes and Prairies
Synod fetes Barber, Wilkinson;
elects Prouty stated clerk
Wilkinson Barber The Synod of Lakes and Prairies, conducting its fall meeting last week at Mt. Olivet Conference and Retreat Center, feted two long-serving members of its leadership team. The synod recognized the service of Diana Barber, associate executive for leadership development, and J. Jay Wilkinson, stated clerk and treasurer, who plan to retire shortly after the new year (see Pam Prouty photo upper right). The synod also elected Pam Prouty, stated clerk of the Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys, as its new stated clerk (see photo lower right). She will take office Jan. 1. The synod also elected Fern Cloud, commissioner from Dakota Presbytery to serve as the 2016 moderator, and Greg Braatz, commissioner from Winnebago Presbytery, to be its next vice moderator. These stories and more from the synod meeting can be found at "Synod Summary."
A quick look at
Lakes Prairies website Yes, the Synod of Lakes and Prairies has a website. And here are just a few of the items that can be found there: back issues of this newsletter; a description of the synod's ministry and mission, including a narrative budget, a slide show of the budget, and a description of fixed assets and property; information about the synod loan fund; material of Presbyterian Women in the Synod of Lakes and Prairies, including the administrative team, next year's gathering and links to their newsletter, The Sower; and unofficial summaries of synod meetings dating back to 2011. At the site, readers will note that all blue, italicized type is a clickable link.
And, by the way, there's a synod Facebook group that now has more than 360 members. Keeping in Touch readers are invited to become members too. And, on Twitter, the synod (@lakesprairies) has more than 800 followers.
Conferences, camps, resources
Presbyterian Foundation 'Culture
of Generosity' workshop slated in Lincoln
Foundation logo Kevin Garvey, senior vice president for development of the Presbyterian Foundation, will lead a one-day workshop -- "Create a Culture of Generosity" -- Saturday, Oct. 31, at Heritage Presbyterian Church in Lincoln, Neb. The workshop is designed to help congregations move from traditional stewardship campaigns to building a year-round, spiritually based culture of generosity. The workshop runs from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. A workshop flyer is at "Culture of Generosity" and online registration is available at "Generosity."

Dakota Experience event
planned in Twin Cities Area
Offering an opportunity to experience the Dakota people's food, culture and spirituality, the Saint Paul Interfaith Network, Grace Lutheran Church of Apple Valley, Minn., and World Without Genocide have Dakota Experience scheduled "The Dakota Experience" Saturday, Oct. 17, from 4 to 8 p.m. at Grace Lutheran Church, 7800 West County Road 42, Apple Valley. Free and open to the public, the event will include American Indian storytelling, a traditional drum group, a teepee and campfire, horses - and lessons about Dakota horse traditions, the Tatanka Food Truck selling pre-colonial foods, an eagle and discussion of the significance of eagles in American Indian spirituality, myths and stereotypes in public art, and a screening of the film, "Dakota 38." A flyer is at "Dakota Experience."
Tollefson Lecture planned
Nov. 9 at Buena Vista University
The Rev. Dr. Elizabeth Hinson-Hasty will present this year's Robert and Barbara Tollefson Reformed Lecture Nov. 9 at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa. The lecture recognizes the contributions Robert and Barbara Tollefson made to BVU. Dr. Tollefson was a longtime professor of philosophy and religion at BVU. He and his wife, Barbara, played an important role in lives of many students. Hinson-Hasty is the chair and professor in the department of theology at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Ky. She is also director of that university's peace studies minor and co-adviser of the women and gender studies minor. Details about the lectures can be obtained by e-mailing Ken Meissner, BVU chaplain, at or calling him at 712.749.2111.
APCE Annual Event planned in January in Chicago
Ignite APCE The Association of Presbyterian Church Educators 2016 Annuel Event is planned Jan. 27-30 at the Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile in Chicago. The event will feature a hybrid certification course, a one day seminar on digital media for ministry, and other innovative presentations. Details can be found at "Ignite."
Theocademy: Now a resource
Theocademy for confirmation classes
Already known for its lay leadership and new member training resources, Theocademy is now offering a series of videos for confirmation classes. Theocademy is an effort of the Synod of Mid-America, supported in part by the synods of Lakes and Prairies, and Lincoln Trails, to offer high quality, training resources to the church. Details can be found at "Theocademy."
Wisconsin Council of Churches offers
lectionary reflections on race, privilege
The Wisconsin Council of Churches has developed a series of lectionary reflections for the fall. While the series opened earlier in September, it is still available, ending Nov. 22. The theme is "Race and Privilege" and each reflection includes a short summary of the text along with illustrative material for use in sermons and adult Bible study classes. The materials are at "Race and Privilege."
Regarding Ruling Elders:
Calling young people to serve
Gina Yeager-Buckley writes in the current installment of Regarding Ruling Elders, a resource provided by the Office of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and notes that nominating committees should be looking at young leaders. Yeager-Buckley is a ruling elder who serves as the associate for ministries with youth for the Presbyterian Mission Agency. She writes, "The Scriptures are full of the stories of young people, called by God, to be leaders. And not just class presidents or merit scholars -- leaders of tribes, prophets of Israel, slayers of giants, judges, apostles and even a mysterious 12-year-old, teaching in the temple. We have the evidence of God's hand upon young women and men as spiritual leaders. But we might need a few other things to nudge us, remind us, and inspire us." Yeager-Buckley's complete column is at "Young Leaders."
Presbyterians Today
publishes annual Advent Calendar
Today Advent 2015 Presbyterians Today, a magazine published by the Presbyterian Mission Agency, annually publishes an Advent Calendar and the 2015 edition is now available, featuring daily poetic reflections and prayers by Rachel Srubas, pastor, spiritual director and author, and vivid watercolors of Roy DeLeon. The calendar can be ordered at "Advent Calendar."
Peacemaking Program Advent
devotional reflects on Belhar Confession
Peacemaking Belhar Advent symbolizes the coming of Christ, and the hope and anticipation that comes with celebrating his birth and presence in our life. The Presbyterian Peacemaking Program publishes an annual Advent Devotional book for congregational use during the liturgical season leading up to Christmas. This year, the devotional features reflections centered on the Belhar Confession. Written in South Africa by members of the Dutch Reformed Mission Church in the late 1980s, the Belhar Confession rejects the ideas behind apartheid, or "separateness," and states the moral and theological justification of it is a travesty of the Gospel. The complete story is at "Belhar at Advent."
2015-2016 Presbyterian
Giving Catalog is now available
Giving Calendar 2015 The Presbyterian Giving Catalog always offers the opportunity to give a gift that also gives back. The new catalog is available. According to the announcement, "Each gift represents so much more than its monetary value -- from resources that enable sustainable farming, to basic necessities, to support that helps Presbyterians fulfill their mission work." The complete announcement is at "Giving Catalog."
Brenner develops blog to 'start a conversation'
Brenner Meantime Bart Brenner, a longtime leader in interim presbytery staff positions within the Synod of Lakes and Prairies, is writing a blog, "In the Meantime." The blog is, Brenner writes, "my attempt to start a conversation among Christians about those ideas and experiences that matter most for us." He adds, "Spirited, respectful debate is fine. I am not interested, however, in spiteful or malicious sniping. Hopefully, you and I can both grow as we share dialogue with each other." Brenner's blog can be found at "In the Meantime."
Race Reconciliation New race, reconciliation
study explores unity, justice
A new "Being Reformed: Faith Seeking Understanding" study released by Congregational Ministries Publishing honors the 50th anniversary of the Confession of 1967 and the anticipated adoption of the Confession of Belhar as a confessional standard of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). "Race and Reconciliation: Confessions of 1967 and Belhar" by Cliff Kirkpatrick, former stated clerk of the PC(USA), explores the themes of reconciliation, unity and justice. Readers will claim the ministry of reconciliation in a world and a church deeply divided by race, nation, gender, economic status and religion. The complete announcement is at "Reconciliation."
PILP offers incentive loan
to help churches reduce carbon footprint
PILP logo Congregations that want to reduce their carbon footprint and conserve energy have a new option for funding: The "Restoring Creation Loan" from the Presbyterian Investment & Loan Program. The Presbyterian (U.S.A.) Investment & Loan Program's board of directors approved the program that will provide an incentive for churches to reduce their consumption of fossil fuels. Similar action was taken in June by the Presbyterian Mission Agency executive committee. That committee approved the use of endowment funds for this initiative. The complete announcement can be found at "Restoring Creation."
Communicators Network
offers writing tips, other resources
Communicators Net The recent edition of the newsletter from the Presbyterian Communicators Network offers tips for writing effective news releases and includes its first "Best Practices" note. The Network continues to seek input from other church communicators. The most recent newsletter can be found at "Communicators Network."
News of collegiate ministries & higher education
UDTS doctoral program focuses
on congregational revitalization: pastor as leader
The University of Dubuque Theological Seminary offers a Doctor of Ministry program that is unique in its emphasis on the pastoral UDTSLogo leadership role in congregational revitalization. The program, according to the UDTS website, "is both practical and theoretical: practical in that it is based in the local congregation and attempts to identify concrete leadership tools for the pastor; theoretical in that it is rooted in the classical theological disciplines of the church." Each entering class becomes a cohort group that remains together throughout the program. Annette Bourland Huizenga, assistant professor of New Testament at UDTS, and Carol Howard Merritt, author, speaker and senior consultant for the Center for Progressive Renewal, will lead the 2016 cohort. Details are at "Doctor of Ministry."
News from the Board of Pensions
Latest edition of BOP's Board
Connections offers news, updates
BOP Connections Logo The newest edition of Board Connections, the Board of Pensions newsletter, is now available. The newsletter highlights recent Board news, important updates, and other information. The current edition highlights the "Financial Well-Being Retreat," retirement saving, "Call to Health" and more. It's at "Connections."
BOP notes annual enrollment time
It's annual enrollment time for making changes to insurance coverages through the Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The period is currently open and runs through Nov. 13. This period presents the opportunity to change medical coverage level, change dental coverage or apply for supplemental death coverage without having a qualifying "life event." Details can be found at "Annual Enrollment."
News around the PC(USA) & more
Moderator Heath Rada issues a 'call to the church'
Heath Rada Heath Rada, moderator of the 2014 General Assembly, has issued a "call
to the church" - a call for reform of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A), naming "a lack of trust across the church" and saying it's imperative for the denomination to act soon. "We do not have the luxury of time to discern and to debate," Rada said in remarks prepared for the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board, meeting in Louisville Sept. 23-25. The complete story by Leslie Scanlon of The Presbyterian Outlook can be found at "Call to the Church."
COGA issues open invitation
to discuss PC(USA) identity, purpose
GA 222 Identity conversations are taking place across the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and the Committee on the Office of the General Assembly wants to make sure all join in. What does it mean to be Presbyterian? Who is the church called to be in this current day and time? How should the denomination serve into the future? Valid questions are being discussed in nooks and crannies throughout the church, and now the General Assembly committee that oversees assembly work between biennial meetings is inviting the entire denomination into a church-wide conversation. The complete announcement from the Office of the General Assembly can be found at "Conversing."
Stated Clerk issues letter
to Trump on refugees, immigrants
Gradye Parsons Gradye Parsons, stated clerk of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) issued a letter last week to presidential candidate Donald Trump, reminding Trump of the denomination's long-standing relationship with refugees and immigrants. In part, Parsons noted, "I would like to share with you the Presbyterian policies on refugees and immigrants. Presbyterians profess a faith in Christ, whose parents were forced to flee with him to Egypt when he was an infant to save him from King Herod. Knowing our Lord was once a refugee, faithful Presbyterians have been writing church policy urging the welcome of refugees and demanding higher annual admissions into the United States since the refugee crisis of World War II." Parsons' complete letter can be found at "Letter."
De La Rosa named new interim
executive director of PMA
Luis Antonio (Tony) De La Rosa has been named the interim executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. The announcement came Sept. 23. He will begin his service on Dec. 1. Introducing De La Rosa, Marilyn Gamm, chair of the Presbyterian Mission Agency board, said "We love this person's energy and passion," and said De La Rosa told those interviewing him: "The Presbyterian Mission Agency needs a huge injection of hope." The complete story by Leslie Scanlon of The Presbyterian Outlook can be found at "De La Rosa."
Galloway, Allen to preach
at Women of Color Consultation
Alika Galloway The 2015 Women of Color Consultation, sponsored by Racial Ethnic & Women's Ministries, is planned Nov. 12-14 in Greensboro, N.C. Approximately one hundred women in various leadership roles from across the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) -- including young women, racial ethnic and new immigrant women, seminarians and women at the local congregational level -- will gather for the event. There will be a distinct connection to the Synod of Lakes and Prairies during the Consultation. The Rev. Alika Galloway, co-pastor of Kwanzaa Community Church and co-director of Northside Women's Space in Minneapolis, will preach for the opening worship service and the Rev. Kerri Allen, who had been under the care of the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area during her seminary years and is now a doctoral student and hospital chaplain in Chicago, will serve as the closing worship preacher for the event. The complete story is at "Women of Color."
PDA teams monitor flooding in South Carolina
PDA disaster assistance Response teams from Presbyterian Disaster Assistance are monitoring flooding in South Carolina where at least nine people are reported dead in the latest update from South Carolina officials following torrential rains. The historic storm dumped six to 24 inches of rainfall across the state. Meteorologists are calling it a "1,000 year storm," saying it had a one in 1,000 chance of ever happening. The heavy rains were the result of tropical moisture generated by Hurricane Joaquin, spinning out in the Atlantic Ocean. The complete story is at "South Carolina."
PMA receives optimistic -
for now - midyear budget report
At a presentation to the Presbyterian Mission Agency staff of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) last week, Earline Williams, deputy executive director and temporary co-manager of the PMA, painted a financial picture of the Agency that, for the time being, is optimistic. The midyear look at finances through June 30, 2015, reported receipts of $31 million and expenses of $30 million. The complete story can be found in The Presbyterian Outlook at "Midyear Report."
PMAB approves revised 2016 mission budget
Mission agency The Presbyterian Mission Agency Board last week approved a revised mission budget for 2016 of $77.5 million, representing a net decrease of about $500,000. As it was interpreted to the finance committee in its Sept. 23 meeting by Denise Hampton, the PMA's controller, the revised budget reflects the elimination of four staff positions as well as an organizational restructure within the PMA. The revised mission budget also restores $549,164 to the Presbyterian Mission Program Fund, the unrestricted cash reserve. In the second of its two action items, the board approved the election of J. Jay Wilkinson to membership on the board of directors of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Corporation to fill a vacancy in the class of 2018. The complete announcement can be found at "Mission Budget."
Judge dismisses Dermody lawsuit
The judge considering Roger Dermody's defamation case against the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has dismissed the lawsuit. The order was issued Sept. 21 in Jefferson Circuit Court in Louisville, Ky. The story posted by the Presbyterian News Service quotes Judge Judith E. McDonald-Burkman's order: "Therefore, after a careful review of the record, applicable law and the Court being otherwise sufficiently advised, it is hereby ordered and adjudged that Defendant Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)'s Motion for Summary Judgment is granted. Plaintiff Roger Dermody's Complaint is dismissed with prejudice." The complete story is at "Lawsuit." The full text of the order of dismissal is at "Dismissed."
Native American Young Adult
Council gathers in Louisville
The Native American Young Adult Council of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) gathered in Louisville for its first meeting this past weekend. The group explored questions about young adult ministry for Native American women and men in the context of today's church, and worked with the Council's advisors on developing leadership skills needed to meet the unique challenges of Native American ministry. The group also strategized about the work that the Council will be doing on behalf of and with Native American young adults throughout the country. Among those attending was Brittany Stephens of Flandreau, S.D., representing the Presbytery of Dakota of the Synod of Lakes and Prairies. The complete story is at "Equipping Future Leaders."
Presbyterian Mission Agency distributes
grants to worshiping communities
1001 The Mission Development Resources Committee of the Presbyterian Mission Agency has approved funding for almost 40 grants specifically designed to develop and grow new and existing 1001 New Worshiping Communities across the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) The number includes 24 Seed Grants that provide an initial $7,500 to help start a 1001 New Worshiping Community. One of the 24 Seed Grants awarded in this cycle went to a New Worshiping Community in the Synod of Lakes and Prairies - a new community in Dubuque, Iowa, in the Presbytery of John Knox. The complete Presbyterian News Service story is at "New Worshiping Community."
Native American Day celebrated
Irv Porter preaches at PC(USA) Center chapel
Last week Wednesday, Sept. 23, Native American Presbyterian women and men from across the United States joined together at the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) national headquarters in Louisville to celebrate Native American Day with a special worship service. Led by the Rev. Irvin Porter, right, associate for Native American Congregational Support, the special worship service welcomed members of several Native American tribes, including Coushatta, Dakota, Choctaw and Nez Perce, and recognized and celebrated the contributions of Native Americans in the life of the Presbyterian church and the larger community. The complete story from the Presbyterian Mission Agency can be found at "Celebrating Gifts." (Photo by Kristena Morse.)
Hunter issues reminder that words matter
Rashell Hunter Rhashell Hunter, director of Racial Ethnic and Women's Ministries of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, issued a reminder that words matter. Writing in a recent newsletter, she noted, "I visited a church one Sunday when I was in seminary and a candidate for ordination and after worship the pastor nominating committee gave a report to the congregation. I had been spending a lot of time wondering where my first call would be and who would be willing to take a chance on a minister fresh out of seminary. My heart sank when the chairperson of the committee stood at the lectern and said, 'We searched all over looking to find the best man for the job.' Was this just an unfortunate choice of words? Did the chairperson misspeak? Was this inefficient use of language? Or was it being clearly communicated that as a woman I would never qualify or even be considered for the position at this church?" Hunter's complete column, along with a variety of other resources, can be found at "Words Matter."
Grace Presbytery donates
$2.8 million to World Mission
In this time of change and uncertainty for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Grace Presbytery, located in central and northeast Texas, has decided to invest in the future of the church by donating $2.85 million to Presbyterian World Mission. The presbytery met and voted last week on a comprehensive proposal to strengthen mission through leadership development, seminary education, Hispanic outreach, the Young Adult Volunteer program and mission co-workers. The gift will fund in perpetuity half the cost of two mission co-worker positions and fully fund 20 Young Adult Volunteer scholarships. Other presbyteries and congregations will be challenged to complete the funding for the mission co-worker positions. The complete announcement can be found at "Donation."
Just one more
The things kids say about love
For those of you who regularly read Keeping in Touch, there's this last little section - "Just one more." Sometimes it's just two more, but who's God's Little Acre counting. Anyway, your editor found this site, "God's Little Acre," and there are quotes from kids answering various questions about love. For example, the questions is: "What are some surefire ways to make a person fall in love with you?" One answer: "Don't do things like have smelly, green sneakers. You might get attention, but attention ain't the same thing as love." Yes, we kind of figured that out. There are a lot of these at "Speaking of Love."