In This Issue
News around the Synod of Lakes and Prairies
Conferences, camps, resources
News around the PC(USA) and more
Quick Links
Social Media

February 5, 2016

News around the Synod of Lakes and Prairies
Alex De Veyra Synod calls Alex De Veyra to serve
as director of financial services
Commissioners of the Synod of Lakes and Prairies of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) elected Alex De Veyra of St. Paul, Minn., to serve as the synod's director of financial services. De Veyra began serving in the position Feb. 1. De Veyra brings extensive accounting experience to the position. He most recently worked at the Hubert H. Humphrey Job Corps Center in St. Paul. Prior to that position, De Veyra worked for Boeser Inc. of Minneapolis, a private corporation in the manufacturing sector. De Veyra can be contacted by e-mail at or by phone at 651.357.1145. The complete story is at "De Veyra."
Pam Prouty Contact information provided
for synod's stated clerk
Pam Prouty began serving as stated clerk of the Synod of Lakes and Prairies in January, having been elected to the position at the fall meeting of the synod. She can be contacted by e-mail at or by calling 507.627.5486. Prouty has succeeded J. Jay Wilkinson, who retired from the stated clerk position at the end of the December. Prouty currently serves as stated clerk of the Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys and has 15 years of past and current experience as a stated clerk. She also has served as a General Assembly committee parliamentarian for the 2012 and 2014 assemblies.
Medical treatment suspends Killebrew relocation
The medical treatment protocol for Katherine "Kate" Killebrew, who had been elected in November as the synod's new director of leadership development, has been extended and her relocation to the synod is indefinitely suspended.
PC(USA) moderator plans 'conversation' in Ames
Heath Rada in Ames The 222nd General Assembly in Portland, Ore., this summer will address questions about the way forward for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and the hope is to collect as much raw material from as many members and groups at possible to jump-start discussions. As part of that process, Heath Rada, moderator of the 222st General Assembly, is making several stops around the country to gather input. One of those stops will be at Collegiate Presbyterian Church in Ames, Iowa, on Saturday, March 12, beginning at 10 a.m. While the event is in Ames, the invitation to participate in the conversation is synod-wide. The complete invitation is at "A Conversation with Heath."
Street-Stewart preaches 'Mighty Acts'
Elona Street-Stewart in Redwood Falls sermon
Elona Street-Stewart, executive of the Synod of Lakes and Prayers, spoke about "taking the first step in experiencing the way of new life" when she filled the pulpit at First Presbyterian Church in Redwood Falls, Minn., on Jan. 24. She said, "Through this experience we imagine how people and creatures, communities and cultures, religions and ethnicities were created in relation to one another. ... All my relatives, in unity, we are called to be the KIN-dom of God. ... We don't get there without struggle. Our Christian traditions are a living reality often inseparable from our conflicts as Christian communities within historic and dogmatic boundaries. Our diversity comes at the cost of the marginalized and oppressed, and is broken by the ways we discriminate by language, culture, economics, gender, creed and domain. Like the people in the Bible, we must grapple with our histories and stories that personify our fragmentation from God and each other." Street-Stewart's complete sermon is at "Unity."
Synod School catalog on schedule
Synod School 16 cat for release this month
In just a few weeks the Synod School 2016 catalog will be delivered to the post office and it should end up in mail boxes before the end of the month. Registration begins March 1. Those who are alums should receive individual copies and Presbyterian churches across the synod should receive at least two copies. And, of course, as soon as the catalogs are placed in the mail, a complete copy will also be uploaded on the synod's website. The synod's annual weeklong event runs July 24-29 at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa. Each year about 600 people participate in the mind-stretching courses, worship, fellowship, and fun and relaxation.
Howard blogs at 'Beloved Community'
Craig Howard The newsletter of the Presbytery of Milwaukee has begun posting a blog written by Craig Howard, the presbytery's executive director of strategic partnerships. The blog, titled "Beloved Community," is published to lay the foundation for imagining a different way of being church in the world. The blog's description notes, "Imagine what your church, your denomination, or our society can be. Imagine how you can connect and contribute to this vision." In a recent post, Howard writes, "What if Lent were a feast of learning, fellowship, and worship that attracts close friends (and not so close friends) from all around. Imagine a place where people can gather to learn, pray, embrace, and grow." The complete post, and other posts, can be found at "Beloved Community."
Synod PW posts registration
booklet for summer gathering
Presby Women Gather The registration booklet for the Gathering of Presbyterian Women in the Synod of Lakes and Prairies has been posted online. The booklet provides detailed information about the Gathering that takes place June 15-18 in Sioux Falls, S.D. The booklet is at "Program and Registration Form."
Mark Achtemeier Identifying the idols: Achtemeier
speaks of God's cleansing of idols
In today's church it is common to fret about the decline in membership, the shortage of funds and the loss of the traditional structure. Maybe the church shouldn't fret so much. Maybe the church is in a time when God is cleansing the idols. Mark Achtemeier told attendees at the Synod of Lakes and Prairies' COM/CPM training event last week at Christ the King Retreat Center in Buffalo, Minn., that "God seems to be taking away the dream of large, profitable, successful churches." But he added, "I'm trying to tell you this is not a story of failure." The complete story can be found at "Identifying Idols." Other materials now available from the COM/CPM event can be found at "Materials."
Iowa Religious Media Services
celebrates 30 years as the 'elegant solution'
Iowa Religious Media Services held its 30th anniversary celebration during its 2016 annual meeting and re-covenanting service Jan. 13. At Bob Houser signs the meeting, after describing several organizations that have faced challenges and solved them through determining an elegant solution, Sharon Strohmaier, executive director of IRMS, said, "IRMS is an elegant solution. Thirty-six years ago, when media were just beginning to play a much larger role in our lives, denominational representatives gathered to determine how it is best to address this change in communications media. They wanted to take the work to the next level and to do together what none could do as well alone." Six mainline denominations, including the Synod of Lakes and Prairies, signed a re-covenanting document at the celebration. The Rev. Bob Houser, retired general presbyter of the Presbytery of Central Nebraska, currently serves on the IRMS board of directors and signed the covenant (photo above) on behalf of the synod. The complete story is at "Celebrating 30 Years."
Conferences, camps, resources
2016 DREAM Grant cycle is underway
The 2016 cycle of the Developmental, Risky, Experimental, Adaptive Mission (DREAM) Grant is being offered by the Presbyterian Mission Agency is underway. The grant seeks to encourage dreamers, risk-takers, pioneers and trailblazers who are not afraid to fail and church cultures that will encourage people to risk failure in order to find new ways to succeed.  The grant is designed to encourage the birth of new ventures through congregations and presbyteries rather than to support the expansion of existing programs within congregations. The new initiatives can receive a one-time DREAM Grant of up to $10,000. Details, including a complete grant application, can be found at "DREAM."
NEXT Church annual national
gathering features Allan Boesak
NEXT Church The NEXT Church National Gathering, set Feb. 22-24 in Atlanta, features three days of worship, testimony and new ideas. Gathering highlights feature a keynote by Allan Boesak, a leader in the effort to end apartheid in South Africa; more than 40 workshop options on topics from worship and arts, to engagement in diverse communities; and childcare for children age 8 weeks to 4 years old. Registration information is at "NEXT Church."
35th annual Rural Ministry Conference
wartburg seminary planned in March in Dubuque
Wartburg Theological Seminary and the Center for Theology and Land will conduct the 35th annual Rural Ministry Conference March 6-8 in Dubuque, Iowa. This year's theme is "Life Changing Ministry in the Small Membership Congregation." The information will also be useful for larger congregations.  Scholarships are available for those who have served in a rural/small town ministry for less than five years. Details are available at "Rural Ministry."
Heartland Presbyterian offers
screening of 'Trigger' documentary
Trigger documentary Heartland Presbyterian Church of Clive, Iowa, will screen the award-winning documentary, "Trigger: The Ripple Effect of Gun Violence," on Saturday, March 12, from 9 a.m. to noon. The hour-long documentary, which was developed with funds from Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, shifts the conversation about gun violence prevention from the polarizing extremes that often dominate the debate to frame the dialogue as a public health issue that needs to be addressed from various angles. RSVPs for the showing should be directed to the Heartland church office at 515.987.4246.
'Recovery from Religion' conference
Religion Recovery planned in Twin Cities
Religion plays a major role in the lives of millions. Sometimes this formation is positive, but far too often it can be rooted in theological systems that foster trauma or abuse. That's what promotional material for the conference, "Recovery from Religion," points out. The conference, sponsored by MICAH, the Minnesota Institute of Contemplation and Healing, runs April 6-9 at the Open Book in Minneapolis, and will address toxic theology, post-traumatic stress disorder and the road to healing. The conference is designed for healthcare professionals, clergy and anyone whose life has been touched by a negative religious message. Details are in a flyer at "Recovery from Religion."
Lent Be Holy Presbyterians Today publishes
2016 Lenten devotional
Lent is a holy journey with God, but what does it mean exactly to be "holy"? In "Be Holy," Presbyterians Today magazine's new Lenten devotional for 2016, pastor and author Brian Coulter has penned a series of brief daily reflections, paired with a short, ancient form of praise and petition called a breath prayer, to explore what holiness means for Christians today. Bess Reynolds' original artwork brings the Lenten journey to life. Ordering information is available at "Be Holy."
Mark Lomax Advocacy Training Weekend 2016
addresses racism, class, power
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)'s Office of Public Witness in Washington, D.C., has announced plans for Advocacy Training Weekend 2016, which will take place April 15-18. The Rev. Dr. Mark Lomax, founding pastor of First Afrikan Presbyterian Church of Lithonia, Ga., will be the weekend's keynote speaker. The theme is "Lift Every Voice: Racism, Class and Power." Details are at "Training Weekend."
Conference planned on bi-vocational ministry
Grove Markwood Titled "Bi-Vocational Ministry in the 21st Century," a conference slated April 15-16 at Saint Simons Island in Georgia will offer information important to those serving or seeking to serve in a bi-vocational ministry context as well as others who work with ministers who serve in such contexts. The Rev. Dr. Robert Grove-Markwood, right, director of the BTS Center, mission successor to Bangor Theological Seminary, will be the keynote speaker. Among the other speakers are the Rev. Dr. SanDawna Gaulman Ashley, assistant stated clerk and manager for call process support and teaching elder ministries in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and the Rev. Dr. Craig Howard, executive director of strategic partnerships for the Presbytery of Milwaukee. Ashley's presentation is titled "Preparing Congregations to Transition from the Full-Time Pastor Model to the Bi-Vocational Pastor," and Howard's presentation is titled "What Leadership Competencies Are Needed for Part-Time Pastors?" A complete brochure can be found at "Serving in the 21st Century."
TRENT@Montreat conference takes place in April
Trent at Montreat The TRENT@Montreat conference for the newly ordained, slated April 18-21, is taking registrations. Described as a practical conference, participants bring a current project or aspect of their ministry for the purpose of "on the ground" collaboration with peers, and coaching from those with experience and a willingness to engage. There are 150 spots in 15 tracks. Details are at "TRENT at Montreat."
Registration for summer programs
at Clearwater Forest is underway
Clearwater Logo Registration for summer programs at Clearwater Forest, a Presbyterian camp and conference center in the heart of Minnesota lake country, is now underway. But before summer arrives, Clearwater Forest is also host to Winter Chrysalis, women together nurturing body, mind and spirit, slated Feb. 26-28. This year's Chrysalis theme is "God's Word is Our Prescription for Healing." Details are available in the latest Clearwater Forest newsletter for presbyteries and synod.

Lakeshore Center newsletter notes busy winter
Lakeshore Lodge Even through the winter months, there is so much going on at Lakeshore Center at Okoboji. Whether it is a retreat, volunteers helping out for the day, or preparing for summer camp, Lakeshore Center invite is inviting everyone to read about what has been going on and what is coming up. Everything is in the latest newsletter, "Cross Talk."

Applications sought for OPSF
Apollos Scholarship Program
Applications are now being accepted for the Apollos Scholarship Program of Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation. The Apollos Program derives its name from the young man from Alexandria who was fervent in the scriptures and eloquent in proclaiming the gospel but who needed additional education. Fortunately, he had two friends who were interested in helping him. They arranged for his further education so that he could proclaim the whole truth. The Foundation provides scholarships to gifted students attending one of the 10 Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) seminaries. Details are at "Apollos."
1001 1001 offers opportunity
to do something 'life-changing'
The newsletter "New Church, New Way" announced the application process for its Apprenticeships and Residencies Program in the 1001 New Worshiping Communities initiative. It notes, "Has anyone ever offered you the opportunity to do something life-changing? This coming year, we will invest funds, training, coaching and mentorship to jump-start or enrich the emerging ministries of over 30 outstanding leaders all across the country." Details on the apprenticeship program can be found at "Apprentice." Short bios of current apprentices and interns in the program, including two from Dubuque, Iowa, can be found at "Meet the Apprentices." The complete newsletter is at "New Church New Way."
Regarding ruling elders: Being
a Cubs fan, clerks of session
The Rev. Tec McCulloch provides this month's installment of "Regarding Ruling Elders," a resource for information about serving as a ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). He writes, "Growing up just outside of Chicago, I was, and remain today, an avid Chicago Cubs fan. I learned early on that living around me there were two types of baseball fans -- Chicago Cubs fans and Chicago White Sox fans. It was one team or the other even though both teams were from the same city. Believe it or not, that old childhood realization comes to my mind when it comes to clerks of session. The complete column is at "Ruling Elders and Clerks."
UKirk asks college, young adult
UKirk, PCUSA, Collegiate Ministry ministries to register
UKirk, the network of collegiate ministries supported by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and charged with reaching, loving and teaching college students so they may be lifelong followers of jesus Christ, is off to a busy year. And it's trying to update its contact list. Jason Santos, PCUSA associate for collegiate ministries, writes in the current issue of UKirk & Young Adults Ministry News: [W]e're asking that every ministry working with PC(USA) college-aged young adults to re-register (or register for the first time) with the UKirk Network. Don't worry, this doesn't mean that we expect you to change your ministry names to UKirk (although it is something we're encouraging). What we do expect, however, is that you will provide us with the current contact information for your ministries so that we can more effectively communicate with you in the months and years to come." The complete newsletter is at "UKirk."
News around the PC(USA) & more
National Black Presbyterian Caucus
addresses offering, overtures
Black caucus In a Jan. 25 memorandum addressed to presbyteries of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the National Black Presbyterian Caucus calls attention to two issues scheduled to come before this summer's General Assembly in Portland, Ore. The Rev. Dr. David L. Wallace Sr., caucus president, writes in opposition to a proposed change in distribution of the Christmas Joy Offering in the year 2024, and in opposition to nine overtures brought forward by Foothills Presbytery. Wallace's complete memorandum can be found at "Black Caucus."
ACSWP newsletter addresses
numerous General Assembly issues
Salt and Light Salt and Light, the newsletter of the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) offers its update on social witness reports going to this summer's PC(USA) General Assembly in Portland, Ore. The newsletter describes its study processes underway and offers access to available resources. It also contains policy recommendations for action by the General Assembly. Among the issues addressed are Cuba, drug legalization, end-of-life concerns, voting, urban concerns and more. The complete newsletter is at "Salt and Light."
Nelson witnesses bipartisan
compromise on criminal justice
J Herbert Nelson Writing in the Presbyterian Justice & Peace newsletter, the Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson II, director of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)'s Office of Public Witness, notes, "I write to you from Washington D.C., in a time of shifting leadership and uncommon partnerships. In 2015, we witnessed an unprecedented series of bipartisan compromises on criminal justice reform. Leaders from both parties came to the table, and instead of anticipated gridlock, we now have significant sentencing reform measures introduced in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Faith leadership played a significant role in the introduction of both of these bills, and I am happy to report that these compromises promise justice for thousands of individuals and families who have been wrongfully imprisoned." Nelson's complete comments, and the newsletter, can be found at "Justice and Peace." 
Committee seeks tools to help congregations engage in interfaith relationships
PCUSA Logo In Indianapolis, Presbyterians have joined with Jews, Muslims, and other Christians to build houses for homeless people and to combat hunger. In New York City, Jews and Presbyterians have hosted book studies reflecting on different sides of the Israel-Palestine conflict. In Lithonia, Georgia, African American Presbyterians are listening to and learning from leaders of the Nation of Islam and African traditional religions. These examples, shared at a meeting of the General Assembly Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations in Louisville last month highlight the increasingly vital role of interfaith activities in Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) congregations. "If we have a future as a church, forming interfaith relationships is a significant part of that future," said the Rev. Dr. Mark Lomax, pastor of First Afrikan Presbyterian Church in Lithonia, who spoke to the committee via Skype about his congregation's interreligious involvement. The complete Presbyterian News Service story is at "Interfaith."
PMA hires Anderson, Ufford-Chase
as part-time interfaith associates
Ruling Elder Laurie Anderson, a nationally-recognized immigration advocate, has been named as the Presbyterian Mission Agency's second new part-time interfaith associate in the Presbyterian Mission Agency's office of Theology and Worship. Anderson joins Ruling Elder Rick Ufford-Chase, whose appointment to a part-time position in interfaith formation, was announced Jan. 22. Together the two positions replace one former full-time associate. The complete announcement can be found at "Interfaith."
Just one more

Yes, February is Black History Month,

Upworthy Logo but you knew that

Erin Canty, writing an Upworthy blog, identified 25 remarkable moments in black history from the last 25 years. She writes, "Throughout history, black people have proven our courage, intelligence, and creativity time and time again. [Y]ou may notice the same names and faces representing African-American accomplishment and resilience. No shade to Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and Medgar Evers, but there are plenty more examples of black excellence worth noting." Canty does. You can find the list of the 25 remarkable moments at "Black History."