In This Issue
News around the Synod of Lakes and Prairies
Conferences, camps, resources
News around the PC(USA) and more
Quick Links
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March 2, 2016

News around the Synod of Lakes and Prairies
Synod School 16 cat Synod School catalog published,
distributed, placed on website
The Synod School 2016 catalog has been published, been placed in the mail, and been posted on the Synod of Lakes and Prairies website. The website also includes all the details and forms necessary to register. Registration officially opens March 1. The synod's annual week-long summer ministry runs July 24-29 at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa. Each year about 600 people participate in the courses, worship, fellowship, fun and relaxation. Find the details at "Synod School."
DeMeester becomes acting director
of leadership development, Killebrew resigns
Deb DeMeester Citing health reasons, Katherine "Kate" Killebrew resigned her appointment as the Synod of Lakes and Prairies' director of leadership development, and Deb DeMeester, right, has been appointed as the acting director.
"We are deeply saddened by Kate's resignation," said Elona Street-Stewart, executive of the synod. "We had all been looking forward to her service with the synod."
Killebrew, elected in November to the leadership development post, was diagnosed in late December with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. She continues to undergo treatment.
DeMeester served many years as associate executive presbyter for leadership development for the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area and directs a graduate leadership program at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn. She began her part-time service with the synod Feb. 15.
Barber, Wilkinson complete 
combined 53 years of service
Barber Wilkinson Beginning the next act of their lives, two retiring employees took time to reflect on their journey with the Synod of Lakes and Prairies of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Diana Barber retired in January as associate executive for leadership development, and J. Jay Wilkinson will leave at the end of March after helping train the individual filling the synod's new position of director of financial services. In practical terms, Barber said, "if it has to do with people, it's my responsibility." She was the staffer behind the popular Synod School that runs for a week every summer at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa, and worked closely on Christian education and relations with the presbyteries. The complete Presbyterian News Service story can be found at "Retirement."
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 as possible in advance to jump-start discussions. As part of that process, Heath Rada, moderator of the 221st 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."
18 DREAM grants awarded,
1 goes to Northern Plains
Northern Plains Pres Eighteen new missional ventures in churches and presbyteries have received Developmental, Risky, Experimental, Adaptive Mission (DREAM) grants totaling $172,500 from Presbyterian Mission Agency. The 18 missional projects -- spread across 15 presbyteries, representing seven synods -- were recommended by the DREAM Fund Committee under the guidance of Mission Program Grants, in Racial Ethnic and Women's Ministry, and approved at the Mission Agency Board meetings last month. Among those receiving a $10,000 DREAM grant was First Presbyterian Church of Grand Forks in the Presbytery of the Northern Plains. The church will use its grant to support its "Food for Your Soul" project, developing community outreach through activities of education, community and spiritual development, for new people in the neighborhood; those in a lower income bracket; students at the University of North Dakota, and retirees. The complete Presbyterian News Service story is at "DREAM Grants."
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."
Conferences, camps, resources
Presbyterians plan commemoration
of Self-Development of People March 13
SDOP Each year, on a Sunday during Lent, Presbyterians across the country take time to celebrate Self-Development of People, a ministry of One Great Hour of Sharing. Now in its 46th year, SDOP focuses on poor, oppressed and disadvantaged people by establishing partnerships with low-income community groups domestically and around the world. Since the ministry began in 1970, SDOP has provided support to more than 5,600 community projects in 67 countries. Working with its national committee, 25 presbytery and three synod committees, SDOP provides grants to communities struggling with social justice and economic issues.  March 13 has been designated as SDOP Sunday this year and church leaders are hoping congregations will take note. The complete Presbyterian News Service story is at "SDOP."
Registration still open for Scotland
Scotland Pilgrimage Presbyterian heritage tour
Homestead Presbytery is still making plans for a Presbyterian heritage tour to Scotland May 20-28 -- with an optional Ireland extension May 28-June 1. Tour-goers will the see the landscape and encounter the people of Scotland, while discovering Scotland's culture and history. A fully refundable $50 deposit reserves a space on the tour. Additional information is available at "Scotland."
'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."
Workshops announced for 2016
Advocacy Training Weekend
2016 Advocacy Trng The PC(USA) Office of Public Witness has released workshop titles and descriptions for Compassion, Peace and Justice Training Day, held annually in Washington, D.C. The 2016 training date is Friday, April 15. Attending Presbyterians can then join the larger ecumenical community for the next two days in plenaries, worship and discussion as part of Ecumenical Advocacy Days, which brings together more than a 1,000 people within the Christian community for its annual national gathering. The event culminates Monday, April 18, when attendees can lobby their local congressmen on important social justice issues. The complete story can be found at "Advocacy Training."
Conference planned on bi-vocational ministry
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 Grove Markwood 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."
Quad Presbyteries offer mediation skills training
The Lombard Mennonite Peace Center will present a Mediation Skills Training Institute for Church Leaders May 23-27 at Calvin Crest lombard mennonite Conference & Retreat Center near Fremont, Neb. A combination of lectures, discussion and guided practice in role plays, the training will look at the nature of conflict, guide participants in understanding their own style of response to conflict, and develop an understanding of mediation skills using family systems theory. Questions concerning the training can be addressed to Angie Palmer in the Presbytery of Central Nebraska by calling 308.236.6996 or by e-mail to
Summer Pastors School runs
in early June at Hastings College
Summer Pastors School, a program of the Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation, runs June 5-11 at Hastings (Neb.) College. Speakers include Thomas G. Long, Bandy professor of preaching at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta; James Ayers, renewal pastor at Bethel Presbyterian Church in Wichita, Kan., and professor at Fuller Seminary in Houston; Nancy Ramsay, professor of pastoral theology and pastoral care at Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth, Texas; and Mark Sundby, executive director of North Central Ministry Development Center in New Brighton, Minn. Early bird registration runs through April 20. Details are at "Summer Pastors School."
Outlook offers special subscription
rate for General Assembly
Outlook Logo In a note this week to presbytery leaders of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), The Presbyterian Outlook outlined its current coverage of theupcoming 222nd General Assembly and a special rate for upcoming issues of the magazines. The note states, "We already have content on our website addressing the possible plans to restructure our denomination, articles both in favor and opposed to overtures that propose changes in how we operate on a General Assembly level, and information on the candidates for moderator and co-moderators." Those articles can be found at "General Assembly." The Outlook note goes on to state, "As a means of making our content widely available to GA commissioners and delegates we are offering a special subscription rate. ... These will begin with our March 28 issue so that folks can get ready for GA, read a summary of actions taken and be given tools to interpret those actions to Presbyterians who did not attend."
Clearwater notes busy winter, website updates
Clearwater Logo In its most recent newsletter, Clearwater Forest, the Presbyterian camp and conference center located near Deerwood, Minn., noted a busy winter season. "We have had a fantastic winter with great groups, board planning events, and are busy preparing for another wonderful year. While we haven't had a ton of snow, we've had enough to re-introduce groomed ski trails." The newsletter also noted an updated website and the publication of its 2015 annual report.
Calvin Crest offers summer opportunities to serve
Calvin Crest camp For those looking for an opportunity to serve others and earn some money this summer. Calvin Crest Camp, Conference & Retreat Center, a Presbyterian facility near Fremont, Neb., is hiring summer camp counselors, lifeguards, health care supervisor,  maintenance and kitchen staff and more. Details can be found at "Calvin Crest Service Opportunities."
Lakeshore Center offers quilting
Lakeshore Lodge retreat, posts newsletter
The Lakeshore Center at Okoboji, a Presbyterian camp, conference and retreat center located near Milford, Iowa, is celebrating its 60th year of ministry this year and has set its anniversary celebration July 22-24. But this month, the Lakeshore Center will be host to its annual quilting retreat March 23-17. Additional information about the retreat, including registration form, can be found in CrossTalk at "Latest Lakeshore News."

PDA offers resources
for mid-councils to be prepared
PDA disaster assistance Amid all the crisis of the world, it's sometimes easy to forget that disaster can happen down the street - for that matter it can happen in the office. Presbyterian Disaster Assistance has a variety of resources available for mid-councils to help in just those circumstances, and PDA has placed the resources in one spot on its website. Resources include those for initial response, general PDA resources, disaster preparation, volunteer management and more. They can be found at "PDA Resources."
Regarding Ruling Elders: Providing
for the mission of deacons
Ralph Hawkins, executive presbyter and stated clerk of the Presbytery of Shenango in western Pennsylvania, writes the current installment of "Regarding Ruling Elders," a resource from the Office of the General Assembly. Hawkins notes, "The 'Book of Order' calls ordained deacons to a ministry of 'compassion, witness, and service, sharing in the redeeming love of Jesus Christ for the poor, the hungry, the sick, the lost, the friendless, the oppressed, those burdened by unjust policies or structures, or anyone in distress' (G-2.0201). A tall order!" Hawkins' complete column can be found at "Providing for the Work of Deacons."
PC(USA) offers resources
for designing church website
website design In this day and age it is extremely important to have a presence online. However, just having a website isn't always enough. The website's layout and content play a huge role in its effectiveness. Among the vital statistics: 85 percent of users leave websites due to poor design, 40 percent never return because the content was hard to find, 83 percent of users leave because there were too many clicks to find what they wanted, and 75 percent of visitors admit to making judgments about a company's credibility based on their website's design. More details are available at "Website Design."
Presbyterian gaming app
combats human trafficking
gaming app An interactive, anime-style gaming app for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets has an extraordinary mission: to keep children and young adults, ages 11 to 14, from becoming victims of human traffickers. After two years in development, the Awareness Combats Trafficking (ACT) app became available Feb. 21 for free download in English and Spanish through iOS app store, Google Play, and The ACT app is the brainchild of lifelong Presbyterian Jill Bolander Cohen, founder and executive director of the Lifeboard Project, a Central Florida nonprofit that works to fight human trafficking and is a recent addition to the 1001 New Worshiping Communities initiative of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The complete Presbyterian News Service story can be found at "Gaming App."
Youth ministry is topic of current
Presbyterians Today Presbyterians Today issue
"It was a hot August night, and Atlanta's Buckhead Theatre had been reserved for a special gala to honor 15 remarkable teenagers. With the help of GivingPoint, a leading youth philanthropy organization, these youth had launched nonprofit organizations that were addressing significant social problems such as homelessness, teen pregnancy, poverty, and inadequate education." That's the way the lead story by Chanon Ross opens in the current edition of Presbyterians Today. The magazine's March/April theme is youth ministry. The complete story, along with other stories from the current issue, can be found at "Youth Ministry Guide."
News around the PC(USA) & more
GA 222 Committee leadership named
for 22nd General Assembly
Committee leadership for the 222nd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has been selected, taking the denomination one step closer to the biennial gathering this summer that sets priorities for the church. Thirteen committees will receive and act on business coming before the General Assembly, June 18-25, in Portland, Ore. Each committee will be led by a moderator and vice moderator selected by Heath Rada, moderator of the 221st General Assembly. Ruling Elder Sue Rutford of the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area was the lone selection from the Synod of Lakes and Prairies. She will be vice moderator of the Theological Issues and Institutions committee.The complete story and list from the Office of the General Assembly can be found at "Leadership."
How Presbyterians interpret the Bible
Jack Haberer Writing in the January-February edition of Presbyterians Today, Jack Haberer, former editor of The Presbyterian Outlook, wrote: "'Presbyterians sure like to fight!' Whether recounting the war stories of the Scottish Highlanders or the political battles of the most recent General Assembly meeting, Presbyterians have engaged in many a high-minded, ideological argument. Many of those battles have been incited by disagreements on how to interpret and respond to the teachings of Scripture. Presbyterians take the Bible seriously; it is the defining document for their faith. However, the diverse forms and content found within many passages of Scripture have generated a broad range of interpretations." Haberer's complete column can be found at "Interpreting."
Copeland writes about 'true citizenship'
Adam Copeland Adam J. Copeland, a Presbyterian teaching elder and a faculty member at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, preached about citizenship and Christianity in a chapel service at the seminary in February. Copeland is also author of "Kissing in the Chapel, Praying in the Frat House: Wrestling with Faith and College." In his sermon, reprinted in his blog, he noted, "We live in a very strange country. Take, for example, the reality that our presidential election season lasts the length of five or six actual seasons. Farmers can plant and harvest and plant another entire crop in the time it takes for us to elect a leader." He later adds, "And so, as much as it'd be great to avoid the Twitter feeds, turn off political debates, and move away ... we have a Christ to follow. And, it turns out, following Jesus doesn't always make you a model American, certainly not a model Democrat or Republican. What Jesus is up to, just doesn't poll well these days."  The complete sermon is at "True Citizenship."
Special Offerings notes work
of One Great Hour of Sharing
One Great Hour The image on the poster for One Great Hour of Sharing 2016 is of a man, bent over slightly, with a shovel in his hand. He is digging a trench for a new water system in the village of Cambayan in the Philippines, a village particularly hard hit by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. That storm displaced millions and resulted in nearly 6,000 deaths. Despite all of this tragedy and loss, the man, Jaime Paplyona, is wearing a big smile. The reasons for his smile are likely numerous. Perhaps he has a wonderful family at home. Perhaps he is standing next to his best friends, digging together. Maybe the day is just warm enough, or he's received affirmation on his work, or perhaps he just loves having his picture taken. But among all the reasons he has to smile, one of them is your gifts to One Great Hour of Sharing. The complete newsletter from Special Offerings of the Presbyterian Mission Agency can be found at "Helping Others."
PC(USA) launches international engagement map
One Great Hour of Sharing Contributors to the One Great Hour of Sharing offering often wonder where their donations go. The Presbyterian Hunger Program, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and Self-Development of People combined efforts to illustrate the reach of the offering's funds. That has led to an interactive global map that details initiatives being supported, along with Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) sites. "The map represents a visual opportunity for those familiar with only one of the ministries to learn about the other two," said Margaret Mwale, associate for community relations for the Self-Development of People. The complete announcement can be found at "Engagement."
Lisherness writes of effort
of Self-Development of People
Justice & Peace News Writing about the work of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)'s committee on the Self-Development of People (SDOP), Sara Pottschmidt Lisherness, director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency's office of Compassion, Peace and Justice, noted, "This wonderful ministry has given hope, love and support to people in communities struggling for social and economic justice." She added, "I have personally been honored to work alongside these faithful and committed colleagues who desire to see a world free of poverty, neglect and discrimination. It is with mixed emotions as we bid farewell to four members of our SDOP team who have opted to retire." Lisherness' complete column in the Presbyterian Justice & Peace newsletter can be found at "SDOP."
2 PC(USA) agencies receive
$1 million Lilly Endowment grants
Lilly Endowment The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Board of Pensions and the Presbyterian Foundation have each received grants of $1 million as part of the Lilly Endowment national initiative to address economic challenges facing pastoral leaders. The initiative supports a variety of religious organizations across the nation as they address the financial and economic struggles that can impair the ability of pastors to lead congregations effectively. The grants are part of the Endowment's commitment to supporting the pastoral leadership development of clergy serving in congregations across the United States. The complete announcement can be found at "Lilly Grants."
Just one more

Stories of television and movie extras

The Oscars are over. But have you ever thought about extras? You know, the people in the background, walking on the sidewalks, sitting in Mental Floss Magazine the restaurants and dancing behind the stars. Mental Floss calls them the "unsung heroes of television." It notes, "Without them, most movie and TV scenes would be empty and unrealistic." In the spirit of the Oscars -- even though they are in the past -- Mental Floss gives you "Behind the Scenes."