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News around the Synod of Lakes and Prairies
Conferences, camps, resources
News of the Board of Pensions
News around the PC(USA) and more
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May 31, 2016

News around the Synod of Lakes and Prairies
Presbytery of Des Moines calls
Jim Koopman Koopman to transitional position
The Presbytery of Des Moines has called the Rev. Jim Koopman as its part-time, transitional general presbyter. Koopman began serving in the position May 18. Koopman, who was ordained to the ministry in 1986 in Austin, Texas, has served as a new church developer, multiplier and coach, as a director of mission and outreach, as the executive director of Serve Our Youth (SOY) Network of Iowa, and as a regional minister with the Reformed Church of America Synod of the Heartland in Iowa and Texas. Koopman has also filled interim minister positions at Ankeny Presbyterian Church in Ankeny, Iowa, and Living Life Reformed Church of America in Lincoln, Neb. In a note to the presbytery, published in the May 24 edition of Our Presbytery News, the presbytery's newsletter, Koopman wrote, "I want to say thank you for the opportunity you are affording me to come along side of you. ... I am honored and feel especially blessed to be here with you and to dream together about what God has next for you."
Northern Waters names Wilkinson
to transitional resource person post
Jay Wilkinson The Presbytery of Northern Waters, which has been operating with a reduced staff since January 2012, has contracted with Jay Wilkinson to serve as part-time transitional resource person for a two-year period. Wilkinson served on the staff of the Synod of Lakes and Prairies for more than 22 years, most recently as stated clerk and treasurer. He retired from the day-to-day activities of the synod at the end of March of this year. He has also served as stated clerk for the Presbytery of Northern Waters.
Palmer plans to leave
Central Nebraska July 1
Angie Palmer, presbytery administrator for the Presbytery of Central Nebraska for more than 14 years, has resigned from her position effective July 1. Palmer will begin teaching in the Sumner-Eddyville-Miller Public School, located in Sumner, Neb., this fall.
Synod School: Now less than 2 months away
Synod School 16 cat With the coming of June, Synod School is less than two months away. The annual midsummer ministry of the Synod of Lakes and Prairies runs July 24-29 on the campus of Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa. The annual summer event, which offers nearly 70 classes, involving worship, great speakers, and opportunities for fellowship and fun, routinely draws more than 550 participants. This summer John Bell, a minister of the Church of Scotland and renowned lecturer and preacher, will lead convocation. Burns Stanfield, a Presbyterian minister and musician (and longtime Synod School participant), will lead evening worship. Stephanie Anthony and Jody Branson will lead morning worship. Classes are filling up -- classes with waiting lists are noted on the synod's website -- but there is still time to register at "Synod School."
Synod Logo Synod supports emerging
mission with grant program
Part of the Synod of Lakes and Prairies' support for emerging mission within the synod is through grants. For the grant program, the synod gives priority to proposals that support leadership development, congregational vitality and/or mission, or communication. Top priority is given to efforts that further partnerships with the synod or with other presbyteries within the bounds of the synod. Details about the program and grant application forms can be found at "Emerging Mission."
Pres Homes plans significant
Presbyterian Homes growth in coming years
Dan Lindh, president and CEO of Presbyterian Homes and Services of Roseville, Minn., looked back on 60 years of history when he addressed the Synod of Lakes and Prairies at its May meeting. Lindh said Pres Homes served nearly 26,000 older adults during 2015 -- more than 13,000 "under roof" -- and plans to "double in scope and reach of services" in the next 15 years. Presbyterian Homes and Services is in covenant with the Synod of Lakes and Prairies. It's complete annual report can be found at "Presbyterian Homes and Services."
Conferences, camps, resources
'Practical Presbyterian Leadership
OGA Logo Training' offered in August
A two-day leadership training seminar is planned this summer in Des Moines for presbytery leaders. Called "Practical Presbytery Leadership Training: Teamwork for Changing Times," the training event is designed to benefit teams of people working together in leadership. The session's brochure notes, "There is no limit to the number of people who can attend from one presbytery, but presbyteries are encouraged not to send only one person. This is training for a team, not an individual." The workshop runs Aug. 26-27, from 1 p.m. Friday through 4:30 p.m. Saturday, at Central Presbyterian Church in Des Moines. Sponsored by the Office of the General Assembly, the brochure can be found at "Practical Leadership." A Presbyterian News Service story about the training is at "Training Event."
Presbyterian Outlook offers
General Assembly resources
Outlook Logo The 222nd General Assembly will be making important decisions about the future of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). How will we be structured? What will be our shared vision? In addition, there will be debates and votes on overtures that have the potential to impact the world. The Presbyterian Outlook is offering bulletin inserts that provide summaries of what's coming before the Assembly. The front-and-back bulletin inserts -- and other resources -- produced by the award-winning staff of The Outlook can be found at "Coming to General Assembly."
Financial Aid for Service slates
educational debt counseling
Financial Aid The Presbyterian Mission Agency's Financial Aid for Service office is now scheduling private consultations with any Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) teaching elders seeking educational debt management counseling and loan repayment assistance who will be at the General Assembly in Portland, Ore., in June. Staff from the Financial Aid office will be available in the Theology, Formation, and Evangelism ministry area's Hospitality Suite, Room 2223, in the main building of the Hilton Portland, from June 19 to June 23 for individual consultations on student loan repayment and assistance programs offered through the PC(USA). The complete Presbyterian News Service story is at "Debt Counseling."
News of colleges, universities, seminaries
Doug Hastad Carroll University president Hastad
plans to retire in 2017
After leading Carroll University for more than a decade, President Douglas Hastad will retire his position at the end of June 2017. The decision did not come easily for Hastad and his wife, Nancy, who are both eager to spend more time with family and friends, travel and enjoy new challenges together. Carroll is one of seven Presbyterian institutions of higher education in covenant with the Synod of Lakes and Prairies. The complete story can be found at "Hastad Retiring."
News around the PC(USA) & more
Saperstein blogs about important
issues facing commissioners at GA

From the future of synods, to non-geographic presbyteries, to the directory of worship, Daniel Saperstein, executive presbyter for the Presbytery of Lake Huron, is blogging about the top issues facing the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) when the church gathers this summer for its 222nd General Assembly. Saperstein wrote, "Over the next several posts I will be previewing what in my opinion are the 'top 10' items before the upcoming General Assembly. Like most top ten lists, the identification of items and their ranking are subjective. The list is based upon my own estimation of several factors: Newsworthiness: Does it carry broad and/or historic significance?, Controversy: Is it a 'hot-button' issue that generates passion on both sides?, Impact: What is the impact on the mission and governance of the church?" Saperstein's blog can be found at "Important Issues."

Technology expands congregation
Worship hands for GA opening worship
Several thousand people are expected to gather in Portland, Oregon, on Saturday, June 18, for the opening worship service of the 222nd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). But the congregation could potentially be much larger -- with groups of Presbyterians across the country using live stream technology to participate in opening worship from their own church sanctuaries and meeting spaces. The complete Presbyterian News Service story is at "Opening Worship."
Committee tasks assigned, previewed
for upcoming General Assembly
GA 222 The 222nd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will take place June 18-25 in Portland, Ore., and there are many issues on the table. That's probably an understatement of substantial proportions. From the future of synods, to fossil-fuel divestment, to a new Directory for Worship, Assembly commissioners will be tasked with digesting and then voting on the numerous overtures and other business that will come before the Assembly. Below, by committee number, are introductions to stories published recently by the Presbyterian News Service.
Committee 3 looks at changes 
in electing Assembly moderator
Changing the timing of the moderator election at General Assembly will be on the agenda of the Committee on General Assembly Procedures. The Presbytery of St. Andrews has proposed moving the election of the General Assembly moderator and vice moderator (or co-moderators) to the end of the meeting, rather than the beginning. The complete Presbyterian News Service story is at "Moderator Election."
Committee 4 -- 'Way Forward Committee' --
looks at OGA-PMA merger
After a two-year period of denominational soul-searching, the 222nd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is poised this June to consider dramatic changes to the ways the 1.66 million-member church conducts its ecclesial and mission work. The complete Presbyterian News Service story is at "The Way Forward."
Committee 5 addresses 8 overtures
concerning Mid Councils
The future of the 16 synods in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will once again be on the docket. The 221st General Assembly directed synods and presbyteries to collaborate on establishing a new configuration of synod boundaries that would reduce the number of synods from 16 to between 10 and 12. This year's Assembly Committee on Mid Councils will consider responses from synods and presbyteries to the 2014 action. The complete Presbyterian News Service story is at "Mid Councils."
Committee 6 takes on church polity, ordered ministry
Overtures on requiring evangelism training for teaching elders, inserting caring for God's creation as part of each congregation's ministry -- and a dozen other proposals -- await the Committee on Church Polity and Ordered Ministry. The Presbytery of Tampa Bay asserts that "practical training in evangelism (agile speaking and teaching concise truths about Jesus Christ as confessed in the Nicene Creed)" should be required of teaching elders seeking ordination. The 1001 New Worshiping Communities initiative, proponents argue, "can become reality if we are intentional about evangelism throughout all denominational organizations." The complete Presbyterian News Service story is at "Polity and More."
Committee 7 will propose Confession of Belhar adoption
Among the business being considered by the Committee on Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations is the final adoption of the Confession of Belhar. Proposed by National Capital Presbytery to the 220th General Assembly, an overture for Belhar's inclusion in The Book of Confessions was affirmed by the required two-thirds, or 116, of presbyteries following the 221st General Assembly approval. The complete Presbyterian News Service story is at "Belhar."
Committee 8 considers divestment,
2-state solution, child detention
Thorny issues involved in the pursuit of peace in the Middle East will be among the topics under consideration by the Committee on Middle East Issues. The committee will review progress on the denomination's divestment from three companies engaged in "non-peaceful pursuits" in Israel/Palestine. The complete Presbyterian News Service story is at "Middle East."
Committee 9 takes on immigration,
mulls fossil fuel divestment
Competing overtures -- one seeking Presbyterian divestment from fossil fuel companies, the other placing that action on hold -- will headline the work of the Immigration and Environmental Issues Committee. The Presbytery of San Francisco has overtured the General Assembly to call upon the Board of Pensions and the Presbyterian Foundation to stop any new direct investment in fossil fuel companies and to work over the next three years not to own such assets. The complete Presbyterian News Service story can be found at "Immigration and Environment."
Committee 10 will discuss mission programs, policies
More than a dozen items will be debated by the Mission Coordination Committee. The committee receives overtures and reports on matters related to mission programs authorized by the General Assembly, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) vision and mission goals, "Organization for Mission and Presbyterian Mission Agency Manual of Operations," mission budget, audits, church-wide compensation, initiatives on church growth, and the 1001 Worshiping Communities program. The full Presbyterian News Service story is at "Mission."
Committee 12 looks at peacemaking, international issues
The denomination's role in helping build a bridge of reconciliation between the United States and South Korea regarding the Korean War tragedy in the village of No Gun Ri is the subject of one of seven overtures to be discussed by the Peacemaking and International Issues Committee. The Peacemaking and International Issues Committee will also hear an overture regarding the strengthening of Cuban-American relations, particularly in the faith community. The complete Presbyterian News Service story is at "Peacemaking."
Committee 13 addresses administrative functions
Confirming the election and reelection of the presidents of the denomination's loan program and publishing company are among the numerous items to be decided by Assembly Committee 13. The standing administrative committee for The Board of Pensions, Presbyterian Investment and Loan Program, Presbyterian Publishing Corporation and the Presbyterian Foundation will be called upon to confirm the election of James G. Rissler as president of the PILP to a four-year term. It will also be asked to confirm the reelection of Marc Lewis to a third, four-­year term as president and publisher of PPC. The complete Presbyterian News Service story is at "Administrative Functions."
Committee 14 grapples with new Directory for Worship
Twelve years in the making, the 222nd General Assembly is poised this June to adopt a new Directory for Worship for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). First, the document (item 14-04) will be thoroughly reviewed by the Assembly Committee on Theological Issues and Institutions before it goes to the full Assembly for adoption and then on to the church's 172 presbyteries for ratification in the coming year. The full Presbyterian News Service story is at "Directory for Worship."
Just one more

Don't do these in church
YouTube Logo With General Assembly just around the corner and in light of the invitation to participate in its opening worship, your editor looked for some hints about church behavior. That said -- or written, in this case -- here's a short video of about what should not be done in church. Your editor also thought about recommending the video for new-member classes. And maybe your editor should stop there. Here is "How to Fit In."