In This Issue
News around the Synod of Lakes and Prairies
Conferences, camps, resources
News of colleges, universities, seminaries
News of the Board of Pensions
All things General Assembly
News around the PC(USA) and more
Just one more
Quick Links
Social Media

June 15, 2016

News around the Synod of Lakes and Prairies
Synod School is coming in about 5 weeks
We know you've heard about it and you've thought about going. Well, there's still time. Yes, a little time. Synod School is only a little more than Synod School 16 cat five weeks 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 that offers nearly 70 classes, also offers opportunities for worship, presents great speakers, and gives opportunities for fellowship and fun. Synod School 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."
Moving beyond prejudice: Prouty
learns about Islamic faith
What is Islam? Is it a religion of hatred and terror as is represented in factions like ISIS? Scott Prouty, pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Prouty Saeed Redwood Falls had the opportunity to learn firsthand that the Islamic faith is not, at its heart, anything like that. Conducting reference checks during his service on the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)'s search for a new stated clerk, Prouty came into to contact with Dr. Sayyid Syeed, national director for the Islamic Society of North America. (Prouty shown above with Syeed.) Subsequently, Prouty was invited to Washington, D.C., to be part of an interfaith and government outreach event. The involvement continues. This complete story can be found online in a story written by Troy Krause of the Redwood Falls (Minn.) Gazette. The story is at "Redwood Falls Pastor."

Hillcrest receives notice of new lease,
operational agreement with Dubuque schools
The Dubuque Community School District's Board of Education approved a new lease and operational agreement with Hillcrest Family Services, a Hillcrest Services Logo family service provider in covenant with the Synod of Lakes and Prairies. The agreement means that "at least one year and very likely more, the [district] will lease Anna B. Lawther facilities from Hillcrest and will contract with [Hillcrest] to provide the excellent educational program to students assigned to the Academy," Gary Gansemer, Hillcrest's president and CEO, wrote in a letter to staff and trustees.
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."
Regarding Ruling Elders: per capita
Gradye Parsons, stated clerk of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)'s General Assembly, writes the current installment in the monthly resource, Regarding Ruling Elders. Parsons notes, "Not counting the Trinity, of course, the most important thing that binds Presbyterians is per capita, that universal funding source drawn from the whole church in order to support the whole church. It is the glue that unites us, allowing Presbyterians to connect with one another and govern ourselves for the good of the body. And in this current season there is perhaps no better example of per capita at work than the 222nd General Assembly (2016) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), taking place June 18-25 in Portland, Ore." Parsons' complete column can be found at "Per Capita."
Bowie will coordinate Witness
for Peace tour to Cuba
Cuba tour The Rev. Stephen Bowie, interim pastor of Third Presbyterian Church of Rockford, Ill., will coordinate a tour to Cuba this fall through a joint effort of Witness for Peace and the Presbyterian Mission Agency of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Participants will engage with various religious communities and leaders, learning from them about the historical, and current status under the U.S. embargo and other political and economic restrictions. The tour runs Sept. 20-29. Additional information about the tour is available at "Cuba Delegation." The tour's brochure, including information about participating, can be found at "Cuba Trip Brochure."
News of colleges, universities, seminaries
Coe College Coe College receives grant
to build permeable parking lot
Coe College has received an $80,000 grant from the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship as well as a $10,000 grant from the Linn Soil and Water Conservation District to build a permeable parking lot demonstration site as part of a $221,000 project. The new parking lot will incorporate permeable pavers as part of campus improvements to reduce the water runoff. Coe College is one of seven Presbyterian-related colleges across the Synod of Lakes and Prairies in covenant with the synod. The complete story can be found at "Permeable Parking Lot."
General Assembly
BOP publishes June edition of Board Connections
BOP Connections Logo Frank Clark Spencer, president of the Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), writing in the June edition of Board Connections, the Board's newsletter, noted, "Two years ago at General Assembly, when I was confirmed as president of the Board of Pensions, I said I was optimistic. Today I am even more optimistic than I was two years ago, about the Board's future and about the future of our Church. We proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. We can't proclaim this gospel without joy and optimism, and we can't proclaim it without hope." Spencer's complete column and the complete June issue can be found at "Board Connections."
All things General Assembly
Outlook offers section full
of GA content on its website
The Presbyterian Outlook has got it covered. The "it" being General Assembly. For those who are looking for content relative to next week's 222nd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), it can be found on web page after web page on the website of The Presbyterian Outlook. It's available at "General Assembly 222."
General Assembly news
comes in ... well, a lot of formats
There are a variety of formats for getting news from the 222nd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). With thanks to "Monday Morning in the Presbytery," the newsletter of the Presbytery of Missouri River Valley, for identifying the following resources, Keeping in Touch is able to invite its readers to the "Official GA222 website," the "PC BIZ site" with all the details of business, personal insights and the movement of the Holy Spirit on the dedicated "Spirit of the GA Facebook page," then there's "#GA222 hashtag" feed -- and use that hashtag for tweets, and finally you can follow the Assembly on Twitter at "PRESBYGA."
GA Social Justice Issues Committee
to hear policy proposals
The charge to the Social Justice Issues Committee, Committee 11 at this summer's General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is clear. It is to consider matters related to the concerns of the church in national affairs, national military matters and matters relating to righteousness and justice of persons/organizations. How to accomplish this tall order is far more murky. The complete Presbyterian News Service story is at "Social Justice."
Guidebook App GA Guidebook app helps users
navigate General Assembly
One-stop shopping best describes the 2016 Guidebook app for the 222nd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), which kicks off June 18 in Portland, Ore. It's the place where assembly goers can get up-to-date information on all things GA, including the schedule, maps, restaurant details, and even worship bulletins, said Andrew Yeager-Buckley, program assistant for the PC(USA)'s General Assembly Meeting Service. And, it's been updated since it was last used for the 2014 assembly, he said. The complete announcement from the Office of the General Assembly can be found at "Updated App."
Consultations for prospective
'Season of Service' applicants offered at GA
Financial Aid When the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board unanimously approved a change in name for the Financial Aid for Studies office to Financial Aid for Service in the fall of 2012, the action signaled an intentional shift in the PC(USA) from an emphasis on education purely for the sake of education to education for a life of discernment and service. "Study is a means, and service is the desired end for all Christians," said Laura Bryan, associate for Financial Aid for Service in the Theology, Formation and Evangelism ministry area. The Financial Aid for Service office is currently making appointments at General Assembly with representatives of Presbyterian-related organizations who are interested in exploring the Season of Service Loan Assistance program. Staff from the Financial Aid office will be available in the Theology, Formation, and Evangelism ministry area's Hospitality Suite from June 19 to June 23 for individual consultations. The complete Presbyterian News Service story is at "Aid for Service."

MRTI recommends focused
engagement with companies
The 222nd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will hear a recommendation to continue engagement with fossil fuel companies on climate change when it meets in the coming weeks. The committee on Mission Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI) is making the recommendation following lengthy discussions with companies and filing shareholder resolutions, saying progress is being made. Two years ago, the Presbytery of Boston submitted an overture calling for Board of Pensions and Presbyterian Foundation to immediately stop new investments in fossil fuel companies and divest from all investments in coal, oil and gas companies within five years. The overture stated "If fossil fuel companies simply fulfill their business model, the earth will become irreversibly inhospitable to life as we know it." The complete Presbyterian News Service story is at "Fossil Fuels."

Presbyterians plan to commemorate
World Refugee Day at General Assembly
World Refugee Day Presbyterians attending the 222nd General Assembly in Portland, Ore., will have an opportunity to recognize refugees seeking to start a new life. Monday, June 20, is World Refugee Day, established by the United Nations to recognize the millions of refugees and internally displaced persons worldwide, forced to leave their homes because of persecution, conflict and war. Presbyterians are planning a luncheon event in which attendees will hear about a refugee resettlement and stories from Central American asylum seekers being held in family detention centers in South Texas. The complete Presbyterian News Service story is at "Refugee Day."
News around the PC(USA) & more
Presbyterians grieve over, respond
to mass shooting in Florida
PDA disaster assistance As Orlando continues to reel from the early June 12 mass shootings, Presbyterian Church leaders are lifting families, the LGBTQ community and the entire community in prayer.  As many as 49 people were killed and dozens wounded in the early morning hours at the Pulse Orlando Club. The lone suspect, identified as Omar Mateen, 29, of Fort Pierce, Fla., was killed in an exchange of gunfire with police. Authorities are still investigating the motive behind the killings, trying to determine if it was an act of terrorism. Meanwhile, the Presbytery of Central Florida has been reaching out to churches in the community to determine needs for congregations. The complete Presbyterian News Service story is at "Orlando."
Writers Guild announces book from writing contest
Writers Guild Contest The winners of the Presbyterian Writer's Guild's three-phase writing contest are now available in a freshly published book, "An Experiment in Modern Parables." The book contains the "hooks," "flash fiction," and short stories that were chosen as the winners of the Presbyterian Writers Guild 2016 contest. The contest built on Jesus' model of telling short stories to cause the listener to think deeply about how faith informs life's situations. The book contains stories about prejudice in the church, hunger, domestic violence, abortion, sexism in the ministry, and more. More book details are at "Modern Parables."
New WJK book explores race in the church today
race in church In the midst of another period of increased discussion about race relations in the United States, recent events have provoked not just a willingness to discuss issues of racism in this country but a desire to do something meaningful to confront it. At a time when many Christians are wondering what they can do, "Race in a Post-Obama America: The Church Responds," a new book from Westminster John Knox Press, provides not only the history behind the issue, but some ways of moving forward. The complete announcement from the publisher can be found at "Race in Church."
Mission agency 'Keeping Faith' May-June
video newsletter published
The third installment of "Keeping Faith," the video newsletter from Tony De La Rosa, interim executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), was published last week. Through three short video stories, the current edition showcases how Presbyterians are having an impact by offering critical thinking, building connections, and creating space for ministry to flourish in the midst of fear, distrust and despair. The newsletter can be found at "Keeping Faith."

Farrell Hunter new Farrell writes of the 'Rhythm
of Partnership' in Mission Matters
"You walk down a dirt path in a Haitian village and come to the edge of someone's yard, called alakou. It's more than a yard. Much of life happens outside -- washing clothes, repairing farm tools, cooking, eating. Walking directly into this space would be like barging through someone's front door in Pittsburgh. You call out, Honé, meaning honor. This announces that you visit with honor for them, their family, their property. You're acknowledging their humanity, their dignity, their right of response. You're confirming that it's up to them whether you will enter and on what terms." That's the way Hunter Farrell, director of World Mission for the Presbyterian Mission Agency, opens his June column for Mission Matters. The complete column is found through "Mission Matters." 
Just one more

So, there are reasons to own cats

Mental Floss Magazine Well, at least from this editor's viewpoint, you can't herd them -- cats that is. But, then again, it's also tough to herd Presbyterians. (Insert quiet murmur in place of laughter.) We will find out next week in Portland, Ore. But back to cats. Mental Floss offers "10 Scientific Benefits of Being a Cat Owner." And there's this: "Several studies and polls in the United Kingdom have found that people (especially women) prefer to sleep with their cats than with their partners, and they even report sleeping better with a cat than with a human." We repeat ourselves at times, too. But to discover those other reasons to own cats, there's "Scientific Benefits."