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

July 20, 2016

News around the Synod of Lakes and Prairies
Yes, Synod School runs next week at Buena Vista
Synod School 16 cat It's this simple. Synod School opens Sunday, July 24, on the campus of Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa. As of this date, more than 630 have registered for the Synod of Lakes and Prairies' annual midsummer fun, educational, worshipful and more event. For those who are planning to be there, a few last-minute items, including driving directions, information and a question-and-answer piece for first-time attendees, a campus map, and information about opening day, can be found at "Synod School." And, if anyone wants to follow a light-hearted discussion of Synod School, there's always the Facebook group at "Synod School - Is this heaven? No, It's Iowa."
Presbyteries, congregations sought
that need support for emerging mission
Synod Logo The synod supports emerging mission with a grant program that gives priority to proposals that support leadership development, congregational vitality and-or mission, or communication. Top priority is given to efforts that enhance partnerships with the synod or with other presbyteries within the bounds of the synod. A proposal can cover up to three years. Details of this synod program can be found at "Emerging Mission."
Racial-Ethnic Scholarship offered
by synod, application online
Racial Ethnic scholar The synod offers a Student Scholarship Fund designed to encourage racial-ethnic students in their preparation for academic success in higher education. Students must have a permanent residence within the Synod of Lakes and Prairies and be active members in a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) congregation. The synod's website states, "The synod is committed to partner with students and schools for leadership development and quality instruction of clergy and lay persons for lifelong service. Application awards are based on personal achievement, financial need and recommendation from a teacher and pastor." Completed applications are due Sept. 30 and must include an official transcript and financial aid statement. Details are at "Scholarship."
Collegiate ministry grants available through synod
Collegiate Ministry Are you a minister, congregational or presbytery leader, or a college or university chaplain with thoughts about beginning something new in collegiate ministry - or enhancing something that already exists? The Synod of Lakes and Prairies has continued its long-standing commitment to collegiate ministry, and its funding guidelines reflect an inclusive understanding of collegiate ministry that embraces not only campus ministry, but also congregational-based and chaplaincy-based ministry. Grants are available for collegiate ministries within the boundaries of the synod. Details -- and the application forms -- can be found at "Collegiate Ministries."
Synod site contains worship, sermon links
Homiletics site Ministers never have to worry about ideas for sermons. Every text in the lectionary provides inspiration. And, whenever the inspiration arrives, there's always an illustration immediately at hand to bring home the point. Right? Well, maybe not. Where is one to go? For everything from liturgies, to sermons and sermon illustrations, to drama, and movies, music, artwork - even dance - there are a variety of links at "Worship Links." And for those who know a particularly good resource for worship, available through a link, let us know at
Japinga writes that 'next step
Jeffrey Japinga must be a faithful one'
Jeff Japinga, transitional executive presbyter of the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area, writing after the tragedies of last week, noted, " ... I cannot pretend that I know this conversation will be the breakthrough one. I only know the next step must be a faithful one." His column, under the subhead "It's been a week ... ," stated, "A week ago, my Jottings column already written, I awoke in Chicago to the news of the shooting death of Philando Castile in Falcon Heights. I added a brief prelude to the column, acknowledging the shooting and its possible implications for us in the presbytery. I had no idea. I had no idea of the breadth and depth of what those few sentences meant, or, more accurately, needed to mean. I'm not sure I do now." Japinga's complete column, in EMerge, the presbytery's newsletter, can be found at "Jottings."
Carus notes: 'But what do you say
when the words just won't come?'
Rick Carus Rick Carus, transitional executive presbyter of the Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys, writing last week in The Valley Bridge, the presbytery newsletter, noted, "As the leader of this presbytery, I know that I have a responsibility to say something in response to the tragedies of last week -- that is what my Presbytery Leaders Formation Program faculty members told me on more than one occasion. ... But what do you say when the words just won't come? For several days now, I have struggled with what to say. I have been prayerfully turning all of this over in my heart and mind, seeking to discern what it is that I should share with you, wanting to offer words of hope, encouragement, and faith." Carus' complete column can be found in the July 13 edition of The Valley Bridge at "Searching."
Johnson: 'In the end, it's all
about the unconditional grace of God'
Kimbrel Johnson Kimbrel Johnson, pastor of Community Presbyterian Church in Grand Rapids, Minn., writes the column, "Progressive Voice," for the Grand Rapids Herald Review. This week she wrote, "Someone recently shared with me their growing frustration with church signs that project a vengeful God. So, this week I am going to share my thoughts on something rather simple -- grace. ... God's grace is out of our control because we don't get to decide who or what God is. That personally gives me profound hope; God is more than me, more than my strengths and weaknesses. So why not just try and get along and love one another as the great prophets, forbearers, and Messiah taught? Little room is given to that when our greatest concern is whether or not everyone else is adhering to our own theological opinions. In the end, it's all about the unconditional grace of God." Johnson's complete column is at "Grace."
Newly ordained pastor hopes
to grow multicultural church
Ojulu and family "Somehow, it seemed fitting that Owar Ojulu's ordination was taking place on the same weekend as Worthington's International Festival," wrote Ryan McGaughey of the Worthington (Minn.) Daily Globe in a story that ran July 11. McGaughey noted, "Ojulu, who grew up in Ethiopia and has been in the United States for nine years, was ordained Saturday [July 9]  into the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), becoming the first Anuak to do so. Ojulu's hope as a pastor is to work together with Worthington's various African communities in both worship and mutual respect of cultures and life experience. 'My plan is to have a multicultural congregation,' said Ojulu, who was ordained into Hope Christian Ministry." The ordination service took place at Westminster Presbyterian Church. (Ojulu and his family are in the photo above.) The complete story can be found at "Multicultural Congregation."
Conferences, camps, resources
OPSF offers Lifelong Learning
Program Grants, deadline approaches
The Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation, which supports excellence in Christian leadership, has been awarding grants for leadership training since 1972. Called "Lifelong Learning Program Grants," the foundation's grants are available to Presbyterian educational institutions, governing bodies of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) or ecumenical bodies with strong Presbyterian participation. Programs covered are leadership training events exclusively for teaching elders or commissioned ruling elders, or leadership training events for church leaders and-or lay members. The deadline for grant applications is Aug. 15 of the year prior to the event. Complete details are at "Lifelong Learning."
2 Lombard Mennonite Peace Center
workshops on schedule in Madison
Lombard Mennonite Two Lombard Mennonite Peace Center workshops are on the fall schedule in Madison, Wis. The first workshop, titled "Leadership and Anxiety in the Church: A Family Systems Perspective," takes place Sept. 28, and the second, "Mediation Skills Training Institute for Church Leaders," runs Nov. 14-18. Both take place at Orchard Ridge UCC. The first workshop is designed to help church leaders understand the roots of anxiety, the scapegoating process in church systems, how to manage self in the midst of relationship triangles, the importance of maintaining a non-anxious presence, and other benefits of providing self-differentiated leadership in the midst of conflict. The mediation training helps church leaders hone mediation and conflict transformation skills. The brochure for the first workshop is at "Leadership and Anxiety," and the brochure for mediation training is at "Honing Skills."
Writers Guild announces new writing contest
Writers Guild Contest Building on the momentum and success of its inaugural writing contest last year -- in which the winning submissions were recently published in a book titled "An Experiment in Modern Parables" that debuted at the 222nd General Assembly in Portland, Ore., last month - the Presbyterian Writers Guild calls all writers and anyone who has ever dreamed about writing to compose a short story. The new contest, which will unfold over the course of the coming year, invites writers to write a 4,000-word short story that, like the parables in the Bible, will challenge readers to reflect deeply on the interaction of faith with an issue that confronts church and society. The complete Presbyterian News Service story is at "Short Story."
News of the Board of Pensions
Summer Board Bulletin available at
BOP Bulletin After each regular meeting of the board of directors of The Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Board publishes The Board Bulletin, reporting on actions taken at the meeting. The current edition contains information presented and actions taken at this summer's meeting that affect plans and programs of the Board. The current Board Bulletin is at "Key Information." In addition, the new Benefits Connect website is now active. It's at "Connect."
News around the PC(USA) & more
Hardwick urges Triennium team
to 'point to God's work in Jesus'
2016 Youth Triennium Presbyterian Youth Triennium staff, volunteers and coordinators were commissioned at a Monday evening worship service in the brief pre-conference calm on the campus of Purdue University. The event has drawn 4,400 students and more than 300 adult volunteers and staff to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and Cumberland Presbyterian Church gathering. Preaching on Matthew 11:1-6, where John the Baptist's disciples come to Jesus to ask if he is really the Messiah, Chip Hardwick, executive director of PC(USA) Theology, Formation and Evangelism, encouraged the gathered leaders to show participants where Jesus was at work in the coming week. The complete Presbyterian News Service story can be found at "Triennium Opens."
Presbyterians working to facilitate change
J Herbert Nelson A news release from the Presbyterian News Service notes "The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is actively working locally and nationally to facilitate change and communicate God's love." Stated Clerk J. Herbert Nelson II joined other Presbyterians in Baton Rouge, La., recently to be the "hands and feet of Christ in the midst of God's people." The video can be found at "Hands and Feet."

Justice, Peace newsletter
seeks participation in Wendy's boycott
Justice & Peace News Sara Lisherness, director of the compassion, peace and justice ministry of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), calls for Presbyterians to join in the boycott of Wendy's restaurants. Writing in the current edition of the Justice & Peace newsletter, she notes, "Wendy's, the fast-food giant, currently sources its tomatoes from Mexico, where human rights abuses in the produce industry have been well documented. I urge you to join the national movement to boycott Wendy's restaurants until they sign a fair food agreement." Her complete column, which covered a variety of topics, can be found at "Justice and Peace."
Prague ceremony marks the close
of Jan Hus anniversary year
Czech Television devoted 90 minutes of programming recently to a liturgical commemoration of national and religious leaders, chief among them the reformers Jan Hus and Jerome of Prague who were executed in 1415 as heretics and are celebrated today as martyrs and champions of faith, intellect and liberty. The ecumenical service of common prayer was broadcast from Bethlehem Chapel in Prague, a site of worship and teaching closely associated with Hus. The complete story from the World Council of Churches can be found at "Hus Anniversary Commemoration."
Just one more

Muhammad Ali asks, 'Why is Jesus white?'

YouTube Logo Back in October 1971, Muhammad Ali was interviewed by Michael Parkinson for British television. During that interview, Ali says, "I'm not trying to get power over white. I'm involved in a freedom struggle. Not a power struggle." At another point in the interview, Ali asks the rhetorical question: "Why is Jesus white?" This video clip from that interview has appeared in this space before. Your editor thinks it's important enough to appear here again. The clip is at "Muhammad Ali." The complete transcript of the interview is at "Parkinson Interviews Ali."