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
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August 3, 2016

News around the Synod of Lakes and Prairies
J Herbert Nelson Nelson, Carvalhaes headline
lineup for Synod School 2017
Synod School 2016 is in the books, and the Synod of Lakes and Prairies is already looking ahead to the 2017 version. J. Herbert Nelson, recently elected as stated clerk of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), will be the convocation speaker next summer, and Claudio Carvalhaes, well-known speaker and worship leader, will lead evening worship services.
Next summer's Synod School is slated July 23-28 at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa.
Carvalhaes Nelson served as director of the PC(USA) Office of Public Witness in Washington, D.C., from 2010 to this year. From 1986 to 1997 he served as pastor of St. James Presbyterian Church in Greensboro, N.C., and from 1998 to 2010 as the organizing pastor for Liberation Community Church in Memphis, Tenn.
He has also served as associate director of the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change at the University of Memphis, Tenn.
Carvalhaes, a native of Brazil, will join the faculty of Union Theological Seminary in New York City this fall. He has previously served on the faculty of Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, Louisville (Ky.) Presbyterian Theological Seminary and McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago.
Carvalhaes holds degrees from Independent Presbyterian Theological Seminary In Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Methodist University of Sao Paulo. He received a doctorate in liturgy and theology from Union Seminary in 2007.
Synod School 2016 draws 630 to Storm Lake
Synod School 16 cat The sounds could be coming from any busy school office responding to the myriad requests of all those who enter the doors. But this school is different. It's Synod School, the annual midsummer ministry of the Synod of Lakes and Prairies. It's a week-long event -- Sunday afternoon through Friday noon -- that always runs the last week in July at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa. This year 630 people -- including ages from 5 weeks to somewhere in the 80s -- took part, most living on campus and some taking up residence in local hotels. The complete Presbyterian News Service story is at "Synod School."
PC(USA) joins denominations
repudiating Doctrine of Discovery
The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) voted in June to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery, and also voted to develop Elona Street-Stewart recommendations of how Presbyterian congregations "can support Native Americans in their ongoing efforts for sovereignty and fundamental human rights." It was part of the Church's broader work on racial justice. PC(USA) joins a growing list of denominations which have repudiated the doctrine, which refers to a series of 15th century papal edicts that gave the religious and legal justification used by Europe's colonial powers to claim lands occupied by indigenous peoples. Elona Street-Stewart, executive of the Synod of Lakes and Prairies, called the General Assembly's actions "important but not conclusive." The task ahead goes beyond approving the motion, she said. "The real work has just begun." The complete story from Healing Minnesota Stories can be found at "Repudiation."
Nadia Bolz-Weber Nadia Bolz-Weber to speak
in Milwaukee in September
Nadia Bolz-Weber, acclaimed author, speaker and pastor, will be the featured speaker for a Presbytery of Milwaukee gathering at the Milwaukee Art Museum on Tuesday, Sept. 27. Bolz-Weber is the founding pastor of House for All Sinners and Saints, an ELCA mission church in Denver, Colo. She writes regularly for Christian Century and Sojourners magazines and blogs at She has been featured in BBC World Service, The Washington Post, NPR's Morning Edition, Fresh Air, The Atlantic, CNN and other media outlets. The cost is $40 for non-presbytery members, $20 for presbytery members, and $10 for young adult Presbyterians under the age of 30. The complete press release from the Presbytery of Milwaukee is at "Bolz-Weber." Additional information about Bolz-Weber is at her website,
Church collaboration offers literacy camps
for low-income children in Milwaukee
Arts Science Literacy A four-church collaboration in Milwaukee, Wis., is giving 150 to 200 children an opportunity to learn about the arts and sciences. Tippecanoe, Grace and North Shore Presbyterian churches have joined with Hephatha Lutheran Church to sponsor an eight-week "Arts and Science Literacy Camp" specifically for low- and middle-income families. Organizers say the program engages a "whole child" model of literacy teaching and learning. The complete Presbyterian News Service story is at "Literacy Camps."
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."

'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."
POAMN logo POAMN, ARMSS co-sponsor
national event in October
Unified under a theme inspired by John 13:34-35, "Christian Discipleship: People of the Spirit, People of Hope," the Presbyterian Older Adult Ministries Network and the Association of Retired Ministers, their Spouses or Survivors will co-sponsor a national conference for persons engaged in ministry with older adults from Oct. 11-14 in Richmond, Va. Conference participants will have a unique opportunity to engage in fellowship, networking, sharing resources, interactive and participatory workshops, creative worship, recreation, mission tours, entertainment, and an inspiring keynote address by the Rev. Dr. John Carroll of Union Presbyterian Seminary of New York City. The complete Presbyterian News Service story is at "Joint Conference." Other conference details, including registration information, are at "Older Adults."
Annual Oasis event slated in October in Kansas City
Kara Root Oasis, a regional educational event in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), describes itself this way: "Oasis is for everyone in the church who needs a space to refresh themselves. Oasis is for everyone who needs to draw on a well of new ideas.  Oasis is for everyone who wants to serve God more deeply and more fully." Oasis runs Sunday through Tuesday, Oct. 23-25, in Kansas City, Mo. This year's theme is "Sabbath," and Kara Root, pastor of Lake Nokomis Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis, will be the keynote speaker. Root's congregation, the Oasis site states, "shapes its life around worship, hospitality and Sabbath rest." Root is a trained spiritual director and certified Christian educator. Details about registration are available at "Oasis." The event also has a Facebook page.
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."
Regarding Ruling Elders: ruling elders
and personnel matters
Elaine Barnett, a certified Christian educator and a ruling elder from First Presbyterian Church in Sarasota, Fla., wrote the current edition of Regarding Ruling Elders, a resource from the Office of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Barnett wrote, "When considering the need for a personnel committee, the session should reflect upon the size of the congregation, the session, and the staff. While no longer specified within the "Book of Order," it is fitting to remember the guidance from a former version of our Constitution, that said 'The session ... has the responsibility ... to provide for the administration of the program of the church, including employment of nonordained staff, with concern for equal employment opportunity, fair employment practices, personnel policies, and the annual review of the adequacy of compensation for all staff, including all employees.'" The complete column can be found at "Ruling Elders."
News of the Board of Pensions
August Board Connections is available now
New Board Connections The August edition of Board Connections, the newsletter of the Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), is available online. The newsletter highlights recent Board news and important updates and information. Among the variety of issues addressed in the current edition is clergy effective salary reports. The Board has compiled effective salary data for 2016 to assist decision makers with reviewing clergy compensation. The current edition is at "Connections."
News around the PC(USA) & more

Final GA session passes increases to per capita

OGA symbol Late at night on Friday, June 24, two committees -- the committee on General Assembly Operations and the Mission Coordination committee -- met to count the costs of the actions the assembly passed. In plenary on the morning of Saturday, June 25, the final financial implications for the work the assembly has instructed the Office of General Assembly and the Presbyterian Mission Agency to do were presented: a per capita increase of 17 cents in 2017 and 18 cents in 2018. That means General Assembly per capita will be $7.50 in 2017 and $7.73 in 2018. The complete Presbyterian Outlook story is at "Per Capita." The Presbyterian News Service story is at "General Assembly Report."
J Herbert Nelson Nelson looks back at 6 years
in Office of Public Witness
For six years, the Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson was a strong voice in the ecumenical and interfaith communities on Capitol Hill. He could often be seen participating in peaceful demonstrations, meeting with government leaders or praying with federal workers seeking better wages. Nelson recently reflected on his years in Washington, D.C., and looked ahead to what the Church's role should be in years to come. The complete Presbyterian News Service story is at "Stated Clerk."
Peacemaker will share struggles
of reaching lasting peace in Colombia
Luis Fernando Sanmiguel For 160 years, the Presbyterian church has had a presence and witness in Colombia. But that presence has never been more important than it has the past 30 years. Rev. Luis Fernando Sanmiguel has worked closely with government leaders and opposing rebel forces to bring a lasting peace to his country. "Over the past 30 years, the church has taken accompaniment action to the victims of the internal armed conflict and from the peace talks between the government of President [Juan Manuel] Santos and FARC-EP," said Sanmiguel. "The church has been present at the negotiation tables, serving as a source of reconciliation." Sanmiguel is one of a dozen International Peacemakers speaking across the United States this fall. The Peacemakers will be speaking from Sept. 23 to Oct. 17. The complete Presbyterian News Service story is at "Colombia."
Food, health crisis worsens for people
of South Sudan; PDA gives $50,000
PDA disaster assistance Deteriorating conditions in the South Sudanese capital city of Juba have left thousands of people in desperate need of food, shelter and health services. Fighting broke out between rival factions on July 8 and while a ceasefire is currently in place, the humanitarian needs have escalated. Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, in conjunction with Presbyterian World Mission and its ecumenical partners, is working to provide aid. PDA has approved a $50,000 grant to mission partner Presbyterian Relief and Development Agency. The complete Presbyterian News Service story is at "South Sudan."
Triennium closing message calls worshipers to 'Go'
2016 Youth Triennium It was a sending like no other. From the opening call to the closing benediction and commissioning -- exploding in a surprise shower of colorful confetti -- the closing worship at the 2016 Presbyterian Youth Triennium was a fitting close to an event intentionally designed to send young people out to change the world. In her opening greetings, the Rev. Dr. Jan Edmiston, co-moderator of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) 222nd General Assembly, echoed the week's theme of "Go" in her bold charge to Triennium's nearly 4,700 youth participants. The complete Presbyterian News Service story is at "Going."
Efforts to address climate change
intensify following GA 222
environment issues One of the most closely watched debates at the last two Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assemblies concerned whether or not the church should stop investing in fossil fuel companies. In June, the 222nd General Assembly rejected an overture calling for immediate divestment, voting instead to continue a process of corporate engagement with energy companies for at least two more years. The engagement process could lead to selective, phased divestment from companies that do not show significant progress in adopting environmentally responsible practices between now and the 223rd General Assembly. The complete Presbyterian News Service story is at "Divestment."
Just one more

12 facts about the election of 1800
Mental Floss Magazine This is just another political post -- considering the season, of course -- but not what you'd expect. Mark Mancini, writing in, offers 12 facts about the election of 1800. You know, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, two of the nation's founders. Your editor didn't find some of his favorite Jefferson quotations in the article, but there's a whole lot more. You can find it all at "Election of 1800."