We grieve with the family of Jacob Blake who was partially paralyzed this week due to being shot in the back seven times by police. With the prophets who expressed God’s anger in the face of injustice, in holy anger we denounce racism in policing and in our communities.

We mourn with the families of Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum, the protesters killed in Kenosha, Wisconsin, by a white teenager "defending" police.

This 400 year old pandemic of racism, with which we have yet to fully reckon, is utterly unacceptable to God. It causes deep wounds to the Body of Christ, and layers on top of the many other current pandemics and disasters that are facing us: the death toll of COVID-19, the destruction of Hurricane Laura, and wildfires—all of which disproportionately impact communities of color.

The events of this week demand that we unequivocally state truth once more:
  • Every day, Black people, our siblings in Christ, live under threat due to racism and white supremacy.
  • At the same time, every day, our Black siblings express their sacred worth and giftedness through their acts of love, resistance, resilience and brilliance.
  • Black. Lives. Matter. This is not just a statement, it is a theological call to action to transform our systems and society away from systemic violence and systemic privilege and toward the true equity that the gospels describe.

We must affirm that God delights in Black lives and the lives of all people of color, including our Indigenous siblings, because we have not operated as a society as if this was true. We are called to repent of this sin, repair, and renew relationships in healthier ways. This will take time, but as followers of Jesus Christ, we live in hope, and trust that the Holy Spirit guides us.

We're thankful for the over 150 folks in the presbytery who have committed to the presbytery’s year-long Spiritual Anti-Racism Pilgrimage and the many in our presbytery who are engaging this week with the Presbyterian Week of Action, coordinated by PCUSA staff members. We know there are hundreds more among us who have committed to anti-racism learning and action in other ways. As presbytery leaders, we remain committed to equipping everyone in our presbytery to confront and truly dismantle racism and white supremacy in our presbytery, our churches, our communities and ourselves, seeking always the life-giving justice and liberation God desires for all. We have work to do, siblings, and God will be with us in it.
Anna Kendig, Moderator
Jean Emmons, Vice-Moderator
Barbara Lutter, Stated Clerk
Rocky Rockenstein, Presbytery Leadership Team Chair
Steve Robertson, Treasurer
Jeffrey Japinga, Executive Presbyter
Kendra Grams, Anti-Racism Task Force Chair
A yearlong anti-racism journey...
Am I Called to This Pilgrimage?
Registration Deadline is Today, Friday, August 28th
The PTCA Anti-Racism Spiritual Pilgrimage is a yearlong journey of: 
  • deepening our engagement with the racial history of Minnesota and Western Wisconsin
  • using personal reflection and small groups to practice spiritual skills for anti-racist living
  • taking action in solidarity with Black, Indigenous and other People of Color (BIPOC) who are our neighbors in the community
From September 2020-May 2021, we’ll journey together to deepen and strengthen our capacities for the lifelong work of undoing systems of privilege and internalized racism. Since the spiritual practices and spaces needed to undo racism for white people versus people of color differ, small groups will be either white people helping each other in accountability to BIPOC “reflection catalysts” or be BIPOC-only groups lead by facilitators of color. In both cases there will be spaces to cross-pollinate what we are thinking and learning about, both in individual congregations and across the presbytery.
 
Full details and registration link available athttps://anti-racism-ptca.weebly.com/2020-2021-spiritual-pilgrimage.html
 
Registration closes August 28. However, we ask that all participants register as soon as possible to assist with planning for small groups. 
 
*Contact the Rev. Kendra Grams, Chair of the PTCA Anti-Racism Task Force, at 
office @ ptcaweb.org with questions.
Watch: PTCA Anti-Racism Spiritual Pilgrimage Invitation Video
Can You Help?
With continuing clean-up and long-term repairs following the derecho in and around Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on August 10th...


In the aftermath of Hurricane Laura


Presbyterian Disaster Assistance enables congregations and mission partners of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to witness to the healing love of Christ through caring for communities adversely affected by crises and catastrophic events
A note from the Stated Clerk, Barbara Lutter, about the business of the presbytery during such an unusual time as this
As summer winds down, I am looking toward the autumn months, anticipating how differently we will approach our usual work during the coming season. Here’s a preview:
 
  • Annual Review of Session Minutes: we will not meet in person, in different churches, to accomplish this work. Instead, I will be asking each clerk of session to complete a 2020 Session Minutes Self-Review, and submit it to me at the PTCA office. I will then provide each clerk of session with the requisite “minutes approval” sticker, to be affixed in the Minutes Book. The 2020 Checklist will posted on the presbytery web page within a few weeks and it will be distributed to each clerk of session.
  • Statistics Season is just around the corner. No doubt about it, this year’s statistical reports may be a bit of a challenge. For example, how do we determine the average number attending remote worship? Well, we do the best we can to estimate, based on the data available to us, which will vary from church to church. And that’s ok!! As always, I am available and willing to work with each church, clerk of session and moderator to make sure the statistical reports are submitted on time, as easily possible.
  • Revising our presbytery’s important documents and procedures. It has been a number of years since we adopted our Manual of Operations and Bylaws. Now, two events (the implementation of our new presbytery committee structure and the COVID-19 pandemic) require us to review these documents and update them to match the demands and circumstances of this time. Be assured, the proposed revisions will be published and circulated for comments and suggestions ~ my hope is this will happen in early 2021.
 
These are just a few examples of the “normal” work that we are approaching in new ways, with changing expectations and changing processes/procedures. For those of us, like me, who find comfort in “routine,” these can be unsettling times. There are, however, opportunities inherent in these unusual times ~ opportunities for reformation. I imagine that our predecessors had similar feelings as computers and cell phones replaced the typewriter and adding machine in our church offices. I remind myself often, that it is a blessing to have the opportunity to look at our presbytery’s procedures and practices through the lens of COVID-19 Time, and to reform the way we approach our work in relevant ways.
Presbyterian Week of Action...
This week was designated as Presbyterian Week of Action, an intentional effort shaped and structured by our national office to provide a public witness to reinforce our PC(USA) statements and policy around the support of eradicating systemic racism and acknowledging that God loves all Black lives. Joining together as the greater church provides faithful leadership and realistic hope in the area of justice, love, and equality within our denomination and communities. And it’s not over yet.
On Saturday, our PC(USA) staff will host a virtual rally to call attention to the racial injustice and social uprising happening in our country. This event will be anchored at the Presbyterian Center in Louisville, KY and will include a march for justice. This will be a connectional event and will feature various speakers, music, poets, etc. All are invited to attend and/or watch virtually on the Week of Action webpage and the PC(USA) Facebook page. This event will livestream on the PC(USA) Facebook and on the webpage. The recording of the livestream will be posted on the webpage after the event.
Here are some snapshots of events and resources from the week:

Presbyterians Walk & Roll
Our team goal is to raise $1,000 for NAMI. You can choose how far you want to go, what route you want to go, and walk or roll with friends and neighbors if you are comfortable with that during this time of COVID. You can walk or roll outside or inside. We will be together in Spirit if not in person.
 
To register and/or donate, go to our team page by clicking on the link for our team 

If the link does not work, please follow these steps to get to our fundraising page.
  1. www.namiwalks.org
  2. Click on “Fundraiser Search”in the upper right of the page.
  3. Type in Presbyterians Rock & Roll.
  4. If that fails, type in Wendy Fields

If you have questions, please text/call Wendy Fields at 612-805-0406 or email at wagf55@gmail.com
 
We can all be advocates for people who live with mental illnesses. Each person is created in the image of God. Let us put our faith into action and seek justice for all.
Love, memories, and traditions.
Love, memories, and traditions.
 
It is also about the future. How do we maintain and develop Clearwater Forest so that it can continue to transform lives? This whole idea is summed up in the Campaign title – Rooted in Tradition, Growing for Tomorrow.
 
The Campaign at a glance… Clearwater Forest is embarking on a new journey in the form of a capital campaign to reach our goal of raising $2.2 million! Beneficiaries of the funds raised include
·     Dining Hall and kitchen renovation to include an upgraded kitchen and dining area and accessible bathrooms with the addition of administrative offices and a welcoming center.
·     The transformation of the Carriage House to a cozy small-to-medium sized group retreat house, while honoring the historic architectural features of the building.
·     A replacement building for our beloved Osprey House with a multi-functional retreat and meeting space.
 
Why a capital campaign? In short, to deliver on our promises:
·     Provide a healthy, safe, compliant environment
·     Value our employees and guests
·     Preserve the resources entrusted to us
 
Clearwater Forest started changing lives in 1954 through a Christian camp experience. We now offer retreats, family events, senior programs, and team-building opportunities. Each year some 5,000 guests experience the hospitality of Clearwater Forest: campers, work groups, re-treaters, family reunions, wedding parties, and more. We believe this is the Holy Spirit changing lives in God’s woods and waters
 
When you have something you love, you take care of it. You nurture and develop it, and you proudly share it with others. Watch this space for a September webinar opportunity to engage the mission and vision of Clearwater Forest. And visit the Clearwater Forest website for an on-line presentation.
 
Clearwater Forest is supported by four Presbyteries, including the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area, and by the Synod of Lakes and Prairies, PCUSA.
Self Development of People Committee
Deadline for 2020 SDOP Award Applications
Perhaps now more than ever there are grassroot community groups within our neighborhoods that might benefit from a Self Development of People award to promote justice, build solidarity, advance human dignity and advocate for economic equity. Recognizing the current requirements for hygienic distancing, PTCA’s SDOP committee is committed to identifying qualifying community based projects** to consider for awards from this year’s portion of our One Great Hour of Sharing offering. The Application is available online @ ptcaweb.org and must be submitted by September 1, 2020 for consideration. The amount of the 2020 awards is limited to funds available, approximately $11,000, and may be divided among qualifying organizations. For more information, please contact H. David Stewart @ hdavid.stewart @ gmail.com

**grants will only be awarded to community based groups that directly benefit for the services the project provides and directly control the decision making processes for the group. SDOP awards are not made to augment the budgets of churches or existing non-profits.
Synod of Lakes and Prairies Offers Racial-Ethnic Student Scholarships
The Committee on Racial Ethnic Ministries of the Synod of Lakes and Prairies, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) again will offer a student scholarship opportunity to qualified students. 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.
 
The Student Scholarship is an educational assistance program designed to encourage indigenous and students of color 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.
 
Completed applications are due September 30, 2020 and must include an official transcript and financial aid statement. The application form can be found here. (see attachment)
 
Please help share this news by distributing the form to eligible students and interested church partners. Still have questions? Contact Elona Street-Stewart, 651-357-1149 or estreetstewart @ lakesandprairies.org.
Learning Ministry Skills for Today’s and Tomorrow’s Church Pastors, Staff, COMs and Congregational Leaders
October 12-15, 2020
Online
 
Registration is limited; there are eight openings left, so don't delay.

Whether it is a change in leadership or a changing community, leading a congregation through change is both challenging and rewarding. It takes knowledge, skill, resilience and spiritual strength to navigate the waters of change in a way that leaders and congregations thrive. This training is for individuals who are considering ministry in temporary settings (as an interim, transitional or designated pastor) or are experiencing ministry in these transitional times. Materials presented will include the basics of transitional ministry and will be of value to all congregational pastors regardless of their ministry setting. Best practices in transitional ministry include ways to enter the congregation and community, how to analyze a congregation’s strength and growing edges, and how to assist a congregation in moving toward a vibrant future. This training will delve into navigating change, the pastor as a spiritual interpreter of transition, family systems, mission focus ministry, conflict mediation, and building resiliency.
 
Participants completing the full 30 hours of training will meet the requirements for Week I Transitional Ministry Education. If you want a certificate of completion, you must actively participate in all sessions in their entirety. We will meet Monday-Thursday from 9:00-11:30, 1:30-3:30 and 6:30-8:30. Tuition and fees cover the tuition as well as the costs of taking the Thomas Kilman Inventory and the Intercultural Development Inventory.
 
Registration
 
Costs: Tuition and fees $ 400/person
Jeff's Jottings:
I Am Not Throwing Away My...Shot
Hamilton re-appeared over the summer, with millions of people watching, some for the first time.

After watching it twice, Jeff ponders if three characters from the production don't have something important to say to the church.

Don't throw away your shot... Read more in this edition of Jeff's Jottings.
EMerge is a newsletter of the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area. Through most of the year it is published biweekly and distributed to congregations, teaching elders, ruling elders, church members, committees and friends of the presbytery. Please send submissions and address corrections to office@ptcaweb.org
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