A Reflection from the Moderator of PTCA:
by Anna Kendig, Moderator of the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area.

Already living with the waves and billows of COVID-19 as I work in the hospital, and now working so close to the epicenter of the uprising for justice here in Minnesota, I've been feeling alternately hopeful, grief-stricken, exhausted, and angry in these past weeks. Yet I've returned again and again to one question, one prayer: God, what is it that you are calling me to do for the living of these powerful days?
 
As a Latinx woman who is often white-passing, my call may be unique to my identity, but it may echo the prayer and call of others so I share a bit of it here:
 
Because I am white-passing, I feel called to work of humility and vulnerability, not a "champion" or "do-gooder." Instead of protest-selfies or social-media posting my correct ideas, I choose to speak about what I am still learning (embarrassing but true that I didn't fully understand the racist threat behind the words "outside agitators" until the last few weeks), and what I am still unlearning. I choose to refrain from speaking about my successes, but rather point toward the work that comes next for me. I chose to minimize my time and voice in forums where I will primarily be met with praise or 'likes" to remind myself that the work of anti-racism often gets real once the conversation gets past easy positive reinforcement.
 
Because I have done a lot of work around anti-racism in the last ten-plus years of my life, I am called to the work of leadership with my white siblings in Christ, not with a louder voice, but with strategy and clarity, ready to speak uncomfortable and challenging truths with great love. But honestly, I am here to help and be a part of the work in any simple way I can - even if it's being able to send out the Doodle poll that starts a collaboration. I'm not an expert, but an experienced practitioner, and we all benefit when we mentor and model with love and grace, as well as truth and justice.
 
Because I am a person of color, I am called to the work of saying yes to what I must... and also giving my nervous system time to recuperate. And because I am neither black nor indigenous, I am also called to creative partnerships of accountability with folks in those communities, both for the labor of anti-racism, and to be a breathing space in the midst of the many mostly-white-spaces where I work and live. I am called to practice joy as resistance alongside my siblings of color, and to continue to unpack my own inner work.
 
When you pray, how is God calling you to act for justice? How is God calling you to reflect on your efforts so that you can keep learning, growing, and being shaped by the call to spiritual liberation and wholeness?
 
Our PTCA Spiritual Pilgrimage will be a part of the call for me in this coming year. In action and reflection, we'll be called to spiritual cross-training for anti-racist living . It will be challenging and powerful, and I hope that, as you pray for God's continued call in your life, this might be a call God is also putting on your heart and within your community.
The Presbytery of the Twin Cities Wishes Everyone
Happy Juneteenth!

Learn more about the history of Juneteenth and hear a reading of the Emancipation Proclamation HERE.
Notes from the Stated Clerk, Barbara Lutter, about the business of the presbytery during this unusual time.
There have been a lot of unique constitutional and polity issues popping up as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, situations that are not addressed in the Book of Order . In my ‘day job’ as a lawyer, we call this sort of situation “a case of first impression,” because there are no statutes or case law decisions that address or decide the particular issue being presented. And in the past three months, I can tell you, there have been a lot of cases of first impression as we have tried to faithfully address unusual circumstances of church life.
 
At the advice of a trusted and wise Ruling Elder, I have been reviewing and studying the first section of the Book of Order , “The Foundations of Presbyterian Polity,” especially Chapter Three, “Principles of Order and Government.” It seems to me that the Foundations section really articulates who we are, whose we are, and who we are called to be. The Foundations section includes such beautiful principles: The Church is a community of faith… hope… love… witness. The Church seeks a new openness… to see both the possibilities and perils of its institutional forms… God alone is the Lord of the Conscience. We think it the duty… to exercise mutual forbearance toward each other. In our decisions, we seek to find and reflect the will of Christ, not simply the will of the people.   
 
And so, when considering questions of first impression, I have found the Foundations of our polity to be enlightening, comforting, and helpful. If we are seeking the will of Christ, if our focus is creating communities of faith, hope, love and witness, and if we are not elevating institutional forms over the possibility to seek a new openness, and if we are extending the grace of forbearance to those holding a different view, questions of first impression can be resolved with integrity.
 
Here are some of the questions I’ve received this month, and answers, on General Assembly; the remote installation of officers and remote baptism; how to count attendance; and more. I do not pretend to have “all the answers,” and I am certain other, wiser presbyters may have additional or different thoughts to share. In fact, I invite you to let me know your thoughts, so that I can learn from you. Let’s Talk!
The Church is Open!
When Will We Return to the Building?
With God's help, and despite many challenges over the past few months, our mission, worship, and ministries have continued. We are open. The Church never closes if we are being disciples in the world.
 
Last week, the officers of the Presbytery sent to moderators and clerks of session a values-based discussion guide that invites sessions and congregations to name for themselves the Biblical values that can undergird your discussions and decisions. We have also posted on the front page of our website specific documents that can help you then determine what practical and specific steps are next, whether that be returning to the building in some form under strict guidelines or continuing to do worship and ministry in the kind of virtual ways you are all doing.
This week, there are two new documents from the State of Minnesota and its Department of Public Health, which you can access here and here. You can also find them on the front-page of the website.
We encourage you to reach out to us if you have questions, or if you would like any of your officers or the executive presbyter to meet with your session to discuss these issues. Thank you for your continuing faithfulness in ministry and witness during these difficult times.
Worship Between People on Zoom and People in Person
Hybridized Worship Experience with Bruce Reyes-Chow
ZOOM Event, Wednesday, June 24th, 1:00-3:00pm

HOUR 1: OK Zoomers: An honest, practical, and faithful look at worship and congregational life that happens to take place online. Bruce will spend the first part sharing insights on online worship in general and Zoom worship in particular. The second half he will share some general thoughts about online community as well as some specific programs that may be worth giving a try.
 
HOUR 2: The Expanded Table: Ideas for a Hybridized Worship Experience Between People on Zoom and People in Person. Bruce will share some foundational and practical ideas and will lead us in a conversation about how churches’ new ways of worshiping can be combined with pre-COVID-19 worship as a both/and rather than an either/or.
 
This workshop—sponsored jointly by the Presbytery and the Synod of Lakes and Prairies—is open to all, from teaching and ruling elders to tech support members. Please register at  https://synod-of-lakes-and-prairies.events.idloom.com/hybridized-worship
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.
Deadline extended to August 15, 2020:
Congregational Development Fund Enables New Ministry, Organizational Partnerships
NOTE: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Presbytery, through its Committee on Congregational Vitality and the Presbytery Leadership Team, delayed the May 1 deadline for applications for the annual Congregational Development Fund grants, understanding the focus of our congregations was on more immediate challenges. These grants will still be available in 2020, however.  The new deadline is August 15, 2020.  Please read the information below to re-familiarize yourself with this annual grant program.

Has your congregation been noticing a need in your community, kicking around a new ministry idea, or dreaming about partnering with a neighborhood organization—but a tight budget makes you set that vision aside? Perhaps the pandemic currently affecting us has shone a light on a new, long-term ministry opportunity in your area. If that’s true, then consider applying for a Congregational Development Grant from the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area.

Entering its fourth year of grants, the PTCA’s Congregational Grant Fund (sometimes known as Bucket #1) has already given out nearly $300,000 in grants funds to 21 PTCA congregations. This year, proceeds from this endowment fund will allow for up to $100,000 in grants for ministry initiatives at the congregational level. Applications are now due August 15, 2020, with awards to be announced in late October.

Successful applications will build on the current gifts, abilities, passions and callings of congregations by enabling innovative new or expanded ministries. Individual grants will be awarded for up to $20,000 each. Last year’s grant award winners included plans to implement a permaculture design on the grounds of Church of All Nations, converting it into an ecological sanctuary… adding a youth music ministry program for Anuak refugees through the Foundation of Life New Worshipping Community… sanctuary technology improvements at New Life Presbyterian Church to enable new worship and education offering. (And that was before the pandemic and the emergency grants for technology!) In previous years, Congregational Development grants have funded new community service projects, partnerships with neighborhood non-profits, congregational revitalization initiatives, and building alterations needed to allow a bold new ministry partnership to begin.

To download the application, click HERE:
 
The Committee on Congregational Vitality will again oversee the grant process. Questions can be addressed to one of the grant review team co-chairs, Rev. Karen Larson ( larsonkarenrose@gmail.com ) or Rev. Scott Larson ( scott@salmail.net ), or to Executive Presbyter Jeff Japinga ( ep@ptcaweb.org ).
This year, given all that has transpired, may not be the right time to move forward with a bold new initiative. Or it may be exactly the right time. Either way, the Congregational Development Fund will be here this year, and in the future, for this purpose.
Disability Concerns Ministry Responds to Coping at the Time of COVID-19
The Disability Concerns Ministry is concerned that congregations help families cope through the long COVID-19 pandemic. In response to requests for support for the unique challenges of children who live with disabilities and the pandemic, we offer the following link to the American Psychological Association on "Advice for Caregivers of Children with Disabilities in the Era of COVID-19."  
In Memoriam:
Paul Edward Martin, Honorably Retired
Reverend Paul Edward Martin passed away in Buffalo, Minnesota on Thursday, May 8, 2020. He was born in Zanesville, Ohio, but grew up in Wheaton, Illinois. He attended Wheaton College and went on to earn a Master of Divinity degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. On June 29, 1973, Paul was united in marriage to Cheryl Langford in Downers Grove, Illinois, and the couple was blessed with two sons. Paul was called to the First Presbyterian Church of Ellsworth, Wisconsin, where he pastored for 30 years. Paul also served Ellsworth as an EMT for many years. After retiring from First Presbyterian, Paul worked with Teens for Christ in Hudson, Wisconsin, until 2019.
 
Paul is survived by his sons, Joshua (Belonn) Martin, Justyn (Amanda) Martin; five grandchildren, Eva, Jude, Madeline, Seth and Owen; his sister, Beth (Vernon) Neece and numerous nieces and nephews.
 
He is preceded in death by his wife, Cheryl; his parents, Alva and Eva, and his sister, Anne Martin.
 
Private interment was held at Chapel Hill Gardens in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois. Memorials for Paul's family can be mailed to: O'Connell Family Funeral Home, Care of Paul Martin Family, 520 S. 11th St. Hudson, WI 54016, to be forwarded on your behalf; or to Teens for Christ, 538 Old State Hwy 35 S, Hudson, WI 54016.
Summer Academy Moved to Lakeshore Center
In 2020, due to the cancellation of summer school, The Academy will move its programs to Lakeshore Center in Milford, IA. The Academy is a unique educational program for congregational leaders and Commissioned Pastors who want to:
  • grow in their faith and knowledge,
  • grow as a leader,
  • have more opportunities to serve God as needed in their area, or
  • have some great continuing education if serving as a Commissioned Pastor.
Co-sponsored by the presbyteries of Minnesota Valleys, North Central Iowa and Prospect Hill as well as the Synod of Lakes and Prairies, these classes are open to all who are interested in just a single class as well as those interested in taking all 11 classes offered through the Academy.
To learn more, https://engagingleaders.org/the-academy/
Register at: https://synod-of-lakes-and-prairies.events.idloom.com/2020-summer-academy/
House of Hope Seeks Director of Youth & Family Ministries
The House of Hope Presbyterian Church (House of Hope) is seeking a  Director of Youth and Family Ministry . This is a position of both vision and detail, enjoying the rhythms of life in the church while creating space to imagine the new. We are seeking someone who loves and serves our congregational family with joy and engagement, nurtures faith formation for our youth, and encourages a culture of care and welcome within the congregation. The Director of Youth and Family Ministry has primary responsibility for all programming relating to youth grades 6 – 12 and their families. This is a ¾ time (30 hours per week) position; with benefits eligible and a continuing education allowance.
Send resumes and cover letters to   HROffice@hohchurch.org
Jeff's Jottings:
Where Do We Start?
The enormity of needed response to coronavirus, economic insecurity, and a 400-year old legacy of racism seems more than just urgent. "Where do we start with all of that?" asks Jeff .

Perhaps the answer lies in the "Come, Holy Spirit" of Pentecost.

Read more in this edition of Jeff's Jottings.
In the last edition of EMerge, we previewed that this issue would contain reflections from Alika Galloway, pastor at Liberty Community Church in North Minneapolis. That piece is delayed and will be a part of a future edition.
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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