News from Around the Presbytery
Here are some updates from the officers of the Presbytery (Anna Kendig, moderator; Jean Emmons, vice-moderator; Rocky Rockenstein; past moderator and Presbytery Leadership Team chair; Barbara Lutter, stated clerk; Steve Robertson, treasurer) and the executive presbyter, as we look ahead with you at our responsibilities and actions in the coming days and weeks.
Meetings Update
We are also trying to live into this season of Easter renewal by prioritizing, clarifying, and discerning carefully about our work and energies. To that end, PLT decided to   cancel the May stated meeting, and to delay the Annual Meeting of the Presbytery to the fall.  This means that committee terms will not end in May, as would normally be the case, and according to our Manual of Operations, Bylaws and the Book of Order, will continue until we are able to have the Annual Meeting and elect new chairs and committee members. Similarly, the current officers will remain in place and serve until new officers are elected and installed. PLT has also decided that the transition to our new committee structure will be paused. The focus of staff and officers will remain on the best ways to support our congregations and leaders during this topsy-turvy time of COVID-19. 
Financial Support Update
In March, the Presbytery Leadership Team approved a set of emergency grants intended to support and assist congregations in three unique areas: general ministry support; congregational and local mission support; and technology improvement support. Additionally, and in cooperation with the Board of Pensions, there is possible support for minister members experiencing emergency needs.
 
Since its inception, twenty-one unique congregations have received thirty-two grants totaling nearly $200,000. These funds have been allocated by the PLT from the Presbytery Strategic Ministries Fund. These grants have allowed congregations to continue their ministries and retain staff despite shortfalls in contributions or essential rental income; allowed critical neighborhood and community-based ministries; and supported the technological infrastructure to permit a creative online presence, not simply on Sunday but throughout the week. In addition, two personal grants have been awarded.
 
We describe ourselves as Presbyterians as part of the connectional church. Here is one more way that we are in ministry together. If your congregation needs support, whether financially or in other ways, please contact Executive Presbyter Jeff Japinga ( ep@ptcaweb.org ).
How We Talk about Re-Opening
We continue to urge you to take the long view . And in that, the officers of Presbytery pledge to walk with you. What we know, and what we don’t know, about the future changes every day. We know there will be no simply going back to “normal.” It’s increasingly clear that in-person worship will not look like it did in January and February any time soon, certainly not in May and perhaps not for a longer period of time. That means navigating into a “new normal” together, relying both on experts and on each other . Through the Minnesota Council of Churches, we continue to be in contact directly with the Minnesota Department of Public Health; here is one of their church-directed documents from last week. We have just received a very helpful document from the Wisconsin Council of Churches. Those resources, directed to churches, are on the front page of our website. As our partners in Minnesota and Wisconsin provide us new information and advice on when and how a gradual lifting of the distancing requirements will happen, and how those protocols and practices might be applied to faith communities, we will share those with you. But sessions—and this is especially directed to our ruling elders, who bring us all sorts of necessary expertise—please don’t wait. Start this conversation now. We invite and welcome your own thinking, especially the voices of our ruling elders and members. What are you seeing; what wisdom are you developing, what insights and guidelines are you developing with your own congregations, that could help all of us with these crucial questions?
 
This helpful visual (from our friends in the Episcopal Church) reminds us that we are in this together for the long haul, with times both optimistic and challenging. All the more reason to pursue the kind of pacing, priorities, and spiritual grounding that will sustain your service, faith, and hope.
In Closing
There’s a phrase from Philippians 4:7 that’s been in our thoughts: “the peace that passes all understanding.” God’s surpassing peace is not the same as calm, or ease, or even comfort. God’s peace can be active , but is never anxious. It can give comfort, even in the midst of challenges. It can thrive even in the midst of adversity and sorrow. It can grow within us.
This Week's Tech Tip
Call-in Telephone Streaming Service
 
Are you looking for a way for worshippers without computers to listen to worship services?
 
With Phonelivestreaming.com , you can provide a local, dedicated telephone number that requires no access codes. Worshippers can call in during the service to listen live or they can call in later to hear a recording of the most recent service. They can even opt-in to be called each Sunday when the service begins. It’s $30/month plus a one-time $50 setup fee for a local number. For an additional $10/month, you can get a toll-free number.
 
Technical details: you can stream automatically over RTMP from your existing streaming software or hardware. Or you can use a free voip SIP dialer to stream from a computer or simply upload an mp3.
 
We just signed up this week and are launching this Sunday. So far it has worked beautifully in our tests. The service is only six weeks old, and the developer is very responsive. I’m glad to answer questions.
 
Cader Howard
First Presbyterian Church of Stillwater
choward@fpc-stillwater.org
 
Do you have a tech tip you’ve learned? Please email it to Executive Presbyter Jeff Japinga ( ep@ptcaweb.org ) and we’ll share it.
For a listing of online worship opportunities, please go to the Presbytery website or Facebook page.

Presbytery website - https://ptcaweb.orgg

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PC(USA) News
224th General Assembly to be conducted online only

For the first time in the history of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the denomination's General Assembly will be held online only. The Committee on the Office of the General Assembly (COGA) voted unanimously Tuesday to approve a plan for a...

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www.pcusa.org
Finding spirituality in a pandemic

The Co-Moderators of the 223 rd General Assembly are known as enthusiastic travelers, women who love nothing more than sharing the gospel with churches and mid councils and interpreting the 2018 assembly across the United States and around the...

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www.pcusa.org
Prayers of the people for the 3rd Sunday of Easter...

Jill Duffield reads the prayers of the people she crafted for the 3rd Sunday of Easter. You are welcome to share this with your congregation or use it as part of your worship service.

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pres-outlook.org
Where Do You Find Resources?
There are scores of helpful websites and suggestions out there. You no doubt have your own preferences and favorites. Here are a few of ours:
 
The Ministry Lab at United Theological Seminary
 
What’s your key source of information and resources? Share it with us !
Jeff's Jottings:
Thank You. I Don't Know. Step by Step.
Perhaps we're all inundated with information. Helpful and good, but too much.

In this briefer edition of Jeff's Jottings , Jeff offers gratitude (Thanks), reflection (I don't know), and encouragement (Step-by-step).

"...may God embrace us with creative resolve to do what is needed for ourselves, our loved ones, our communities, and our interconnected world."
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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