FROM RACHEL YATES, PRESBYTERY EXECUTIVE
IT'S LATER
My husband and I lugged boxes around in the garage last weekend.  He dragged out the bins of Christmas lights; then I needed to get to a huge box on the far side of the garage, in front of which we'd stacked other tubs and boxes.  There was no way to reach it without pulling out everything in front of it.  Of course.  Isn't that the way it always is?

As we moved deeper into the morass, a gray plastic tub blocked our path.  About 4-feet long, the plastic had grown brittle, and the tub was starting to disintegrate.  The sides were...(READ MORE)
PRESBYTERY PULSE
WITNESS TO LOVE: WEEK 4 ACTIVITIES FOR HOME AND CONGREGATION
Sunday, December 20, marks the beginning of the fourth week of Advent. This link will take you to week four of our Advent series Witness to Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love. Here you'll find activities for children, families, youth, and adults. You can find resources for the entire series on the Presbytery Advent webpage. These are designed to be used by individuals or church groups and include opportunities linked with the Matthew 25 initiative.
 
For questions, please contact Ann Gibbs at agibbs@pbymilwaukee.org.
VIRUSES AND VACCINES: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
The Wisconsin presbyteries are pleased to welcome back Lisa Allgood for a timely webinar on the virus, the vaccine, and what our congregations and ministries need to know in this new phase.  Lisa Allgood is the Executive Presbyter of Cincinnati Presbytery, a Ruling Elder and trained immunocytochemist, who brings 36 years as an executive in the pharmaceutical industry to her ministry.  She is known throughout the denomination as a frank, grounded, and trusted source of information about COVID-19, the risks of different types of church ministry, and how we can plan for the coming year.  Register here for this one-hour webinar with Q&A, starting at noon (Central) on January 7, 2021.  

Unable to attend?  A recording of the session will be available for viewing after January 7.
WITNESS TO PEACE WITH THE REV. LYDIA NESHANGWE, PASTOR OF THE UNITING PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH IN SOUTHERN AFRICA
Through Zoom we connected Milwaukee, Wisconsin with Bulawayo, Zimbabwe for a discussion on peacemaking and the challenges to ministry in the time of COVID-19.  Rev. Neshangwe brings insight on multiple levels as an International Peacemaker with the PC(USA) in 2019, the first female moderator of the Council for World Mission, the founder of the Center for Growth, an advocate with Hope's Promise (an international organization that finds homes for orphaned children), and pastor of St. Andrew's in Bulawayo. You may have missed the initial zoom discussion, but it's not too late to be inspired by an amazing woman who really does Witness to Peace.  Watch the recording of our Zoom call.
INTERFAITH CONFERENCE OF GREATER MILWAUKEE 50TH ANNUAL LUNCHEON
The Presbytery proudly sponsored the 50 Anniversary luncheon for Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee, featuring keynote speaker Dr. Reggie Williams.  Dr. Williams spoke on Undoing Historical Harm: Faith, Race, and Politics, giving us a scholarly perspective on how the Church has used racism over the centuries to further its interests.  If you've always wondered how Jesus became white in our art, Dr. Williams helped explain that phenomenon.  The Presbytery's Rev. Mary Carlin offered the invocation.   Katie and Tom Heinen received the Frank Zeidler Award for their long commitment to interfaith work.

We see you, Presbyterians, with your smiling faces!  This video celebrates IFCGM's 50 years
OPPORTUNITIES FOR SERVICE
The Nominating Committee is excited to open several positions on Presbytery commissions for ruling elders and ministers of Word and Sacrament.  Moderator Lance Loveall offers these insights, words of thanks, and invitation.  Meetings are held by Zoom for both commissions (monthly) and the Foundation (quarterly).  Usually meetings last no longer than 2 hours, but might require another hour or two over the month for special activities.
 
Presbytery Gathering Planning Commission:  If you'd like to join in the planning for our Matthew 25 activities at and between Presbytery Gatherings, this is a good place to serve.  The Planning Commission is a creative outlet for our social justice ministries and worship.  Help us identify speakers, develop mission and ministry challenges, and collect resources for learning and action.
 
Commission on Transitional Ministries:  If you've gone through a pastoral transition, you know how important it is to have clear guidance on all the steps to end the old relationship and start a new one.  CTM helps congregations and pastors navigate dissolutions and the search and call process for new pastors.  People who are organized, process-oriented, and strong listeners would be good fits.  Thanks to our restructuring, this work is now much more manageable.  Training is provided. 
 
Presbytery Foundation:  The Foundation manages nearly $2 million in Presbytery investments, so that we can offer initiatives in the Presbytery like congregational vitality, pastoral support, and scholarships.  We have a strong commitment to socially responsible investing.  The Foundation uses Morgan Stanley as its investment advisor, so professional expertise is readily available. 
 
Please contact Lance Loveall if you would like more information about serving with these groups or would like to explore other opportunities. 
"CUT! TAKE 2!" WE WANT YOUR BLOOPERS
Preachers and Worship Leaders, be honest.  This year has put you in front of the camera without any training or preparation.  We know you're not perfect and have heard about your occasional bloopers on camera.  Would you be willing to share a few of those clips for a bloopers reel?  We only need about 10 seconds in a clip.  Please email them to Kate Hopta, by year's end.
khopta@pbymilwaukee.org
PRESBYTERY OF MILWAUKEE ADVENT CALENDAR
Join us as we journey toward Christmas by opening a door everyday on the Presbytery's digital Advent calendar.  You might be surprised and delighted by what you find behind the door.  The Advent calendar is available on the Presbytery's homepage, just below the "What's New" section.
PRESBYTERY OF MILWAUKEE CLOSED DECEMBER 21 - JANUARY 1
Due to an abundance of unused time off during the 2020 calendar year and the upcoming Christmas and New Year's holidays, the Presbytery Office will be closed from December 21, 2020 - January 1, 2021.  Presbytery staff will resume normal working hours on Monday, January 4, 2021.  

If an emergency arises during this time, Rachel Yates, Presbytery Executive, will be available.
MATTHEW 25: I WAS A STRANGER AND YOU INVITED ME IN...
HOMESLESS IN WISCONSIN AND OUR RESPONSE 
Manager of House of Mercy shelter in Janesville, Tammie King-Johnson, shares a startling new reality, "Because of the pandemic, we see millions more people formerly employed, under-employed, and even middle-class now struggling to sustain or secure housing. ...now [they] are first time users of the homeless response system."  Presbytery Moderator Judy Jaggard interviewed Ms. King-Johnson, both to educate and challenge the Presbytery in our response to homelessness and housing insecurity.  Watch the interview.
HEALING OUR BORDERS PRAYER VIGIL MARKS ITS 20TH ANNIVERSARY 
Homelessness includes those who are fleeing violence and persecution, just as the Holy Family did.  Mission co-worker Mark Adams shares this timely story of ministry along the Mexico-US border.
NEWS FROM THE DENOMINATION
PC(USA) CHRISTMAS SERVICE AND RESOURCES
A collaboration among two dozen employees and friends of the national offices of the PC(USA) have been working for several weeks to create an online Christmas service reflective of the "vibrance and vitality" of this denomination in this time and place. Musical selections include classic Christmas carols, African Americ
an spirituals, and songs originating from Spanish- and Korean-speaking communities of faith. Stated Clerk of the PC(USA) General Assembly, the Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II, is preaching and the Rev. Dr. Diane Moffett, president and executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, will offer prayer that connects the themes of Christmas with the Matthew 25 vision of service to people who are hungry, thirsty, strangers, naked, sick or in prison.

REGARDING RULING ELDERS:
A MONTHLY SERIES FOR SPIRITUAL LEADERS

Nikki Collins has written the most recent installment of Regarding Ruling Elders, a monthly resource of the Office of the General Assembly.

ANYTHING BUT COVID-19 NEWS
KENOSHA WOMAN NAMED TIME MAGAZINE'S GUARDIAN OF THE YEAR
Porche Bennett-Bey of Kenosha is Time Magazine's Guardian of the Year in the magazine's annual Person of the Year edition.

Bennett-Bey was stunned by the recognition, which was announced late last Thursday. Bennett-Bey was interviewed and photographed by staff at Time magazine recently, but she had no idea she was in contention for the Person of the Year edition. The magazine includes a cover portrait of Bennett-Bey by fiber artist Bisa Butler.
40-FOOT TALL LEG LAMP FROM 'A CHRISTMAS STORY' STANDS IN OKLAHOMA IN 'INDESCRIBABLY BEAUTIFUL' GLORY
The City of Chickasha, OK, is known for its 'Festival of Light' display, but now there's hope it will also be known for a giant leg lamp from the holiday classic 'A Christmas Story'.

"I continued to think about what we could do to get people to come to Chickasha," Economic Development Council Treasurer Tim Elliott said. "And make us a destination spot."

After brain storming, Elliott says he came up with a triple-dog dare for the economic development council: a 150-foot replica of the iconic leg lamp at the end of Main Street.
INVITATIONS
HELP STOCK FAITH'S PANTRY AT THE DRIVE-THRU FOOD DRIVE
Friday, December 18th at 2:00-6:00 p.m.
Faith Presbyterian Church has seen an increase in food pantry patrons due to the pandemic and fed more people in November than we did in all of 2019! We are blessed with congregation and community support this year, and despite an incredibly generous food drive from a local elementary school and community food drive last month, we are slated to run out of food again if our November levels continue in December. In this time of advent, we see continued high numbers and are asking for your help! 
 
To find the list of needed items or make a financial contribution, visit: www.franklinfpc.org/mission/food-cupboard

Faith Presbyterian Church, 3800 W. Rawson Avenue, Franklin, WI
 
LEADERSHIP, CULTURE, AND COMMUNITY
Many Presbyterian congregations and presbyteries are utilizing the principles of Community Organizing to revitalize congregations as well as launch new worshipping communities by being able to exegete personal culture, as well as the culture of the community they seek to work with, and the systems being challenged. Leadership, Culture, and Community is a study group, led by the Presbytery's Stated Clerk, Rev. Dr. Christian Boyd, will delve into the core concepts, like social constructs and ethnocentrism, that are required to be understood in order for the congregation to become a vital Spirit-led and Matthew 25 focused mission and will develop the understanding and skills needed to build meaningful relationships essential for leadership today and forming community beyond the church building walls.

Meetings will take place via Zoom on Wednesday evenings at 6:30 p.m., January 6 - February 10.
WEEK OF PRAYER FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY RESOURCES
The Wisconsin Council of Churches is putting together a pre-recorded service for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (Jan 18-25) which will be available for you to use for free. The readings will align with the international texts for #WPCU2021 and there will be music, a brief homily, an opportunity to pass the peace digitally...along with a few lovely reflective moments. This will allow pastors and worship staff to take a break January 24th. Watch the WCC enews for more info coming soon.
MISSION OPPORTUNITIES
WITNESS TO THE LIGHT (JOHN 1:6-8)
A letter from Elmarie and Scott Parker, serving in Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria
Dear Partners in Christ's Gospel,
 
As the liturgical year comes to an end and we live into a new church liturgy year ushered in by Advent, I am captivated by how John the Baptist is described in the Gospel of John: John "...himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light."
 
There is grace in that description, and an invitation. At a time when so much around me feels...(READ MORE)
HOT LINKS
Grapevine - Presbyterian Women's Newsletter
Keeping In Touch - Newsletter from the Synod of Lakes and Prairies 
Life in the Labyrinth - Inspirational Website by Michelle Henrichs
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance - Current Information
The Sower -  August 2020 Newsletter for the Presbyterian Women in the Synod of Lakes and Prairies
EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY
FUTURE PRESBYTERY GATHERING DATES

Download the 2020-2021 Presbytery Gathering flyer 

  • TUESDAY, March 9, 2021
  • SATURDAY, May 22, 2021
  • WEDNESDAY, September 22, 2021
  • THURSDAY, November 18, 2021