FROM RACHEL YATES, PRESBYTERY EXECUTIVE
A LETTER TO SANTA, WITH SUBTITLES
Dear Santa,

It's been a while since I've written.

               [I haven't bothered writing since I was about 10 years old.  But, this is 2020, and I don't know if you've noticed, but things are bat-poop crazy around here.  So, I'm going back to my old standbys to see if it helps.]

I have been a good girl this year.

               [I've literally been in voluntary isolation since March, so how much trouble could I really get into? 
               
Well okay, there was that one time when I broke...(READ MORE)
PRESBYTERY PULSE
WITNESS TO JOY: WEEK 3 ACTIVITIES FOR HOME AND CONGREGATION
Sunday, December 13, marks the beginning of the third week of Advent. This link will take you to week three 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.
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.
CLERKS OF SESSION AND TREASURERS MAILING
Packets will be sent out shortly to Clerks of Session and Treasurers with terms of call sheets, per capita calculations, and other materials to start off 2021 right.  We thank all of the congregations that gave 100% of their 2020 per capita.  Because the Presbytery commits to send the full share of General Assembly and Synod per capita each year, your congregation's payments keep us from going in the hole.  To learn more about how your per capita dollars are used, please enjoy this short video  from the denomination.  Perfect for a "minute for mission"!
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...
OVERCOMING EVICTION
Haynie Smith faced significant uncertainty early on in his adult life.  It's a symptom of unaffordable housing that's known all too well in Milwaukee: eviction.  Even though Haynie was paying his bills on time, his landlord wasn't.  Imagine having your life turned upside down in a moment's notice, and to no fault of your own. 

Watch how Haynie overcame these struggles to ensure his family would never face something like this again.
PASTORS UNITED DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE
Wauwatosa Presbyterian Mission Minute: Pastors United Development Initiative


Wauwatosa Presbyterian Church has partnered with Pastors United to help rehab homes in low income areas.  Get ideas about how you can help through this video.
'BREAKDOWN WHITENESS' ONLINE RESOURCE EXPLAINS RACISM TO WHITE AUDIENCES
A group of academics in religious studies, history, and ethics recently joined together to develop Breakdown Whiteness, an online resource designed to explain structural racism to white audiences.

The site, breakdownwhiteness.org, launched Nov. 6. It serves as a clearinghouse of existing resources designed to dismantle white supremacy in America. Resources are categorized by age and subject. The site also includes a glossary of terms and actions that can be taken to stop the policies and practices, which enable systemic and structural racism.
NEWS FROM THE DENOMINATION
ENGAGING OUR WORLD SUNDAY SCHOOL RESOURCE
This study of the UN's sustainable development goals gives snapshots into each of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), some of their targets, and the ways in which the PC(USA) and its global partners have been working -- and continue to work -- to achieve this sustainable development agenda. 

Learn more about and download Engaging our World Sunday School Resources for UN Sustainable Development Goals
ANYTHING BUT COVID-19 NEWS
TIS THE SEASON TO BE JOLLY, KOALALALALALALALALA
Picture a Christmas tree and you'll probably think of baubles, tinsel and fairy lights, but one Australian woman came home to find an unusual adornment: A koala. Surprised by the unusual visitor, Amanda McCormick, who lives in Coromandel Valley near Adelaide, southern Australia, called local koala rescue organization 1300Koalaz.
 
"This evening our hotline operator took a call. At first she thought she was the victim of a prank call," wrote the organization in a Facebook post Wednesday. "But no, a koala desperate to get in the Christmas spirit had wandered into Amanda McCormick's house and decided it wanted to be the fairy on the Christmas tree."
THE FIRST "CHRISTMAS STAR" IN NEARLY 800 YEARS

As 2020 comes to a close, the solar system has decided to grace us with a cosmic Christmas miracle that hasn't been witnessed in nearly 800 years. On Dec. 21 (aka the December solstice), Jupiter and Saturn will align so closely in the night sky that they'll almost appear to collide from our vantage point here on Earth, creating a radiant point of light often referred to as the "Star of Bethlehem" or the "Christmas Star."

The event, sometimes referred to as The Great Conjunction, occurs roughly every 19 to 20 years, but this is the closest the planets will line up in the night sky since the Middle Ages. Technically, Saturn will be 10 au (astronomical units) from Earth, and Jupiter will be 5 au away, but they will appear to be less than the diameter of a full moon apart.

INVITATIONS
FAITH SPRINGS CHRISTMAS CAROL DRIVE IN
Saturday, December 12th at 6:30 p.m.
Join members and friends of Faith Springs Presbyterian Church for an evening of Christmas CARoling on December 12th!  Participants are invited to tune into FM 87.9 and sing along to organ accompaniment from the safety of their own car.  Links for lyrics will be available on Facebook, or a hard copy can be obtained at the event.  Submit requests for favorite carols on the Faith Springs Facebook page.

Faith Springs Presbyterian Church, N13W28771 Silvernail Road, Pewaukee
DANCES OF UNIVERSAL PEACE
Friday, December 11th at 6:30 p.m.
Venture into the powerful yet simple elements that make the dances sustaining and transforming body prayer with the Living Waters Contemplative Life Center.  December 11 will focus on movement and the grandmother of the dances, Ruth St. Denis, will be invited into the circle.  Dances that also relate to the season will be explored.  Each breath and heart will once again engage in practices which can unite in a way that heads cannot. 
Universal Dances of Peace will be guided by Judith and Hal.  Please email by Thursday, December 10, to receive Zoom link.
 
Living Waters Contemplative Life Center is an outreach ministry of  Tippecanoe Faithing Community.
#ENOUGH PLAYS TO END GUN VIOLENCE
Monday, December 14th at 7:00 p.m.
Join the Wisconsin Council of Churches via Zoom for an evening of 7 short plays written by high school students around the country.  Readings by actors from Wisconsin followed by a talkback with actors and directors and a call to action from local organizations.
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