FROM RACHEL YATES, PRESBYTERY EXECUTIVE
A BAKER'S CHALLENGE
I've shared before the story of my daughter's science fair project in middle school.  To learn the properties of each item in a muffin recipe, she cooked multiple batches, each with just one of the ingredients missing.  I volunteered courageously as the taste tester and offered my critique. 

Now, I share a challenge with all the bakers out there.  Who is willing to bake
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PRESBYTERY PULSE
REGISTER FOR THE MARCH 9 PRESBYTERY GATHERING
 

We are pleased to welcome Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul to speak to us about the need for criminal justice reform, the next topic for our Matthew 25 work.
AGAIN AND AGAIN A LENTEN REFRAIN

SURVIVAL AND LOVE: A WOMANIST PREACHING SERIES
The Wisconsin Council of Churches is offering subscriptions to "Survival and Love: A Womanist Preaching Series."
Confirmed preachers to date include:
  • The Rev. Dr. Joy Gallmon (St. Mark African Methodist Episcopal Church)
  • The Rev. Kerri N. Allen (Advocate Aurora Health, PCUSA)
    (Rev. Allen is the newest minister member of Milwaukee Presbytery)
  • The Rev. Kara Skatrud Baylor (Carthage College, ELCA)
  • The Rev. Dr. Donna Childs (Tabernacle Community Baptist Church)
  • Minister Janice Tolliver (Christ the Solid Rock Baptist Church)
This resource is available on a sliding scale. Subscribers will receive a roll-out of seven sermons on video over several months, with the first sermons made available shortly after Easter. These sermons will be centered in the preacher's own tradition and informed by a womanist ethic. A subscription to the series gives the subscriber rights to use these sermons in their church's worship service. You will also receive liturgical elements written for this project by Disrupting Worship. With your subscription, you will receive a list of references and resources to inform your own scripture study and sermon preparation.
 
If you are still looking for a way to honor Black History Month and/or Women's History month, this series could be a way for you to begin: by making space in your ministry for these important perspectives. We celebrate the reality that this a year-round call, and not restricted to a particular place in the calendar.

VACCINE AVAILABILITY?
Wondering whether or when you will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine and how to get in line? One tool that churches can use for this work is the Wisconsin COVID-19 Vaccine Registry which the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) is launching March 1. This will help connect individuals with sites offering vaccine by providing a central place to let people know where and when they can they can get vaccinated and let them schedule an appointment. The Wisconsin Vaccine Registry will be used by those who opt in. While not a comprehensive resource for all vaccination options, it can be a valuable tool as we work towards community vaccination rates that will make it safer to gather in groups again.
SAVE THE PLANET, SAVE MONEY
Through our Presbytery-level membership in Common Ground, you are invited to an informational Zoom webinar on energy efficiency tips for churches with a footprint under 50 thousand square feet.  Common Ground has partnered with BlocPower, an African-American owned energy technology enterprise.  BlocPower customers save 20-40% on their energy costs annually. 
 
Choose one of TWO Info Sessions:
 
Wednesday, February 24
12pm - 1:15pm
 
Thursday, February 25
10:30am - 11:45am
 
you will receive your Zoom link in a separate email AFTER you register.  
For more information, please contact Jeannie Stranzl, Administrative Organizer at
414-751-0755 or info@commongroundwi.org.
PRAYER FOR THE 500,000
As the number of COVID related deaths climbs past 500,000, we offer this prayer.
As the number of COVID related deaths climbs past 500,000,
we offer this prayer.
MATTHEW 25: I WAS A STRANGER AND YOU INVITED ME IN...
RESTORE CHALLENGE UNDERWAY!
The Presbytery housing challenge to benefit your local Habitat organization is now underway.  Your donations to and purchases from ReStores are a significant source of funding for Habitat, making it possible for them to build and rehab more homes in our communities.  The Presbytery invites you to visit your local ReStore and purchase an item that could use a makeover.  A lamp, a table, a window, it's your choice.  Refurbish or restore or transform the item using your creativity and -- by March 6 -- send your before-and-after photos to Kate Hopta (khopta@pbymilwaukee.org).  Then, donate the item back to the ReStore, so it can be sold again - a double gain for affordable housing!  The Planning Commission will select the best transformation and announce the challenge winner at the March 9 Presbytery Gathering.  The winner will be allowed to select a non-profit working on housing or homelessness to receive a $250 donation from the Presbytery. 
CHECK OUT THESE NEW WAYS TO LEARN AND ACT
Donate money, items, or your time to Milwaukee Homeless Veterans Initiative, which helps homeless and at-risk veterans.
 
Wisconsin Veterans Network offers other opportunities to help veterans facing homelessness.
LIVING OUT LIBERATION: CHALLENGING RACISM IN THE CHURCH
This six session series grounds participants in liberation theology and using that as a lens to begin to move towards anti-racist practices within congregations. The goal is to develop people of faith who are willing to create brave spaces grounded in a theology of liberation, yielding antiracist actions. Are you looking to start your Lenten journey by examining racism within the Christian church? Consider joining this Race and Faith series being sponsored by Redeemer UCC. 
Begins Wednesday, February 24th, 6:15-8:15PM, $60
AS WE HAVE ALWAYS DONE: INDIGENOUS FREEDOM THROUGH RADICAL RESISTANCE BOOK CLUB
Join the Race and Faith Book Club as we read the book As We Have Always Done: Indigenous Freedom through Radical Resistance by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson. 

BLACK HISTORY: REFLECT, HONOR, REMEMBER, & RESTORE OUR COLLECTIVE MEMORY
February 28th, 3:00 - 5:00 p.m.
Guided by Rosalyn Hill, a grief certified specialist, will guide participants through a timeline of events allowing us to honor the stories, memories and hopes inspired by Black Americans. All will be encouraged to come with journals and ready to process your own emotions. The session will end with a candlelight ceremony. Donations accepted.

NEWS FROM THE DENOMINATION
REGARDING RULING ELDERS:
A MONTHLY SERIES FOR SPIRITUAL LEADERS


Rodger Nishioka has written the most recent installment of Regarding Ruling Elders, a monthly resource of the Office of the General Assembly.
EASTER HOPE IS BLOOMING

After a full year, "pandemic fatigue" has left lots of us feeling more than defeated. If we ever needed a good measure of Easter hope, it is now. In 2020, many churches took their message of "He is risen!" outdoors. This year, Presbyterians are continuing their public witness of hope with a beautiful practice that invites community participation in a safe way: the flowering of the cross. The March/April issue of Presbyterians Today, checks in with several churches around the country and shares their Easter worship traditions.
PRESBYTERIAN FOUNDATION'S DAY OF LEARNING
March 2nd, 10:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. CST
A Day of Learning will include three workshops with stewardship and church leaders in a casual, virtual setting. There will be time for questions and answer and an opportunity to see colleagues from across the country.

10:30 am CST - Church Mission and Sustainability with Stephen Keizer and Rev. Gail Monsma
(Rev. Monsma is the interim pastor at Rock Prairie Presbyterian Church)
This workshop will provide ideas for creating a culture of generosity through a comprehensive stewardship program. We will talk about how people give, donor motivation, how to craft your mission story, leadership's role in stewardship, provide giving tools as well as discuss how planned giving fits into a stewardship.

1:00 pm CST - Virtual Campaigns and Online Giving with Rev. Ellie Johns-Kelley and Karl Mattison
In this seminar, we will share the top 5 features that we can leverage from a virtual stewardship campaign and how we can effectively use these tools going forward. The pandemic has been a miserable experience, but let's grasp and grow from lessons learned.

4:30 pm CST - Practical Tips for Church Budgeting with Olanda Carr and Rev. Dr. Jonah So
In this workshop we will cover the basic items to consider when creating a church budget. An overview of the various types of church budgets - zero-based, program, line-item, and narrative - will be provided.

If you have questions, please email serving@presbyterianfoundation.org.
HAVE SOME FUN IN '21!
MARS 2020 MISSION PERSEVERANCE ROVER
If you've been keeping an eye toward the screen or the stars to see the latest images being beamed back from Mars, look no further.  This is NASA's image gallery from Perseverance's descent through the present, including a 360 degree panorama stitched together from six individual photos sent back to Earth.
ARTIST TRANSFORMS DAMAGED TREE INTO HAND REACHING FOR THE SKY
Artist 
Simon O'Rourke brings new meaning to a "palm tree" with his massive sculpture of a hand emerging from a tree stump. Titled Giant Hand of Vyrnwy, the piece measures 50 feet tall and transforms in front of your eyes. The base of the sculpture is a standard tree; but as you gaze upward, it begins to shed its bark and eventually becomes the smooth skin of the arm and ends with the gentle creases found in the palm and fingers. This transition, between rough and smooth, has a folkloric quality-as if a giant is trying to make its way onto Earth.
INVITATIONS
COMMON GROUND COVID-19 SPECIAL ENROLLMENT PERIOD
Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative (CGHC) is reaching out to faith-based organizations to encourage communication to your members about the new COVID-19 Special Enrollment Period (SEP) for those who need to purchase their own health insurance, either for themselves or their families.  This SEP was created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its purpose is to reach those who are still without health coverage in this challenging time. This Special Enrollment Period is for insurance that is offered on the ACA Marketplace (Healthcare.gov) and is available for purchase with no health restrictions between February 15 and May 15, 2021. 


Click here to contact us for more information
IFCGM TUESDAYS-IN-MARCH LECTURE SERIES
Beginning Tuesday, March 2nd, 12:00-1:30 p.m.
"Political Minds: Addressing the Challenges of a Divided Nation"
To kick off the Interfaith Coalition of Greater Milwaukee's annual Tuesday-in-March Lecture Series, psychotherapist, and award-winning journalist, Philip Chard will discuss conspiracy theories, insurrection, hate speech, misinformation, and white supremacists, and what can we do to bridge this interpersonal chasm, find common ground, heal divisions and not drive ourselves crazy in the process.


Cost for the virtual program:$25.00 the Series of 5, or $10.00 per individual lecture 

You may pay online for the series OR download a printable form to mail in payment

Once you register, a receipt will emailed, and an event link will also be emailed before the program dates.

All registrants will receive a link to watch programs again on our Interfaith Conference Youtube channel. These programs will be captioned for the hearing impaired.

RURAL RESILIENCY: CARING FOR YOU AND YOURS
March 2, 9, 16, 23, 7:30 - 8:45 p.m.
This webinar series is a discussion starter and healthy mindset promoter for dealing with rural behavioral 
and brain health, communication skills, and relationship enrichment for self, marriage and families. Farm families and those who work with them as consultants or neighbors are encouraged to attend. Rev. Dr. Larry Tranel, Pastoral Psychologist and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach Dairy Specialist is the featured speaker for:
* March 2-Farm Stress Resiliency and Grief
* March 9-Personality Keys When "Married" to Farm Stress
* March 16-Dealing with the Stresses of Men, Women, and Children
* March 23-Brain and Behavioral Health "Hacks" to Mitigate Distress .
 
Registration for the series can be done at: http://www.aep.iastate.edu/stress . Questions about the program can be directed to Larry Tranel at 563-583-6496 or tranel@iastate.edu.
40TH ANNUAL ECUMENICAL RURAL MINISTRY CONFERENCE
"ENGAGING AND MINISTRY WITH CULTURAL TRADITIONALISTS"
We live in a deeply divided society with divisions along political, social, cultural, urban/rural lines.  This conference will be helpful for pastors who see these divisions in their communities and congregations and are looking for ways to minister to all people.
 
Keynote Speaker Tex Sample will explore this division by looking at a key demographic, cultural traditionalists.  Cultural traditionalists are the largest demographic in rural America and one of the largest in the country. This demographic is not limited by age, gender, or denomination.
 
The presentations of Tex Sample will provide a description of this important group and offer suggestions for working with cultural traditionalists.  These presentations are valuable not only for small town and rural congregations but will provide a greater understanding of this demographic found in many, if not most, congregations.
 
The Rev. Dr. Tex Sample brings years of ministry experience, teaching and research to this topic.  His most recent books include A Christian Justice for the Common Good, and Working Class Rage: A Field Guide to White Anger and Pain.  Tex Sample has participated throughout his career in both the church and the community, with a focus on social, racial, gender, and economic justice issues, community organizing, and interfaith movements. 
 
The 40th Rural Ministry Conference will be held via Zoom on Monday, March 8, 2021.  For further information:  http://www.wartburgseminary.edu/rural-conference/#1512404387364-1ded38c8-233a

This event is co-sponsored by Wartburg and the University of Dubuque Theological Seminaries.
PANEL DISCUSSION, "PASTORING IN THE AGE OF CONSPIRACIES AND DISINFORMATION"
Save the date: March 16th, 5:00 - 6:30 p.m. CST
Co-moderated by the Rev. Dr. Leah Schade, Lexington Theological Seminary & Clergy Emergency League; and the Rev. Kerri Parker, Executive Director of the WI Council of Churches.  Confirmed panelists include:  
  • Rachel Bernstein, a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with expertise in cults, who hosts the podcast Indoctrination. 
  • The Rev. Heather Hunnicutt, who serves as pastor of Salem United Church of Christ. She is also a licensed professional counselor and owner of Evergreen Counseling and Consulting in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Her areas of clinical expertise include cult recovery, religious and spiritual trauma, intellectual giftedness, and faith integration for persons in LGBTQ+ communities. Currently a doctoral student, Heather's dissertation focuses on constructing a healthy post-traumatic spirituality with both clinical and pastoral applications.
MISSION OPPORTUNITIES
WINTER STORM RELIEF
For those who want to do something to help people impacted by the winter storms in the south (this includes Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana), PDA asks everyone to stand in the GAP --
G = give  (designated fund DR000015)
A = act  (assemble Gift of the Heart Kits -- see kit contents at https://pda.pcusa.org/page/kits/ )
P = pray  (pray for all involved for safety, warmth, safe drinking water and food)
To donate directly to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA), designate account # DR000015 on your checks, donate online, or send your check payable to the Presbytery of Milwaukee (designate PDA winter storm relief on the check.
 
"Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is in communication with Presbyterian leadership on the ground in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana. We have offered assistance and assessments will be more accessible as power is restored and things begin to thaw. PDA stands ready to assist. Please join us in praying for safety and warmth."

Marilyn Stone, moderator of the Presbytery's Disaster Preparedness & Response Task Force, writes:  "PDA has been in touch with the impacted presbyteries to offer support and initial grant funds.  PDA works through presbyteries because the disaster is local.  The presbyteries can assess the local needs and work with other agencies to determine needs that are not currently being met.  Initial PDA grants can be provided and then long term needs addressed as they become known.  As of Friday, we know that five PC(USA) churches in one presbytery in Texas have suffered damage.  We also know that some PC(USA) churches have opened up their churches to serve as temporary shelters.  We see through media the significant impact in some areas.  While some agencies are very visible initially and their help is short-term, PDA will be there for the long-term and in ways requested by the presbytery.  PDA services can include providing emotional and spiritual care, a ministry of presence, providing initial grants to presbyteries, assisting with church damage assessment, AND down the road helping volunteer work teams to get connected with repair and rebuilding needs, assist churches in becoming host sites/housing for volunteer work teams, provide training and assistance for long-term recovery teams, provide emotional and spiritual care/resilience support when stress is overwhelming (not just to PCUSA folks, but for FEMA workers, first responders, etc.), and the list goes on."   
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 -  February 2021 Newsletter for the Presbyterian Women in the Synod of Lakes and Prairies
UCCI Newsletter - December 2020 Newsletter from United Church Camps, Inc.
EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY
FUTURE PRESBYTERY GATHERING DATES

Download the 2020-2021 Presbytery Gathering flyer 

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