FROM RACHEL YATES, PRESBYTERY EXECUTIVE
HOME SWEET HOME AGAIN
As we dive into Matthew 25 this year, we hear these words, "Lord, when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you...?"  In the Presbytery, we have accepted the challenge posed in this verse and are examining access to affordable, safe housing in our communities

When the gospel was written, the duty of hospitality was well-ingrained and included an aspect of safety from harm.  The stranger who seeks...(READ MORE)
PRESBYTERY PULSE
2020 ANNUAL REPORT
The 2020 Annual Report for the Presbytery of Milwaukee is now available.  You can view this interactive document here and watch video bloopers and follow links embedded in the document for more information about the work that has happened in your Presbytery this year.  

Creating this document allows us to stop and reflect on all our Presbytery has accomplished.  We are grateful for the opportune pause.
WE HOLD IN PRAYER
Kevin Tarvid, one of our recently retired ministers, has been diagnosed with an aggressive form of skin cancer.  Kevin welcomes prayers during this time of uncertainty and treatment.
SESSION ANNUAL STATISTICAL REPORT
This is a reminder to all clerks of session that the Annual Statistical Report for the year 2020 needs to be submitted online before February 11th. Your membership numbers from this report will be used to determine next year's Per Capita Apportionment, so please make sure your membership numbers are accurate. Thank you to the 14 churches that have already submitted their report! Please don't wait until the last minute!  If you have any questions, please contact Chris Halverson, 414-292-2740.
MATTHEW 25: I WAS A STRANGER AND YOU INVITED ME IN...
HABITAT RECORDING NOW AVAILABLE
If you missed Monday's webinar with Habitat for Humanity and featuring future homeowner Kimber Watson, the recording is now available.  Learn how you and your congregations can become involved in this important effort to provide affordable housing solutions.
NEW RESTORE HOUSING CHALLENGE ANNOUNCED
During Monday's webinar on affordable housing solutions with Habitat for Humanity, the Presbytery announced a new housing challenge to benefit your local Habitat organization.  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. 
MATTHEW 25 IN ACTION: HERITAGE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
Heritage Presbyterian Church in Muskego is so excited to be able to support our church Elder, Glenn Kozicki, in his calling to serve the homeless community in southeastern WI. Glenn heads Heritage Home Delivers (HHD), a ministry of Heritage Church, that provides furniture and other furnishings for people who were previously homeless. Heritage helps to support this mission by funding truck rentals and storage units so all is ready when referrals come in. 

HHD has picked up furnishings from over 50 donors in 2020 to keep a robust inventory of furniture. They have also delivered the requested furnishings to over 50 homes.  Since 2017 Heritage has been involved with 115 deliveries, 175 pickups and have joyfully driven almost 9000 miles! HHD has been especially busy since November when we started receiving client referrals directly from Milwaukee County.  

If you would like to donate simply email us at HeritageHomeDelivers@gmail.com. We are in need of dressers, love seats, lamps, armed chairs and beds. With a finite storage space we may have to schedule your donation pickup into the near future, usually not longer than two weeks out. Because of COVID-19, we spend limited time in houses for donations or deliveries, keeping social distancing, and always wearing a mask.

We do all this with a joyful spirit and thank God for the opportunity.
 
Respectfully submitted,
Heritage Presbyterian Church
SERVING THE HOMELESS & HOUSING INSECURE
No doubt you've seen the statistics. The U.S. Census Bureau reported in December 2020 that an estimated 14 million adults living in rental housing were behind on their rent. An additional 11.8 million adults lived in households that could not keep up with their mortgage payments. While one of President Biden's first acts as president was to extend a nationwide moratorium on evictions and foreclosures through March 2021, America faces a housing crisis.  

How can congregations be of service to our homeless and housing insecure neighbors at this time? This edition of Alban at Duke Divinity School's Weekly, will begin in Pasadena at All Saints Episcopal Church, a congregation that is offering its property safely and sustainably to its neighbors. Then, it will revisit the stories of two congregations -- one in Austin, TX and one in Chapel Hill, NC -- that, even before the pandemic, had created tiny home communities; theirs are different models for how churches might use land to serve those in need. Then, a word of encouragement from Rosanne Haggerty -- these problems are solvable if we come together. 
DIFFICULT TEXTS: CONFRONTING WHAT THE BIBLE REALLY SAYS ABOUT POVERY, AUTHORITY, AND THE STATUS QUO
Wednesdays, February 3, 10, 17, and 24, 6:30-8:00 p.m. CST
The annual Kelso Community Conversation on Race and Faith, co-sponsored by Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, is offering a chance to dig into the Matthew 25 commitment to eradicate systemic poverty.
 
Starting on Wednesday, February 3, they will be hosting a 4-week-long Bible study led by the Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, co-chair with Rev. Dr. William Barber of the Poor People's Campaign and director of the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights, and Social Justice.  Rev. Theoharis, a New Testament scholar and child of Milwaukee Presbytery, will address the difficult texts from scripture used to justify poverty and the status quo. 
"Recent calls for unity, dignity, and attention to care for the least and suffering fill our newsfeeds and ears, and this study will provide us with an opportunity to explore just what Scripture asks of us in such a time as this."
JOURNEY TO FREEDOM: EMBRACING GOD'S CULTURAL DIVERSITY OF PEOPLE
The Ministry Lab is excited to share access to Rev. Jia Starr Brown's transformative series, Journey to Freedom: Embracing God's Cultural Diversity of People. All 23 videos are now available - free to Synod of Lakes & Prairies congregations - on its Vimeo page.
 
The Synod highly recommends this series - produced and facilitated by MN clergy and leaders - as powerful tools to utilize throughout Black History Month (February) and/or Lent to either introduce folks to anti-racism work or re-energize and expand diversity conversations.
 
For further information and links to the videos, please see the full post.
NEWS FROM THE DENOMINATION
SUPPORT ONE GREAT HOUR OF SHARING OFFERING
In a world of disaster, hunger, and oppression, millions of people lack access to sustainable food sources, clean water, sanitation, education, and opportunity. The three programs supported by One Great Hour of Sharing - Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, the Presbyterian Hunger Program, and Self-Development of People - all work in different ways to serve individuals and communities in need. From initial disaster response to ongoing community development, their work fits together to provide people with safety, sustenance, and hope. Please join us in receiving this offering. If you haven't received a standing order of materials, you can order them now.

ECO-JUSTICE RESOURCES FOR CONGREGATIONS
  • Lenten Calendar: English version available now, with Spanish and Korean translations on the way
From our ecumenical partner Creation Justice Ministries:
IT'S TIME TO ORDER ECO-PALMS
Through the Eco-Palms project, 20% of the cost of each frond goes directly back to the Central American communities that harvest them.  Get ready for Palm Sunday (March 28th) and order yours today!

The deadline to order Eco-Palms is March 5.
ASH WEDNESDAY WORSHIP SERVICE & 2021 LENTEN DEVOTIONAL
Members and friends of PMA and OGA staff have recorded an Ash Wednesday service for use by congregations throughout the denomination. Editing is currently in progress, and the service will be available for download not later than February 15. This is a service of music, scripture, prayer, and personal imposition of ashes. There is no sermon.  Watch for the link.

The 2021 Lenten Devotional from Presbyterians today is available to read online or to download as a PDF at pcusa.org/2021lent.
NEW TRAINING RESOURCE FOR RULING ELDERS AND DEACONS LAUNCHED AS PART OF YEAR OF LEADER FORMATION
Newly elected and ordained ruling elders and deacons in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) can now access resources that will guide them in understanding the constitutional questions of the denomination.

"Coming Alive in Christ: Training for PC(USA) Ruling Elders and Deacons based on the Constitutional Questions" is the first initiative launched as part of the Church's Year of Leader Formation. The program was announced in December by the Office of the General Assembly to focus on training for this part of church ministry.
HAVE SOME FUN IN '21!
VIRTUAL CHINESE NEW YEAR CELEBRATION
Saturday, February 6th, 1:00 p.m.
Join the UW-Platteville Confucius Institute this Saturday on Facebook Live to celebrate the Chinese New Year!  A variety of traditional Chinese cultural experiences will be shared, including songs, dances, martial arts demonstrations, Peking Opera, and more!  The fun begins at 1:00 p.m. CST.
THE RIJKSMUSEUM HAS MADE 709,000 ARTWORKS AVAILABLE FOR FREE ONLINE
The Rijksmuseum is a popular stop for tourists visiting the city of Amsterdam in The Netherlands. At the museum, visitors can view countless works by old Dutch Masters as well as more modern artists like Van Gogh. The paintings of Vermeer, Rembrandt, and Van Dyck held at the museum are treasures of world art history. These priceless works are among the over 709,000 digitized artworks now available to view for free online. The Rijksmuseum has created an impressive and easy-to-explore online collection with detailed object descriptions. In even better news, most of the digitized works are in the public domain-downloadable and even customizable with the museum's free resources.
INVITATIONS
WHERE IS THE LIGHT? MEDITATIVE SONG CIRCLE
Friday, February 5th, 6:30-8:00 p.m.
Friday, February 5th, at 6:30 p.m. join the Tippe Faithing Community in leaning into the Holy Hush guided by a sharing of simple melodies, poetry, tenderness.  Listen or sing along.

Please bring a candle and an open heart.  Pastor Karen will guide participants with reflective sharing honoring the light each person brings to this shared time, moving to embrace the holy hush and sung meditations, and then a holy closing that sends the light from this shared time out into the night.

For more information email Living Waters Contemplative Life Center or call 414-702-7997.
ISSUES OF RACE SPEAKER SERIES
Beginning on January 28, The United Methodist Church of Whitefish Bay is sponsoring an eight-week speaker series on the history and impact of racial discrimination on minority communities. The series will be held via Zoom on Thursdays at 7pm thru March 18. All of the speakers are experts in their field. The series will begin with a presentation by Reggie Jackson on the history of racial inequities in the United States. Reggie Jackson is a nationally heralded scholar, author, speaker, and consultant on race relations. He is a co-founder of Nurturing Diversity Partners and a leader at America's Black Holocaust Museum. He has received numerous awards, including 42 Most Influential Black Leaders in Wisconsin, Friebert Social Justice Award, Frank P. Zeidler Public Service Award, and several awards from the Milwaukee Press Club for his writing. You must register for Reggie Jackson's presentation - the registration link can be found here. and click here for the zoom link for the remaining sessions You can register by emailing the church c/o aeversfield@umcwfb.org or calling 414-964-2424. There is no cost for the series.
SPEAKER SERIES ON ISSUES OF RACE 40-DAY LENTEN PRACTICE: STRENGTHENING EMOTIONAL STAMINA TO COUNTER WHITE FRAGILITY
White supremacy is both internalized and institutional; it's both systemic and enacted through everyday interactions. And it's certainly, undeniably, the work of white people to resist, reckon with, and repair. As part of this work, this 40-day practice shares frameworks for recognizing and responding to white supremacy within ourselves, in our interactions, and in our communities, including in our families, workplaces, and holidays.

As the title indicates, this practice engages participants in strengthening emotional stamina, which is needed to counter white fragility, or the discomfort and defensiveness-and related power abuses and harms-that arise within white folks when confronted with racial injustice. Such work means sitting with discomfort, identifying and naming emotions as they arise, and developing staying power to be in the work for racial justice for the long haul. This practice, therefore, is for anyone who experiences white fragility, who identifies as white, or who's working to unlearn whiteness (which includes ways of feeling, thinking, being, doing, and relating).

Instructor: Beth Godbee. When you purchase this course, you will receive: A digital workbook for the core 40-day practice; Access to four online workshops (participate live or view recordings on your own time); Tuesdays, 6:00-7:30 p.m. CST, February 16, March 2, March 16, March 30; An online community for ongoing reflection on your experience

Throughout the practice, you'll have the opportunity to: engage in contemplative practices (meditation and journaling, among others), receive support for processing difficult emotions and countering white fragility (the myth, the harm, and the learned behaviors) articulate commitments that drive everyday decision-making, set intentions and increase readiness for showing up for racial justice in 2021 and beyond.  Register here.
WE RISE: BUILDING A HEALTHY COMMUNITY - A BLACK HISTORY CELEBRATION
Thursday, February 11th, 7:00-8:30 p.m.
Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee announced the upcoming MICAH event:  "Together, we will connect the past work for justice to the present work by lifting up the many examples of individuals and organizations who/that are working to make Milwaukee a healthier place for all, right now. Program will include health information, music, dance, inspirational prayers, spoken word, artist sharing, an opportunity for you to share the name of and information about a person or group you think is making a difference by Building A Healthy Community."

Guest Speakers: Dr. Aronica Williams, Chief Medical Officer - Milwaukee Health Services and spoken word by Dasha Kelly, Wisconsin and Milwaukee Poet Laureate

ASH WEDNESDAY, LENT, & HOLY WEEK RESOURCES FROM WCC
As Ash Wednesday, Lent, and Holy Week approach, many churches are using their imagination as they innovate new ways to participate in these ancient rituals and traditions in ways that maintain safety amid the COVID pandemic. Administering ashes is not recommended in person, even if we attempt to maintain distancing, and so church leaders are exploring solutions like individually packaged ashes or temporary tattoos. It's important to remind parishioners of the tips and tricks many church leaders already know (ie don't mix ashes with water, you will burn your skin) and communicate how to participate in these important traditions in new, safe ways.
 
To help resource worship leaders, the Wisconsin Council of Churches has updated their Ash Wednesday, Lent, and Holy Week resources and will continue to update them throughout the season. The WCC would love to hear about what your church is up to. Email them to share stories and photos.
SECOND ANNUAL RICH HERITAGE OF AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
Saturday, February 20, 12:00-2:00 p.m. CST
The Pittsburgh Chapter of the National Black Presbyterian Caucus will gather Saturday, February 20th, by video conferencing system Zoom. The gathering will run from 12:00-2:00 p.m. CST.

The guest speaker will be the Rev. Warren Lesane, the synod executive and stated clerk of the Synod of the Mid-Atlantic. Discussion will center around the contributions of African Americans in the Presbyterian Church (USA) in the Past, Present, and Post-Pandemic.

Registration for this event is required and is available here.
DANE CO. OFFICE OF ENERGY & CLIMAGE CHANGE RELEASES WEBSITE FOR FAITH COMMUNITITES
The Dane County Office of Energy & Climate Change has released a resource for faith communities that are interested in clean energy/sustainability issues. Click here to access resources on Faith and Environmental Stewardship, How to Green Your Facility and Operations, and Examples of Local Successes.
MISSION OPPORTUNITIES
CLEARWATER FOREST PRESBYTERIAN DISASTER ASSISTANCE WORK TRIP
March 7-13 & March 14-20, 2021
Why Volunteer?: In a typical year, we'd be heading somewhere South in February or March to work on storm damage. This isn't a typical year. With COVID-19 not yet under control, and vaccines just starting to be rolled out, long drives across state lines with people packed tight in vehicles and sleeping dorm style once we get there seems unwise. BUT. We have a safer alternative plan. Clearwater Forest, the Presbyterian camp in Deerwood, MN, is doing a major renovation project right now during the downtime, and can use our help.
 
The registration deadline is January 29Find out 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
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
  • SATURDAY, May 22, 2021
  • WEDNESDAY, September 22, 2021
  • THURSDAY, November 18, 2021