FROM RACHEL YATES, PRESBYTERY EXECUTIVE
THE STAR
For the first time in 400 years, the Bethlehem Star shone.  A conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in the night sky resulted in a bright light unlike any we've seen.  We can imagine something similarly celestial guiding Wise Ones from the East to where the Christ child laid.

'Round my place, it had to be imagined.  The Bethlehem Star might have shone in dazzling fashion somewhere, but at my house, I saw only clouds.  For several nights in a row, I scanned the night sky, hoping to see this once-in-a-lifetime event.  I even had a...(READ MORE)
PRESBYTERY PULSE
VIRUSES AND VACCINES: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Happening tomorrow, January 7th, 12:00 p.m.
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) tomorrow, January 7, 2021.  

Unable to attend?  A recording of the session will be available for viewing after January 7.
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. 
MATTHEW 25: I WAS A STRANGER AND YOU INVITED ME IN...
HOMELESSNESS 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.
MORE ON MATTHEW 25
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES CONTINUE TO BE ADDED 
While the focus of our Presbytery-wide Matthew 25 initiative has shifted to housing, resources continue to be added to the Medical Care section of our Healing Through Action webpage.  Churches and individuals are encouraged to visit and revisit these pages, continuing to learn how we might be better neighbors in this broken world.
NEWS FROM THE DENOMINATION
RESOURCES AVAILABLE TO COMMEMORATE AND CELEBRATE MLK'S LIFE AND LEGACY
The pandemic of 2020 has further exposed disparities in healthcare and social justice and the wealth gap that exists in America. These glaring issues make the works and the words of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., just as relevant today as they were in the 1950s and 1960s.

On Jan. 18, 2021, the nation will celebrate and commemorate King's life and legacy. To assist congregations in this celebration, the Presbyterian Mission Agency is making worship resources available for download.

PC(USA) CO-MODERATORS ANNOUNCE NEW BOOK STUDY PROGRAM
Decolonizing Wealth: Indigenous Wisdom to Heal Divides and Restore Balance, by Edgar Villanueva is the book being recommended by PC(USA) co-moderators, Ruling Elder Elona Street-Stewart and the Reverend Gregory Bentley. The announcement came during the first broadcast of "Good Medicine," a new monthly online program hosted by the Co-moderators on Facebook Live. Visit the co-moderators Facebook page for book study updates and to watch the "Good Medicine" program.
 
"This is a very important time where the church and our country are trying to shift reality around how we repair and bring equity to our ideas, while resolving concerns that are being raised by our communities," said Street-Stewart. "This book will help address these issues as a Matthew 25 church."
 
"This is a very important book and Villanueva's perspective on philanthropy is important to grasp and I hope we take our time with this study," said Bentley. "This should be a 'crockpot' study, not microwave. You use a microwave when you want to cook something fast, but a crockpot is for cooking something slowly, taking time. This is a crockpot project."

HAVE SOME FUN IN '21!
MLK DAY TRIVIA CONTEST
In celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, virtually join members of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. Alumni Chapter to answer trivia questions on our Milwaukee Public Library Facebook page. From Friday, January 1 thru Monday, January 18, questions will be shared once a day at 4 p.m. Posting the correct answer by 12 noon on Monday, January 18 in the Facebook comments enters your name into the daily drawing for a $25 visa gift card. Participants must be 18 years-old or younger, but help from elders is fair game. Winners must respond to a private message through Facebook Messenger to claim their prize.
 
On Monday, January 18, all winners will be announced before the #MLKMPL2021 Challenge video plays on Facebook and YouTube live at 1 p.m.

Learn more about Milwaukee Public Library's Virtual Martin Luther King Day Celebration at mpl.org/MLKDay

OUTDOOR ICE SKATING
Get the gang together, put on a cute hat and your warmest mittens, lace up those skates, and hit the ice!   There's something about skating in the snow that's just a little bit magical. There are several places around the Milwaukee area for you to enjoy skating outside as winter arrives in full force.  Remember, be safe out there and make sure an ice rink has been officially opened by the park before skating.   Typically there needs to be at least 6" of frost in the ground before rinks can be made safely.   See you at the rink!

To aid in observing COVID-19 Restrictions, 90 minute time slots can be reserved online.
INVITATIONS
DANCES OF UNIVERSAL PEACE
Friday, January 8th, 6:30-8:00 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.  January 8th will focus on silence, where each dance begins and ends.  Practices and dances from many spiritual traditions as well as chants and body prayer/movement will be shared. 

Universal Dances of Peace will be guided by Judith and Hal.  Please email by Thursday, January 7th, to receive Zoom link.
 
Living Waters Contemplative Life Center is an outreach ministry of  Tippecanoe Faithing Community.
COMPLICITY IN THE MAKING OF RACE-BASED SLAVERY
Sunday, January 10th, 2:00 p.m.
Dr. Christy Clark-Pujara of UW Madison will present a virtual talk on the history of race-based slavery in America and the complicity of its core institutions - including the church on January 10, 2021 at 2PM, Central.  There will be time for questions following the talk.

Find registration information Complicity in the Making of Race-Based Slavery, Dr. Clark-Pujara's bio, and information about event co-sponsors, at: http://firstbaptistmadison.org/complicity-in-the-making/.
WISCONSIN COUNCIL OF CHURCHES VIRTUAL CHOIR
Calling all singers!  The WCC is forming a virtual choir for their service for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.  Anyone who would like to participate is invited to submit a video by Monday, January 11th, at 5:00 p.m.   Click here to find out more information and how to participate.
INTERFAITH DEVOTIONAL: THE FAITH AND VISION OF REV. DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.
Sunday, January 17th, 7:00-8:00 p.m.
Honor and appreciate the life of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr on January 17th by celebrating with word, song, and video the Faith and Vision of MLK by sharing these universal truths: Oneness of Mankind, Unity, Justice, and Service.
 
From the event organizers:
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. devoted his life to advancing equality, social justice, and opportunity for all, and challenged all people to participate in the never-ending work of building a more perfect union. He believed immensely in the power of individual action and collective hope. We acknowledge that racism is a public health crisis and have seen this crisis further laid bare by COVID-19. We also recognize the urgent need to model Dr. Martin Luther King's pursuit of unity, equity and justice. We stand in solidarity with demonstrators in our neighborhoods and across the world who are fighting the systemic racism which continues to oppresses our marginalized communities. We recognize this United States Federal Holiday with unifying civic and community activities to celebrate, educate, advocate, and serve in memory of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  (Bay Bridge Wisconsin - Community Organization)
 
You will be emailed a zoom link to attend.
 
This event is sponsored by the Local Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Milwaukee, From The Same Dust, Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee, United Methodist church of Whitefish Bay, Christ Church (Episcopal), Old Saint Mary's, Congregation Shalom, Our Lady of Divine Providence (Riverwest), Unitarian Church North, Saints Peter and Paul, Three Holy Women Catholic Parish, Saint Eugene Congregation (Fox Point). 
2021 CAMPING BROCHURE NOW AVAILABLE
Get ready to register for some fun this year at UCCI's Moon Beach, Cedar Valley, and Pilgrim Center!  The 2021 brochure can be viewed online and registration is open! Check out all of the fun that can be had this year by perusing the 2021 Upcoming Events and get ready to register by looking through the Registration FAQs.
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