FROM RACHEL YATES, PRESBYTERY EXECUTIVE
HOME SWEET HOME
Kimber Watson has a story to share, and I can't begin to put my words to it.  It's her story after all.  She has lived it; her mother has lived it.  It's a story of generations.  Kimber has agreed to share her story with the Presbytery next Monday at noon, during our Affordable Housing webinar.   She'll speak to us, along with reps of Habitat for Humanity in Waukesha and Milwaukee about the urgent need for affordable housing in Southeast Wisconsin and how we can be part of the solution.  We'll introduce a fun challenge that could make you famous (in Fresh Impressions) and let you direct a $250 donation from the Presbytery to a homeless or housing non-profit of your choice!  Please register in advance.

Ms. Watson's story is one of hope for her future - a hope that includes...(READ MORE)
PRESBYTERY PULSE
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...
AFFORDABLE HOUSING SOLUTIONS IN REACH
Monday, February 1, 12:00 p.m.
Register now for an insightful and challenging webinar featuring Kimber Watson, a future homeowner in the Habitat for Humanity program, as well as program leaders with Habitat in several counties in the Presbytery's footprint.  They will reveal the poverty and race barriers to homeownership, the solutions offered by the Habitat model, and ways for congregations and members to become involved.  We'll also announce our Presbytery challenge for creative and crafty folks, with a cash prize! 
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. 
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE: WHITE SUPREMACY
Thursday January 28, 2:00 p.m. CST
Two former co-moderators of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assembly will join the Office of Public Witness/Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations for a discussion about white supremacy and the intersection of racism and gender inequality.
 
Vilmarie CintrĂ³n-Olivieri, co-moderator of the 223rd GA, and the Rev. Denise Anderson, co-moderator of the 222nd GA and now Coordinator of the Presbyterian Office of Racial & Intercultural Justice, will be featured on the second episode of "Where Do We Go from Here?" at 2 pm CST on Thursday, Jan. 28. Viewers can register through Zoom or watch on the Office of Public Witness Facebook page.
 
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
2021-2022 IN-PERSON YAV SERICE YEAR
Applications for the Young Adult Volunteer program opened on October 1, 2020.  The next deadline is March 1, 2021, which is the final date to apply to international sites.

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.
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.
COMPASSION, PEACE & JUSTICE TRAINING DAYS
CPJ Training Day will again be held virtually in 2021 and expanded into three days, April 7-9, offering attendees chances to hear from leaders and associates of the Compassion, Peace & Justice ministries.

Learn more
HAVE SOME FUN IN '21!
GROUNDHOG DAY
Tuesday, February 2nd
Groundhog Day is a popular observance in many parts of the United States. Although some states have in some cases adopted their own groundhogs, the official groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, lives at Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. The town has attracted thousands of visitors over the years to experience various Groundhog Day events and activities on February 2.

The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club plays an important role in organizing Groundhog Day in the town. Club members, news reporters, locals, and visitors meet at Gobbler's Knob on February 2 each year to await Phil's appearance and his weather prediction. Pennsylvania's governor has been known to attend Groundhog Day ceremonies. The 2021 Groundhog Day celebration is completely virtual and you can join the fun! Head over to groundhog.org to find out more about Groundhog Day and the livestreaming event that will begin at 5:30 a.m. CST on February 2 (prognostication to happen at approximately 6:25 a.m. CST).
COOKIE MONSTER ROCK WORTH A LOT OF DOUGH
An agate gemstone recently discovered inside of volcanic rock could be worth more than $10,000 thanks to its uncanny resemblance to Cookie Monster from "Sesame Street"

Recovered from the Rio Grande do Sul region of Brazil by gemologist Lucas Fassari, in November 2020, the agate is currently owned by Mike Bowers of California. Bowers posted a video of himself opening the unassuming rock on January 16, which is backed by the Muppet's famous ditty, "'C' is for Cookie."
INVITATIONS
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.
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.
YOU'RE INVITED -- A MESSAGE FROM NEXT CHURCH
The 2021 NEXT Church National Gathering is an opportunity for all church leaders (pastors, educators, church members, ruling elders-everyone!) to join together for an online conference. This year's gathering - Breaking, Blessing, Building - A Call for Common Good - is March 5-7. Given all that is going on in our wider world (pandemics of racism, coronavirus, economic distress), our call as people of faith persists to be a source of hope and growth and goodness. Despite the physical space that separates us, we know that our togetherness can make all the difference! This year, the conference is intentionally designed for all church leaders.

The entire conference will be free and live-streamed. If you want to access and use the content (and bonus resources) later, you can do so with special subscription/purchase options, and presbytery or synod-wide discounts are available. Learn more and register.
WCC RETURNING TO CHURCH 2.0: HOLDING OUR PLANS LOOSELY
The Wisconsin Council of Churches has issued an update of COVID-19 recommendations and safety guidelines.  If you were unable to attend the January 14 webinar Returning to Church 2.0 presented by the Wisconsin Council of Churches, you can find all of the information discussed here:
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