FROM RACHEL YATES, PRESBYTERY EXECUTIVE
THIS CLOSE
The numbers are staggering.  They don't feel real, unless you're living through it.  A quick hospital visit can cost tens of thousands of dollars.  Medicines alone can be counted in hundreds of dollars per pill.  If we're fortunate enough to have insurance, those costs come down but even the deductibles and out-of-pocket costs are burdensome. 

Which would you choose:  don't go to the doctor until you're too sick to fight it anymore, or get the preventative care you need even if you can't afford the doctor visit?  For many families living in poverty or without medical insurance, those options take on added complexity:  take time off without pay from work to see the doctor, short-pay on rent to afford the immediate co-pay the doctor expects when you arrive, take another credit score hit on an unpaid medical debt, knowing your interest rate will go up. 

The Presbytery is privileged to have connections to...(READ MORE)
PRESBYTERY PULSE
SAVE THE DATE: 
ZOOM PRESBYTERY GATHERING
Thursday, November 12, 2020, 4:00 p.m.
Join us for the last Presbytery Gathering of 2020 on Thursday, November 12.  We will continue to meet virtually through Zoom, as we have the past two meetings.  Look for an email regarding registration information next week!
CHURCHES URGED TO RETURN TO PHYSICALLY DISTANCED MINISTRY
October 6, 2020 Press Release from the Wisconsin Council of Churches
The Wisconsin Council of Churches recommends that churches statewide return to remote operations as the COVID-19 crisis deepens in Wisconsin. While the state Executive Order to limit indoor gatherings to 25% of building capacity exempts religious services and places of worship, and churches are free to continue operations as they have been, the ecumenical organization recommends that that they not gather in person...(READ MORE)
MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR MEMBERSHIP IN COMMON GROUND
The Presbytery voted at its last meeting to make $10,000 grants to Common Ground for the next four years in exchange for a Presbytery-wide membership for our congregations and ministers.  This introduction letter explains how you can take advantage of that membership to get involved in your communities at a grass-roots level, for positive change. 
COVID-19 RESPONSE GRANTS -- IT'S NOT TOO LATE!
Last spring, as it started to become clear that the Coronavirus would be having deep and lasting effects, the Presbytery of Milwaukee decided to make grants available for churches that could help them respond to the new needs that were emerging.  As we head into fall, congregations and people in the communities which we serve are all facing serious and ongoing challenges.  The intention of the grants is (1) to help provide COVID-relief ministry in the community, and (2) to help as churches figure out new ways to worship, meet, etc., during "safer at home" times.

These grants will continue to be available until the end of the year - and with our recent decision to become a Matthew 25 presbytery, may our imaginations be stirred in regards to COVID-responsive ministry.  Grants of up to $1500 are available to pastors and/or congregations. Grant applications can be found on the Presbytery's COVID-19 resource page: https://www.pbymilwaukee.org/covid-19coronavirus-resources.html under Financial Matters. For more information, contact Ann Gibbs at agibbs@pbymilwaukee.org.
MATTHEW 25: I WAS SICK AND YOU LOOKED AFTER ME...
MATTHEW 25 ONLINE EVENT: 
ERADICATING SYSTEMIC POVERTY: GLOBAL ISSUES
October 28th, 1:00 p.m. cst
Where in your church can you take action to address systemic poverty on a global level? The next online Matthew 25 event, scheduled for October 28 at 1:00 p.m. Central, will lift up how to engage existing partners for this work and where potential partnerships might exist. This event will follow the model of the previous Matthew 25 events with facilitated dialogue, guest speakers, and the sharing of resources. Mark your calendars today and register here.
MEDICAL DEBT CHALLENGE
As the first Matthew 25 challenge, the Presbytery is confronting the crushing costs of medical care, especially for those living in poverty.  "Medical debt destroys the financial stability of large segments of America's most vulnerable communities: the sick, the elderly, the poor, and veterans. It also targets the middle class, driving many families who are barely getting along into poverty. Medical debt isn't the result of bad decisions. It's a debt of necessity."  [RIP Medical Debt]  By forgiving this debt, we can give those who are struggling a fresh start and help them back towards financial stability.  We can extinguish medical debt for cents on the dollar, and your Presbytery Council has already committed $1500 to do so.  We challenge congregations and individuals to join this effort.  The Presbytery will accept donations through November 6 through normal remittance channels, noting "medical debt payoff" on the form or check.  To learn more about medical debt in the time of COVID-19 and how to help extinguish it, check out this 2020 Medical Debt Summit, recorded by RIP Medical Debt on October 6.  Stories of other churches that have risen to this challenge can be found on our new Medical Care webpage.
JOIN COMMON GROUND'S COMMUNITY HEALTH VOLUNTEERS
Another way to act our your Matthew 25 commitment is by joining Common Ground's Community Health Volunteers project.  You can add to the 46 members calling COVID-positive people referred by the Milwaukee Health Department.  The phone calls are made each day for 10 days to people who are recovering at home and monitoring their health condition.  Common Ground has helped over 250 people to date.  Contact Patricia Obluck, Associate Organizer at patricia.obluck@commongroundwi.org for more information.
MATTHEW 25 AFFIRMED
At its Sept. 29 Gathering, Milwaukee Presbytery unanimously voted to affirm the denomination's Matthew 25 vision to focus our ministries on building congregational vitality, eradicating systemic poverty, and dismantling structural racism.  We are already doing good work in these areas, but we'll be concentrating our focus at the spaces where racism and poverty intersect and how the church is called to action.  At the same Gathering, the Presbytery began learning about the first of six Matthew 25 topics:  the lack of quality, affordable healthcare, especially for those living in poverty and People of Color.  Between now and our November 12 Gathering, we will offer opportunities for learning and action.  On November 12, we'll share what we've learned and be invited into another topic.  All topics (with clickable links) can be found on the Presbytery's Matthew 25 webpage.  Although this vote applies to the Presbytery at large, every congregation is invited to discern whether to become a Matthew 25 church as well.  We encourage you to join Heritage, Southminster, and Tippecanoe Presbyterian churches, which have already made this commitment!
ADVENT CHRISTIAN EDUCATION SERIES IS COMING!
Members of the Milwaukee Presbytery are working on an Advent series featuring the Matthew 25 passage and initiatives interwoven with other familiar themes and messages of Advent. The series will include resources for all ages at no cost to congregations.

Look for more on Witness to Hope, Peace, Joy and Love coming soon.
NEWS FROM THE DENOMINATION
GETTING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORMS
The Presbyterian Communicators Network is offering a one-hour workshop for church staff and volunteers with responsibility for congregational communications.  Titled "Getting the Most out of Your Social Media Platforms," the workshop will be offered at 1 p.m. CST on Tuesday, October 27. To participate individuals may register here.
BE PART OF THE PRESBYTERIAN VOTING CAMPAIGN
Several national offices in the PC(USA) have joined together for a monthlong Presbyterian Voting Campaign to engage, educate, and motivate people to exercise their right to vote, especially those in marginalized communities.  Follow this link to find the schedule of events and resources for voter education, advocacy, PC(USA) policy, and 501(c)(3) engagement.
SDOP TO AWARD COVID-19 GRANTS
The Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People was supposed to celebrate its 50th anniversary in Rochester last month.  Instead, it is using money for the event to fund grants to help low-income communities struggling with the fallout from COVID-19.  Learn more about the grants, including how to apply, here.
REV. DR NEDDY ASTUDILLO RECEIVES ANNUAL ECO JUSTICE AWARD
The Rev. Dr. Neddy Astudillo, friend of Milwaukee Presbytery, recently received the Presbyterians for Earth Care Annual Eco Justice Award.
 
Rev. Dr. Astudillo, who now works with GreenFaith, an organization with a mission to inspire, educate, organize and mobilize people of diverse religious and spiritual backgrounds globally for environmental action, is a leader in the ministry of environmental justice. 


SYNOD RECOGNITIONS AND ACTION
The Synod of Lakes & Prairies met virtually on Sunday and Monday to take significant action. We thank our Presbytery commissioners, Lance Loveall and Angela Madison, who hold key leadership roles. Angela was thanked for her six years of service, including as Synod Moderator; her term completes this year. The Synod voted to surrender 15% of its undesignated assets as a restoration of capital wealth historically and inequitably withheld from Black and Indigenous people. The meeting ended on a grand note with the installation of our new General Assembly co-moderators Elona Street-Stewart and Gregory Bentley by Stated Clerk J. Herbert Nelson.

Read the full Synod Meeting Summary.
ANYTHING BUT COVID-19 NEWS
TIME 100: THE MOST INFLUENTIAL PEOPLE OF 2020
Of the 2020 TIME 100 list, TIME CEO and editor in chief Edward Felsenthal writes, "This year's list looks far different than any of us could have predicted just six months ago. The TIME 100 has always been a mirror of the world and those who shape it. While you will certainly find people who wield traditional power on this year's list-heads of state, CEOs, major entertainers-it also includes many extraordinary, lesser-known individuals who seized the moment to save lives, build a movement, lift the spirit, repair the world.... Their work challenges each of us to wield our own influence toward a world that is healthier, more resilient, more sustainable and just."

See the complete 2020 TIME100 list: time.com/time100
CONVERT OLD CLOTHING ITEMS INTO NEW
In an effort to help curb the rising volume of global clothing waste, and fast fashion's contribution to it, Sweden-based retailer H&M is exploring how to turn discarded clothes into something new to wear again -- within five hours. Consumers visiting the Stockholm store will have the opportunity to turn in used garments that will then be transformed into one of three different clothing items. The process is fairly simple - customers bring in a garment they don't want, the garment is cleaned and put into the Looop, a garment to garment recycling machine, that will disassemble it, shredding the garment into fibers that are then used to create new clothing.
INVITATIONS
PRESBYTERIAN WOMEN VIRTUAL GATHEIRNG
Saturday, October 24, 9:30-11:30 a.m.
The cup is a rich symbol of life, with its emptiness and fullness, its brokenness and flaws, and all of its blessings.  Please join the Presbyterian Women for their upcoming fall gathering, The Cup of Our Life, on Saturday, October 24th, via Zoom.  Reservations can be made through October 22nd by contacting Marilyn Stone at mmstone52@att.net or 262-763-0918.  Please provide your name, church, and cell phone number.  All are welcome -- please share this information with anyone you think might be interested in joining the gathering.

Bring your favorite cup along with why it has special meaning to you.
REGISTER FOR THE REMAINING FALL 2020 PATHWAYS ONLINE COURSES AT UNION PRESBYTERIAN SEMINARY
Courses open to all, including Commissioned Ruling Elder candidates or any individual seeking further knowledge & edification.  Each course meets weekly for five (5) weeks, 6:00pm - 8:00pm CST.

Two courses, Reformed Theology/Church History and Teaching the Bible, begin next week; the Reformed Theology/Church History course is seeking interested participants for a second section, beginning Monday, October 19.

For more info, click here: Pathways Online Courses
MEDIATION SKILLS TRAINING INSTITUTE FOR CHURCH LEADERS
November 16-20
The last session of Mediation Skills Training Institute for Church Leaders for this year will be November 16-20, 2020.  This outstanding 5-day event helps participants deal more effectively with interpersonal, congregational, and other forms of group conflict.  The tentative dates for next year are March 1-5, May 3-7, June 21-25, August 2-6, October 4-8, and November 15-19, 2021.  No decision has yet been made with regard to returning to an in-person format, so attendees will need access to a device with both a camera and a microphone.  
Questions?  Contact the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center at Admin@LMPeaceCenter.org or 630-627-0507.   To receive a $200 tuition discount for the November 2020 session, register no later than October 16.  To register online for any of our events scheduled for this year, please visit https://www.brownpapertickets.com/producer/720852.
HOT LINKS
A Year in Zambia - YAV Emily Teerink's Blog - Relief and Development
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 

  • THURSDAY, November 12, 4:00 p.m.
  • TUESDAY, March 9, 2021
  • SATURDAY, May 22, 2021
  • WEDNESDAY, September 22, 2021
  • THURSDAY, November 18, 2021