FROM RACHEL YATES, PRESBYTERY EXECUTIVE
THE WALL
I saw a series of tweets captured and posted on Facebook - so you know they must be true - about hitting the wall in relation to the pandemic.  These tweets purported to come from someone regularly engaged in sustained trauma work.  At about six months in, we can expect to hit the wall when our stored energy is depleted, it said.  We're there, it noted, but hang on.  In a few weeks, according to the author, you'll find your second wind.   

The concept of hitting a wall during an extended trial is nothing new.  Long-distance runners learn...(READ MORE)
PRESBYTERY PULSE
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)
PRESBYTERY GATHERING HIGHLIGHTS
Weren't able to make it to the last Presbytery Gathering, but interested in the good work happening in the Presbytery?  Check out the Presbytery Gathering Highlights, a two-page synopsis of the September 29, 2020 Presbytery Gathering.

Find information about upcoming Presbytery Gatherings here.
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.
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.
MATTHEW 25: I WAS SICK AND YOU LOOKED AFTER ME...
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!
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.
ON THE TABLE MKE: HEALING JUSTICE
October 12-14
2020 has been an unprecedented year for Milwaukee and beyond. COVID-19 has revealed a disproportionate impact on the health and economic well-being of Black and Brown communities. Thousands have lost their battle to COVID-19; individuals and families are struggling to afford basic necessities; and all over the country, people are confronted with racism and social injustice.

Now more than ever, On the Table MKE is needed to connect this community through important conversations that will begin to create the conditions for healing and greater racial equity in the region.

Join On the Table MKE on Oct. 12 (Indigenous Peoples Day), focused on the theme of HEALING JUSTICE, a practice that centers the collective safety and wellbeing of communities - as an integral part of the work towards collective liberation. This year's experience is a three-day (Oct. 12 - 14, 2020) virtual event featuring keynote speakers and a thread of curated conversations for you to join.

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
INTERNATIONAL PEACEMAKER SYMPOSIUM
September 28-October 10
The Presbyterian Peacemaking Program invites you to join their International Peacemaker Virtual Symposium, going on now!
 
Each day, September 28 - October 10, Presbyterian Peacemaking will host a premiere on our Facebook page. You can find all the episodes posted on their website at www.pcusa.org/ipvirtualsymposium.
REV. LYDIA NESHANGWE @ INTERNATIONAL PEACEMAKER SYMPOSIUM
Catch up with Rev. Lydia Neshangwe, last year's visiting International Peacemaker from Zimbabwe, as she speaks about the coronavirus, gender justice, racism, and her new work with the Council for World Mission.  She also extends her greetings to the Presbytery of Milwaukee!
 
2020 FOOD WEEK OF ACTION
Hopeful Harvest is the theme of this year's October 11-18 Food Week of Action.  A Hopeful Harvest relies on family farmers, fishers, and others producing in agroecological ways that lead toward food sovereignty.  As communities around the world face the pandemic and vulnerable food chains, people are realizing the necessity of more resilient agricultural systems that put workers and people first and that protect and cool the planet.  Food Week will highlight groups and initiatives that are building an equitable and sustainable food-farm system - while also tackling the economic and racial drivers of hunger, poverty, and oppression.
NEW DISABILITY MINISTRY RESOURCE
How does your church connect with people with disabilities? What ministries do you offer to those who face intellectual and physical challenges? How do you preach the healing narratives?  Those are some of the topics in a new study course offered by the Office of the General Assembly and available on Equip. As a companion to the book, Disability and the Way of Jesus: Holistic Healing in the Gospels and the Church, this free study is available for you to use at your own pace.

The author of the book and creator of the study is the Rev. Dr. Bethany McKinney Fox, who is founding pastor of Beloved Everybody church in Los Angeles. She says this about our current ministries in response to the pandemic: "One thing churches should be attentive to is the fact that more people with particular challenges may be able to participate online than in person. Churches have been forced to adapt their practices radically, so this may be the perfect time to really think about how we create new practices when we come back together and orient our lives in such a way that it does include everyone from our community, including those with disabilities. Moving forward, think about ways to involve all people in planning."

This course is part of the offerings from Equity and Representation to support deeper and wider inclusion in every part of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Thanks to Molly Casteel for shepherding this project.
ANYTHING BUT COVID-19 NEWS
6 UNIQUE CARD GAMES PLAYED IN DIFFERENT COUNTRIES AROUND THE WORLD
Are you looking for your next favorite card game to play with family and friends? Look no further than this list of six exciting, international card games. While it can be daunting to learn a new game, learning and laughing with loved ones is well worth taking the time to build your repertoire of card games. Once you get started, you may be surprised to notice similarities between new games and ones with which you are already familiar.
 
Card games and their fundamental concepts have spread with human travel through cultures and across oceans. Most games fall within several standard categorizations-trump games, fishing games, trick-taking games, and shedding games.
35 WHOLESOME 'HOW IT STARTED VS. HOW IT'S GONG' POSTS
Many of us come from humble beginnings.  We make something of ourselves with hard work and a bit of luck and have every right to be proud of our success.  But it's important to remember where we came from.  It keeps us down to earth and doesn't let us take anything for granted.

A recent trend online is dedicated to just that.  It has people making "How It Started vs. How It's Going" posts, sharing photos before and after they succeeded.  Some are revealing their own roots, some are showing where their role models began their journeys, but all of these posts are 100% wholesome and inspiring.
INVITATIONS
UNIVERSAL DANCES OF PEACE
Friday, October 9
Venture into the powerful yet simple elements that make the dances sustaining and transforming body prayer with the Living Waters Contemplative Life Center.  October 9 will focus on heart and heart energy though practices shared from many spiritual traditions as well as chants and body prayer/movements which enhance conscious breathing.  While some practices will be led, there will also be room for participants to share your experiences and resources for breathing practices. 
Universal Dances of Peace will be guided by Judith and Hal.  Please email by Thursday, October 8, to receive Zoom link.
 
Living Waters Contemplative Life Center is an outreach ministry of  Tippecanoe Faithing Community.
AN EVENING WITH DIANA BUTLER BASS & BRIAN MCLAREN
Thursday, October 15, 7:00 p.m.
Long-time friends Diana Butler Bass & Brian McLaren join the Wisconsin Council of Churches for an hour of conversation, touching on religion and politics, the upcoming election, and their hopes for the future.  Bring your favorite beverage, make yourself comfortable, and settle in for encouragement and a good word from these two friends of the Council.
 
Both speakers have presented at the Washington Island Forum, and the WCC is delighted that they've agreed to spend time with here once again.
 
This is sure to be a popular event. Register NOW!
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
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

  • TUESDAY, September 29, 4:00 p.m. 
  • THURSDAY, November 12, 4:00 p.m.
  • TUESDAY, March 9, 2021
  • SATURDAY, May 22, 2021
  • WEDNESDAY, September 22, 2021
  • THURSDAY, November 18, 2021