KEEPING IN TOUCH
February 2022
Calling a friend
Interreligious cooperation begins with two people talking
Fred Tangeman | Office of the General Assembly - February 7, 2022

In Redwood Falls, Minnesota, where the Rev. Scott Prouty is pastor of First Presbyterian Church, there are 5,200 residents. Few if any are Muslim.

So when Prouty, a member of the General Assembly’s Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations, found himself calling the Islamic Society of North America in 
2016 as part of a reference check, he had no idea how the conversation would go.

“I’d never met a Muslim,” Prouty said. “And in the community I live in, I’d mostly heard about Muslims being bad people.” 

This wasn’t any standard reference check. Prouty, who in 2016 was a member of the Stated Clerk Nominating Committee, was calling about the interfaith bona fides of one applicant: the Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II.
Prouty, Syeed and Prouty’s son Matthew. Redwood Valley Middle School, October 2016. -Courtesy of Scott Prouty.
You might know how that part of the story ended. Nelson was nominated and during the last day of the 223rd General Assembly in Portland elected to lead the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). But Prouty’s tale of interreligious cooperation was just beginning.

COVID-19 cancels 2022 Presbyterian Youth Triennium
New ‘PYT Beyond’ will now be before rather than after the 2025 Triennium, with time to dig deep into the Mathew 25 theme

by Paul Seebeck | Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE — Because of the ongoing pandemic, the 2022 Presbyterian Youth Triennium, which had been scheduled for July 24-27 in Indianapolis, Indiana, has been canceled.

According to PYT director Gina Yeager-Buckley, this decision came out of a deep desire to prioritize the safety and health of all Triennium participants, including those working the event.

“This decision involved a great deal of difficult, thoughtful and prayerful discernment with our multiple planning teams and we are confident it is the right call,” she said.
 “Dealing with the ramifications of COVID and the necessary safety protocols that we would need to build were overshadowing every element of Triennium. The most important goal of PYT is to provide a place where Presbyterian youth can safely and creatively explore God’s word and Jesus’ path.”

Fred Rogers was an ordained minister of word and sacrament for the PC(USA) and is a notable public figure whose work around peace and reconciliation are worth remembering. Rogers was also a pioneer in the world of Christian education and formation of young children. March 20th was his birthday and the day that the PC(USA) has chosen to highlight all we can learn from his work.

The Presbyterian Peacemaking Program and the Office of Theology and Worship have partnered with the Office of Christian Formation to provide resources for celebrating Mr. Rogers Day.
GA Commissioner Orientation
The Synod will hold an orientation for commissioners to General Assembly on March 31, 6:30 - 8:30 PM. Commissioners will receive an email with more information. If you have questions, please contact Pam Prouty, stated clerk.
Synod of Lakes and Prairies presents
Pastor as Transitional Leader: Week 2 Virtual Training
Overview: Week 2 training focuses specifically on the leadership of a person in a pastoral role serving in a ministerial context characterized by transition. This can be any ministry that is consciously seeking to work with the change that is being experienced or is anticipated whether in leadership, culture, context, and ministry. This is weeklong course, with significant time spent in small group Leadership Learning Conversations, also includes presentations by the faculty and guest presenters. We request that arrangements be made in advance for coverage of pastoral responsibilities so that participants can focus fully on this program for the sake of their own learning and that of their colleagues in the cohort.

Required to participate: Completion of the Art of Transitional Ministry Week 1 (more than six months ago and within the past five years) and current service in a transitional setting. Transitional settings are any ministry that is consciously seeking to work with the change that is being experienced or is anticipated. E-mail a copy of your certificate of completion of Week 1 training to Deb DeMeester when you register.

Schedule: April 25-29, we will meet each day from 9:00-11:30 a.m. and 1:00-4:30 p.m. Central Time. A detailed schedule will be available for participants by
April 1.

Preparation information will be available by February 15.
Dave Comstock has spent the last 18 years as a called Interim Pastor and continues to love pastoring people and congregations through times of change and transition. 
Deb DeMeester
Deb DeMeester is Director of Leadership Development for the Synod of Lakes and Prairies. She provides training in presbyteries on a number of topics, facilitates strategic conversations, and supports a variety of groups and committees, including Synod School. 
Anne Fisher After being ordained in 1982, she began her first Interim ministry in 1986, and she soon discovered that she had found her calling in that specialized ministry. 
A church changed by COVID
The cost of connecting in new ways
By Sue Washburn | Presbyterians Today

It’s been two years since COVID-19 entered our lives. During that time, our world has changed — and with it the church — as ideas of what church is have been reshaped by livestreaming worship and Zoom meetings and Bible studies. With COVID and its variants still factoring into everyday decisions and plans, congregations are just now beginning to understand the long-term impact the virus will have on not only a church’s mission, but also on its infrastructure. What kind of technology and staffing will be needed as churches move forward? Should pastors, many of whom figured out how to get online with a phone, be expected to continue with those responsibilities indefinitely? Or does the church staff need to change for a post-COVID world?
The Rev. Christy Ramsey, stated clerk and general presbyter of the Presbytery of Nevada, has been an advocate of media in ministry for decades. He says each church did what it could to keep people connected to God and to each other in the throes of the crisis, but now comes the more complicated question: What next? What are realistic expectations in terms of sustainability as the added responsibility of technology brings with it additional costs and job responsibilities?
Restorative Actions to be recipient of offering at the 225th General Assembly’s opening worship
Church-based initiative focuses on racism and racial privilege

Rick Jones | Office of the General Assembly - February 15, 2022

LOUISVILLE

An economic justice initiative inspired by the PC(USA) working to combat racism and racial privilege will be getting support at the 225th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) this summer. The Rev. Gregory Bentley and Ruling Elder Elona Street-Stewart, Co-Moderators of the 224th General Assembly, recommended that the offering taken during opening worship go to Restorative Actions. Its mission is to encourage those who have benefited from institutional racism to recognize how many benefits are generated directly or indirectly through systemic inequities. Read the full article.
Wade In the Water: White Supremacy, Race, Religion, and Reciprocity
Join the Charlotte Presbytery for the White Privilege Conference Wade In The Water: White Supremacy, Race, Religion, and Reciprocity March 9-12, 2022, virtually or in Charlotte, North Carolina. The keynote speakers will include Resmaa Menachem, Khyati Joshi, Bree Newsome and Gregory Drumright.  
 
There is a 20% discount for PCUSA people: PCUSAWPC23 thanks to Molly Casteel. More information & Registration
You can download this Bending the Moral Arc small group manual to help you begin conversations about creating race and justice ministries in your own communities.
Black history is American history: Access BlackPast, which hosts a large collection of primary documents from Black history and heritage, dating back to 1724.

Self-care for Black lives: Resources for therapists, doulas, yoga teachers, mediators, and more that center Black and BIPOC lives:

Challenge racism at work: For white colleagues, learn and truly self-reflect on what it means to be anti-racist with immediate actions in the webinar, Anti-Racism: Skills for the Workplace Now.
Read Black authors: Access free e-books from Candid by Black writers and books on important DEI topics.

Additional articles and resources in Smart Nonprofits the newsletter of the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits.
Presbyterian Foundation
Day of Learning
The Presbyterian Foundation is pleased to offer the Day of Online Learning again with presentations and conversation about planned giving programs and best practices for your congregation. There will be time for questions and answer and an opportunity to access giving resources.

Join us March 29th for this FREE online learning opportunity. Register Today
The 225th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is less than a year away, but plans are well under way for the denomination’s hybrid gathering. The Committee on the Office of the General Assembly (COGA) is knee-deep into working on how to combine in-person committee meetings with online plenaries and how to conduct those at the Church’s Louisville office.

Bookmark the GA website for future reference.

On the Road to GA is the 225GA Newsletter, sign up to have it delivered to your inbox.
LeaderWise
Resilience Q & A
with LeaderWise staff psychologist

What stands out to you as you think about the conversations you are having with leaders about their resilience?

As you can probably imagine, as a psychologist I spend a lot of time talking with people about resilience. Especially with ministers, it can be a topic that almost invariably turns into a conversation about what someone is not doing. “I’m working too many hours; my relationships are strained; I can’t find time for my hobbies; my sleep/diet/exercise are not where I want them to be,” are common responses I hear, and maybe, responses you have heard or have given to others yourself. In both my own life and in my work with clients, I’ve been encouraging a more dynamic and holistic approach to resilience. I’ve been drawn to a model, based on the work of resilience expert and fellow psychologist, Dr. Tom Skovholt, that frames resilience as a balance between stress and vitality. Work in the helping professions is by nature stressful (and that’s certainly been the case in ministry for the past 2 years). We can work to stay resilient by finding ways to balance our own “scale.” We might not be able to eliminate the stressors, but how can we recognize the relationships, activities, and practices that help support our vitality and prioritize those things in our lives? I think, too, it’s important because this model acknowledges that resilience is about more than just self-care. Read the full article.
PW: Better Together
Tied Together With Love
A cord of three strands is not easily broken
Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NIV) 
PW Synod
Pre-Gathering Mission Event
June 16, 2022, 8:30 AM - 3:00 PM

Join in this pre-gathering mission event for a guided tour of the Dr. Susan LaFlesche Picotte Hospital. Click here for more information and the registration form.
PW Synod Gathering
Registration is open!
Click here for your registration packet or contact your PW Presbytery Moderator. Additional information about the Gathering can be found on our webpage.
2022 Lenten Calendar
Tread Lightly for Lent
daily reflection action calendar

Care Navigation from the Board of Pensions
Care navigation is a new feature offered by the Board of Pensions in partnership with Quantum Health. Beginning April 1, it will be available to members and their families with PPO, EPO, or HDHP coverage. Quantum Health's Care Coordinators will help identify healthcare needs, resolve issues, and provide personalized support.
Apollos Scholarships
The Apollos Scholarship Program directly supports the mission of the Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation to seek, develop, and support excellence in Christian leadership through the Presbyterian Church (USA). The program has funded hundreds of seminary students since it was launched in 1954 by the Omaha Presbyterian Theological Seminary Board of Trustees.

2022 Synod & GA Per Capita rates

$5.50 - Synod
$8.98 - General Assembly

Opportunities

Clearwater Forest Camp and Retreat Center is seeking an Interim Director of Programs. Information can be found here.

Director for Lakeshore Center
Lakeshore (Camp and Retreat) Center on Lake Okoboji, Iowa is looking for a talented leader to create a welcoming space for spiritual formation and rental groups. Hospitality, building and grounds management, staff and volunteer oversight, program development, communication (written and verbal), financial administration, and building donor relationships are all required skills. Compensation starts at $55,000, plus housing and benefits. The position description can be found here.

United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities is excited to announce a new full-time open position: Director of the Leadership Center for Social Justice, an initiative funded by the Lilly Endowment under their Pathways for Tomorrow Initiative. The Director is responsible for the creation, implementation, and operation of The Leadership Center for Social Justice, ensuring that it fulfills its mission to educate and empower religious leaders to make lasting, effective change in their communities. This work will be done in close collaboration with the director of United’s Social Transformation program, Dean of United, and other faculty members and will include both programmatic and administrative oversight. The Center Director will be responsible for the Center’s educational programming, including an annual cohort of pastoral leaders; including recruitment, curriculum development and implementation, and the collection of data; and community-based programming, including continuing education opportunities. This position offers a unique opportunity to contribute to our knowledge of the relationship between social justice work and congregational vitality, through original research and mentoring of pastoral leaders undertaking community work. To view the complete job description and necessary qualifications, please visit: www.unitedseminary.edu/jobs/

United will begin reviewing applications immediately with the desired start date for the position of mid-February. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Applicants should submit a cover letter and C.V. or resume to vpearson@unitedseminary.edu and 3 letters of recommendation should be sent directly by the recommenders to vpearson@unitedseminary.edu. 
Over the next three months, Mount Olivet Conference & Retreat Center is hosting a series of virtual workshops promoting wholeness, wellbeing, and renewal for clergy, laity, and leaders in their personal and professional lives. Our guest speakers will present on a number of topics: Anna Madsen on Faith & Disability, Rolf and Karl Jacobson on Humor & Theology, and Duane Loynes on Cultural Humility. You can find more information and register for these workshops at
Upcoming LeaderWise Offerings
Find out what is being offered here.
LeaderWise

Find seasonal resources for faith formation and worship in our curated lists!!
Presbyterian Women
Justice and Peace Book Club

  • Read a J&P recommended book every two months
  • Receive study guides to inform your reading
  • Discuss the books with others via Zoom

The "Club" is open to all regardless of gender.

from the editor...
DNR EagleCam - 1st Egg of 2022

Presbyteries and churches share your news with the synod!

Are you doing something in your presbytery or synod from which others might learn? You have a standing invitation to send Tricia Dykers-Koenig articles to share.