September 2021
Wisconsin Church nearly triples gift from Presbytery of Milwaukee
Members of Grace United Church selling baked goods and crafts at the Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, Farmers Market. Seated from left are Tina Beckman, Rita Arnold and Linda Yeadon. Standing form left are Elaine Hulstein and Harriett Rowland. (Photo by the Rev. Delisa Buckingham-Taylor)
A new take on the Parable of the Talents

Wisconsin congregation sells baked goods and handcrafted items to nearly triple a gift from the Presbytery of Milwaukee

by Presbytery of Milwaukee | Special to Presbyterian News Service
LOUISVILLE — Grace United Church of Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, a merged congregation of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the United Church of Christ, recently completed a fundraising project to nearly triple a gift of $2,000, to be used with the Matthew 25 invitation’s foci in mind: alleviating hunger and poverty, confronting racism, advocating for criminal justice reform and addressing other social justice needs.

Along the way, Grace members and friends learned a retelling of another parable found in Matthew 25, Jesus’ Parable of the Talents.

Presbyterian schools to inaugurate presidents
In October 2020, Buena Vista University named Dr. Brian Lenzmeier its nineteenth President. His Inauguration celebration has been announced for
Oct. 8, 2021.

President Lenzmeier’s inaugural theme, Celebrating, Evolving, and Transforming Buena Vista University, stems from his rich background in science. He acknowledges how important it is to first and foremost celebrate the history and past successes of the institution before we can begin to look to the future. As a biologist, President Lenzmeier studied organisms evolving and transforming, much like our University has, and will continue to do, over time. As we continue to evolve and transform together, we are guided by three overarching principles: creating quality experiences and outcomes, attaining financial stability, and producing a culture of continuous improvement and innovation. These three principles provide a framework for Dr. Lenzmeier’s presidency, and a vision for the University’s future.

On June 1, 2020, Dr. Suzanne M. Rivera became Macalester College's seventeenth President. Her Inauguration will take place on October 9, 2021.

As my second year at Macalester begins, I am focused on our shared future. ...

I write today to share information about the process we have chosen to chart the future of our college. ...

The formal launch of the planning process will happen over Inauguration weekend (October 7-10), beginning with a Big Questions event focused on the future of the liberal arts. ... Who do we want to be? What will students of the future need to be successful? What changes are required to promote equity and community flourishing? How can we address the key opportunities and challenges we will face over the next decade or more? What do we do best and want to do more of? What could (does) make us distinctive? What should we let go of or transform or stop doing? 

These and other questions will frame our journey of exploration and, together, we will create a map of the future. ...

Buena Vista University and Macalester College are two of seven Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) related schools located within the Synod of Lakes and Prairies.
Celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day
by Gail Strange | Presbyterian News Service
October 14, 2019

LOUISVILLE — Traditionally, on the second Monday of October the United States celebrates the anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the Americas on October 12, 1492.

However, on Monday many communities across the nation celebrated Indigenous Peoples Day rather than Columbus Day. Indigenous Peoples Day is part of a growing movement to end the celebration of the Italian explorer and rather honor and recognize Indigenous people, the original occupants of the Americas.

Many scholars believe it was Viking Leif Erickson who first came to what would be become known as the New World from overseas. They believe Columbus wasn’t the first European to discover what we know as the Americas and that he first landed on the island of Guanahani in the Bahamas. And, according to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Columbus never set foot in North America, but in present day Venezuela on his fourth journey.

While Columbus didn’t technically discover America, he was instrumental in the colonization of North America and its lasting effects on this nation.

In an effort to help Presbyterians realize the atrocities enacted upon Indigenous people, the Presbyterian Mission Agency through the Native American Intercultural Congregational Support ministry has conducted the Blanket Exercise so that individuals can better visualize the impact of Columbus and the Church’s actions against Indigenous people.
The Rev. Irv Porter, at left, led participants in the 2019 Presbyterians for Earth Care Conference in the Blanket Exercise on Aug. 8, 2019 at the Stony Point Center in Stony Point, New York. (Photo by Rich Copley)

Want to learn more?
Indigenous Peoples Day is October 11, 2021. The Synod office will be closed on this day.
2021 Apollos Scholars include two seminarians from the Synod

Sara Babcock, Middler at Louisville Presbyterian Semninary under the care of the Presbytery of Central Nebraska.

Madeline Lannon, Middler at Princeton Theological Seminary under the care of the Presbytery of Milwaukee.
The Apollos Program was begun in 1954 by the Board of Trustees of the Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation, whose mission is to seek, develop, and support excellence in Christian leadership through the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Apollos Scholarship applications are accepted from students who are members of a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) congregation, under the care of a presbytery as a candidate or inquirer, and enrolled full-time in one of the ten theological institutions of the PC(USA).
The Art of Transitional Leadership
Learning Ministry Skills for Today’s and Tomorrow’s Church Pastors, Staff, COMs and Congregational Leaders, will be offered again on November 8-12, 2021.

 This course is online 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. CT (with regular breaks, including 11:30-1:30).

Whether it is a change in leadership or a changing community, leading a congregation through change is both challenging and rewarding. It takes knowledge, skill, resilience and spiritual strength to navigate the waters of change in a way that leaders and congregations thrive. This training is for individuals who are considering ministry in temporary settings (as an interim, transitional or designated pastor) or are experiencing ministry in these transitional times. Materials presented will include the basics of transitional ministry and will be of value to all congregational pastors regardless of their ministry setting. Best practices in transitional ministry include ways to enter the congregation and community, how to analyze a congregation’s strength and growing edges, and how to assist a congregation in moving toward a vibrant future. This training will delve into navigating change, the pastor as a spiritual interpreter of transition, family systems, mission focus ministry, conflict mediation, and building resiliency.

Participants completing the full 30 hours of training will meet the requirements for Week I Transitional Ministry Education. If you want a certificate of completion, you must actively participate in all sessions in their entirety. Tuition and fees cover the tuition as well as the costs of taking the Thomas Kilman Inventory and the Intercultural Development Inventory and its interpretation.

Preaching Practicum with Rev. Dr. Tom Long

November 19-21, 2021

This weekend class, through The Academy, invites participants to explore the craft of preaching from one the Presbyterian Church’s “master” preachers, Dr. Tom Long.

This in person course provides the opportunity to walk through the practice of preparing a sermon alongside colleagues with the inspirational presence of a mentor.

The Struggle is real!
How the Church can understand ways to listen, engage & form relationships with communities to eradicate poverty.

You are invited to sign up to hear from SDOP community partner New Mexico Women’s Global Pathways and other community and church leaders for a discussion on how the church can understand ways to listen, engage and form relationships with communities.

Friday, October 29, 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm. Eastern Time

Overcoming Racism Virtual Conference
The Synod of Lakes and Prairies is a sponsor of this conference.

Dates: November 12 & 13
Organized and created by the volunteers of 
The Facilitating Racial Equity Collaborative (FREC)

Keynote Speaker, Ruth Buffalo

Learning to sign 'peace'
Witnessing a ‘peace movement’ in the Presbytery of Mid-Kentucky

by the Rev. Dr. John Odom, Presbytery of Mid-Kentucky | Special to Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE — A “peace movement” is taking place throughout Mid-Kentucky Presbytery. Its origins are found in Scripture for sure, but the movement has gained momentum largely in response to COVID-19.

The writer’s son-in-law, Ryan Clark-Sulkey, signs “peace.” (Contributed photo)

To keep people safely distanced, a number of Mid-Kentucky Presbytery congregations have learned and practice American Sign Language (ASL) as they pass the peace. As someone with a Deaf son-in-law, the use of ASL in so many congregations delights me and provides me with additional practice as I learn and hopefully one day may become a proficient signer.

In my ASL studies so far, I have learned that there are two types of signs — those that are static and require no motion and those that require movement. The ASL sign for “peace” is a movement sign. “Peace” involves the palms of the hands touching, then rotating in opposite directions as if they were getting all twisted up, and at last pulling the “twisted” palms apart and smoothing everything out as the hands — palms down — move away from each other. As I have been wringing out and then smoothing out my palms as I pass the peace in many Mid-Kentucky congregations, the wisdom of ASL struck me. ASL speakers cannot say “peace” without “making peace.” Peace is a movement. Learn how to sign “peace.”

Three Lines in a Circle
The Exciting Life of the Peace Symbol
"This bold picture book tells the story of the peace symbol" ...

Find this book and others at Fly Away Books
Brief questionnaire seeks information from church educators

Fulfilling a requirement of the 223rd General Assembly, the questionnaire will help shape training opportunities
by Mark Koenig, Administrative Services Group | Special to Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE — The Office of the General Assembly (OGA) wants to hear from all who are currently serving, have served, or have retired from service in the field of Christian education or Christian formation. The OGA has partnered with Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Research Services to create a brief questionnaire to gather this information. The questionnaire should take about five minutes to complete. ...

“Christian educators and those who serve in ministries of education and formation are vital to the church,” Miller said. “We encourage all who are serving, and all who have served, in these important ministries to respond to this brief questionnaire so we can provide more effective support to the ministries that help form disciples of all ages.”

Contact Angie Andriot for more information about the questionnaire.

CROP Hunger Walk
Join us for the 2021 National CROP Hunger Walk on World Food Day, October 16th and end hunger in the U.S. and around the world! Walk on your treadmill, in your neighborhood, in a park with friends – you choose the location and the experience. Walk one day - 3.7 miles (the average distance a woman walks for water) or take the Weekend Challenge and walk 11.1 miles (3.7 miles for 3 days).Every step you take, every dollar you raise makes the walk shorter for neighbors in need by providing clean water, emergency food as well as livelihoods and access to education. Sign-up and start raising funds TODAY at! Contact for more info.
Confidence in Conflict: Navigating the Struggle

When you hear the word conflict, what reaction happens in your body? Is it possible to have a healthy relationship with conflict? How do you develop the capacity to enter into conflict well? These are some burning questions that we’ll explore with you in this online conflict workshop on October 21 from 1:00 to 4:00 pm (Central time).

Conflict is everywhere in our world today. Join us and feel more confident when you find yourself in conflict. Registration
Not-Your-Average Boundaries Training

LeaderWise’s online boundaries training workshop is lively and interactive, full of reflection and conversation. Attendees have given us feedback that our boundaries training was a great experience, AND caused them to re-evaluate some of their own practices.

This live online boundaries training is 5 total hours split over 2 consecutive days (2.5 hours each day). Following the first session, participants are asked to engage in a bit of reflection work in preparation for the second session. This online boundaries training will be conducted via secure Zoom video conferencing. Registration
Save the Date!
June 16-19, 2022
PW Synod Gathering

Hilton Garden Inn
1132 Larsen Park Rd
Sioux City, Iowa 51106

PW: Better Together Tied Together With Love
A cord of three strands is not easily broken
Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NIV) 

Watch for registration information in The Sower 
Worship Leader: Rev. Danelle McKinney
Hotel block has been reserved:
$125 +tax per night. 
Registration cost to be announced.  

Executive Presbyter, Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
We seek a down-to-earth, collaborative leader to partner with the 51 congregations of our western Minnesota presbytery. We are blessed to live, work, and worship in the beautiful landscape of lake country and rolling farmland, small rural communities, college towns, and resort communities. We are congregations who seek to be a collective expression of the Body of Christ, joyfully participating in Christ’s on-going life and work. We seek an EP who can help us live into this vision by encouraging us to build partnerships and embrace a vibrant future. You can find more information about the position on the CLC website. Or, you can email Deadline for Application is October 31, 2021.  

New Life Presbyterian Church, Roseville, MN has openings for a custodian and a church administrator. Position descriptions and application information are on the church website.

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has several openings for which we are seeking qualified candidates looking for a call working at the national level.
The Ministry Lab and Growing Green Hearts invite you to an ecumenical unveiling of a FREE new Water Where We Live curriculum. This half-day retreat includes ecumenical worship; introduction to the inter- or multi-generational curriculum; and four workshops on Water in Worship; The Curriculum in Context - A Panel of Creators and Implementers; Water, Faith, and Enviro-STEM at Church; and Water, Faith, and Community-Based Justice. Further information and registration forms will be available soon. Mark your calendars now for November 18, 2021; 10:00 AM - 12:30 PM; Luther Seminary. Lunch provided by Shobi's Table!
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 your editor with thanks to the Presbytery of Winnebago for sharing -

A blessing by John O'Donohue

Reminder: the Synod office will be closed on October 11th.
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.