November, 2021
May the Lord, maker of heaven and earth, bless you. (Psalm 134:3)
Becoming truly thankful
This Thanksgiving, take the time to tell your story. The act alone can make us more generous children of God

by Chris Roseland, Mission Engagement & Support | Special to Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE — A common table prayer opens with “O Lord, make us truly thankful for that which we are about to receive …”

It sounds pretty simple, doesn’t it? But isn’t there something a little strange about that prayer? I mean, why would anyone pray that way?

“Oh Lord, make us truly thankful …” This little thanksgiving prayer acknowledges that an attitude of gratitude is something that we cannot do for ourselves. We are unable to “make” ourselves “truly thankful,” so we pray for God to make us more thankful than we really are. So, how do we do that? How does a person become “truly thankful”?

Will you be tuning in?
Join us on #GivingTuesday, November 30, for what is bound to be a joy-filled celebration! Giving Tuesday is a global day of giving designed to harness the potential of social media and the collective power of individuals, communities, and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide. The PC(USA) has run a campaign for #GivingTuesday since 2014. 

#GivingTuesday is live this year on PC(USA)’s Facebook page - - from noon to 8 p.m. (EST). There will be worship, book readings, panel discussions, and more!
We make a big impact together!

You can help us reach our $35,000 Giving Tuesday goal by giving early and tapping into the season of gratitude before the turkey is even stuffed. Donate gifts through the Presbyterian Giving Catalog now through Nov. 30, 2021, and it will be attributed to our campaign in honor of Giving Tuesday, an annual global generosity movement that unites the power of people and organizations to help transform their communities, and the world.

Becoming astonished by scripture
Rev. Dr. Tom Long inspired a group of nineteen participants to rediscover the joy of preaching by rediscovering what it means to be astonished by scripture so that the sermons that emerge are contagious and energizing.

At the Preaching Workshop offered through the Academy November 20-21 at Mt. Olivet Retreat Center, Long worked with participants to paint a picture of the scripture as they read it, to explore ways to brainstorm scripture in the process of hearing what the Bible wants to say through them, to study the background and develop the specific claim the passage is making for today.  

The Academy is a series of classes offered for ruling elders and others who are interested in growing in their faith and understanding of leadership in the church. Completion of the classes and homework also provide the foundation for becoming a commissioned pastor, along with other criteria determined by the person’s presbytery. The sponsoring Mid-Councils are the presbyteries of Minnesota Valleys, North Central Iowa, Northern Waters and Prospect Hill as well as the Synod of Lakes and Prairies. Click here for more information.
Tom Long working with Avis Keasey, an Academy participant from the Paton congregation, Presbytery of North Central Iowa, on reading a passage from1 Corinthians.
2022 Synod Meetings
The schedule for Synod meetings has been set by the Steering Committee.

Spring Meeting, May 1-3
This is the annual meeting and it will take place in person at a location to be determined. This meeting will include a full worship service, educational time, committee meetings, and business meeting. We encourage commissioners to attend in person. Any one attending in person must be vaccinated against COVID or have a negative COVID test result 72 hours prior to the meeting. There will be a virtual option to attend for observers and anyone for which an in person meeting creates a hardship. More information on vaccinations and testing will be made available before the meeting.

Fall Meeting, October 2-3
This will be a virtual meeting beginning at 6:00 PM both days. This will be a business meeting and will include worship.

January 2022 - Welcome & Orientation
For new commissioners and anyone interested. Details to follow.

Synod committee meetings will likely take place virtually prior to the Synod meetings.
Are you looking for theologically sound, inspiring and affordable Advent devotions for the congregation?
The Presbyterian Outlook is once again offering accessible and inspiring daily devotions for Advent written by editor Teri McDowell Ott. Customers will receive a downloadable set of weekly PDFs that are ready to email to your congregation or print each week for the bulletin. Each week includes a reflection, daily Scripture readings and a short prayer for each day.

Advent spirituality in a wreath

Evergreens and candles help slow us down and center us
By Kari Young | Presbyterians Today

My girls are both college students and their schedules have them floating in and out of the house like frenzied subway riders at rush hour. While it’s been like this for several years now, I’ve never let that stop me from continuing the tradition of creating an Advent wreath that we started so many years ago here at First Presbyterian Church of Santa Rosa, California, when they were little.

For me, for them, for us as a family, our Advent wreath represents an invitation to slow down amid the holiday rush and remember to be present and just be. Pause. Breathe. Remember the real reason behind all the glitz and bright lights, all the cheer and noise, and so forth. That it’s not about any of that, but about all of it. Because it’s about the Christ coming into the world. The same Christ that so loved the world — all of it — you, me, them, all.

I don’t think God really cares how you decorate your house or what color scheme or color candles you use for your Advent wreath, or that you even make or have an Advent wreath at all. I believe God just wants us to stop running around. Return and be with God and take time to worship. It’s about anticipating God’s coming, both then and now.

Making an Advent wreath
For years, Kari Young has helped with First Presbyterian Church of Santa Rosa’s Advent wreath workshop. She says that while it is common for the base of the wreath to be made from a wire frame, with candleholders attached to it, the church once used log slices as the base, complete with drilled holes for the candles. Greens and a few decorations completed the wreath. One year the church wanted to offer a child-friendly Advent wreath-making workshop that was both easy and inexpensive, using votive candles, a plate and a variety of greens — no wire frame base or log slices or Styrofoam rings necessary. Watch the two-minute video that Young created to see how the wreath was made.
Digital Advent Calendars
The Synod and the Presbytery of Milwaukee have made digital Advent calendars for you to enjoy.

The Synod's begins on Nov. 28th on our website.

The Presbytery of Milwaukee's begins on Dec. 1st. Find it on their website.
Presbyterian Women in the Synod of Lakes & Prairies

PW Synod Gathering
June 16-19, 2022

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) 
What to expect:
  • Meet and make new friends
  • Face-to-face fellowship
  • Learn something new
  • Get ideas to take back to your PW/church/congregation
  • Sing in the Gathering Choir
  • Smiles, Laughter, maybe a few tears
  • Some walking from meeting rooms to hotel rooms/all under one air-conditioned roof
  • Great food and hotel accommodations
  • Saturday afternoon free time to adventure out or join some impromptu programming
Items to bring to the Gathering:
  • 1 yard of kid-friendly fabric and notions to sew PDA Gift of the Heart School bags
  • 3-5 gently used books you'd like to donate and shop for other gently used books to support the PWS Native American College Scholarship Fund
  • $10 gift cards that will be donated to All About You Adoption (Sioux Falls, SD) and Lila Mae House (Sioux City, IA)
  • Offering money for closing worship to support Marion Medical Mission and Dr. Susan LaFlesch Picotte Center
Registration cost: $100 (commuter fees available) - Hotel: $125/night + state/local taxes
Worship Leader:
Rev. Danelle Crawford McKinney
Danelle Crawford McKinney is an enrolled member of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate and is a member of the non-geographic Dakota Presbytery. She currently works with students at Haskell Indian Nations University in the Student Rights Office. Danelle lives in Lawrence with her husband, Ron and teenage son, Ronston. She has two adult daughters Alethia Oatman from Idaho and Madison McKinney from Lawrence, Kansas.
Registration forms will be available from your PW Presbytery Moderator or on our webpage December 1st.
Presbyterian Women
Justice and Peace Book Discussion Group
announces the 2022 reading selection.

The J&P Book Discussion Group
is open to all!!!

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.

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.
Now is a good time to focus on bullying prevention
One in five children between the ages of 12 and 18 have been bullied at school. Nearly one in six between the ages of nine and 12 have been bullied online. Victims of bullying may face short- and long-term impacts, but they aren’t the only ones. Children that bully others, as well as those that witness bullying, are all at increased risk of negative outcomes.

Action for Healthy Kids has many resources.
Information about the 225th General Assembly
Important dates:
Saturday, June 18, 2022 – Online Plenary 1, 2, 3
Sunday, June 19, 2022,Worship -Juneteenth Service
June 20 – July 2, 2022 – Louisville Committee Meetings
July 5 – 9, 2022 – Online Plenary 4 - 17

On the Road to GA, monthly newsletter
The Ministry Lab is excited to share a free water/faith curriculum designed especially for the St. Paul area, made by community for community, and including: five Bible themes, links to water stories, local cultural connections, hands-on activities, and more. Download "Wade in the Water" free, here.

Learn more at our November 18th (10:00am-12:30pm) zoom intro event, where community partners will connect water with spiritual practices, enviroSTEM activities, water justice, and ecotheology. All are welcome. This is a free event, but kindly register using this link.

AND: check Fresh & Free Resources page often as we unveil a slew of FREE Advent/Christmas/Epiphany resources for study and worship!!
Presbyterian Women

Presbyterian Women in the Synod of Lakes & Prairies

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.