KEEPING IN TOUCH

June 2022

News from the 225th General Assembly

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Rev. Ruth Santana-Grace (left) and Rev. Shavon Starling-Louis (right) our new Co-Moderators of the 225th General Assembly.


Employing the theme ‘unbound we thrive,’ the pair pledges to spend the next two years as ambassadors of hope


By a tally of 203-151 Saturday night, commissioners to the 225th General Assembly elected the Rev. Ruth Santana-Grace and the Rev. Shavon Starling-Louis as Co-Moderators. Together they’ll serve a two-year term, the fourth straight team of Co-Moderators to win election.


The two were immediately installed during a service led by their predecessors, Ruling Elder Elona Street-Stewart and the Rev. Gregory Bentley, as well as the Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)


Santana-Grace, 69, is executive presbyter of the Presbytery of Philadelphia. Starling-Louis, 39, is pastor of Memorial Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. Read the rest of the article by Mike Ferguson | General Assembly News

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Opening sermon at 225th General Assembly challenges audience to move ‘from religiosity to righteousness’

The Rev. Gregory Bentley energized the opening worship of the 225th General Assembly with a fiery and provocative message on the need to move from religiosity to righteousness. 


Bentley, Co-Moderator of the 224th General Assembly, began his message by likening today’s society to the one described in Micah in which God has “filed a lawsuit against the people of Judah for breach of covenant” after becoming tired of “their mean and messy and misery-inducing ways.” 


Read the rest of the article by Darla Carter, GA Assembly News


Environmental Justice Committee again backs selective divestment


After-hours teamwork helps to wrap up committee’s work

By Darla Carter, General Assembly News


The Environmental Justice Committee of the 225th General Assembly concluded its business on Saturday after creating a revised version of ENV-09 that embraces selective divestment as “the most effective leverage” for holding companies responsible when it comes to protecting the planet through “active engagement.” 


Read the full article.

Committee approves establishing a special committee on Standing Rules of the General Assembly


Special committee would consult with Stated Clerk, six agencies and others to better enable GA work

Mike Ferguson | General Assembly News


The Standing Rules of the General Assembly Committee needed less than two hours Wednesday to complete its workload, topped by its 31-3 approval of the formation of a Special Committee on the Standing Rules of the GA.  


Read the full article.

General Assembly commissioner has found creative way to minister


Meet the Rev. Bethany Peerbolte, TikTok pastor

Nathan Young and Randy Hobson

As many as 294,000 followers and more than 5.3 million likes. The Rev. Bethany Peerbolte has developed quite the following thanks to TikTok, the social media platform that has become a primary source for short-form videos. Peerbolte was in Louisville during the first round of committee meetings at the 225th General Assembly, serving on the Theology, Worship, and Education Committee. 


She took time out during committee breaks to share how TikTok is helping her reach a whole new audience.

General Assembly meets through July 9. Please pray for our commissioners.


May they travel safely, may they be well, and may they hear God's calling in the important work we have asked them to do.


Find all the news of GA here.
PWGathering2022

Presbyterian Women of the Synod of Lakes & Prairies gather together

by Maggie Horak


Presbyterian Women of the Synod of Lakes and Prairies gathered June 16-19 at the Hilton Garden--Riverfront in Sioux City, Iowa. The in-person gathering was a welcome ‘normal’ and the Spirit was present and active: guiding the worship, programming, events and conversations. Praise be to God! 


The Worship Leader was Rev. Danelle Crawford McKinney of Lawrence, Kan. She brought us to and through a new worship experience by focusing on nature, the mighty Missouri River, the land on which we stood encouraging and exploring our faith with Creator God.


A first-time pre-gathering event took participants to Bancroft and Walthill, Neb. to learn about and walk in the steps of Dr. Susan LaFlesche Picotte.


Fifteen workshops were offered during the 3-day event. Louise Van Poll (South Dakota Presbytery) was installed as the new Moderator and Hope Dougherty (Northern Waters Presbytery) was installed as the new chair of PWS Search Committee. The group thanked Moderator Sue Medsker (Central Nebraska Presbytery) for her service and leading the group through the time of the pandemic. Read the full article here.


A video incorporating some of the pictures taken during the Gathering is on the Presbyterian Women's webpage at: https://lakesandprairies.org/engaging-leaders/presbyterian-women/.

Federal Student Loan Forgiveness Program


Now through October 31, 2022, changes in the rules for this program allow for borrowers who may not have qualified in the past to be eligible now.


The Board of Pensions and Presbyterian Mission Agency are offering assistance in applying for this program through EdAssist. This free program will help to determine eligibility and if eligible, assist with completing the application process. For more information - 

Youth Ministry by Any Other Name


A few years ago, I was speaking at a large youth ministry conference in England, talking about youth in churches, when a young woman cornered me on a break. “Why are you always talking about ‘the church?’” she asked. “Youth aren’t in the church.” Suddenly I remembered where I was. As much as Americans gripe about our dwindling church attendance, our membership statistics would make European Christians weep for joy. The young woman was right, at least about England: only 1% of British young adults attend the Church of England, and 70% of British young people say they have no religion at all.


Being a youth minister does not depend on who employs us. It depends on who we love.

It suddenly dawned on me that the youth in the United States were headed in a similar direction. The statistics are not parallel, but in the United States 63% of teenagers say they are Christian and 36% of millennials say they belong to a church, mosque, or synagogue. One in three say they have no religion in particular.


Read the full article by Kenda Creasy Dean here.

Looking ahead to ‘A Year with Matthew for a Matthew 25 Church’


Resource for the 2022-23 Revised Common Lectionary Year A is for preachers and musicians planning worship in light of the Matthew 25 vision

by Paul Seebeck | Presbyterian News Service


LOUISVILLE — Every three years, the Revised Common Lectionary immerses churches in the Gospel of Matthew. This can also be an excellent opportunity to engage the Presbyterian Mission Agency’s Matthew 25 vision of building congregational vitality, dismantling structural racism and eradicating systemic poverty.

Rev. Dr. David Gambrell on new Gospel of Matthew resource.


Year A of the Revised Common Lectionary’s three-year cycle, which begins November 27 this year, highlights readings from Matthew. And in the last three weeks of the Christian year, the lectionary devotes three Sundays to Matthew 25, culminating on Christ the King (or the Reign of Christ) Sunday with the passage where the nations ask: “Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty, or a stranger or naked, or sick or in prison?” And Jesus replies: “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these, you did it to me.”


According to the Rev. Dr. David Gambrell, associate for worship in the PC(USA’s) Office of Theology and Worship, in the literary structure of Matthew, this passage has a pivotal place at the conclusion of its five “books” of the stories and sayings of Jesus. Read the full article.


Eradicating Systemic Poverty Resource Packet


As disciples of Jesus Christ committed to the Matthew 25 vision, Presbyterians engage in multiple components of a holistic effort to eradicate systemic poverty, address its root causes and build communities of well-being. With God's help, together we can work to eradicate systemic poverty if we follow the steps listed below. Learn more about what you can do to help eradicate systemic poverty.

Best First Book Award Winner Announced

Bill Chadwick, a retired pastor in Minnetonka, Minnesota, has been chosen winner of the Presbyterian Writers Guild’s Best First Book Award, co-sponsored by the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation (PPC). Chadwick, a graduate of San Francisco Theological Seminary, won the prestigious award for his memoir, Still Laughing, Still Learning (Still Looking for a Good Title).

 

Chadwick’s book—a compilation of stories chronicling his career as a Presbyterian minister—“is one of a handful of books I’ve read that is laugh-out-loud funny," said Best-First-Book-Committee chair Jerry Van Marter.

 

Added committee member Skip Dunford of Elizabethtown, Kentucky: “Bill’s stories capitalize on the ability of stories to help readers experience both the humor and pathos of life. Its appeal lies in the author’s ability to transform short stories into larger life lessons.”

 

Still Laughing, Still Learning was one of seven books nominated for the biennial award. This year’s contest was open to books written by Presbyterian writers in 2020 or 2021.

 

The award is usually presented at the Guild’s General Assembly luncheon, but with this year’s Assembly a hybrid affair, Chadwick, along with other award winners, will be honored at a virtual celebration to be held on Zoom August 8 at 7:00 p.m. Eastern Time. 


-EMerge from Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area

Tending to Trauma

You're invited to "Tending to Trauma: Yours, Mine, and Ours," a two-day overnight retreat, will be held August 8-9 at the Mount Olivet Conference and retreat Center

 

Led by Carla Dahl, Professor Emerita of Congregational and Community Care at Luther Seminary, this event is for anyone personally experiencing trauma or caring for others with traumatic experiences, (or both). We will discuss physiological and spiritual aspects of trauma, the importance of self-compassion, and practices and rituals that help re-establish connection with ourselves and others. 

 

A variety of overnight accommodations are available in addition to an option for commuters. You can find a full description of the event here along with a link for registration.  

Opportunities


PC(USA) positions in ASG, OGA, and PMA


Presbyterian Foundation open positions


First Presbyterian Church of Cheyenne, Wyoming is searching for an Interim Associate Pastor. The position's job description can be found on the church website.

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.

Book lineup for the 2021-2022 Reading Season

Upcoming LeaderWise Offerings
Find out what is being offered here.
LeaderWise
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2022 ConNext Summit


Faith Formation Leaders, Clergy, Staff and Volunteers: all who walk with others on their spiritual journey are invited to ConNext Summit 2022: In the Ways of Jesus - Gracious Idleness, Scrappy Transformation, Radical Belonging. Find time for rest and renewal; developing and deepening friendships and colleague groups; inspiring innovations; and processing the past few years with a comedy troupe. Learn more and register here.

Contact your judicatory office to learn about scholarships; United Theological Seminary students attend free through the MN Conference UCC.

Before we go ...


I sometimes forget

that I was created for Joy.

My mind is too busy.

My heart is too heavy

for me to remember

that I have been

called to dance

the Sacred dance of life.


I was created to smile

to love

to be lifted up

and to lift others up.


O’ Sacred One

untangle my feet

from all that ensnares.

Free my soul.


That we might

Dance

and that our dancing 

might be contagious.


The Cosmic Dancer ~Hafiz

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Keeping In Touch is a monthly publication of the Synod of Lakes and Prairies of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)

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