In This Issue
News around the Synod of Lakes and Prairies
Conferences, camps, resources
News of colleges, universities and seminaries
News from the Board of Pensions
News around the PC(USA) and more
Just one more
Quick Links
Social Media

August 28, 2018

News around the Synod of Lakes and Prairies
Synod School, in 65th year,
draws more than 600
Dancers Marking its 65th year, this year's iteration of Synod School, the midsummer ministry of the Synod of Lakes and Prairies, drew more than 600 for a week of worship, classes, fun and fellowship on the campus of Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa. Synod School 2018, which ran July 21-27, featured more than 70 classes, convocation addresses by Jason Brian Santos, worship services led by Jana Childers, and the music leadership of Hans Peterson and Nelson Morlock. While participation in Synod School is usually measured by the number of participants from a presbytery, this year a single church contributed 29 attendees. "There were 29 of us, counting me," noted Lance Loveall, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Kenosha, Wisconsin. The complete Presbyterian News Service story can be found at "Synod School."
Mental health presentations,
workshops, planned in Iowa
mental health A series of presentations and workshops, planned in four locations in Iowa, will explore mental health and the faith community. The events are designed for church staff, deacons and members and will provide a toolbox of responses and resources for addressing mental health in congregations and communities. The locations and dates are Storm Lake, Oct. 5; Indianola, Oct. 6; Washington, Nov. 9; and Jesup, Nov. 10. A flyer is available at "Mental Health and the Faith Community." Registration can be completed by contacting Jeannie Stolee at or 319.233.1747.
Northern Plains woman named
to national SDOP committee
mission agency Eight newly elected national committee members to the Presbyterian Committee on the Self-Development of People (SDOP), which empowers economically poor, oppressed and disadvantaged people through its Presbyterian and ecumenical partners, gathered in Louisville recently for a two-day orientation session. Among the eight was Elizabeth Swee of Moorhead, Minnesota, a ruling elder from the Presbytery of the Northern Plains. The training session prepared members to promote and interpret the SDOP ministry to congregations, mid-councils, community groups of economically poor and oppressed people and those interested in the ministry. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Scott O'Neill can be found at "Swee Named."
Iowa church was haven
for tornado-ravaged community
A dozen tornados slashed through Iowa in late July leaving behind extensive property damage in their wake. Marshalltown, a community of about 25,000 residents, suffered catastrophic damage to its Marshalltown downtown area. While not unscathed from the EF-3 tornado that tore through town First Presbyterian Church was more fortunate than most. In the storm's aftermath, it's focused on rebuilding and healing through worship and community service to those affected by the disaster. "Our community is in rough shape," said Jon Rottink, youth and families ministries director at the church. "Our entire downtown is destroyed and many of those buildings are going to have to come down. The residential areas that were hardest hit are populated by those who have the fewest resources to recover." The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Scott O'Neill can be found at "Marshalltown."
Conferences, camps, resources
Regarding Ruling Elders: The creative tension of spiritual leadership
The Rev. Joan S. Gray, who has served as teaching elder in 12 congregations and as the moderator of the 217th General Assembly of  New Ruling Elders the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), writes the current installment of Regarding Ruling Elders, a resource published by the Office of the General Assembly. She notes, " Those who partner with God in the spiritual leadership of the church live between two important truths. The first of these we hear from Jesus on the occasion of his last gathering with his disciples: "Without me you can do nothing" (John 15:5). "Nothing" is a very hard word. It must have been hard for the first disciples to hear. First, Jesus talks about his going away from them and then they hear that without him they can do nothing." Gray's complete column can be found at "Spiritual Leadership."
Annual hobby, craft weekend
set at Okoboji Sept. 27-30
Crafting The Lakeshore Center at Okoboji will be host to its annual hobby and craft weekend Sept. 27-30. The Center's online post invites registrants with the line, "You decide how long your retreat will be." Details and online registration are at "I Love Crafting."
'Just Worship' conference will explore crossroads of worship, justice
An upcoming conference, "Just Worship," at Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta Sept. 13-15 will bring together pastors, musicians,  Just worship activists and scholars to explore how God might be leading the church toward a more faithful and vibrant future through worship. The conference is sponsored by three Presbyterian seminaries: Columbia, Austin and Johnson C. Smith -- the Office of Theology and Worship, and the Presbyterian Association of Musicians. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Paul Seebeck can be found at "Just Worship."
Deadline nears for PHS
records preservation grants
To assist congregations with the preservation of church records, the Presbyterian Historical Society awards annual Heritage Preservation Grants to congregations of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), covering up  Presbyterian Historical Society to $500 of the cost to digitize official records. To qualify, congregations must be 250 members or less, at least 50 years old, interested in the preservation of historical records, and looking for financial assistance to digitize these records. Grants must be used within a two-year period. The complete announcement from the Presbyterian Historical Society can be found at "Preservation Grants."
Resources available
for Theological Education Sunday
The Rev. Emily Zeig Lindsey, a Pennsylvania pastor, summed up the importance of theological education beautifully in a video the  Racial Ethnic Scholarship Fund Theological Education Fund shared in late 2017. "There are people waiting in our pews and in our communities, hungry to learn, and be fed, and waiting for a leader to come alongside them and help with that journey," Lindsey says. "Seminary prepares you to do exactly that, in many ways, and teaches you to be receptive to the lessons you will learn during ministry." This year the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) celebrates Theological Education Sunday, Sept. 16, and resources have been prepared to observe the day. The complete story, and a link to the resources, can be found through "Theological Education Sunday."
Stewardship Kaleidoscope planned
in St. Louis in September
Stewardship Kaleidoscope Logo This year's Stewardship Kaleidoscope, an annual conference offering speakers, workshops and networking opportunities for all who are passionate about stewardship and generosity, is planned Sept. 24-26 in St. Louis. Diana Butler Bass, an award-winning author and internationally known public speaker, and Chick Lane, pastor for stewardship and generosity at Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Maple Grove, Minnesota, will be the keynote speakers. Details about the conference can be found at "Stewardship Kaleidoscope."
Interim Ministry Training Institute
planned to run October-May
Change is a fact of life in the world, and churches are facing transition of many kinds. The Interim Ministry Training Institute will provide the tools and techniques needed for addressing transitions. The program is  Interim training designed for working ministers who are interested in interim or transitional work or work within their settled position. The class is limited in size to encourage interaction and each of the sessions has advance readings, lecture style presentations, discussion, case studies, and assignments to integrate the training. The class is planned for the second Thursday of each month from October through May in Baraboo, Wisconsin. Classes meet from 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. Details are available from the Rev. Dr. Marlea Gilbert at Streams of Wisdom by sending an e-mail to or by calling 608.514.3290. Applications are due by Sept. 17. A brochure is available at "Interim Ministry Training Institute."
1-day session on congregational vitality planned at Lakeshore Center
Chip Hardwick The Rev. Dr. Chip Hardwick, interim associate pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest, Illinois, and former director of theology, formation and evangelism for the Presbyterian Mission Agency, will lead a one-day workshop on congregational vitality at Lakeshore Center at Okoboji near Milford, Iowa. The workshop, slated Oct. 11, will include plenaries, small groups and evaluation tools. Details and online registration are at "Congregational Vitality."
PMA announces scholarship
fund in memory of Cannon
Katie Cannon The Presbyterian Mission Agency has created a scholarship fund to honor the name and legacy of the late Rev. Dr. Katie Geneva Cannon, a pioneer and legend in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Dr. Cannon succumbed to leukemia Aug. 8. Cannon, a leading voice in the subjects of womanist theology and women in religion and society, was a renowned lecturer on theological and ethical topics and the author or editor of numerous articles and books. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Gail Strange can be found at "Cannon Scholarship."
Resources for Evangelism Sunday offered
in Grace, Gratitude newsletter
Grace Gratitude Ray Jones, director of theology, formation and evangelism for the Presbyterian Mission Agency, writing in the current edition of the Grace and Gratitude newsletter, noted, "As our ministries respond to our work coming out of General Assembly, we will be addressing what it means to 'reclaim Jesus.' From our reformed foundation we'll look at what it means to follow Jesus and obey him above all earthly powers." The newsletter also includes links to resources for Evangelism Sunday, Sept. 23. The newsletter is at "Grace and Gratitude."
Sower, newsletter of PW in the synod,
notes upcoming synod gathering
Sower Logo The July 2018 edition of The Sower, the newsletter of Presbyterian Women in the Synod of Lakes and Prairies, is on the synod's website at "The Sower." There's also something for those planning nearly a year ahead - the flyer for the synod's Presbyterian Women's gathering planned June 20-23, 2019, in Ames, Iowa. It's at "2019 Gathering."
Justice, Peace newsletter posts information about its travel study seminars
Justice & Peace News The latest issue of Justice & Peace Close-Up focuses on the upcoming events around the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program, including the visits to the United States this fall of several International Peacemakers. The Presbyterian Peacemaking Program has announced its schedule of travel study seminars for the next two years. Details can be found at "International Peacemakers."
News of colleges, universities and seminaries
Buena Vista University, synod
renew covenant relationship
The Synod of Lakes and Prairies and Buena Vista University officially renewed their covenant relationship during Synod School activities at the university during the last week in July. The last covenant between  the university and the synod had been signed in the 1980s. Although  BVU covenant there is no time limit on a covenant, the synod and the university believed it was time to review and renew the document. The synod is in covenant with seven Presbyterian-related institutions of higher education within its bounds. In the photo at right, Synod Executive and Elona Street-Stewart and BVU President Joshua Merchant speak at the signing ceremony. In part, the covenant reads, "As it has for all these years, Buena Vista University considers its religious heritage and concern to be important and useful in the search for truth. Grounded in the basic values and ethics of the Presbyterian tradition, the university has recognized the needs and trends of society and has adapted to meet them." The text of the complete document can be found at "Covenant Document."
Remembering Kofi Annan's
Presbyterian, Macalester connections
While many voices vied for the attention of Kofi Annan, the former UN secretary general consistently listened to people seeking peace from the vantage point of faith, according to a Presbyterian mission leader.  Kofi Annan "Kofi Annan took seriously the perspectives of churches and faith-based non-governmental organizations," said Sara Lisherness, director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency's compassion, peace and justice ministry area. "He invited and encouraged our voices." Annan, who served as secretary general from 1997-2006, died Saturday in Bern, Switzerland. He was 80. Annan's connection with U.S. Presbyterians began at least as early as his young adulthood when Annan, a native of Ghana, came to the United States to study at Macalester College in St. Paul, a Presbyterian-related institution in covenant with the Synod of Lakes and Prairies. The school now houses the Kofi Annan Institute for Global Citizenship. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Pat Cole can be found at "Kofi Annan."
News from the Board of Pensions
August Board Connections
lists news, updates, information
The August issue of Board Connections, a newsletter from the Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is available online. It  Connections includes news, and updates and information, regarding activities and actions of the Board. The current edition includes information about Board of Pensions programs designed to encourage new calls for ministers. The subject was a topic of conversation between the Rev. Lee Hinson-Hasty, director of theological education funds development for the Presbyterian Foundation, and the Rev. Frank Clark Spencer, president of the Board of Pensions. A link to a video of the conversation, and the complete newsletter can be found at "Connections."
News around the PC(USA) and more
Retired minister, Iowa native,
remembers fighting fires in California
Bud Frimoth For Bud Frimoth, a 92-year-old World War II veteran and retired minister of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), reading accounts of those working to contain the Mendocino Complex fires that have burned through 350,000 acres in California brought back a few memories from years ago. He fought fires one summer in the late 1940's in Northern California before enrolling at San Francisco Theological Seminary and remembers the awe-inspiring power of the fires, relaying knowledge of what all firefighters endure. "What a sensation to be on the line at night," he said. "The wonder of the fire. Your appreciation for its warmth, knowing full well the awful damages it brings." Frimoth was originally from Clinton, Iowa. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Paul Seebeck can be found at "Bud Frimoth."
Faith leaders, faith organizations
J Herbert Nelson decry low refugee arrivals
More than 750 faith leaders and faith organizations have written a letter to President Trump and members of the U.S. Congress expressing their "deep concern" over historically low refugee admissions into the United States. Signatories to the letter included the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and its General Assembly stated clerk, the Rev. J. Herbert Nelson II, and 88 Presbyterian leaders from around the country. "We Presbyterians are a Matthew 25 church -- which means we are committed to feeding the hungry and giving drink to the thirsty, to clothing the naked and visiting those in prison," said Nelson. The complete announcement from the Office of the General Assembly can be found at "Low Refugee Arrivals."
OGA hires new budget manager
J. Herbert Nelson II, stated clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), has appointed DeAmber Clopton as  DeAmber Clopton budget manager for the Office of the General Assembly. She begins her new work September 4. Clopton, a native of Louisville, earned both a bachelor's degree in accounting and a Master of Business Administration degree from Louisville's Sullivan University. She has served in both auditing and senior accounting positions for businesses and nonprofits. Clopton was an auditor for Ernst & Young; a senior accountant for Seven Counties Services, a Louisville-based nonprofit behavioral health organization that serves more than 150,000 people of all ages in a five-state region; and as senior accountant for Churchill Downs Inc., which owns and operates several horse-racing tracks, including the fabled home of the Kentucky Derby. The complete announcement from the Office of the General Assembly is at "DeAmber Clopton."
Newsletter celebrates ministry
Presbyterian Women of Presbyterian Women
Rhashell Hunter, director of racial equity and women's intercultural ministries, acknowledged the work of Presbyterian Women in the recent edition of the newsletter from her department. "Presbyterian Women have been engaged in mission for over 200 years," she wrote. " There have been different configurations of women's groups in the north and the south, but one thing is certain -- Presbyterian Women, Inc. (PW) has been and is today one of the largest mission organizations in the church." In addition to the article about Presbyterian Women, the newsletter includes information about several upcoming events, including Native American Day and Gifts of New Immigrants Day. The newsletter is at "Women in Mission."
Help Wanted: Mentoring today
fills the pulpits tomorrow
Growing up in South Africa, Bobby Musengwa couldn't imagine coming to America to attend seminary. The path simply wasn't visible to him -- and  he couldn't imagine serving as a pastor. But it was his uncle's friendship with Heath Rada, who later served as moderator of the 221st General Assembly, that brought this possibility to light for him -- and the mentoring community of professors, pastors, family and friends reinforced Musengwa's call. Musengwa soon found himself in the United States, encouraged by his family to leave South Africa amid growing concerns about his safety in apartheid South Africa. He attended and graduated from St. Andrews Presbyterian College (now St. Andrews University) in Laurinburg, North Carolina, and worked at Montreat Conference Center each summer. That's where he reconnected with Rada, who then invited him to attend the Presbyterian School of Christian Education (now part of Union Presbyterian Seminary). Although Musengwa initially rejected the idea, he decided to try it out. The complete story by Lee Hinson-Hasty, which previously appeared in Presbyterians Today magazine, can be found at "Mentoring Pastors."
Faith-based protesters stand up
to counter white supremacists
When white supremacist groups announced plans to hold a demonstration in the nation's capital to mark the one-year anniversary of the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, many were Stop Racism concerned the day would descend into violence as it did in 2017, when one woman was killed and many more injured after a man who had marched with racists allegedly plowed his car into a group of counter-protesters. But by Aug. 12, Washington, D.C., had hosted far more anti-racist Methodists, Baptists and other religious demonstrators than white supremacists, and the thousands of other counter-protesters spread across the city suggested white nationalists had inadvertently done more to unite people across religious and racial differences than bolster the ranks of racists. The complete story by Jack Jenkins of the Religion News Service can be found at "Standing United."
Just one more
Her accomplishments have
been recognized, but here's a bit more
Katherine Johnson Sometimes "Just one more" is not humorous. Sometimes it's just a little tidbit your editor didn't know. Those are easier to find - for obvious reasons. For this issue the subject is Katherine Johnson and the information comes from one of the Mental Floss lists. Johnson is "regarded as one of the pioneers of the space age" and she turned 100 Aug. 26. But did you know ... you can find out more at "Katherine Johnson."