In This Issue
News around the Synod of Lakes and Prairies
Conferences, camps, resources
News from the Board of Pensions
News of colleges, universities, seminaries
News around the PC(USA) and more
Just one more
Quick Links
Social Media
May 19, 2017

News around the Synod of Lakes and Prairies
Synod installs 3 officers during spring meeting
Greg Braatz The Synod of Lakes and Prairies installed Greg Braatz, right, a ruling elder from Winnebago Presbytery, and April Davis Campbell, a teaching elder from the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area, as moderator and vice moderator respectively when it met April 30-May 2 at Mt. Olivet Conference and Retreat Center near Farmington, Minn. The synod also installed Jim Koon, a corporate and non-profit leader from the Twin Cities, as treasurer. The complete summary of the synod meeting can be found at "Synod Summary."
27 states represented
Catalog cover in Synod School registration
Synod School registration has now rolled past 620. But just this week Deb DeMeester, director of leadership development for the Synod of Lakes and Prairies, discovered that 27 states are represented among the registrants. Yes, Florida's represented. So is California, and Washington State. That's east coast to west coast. There's room for more. J. Herbert Nelson, stated clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), is this year's convocation speaker, and Cláudio Carvalhaes, a well-known speaker and worship leader, and a former Synod School convocation speaker, will lead evening worship. But beyond those two leaders, there are more than 70 classes listed in the catalog. Synod School runs July 23-28 at Buena Vista University, Storm Lake, Iowa. Details, like the catalog and everything necessary for registration, can be found at "Synod School."
Kimball notes personal touch
of PW's synod newsletter
Writing her column in the April edition of The Sower, the newsletter of Presbyterian Women in the Synod of Lakes and Prairies, Sue Kimball, Sower Logo moderator of the group, noted the personal touch. She wrote, " Personal greetings are so special and have been sent in ancient times as advice for Christians, expressed in a way that sounds like one friend writing to another. That is what [this] newsletter, hopefully, is for you in this modern age. Do you love getting letters in your mailbox? Or in your email box? We often take for granted a digital message found on our computer, but let's visualize the person behind the message." Kimball's complete column, and the complete newsletter, can be found at "The Sower." Kimball's report to the April 30-May 2 meeting of the synod can be found at "Synod Report."
Conferences, camps, resources
Regarding Ruling Elders: Closer walk with God
The Rev. Dr. Diana Nishita Cheifetz has written the most recent installment of "Regarding Ruling Elders," a resource from the Office of New Ruling Elders the General Assembly. Cheifetz is a spiritual director, serving lay leaders and clergy in the San Francisco area. She opened, " There is something so compelling about a thoughtful 90-year-old asking you questions about God. I was intrigued. Her name was Marion, and she had invited me, the new pastor's wife, over for tea and cookies. As we chatted, she pointed to a tall stack of books under her coffee table, mostly theology books. Previous pastors had recommended them to her and she had read all of them." Cheifetz's complete column can be found at "Closer Walk."
Outlook plans webinar on welcoming
people with disabilities
Outlook Logo The Presbyterian Outlook will conduct a webinar, presented by Evelyn McMullen, on welcoming people with disabilities to Christ's church. The webinar is planned Tuesday, May 23, at 1 p.m. CDT. The 90-minute webinar will address changing attitudes and actions that have made some churches more inclusive. Details can be found at "Welcoming People with Disabilities." Six scholarships for this webinar have been generously provided by the Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation. Questions regarding these scholarships should be addressed to Jana Blazek at
Clearwater Forest prepares
for busy summer, seeks volunteers
"The boats are ready to get put back in the water; the high ropes are ready to be traversed; the trails are cleared; the cabins are cleaned ... This can only mean one thing; camp starts next month." That's the main Clearwater Logo story in the recent newsletter of Clearwater Forest, the Presbyterian camp and conference center located in the heart of Minnesota's lake country near Deerwood, Minn. The camp is also seeking volunteers to serve as chaplains, counselors, nurses, and to assist with the kitchen, store and maintenance. The camp schedule and online registration is available at "Clearwater Forest."
POAMN offers congregation track
at aging, spirituality conference
Older Adult Ministry The Presbyterian Older Adult Ministries Network will offer a congregational track at the seventh International Conference on Aging and Spirituality planned June 4-7 at Concordia University in Chicago. Members of the Presbyterian organization are able to register under the church workers rate. Conference details are at "Conference on Aging and Spirituality."
John Dominic Crossan Washington Island
Forum  features
historical-Jesus scholar    
John Dominic Crossan, generally regarded as the leading historical Jesus scholar in the world, will be the featured speaker at the 2017 Washington Island Forum that runs June 26-30 on Washington Island at the tip of Door County, Wis. Crossan is the author of "The Historical Jesus," "Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography," and "The Birth of Christianity, and Who Killed Jesus?" The event is sponsored by the Wisconsin Council of Churches, and Christian Century magazine. Details are at "Washington Island Forum."
Big Tent registration open; event runs July 6-8
Big Tent New This summer's Big Tent conference takes place July 6-8 in St. Louis and registration recently opened. The theme of this year's conference is "Race, Reconciliation and the Reformation." The event features plenary events, Bible study, workshops and worship. The three-day event, held on the Washington University campus, will provide a variety of opportunities to engage with the issues facing the church and society today. The registration site is at "Big Tent."
Stewardship Kaleidoscope annual
conference set this fall in Florida
Stewardship Kaleidoscope Logo The annual Stewardship Kaleidoscope event, an annual conference offering speakers, workshops and networking opportunities, is planned Sept. 25-27 this year at St. Pete Beach, Fla. Among the keynote speakers this year is Adam Copeland, a member of the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area and director of the Center for Stewardship Leadership at Luther Seminary in St. Paul. Stewardship Kaleidoscope is designed to help participants explore stewardship across many dimensions. Event details are available at "Kaleidoscope."
Lakeshore Center presents
'A Day with Dr. Thomas Long'
Lakeshore Lodge The Lakeshore Center at Okoboji, a Presbyterian camp, conference and retreat center, is presenting "A Day with Dr. Thomas Long" on Oct. 13 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Long, the Bandy professor of preaching emeritus at Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, will make two presentation, a morning presentation titled "Preaching in a Disenchanted Age," and an afternoon presentation titled "Ending Well, Beginning Well: Developing Sermons for the End of the Christian year and for Advent/Christmas." Additional details and registration form are available at "A Day with Long."
IRMS resources address suicide, causes
An announcement from Iowa Religious Media Services in Urbandale, Iowa, states:  "Over the last month, you may have heard about a new IRMSLOGO
Netflix program called "13 Reasons Why," based on the book with the same title, by Jay Asher. The series, marketed to teens, portrays a young girl's high school experience, which culminates in her suicide. ... These are not easy topics to discuss. If nothing else, this series, surrounded by intense debate, is a stepping stone to open the dialogue regarding what has become the reality for many. IRMS has resources that address the topics portrayed in the series, and we invite you to begin the conversation." A description of the resources can be found at " Suicide ."
CMP releases 'Being Reformed:
The Protestant Reformations'
Protestant Reform Congregational Ministries Publishing (CMP) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has released a new study, titled "The Protestant Reformations," written by best-selling author Donald K. McKim. This study, part of the "Being Reformed: Faith Seeking Understanding" curriculum, will open the door to reflecting on the Protestant Reformations and stimulate the desire for more church and individual study of this important topic. The complete announcement can be found at "Reformations."
Church planters will lead worship,
speak at plenary of 1001 conference
So couple The Revs. Jeya and Daniel So, lead pastors of the Anchor City Church, a new worshiping community in the Presbytery of San Diego, will lead Tuesday evening worship and give the Wednesday morning plenary address for "Living, Dying, Rising," the 2017 national gathering for 1001 New Worshiping Communities. "Living, Dying, Rising," which takes its scriptural basis from John 20:19-23, will be held August 7-10 at the TradeWinds Island Grand Resort in St. Pete Beach, Fla. The 2017 national gathering will outline the story of the life of Christ and the life of the church. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Emily Enders Odom is at "1001 Conference."
Presbyterian Peacemaking plans
Madagascar travel study seminar
Peace Day International More than 80 percent of its flora and fauna cannot be found anywhere else on earth. But despite the richness of its biodiversity, Madagascar is one of the poorest nations in the world with 92 percent of its population living on less than $2 a day. The Presbyterian Peacemaking Program is planning a travel study seminar to the island nation November 6-18, giving Presbyterians and other interested groups a chance to see the country up close and personal. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Rick Jones can be found at "Madagascar."
News from the Board of Pensions
Board of Pensions plans
well-being retreat at Zephyr Point
Board of Pensions The Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is offering plan members and their spouses an opportunity to explore wholeness through spiritual, health, financial and vocational aspects of their lives through a Well-Being Retreat Aug. 21-23 at Zephyr Point Conference Center near Lake Tahoe, Nev. Participants are able to customize the retreat experience by selecting the educational workshops and guided activities that best support their needs. Details can be found at "Retreat."
News of colleges, universities, seminaries
Monmouth College offers
theological institute for youth
With a little more than two months left until its start, the inaugural class of Monmouth (Ill.) College's Lux Summer Theological Institute for Youth is shaping up to be a diverse and dynamic group of young people Monmouth College from around the country. "Students are coming from north and south, and east and west," said the Rev. Jessica Hawkinson, associate chaplain and director of the institute. "A common thread that has emerged across students we have accepted so far is a curiosity about how their faith has an impact on the world." The institute will bring together high school students from July 16-30 to explore "Feast or Famine: Thinking Theologically about Food and Food Security." Rising high school sophomores through graduating high school seniors are eligible for the program. Because of a generous grant from the Lilly Endowment of Indianapolis, the institute is free to participants. The deadline to apply for the institute is June 1. Details are at "Feast or Famine."
University of Jamestown students,
faculty help with Habitat for Humanity
University of Jamestown announcement Instead of venturing home or vacationing with friends, many students from the University of Jamestown traveled in groups during spring break, volunteering, performing, playing sports and exploring other cultures. Nine students and two staff members flew to Florida for an eight-day collaboration with Habitat for Humanity of Highlands County. This year, the UJ Habitat for Humanity raised $11,000 to cover trip costs. Fundraising began at the beginning of the year and was completed before the group left. This story and more can be found in UJ's "Alumni and Friends."
News around the PC(USA) and more
PMA Board elects executive  committee;
creates first non-white majority
Mission agency The Presbyterian Mission Agency Board (PMAB) met today via conference call to nominate and elect its new executive committee in addition to considering an appointment to the Presbyterian Investment and Loan Program (PILP). The board also received updates from the executive director search team and the Governance Task Force. For the first time in its history, the board's executive committee will have a non-white majority. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Gregg Brekke can be found at "PMA Board."
Way Forward Commission meets,
PCUSA Logo brainstorms, sets next steps
The Way Forward Commission of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) concluded its two-day meeting on the campus of McCormick Theological Seminary this week, brainstorming possible structural solutions for the denomination in anticipation of producing its midterm report. The final report of the commission will be presented to the 223rd General Assembly in St. Louis. Subgroups will continue to meet, including groups focusing on mid-council relations and engaging diverse voices, while other subgroups will be added to take on the topics of constitutional research and creation of a midyear report for the group. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Gregg Brekke can be found at "Way Forward."
PC(USA) co-moderators will
lead plenary session at Big Tent
PCUSA moderators The Revs. Denise Anderson and Jan Edmiston, co-moderators of the 222nd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), will present a plenary session tentatively titled "At the Cross: Intersections the Church Must Navigate" during this year's Big Tent. Their talk will be held at 4 p.m. Friday at the gathering on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis, July 6-8. To guide the church into this discussion, the co-moderators will introduce a study on the book, "Always With Us? What Jesus Really Said about the Poor," by Liz Theoharis. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Gregg Brekke can be found at "Navigating Intersections."
Eric Barreto Big Tent Bible-study leader:
'God loves our differences'
Eric D. Barreto, associate professor of New Testament at Princeton Theological Seminary, says, "God created our differences and God loves our differences." The native of Puerto Rico, who moved to the U.S. with his family at age 9, is presenting the Big Tent group Bible study on the campus of Washington University in St. Louis, Friday and Saturday, July 7-8. Using the event's theme of "Race, Reconciliation and Reformation" he'll focus on the New Testament book of Acts and what he sees as the God-given diversity of those called to be the church. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Gregg Brekke can be found at "Big Tent Bible Study."
All-agency review committee meets
in Denver; reviews reports, mission
The All Agency Review Committee of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) conducted its second face-to-face meeting May 1-2 at Central PCUSA Logo Presbyterian Church in Denver. Topics included a review of the 2010-16 General Assembly mandated agency reviews and more discernment of the scope of its work. Following an opening devotional, Deborah Block, committee moderator and teaching elder from Milwaukee, read a recent article that described how the board game Monopoly had dropped the boot, wheelbarrow and thimble from its collection of playing pieces, replacing them with the T-Rex, penguin and rubber duck. Saying "what do we need to let go of, and what do we need to replace it with," she asked committee members to consider what long-held and cherished things might need to be replaced in the PC(USA) in a similar, if not unsettling to many, way. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Gregg Brekke can be found at "Agencies Review."
Apprenticeships are vital part of 1001 program
"All church planting movements require an on-ramping process for new leadership," wrote Nick Warnes, pastor of Northland Village Church in 1001 Los Angeles, in New Church, New Way, the newsletter of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)'s 1001 New Worshiping Communities effort. " Over the past five years, the apprenticeship program has been a central framework for creating this ramp for 1001. Leaders from across America take part in either a 10-week or nine-month apprenticeship where discernment, training and innovation are all prioritized. The result has been dozens of highly trained leaders and new worshiping communities across America" Warnes' column, and the newsletter, can be found at "New Church New Way."
Just one more
Meet the Church Curmudgeon,
the grumpiest, funniest guy on Twitter
Mary Rezac, writing for the Catholic News Agency, produced a piece on "grumpiest, funniest guy of Twitter." He goes by Church Curmudgeon Twitter Logo Bird ((@ChrchCurmudgeon) note the missing "u" before you hunt his tweets). The tweets are funny: "First day of VBS, and I got 3 kids to rededicate themselves to staying off the lawn." And so is Rezac's story. She noted, "He hates the way things are done these days, and church sure ain't what it used to be. ... While the character himself is actually Southern Baptist, it turns out grumpy old men who complain about things in church are not just reserved to one denomination." We even have a couple, well, one ... oh well. You can find Rezac's piece at "Curmudgeon."