In This Issue
Please note ...
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
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February 28, 2017

Please note ...
As this issue of Keeping in Touch went to press (yes, that's a newspaper line), Constant Contact, the vendor of our electronic newsletter service, was informing us that images were not loading from its library -- or not loading at all. We regret that some images may not load properly or at all.
News around the Synod of Lakes and Prairies
Synod School registration opens March 1
Yes, the catalog for Synod School 2017 is posted online -- and online registration is available this year (but not until March 1). The catalog, and even more material, are posted at "Synod School." J. Herbert Nelson, stated clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), will be 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 for the midsummer event. Beyond those two items are the 70 classes listed in the catalog. Synod School runs July 23-28 at Buena Vista University, Storm Lake, Iowa. Details, including everything necessary for registration, can be found at "Synod School."
Synod's SDOP Committee grants
2 awards totaling $45,000
The Self-Development of People Committee of the Synod of Lakes and Prairies granted two awards this winter, approving a $25,000 grant to SDOP the Kurdish Voter Registration Project and a $20,000 grant to the Tenant Coalition Training of Fargo-Moorhead proposal. The voter-registration project is a program of the Kurdish Community of America and is an effort to provide education regarding voter registration, community political action and election processes. The grant to Tenant Coalition supports education regarding property management and business development, community organizing and credit report processes for new immigrant entrepreneurs. Information about the synod's SDOP program can be found at "SDOP."
Hillcrest raises more than $127,000
through Reflections in the Park
Hillcrest Family Services, a family service organization headquartered in Dubuque, Iowa, announced this month that its 22nd annual "Reflections in the Park" produced a net profit of $127,275. Hillcrest, which is in Hillcrest Services Logo covenant with the Synod of Lakes and Prairies, reported 41,000 visitors to the lighted displays that run from November through early January in Dubuque's Louis Murphy Park. Darlene Bolsinger, coordinator of the Reflections event, wrote, "Achieving this outstanding outcome is attributed to many things, but most of all to ... our amazing sponsors and volunteers and the people who supported us by visiting."
Mileage rates listed for 2017
The reimbursement rates for miles driven in a personal vehicle were announced earlier for 2017. The standard business travel rate is 53.5 cents per mile, down from 54 cents in 2016. The medical or moving rate is now 17 cents per mile, down from 19 cents in 2016, and the rate for personal mileage for charitable organization remains at 14 cents per mile.
Conferences, camps, resources
Camp Wyoming plans to go Live
on Facebook in March, April
Camp Wyoming Iowa Camp Wyoming, a Presbyterian camp in Jones County, Iowa, plans to make use of Facebook's Live feature this spring, March 5 and April 9, at 7 p.m. According to the announcement, "They will talk a little bit about the camp and also answer questions." Parents or campers will be able to submit questions that will be answered in real time. The complete announcement is at "Facebook Live."

East Iowa sponsors Christian Education

Summit in March in Cedar Rapids

East Iowa Out About The Presbytery of East Iowa is calling all Christian educators, pastors, Christian education committee members, volunteers and youth workers to a Christian Education Summit March 10-11 at Echo Hill Presbyterian Church in Cedar Rapids. The summit will feature workshops, exhibits and curriculum samples. Stephanie Caro, author of "Thriving Youth Ministry in Smaller Churches," and "Small(er) Church Ministry: No Staff, No Money, No Problem," will be the keynote speaker. Summit details and registration information are at "Christian Education Summit."


Omaha Seminary Foundation
accepts Apollos applications 
The Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation is accepting applications through April 17 for its Apollos Scholarships, a scholarship of up to Apollos Scholarships $3,000 per semester for gifted students attending one of the 10 affiliated seminaries of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Eligible students are those who are members of a PC(USA) congregation, under care of a presbytery as an inquirer or candidate, enrolled full time in a Master of Divinity degree program, and possess the qualities for excellence in ministry. Details are at "Apollos."
WJK launches first book in new children's program
Westminster John Knox Press will release the first in a brand new line of children's books this May. "Who Counts? 100 Sheep, 10 Coins, and 2 Sons" by Amy-Jill Levine and Sandy Eisenberg Sasso is a creative retelling of three popular Jesus parables: the lost sheep, the lost coin and the prodigal son. Written for children ages 4 to 8, the book features colorful artwork from illustrator Margaux Meganck with ethnically diverse, modern-day characters. The complete announcement can be found at "Telling Parables."
church growth conference, Church Growth Leadership
Summit planned in Lincoln
The 2017 Church Growth Leadership Summit, offering practical strategies to help churches grow, is planned Monday and Tuesday, April 24-25, at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Lincoln, Neb. A diverse group of successful church leaders, including Susan Forshey, Ross Thompson and Richard Brown, will share a variety of growth strategies. The Summit is sponsored by The Grow Project, in partnership with Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation, Synod of Lakes and Prairies, and the presbyteries of Central Nebraska, Missouri River Valley and Homestead. Details can be found at "Growth Summit."
Great Plains Wee Kirk Conference
takes place in May at Calvin Crest
calvin crest camp The Great Plains Wee Kirk Conference is planned May 1-3 at Calvin Crest Camp, Conference and Retreat Center near Fremont, Neb. The theme of this year's conference is "Overflowing with Hope" and the plenary speaker will be the Rev. Eunice "Junior" McGarrahan, a minister, author and speaker. Conference details can be found at "Wee Kirk."
News of colleges, universities and seminaries
Carroll University president pick
withdraws her acceptance of post
In a highly unusual move, the candidate chosen in November to become Carroll University's first woman president has withdrawn her acceptance of the job, prompting the university to relaunch its search four Sara Ray Stoelinga months before the current president is to retire. Sara Ray Stoelinga announced her decision in a letter to the university's board of trustees, saying it was the result of "deep reflection and deliberation," and "in no way reflects negatively" on the university. Carroll University, located in Waukesha, Wis., is in covenant with the Synod of Lakes and Prairies, and is one of seven Presbyterian-related institutions of higher education in the synod. The complete Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story by Karen Herzog can be found at "Withdrawn Acceptance."
University of Dubuque receives largest
University of Dubuque single estate commitment
University of Dubuque President Jeffrey F. Bullock announced today a $60 million investment in students -- the largest single estate commitment in UD's 164-year history. The investment, an estate gift from the late trustee Edward A. Babka and his spouse, Shirley, will be allocated to the university's endowment and will support the Ed and Shirley Babka Scholarship Fund. The University of Dubuque, in covenant with the Synod of Lakes and Prairies, is one of seven Presbyterian-related institutions of higher education in the synod. The complete story is at "Largest Commitment."
News from the Board of Pensions
Board of Pensions sets session near Chicago
on understanding employee benefits
Board of Pensions The Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is planning a one-day seminar May 9 at Yorkfield Presbyterian Church in Elmhurst, Ill., to give church leaders the opportunity to learn about the theological values that shape the benefits plan, ask questions during a Q-and-A with Board of Pensions leadership and staff, and enjoy fellowship with other benefit decision-makers. Details about the event can be found at "Understanding Benefits Plan."
News around the PC(USA) and more
Ash Wednesday Facebook Live
event introduces season of Lent
As another Lenten season begins for Christians in the United States and across the globe, the Office of Theology and Worship of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will offer helpful insights into the history of Ash Wednesday as well as reflections on its contemporary relevance and practice for Presbyterians through a variety of resources. On Ash Wednesday, March 1, at 2 p.m. CST the Rev. Dr. Charles Wiley III, coordinator for Theology and Worship, will be live on the PC(USA) Facebook page to speak briefly about the Christian festival from a Reformed perspective and to explore a variety of spiritual practices appropriate for the Lenten season. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Emily Enders Odom can be found at "Going Live."
Presbyterians for Earth Care
issues call to action on DAPL
Presbyterians for Earth Care (PEC) has issued a call to action, urging people of faith to stand against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. In its statement, PEC says the pipeline desecrates God's creation and poses significant threats on the Standing Rock Reservation. "Leakage from the DAPL can pollute not only the drinking water of the Standing Rock Tribe, but also the drinking water of millions along the Missouri River south of the pipeline," the PEC statement reads. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Rick Jones can be found at "No DAPL."
Presbyterian Ministry at the UN prepares
for Commission on Status of Women
The 61st session of the Commission on the Status of Women will soon begin at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The Commission will meet March 13-24 and the Presbyterian Ministry to the United Nations will once again be host to a group of Presbyterians interested in its the work. "The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will bring a delegation to the Commission as we have in years past," said Ryan Smith, ministry director and representative to the UN. "Our delegation will work with communities with whom we partner such as Ecumenical Women and Faith and Feminism." The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Rick Jones can be found at "Status of Women."
'Hidden Figures' heroine honored at Oscars
Although "Hidden Figures," the film about three female African-American mathematicians who were integral to the early days of NASA's space program, didn't take home any trophies at the Oscars, the Academy honored the film's main character, Katherine Johnson, during the presentation for best documentary by Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monae and Octavia Spencer, the lead actors in the film. Johnson, the 98-year-old longtime Presbyterian, received a standing ovation as she was wheeled onto the stage by NASA astronaut Yvonne Cagle. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Gregg Brekke can be found at "Being Honored."
Just one more
The art of humor: Finding humor's place
Your editor came across a couple items this week relating to humor. (Yes, but what did you expect.) Your editor takes some good-natured (well, he hopes it is) comments about his fascination with humor and comics. But really, there was a post at SermonCentral about using humor in sermons (not that your editor preaches often). And then, of course, your editor found these "Jokes for Sermons."