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In This Issue
News around the Synod of Lakes and Prairies
Conferences, camps, resources
News of the Board of Pensions
News around the PC(USA) and more
Just one more
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January 11, 2017

News around the Synod of Lakes and Prairies
North Central Iowa, Prospect Hill
join administrative offices
NCI PH Joint The joint newsletter of the presbyteries of Prospect Hill and North Central Iowa announced a merger of the administrative offices of the two presbyteries with the opening line, "Welcome to the first edition of the combined E-News ... " The newsletter noted, "The administrative offices of the two presbyteries have merged and new office is up and running." The Rev. Dr. S. Glenn Wilson will be the new stated clerk for the Presbytery of North Central Iowa, and the Rev. Richard Francis will be the stated clerk of the Presbytery of Prospect Hill. The combined office is located at the Lakeshore Center at Okoboji, a Presbyterian camp and conference center on Lake Okoboji near Milford, Iowa. The complete newsletter is at "Joint Office."
 
South Dakota Presbytery presents
Harmony Hurley story of growth in Hurley
Over the past six years worship attendance at Harmony Presbyterian Church in Hurley, S.D., has grown by 85 percent. The congregation has gone from no children's Christian education program to having three Sunday School classes. The story of the growth is highlighted in the January recent edition of New Song, the newsletter of the Presbytery of South Dakota. The newsletter can be found at "On a Crazy Ride."
Conferences, camps, resources
Keynoter at synod's Leadership Summit
to address bi-vocational ministry
SanDawna Ashley, right, assistant stated clerk and manager for call-process support for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), will address bi- SanDawna Ashley vocational ministry when she keynotes the Synod of Lakes and Prairies' Leadership Summit that opens Jan. 31. The Summit is a training event for presbytery leaders who work with congregations, pastors, ministry candidates and inquirers, and commissioned ruling elders. The Summit runs through Feb. 2 at Christ the King Retreat Center in Buffalo, Minn. The Summit brochure is at "The Call to Build." Online registration is available at "Leadership Summit."
 
Winter Pastors School planned
in February at Hastings College
Winter Pastors School The Rev. Dr. JC Austin, vice president for Christian leadership formation at Auburn Theological Seminary  in New York City, will be the featured speaker at the 2017 Winter Pastors School planned Feb. 6-9 at Hastings (Neb.) College. Austin works with faith leaders across the country through a range of programs and consultations to develop the personal resilience, entrepreneurial spirit and practical wisdom needed to lead social and congregational change. Winter Pastors School is sponsored by the Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation. Details are available at "Winter Pastors School."
 
Transitional ministry workshops
transitional ministry planned at Menucha
Transitional ministry training, both sessions one and two, are planned Feb. 13-16 at Menucha Retreat and Conference Center near Portland, Ore. The two sessions will take place simultaneously. Those who have completed the first session in the past are encouraged to register for the second session. Those making their first step toward transitional ministry should register for the first session. Facilitators are Scott Lumsden, Heidi Husted Armstrong and Eliana Maxim. Details are at "Transitional Ministry."
 
Lilly Endowment seeks applications
for its Clergy Renewal Program
The Lilly Endowment is seeking applications for the next round of its Clergy Renewal Program. The program is administered by the Center for Lilly Renewal grants Pastoral Excellence at Christian Theological Seminary of Indianapolis. Congregations can apply for grants of up to $50,000 to underwrite a renewal program for the church pastor and the pastor's family, with up to $15,000 for those funds available to the congregation to help cover costs for ministerial supply while the pastor is away. The application deadline is April 21. Details are at "Lilly Renewal Program." The Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) also offers Sabbath Sabbatical Support Grants to help pastors serving small congregations take sabbaticals that can strengthen a pastor's skills and renew their ministries. Details about those grants are available at "Sabbatical Support." The grant application is at "Applying."
 
Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation
accepts applications for Apollos Scholarships
The Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation is accepting applications Jan. 15 through April 17 for its Apollos Scholarships, a scholarship of up Apollos Scholarships to $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."
 
Professor, author, activist Drew Hart
Trouble I've Seen leads Winter Forum in Wisconsin
Drew G. I. Hart, a theology professor, author and activist, will lead the 2017 Winter Forum of the Wisconsin Council of Churches on Friday and Saturday, March 3-4, at Sun Prairie United Methodist Church in Sun Prairie, Wis. The forum runs Friday from 5:30 to 9 p.m., and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Hart, author of "Trouble I've Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism," places police brutality, mass incarceration, anti-black stereotypes, poverty and everyday acts of racism within the larger framework of white supremacy. He offers concrete practices for churches that seek solidarity with the oppressed and are committed to racial justice. The forum brochure is at "Trouble I've Seen."
 
NEXT Church scheduled in March;
Nishioka to speak
With the theme "Wells & Walls: Well-Being in a Thirsty World," the annual gathering for NEXT Church is planned March 13-15 in Kansas City, Mo. Keynote speakers are Dr. Rodger Nishioka, the Rev. Dr. Soong-Chan Rah and the Rev. Dr. Linda Mercadante. Conference details are available at "NEXT Church."
 
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."
 
Early-bird registration opens
for Summer Pastors School
Summer Pastors School It's not too early to think about summer -- at least when it comes to Summer Pastors School sponsored by Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation and held each summer at Hastings (Neb.) College. Summer Pastors School runs June 4-9 and early-bird registration is already open. Featured speakers at next summer's School are the Rev. Dr. Gary Neal Hansen, the Rev. Dr. Samuel Hamilton-Poore, and Dr. Anna Case-Winters. Dr. Marcia McFee will lead worship. Details, including biographical information on the speakers, can be found at "Summer Pastors School."
 
Registration opens for Compassion,
Peace, Justice Training Day
With an emotionally charged 2016 now ended, Presbyterian leaders are seeking new ways to address many of the issues that took center stage Justice in the previous year. Advocacy Training Weekend, which includes Compassion, Peace and Justice Training Day and Ecumenical Advocacy Days, is scheduled April 21-24 in Washington, D.C. The theme for this year's conference is "Confronting Chaos, Forging Community - Racism, Militarism and Materialism." The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Rick Jones can be found at "Training Day."
 
2017 Theological Conversations
will address gifts from Reformation
Michelle Bartel, coordinator of the theological education and seminary relations for the Presbyterian Mission Agency, noted Theological Grace Gratitude Conversations in 2017 will focus on the question: "As Presbyterians, what gifts from the Reformation do we have that we can bring forward in the next 500 years, for the sake of the church and the world?" Theological Conversations, created online to provide space for conversation accessible to all church members, offer essays and discussion guides for free. Bartel's note can be found in the current edition of Grace and Gratitude, a newsletter of the office of Theology, Formation and Evangelism, at "Conversations."
 
Stewardship Kaleidoscope
planned in September in Florida
Stewardship Kaleidoscope Logo Stewardship Kaleidoscope 2017, the annual conference offering speakers and informative workshops around the subject of stewardship, is planned Sept. 25-27 in St. Pete Beach, Fla. The gathering plans to ignite generosity among Presbyterians, offer practical tools for cultivating generosity in congregations, expand the leadership capacity of those who lead stewardship initiatives, and cultivate adaptive approaches for funding Christ's mission. Details are at "Stewardship Kaleidoscope.
News of the Board of Pensions
January Board Connections notes
Board Connections 300 years of service
The Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) noted, in its January issue of Board Connections, it is entering a "new era ready to serve more, serve better, and serve the Church." The Board noted, "We feel great honor, as we are charged with continuing the mission begun 300 years ago by Presbyterians in American colonies who started the Fund for Pious Uses to care for pastors and their widows and children." The complete Board Connections newsletter can be found at "New Era."
News around the PC(USA) and more
Moving ordination exams online saves dollars
Passing the standard ordination exams is a major milestone for candidates seeking to become teaching elders (ministers) in the Ordination Exams Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Until recently, the exam system depended on a cumbersome process involving mountains of paper, hefty fees, travel to test sites, and waits of several months for results. Today, a streamlined online exam system, now in its fifth year, is saving candidates time and money and has already eliminated more than $1 million in expenses for the denomination. The complete story from the Office of the General Assembly can be found at "Ordination Exams Online."
 
PC(USA) daily prayer app provides
pathway to ancient practices
What if a smartphone could breathe new life into time-honored spiritual disciplines and age-old practices, such as making New Year's resolutions? According to recent statistics compiled by the Presbyterian Mission Agency's Theology, Formation and Evangelism ministry area, not only can it revitalize such practices, but for over 10,000 users of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)'s daily prayer app, it already has. Since the PC(USA) launched its first smartphone application four years ago, it has dramatically altered the contemporary landscape of doing daily devotions. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Emily Enders Odom can be found at "Prayer App."
 
Early NASA mathematician is longtime Presbyterian
"Hidden Figures" - the movie about a group of brilliant female African-American mathematicians that aided NASA during the space race -- took Hidden Figures the second spot at the box office in its first weekend of wide release, narrowly bested by "Star Wars: Rogue One." The movie features the story of Katherine G. Johnson, a longtime Presbyterian and 2015 Presidential Medal of Freedom awardee. Based on the non-fiction book of the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly, the film tells the true story of Johnson and her colleagues, Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughan, who worked as "human computers" with the burgeoning space program of the late 1950s and early 1960s. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Gregg Brekke can be found at "Hidden Figures."
 
Way Forward Commission establishes
PCUSA Logo process for engagement
The General Assembly Way Forward Commission of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has released its process for receiving initial communications and suggestions from any interested PC(USA) groups or individuals. The online form is designed to assist the commission in identifying areas for continued discernment about the ministries and structure of the national denomination. Recognizing the timeframe and scope of its work, the commission has set Feb. 28 as a deadline for submissions. The complete announcement from the Office of the General Assembly is at "Way Forward."
 
Presbyterian representation
drops slightly in 115th Congress
A recently released report from the Pew Research Center for Religion & Public Life shows the composition of the 115th U.S. Congress is losing Congress PCUSA members from historically mainline Protestant groups in favor of modest gains by evangelicals, Catholics and representatives from other faith traditions. While the difference is small, especially for Presbyterians who lost only one member as compared to the 114th Congress -- from 36 to 35 members -- the overall proportion of mainline Protestant representation dropped from 28.7 to 27 percent in the new Congress. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Gregg Brekke can be found at "Declining Proportion."
Just one more
A new thought. 'Getting Resourced: Humor'
Tuskawilla Presbyterian Church in Oveido, Fla., drew your editor's attention this week -- in part because your editor was seeking something Tuskawilla of interest for this spot in the newsletter. After finding a video about lighting candles -- something we could have used during Advent -- and noting a post about a Trump reference in a '50s western, we were stuck. But then there was Tuskawilla with a page on its website titled "Getting Resourced: Humor." And now it's 11:30 a.m. Where has the morning gone? It's at "Getting Resourced."