|News around the Synod of Lakes and Prairies
'One Church, One Book' aims
to start discussion about race
It's been called "one of the most important books on race in recent memory." And now the Revs. Denise Anderson and Jan Edmiston, co-moderators of the 222nd General Assembly, are urging Presbyterians via their "One Church, One Book" project to read and discuss "Waking Up White" by Debby Irving. The book has been distributed to commissioners of the Synod of Lakes and Prairies, and commissioners have been asked to read the book before this spring's synod meeting, coming up April 30-May 2. In the book Irving tells how she stumbled into troubling and even shocking revelations about racial inequities after what she describes as "a blissfully sheltered, upper-middle-class suburban childhood." The complete story, written by Eva Stimson for the Office of the General Assembly, can be found at "Waking Up White."
Delayed MLK event in Shawano
addresses environmental justice
The annual celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day hosted by First Presbyterian Church in Shawano, Wis., rescheduled due to an ice storm, took on added significance with its focus on protecting the environment. Guest speakers from the Menominee Tribe linked the civil rights struggle of the King era to Native American efforts to stop the Back 40 Mine proposed for the mouth of the Menominee River and the Dakota Access Pipeline that would cross the Missouri River near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota. First Presbyterian's 14th annual Martin Luther King event took place on the same day that President Donald Trump issued an executive order giving a green-light to DAPL, as well as the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. The complete story from the Shawano Leader by Tim Ryan can be found at "Environmental Justice." (In the photo above, the Rev. Susan Phillips, pastor of First Presbyterian in Shawano, welcomes visitors to the Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration.) (Photo by Tim Ryan.)
|Conferences, camps, resources
Professor, author, activist Drew Hart
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 "Church and Racism."
East Iowa sponsors Christian Education
Summit in March in Cedar Rapids
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."
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."
Registration opens for Compassion,
Peace, Justice Training
With an emotionally charged 2016 now ended, Presbyterian leaders are seeking new ways to address many of the issues that took center stage 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."
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 early May at Calvin Crest
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."
Early-bird registration opens
for 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."
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 $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."
Ruling Elders: Ministry
of the Lord's Supper
Jane Rogers Vann, emerita Rowe Professor of Christian Education at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, Va., wrote the current installment of Ruling Elders, a resource of the Office of the General Assembly. She noted, "Margaret's sitting room is bright and cheerful, and there is the fragrance of fresh muffins in the air. Julia (Margaret's daughter, a deacon not presently serving) and I have just come from church where we have celebrated the Lord's Supper. In a small basket I am carrying broken bread and a small bottle of wine (or juice) that have been taken from the Lord's Table during worship. Soon we will extend the Lord's Table with Margaret. The complete column is at "Ruling Elders."
Deadlines come, go for PC(USA)'s YAV program
Deadlines are coming and going for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)'s Young Adult Volunteer program. The Young Adult Volunteer program is a one year service opportunity for young adults from 19 to 30 years. YAVs live in intentional Christian community, serving alongside partners in sites across the United States and around the world. YAVs serve for one academic year, August through July, as they explore God's call. Volunteers are placed in community agencies or local churches, with jobs depending on the needs of partners and the skills of the volunteer. Details are at "YAV."
Healthy congregations is subject of retreat
planned this summer near Chicago
Working toward a healthy congregation is at the heart of a retreat July 31-Aug. 3 at Techny Towers and Retreat Center in Techny, Ill. The fifth annual Habits of the Heart summer retreat, titled "Making Our Home with the Other," will feature an interactive learning experience with author Parker J. Palmer and singer-songwriter Carrie Newcomer. Details are at "Making Our Home with the Other."
Jinishian Memorial Program plans
pilgrimage tour to Armenia in the fall
The Jinishian Memorial Program of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is inviting Presbyterians to visit Armenia this fall in its "Discover Armenia Pilgrimage Tour." The tour focuses on culture, outreach and faith, according to the program's website. Eliza Minasyan, at right, executive director of the Jinishian Memorial Program, noted, "
A visit to Armenia will change your world. There is no substitute for the deep connection, inspiration and commitment people feel once they make this journey." Details are at "Visiting Armenia."
|News around the PC(USA) and more
PC(USA) stated clerk opposes order
banning refugees' entry
The Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson II, stated clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), issued a statement Jan. 28 opposing President Trump's executive action that has led to the detention of qualified refugees at U.S. airports and the refusal to board refugees headed to the United States from foreign airports. "I urge the president and his administration to reverse this very harmful decision regarding refugees," he said. "Presbyterians are not afraid of this so-called terror threat. We are not afraid because we profess a faith in Jesus, who entered the world a refugee." The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Gregg Brekke, including Nelson's entire statement, can be found at "Opposition."
Church called to "radical discipleship'
in wake of 'in face of empire'
Early Christians spread the gospel in the shadow of the Roman empire -- and Christians today are called to meet a resurgence of fascism and racism with something more powerful: the good news of God's love. This was the message leaders of the World Council of Churches' Commission on World Mission and Evangelism brought Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) ecumenical and world mission staff at the Presbyterian Center in Louisville on Jan. 19. "Perhaps we are living in a time of many King Herods," said the Rev. Dr. Jooseop Keum, director of the commission and a minister in the Presbyterian Church of Korea. The complete story, written by Eva Stimson for the Office of the General Assembly, can be found at "Radical Discipleship."
Presbyterians for Just Immigration
offers 2 petitions to support refugees
Presbyterians for Just Immigration has published links to two petitions to support refugees, according to an announcement issued on behalf of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)'s Office of the General Assembly. One petition, "Faith Leader Petition in Support of Refugees," was written by members of the Interfaith Immigration Coalition. The other petition, "Community-wide Petition in Support of Refugees," was prepared by Ryan Mace of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. The text of the first petition is at "Faith Leader Petition" and names can be added at "Supporting." The second petition can be read and signed at "Community Petition." The petitions were prepared in response to Trump Administration actions regarding refugee resettlement.
Southern states begin cleanup following tornadoes
Residents along the deep south and Gulf Coast have begun to dig out from the damage left behind following a recent outbreak of tornadoes. From Jan. 21 through 23, as many as 29 tornadoes swept across six states, leaving as many as 20 people dead, hundreds of homes and businesses destroyed and scattered power outages. Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is already responding. "The people in this community have been through this before so the first response was 'oh no, not again,'" said the Rev. Mike Anderson, interim pastor at the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Hattiesburg, Miss. "The loss of life is forefront on everyone's minds and there are still some areas without power." The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Rick Jones can be found at "Tornadoes."
APCE audience urged to find God in the chaos
More than 600 church educators gathered in Denver, Colo., last week at the Association of Presbyterian Church Educators annual event to discuss the latest trends in Christian education and learn about best practices that address the diverse needs needs in the church. Playing off the 2017 event theme of "God With Us in the Chaos" based on Psalm 46, the Rev. Denise Anderson, co-moderator of the 222nd General Assembly, reminded attendees, "Even in the chaos, even when we can't make sense of anything we're looking at -- God is still with us. And all we need to do is be still, not be idle, not be stiff, not be immobile. No, be still, and know that God is God -- in our marching, in our teaching. In everything that we do, we can still be still." The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Gregg Brekke can be found at "In the Chaos."
PC(USA) signs on to climate, justice letter
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), via its Office of Public Witness, has joined 30 other faith communities endorsing a letter sent to then President-elect Donald Trump urging him and his administration to prioritize issues of climate change, the environment and justice. Saying the group believes "the United States can and must play a leadership role in addressing these environmental challenges which threaten our planet, our security, the health of our families, and the fate of communities throughout the world," the letter asked the new administration to work across party lines to "safeguard God's creation, address the impacts of climate change on our most vulnerable brothers and sisters." The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Gregg Brekke can be found at "Climate and Justice."
New York Presbyterian pastors
meet with President Trump
Pastors from two Presbyterian churches in the New York metro area met with then President-elect Donald J. Trump in Trump Tower days before he was inaugurated, praying with him and raising justice issues they wanted to see addressed in the new administration. In a letter released Jan. 18, the Rev. Scott Black Johnston, pastor of Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, and the Rev. Patrick O'Connor, pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica, Queens, said they were able to spend 20 minutes with Trump. Both churches have historic ties to the Trump family. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Gregg Brekke, including links to other the letter and a prayer, can be found at "Visiting Trump."
Presbyterians Today: Looking
at Presbyterians by generation
Does coming of age in a particular era decisively shape people's values, habits and personalities? Yes, say some analysts. They argue, for example, that the "Greatest Generation" -- Americans who grew up during the Great Depression, World War II and the Korean War -- is known for being loyal, hardworking and disciplined. Other generations have been influenced by times of economic affluence, stock market crashes and wars. Generational characteristics influence religious and political differences. The complete story by Perry Chang that appeared in Presbyterians Today magazine can be found at "My Generation."
|Just one more
From Coventry: A hospitality message
that perhaps shouldn't be so unique
There's been a story floating around on social media -- yes, your editor spends time there -- about a welcome message at Coventry Cathedral in England. Your editor first saw it in a copy of a Presbyterian newsletter. Then, your editor thought it was too good to be true -- you know, a don't-believe-everything-type thing. After all, it had some lines like these: "We welcome those who are in recovery or still addicted. We welcome you if you're having problems, are down in the dumps or don't like organized religion." But, there was this story from National Public Radio's Weekend Edition Jan. 15 -- "English Cathedral Welcomes Visitors" -- and this one from the Coventry Telegraph newspaper -- "Cathedral Welcome Sign." Maybe it shouldn't be so unique.