In This Issue
News around the Synod of Lakes and Prairies
Conferences, camps, resources
News of colleges, universities, seminaries
News around the PC(USA) and more
Just one more
Quick Links
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November 22, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving prayers from the Synod of Lakes and Prairies -- We're thankful for all of you
News around the Synod of Lakes and Prairies
Water protectors at Standing Rock
Standing Rock flags prepare for winter
While the setting sun cast long shadows over the land, residents of the Sacred Stone Camp gathered near a community campfire as volunteers nearby prepared the evening meal. Children and a handful of dogs welcomed the night as if it were day, running and playing, oblivious to the changing weather and the cause that brought so many to the Missouri River in Cannon Ball, North Dakota. ... Within a few days, winter weather is expected to give those living in the camps a hint of what is in store for the weeks and months to come. A delegation of Native American Presbyterian faith leaders and supporters visited the camps just as the weather was beginning to turn. It was the first visit to Standing Rock for the Rev. Mark Koenig, coordinator for leadership development, racial justice, and network support with the Presbyterian Mission Agency; the Rev. Irvin Porter, associate in the Office of Native American Intercultural Congregational Support; the Rev. Buddy Monahan, pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Odessa, Texas; Ruling Elder Elona Street-Stewart, synod executive for the Synod of Lakes and Prairies; and the Rev. David Street-Stewart of St.Paul. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Rick Jones can be found at "Winter is Coming."
Synod collects funds to support Standing Rock
Among the action activities highlighted in the statement from the Presbyterian Mission Agency is the effort of the Synod of Lakes and Synod Logo Prairies to collect funds to support the water protectors of Standing Rock. The statement notes that "financial support to the water protectors" can be made "through the Synod of Lakes and Prairies" at Synod of Lakes and Prairies, 2115 Cliff Drive, Eagan, MN 55122. Checks should be made payable to the synod, noting "Dakota Access Pipeline Account #2087." The synod will send a confirmation to the donor, noting the funds were received and follow-up with information about where the funds were distributed.
Lisa Larges ordained as teaching elder
culminating 30 years as candidate
Amidst a trilling of trumpets, a shower of stoles, and a grateful congregation's affirming applause -- interposed with the shedding of more than a few tears  -- Lisa Larges, a candidate for the ministry of Larges ordination Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) since 1986, was ordained Oct. 30 as a teaching elder at Lake Nokomis Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis. Larges, who received her M.Div. with honors from San Francisco Theological Seminary in 1989, where she was also a recipient of its preaching prize, has been called to serve the small, suburban congregation as its associate pastor for congregational care. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Emily Odom can be found at "Ordination." (In the photo above, Lisa Larges (center) offers charge and blessing at the conclusion of her ordination service. With her are Kara Root, left, and Mardee Rightmyer.)
Conferences, camps, resources
Keynoter at synod's Leadership Summit
to address bi-vocational ministry
SanDawna Ashley SanDawna Ashley, right, assistant stated clerk and manager for call-process support for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), will address bi-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."
Board of Pensions offers opportunity
Board of Pensions logo for sabbatical support
The Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) offers Sabbath Sabbatical Support Grants to help pastors serving small congregations take sabbaticals that can strengthen a pastor's skills and renew their ministries. The Board of Pensions website notes, "Sabbaticals can help alleviate burnout; they allow pastors to enhance their spiritual lives, strengthen their skills, and renew their ministries. But most pastors taking sabbaticals serve larger congregations with significant financial resources and staff; small congregations often lack the funds or staff to support sabbaticals." The program provides up to 110 grants per year of up to $3,000 each to pastors of small churches who submit a plan for their sabbaticals to their mid council and the Board of Pensions for approval. Details of the program at at "Sabbatical Support." The grant application is at "Applying." Ministers seeking sabbatical support might also want to consider the Lilly Endowment National Clergy Renewal Program. The deadline is April 21 for the next round of grants in that program. Details are at "Clergy Renewal."
Regarding Ruling Elders: After session service
Steve Lindsley, senior minister of Trinity Presbyterian Church of Charlotte, N.C., and advisory team member for NEXT Church, wrote the current installment of Regarding Ruling Elders, a resource of the Office of  the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Lindsley wrote, "The congregation I serve has a lot of ruling elders, and at no time is this more evident than on ordination and installation Sunday. ... The old adage is true: once an elder, always an elder. Their collective voice matters as we move forward in ministry. There are three specific ways that our congregation taps into their collective history and knowledge, and reinforces the truism that they remain important leaders of our church long after completing their term(s) on session." Lindsley's complete column can be found at "After Session Service."
Retired Twin Cities minister's book
scheduled for January release
Gordon Stewart Gordon Stewart, right, describes his book, "Be Still! Departure from Collective Madness," a collection of previously published and unpublished essays, as "snap shots of the world seen through a different lens." The book is scheduled for release by Wipf & Stock publishers in January. Stewart, a retired Presbyterian minister from Chaska, Minn., whose voice is familiar to the audience of Minnesota Public Radio's "All Things Considered," writes at his blog, "Views from the Edge." Renowned Presbyterian scholar, author and public theologian Walter Brueggemann wrote of the upcoming book, "But the many words [Stewart] quotes are no more than launching pads for Stewart's expansive imagination and agile mind that take us, over and over, into fresh discernment, new territory, unanticipated demands, and open-ended opportunity."
Spiritual educator writes about impact of labyrinth
Martha Rockenstein, right, a spiritual educator and director, whose passion, she wrote, is "to hold space and time for people as they journey toward greater spiritual, emotional and physical wholeness," wrote a column recently on labyrinths as paths to peace and transformation. Rockenstein, who makes her home in the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area, noted, "My experiences and passion for labyrinths was birthed during my time at seminary where I discovered the seminary's labyrinth. I knew nothing about labyrinths but walked it anyway and found it to be a life-giving encounter with the Holy." Rockenstein's complete column can be found at "Labyrinths."
Disciple-making church conference
set Jan. 16-19 at St. Pete Beach
Evangelism Carrying the theme, "Abide in Me ... A Spiritual Purging," the Disciple-Making Church Conference of the Presbyterian Mission Agency takes place Jan. 16-19 at St. Pete Beach, Fla. The conference will explore the spiritual concepts of St. Ignatius: interior freedom, disordered attachments, and spiritual indifference. Conference details are at "Abide in Me."
APCE's Annual Event set in January
APCE The 2017 annual event of the Association of Presbyterian Church Educators promises to be a time of grounding, a place of renewal and rest, and a refuge of peace. The event runs Jan. 25-28 at the Denver Marriott Tech Center. Speakers include the Rev. Nadia Bolz-Weber, the unconventional Lutheran minister and author of "Pastrix: the Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner and Saint." Details, along with links to registration information, can be found at "Annual APCE Event."
Presbyterian Association of Musicians
set to gather Jan. 19-21 in Texas
Presbyterian Musicians The Presbyterian Association of Musicians have planned their winter 2017 gathering Jan. 19-21 at University Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas. The gathering will offer opportunities for professional renewal, a chance to recharge batteries after the Christmas rush, and a hymn festival led by Eric Wall. Details can be found at "Musicians Gathering."
Winter Pastors School planned
in February in Nebraska
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."
NEXT Church planned March 13-15 in Kansas City
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."
Presbyterian Mission Agency
says 'save the date' for Big Tent
Big Tent The Presbyterian Mission Agency is asking Presbyterians to save the date for Big Tent next summer. It's planned July 6-8.  Big Tent features a variety of workshops and speakers -- all designed to inspire, equip and connect Presbyterians with their faith and faith communities. Next summer's event will take place at Washington University. Details will be updated at "Big Tent."
News of colleges, universities, seminaries
UDTS accepts applicants
for 2017 ministry doctoral cohort
The University of Dubuque Theological Seminary's 2017 doctor of ministry cohort is accepting applications. Titled "Leadership in a UDTSLogo Changing Context: Discerning Context, Cultivating Community, Joining God," the cohort "will go on a journey of discerning the unique character of our emerging context, learn what kind of faithful leadership it requires and develop the critical spiritual and missional practices that equip us to join God's mission in the midst of our communities and neighborhoods," according to the seminary's website. The cohort will be led by Christopher B. James, assistant professor of evangelism and missional Christianity at the seminary, and Alan J. Roxburgh, founder and consultant at The Missional Network. Applications will be accepted through the winter and the cohort will meet in May. Details are at "Doctoral Cohort."
News around the PC(USA) and more
Mid council leaders challenged to embrace change
Leaders of Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) presbyteries and synods took a long hard look at white privilege in their denomination during a series of 
OGA symbol plenary sessions at the 2016 Polity Conference. And most did not like what they saw. An ordination system biased toward people who "act and talk Presbyterian," who are trained primarily to be pastors of white congregations; meetings that are always conducted in English; a compensation system that results in congregations only getting the pastors they can afford; worship and decision-making practices that glorify the written word; use of the term "racial ethnic" as if whiteness is the norm. The complete story by Eva Stimson, reporting for the Office of the General Assembly, can be found at "Mid Councils Challenged."
Polity Conference workshops address
racial violence, departing churches
PCUSA Logo The panel discussion was titled "Church Departures-After the Dust Settles." It was one of several dozen workshops offered at the 2016 Polity Conference of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). But the panelists -- presbytery executives from six presbyteries -- told listeners that they in fact are still waiting for the dust to settle. Some are still in litigation with departing congregations. Most are just beginning to ask, "How do we relate to each other now? How do we move forward?" The complete story by Eva Stimson, reporting for the Office of the General Assembly, can be found at "Polity Workshops."
PC(USA) faith leaders join Standing
Rock gathering; offer apology, support
More than 20 representatives from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) joined a 500-person-strong gathering of interfaith clergy and lay leaders at the Oceti Sakowin prayer camp recently near Cannon Ball, N.D., adding voices of solidarity to self-described "water protectors" at the site and taking part in a ceremony repudiating the Doctrine of Discovery. Members of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation and supporters have gathered at the site since April, hoping to stop construction of the 1,170-mile pipeline scheduled to move crude oil from the Bakken oil fields in western North Dakota to refinery facilities in Illinois. At dispute are environmental dangers associated with oil spills from the line that is scheduled to be placed under the Missouri River and the desecration of sacred sites. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Gregg Brekke is at "Joining Standing Rock."
2 PC(USA) protestors arrested
at North Dakota capitol
Following an interfaith solidarity gathering of more than 500 clergy and lay people at the Oceti Sakowin camp on the northern border of the Standing Rock Sioux Nation near Cannon Ball, N.D., last week, a group of approximately 70 faith leaders and "water protector" activists traveled to Bismarck to stage a sit in at the Capitol building's judicial wing. Capitol police arrested 14 protestors inside, closed the wing and directed the others out of the building at 4:30 p.m. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Gregg Brekke can be found at "Protestors Arrested."
J Herbert Nelson PC(USA) stated clerk issues
statement following election
J. Herbert Nelson II, stated clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) issued a statement in response to the violence that followed the election of Donald Trump as President-Elect of the United States. Nelson wrote, " I read several post-election statements and heard news accounts of violence, riots, and protests while in Central America visiting ... mission partners. The news images were shocking to both our partners and me. We struggled to understand the results of the election, particularly given Mr. Trump's stance on immigration, which was the theme of my visit. However, I was not as startled as my Central American friends." Nelson's complete statement can be found at "Incivility."
Just one more
Humor from a presbytery
Your editor discovered this week that the Presbytery of Northumberland -- yes, a mid council of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) -- has a page on its website dedicated to humor. And, yes, that discovery delighted your editor -- particularly because your editor reached the age of early retirement, 62, earlier this week. For example, there's this: "It's scary when you start making the same noises as your coffeemaker." And this, too: "These days about half the stuff in my shopping cart says, 'For fast relief.'" You can find it all at "Northumberland Presbytery."