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

December 26, 2017

News around the Synod of Lakes and Prairies
Synod elects Jim Koon
as its director of financial services
Jim Koon The Synod of Lakes and Prairies completed its search process for a new director of financial services and voted Monday, Dec. 18, to hire Jim Koon, its treasurer and acting director of financial services, to fill the full-time position.
The synod followed the recommendation of its search committee, voting to hire Koon, who had assumed the operations function of the synod's financial office on Nov. 1. He has been serving as the synod's treasurer since Jan. 1.
At the synod, Koon can be reached by sending e-mail to or calling his direct line at 651.357.1144 or 651.357.1140, extension 201.
The complete story can be found at "Jim Koon Selected."
Synod contributes to successful
fund-raiser of Houses of Hospitality
Houses of hospitality Twin Cities Houses of Hospitality, which provides living spaces at below-market rates and program support for young adults in service-based leadership programs and internships with organizations that serve under privileged groups, will benefit from its fund-raiser this month and a matching grant from the Synod of Lakes and Prairies. Houses of Hospitality raised $9,215.41 through its "Holiday Folly" event. That dollar amount will be matched by a synod grant in the same amount for a total of $18,430.82. The complete announcement can be found at "Houses of Hospitality."
PC(USA) stated clerk
honors Lukens on retirement
Michael Lukens General Assembly Stated Clerk J. Herbert Nelson II was among many who offered tribute to the Rev. Michael Lukens at a retirement party in his honor. Lukens is concluding his service as stated clerk of the Presbytery of Winnebago after forty-eight years in the post. His retirement is official December 31. "Your connection to an era of the United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America during a time when William P. Thompson served as Stated Clerk of the denomination is both iconic and legendary," Nelson told Lukens on the eve of the Dec. 2 celebration at Heritage Hill State Park in Green Bay, Wisconsin, referring to Lukens' lengthy and probably record-breaking tenure. The complete announcement from the Office of the General Assembly can be found at "Lukens Retires."
Conferences, camps, resources
Regarding ruling elders:
The gift of the present
The Rev. Dr. Diana Nishita Cheifetz, a spiritual director serving lay leaders and clergy in the San Francisco Bay area, the United States, and internationally, writes, "Every Christmas day of my growing-up  New Ruling Elders years was spent at my grandparents' house in San Juan Bautista, California. Imagine 30 or so relatives laughing, eating, joking and hugging in a little two-bedroom, wood-frame home. The kids rambled from the living room, with its stately, boxy television, to the dining area, to the always-busy kitchen, presided over by my grandmother, out the enclosed back porch, across the driveway, through the barn, and into the back field where my grandfather was keeping watch over the smoked pork, with my dad and uncles keeping him company." The complete column can be found at "Gift of the Present."
Presbyterians Today says it's time
to order its Lenten Devotional
Presbyterians Today says that it's time to make that step and order its Lenten Devotional. Writing aboutits new devotional, it notes, "The  PT Lenten season of Lent is a time of prayer, fasting and contemplation of the power and promise of the paschal mystery. Perhaps there are no better models of how to live Lent than the prophets." The Rev. Jimmie Hawkins, pastor and director of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)'s Office of Public Witness in Washington, D.C., has assembled a collection of challenging daily reflections, Scripture and prayers for the Lenten journey. The Lenten Devotional features oil paintings by Steven Burgess, an artist from upstate New York who is a member of First United Presbyterian Church in Salem. The complete announcement can be found at "Lenten Devotional."
Sand Bur Consulting plans
bi-vocational  ministry incubator
Increasingly, congregations can no longer afford a full-time, fully-supported pastor.  And pastors are needing to wrestle with  Sand Bur Interim tough questions about how to sustain themselves while being faithful to their sense of call.  The Sand Bur Consulting's Bi-vocational Ministry Incubator provides a safe space where pastors can dig deeper into these questions, hone skills for doing ministry in a different way, develop tools to guide a congregation into making a transition into a more shared model of ministry, and find the courage to explore options. The Incubator, which includes monthly day-long gatherings, takes place over eight months and offers skill-building, peer support and mentoring. A brochure is available at "Incubator."
Presbyterian leaders advised
of 2018 Walton Award nominations
Tim McCallister, associate in the offices of Mission Program Grants and Racial Ethnic Schools and Colleges, advised mid council leaders  mission agency last eek of the procedure for making nominations for 2018 Walton Awards. Funded by the $3 million gift of Sam and Helen R. Walton in 1991, award recipients in the 2018 round will receive one-time grants of up to $50,000.  The nomination form for the grant "includes several questions that will be important for follow-up and for understanding how [a nominee] is meeting certain goals," McCallister. McCallister's complete letter can be found at "Walton Award." Nomination forms are available at "Nomination Form."
Growing in Grace, Gratitude:
grace and gratitude A gift to the church
The gift you didn't know you were getting this year could be free e-books, audio Bible stories and family activities from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) "Growing in Grace and Gratitude" children's curriculum. Each e-book includes a Bible story, a detailed lesson plan, and printable activities that children can use at church and with their families at home. The curriculum is designed for children ages 3-10. There are currently 52 free e-book stories available. The e-book "is like a Christmas stocking full of goodies to discover!" said managing editor Jeanne Williams of Presbyterian Publishing Corp. Complete information can be found at "Growing."
Winter Pastors School set
in February;  now at new location
Winter Pastors School The 2018 version of Winter Pastors School, the annual winter education event of Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation, is slated Feb. 5-8, and this year takes place at Calvin Crest Retreat Center near Fremont, Nebraska. The featured speaker is Gene T. Fowler, a pastoral theologian and church pastor who currently serves the Irondequoit Presbyterian Church in Rochester, New York. More complete details can be found at "Winter Pastors School."
APCE plans 2018 annual  event in Louisville
APCE The 2018 annual event of the Association of Presbyterian Christian Educators is planned Jan. 31 through Feb. 3 at the Galt House in Louisville. The event promises interactive plenary sessions that will engage and challenge attendees, mini-plenaries, resource-filled workshops, and worship with spirit and imagination. Complete details can be found at "Annual APCE Event."
Registration opens for NEXT Church NEXT Church Logo gathering in February
Registration for the 2018 NEXT Church national gathering is open. Titled "The Desert in Bloom," the event takes place Feb. 26-28 in Baltimore. The gathering features church leaders, both pastors and lay people, sharing stories of their experiences of ministry, new ideas, and conversations about ministry in today's environment. Creative worship centers us around God's presence. Details and a link to registration can be found at "NEXT Church 2018."
Ecumenical Advocacy Days
to address 'A World Uprooted'
The website for next spring's Ecumenical Advocacy Days (EAD)in the nation's capital notes, "We live in a time of upheaval and uprootedness -- a world in which each year millions of people cross  Ecumenical Advocacy borders in search of more secure and sustainable lives, while white supremacist ideologies continue to impede the fight for justice and peace for all of God's people." EAD, the website notes, "is a movement of the ecumenical Christian community, and its recognized partners and allies, grounded in biblical witness and our shared traditions of justice, peace and the integrity of creation. Our goal, through worship, theological reflection and opportunities for learning and witness, is to strengthen our Christian voice and to mobilize for advocacy on a wide variety of U.S. domestic and international policy issues." EAD is planned Friday, April 20, through Monday, April 23. Details can be found at "Ecumenical Advocacy Days."
Presbyterian W Clergy Presbyterian
plan  conference
at Montreat
The National Association of Presbyterian Clergywomen will conduct their triennial conference at the Montreat Conference Center in Montreat, North Carolina, April 23-26. Conference details and registration information can be found at "Triennial Conference."
News from the Board of Pensions
Latest Board Connections
notes the BOP's special lapel pin
Board Connections The latest edition of Board Connections, a newsletter from the Board of Pensions, highlights a lapel pin commissioned by the Board to celebrate its 300 years of service. The Board recently distributed the pins to all active and retired members of the Board's benefits plan. The complete newsletter can be found at "Connections."
Board of Pensions uncovers fraud scheme
The Board of Pensions is investigating the fraudulent redirection of 11 pension payments. The Board  reissued the December payments to the  Board of Pensions pensioners, and acted immediately to ensure that no other Benefits Plan members or pensioners were, or would be, affected. The fraud did not affect any other plans or funds. The Board also identified that the online accounts of 46 additional pensioners had been altered to redirect future payments. The Board reversed these, thwarting the attempt at a second theft. The complete announcement from the Board of Pensions can be found at " Fraud Scheme ."
News around the PC(USA) and more
2 co-moderator teams, 1 moderator candidate stand for election at GA
Five candidates have formally notified the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)'s Office of the General Assembly of their intention to stand for  GA 223 moderator of the 223rd General Assembly. The election will take place the evening of Saturday, June 16 -- the first day of the assembly. The five include two pairs who are seeking to be co-moderators, continuing the pattern initiated by current co-moderators Denise Anderson and Jan Edmiston. One candidate is still seeking a running mate and says she is open to either the co-moderator or more traditional moderator-vice moderator model. The complete story by Eva Stimson from the Office of the General Assembly can be found at "Candidates."
Co-moderators call for 'deeper
cultural shift' on sexual harassment
In an open letter to the church this week, the Revs. T. Denise Anderson and Jan Edmiston, co-moderators of  the  222nd General  PCUSA moderators Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) cited "concrete tools for addressing these issues" surrounding sexual harassment, abuse and gender bias. They "strongly encouraged" Presbyterians to "use these [tools] in your ministries." They listed resources for setting policies, teaching, and preaching. A "deeper cultural shift," the co-moderators wrote, includes coming to terms "with all the ways we victimize and objectify people, including actions that are often less noticeable." There complete letter can be found at "Deeper Cultural Shift."
New documentary releases film
trailer on Flint water crisis
PDA disaster assistance Presbyterian Disaster Assistance has released a trailer for a new documentary currently in production on the  water crisis in Flint, Michigan. The film, entitled "Flint", focuses on the health issues surrounding high levels of lead in the city's water system. Several scientific studies indicate residents were potentially exposed to high levels of lead after the city switched its drinking water source to the Flint River and a growing problem with aging water pipes. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Rick Jones can be found at "Flint."
Young Adult Volunteers program
notes the connections of program
YAV application The recent newsletter of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)'s Young Adult Volunteer program addresses the many connections of its participants. It notes, If we could take one big snapshot of everyone who is connected to the Young Adult Volunteer program, you would see a picture with thousands of faithful, committed individuals making a difference all over the world.  With Christmas upon us and the end of the year next week, I would like to take a moment to reflect upon 2017 and thank you for helping the YAV program continue to be a beacon of light in a world where hope is needed." The complete newsletter is at "Young Adult Volunteers."
Just one more
It is, after all, just one more
For time of the season -- this time after Christmas -- when all is quiet, we contemplate the coming of a new year. The excitement of Christmas has passed for another year, but your editor thinks we should not forget the anticipation. We should not forget the greatest gift we have been given. We should face the new year with gladness. Your editor will, and your editor hopes the same for you. He also pledges that after the new year begins, there will be a more traditional "Just one more ... "