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

July 20, 2018

News around the Synod of Lakes and Prairies
Catalog cover Synod School opens, synod
staff out of the office
Staff members of the Synod of Lakes and Prairies will be out of the office next week, July 22-27, participating in the 65th year of Synod School, the synod's annual midsummer ministry. Synod School takes place at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa. During the week, all synod staff will be out of its offices in Eagan, Minnesota. Synod School routinely attracts 600 participants and the registration total for this summer is well above that mark. Details are at "Synod School." 
Lakes and Prairies sites found
on Presbyterian, Reformed historic registry
From Union Presbyterian Church in Fort Madison, Iowa, in the southeast corner of the Synod of Lakes and Prairies, to First Presbyterian Church in Jamestown, North Dakota, in the northwest, a  Presbyterian Historical Society number of churches and other significant locations in the synod can found on the American Presbyterian and Reformed Historic Sites Registry. Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin all have locations on the registry. The American Presbyterian and Reformed Historic Sites Registry was established by the Presbyterian Historical Society in 1973. The registry closed in 2002. To be listed in the registry, congregations submitted formal applications, which were first approved by the presbytery or classis within whose bounds the site lay, and then approved by the Society's Historical Sites Committee. Details about the registry, along with an interactive map of locations, can be found at "Historic Registry."
Synod offers grants to support
collegiate ministries, other ministries
The Synod of Lakes and Prairies has a long-standing commitment to collegiate, ecclesiastical and ecumenical ministries within its bounds.  Synod Logo The synod's Ecclesiastical Relations Committee fulfills its mission by supporting and maintaining relationships with these varied ministries, and contributes to the success of these ministries through its grant program. The synod considers grant proposals that provide short-term financial support to help established ministries become self-sustaining; seed money for new ministries or initiatives of established ministries; or support leadership development opportunities for professional or volunteer ministry leaders. Details can be found at "Grant Program."
Wisconsin congregation celebrates
global mission work during July
Congregants at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Madison, Wisconsin, got a snapshot of four countries around the world this month through the lens of Presbyterian mission work. The ministries of Presbyterian mission co-workers in Guatemala, Peru, Indonesia and South Sudan were highlighted in worship during the first four Sundays in July. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Pat Cole can be found at "Celebrating Global Mission."
Kachu The June 29 issue of Keeping in Touch, in a story about the Rev. Ekram Kachu preaching at the closing worship service of the 223rd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), incorrectly identified the location of her congregation. While Kachu lives in Waukee, Iowa, her congregation, First Arabic Presbyterian Church, is located in Des Moines. It is the newest church in the Presbytery of Des Moines. For those who were unable to see the livestream of Kachu preaching, the video is available at "Closing Worship." (The video is the last listed on the page.)
Conferences, camps, resources
Calvin Crest plans 60th
anniversary Fun Day in August
calvin crest camp Calvin Crest Camp, Conference & Retreat Center near Fremont, Nebraska, plans to celebrate 60 years of ministry on Saturday, Aug. 25, with a "Fun Day" at the camp. There will be activities and opportunities to purchase snacks, t-shirts and caps. There will also be a raffle and silent auction. The event is free. Free-will donations will be accepted. Details are at "Fun Day."
Regarding Ruling Elders:
New Ruling Elders 'It's not all about us'
Joan Gray, minister, author and former moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), writes the current installment of Regarding Ruling Elders, a resource from the Office of the General Assembly. Gray notes, "In his book, 'Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation,' Parker j. Palmer writes about functional atheism, the belief that God is distant and the ultimate responsibility for everything rests on us. Functional atheism confesses on Sunday morning that God is the sovereign Lord of creation, while acting during the rest of the week as if it's really all about us and what we do." Gray's complete column is at "Regarding Ruling Elders."
Applications accepted for Presbyterian Women's 2019 USA Mission Experience
Presbyterian Women A group of Presbyterian women will travel to the Finger Lakes Region of New York in July 2019 for the fifth USA Mission Experience. They will explore the history that Presbyterian women have in the women's and civil rights movements, and will also have the opportunity to learn more about themselves and about some of the issues that confront the people of the Finger Lakes Region, including migrant workers and Native Americans. Applications to participate are being accepted until Aug. 15. Details are available at "2019 USA Mission Experience."
New parent loan program now
available for PC(USA) members
Applications are now being accepted for the new parent loan program through the Presbyterian Mission Agency. Available for  Financial Aid Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) members, the parent loan, administered through Financial Aid for Service, offers a 6 percent interest rate -- a full percentage point lower than U.S. Department of Education parent PLUS loans. "This is one loan you can feel good about because it's a renewable resource," said mission coordinator Laura Bryan, who oversees Financial Aid for Service. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Paul Seebeck can be found at "Parent Loan Program."
Stewardship Kaleidoscope
planned in St. Louis in September
Stewardship Kaleidoscope Logo This year's Stewardship Kaleidoscope, an annual conference offering speakers, workshops and networking opportunities for all who are passionate about stewardship and generosity, is planned Sept. 24-26 in St. Louis. Diana Butler Bass, an award-winning author and internationally known public speaker, and Chick Lane, pastor for stewardship and generosity at Lord of Life Lutheran Church in Maple Grove, Minnesota, will be the keynote speakers. Details about the conference can be found at "Stewardship Kaleidoscope."
Applications being accepted for OPSF Lifelong Learning Program Grants
The Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation is accepting applications through Aug. 15 for its Lifelong Learning Program Grant. Through the years, the Foundation has provided more than $1 million to support many educational events, workshops and seminars that cover a wide range of topics and serve anywhere from 10 to more than 200 people. Teaching elders, commissioned pastors and lay leaders all benefit from lifelong learning events. Details are available at "Lifelong Learning Events."  
News from the Board of Pensions
Board Bulletin notes no increase
in 2019 for pastor's participation
The summer edition of The Board Bulletin notes there will be no dues increase in 2019 for pastor's participation in the Board of Pensions' healthcare plan, holding dues steady for medical coverage at 25 percent of effective salary. The Bulletin, published by the Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), reports information from and actions taken at the summer meeting of the Board. The newsletter also notes the Board intends to keep the cost of Medicare supplement coverage unchanged for a second consecutive year. The complete summer edition can be found at "Board Bulletin."
News around the PC(USA) and more
General Assembly summary
provides snapshot of the actions
GA 223 Loosely based on the top-10 issues identified in a story prior to the 223rd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Jerry Van Marter of the Office of the General Assembly has written a story that highlights the actions of the Assembly. He offers a snapshot of the Assembly's action on per capita, paid family leave, The Way Forward Commission, fossil fuel divestment and more. Van Marter's article can be found at "Assembly Work." For those who might want to take a look at photographs from the Assembly, they are available at "The Gallery."
Faith leaders speak out against
SCOTUS decision on travel ban
Calling it a "stain on our country's moral conscience," faith leaders are speaking out on the Supreme Court decision upholding President Donald Trump's travel limit into the United States from several countries. The ruling restricts entry for travelers coming from Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, North Korea as well as some travelers from Venezuela. Shoulder to Shoulder, a coalition of 34 religious denominations and organizations, issued a news release following the ruling. "Targeting people based on their faith is not in keeping with the American ideals that we as American faith communities seek to uphold and advance," it stated. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Rick Jones can be found at "Travel Ban."
PDA calls on volunteers
to help in disaster recovery
PDA disaster assistance Strong hurricanes, record flooding and massive wildfires have taken their toll on volunteer groups aiding in clean up and recovery. Presbyterian Disaster Assistance says that groups have been working hard in recent years to help communities rebuild, but the continuous string of powerful hurricanes and other natural disasters are making it harder to find enough people to meet the need. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Rick Jones can be found at "Volunteers Needed."
PDA responds to fires in Colorado,
Utah, Southern California
Wildfires More than a dozen wildfires have been burning across Colorado and parts of Utah and California in recent weeks, leaving a path of destruction that includes nearly 300 homes and forcing the evacuation of hundreds of residents. The Federal Emergency Management Agency reports that firefighters appear to have gained the upper hand in most of the fires. "The past few weeks have been very impactful for Presbyterian communities dealing with wildfires," said Jim Kirk, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance associate for national disaster response. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Rick Jones can be found at "PDA Responds."
Nelson issues statement on family Nelson separation at U.S. border
The Rev. J. Herbert Nelson II, stated clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), issued a statement In late June regarding the separation of families at the U.S. border. Nelson pointed out that, though Joseph's call to flee to Egypt has long since passed, "People are still in danger. People still flee into the night to find safety." Nelson called on Presbyterians to "take the tears you have shed and harvest them into acts of peaceful resistance, advocacy, pastoral care, and prayer to bring about peace for the hundreds of families suffering from this nation's border policies." Nelson's complete statement can be found at "Border Separations." 
World Mission newsletter
highlights situation in Sudan
"Since South Sudan's birth as a nation in 2011, more than 50,000 people have been killed, more than 1.9 million have been internally  world mission displaced and 1.8 million have fled the country. Many children in South Sudan have never known a time of peace. Many have never attended school or gone to bed without fear. In late June, rival factions in the country signed an agreement to end the devastating civil war in South Sudan. The world is holding its breath." That's the way the most recent edition of the Presbyterian Mission Agency's World Mission newsletter begins. The complete story, along with the complete story on the situation in Sudan, can be found at "World Mission."
Newsletter highlights Unbound, online journal of Christian social justice
Justice & Peace News The latest issue of Justice & Peace Close-Up, a newsletter of the Presbytery Mission Agency, highlights the latest information from the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy and Unbound, its interactive journal of Christian social justice. The complete newsletter, along with links to Unbound, can be found at "Social Justice Witness."
Newsletter celebrates
Hispanic/Latino-a ministries
Rhashell Hunter The July issue of the newsletter from the Office of Racial Equity and Women's Intercultural Ministries, celebrates Hispanic leaders in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Rhashell Hunter, director of the office, notes, "I am excited about the faithful Hispanic/Latino-a leaders, congregations, new worshiping communities and mid-council leaders who serve with excellence and with whom I have been privileged to work ... in recent years and throughout my whole life." The newsletter can be found at "Hispanic Leaders."
Just one more
Mental Floss: Podcasts
that will make you 'feel' smarter
mental floss Your editor was pretty excited about this one from Mental Floss - first, you need to know your editor likes Mental Floss. And now your editor has discovered 15 podcasts that will make him smarter. And, then, about a third of the way into the post, he reads "feel." There's really a big difference. Instead of being smarter, he will just feel smarter. Hey, there's nothing really bad about that. Is there? Well ... Anyway, the podcasts are at "Feeling Smarter."