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

September 26, 2018

News around the Synod of Lakes and Prairies
Synod meeting opens Sunday,
Sept. 30, at Mt. Olivet Center
Synod Logo The Synod of Lakes and Prairies opens its fall meeting Sunday evening, Sept. 30, at Mt. Olivet Conference and Retreat Center near Farmington, Minnesota. Commissioners and guests will celebrate the 40 years of service the synod has received from Mary Kes, its administrator for personnel and program. The opening worship service will include a sermon from the Rev. Dr. Curtiss DeYoung, who was named last year as CEO of the Minnesota Council of Churches. DeYoung, a former professor of reconciliation studies at Bethel University in St. Paul, is an ordained minister in the Church of God, and he has worked nationally on issues of racial justice and reconciliation. The meeting runs through Tuesday morning, Oct. 2, including discussions on the synod's strategic direction, and the installations of the Rev. Dan Davis, teaching elder commissioner from the Presbytery of Central Nebraska, as moderator, and Angela Oglesby, ruling elder commission from the Presbytery of Milwaukee, as vice moderator.
Latest Pres Homes facility in Wisconsin
to be named for Margaret Towner
Towner Crest Presbyterian Homes Wisconsin, the east Wisconsin affiliate of Presbyterian Homes & Services (PHS) of Roseville, Minnesota, celebrated the official groundbreaking Sept. 12 for Towner Crest senior living community. The fifth PHS senior living community in southeastern Wisconsin, is being built on a 19.5-acre site located adjacent to the Oconomowoc Golf Club. The new facility is named for the Rev. Margaret E. Towner who, in 1956, was the first woman to be ordained as a pastor in the Presbyterian Church, (U.S.A.). Towner served as a co-pastor of Kettle Moraine Presbyterian Church in the Presbytery of Milwaukee from 1973 to her retirement in 1990. Additional details about the facility are at "Towner Crest." Additional information about Towner can be found at "Margaret Towner."
Robert Tollefson, active as church,
academic leader, dies in September
The Rev. Dr. Robert "Bob" Tollefson, a longtime leader in the Synod of Lakes and Prairies, and at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa,  Robert Tollefson died Sept. 6 in Storm Lake. He was 91. Tollefson became the fourth moderator of the synod in 1976. He was also an active participant and teacher at Synod School, the midsummer ministry of the synod, that is conducted at BVU. At the university, an award called the Order of Cumberland and Tollefson was established in 1994 in honor of Dr. William Cumberland, professor emeritus of history, and Tollefson, who served for many years as professor of religion and philosophy. The honor is reserved for faculty members who have given exceptional service to the University. Tollefson's complete obituary can be found at "Robert Tollefson."
Conferences, camps, resources
Mental health presentations,
mental health workshops  planned in Iowa
A series of presentations and workshops, planned in four locations in Iowa, will explore mental health and the faith community. The events are designed for church staff, deacons and members and will provide a toolbox of responses and resources for addressing mental health in congregations and communities. The locations and dates are Storm Lake, Oct. 5; Indianola, Oct. 6; Washington, Nov. 9; and Jesup, Nov. 10. A flyer is available at "Mental Health and the Faith Community." Registration can be completed by contacting Jeannie Stolee at or 319.233.1747.
1-day session on congregational
vitality planned at Lakeshore Center
Chip Hardwick The Rev. Dr. Chip Hardwick, interim associate pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Lake Forest, Illinois, and former director of theology, formation and evangelism for the Presbyterian Mission Agency, will lead a one-day workshop on congregational vitality at Lakeshore Center at Okoboji near Milford, Iowa. The workshop, slated Oct. 11, will include plenaries, small groups and evaluation tools. Details and online registration are at "Congregational Vitality."
Regarding Ruling Elders:
'When we get to 'not enough'
The September installment of Regarding Ruling Elders, a monthly resource provided by the Office of the General Assembly, is written by  New Ruling Elders the Rev. Joan Gray, who served as moderator of the 217th General Assembly. Gray writes, "The story of the feeding of the 5,000 in Mark 6 starts with the disciples coming to Jesus and asking him to send the people away to buy food for themselves. Jesus responds to this well-meaning advice by saying, 'You give them something to eat.' The disciples look at the crowd and then look at what they have to offer, and their response to Jesus is basically, 'It's not enough!' This same scene also plays itself out in the church repeatedly. Our congregation's energy, facilities, and money can all seem pitifully lacking." The complete Regarding Ruling Elders is at "Not Enough."
YAD recruitment YAV recruitment season
gets underway Oct. 1

The recruitment season for the 2019-20 Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) program of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is about to get underway. Applications will be accepted beginning Oct. 1. The YAV program is an ecumenical, faith-based year of service for young people, ages 19-20, in 22 ssites around the world and in the United States. Program participants accompany local agencies working to address rootcauses of poverty and reconciliation while exploring the meaning and motivation of their faith in intentional community with peers and mentors. Details about the program are "YAV Program." Applications are available at "YAV Applications" and material about the program can be obtained at "A Request Form."

Rural ministry is highlighted
by Presbyterians Today magazine
rural ministry Presbyterian pastors are learning that small-town America isn't what it used to be. Racial and gender diversity, drugs, hunger and a host of other big-city challenges have come to Main Street. In the first installment of a three-part series, Presbyterians Today magazine explores how rural churches are navigating this new reality in their communities. Stories from the first installment can be found at "Rural Ministry."

Presbyterians Today releases new
Advent devotional: Lifting the Lowly
Advent 2018 As a pastor, I am reminded weekly during Sunday's prayers of people that life is not easy. I listen as those in the pew ask for comfort, guidance, healing and hope. I listen, and then I pray for our laments to turn into songs of praise. Mary had a song of praise -- one that thanked God for looking favorably upon her and the plight of her people -- and so in planning this year's Advent devotional, I thought it was fitting to hear from Mary and to be reminded once again that God sees us, hears us and is with us always. Presbyterians Today's new Advent devotional for 2018 is based on verse 52 from Mary's Song of Praise -- also known as The Magnificat -- found in Luke 1. The complete announcement is at "Advent Devotional."
Applications now accepted for 2019 Commission on Status of Women
The 63rd Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is scheduled for March 11-22, 2019, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.  UN women The event is expected to draw representatives from around the world. Applications are now being accepted. The 2019 theme is "social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls." The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Scott O'Neill can be found at "Status of Women."
Big Tent 2019 dates, location announced
Baltimore has been selected as the location for Big Tent 2019. The event will be held Aug. 1-3 at the adjacent downtown Radisson and  Big Tent 2019 Lord Baltimore Hotels. Announced Sept. 17 by Diane Moffett, executive director of Presbyterian Mission Agency, and J. Herbert Nelson II, stated clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), organizers say that by meeting in the city where the 224th General Assembly will be held in 2020, the educational and missional gathering will continue the tradition of introducing Presbyterians to the host city. The complete announcement can be found at "Big Tent 2019."
News of colleges, universities and seminaries
Polly Peterson to be officially
installed as UJ president Sept. 27
T he University of Jamestown will mark a new chapter in its storied history as Polly Peterson officially becomes the 14th president of the  Polly Peterson school that was founded in 1883. The university is one of seven Presbyterian-related institutions of higher education in the Synod of Lakes and Prairies. Peterson, the first woman to serve as a UJ president, replaced Robert Badal, who retired in March. She said the inauguration ceremony on Thursday, Sept. 27, is an opportunity to recognize UJ's roots and at the same time put the focus on the future. "I've never been more convinced that the role of our mission is more applicable to preparing the future leaders of our country and our world as it is today," Peterson said. The complete story from North Dakota's WDAY can be found at "University of Jamestown."
Wooten to present Berger
Lecture at UDTS in October
UDTSLogo The Rev. Dr. Joan Hedrich Wooten, parish associate at First Presbyterian Church in Pensacola, Florida, will be the Berger Lecture speaker at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary on Monday, Oct. 22. The Berger Lecture features worship, learning, feasting and fellowship around the themes of "Migrant Discipleship," "Peacemaking as Conversation: Healing Political Divisions" and "At the Intersection of Faith and Politics: Lessons from the Reformed Tradition." At First Presbyterian in Pensacola, Wooten leads pastoral care efforts and is the staff representative for the congregational care and nurture ministry team. A flyer for the event is at "Berger Lecture."
Walter Pridham, longtime
Pres House supporter, dies at 87
Walter Pridham Walter Pridham, an alumni of Pres House, the Presbyterian-related campus ministry on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, died Sept. 18. He was 87. Pridham met his wife, Karen, at Pres House in 1952. The main lounge at Pres House is called the Pridham Lounge in recognition of the Pridham's support for Pres House students. A few years ago, Pres House recorded a video conversation with the Pridhams. A complete obituary can be found at "Walter Pridham."
News from the Board of Pensions
Board Connections: Annual
enrollment  starts next month
Connections The September edition of Board Connections, a newsletter of the Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), is advising participants in its benefit plan that annual enrollment - the opportunity to elect or make changes to benefits coverage for 2019 - runs Oct. 29 through Nov. 16. In addition to the annual enrollment news, the newsletter contains a variety of information important to plan members. The complete September issue is at "Board Connections."
News around the PC(USA) and more
Oral arguments set in appeal
process for housing allowance
The battle for the Minister's Housing Allowance continues, as oral arguments before the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals have been scheduled Wednesday, Oct. 24, according to the website of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA). The oral arguments are the next step in the appeal process which began in early February 2018 when Chicago-area pastors appealed the decision of a Wisconsin federal judge who ruled the housing exclusion to be unconstitutional. The complete announcement is at "Oral Arguments." Additional background information is also available at "Appeal Process Begins."
PC(USA) leaders commemorate
anniversary of Hurricane Maria
Leaders in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) have issued a statement to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Maria's impact on  PDA disaster assistance Puerto Rico. The Category 4 hurricane hit the island on Sep. 20, 2017, forcing millions from their homes, destroying the island's power infrastructure, and leaving thousands dead. In a statement released Sept. 18, PC(USA) leaders called on churches to continue their support of recovery efforts. "The PC(USA) will remember the hardships and losses as well as the moments of grace." the statement reads. The complete story by Rick Jones of the Office of the General Assembly can be found at "Hurricane Maria."
PDA seeks support to help
in response to Hurricane Florence
Hurricane Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) is seeking support for those affected by Hurricane Florence. PDA is delivering immediate aid to those impacted by Hurricane Florence on the eastern seaboard of the United States. Initial assessments suggest catastrophic destruction, but the full scope of the damage will not be known for many months. The storm's path cut across areas still recovering from Hurricane Matthew in 2016. While the winds and waters have meant loss and destruction, the work of PDA might become, as the Psalmist says, "a river whose streams make glad the city of God." Additional details of PDA's effort to help, along with ways to assist, can be found at "Hurricane Florence."
PC(USA) celebrates
Native American Day in Louisville
Native American Day "Let us worship our Creator with minds open to the wisdom of all God's people, remembering that once listening and respect once had no place in our society." These were the opening words to the call to worship led by Elona Street-Stewart, executive of the Synod of Lakes and Prairies, as staff and guests celebrated Native American Day at the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Center in Louisville on Sept. 12. The morning message was preached by the Rev. Irvin Porter, associate for Native American Intercultural Congregational Support. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Gail Strange can be found at "Native American Day."
Faith communities call on administration
to welcome 75,000 refugees
The Rev. Jimmie Hawkins, director of the Office of Public Witness, joined faith leaders from major Christian denominations to host a prayer vigil and rally in Lafayette Park in front of the White House on Sept. 12. Their call to witness was to demand that the Trump administration stop slashing the refugee program and welcome 75,000 new refugees in 2019. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Scott O'Neill can be found at "Welcoming Refugees."
PC(USA) A Corp. board elects
co-chairs, makes assignments
PCUSA Logo The newly elected Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) A Corp. elected co-chairpersons and made committee assignments on Wednesday, the final day of its two- day orientation session. The 11-member board also heard prayers and pleas for collaboration and cooperation from the stated clerk, Presbyterian Mission Agency executive director and General Assembly co-moderators. The Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson II, stated clerk of the General Assembly, thanked the board for its work to come. The complete story by Scott O'Neill and Paul Seebeck of the Presbyterian News Service can be found at "A Corp Starts Work."
Just one more
OK, humor is back in 'just one more'
There was no humor in "Just one more" last month, and we heard about that. This month it's back. But we have to admit there were close-second options from the Pew Research Center. If you don't follow the Pew Research Center on Facebook, we suggest it. There are really good subjects for sermons or blog posts or letters to your distant family members. Sorry, back to the humor. It comes from Brentwood Presbyterian Church, located in suburban Pittsburgh. It even includes sermon bloopers (we know, kind of common) and stories from church-goers. It's at "Brentwood Humor."