In This Issue
News around the Synod of Lakes and Prairies
Conferences, camps, resources
News around the PC(USA) and more
Just one more
Quick Links
Social Media
April 30, 2017

News around the Synod of Lakes and Prairies
Synod School reaches 580 registrants
Catalog cover Earlier this week the registration total for Synod School had reached 580, according to Deb DeMeester, director of leadership development for the Synod of Lakes and Prairies. But there's still room for more. The week-long program typically draws more than 600 participants. J. Herbert Nelson, stated clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), will be this year's convocation speaker, and Cláudio Carvalhaes, a well-known speaker and worship leader, and a former Synod School convocation speaker, will lead evening worship. But beyond those two leaders, there are more than 70 classes listed in the catalog. Synod School runs July 23-28 at Buena Vista University, Storm Lake, Iowa. Details, including everything necessary for registration, can be found at "Synod School."
Synod Logo Lakes and Prairies plans
spring meeting at Mt. Olivet
The Synod of Lakes and Prairies will conduct its spring meeting April 30-May 2 at Mt. Olivet Conference and Retreat Center near Farmington, Minn. The synod will install officers during its Sunday evening worship services. In addition to synod business, synod commissioners have been asked to read "Waking Up White and Finding Myself in the Story of Race" before the meeting. One reviewer described the book as a "brutally honest, unflinching exploration of race and personal identity." Jennifer Harvey, professor of religion at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, will lead several sessions addressing racism.
Conferences, camps, resources
Summer is on the way, really;
Presbyterian camps are all set
While the weather this past week hasn't been conducive to thinking about spring - much less summer - the Presbyterian-related camps, conference and retreat centers across the Synod of Lakes and Prairies PCCCA Camps Logo are well underway with summer plans. Descriptions of these facilities, noted below, come from individual websites. The Lakeshore Center on Okoboji, "located on 55 acres along the shores of West Lake Okoboji with 600 feet of beautiful sand beach, complete with a canopy of large oak trees" can be found at "Lakeshore Center." Offering "transformative experiences to equip people of all ages for a journey of faith," Camp Wyoming, located in eastern Iowa, can be found at "Wyoming." In South Dakota, there are two camps near Rapid City: Rimrock, "surrounded by National Forest and Rapid Creek runs through the camp," can be found at "Rimrock," and Pioneer, in the Black Hills featuring "193 acres which are ideal for wilderness camping," can be found at "Pioneer." Calvin Crest Camp, Conference and Retreat Center, near Fremont, Neb., "sits on 250 acres of rolling hills, wooded trails and bluffs overlooking the Platte River." It's at "Calvin Crest." And then there's Clearwater Forest, "a stunningly beautiful camp and retreat setting on Clearwater Lake in central Minnesota." It's at "Clearwater Forest."
Ruling elder resource
addresses 'Children of the Covenant'
The Rev. Dr. Diana Nishita Cheifetz, a spiritual director serving lay leaders and clergy in the San Francisco Bay area, writes this month's install of Regarding Ruling Elders, a resource provided by the Office of New Ruling Elders the General Assembly. Nishita Cheifetz writes, "When our daughter and son were young, as we tucked them in at night, I would make the sign of the cross on their foreheads. I wanted them to know that they were sealed in Christ. Many years later, during my ordination service as a teaching elder, our daughter, speaking with our son by her side, shared about that bedtime ritual of their childhood. And then she made the sign of the cross on my forehead." The complete column can be found at "Children of the Covenant."
POAMN offers congregation track
at aging, spirituality conference
Older Adult Ministry The Presbyterian Older Adult Ministries Network will offer a congregational track at the seventh International Conference on Aging and Spirituality planned June 4-7 at Concordia University in Chicago. Members of the Presbyterian organization are able to register under the church workers rate. Conference details are at "Conference on Aging and Spirituality."
Washington Island Forum
features historical-Jesus scholar    
John Dominic Crossan John Dominic Crossan, generally regarded as the leading historical Jesus scholar in the world, will be the featured speaker at the 2017 Washington Island Forum that runs June 26-30 on Washington Island at the tip of Door County, Wis. Crossan is the author of "The Historical Jesus," "Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography," and "The Birth of Christianity, and Who Killed Jesus?" The event is sponsored by the Wisconsin Council of Churches, and Christian Century magazine. Details are at "Washington Island Forum."
Presbyterian Foundation accepts applications for financial leadership program
Presbyterian Foundation The Presbyterian Foundation is accepting applications for a newly established Church Financial Leadership Grant. Grant applicants must be a pastor, commissioned lay pastor, or leader of a 1001 New Worshiping Community within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Funds are available for those pastoral leaders seeking to gain a better understanding of church financial vitality and management of their congregations. The Church Financial Leadership grants are matching funds, and applicants must provide the source for the other half of expenses. The application deadline is June 30. The complete announcement is available at "Financial Leadership."
Big Tent registration open;  event runs July 6-8
Big Tent This summer's Big Tent conference takes place July 6-8 in St. Louis and registration recently opened. The theme of this year's conference is "Race, Reconciliation and the Reformation." The event features plenary events, Bible study, workshops and worship. The three-day event, held on the Washington University campus, will provide a variety of opportunities to engage with the issues facing the church and society today. The registration site is at "Big Tent."
Healthy congregation is goal
of retreat this summer
Center Courage Renew 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, "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."
IRMS newsletter notes comment
from First Presbyterian in Davenport
"My brother, John Fairweather at First Christian Church in Des Moines, introduced me to [Iowa Religious Media Services]. John told me that IRMSLOGO First Christian has used IRMS successfully in their educational planning for quite some time," said David Fairweather, member of the adult Christian education committee at First Presbyterian Church in Davenport, Iowa. David was intrigued and began using the IRMS online catalog to search materials. After David presented his finding to the rest of the committee, the decision to purchase an annual subscription came quickly. The complete story, which appeared in the IRMS newsletter, can be found at "Making Use of IRMS."
Stewardship Kaleidoscope annual
conference set this fall in Florida
Stewardship Kaleidoscope Logo The annual Stewardship Kaleidoscope event, an annual conference offering speakers, workshops and networking opportunities, is planned  Sept. 25-27 this year at St. Pete Beach, Fla. Among the keynote speakers this year is Adam Copeland, a member of the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area and director of the Center for Stewardship Leadership at Luther Seminary in St. Paul. Stewardship Kaleidoscope is designed to help participants explore stewardship across many dimensions. Event details are available at "Kaleidoscope."
News of colleges, universities, seminaries
APCU expands reach with peer
advising, mentoring, chaplains
When you talk to Jeff Arnold, executive director of the Association of Presbyterian Colleges and Universities (APCU), you can't help but feel APCU optimistic. Following the organization's annual Presidents' Conference, his view is that faith-based affiliations among Presbyterian schools are getting stronger and growing due to the strength of connections offered by APCU. The organization, which has 56 member institutions, has seen strong growth in recent years and continues to provide value for affiliated schools. "We're probably as strong as ever," Arnold said of APCU's health. There are seven Presbyterian-related institutions of higher education across the Synod of Lakes and Prairies. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Gregg Brekke can be found at "APCU."
News around the PC(USA) and more
J Herbert Nelson Nelson urges churches
to stand up, speak out       
The Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson II is calling on Christian denominations to stand firm on social justice issues and get involved. The stated clerk of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) gave the Sunday morning message, April 23, to the nearly 1,000 attendees in Washington, D.C.  Nelson told the group the nation is at a critical time and people are afraid. "There is confusion in our land concerning who we are as a nation. We are found on plurality, freedom of religion. We are a nation where communities are afraid to wear a head dress, Islamic groups fear being labeled as members of ISIS," Nelson said. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Rick Jones can be found at "Standing Up."
CPJ Training Day addresses
racism, materialism, militarism    
Fifty years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered a speech that provided the foundation for this year's theme at Compassion, Peace and Facing Racism Justice Training Day. Speaking at the Riverside Church in New York, King provided a connection between the war in Vietnam with the civil rights movement. King said there needed to be a "radical revolution in values" in order to address what he called the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism and militarism. Speakers and workshop leaders at CPJ Training Day, told attendees last week that the issues addressed in April 1967 are still relevant in April 2017. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Rick Jones can be found at "Racism Remains."
Alabama church seeks healing
for congregation's history
A black woman walked into First Presbyterian Church in the early 1970s, taking a seat midway up the pews. As soon as she sat down, a white Alabama church woman stood up and left. "She was not going to sit through that service with a black person sitting in the church," Dan Reid, now 59, remembers from his youth. "I was ashamed of that white lady, to be honest with you. Ashamed of the prejudice she showed." His father was a deacon of the once bustling congregation. That instance was symptomatic of an attitude that plagued the church since at least 1956, when it adopted a motion decreeing, "no member of the Negro race (will) be received as a member of our Church or seated in the sanctuary for regular worship." People referred to it as "that church that wouldn't let black people in." The complete story by Kelsey Davis of the Montgomery (Ala.) Advertiser can be found at "Seeking Healing."
Way Forward Commission looks
to outcomes, common elements
Beginning with advice from the Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson II, stated clerk of the General Assembly Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Way Forward Commission met via video conference call last night to hear PCUSA Logo updates and plan its strategy to tackle what it sees as necessary changes for the denomination. The three hour call began with a 40 minute closed session conversation with Nelson to discuss specific structure and personnel matters pertinent to the work of the commission, along with details of his Advisory Opinion issued on the scope of the work of the Way Forward Commission. Mark Hostetter, moderator of the Way Forward Commission, summarized the Advisory Opinion saying any "changes or implementation of any of our vision [that] involve missional or structural changes must be brought to the General Assembly in the form of a recommendation." The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Gregg Brekke can be found at "Way Forward."
Committee seeks input
on PMA executive director search
The Presbyterian Mission Agency Board committee that is searching for a new executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency wants to Mission agency hear from all Presbyterians. The committee is seeking input not only from board members, mid council members and agency staff; it also wants input from those who teach Sunday school, deliver sermons, serve on committees and attend church services. The committee wants to know the characteristics that Presbyterians think are necessary to lead through this time of dynamic change. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Melody Smith can be found at "PMA Search."
Just one more
Humor from a denominational perspective:
It's good when we can laugh at ourselves
If you're reading here, you've probably heard of Reddit, an aggregating, content-rating website. In basic terms, it's what every editor does inReddit some manner. So, with a Google search and a Reddit find, your editor noted this description of non-denominational: "just Baptists with a cool website and a coffee shop." And this: "Lutefisk is a Scandinavian dish consisting of lye-cured fish. It turns into soap and-or epoxy if done wrong." That's good stuff - well, maybe not the Lutefisk itself. Sorry. There's more, too, at "Denominational Stereotyping."