In This Issue
News around the Synod of Lakes and Prairies
Conferences, camps, resources
News around the PC(USA) and more
Just one more
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July 31, 2017

News around the Synod of Lakes and Prairies
Speaking at Synod School, Nelson
calls Presbyterians to action
The Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson II is calling the church to do what is just - to do what is right. Nelson, stated clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), spoke each morning last week during the annual Synod School of the Synod of Lakes and Prairies, telling Presbyterians to "get off your blessed assurances and do something for the Lord." Synod School, the annual midsummer ministry of the synod, took place last week at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa. The complete story can be found at "Call to Action."

Synod School pics At right, J. Herbert Nelson shows off his tie-dyed Synod School T-shirt. Tie-dye remains a popular activity of Synod School. In the photo below, presbytery staffers gather for an early morning breakfast. From left to right are Alissa Anderson, Northern Plains; Jeannie Stolee, North Central Iowa and Prospect Hill; Risa Anderson, Twin Cities Area; and Karen Lange, Minnesota Valleys. (Photos by Kim Coulter.) Many more pictures from Synod School can be found on Facebook in the group, Synod School - "Is this heaven? No, It's Iowa"

With 686 participants,
Synod School sets a record
Synod Logo round with people The well-known midsummer ministry of the Synod of Lakes and Prairies -- Synod School -- drew a record 686 participants to the Buena Vista University campus in Storm Lake, Iowa, last week. Synod School takes place every year during the last full week in July. It is the only remaining Synod School of its type within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). This year's Synod School theme was "Let Justice Flow." The complete story is at "Record Enrollment."
PMAB executive committee
looks into mission in Twin Cities
The Presbyterian Mission Agency Board executive committee took a field trip during its retreat in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. In the middle of its three-day retreat, the committee stepped away from the conference room to learn about local mission outreach and church expansion. The morning began with a breakfast meeting with local ministers to learn how a Presbyterian and Lutheran partnership is making a difference in the lives of refugees. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Rick Jones can be found at "Twin Cities Mission."
Advocates gather around threats
to family farmers, other Iowans
Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (CCI) conducted its annual convention earlier this month to share concerns facing family farms. CCI was organized in 1975 when a handful of clergy began working on housing, crime and safety, and other urban concerns. When the 1980s farm crisis hit, they expanded the work throughout rural Iowa to support farmers by helping them obtain nearly $37 million in desperately needed credit. The Presbyterian Hunger Program (PHP) supported that work financially for a number of years. PHP renewed its support of Iowa CCI in 2013 as the member-driven organization responded to new challenges of low wages, wage theft, dangerous working conditions, and other threats to the growing, mostly Latino immigrant communities. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Rick Jones and Andrew Kang Bartlett can be found at "Citizens for Community."
Lutheran, Presbyterian partnership welcomes African refugees
Agwa Gora Gilo This is a story of how two Christians interested in immigrant ministry (one Lutheran, one Presbyterian) are working together to help Anuak refugees who've come to Minnesota, having been forced out of Ethiopia and South Sudan. It's also a story of what could be: ecumenical cooperation in mission; pooling of funding and ideas; taking what's been learned from working with one immigrant group and applying those lessons to working with others. For Gilo Agwa Gora, at right, a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) minister, a graduate of the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary in Iowa and a native of Ethiopia, the idea of ecumenical cooperation is organic. The complete story by Leslie Scanlon of The Presbyterian Outlook can be found at "Ecumenical Cooperation."
Westminster Minneapolis
expands, lives into mission
Meghan Gage-Finn Here's a question -- one raised by a big, exciting, expensive, forward-thinking renovation and expansion project now underway at Westminster Presbyterian Church in downtown Minneapolis. As Meghan Gage-Finn, at right, the congregation's executive associate pastor, put it: "How can our building be mission?" That's one of many questions the Westminster congregation has considered as it's taken on the "Open Doors Open Future" project that will basically transform half a block near Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis. The complete story by Leslie Scanlon of The Presbyterian Outlook can be found at "Building Mission."
Iowa congregation offers 'No Strings Attached' education program
When the Waterloo (Iowa) School District cut music programs a few years ago, members and leadership at Unity Presbyterian Church saw an opportunity to partner with Kittrell Elementary School to provide music education opportunities. No Strings Attached is an after-school string education class for fourth and fifth graders that meets Wednesdays in Kittrell Elementary music room, art room and media center during the school year. Students learn violin, viola or cello, taught by Unity's pastor, the Rev. Christine Kaplunas, and two to three assistant teachers. The program is a collaboration of several organizations in the Cedar Valley area. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Gregg Brekke can be found at "No Strings."
Conferences, camps, resources
UDTS offers eight online courses this fall
for commissioned ruling elders
The University of Dubuque Theological Seminary will offer eight online courses for commissioned ruling elders in its CLP/CRE lay ministry program. The courses are scheduled from Sept. 5 to Dec. 16. Additional information and registration requirements can be found at "CRE Courses."
Conversation Project encourages conversations about end-of-life
The Conversation Project, dedicated to helping people talk about their wishes for end-of-life, has a page on its website dedicated to resources Conversationfor faith leaders. The page includes sermons, videos, materials for pastoral care and some special events, including Conversation Sabbath. Planned this fall, Oct. 27-Nov. 5, clergy from across the country will preach or teach on values-based conversations with loved ones about care at the end of life. Additional details are at "Conversation Project."
Sand Bur Consulting sets interim
training institute beginning this fall
Interim Training Sand Bur Consulting, which notes on its website that "even the most faithful churches sometimes need help in focusing their mission," will offer its Interim Ministry Training Institute beginning in October in central Wisconsin. The Interim Ministry Training Institute is an intensive program offered over an eight-month period with monthly gatherings. Details can be found at "Sand Bur Consulting."
Lombard slates fall sessions
in family emotional process
lombard mennonite The Lombard Mennonite Peace Center is planning two sessions titled "Clergy Clinic in Family Emotional Process," one beginning in October and another in November. Each clinic is designed to enhance the ability of participants to function as self-differentiated leaders within their own ministry setting. The clinic will provide a safe forum for processing challenging situations. The Clergy Clinic meets three times, for three days each time, over the course of a year. Complete details can be found at "The Clergy Clinic."
2018 PW gathering Thinking ahead
to next summer?
Presbyterian Women
plan 2018 Gathering
The 2018 Churchwide Gathering of Presbyterian Women is on next summer's calendar. The Gathering takes place Aug. 2-5 -- yes, 2018 -- in Louisville. The theme for the event is "Arise, shine, your light has come." Details can be found in a promotional packet at "PW Churchwide Gathering."
Deadline approaches for OPSF
Lifelong Learning Program grants
The Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation has been awarding Lifelong Learning Program Grants in its 13-state region since 1972. Through the years, the Foundation has provided more than a million dollars to support many educational events, workshops and/or seminars which cover a wide range of topics and serve anywhere from 10 to more than 200 people. Applications and estimated expense/income totals for Lifelong Learning Program Grants are due in the Foundation office by Aug. 15 of the current year for an event planned for the following year. Program details are at "Lifelong Learning."
News around the PC(USA) and more
5 interfaith leaders barred
from boarding plane for Israel
Rick Ufford-Chase The moderator of the 216th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) was among five interfaith leaders denied access to a passenger jet headed for Israel this week. Rick Ufford-Chase was part of an interfaith delegation of 23 Muslims, Jews and Christians boarding a Lufthansa Airlines jet at Washington Dulles International Airport for Israel on Sunday. "All five of us are well-known for our commitment to nonviolent direct action on behalf of Palestinians living under the grinding daily reality of military occupation in Gaza and the West Bank," said Ufford-Chase. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Rick Jones can be found at "Denied."
PMA's Financial Aid for Service
offers debt assistance to pastors
In a video just released by Presbyterian Mission, Financial Aid for Service is drawing attention to its Transformational Leadership Debt Assistance (TLDA) program. TLDA offers $5,000 loans -- with forgiveness for service -- to qualifying pastors of churches with 150 or fewer members and to qualifying pastors of new worshiping communities. A TLDA loan is renewable up to two times; therefore, it could be worth as much as $15,000. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Paul Seebeck can be found at "Aid for Service."
July edition of Facing Racism
leverages Big Tent theme
Facing Racism On the heels of the Big Tent conference in St. Louis, the ongoing  Facing Racism campaign of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has released resources from the event with the theme "Race, Reconciliation and Reformation." The conference emphasized the hope of the gospel and its power to transform society in our current cultural context marked by anxiety, racial division, political animosity and economic inequality. The call to action for this installment asks congregations, mid councils and Presbyterian-affiliated organizations to plan educational events using Big Tent resources including Eric D. Barreto's Bible study, J. Herbert Nelson II's sermon "When Our Backs Are Against the Wall," and Christine Hong's sermon on the Parable of the Sower. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Gregg Brekke can be found at "Facing Racism."
PMAB governance task force seeks
smaller, more responsive board
The Presbyterian Mission Agency Board (PMAB) Executive Committee received an update on Monday from the PMAB Governance Task Force, which continues to support a smaller board that is "more nimble and responsive." Among the task force recommendations is to a proposal to allow representatives from the Advisory Committee for Social Witness Policy, the Advocacy Committee for Women's Concerns and the Advocacy Committee for Racial Ethnic Concerns to remain on the agency board. The PMAB met in St. Paul, Minn., last week. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Rick Jones can be found at "Smaller and More Responsive."
PMAB executive committee
holds 3-day retreat in St. Paul
The Presbyterian Mission Agency Board executive committee began its three-day retreat with worship last week in the historic Central Presbyterian Church in downtown St. Paul, Minn. Afterwards, the group quickly got down to business with reports from both the Way Forward Commission and the All Agency Review Committee. In its presentation to the PMAB executive committee, Mark Hostetter, moderator of the Way Forward Commission, said that with all of the work the denomination is doing, the church cannot lose sight of its primary mission. "Our work is not about tinkering with existing structures, but to think about how we can most effectively act as a church in service to Jesus Christ," he said. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Rick Jones can be found at "Executive Committee."
Attending church is good
for your health ... Now what?
The latest in a long line of studies, now numbering in the hundreds, if not thousands, shows that church attendance is good for your health. Published in May by researchers from Vanderbilt University, the study found that middle-aged adults who attended religious services at least once in the past year were half as likely to die prematurely as those who didn't. Using data from a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the study's researchers examined 10 biological stress markers among 5,449 men and women aged 46 to 65. The complete Religion News Service story by Yonat Shimron can be found at "Church And Health."
Just one more
If you've never been fishing,
this might not be for you
Fishing Your editor is taking a couple days on the water. In fact, he might be doing that right now. Thinking that you might have heard of Sam Snead, the golfer, he is purported to have said, "The only reason I ever played golf in the first place was so that I could afford to hunt and fish." Could be he really said that, at least the part about fishing. Here are a few other comments, jokes and even weird notes about fishing. (And, just so you know, your editor's phone won't have service for a few days.) It's all about fishing.