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 15, 2017

News around the Synod of Lakes and Prairies
'Preparing for, arriving at' information
about Synod School is posted
Catalog cover The 2017 installment of Synod School is just around the corner, opening July 23 and running through July 28, at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa. Noting the fast-approaching date, the Synod of Lakes and Prairies has added a few important documents to its website, including a special welcome to the 140 first-time attendees, frequently asked questions, arrival information, travel directions and more. The information is available at "Getting Ready." And, of course, the main Synod School page notes an important upcoming date - July 15. That's the date Synod School payments are due.
Synod School: It's never
too early to be thinking ahead
Synod Logo round with people When it comes to Synod School, that popular midsummer ministry of the Synod of Lakes and Prairies, it's never too early to be thinking ahead. In this case, Synod School 2017 hasn't yet opened, but those who plan the popular event have posted online the form for submitting a course proposal. For those who have something in mind, it's not too early. The link to the form can be found at "Course Proposal."
Conferences, camps, resources
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."
UDTS offers eight online courses this fall
for commissioned ruling elders
UDTSLogo 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."

Research Services produces online tool
to deliver segmented church statistics
Statistics The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Research Services office rolled out a new website during the 2017 Big Tent that promises to make access to church statistical information more user-friendly than in the past. The new website -- -- replaces the old "10-Year Trends" website and Comparative Statistics report. "About three years ago we began asking what information people were seeking," Research Services Associate Susan Barnett told a July 7 Big Tent workshop. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Jerry Van Marter can be found at "Statistics."
It might be summer,
but service continues at IRMS
IRMSLOGO Sharon Strohmaier, executive director of Iowa Religious Media Services, noted in the July IRMS newsletter that summer has arrived, but that activities and services at IRMS "continue unabated." Strohmaier wrote that she has been spending time on the road, but added, "I value these denominational contacts, because they are great opportunities to visit with you, our clients, and discuss your resource needs." The complete newsletter, along with a short list of available resources, can be found at "IRMS News."
Resource Center for Churches
offers '6 new things'
The Resource Center for Churches produces a weekly post that features six new things available at the Resource Center, located at the Church Center in Minneapolis. This week the post features resources on baptism preparation, Christian mindfulness, coloring with seniors, preaching, vocation, and movies as prayers. The detailed list is available at "Six New Things."

Conversation Project  encourages conversations about end-of-life
Conversation The Conversation Project, dedicated to helping people talk about their wishes for end-of-life, has a page on its website dedicated to resources for 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."
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."
Lakeshore Center presents
'A Day with Dr. Thomas Long'
Lakeshore Lodge The Lakeshore Center at Okoboji, a Presbyterian camp, conference and retreat center, is presenting "A Day with Dr. Thomas Long" on Oct. 13 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Long, the Bandy professor of preaching emeritus at Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, will make two presentations, a morning presentation titled "Preaching in a Disenchanted Age," and an afternoon presentation titled "Ending Well, Beginning Well: Developing Sermons for the End of the Christian year and for Advent/Christmas." Additional details and a registration form are available at "A Day with Long."
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
lombard mennonite in family emotional process
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."
Thinking ahead to next summer? Presbyterian Women plan 2018 Gathering
2018 PW 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."
News around the PC(USA) and more
Nelson at Big Tent: 'Reformation
J Herbert Nelson doesn't happen overnight'
General Assembly Stated Clerk J. Herbert Nelson II told a Big Tent workshop in St. Louis last week that his recent trip to Wittenberg, Germany, reminded him once again that "the Protestant Reformation occurred over a long period of time ... that it wasn't like two weeks and -- bam -- we're done." The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Jerry Van Marter can be found at "Reformation."
Board launches search
Mission agency for PMA executive director
The search committee for the executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency has finalized the leadership profile for the position and formally launched the search for the next PMA leader. Applications are now being accepted. "On behalf of the search committee, I want to express deep appreciation to everyone who shared their hopes for the next executive director via the open online invitation and those in leadership whom we interviewed personally," said Nancy Ramsay, chair of the search committee. "We listened to you." Ramsay said they heard from more than 330 responses to the online invitation. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Melody Smith can be found at "PMA Search."
Presbyterian Intercultural Network
outlines steps to engage racism
Big Tent New In a room filled with individuals of all nationalities, the Presbyterian Intercultural Network tackled the difficult subject of race relations in America. The Big Tent pre-conference, "Coming to America: Some Here, Some Forced, Some Welcomed, Some -- Not," was sponsored by the Racial Ethnic & Women's Ministries of the Presbyterian Mission Agency and attended by a group of nearly 100 persons. The conference challenged attendees to answer the question, "How does the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) catch up with the rest of the country and become a more diversified denomination?" The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Gail Strange can be found at "Becoming Diversified."
Ministers share triumphs, struggles at Big Tent when looking back at Ferguson
Stop Racism The shooting death of teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., nearly three years ago, continues to impact the communities of St. Louis and the nation. That's the assessment of a panel discussion titled "Grounding Big Tent in the St. Louis Context" held at Big Tent in St. Louis earlier this month. Attendees gathered in the chapel of Washington University to hear from local church pastors and community organizers about the aftermath of Brown's death and what they are doing to keep momentum going to end suppression and racism. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Rick Jones can be found at "Ferguson."
PC(USA) 2020 Vision Team
gathers information at Big Tent
PCUSA Logo A church-sponsored coffee shop where the baristas are trained in pastoral care. A new congregation worshiping in a shopping mall. Churches using their resources creatively -- transforming unused buildings into affordable housing or incubators for faith development and spiritual practices. These were among a potpourri of images that emerged as people with ideas to share about the future of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) took advantage of lunchtime conversations and listening sessions hosted by the PC(USA) 2020 Vision Team at Big Tent in St. Louis. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Eva Stimson can be found at "Visioning."
Justice & Peace newsletter notes 'We Choose Welcome' awareness campaign
Justice & Peace News "We choose welcome. It is a commitment we make to embrace one another recognizing that we encounter Jesus in each other," wrote Sara Lisherness, director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency's Office of Compassion, Peace and Justice, in the most recent edition of Presbyterian Justice & Peace newsletter. A number of PMA offices have joined with the Office of Immigration Issues to launch a "We Choose Welcome" awareness campaign. "This project embodies a personal and church-wide commitment to embrace refugees and immigrants into our communities, and helps strengthen our engagement in the welcoming of others." Lisherness wrote. The complete newsletter is at "Justice and Peace."
gender gap Gender gap prevails
among PC(USA) ministers
Participants attending the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) 2017 Big Tent event, "What if the Women Left? Shattering and Reframing the Stained Glass Ceiling," waited expectantly to hear what presenters had to say about gender discrimination within the denomination. And Angie Andriot, research associate for the Presbyterian Mission Agency, pointed out that although women represent a larger percentage of the population of the church they are under represented as ministers. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Gail Strange is at "Gender Gap."
All Agency Review Committee
PCUSA Logo discusses future plans
The All Agency Review Committee of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) met recently to receive working group progress updates and plan for its Aug. 21-22 meeting in Louisville. Committee member Eric Beene heads the group looking at the overall work of the All Agency Review and said they were still compiling summaries of conversations that took place during the committee's May meeting in Denver. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Gregg Brekke can be found at "All Agency Review."
Lutheran Seminary in Pennsylvania picks Presbyterian as first president
Theresa Latini The United Lutheran Seminary named the Rev. Dr. Theresa F. Latini  as its first president to lead the unified seminary with campuses at Gettysburg and Philadelphia, Pa. An ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Latini's background includes pastoral positions in Minneapolis and Levittown, Pa. Latini began filling the post July 1, which was also the inaugural date of United Lutheran Seminary, a consolidation of two historic Lutheran seminaries in Gettysburg and Philadelphia. ULS is the oldest seminary of the 3.8 million-member Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, dating to 1826. The complete story is at "Latini Named President."
Writers Guild workshop notes ways for parables to address racism
Writers Guild Contest As the Rev. Stephen McCutchan, an honorably retired minister of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and a member of the  Presbyterian Writers Guild board, considered some months ago what workshop he might offer at the Big Tent event in St. Louis, he immediately thought of his longtime friend and former pastoral colleague, the Rev. Dr. Samuel Stevenson, an honorably retired minister in Winston-Salem, N.C. The theme of the biennial three-day event was "Race, Reconciliation, Reformation," a natural for the two friends to engage. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Emily Enders Odom can be found at "Parables."
PMA's 2016 annual report highlights Mission agency achievements, changes
Following the June 29 approval by the audit committee of the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board, the agency's 2016 Annual Report has just been published. The full report can be found online. This year's report features PMA's work and ministries during 2016 through photographs and stories. The complete announcement is at "Annual Report."
Just one more
Off-beat humor isn't always about music

Tickld humor site Sorry. Your editor couldn't resist. But, anyway, your editor is quite sure, or nearly positive, that you've read some of those "Tickld" posts you've seen in the right-hand column of your Facebook feed. Your editor has. And then, today, your editor found the two-line horror stories. Now he won't sleep. And he digresses. He also found this one: "48 incredibly short, clean jokes that are actually funny." Well, almost funny. And they're not political, making the material politically correct. And, again, anyway, here they are (with apologies for the advertising) at "The 48."