Presbytery of Southeastern Illinois Newsletter October 1, 2020
by Rev. Nate Brantingham, UCF Campus Pastor at UIUC

The question was raised, "What can we as churches do to support our college students?" The answer is surprisingly biblical for a time so unique. Love on them. They are struggling, and yes, we are all struggling, but they are hurting so badly. It's the broken promise of what college was supposed to be, the isolation, the disappointment in those not following rules ruining it for everyone, the constant fear, the professors who think raising the bar is the way to enhance scholastic rigor in online teaching, it's the dropped connections, and piles of stress without any of the usual coping methods available. Many of them are just too down to even reach out for help and have given up on finding community. The litany of cancelled events means many won't even bother planning to go to anything anymore.  
So what can you do? Love on them. Be intentional. Reach out. Call them. Yes, on the phone like it's 1997 and the phone has a 50 foot chord. They hate answering the phone, they say that. Try anyway. They want to hear your voice, I promise. They want you to say those magical words, "Hey, I was thinking about you..." Send them cards in the mail like it's 1965 and the mail service was reliable. Send them a care package like they are 14 years old and in summer camp. Baked goods and favorite recipes are lifelines of love. In short, do not ask if or what they need. They need. Apply pastoral care liberally.
Moderator Development
Recently, our Presbytery received a grant from the Synod to design a program that will train and commission Ruling Elders to serve as Moderators for Congregations without pastoral leadership. The hope is that this program will help provide more consistent leadership in churches that are currently without a regular pastor.
In order to get this program up and running, the Moderator Development Team has been formed and continues to meet on a regular basis. This team is designing how Ruling Elders might be trained, commissioned and supported in this important ministry.
Soon, we will be looking for Ruling Elders who are interested in serving the Presbytery in this way. If you have any questions about the program, please feel free to contact anyone on the Moderator Development Team: Bob Wollenberg, Pam Lang, Joseph Goeke, Jane Swanson, Bill McLean or Cindy Bean.
Three upcoming conferences are designed to help participants live out the gospel in a difficult time
Theology, Formation & Evangelism conferences offer...

by Paul Seebeck | Presbyterian News Service LOUISVILLE - Three digital conferences in October from Theology, Formation & Evangelism and its ministry partners will provide renewal opportunities for Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) leaders and...

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40th Anniversary!
First Presbyterian Church in Golconda celebrated the 40th Anniversary of Judy Beyler's Ordination as a Teacher Elder on Sunday, September 27th. She and her husband Keith Beyler are on the top steps. They are joined by three members of the Session, Randy Switzer, Clerk, Barbara Slyder (front) and Susan Lane (right), and Church Music Director Elizabeth Garcia (red) and Paula Switzer, Treasurer of the Kate Trovillion Women's Guild. The church was able to surprise Judy during the service on Sunday!
Open Committee Positions
Understanding that there are people who may be called by God and the Presbytery to renew their terms for another three years and may thereby make this list somewhat smaller, here are the vacancies that the Committee on Representation will be seeking to fill in the next two months. 

Please prayerfully consider whether God is calling you to serve in one of these roles. Additionally, if you know someone who might be interested, please talk to them and/or any of the Committee on Representation members. You can reach the COR members by sending an email to Thank you.
Executive Team Vacation/Continuing Ed Dates
September 27 - October 3 - Cindy Vacation
November 9 - 15 - Cindy Vacation  
November 22 - 28 - Cindy Vacation
November 23-29 - Bill Vacation
December 25- 31 - Bill Vacation
October Bible Study
Romans 12:9-21 (NRSV)
Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly; do not claim to be wiser than you are. Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” No, “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Questions for Reflection & Discussion
  1. The pandemic and stay at home orders of 2020 have made this year unique in most of our lives, what does it look like to “Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer” when we are physically isolated from each other and there are many unknowns in our daily lives?
  2. There is significant political and social debate in our nation and beyond at this time, how might we help ourselves and other to “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good”?
  3. How might the Presbytery/congregation/committee be guided by this scripture?