Presbytery of Southeastern Illinois Newsletter - October 4, 2018
Telling the good news about the Good News
A both and strategic communications plan, be that of a local congregation or a Presbytery, is nothing without content. Social Media, e-newsletters, websites, and marketing plans cannot be implemented without a story, an event announcement, a biography, a dream and/or a picture.

For many churches and church-based entities, it can be a matter of just not seeing what they do as being very "remarkable." After all, it’s…
  • The quilting group of the church PW (everyone has one of those)
  • A youth group bake sale (we only made $24)
  • A local extension office’s presentation at a Men's Breakfast (it was just about corn hybrids)

None of these may seem "of interest" or be seen as all that new. Why would you want to tell THAT story to the broader culture? Is a story about the church’s founding family really that interesting? Would the quilt show be newsworthy?

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. - Matthew 5:14-16

In a culture when we’re saturated with information and opinion coming at us quickly and without ceasing, a story about a quilt show may actually be good news about the Good News. When the quilts are donated to a homeless shelter or an adoption agency, that’s Good News. When the $24 from the bake sale goes to combat childhood cancer, that’s Good News. When the Men’s Prayer Breakfast presentation is about how this new corn hybrid will feed millions, that’s Good News.

In other words, what we may deem as wholly unremarkable might be joyfully unbelievable to someone looking for Good News. In a darkened and dim world, your church just might be “letting your light shine before others.”

We do not draw people to Christ by loudly discrediting what they believe, by telling them how wrong they are and how right we are, but by showing them a light that is so lovely that they want with all their hearts to know the source of it. - Madeleine L’Engle

So, tell that story. Write that article. Take pictures and video. Then send every bit of that to us so we can help you shine your light. Because sacred communication isn’t about getting people to show up, it’s about telling the Good News.

And by "US", we mean send your stories (or even the germ of an idea of a story) to or post on the PSEI Facebook Group.
Giving webinar set for October 8th.
Join us for a Giving Tuesday webinar set for Oct. 8, 2018, at 1 p.m. (EDT). Experts in social media, online giving and generosity will discuss how your church can participate in Giving Tuesday.

Set for November 27 this year, giving Tuesday is an annual, global day of giving that follows two of the biggest shopping days of the year: Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Your Presbyterian church can create a successful campaign for Giving Tuesday, receiving gifts from members of your congregation. Experts in online giving and social media from the Presbyterian Foundation, Special Offerings and Office of the General Assembly will walk you through what you need to do.

We will lay the groundwork for this with a short presentation on the theology of generosity.
This webinar is provided free of charge, and all are welcome.
Big Tent 2019 dates and location announced
Baltimore, Maryland has been selected as the location for Big Tent 2019. The event will be held August 1-3 at the adjacent downtown Radisson and Lord Baltimore Hotels.

Organizers say that by meeting in the city where the 224th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will be held the following year (2020), the educational and missional gathering will continue the tradition established in 2017 of introducing Presbyterians to the host city.

Additional event details will be published as they become available.
Ruling Elders: When we get to not enough
A continuing series on Regarding Ruling Elders: A Monthly Series for Spiritual Leaders.

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” (Mk. 6:37). 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!”

Diversity leads to ministries of peace and unity
Racial and gender diversity, drugs, hunger — big-city challenges have come to Main Street U.S.A.  Presbyterians Today  is launching a three-part series, “Rural Realities,” to explore the challenges and blessings for today’s rural churches as they navigate a new reality. In the first installment,  Presbyterian Today talks to pastors about the racial diversity and gender identification issues in their small communities.

In one rural community, the Rev. Dr. Richard (Skip) Shaffer Jr. began his first day in a new call as most pastors do — unpacking many boxes of theological books and praying fervently that he had sufficient shelf space in his new office. The mundaneness of move-in day, though, was broken with a gentle tap on his door. Shaffer had his first visitor: Moses.
“I thought it was a joke when the secretary told me who was here to see me,” Shaffer said, laughing. But it wasn’t playful church hazing on behalf of the congregation. It was indeed a man named Moses, a 7-foot-tall immigrant from South Sudan, who reached out his hand to the pastor and said, “We’ve been waiting for you.”