July 5 ,  2018
A New Season

Thank you. Gratitude is the first thought when I think of Homestead Presbytery. I thank God for this call and I thank all of you for making my work with you and our congregations a joy.

For everything there is a season. My season as your Executive Presbyter has come to a conclusion. When a call has been lifted, the faithful response is to give thanks and follow something new. Moving to a new season is always ambivalent. To paraphrase Jimmy Durante, "I want to stay and I want to go." You all are why I don't want to leave. And you all are why I must.

When I arrived, I was given the task of implementing a new and exciting way of being presbytery and of doing ministry. That task has been completed. We have done good together. The new is old now, and it is time to re-evaluate both structure and ministry. The presbytery has begun this process, led by our Council. I am interested in how things will change. However, Homestead needs leadership that is not imbedded with the old way of doing it. I certainly am imbedded!

I am asking to be Honorably Retired effective September 30, 2018. My last scheduled day in the office will be August 31. 2018. During the month of September, I will be vacationing and completing various ministry tasks.

I begin and end with "Thank you."

Good Reads
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Jesus is not white. Jesus is not American. Jesus does not want to make America great. While many of us grew up looking at gleaming portraits of Jesus with blond, flowing hair and hearing sermons reaffirming that we have the answers to save a fallen world, the real Jesus-a Middle Eastern Jew preaching radical, humble, self-emptying love-calls us to a different life.

As we see oppression and hate run rampant in our nation, it's as if Christianity has lost sight of the red letters altogether. Sheri Faye Rosendahl takes a look at important social issues in our society, the responses of American Christians, and the true ways behind the red letters. Not Your White Jesus addresses the need to reexamine the true ways of Jesus that we find clearly in the red letters, enabling readers to discover what it truly means to follow the ways of Jesus in contrast to following the ways of the American Christian elite.

Did you serve a Nebraska congregation as an installed pastor but are now retired? The Nebraska Presbyterian Foundation provides an annual monetary gift to retired PCUSA pastors as a thank you for your ministry and service to the church. We have many already on our recipient list but looking for anyone we may have missed. Please contact the Foundation office at 402-420-9877 or arichert@nebpresby.org for more information on the Malmsten Fund.

Mission Actions from the 2018 General Assembly held in St. Louis- 
Panama Presbyterian Church Newsletter

A resolution seeking peace on the Korean Peninsula was among items approved Thursday by the 223rd General Assembly. The resolution designates September 2018 as "Korean mission month" and calls Presbyterians to "pray for peace in the Korean Peninsula and for victims of division and conflict on both sides of the Korean Peninsula."

The resolution calls for actions to "encourage peaceful resolution of the divisions on the Korean Peninsula, which will foster an environment where no party to the historic conflict feels the need to sacrifice civil liberties in the name of security and where refugees and asylum-seekers are treated humanely."

Among other actions, the resolution also calls for exploring, "in conjunction with current refugee ministries, caring and support ministries for those displaced from both South and North Korea."

The Korea resolution was one of the recommendations brought to commissioners by the Assembly Committee 9: Peace-making, Immigration and International Issues. The Assembly also approved an overture calling for support and prayer for the church and people of South Sudan.

Luci Duckson-Bramble, the moderator of Committee 9, said of her mission travels, "We learned that the Western world is not aware of this crisis (in South Sudan)," referring to warfare among armed groups that has killed more than 50,000 people and displaced 3.5 million since December 2013.

The overture calls on U.S. leaders to put pressure on all sides to adhere to a cease-fire and to ensure safe passage for humanitarian aid to refugee camps.

The Assembly also approved a series of actions to promote "the welfare of our neighbors in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador." Aimed at developing "a United Witness in the Americas," the actions include creating the position of a mission co-worker "to facilitate a Meso-American faith-rooted advocacy witness in Central America" along with partners in the region.

The Assembly also called for investing in peacemaking to reduce migration and for increased funding of leadership train-ing in the region.

Referring to cost estimates for these activities, commissioner Kerry Jennings of the Presbytery of East Iowa spoke against the resolution, asking, "How many PMA workers need to be laid off in order to fund a new three-hundred-thousand-dollar experiment?"

Commissioner Noe Juarez of the Presbytery of Donegal spoke in favor of the actions: "I'm aware that this has some
financial implications," she said, "but I think it's time to invest in our brothers and sisters in Central America."

Carmen Elena Martinez de Diaz, of the Reformed Calvinist Church of El Salvador, said through her translator: "Partnerships contribute to the strengthening of our churches, but also the churches with which we partner. It's a process ... there's not a recipe."

In other actions, the Assembly:

Called on the federal government "to immediately end the newly implemented zero-tolerance policy that is tearing apart families" and "to reunite parents and children that have been separated as soon as possible"

Encouraged advocacy for the human rights of all citizens of Yemen and encouraged support of relief efforts through Presbyterian Disaster Assistance

Approved actions promoting democracy, good governance, human rights and sustainable development in Madagascar

Called for the church and U.S. government to support seeking peace through nuclear disarmament
Keep Thinking...

"Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!  It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest."

-Proverbs 6:6-8 
Photos from the 223rd General Assembly