November 8,  2017
by Rev. Steve Niles

As we move in to the horizon of the Fall season; and the holidays, it is a time when we can begin to celebrate how God has granted us the blessings of family, prosperity and faith. And in our congregations it is a time to consider how we can respond to God's grace and generosity in returning a portion of those blessings back to the work and ongoing ministry of the church.

A major portion of our budgets is  per capita.
This is an apportionment that each church is expected to pay per each active member that is on the congregation's rolls. Some view this as dues or a tax but that would be a mistake. Per Capita is a means by which each congregation can share in the support of the work, ministry and mission of the wider church at the presbytery, synod and general assembly levels. As a connectional church we share in the work and ministry of our denomination at all of these levels and their work is done on our behalf.

There have been instances when members have felt compelled to withhold their support of the wider church because of their disagreement with eh actions of that body. But the truth of the matter is that monies due to the regional and national bodies of the church are paid in full by the presbytery, whether the congregation has paid their apportionment. So in the end other churches of the presbytery are covering the unpaid monies, and then the local presbytery and its ministry suffers from diminished funds.

For the coming year this amounts to $40 for each member. Of the forty dollars $7.73 goes to the General Assembly, $5.40 goes to the Synod of Lakes and Prairies and $26.87 goes to the Homestead Presbytery. This is a significant amount of money for all churches to pay out of their budget/ In the recent past we have been forwarding on those funds for per capita that have been given to the church as 'second mile' gifts designated for that purpose. Sessions, please consider intentionally budgeting a fair share of ongoing work of our denomination. 

As we step out into the future plans and dreams God has for us, may we walk in peace, journey in hope, and serve in love; but always with the Lord. 

2018 Per Capita Breakdown

General Assembly                    $ 7.73

Synod of Lakes and Prairies     $ 5.40

Homestead Presbytery             $ 26.87
Explore Good Reads 
When there's so much conflict around the country and around the corner, it's easy to feel overwhelmed, powerless, and helpless. What can one person do to make a difference?  Here's the good news. Millions of everyday people--including people like you--are transforming their communities. Take heart and be inspired by real stories of ordinary people who took action and changed their corner of the world, one block at a time.
We Grieve With Sutherland Springs
Ecumenical Body Calls For Sensible Gun Measures
by Steven Martin

Our hearts are broken once again with the news of another mass shooting in our nation.

Yesterday, twenty-six worshipers at the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, were killed by a man armed with a semiautomatic rifle. Their ages ranged from 5 to 72 years old. We pray for these victims and their families, for their fellow parishioners, friends, and neighbors, and for all of our sisters and brothers in the Southern Baptist Convention, the denomination to which this congregation belonged.

These killings took place on a day set aside for worship and praise like every other Sunday, in a place like other small and large towns in every state across the country. Yet we note with grief that this is the 307th mass shooting in the United States in 2017 alone. Were we to wait for a period of mourning to conclude, following such shootings, before addressing the need for sensible measures to reduce gun violence, we would never speak to the urgent need for our lawmakers to take action to prevent these tragedies.

Therefore, even in the wake of this slaughter, the National Council of Churches repeats our call for action that will remove high-powered weapons from the hands of ordinary citizens. Other proposals have been made to reduce gun violence, and we encourage elected officials to consider them and move forward expeditiously to help make our people safer and more secure.

One thing is crystal clear: more guns is a recipe for further deaths.

The Robert Giles Outstanding Homesteader Award
by Rev, Jimmy Shelbourn

The Robert Giles Outstanding Homesteader Award, in memory of the Rev. Robert Giles, former Stated Clerk of Homestead Presbytery, honors clergy and laity in the Presbytery who have made outstanding contributions to church and community life, particularly for service at the presbytery level. Only one Award is made each year, consisting of an appropriately framed certificate, the addition of the recipient's name to a perpetual plaque placed in the recipient's church for a year, and the opportunity for the recipient to designate a gift of $100.00 to a special mission or ministry within the bounds of the Presbytery.

This year's award was made at Westminster Church because of this is where the honoree regularly worships. This year's recipient is a native of western Illinois, a graduate of the University of Illinois, Yale Divinity School, Vanderbilt Divinity School, and McCormick Seminary. He has served for 19 years as Pastor of Westminster, the larges congregation in the Presbytery, holding a number of offices, including moderator of the Presbytery Personnel Committee, past member of Council and past moderator of the Nominations Committee. He is an active member of Rotary Club International and active in TED Talks.

He is honored today specifically for his leadership in planning and hosting the annual Church Growth Summit held each year at Westminster. This event is not only for Homestead Presbytery, but includes delegates from churches in Nebraska, Iowa, California, Wyoming, Oklahoma and Kansas, as well as ecumenical delegates from other denominations. The quality of leadership that he recruits each year for keynote addresses and leading sessions at the Summit is outstanding and nationally renowned.

The Summit is a means by which Dr. Andrew McDonald insists that we Presbyterians must keep the task of evangelism before us as a priority. And he exhibits this dedication to church growth in the practices of Westminster Church.

It is for these qualities that we recognize the  REV. DR. ANDREW MCDONALD for the 2017 Robert Giles Homesteader of the Year Award.
Keep Thinking...
In reply he said to them, "Whoever has two coats must share with anyone who has none; and whoever has food must do likewise." Luke 3:11 
Blessing Opportunity     ~ 2 Corinthians 9:7-8
Samaritan's Purse

Samaritan's Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world. Since 1970, Samaritans Purse has helped meet needs of people who are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine with the purpose of sharing God's love through His Son, Jesus Christ. 

Donations can be made through your Congregation, the Presbytery office or online at the link below!

Pictures Around the Presbytery