Your Weekly News & Updates
From Rachel Yates, Presbytery Executive
THE APPOINTMENT
In our house remodels, we’ve met many contractors:  some good, some not so good.  Jesús is one of the good ones.  His drywall and painting company has worked on several of our house projects.  They are timely, reasonably priced, and skillful.  When we took on this new home rehab, we arranged for him to give us an estimate for plaster and stucco repair.  Though I knew the appointment was scheduled, it still caught me by surprise when...(read more)
Presbytery Pulse
LOOKING FOR A PARTNER MINISTRY SITE!
Carroll University and the Presbytery of Milwaukee are excited to announce our Chaplain Residency Partnership for the 2021-22 academic year. The Chaplain Residency will bring an emerging faith leader to our Presbytery, who will serve halftime in a local congregation and halftime on the Carroll University campus. This recent seminary graduate will receive mentorship, continuing education, and vital ministry experience. Drawing on our shared Presbyterian heritage and Reformed commitment to education, Carroll University invites your congregation or ministry setting to consider joining us in this innovative program. Applications for ministry sites are due June 1, 2021. 

This program is made possible through the generosity of Carroll University’s donors and the support of the Presbytery of Milwaukee. 

For more information, please contact: 
Carroll UniversityThe Rev. Elizabeth McCord, Chaplain and Director of Spiritual Life, 262-524-7336
The PresbyteryThe Rev. Ann Gibbs, Associate for Ministry Vitality, 414-292-2740 
WHAT'S GROWING ON AT YOUR CHRUCH?
As we begin looking ahead to the food security theme of our September Presbytery Gathering, the Presbytery would like to know about churches with community gardens. Whether your garden is well established or being planted for the first time this year, we want to know! Please contact Ann Gibbs, Presbytery Associate for Ministry Vitality, and let her know what's growing on at your church!
PRESBYTERY TREASURER SEARCH
The Presbytery of Milwaukee is currently in search of a treasurer. Bookkeeping skills and comfort with numbers are required and computer skills to quickly be able to adapt to the financial software (ACS) will be a plus. This is a volunteer position of about 8-10 hours per month. If you know of someone who has the necessary skills and interest in serving the presbytery in this way, please have them contact the presbytery office. The sooner we have someone in this position the more time they have to train with Gail, our current treasurer. Thank you for helping us in this important matter.

Lance Loveall
Nominating Committee
JAN SNOWDEN, ORGANIST EXTRAORDINAIRE
For more than 50 years, Jan Snowden has graced West Granville Presbyterian Church with the sound of organ music. Throughout the years, she has faithfully shared her gift on Sunday mornings, laying a musical foundation for their worship services. Her soft, contemplative tones have announced the start of services, quieting animated conversations and preparing the people for worship. The church shares,
“Jan’s lively rhythms have led our congregation in song, playing hymns at what we affectionately call “West Granville tempo.” Her often triumphant music has proclaimed the end of services.

In addition to that, Jan has used her gift to accompany the choir, soloists, and instrumentalists. Her organ music has...(read more)
PRESBYTERIAN 101: EXPLORING WHAT IT MEANS TO BE PRESBYTERIAN
Maybe you are a brand new Presbyterian, or maybe you are a lifelong Presbyterian, or maybe you have recently been elected a deacon or elder. However you come, Presbyterian 101 is for anyone interested in learning about all things Presbyerian. This fun, light-hearted Zoom "class" is hosted by life-long Presbyterian and Milwaukee Presbytery Associate Stated Clerk, Chris Halverson, on Monday, May 24, from 3:00-4:30 p.m. Register now to receive the information about how to join the class.
MILWAUKEE PRESBYTERY GRANT OPPORTUNITIES
The Commission on Congregational Vitality is pleased to remind members of the Milwaukee Presbytery of grant opportunities.

Congregational Vitality Grants are available year round (as funding allows) to individual congregations or congregational clusters engaged in the work of vital ministry. Grants may be awarded for one-time projects or as part of a focused effort over time. Please see the grant description and application form for more information.

Camperships are available to children and youth of the Milwaukee Presbytery participating in a church camp. While many camps are re-opening this summer, many are also providing virtual camp opportunities. Camperships are available for either. Please see grant description and application form.
Matthew 25: I was in prison and you came to visit me...
TELLING OUR STORIES: TOXIC THEOLOGY
The PC(USA)’s Task Force for the Disparities of Black Women & Girls presents its next Facebook Live discussion led by the Rev. Kerri Allen (Presbytery Minister Member), Thursday, May 27 at 4:30 pm (Central), on Toxic Theology. No registration is required; just log on to the Gender Justice Facebook page of the PC(USA).
ADOPT-A-PRISON BUILDS COMMUNITY AND HOPE
If a highway can be adopted, why can’t a prison? This question occurred to Dr. Hans Hallundbaek a few years ago after he noticed an “Adopt-A-Highway” sign. The more he thought about it, the more sense “Adopt-A-Prison” made; after all, people adopt children, animals and parks — and the list goes on.

“A highway belongs to the state, and they have a tough time keeping it clean; so if the community wants to make the community nice, they help clean up the highway. It’s a community reaching out in its own self-interest,” Hallundbaek said. “It’s exactly the same with a prison to say, ‘We’ll come and support you.’ Then it’s not a church thing. It’s a community thing, and ‘community’ is a church thing anyway.”
WISCONSIN'S PROPOSED CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORMS
Wisconsin’s Legislature created a Task Force on Racial Disparities, which includes stakeholders from law enforcement, advocacy groups, and community organizations. They have begun to share their recommendations. You can read the task force's report on law enforcement policies and standards here. Some of the recommendations include:

  • Whistleblower protections for law enforcement officers reporting alleged excessive use of force
  • Statewide prohibition on the use of "choke holds" except in life-threatening situations or self-defense
  • Establishing an independent use-of-force advisory board to investigate and review specific incidents
  • Increased and standardized data collection on use-of-force incidents, including "no-knock" search warrants
  • Strengthening training in crisis intervention and de-escalation techniques

Do you agree or disagree? Let your representatives in the state know.
News from the Denomination
SYNOD SPRING ANNUAL AND STATED MEETING SUMMARY
The Synod of Lakes and Prairies held its Spring Annual and Stated Meeting on Sunday, May 2, and Monday May 3, 2021 via video conferencing program Zoom. This was the third time a Zoom meeting was held because of the global pandemic of COVID-19. Find a summary of the meeting here.
BLUE CROSS BLUE SHIELD SETTLEMENT NOTICE
Members of the Benefits Plan of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) may receive, or have already received, an email from Blue Cross Blue Shield titled Blue Cross Blue Shield Settlement Notice, regarding settlement of a class action lawsuit. Class membership is limited to those who contributed toward their medical insurance costs. Read more from the Board of Pensions about how you might be affected.
REGARDING RULING ELDERS

Rodger Nishioka has written the most recent installment of Regarding Ruling Elders, a monthly resource of the Office of the General Assembly.
Have Some Fun In '21!
COWABUNGA! MORE THAN 800 TURTLES RESCUED FROM STORM DRAINS
They're lean, they're mean and they're green. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? Not exactly, but hundreds of diamondback terrapin hatchlings have been rescued from subterranean storm drains along the Jersey Shore.

According to a Stockton University Facebook post, the turtles were hiding from the cold temperatures over the winter and surviving off yolk sacks in drains in Margate, Ventnor and Ocean City.
WHAT'S SMALL, LADYBUG-LIKE, AND GOLDEN ALL OVER?
Around five years ago I found a golden metallic beetle in my home once that was exactly like a lady bird beetle. I thought I had broken a piece of gold jewelry and had dropped it on the carpet but when I went to pick it up I found out it was alive! I kept it in an insect carrier for a bit with some leaves and eventually released it outdoors. Can you tell me something about this beetle? I’ve never seen one before.

Invitations
VIRTUAL VBS
Our Presbyterian colleagues in Northwest Coast Presbytery have shared this opportunity for virtual Vacation Bible School.


An invitation from Community Church of Seattle: 
Join us this summer online for a new and exciting adventure at Hero Academy! Watching our week-long kids program is completely free! Our all-inclusive program consists of worship, the Word of God, animated games, cinematic movie, physical exercises, arts & crafts, and many crazy surprises! We have no doubt that your entire family or church will be fully engaged in the Word of God like never before!  

Enhance your viewing experience by pre-ordering your Hero Academy boxes today! Each box includes your very own Hero Academy shirt, fun activities, craft supplies, and many surprises! If your church is interested in partnering with us, please do not hesitate to reach out to info@treestump.org. We are excited to collaborate with you to bring the Gospel to your communities in a fun and exciting way.  

COIVD-19 News
RETURN TO INDOOR WORSHIP
With the CDC’s recent advice that fully-vaccinated people need not wear masks except in certain circumstances, congregations are considering the safe return to indoor worship. In addition to local government mandates, this advice from the Legal Office of the PC(USA) walks through your anticipated questions and possible options.
WCC RESPONDS TO CDC GUIDANCE ON MASKING
Dear Ecumenical Colleagues – 
 
Following news coverage of [last week's] CDC release of updated masking guidance for vaccinated persons, Council staff immediately began fielding questions from Wisconsin clergy. We have developed the attached brief recommendations in an effort to make things simpler for those serving in the parish or other settings where they are responsible for gathering the faith community. These are based on recent input (including some post-CDC-release) from our chief medical adviser and other epidemiologists we follow. 
 
 IN BRIEF
  • Don't rush to make changes; faith-based settings are more nuanced in their values and context than the marketplace and CDC guidance account for.
  • Consider applying a 2 out of 3 standard for safety: meet outdoors, wear a mask, physically distance. Our sources advise that choosing two out of these three for any activity will offer significant mitigations of risk.
  • Yes, we did say mask. Churches include many unvaccinated people, including young children who are ineligible for vaccination at this time. If we are serious in our welcome of all God's people, we should provide an environment which helps them feel safe, without needing to guess at the vaccination status of those they gather with. Our prayerful recommendation is that masks remain a standard tool for church gatherings, rather than separate vaccine "haves" from vaccine "have nots."
  • The most critical data point to track at this point is new cases per 100,000 population. When this declines to less than 1, we will be at very low community transmission, and most epidemiologists we follow feel that is the time when we can be at ease.
  • We are still very cautious about congregational singing indoors based on everything we're hearing, due to mixed-vaccine-status groups, poor ventilation, and variants. 
 
WHERE CAN YOU FIND THESE RECOMMENDATIONS?
 
HOW CAN CHURCHES HELP MAKE PROGRESS TOWARD SAFER GATHERING CONDITIONS?
  • Be responsive, not reactive, to changes in the science & public health recommendations.
  • Be faithful and driven as much by theology, ecclesiology and care as we are by science.
  • Participate in the vaccine outreach program as mission, to assist the communities in which the church dwells.
 
If you or your community leaders have questions on any of this, you can reach out to me, or to our vaccine outreach program director Rev. Dan Schultz, danschultz@wichurches.org.  
 
Peace and blessings,
Kerri
 
Rev. Kerri Parker, Executive Director
30 W. Mifflin Street, Suite 602, Madison WI 53703 | Office (608) 837-3108 x 25 | Cell (608) 290-6113
COVID UPDATE FROM OUR EXPERT GUEST SPEAKER, LISA ALLGOOD
A Message from Lisa Allgood (state-specific portions omitted)
May 13, 2021

Pfizer’s vaccine is now approved for 12 and up, and so schools and other open vaccination clinics will start targeting that age group. Vaccines for as young as 6 months are still in clinical trials but could be available by fall. The mRNA vaccines in particular have been shown to prevent transmission of virus (after full vaccination) far better than predicted, and infection rate of fully vaccinated people right now is at about 0.008% - extremely low.

Globally, India, Brazil, and parts of Africa are a mess – not so much because they have low vaccination rates, although they do, but largely because they opened up way too early. The India variant is of special concern (it’s a triple mutation, is more highly infectious, and causes significant disease), doesn’t appear to be fully covered by vaccinations, and it’s circulating in the US as well as globally. Taiwan and Singapore, who believed they had eliminated the virus, have started to spike and parts of each city have been in lock down.

So – what to do at church?  Read on
COVID-19 VACCINE OUTREACH PROJECT
As we move from Easter into Pentecost, we know your church is eager to respond to Jesus' call to ministry in the world. The Wisconsin Council of Churches wants to help you touch lives in this post-COVID world. We are seeking:

  • Churches willing to host vaccine clinics
  • People willing to transport community members to vaccine clinics
  • Medically-trained individuals to help administer vaccines
  • People willing to lend an empathetic ear to those hesitant or resistant to receiving a vaccine

This is a particularly urgent opportunity for churches in rural Wisconsin. For more information, see this brief overview of the program, or reach out to danschultz@wichurches.org.
Hot Links
Grapevine - Presbyterian Women's Newsletter
Keeping In Touch - Newsletter from the Synod of Lakes and Prairies 
Life in the Labyrinth - Inspirational Website by Michelle Henrichs
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance - Current Information
The Sower - May 2021 Newsletter for the Presbyterian Women in the Synod of Lakes and Prairies
UCCI Newsletter - May 2021 Newsletter from United Church Camps, Inc.
Employment Opportunities
Future Presbytery Gathering Dates



  • SATURDAY, May 22, 2021, 9:00 - 11:30 a.m.
  • WEDNESDAY, September 22, 2021
  • THURSDAY, November 18, 2021 

Presbytery of Milwaukee
414-292-2740