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EMerge Newsletter, Dec. 7, 2018

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EMerge is a newsletter of the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area. Through most of the year it is published weekly and distributed to congregations, teaching elders, ruling elders, church members, committees and friends of the presbytery. Please send submissions and address corrections to
December 7, 2018
Presbytery news  
Scholarships are available
for 2019 NEXT Church gathering
The Committee on Congregational Vitality of the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area is providing up to NEXT new logofive $500 scholarships for those attending the 2019 Next Church gathering March 11-13 in Seattle. By Dec.  15, those who plan to attend should submit a letter of application to the presbytery explaining why they plan to attend the conference. The committee will review the letters at its December meeting and notify scholarship recipients in early January. Up to five scholarships will be awarded, with a maximum of one scholarship per church. The committee is asking those who attend the gathering to prepare a report for the May presbytery meeting.Letters should be sent to the presbytery office, 2115 Cliff Drive, Eagan, MN 55122. Digital letters may be sent to
Jeff's Jottings
In hearing the Word ourselves ...
By Jeff Japinga
Executive Presbyter
Jeff JapingaI heard someone say this week that it's been an especially gloomy fall.
He was commenting on our cloudy autumn weather in Minnesota. Others may have heard that phrase and thought of other things.
Have you wondered how people heard the direct, some might say harsh, words of John the Baptist. Yes, it was clear that "you brood of vipers" was directed at one particular group of people, the Pharisees. But John's prophetic preaching left few unchallenged. He was a gloomy guy. And yet, the text tells us, the people flocked to hear John, and responded to his preaching.
The complete Jottings are at "Hearing the Word."
Around the presbytery   
Spirit of Life Church plans
special Christmas programs
Spirit of Life Apple ValleySpirit of Life Presbyterian Church in Apple Valley will offer four different special Christmas programs this month. They begin with two programs on Sunday, Dec. 16, including a cantata of nine anthems performed by the congregation's choir during the 10 a.m. worship service. The children and youth present their Christmas pageant, "'Twas the Night before Christmas," at 6:30 p.m. Subsequent special programs follow on Dec. 21 and Dec. 24. The complete story is at "Spirit of Life Christmas."
Boundaries training scheduled Jan. 14; online registration available
Level I boundaries training is planned Monday, Jan. 14, from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Oak Grove Presbyterian Church Boundaries 1in Bloomington. This training  is required for all teaching elders in the presbytery, and is also appropriate for youth directors, Christian education staff, music staff, ministry volunteers, and people serving on church personnel committees. The training provides basic foundations and frameworks for healthy and safe Christian communities in terms of ministry relationships, finance, social media and confidentiality. Questions can be addressed to the instructor, the Rev. Anna Kendig, at
Resources, conferences ...
Youth Triennium launches registration for next summer's event
Registration for the largest event in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) -- the Presbyterian Youth Triennium 2019 -- is now open for local registrars. While hundreds of volunteer PYT registrars throughout the 2019 Youth PYTPC(USA) and Cumberland Presbyterian Church have been planning, recruiting and raising funds, the national team is testing new digital forms and running "ghost" registrations to identify any problems. "We're currently shoring up the foundation of this mega event," says PYT Director Gina Yeager-Buckley. "We're closer to the date [in July] when thousands of anxious but curious and excited young Presbyterians will arrive by bus or plane to Purdue University." The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Paul Seebeck can be found at "Youth Triennium." In next week's EMerge, there will be registration information for the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area. Let's again fill a bus for the Triennium.
Monmouth College offers free,
2-week program for high schoolers
Monmouth College, a Presbyterian-related college in Monmouth, Illinois, offers a unique, two-week, summer program for high school students. And it's free. It's called Lux Summer Theological Institute monmouth collegefor Youth, and the upcoming program, concentrating on hunger and poverty issues, has the theme, "A Place at the Table: Thinking Theologically about Hunger and Poverty." The Rev. Jessica Hawkinson, Monmouth's chaplain and director of the program, describes the program as "wonderful - and free!," adding that it "gives high school students from around the country a chance to immerse themselves in big theological questions." This year's program runs June 16-30. Details can be found at "Thinking Theologically about Hunger and Poverty."
Minnesota Valleys slates training events
for church, community leaders
The Rev. Samuel Son, manager for diversity and reconciliation for the Presbyterian Mission Agency, will be the speaker for the first in a series of samuel sontraining events planned by the Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys that run January through May. The first event is titled "Hopeful Conversations About Human to Human Relationships: Moving beyond hatemongering, fear, scarcity and miseducation" and takes place Tuesday, Jan. 22, at the presbytery office, 4055 Abbott Drive, Willmar. The event, which runs from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. will equip participants to return to their communities with enhanced listening attitudes, equipped to enhance relationships in diverse communities. Additional details about this event and upcoming training sessions can be found at "Training Events."
Austin Channing Brown headlines
2019 Winter Forum in Wisconsin
Austin Channing BrownAustin Channing Brown, a leading voice on racial justice, will be the keynote speaker at the 2019 Winter Forum of the Wisconsin Council of Churches planned in March in Madison. Channing Brown is the author of the autobiographical "Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness." She is committed to exploring the intersections of racial justice, faith and black womanhood. Her presentations infused with justice, pop culture, humor and truth-telling. Details can be found at "2019 Winter Forum."
Ecumenical Advocacy Days planned
in early April in Washington, DC
The website of Ecumenical Advocacy Days notes, "The history of engaging in "good trouble" is embedded in Advocacy weekendour faith tradition and our history as a nation and in the world. In the Bible, we read stories of the midwives who resisted Pharaoh and preserved the lives of Hebrew baby boys. We see Moses challenging the authority of Pharaoh, and Jesus overturn tables run by money changers." In the spring, Ecumenical Advocacy Days will draw on the "good trouble" pioneers from the civil rights era and inspiration from young leaders. The event is planned April 5-8 in Washington, D.C. Details can be found at "Good Trouble."
Board Connections: New BOP
website is coming soon
Board of PensionsThe latest edition of Board Connections, a newsletter from the Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), notes the Board will relaunch its website,, to serve its members and employers. The newsletter notes, "This new, dynamic website features a fresh, modern look that's easy to navigate on any device and an enhanced search function so you can easily find what you're looking for." Details can be found in Board Connections.
Service opportunities ...
First Presbyterian Church of Stillwater is seeking a part-time family ministry coordinator to lead and equip the members of congregation to nurture children, youth and families toward Christian maturity and service. The position is approximately 20 hours per week. The complete position description and application information can be found at "Family Ministry Coordinator."
Oak Grove Presbyterian Church in Bloomington is searching for a part-time (20 to 30 hours per week) youth and young adult ministries coordinator. The complete job description can be found at "Youth and Young Adult Ministries Coordinator." Applications should be sent to Anne Klueh at
Crossroads Presbyterian Church in Mequon, Wisconsin, is currently looking for an interim associate pastor to provide continuity with its deacons, adult education, and mission and outreach ministries.  This is a temporary role for the purpose of bridging the time until the congregation's pastor nominating committee finds a new senior pastor, and the congregation begins a search for an installed associate pastor.  It is not required that this pastor be specifically trained in transitional work.  The complete position description can be found at "Interim Associate Pastor." Resumes or PIFs can be sent to  Applications should include any links or clips of relevant sermons or other recordings.
News of the wider church  


Immigration experts advise visitors
to US-Mexico border to tell story
Rather than trusting media or government versions of what's going on along the U.S.-Mexico border, Presbyterians are better of engaging with people and partners in the trenches of the immigration issue. "If you are a group going to the border, tell your story when you get home," Teresa Waggener, an attorney with the Office of Immigration Issues, told the Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson II, stated clerk of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), during his "Coffee with the Clerk" Facebook Live session this week. Preach a sermon, write a letter to the editor or agree to an interview with a reporter, she suggested. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Mike Ferguson can be found at "Immigration Stories."
Presbyterian agencies surpass
$100,000 #GivingTuesday goal
The Presbyterian Mission Agency and the Office of the General Assembly exceeded their $100,000 goal on Giving Tuesday#GivingTuesday, receiving $105,673 during the event held last week. "I am grateful for everyone who supported God's mission on #GivingTuesday through the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)," said the Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson II, stated clerk of the General Assembly of the PC(USA). "Particularly in this season, as we anticipate the celebration of God's greatest gift to us, I am encouraged by every gift that Presbyterians offer to God. These acts of generosity express our gratitude to God for all that God has done for us." The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Pat Cole can be found at "Surpassing the Goal."
Advent journey is not easy
for followers of Jesus
Justice Peace NewsSara Lisherness, director of the Office of Compassion, Peace and Justice of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, writes in the most recent newsletter of her office, "We live in a time of deep polarization and pain. Tragic fires and other large-scale disasters, senseless shootings, and children being separated from their families and held like criminals, are in the headlines. These are just a few of the events that break one's heart - on a list that is almost too long to fathom. ... The Advent journey is not just a journey of hope and anticipation for the coming of the babe in the manger, it is a reminder that the journey of faith is not easy if we are to follow Jesus, who invited us to 'take up the cross and follow him.'" Her complete column can be found in the current issue of Justice & Peace newsletter.

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