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EMerge Feb. 8, 2019

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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
February 8, 2019
Presbytery news  
Presbytery Nominating Committee
seeks input from everyone
The presbytery's Nominating Committee wants to match the spiritual gifts of individuals in the presbytery with leadership opportunities. In a letter Presbytery Logoto the presbytery, Thomas J. Ruter, chair of the committee, wrote, "It is our desire ... to have broad, active and engaged involvement from our local congregations on presbytery committees helping to influence, develop and guide the church of tomorrow. Our success depends upon your involvement." To do this, the committee, according to Ruter's letter, is asking those "who would be interested in serving the larger church" to complete the new Spiritual Gifts form on the presbytery's website. Ruter's complete letter can be found at "Seeking Input from All." The Spiritual Gifts form can be found at "Spiritual Gifts."
Reminder: Congregational Development Grant applications due March 1
Applications for the 2019 round of Congregational Development Grants are due March 1. The full application packet is on the presbytery website. The Congregational Development Fund has been established by the Presbytery to encourage or expand congregational ministry supporting innovative, and perhaps risky, ministry initiatives at the congregational level. Up to $100,000 in grants annually will be available from this fund. The presbytery's Committee on Congregational Vitality will receive and evaluate proposals and recommend recipients. Successful applications will build on the current gifts, abilities, passions, and callings of congregations.
Completed applications may be submitted to the presbytery by mail or electronically to the Committee on Congregational Vitality through Jennifer Schultz, PTCA office manager, at by March 1. Please put Congregational Development Fund application in the subject line. Questions can be addressed to Michael Quady, chair of the committee, at, or to Jeff Japinga, executive presbyter, at
The complete announcement is at "Congregational Development."
Information available for presbytery mission trip to North Carolina
Mission TripThe 2019 Presbytery Mission Trip is now on the calendar, slated March 30 through April 7, and planned in collaboration with Presbyterian Disaster Assistance. Participants will travel to New Bern, North Carolina, and assist in disaster recovery, clean-up and rebuilding from the major flooding from Hurricane Florence. The total cost per participant is $250. Details are at "Presbytery Mission Trip."
Triennium set at Purdue, carries
theme, 'Here's My Heart'
New Triennium LogoPresbyterian Youth Triennium, the gathering of thousands every third year for high school age Presbyterians, runs July 16-20 at Purdue University in Indiana. Its theme this year is "Here's My Heart." The Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area is again sponsoring a group, and Wendy Griffin is the presbytery's coordinator and registrar. She can be reached at Griffin's complete "invitation" letter can be found at "Presbyterian Youth Triennium." A Triennium information sheet is at 
be found at "Beyond the Commercials."
Estes Honored by APCE
EstesThe Association of Presbyterian Christian Educators (APCE), gathered this week at its annual event in Galveston, Texas, honored the Rev. Katie Estes for her four years as the secretary of the national Christian education organization. Estes (right), co-pastor of First Presbyterian Church of South Saint Paul, is pictured with APCE past-president Holly Inglis and incoming president Carl Horton. In her role as secretary, Estes served on APCE's executive committee, coordinating council, and administration task force. 
Jeff's Jottings
So what difference do we make?
By Jeff Japinga
Executive Presbyter
Jeff Japinga
I am still reflecting on the Presbytery meeting from two weeks ago, especially about what I learned from our guest speaker, Danielle Ayana James. I thought it might be good to do one piece of that reflection out loud with you, the people and leaders of this Presbytery.
One of Danielle's challenges -- one that has captured my thinking -- was around how we in the church evaluate ourselves.  Too often, she said, we settle for passively measuring our congregation with the five "B's" -- bums (people) in the seats, budgets, buildings, baptisms, and baskets. In this day and age, when membership and often the budgets of most of our congregations are lower, that's not exactly encouraging.
The complete Jottings are at "Making a Difference."
Around the presbytery   
VocalPoint concerts slated
at Central Presbyterian in St. Paul
VocalPointa St. Paul auditioned choir of about 80 members, will present "Holding Space: Music Exploring Mental health, Compassion and Healing," aVocalPointconcert benefiting the Walk-In Counseling Center of the Twin Cities. The counseling center provides free and accessible mental health counseling to people with urgent needs and few service options. VocalPoint, joined by singer/songwriter Sara Thomsen, uses the power of people, art and collaboration to tell the stories of organizations doing life-changing work. Concerts are planned Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 9-10, at 4 p.m. at Central Presbyterian Church in St. Paul. Additional details and ticket information are at "Holding Space."
Valentine Cabaret planned tomorrow
at Apple Valley's Spirit of Life
Spirit of Life Presbyterian Church in Apple Valley will hold its annual Valentine Cabaret Saturday, Feb. 9. Spirit of Life Apple ValleyOnce again there will be a silent auction, with doors opening at 5:30 p.m. The congregation's youth group will serve a full dinner at 6 p.m., raising funds for the youth mission trip later this year. A variety show following the dinner will be provided by adult and youth members of the church. A live local band will also play throughout the evening. Child care will be provided after the meal for children age 5 and under. Details can be found in the announcement at "Valentine Cabaret."
Pulitzer Prize winner featured at Westminster Town Hall Forum
Art Cullen, the 2017 winner of the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing, will be the featured speaker at the Tuesday, Feb. 12, Westminster Town Hall Forum of Art CullenWestminster Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis. Cullen, editor and co-owner of The Storm Lake (Iowa) Times, won the Pulitzer for a series of editorials indicting corporate agri-business for polluting the rivers and lakes in some of the most intensively farmed land in the world. Cullen's recently published book, "Storm Lake," describes his life as a journalist, and addresses the changes in politics, agriculture, climate and immigration confronting rural America. The event, free and open to the public, begins at noon. Details are at "Town Hall Forum."
'Welcome the Stranger' series 
continues at Peace Presbyterian
Peace Presbyterian"Welcome the Stranger," a series of speakers on immigration issues, continues at Peace Presbyterian Church in St. Louis Park on Wednesday, Feb. 13, when Sean Walther, demographer of St. Louis Park speaks at 7 p.m. Walther will address the city's immigration trends and plans. His presentation will follow a light supper at 6 p.m. The event will be in the church's fellowship hall, accessible from a parking lot entrance behind the building. Additional details are available at "Welcome the Stranger" and on Facebook. A poster is also available at "Speaker Series."
Noted meteorologist Paul Douglas
to speak at Chaska church
Noted meteorologist Paul Douglas will address global warming when he speaks at Shepard of the Hill Presbyterian Church Paul Douglasin Chaska Tuesday, Feb. 19. Douglas, a national spokesman on the issue of climate change and its ramifications, is the author of "Caring for Creation: The Evangelicals Guide to Climate Change and Healthy Environment." Douglas' presentation, beginning at 7 p.m., is part of Shepard of the Hill's bi-monthly Tuesday Dialogues, and is also sponsored by Southwest Metro/Chaska Citizen's Climate Lobby, Interfaith Power and Light and AM950 radio. The event is free.
Acclaimed pianists present benefit concert at Woodbury's Trinity
Two internationally acclaimed pianists will perform a concert Saturday, Feb. 23, 5 p.m. at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Woodbury to benefit the church's music ministry programs. Pianists Anton Melnichenko and Denis Evstuhin will perform music by Beethoven, Chopin, Haydn and Rachmaninoff. A free-will offering will be accepted. A poster is available at "Benefit Concert."
Hudson First Presbyterian plans 'centering prayer' workshop in March
center for actionFirst Presbyterian Church of Hudson will be host to an introductory workshop on centering prayers on Saturday, March 2, from 9:30 a.m. to  3 p.m. The workshop presents an opportunity to open minds and hearts to God beyond thoughts and words, and to listen to God in silence through contemplation. The workshop will be presented by Dr. Tom Eberle, director of The Living School at the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico. A suggested donation of $35 includes lunch. Registration is requested by Feb. 22 by visiting the church website or calling 715.386.2851. The workshop is open to everyone regardless of faith background. Additional questions can be addressed to the Rev. Dr. Kendra Grams at
Retired Ministers change plans, now
plan to meet at Westminster
The Presbytery Retired Ministers have changed plans for their gathering on Tuesday, April 30. Instead of meeting at Presbyterian Church of the Way in Shoreview that day, they will piggy-back their gathering with the Westminster Town Hall Forum to listen to guest speaker Barbara Brown Taylor. The group will meet at 10:45 a.m. in the Meisel Room at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis for registration and gathering time. They will move into the sanctuary for music at 11:30 to hear Aaron Humble, a former member of the vocal group Cantus. Taylor will speak from noon until 1 p.m. when the retirees will return to the Meisel Room for a catered lunch. The complete announcement is at "Retired Ministers."
Westminster connects with community through prayer 'Wailing Wall'
"Westminster Presbyterian Church in downtown Minneapolis continues to break down walls between Presbyterians Today magazinechurch and community. As an engaged urban partner, it is listening to, and praying for, the concerns of its people," writes Sherry Blackman in Presbyterians Today magazine. "Last summer, the church created its own kind of 'Wailing Wall.' Passers-by were invited to write their prayer requests and hang them on the church's railing that borders Nicollet Avenue, a 12-block shopping and dining hub in the city. Thousands of people pass by the church every day. The prayer wall was the idea of the Revs. Sarah Brouwer, Westminster's associate pastor for congregational life, and Meghan Gage-Finn, the church's executive associate pastor." Blackman's complete article is at "Modern Wailing Wall."
Resources, conferences ...
Austin Channing Brown headlines
2019 Winter Forum in Wisconsin
Austin Channing Brown, a leading voice on racial justice, will be the keynote speaker at the 2019 Austin Channing BrownWinter Forum of the Wisconsin Council of Churches planned Saturday, March 9, 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."
Annual White Privilege Conference planned March 20-23 in Iowa
White Privilege ConferenceThe annual White Privilege Conference, with the theme Understanding, Respect and Connecting, is slated Wednesday through Saturday, March 20-23, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The conference provides a challenging, collaborative and comprehensive experience, according to its website, as it strives to empower and equip individuals to work for equity and justice through self and social transformations. Additional information about the conference is available at "White Privilege Conference."
YAV program seeks applicants;
most sites at still available
YAV recruitThe Young Adult Volunteer program of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is an ecumenical, faith-based year of service in sites around the world and across the United States. YAVs accompany local agencies working to address root causes of poverty and reconciliation while exploring the meaning and motivation of their faith in community with peers and mentors. There's more information about the YAV program at "Possibilities," and application information is at "Application Dates."
Ecumenical Advocacy Days planned
in early April in Washington, DC
Advocacy weekendThe website of Ecumenical Advocacy Days notes, "The history of engaging in "good trouble" is embedded in our 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."
Pastors School planned
in May at Lakeshore Center
save the dateIt used to be winter pastors school; now it's simply pastors school. Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation, the host for Pastors School, is asking you to save the date -- May 13-16 -- for the event. The Rev. Dr. Ken McFayden, will be the main speaker. McFayden serves as academic dean of the Richmond campus of Union Presbyterian Seminary and professor of ministry and leadership development. He teaches courses in the areas of congregational leadership and administration. Registration for Pastors School will begin Monday, Feb. 11. Details are at "Pastors School."
To give away ...
The Minnesota Council of Churches is seeking a Ramadan Open Houses Intern. Taking Heart Open Houses are held during Ramadan and bring Muslims and people of other faiths together for conversation and an Iftar, the fast-breaking meal. In 2019, Ramadan begins the evening of May 5 and lasts until the evening of June 4. During that time a series of Open Houses will be held at mosques and Islamic centers, mainly in the Metro area, but a few in greater Minnesota. The intern assists with laying the groundwork for these events and their coordination, mainly in the areas of communication and administration. The complete posting is at "Ramadan Intern."
First Presbyterian Church in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, has about 50 blue Presbyterian hymnals to give away for free. The church is also willing to help with delivery arrangements. Interested parties should contact Dan Mundt Jr. by e-mail at
News of the wider church  


PC(USA) stated clerk denounces
bill limiting protest of Israel
The Stated Clerk of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has spoken out against a bill which would allow state
J Herbert Nelson
and municipal governments to punish entities that boycott, divest or sanction Israel in support of Palestinian rights. The bill passed the United States Senate 77-23 this week. "It's unfortunate that one of the first things the Senate has done following the government shutdown is pass a law that threatens the constitutionally protected right of Americans to engage in boycotts in support of human-rights causes," the Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelso II said in a statement. "However, we are encouraged by the number of Senators who opposed this unjust law." The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Rich Copley can be found at "Opposing a Bill."
Budget, immigration, cultural diversity take up final day of COGA meeting
The final meeting day for the Committee on the General Assembly (COGA) opened with the Rev. Warren Lesane reminding the group of a grim
PCUSA logo
anniversary. On Feb. 8, 1968, South Carolina patrol officers in Orangeburg, South Carolina, opened fire on protesters from the South Carolina State University campus. As many as 200 had protested earlier in the evening against racial segregation at a local bowling alley. In the end, three African American students were dead and twenty-seven other protesters were injured. The Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II, Stated Clerk of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), described the personal impact it had on him growing up near Orangeburg. Nelson says he told his father he planned to come back home upon graduation from college, however, his father felt differently. The complete story by Rick Jones of the Office of the General Assembly can be found at "COGA Wraps Up Meeting."
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