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EMerge Feb. 15, 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 to
February 15, 2019
Presbytery news  
'Telling Our Stories' is focus
of March presbytery meeting
As a connectional church, the work we do together at Presbytery meetings is an important expression of this common commitment.  Our five meetings this year are framing both time and content around the mission of the Presbytery ("support congregations, equip leaders, towards God's mission in the world") and our overall theme for the year, "Nurturing thoughtful expressions of God's mission in the world." 
Building on that theme, the March Presbytery meeting will invite us to consider "telling the stories essential to the church's life."
The Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area will meet Saturday, March 16, beginning at 9 a.m., at the Korean Presbyterian Church of Minnesota in Brooklyn Park.
The complete story is at "March Presbytery Meeting."
Reminder: Congregational Development Grant applications due March 1
Applications for the 2019 round of Congregational Development Grants are due March 1. The full Presbytery Logoapplication 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."
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 to 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."
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."
Jeff's Jottings
Jeff JapingaBy Jeff Japinga
Executive Presbyter
The print was big and bold, the message dramatic. Almost Half of Practicing Christian Millennials Say Evangelism Is Wrong.
At least, that's how the Barna Organization, a well-known Christian research firm (think Gallup with an evangelical lens) interpreted the results of a study it conducted last year and released this week. It certainly caught my attention.
But read more, and the picture becomes a little less clear.
The complete Jottings are at "How We Tell the Story."
Around the presbytery   
Noted meteorologist Paul Douglas
to speak at Chaska church
Paul DouglasNoted meteorologist Paul Douglas will address global warming when he speaks at Shepard of the Hill Presbyterian Church in 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
trinity concertTwo 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."
Tom Willadsen shares laughter as faith language; speaks at House of Hope
tom willadsenTom Willadsen, a Presbyterian minister who shares the "sacred truth that laughter is a common language of people of all faiths," will speak Sunday, Feb. 24, at 11:15 a.m., at House of Hope Presbyterian Church in St. Paul. Theologian Martin Marty calls Willadsen's style "unmistakable, vivid, compelling, and valuable." His writing has appeared in Presbyterians Today, Leadership, and Visual Parables. He is also the author of "OMG! LOL! Faith and Laughter." Additional details are at "Willadsen."
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
'Protecting the Lifegivers' conference planned in April in Minneapolis
protecting lifegiversTitled "Winyan Awanyankapi: Protecting the Lifegivers," the April 5-7 conference at First Universalist Church in Minneapolis will address the missing and murdered American Indian women, and indigenous peoples sovereignty of housing and water. The conference, open to everyone, is designed by and will be led by indigenous women. Keynote speakers are Ann McKeig, the first American Indian to serve on the Minnesota Supreme Court, and Patina Park, executive director of the Minnesota Indian Women's Resource Center. The conference will offer place-based learning experiences, keynote speeches, breakout sessions and opportunities for conversations with fellow conference attendees. Meals will be provided by indigenous-owned catering companies offering traditional foods. The image above is by Jillian Elaine Stately, Red Lake Ojibwe, Santee Dakota.  A flyer is at "Winyan Awanyankapi." The conference is also on Facebook. The registration page is at "Lifegivers."
Retired Ministers change plans,
now plan to meet at Westminster
The Presbytery Retired Ministers will piggy-back their April 30 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."
Resources, conferences ...
YAV program seeks applicants;
most sites are still available
Yav March 1The 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. The deadline for international applications is March 1. Available international sites include South Korea, Zambia, Colombia, Scotland, Peru and the Philippines. 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."
Wartburg's 38th annual Rural Ministry Conference planned in Dubuque
wartburgThe 38th annual Rural Ministry Conference of the Center for Theology and Land at Wartburg Theological Seminary is planned March 3-5. Speakers for this year's conference are the Rev. Dr. Craig Nessan, academic dean and professor contextual theology at Wartburg, and the Rev. Dr. Annette Bourland Huizenga, dean of the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary and associate professor of New Testament. The theme of this year's ecumenical conference is "Building Resilience among Leaders and Communities." Conference details are available at "Rural Ministry Conference."
Regarding ruling elders: Dealing
with problems in healthy ways
Joan Gray, a former General Assembly moderator, writes this month's Regarding Ruling Elders column, a  Ruling Elder Resourcemonthly resource provided by the Office of the General Assembly. She notes, "Even in the most placid churches, people will occasionally get offended or object to the way things are being done or not being done. Sometimes the problem is brought out into the open and dealt with. At other times, however, the people who feel troubled are not willing to speak about their feelings with the person, or persons, involved." Gray's complete column is at "Dealing with Problems."
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 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."
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."
Wee Kirk Conference planned
in May at Calvin Crest
wee kirkKris and Brian Peterson of Leadership Harbor will be the plenary leaders at this spring's Great Plains Wee Kirk Conference planned May 6-8 at Calvin Crest Camp, Conference and Retreat Center near Fremont, Nebraska. The conference provides opportunities for pastors and lay leaders of smaller membership churches to find ideas for ministry in their contexts, to experience encouragement, and to have their souls fed. Additional details are available at "Wee Kirk."
Registration opens for Pastors School
in May at Lakeshore Center
Omaha Presbyterian SeminaryIt used to be winter pastors school; now it's simply pastors school. And now registration for Pastors School, hosted by the Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation, is open. Pastors School will run May 13-16 at Lakeshore Center at Okoboji. 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. The schedule for Pastors School is at "Schedule." Registration can be completed at "Registration."
To give away ...
Oak Grove Presbyterian Church in Bloomington is seeking a part-time (average of 25 hours per week) financial secretary. For more information or to apply, send an e-mail to
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."
News of the wider church  


African-Americans have rich
history in the Presbyterian church
black historyAfrican-Americans have played a pivotal role in American church history. Many may be familiar with Richard Allen and Absalom Jones, the founders of what is now known as the African Methodist Episcopal Church, which was established in Philadelphia in 1792. Less known but equally as important to the Presbyterian denomination was the Rev. John Gloucester, who founded the First African Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia in 1807. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Gail Strange can be found at "PC(USA) Celebrates Black History Month."
Christian formation specialists deliver straight talk during APCE workshop
Presbyterian Church EducatorsThe titles of two workshops held last week during the Association of Presbyterian Church Educators event -- "Killing Church Softly" and "Reviving Church Loudly" -- together served up a vision about what intergenerational worship and Christian education could look like in the coming years. The Rev. Dr. Jason Brian Santos, the Presbyterian Mission Agency's coordinator for Christian formation, and Brian Frick, an associate for Christian formation, described the current situation and then offered possible outcomes during a pair of Thursday workshops. There was clearly pent-up demand for their description and prescription: several workshop attendees sat on the floor for 75-minute stretches to hear from both Santos and Frick. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Mike Ferguson can be found at "Straight Talk."
Tom Long proposes a different narrative from that of mainline decline
tom longThe Rev. Dr. Tom Long proposes a different narrative to one of mainline church decline. "The one I want us to hear is that I believe God is tearing down what we have in order to build up something new and more faithful," the Bandy Professor of Preaching Emeritus at Candler School of Theology at Emory University told about 700 people attending the annual event last week of the Association of Presbyterian Church Educators. "We are experiencing right now as a church the judgment of God," a reality to which not every Presbyterian can cozy up. "The reason we don't want to talk about it is we misunderstand it theologically," he said. "It's not punishment and shame. It's a righteous judge who comes to set things right." The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Mike Ferguson can be found at "A Different Narrative."

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