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EMerge March 1, 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
March 1, 2019
Presbytery news  
March Presbytery meeting
Think about your stories ...
how, when, where they're shared
The March 16 meeting of the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area is just slightly more than two weeks away. If you haven't already, it's time to start thinking about it.

What story best describes your congregation's ministry? Not a bulletin, or a sermon, or an annual report, but a story. Maybe you know it, maybe you don't. If you do know a story, have you told it? To whom, and how, and when?
The invites us to consider "telling the stories essential to the church's life." The Rev. Rebecca Anderson will join us as guest presenter during the meeting and at an afternoon workshop following the meeting. Rebecca is co-pastor of a 2-year-old church plant in Chicago called Gilead. At Gilead, each service includes a couple of people telling crafted, true stories as part of the church's mission to "tell true stories that save lives." Here's a story Rebecca herself has told.
The complete announcement is at "Telling Our Stories."
Triennium registration deadline nears 
New Triennium LogoRegistration for Triennium 2019 is open right now ... but only for the remainder of this month. Churches that have expressed an interest in being part of the PTCA delegation to PYT2019 have already received the information they need for registration. If you did not receive this information and are interested -- or you simply need it re-sent -- please contact Wendy Griffin soon at The registration deadline is April 1.
Jeff's Jottings
Random thoughts on a fractured church
By Jeff Japinga
Executive Presbyter
Jeff Japinga 
This week, the United Methodist Church became the latest Protestant denomination to privilege unprincipled maneuvering over prayerful conversation, when its special General Conference, meeting in Saint Louis, voted to double down on its restrictive prohibitions against same-sex marriage and LGBTQ clergy.
I'm sure not all participants in the UMC's gathering in Saint Louis would characterize their actions in the way I did in the first paragraph. "If you go with what's right, you'll never be wrong," said a supporter of the so-called Traditional Plan, remarkably confident in the rightness of the side that carried the day in a 53-47 percent vote.
To be clear: what's over in the UMC is not over, not today, maybe not ever.
The complete Jottings are at "Random Thoughts on a Fractured Church."
Around the presbytery   
'Welcome the Stranger' series
continues at Peace Presbyterian
Peace Presbyterian Church in St. Louis Park continues its "Welcome the Stranger" series this week speakers Peace Presbyterianfrom the American Refugee Committee (ARC) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Mary Hogan, a community relations officer for the DHS, speaks Sunday, March 3, following lunch at 11:45 a.m. Kazoua Kong-Thao will address her own immigrant experience on Wednesday, March 13, following a light dinner at 6 p.m. Kong-Thao has served on the St. Paul school board. The presentations are free and open to the public. Additional details are at "Welcome the Stranger."
Early bird registration underway
for series on decolonizing Bible reading
The Church of All Nations and Underground Seminary has scheduled a continuing education event Underground Semin June that offers week-long classes that seek to "decolonize our reading" of the Bible. The Underground Seminary website notes, "The white, Western, capitalist framework that has dominated the globe the last few hundred years is collapsing, but not without a fight. This has led to a global neoliberal system where everything is a commodity to be devoured for profit. Ours is an age that calls for prophets and healers. But how do we do that as Christian leaders when Christianity has been the primary ideological center of this destructive worldview?" Details about the event can be found at "A Postcolonial Survey of the Bible." Early bird registration ends March 31. 
'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."
Festival of Homiletics encourages
'preaching as moral imagination'
homileticsThe 27th Festival of Homiletics returns to Minneapolis in May with the theme, "Preaching as Moral Imagination." The Festival plans to "inspire  and encourage preachers to embrace once again their identity as those called to give voice to God's vision of goodness and mercy, to recover and reimagine leadership in the church that seeks justice for all," according to the Festival's website. The Festival runs Monday through Friday, May 13-17, and encourages ministers to "come renew, refresh and recharge. ... Come and tap into God's moral imagination for the sake of the world God loves," the site notes. Central Lutheran Church is host to this year's conference. Westminster Presbyterian Church will also house events during the week, located less than three blocks from the main venue. Complete details are at "Festival of Homiletics."
Addiction, Faith Conference planned
in September in Twin Cities
Noting on its website the "growing concern over the devastation of all forms of addiction, including the  addiction faithever-increasing opioid crisis," organizers of this fall's Addiction & Faith Conference say the conference will "raise awareness of the terrible addiction problem we face and how the church and people of faith can help to address it." The conference is planned Friday through Sunday, Sept. 20-22, at the Doubletree by Hilton in Bloomington, Minnesota. The conference is presented by the Fellowship of Recovering Lutheran Clergy in partnership with the Recovery Ministries of the Episcopal Church. Conference details are at "Addiction and Faith."
In response to picketers, Macalester students say 'Love Wins'
Two traveling evangelical activists held a protest on the sidewalk parallel to Grand Avenue during the late morning and early afternoon of Feb. 18. The picketers carried signs with homophobic and anti-abortion messages and verbally harassed passersby. Though technically off campus grounds, the picketers were positioned adjacent to the Campus Center and soon attracted the attention of many Macalester students. A small crowd of counter-protesters, comprised chiefly of students, began congregating around the picketers. Members of the Macalester football team formed a circle around the pair, joining hands and singing "Kumbaya My Lord." Macalester is a Presbyterian-related institution of higher education in covenant with the Synod of Lakes and Prairies. The complete story by Hanna Goldfarb, published last week in The Mac Weekly, can be found at at "Love Wins."
Resources, conferences ...
Annual White Privilege Conference
planned March 20-23 in Iowa
The annual White Privilege Conference, with the theme Understanding, Respect and Connecting, is White Privilege Conferenceslated 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." In registering for the conference, the Presbyterian discount code is PRES2019 (entered at the end of registration).
Ecumenical Center for Clergy
Spiritual Renewal seeks applicants
The new Ecumenical Center for Clergy Spiritual Renewal, located at Holy Wisdom Monastery, a Benedictine monastery near Madison, Wisconsin, is seeking applicants to its first cohort of ministers who will participate in a renewal program through immersion into the Benedictine spiritual practices of the monastery. Supported by a grant from Lilly Endowment Inc., all costs for participation are covered. The program, directed by Presbyterian minister Nancy Enderle and Lutheran minister Jerry Buss, is designed for early and mid-career clergy. The first cohort begins in June. The application deadline is March 31. Details can be found at "Ecumenical Center for Clergy Spiritual Renewal."
Synod's Leadership Summit addresses presbyteries, personnel committees
The Synod of Lakes and Prairies Leadership Summit, formerly known as the COM/CPM training event, is synodslated April 23-25 under the theme, "Nurturing Wholeness and Mission: The Work of Presbyteries and Personnel Committees." The conference, which takes place at Christ the King Retreat Center in Buffalo, Minnesota, will explore issues of pastor nominating committees, best practices for personnel committees, communication tools, and ongoing support through cohort groups, coaching and other means. Mary Kay DuChene, a staff associate at LeaderWise, a counseling and consulting organization headquartered in New Brighton, Minnesota, will be the keynote speaker. The conference brochure and registration information are at "Leadership Summit."
SDOP Sunday is slated
April 7; resource noted
Justice Peace NewsAlonzo Johnson, coordinator of the Presbyterian Committee for the Self-Development of People (SDOP), says the committee "is about helping people, which means that we share in the work of making justice and hope real for all in our communities." Quoted in the current Justice & Peace newsletter, Johnson adds, "This is why communities matter, because we are all in it together." Presbyterians will celebrate SDOP on Sunday, April 7, and the current newsletter also includes a link to a liturgical resource for the celebration. The complete newsletter is at "SDOP Sunday."
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 underway for Pastors
School in May at Lakeshore Center
Omaha Presbyterian SeminaryIt used to be winter pastors school; now it's simply pastors school. 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."
Registration opened today
catalogfor 2019 Synod School
Registration for Synod School 2019 opened today. Synod School, the midsummer ministry of the Synod of Lakes and Prairies, takes place in Storm Lake, Iowa, on the Buena Vista University campus nestled along the shore of the lake. The number of adult classes eclipses 80 this year, and other activities are too numerous to mention here. Synod School takes place annually during the last full week in July; this year's runs Sunday through Friday, July 21-26. Deirdre "Dede" Johnston, professor of communication at Hope College in Holland, Michigan, will be the convocation speaker, and Shawna Bowman, associate director of field education and experiential education at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, will be the evening worship leader. Lance and Paige Loveall of Kenosha, Wisconsin, will lead the morning song and prayer time. The Synod School catalog and a link to online registration can be found on the synod's website at
The Academy will begin another
cohort at Synod School this summer
Called simply The Academy, a series of 11 courses designed to develop well-equipped, thoughtful people to better serve councils in a variety of capacities, will The Academyopen for another cohort this summer. Described as a unique, cohort-based learning community, The Academy offers participants an opportunity to grow in faith and knowledge, as a leader, and to have more opportunities to serve God as needed. For some participants, the courses may lead to becoming commissioned pastors. The Academy is a joint effort of the presbyteries of Minnesota Valleys, North Central Iowa and Prospect Hill, and the Synod of Lakes and Prairies. A current brochure, with a link to registration, is at "The Academy."
Presbyterians for Earth Care plan conference at Stony Point in August
Earth Care PresbysPresbyterians for Earth Care, a national eco-justice network that cares for God's creation by connecting, equipping, and inspiring Presbyterians to make creation care a central concern of the church, will conduct its 2019 conference Aug. 6-9 at Stony Point Center in Stony Point, New York. William Brown, professor of Old Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia, will be the keynote speaker. Confirmed workshop speakers are Emily Brewer of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship and Ryan Smith of the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations. Additional details are at "Presbyterians for Earth Care."
Registration is underway for Women's Connection 2019 at Montreat
Registration is underway for Women's Connection 2019, described as a time to connect with old and new friends, and a time for space and sabbath. Women's Connection is planned Aug. 9-11 at Montreat Conference Center in Montreat, North Carolina. The keynote speaker is Valarie Kaur, a civil rights activist, award-winning filmmaker, lawyer, faith leader and author. Conference details are at "Women's Connection."
News of the wider church  


What about per capita?
Stated clerk offers his thoughts
In these days of diminishing resources and tight budgets, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) continues to  Nelson at synodseek new and innovative ways to provide ministry and support to mid councils across the country. Presbyterians have used per capita -- an annual per member apportionment assessed by the General Assembly, and by many synods and presbyteries, to enable Presbyterians mutually and equitably to share the ecclesiastical and administrative costs of sustaining the church. In his monthly video conversation, the Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson II, stated clerk for the PC(USA), discusses the importance of per capita and what it means to the larger church and Presbyterians in general. The complete story and video can be found at "Talking About Per Capita."
Apology was first step in healing church, Native American relationship
Two years ago, the current and former Stated Clerks of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) journeyed to Utqiagvik (Barrow, Alaska) -the nation's northernmost city -- to apologize to Native Americans, Alaska natives and native Hawaiians for damage inflicted by the church in previous decades. That act came as the result of action by the 222nd General Assembly, which directed the apology within and beyond the denomination "especially to those who were and are part of 'stolen generations' during the Indian-assimilation movement, namely former students of Indian boarding schools, their families and their communities," according to assembly minutes. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Mike Ferguson can be found at "Apology Only First Step."
Poor People's Campaign highlights
poverty, racism in bus tour
poor people campaignLeaders from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Racial and Intercultural Justice Ministry and Office of Public Witness participated in a Monday morning announcement by The Poor People's Campaign that it will be embarking on a National Emergency Poverty and Truth Bus Tour in the coming months. "We will be hitting more than 28 states coast-to-coast, region-to-region highlighting the poverty, the racism, the ecological devastation, and the militarism that our elected leaders would rather ignore, or in some cases make worse," said the Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, a PC(USA) minister who is co-chair of The Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Rich Copley can be found at "Poor People's Campaign."
Co-moderators announce
Neighborhoodnew book study
The co-moderators of last summer's General Assembly have selected a new book study for Presbyterian churches. The Rev. Cindy Kohlmann and ruling elder Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri have selected "Neighborhood Church: Transforming Your Congregation into a Powerhouse for Mission" by Presbyterian leaders Krin Van Tatenhove and Rob Mueller. Kohlmann said the book focuses on the initiatives that both the Presbyterian Mission Agency and the Office of the General Assembly have lifted up as essential to Presbyterians. "If our churches follow Jesus as he's called us to do, we will be in our neighborhoods, pursuing justice for our neighbors. That ties directly to our goal to be a Matthew 25 church," she said. The complete story by Rick Jones of the Office of the General Assembly can be found at "Neighborhood Church."
SFTS, University of Redlands
begin 'permanent partnership'
San Francisco Theological Seminary and the University of Redlands in Southern California have signed an agreement in principle that the university says will lead to the acquisition by this summer of the Presbyterian-related seminary in Northern California. In a statement released Monday, University of Redlands president Ralph W. Kunci said the university's board of trustees voted last week to adopt the agreement to "move toward the acquisition, expected by July 2019, of SFTS in order to form a new graduate school at the University of Redlands -- the Graduate School of Theology -- and a new regional campus in the Bay Area." The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Mike Ferguson can be found at "SFTS and Redlands."

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