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EMerge April 5, 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
April 5, 2019
Presbytery news  
To our Teaching Elders, Ruling Elders:What one story can you tell?
Since September, under its broad mission of supporting its congregations and equipping its leaders, your Presbytery has shaped its Presbytery meetings around the theme of "Nurturing thoughtful expressions of God's mission in the world."

The Presbytery Leadership Team has invited persons from outside the Presbytery to bring us new insights and knowledge to recent presbytery meetings.
Now, we need you as the focal point of our annual meeting of the Presbytery on May 14. We are asking for your thoughtful expressions of God's mission in the world. What one story of ministry and mission -- a "God-sighting" unique to your congregation or particular context of ministry -- can you briefly tell?
The complete announcement can be found at "Telling Your Story."
New EMerge schedule begins this month
A reminder: beginning today, the Presbytery is beginning some new communication practices and schedules, aimed at getting you the information and support you need, and within budget.
EMerge will move to an every-other-Friday distribution schedule. It will remain the information-packed newsletter you have grown to expect and on which many of you rely for information from across the Presbytery and the wider church.
Link news
On non-EMerge Fridays, beginning next week (April 12), the Presbytery will distribute "PTCA Link" to its teaching elders, ruling elders, committee members, and clerks of session.
Complete information about the change can be found at "A New Plan."
Making a difference: You can
send a young person to camp
One of our ministries in the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area, led by our Congregational Vitality Committee, is support of a new worshiping community of immigrants and refugees from Ethiopia. We're doing this work together with our colleagues in Presbytery Logothe Saint Paul Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America -- two denominations, but one united vision for ministry. If you were at Presbytery meeting last Saturday, you heard the moving testimony of its pastor, the Rev. Gilo Agwa Gora.
This spring, we have an opportunity to help this group of believers grow in faith and discipleship, by sponsoring a summer camp or Triennium experience for their young people. You can read the full details in this letter, which was sent earlier this week to all of our PTCA congregations and to the congregations of the ELCA's Saint Paul Synod as well. Might you consider joining this effort?
Nominations sought for Milloy
Disability Advocacy Award
Established in 2017, the Don S. Milloy Disability Advocacy Award is presented biennially to a person or a group in the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area in recognition of their outstanding service as advocates for and with people who live with disabilities. Nominees must be a member or members of a congregation or a teaching elder in the presbytery. Nominations are now being accepted and the deadline is May 31. Details can be found at "Don S. Milloy Disability Advocacy Award."
Jeff's Jottings
The Crucial Voices of Lent, Week 5
By Jeff Japinga
Executive Presbyter
Jeff Japinga
This holy season of Lent is intended in part as a time of penitence and reflection; in the words of the text from Isaiah many of us heard on Ash Wednesday, a time to take seriously those means by which we might "be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to live in."
During Lent, then, I am using Jottings as a voice that would call us (myself included) to reflection, to faith, to action, as repairers and restorers. A voice that challenges us, and comforts us. A voice that may be hard to hear, but even harder to ignore. Not simply my voice but that of others.
You've heard this before: you rarely see red cars on the road until you buy a red car, and then suddenly there seem to be red cars everywhere. Why? Because now you're focused on red cars, and the way our brain works, you experience more of whatever you focus on.
The complete Jottings are at "The Crucial Voices."
Around the presbytery   
Didier Seminar at House of Hope
features author, professor, minister
Robin MeyersThe Rev. Dr. Robin Meyers, senior minister at Mayflower Congregational Church in Oklahoma City for 34 years and author of the much-discussed "Saving Jesus from the Church," will lead the Didier Seminar at the House of Hope Presbyterian Church in St. Paul on April 6-7. The goal of the Didier Seminar is an informed and compelling Christianity. The schedule for the Didier Seminar includes a wine and cheese event Saturday, April 6, at 6:30 p.m. followed by a lecture at 7:30 titled "From Galilean Sage to Supernatural Savior." On Sunday, April 7, at 10 a.m., worship, with a sermon titled "Original Blessing," will be followed at 11 by a lecture, "Houston We Have a God Problem." Complete details are at "Didier Seminar."
Oak Grove, Nine-Mile Creek sponsor
free landscaping class in April
landscape classFor those who have considered designing their home landscape for water quality, pollinators and ecological improvement, the Nine-Mile Creek Watershed District and the Green Committee of Oak Grove Presbyterian Church in Bloomington are offering an opportunity. They're offering a free sustainable residential landscaping class Saturday, April 13, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at Nine-Mile Creek Discovery Point in Eden Prairie. Matthew Kumka, a landscape architect who specializes in sustainable site development and green infrastructure, will lead the class. Details can be found at "Sustainable Landscaping."
Retired PTCA clergy to hear Barbara Brown Taylor speak on 'Holy Envy'
Barbara Brown TaylorAll retired PTCA clergy and their guests are invited to gather at Westminster Presbyterian Church in downtown Minneapolis on April 30 to hear Barbara Brown Taylor speak about "Finding God in the Faith of Others." The Rev. Taylor is the guest speaker at the Westminster Town Hall Forum. The retired ministers will gather at 10:45 a.m. in the Meisel Room at Westminster for registration and fellowship. The group will move to the sanctuary by 11:30 where they will sit together to hear music from Aaron Humble, a former member of the vocal group Cantus, followed by Taylor's forum talk. RSVPs are important for this event, as a space will be reserved for us in what is expected to be a full sanctuary. More details and an invitation will follow. Those who plan to attend can RSVP now by sending an e-mail to The complete updated announcement can be found at "Retired Clergy Event."
'Welcome the Stranger' wraps up
Wednesday at Peace Presbyterian
Peace PresbyterianThe final session in the "Welcome the Stranger" series at Peace Presbyterian Church in St. Louis Park takes place next week Wednesday, April 10, when the Welcome the Stranger Planning Team discusses next steps, considering the subject, "What Does God Call Us to Do?" The discussion takes place following a light dinner at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. A look at past presentations in the series can be found at "Welcome the Stranger."
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."
Augsburg Youth Theology Institute planned in June
Students in this year's Augsburg Youth Theology Institute that runs June 23-28 at Augsburg will, Augsburgaccording to the university's website, develop leadership skills and put creation care theology and science knowledge into action. 
Augsburg Youth Theology Institute is a summer program for young people in high school, grades 9-12. It has been called "a year of spiritual growth concentrated into one faith-filled week." Details about the program are available at "Augsburg Youth Theology Institute."
Synod's Leadership Summit addresses presbyteries, personnel committees
synodThe Synod of Lakes and Prairies Leadership Summit, formerly known as the COM/CPM training event, is slated 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."
Addiction, Faith Conference planned
in September in Twin Cities
addiction faithNoting on its website the "growing concern over the
devastation of all forms of addiction, including the  ever-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."
ConNext Summit slated in October
at Christ the King Retreat Center
ConNextThe 2019 ConNext Summit is "Recovering the Spirit" and it takes place Oct. 13-15 at Christ the King Retreat Center in Buffalo, Minnesota. Through worship, shared spiritual practices, workshops and conversation, ConNext participants explore how recovering and reclaiming the Holy Spirit can enliven and transform a church's ministry with children, youth and families. The Summit is sponsored by the Resource Center for Churches. Registration is open, and questions can be addressed to Lizabeth Bougie, director of the Resource Center for Churches, at A Summit flyer can be found at "ConNext."
Resources, conferences ...
Wee Kirk Conference planned
next month 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."
Presbyterian Women in the synod
will gather in June in Ames
Presbyterian Women logoPresbyterian Women in the Synod of Lakes and Prairies will conduct their triennial gathering this summer in Ames, Iowa. The event runs June 20-23. The keynote speaker is the Rev. Kathy Reeves, who recently retired after serving the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) for 26 and a half years with Presbyterian World Mission and Presbyterian Women. Plenary speakers are Elona Street-Stewart, executive of the Synod of Lakes and Prairies, and the Rev. Mary Newbern-Williams, executive presbyter of the Presbytery of Missouri River Valley. Details and registration information can be found in the booklet at "Gathering of Presbyterian Women."
Wilson-Hartgrove headlines
Washington Island Forum in June
Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, a celebrated spiritual author and sought-after speaker, will headline this wilson hartgrovesummer's Washington Island Forum planned June 24-28 in Wisconsin. The Forum features worship, workshops, discussion and contemplation in an ecumenical retreat setting on Washington Island, just six miles off the tip of Door County. Wilson-Hartgrove, a graduate of Eastern University and Duke Divinity School, and his wife Leah founded Rutba House, a house of hospitality where the formerly homeless are welcomed into a community that eats, prays and shares life together. Details are available at "Washington Island Forum."
National Black Presbyterian Caucus
plans convention in June in Atlanta
The National Black Presbyterian Caucus will hold its 45th biennial convention June 27-29 in Atlanta. The black presby caucusconvention's theme is "Seeking Racial Justice and Equity! Where Do We Go from Here?" In a letter announcing the opening of registration, Caucus President the Rev. Dr. Thomas H. Priest Jr. noted, the "Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. left a wonderful and challenging legacy for us to continue his work to do God's justice and seek righteousness in all we do. ... Are you willing to keep his legacy alive?" Registration for the convention can be made at "National Black Presbyterian Caucus."
Classes galore
at this summer's Synod School
catalogWhen it comes to classes, there's a lot to choose from at this summer's Synod School. There are about 80 -- from "Bible Study for People with Short Attention Spans" to "Globalization -- and its Discontents" and from "Good vs. Evil -- Movie Heroes and Villains and Biblical Ethics" to "Making the Most of Your iPhone Camera." Those who would like to find a way around reading through the many course descriptions can check out Page 23 of the catalog for a succinct list of more specific subject areas. The midsummer ministry of the Synod of Lakes and Prairies takes place July 21-26 in Storm Lake, Iowa, on the Buena Vista University campus nestled along the lakeshore. Everything you need, from the catalog to a link to registration information, can be found on the Synod School page of the synod's website; it's at "We're Going to Synod School."
Registration opens
for Big Tent in Baltimore
2019 big tentOrganizers for this year's Big Tent celebration are expecting a large turnout for the gathering Aug. 1-3 in Baltimore this summer. Registration is officially open for the event that is held in off years for the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Registration costs have been reduced to accommodate attendees and encourage families to come. The theme for this year is "Called to a Movement Beyond Institution," which is also the theme for the 224th General Assembly, also being held in Baltimore. Details and registration information are at "Big Tent."
The Academy will begin another cohort at Synod School this summer
The AcademyCalled 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 open 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."
Tori Smit issues comments
on 'intergenerational church'
Tori Smit, a diaconal minister with the Presbyterian Church in Canada, recently wrote an article on intentional intergenerational ministry. She notes, "If I Tori Smitcould attribute one tagline to Dr. Rodger Nishioka, past professor of Christian education at Columbia Theological Seminary, it would be 'Our faith is communally constructed.' It is through rubbing shoulders with one another, telling stories of our faith to each other, and by experiencing God's incredible love in Christian communities that our youngest members grow into faith, our oldest members pass on their faith, and our families learn to practice their faith together. It stands to good reason that if we desire to maximize these opportunities for communal construction that all the ages of our community of believers need to be together more often than not. In fact, that's how we started out." Smit's complete column can be found at "Intentionally Intergenerational."
Star Thrower collaborates with John Noltner on 'There is Only US'
Star Thrower, a Minneapolis-based organization that develops and produces training programs designed to  Only USengage both the heart and mind, has collaborated with author and photographer John Noltner to create "There is Only US," a 19-minute video and learning guide for leading conversations that challenge biases and encourage inclusiveness. Nolter is the author of "A Peace of Mind," an exhibit and a book featuring a series of black-and-white photographs and interviews of holocaust survivors, refugees, political leaders, artists, homeless individuals and others, who were asked to reveal what peace means to them. "There is Only US" features memorable stories, powerful images and sincere storytelling. The goal of the program is to open the door to honest dialog about empathy, civility, and inclusion. Program details can be found in the announcement at "Video and Learning Guide." Special pricing is available to Presbyterian pastors and church educators.
Service opportunities  


Westminster Presbyterian Church of Minneapolis is seeking an associate pastor for faith formation to join a dynamic downtown congregation to nourish personal faith through study, prayer and fellowship.  We are seeking a collaborative, energetic, nurturing pastor who is committed to the teachings of Jesus Christ and who will lead the families, youth and children, and the adult education ministries. The complete position description can be found at "Associate Pastor for Faith Formation."
The Minnesota Council of Churches is seeking a development officer with a passion for justice and a knack for telling stories and connecting with people. The Council is seeking someone who wants to dig into data, devise strategy and help the Minnesota Council of Churches as it seeks to weave social justice into the fabric of faith communities in Minnesota. Additional information about the position can be found at "Development Director."
News of the wider church  


Churches, faith-based groups
respond to historic Nebraska floods
Tara Hollis couldn't see any floodwaters when she first peered out the window at 5 a.m. on the morning of March 14. Cars still were driving by on the road, Hollis said. Half an hour later, water from the Loup River, which runs along the south side of the city into the Platte River, had crept up to the house she shared with her son, her boyfriend and her brother in Columbus, Nebraska, a city of about 22,000 people west of Omaha. The complete Religion News Service story by Emily McFarlan Miller, published earlier this week by The Presbyterian Outlook, can be found at "Historic Flooding."
PMA Board votes to increase impact
of student-loan forgiveness
loan debtAt its recent spring meeting, the Presbyterian Mission Agency board unanimously voted to increase the impact of Presbyterian Mission Agency's Student Loan Debt Forgiveness program. Under the Financial Aid for Service (FAFS) plan, which came through the PMA's Nurture the Body Committee, the maximum loan available to pastors will increase to $5,000 with a lifetime maximum of $25,000.  The term of service after which the debt is forgiven is reduced from 18 months to 12 months. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Paul Seebeck can be found at "Loan Forgiveness."
Cedar Rapids congregation
is first official Matthew 25 church
matthew 25Once the website went live Monday, Olivet Presbyterian Church in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, a church of about 65 members, became the first church to officially accept the Matthew 25 Invitation. "It's so exciting," said the church's part-time pastor, the Rev. Michele Scott, who returned to the community where she grew up after serving churches around the country and working for a Cedar Rapids aerospace company. "Olivet has always been my idea of the church that is listening to the Spirit and is actively involved in ministry." The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Mike Ferguson can be found at "First Matthew 25 Church."
Presbyterian agencies work
to extend hand to mid-councils
During a committee meeting of last week's three-day gathering of the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board, Warren LesaneWarren Lesane, vice chair of the PMAB and chair of the Committee on Mid-Councils, asked committee members to introduce themselves in a unique way. Lesane said, "Give us your name, the name of your presbytery and tell us what your presbytery is doing to address the issue of poverty."  Eradicating systemic poverty is one of the three goals of the Matthew 25 Invitation. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Gail Strange can be found at "Extending a Hand."


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