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EMerge April 19, 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 19, 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."
Board of Pensions sponsors regional 'Connections' event at House of Hope 
The Board of Pensions is sponsoring a regional "Benefit Connections" gathering for churches in the Board of PensionsSynod of Lakes and Prairies in the Twin Cities on April 30. Church business administrators, office managers, clerks of session, personnel committee chairs, pastors and mid-council leaders are invited to consider attending. The gathering takes place at House of Hope Presbyterian Church in St. Paul. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. and the gathering runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Details and registration information are at "Benefit Connections."
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
Hard things and hope
By Jeff Japinga
Executive Presbyter
Jeff Japinga
When we come to the table with Jesus tonight at the Last Supper, we know, perhaps more than his disciples ever imagined in that moment, that hard things lie ahead.
We know that from our own lives, and those of our parents and children and friends: how disappointments, sorrows, griefs, and tears become woven amidst our joys, accomplishments, dreams, and hopes. We know it from our churches, too, places of good news and struggles all at once.
The complete Jottings are at "Hard Things and Hope."
Around the presbytery   
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."
Final concert of Hasting First's
series features handbell ensemble
The final concert in a series offered by First Presbyterian Church of Hastings, this one featuring "Bells of the Bluffs Handbell Ensemble," is scheduled Sunday, May 5, at 3 p.m. Titled "Let The Sunshine In," the concert includes favorites and unexpected selections ranging from classical compositions to Broadway tunes. A free-will offering will be accepted to benefit Hastings Family Service, the community partner of the event. Details are in a flyer at "Final Concert Planned."
OPSF awards doctoral
scholarship to Brennan Blue
The Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation, in its Presbyterian Leadership Forum newsletter, noted the Rev. Brennan Blue, senior pastor of St. Luke Presbyterian Church in Minnetonka, has received a Doctor of Ministry Scholarship from the foundation. The Rev. Blue is a graduate of Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary and is pursuing doctoral studies at McCormick Theological Seminary of Chicago. The complete story can be found on Page 6 in the newsletter at "Doctoral Scholarship."
Science Museum offers dialogue
circles on race exhibit
The Science Museum of Minnesota is offering dialogue circles in conjunction with its exhibit, "Race: race dialogue MSMAre We So Different." The circles, facilitated by trained community members and offered to groups and organizations, present an opportunity to process their experience in a group setting. The circles last approximately 90 minutes. Additional information about the dialogue circles is available from Jean Greenwood at green104@umn.eduGroup arrangements can be made by contacting Tony Williams, community engagement specialist for the Science Museum, at Additional information about the exhibit can be found at "Are We So Different." A flyer can be found at "Dialogue Circles."
Augsburg Youth Theology Institute planned in June
AugsburgStudents in this year's Augsburg Youth Theology Institute that runs June 23-28 at Augsburg will, according 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."
Luther Seminary plans
'Faithful Innovation Summit'
luther summitLuther Seminary is planning a "Faithful Innovation Summit" July 24-26, offering an opportunity to "gather with fellow Christian leaders who want to lead the church more deeply into God's life and love for the world," the planners noted in an announcement. Complete details can be found at "Faithful Innovation 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."
Announcements ...
The Rev. Judith Strausz-Clement, former teaching elder in the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area and 1986 graduate of United Theological Seminary, died one year ago in Seattle. There will be a memorial service for her in the chapel at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis on May 20 at 7 p.m.
The Rev. Roger Ezell, honorably retired, is currently awaiting surgery and would welcome prayers, calls and cards. He can be reached by telephone at 952.449.0783, or by writing Roger and Roxanne at 185 Cygnet Place, Orono, MN 55356.
Resources, conferences


Final date to apply approaches
for Young Adult Volunteer program
YAV recruitThe final application deadline is June 1 for the Young Adult Volunteer program of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The program 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. Complete details and application procedures can be found at "YAV Program."
Regarding Ruling Elders:
Risk-taking in spiritual leadership
Joan Gray, who has served as a teaching elder in 12 congregations and also served as moderator of the Ruling Elder ResourceGeneral Assembly, often writes Regarding Ruling Elders, a resource from the Office of the General Assembly. This month she begins, "The gospel of Matthew tells the story of a man who entrusts a large amount of money to each of three servants and then goes on a journey. When he returns, he calls the servants for an accounting. Two of the servants have invested and made a profit. They are praised and rewarded. The third servant, motivated by fear, has buried the master's money in the ground for safekeeping. This servant gets a scathing rebuke and is thrown "into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth." What did this third servant do wrong? The complete column can be found at "Regarding Ruling Elders."
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
wilson hartgroveJonathan Wilson-Hartgrove, a celebrated spiritual author and sought-after speaker, will headline this summer'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
black presby caucusThe National Black Presbyterian Caucus will hold its 45th biennial convention June 27-29 in Atlanta. The convention'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."
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 The Academycapacities, 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."
catalogClasses galore at this
summer's Synod School
When 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."
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."
News of the wider church  


Amantha Barbee speaks
on transformation at Big Tent plenary
Transformation will be the driving force during the Friday plenary at the Big Tent celebration in Amantha BarbeeBaltimore in early August. Grounded in Romans 12:2, the guiding Scripture for this year's event, the Rev. Amantha Barbee will lead attendees in a challenging discussion of the word "transformation" from the multiple lenses of one's self, one's family, the world and even religious institution. "I foresee an engagement of what transformation means. At its basic core, it means change. But change why? Change to what? What is our goal in that change?" says Barbee. The complete story by Mari Graham Evans for the Presbyterian News Service can be found at "Big Tent Plenary."
Practicing resurrection:
New life awaits dying churches
There are two constants in life: change and Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, today anddying churchestomorrow. In Christ, we live and move and have our being. To be a follower of his is to be forever mindful of the cross, of death's defeat - and of resurrection power. And, as Wendell Berry wrote in one of his well-known poems, "Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front," we, the church, are to "practice resurrection." Having resurrection hope, though, is challenging, especially with the large number of mainstream churches closing every year. The statistics can be demoralizing. The complete story by Sherry Blackman, which first appeared in Presbyterians Today magazine, can be found at "New Life Awaits Dying Churches."

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