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EMerge May 3, 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
May 3, 2019
Presbytery news  
Presbytery's annual meeting
planned May 14 in Minneapolis
The docket at the annual meeting of the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area will feature a variety of God-sightings -- stories from congregations and the common work as the presbytery, and the ministry and impact in their particular contexts of ministry.
The annual meeting is coming up Tuesday, May 14, at 4 p.m. in Wilf Auditorium at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, Masonic Children's Hospital, 2450 Riverside Ave., Minneapolis. A docket talk with stated clerk Barbara Lutter takes place at 3:15 p.m., and registration and fellowship begins at 3:30 p.m.
New officers will be elected and installed, the presbytery's delegation to the Presbyterian Youth Triennium will be commissioned, and business will also include annual reports, feedback received by the Presbytery Leadership Team.
The complete meeting call can be found at "Annual Stated Meeting."
2 TCA congregations featured
in story about Matthew 25 initiative
A wondrous change is taking place -- a movement of the Spirit. Presbyterian congregations are matthew 25reprioritizing the work of the Church, taking it from an institution of survival to a way of getting actively engaged in the community and making the world a better place. These are congregations that take to heart the words of Matthew 25. They not only feed the hungry, clothe the naked and visit the sick and imprisoned. They are also getting to the root causes that create an unjust world. These congregations see that "the love of God has skin on it," as the Rev. Dr. Diane Moffett, president and executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency in Louisville, says. The complete story by Donna Frischknecht Jackson of Presbyterians Today magazine can be found at "Actively Engaging."
Protesters greeted with welcome
at Oak Grove Presbyterian
Oak Grove flagThe Rev. Bill Chadwick, pastor of Oak Grove Presbyterian Church in Bloomington, Minnesota, wrote last week: "At about 7:30 Sunday morning, April 28, 2019, two young men stood on the sidewalk near our church sign (and Rainbow and Trans flags) and unfurled large signs declaring homosexuality to be a sin. I walked out and greeted them calmly. I asked what church they were from ... " The complete column can be found at "Protesters: A note from Pastor Bill."
Former TCA stated clerk's Sri Lankacongregation worships through attacks
Sri LankaThe congregation of a Scots kirk in Sri Lanka continued to worship as terror attacks unfolded nearby. The Rev. Bill Davnie, former stated clerk of the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area, heard one of the bombs explode in a hotel next to St. Andrew's Scots Kirk in Colombo as he prepared for the Easter service. But it was only when worshipers started receiving phone messages that the enormity of the attacks sank in. They were given the chance to leave but instead decided to stay and pray for those affected by the terror. The complete story from the BBC can be found at "Worshiping through Terror."
50-plus retired clergy
Rev'd Up group gathers
Rev'd Up, the retired Presbyterian ministers and spouses group in the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area, brought together 51 retired clergy and spouses on Thursday, April 30, at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Minneapolis. Sitting in a reserved section in a front section of the sanctuary for the Westminster Town Hall Forum the group heard featured speaker Barbara Brown Taylor, Episcopal priest, college professor, and author.  After the forum, the group gathered over a catered lunch and conversation. The complete story can be found at "Retired Ministers and Spouses."
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."
Moderators appoint TCA pastor
to PC(USA) task force
Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri and Cindy Kohlmann, co-moderators of the 223rd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), announced in April appointments to task forces and a reconciliation team approved by the General Assembly. The Rev. Heidi Bolt of the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area was appointed to the Family Leave Task Force. The complete announcement from the Office of the General Assembly, including the complete list of appointees, can be found at "Appointments Made."
Jeff's Jottings
Holy Envy
By Jeff Japinga
Executive Presbyter
Jeff Japinga
Hello, I'm Barbara Brown Taylor. I say things you're not supposed to say.
That's Barbara Brown Taylor's introduction of herself on her website. Her introduction by the Rev. Tim Hart-Andersen at Tuesday's Westminster Town Hall Forum was a bit more formal; it sounded more like this:
Barbara Brown Taylor is a best-selling author, teacher, and Episcopal priest.  Her first memoir, "Leaving Church," won an Author of the Year award from the Georgia Writers Association in 2006.  Her next two books, "An Altar in the World" (2010) and "Learning to Walk in the Dark" (2015), earned places on the New York Times bestseller list.  ...  Her 14th book, "Holy Envy," was released by HarperOne in March 2019.
"Finding God in the Faith of Others" was what she titled her address, based in large part on her new book, "Holy Envy." (You can find the archive of her presentation and the subsequent Q&A here.) Of the book she says, "Part of my ongoing priesthood is to find the bridge between my faith and the faiths of other people, so that those of us who draw water from wells on different sides of the river can still get together from time to time, making the whole area safer for our children."
The complete Jottings are at "Holy Envy."
Around the presbytery   
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."
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."
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.
Resources, conferences


Synod slates plans
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."
News of the wider church  


PC(USA) membership decline has slowed
After years of seeing hundreds of churches leave the denomination, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is PCUSA logostarting to see the number of departing churches decrease. The Office of the General Assembly has wrapped up its latest review of membership statistics which indicates the decline in membership may be slowing down. In 2015, the total number of PC(USA) members was listed at more than 1.5 million. Within a year, membership declined by nearly 90,000. Last year, the decline was just over 62,000. The number of churches leaving the denomination between 2015 and 2016 totaled 203. In 2018, it was 34. The complete story by Rick Jones of the Office of the General Assembly can be found at "Membership Decline Slows."
Presbyterians add their voices
to Poor People's Campaign
The Rev. Jimmie Hawkins, director of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)'s Office of Public Witness in Jimmie HawkinsWashington D.C., says "we have third-world conditions in parts of the United States of America," reflecting on his travels to cities some might find surprising. "I went to Austin, Texas, and this was stark, to me," Hawkins says. "Austin, which describes itself as one of the most progressive cities in the nation, is dealing with issues of gentrification and affordable housing. In west Austin, which is the black part of town ... you could see where newer houses and newer businesses were being put up right next to shacks -- literally. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Rich Copley can be found at "Poor People's Campaign."
Stated clerk urges Presbyterians
to take a stand on climate change
What role does the human race play when it comes to the earth's natural resources? Are they gifts from God to use at will, or should people do more to protect Nelson at synodwhat God has given? Those were some of the questions recently asked of the Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson II, stated clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Nelson recently appeared on "Warming Signs," an audio podcast from the Weather Channel. Host Kait Parker, a Presbyterian, saw a letter the clerk wrote last fall on the global climate report, in support of climate action. She asked Nelson if organized religion should have a place in those discussions. "Not only are we creating problems in our own communities, there are predictions we could actually move toward our own destruction if we are not careful," said Nelson. The complete story by Rick Jones of the Office of the General Assembly can be found at "Climate Change."
General Assembly directive gives MRTI environmental policy guidance
The best way to advocate for change with publicly-traded corporations is to have direct access to high-level leaders, says Rob Fohr, director of faith-based investing and corporate engagement for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). When it comes to engaging with corporations on environmental and climate change-related issues this proxy season, Fohr says he and the Committee on Mission Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI) have had the tools they need to set expectations with corporate representatives and clearly articulate the church's positions, thanks to the 223rd General Assembly, which took place last June. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Rich Copley can be found at "Environmental Policy."

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