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EMerge July 12, 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
July 12, 2019
Presbytery news  
A Huge Ethiopian Thank You
This spring, the Presbytery asked a big ask of all of you: could you or your church consider a contribution to a fund that would send the young people of our newest worshiping community, the fellowship of Ethiopian Anuak Christians led by Pastor Gilo Agwa Gora, to camp?
Pastor Gilo
Here's a part of what Pastor Gilo said back in March: "The most difficult challenge we face today is raising up our children in Christian ways, so we don't lose them to the world. This puts us in an urgent situation to search for Christian programs and activities. However, due to our economic conditions, when most of us survive on minimum wages, it is hard to afford and sponsor successful programs and youth activities on our own. As parents, we would love our kids to keep growing in Christ and interact with fellow Christians around them."
We asked for your support, and you responded, generously and faithfully, individually and through your congregations, contributing $11,150.
Next week, because of you, 23 young people from our Anuak worshiping community will experience the kind of Christian gathering none of them have ever seen before: 14 to Clearwater Forest Camp and eight (plus an adult sponsor) to Presbyterian Youth Triennium, the national high-school youth gathering.
Pastor Gilo's complete thank you can be found at "A Big Thank You."
Mission-Trip Corner
Summer is also the time for youth mission trips, and PTCA youth are actively serving in mission and ministry across the country (and the world, in some cases). Each E-Merge for the rest of the summer, we'll share multiple stories and pictures of our young people living out their faith by serving and supporting others. Watch the Presbytery Facebook and Instagram pages as well.
You can send your youth (okay, adult too!) mission-trip photos and a brief write-up to EP Jeff Japinga at
Red Wing Mission 
This week, we begin with First Presbyterian Church, Red Wing. Here's the note from Pastor Greg Bolt:
"On June 30, seven youth (6th-10th grade) and three adults traveled to Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago for Urban Youth Mission. During the quick trip, Sunday through Wednesday, we worked at a food shelf, senior center, beach cleanup, the Night Ministry, a community garden, and Cradles to Crayons. We also enjoyed some great Chicago cuisine and tourist sites. During closing worship many of the students talked about how grateful they were to have an opportunity to help. It was a transformative experience for all."
A bus to presbytery?
Leave the driving to us
The stated meeting of the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area will take place Tuesday, Sept. 10, at the Associated Church of Owatonna. The meeting starts at 2 p.m. and ends at 6. The presbytery is looking into the cost of chartering a bus for round-trip transport for those who may be interested. A pick-up and drop-off point could be the presbytery office in Eagan, or it could be another more-suitable point. Costs are based on the size of the vehicle, making it important to know the number of people who may be interested. Those who are interested -- and willing to pay up $25 for a round-trip ticket -- should contact the presbytery office by e-mail at
Jeff's Jottings
Summer wisdom ...
By Jeff Japinga
Executive Presbyter
It's been a while since I "jotted" -- late May, to be specific. I'm guessing this reality has not kept you up at night.
Jeff Japinga
In May, at our Presbytery meeting, a meeting of all of our committee chairs/leaders, and in Jottings, I noted some of the big-picture opportunities we have on our plate right now as a Presbytery. Re-imagining parts of our structure and practice so that we're better stewarding our human and financial resources. Putting parameters and access ramps in place for our Presbytery Strategic Ministry Fund (what you may know as Bucket #2), so we can use it, and use it well, to support congregations and equip leaders. Planning for an assessment of our Presbytery around issues of equality and inclusivity, as a way for us to live out what we say we believe. Improving communication practices. Making a 2020 budget. We're doing all this, through working groups gathering as well and as often as we possibly can amidst the challenge of Minnesota summer schedules.
The complete Jottings can be found at "Summer Wisdom."
Around the presbytery   
'Mindful Direct Action Training'
planned Saturday at St. Luke
An introductory training session that will offer skills to "answer moral injustice with mindful [and] St. Luke Presbyterianprayerful direct action," according to the announcement from St. Luke Presbyterian Church of Minnetonka. The training, scheduled at the church from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, July 13, will "combine mindfulness techniques to reflect on your calling to act, to practice de-escalation during protests, and to organize for inclusive direct action." The complete flyer can be found at "Mindful Direct Action Training."
Dakota sacred site tours planned
in July, August, September
Healing Minnesota Stories and the Minnesota Council of Churches have announced another slate of Sacred Site Tours in the Twin Cities area. The tours visit sites  MN Council of Churchesin the area that are sacred to the Dakota people. Participants learn about the history of the land in a way that facilitates healing. Tours are slated July 20, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Aug. 18, from 1 to 5 p.m.; and Sept. 29, from 1 to 5 p.m. Additional information and registration for one of the tours can be obtained by contacting the Rev. Jim Bear Jacobs, director for racial justice with the Minnesota Council of Churches, at
Registration underway
for 'Art of Transitional Leadership'
The Synod of Lakes and Prairies is planning a new event this fall -- "The Art of Transitional Leadership" -synod- that will provide ministry skills training for today and tomorrow's church pastors, staff, committees on ministry and congregational leaders. Set Monday through Friday, Sept. 16-20, at Christ the King Retreat Center in Buffalo, Minnesota, the event offers two tracks, one covering an introduction to transitional ministry that runs the full week, and another offering transformation training for church leaders that takes place Wednesday through Friday of the week. The full-week session provides 30 hours of training that meets the requirements for Week I Transitional Ministry Education. The second session provides training for ruling elders and other congregational leaders, focusing on their roles in congregations in times of ministry transitions. Details are available at "Art of Transitional Leadership." Registration information is available through the link in the flyer or by following a link to "Transitional Leadership Registration."
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
The 2019 ConNext Summit is "Recovering the Spirit" and it takes place Oct. 13-15 at Christ the King Retreat  ConNextCenter 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


PC(USA) Mission Program
Grants info, deadlines listed
PCUSA logoA group of Mission Program Grants are available through the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and grant details and deadlines have been announced by the Office of Mission Program Grants. The grants are made available "for organizing new churches and supporting presbytery efforts to build the capacity to continually transform existing congregations," according to the announcement from the office. A list of available grants, along with descriptions, can be found at "Mission Program Grants." A list of submission and review dates can be found at "Application Dates."
NEXT Church announces 3 leadershipNEXT new logotraining opportunities
NEXT Church, a community of Presbyterian leaders working to strengthen the bonds and vibrant ministry within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), is inviting participation in three events that will help connect and develop leadership in the church. The three opportunities include a book discussion, group coaching and community organizing. Details can be found in the NEXT Church announcement at "Three Great Opportunities."
BOP schedules retirement planning seminar at seminary in Dubuque
Board of PensionsBoard University of the Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) will conduct a two-day retirement planning seminar Oct. 2-3 at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary. The seminar is for members of the BOPs benefit plan who plan to retire within the next 15 years. Complete details can be found at "Retirement Planning Seminar."
Summer Board Bulletin makes
several important announcements
board bulletin newThe Board Bulletin, published after each regular meeting of the board of directors of The Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), presents important information from board actions -- and this summer's issue is no different. The current issue contains information on an apportionment increase, Medicare supplement increase and much more. It can be found at "Board Bulletin."
Regarding Ruling Elders:
Keeping church safe
Laurie Griffith, a ruling elder who serves as the associate director for constitutional interpretation in Ruling Elder Resourcethe Office of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), writes this month's installment of "Regarding Ruling Elders," a monthly resource of the OGA. She writes, "According to a  recent survey conducted by Lifeway Research, 94 percent of Protestant responders believe that teens and children are protected from abuse within their congregation and 93 percent of responders believe that adults are protected from abuse within their congregation. In a twist, 32 percent believe more pastors have abused teens and children than have been reported. I wonder if this could be reflective of the sentiment that 'It cannot happen here. ... ' Or, is this a part of a general fear that, as reports of abuse within other denominations surface, our beloved denomination also has its own horrific stories?" The complete column can be found at "Keeping Church Safe."
For congregations thinking aboutsanctuary: PC(USA) has information
"Throughout history, the people of God have provided safe space in their places of worship for those vulnerable under the laws and customs of the time.  Immigration LogoThe Hebrew people had cities of refuge for persons wrongfully accused of crimes. In the years before the American Civil War, congregations provided safety for slaves fleeing the South in the Underground Railroad. In the 1980s, more than 500 U.S. congregations provided safe houses to Central Americans fleeing civil war but whom our government refused to acknowledge as refugees." That's the way a section of the website of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) introduces information on sanctuary. It continues, "Today churches are providing sanctuary to people with final orders of deportation. Law-abiding parents and workers caught in the clutches of a broken immigration system are entering houses of worship to fight their orders of deportation from a safe space." The details can be found at "Sanctuary."
Synod School: vacation, family,fellowship, renewal, more
catalogImagine a class that would cover communication skills for engaging difficult conversations, and then think about a class that would take a look at movie heroes and villains as it relates to Biblical ethics. Or, think about a class examining Mr. Rogers and the kingdom of God or about globalization -- and its discontents. Really, those are just a few options. There's still time to register for Synod School 2019 coming up July 21-26 at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa. And if you've already registered, there's new information, too, on the website. It's vacation time, family time, renewal time and more all at once. Each year more than 600 participate in the Synod of Lakes and Prairies' midsummer ministry and there's still room for you. You can find the full Synod School catalog, a link to registration, and more at "Synod School 2019."
The Academy will beginanother cohort at Synod School
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."
Convocation for Communities
of Color planned for Big Tent
Big Tent celebration filled with worship, music, conversation and prayer is in store for those2019 big tentattending the Convocation for Communities of Color sponsored by  Racial Equity & Women's Intercultural Ministries .The pre-conference event begins at noon Wednesday, July 31 and concludes at 1 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 1. It takes place in the Lord Baltimore Hotel in Baltimore. Using the theme, "Seeing Red: Movements to Wholeness," the convocation will focus on the voices of people of color in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and their collective journey to wholeness. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Gail Strange can be found at "Convocation for Communities of Color."
2019 POAMN national conferenceplanned in October in Louisville
older adult poamnThe 2019 national conference of the Presbyterian Older Adult Ministry Network is slated Oct. 15-18 at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. Keynote speakers will be the Rev. Dr. Diane Moffett, president and executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, and the Rev. Dr. Jason Brian Santos, mission coordinator for Christian Formation and Small Church Support for the Presbyterian Mission Agency. A complete schedule and online registration are available at "POAMN National Conference."
1001 gathering in October features'Fearless Dialogues' founder
The   Rev. Dr. Gregory Ellison , one of the keynoters for the  1001 New Worshiping Communities and Vital  gregory ellisonCongregations national gathering Oct. 14-16 , remembers how he felt in the midst of a media firestorm six years ago. His first book, " Cut Dead but Still Alive: Caring for African American Young Men ," had just been released. Then George Zimmerman  was acquitted of all charges  in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin. Suddenly, Ellison was the go-to person for media producers, doing all kinds of radio, television and newspaper interviews. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Paul Seebeck can be found at "Ellison to Speak at 1001 Gathering."
News of the wider church  


National faith leaders call
for diplomatic approach with Iran
Faith leaders including the Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson II, stated clerk of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and the Rev. Jimmie Hawkins, director of the Office of Public Witness, say that diplomacy and not warfare is the nation's best policy toward Iran. A half-dozen faith leaders gathered on Capitol Hill this week to discuss "Back from the Brink," a letter signed by more than 100 denominational officials, educators and pastors -- including Nelson and Hawkins -- urging the administration of President Donald J. Trump to avoid war with Iran. The complete Presbyterian News Service story by Mike Ferguson can be found at "Back from the Brink."
First black female moderator
of PC(USA) dies July 1
Joan Salmon-CampbellA memorial service was held this past weekend for the Rev. Dr. Joan Salmon Campbell, a long-time pastor and leader in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Salmon Campbell died on July 1 at the age of 81. For the past four years, she served as pastor of the College Heights Presbyterian Church in Fayetteville, North Carolina. She is also known for her history-making turn as the first black female moderator of the PC(USA elected at the 201st General Assembly in 1989. The complete story by Rick Jones of the Office of the General Assembly is at "Joan Salmon Campbell."
9 amendments approved
to PC(USA) constitution
PCUSA logoVoting has wrapped up and nine amendments have been added to the "Book of Order" of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The 223rd General Assembly directed the stated clerk to send all proposed amendments to the presbyteries for affirmative or negative votes. The presbyteries are given a year to cast votes. Among the amendments approved was 18-B, which focuses on church discipline. "It's been a discussion the church has had for six years about what happens when a minister is charged with an offense and leaves ministry," said Tom Hay, director of Assembly Operations with the Office of the General Assembly. "When this happens, we have no power over them. They can show up working in another church but not as an ordained minister." The complete story by Rick Jones of the Office of the General Assembly can be found at "Amendments Approved."
Moving Forward Commission
addresses PC(USA) legal matters
As the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) continues to settle into a new organizational structure at the General Assembly level, the Moving Forward Implementation Commission has taken action on who is responsible for legal matters involving the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), A Corporation. The commission met in closed session on Sunday night and announced on Monday that the board of the PC(USA), A Corporation, has authority on church litigation. The complete story by Rick Jones of the Office of the General Assembly can be found at "Responsibility for Litigation."
Seminary student bridges ministry,
tech for deaf communities
deaf helpWhen Thomas Hampton came to Columbia Theological Seminary in the fall of 2016, it might have seemed like a huge departure from his previous experience as an engineering student at Case Western Reserve University. He is, after all, among a select group of neural electrical engineers who can build what is commonly known as cochlear implants. Cochlear implants are a controversial technology that enable a person who is deaf to hear. The complete story from Columbia Theological Seminary can be found at "Seminary Student Assists Deaf Community."
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