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EMerge Jan. 31, 2020

Presbytery News
Presbytery's Play Date with Rev. Shawna Bowman
Highlights from Presbytery Gathering
Practicing Playfulness, celebrating milestones and blessing leadership, remembering the blessing of Dayton Avenue Presbyterian Church, adopting a framework to organize Presbytery, discussing the use of Strategic Ministries Funds, and conversations in "Open Spaces" were the featured events of the January Presbytery Gathering at Presbyterian Church of the Way. Read more about the conversations, blessings, mission and ministry of this gathering via the link below.
Congregational Development Grants Enter Fourth Year of Awards
Has your congregation been noticing a need in your community, kicking around a new ministry idea, or dreaming about partnering with a neighborhood organization—but a tight budget makes you set that vision aside? Consider applying for a Congregational Development Grant from the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area.
Entering its fourth year of grants, the PTCA’s Congregational Grant Fund (sometimes known as Bucket #1) has already given out nearly $300,000 in grants funds to 21 PTCA congregations. This year, proceeds from this endowment fund will allow for up to $105,000 in grants for ministry initiatives at the congregational level. Applications are due May 1, 2020, with awards to be announced in September.
Successful applications will build on the current gifts, abilities, passions and callings of congregations by enabling innovative new or expanded ministries. Individual grants will be awarded for up to $20,000 each. Last year’s grant award winners included plans to implement a permaculture design on the grounds of Church of All Nations, converting it into an ecological sanctuary… adding a youth music ministry program for Anuak refugees through the Foundation of Life New Worshipping Community… sanctuary technology improvements at New Life Presbyterian Church to enable new worship and education offering. In previous years, Congregational Development grants have funded new community service projects, partnerships with neighborhood non-profits, congregational revitalization initiatives, and building alterations needed to allow a bold new ministry partnership to begin.
The Committee on Congregational Vitality will again oversee the grant process. Questions can be addressed to one of the grant review team co-chairs, Rev. Karen Larson ( or Rev. Scott Larson (, or to Executive Presbyter Jeff Japinga (
E-mail Spoofers Are At It Again!
by Jeff Japinga, Executive Presbyter
As we reported last September, churches are being increasingly and specifically targeted for email scams. Only a few days ago, they tried again with the pictured e-mail.
Please be on the alert. If you are not sure if the email is from me or from the Presbytery, just ask (and not by replying to the email, but by forwarding what you received to me at or to
Since it’s still happening, however, here are some reminders from that September column:
The Name is Legit but the Email Address is Odd
Don’t just look at the sender’s name; look at the address. The email some of you received from me this week looked like this: From: Rev. Jeff Japinga < >. That’s called spoofing. Every email from me will come from Jeffrey Japinga <>. If you see a long string of numbers in front of the @ sign or the name of a free email service before the .com (or any other domain), you need to question the legitimacy of the email.
Look at the Content
Here’s what “my” email said on Wednesday: Hi, Reply this message when you get this, thanks. Last fall, I was stranded in the northwoods and urgently needed Google Play cards. Red flags!! Look, I’m not perfect, but multiple grammatical or spelling errors within the body of an email are good signs that it’s fake. So is a message that says you need to do something right away or within a certain number of hours. Also, don’t click on links, especially when you have even the very smallest amount of doubt.
Look at the Greeting
If there is no personal greeting or if the email is very general, think hard before you respond. Then don’t.
It Asks for Personal Information
If you get an email that asks you for any personal information, no matter how legitimate it might seem, delete it right away. Personal information is only meant to be entered in secure, encrypted forms.
If It Ends Up In Your Spam Folder
I know; occasionally a legit email ends up in the spam folder. But not often. Deal with the rare misdirected email if you need to; but if it’s in the spam folder, odds are good it’s there for a reason.
How We Protect Places of Worship
Do you have an emergency plan in place for your congregation? Are you currently working on one?
Last week, executive presbyter Jeff Japinga attended a workshop sponsored by the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, engaging law enforcement and faith-based communities. Also this month, a number of you have contacted Jeff or Presbytery office about whether the Presbytery has policies or practices for emergencies, not surprising given the uptick in violence targeted at churches and other faith-based communities.
Let’s do this important work together, learning from each other and supporting each other. If you have written emergency policies at your church, for events from first aid to a fire or tornado to an active shooter, would you send those to Jeff Japinga at If you would like to work on a template of policies and practices the PTCA could offer to its churches, please let Jeff know about that as well.
Jeff's Jottings:
What I Didn't Say Last Week
The report from the Executive Presbyter was on the agenda of last week’s Presbytery business meeting. When the meeting fell behind schedule, Jottings became the place to find the report.
"Messing with established structures" writes Jeff, "can be a tricky proposition." But in the end, what this new structure yields will be one that will feature common ownership.
Around the Presbytery
Ministry Lab's First Offering...
Preparing Contemplative Worship
The Ministry Lab is excited to offer its first workshop:
Preparing Contemplative Worship.
Union Theological Seminary chapel on Tuesday, February 11, from 2:00-3:30.
Clergy and lay leaders: Bring your expertise and experience; your questions and conundrums; your joy in contemplative practices; your wondering how to weave it together.
We may wind up with a "liturgy" or two - and at the very least, a network of contemplative worship planners to support, inspire and empower one another!
Seminars, Retreats, Programs
New Speakers Announced
Compassion Peace and Justice Training Day
Imagine! God's Earth and People Restored
April 24-27
Washington, DC
We believe that God created this world, called it good, and told humans to care for it. We are blessed to have this sacred task.
On April 24, 2020, join together with Presbyterians from across the nation in Washington, D.C. to learn how Presbyterians and partners are answering this call and working for the restoration of God’s creation and people. Through plenaries, workshops, and networking opportunities, this Compassion Peace and Justice Training Day offers the chance to explore the various ways we are addressing climate change, ecological destruction and environmental racism. Advancing climate justice and just transition to value and protect people who have historically been made vulnerable by economic and environmental injustice will be a special focus.
Many will continue the learning by attending the Ecumenical Advocacy Days: Imagine! God’s Earth and People Restored from Friday evening on April 24 through Lobby Day on Monday the 27th. Almost 1,000 Christian advocates join us every year for a weekend of workshops, lectures and concrete actions addressing movements for social change.
Leadership Openings
Family-Intergenerational Ministries Coodinator
First Presbyterian Church of Hudson, Wisconsin is seeking a Family-Intergenerational Ministries Coordinator to join the staff of our growing congregation.
Located in Hudson, WI, FPC is an active a Christian community dedicated to sharing God’s love and growing in faith. We are committed to intergenerational worship and learning; creativity, diversity, and balance in worship, music, and art; caring for one another as family (in all the best senses of the word family); the welcome and inclusion of all people; and more! Please visit to explore the story of our family of faith past and present and get a better glimpse of our hopes for the future!
EMerge is a newsletter of the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area. Through most of the year it is published biweekly and distributed to congregations, teaching elders, ruling elders, church members, committees and friends of the presbytery. Please send submissions and address corrections to