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Bi-vocational calls webinar, the lobby, remote office day, and more …

February 19, 2019

From Tricia Dykers Koenig, Associate Stated Clerk
Associate for Mid Council Relations, Office of the General Assembly, 502-322-0903, 502-569-8360

Bi-Vocational webinar

Bi-Vocational Calls with Military Reserve/Guard Chaplains

Do you have a challenge finding pastors to fill small congregations? Are you looking for creative options for providing benefits for bi-vocational pastors? Do you have congregations in your presbytery willing to be teaching communities and open to a chaplain resident serving for a temporary period?

If so, please join us on April 2, 2019, at 2:00 p.m. EDT, for a webinar on a new program to develop bi-vocational calls with military reserve/guard chaplains. A survey in the fall identified interest and need for this type of bi-vocational ministry in many presbyteries. Therefore, the Presbyterian Council for Chaplains and Military Personnel is hosting this webinar in April and will outline the steps to recruit a reserve/guard chaplain to your presbytery. The webinar will also provide an opportunity for you to ask questions.

If you are able to participate, please email Lyman Smith (director of the Presbyterian Council for Chaplains and Military Personnel [PCCMP]) and he will send you the webinar login information prior to April 2nd. You can also call the following executive presbyters or Lyman Smith for further information.

  • SanDawna Ashley, executive presbyter, Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys, 320.235.7910
  • Les Hyder, executive presbyter, San Joaquin Presbytery, 559.304.2106
  • Lyman Smith, director PCCMP, 202.630.6225

We hope you can join us!

Mid Council New Leader Lobby

In the last newsletter I asked for your ideas about what ought to be included as we develop a “lobby” with information to welcome new mid council leaders and provide them (and continuing leaders, for that matter) with the information they need to thrive in their ministries.

I have received several responses thus far—thanks, and keep them coming! For inspiration, here’s the creative suggestion from Ken Baker of the Presbytery of San Fernando:

When you start in mid council work, if you don’t already know a lot about the various judicatories (and I didn’t), it takes quite a while to figure out whom you can connect with for their area of expertise and resources. How about each council write a brief statement about their special areas of skill and experience?

If you asked me to do that, I’d write about our focus on new worshipping communities. Our neighbors in San Gabriel are experts in working with immigrant churches, etc. If I were in the Midwest and a group wanted to start our first immigrant church, I’d want to contact Wendy in SGP to get some guidance. Eventually you could figure that out, but how many meetings would you need to attend to make that connection? Such information easily available might significantly accelerate the process of connecting and learning together.

How about it, folks? Would you be willing to provide that information for your colleagues? Let me hear your ideas on this and other ways to help each other.

A Witness for Remote Office Day

Many thanks to Sharon Core from the Presbytery of the Western Reserve for explaining how the presbytery staff is using Remote Office Day to reach out and build relationships. Would that work for you?
Special Committees

GA223-Created Special Committees

As you are aware, the 223rd General Assembly (2018) created a large number of special committees, commissions, and task forces. The Co-Moderators, working with the General Assembly Nominating Committee and the General Assembly Committee on Representation, have been working hard to find people to serve.

Check out the list of these entities, including those who have been appointed to date; and please read Valerie Izumi’s explanation of the ongoing needs as they continue this work. Your recommendations and encouragement of persons to apply, are sorely needed. Please share with your congregations as well—we need to spread the word far and wide.

Called to Ecumenical Service?

The Office of Ecumenical Relations is seeking delegates for ecumenical service:
  • Episcopal Dialogue. We will need three persons for the Episcopal Dialogue. Ideally, they should be either pastors or mid council leaders who have significant experience with the Episcopal Church, ecumenically sensitive, and able to engage in theological dialogue. The commitment is for five years and the dialogue team meets one or two times a year for about 2½ days.
  • Churches Uniting in Christ (CUIC) Plenary Delegation. We will need about 4–5 persons for the CUIC Plenary, June 7–9 in Montgomery, Alabama. We need a diversity of persons interested in racial justice, ecumenical relations, and reconciliation of ministries. The deadline for applications is February 15, 2019.
If you or someone you know is interested, please complete the Ecumenical Service application and email it to Everdith Landrau, manager of ecumenical relations.

Matt’s Morning Reflections

Matt Meinke, the new general presbyter in the Presbytery of Maumee Valley, writes a devotional based on the assigned Scripture for the day. You might want to subscribe.

Presbytery Moderator Pulpit Exchange

The moderator (Kate Kotfila) and vice moderator (Michael Burkley) of the Presbytery of Albany, hoping to connect with congregations, sought permission from their sessions to offer the second Sunday each month for pulpit exchange with any interested congregation. Sessions are invited to request a month when one of them would come to preach and/or lead worship. That church’s pastor would switch pulpits with Michael or Kate, who are also offering to come early or stay afterwards for a class or gathering that might include sermon feedback, gathering with session or leaders of the congregation to talk about ways the presbytery can support the congregation, listening forums, “what you wish presbytery understood better about your congregation,” Bible study, or a Sunday school class (any age).

Congregations without a pastor can participate thanks to other ministers of Word and Sacrament in the presbytery who have offered to preach for Kate or Michael if needed.

Health Ministry

The Presbytery of New Castle offers an online health ministry “to provide credible, accurate educational references about health topics applicable to all age groups.”

Dual Language Mutual Ministry

An Innovation Grant from the Synod of the Trinity to New Wilmington (Pa.) Presbyterian Church, Presbytery of Shenango, is supporting a program to teach Spanish-speaking members of the community the English language, and vice versa. Read about all the benefits of this ministry.

Getting to Know You

The Presbytery of Milwaukee is building community among presbyters through a newsletter game. Each week a “mystery pastor” is introduced with an interesting and unusual clue. The first person to email a correct guess receives recognition in the newsletter and a free meal at the next presbytery meeting. The identity of the mystery person is revealed in the next issue, along with a photo and more details about the fun fact.

Per Capita Placemats

If you want to order in bulk, please contact Brunhilda Williams-Curington.

Multitudes of Mid Council Ministries

Reading your newsletters, I see that you are sponsoring events on issues as diverse as:
  • active shooter training
  • divorce care
  • older adult ministry
  • small churches
  • suicide prevention
  • Islamophobia
  • green congregations
  • boundary training
  • effective advocacy in the halls of power
  • officer training
  • stewardship
  • conflict
  • anti-racism
… to name just a few. If your events are generating good information and/or ideas from which your colleagues could benefit, please send that along for me to share.

And another plea: I want to receive every presbytery and synod e-newsletter, and have tried to subscribe from your website, but in some cases I can’t figure out how. Would you please double-check, and add me if I’m not on your list?

Gun Violence Prevention Worship-Action

The Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, following up on action taken by the 223rd GA, is encouraging you to share this Gun Violence Prevention February Worship-Action Kit with local congregations. The 223rd General Assembly (2018) requested that every congregation pray about their call to help prevent gun violence. This kit brings together prayer, worship, and action resources for the February 14 anniversary of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting and the February 17 Universal Day of Prayer for Students. Read more here.

Presbyterian Hunger Program Resources

Are you interested in learning more about all the things that the Presbyterian Hunger Program (PHP) does to “alleviate hunger and eliminate its causes”? Or perhaps you are getting questions about congregations who would like to be certified as Earth Care Congregations or Hunger Action Congregations? If you are reading the news about global crises, famine, and hunger, you may want to peek into PHP’s international projects and partnerships.

PHP staff created four PowerPoints that you can download, manipulate/edit/change to suit your purpose, and lead for a class or minute for mission or presentation—and they also recorded a version of each with staff voice-over walking through the PowerPoint (so that you can just sit back and push “play” on the mp4 file). See if these might be useful for you:

The PowerPoints are:

  • PHP Overview
  • Earth Care Congregations
  • Hunger Action Congregations
  • PHP international development and advocacy
They can be downloaded as PowerPoints and manipulated or changed, including with slides taken out or added in. Or just play them as is.

Questions or troubleshooting:

Free 2019 VBS Curriculum

The Jerry Can curriculum highlights the one common denominator in all disasters around the world: the need for clean water for people to survive. The Jerry Can cartoon was created to be a fun, energetic character for children to connect with. This curriculum, available in both 1- and 5-sessions, includes lessons on disaster response and activities that show how children can be involved with prayer and generosity to make a difference in the lives of people in need.

To get your free copies, order by visiting 1-Session (12112-18-990) or 5-Session (12112-18-991); download here; or call 800-533-4371.

Jerry Can

Moderators’ Conference

Dates have been set for November 21–23, so please inform your moderator(-elect). The event will be held in Louisville, beginning with a reception Thursday evening. We are planning several optional activities for those arriving earlier on Thursday. Closing worship will conclude by dinnertime Saturday, and most participants should plan to depart Sunday. Perhaps you, as mid council staff, will offer to cover for moderators who would ordinarily need to be in the pulpit Sunday morning.

Where Are the Co-Moderators?

Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri
February 4–6 COGA, Houston
February 6–9 APCE, Galveston
February 25–March 3 Puerto Rico

Cindy Kohlmann
February 4–6 COGA, Houston
February 8–10 The Presbytery of Newark
February 22–27 The Presbytery of New Harmony
February 27–28 The Presbytery of Peace River

224th General Assembly (2020) Deadlines

The 224th General Assembly (2020) will be in Baltimore, Maryland, from June 20–27, 2020.
Deadlines for the assembly are:
180-day: December 23, 2019 report Commissioners and YAADs to OGA
120-day: February 21, 2020 amendment to/interpretation of Book of Order; reports to the assembly
60-day: April 21, 2020 overtures with financial implications
45-day: May 6, 2020 all other overtures, comments
30-day: May 21, 2020 consultation with affected entities

Conference Dates

  • New Stated Clerk Training. March 25–27, 2019, Louisville.
  • Big Tent. August 1–3, 2019, Baltimore, Lord Baltimore and Radisson Hotels.
  • Mid Council Leaders Gathering. October 18–20, 2019, Baltimore, Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel.
  • Association of Stated Clerks and Association of Mid Council Leaders. October 20–21, 2019. Baltimore, Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel.
  • 2019 Moderators’ Conference. November 21–23, 2019. Louisville.
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