Renowned theologian and author Diana Butler Bass will be the featured speaker at VERGE 2010, sponsored by North Puget Sound Presbytery. The event will take place Sept. 18 at North Creek Presbyterian Church in Mill Creek, Wash.

VERGE "invites cutting-edge leaders to address these questions: What is happening in the world around us? What is God on the verge of in the midst of it? How can we be part of it?"

Bass' lastest book on church renewal and transformation is entitled Christianity for the Rest of Us. Of the book, renowned evangelical leader and Sojourners founder Jim Wallis says: "Diana Butler Bass has debunked the myth that the only churches which are growing are Evangelical and Pentecostal. She finds life and renewal in the mainline churches--but it’s happening there for the same reasons as elsewhere: through a recovery of genuine faith and real spirituality."

CHARLOTTE — In advance of the new church school year, Leadership Development of Charlotte Presbytery is conducting three teacher training workshops.

They will take place Aug. 22 at Locust Presbyterian Church in Locust, N.C.; Aug. 28 at Providence Presbyterian Church in Charlotte; and Sept. 19 at Bethpage Presbyterian Church in Concord, N.C.

Sections will be offered on children, youth and adults. Sessions will include refreshers on how to prepare a lesson, classroom dynamics, teaching methods, learning styles, curriculum choices and other teaching ideas.

MINNEAPOLIS — At least three congregations in the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area (PTCA) have joined "Taking Root," an initiative of the Minnesota Council of Churches to foster interfaith understanding and hospitality in the region.

The effort has grown out of the recent controversy regarding the building a mosque near the site of the September 11 attacks in New York. "It is a reminder of both of the barriers that exist between people of different faiths as well as the bonds that can be forged across faiths," reads a statement on the presbytery's web site. 

"Taking Root" is a program that pairs Christians and Muslims together to sponsor a refugee. To date, participating PTCA congregations are Oak Grove Presbyterian Church in Bloomington, House of Hope Presbyterian Church in St. Paul and Church of All Nations in Minneapolis.

JUNEAU, Alaska  — The General Council of Alaska Presbytery has voted to continue the Rev. David Dobler's call as Pastor to the Presbytery on a full-time basis.

Dobler, moderator of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assembly in 1993, has been serving the presbytery part-time while also serving part-time as president of Sheldon Jackson College in Sitka. His service with the college concluded in June.

Dobler and his wife, Laura, are in the process of moving from Sitka to Juneau, where the presbytery is based. 

CLEVELAND — The next Healthy Congregations Facilitator Training Event sponsored by the Presbytery of the Western Reserve (PWR) will be Oct. 11 and 18 at Medina (Ohio) Presbyterian Church.

The training consists of a two-day session that prepares professional facilitators to conduct Healthy Congregations workshops in congregations of all sizes. Facilitators learn the program's philosophy, as well as how to conduct the workshops.

Healthy Congregations includes 6 five-hour workshops: "Creating a Healthy Congregation," "Healthy Congregations Respond to Change and Anxiety," "Leadership in Healthy Congregations," "Relationships in Healthy Congregations," "Healthy Congregations Develop Generous People" and "The Spiritual Care of Healthy Congregations."

Healthy Congregations was developed by Peter L. Steinke, a Lutheran pastor and counselor who serves as a consultant to clergy and congregations nationwide. The PWR facilitator training will be led by the Rev. Sam Hobson, interim pastor of Medina Church and one of seven PC(USA) pastors who has been trained by Steinke.

LEXINGTON, S.C. — The 20th annual Over 50 Adult Retreat sponsored by the Older Adult Committee of Trinity Presbytery is slated for Sept. 27-29 at Camp Fellowship in Waterloo, S.C.

The theme of the retreat is "The Sermon on the Mount: Character Formation of the People of God."

Bible study leader is the Rev. Robert A. Bryant, associate professor of religion and chair of the department of religion and philosophy of Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC. Worship leaders are the Rev. Charles Elliott, vice-president of Thornwell Children’s Home and former executive for Trinity Presbytery; the Rev. David Jones II, associate pastor for children and their families at Shandon Presbyterian Church in Columbia, SC; and the Rev. Jonathan Bowling, pastor of Greenville Presbyterian Church in Donalds, S.C.

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Four congregations in the Presbytery of East Iowa recently received the 2010 Governor's Volunteer Award for their disaster relief-related ministries during the past year.

The recipients:

SPOKANE, Wash. — The Presbytery of Inland Northwest is raising funds for Stage 2 of its capital campaign to fund its newest New Church Development, Latah Valley Presbyterian Church.

The Stage 2 campaign aims to repay by September a $400,000 interest-free loan to the owner of the property where the new church sits. More than $110,000 has been pledged to date. Advocates are in place in many churches of the presbytery with additional information and pledge cards.

"You are all worshipping in a church that exists today because Presbyterians of past generations gave to purchase the land it is on. We seek your prayers for this new and growing church and for the way God is enabling you to generously support its vital ministry. We thank you for your support," a recent presbytery communication stated. 

For questions or more information contact the Rev Steve Watts. The presbytery has also produced a video on the campaign. 

LANCASTER, Penn. —  Donegal Presbytery is promoting an appearance by William Paul Young, author of the blockbuster book The Shack, Nov. 9 at Lancaster Bible College.

Young’s appearance is sponsored by the Parish Resource Center in Lancaster, which was founded in 1976 by D. Douglas Whiting , former professor of education and parish development at Lancaster Theological Seminary. Today the center serves congregations from 18 religious traditions in urban, suburban, and rural settings, including the member churches of Donegal Presbytery.