Presbytery and synod news
October 26, 2011
YATESBORO, Pa. ― At its November meeting, Kiskiminetas Presbytery will hear a report from its Rwanda Partnership Team, which recently returned from its 2011 visit to the central African country.
Two pastors and five women made this year’s trip. They led Bible studies, introduced their Rwandan brothers and sisters to water filtration/purification systems and spent most of their time in worship and fellowship with Rwandan Presbyterian congregations.
“One of the most surprising discoveries was that each parish, consisting of a central congregation and several smaller congregations in the countryside, were involved in building income-producing projects,” says the Rev. Wayne Yost, general presbyter for Kiskiminetas and a team member. “This is necessary so the parish can be self sustaining, because the Presbyterian Church of Rwanda can no longer provide subsistence income to the parishes to help them afford a pastor.
Yost said projects ranged from hostels and guest houses to a community market where merchants can rent space in a building rather than set up open-air stands.
This missional community based its approach on focusing on the neighbors — their life’s dreams, family needs, real fears, and spiritual questions.
North Point Presbyterian Church eventually walked through the New Church Development process and was formally chartered in 2005. This summer, North Point church began worshiping in its new sanctuary, which is located within a rural block of the neighborhood’s elementary school, junior high, and high school.
EAGAN, Minn. ― At its recent meeting the Synod of Lakes and Prairies accepted the report of its Administrative Review Task Force on the Future of the Synod and adopted nearly all recommendations presented by its Steering Committee in response to the report.
Most of the task force’s recommendations call on the synod to be increasingly responsive to the needs of its presbyteries. The report was received before the PC(USA)’s Middle Governing Body Commission voted to recommend elimination of synods as ecclesiastical entities. That proposal will be considered by next summer’s 220th General Assembly in Pittsburgh.
The synod also received recommendations from the Presbyter Forum, a group composed of presbytery executive leadership across the synod. The group’s recommendations called for a “move toward a more agile regional body with (potentially) fewer members and a strong Reformed witness …” It also called for the synod to be in more open communication about the needs of its presbyteries and the support the synod can provide.
The synod created the task force in January 2009.
HOUSTON ― In early November, a 16-member group from three churches in New Covenant Presbytery will travel to Cuba to install clean water systems at two Presbyterian churches in Matanzas.
The three congregations ― St. Johns, Christ and Clear Lake ― are part of Living Waters for the World, a ministry of the Synod of Living Waters. The Synod of the Sun, which includes New Covenant Presbytery, has a partner ministry that installs solar power systems to fuel the clean water systems.
Money for the water systems was raised by the three churches through a variety of fund-raising activities as well as Peacemaking grants from the presbytery to each of the congregations.
ALLENTOWN, Pa. ― The Mission Team at Pleasant Valley Presbyterian Church in Brodheadsville in Lehigh Presbytery is looking for a partner church or churches to raise $12,000 to buy a used ambulance and ship it to La Victoria, Dominican Republic.
The team has been working for several years with a women’s group of Mata Mamon ― a rural village near La Victoria. It has helped provide beds and housing for the poor there.
The lack of emergency transportation has led to a number of premature deaths in the area. To help, contact the church by visiting its Web site or calling 570-992-0158.
IOWA CITY, Iowa ― An idea has been brewing in Rob Smith’s mind for quite some time. A weekend getaway last January provided the setting to meditate on the issues that keep the under 40 demographic from participating in church.
In March, he attended a workshop in Iowa City by emergent pastor Brian McLaren. During a break, he spoke with the Rev. Sam Massey, pastor of First Presbyterian Church here in the Presbytery of East Iowa, and later over a cup of coffee ground out the framework for a new ministry in Iowa City — the coffee house as church.
Rob, a student at the University of Dubuque theological Seminary, has begun a nine-month internship at First church. During that time he will explore how to extend the walls of the church out into the community through a coffee shop ministry.
In the coming months, Rob will pray for God’s leading, develop a business plan/vision for the ministry, build an advisory committee and seek ecumenical church and community support, interview unchurched young adults as part of a viability study and begin small group ministry in the coffee shop.