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Presbytery and synod news

November 23, 2011

PETALUMA, Calif. ― Pacific Mission Exchange ― an electronic mission education and funding program of the Synod of the Pacific ― is appealing for modest contributions to aid the historic High Street Presbyterian Church in Oakland, Calif. 

The High Street church building is an architectural gem located in a gang-infested area bordering East Oakland. The church was designed one hundred years ago by the famed architect of Hearst Castle, Julia Morgan. 

The church’s original douglas fir floors can no longer be repaired or refinished. They have now been determined to be a safety hazard. The floors must be replaced immediately at a cost of $20,000. The 27-member multi-cultural, multi-generational urban church has raised $9,000 for the new floors. They now need others to come alongside and help them raise the $11,000 still needed. To contribute, contact Pacific Mission Exchange.

CLEVELAND ― Earth Care Congregations of the Presbytery of Western Reserve are promoting Wednesday night forums on climate change and energy in conjunction with an exhibit currently on display at the Cleveland Natural History Museum through Dec. 31. 

The next forum, on Dec. 14, says Keith Mills, an elder at the presbytery’s Fairmount Presbyterian Church, will address the question: “The Ethical Challenge of Climate change: Why Don’t We Act?”

Publicity for the forum states: “Despite increasing scientific warnings of the dangers of altering the Earth’s climate, humanity continues to release more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Those who cannot hold us accountable today ― such as future generations, the global poor and nonhuman species ― will be harmed the most by our failure to change course.”

EAGAN, Minn. ― Plans are already underway for the Synod of Lakes and Prairies 2012 Synod School, believed to be the only remaining synod-wide multi-day educational event in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

The next installment of the synod’s annual midsummer ministry is set for July 22-27 at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa. Its theme will be “Singing the Lord’s Song in a Strange Land.”

Keynote speaker will be the Rev. Carol Howard Merritt, author of Tribal Church: Ministering to the Missing Generation and Reframing Hope: Vital Ministry to a New Generation.

Additional details can be found at Synod School.

LEXINGTON, S.C. ― The Columbia Presbyterian Community here, in Trinity Presbytery, is sponsoring a one-day Veterans Benefits Seminar Nov. 29.

The seminar will be led by Gary Baker, an Army Veteran who was the director of South Caorlina’s State Ethics Commission for 23 years and Lexington County (S.C.) Veteran’s Affairs Officer for 8 years.

Columbia Presbyterian Communities mission statement reads: “We are a compassionate Christian ministry dedicated to enriching the quality of life for seniors of all faiths.”  

SEATTLE ― “PresbyFest 2012” ― Seattle Presbytery’s event for “Presbyterians with a passion for ministry and relationships to share and rejoice” ― is set for January 28 at Mercer Island (Wash.) Presbyterian Church.

Keynote speaker will be the Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow, moderator of the 2008 General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

Workshops will be led by the Rev. Julia Thorne of the Office of the General Assembly on immigration issues; the Rev. Jeff Keuss, a professor at Seattle Pacific University, on theology and culture; and the Rev. Dean Strong, stated clerk of North Puget Sound Presbytery on the new Form of Government.

Other seminars will include discussions of Southeast Asia mission, healthy church growth initiatives, Reformed worship and multicultural ministries. The event will include clerk of session training, annual report assistance and a session on best financial practices for congregations. A mission fair will highlight the mission partners of many of the presbytery’s churches.  

MIDLAND, Texas ― On Dec. 5, Deborah’s Daughters will gather at Grace Presbyterian Church here.

Deborah’s Daughters is a gathering of clergywomen and women Commissioned Lay Pastors (CLPs) in the presbyteries of Sierra Blanca, Tres Rios and Palo Duro

LANCASTER, Pa. ― The most recent mission delegation from Donegal Presbytery to their partner Mthatha Church in South Africa returned home Nov. 3. Delegation members will report on their trip at the presbytery’s Nov. 29 meeting.

Delegation members report that “the whole presbytery met us the first day to show us the Computer Project building, and the new work stations they were completing.”

Donegal raised $10,000 for the computer facility and computers. When the completed facility is dedicated, it will include a plaque honoring Donegal Presbytery.

ANCHORAGE, Alaska ― “50 Years of Northern Light,” a video project of Chapel in the Mountains in Anaktuvuk Pass, a congregation of Yukon Presbytery, is now available.  

The documentary, directed by Presbyterian elder Caven Keith, tells the story of the past, present and future of Anaktuvuk Pass, as seen through the eyes of some of the elders who were involved in the original settlement and the voices of newer generations who are rising up to carry on the traditions of their people.  

For more information, or to purchase the video, visit http://www.narrowlanemedia.com. The cost of the DVD is $15.99. 

MINNEAPOLIS ― When Lindy Westgard ― a member of Macalaster Plymouth United Church in St. Paul, Presbytery of Twin Cities Area ― learned that her church needed a new roof, she was inspired to try something different to help foot the bill.

The 78-year-old artist donated some of her watercolors to the church, so it could sell them and keep the proceeds. But not just a few paintings. She donated 40.

They hang in the hallway of the church, waiting to be picked up by purchasers when the exhibit closes at the end of the month. Church leaders have not added up the proceeds yet.

Westgard, a lifelong painter and art teacher, told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune: “It’s a lovely relief for me … Churches give so much back to people. Why not give something back to them.”

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