Presbytery and synod news

July 29, 2011

CAMP HILL, Pa.

The Synod of the Trinity is sponsoring a one-day workshop on child abuse prevention Sept. 17 at the Penn Stater Conference Center in State College, Pa.

Entitled “Protecting Our Children,” workshop participants will examine the child abuse reporting and protection policies of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Topics to be covered include:

  • The Book of Order on reporting and policies
  • Whom to report to, and how, and when
  • The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s requirements
  • Recommended Safety Practices

Workshop leaders are the Rev. Jay Lewis, stated clerk of Pittsburgh Presbytery and an attorney, and Frank P. Cervone, an attorney who is Executive Director of the Support Center for Child Advocates, a lawyer pro bono program for abused and neglected children in Philadelphia.

IOWA CITY, Iowa ― The first exchange program involving students/facilitators of PRECE (Program of Education in Cooperative Cells) in Brazil and supporters in the United States was completed the week of July 5-10 when Caroline Avendaño and Maraiza Teixeira visited the Presbytery of East Iowa.

They were accompanied by Kacy Brubaker, an American who has spent eight months teaching English in PRECE , which was started in 1994 in the rural area of Cipo about 60 miles from the city of Fortaleza.

Caroline and Maraiza are students at the Federal University in Fortaleza. They and other university students involved in PRECE return to their home communities every Friday night to spend Saturday and Sunday teaching other students. Public schools in Brazil are poor, particularly in the rural area, and many of those students cannot pass the university entrance test unless they go through the PRECE methodology of learning through cooperative cells.

There are now more than 2,000 students involved in PRECE and 500 have reached the university where tuition is free.

The threesome spent their first night at First Presbyterian Church in Muscatine. They subsequently made presentations at First Presbyterian Church in Williamsburg and in Cedar Rapids to describe the amazing success and growth of PRECE, and to thank East Iowa Presbytery’s churches for their support.

IRVING, Texas ― The Rev. Gerry Tyer has been elected to serve as transitional executive for the Synod of the Sun, effective Aug. 1.

He succeeds the Rev. Judy Fletcher, who retired earlier this year.

Tyer comes to the synod from the Presbytery of Tampa Bay, where he served as executive presbyter. He has also served pastorates in New Jersey, Minnesota and Ohio.

Tyer is a graduate of Princeton Theological Seminary (M.Div. and Th.M.) and Boston University (D. Min.). He has received clinical training from Trenton Psychiatric Hospital in New Jersey and Princeton Medical Center. Author of Seven Keys to an Effective Presbytery, Tyer is the founder of the Presbytery Leadership Institute and the REACH Initiative.

EVERETT, Wash. ― The walls are going up and the Jacob’s Well facility ― the vision of Marlin Gabbert, a member of Lake Forest Park Presbyterian Church in North Puget Sound Presbytery ― is rapidly taking shape.

Jacob’s Well ― a ministry with homeless single mothers and their children is an outgrowth of Vision House in nearby Renton, WA. Gabbert’s vision was born when he attended a conference in 2003 and met Vision House co-founder Susan Camerer. Also in attendance were church folk from Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, and Edmonds ― all in North Puget Sound Presbytery.  

Jacob’s Well will consist of 20 housing units, on-site child care for 65 children, counseling offices and program space. Funding has been provided by numerous local churches and businesses. The engineering firm of another Lake Forest Park member, Joe Bozick, has handled the planning and permitting of the facility. Matt Howland, another member of Lake Forest Park Church and owner of Howland Homes, has provided construction advice.

It took a large crew of volunteers just 10 days to frame the 20,000-square-foot building up to the roof in about 10 days.

LEXINGTON, S.C.― Conflict in communities and churches has many faces: racial tension, domestic violence, crime, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, family feuds, bullying and factionalism in the faith community. What do all these have in common?  A need for healing.

The Peacemaking Committee of the Division of Mission in Trinity Presbytery is sponsoring a two-day seminar ― “Restorative Practices for Healing the Wounded Community” ― Sept. 23-24.

The workshop will be held at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Columbia, SC. It will address these and other sources of conflict in homes, work places, communities and churches.  The event is designed for pastors, counselors, Stephen Ministers and others who deal with conflict on a regular basis.

EAGAN, Minn. ― The biennial Synod of Lakes and Prairies Communicators Conference will take place Sept. 15-16 near the synod office here.

Duane Sweep, the synod’s communications director, said the conference is designed for communication and administrative staff within the synod and beyond. Conference workshops will include storytelling, social networking boundaries and newsletter options.

Guest speakers from the PC(USA) national staff are Jerry Van Marter, coordinator of the Presbyterian News Service, and Eva Stimson, editor of Presbyterians Today magazine.

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