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Presbytery and synod news

September 21, 2011

EVERETT, Wash.― Twenty-three members and friends of First Presbyterian Church of Everett in North Puget Sound Presbytery will travel to Haiti to help build a playground for H.I.S. Home for Children.

H.I.S Home For Children is an interdenominational Christian ministry created in 1999 to care for orphaned and abandoned children in Haiti.

The ministry includes 35 full-time staff members who administer three homes with approximately 125 kids ages birth to 16. Some of the children are orphans, but many have been abandoned to the home by a single parent who is unable to provide for them due to extreme poverty.

IOWA CITY, Iowa ― Mike Ferguson, a member of the United Presbyterian Church of Lone Tree, Iowa and a newspaper reporter in Muscatine, Iowa, has been named editor of “Out and About,” the newsletter of the Presbytery of East Iowa.

He succeeds Marue White, who resigned when her husband received a pastoral call in another area. Ferguson is married to the Rev. Susan Barnes, pastor of the Lone Tree church.

For several years, Ferguson has been a contributing writer for the Presbyterian News Service. He has helped cover three General Assemblies, both Big Tent events and the Synod of Lakes and Prairies Synod School.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. ― At a joint meeting on Aug. 18-19, the councils of Santa Fe and Sierra Blanca presbyteries voted unanimously to name a task force to explore the creation of a new presbytery in New Mexico.

Th task force will be chaired by Ruling Elder and Commissioned Lay Pastor John Detterick, and includes the elected leadership of both presbyteries: Hugh Burroughs, Maribeth Culpepper, Gary Dill, Janell Kane, Virginia King, David Whiteley and Rob Woodruff. 

The two presbyteries already share executive staff, the Rev. Sallie Watson.

LOUISVILLE ― The Synod of Living Waters will conduct a one-day training event Oct. 1 ― “Building your Church Website!” ― to provide the tools for churches to establish and maintain Web sites.

The training event, hosted by Mid-Kentucky Presbytery, is part of a program funded by a three-year Heisermann Grant with a goal to have a Web site for every congregation in the synod within three years. Living Waters is partnering with the Synod of Alaska-Northwest on the program.

The workshop will introduce participants to web terminology basics; help them find the right style for their Web site; help them construct a Web site; and help them decide what to put on their Web site; and provide hands-on practice building pages and adding content.

MINNEAPOLIS ― In August a group from Presbyterian Church of the Way (PCOTW) in Shoreview, Minn. (Presbytery of Twin Cities Area) went to Dam- pong, Ghana, to visit their sister congregation. Executive Presbyter Chaz Ruark and his wife, the Rev. Janet Ruark, pastor of First United Presbyterian Church in Baldwin, Wisc., joined the group.  

PCOTW member Sheila Martin said the welcome extended to the group went far beyond the church family there. “The entire town of Dampong (and other towns too!), including sweet children, town leadership, and other faith communities, all overwhelmed the team with their (parade-like; having waited at the top of the hill for us for hours, with jubilant and honest thankfulness for our coming.”

The team learned much about the ministries of the church in Ghana, including meetings with a group working on women’s health issues, a workshop ― one of a regular series ― on choral music for churches, and a visit to the Junior Brigade, a program for mostly middle-school young people.

The team also visited several sites where its Ghana Wells Mission Committee has installed 14 fresh water wells in seven rural communities in the Ashanti region of the country. It’s next health-related effort will be construction of sanitary latrines.

SEATTLE ― The Rev. Thinh Duong was installed June 5 as pastor of Vietnamese Brighton Presbyterian Church in Seattle Presbytery.

In an interview with Seattle Presbytery Communications’ Aaron Willett, Thinh said he felt God’s call to ministry as a young man. He and his family emigrated to Los Angeles last year and six months later was invited to Vietnamese Brighton church.

The immediate tasks he faces, Thinh said, include receiving God’s blessing on the worship, preaching and teaching ministry of the church, developing a strong leadership team and cultivating financial stewardship among the church’s members.

CLEVELAND ― On Oct. 16, as part of its building expansion, John Knox Presbyterian Church in the Presbytery of the Western Reserve will seal a time capsule in the 2011 cornerstone. The congregation’s intention is to open the time capsule in 50 years, in 2061.

“Its contents will highlight our past as well as offer our wishes to the congregation in 2061.”

The time capsule will include: greetings from the congregation on special stationary; a note from the Rev. Gordon Blasius, founding pastor at John Knox Church ; a note from one of the founding members, Elder Donna Draudt; a note from the church’s current pastor, the Rev. Tom MacMillan; a note from the Rev. Liza Hendricks, executive presbyter for the Presbytery of the Western Reserve; and a note from the church’s session and deacons.

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