IOWA CITY, Iowa ― The Presbytery of East Iowa is organizing an intergenerational mission trip to Joplin, MO, to help that community recover from the May 2011 tornado that wiped out almost half the city. The trips is being planned for August 4-10.

According to Sarah Dyck, PEIA’s discipleship consultant, the purpose of the trip is twofold: “to share our gifts with those affected by the tornado” and “to provide a venue for members of congregations who would like to go on a mission trip but do not have the resources to put the trip together.”

Dyck said the goal is for each congregation sending an adult to also send a youth 14 years or older. “While we are currently only able to take 20 people on this trip,” Dyck said, “we will be happy to set up other trips in the future if we receive interest from more than 20 individuals.”

EVERETT, Wash. ― North Puget Sound Presbytery recently hosted “regional leadership gatherings” at three churches in the presbytery.

Topics included a presbytery mission update, national movements and developments, and a preview of the top issues coming to this year’s 220th General Assembly in Pittsburgh, June 30-July 7. The report of the GA’s Mid-Councils Commission was also reviewed.

The presbytery’s next regional leadership gatherings are scheduled for July 16 at Mountain View Presbyterian Church in Marysville, Wash.; July 18 at First Presbyterian Church in Bellingham, Wash.; and July 19 at First Presbyterian Church in Port Townsend, Wash. The topic will be a review of the actions of the General Assembly.

LEXINGTON, S.C. ― The Rev. Danny Murphy has been elected by Trinity Presbytery’s Council to become the presbytery’s transitional presbyter.

He began his new work June 1, succeeding the Rev. Alan Arnold, who retired. The position is full-time for up to three years. 

Murphy has a long association with Trinity Presbytery, going back to 1988. He served two pastorates, Shiloh Presbyterian Church and Calvary Presbyterian Church, before joining the presbytery staff in 2000 as associate general presbyter for mission, congregational development, and evangelism. 

In addition, he has served on the field staff of the General Assembly Mission Council’s Office of Congregational Transformation.

HUDSON, Wis. ― “Benevolent Pork Butts” is a new and tasty ministry at First Presbyterian Church here in the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area.

“We had some Southerners move north and join our church two years ago. They brought this idea with them from their church in Memphis,” says pastor Stephanie Anthony. “It's drive-through BBQ.”

Cookers take orders from church and community members, setting a suggested donation of $35 a butt. The butts are 8-to-10 pounds each, feeding 12-to-15 adults.

“For 48 hours our church is turned into a meat smoking machine,” Anthony says, “and the roasts are rubbed down with our secret mixture of BBQ spices ― sounds more mysterious that way, doesn’t it? ― then slow-smoked to perfection. We wrap ‘em up in foil as soon as they’re off the grill.

The church sold 42 butts last year. Last year’s proceeds ― about $1,750 ― benefitted a local organization, Bridge for Youth with Disabilities. This year’s proceeds have been designated to go to the church's Benevolence Fund, which is used to help Hudson residents in need when they call the church.

LOUISVILLE ― This spring, four students completed the Spanish language Commissioned Lay Pastor Theological School at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

The program is co-sponsored by the seminary, the Presbytery of Mid-Kentucky, the Synod of Living Waters, and the General Assembly Mission Council.

The graduates are: Sonia Cualia (James Lees Memorial Presbyterian Church, Louisville (Mid-Kentucky Presbytery); Maria Gutierrez (Eastminster Presbyterian Church, Nashville, Tenn. (Middle Tennessee Presbytery); Jael Fuentes Molina (Eastminster Presbyterian Church, Nashville (Middle Tennessee Presbytery) and Elmer Zavala (Beechmont Presbyterian Church, Louisville (Mid-Kentucky Presbytery). 

MINNEAPOLIS ― First Presbyterian Church of White Bear Lake in the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area and Achu Ade, one of its members, worked together to get a 35-person school bus to Cameroon.

Achu’s wife, Josephine, taught school for many years at the Virtue Bilingual Primary School in Douala, Cameroon. Achu Ade purchased the school bus and donated it to First Presbyterian Church. Achu also paid the shipping fees for the transfer of the bus to the school in Cameroon.  

The school bus is the only one of its kind in Cameroon. The Virtue Bilingual Primary and Nursery School is very proud of the bus as are the children. When the bus arrived everyone wanted to touch it. They had seen photographs of school buses but had never seen a bus in person.

Although it is a 35-person school bus, the children sit 3 to seat, in the aisles and everywhere. Still, it is better than walking miles to school. (story by Janet Youel)