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Mission Yearbook Prayer

Mar. 10, NOM Mtg. @FPC-Moore, 1p Mar. 11, CPM Mtg. @INP Office, 10a Mar. 16, CC Mtg. @Memorial, 10a Mar. 25, INP Foundation Mtg @INP, 1:30p Apr. 9-10, Leadership Retreat @INP Office (time TBD) Apr. 16-18, Youth Quake @Hinton, OK, 7p

Loving God, we give you thanks for the water that sustains all life. Help us to care for each other, so that your people shall never thirst but may be eternally refreshed by the crystal streams of justice and righteousness that flow from your throne. Amen

Youth Quake Indian Nations Presbytery's Retreat for 6th-12th Graders April 16 18, 2010 Canyon Camp, Hinton, OK Cost: $75 per person - Deadline to Register Group: March 22, 2010 -Group Supervision: 1 adult per every 5 youth required - Registration materials: Available at your church or Youth groups will arrive between 6-8 PM on Friday, April 16 and we will be finished by 11 AM on Sunday, April 18. The theme is "In God We Trust." The keynote speaker is Josh Melcher of First United Methodist Church in Wichita, KS and the music/worship leader is Corey Fisher, who has led music at Dwight Mission and is a member of Memorial Presbyterian Church in Norman. The camp minister is Rev. Dr. Jim Burns and the camp nurse is Mimi Luna, RN. Co-Directors are Molly Rambur, Director of Children and Youth Ministries atMemorial Presbyterian in Norman and Rev. Everett Miller, Associate Pastor for Youth at First Presbyterian in Norman. There will be workshops this year and the massive game of Mission Impossible will make a comeback. Please contact Molly at or Everett at with questions or concerns.

Break the Chains - A Modern Slavery & Fair Trade Event March 7, 2010 Starts at 2:30 p.m. First Presbyterian Church 555 S. University Norman, OK 2:30p: Fair trade booths such as Native Roots, The Body Shop & Angel Eyes for Asia 3:00p Short filrm (Slavery 101) and Speakers in Alexander Hall (DO YOU KNOW THAT THERE ARE MORE THAN 27 MILLION PEOPLE SUFFERING UNDER SOME FORM SLAVERY IN THE WORLD - INCLUDING THE U.S & OKC?) Speakers include: Mark Elam (Oklahomans Against Trafficking Humans), Linda Caswell (All Things New - an OKC recovery home for slavery victims), Dr. Joy Pendley (an expert on fair trade issues). Norman North High will give a brief presentation on making a difference. Music by Austin Pendley-Griffin CHILDCARE PROVIDED Please call Rev. Everett Miller at 405-321-0933 or email him at

Towards the Next Church Greystone Presbyterian Church, as a part of the relocation and new church development, has started a blog as a connecting point, conversation starter, information outlet, and place to simply discuss planting new churches and trends in the church today.

Continuing the effort to connect the presbytery to this new ministry and also increase the knowledge base about planting new churches, ministers and members of the presbytery are invited to view and post comments on the Towards the Next Church blog at and you can follow us on twitter at These will also be the best places to go for future updates about the progress of Greystone's relocation and the planting of this new ministry in Edmond-Deer Creek. Thanks. Blessing. Tim

Order the new Presbyterian Planning Calendar The General Assembly’s commitment to “Grow Christ’s Church Deep and Wide” is reflected in the Scripture verses and art of the 2010–2011 Presbyterian Planning Calendar. This 19-month calendar, which runs from June 2010 until December 2011, is a useful tool for pastors, church leaders and others. Find features such as lectionary, colors for liturgical seasons, monthly planning suggestions, staff directories and fold-out maps. Learn more about the calendar and this year's artist. Place your order today by phone (405) 524-0990 or by email to To order at the $6.00 price, INP must order 50 calendars

February 22 Registration still open for Presbyterian Writers Guild annual conference Event featuring Cecil Murphey set for April 28-29 in Nashville by Emily Enders Odom GREENSBORO, N.C. Following up on its well-attended 2009 event, the Presbyterian Writers Guild has announced that the Presbyterian Writers Conference for 2010 will be held April 28-29, at the Scarritt-Bennett Center in Nashville, Tenn. Online registration is available at the Presbyterian Writers Guild website. The conference, which is aimed at helping writers produce marketable articles or books, develop a freelance career, and “impact the world with their words,” will again feature prolific Presbyterian author, Cecil Murphey. Murphey’ most recent book, written with Don Piper, is 90 Minutes in Heaven: A True Story of Death & Life. It spent nearly three years on the New York Times non-fiction bestseller list. [Read more]

‘We cannot be afraid of the future’ Central Presbytery of Presbyterian Church of Colombia has strong educational programs, needs church buildings by Bethany Furkin Presbyterian News Service BOGOTÁ, Colombia In the Central Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church of Colombia (IPC), there are no church buildings. That doesn’ mean there isn’ church, though. The presbytery has about 345 members, spread across seven congregations. They meet for worship in homes. The members who live in Bogotá, Colombia’ capital and home to about 9 million people, sometimes meet at the Collegio Americano. Education is a key focus of the presbytery, and the Colegio Americano is proof of that dedication. Founded as an all-girls school in 1869, the school is now co-ed and has about 2,000 students. Not all of the students are Presbyterian, but the school’ long reputation for stellar education and Christian principles draws students of many backgrounds. [Read more]

February 23 COGA recommends Portland as site for 2016 GA

PC(USA) national gathering last met in ‘Rose City’in 1967 by Jerry L. Van Marter Presbyterian News Service LOUISVILLE The Committee on the Office of the General Assembly (COGA) is recommending that the 222nd General Assembly (2016) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) be held in Portland, Ore.

The decision will be made by the upcoming 219th General Assembly, July 3-10 in Minneapolis. The 2012 and 2014 Assemblies will be held in Pittsburgh and Detroit, respectively. The Assembly last met in Portland in 1967. At that Assembly, the former United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America adopted the Confession of 1967 and holding the 2016 Assembly there “would allow us to celebrate the 50th anniversary of ‘-67’in the place of its origin,” said the Rev. Tom Hay, director of operations for the Office of the General Assembly. Other factors in Portland’ favor, Hay added, are the size and modernity of its convention facilities, the vibrancy of its downtown, proximity of hotels to the convention site and a light rail system that extends as far as the Portland International Airport. [Read more]

COGA proposes middle governing body commission

Group would have power to act between General Assemblies by Jerry L. Van Marter Presbyterian News Service LOUISVILLE With dramatic changes occurring at all levels of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the Committee on the Office of the General Assembly (COGA) is proposing that the upcoming 219th General Assembly create of commission to work with sessions, presbyteries and synods “on the mission and function of middle governing bodies.” The proposal unanimously approved by COGA at its Feb. 22-24 meeting here calls for a 21-member commission to be appointed by the moderators of the 218th Assembly (the Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow) and the moderator to be elected by the 2010 Assembly, July 3-10 in Minneapolis. As a commission, not a committee or task force, the body would have the authority to take action. “If I had a wish list for this General Assembly, this [commission] would be at the top,” General Assembly Stated Clerk Gradye Parsons told the committee. “This year we have lots of overtures about middle governing bodies that go from tinkering to eliminating synods to creating non-geographic synods and presbyteries.” [Read more]

Living community by Bethany Furkin Presbyterian News Service CARACAS, Venezuela It was easy to tell where the meeting was. The teal house was surrounded by people, its patio spilling light out onto the street. Inside the patio, the scene continued. In one corner, toddlers were clustered around a TV cartoon show. On the other side of the porch, older children were engaged in a lesson about how to show God’ love. And in the midst of it, the host distributed juice and cookies to the newcomers. Such gatherings are becoming more popular in Venezuela. Encouraged by the Presbyterian Church of Venezuela (Iglesia Presbiteriana de Venezuela or IPV), these weekly prayer meetings, called “cells,” are often the first step in introducing people to church. This new evangelism experiment acknowledges that coming to church for the first time can be intimidating. The prayer groups are meant to ease families into a church setting by teaching Bible stories and supporting fellowship in a laidback environment. The meetings are hosted by church members at their homes. They invite their extended families and neighbors to visit and learn. Over time, a sense of community is established, and some people who have never known church become more familiar with the idea. [Read more]

February 24 All together now Valentine praises GAMC’ improved relationship with Foundation by Bethany Furkin Presbyterian News Service LOUISVILLE The relationship between the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’ General Assembly Mission Council and the Presbyterian Foundation is moving toward a new, improved model. “What a difference two years makes,” GAMC Executive Director Linda Valentine told the council’ Executive Committee here Feb. 23. The two agencies were in “a bad place” at the last General Assembly, in 2008. Conflicts had festered over the years, chiefly around spending formulas and interpretation and use of restricted funds. “We’e set a whole new tone in terms of the communication and collaboration that is happening,” Valentine said. [Read more]

Thousands of faith leaders send letter, run full-page ad for health reform PC(USA) stated clerk, Washington Office join summit-eve appeal by Jerry L. Van Marter Presbyterian News Service WASHINGTON On the eve of the Bi-Partisan Health Care Summit in Washington, D.C., Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assembly Stated Clerk Gradye Parsons and the Presbyterian Washington Office have joined thousands of faith community leaders and organizations urging the Obama administration and Congress to “complete the task at hand on behalf of the millions who are left out and left behind in our current health care system.” In addition to the Feb. 24 letter to the President and Congress under the umbrella groups Faithful Reform in Health Care and the Washington Interreligious Staff Community the religious leaders are running a full-page print advertisement in The Hill and an additional online ad at The Hill's Web site, showcasing the letter and its signers. The letter concludes: “As people of faith, we envision a society where every person is afforded health, wholeness and human dignity. Martin Luther King, Jr., famously wrote in his ‘etter from Birmingham Jail’that ‘ustice too long delayed is justice denied.’Less well known is his admonition that ‘f all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.’Let us not delay health care justice any longer. This is your moment for political courage, vision, leadership and faith. We urge you to take heart and move meaningful health care reform forward.” The letter was signed by more than 4,000 people of faith, 58 national religious organizations, more than 80 regional and state faith organizations, and 26 national faith leaders. [Read more]

February 25 GAMC mulls planning guidelines by Bethany Furkin Presbyterian News Service LOUISVILLE The staff of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’ General Assembly Mission Council is asking the council’ elected members to approve a set of nine guidelines for planning decisions. In the Feb. 24 opening plenary of the GAMC’ three-day meeting here the council discussed the proposed guidelines, which aim to focus and prioritize the council’ ministries to “serve the mission of the whole church.” “There’ a loud cry for us to focus our work,” said Linda Valentine, executive director of the GAMC. “We are at a point in the church’ history where change is inevitable and not that easy,” added Mike Kruse, vice chair of the GAMC executive committee and part of a group of GAMC members who reviewed the guidelines, which were developed by senior GAMC staff. [Read more]

Abiding hope Middle Eastern Christians maintain faith amid hardships, PC(USA) mission worker says by Pat Cole Communications Specialist LOUISVILLE Although the origins of the Middle Eastern church date back to antiquity, the newness of life offered through Jesus Christ continues to be experienced by believers in the region, according to a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) mission worker. Their faith enables them to endure wars, economic hardship and persecution, says Nuhad Tomeh, the PC(USA)’ regional liaison to Syria, Lebanon and the Gulf. “The Christians in the Middle East are still there because they believe in the power of the Resurrection and, in spite of what’ happening, we believe that after the ‘ad Friday’as we call it in Arabic, is the Resurrection Sunday.” Tomeh, a native of Syria, nurtures relationships between the PC(USA) and its partner churches and organizations. He also supports the work of mission personnel and other Presbyterians interested in the region. [Read more]

GAMC examines leadership needs in the church Rapidly changing society, church creates challenges, opportunities by Emily Enders Odom Mission Communications Associate LOUISVILLE In the face of a radically changing ministry context and a great hunger for leadership throughout the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), the General Assembly Mission Council and the Committee on the Office of the General Assembly met here Feb. 24 to embark upon a frank and far-reaching examination of leadership needs for the church. This dialogue began in the spring of 2009, when the Committee on Theological Education called the GAMC and COGA to join with it in looking at the church’ leadership needs, thereby forming the Joint Committee on LeadershipNeeds.

At the same time, Barbara Wheeler former president of Auburn Theological Seminary and now director of its Center for the Study of Theological Education was asked to share her research on Commissioned Lay Pastors, a study that had been commissioned by the in partnership with COTE. [Read more]

February 26 PC(USA)’ ‘Women of Faith’named Four women honored for work that transforms the church and society by Beth Newberry Associate, Mission Communications LOUISVILLE Four women have been named recipients of the 2010 Women of Faith Awards by the General Assembly Mission Council of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Recipients were approved by the council at its meeting on Feb. 26. The women will be honored at the Women of Faith breakfast, July 4, during the PC(USA)’ 219th General Assembly (2010) in Minneapolis. The Women of Faith Awards were established in 1986 to honor women in the 2.2 million member PC(USA) whose lives exemplify their Christian commitment through witness, service and leadership. [Read more]

GAMC recommends Caterpillar’ profit from non-peaceful activities in Israel-Palestine be denounced Council hopes for more dialogue by not recommending divestment by Bethany Furkin Presbyterian News Service LOUISVILLE The General Assembly Mission Council of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) approved a recommendation today (Feb. 26) to denounce “Caterpillar’ continued profit-making from non-peaceful uses of a number of its products.” The 24-9 vote on the recommendation from the denomination’ Mission Responsibility Through Investment committee came after some GAMC members voiced concerns about the effect the denunciation would have on the Presbytery of Great Rivers, where Caterpillar’ headquarters are located. MRTI’ focus has been on Caterpillar’ profit from “non-peaceful uses of its products” in Israel/Palestine, such as the demolition of buildings in Palestinian Occupied Territory and the construction of settlements and the “separation barrier” on disputed land. “To simplify, Caterpillar makes the statement that they sell tractors. What people do with them is not their responsibility,” MRTI chair the Rev. Brian Ellison told the council’ Justice Committee, adding that MRTI sees a conflict between Caterpillar’ statements about its concern for human rights and its refusal to take responsibility for the use of its products. [Read more]

Valentine re-elected to second four-year term

GAMC executive director eager to see ‘eeds planted bear fruit’ by Jerry L. Van Marter Presbyterian News Service LOUISVILLE Four years ago, the General Assembly Mission Council had just undergone a major downsizing and budget reduction 75 layoffs and $9 million worth. The staff structure at the Presbyterian Center had been dismantled and the entire senior GAMC staff saw their positions eliminated.

And then the council elected Linda Valentine, an elder from Chicago, as its new executive director. Undaunted, “We began putting a new organization in place, with mission at its core,” she told the council Feb. 25 after being unanimously re-elected to a second four-year term, subject to confirmation by the upcoming 219th General Assembly. “Linda has been wonderful for us as a leader, a colleague and a friend,” said GAMC Chair Carol Adcock. “We are thrilled with the unanimous vote.” [Read more]

Pray for the people of Chile On Saturday, February 27, 2010, an earthquake measuring 8.8 occurred off the coast of Chile in the Maule region approximately 115 kilometers north of the country's second largest city, Concepción. Early reports are that there were several hundred casualties. Our partner church in the region, the Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Chile reports no victims. The church in Talca has been destroyed. (Talca is located between Concepción and Santiago.) We currently have no PC(USA)-appointed mission personnel deployed in Chile. Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is working with our ecumenical partner Church World Service (CWS) in Chile to provide basic humanitarian assistance and to help local partners in assessing the needs. One Great Hour of Sharing funds will be used for an initial response. Gifts for responding in Chile may be designated for DR000185. Please pray for the people of Chile. Take note

Responding to earthquakes in Chile and Haiti One Great Hour of sharing logo Recent strong earthquakes have affected the nations of Chile and Haiti. Your generous gifts to the One Great Hour of Sharing offering allow an immediate response to disasters such as these. PDA is responding in Chile: PC(USA) mission coworker Carlos Cardenas Martinez is working with partners to communicate the assessments with PDA. PDA continues to respond to the needs of the disaster affected population in Haiti. You can support immediate response to earthquakes and other disasters by giving to One Great Hour of Sharing.

Issue: 292

March 1, 2010

FAILURE TO THRIVE by Roy M. Oswald and Barry Johnson John and Brigetta were pastors of neighboring congregations. Even though they represented different denominations, their congregations were quite similar. Both had approximately 110 members attending Sunday worship, and both congregations had been stuck at that number for the past eight years. John and Brigetta knew each other well, as they belonged to the same clergy support group, yet their leadership styles differed greatly. Brigetta was a tough-thinking woman who made most of the decisions at Good Samaritan Church. She had a strong, driven, Type-A personality. Brigetta had a clear vision of where the congregation should be headed, and she worked tirelessly at getting laypeople to carry out her vision. Although she had great ideas, she continually encountered lackluster support for these proposals from the board and committee members. Some lay leaders had tried to revise some of her ideas to make them more relevant to congregational needs, but she insisted on their doing things her way. Brigetta repeatedly rebuffed their attempts to gain some ownership of her plans by incorporating some of their own, and in the end, they acquiesced to her. Over time, members who had leadership capacities simply stopped serving on congregational boards and committees. Brigetta had not noticed that lay leaders lacked enthusiasm because they felt they were treated as lackeys whose purpose was to carry out her vision. She, on the other hand, complained to her colleagues that she wished she had just a few capable lay leaders who wanted to do something to make the congregation thrive. Continue Reading "Failure to Thrive"

FEATURED RESOURCES Managing Polarities in Congregations: Eight Keys for Thriving Faith Communities Leadership in Congregations

Choosing Partnership, Sharing Ministry: A Vision for New Spiritual Community The Spirit-Led Leader: Nine Leadership Practices and Soul Principles

MEET THE NEIGHBORS Ten Easy Ways to Discover the Community Around Your Church Webinar: March 2, 2010 2:00 pm Facilitator: Joy Skjegstad Does your church want to connect more deeply with the community that surrounds you? Where do you start? Learn about the kinds of places, people, and events in your neighborhood that can help you develop relevant and successful community ministry programs. This one-hour web seminar provides 10 easy steps for church-staff or lay-leaders to use to begin building lasting relationships in your community. Don't miss the chance to sign up for this helpful webinar by Joy Skjegstad, national speaker and independent consultant on nonprofit management and ministry development.

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