Synod Meeting Highlights by Tim Jones, Contract Staff
The Synod of Lincoln Trails met for its second Stated Meeting of 2014 at the Clayton Presbyterian Church in Clayton, Indiana on Friday, July 25, 2014, to celebrate the retirement of Carol McDonald, Synod Executive. A warm welcome and gracious hospitality were extended by Moderator David Jones, retired Teaching Elder, Presbytery of Blackhawk and Dawn West, Clayton’s Clerk of Session.
The Clayton Presbyterian Church provided a delicious buffet of salads for commissioners and numerous guests. The Moderator David Jones called the meeting to order and representatives from the General Assembly, several Synods, and Presbyteries introduced themselves. The Assembly handled a few pieces of business and then moved to the sanctuary for worship.
Teaching Elder Teri Thomas, pastor of Northminster Presbyterian Church, Indianapolis proclaimed the word. She shared anecdotes of Carol’s life and ministry as well as challenging us to live into God’s future knowing that God never leaves us. The sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was observed, the choir of the Clayton church provided inspiring music and Carol McDonald gave the closing benediction. The Assembly then moved back to the fellowship hall for an assortment of wonderful homemade desserts.
Saturday morning the Assembly reconvened at 9 a.m. at the Indiana Interchurch Center where the Synod offices are located. Moderator David Jones called the meeting to order and the Assembly was led in Morning Prayers.
The Transition Team of the Synod reported after the committee meetings. The highlight of their report was to present Teaching Elder Sara Dingman, currently serving as Interim Presbyter of Missouri River Valley Presbytery to be elected as Transitional Synod Executive for the Synod of Lincoln Trails beginning October 13, 2014. Click Here to read Sara's bio and vision statement. After stimulating questions and answers, she was unanimously elected by the Assembly.
Click Here to read Tim's complete Highlights including other actions taken by the Synod.
In celebration of Carol's retirement, the Personnel Standing Committee of the Synod commissioned a hymn in honor of her 25 years of service. The Clayton Presbyterian Church choir performed the hymn to Carol's surprise and appreciation. Click Here to view "Sing A Hymn of Faith and Learning" A hymn in honor of Carol McDonald's shining ministry.
Ministerial Excellence Fund Offers Workshops on Transforming Church Finances - Enhancing Financial Health
If you serve the church as teaching/ruling elder, treasurer, clerk of session, business administrator, finance or stewardship committee member - we invite you to invest the time for this workshop.
There is no fee for attendance. Workshop materials, meals, snacks, and beverages will be provided. These events are sponsored by the Ministerial Excellence Fund.
Workshop presenters include Rev. Alan Griffin, Rev. Terri Thorn, and Elder Eric Herzog.
• Friday, September 19, 1 p.m.-7:30 p.m. - Wabash Ave Church, Crawfordsville.
• Saturday, September 27, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. - Presbyterian Church of La Porte
• Friday, October 3, 1 p.m.-7:30 p.m. - First Presbyterian Church, Ft. Wayne
• Saturday, October 11, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. - location to be announced
• Friday, October 17, 1 p.m.-7:30 p.m. - First Presbyterian Church, Seymour
• Saturday, October 25, 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. - Westminster Presbyterian, Washington
Why Should We Care? Financial FAQ's, Best Practices and Resources
Properly implemented and resourced, the church financial and administrative ministry can operate efficiently in the background - providing accurate information that is both timely and transparent - in support of our mission today and into the future. In this interactive session we will share questions, experiences and practical solutions that seek to "demystify" this critical aspect of our work together.
Mission Focused Stewardship: 10 Ways to Increase Giving To Your Church
This workshop explores spiritual components of stewardship development and offers 10 immediately do-able and transformative steps. The conversation will also include discussions of narrative budgets, year-round stewardship education, the roles of pastors and sessions in stewardship, the Biblical basis of healthy stewardship and the theology of abundance in a world focused on scarcity.
Church Guide to Tax-Advantaged Health Reimbursement Plans
There are a myriad of changes and new requirements to healthcare coverage and related qualified reimbursable expenses. This workshop discusses the impact of 2015 changes in the (PCUSA) Board of Pensions plan and reviews tax-advantaged benefit plans that can allow both church employees and employers to save on the cost of healthcare.
The 221st General Assembly of the
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)Is Now In The History Books
The theme of this year's General Assembly "Abound in Hope" (Romans 15:13) provided focus throughout the week as tough issues were tackled and challenging decisions were made.
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing,
so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope." (Romans 15:13)
As synods, presbyteries, congregations and individual Presbyterians live into the realities related to the actions of the General Assembly, please pray that all of us might remember the call of the apostle Paul to abound in hope. Besides the most talked about issues of marriage and the Middle East, commissioners to the General Assembly also accomplished many other things, including the following:
♦ Approved the "Educate a Child, Transform the World" campaign...a call to join in a movement to provide quality education to 1 million children in the U.S. and around the world as a way to alleviate poverty.
♦ Celebrated the nearly 250 new worshipping communities in more than 100 presbyteries that have begun since the last General Assembly (2012).
♦ Endorsed an initiative to encourage Presbyterians to go beyond the walls of their congregations and increase their engagement in service to their communities and the world by "living missionally".
♦ Voted overwhelming to add the Confession of Belhar to the Book of Confessions. The action must now be ratified by a majority of the presbyteries within the next year.
Click Here for 2014 Summary of the Decisions Made at General Assembly
Click Here for 2014 General Assembly FAQ on Marriage
Click Here for 2014 General Assembly FAQ on Divestment
Synod Announces New Funding Opportunity For 2014
MISSION INITIATIVE GRANTS
Mission Initiative Grants are one-time grants of 'seed' money designed to help begin new congregation based missional activities. These one-time grants are for dollar amounts up to $1,500 and grant recipients will be able to share their stories and progress six months and one year after receipt of the grant.
Trees need three essential things to grow strong:
digging the dirt around the roots, loosening of soil so nutrients can get to the roots;
water, transport of nutrients; and,
Using this metaphor, the Synod is supplying the seeds or seedlings in the form of grant funds. In the application you will have the opportunity to relay the ways that you will be supplying the three essentials while growing a strong new mission through your congregation.
The Synod meets three times in 2014 and applications received prior to each meeting will be reviewed at that meeting. If you have any questions concerning the new Mission Initiative Grants, please contact Judy Lucas email@example.com at the Synod office. Please note application deadlines: July 11th for consideration at July 25-26, Synod meeting; and, October 10th for consideration at the October 25th Synod meeting.
Click Here to view the Application Process and Application.
The Synod of Lincoln Trails Partners with
The Presbyterian Foundation to Create
Ministerial Excellence Fund: Sustaining The Call
The Synod opened a mission exchange account with the Presbyterian Foundation as an important part of continuing the work of the Ministerial Excellence Fund Program in the State of Indiana. Four years ago The Lilly Endowment gave grants to 16 denominations to address economic issues facing Indiana pastors. The presbyteries of Ohio Valley, Wabash Valley, and Whitewater Valley all received grant money. The directors of the Ministerial Excellence Fund of the presbyteries understood the need to conduct fund-raising campaigns to help fulfill the following: to meet the obligation of matching funds as required by The Lilly Endowment; and, to create the means to continue the fund activities beyond the initial grant timeline.
Click here to read more about the initiative and as well as interviews conducted with pastors who have benefitted from the Ministerial Excellence Fund Program.
Check back often as our website will continually be updated and will include a "Give Now" button for immediate giving to the program. Giving can be done in two ways: online at www.presbyterianmissionexchange.org and search for Ministerial Excellence Fund or by mailing a check to the Ministerial Excellence Fund, Synod of Lincoln Trails, 1100 W. 42nd Street, Suite 210, Indianapolis, IN 46208
All Beautiful the March of Days
We all need respite, renewal and refreshment. This workshop is designed to nurture and nourish all Ruling Elders who have completed training to be commissioned within the contexts of their present service.
Framed in the exploration of scriptures and resources provided for the upcoming season in the church year, participants also engage in wide ranging discussions covering ministry challenges, new resources for strengthening leadership skills in themselves and others, as well as current denominational events.
Participants may use the workshop to meet their COM continuing education requirements.
Leadership is provided by the Rev. Dr. Laura Reason in Philo, Illinois, located just east of Champaign-Urbana at the heart of the Synod. To accommodate time zone differences, the four courses offered in 2014 will begin at 9:00 a.m. Central, and conclude at 1:30 p.m. All events are on Saturdays:
• February 15, 2014 (2/22 snow date) - Preparing for Lent and Easter, Year A
• May 17, 2014 - Preparing for Pentecost I
• August 16, 2004 - Preparing for Pentecost II
• November 8, 2014 - Preparing for Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Year B
Click here for the registration form, print, and email the form to Kristi Miller - Kristi@lincolntrails.org; or mail to the Synod office at 1100 W. 42nd Street, Suite 210, Indianapolis, IN 46208; or fax to 317-927-5985