Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Attend the Presbytery's Annual Christmas Luncheon

One week left to get your reservation in – Presbytery of Des Moines members and church staff are invited to the Annual Christmas Luncheon!

Where: Westminster Presbyterian Church, 4114 Allison Avenue, Des Moines

When: Wednesday, December 16, 2009, 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Who: All pastors, all church staff members and volunteers, and any other person wanting to attend from your church.

Cost: $6.00 per person payable at the door

This is for anyone in the Presbytery wishing to join us for lunch. Pastors, bring all the important people in your church so that we can meet them. If you don’t have a church, join us, anyway. If your church has no pastor at this time, we’d still like the important people from your church to join us.

Entertainment during the meal will be provided by your very own Presbytery staff members! Enjoy piano music provided by Rev. Phil Barrett and Kim Coulter. Betty Dyer and Nancy Lister-Settle will have their special stories to share as well. Maybe Rev. Goanar Chol will honor us with a Christmas carol in Neur? It's sure to make for a relaxing time during the busy holidays!

RSVP to the Presbytery Office at 515-276-4991 or pbydesmoines@presbyteryofdesmoines.org by Monday, December 14th. Don't forget to let us know the names of those who will be attending.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Local Senior Highs Connect with El Salvador Youth

Recently, Michael Sinklier, PC(USA) Young Adult Volunteer to Peru, went to El Salvador with the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Des Moines’ delegation. Here he describes his visit and the new mission with the youth there.

“I had the opportunity to meet with a young man from the community where our sister parish is located in San Francisco, El Salvador. He and a group of young members had come to a meeting being held in the newly constructed church and were there to make a request of the team from Westminster. He introduced himself as Niwman Oswaldo Cruz Hernandez and told the gathering that one year ago he and 12 other adolescents came together to create an official youth group of the church of San Francisco and that today, one year later, that group had doubled in size to 26 members. Niwman went on to tell us that while the group has no formal budget, this year they would like to host two events at the church, inviting youth from neighboring churches to come to San Francisco in order to build relationships and network with other youth groups in the area.

"The request was made for $350 that would last them one year and allow them to host two events. In response to the need, the Westminster Senior Highs have agreed to donate $350 of the funds raised from their 2009 Christmas Wreath sales to the San Francisco youth group. A letter and photograph of the Senior Highs will be sent to the youth group in El Salvador along with the funds.

"Because of the continuous support the Westminster congregation has show their youth, they too are able to do mission for other youth groups, even across the world.”

Friday, November 13, 2009

What can we do to achieve peace? New Booklet Released this Summer

The booklet and DVD Steadfast Hope, The Palestinian Quest for Just Peace is being offered from the Israel Palestine Mission Network (IPMN). A 48-page, magnificently illustrated booklet challenges common myths and misperceptions about the origins of the Middle East conflict. This new resource offers a snapshot of the situation on the ground in Israel/Palestine and is a guide to the challenges that lie ahead in the quest for peace by Muslims, Jews and Christians.

Designed for individual use or as a one-, four- or seven-week church adult education series, it includes a free DVD with short, informative clips linked to the booklet content. Copies are $5 each for 20+ or $10 a single copy and are available online through the Presbyterian Marketplace, order item number 26466-09-001 (or call 800-524-2612). Or a single copy is available for check out at the Presbytery Office. Questions? Contact IPMN members the honorably retired Rev. Liz Knott and Connie DePond at 515-962-2088.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

World Mission Celebration Booth was a Success!

The Des Moines Presbytery’s booth at the World Mission Celebration in Cincinnati, Ohio, the week of October 22-24 was well attended. Our Social Ministries Task Force Moderator Nancy Lister Settle (Dallas Center, First) and Sue Burns (DM, Westminster) gave away coffee samples which were a big hit!

And you can see in this Presbyterian New Service write-up, that we were the only presbytery-sponsored booth at the event. People were impressed!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mission Dollar Challenge Consultation is Oct. 27

THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED. The Stewardship and Mission Interpretation and the Budget and Finance committees are looking into rescheduling this event.

On Tuesday, Oct. 27, church session members are invited to attend the Mission Dollar Challenge Consultation 2010, from 1-4 p.m. at St. Paul Presbyterian Church, 6426 Merle Hay Rd., Johnston. This workshop is sponsored by the Stewardship and Mission Interpretation and the Budget and Finance committees of the Des Moines Presbytery.

For many congregations, financial support has been limited by a current income situation affected by the economy, increased pension dues, higher operating costs and rapidly aging buildings in need of repairs. Our committees believe that the condition has not prevented a great deal of mission from being done locally that the presbytery as a whole has not been made aware. We are asking you to come to the consultation prepared to share the outreach mission of your congregation with session members of other churches in the presbytery. We also want to provide an opportunity for us to be challenged in our giving locally and globally.

Churches are asked to send 1-2 session members and have them bring the 2008/2009 church annual budgets. Participants will return prepared to help sessions set goals for funding 2010 mission work of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). To RSVP, contact the Presbytery Office, 515-276-4991.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Presbytery PW Fall Gatherings set for Oct. 16 & 17

The Friday, Oct. 16 Gathering will be held at First Presbyterian Church in Audubon and the Saturday, Oct. 17 Gathering will be held at Highland Park Presbyterian Church in Des Moines. Beginning at 9 a.m. each day with fellowship and the program Wonder of God’s Word with the Rev. Linda O’Connell and the 2009-2010 HORIZONS Bible Study Joshua: A Journey of Faith.

Afternoon workshops include: Wonder of MissionColumbia Accompaniment with Paul Walther at the Audubon church. Or Wonder of MissionEl Salvador with Betty Dyer, at Highland Park church.

Other workshops offered at both locations are: Wonder of Discipleship with Moderator Linda O’Connell, Historian Pat Summers, and Treasurer Angie Williams or Wonder of Presbyterian Women – A Report on the Churchwide Gathering by PW Correspondent Emily Seeger.

The worship offering will go towards CROSS Ministries and a local mission at each location. Local mission shower gift needs include: Audubon – the Women’s Crisis Center (personal hygiene items) and Highland Park – the Heart and Hand Mission (items for infants and medical supplies).

Lunch at both locations is $5 and reservations are due October 12. To make your reservations:

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Registration is Open for Healthy Congregations Workshops


How do we keep pastors and churches in a healthy relationship? What are the signs of an anxious system? What do we do if/when trouble comes? The Rev. Dr. Peter Steinke will be on hand for two days at Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ, 4126 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines, Oct. 18 & 19, 2009.

Sponsored by the Presbytery of Des Moines' Professional Care and Development Committee with support from Des Moines Pastoral Counseling Center, each day’s workshop will provide a primer on understanding the congregation as an emotional system within the basic concepts of Bowen Theory (family systems theory).

Both sessions will be held at Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ, 4126 Ingersoll Ave., Des Moines. For more information or to register, contact the Des Moines Presbytery at 515-276-4991 or pbydesmoines@presbyteryofdesmoines.org.

Dr. Steinke is the original designer of the Healthy Congregations concept and author of numerous books on the topic. He is an internationally respected congregational systems consultant who has also served as a parish pastor, an educator, and a therapist for clergy.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Presbytery Hosts Indonesia Mission Co-Worker
Oct. 2-9

During October 2-9, 2009, our presbytery will host Prof. Bernard Adeney-Risakotta director of ICRS-Yogya (Idonesian Consortium for Religious Studies) Graduate School at Gadjah Mada University Yogyakarta in Indonesia. You can read more about him in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) 2009 Mission Yearbook, pages 113-115.

There are still open dates/times for a visit with your church members. To schedule, contact the Rev. Nathan Lamb of Community United Presbyterian Church in Hartford at 515-989-3426 or nlamb731@yahoo.com.

Bernie’s schedule so far includes:
  • Sunday, Oct. 4, 9 & 11 a.m., Worship services at Ankeny Presbyterian Church
  • Sunday, Oct. 4, 5 p.m., World Communion service by the South Central Regional Partnership hosted at the Trinity United Presbyterian Church, Indianola. A potluck dinner will follow. The Des Moines Presbytery churches are invited to attend.
  • Monday, Oct. 5, 3 p.m., Des Moines Area Religious Council is inviting members of the Christian, Muslem, and Jewish communities to meet with Bernie for discussion. (DMARC Office, 3816 36th St., Ste. 202, Des Moines, IA 50310.)
  • Tuesday, Oct. 6, 10 a.m.–1:30 p.m., Lectionary Study Group, at Presbytery Office, Urbandale.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 7, 12:30-2p.m., Retired Pastor's Luncheon, at Calvin Community, Des Moines.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2-7 p.m., discussion/worship, at Community United Presbyterian Church, Hartford.
  • Thursday, Oct. 8, Men’s morning Bible Study, at United Presbyterian Church, Allerton.
  • Friday, Oct. 9, Travel to Iowa City to begin next Mission Challenge visit with East Iowa Presbytery, Oct. 9-16.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Convenant Celebrates Children’s Program Partnership

The Covenant Presbyterian Church in West Des Moines will celebrate and rededicate its partnership with Drake University’s Head Start and Early Head Start program during morning worship, Sunday, Sept. 27.

Five years ago, Covenant opened its doors and housed one class of 4- to 5-year olds and a parent advocate. Last year, Early Head Start’s toddler class of 2– to 3-year olds and Head Start’s home-based program teacher joined the Covenant-Head Start partnership. Now, on any given day, Covenant houses 60 children providing safe classrooms, playground, an indoor recess room, and a socialization room to enhance the bond between parent-child and to promote positive interactions. The Head Start programs are child-focused and have the overall goal of increasing the school readiness of young children in low-income families.

All are invited to join them at the 10:30 a.m. worship service, Sept. 27, Covenant Presbyterian Church, 1025 28th St., West Des Moines, IA, 50265.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Lunch & Learn Sessions are Winding Down for 2009

The Communications' Lunch & Learn Series is winding down for 2009. Many members of our Des Moines Presbytery congregations have benefitted from attending these informational communication workshops, held monthly on the third Thursday from Noon - 1 p.m. If you currently work at a church, either as a staff member, volunteer or lay leader, you are invited to join us this Thursday, Sept. 17. Bring your brown bag lunch to our Presbytery office at: 2400 86th St., Suite 20, Urbandale, IA 50322. We’ll provide the beverages. The fee is FREE!

New option: Attend by Webconference and teleconference! If interested in this option, please call the Presbytery's Director of Communications Kim Coulter at 515-276-4991, to discuss whether your computer and phone are compatible. You'll then be given the passcode and login information in time for Thursday's Lunch & Learn Session.

This week's topic has been changed to "How to use Photographs in your Church Ministry". Participants are encouraged to bring questions, samples, and insights related to using pictures to tell your churches' stories or maybe using images in worship. In addition to the featured topic, there will be time to network and discuss off-topic items. Such as to share recent projects or accomplishments, or ask those “burning questions”.

2009 Dates and Topics:

September 17 – How to use Photographs in your Church Ministry
October 15 – Public Relations 101 – How to Get Church News Noticed
November 19 – Annual & Statistical Reports, Newsletters and E-announcements (bring samples)

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Communicators Learn about Google Tools

For the next few days the Presbyterian Communicators Network will be meeting in Eagan, Minn., for the Synod of Lakes and Prairies conference on Doing More with Less. There are nearly 40 of us: pastors, administrative assistants, lay volunteers, and communicators meeting here at the Hilton Garden Inn.

After introductions, we shared a devotion time with Synod of the Sun Director of Communications the Rev. Shane Whisler leading us. He shared with us U2 music and lyrics to dive into what is important to Christians. Shane used reflections from Greg Garrett's book, We Get to Carry Each Other: The Gospel According to U2, one of the world's well known bands, which has used lyrics from Bible scriptures like the song "40" from Psalms 40, 13, and 6.

When our meal was over, the Rev. Sarah Moore-Nokes, associate executive director from the Winnebago Presbytery, gave us a great glimpse at using Google Tools to simplify our personal and at work life. One thing I am excited to take home is the use of making iGoogle my desktop view or homepage when my Internet Browser is opened each day. This might even make a good Lunch & Learn session once I get acclimated to this tools. I currently use Docs, Reader, Calendar, Analytics and Search.

Tomorrow there will be training on the Presbyterian Neighbor News and the Presbyterian News Service and a session on Writing for the Web. Until then...

Kim Coulter,
Director of Communications

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Doing More with Less: Synod-wide Communicators Conference

Presbyterian communicators, pastors, congregation leaders, staff and volunteers – mark your calendars! You are invited to the attend the second Synod-wide Communicators Conference, Wednesday through Friday, Sept. 2-4, at the Hilton Garden Inn, Eagan, Minn.

The Rev. Sarah Moore-Nokes, associate executive presbyter in Winnebago Presbytery, opens the conference's first session – Google Tools – Wednesday evening. Participants are asked to bring their own laptop computer since WiFi will be available during the conference.

The Rev. Shane Whisler, communications director in the Synod of the Sun, will provide details about working with Presbyterian Neighbor News on Thursday morning, and Bethany Furkin will also address the conference about the Presbyterian News Service during that time. There is also a possibility that the executive director for the Committee on Local Arrangements for the 2010 General Assembly in Minneapolis will be on hand before Thursday's lunch.

Full registration is $100 and includes all sessions, accommodations, opening dinner, two breakfasts and a lunch. For those who do not need accommodations, registration is $40 for all sessions. Registration is easy, simply send an email to Duane Sweep, associate for communications at the Synod of Lakes and Prairies. The e-mail should include name and position for name tags. The registration fee can be mailed to Duane Sweep, Synod of Lakes and Prairies, 2115 Cliff Drive, Eagan, MN 55122. For conference details, you can read the complete brochure.

If you are interested in car-pooling from the Des Moines area, contact Presbytery of Des Moines Director of Communications Kim Coulter at 515-276-4991 as soon as possible to make arrangements.

Monday, August 10, 2009

August Presbytery Meeting to Highlight Madagascar Mission

Madagascar is an island nation off the east coast of Africa with one of the lowest per capita income in the world. HIV-AIDS, malaria, and clean water are also big problems in this country which is about 60% Christian. Since March and April 2009, there has been a political coup d’etat in which the elected president has been deposed and the military has supported Andry Rajoelina. The Constitution, the parliament and the courts were suspended. As of right now, August 8, 2009, he and the toppled president, Marc Ravalomanana, are meeting together for discussions. Please pray for a resolution of this crisis and for restoration of human rights.

The PC(USA) partner church is the Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar. Working with the church in environmental and health projects are Dan and Elizabeth Turk. Dan is working with farmers to establish fruit orchards for nutrition as well as income. They work in HIV-AIDS education, malaria and have helped establish about 30 village wells. Read the Turk's latest blog, in which they say they are safe and ask for prayers that the church find ways to sustain its vital ministries with creativity and optimism in the middle of this current turmoil.

At the August 15 Presbytery meeting we will welcome Edmund Razafimanantsoa, ordained minister of the Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar, to lead us in further study of the situation in Madagascar. He has been studying at Fuller Theological Seminary and will return to Madagascar upon completion of his studies.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Synod School, Final Day

Another successful Synod School 2009 for the 584 participants. There were 141 faculty that helped make this year possible - thank you. 168 children were present and can you believe there were 141 first timers. Good proof that you should consider attending next year. Pictured here (LtoR): Erica Coulter (DM, Westminster, Hannah Maxa (Lenox), Sarah Yeazel (Middleton, Wi.) Paige Klinkenborg and Emma Williams (Clive, Heartland).

Speaking of 2010, plans are already taking shape for July 25-30, when we will have Convocation Speaker Dr. Rodger Nishioka, Benton Family Associate Professor of Christian Education Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Ga. Another exciting development, the evening Worship Leaders will be the Rev. Mark Davis and Rev. Barbara Nish of Heartland Presbyterian Chuch in Clive.

Our final count was over 90 members attending this year from the Des Moines Presbytery and most are pictured here. (Not picture: Rev. Scott Vandenhuevel - Creston, First; Rev. Ken Stuber - DM, First; Rev. Bill LeMosy and Paul Stanfield - DM, Knox United; Diane and Dirk Brinkmeyer - Clive, Heartland; and KayLynn Coulter - DM Westminster.)

The theme this week was "Building a Culture of Peace." And it carried through the program and worship bulletins, the t-shirt silk screens, the morning and evening worship and the convocation speakers for both adults and Junior and Senior high students. How will we take back this message to our churches? Only time will tell how we will share this spirituality of reconcilication. Using the convocation speaker, Sara Lisherness's scripture reading of 2 Corinthians 5:16-21:

"We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his
appeak through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. God
made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the
righteousness of God."
Thought's will continue throughout the coming weeks and year, how can we be more attentive to God's in-breaking, reconciling activity in your life? What do you need to let go of in order to have open hands that can receive the new gifts of new creation? Who do you need to regard as a child of God, beloved and cherished, with a sacred birth right? Coming together for the sake of peace is worth it. The ministry of reconciliation is not easy and sometimes can be messy. Bravery will get you through this brokenness and on to healing. Only together will we make a difference in the conflict and move towards peace.

Synod School does a lot to help start this process - now the question is how can we continue the quest for building a culture of peace in our lives, homes and churches?

Peace, Kim

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Synod School, Day 5

Have I talked yet about the food options during the week at Synod School? In the Siebens Forum at the Buena Vista University the dinning service allows us the luxury to not having to prepare a meal for one whole week. One dessert item that everyone is happy to enjoy is the ice cream machine. Chocolate, vanilla or a twist. Yum!

Pictured at right (LtoR) is Rev. Lynn Williams (Grimes, First), Matt Coulter (DM, Westminster), Rev. Calvin Hsu (Guthrie Center, First), Kim Coulter (DM, Westminster) and Rev. Dave Ewing (Beloit, Wisconsin - formerly of Dallas Center, First).

The "Developing Healthy Congregations" class is one of my afternoon classes I have been enjoying. The Rev. John Pherson, stated clerk for Prospect Hill Presbytery is the instructor. This class is based on the systems approach developed by Peter Steinke. Who incidentally will be coming to our Des Moines Presbytery in October for a two-day session on Healthy Congregations. After going through the first workbook on this program, I can highly recommend churches sending your session and lay leaders to this fall workshop.

Another class that I'm taking in the afternoons is "Biblical Storytelling". The instructor is the Rev. Doug House, pastor at Lone Rock Presbyterian Church. We studying the different ways to memorize stories and Doug recited the PC(USA) lectionary study for August 2009, including 2 Samuel, Song of Solomon, John 6 and Mark 7, all by memory! Class participants were given the Acts 1-6 scripture and were asked to select a section of verses and memorize them by the end of the week. Tomorrow will be the final class of the full reading of Acts. Wish me luck!

The evening's worship was on peace, hunger and healing. Uplifting music and songs from "Sweet the Sound" helped all generations experience worship together. Afterwards, I will teach a mini-course tonight on my "Web 1.0 and Web 2.0" class. Hopefully others who didn't make it to the daily class can learn a little about keeping up with the kids on the Internet. The evening Coffee House music is always filled with fun musical offerings from Synod School attendees. Tonight's special dance for teenagers will be their final chance to say goodbye to friends they've made this week.

All of these activities, are making memories for a lifetime.

-Kim Coulter, director of communications

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Synod School, Day 4

When it rains it pours, and this afternoon ended with glorious drops of baptizing water. Despite being stuck inside, everyone is shining. Mostly from the great fellowship of being together in this connectional church. But we also have brightness coming from the clothes.

Yes, I said the fabric of our lives this week are literally glowing from tie dye! Every day after lunch, during craft time, you can choose to silk screen a t-shirt or fabric item of your choice. Then in the evenings, after worship, you can choose to tie-dye these same items.
The Synod School committee offers a multiude of fun craft and art classes, including: Stained Glass, Introduction to Figure Drawing, Surface design Techniques for Fabulous Fabrics, Beginning Wheat Weaving, Scrapbooking 101, Wade in the Water: A Pre-introduction to Watercolor Painting, Acoustic Music Jam and Song Share, Knitting: the Next Step, and Basket Weaving 101.

This year, a new class being offered is "Kumihimo: A Three-fold Cord and Beyond." Pictured here is KayLynn Coulter and Esther Chol (Des Moines Presbytery) and Amanda Miller (Minnesota Valleys Presbytery, St. Cloud, MN), showing off their Kumihimo projects. This three-fold braid is very durable and can be worn as jewelry or for used as a lanyard for name tags or ids.

There are also opportunities for lay leaders and pastors to further their education and ministry with the following: Newly Ordained Clergy Reunion Seminar, Listening and Healing, Preaching for Commissioned Lay Pastors, Is It Time to Go? Exploring Vocational Transitions, Spirituality 101 & 201, Bible Study for Dummies, Praise and Prayer, Responding to Disaster, Perambulating Presbyterian Polity, Creative Worship, Why We Believe What We Believe, One Nation Under (insert your deity here) Separation of Church and State in American History and Law, Good vs. Evil: Movie Heroes and Villians and Biblical Ethics, Learning to Worship with Children, Transforming Conflict: Dealing with Difficult People in Your Congregation, Pre-Retirement Planning Seminar, Planning Worship as a Team, God at the Box Office, Developing Healthy Congregations, Horizons Bible Study: Joshua, Care for the Caregiver, Intersectionsof Science and Religion, Practicing the Art of Reconciliation, The Darkness and the Light, Creating a De-Stress Toolbox, Learning to Love the Old Testament, Spiritual Conversation: Sharing our Souls, Making Peace with Resource Choices, and Biblical Storytelling. Whew! And that's not all of them.

If your days are't full enough, there are also mini-course's offered in the evening: Form of Government Task Force, What is Spiritual Direction? PW Triennial Gathering Update, Yoga: Vacation Style, Star Trek, Left Behind, Cup Cake Decorating, Greek Dancing (pictured here), Conversations with Sara Lisherness, Improvisation, Happy Birthday John Calvin, AA Meeting, Hair Braiding, Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, Board of Pensions Update, What are Web 1.0 and Web 2.0? and a Mission Track including: Marion Medical Mission, Prospect Hill Presbytery and the Living Waters for the World, Missouri River Valley Czech Mission Network, and Des Moines Partnership with El Salvador.

Maybe next year, you'll find time to travel this way and join in the week-long fellowship of Synod School, July 25-30, 2010?

Kim Coulter, director of communications

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Synod School, Day 3

Life is always about mountains and valleys. Getting up early is not hard when you want to have warm water for the dormitory shower. But, rising early is bitter sweet when it happens during vacation.

A joy today was attending my morning class on "Creative Worship" with the Rev. Suzanne Gorhau, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Centerville. What a fast-paced class, giving wonderful attention to ideas and tips on include graphics and images for worship time. Briefly discussing the equipment necessary to make it run smoothly and yet be invisible to the congregation. I plan to contact Suzanne for a slideshow reflection she showed the class on "Being Still and in Silence", it was all done with words and white space - similar to a piece of paper that one might read. Look for it's appearance soon at a church near you!

I was able to prepare for my class "What are Web 1.0 and Web. 2.0? The Computer Revolution and How to Keep Up with the Kids" right after breakfast today. The class is pictured here. We discuss the strategies for keeping our kids safe on the Internet. Using communication, education and observation is important to help kids understand the dangers and wonders of being online.

We also explored cell phone use and how to send and read text messages. All of us agree that by the end of class we were well versed on the short acronyms that are part of texting and instant messaging. Here's one example of texting:

"mnE Ps dnt bleev der is a gNR8N d/c b/t em n thr teen.”

Translated: Many Parents don't believe there is a generation disconnect between them and their teenager.

We ended class by showing the ways to use Twitter to keep up-to-date with friends and family. If you would like to follow our tweets about our experiences, adventures and fun at Synod School, go to http://twitter.com/#search?q=%23synodschool.

Until tomorrow, I'll have more on the fun classes, like tie dying, being offered here at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa!

-Kim Coulter, director of communications

Monday, July 27, 2009

Synod School, Day 2

Editor's Note: This week, our Presbytery blogs will focus on Director of Communication Kim Coulter's experience at Synod School. This annual event is sponsored by the Synod of Lakes and Prairies each year and over 600 people attend from all over the country. Kim is attending not only as a part of her family's vacation, but she will also be teaching a class "What are Web 1.0 and Web. 2.0? The Computer Revolution and How to Keep Up with the Kids". Each day, class participants will learn about various Internet tools and how to connect with their kids and network with other Presbyterians. This blog will give you a glimpse of Kim's daily activities. Comments are welcome and encouraged. Enjoy!

Day 2, July 27
After rising in the morning, we went to the Buena Vista University Seibens Forum, an underground gathering place in the middle of campus. There we ate a hearty breakfast and some hot coffee. (New beds have a nasty habit of giving me no prolonged sleep pattern for the first night, but with a little coffee, everything becomes clearer.)

After breakfast, the morning sing-a-long, followed by worship. Then, all kids travel with their teachers to their classrooms and the adults listen to the convocation speaker Sara Lisherness who is director of Compassion, Peace and Justice for the PC(USA). (This program area includes Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, Presbyterian Hunger Program, Presbyterian Peacemaking Program, the United Nations and Washington Offices, Self-Development of People, and Social Witness Ministry). Her topic and the theme for Synod School is "Building a Culture of Peace".

I attended three classes today (more on this later in the week), besides my own class that I teach. "What are Web 1.0 and Web 2.0? The Computer Revolution and How to Keep Up with the Kids." We discussed the changes in computers and the Internet since first introduced. There are 20 people in this computer lab and tomorrow I'll be talking about cell phones, texting and Instant Messaging.

In the evening, our worship time was lead by "Sweet the Sound," featuring Matt and Liz Myer Boulton (Matt is professor of worship and theology at Harvard Divinity School. Liz is associate pastor at Old South Church in Boston) and the Rev. Burns and Lorraine Stanfield, Burns is pastor at the Fourth Presbyterian Church in Boston and is a Des Moines native. Lorraine is an internist doctor working with mostly older people (they are the son and daughter-in-law of Des Moines Presbytery pulpit supply speaker Paul Stanfield of Knox United Presbyterian Church in Des Moines).

- Kim Coulter, director of communications

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Synod School, here we come!

Editor's Note: This week, our Presbytery blogs will focus on Director of Communication Kim Coulter's experience at Synod School. This annual event is sponsored by the Synod of Lakes and Prairies each year and over 600 people attend from all over the country. Kim is attending not only as a part of her family's vacation, but she will also be teaching a class "What are Web 1.0 and Web. 2.0? The Computer Revolution and How to Keep Up with the Kids". Each day, class participants will learn about various Internet tools and how to connect with their kids and network with other Presbyterians. This blog will give you a glimpse of Kim's daily activities. Comments are welcome and encouraged. Enjoy!

Day 1, July 26
My Sunday began with worship at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Des Moines. The sermon was given by the Interim Pastor Rev. Stu Ritter, on "More than we can Imagine". Afterwards, the Senior High class members and leaders presented a slide show of their recent summer mission trip to Montana. They had a great time working on site improvements at the Glacier Presbyterian Camp and Conference Center, located on Flathead Lake. They finished the 9-day trip by white-water rafting and camping along Flathead River. After lunch, the Coulter family headed to northwest Iowa, stopping along the way in Dallas Center at the First Presbyterian Church, to pick up another participant.

Synod School is held at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa. Each year, registration and check in is scheduled for Sunday afternoon, followed by dinner at 4:45-6:30 p.m., with worship from 6:30-7:15 p.m. Afterwards, free time can be filled by attending a mini-course of a weekly class offering or a movie and fellowship. Then it's off to bed in the campus dormitories. More tomorrow...

Kim Coulter, Director of Communication
Presbytery of Des Moines

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Opportunity to Host El Salvador Missionary

Our El Salvador mission co-worker Kathy Mahler is back in Iowa for a visit and would like to spend time visiting either your church’s mission/social justice leaders and/or congregation regarding the Des Moines Presbytery’s mission in El Salvador. Kathy will be in Iowa July 22 - Aug. 7, 2009. She has several open dates for possible ‘talks’ which could be structured informally over a cup of coffee or in a ‘classroom’ type setting. Here is her calendar with events and the dates she is available:
  • Thursday, July 23, PM meeting, the South Central Regional Partnership hosts at First Presbyterian Church, 301 E. 1st St., Leon. Kathy’s presentation will follow a 6 p.m. potluck supper. Table service and drinks are provided. Child care for the evening is available. Everyone interested in this vital mission of our Presbytery is invited to attend. RSVP’s are not required but would be appreciated. Contact Rev. Jack DePond or Mary Ellen Stanley at 641-446-6179 or grandme@grm.net.

  • Friday, July 24 – afternoon open and PM meeting with Intern

  • Saturday, July 25 – AM and PM meeting

  • Sunday, July 26 AM worship at Heartland Presbyterian Church in Clive, and PM traveling to Synod School, Storm Lake

  • Monday, July 27 thru Friday, July 31 – Synod School class, Hope on the Mountain

  • Saturday, Aug. 1 – morning open and PM meeting

  • Sunday, Aug. 2 – AM worship at Douglas Avenue Presbyterian Church, Des Moines and afternoon and evening are open

  • Monday, Aug. 3 – AM and PM meeting in Parkersburg

  • Tuesday, Aug. 4 – AM and PM meeting in Parkersburg

  • Wednesday, Aug. 5 – AM and PM meeting

  • Thursday, Aug. 6 – available morning and early afternoon ('til 3 p.m.), PM meeting with Two Rivers Regional Partnership, TBD

Kathy will also be presenting a class at Synod School at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake July 26-31. The Hope on the Mountain class will be the second morning session each day from 10:45-11:45 a.m. There are also plans for her to hold a ‘mini’ session one evening during the week. Another option while at Synod School is to find her at meal times for an informal chat or more in depth if you wish.

To request a visit, go the Our Sister Parish Web site and submit your request using the online form or e-mail Kathy directly.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

RAGBRAI is Riding through Our Presbytery!

The following of our Des Moines Presbytery churches are supporting riders July 18-25, during the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa:

Monday, July 20 – The First Presbyterian Church, 907 Grove Ave., Corning, will have a lunch stop and pie stand. Last time the bikers came through they sold 600 slices – that’s 100 pies! Yum!

The ride will stop in Greenfield overnight where the First Presbyterian Church of Greenfield, 102 S.W. Kent St. (Hwy. 92), will host a chicken and noodle dinner from of 5-8 p.m. Menu includes: chicken and noodles, mashed potatoes, green beans, watermelon and drinks. Cost is $8 with a wristband and $9 for all others.

Tuesday, July 21 – The Trinity United Presbyterian Church, 200 S. Howard St., Indianola, will have an overnight stay for a team of 70 Cedar Rapids riders and are providing a lunch food item of corn-on-the-cob from 11-2 p.m. That same day, they’ll provide 700-800 dinners from 4-8 p.m. Menu includes: pulled-pork sandwiches, corn-on-the-cob with chips and ice cream.

Wednesday, July 22 – The First Presbyterian Church, 737 Braden Ave., Chariton, will be serving a pork loin dinner when RAGBRAI riders stay overnight in their town. The meal will include sliced pork loin, baked potato with the trimmings, green beans, roll, pie and drinks for $8. The charge will be $9 without the registered wristband. They are planning to serve 600. Organ and piano music will be offered to those waiting in the sanctuary.

Thursday, July 23 – The riders will stay overnight in Ottumwa and the First Presbyterian Church, 228 W. 4th St., Ottumwa, will host the local Good Samaritan Society which is serving 500 pork loin dinners at the First Presbyterian Church. Yum!

Friday, July 17, 2009


One of the great things about the PW Churchwide Gathering was the opportunity to make connections. Of course I got to spend time with women from the Presbytery of Des Moines--women I don't get to see all the time. Most of us were able to join Presbyterian Women from the Synod of Lakes and Prairies at a luncheon on Tuesday. I was pleased to see familiar faces there as well. Our Synod Moderator and the speaker both served on the Synod SDOP Committee with me!

Later that afternoon the Presbyterian Hunger Program celebrated our 40th Anniversary with Presbyterian Women in the Great Room. My fellow Hunger Action Enablers were recognized, along with PHP staff. HAE's were created by Presbyterian Women so I have a special appreciation for that relationship! We also celebrated with partner organizations: Bread for the World, Alternatives for Simple Living, Partners for Just Trade, and others. It was wonderful to see old friends and colleagues all together again!

Tuesday evening's plenary included the installation of officers for the next PW triennium. Our new Moderator from the Presbytery of Puerto Rico, Marta RodrĂ­guezis, the first Hispanic woman to serve in that capacity. She and her vice moderators are a powerful trio and I look forward to a great three years ahead. When the plenary session was over, with its fabulous music and worship and ceremony, I knew I had been a part of something big--connected to a great group of women all over the country and into the world. I'm already looking forward to 2012.

Wednesday morning, bright and early, I was off to the Flaget Retreat Center in Louisville for the Hunger Action Enablers' Gathering. I'll write about that too...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Some of the Extras

While Linda O'Connell and Emily Seeger have been taking care of business, I've been enjoying forums and workshops and some of the extras associated with the Churchwide Gathering of Presbyterian Women.

I went to a forum on immigration led by Julia Thorne--she's an attorney-turned-director of the Office of Immigration Issues in the Office of the General Assembly. All of us learned a lot about the history of U.S. immigration policies since the 1830's--the relocation of Native Americans, criminalizing aid to runaway slaves, barring entry to the country for Chinese, and moving the Japanese to internment camps. Presbyterians have responded to immigration issues through the years, and Julia helped us to understand the issues of the day. We heard stories of undocumented immigrants, each ending with the statement: ...and I am a Presbyterian.

I went to a workshop led by the author of the 2009-2010 Bible study on Joshua. Mary Mikhael is on the faculty of the Near East School of Theology in Beirut and brings a very contemporary perspective to the study. There was a lively Q&A time and Mary offered stories from her life in the Middle East as illustrations for the sometimes difficult passages in the Old Testament scriptures.

Another workshop was led by Eva Clayton, former US Congresswoman from North Carolina who now works as a consultant to the UN on world hunger issues. We talked about Ordinary Women Serving as Agents of Justice. More of a round table discussion, everyone offered stories from their own experience and Eva kept pointing out the extraordinary things that ordinary women were sharing.

When I'm not in worship, workshops or the dining hall, I'm usually in either the book store or the Great Room. And the Great Room is my favorite place to explore. There are areas for learning about all the ways Presbyterian Women are at work in the world. There are areas full of resources to take home. There is a Global Garden where we can meet our international guests. There are lots and lots of Presbyterian booths, as well as booths for Heifer Project, Bread for the World, Alternatives for Simple Living, and lots more. There area areas to relax, areas to be creative, and areas to play games. And there is the Global Marketplace where we can learn about fair trade and development projects and support them with our purchases. The Great Room is a very busy place--I still haven't experienced it all, even after several visits.

During the Monday evening plenary, 22 mission personnel were commissioned for new postings, one of them my friend, Nancy Collins. Nancy was the facilitator in Egypt for our Joining Hands partnership and she is now the Regional Liaison for East Africa (Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda and Zambia). She invited me to the reception for these new mission workers afterwards, and it was a treat to meet some of the people and their families who will soon be serving the church worldwide.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

PW Churchwide Gathering Business Meeting

Emily Seeger (Atlantic, First United) and I (Linda O'Connell) are the voting delegates to the PW Churchwide Gathering this Triennium. We had our first business meeting on Sunday afternoon.

We heard and/or received reports from the Churchwide Coordinating team about their work for the 2007-2009 Triennium. Then we began to vote on the recommendation brought to us from the Coordinating Team. The vote today that will have the most impact on the future of Presbyterian Women was that we voted to incorporate PW and become our own 501C3 cooperation while still affirming our covenant agreement with the PC(USA). There were lots of questions about why and how of this process but in the end it was an almost unanimous decision to incorporate.

On some of our less controversial issues we tried out the consensus model to come to agreement on the motion. I must say that we all need a little more practice in this area before I would recommend using it in our Presbytery.

Two issues that we did come to consensus on were to add a person to the Coordinating Team representing new immigrant women and to become informed about the use of rape as a form of genocide and as a weapon of war in Sudan and other areas of conflict and take action to support women and others who are working toward peaceful solutions.

The plenary sessions have been outstanding. On Sunday, we heard two excellent sermons. This morning we heard about the mission projects of Presbyterian Women. We have celebrated through music, movement and dance. Best of all we have renewed old friendships and made some new ones. Want to know more about the gathering? Ask me to come and give a program at your PW or church group.

See you at Presbytery,
Linda O'Connell (Lucas, First & Chariton, First)

Louisville, Here We Come

I flew from Des Moines to Houston on Saturday morning with the usual folks--people making connections to here and there. But when I got on the Expressjet from Houston to Louisville, I noticed proportionately more women on board. And when I got to the baggage claim at the Louisville airport, there were women galore. Women of all shapes and sizes, women of color, women speaking Spanish and Korean, women young and not so young. And we all found ourselves at the taxi stand heading for the Churchwide Gathering of Presbyterian Women.

I found Rev. Linda O'Connell (Lucas First & Chariton, First) and we joined a group of women from Kansas City who were going to the same hotel. Linda and I will be roommates for the next few days, two of about a dozen who are here from the Presbytery of Des Moines. The lobby of the Galt House Hotel was a crush of women getting registered and waiting for the elevators. After settling in we hiked the skywalk to the convention center and I went to the first-timers' orientation.

I learned that there are over 2,400 of us here. We come from every presbytery in the U.S.--and among us are global partners from around the world. Counting Linda, I've seen four others from my presbytery--and several friends who are Hunger Action Enablers from across the country (our Gathering follows this one, finishing out the week here in Louisville).

I've been to lots of "big conferences" of Presbyterians, but this feels like the most diverse and friendliest one yet. Linda and I will keep you posted over the next few days...

Nancy Lister-Settle (Dallas Center, First)

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Joining Hands with Egypt Looks at Organic and Fair Trade Products

Social Ministries Task Force Moderator Nancy Lister-Settle and member of Dallas Center First Presbyterian Church, just returned from her Egypt visit this past week. If you would like to read about her travels and Joining Hands with Egypt adventures, visit her blog.
After you finish reading her first journal and viewing the pictures, you can click on the “Next Post” button at the top of the article to read all of her posts. Nancy is looking at the organic and fair trade markets of Egypt for possible sale here in the U.S. These first steps and visits will help to work on a deeper understanding of the principles of fair trade.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Check Out CROSS Ministries New Website!

CROSS Ministries is proud to announce the unveiling of our new Web site designed to keep you more informed on this vital ministry to the poor! The home page offers our mission statement and some of the facts and figures identifying the many ways CROSS meets the needs of low and no income households throughout the Des Moines and Greater Des Moines communities.

If you look to the right on the top black bar on the home page, you will also find headers that lead you to four additional pages.
  • The “Assistance” page advises families of the appropriate paperwork and documentation they need to bring to the CROSS office if they are seeking financial assistance for rent, rent deposits, mortgage or utility payments.
  • The “What’s New” page shares current information on volunteers and other events in the life and work of CROSS Ministries.
  • The “School Supplies” page gives an overview of our Annual Back to School Giveaway event.
  • Last but not least, is the “Donations” page listing items that we need to fill our personal hygiene pantry or for the Back to School Giveaway. This page also offers a new opportunity for donating to CROSS. Simply click on the “donate” button so that you may use your credit card or even a PayPal account for a simpler, faster method of donating. We will send you an email “thank you” shortly thereafter as well as a year-end statement of your donations next January for tax purposes.

The work of CROSS Ministries, supported by the Presbytery of Des Moines, makes a difference in the lives of “the least of these.” We want to share that exciting ministry with you and this is just one more avenue to do so. Thank you for your ongoing support.

Roberta Victor,
Executive Director
CROSS Ministries

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Blogging during a Lunch & Learn presentation

When I am leading a workshop or session on networking technology, I really try hard to give people an immediate visual of working in the programs that I’m teaching on. One opportunity to show off the Presbytery’s blog happened last week at the Big Tent. During a workshop I taught on Design an Effective Network for the New Immigrants Ministries group, we actually posted four different blogs about the event and those participating from the Des Moines Presbytery.

So today, during a Lunch & Learn session on "Blogging 101 and Podcasting", we wrote and uploaded a blog to publish in "real time" with a photo to boot! This proved how easy and quick it truely is to post a blog. We visited various Web sites that I frequent in the course of a week/month to various Presbyterian/Christian and secular blogs and podcasts that are available. A few of my favorites are listed below:


Use these sites to create a free blog:


To create a podcast:

There are many that were left off these lists... you can find more by going to a search engine and looking for them. Some are free and some have fees associated with a contract. I guess it depends on how you'll use the blog or podcast. The questions to ask are: Will we attract more members? Will you keep connected to the current members? or Who will update the site on a regular basis? If you need help working through these and other tough decisions, give me a call, I'll be happy to help.

Kim Coulter, Director of Communications
515-276-4991 or officeinfo@presbyteryofdesmoines.org

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Multicultural Church Pastor finds help under the Big Top

June 14, 2009
In the Big Tent, like the three rings of the Big Top, there is a conjuncture of three circles of opportunity to learn and to celebrate being a Presbyterian: worship, seminars, and networking.

The worship has been inspiring and centered around the preaching of two professors. of preaching. who obviously know their stuff. With over 150 workshops to choose from addressing a myriad of issues facing local congregations and the denomination, some are very helpful and some not so much.

Tomorrow I'm attending a workshop led by the G.A. Moderator Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow on "Social Media 101". Bruce is my 'friend' on Facebook, an online social networking Web site.

I also had a good long discussion with the person staffing the committee charged with reviewing the Form of Government (FOG) section of the denomination's Book of Order. This conversation allowed me to share some of my concerns about how the FOG could be more welcoming of refugees and immigrants like the Sudanese.

I get back in Des Moines at 11 p.m., Saturday night. And with three worship services on Sunday (today), I will probably have forgotten everything by Monday, well, maybe NOT!

- Rev. David Madsen
Cottage Grove Avenue Presbyterian Church
Des Moines

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Tentmakers are helping at the Big Tent

June 13, 2009
This Big Tent is not made of your typical materials of fabric and wood stakes, it's more of a combination of people together working to spread the Good News about Christ and a lot of juggling. One person from our Presbytery is serving as a resource person at the invitation of the New Immigrant Fellowship Conference. And he happens to be working at a variety of things all at the same time.
The Rev. Ross Blount led a workshop on Tentmaking while he was here in Atlanta. Ross has been a bi-vocational pastor at the Allerton United Presbyterian Church since 1981 and is representing the Association of Presbyterian Tentmakers while here at the Big Tent. A group of pastors who divide their work between two or more vocations – at least one of which is a ministry validated by presbytery and at least one of which is a secular vocation.

Besides working as a pastor in Allerton, Ross is also a farmer, instructor and past mission worker with the PC(USA). Ross, along with his wife Lorena, enjoy volunteering and helping in our Presbytery. Lorena even serves with our Presbyterian Womens group.

By the invitation of the New Immigrant Ministries Coordinator Rev. Angel Suárez-Valera, Ross found that the pastors and lay leaders of new immigrant Bible study/fellowships in the U.S. can relat to the denomination's tentmakers. Groups from Africa, South Asian (Pakistan, India, Bangladesh), Portuguese speaking countries, and the French and English Caribbean have out of necessity needed to have more that one vocation to remain in the states. An excerpt from Angel's coorespondence with Ross indicates why tentmakers and immigrants have mutual concerns:

"Dear brother Ross,

Thanks for your call last week. It presents an opportunity to be addressed by this office because of the significant number of new immigrant Presbyterian leaders doing ministry as "tentmakers". But, the nature and motivation to be a tentmaker in PC(USA) sharply differs from that among new immigrants. In our situation, it's basically forced by economics.

The intention to provide a decent salary for full time pastors is hindered by
  • Most of the new immigrant church membership are low income workers
  • Instability of church membership due to mobility of people searching for job opportunities;
  • Contrast between the minimum salary approved by a Presbytery for an ordained minister and the media income of the membership served;
  • Limited or no financial resources in most Presbyteries to support new immigrant ministries."
After a good day of networking and face-to-face meetings, the 1,500 participants of the Big Tent headed to Centinnial Park in downtown Atlanta, Ga., for a celebration complete with entertainment and cake! All in honor of the 26th anniversary celebration of Presbyterian reunion, which occurred here in 1983. Even Presbyterian Church founder, John Calvin was on hand!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Networking with New Immigrants

June 12, 2009
Today, we began the day with worship under the Big Tent. The scripture lesson started with a passage from Mark 2:12, “We have never seen anything like this!” Over 1,500 attendees have come together to learn and network with other church leaders.

I had the opportunity to attend a workshop of the Presbyterian Communicator’s Network on the topic of "Care and Feeding your Website". Dana McMahan and Jonathan Dennis were the PC(USA) experts that gave us insight on how to update our web pages to reflect the state-of-the-art technology. Reminding us that we may just be one person, updating as many as 100 or 300,000 pages on the World Wide Web, but we do have a network that is supportive and can help with our learning of the new tools and web technology that's available.

Another highlight of my day is speaking for the New Immigrants Ministry Convocation. They asked me to speak on the topic of "Designing an Effective Network". I got the opportunity to present this workshop with Beth Newberry, PC(USA) Mission Communications Associate. She and I spoke to nearly 100 people about extending their network using tools available online and for relativity little money. Great questions and lively discussion was experienced with these people of faith. All trying to follow God's word of spreading the Good News through many tongues.

Pictured here is the Pal Craftaid booth in the Big Tent exhibit hall. The Rev. Stu Ritter, interim pastor at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Des Moines, is talking with Westminster member Connie DePond about the items of Palestinian crafts for sale. Also the Rev. Liz Knott (honorably retired) is seen helping a customer with a purchase.

-Kim Coulter, Director of Communications

Thursday, June 11, 2009

News from the Big Tent

June 11, 2009
Despite the airplane delays on Wednesday due to rain storms, the Big Tent Multi-Conference began without a hitch Thursday morning. Church leaders from all over the United States descended into Atlanta, Ga., with the hope of learning about a variety of topics. The list is long, but conference attendees’ choices include classes and workshops in the following program areas of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A):
  • Evangelism
  • Healthy Ministry
  • National Elders
  • National Multicultural Church
  • New Immigrant Ministries
  • Presbyterian Peacemaking
  • Presbyterian Health, Education and Welfare Association’s Social Justice
  • Presbyterian Communicator’s Network
  • Racial Ethnic Ministries
  • Stewardship and Investment

There are eight individuals from our Des Moines Presbytery attending the Big Tent event. Director of Communications Kim Coulter; Coordinator of Sudanese Ministries the Rev. Goanar Chol; Cindy Ray, intern at the Knox United Presbyterian Church; the Rev. Ross Blount, pastor at Allerton United Presbyterian Church, the honorably retired Rev. Liz Knott; the Rev. David Madsen, pastor of Cottage Grove Ave. Presbyterian Church in Des Moines, Connie DePond, a member of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Des Moines and their Interim Pastor Rev. Stu Ritter.

Pictured here are (right to left) the Rev. Stu Ritter, Matt and Kim Coulter. They attended the welcome reception held for the Presbyterian Communicator’s Network on Thursday evening in the Hyatt Regency in downtown Atlanta. Tomorrow will promise a chance to network with friends face-to-face and tour this great city in the Peach State.

-Kim Coulter, Director of Communications

Friday, June 5, 2009

Get Presbyterian News through the Online News Service

The Synod of Lakes and Prairies has been participating in a news service called Presbyterian Neighbor News. This is an online news service produced cooperatively by the 16 synods of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The Rev. Shane Whisler, Synod of the Sun, is the managing PNN editor. This news service is still in test phase but has begun carrying news updates from around the synod with update e-mail alerts going out weekly. You may sign up to receive these weekly updates by going to www.pnnews.org, clicking on the Lakes and Prairies Edition and “Learn more/join”. You may also keep up with news from other synods, our Presbyterian neighbors from around the country.

One stream of information flowing through every Presbyterian neighborhood!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Presbyterian Communicators' Network Conference - part of Big Tent

Presbytery of Des Moines pastors and communicators,

As a part of the Big Tent multi-conference PC(U.S.A.) gathering this June, the Presbyterian Communicator's Network (PCN) is presenting some great workshops and plenary speakers. Join us at the tent, June 11-13 in Atlanta, Ga., at the Hyatt Regency.

Workshops include:

  • Social Media 101, lead by 218th General Assembly Moderator Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow [workshop]
  • Reaching the Un-Churched and De-Churched [plenary session]
  • Communicating with Different Generations [plenary session]
  • Communications as a Ministry [plenary session]
  • Church Newsletters: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly [workshop]
  • Beyond Language: Multicultural Communication [workshop]
  • Worth a Thousand Words? A Graphic Design Primer [plenary session]

There will also be offerings on photography, web design, worship technology and many others. This is 3 days you won’t want to miss packed with great speakers and time to network and share ideas. We are also planning, if you come to Big Tent with the PCN conference, a tour of CNN headquarters followed by a special Q&A session with a CNN insider.

Budgets are tight, but Big Tent is truly a great value. Participants can attend activities for the PCN conference or sample workshops from any of the other partner conferences (a total of 10 different partner groups). In addition, there are shared Big Tent activities that include inspiring worship, shared meals, and a great outdoor celebration event at Centennial Park. And bring the kids – there are special programs for children, youth and young adults.

Register soon and save! The first 100 individuals to sign up for the PCN conference will receive free hotel accommodations. That will save you $300 on your conference (see details on the attached flier). There is still time to be one of the first 100 if you register now. You don’t have to be directly involved with presbytery or church communication to register. We encourage all to sign-up. The “early bird” deadline has been eliminated, which means the early bird registration fee will not increase. There are reasonable day rates for those who live in the Atlanta area or those who can only attend a day or two.

Visit www.pcusa.org/comnet for more details and to register. See you at the Big Tent! If you have other questions please don’t hesitate to contact the Presbytery's Director of Communication Kim Coulter at 515-276-4991. If you decide to go, let Kim know so we can coordinate sessions to get our maximum dollars worth.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Join Two Rivers for Seder Meal in Des Moines

The Evangelism and Education Task Force of the Two Rivers Regional Partnership is sponsoring a Seder Meal and Communion Service on Maundy Thursday from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 3100 Easton Blvd. in Des Moines. (Enter Fellowship Hall, which is handicap accessible, through west doors or back parking lot. Main doors on upper level will be locked and unavailable.)
A free-will offering will be taken, which will be donated to the DMARC Food Pantry. Menu: Rib eye, potato, green beans, et al. In keeping with tradition, you are asked to bring a pillow to put on your chair for comfort. Reservations are due by Palm Sunday, April 5.
This activity is sponsored through the Presbytery of Des Moines by The Two Rivers Regional Partnership of Presbyterian Churches – Clifton Heights, Cottage Grove Avenue, First, Fort Des Moines, Knox United, Highland Park, Park Avenue, and Union Park.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Come one, Come all, to Lunch & Learn

The third in our Communications Lunch & Learn series for our Presbytery members is (Re)Visioning Your Church. The Rev. Jim Howland will be on hand to help us touch on the importance of the church being connected to the virtual community and how that impacts our vision of “church” and the transformative aspects of it. We’ll meet from Noon to 1 p.m., March 19, to discuss the (re)visioning process from our Presbytery’s Coach of the Transformation and Visioning teams.

If you are a pastor, staff or a volunteer on the church session and would like to hear about this re-visioning process, you are encouraged to attend the meeting at the Presbytery of Des Moines, 2400 86th St., Suite 20, Urbandale, IA. (We are located behind the Perkins on the corner of 86th and Hickman in the Westview business complex.) Don’t forget to bring a brown bag lunch. A microwave and a refrigerator stocked with beverages are available for your use. Mark your calendars! Below is a list of future lunch and learns:

2009 Dates and Topics (the 3rd Thursday of each month)
  • March 19 – (Re)Visioning Your Church
  • April 16 – Web Site Writing and Optimization so Search Engines will find you
  • May 21 – Evaluating your Churches Communications Efforts
  • June 18 – Blogging 101 and Podcasting for Pastors
  • July 16 – Learn about Khadamat Sudaniya’s Ministry
  • August 20 – Social Networking Online with Youth (Facebook, MySpace and Twitter)
  • September 17 – Annual & Statistical Reports, Newsletters and E-announcements (bring samples)
  • October 15 – Public Relations 101 – How to Get Church News Noticed
  • November 19 – How to use Photographs in your Church Ministry

Monday, March 2, 2009

Attend the 7th Annual Heroes of the Heartland Breakfast

The American Red Cross, Central Iowa Chapter will hold it’s Seventh Annual Heroes of the Heartland Breakfast on Thursday, March 5 at 7 a.m. The Honorably Retired Rev. Robert Cook will be awarded the International Impact Award for his work with mission in Berlin, El Salvador. The Rev. Cook currently is serving as interim pastor for the Highland Park Presbyterian Church in Des Moines.

When asked about the award, Rev. Cook said he feels honored and is receiving it on behalf of all the people who made the Our Sister Parish project happen the many years he served in El Salvador as the designated missionary.
The annual breakfast will be held at Prairie Meadows in Altoona. To make your reservation, contact Cailin Stock at 515-246-6307.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Opportunity to Reflect on Hunger in Sudan

The Des Moines Presbytery’s Hunger Action Enabler Nancy Lister-Settle wants to remind you about the designated fasting time this coming weekend. The theme of this month’s global food crisis fast is war, hunger and recovery in Sudan. Join fellow Presbyterians starting after a light evening meal Friday, February 27 through communion on Sunday morning, March 1 to discern the causes and solutions to the problem of war and famine in this part of Africa.

Use this month’s materials to guide you through the fast. Read reflections by a pastor in the Presbyterian Church of Sudan and an American mission worker serving in southern Sudan. Learn how hunger is an enemy not only to the people of Sudan, but to the human race as a whole. Read interviews from members of RECONCILE, a group created to help Sudanese people cope with the trauma that results from continuous war and famine. Get prayers and worship materials to share with your congregation. Sign on to participate today.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Reminder of Thursday’s Lunch & Learn session, February 19

This will be the second in our Communications Lunch & Learn series for our Presbytery members and the topic is on Christian Education and learning what curriculum is available for all ages. We’ll meet from Noon to 1 p.m., Thursday, February 19. The Presbytery’s POINT Person Sara Lamb will be giving us her picks for Vacation Bible School programs. (P.O.I.N.T. stands for Presbyterians Organized in Nurture and Teaching and is a network of Presbyterian educators who offer Christian education expertise and curriculum interpretation skills to churches in their area.)

If you are involved with your church’s Christian Education programs, a youth leader or serve on your church’s education committee, you are encouraged to attend the meeting at the Presbytery of Des Moines, 2400 86th St., Suite 20, Urbandale, IA. (We are located behind the Perkins on the corner of 86th and Hickman in the Westview business complex.)

Don’t forget to bring a brown bag lunch. A microwave and a refrigerator stocked with beverages are available for your use. Sara asks that everyone bring their favorite curriculums to share.

Mark your calendars for future lunch and learns:
  • February 19 – P.O.I.N.T. Tips and Tricks on Christian Education curriculums and VBS

  • March 19 – (Re)Visioning Your Church

  • April 16 – Web Site Writing and Optimization so Search Engines will find you

  • May 21 – Evaluating your Churches Communications Efforts

  • June 18 – Blogging 101 and Podcasting for Pastors

  • July 16 – Learn about Khadamat Sudaniya’s Ministry

  • August 20 – Social Networking Online with Youth (Facebook, MySpace and Twitter)

  • September 17 – Annual & Statistical Reports, Newsletters and E-announcements (bring samples)

  • October 15 – Public Relations 101 – How to Get Church News Noticed

  • November 19 – How to use Photographs in your Church Ministry