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

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, 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!