Topics in this eDIGEST:
- CONSIDER: Back-to-school realities facing teachers, parents and students
- AVAILABLE: Grant for financial leadership programs, one for working capital
- ATTEND: ‘Awakening to Structural Racism’ focus of online Matthew 25 course
- REFLECT: 10 questions to ask when moving from reactivity to reflection
- NEWS & NOTES: Details about life in the presbytery
CONSIDER: Back-to-school realities facing teachers, parents and students
Parents, teachers and administrators across the state and the country are weighing the options for how their children will “attend” school this year. What are the consequences – health risks to teachers and students, funding, impact on educational quality – of each decision?
Please hold those facing decisions about schools and the educational process in prayer. In a prayer offered by Jill Duffield, editor of The Presbyterian Outlook, about the topic, she asks God to “take, bless and multiply our efforts to educate and nurture your children . . . We look to you, loving God, for wisdom, for courage, for inspiration, for creativity.” Read her entire prayer here.
Hear some thoughts from educators across the country about the topic in the latest episode of ‘Just Talk Live,’ a weekly web series from Unbound, the online Christian social justice journal of the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy, and the Young Adult Volunteer program of PC(USA). Click here to see the entire episode and click here to read a related Unbound article – “Adjusting to the Pandemic: A Teacher’s Story” by Milagros Sanchez-Cohen.
And consider new ways that you and your congregation might support teachers, parents and students during these changing times. Some churches across the country plan to provide space, Internet access and even tutoring help to students in districts where only remote learning options will be offered. Read more about these plans in a Religion News Service article posted July 27 by The Presbyterian Outlook. Find the article here.
AVAILABLE: Grant for financial leadership programs, one for working capital
Church Financial Leadership Grant Program
Grants are available from the Presbyterian Foundation to help pastors attend continuing education programs that will help them lead congregations toward financial and missional vitality. Church stewardship team members are encouraged to apply with their pastors.
Grant applications may be downloaded here. Applications will be reviewed and processed based on fund availability. The process may take up to four weeks. Grant recipients must submit additional documentation after attending the conference or seminar.
State of Michigan: Small Business Restart Program
Small businesses and non-profit groups that have been negatively impacted by COVID-19 may seek grants from the Michigan Small Business Restart Program as it distributes $100 million of CARES Act funding via local economic development organizations (EDOs). The grants will provide working capital for payroll expenses, rent, mortgage payments, utility expenses or other similar expenses. Applications will be accepted through August 5. Find more information about the program here.
ATTEND: ‘Awakening to Structural Racism’ focus of online Matthew 25 course
The pilot course in an online curriculum supporting the Matthew 25 Vision will focus on “Awakening to Structural Racism” as participants learn how to resist and deconstruct its destructive power in our lives, our churches, our communities and the broader culture.
The curriculum – developed in partnership between the Presbyterian Mission Agency, Stony Point Center and the Johnson C. Smith Theological Seminary – will include three other courses focused on the Matthew 25 goals of nurturing vital congregations, dismantling structural racism and working to end systemic poverty. Read more about the course series here.
The course about structural racism begins at 7 p.m. Monday, August 10 and continues with a two-hour class session each Monday through August 31. Each session will include a presentation, a Biblical and theological study and time interacting with between 8 and 10 people in a cohort group. Click here to find course details and register for the program. The course is financially accessible to all who want to learn. Participants are asked to pay for the course on a sliding scale between $40 and $160, and no one will be turned away for lack of financial resources.
Other courses to be offered this fall in the series include: The Roots of Systemic Racism, Civil Initiative and the Engaged Church, and Healing and Repair: Reparations for Black/Indigenous/People of Color as the Fundamental Act of Liberation for Christian Churches in the U.S.
REFLECT: 10 questions to ask when moving from reactivity to reflection
Posted June 1, 2020
By Susan Beaumont | Congregational Consulting Group
We have been reactive. How else can one be during a pandemic? The opinions of outside experts have guided our actions since this all began, and their positions change daily. When to close, how to take church online, protocols to follow before opening. Now, things are slowing down a bit and it is time to become more reflective—tapping into our own wisdom and exploring the potent learning opportunities at hand. The shift begins by asking better questions.
Liminal seasons are rich times, ripe for innovation and creativity. A threshold has opened. Our grasp on the past has loosened. The threshold invites us to let go of our fears and discomforts, along with some things that we hold dear. We are broken open to embrace new possibilities.
Moving from reactivity to reflection calls for three kinds of work: acknowledging our losses, exploring unstated assumptions, and noticing what wants to emerge. Good questions will create a holding space for this transformational work.
Rev. Beaumont adapted ten reflective questions from “Strategies for Winter: Redemptive Leadership in Survival Times” published in Praxis to help with the transformation.
NEWS & NOTES: Details about life in the presbytery
Need to hire someone to do a job within your congregation or group?
Remember that there is a job posting section at lakemichiganpresbytery.org. Simply send a job description and details about how individuals may apply to the presbytery’s office manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Right now, the website includes a job posting for an administrative assistant at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Portage. This is a part-time position with about 12 hours during weekdays initially, increasing up to between 20 and 25 as COVID-19 restrictions are lifted and more in-building programs resume. More details may be found here.