Snowstorms spread over much of South Dakota the day before the Presbytery was to meet at Wilmot. Many began to question whether we should hold the meeting or postpone it, but the decision was to hold out hope for better conditions. The hours before dawn on Friday morning brought sifting, snow-packed highways and finally PLOUGHS! Cars bearing attendees were making their separate ways, as both the light and the elevation rose up the hill to Wilmot. Many who had expected that attendance at the meeting would be low were pleasantly surprised by the number who finally arrived at the church and by the blue sky and bright sunshine that finally prevailed.
Minner Serovy, Ministry Relations Officer of the Presbyterian Foundation, reported that in 2016 the Foundation disbursed more than $60 million to support ministries of the PC(USA). She also spoke about the global success of the Foundation’s micro-finance program, as well as such other initiatives as partnering with local agencies to build solar farms in Palestine. Any congregation seeking information about investing with the Foundation is encouraged to call them at 800.858.6127.
Deb DeMeester, Director of Leadership Development at the Synod of Lakes and Prairies, presented the healthy boundaries training that is required every three years. Her particular emphasis was on the need for congregations to develop and enforce policies that address the protection of children, youth, and vulnerable adults, as well as those who work with them. Click here to download her PowerPoint presentation.
The Reverend David Halleen led worship, preaching on Genesis 17: 1-19, proclaiming God’s power to transform anybody and any situation, no matter how mundane, and yes, even the cross of Jesus. Rev. John Barkett, pastor of the Wilmot congregation and fine pianist, accompanied the hymns with beautiful arrangements of his own creation.
For more than a year, Deb DeMeester has also been guiding the members of the Camping Commission (CFF Ministry) through a visioning process, looking together at the possibilities for the future of the POSD camping program. Following her presentation to the body, the gathered assembly was divided into small groups to answer a series of questions and return their responses for compilation as further information for the Commission.
MDE Moderator Steven Johnson reported that the newest cohort of CREs will be examined this spring for commissioning at the June meeting of the Presbytery. Currently four candidates are undertaking the CRE trainings at Rapid City, including two from the Dakota Presbytery, and seven at Wolsey. Richard Poppen was elected to fill an unexpired term on MDE.
The Reverend David Lick, who has been serving the congregation at Marion, has answered a call to the First Presbyterian Church of St. James, MN. With deep gratitude for his work here, the Presbytery sends David and his family with blessings.
The Reverend Chad Ensz spoke about a new 1001 New Worshiping Communities endeavor that he leads in Sioux Falls: the Hope Co-op, a group that meets weekly for Bible study and to share the Lord’s Supper. They are currently working out mission and vision statements, which, Ensz says, are “outside the box about mission.”
Jeff Nelson, Commissioner from the First Presbyterian Church of Madison, the oldest non-native Presbyterian congregation in what is now South Dakota, will be celebrating their 140th anniversary on March 25.Their Articles of Incorporation were signed on March 31, 1878.
The continental breakfast and noon meal, served by the women of the church, were universally acclaimed.
And the snow and ice that earlier remained on the highways had all melted by the hour of the closing of the meeting.