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News from the Regional Synod of Mid-America
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Urban Ministry Asking: This year the regional synod received grant requests totaling more than $100,000!  While we wish we could fully fund every request, we were only able to fund approximately $30,000 of those requests.  The money to fund these urban ministries comes from an asking we have to every church of $4 per member and/or $2 per Sunday School participant.  Would you consider helping to fund urban ministry within the regional synod in 2015?  For more information please contact Chad Schuitema.

Become an RCA Coach: The Reformed Church in America is offering coaching training to anyone interested through online webinars. RCA coaches come alongside pastors and those interested in receiving coaching to help them discover God's agenda for their lives and ministries. As an RCA coach, you can help someone listen to God about where change is needed, and help equip and empower that person to make the necessary life changes.  And you don't need to have any of the answers. Through coaching, you will help someone find his or her own answers.  For more information please contact Joann Koning.  

2015 Salary Schedule, Rules, and Guidelines for the region are now available by clicking HERE. Alternately you may access this document on our website on the resources page.

Ridder Church Renewal: If your church may be interested in Ridder Church Renewal a new group of churches and teams will be starting in   the Fall of 2015.  A preview event to learn more information, ask questions, and learn what RCR is all about will be held at Heidel House in Green Lake, WI February 6 & 7.  For more information, contact Chad Schuitema.

Another Way of Doing Life 2015 Winter Forum with Shane Claiborne; February 27-28, 2015 in the Wisconsin Dells.  Christians are meant to be radical non-conformists, interrupting the patterns of our world with prophetic imagination—a holy counterculture. Join the Wisconsin Council of Churches and Winter Forum Presenter Shane Claiborne for a weekend of exploration around what it means to be both disciples and church in a culture that seems increasingly at odds with the heart of the gospel.  The retreat will focus on: The Irresistible Revolution, Christian Troublemakers, The Economics of Rebirth, and Resurrecting Church.  For more information or to sign up, click HERE.

Dealing with Difficult People Workshop in Chicago December 11, 2014.  This workshop will analyze what is happening in exchanges with difficult people and demonstrate how people can adapt their strategies to bring about more productive conversations with those they find difficult.  Participants will also learn how to change their interactions with difficult people in order to influence their behaviour, resulting in more positive outcomes.  Click HERE for more information.

News from Camp Manitoqua
Enjoy a taste of fall at the Red Oak Luncheon, a pleasant occasion for seniors, at Camp Manitoqua & Retreat Center on Wednesday, December 3th.  Coffee & Rolls will be served at 10:30am.  Our program will begin at 11:00am with lunch to follow at 12:00pm.  Tours of the grounds will be available after lunch.  Cost for the event is $10.00.  Please make reservations at 815-469-2319 by November 30.

Have a BLAST this winter break – Registration has begun for Camp Manitoqua & Retreat Center’s WinterBlast day camp program, a break from school, not from fun. Held during winter break for grades 1-5; featuring classic camp activities, winter snow games, hot lunches, and more.  Additional information (including downloadable brochure) available at www.manitoqua.org/winterblast, or call our office at (815) 469-2319.
 
Women, please join Camp Manitoqua & Retreat Center for a Garden Getaway in the middle of winter as we dig into Ecclesiastes 3, reflecting on God’s timing in the seasons of our lives, on January 9-10, 2015. This overnight retreat for women, with biblical teaching from materials from Group Publishing, group worship, and small group discussions, will be a rich and rewarding experience. For more information visit www.manitoqua.org/womens-retreat, or call our office at (815) 469-2319.
 
Camp Manitoqua also has job postings:
Camp Manitoqua & Retreat Center is now hiring cooks, kitchen assistants and part-time housekeeping staff. Cooks must have food service experience; sanitation license preferred. Call 815-469-2319 for an application or contact Salli for kitchen positions and Don for housekeeping.

This issue's story of celebration comes from Pastor Christopher Poest and Faith Community Church in Stickney, IL...
Ken tests the plinko board.

In mid-August, I received a call from the Village of Stickney inviting us as a congregation to have a visible presence at, and be involved in, the Fall Festival; specifically, they were wondering if we’d be willing to lead some games for the kids. I thanked them for the invitation and gave a tentative yes, saying that I needed to check with a couple of other people before I could fully commit.
 
The next thing I did is send an e-mail to Laura Vroom at Camp Manitoqua; explaining the situation and asking if they could help in some way. Laura said they’d love to help! We talked a couple of times in planning, and then on Saturday, September 13, Nathan Phillips and Ken Wojnarowski came up to Stickney for the afternoon and evening and, along with a couple of volunteers from Faith, we ran games for the kids (and adults) at the Stickney Fall Festival. It was nothing fancy – a plinko board, knocking over bottles with a baseball, ring toss, and a jousting game using pool noodles – but everyone had a good time.
 
This was also a great example of mission partnership. Manitoqua is not merely a line item in our mission budget; they are not simply “that camp where we send our kids.” When I asked a random “I don’t know if this is possible or not?” question, they were excited to find a way to help. Thank you to Laura, Nathan, Ken, and everyone at Camp Manitoqua for your commitment to partner with and serve the churches of the regional synod in new and creative ways, beyond the exceptional work you do on your own grounds; it is very much appreciated!
 
 Stickney Police Chief John Sladetz and Sgt. Gary Wiseman have fun with the jousting game.
 
*Telling our stories is a way for us to encourage each other and to share what the Spirit is doing through the churches and people of our synod.  As you share yours, others may be empowered to do similar things or the Spirit may use it as a starting point for another idea to reach people for Christ.  We encourage you to share!
 
If you would like to share a story for a future issue, please email chad@msyn.org

Practice with Great Joy...

I had a conversation with my daughter this past weekend and she was recalling the days when she first began taking piano lessons.  She remembered the times when mom and dad made her practice the scales as directed by the piano teacher - up and down the keyboard, every day.  I must admit it nearly drove me crazy having to hear the scales over and over again.  But what if her piano teacher had handed her a complicated piece of Chopin or Beethoven before she was ready?  She never would have learned to play the piano.  She had to learn the scales.  Every day she had to practice learning, rather than just practicing pieces.
 
Unfortunately there are many Christians who see faith as a performance rather than a practice.  I love the language that speaks of doctors and lawyers who "practice".  I believe God desires us to "practice" our Christian faith, living and loving like Jesus, with our total life in total commitment.  And the "scales" He teaches us to practice are prayer, worship, service, generosity, loving relationships, and the fruits of the Spirit.  When we practice our scales, He opens the doors of blessing so we can be a blessing to others.  It takes both passion and discipline to practice being a follower of Jesus.  God wants us to be "a people for His own possession who are zealous for good works."  (Titus 2:14 ESV)
 
In the early church we see the pursuit of mastery in the lives of the early Christians and their winsomeness as God's people towards each other and others.  In Acts 1 the disciples had a brief crack in history between Christ's promise of the Holy Spirit, given to them before He ascended to heaven, and the time of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came with power.  During that moment between the promise and fulfillment, they were about 120 in number.  They committed themselves to fervent prayer and they chose someone to take Judas' place as one of the 12.  They practiced what they knew to practice to prepare for God's blessing.  When we live in the crack between the promise and fulfillment, whether as individuals or as a congregation, I pray we never finish practicing.  For in practicing the basic scales of faith, we fan the flames in our soul to be on fire for the Lord.  What are the scales that you and I are called to practice with great joy?  Are we willing to commit ourselves to them?  They will prepare us for God's great blessing!       
 

-- Wayne Van Regenmorter
 
Schedule:
October

21:  Illinois Classis Meeting/Ebenezer Reformed Church/Oregon, IL
22:  Meeting/New Brunswick Seminary/New Brunswick, New Jersey
23:  Movement Day Conference/New York
24-25:  General Synod Council Meeting/Grand Rapids, MI
26:  Sunday Worship
27:  Office
28:  T & T Strategic Planning Meeting/Stevensville, MI
29:  Office
30:  Illiana-Florida Classis Meeting/Faith Church/Dyer, IN
November
1:  Off
2:  Sunday Worship


Wayne's contact information:
10088 Prairie Knoll Ct.
St. John, IN 46373
Mobile: (941) 302-1281
Email:  wregen@msyn.org
The following are some links you may find helpful...

15 Characteristics of Today's Unchurched Person - This is a very helpful list when considered those who do not come to your church and what it looks like to reach out to them.

The Call to Prepare Staff - What capacities are most needed to minister in your context? How can you inspire and encourage the development of those capacities in yourself and your colleagues? How could you spend your time in meetings so that the work is coordinated, accountability is encouraged and capacity is increased?

The Best 3 Times to Introduce Change - It's not always easy to fix long-term problems and implement needed changes in a church - especially when old, dysfunctional ways have taken root.  Sometimes we make our job harder than it needs to be, not by doing the wrong things, but by doing the right things at the wrong time.


Schedule:
October
20: Office
21: Commissioned Pastor Advisory Board Meeting/Grand Rapids, MI
22: Meeting with Church Planter/Revitalizer/Holland, MI; Coaching
23: Ridder Church Renewal Retreat
24: Ridder Church Renewal Retreat
25: Ridder Church Renewal Retreat
27:  Office
28:   T & T Strategic Planning Meeting/Stevensville, MI
29:  Specialized Transitional Ministers Quarterly Conference Call; Office
30:  Coaching; Illiana-Florida Classis Meeting/Dyer, IN
31:  Office


Chad's Contact Information:
2104 Campbell Street
Valparaiso, IN 46383
Office: (815) 464-9181
Mobile: (765) 237-7678
Email: chad@msyn.org

 
Copyright © 2014 Regional Synod of Mid-America, RCA, All rights reserved.


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