Choose Your Workshop Sessions for November 12

Plans are moving along for the workshops at the Presbytery Meeting/Educational Event on November 12.

Saturday afternoon will offer two sessions of 50-minutes workshops geared toward Clerks of Sessions, Financial Officers, Ruling Elders and others.   Make your selections from this list.        Pre-register here.

Presbyterians in Education (PIE) are conducting a “workshop” for Confirmation Classes from 10 a.m – 2 p.m.  Check here for details and registration information.

Fall Camp 2011 – Registrations Due Before October 14


IS Impossible

Fall Youth Camp  – October 27-30, 2011

Wisconsin Lions’ Camp, Rosholt

Thursday:  Registration from 6:00- 8:00 p.m.   Program begins at 8:00 p.m. thru Sunday morning

For All Youth in Grades 6-12

Keynote:  Dan  LeMonnier – Storyteller extraordinaire!

Promotional Flier – Print and Share

Registration/Release Forms – (must be FULLY COMPLETED and signed by a parent or guardian)

Volunteer Packet/Release Forms

Governor Walker announces veto to save Pres House exemption!

Read the Wisconsin State Journal Article announcing the veto.

Here at Pres House we’re praising GOD and writing to thank YOU because the effort to retain Pres House’s property tax exemption succeeded! I am relieved and grateful to report that Governor Walker has announced a veto of the repeal of our property tax exemption! This means that current law remains in place and our exemption is secure. The contacts made by Pres House supporters like you throughout the past six weeks were vital to retaining this exemption. Legislators and the Governor heard from you about how important Pres House is. Thank you for your help!

This excellent news makes it possible for Pres House to continue its mission of meeting spiritual, emotional and intellectual needs of students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. With the exemption in place we can return to focusing on expanding our ministry to students on campus.

The worshiping community at Pres House grew this past year for the seventh year in a row and we look forward to new students arriving in the fall.. At the Pres House Apartments, our efforts to provide a safe and welcoming home grounded in the love of God now can continue. It can continue to be a place where growth is nurtured and encouraged and where students of any faith or none can engage together in an intentional journey toward wholeness.

A great deal of prayer and effort went into retaining the property tax exemption in the face of this major challenge. Here is a brief summary of what happened in the past six weeks:

May 12: We received a call from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel informing us that the Joint Finance Committee, Co-chaired by Rep. Robin Vos and Sen. Alberta Darling, had with no warning voted to eliminate Pres House’s property tax exemption. We learned that the Apartment Association of South Central Wisconsin had asked for the repeal.

May 13-June 13: Pres House worked tirelessly to educate legislators about the damage this move would make to an important campus ministry and to counteract numerous mischaracterizations made about Pres House. Hundreds of supporters contacted their legislators asking them to remove this provision before passing the budget. Rep. Don Pridemore and Sen. Leah Vukmir spearheaded an effort to take the repeal out of the budget.

June 14-16: Despite broad support for Pres House, the State Legislature voted to pass the budget with the repeal in place (though they extended the effective date for the repeal to 2013). We believe we came close to getting it removed completely but were unable to overcome the momentum in such a short period of time. Five legislators visited Pres House personally and all expressed enthusiasm for what they saw.

June 17-24: Pres House asked Governor Walker for a line-item veto of the repeal. Twenty legislators signed a bi-partisan letter requesting a veto from the Governor: Rep. Tyler August (R), Rep. Gary Bies (R), Rep. Brett Hulsey (D), Rep. Joe Knilans (R), Rep. Dale Kooyenga (R), Rep. Bill Kramer (R), Rep. Tom Larson (R), Rep. Al Ott (R), Rep. Jim Ott (R), Rep. Warren Petryk (R), Rep. Don Pridemore (R), Rep. Keith Ripp (R), Rep. Roger Rivard (R), Rep. Travis Tranel (R), Rep. Mary Williams (R), Sen. Jon Erpenbach (D), Sen. Bob Jauch (D), Sen. Fred Risser (D), Sen. Leah Vukmir (R), Sen. Van Wanggaard (R). The Moderator, Executive Director, and Stated Clerk of the national office of the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., along with the Synod Executive and Executive Presbyters from all four Wisconsin presbyteries wrote a letter to the Governor asking for a veto. Hundreds of pastors, Pres House students, parents, alumni, and friends wrote, emailed, and called the Governor expressing support for a veto.

June 24: Governor Walker announces a veto of the repeal of the Pres House property tax exemption before signing the 2011-13 Budget Bill into law.

Please take a moment to drop a note of thanks to Governor Walker  (govgeneral [at] for supporting Pres House in this way.  If you are represented by one of the legislators listed here thank them also.

In the coming months and years, we look forward to sharing with you stories of God’s work in the lives of students through the ministry of Pres House. Thank you so much for your calls and letters and for your role in keeping the Pres House ministry alive and strong.

In God’s service,

Rev. Mark Elsdon
Campus Co-Pastor and Executive Director
Pres House
731 State St.
Madison WI 53703

Calling All Elders

The Moderator’s June Column

Office of the General Assembly
by Cynthia Bolbach
Moderator of the 219th General Assembly (2010)

LOUISVILLE — “I’m just an elder.”

Have you heard someone say that? Have you said it yourself? Maybe in response to being asked to lead worship, or preach, or visit someone in the hospital?

“No,” you reply, “I couldn’t do that. I’m just an elder. Those are things the pastor does.”

Our Presbyterian polity doesn’t recognize the statement, “I’m just an elder.” In our polity, ruling elders and teaching elders (also known as Ministers of the Word and Sacrament) share equally in the governance and spiritual leadership of the church. Our calls to ministry encompass different functions and tasks, but we are called equally to ministry and to leadership in the church.

For too long the ministry of ruling elder has been diminished, equated with serving on a non-profit board of directors. Yes, the session does perform tasks like hiring nursery attendants and deciding whether the amount of insurance coverage is adequate. But that is not the primary task of the session or of the ruling elders who serve on it.

Ruling elders have the awesome task of measuring our community of faith’s fidelity to the Word of God. As the proposed new Form of Government puts it, “Ruling elders, together with teaching elders, exercise leadership, government, spiritual discernment, and discipline and have responsibilities for the life of a congregation as well as the whole church, including ecumenical relationships” (G-2.0301).

There’s no “just” anywhere in that sentence.

Being a ruling elder is not easy. But we are not in this alone. Others are there to guide us as we seek to carry out our high calling.

From June 30–July 2, Presbyterians will gather in Indianapolis for the “Big Tent.” A significant component of the Big Tent will be the Elders Conference – a chance for all of us who are ruling elders to come together, share common thoughts and concerns, learn how to be better ruling elders, and, not least, to discover the “top ten things elders need to know.” Really, how can you stay away?

Visit the Big Tent website to register. I look forward to seeing with you there!

Summer time

. . .and the livin’ is easy.  Maybe, it’s not quite summer yet; but it certainly is time to begin making plans for summer camp and Synod School.

Winnebago Presbytery supports United Church Camps, Inc. which operates Pilgrim Center in Green Lake and Moon Beach in St. Germaine.  We also offer camper scholarships up to one-fourth of the costs.  Download a Camper Scholarship Application here.  Application deadline is April 15th!

Synod School is scheduled at Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa July 24-29.  This year’s theme is, “All My Relatives.”  Brochures will be arriving in the mail soon.  Winnebago Presbytery offers scholarships to this outstanding event.  Download a Synod School Scholarship Application and return it by June 1st.

‘Tis the Season

Photo by Vaughn Nelson

Accept our wishes for a peaceful and meaningful Christmas

The staff of Winnebago Presbytery

Lucy               Sarah               Michael               Nancy

What you missed if you weren’t at CAMP

Hans Peterson – of Dakota Road Music.  A wonderful keynote speaker and musician!

Small Group Discussion

Capture the Flag (under the stars!)

Camp skits

Habitat for Humanity Shed Build

Daily worship

Creating a treasure box

and loads and loads of fun!!

A BIG thank you to all the adults and all the campers who make Winnebago Presbytery Camp a success!

2010 Colombia Mission Study Trip

The Global Partnership Task Group is planning a trip

November 15 – 22, 2010.

The task group has already identified four persons to travel and wants to invite 5-6 additional people within the Presbytery who would be interested in traveling to Medellin which is located in Urabá Presbytery.

Although we would very much like to bring several folks to Winnebago Presbytery, the difficulty in obtaining visas makes this nearly impossible.  Therefore, Winnebago will send a delegation to meet with church leaders from the Presbyterian Church in Colombia for worship and study.

The funds to subsidize this gathering—including travel, housing and lodging for both delegations—come from the Presbytery Operating Budget, the Presbytery International Partnership Fund and a generous grant from the John N. Bergstrom Fund of First Presbyterian Church, Neenah.

The cost for individual participants is $500.   If you are interested in this trip, contact the Presbytery Office – nancy at winnebago – by Wednesday, September 15, for more information.

A Tree Grows…Where?

“I can’t believe that I was trimming a tree with a chainsaw…in the church sanctuary!!!”

So begins the Face Book entry of the Rev. Craig Alwin, Pastor at Oconto, First Church.  Indeed, the tree that legitimately needed to be moved from its former site, found a new (if only temporary) home in the sanctuary of the church.

The “Baobab Tree” was just what was needed for opening day of Vacation Bible School.  The tree actually touches the ceiling (after trimming 10 feet off the top).

Oconto Tree

Everyone enjoyed singing “Father Abraham” under the Baobab tree and couldn’t wait to see what would happen the next days of VBS!

Photos courtesy of Craig Alwin

"Father  Abraham"