Sunday, August 19, 2012

Presbytery in Sidney, NE

As most of you know,  at every Presbytery meeting we collect pennies/nickles/dimes (and even the quiet money) for those in our communities that don't have enough to eat. Money is collected at each meal and then is forwarded to a local mission. 

During the August 11th meeting of Plains and Peaks Presbytery held at Light Memorial Church, Sidney we collected a "Centsability" offering of $40.14. Presbytery members  were asked to contribute and offering of for hunger and poverty. Even though we only collect a few pennies at a time, we pray that each gift may help the work that folks are doing to make such a difference for those that are hungry in this world. The funds from this meeting went to the Sidney Salvation Army Thrift Store and Food Bank. 

Also at this Presbytery meeting, we urged folks to encourage their members to volunteer to help raise funds for local hunger organizations by participating in a fall CROP hunger walk. Here is a list of walks in Plains and Peaks Presbytery. The need for funds at our local pantries is great, so please consider supporting them by walking or sponsoring a walker in one of these walks:

Boulder County CROP Hunger Walk 2012   
Broomfield CROP Hunger Walk 2012   
Estes Park CROP Hunger Walk 2012   
Fort Collins CROP Hunger Walk 2012   
LaSalle CROP Hunger Walk 2012   
Loveland CROP Hunger Walk 2012   
Northeast Colorado CROP Hunger Walk 2012   
Windsor CROP Hunger Walk 2012   
Scottsbluff CROP Hunger Walk 2012   

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Lobby Day June 12, 2012

Colorado group in Representative Gardner's Office
A group of six Coloradans delivered nearly 100 letters to our congresspeople Tuesday June 12th as we urged to them to place a circle of protection around programs vital to the hungry and poor people in the U.S. and around the world.

Thanks to contributions from 1st United Presbyterian in Loveland and Longmont Central Presbyterian the  beautifully written and incredibly inspiring letters had a profound impact on our visits. Since the Senate introduced the farm bill this week, much of our conversation centered on full funding for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programs- formerly food stamps). Did you know that 400,000 Coloradans benefit from SNAP? The program is incredibly successful to with less than 1% fraud and most folks are only recipients for less than 9 months!

Secondly, we urged them to look at sustaining anti-hunger and anti-poverty program funding. This includes  domestic programs like SNAP and Women Infants & Children but also International Food Assistance and International Poverty Assistance programs. I have seen an example of the results of the Poverty Assistance programs first hand with our Zambian brothers and sisters as the U.S. is able to provide them with antiretroviral drugs for AIDS.

Finally, we asked them to work on the deficit reduction through a lens of diverse viewpoints...looking at lots of options including revenue generation. We urged them not to balance their budget on the backs of the poor and to place a circle of protection around programs vital to the hungry and poor people in the U.S. and around the world.

The meetings were well received in both Bennet's office (where we met with Grant Colvin) and Udall's office (where we met with Sara Kagey and Krysten Joyce). We also met with Jennifer Loraine in Representative Gardner's office who asked us for more information in order to become a stronger supporter of protecting programs that fight hunger.

I can't thank the congregations in the Presbytery of Plains and Peaks enough for the prayers and letters they sent us with. The letters are HUGE and are really influential having a big impact on the staffers and members of congress. Their eyes really light up and some started reading right away! These letters are extremely important and an integral part of our lobby day!  ~Phil G.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Notes from Presbytery May 4-5, 2012

Many of you know that at every Presbytery meeting we collect pennies/nickles/dimes and even the quiet money for those in our communities that don't have enough to eat. Money is collected at each meal and then is forwarded to a local mission. 

During the May 4 & 5th meeting of Plains and Peaks Presbytery held at Highlands Camp we collected $76.92 which has been donated to the Crossroads Ministry of Estes Park. Crossroads' main ministry is to exhibit Christian love by providing basic human services to needy residents in the Estes Valley.

Also at the Presbytery meeting, we urged folks to do some public policy advocacy in the form of letter writing to help support those who do not have a voice. (Proverbs 31:8)

Here are four areas that you should contact your senator or representative about in order to address specific legislative topics before Congress:
  • domestic nutrition assistance
    • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Women Infants & Children
  • poverty-focused foreign assistance (.6%)
    • 1,000 focus birth-2, medications, immunizations, safe drinking water
  • tax credits for low-income families
    • Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit
  • international food aid
    • emergency humanitarian response to malnutrition, famine & disaster 
For more information about the offering of letters campaign, please go to Bread for the World. (

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Souper Bowl= Super Success!

More than 75% of the churches in Plains and Peaks Presbytery participated in the Souper Bowl collection for hungry people this year helping to get the combined National total to almost $6.5 million dollars!

Many of you know- this offering started when a youth group asked:  Why not use Super Bowl weekend, a time when people come together for football and fun, to also unify the nation for a higher good: collecting dollars and canned food for the needy? That was in '90 and since then over $81 million dollars have been raised for hungry folks in your communities. WOW! 

If you would like to see your church's history in fundraising with this campaign...plug in your zip code at SouperBowl site . You'll be amazed at what your members have accomplished!

Notes from Plains & Peaks Presbytery report Feb 11, '12

The Hunger Action Advocate's role is to work with churches to support their hunger ministries if 5 areas

Direct Feeding/Development Assistance - and example of this would be food drives, feeding programs and offerings to collect money for the hungry. Many churches participated in Souper Bowl Sunday collecting food and money for local hunger needs. We can rejoice because nationwide we raise $6.6 million dollars for the hunger. To see your church's results go to:

 Public Policy: On of the ways that we can address the foundational causes of hunger is to address the issue with our members of congress. This Presbytery has been very active in writing letters to support those who receive Women Infant and Children funding, Food Stamps. The current campaign will urge congress to expand the circle of protection around programs that help the hungry and poor people. Contact Phil for more information or visit:

Education: Learning more about the issues surrounding hunger...Phil has Lentin Study guide and many other resources at the chocolate table.

Lifestyle Integrity: Often we have great power with the purchases that we make. Using fair trade roducts like chocolates, coffee and other items can supplemental cooperatives that can directly benefit the grower, farmer or small business. NOW is the time to order sustainably harvested Palm Frons for Palm Sunday. These frons are part of a cooperative that helps native peoples in many positive ways and can be ordered through March 8-14th. For more information

If you would like Phil Goerner to support your hunger ministry, contact him at

Friday, October 28, 2011

Boulder County CROP Hunger walk

I have the honor of coordinating this walk with Dennis Hurianek from Niwot. Neither of us had done this before, so we had a lot to learn! We were pleased to host 100's of walkers from all over the county participated in the 10K walk to raise money for Church World ServiceCommunity Food Share and Bread for the World. 

Numbers are not quite ready to publish, but we are very grateful for all the walkers and feel strongly that our first walk was a success...much like these walkers from Longs Peak Methodist Church in Longmont.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Offering of Letters update!

Thank you for writing letters to your members of congress at the beginning of summer!  I am proud to say that we collected almost 100 letters from members from Central and Loveland Presbyterian Churches and had successful meetings with each office.

The letters you wrote on behalf of hungry people had a tremendous impact on our leaders. Because of the debt ceiling debate our request changed a bit to ask for protection for the programs that help hungry people. All members were receptive to our requests but as many of you know, wrestled with the budget ceiling debates late into July. Your letters, personal emails, phone calls made a huge difference for the hungry.

While many programs were saved in the initial round of cuts, the bipartisan “super committee” must consider all parts of the budget which might include cuts to some programs essential to the hungry.  Much is still at risk, and we will need your help to protect these important programs during the next stage of this process. We must ensure that long-term reforms are balanced and spending cuts are fair, so that the burden of deficit reduction doesn’t fall on the most vulnerable people.

If you would like to continue to be involved as a voice speaking on behalf of the hungry- please contact Phil Goerner ( for more information.

Thank you for the role you play in helping hungry and poor people in the United States and around the world!

Are you curious about the churches in the Synod of Zambia?

While Chawama Central Church is similar to our church by tracing its origin roots from Scotland, they have a different organizational structure than in the US. It is quite interesting and may be the reason why churches are growing so rapidly in Zambia!

As some of you may know, here in the US, the Presbyterian Church, USA, is organized in a democratic/representative manner. There are over 11,000 congregations which are organized into 173 Presbyteries (district governing bodies). Our church is one of 41 churches in northern Colorado and Nebraska that sends representatives to the Presbytery of Plains and Peaks, which meets quarterly. Our Presbytery sends representatives to the Synod of the Rocky Mountains and then to the national governing body, the General Assembly.

The Church of Central Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) has only one Synod in Zambia, with 10 Presbyteries and around 60 congregations.  Then, the structure gets interesting.

Each congregation is responsible for sharing their faith and fellowship with the surrounding communities. So, each church begins to plant “prayer houses” which are groups of people meeting together in a home, classroom or other available space.  These prayer houses have both members and elders from the home church who help run the service, preach and organize.

There is greater need for prayer houses because transportation is often an issue (most folks walk to church). So, a 3rd level of outreach is established in areas called “preaching points”. The purpose of the preaching points are to send elders and members to areas where a prayer house may be welcome.

Once a year or more, all the prayer houses meet at the host church. Easter is an example a time when all prayer houses meet at the host church to share a 2-3 day festival and communion. Krista and I were a part of such a celebration last November with the induction of the new minister at Chawama, Abusa (Reverend) Daniel Tembo.

The prayer houses have many of the same responsibilities as the church. Elders are ordained, offering taken (of course!) and Sunday School is offered. These prayer houses often grow quickly and can request to the Presbytery to form their own Church.

When Central Presbyterian first started their relationship with Chawama Central in 2008, there were 5 prayer houses and 2 preaching points.
  • Chawama (Means “It is good”)
  • Lilayi (rural area, meets in school on police compound/training grounds)
  • Kamwala (means “good hope)
  • Kabwata
  • Kafuela

About a year ago, Kamwata and Kafuela prayer houses were growing so quickly that they began plans to make their own church which they planned to call St Peters. They made a formal request to the Chawama Session to begin this process. It was approved, but the project (like a new church development project here) needed to have representatives, elders and families to help “grow” the church. They had several requirements such as regular services with substantial attendees and good offering receipts to show their sustainability. All these steps were approved so they were able to call a minister in December of 2011 and he was inducted in January 2012.

The Presbyterian Church in Zambia is growing rapidly.  Our partnership with Lusaka Central Presbyterian Church is flourishing and needs regular communication and commitment to remain strong.  The new St. Peters congregation, which contains many original members from Lusaka Central, will also grow and reach out to welcome new members.  They, too, will seek a sister church.  These partnerships benefit both congregations, expanding awareness and compassion for each other’s lives and challenges through faith and the love of our savior, Jesus Christ.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Presbytery 8/13

6am -

Hunger Action Advocate report
Update on Offering of Letters: Many thanks to all the folks that wrote letters and emails to their members of congress urging them to put a circle of protection around the poor and programs that protect them such as WIC, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program etc.  Thankfully these programs were not cut during the recent budget ceiling proposal.

Crop Walks in our Presbytery
Take advantage of this opportunity to raise funds for hungry people. Funds raised are split with Church World Service and local hunger needs. Join a walk in your area!

·         Boulder County CROP Hunger Walk 2011 October 23, 2011
·         Estes Park CROP Hunger Walk 2011 September 11, 2011
·         Fort Collins CROP Hunger Walk 2011 October 2, 2011
·         LaSalle CROP Hunger Walk 2011 October 8, 2011
·         Loveland CROP Hunger Walk 2011 October 1, 2011
·         Northeast Colorado CROP Hunger Walk 2011 September 11, 2011
·         Windsor CROP Hunger Walk 2011 October 2, 2011
Disaster relief in Horn of Africa
Huge drought conditions have resulted in famine and now disaster. CARE has identified 29,000 children under 5 have died from starvation, 600,000 Somalians are fleeing (PCUSA) and 12.4 million people are at risk for starvation in Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia and Djibouti according to the UN. The need is great- and scientists predict that  conditions will continue until December.

If you have members that would like to contribute to disaster relief please use PCUSA disaster relief number DR999999. This will guarantee that 100% of all donations go directly to the affected area.