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Synod Assembly Highlights – The Annual Assembly

The Synod of the Covenant Synod Assembly met at Christ Presbyterian Church on November 4-5, 2016.

On Friday Teaching Elder Timothy Chon of Lake Michigan Presbytery was elected and installed Moderator and Ruling Elder Johanna Jozwiak of Lake Huron Presbytery as Vice-Moderator, and Teaching Eder David Bartley was reelected Treasurer.

In keeping with the Synod identity as a Just-Peace Church the Assembly opened with a seminar titled: “Christ’s Call to Witness in the Middle East” led by Mr. Amgad Beblawi of Mid-Kentucky Presbytery. The following Mission to the USA International Partners also participated: Ms. Cathrine Abuamsha from Palestine, Rev. Hany Gad Beshay from Egypt, Rev. Salam Hanna from Syria, and Father George Makhlouf from Palestine. Our other IP, Dr. Mary Mikhael from Lebanon, had to travel earlier for one more itineration before returning home.

The Synod designated the offering at the evening worship towards the education of Syrian refugee children in Lebanon through the Presbyterian church in Lebanon and Syria.

Rev. Raafat Zaki reported on his ministry as our Synod Executive.  The report included advising three Presbyteries in their staffing transitions and search, hosting the Synod’s General Presbyters’ Forum, and connecting with Christian Educators within the Synod, and summary of new initiatives.

The Grants and Scholarship network approved 11 applications for New Covenant Grants ($45,000) and Racial Ethnic Grants ($5,000), in addition to $40,000 in Racial Ethnic Scholarships.

The Synod’s Self-Development of People Committee has some vacancies and seeks the involvement of interested and qualified Presbyterians.

The Synod Presbyterian Women will conduct Disaster Readiness training on June 23, 2017 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church in Battle Creek, MI, and hope is to include at least one participant from each of the Synod’s eleven Presbyteries. PW synod-wide gathering scheduled for June 23-24, 2017 (at same location) .

The eleventh Covenant Gathering (a multi-generation summer retreat) is scheduled for July16-21, 2017 at Geneva Center, in Rochester, Indiana. More information on their website: covenantgathering.comPlanning Team Chair, carla.mavis@gmail.com Tel: 740-418-4750

New Initiatives:

Among the new initiatives for the Synod in 2017 include two Study Travel Seminars led by the Synod Executive on the request of participating congregations in MUSA to Egypt and South Africa.

Continuing the Welcome Refugees initiative for congregations to host refugee families from Iraq and Syria, and explore additional involvement. The Assembly approved a part-time Refugees Network Coordinator to assist with this initiative.

The focus of the Mission to the USA for the next 3 years will be on Christian-Muslim Relations.

Assembly also approved $10,000 for non-Racial/Ethnic higher education students in 2017.

The Synod acted to stand in solidarity with the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe to protect their sacred sites and waters from environmental harm. The concern is over the project known as Dakota Access Oil Pipeline (DAPL). The Synod of the Covenant will send $1,000 to provide financial support through the Synod of Lakes and Prairies.

The Synod Assembly approved a budget of $764,055.  The Per Capita for 2018 will remain at $3.25 per member.

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