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Youth Discipleship Coordinator

Learning to Dance

My husband and I are ballroom dancers. We started taking lessons in 2003. We have not taken formal lessons for a while, although we pick up a lesson here and there when they are offered at dances we are attending. We like to dance whenever we can which, for two pastors, often means wedding receptions.

We are usually disappointed on these occasions. The d. j. tends to play really good ballroom music during dinner. Then comes the parade of special dances—bride and groom; bride and dad; groom and mom and so on. You can usually tell if the couple has taken some dance lessons or been advised about dancing in front of an audience. For instance, most ballroom dance songs last about three minutes. Most popular music is longer than that. Four or five minutes is a long time to awkwardly sway back and forth in front of your friends and family!

We have also been to weddings where the time for special dances is extended by what is known as a “Dollar Dance.” First the bride is led to the dance floor and it is usually her maid of honor who collects money from anyone who wants to dance with the bride. Then the groom sometimes has his best man do the same for him. (Kind of humiliating, I think.) Eventually all of the special dances end. By this time, the crowd has watched other people dance for anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour. When the dance floor opens for everyone, the ballroom music is long gone. Instead there is very loud upbeat music that is popular at the moment. We can usually try out a cha cha or a swing dance since they fit with lots of popular music, but by then it is time for two preachers to go home!

Sometimes I will have a young woman come up to me and ask me if she can dance with my husband. I always say “yes”. If only their boyfriends knew how much these young women would appreciate it if they learned how to dance!

You can learn to dance by watching others dance. People who have taken lessons can always spot these self-taught people on a dance floor. They may come close to what they are supposed to be doing, but there are “tells” that they have not had lessons. For instance, there is always a line of dance on a dance floor; couples move in a counter-clockwise direction. Couples who want to dance more slowly or who want to stay in one place move to the inside of the floor. When people are trying to dance “upstream” you know they have not had a lesson. You can also tell people who are self-taught by the “hold.” Women have been taught to put their left hand at the bottom of their partner’s right bicep (not his shoulder, not his back.) This gives more ability to turn. They also have been taught that their “frame” is not dependent on their partner’s. If they step back from their partner, their left and right hand will stay where they are in hold. In other words, they are not leaning into their partner’s left hand with their right. They are holding up their own right hand. The list goes on. All of the things that we have learned in lessons make for small changes in the way we look on the dance floor. Their main purpose is to provide for the ability to accomplish the various moves in the steps that we know.

When new members join our congregations, we often expect them to figure out what it means to be a Presbyterian or, for some of our members, what it means to be a Christian, by watching other people. The ability to do this is based in large part on the people who are being used as examples. (You could probably name one or two people in your congregation whom you hope no one is watching to decide what it means to follow Christ.) If we expect them to learn by osmosis, they may end up being perfectly happy followers, just as many self-taught people are perfectly happy dancers. But if we do not give them the opportunity to study—to engage in Bible Study, to be in a small group, to be taught how to engage in the pastoral ministry of members for one another—they may miss out on being able to accomplish these tasks more fully.

How are you challenging the newer members (and the existing ones as well) of your congregation to be continually learning about their call to bring hope in the name of Jesus Christ?


Susan D. Krummel (Sue)
Executive Presbyter
Presbytery of Chicago

Smart Energy Education


Northminster Prebyterian Church in NW Evanston, needs someone to make sure that facilities are always clean, well-maintained, safe and secure; that all systems are operating properly and in good repair; and that the facilities efficiently and smoothly support all church activities. For details, please see our job listing at this link:

Director of Christian Education

Lake Michigan, bike trails, museums, music festivals, restaurants and our “world series Cubs” are just a few reasons why people adore Chicago! So, if you love working with children, want the opportunity to create something vivacious and new, and are excited to be part of a collaborative staff, Kenilworth Union Church could be for you!

Located in Chicago’s North Shore suburbs, Kenilworth Union Church ( is searching for a Director of Christian Education to oversee and implement a comprehensive vision for Christian education and faith formation for infants through sixth graders and their families. With 25-40 kids per grade, the church is heavily invested in children and families. This new position has been created to complement the children’s ministry staff and build on a strong program. Kenilworth Union is an inclusive church community whose identity is formed by its devotion to God, inspiring worship, service in the community and a deep commitment to nurturing our children and youth in faith. Founded in 1892, Kenilworth Union is one of the oldest non-denominational protestant churches in the United States.

Candidates interested in applying should have a Master’s Degree in Christian Education or Early Childhood Education. In lieu of a master’s degree, a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education or Early Childhood Education paired with a certification in Christian Education is acceptable. Candidates should also have 3+ years of experience as a Christian Educator or in a teaching environment. Additional personal and professional qualifications include excellent communication skills, mastery in classroom instruction and guidance of faith formation, a joyful presence with children and their families, and Christian faith and values.

Interested candidates should send a cover letter, statement of faith, and resume to

ComEd Energy Efficiency Program

For more information on the ComEd Energy Efficiency Program, visit for residential customers and for business customers. For information on ComEd’s Care Programs, visit


Churches and nonprofits may quality for ComEd’s Small Business Energy Savings program.  Click the link to learn more


Check out the new Public Sector Energy Efficiency Program:

Unlocking the Potential of America’s Children: Check Your Home-Protect Your Family

This ministry is a living thing.

What do you enjoy most about being a Presbyterian? (That might be an interesting question to ask your session.) In a previous call I met with several leadership teams in presbyteries and synods across the country. There would often come a time in our discussions when it would become clear to me that I was assuming that they had a deep history as Presbyterians. That assumption was not true. For instance, with one leadership team that was planning about the transition after their long-time executive left, there were 11 of us in the room. When I asked how many of them were lifelong Presbyterians, only one other person and I raised our hands. I realized I needed to back way up from where I was to be sure that we were all talking the same language about theology and polity.

I started with drawing the chart I used to use with confirmation classes. First there was Jesus, then there was the early church, then there was the Roman Catholic Church (in this simplified version of church history, the only church there was for a while.) Then came the Reformation and three basic types of communions developed. One is an Episcopal system—there is a bishop. (Lutheran, Anglican, Methodist.) Then there is the congregational system where decisions are made by the whole congregation. Then there is the Reformed tradition in between these two. We still have a “bishop” but the bishop for us is a group of people who are ordained and who meet together as the presbytery. The way this is evident in a local congregation is that the session makes almost all of the decisions about the way the church operates. The pastor has a few decisions that are her or his own—whether or not to perform a wedding, what hymns to sing, the content of the sermon and prayers. The congregation has a few decisions about budget, leadership, etc. But otherwise the session—a group of people who have been called by the voice of the congregation and ordained to special service in the church—makes the rest of the decisions. There is a system of checks and balances with oversight of the work of a local church by the presbytery, of the presbytery by the synod, and ultimately of all of us by the General Assembly. Notice that there is never a single human being exercising oversight and care. We work together in our tradition to do the things that a single person might do in another tradition.

After I went through this little simplified explanation, I asked the people who were not “cradle” Presbyterians what attracted them to us. Why did they join a Presbyterian church? I thought I might hear things like, “My friends go there,” or “the choir is excellent,” or “the preacher makes me think.” Instead what I heard is that they were attracted to the way we make decisions; we would say they were attracted to our polity. Interesting. All of them had come from other Christian groups. They found it refreshing that, because of our theology, we listen for the voice of God through the voice of a group of people gathered for that purpose.

So, back to my initial question. What do you like best about being a Presbyterian? I love babies being baptized, I like excellent music, I want a sermon to make me think about things in a new way—you can find those in Presbyterian churches but not exclusively there. One of the things that you will not see in many other places, though, is really my favorite. That is the laying on of hands when someone is ordained as an elder or deacon or minister. When the moderator calls all of us forward who have previously had hands laid on us, it is amazing to see all of the people come forward. In some churches, the pews are almost empty. I like the symbolism of passing on this ministry from one to next, all the way back to the first followers of Jesus. We do not do this ministry alone. Many went before us and many will come after us. All of those people whose hands were on our shoulders or on the shoulders of those in front of them will support us in our ministry. I have been in a couple of those crowds lately and as they gently sway with each person’s breathing and shuffling of feet, I am reminded that this ministry is a living thing. What a wonderful reminder that in our quest to bring hope in the name of Jesus Christ we are part of a living, breathing church.


Susan D. Krummel (Sue)
Executive Presbyter
Presbytery of Chicago

Director of Middle School Ministry

First Presbyterian Church of Wheaton is seeking an enthusiastic and compassionate Director of Middle School Ministry. This is a part-time (20 hr/week) position responsible for leading our Middle School Ministry for sixth through eighth grade. The ideal candidate will have a passion for middle school ministry, with experience in a church setting or an educational environment. Strong leadership and the ability to communicate effectively with parents, volunteers and church staff are essential, along with experience in developing volunteers, planning, and teaching. Familiarity with the Presbyterian tradition and a Bachelor’s degree is preferred.
Please email your cover letter and resume to Jan Buscher, Church Administrator.

A complete job description can be downloaded here.

Boundary Training Registration Form

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