IOWA CITY, Iowa — The Presbytery of East Iowa will be pumping up its commissioned lay pastor program in the coming months for one very good reason: a growing number of churches need them.

“The needs of churches are changing, and the commissioned lay pastor program gives the presbytery more flexibility to meet the needs of churches,” said the Rev. John Hougen, presbytery moderator and the dean of the presbytery’s commissioned lay pastors program. “I have churches asking for CLPs, and right now there is no one to serve them.”

Hougen said he’s in “recruitment mode” to help potential CLPs to discern their call to ministry. “We want to kick off a recruitment drive with pastors and churches to identify elders interested in this program,” he said. “We don’t expect them to want to be CLPs yet – just interested in a spring retreat.”

That retreat, designed for people who believe they may be interested in exploring CLP training and certification, will be held April 12-13, 2013, at Camp Wyoming. Details will be released at a later date.

CLPs can be trained in about two years online through such programs as the one offered by the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary.

LANCASTER, Pa. — The Presbytery of Donegal and Camp Donegal are inviting local folk to witness the Christmas story Dec. 16 through a live nativity and caroling through the woods in an evening of live music, food and fellowship. The free event is designed for the whole family.  

RICHMOND, Va. — Camp Hanover, a mission of the Presbytery of the James, celebrates its 55th anniversary this year. During Labor Day weekend, families gathered to tell the story of the camp and mark its history of outdoor ministry.

Camp Hanover also has a new director. Doug Walters began serving as executive director in October. He succeeds former director Bob Pryor, who retired after 22 years in the position.

SAN JOSE, Calif. — In September, the Presbytery of San Jose approved the planning and funding of Immanuel House, a permanent refugee transition housing ministry. The presbytery will match up to $100,000 donated by congregations and individuals.

MINNEAPOLIS — The Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area reminds its congregations that the Resource Center for Churches is available for their use.

A partnership of several denominations — including the Episcopal Diocese of Minnesota, the Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church and the Minnesota Conference of the United Church of Christ — the center offers DVD, web, print, curriculum and other resources for all areas of church life. It also provides consultation and opportunities for networking.