Presbytery of Lake Huron
Bi-Weekly Brief 
 
"The mission of the Presbytery of Lake Huron is to partner with congregations, helping people to know, grow, share and serve as disciples of Jesus Christ." 
 

January 11, 2017 



Even youths will faint and be weary,
    and the young will fall exhausted;
but those who wait for the Lord
shall renew their strength,
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
    they shall walk and not faint.

~ Isaiah 40:30-31
  
  
We Pray For 
We Lift Up In Prayer... 

New:
The family and loved ones of Elder Hans Schmidt and the congregation of Saginaw-Second. Hans passed to the larger life on December 30, 2016. Hans was very active in the life of the congregation and served as the Elder Commissioner to Presbytery for many years. Click here to read his obituary.

Mission Co-Workers:
The Rev. Cathy Chang and family who are serving in the Philippines.

Michael and Rachel Ludwig , our Mission Co-Workers who are serving in Niger.

    
   
 

 

For those Teaching Elders (Ministers of Word and Sacrament) and Commissioned Ruling Elders (CREs) who are celebrating Ordination or Commissioning Anniversaries in January and February:

The Rev. Doug Abel (1/5) Pastor of Vassar-First
The Rev. Cathy Chang (2/17) Mission Co-Worker
The Rev. Mary Anne Evans-Justin (2/25) Honorably Retired
Elder Mark Garavaglia (2/23) Commissioned Ruling Elder of Deckerville-First
The Rev. Dr. Rhashell Hunter (1/8)   General Assembly Staff;  Director of Racial Ethnic and Women's Ministries
The Rev. Rich Lawther (1/4) Honorably Retired
Elder Linda Living-Hawley (2/3) Commissioned Ruling Elder of Fenton-Tyrone
The Rev. Larry McMellen (2/12) Honorably Retired
The Rev. Chris Moody (2/25) Member-At-Large
The Rev. Dr. John Musgrave (1/1) Honorably Retired
The Rev. Dr. Rodney Shoemaker (12/2)  Member-At-Large
The Rev. Elizabeth (Betsy) Stilwell (1/22) Member-At-Large
Elder Sam McKim (1/1) Commissioned Ruling Elder of Lapeer-First
 
Presbytery Office
Dan Saperstein
From the Lions' Den

In just a few days, the nation will inaugurate a new President. The transfer of power in the civic arena is a complex and sometimes difficult process. It's more than just the oath of office. It involves recruiting, vetting, confirming, training, and deploying hundreds if not thousands of civil servants.

But our national and state governments aren't the only ones who welcome new leaders in January. Most churches elect and/or install new officers in January. Although some adopt a different schedule, the process is still the same.

Many churches, however, short-shrift their new officers by throwing them into leadership without any preparation for the work they will be doing. One of our own presbytery leaders, the Rev. Dr. Rhonda Myers, pastor of Chapel Lane Presbyterian Church in Midland, recently shared some valuable insights into our process of officer preparation for the denominational publication Re: RE (i.e., "regarding ruling elders"). I am sharing this here with her permission:

The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) holds fast to a representative form of government where ruling elders and teaching elders are elected to ordered ministry and share in ecclesial authority as, together, we seek to discern and represent the will of Christ in and through faithful service. To this end, "congregations should elect persons of wisdom and maturity of faith, having demonstrated skills in leadership and being compassionate in spirit" ( Book of Order, G-2.0301).
 
Once a new class of ruling elders is elected by a congregation, the session is called upon to prepare these new leaders for service in the church. The responsibility for this time of study and preparation is sometimes delegated to a staff member, such as the pastor. But it is a responsibility of the session, acting as a whole, to prepare newly elected ruling elders for active participation in the leadership of the church. This training may include a review of:
  • Biblical highlights of strong, courageous leaders (consider: Moses, David, Esther, Paul, Peter, etc.);
  • Presbyterian polity and doctrine, including "The Marks of the Church" (F-1.0302), the "Notes of the Reformed Church" (F-1.0303), The Great Ends of the Church (F-1.0304), and the constitutional questions asked of ruling elders at their Installation (W-4.4003);
  • An inventory of spiritual gifts and talents;
  • The duties and procedures of ministry, both in general and within a given context;
  • The intersection of life and faith, as it pertains to church leadership.
After a time of study is completed, it is expected that the session will examine new leaders as to their readiness for service (G-2.0402). This  examination is not intended to be harsh or punitive, but to serve instead as a mutual discussion about the church, its mission, and leadership. All this is done in a spirit of peace and for the sake of a nurtured and healthy community of faith. "Teaching elders shall be committed in all their work to equipping the people of God for their ministry and witness" (F-3.0202). This examination might include questions about the candidate's:
  • Personal faith and spiritual maturity;
  • Commitment to Christ and the Church;
  • Willingness to serve;
  • Openness to the guidance of the Holy Spirit in becoming "a community of faith, hope, love, and witness" (G-3.0201);
  • Desire to work for peace in the face of change, and to seek unity in the midst of diversity;
  • Knowledge of the Constitution of the church (doctrine, government, and discipline); and
  • Understanding of the duties incumbent upon a ruling elder.
Along with teaching elders, ruling elders are called to be stewards of the faith and champions of the gospel. Those who are called will lead by example. So it best be a good example!

Thanks, Rhonda, for these helpful insights. Presbyterians believe in shared leadership between teaching elders and ruling elders. Let's help each other serve the best we can in the ministry to which we have been called.
  
Faithfully,

Dan Saperstein,  Executive Presbyter
 
Special Called Meeting of 
Presbytery 

There will be a special called meeting of presbytery on Tuesday, January 17th at 11:00am at Saginaw-Korean (same building as the presbytery office) for the purpose of examining a candidate as ready for ordination. The call and all related materials will be posted the first week of January on the Presbytery Meetings page of our website. 
 
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2017 IRS Rates

The mileage rates for 2017 are as follows:

Business/Ministry  53.5 cents
Medical and Moving 17 cents
Charitable 14 cents

These may also be found on the  Documents and Forms page of our  website under the Financial Information heading.
 
Parish Paper

The latest editions of the  Parish Paper  are now available to download. 

The topics are:

January:  Conquering the Cutback Syndrome  and the topic for February:  How Do Congregations Respond to Interfaith Couples?  

Always great info in these! The presbytery's subscription includes the use of these by our congregations.
 
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Annual Statistics

The information for completing your 2016 Annual Statistics was sent to all Clerks of Session the first week of January. All of the links for entering your information are available  on the  Annual Statistics  page of our  website . Unless you changed it, your login information remains the same as last year.
 
We are here to assist you with any questions that you may have. Please call or e-mail Staci or Ted should you need anything. Staci may be reached at 989-799-7481 x2 or  spercy@presbylh.org. Ted may be reached at 989-799-7481 x 4 or  tmcculloch@presbylh.org. Please keep in mind that both are part-time employees and are not in the office everyday.
 
Deadline for entering your Statistical information and Necrology Report is February 16th. ( The deadline for the Clerk's Questionnaire is January 31st.)
 
Please remember that what you submit - or don't submit - affects your future per capita payments.
 
Click here to read an article from the PC(USA) describing some reasons why completing annual statistics are important to your congregation.
 
Closed Sign
Presbytery Office Closed

As a reminder, the presbytery office will be closed Monday, January 16th in observance of The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
 
Alma Youth Mix 2017
Alma Youth Mix 2017 Registration Now Open

High school students are invited to the Alma Youth Mix and spend the weekend of March 3-5 on the campus of  Alma College with youth from multiple churches around the state. Share your time and your faith. Enjoy discussion, fellowship, worship, recreation, entertainment and food!

This year's  keynote speaker is Amanda Drury, Assistant Professor of Youth Ministries & Practical Theology at Indiana Wesleyan University.

Click here for more information and to register.
 
Mission Co-Workers
Cathy Chang
From Catherine Chang

January 11 is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day: Last November I participated in a PC(USA) co-moderator delegation to Thailand. All of the participants were PC(USA) staff members who also created on online devotional.

Prayer:  God, we pray that every person who has been created in your likeness may live here on earth with dignity and respect. We pray for the unjust systems to be broken and that all may be free.

Click here for more details and the full devotional.
 
Michael and Rachel Ludwig

Our December has been full of planning and preparation as we continue to have Community Health Evangelism (CHE), rickshaws, and teaching in our sights.  But we also had a great visit with Michael's parents and a very interesting Christmas celebration in our neighborhood.  We want to thank you for all the support you've been in many different ways this year and we wish you a merry end of the Christmas season and many blessings in a happy New Year!

Our Christmas celebration was special on a number of levels.  We celebrated with family and with some fellow missionaries in our city, but we also tried to do things a little the Nigerien way and slaughter a ram at our house so that we could give out meat to our neighbors. The celebration at our church was exuberant as you might expect.  We also handed out some treats for the neighborhood kids (candy canes and glow sticks) and had a chance to share a little about the meaning of Christmas with many people.

Michael's parents had a good visit with us here over Christmas.  They were impressed with all the development that happened in the town over the two years we've been here.  They were also very complimentary about how much better we're able to get around and communicate than last time!  Since they were here two years ago we didn't take them many places besides our normal routines of the market, work, and church.  But while picking them up in the capital we did get to go on a boating expedition to see hippopotamuses.  It was a treat to be on the river and we were pleased that we really did get a good view of these gigantic creatures.  

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If you would like to follow their adventures and their mission work in Niger, please contact Staci Percy at  spercy@presbylh.org    or 989-799-7481 x2 for their blog address.    (They have asked that the link to it not be published online.)  
 
Communications Corner
Headlines of Interest
   
Here are links to articles that we hope you will enjoy and perhaps spend some time discussing them with others. Click on the title to read the entire article.
   
 
Most people have a pretty good idea of what Senior Pastors do... on Sundays. But the reality is, not many truly know all the work that goes into this sacred and difficult calling. We don't get to see all the behind-the-scenes work that goes into sermon prep or the launch of a new ministry. We don't know the ins and outs (and hours) of the pastoral care that takes place. Most of us simply don't know what it takes to lead a church staff. Here are 10 things that your Pastor (probably) won't tell you... continue reading.
 
From the PC(USA): " Hidden Figures "- the movie about a group of brilliant female African-American mathematicians that aided NASA during the space race-took the second spot at the box office in its first weekend of wide release, narrowly bested by "Star Wars: Rogue One." The movie features the story of Katherine G. Johnson, a longtime Presbyterian and 2015 Presidential Medal of Freedom awardee Based on the non-fiction book of the same name by Margot Lee Shetterly, the film tells the true story of Johnson and her colleagues, Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughan, who worked as "human computers" with the burgeoning space program of the late 1950s and early 1960s. They were charged with collecting flight data and verifying that NASA's newly introduced electronic computers had correctly calculated the details of space missions.  A member of Carver Memorial Presbyterian Church in Newport News, Virginia, for more than 50 years, Johnson served the church in several leadership roles including, not surprisingly given her gift with numbers, its finance chair. .. continue reading .
 
The New York Public Library just released  a treasure trove of digitized public domain images, featuring  epic poetry from the 11th century to photographs of  used car lots in Columbus, Ohio from the 1930s. Over 180,000 manuscripts, maps, photographs, sheet music, lithographs, postcards, and other images were released online Wednesday in incredibly high resolution, and are available to download using the library's user-friendly visualization tool. It's a nostalgist's dream come true.  "No permission required, no hoops to jump through: just go forth and reuse!" writes Shana Kimball, manager of the library's public programs and outreach. .. continue reading .
 
Your church likely depended heavily on a larger volunteer team over the Christmas season. Hopefully, volunteers had a great experience and have had a chance to recoup after all the activity.
Here are five ways to help them reflect on the impact their service had and continue to stay committed to serving throughout the New Year. .. continue reading .
 
 
NOTE: The articles listed do not necessarily reflect the opinion of or intended to be an endorsement by the Presbytery of Lake Huron but are shared to encourage discussion of various topics.
Connections
Desk
Connect With Other Churches In The Lake Huron Presbytery

There are so many wonderful things going on in all of our congregations.  Several of our churches have set up Facebook pages to help spread the good news not only to their members but to all who may be interested.  Liking other church Facebook pages is a great way to connect with others in the presbytery and to share ideas with each other.  Here are some of the churches that have Facebook pages:

Tawas
Vassar-First
Yale-First

If your congregation has a page and it is not listed here, please contact Staci Percy at spercy@presbylh.org

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'Like' Us On Facebook

The presbytery has a Facebook page and would like you to join us.  Get updates and information faster. Connect with others to share ideas and to post information about events happening in your congregation.  Join us today! 

Contact Information

Staci Percy

Communications Manager/Recording Clerk

spercy@presbylh.org 

989-799-7481 x2

In This Edition
In Our Prayers
From The Lions' Den
Special Presbytery Meeting
IRS Rates for 2017
Parish Paper
Annual Statistics
Presbytery Office Closed
Alma Youth Mix 2017
Mission Co-Workers
Get Talkin'
Connect With LHP Churches
Join Us On Facebook


Who We Are
 
 
 
 
 
About the
Bi-Weekly Brief

Hundreds of elders, educators, and church leaders read the Presbytery of Lake Huron's email sent out every other week. 

You can reissue or modify this content for your own church bulletin or newsletter, without crediting the Bi-Weekly Brief, but please credit any organizations, photographers, etc, that we credited.

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NOTE: The Presbytery of Lake Huron retains permission to modify submissions for clarity and length. Inclusion of an item in the Bi-Weekly Brief means that we think it's interesting and/or important, and does not constitute an endorsement of its point of view or its journalistic accuracy.

   

 
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Coordinating Team
January 11
10:00 am



Presbytery Office Closed in Observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
January 16



Special Called Meeting of Presbytery
January 17
11:00 am



Commission on Preparation for Ministry
January 18
10:00 am



Presbyterian Women
January 19
10:00 am



Personnel Team
January 23
10:00 am



Commission on Ministry - Full Team
January 25
11:00 am



Pastors in Transition
January 29-31
DeWitt, MI


 

Details on these meetings can be found on the presbytery's website on the calendar.