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 3, 2018 


So if anyone is in Christ,
there is a new creation:
everything old has passed away;
see, everything has become new!


2 Corinthians 5:17
 
We Pray For 
We Lift Up In Prayer...  

New:
The Rev. Glenn Grant, Pastor of Grand Blanc-Kirkridgewhose mother, Virginia Grant passed to the larger life on January 1st. Funeral arrangements are pending but will take place in New Jersey.

Ongoing:
The Rev. Ken Hetzel, Honorably Retired who had a heart catheterization just before Christmas. He is home and recouping very well.

Bruce Graham, husband of the Rev. Linda Graham, Pastor of Cass City-First and Cass City-Fraser  who was scheduled to have surgery last month but has been postponed due to other health issues.

Pam Brackbill and the Rev. Tom Brackbill, Pastor of Alma-First as they deal with all that encompasses Pam's diagnosis of Younger Onset Alzheimer's Disease. Pam is under the care of Masonic Pathways. 

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) - 10 Years - 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) - Member-At-Large serving the PC(USA) as Director of Racial Ethnic & Women's Ministries
The Rev. John "Scott" Kroener (1/19) - Pastor of Birch Run-Taymouth
The Rev. Rich Lawther (1/4) - Honorably Retired
Elder Linda Living-Hawley (2/3) - Commissioned Ruling Elder of Fenton-Tyrone
Elder Sam McKim (1/1) - Commissioned Ruling Elder of Lapeer-First
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. Alex Peterson (1/22) - One Year - Pastor of Lapeer-First
The Rev. Elizabeth "Betsy" Stilwell (1/22) - 35 Years - Member-At-Large
The Rev. Dawn Stoker (2/9) - Pastor of Linden
  
Presbytery Office
Dan Saperstein
From the Lion's Den

As I write this, we are in the season of Christmas - the "twelve days" of song that stretch from Christmas Day to Epiphany. It is a season to reflect on the wonder of God's incarnation in Jesus. In their book The Missional Leader: Equipping Your Church to Reach a Changing World, Alan J. Roxburgh and Fred Romanuk consider the significance of the Incarnation for transforming churches into missional communities - what I have called "inside-out, upside-down" congregations:

Missional leaders take the Incarnation of Jesus with the utmost seriousness. More than just a doctrine to be confessed, it is the key to understanding all God's activities with, through, in, and among us. It points toward an answer to the question of where God is to be found. In the Incarnation we discern that God is always found in what appears to be the most godforsaken of places - the most inauspicious of locations, people, and situations. God seems to be present where there is little or no expectation.

After rehearsing the biblical story of how God's future emerges amid slavery and exodus, exile and occupation, silent night and empty tomb, they add,

In these biblical narratives God is constantly present in places where no one would logically expect God's future to emerge, and yet it does, over and over. There is nothing in these stories about getting the wrong people off the bus and getting the right ones on to accomplish great ends and become the best organization in the world. The God who pursues us is always calling the wrong people onto a bus that isn't expected to arrive. The reason for all of this is that God chooses, within the mystery of God as the Other who cannot be described and confined within the schemes and imagination we develop, to unfold the future of the kingdom among people and places of this kind....

We encounter many congregations and church leaders functioning out of low expectation and hope. Many leaders are giving up on existing congregations in the misguided belief that there is no hope among the established ones.... But the Biblical stories that lead to the Incarnation keep telling us these are the very places where God's future emerges....

We are not prepared to write congregations off.... We say this not because they are filled with all the right people with all the right stuff. On the contrary, dispirited people populate many congregations. They have no idea what to do in the face of loss, decline, and a radically changed world. Nevertheless, if God's Spirit is among the people of God, wherever they are (including in congregations), then these are the places where it is possible to incarnate a missional life.  (pp. 17-19)

Recently I was with an interim pastor search committee of one of our congregations. They were reflecting on their congregation's journey from lamenting their decline in numbers to discovering a new identity and vitality as a smaller congregation. "This is a great time to be a small church!" they said. "We aren't wealthy but God always provides enough to do what is needed. We are a family that enjoys being together, but we are also deeply engaged in our community. We used to lament not having lots of young children in our church on Sunday mornings, but maybe now God is calling us to be the church to the children in our community during the week instead."

That church is discovering how God's future unfolds when they recognize that God is every bit as present in small congregations as large ones; that vitality is less a matter of numbers and dollars than it is a willingness to trust God to use what we have now. It's all a matter of stepping out of our familiar patterns and looking for God to be revealed in unexpected people and places, like a child born in a stable.

As Roxburgh and Romanuk write, "The answer to the question, 'What does it look like to be God's people in this strange new place?' is found among the ordinary men and women in congregations across North America." The year 2018 is an empty vessel waiting to be filled with God's presence and power. God's future is waiting to be found in unexpected people and places. Let us become what God is doing in the world! 
  
Faithfully,

Dan Saperstein,  Executive Presbyter
 
PC-USA Seal Round
Annual Statistics

The information for completing your 2017 Annual Statistics was sent to all Clerks of Session yesterday. 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 15th.
 
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 15th in observance of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
 
2018 IRS Mileage Rates

The mileage rates for 2018 are as follows:


Business/Ministry  54.5 cents
Medical and Moving 18 cents
Charitable 14 cents

These may also be found on the  Documents and Forms page of our  website under the Financial Information heading.
 
You're Invited
Communion Training for Ruling Elders

The Commission on Ministry, on behalf of the presbytery, has the responsibility to authorize and train specific elders to preside at the Lord's Table when a Minister of Word and Sacrament is not available and there is no Commissioned Ruling Elder assigned (G-3.0301b). In our presbytery, training is provided to elders endorsed by their sessions and authorization is given for up to a year at a time following completion of the training. The authorization is specific to a particular congregation when invited by the session and for a specific period of time, ordinarily one year.

Training will be offered January 20 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church of Vassar, 250 West Huron Street. It will be led by Executive Presbyter Dan Saperstein and Pastor Doug Abel. The event will cover the theology and meaning of the sacrament, the liturgy and choreography of the Table, and hands-on practice.

Churches that are without a pastor or are anticipating pastoral change are strongly urged to send at least one elder to the event. Elders who are not CREs and have been previously trained and authorized are required to attend for renewal of their authorization. CREs are also encouraged to attend to refresh their knowledge and skill.

Please register your interest in attending by phoning or emailing Rose Onan at the Presbytery office by Thursday January 18: 989-799-7481 x6; ronan@presbylh.org. Persons may attend without session endorsement, but authorization to preside will require subsequent endorsement.

 
Alma College Presents Speaker

On Thursday, January 18, 2018, Alma College Hillel proudly presents Dr. Amy-Jill Levine, University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies, and Mary Jane Werthan Professor of Jewish Studies, at Vanderbilt Divinity School and College of Arts and Science. 
 
From 3:00 - 5:00 PM, Dr. Levine will offer a workshop, "Misunderstanding Judaism is Misunderstanding Jesus" specifically for clergy.  At 7:00 PM she will present "Jesus the Jewish Storyteller: Hearing the Parables Anew" for the campus and greater community.
 
There will be a buffet dinner with Dr. Levine for all clergy attending the workshop/presentation from 5:00-6:30 PM. There is no charge for the dinner or the book required for the workshop (The Jewish Annotated New Testament).
 
Dr. Levine is also an Affiliated Professor with the Centre for the Study of Jewish-Christian Relations in Cambridge (UK). Her numerous publications on Christian origins, Jewish/Christian relations, and the biblical views of gender and sexuality include The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus, Short Stories by Jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi; Who Counts? 100 Sheep, 10 Coins and 2 Sons (a children's book co-authored with Sandy Sasso), and the Jewish Annotated New Testament (co-edited with Marc Z. Brettler). 
 
Please RSVP to Bill Arnold at: arnold@alma.edu.

 
Human Trafficking Presentation

As you may already know, January is National Human Trafficking month.  We at
will also be focusing on this ever-growing epidemic.
 
Please join us on Sunday, January 14th at 10:30  (after worship) as we invite Angela Aday from Underground Railroad to give a presentation.  She'll be focusing on their Mid-Michigan Human Trafficking Taskforce - including all agencies involved. 
 
We'll also be collecting items needed for their Emergency Shelter throughout the whole month of January.   This list can be found on their website by clicking here  or on our church website, as well at:  www.spcsaginaw.org  
 
We hope to see you all there as we continue to educate our Mid-Michigan population with all the different aspects of Human Trafficking.
Mission Co-Workers
Cathy Chang
Update From Cathy Chang and Family

Christmas and New Year's Greetings
 
Since we are a family who celebrates the twelve days of Christmas (that is, through Epiphany), we are happy to share our extended Christmas and New Year's greetings to you!  When we still lived in Michigan, we always bought our Christmas tree around this time (mid-December), instead of right after Thanksgiving.  Many of you know that Filipinos celebrate with the longest Christmas preparations that start as early as September.  
 
2017 marked our family's first full calendar year in the Philippines.  Although we moved here in March 2016, somehow our time here has seemed already much fuller than the nearly two years that have already passed.  While Juan and Aurelie have enjoyed a pretty stable routine with school and taekwondo and playing with friends, my routine has been anything but ecumenical forums to learn more about human trafficking and migration; travel around the Philippines as well as Hong Kong, Indonesia and Myanmar, speaking, preaching and writing articles and liturgies.  Breaking from our familiar routine, Juan preached for the first time ever in English, at our home church, 3 days before our wedding anniversary.  
 
While our calendars seem to be full of opportunities, we are aware that it's the first time that we had to decline invitations and to discuss the uncertain future.   Not because we want to, but because of the warnings for the U.S. citizens in Mindanao, where martial law was declared in late May, extended until December, and most recently extended for the entire year of 2018.  We share these events and circumstances not to alarm you, but rather to share our prayer concerns for the Philippine people.  Due to the siege of Marawi from late May, in the southern part of the Philippines, there has been increasing violence between the government and so-called terrorists.  At first these were identified as the Muslim insurgents whose demands are rooted in historical conflict.  Now the government has used this same label for the armed members of leftist groups, many of whom have been trying to address the dire social circumstances in the Philippines.  Still church leaders are Lumad (indigenous people) leaders are targeted in this cross-fire and have already been harassed, imprisoned, and even perished due to the crackdown.       
 
Looking forward to 2018, I will be working more closely with my two main partners, Migrante International and Churches Witnessing with Migrants (CWWM), on some exciting projects.  Thanks to the generosity of international partners like the United Church of Christ-USA and United Church of Canada, we will continue our work in addressing emergency assistance for families of OFWs, as well as a Philippine nationwide consultation about labor trafficking.  I will also traveling to some newer locations such as Sri Lanka (January), United Arab Emirates (February), and Nepal (April).  Sri Lanka and Nepal will introduce me to existing PCUSA global partners who work with tea plantations, garment industry, and human trafficking.  In the United Arab Emirates, there is a newer UCCP-UAE "fellowship" (worshipping community) that consists of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and some of their families.  UCCP General Secretary Bishop Reuel Norman O. Marigza and I will travel together.       
 
Starting this June, as a family we will be traveling to the U.S. for our long-term interpretation assignment (IA).  Our tentative plan is to stay in Michigan and focus on the Midwest, with some additional visits in other parts.  We also plan to participate at General Assembly and Presbyterian Women Churchwide Gathering.  We look forward to sharing more in person, catching up, and enjoying our time with you!  Please contact us directly if you desire us to visit your church, your PW group, or another group, via email at  cathy.chang@pcusa.org.    
 
By way of reminder, here are some additional ways to stay in touch:
 
*Friend me on Facebook (Catherine Chang)
*Follow our blog at eveniftheskyfalls.wordpress.com
*Receive semi-monthly email updates (send request at  cathy.chang@pcusa.org)
*Read Nov/Dec 2017 and Jan/Feb 2018 Presbyterian Women Horizons magazines (author of two articles) 
 
As "Team Chang Lopez," we thank you again for your ongoing support through your prayers, letters, care packages, and financial support, for our family and for our work throughout Asia.  
 
Peace, 
Cathy, Juan & Aurelie
 
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. 
 

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance has released a trailer for a new documentary currently in production on the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. The film, entitled " Flint", focuses on the health issues surrounding high levels of lead in the city's water system. Several scientific studies indicate residents were potentially exposed to high levels of lead after the city switched its drinking water source to the Flint River and a growing problem with aging water pipes.  In 2016, a federal state of emergency was declared and Flint residents were instructed to use only bottled or filtered water for drinking, cleaning and other purposes. Earlier this year, water quality had reportedly returned to acceptable levels, but authorities are still urging residents to continue using bottled or filtered water until the city's lead pipes have been replaced, which is expected to be complete in two years. . .. continue reading .
 

"We started with just three families for several months. I always call this time 'the growing pains of starting something new.' Don't get discouraged!" One Sunday a month, I gather with a group of families to discuss topics ranging from faith practices at home to how enneagrams inform parenting styles. This group of families started because I personally needed a group of parents to discuss parenting concerns and faith practices, and I knew I was not the only one. Within a year, our group has grown from three families to 12. What started out as monthly dinners & studies has grown into family retreats, weekend camping trips, and strong fellowship. Our children are eager to see each other at church and regularly play together. This group has become so much more than just a small study.  There are at least five considerations that made it possible for this group to flourish. .. 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
FB2
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

'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
Annual Statistics
Office Closed
2018 IRS Mileage Rates
Communion Training
Alma College Presentation
Human Trafficking Presentation
Mission Co-Workers
Communications Corner
Connect With LHP Churches
Join Us On Facebook


Who We Are
 
 
 
 
 
About the
Bi-Weekly Brief

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Commission on Preparation for Ministry
January 10
10:00 am


Presbyterian Women
January 11
10:00 am


Presbytery Office Closed In Observance of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
January 15


Investment Committee
January 16
1:00 pm


Presbytery Council (Formerly Coordinating Team)
January 17
10:00 am


Personnel Team
January 22
10:00 am


Commission on Ministry
January 24
11:00 am


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