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." 
 

November 30, 2016 



God of flood and fire,
you blaze a path for us
in the wilderness and lead us
through the depths in safety.
Pour out the consuming power
of your Spirit.
Wash over us with
truth and righteousness
and fan the flames of justice
as we wait for the coming
of Jesus Christ our Savior,
living water and light of the world.


Prayers For Advent resource from the PC(USA)

  
We Pray For 
We Lift Up In Prayer... 

New:
The family and loved ones of the Rev. Robert Fox, who passed to the larger life last week. Bob served as Pastor of Lapeer-First for 23 years prior to his retirement. Click here for his obituary.

The family and loved ones of Ian Kelly who passed to the larger life last week. His wife, the Rev. Kate (Van Brocklin) Kelly, was ordained by our presbytery and served as Associate Pastor of Alma-First for two years. The Kellys have two young daughters. Click here for his obituary.

Ongoing:
Elder Kathy Grimes, Commissioned Ruling Elder of Elkton-Chandler and Kinde-First, as she continues treatment for breast cancer.

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 November and December:

The Rev. Tom Cundiff (11/27)  - Member-At-Large
The Rev.   Lucy Der-Garabedian (12/19) - Member-At-Large
Elder Kathy Grimes (12/5) - Commissioned Ruling Elder of Elkton-Chandler and Kinde-First
The Rev. Shimon Pak (11/8) - Pastor of Saginaw-Korean
The Rev. Dr. Rodney Shoemaker (12/2) - Member-At-Large
Elder Chris Wolf (11/14) - Commissioned Ruling Elder of Marlette-First and Marlette-Second

Presbytery Office
Dan Saperstein
From the Lions' Den

I once attended a Christmas Eve service at which the young, newly ordained pastor had prepared an elaborate children's message with carefully wrapped packages in each of which was an object that represented some aspect of God's gift in Christ: one had a light bulb for "light", another a paper heart for "love", and so on. It went on too long, and the children were restless. But the pastor was determined that his first Christmas Eve service would teach about the true meaning of Christmas. When he finally concluded the message with a prayer, and the bored children were rising to return to the pews, one parent in the front row felt it was important to "rescue" the mood of the service. "Hey kids!" he bellowed, "I just got a message on my iPhone that Santa has left the North Pole and is headed our way!" Immediately, all the kids perked up with excitement. The new pastor tried hard not to let his frustration show - in an instant, all his efforts were undermined.

I see that incident as a parable. The biblical stories of the birth of Jesus have a beautiful and powerful message that needs no embellishment. God took on mortal flesh, became a vulnerable infant who was hailed by shepherds and hated by the king. His birth turned the world on its head, as Mary had sung before: "[God] has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty" (Luke 1:52-53). He was named Jesus "for he will save his people from their sins," the fulfillment of the prophecy of the coming of Emmanuel, "God is with us" (Matthew 1:21-23). It is a story of life conquering death, of love triumphing over evil.

But it is a difficult message to hear, because along with its word of grace and hope also comes judgment, and the need to change our ways. So, we push aside the Christmas imperative to share with the poor, to welcome the homeless and the refugee, to work for peace, and to shine light in the darkness.  In its place, we prefer flying reindeer, talking snowmen, and a gift-giving elf. We shower ourselves with expensive gifts while often neglecting to share with those with the greatest need.

I confess that I enjoy the fantasy and fun of our secular holiday celebrations as much as the next person. But they are ultimately unfulfilling - a fast food meal in a malnourished world. Of greater importance, not only at Christmas, but all-year long, are the thousands of unheralded celebrations that happen when refugee families find a safe home and a warm welcome, when children and adults who are victims of human trafficking are liberated, when a family that has suffered from lead poisoning finally has clean water to drink.  These are the real celebrations of Christ's birth - the birth of hope and freedom, of life and light in our world. (They are also, incidentally, missions that are being supported by your presbytery mission gifts.)

There is much to enjoy at Christmas: colorful lights and shining tinsel; stories of Santa Claus and Rudolph and Frosty and even Ebenezer Scrooge. But even the best of our celebrations - the blessings of family and holiday meals and joyful song can be distractions in their own way. God became incarnate in Jesus not to bless us with more of what we already have, but to change the world, beginning with our own values and actions. So, in addition to our usual holiday festivities, perhaps we might add to our gift list this year something for those who desperately need what Christ came to give: life, hope, justice, peace, and a restored creation.
 
Faithfully,

Dan Saperstein,  Executive Presbyter
 
Retirees Luncheon

The Rev. Dr. Douglas Portz, our regional Church Consultant for the Board of Pensions of the PC(USA) will be hosting a Retiree Luncheon on Wednesday December 7  from noon to 1:30PM at First Presbyterian Church of Saginaw, 121 S. Harrison Street, Saginaw MI  48602. 

He will touch on the following topics:
  1. recent  changes at the Board of Pensions
  2. the current pension funding and experience apportionments
  3. Medicare Supplement costs, and
  4. the challenges of providing affordable drug coverage.  
Rev. Dr. Portz will then be available to answer your questions and concerns.  Please come for some good fellowship, good food, and to hear how the Board of Pensions, celebrating its 300th years of service to the church, continues to serve those who answer the call to serve our Lord Jesus Christ.

Both retirees and their spouses are invited.

Please RSVP to Rose Onan at ronan@presbylh.org by December 2nd. 
December Presbytery Meeting

All of the documents for the December 6th presbytery meeting at Saginaw-Second are available on the Presbytery Meetings page of our Looking forward to seeing everyone next week!
 
How Can Your Church Address Racism?

A brief workshop on building inclusive communities by addressing overt and hidden racism in ourselves and others will be offered immediately following the Presbytery meeting Tuesday, December 7 (approximately 2:30 p.m.) at Second Presbyterian Church, Saginaw. The Rev. Dr. Rhashell Hunter, Director of Racial, Ethnic and Women's Ministries for the Presbyterian Mission Agency will lead the workshop, and introduce a new anti-racism study guide approved by the General Assembly. The event is open to all members, whether or not they are commissioners to presbytery.
 
Continuing Education Opportunities
LHP Logo
Pastors In Transition Seminar

The spring session of the Pastors in Transition Seminar will be held January 29-31, 2017 at the St. Francis Retreat Center in DeWitt, MI. This is for clergy and CREs in new calls and interims
and other clergy interested in leading transition.

Click here  for more information.
  
N.T. Wright Coming To Grand Rapids

January 26-28, 2017
Grand Rapids, Michigan

The annual Calvin Symposium on Worship is a three-day conference sponsored by the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship and the Center for Excellence in Preaching.
The conference brings together a wide audience of artists, musicians, pastors, scholars, students, worship leaders and planners, and other interested worshipers. People come from around the world for a time of fellowship, worship, and learning together, seeking to develop their gifts, encourage each other and renew their commitment to the full ministry of the church.

On Thursday, January 26, 2017, N. T. Wright will be one of the presenters. 

N.T. (Tom) Wright  is a leading British New Testament scholar and retired Anglican bishop. Following his tenure as the Bishop of Durham (2003-2010), he serves as research professor of New Testament at the University of St. Andrews. He is the author of numerous books, including the The Case for the Psalms, which was developed out of work he presented at the 2012 Calvin Worship Symposium, and his forthcoming book, The Day the Revolution Began: Reconsidering the Meaning of Jesus's Crucifixion.

grey-flourish-icon.gif

If going as a group (three or more) there is a discount rate of $70.00 which includes lunch.  When registering include your church name and Presbytery of Lake Huron to receive the discount.

Click here for more details and a link to register.
 
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.
   
 
You found a perfect video clip to highlight the deep spiritual point you wish to make on the platform. People will connect. Lives will be changed. But what is the risk in incorporating it into your message? And what, if anything, can you do to legally play the video clip?  Many people mistakenly believe that if a movie, video, or clip is found on the Internet or YouTube or another public source, using it must be legal. This assumption is false. Movies, commercials, music videos, recordings, and even home videos are all the subject of copyright protection, even if the work is not registered and even if the work does not display a copyright notice. Using any of these works without a license is, generally speaking, a copyright infringement. A Religious Services Exception? (In short) Playing video clips and movies during a religious service does not fall within this exception. .. continue reading.
 
Many youth groups have a simple formula for their meetings: game + lesson, with the occasional pizza order or lock-in. It's a centuries old formula dating back to youth ministries out of Ancient Mesopotamia in the time before Christ (not even a little bit true). Really, it's a formula we use because it's easy, or it's what others do, or it's what we grew up doing.  Sometimes, the occasional rogue leader decides to buck the system and ditch the game for loftier pursuits. I'm not being condescending, I had a period that I tried this very thing. And, it didn't necessarily work. Here's why skipping games at youth group can work against your teaching. .. continue reading .
 
Working in the church, you're quite familiar with juggling umpteen projects, meetings and deadlines. Not to mention the continual interruptions while you're trying to finish those projects, attend those meetings and meet those deadlines.  It's a lot to handle, but you do it to get your work done. If you're like me, you feel the need to check all the boxes on your list to feel successful.  But the reality is multitasking just doesn't work as well as we'd like to think. It's almost impossible to put your best effort into each task when you have so many demands. The only problem is you don't have the luxury of taking one task at a time in the church office. Sometimes multitasking is the only way to get everything done. In that case, here are some tips for balancing your work:. .. 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

FB2
'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
Retirees Luncheon
Presbytery Meeting
N.T. Wright
Get Talkin'
Connect With LHP Churches
Join Us On Facebook


Who We Are
 
 
LHP Logo  
 
 
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.

grey-flourish-icon.gif

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.

   

 
Like us on Facebook  



 


  
  

Presbytery Meeting
December 6
9:30 am


Retirees Luncheon
December 7
12:00 pm


Presbytery Office Closed
December 23 to
January 2


 

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