Bi-Weekly Brief news & updates
November 19, 2020
We Lift Up In Prayer
The family of Elder Don Wixson, Commissioned Ruling Elder of Vassar-First, who passed to the larger life last week. (View obituary)

Our churches currently in pastoral transition.

Our Mission Co-Workers:
Lucy Der-Garabedian serving in Lebanon.
Cathy Chang and family serving in the Philippines.
Michael and Rachel Ludwig serving in Niger.
Upcoming Ordination and Commissioning Anniversaries:
Elder Chris Wolf (11/4) - Commissioned Ruling Elder of Marlette-First and Marlette-Second
The Rev. Dr. Leigh Holder (11/25) - 25 Years - Pastor of Croswell-First
The Rev. Tom Cundiff (11/27) - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Dr. Rod Shoemaker (12/2) - Member-At-Large
The Rev. Joy Smith (12/3) - Interim Pastor of Alma-First
The Rev. Brant Piper (12/15) - Designated Pastor of Saginaw-Countryside Trinity
The Rev. Dr. Lucy Der-Garabedian (12/19) - Mission Co-Worker

We ask that you consider including these requests each week in your bulletin and/or newsletter.
 
We also encourage everyone to send a card or e-mail or make a phone call to those listed. Sometimes a small gesture creates a big smile. 

Contact information for anyone on this list may be obtained by calling the presbytery office at 989-799-7481 or replying to this email.
From the Lions’ Den
Dan Saperstein
In C.S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, four British schoolchildren stumble into the land of Narnia – a world of fairy-tale creatures living in fear under the reign of the White Witch. Though it is summertime in England, Narnia is cold and frozen – cursed under a spell by which it is “always winter but never Christmas.”

As we head into the season of Advent in 2020, we might be forgiven for thinking this might be a winter without a Christmas. COVID-19 surges in our nation, and most of our churches are (wisely) suspending in-person gatherings in keeping with the advice of our state public health officials and our Presbytery Council. We will miss so many of the seasonal rituals that bring us such joy: hanging greens in the sanctuary; singing carols and hymns; holiday gatherings, parties, and bazaars; and even candlelight services on Christmas Eve.

To borrow from another classic children’s story, it is as if the coronavirus is the Grinch that stole Christmas. You recall that famous tale by Dr. Seuss, of the green Grinch who lived atop Mount Crumpet and hated everything to do with Christmas and its celebration by the residents of Whoville far below. Dressed as Santa Claus, the Grinch sneaked into Whoville Christmas Eve and stole all the Christmas toys, gifts, trees, lights, garlands, and goodies.

Then, as Christmas Day dawned over Mount Crumpet, he waited in triumphant anticipation of the sobs and wails of grief arising from Whoville. And he did hear a sound – but it wasn’t sad, it was merry – VERY! “He HADN'T stopped Christmas from coming! IT CAME! / Somehow or other, it came just the same!”

Christmas will come in 2020 too! It will come because God in Christ has taken on mortal flesh and been born among us. Just as the Grinch learned that Christmas doesn’t come from a store, so we have the opportunity to learn that Christmas doesn’t come from a church building. It comes to us in Jesus Christ, who brings God’s reign of peace and goodwill to the earth.

What we are experiencing in 2020 is simply that which the world experiences every year, only this year it is made so universally plain and personal. The world “mourns in lowly exile here” – in darkness, depression, death, and despair – “until the Son of God appear.” Our Advent world is one, in the words of the author Wendell Berry, in which “it gets darker and darker and darker; and then Jesus is born.”

But we can live in an Advent world with Christmas joy because Christ is born. And that is the unchangeable, invincible truth. Jesus is the light that shines in our dark, COVID world, which the darkness cannot overcome.

“And what happened then? Well...in Whoville they say, / That the Grinch's small heart Grew three sizes that day!”

All the seasonal festivities and celebrations that we enjoy in the company of other Christians are merely the brightly colored wrappings around the one gift that truly matters – the gift of Jesus Christ. This year we may not have the wrappings, but we most certainly can receive the gift with a new heart and a new gratitude for the blessings we enjoy in Christ.

Faithfully, 

Dan Saperstein, Executive Presbyter
December Presbytery Meeting
The December stated meeting of presbytery will be held on Tuesday, December 1st at 9:30 am via Zoom. Please note that this is the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.

Meeting documents and the link to register are now on our website on the Presbytery Meetings page. Registration is REQURED for this meeting.

We have an extensive meeting this time. First off, we welcome Rev. Dr. Diane Moffett. She is the president and executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency and brings a wealth of gifts to the denomination. We are blessed to have her not only preach but lead our equipping time which will focus on the being a “Matthew 25” church. 

Of course, with this being the December meeting, we elect our moderator and vice-moderator for the coming year. For 2021, Elder Linda Langrill is nominated as Moderator and the Rev. Glenn Grant as Vice-Moderator. We also have some historic business to conduct for the Korean Presbyterian Church of Saginaw. Furthermore, we will adopt rules as we merge the Commission on Ministry and the Commission on Preparation for Ministry, have a first reading of some bylaw changes, as well as electing an almost completely full slate of nominees for the Presbytery. So, as we can see, we have a full plate of business.

For worship, please have bread and cup elements available for when we share in the Lord’s Supper.
Records Review
Session
We still have about half of the church's Records Book that need to be reviewed. If you have not submitted your copies for review, please contact the Stated Clerk, Ted McCulloch at tmcculloch@presbylh.org or 989-799-7481 x4 as soon as possible.
Request For Assistance
From our Presbytery Moderator, and Interim Pastor of Saginaw-Second the Rev. Philomena Ofori-Nipaah:

I am looking for clergy and lay leaders to participate in the 3 month prayer project for my Doctor of Ministry project. It will be similar to what I shared during the September meeting. The meeting will be virtual via Zoom in a total of 5 times lasting for 30 minutes. All who are interested should contact Philomena at either: nhyira5@gmail.com or 301-974-7879.
Giving Tuesday
WE ARE THE CHURCH, TOGETHER

Join the PC(USA) on #Giving Tuesday, December 1, 9:00am - 9:00 pm Eastern for an all-day, virtual celebration of the collective power of Presbyterian generosity, as we profess by our actions—and with our gifts—that we can accomplish far more together than any one of us can do alone.

On #GivingTuesday, we invite you to join with Presbyterians from near and far for prayer and worship, fun with some familiar faces, and an unparalleled opportunity for your generosity to make a lasting impact around the country and around the world.

It is a wonderful opportunity to see work being done by the Presbyterian church. 

A few of the topics:
Mental Health and Ministry
What is Per Capita?
Young Adult Volunteer Program
1001 Worshiping Communities
And many more.

Click here for more details.
Advent Services Available To Stream
The Synod of the Covenant is offering weekly Advent services to stream free of charge. The Presbytery of Lake Huron will be providing the content for the December 27th service.

Pastors, worship leaders, musicians, and tech gurus have worked so consistently to create and offer meaningful worship services during the pandemic. Words we would have rarely associated with worship before March (e.g., Zoom, Facebook Live, Vimeo, YouTube, and more!) are now part of our regular vocabulary and planning. Of course, these leaders are still investing heavily in sermons, music, liturgy, and prayers that are as powerful as ever.

To thank you for your hard work, the presbytery and synod staff leaders are planning virtual worship services which you can use for worship throughout Advent. You’ll be able to live stream or download the sermons and scriptures or the whole service, and of course you can choose to use one, all, or none of these services. The presbytery and synod leaders offer these as a gift to thank you for your incredible ministry all year long.

Click here for more information and the schedule.
Resources Regarding COVID-19
We have set up a page with numerous resources to help you navigate through this challenging time.

Among other things, our COVID-19 page includes information regarding:

  • Virtual Worship and Live Streaming
  • Zoom and online meetings
  • Funerals
  • Online giving
  • Grants and loans
  • Denominational resources
  • Mental wellness
  • Re-opening considerations

If there are other items/resources that you would to see added please contact Staci Percy at spercy@presbylh.org.