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 17, 2018 

 O LORD, who may abide in your tent?
Who may dwell on your holy hill?
Those who walk blamelessly,
and do what is right,
and speak the truth from their heart;
who do not slander with their tongue,
and do no evil to their friends,
nor take up a reproach
against their neighbors; 
in whose eyes the wicked are despised,
but who honor those who fear the LORD;
who stand by their oath even to their hurt;
who do not lend money at interest,
and do not take a bribe against the innocent.
Those who do these things
shall never be moved.

Psalm 15
We Pray For 
We Lift Up In Prayer...  

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

In my last column I wrote about how "inside-out, upside-down" congregations engage in incarnational mission. I quoted Alan Roxburgh and Fred Romanuk:

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.  ( The Missional Leader , p. 17)

"Incarnational mission" defines such a church. "Mission," after all, is the essence of being an "inside-out" church - leaving the comfort of our church buildings to go into the world as Christ commands. "Incarnational," similarly, is the essence of being an "upside-down" church-leaving our places of status and privilege to go to the "godforsaken places"  not in a patronizing way, but in solidarity with those on the margins. That is the model of Christ's own mission, who "emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness" (Phil. 2:7a).

This is not an easy path to follow. As I write this, the Twitterverse and Blogosphere are lit up over comments attributed to the President about our immigration policy. If we move beyond the sensationalism of the quote we find a sentiment that reflects the opposite of Jesus' model of mission. Reading it charitably, the President questioned the wisdom of receiving immigrants from [godforsaken] countries instead of from economically developed lands. We may scoff, but that is the same sentiment I hear among many Presbyterians and other wealthy, privileged, (and predominantly white) denominations regarding mission. We might want to help those on the margins (whether the margins be global, national, or local), but do we really want to embrace them in a way that changes us, that requires us to step outside our comfort zone, to surrender our privilege, and engage them where they are?

But that is precisely what Jesus did in taking on flesh and becoming human. As Roxburgh and Romanuk remind us, that is where he is to be found now - not in the places of privilege, but in the very "godforsaken" places of our communities and our world. Jesus did not seek out the wealthy and the powerful - though some did follow him. Instead, he went to those on the margins of his society - and even beyond that to the stranger, the foreigner, and the "other."

The task of setting aside our own privilege and removing injustice based on privilege is therefore central to our missional task as Christians in the world. Privilege takes many forms: race, gender, class, and able-ness are just a few of the most common. Privilege is often something to which we who are privileged are blind, so a basic task of incarnational mission is to recognize and unmask privilege in ourselves and in society.

For those who want to address racial privilege, I encourage you to undertake two activities. First, read the book Waking Up White by Debby Irving, which our General Assembly Co-moderators offered for churchwide study last year. Second, consider registering for the 19th Annual White Privilege Conference. This national event will be held in Grand Rapids April 4-7, and is one of the most transformative events I have experienced in learning how to be more just and loving neighbors and citizens. Discounts are available to PCUSA members and friends (see the information elsewhere in the Bi-Weekly Brief). I have already registered - I hope you will join me.

Incarnational mission isn't easy, but it is both biblical and faithful. We can't get there overnight, but as with all matters of discipleship, it takes what Eugene Peterson called "a long obedience in the same direction."

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 earlier this month. 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 Ted may be reached at 989-799-7481 x 4 or 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.
White Privilege Conference
White Privilege Conference Registration Now Open

Registration is now open for the 19th annual White Privilege Conference meeting in Grand Rapids April 4-7, 2018. The meeting is a major annual educational event on recognizing, unmasking, addressing, and dismantling racism and race-based privilege in organizations and society. Event information can be found at   

This year's conference theme is "Super People & Super Powers: Prepare to be The Future of Social Justice Work" The Presbyterian Church discount code is PCWPC19 and will give you 10% off full conference registration. 

There are other ways to reduce the costs.  If you volunteer to help at the conference, you can drastically reduce the costs, and they do not ask volunteers to miss conference content (plenary or workshop).  For more information - check out the website

Program books are usually released in the 10-14 days before the conference itself.  There are hundreds of workshops.  Many tested content providers return and they must adjust their workshops to the new theme.  To get your bearings, take a look at past program books ( to see the breadth and depth and get a sense of what you want to concentrate on in your conference this year. 

Participation in an optional Wednesday "institute" will also help you dive more fully into a topic, or can be a way for commuters who may not have the time for the full conference to benefit from it.  For information about Presbytery coordination of attendance, contact Dan Saperstein.
Refillable Communion Candles

Midland-Chapel Lane has  14 refillable communion candles and approximately 3-4 quarts oil available that they would like to give to any church in the Presbytery that can use them. They have different candles now and these are sitting idle. If anyone can use them please contact the church at 989-395-1065 or
Presbyterian Women
PW Logo
Lake Huron Presbyterian Women News

Plans are ongoing for a Spring Gathering in Lake Huron Presbytery. The event will take place on April 14 at Westminister Presbyterian Church in Bay City, Michigan. The church is located at 103 East Midland Street in Bay City. his gathering is to "Celebrate the Gifts of Women". Featured during this gathering will be a representative from Women at Risk, International (WAR).
In keeping with one of our mission, Human TRAFFICKING, this gathering will focus on what WAR is doing to address this topic.  WAR, Int'l created the Civilian First Responder program specifically to equip us.  Come to the gathering to learn more about what WAR, Int'l is doing.  The day begins with sign-in at 1:00 PM until 1:30 PM.  At 1:30 we will begin our program which includes the speaker from WAR, Int'l and recognition of PW Lifetime members in Lake Huron.  The WAR, Int'l Store will be opened throughout the day to sell their jewelry to support their ministry.
Our second mission is addressing children's literacy.  We are asking all churches to donate children's books to their local libraries, schools, women shelters, etc.  Buckets to store your books will be available at the March 6, 2018 Presbytery meeting. 
More Dates to Remember:
  • March 8, 2018 PW Coordinating Meeting at Presbytery Office at 10:00 AM
  • April 14, 2018 Spring Gathering at Westminister in Bay City at 1:00 PM
  • August 1-3 Churchwide Gathering in Louisville, KY
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; 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:

Mission Co-Workers
Niger Mission Trip

December 28, 2018 - January 9, 2019  This trip is sponsored by the Niger Mission Network (NMN) in order to know and grow together with the Evangelical Church in the Republic of Niger (EERN) and PCUSA co-workers in Niger. Our desire is to partner with the EERN as invited and in response to the identified needs.  Our goals for this journey are to build face-to-face relationships with our brothers and sisters in Christ and to learn from and about the EERN and the country it serves.  Our team will visit churches, projects and both primary and Bible schools, and listen to their pastors, evangelists, and leaders as they share the joys and challenges of ministry in a country which is 95% Muslim.  We will pray as we go and discern how we can come alongside and encourage and support their work.  President Mai-aike Kadade and Honorable Issaka Moussa, Secretary for Partner Relationships, will interpret God's work in their midst and join us.  Mission co-workers Jim (water and sanitation) and Jodi (nursing and public health) McGill will introduce us to the work they do to assist the EERN.  Michael and Rachel Ludwig will explain the CHE (Community Health Evangelism) approach they help facilitate for the EERN, show a student housing center, and give us a glimpse of their witness in their neighborhood.  Participants will be inspired and transformed by this view of what God is doing in Niger.

Click here for details.
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. 

Last week I had the privilege of getting a behind-the-scenes tour at Disney. Since this was my second time getting a peek behind the curtain, I asked the person giving me the tour if they had anything they could share with me that I might be able to pass along to help churches, non-profits, and small businesses that weren't part of the normal behind-the-scenes fare. S he revealed something to me that every new cast member (that's what they call their employees) is taught during orientation, but that doesn't get a lot of attention outside of the  Utilidor . Disney has four key values that governs everything they do and guarantees the high-quality guest experience we've come to love and expect
. .. continue reading .

Let's be honest: There are some types of church communication that are less than exciting. Annual reports, financial statements, business meetings, and more. Some church communication is just plain boring.
Now there are people who will read your annual reports and attend your business meetings out of a sense of religious obligation (pun intended), but what about the other 98% of your congregation? How can you make some of these boring details more engaging? Here are a few things to think about when you absolutely have to get the word out about the less exciting parts of church life . .. 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.
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:


If your congregation has a page and it is not listed here, please contact Staci Percy at

'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 

989-799-7481 x2

In This Edition
In Our Prayers
From The Lions' Den
Annual Statistics
White Privilege
Free Candles
PW News
Communion Training
Alma College Presentation
Niger Mission Trip
Communications Corner
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.


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

Communion Training
January 20
9:00 am

Personnel Team
January 22
10:00 am

Commission on Ministry
January 24
11:00 am

Installation of Christina Jensen
January 28
3:30 pm

Presbytery Council
February 14
10:00 am

Commission on Preparation for Ministry
February 21
10:00 am

Personnel Team
February 26
10:00 am

Commission on Ministry
February 28
11:00 am

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