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." 

October 4, 2017 

To Our Pastor

Our God has sent you to this place 
To lead us in the way 
That He would have us work and think 
And live from day to day.

No matter the hour; whatever the need, 
You go the extra mile - 
Always ready and willing to share 
A comforting thought and a smile.

We're grateful that you're here with us 
To teach us from His word, 
And we will try to do our best 
In service of our Lord.

We thank you for your ministry, 
Your guidance and your care. 
His greatest blessings for your life 
Is our most humble prayer.

Author Unknown

We Pray For 
We Lift Up In Prayer...  

The Rev. Jim Neumann, Pastor of Saginaw-Second  who is recovering from back surgery.

The Rev. Fred Gates, Honorably Retired, and spouse or the Rev. Dr. Sharlyn Gates, Pastor of Holly who fell and broke his hip. Fred was able to return home recently.

The Rev. Dr. Tom Schacher, Pastor of Midland-Memorial and his family and congregation  as they deal with his recent diagnosis of a neurological disorder.

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 October and November:

The Rev. Tom Cundiff (11/27) - 40 years - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Joungnam Lee (10/12) - Member-At-Large
The Rev. Dr. Wally Mayton (10/1) - Associate Pastor of Midland-Memorial
The Rev. Dave Myers (10/10) - Temporary Supply of Saginaw-Countryside Trinity
The Rev. Dr. Shimon Pak (11/8) - Pastor of Saginaw-Korean
The Rev. Dr. Dan Saperstein (10/2) - Executive Presbyter
Elder Chris Wolf (11/14) - Commissioned Ruling Elder of Marlette-First and Marlette-Second
Presbytery Office
Dan Saperstein
From the Lion's Den

There is a scene in the recent film Dunkirk in which a Royal Air Force plane is struck by German gunfire and starts into a "death spiral" over the English Channel. The pilot is unable to eject from the cockpit, and a crash seems imminent. But somehow, through awareness and fast action, the pilot manages to pull out of the spiral at the last moment and avoids crashing, instead landing his safely in the water. It is an incredibly difficult maneuver, because the inertial forces of a spiral descent - gravity, angular momentum, airspeed - are powerful.

One of the challenges that face churches which have been in decline for a prolonged period of time is the difficulty in breaking the inertia of its "death spiral." As with a plummeting airplane, so with a church there are multiple forces that make it difficult "to pull out": declining membership, fewer financial resources, and the inertia of negativity, to name a few.

Negativity is the inability to imagine an alternative future other than continued decline and ultimate demise. It appears in the form of a "deficit mentality" which focuses on what is lacking rather than on what is there. In churches gripped by negativity, deficit language dominates conversations about the mission and future of the church. Some examples of deficit language might be:
  • "We are too small / old / tired / poor to change"
  • "This is a dysfunctional church"
  • "If only we had a better pastor / session / membership..."
  • "The Presbytery / General Assembly alienates / hinders us..."
  • "We have never recovered from ____________ (former pastor / crisis / conflict / etc.)"
  • "We need new members / young families / a new building / etc."
All of these share the perception that the church is kept from thriving by something it lacks or by some force or circumstance beyond its control. Negativity is often compounded by nostalgia for some idealized bygone "golden era" when pews were full, Sunday school was overflowing, and energy was high. Negativity is a form of collective anxiety that can prevent a congregation from recognizing the gifts it has been given and the opportunities to use them. It is a downward spiral that leads to a loss of hope, feelings of helplessness, congregational passivity and withdrawal. Churches trapped in this downward spiral find it is easier to invoke one of the above excuses rather than to risk real change.

It is possible "to pull out" of the downward spiral of negativity and deficit orientation. Vital churches come in all sizes, ages, budgets, and locations. What they have in common is a recognition and appreciation for the gifts and resources they currently have, an ability to tap into the reservoir of positive energy that resides, often hidden, in every congregation, and connect them to a specific, compelling, desired vision for their future. In future columns, we will explore more fully how that can happen, but it begins with recognizing the deficit thinking in our congregation and reframing it positively. Instead of despairing for what we lack, recognize the abundance of what we have been given, for "God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work" (2 Corinthians 9:8) - just as we are, right now.

Dan Saperstein,  Executive Presbyter
Newspaper - Top Border
New Parish Paper Editions Available
The latest editions of the  Parish Paper are now available to download. 

The topics are:
November:  Mistakes Churches Make During An Interim Ministry
December :  Does Our Pastor Need A Job Description?
Always great info in these! The presbytery's subscription includes the use of these by our congregations.
Order The 2017-2019 Book of Order
The presbytery will be ordering a bulk order of the 2017-2019 Book of Order to allow churches to purchase them at the reduced rate of just $8 per copy.
Orders must be received by the presbytery  no later than October 11th.
Click here for the order form with complete details.
If you have any questions, please contact  Rose Onan at 989-799-7481 x6 or
Note: You may download a free PDF copy here. While it would not be cost effective to print it would make a handy "on the go" resource to have on your tablet or phone.

Pastors In Transition
Pastors In Transition
The fall session of the Pastors in Transition Seminar will be held October 30-31, 2017 at the  St. Francis Retreat Center in DeWitt, MI. This is primarily for clergy and CREs in new calls and interims and other clergy interested in leading transition. However, all are encouraged to attend.

Click here for more information.

In Our Congregations
Harvest Dinner
Beaverton-First is hosting their Annual Harvest Dinner on Thursday, October 12th from 4:00pm to 7:00pm at the church located at 201 S. Ross in Beaverton. Click here for more details.
Fish Fry
The Men's Club of Saginaw-Second will host a Fish Fry on Friday, October 20, 2017 from 5:00 pm to 6:30 pm. The dinner includes all you can eat fish (fried pollock), coleslaw, potatoes, bread, beverage, and dessert. Cost is $10.00 adults, $4.00 children 5-11, free for children younger than 5. Take-Outs are available for $9.00.  The profits of the fish fry are used to support the various efforts of the Men's Club, which includes many building and grounds maintenance projects.  These projects provide relief for the general fund budget, therefore enabling further mission giving.

A Bake Sale also takes place during the event.  Come early to find your favorite cookies, breads, brownies, etc! 
A SERRV sale will also be at the event.  SERRV is a fair trade organization dedicated to lifting disadvantaged artisans, farmers and their families out of poverty. 
Questions should be directed to Second Presbyterian Church at (989) 792-1023.

You can visit our event on Facebook at:

 Or our Facebook page at: 
Midland-Chapel Lane
An Evening with Professor Don Mead
On Friday, October 13th at 7:00 pm , Midland-Chapel Lane will host an evening with Don Mead. Don is a Presbyterian Ruling Elder from Mackinac Presbytery and a retired Professor of Economics who taught at Michigan State University for 19 years. Don's focus was on issues of economic development, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa. Last summer, Don joined a group of concerned Christians who traveled to Syria, where they visited several churches and communities. As you know, Syria has been enduring a catastrophic civil war, resulting in many casualties and mass migration to other "safer" nations. Don will share a PowerPoint presentation and a personal perspective on what he witnessed during that trip--and how we can help our Syrian brothers and sisters.
Mission Co-Workers
The Ludwigs
As we look back on September, it felt like a year's worth of time in only a month because of being separated!  And a lot of good things have happened too, from good time with parents and visitors to lots of insights about Community Health Evangelism (CHE) from different villages in Kenya.  Read more about what's happening below and check out our blog posts for more details.  Again, as Michael had the chance to preach this past Sunday, he got to emphasize the great impact on our work that we can see from your prayers, so please keep them up!

CHE Internship Kenya - The internship has been great, for Michael and Pastor Issa, although the time away from family has been really difficult.  We've picked up more of the CHE basics like keys to adult learning, and adding children's CHE, savings groups, women's cycle of life, and beekeeping.  It's done a lot to change Pastor Issa's worldview.  From traveling to see different cultures/place, to being taught about women's cycle of life and seeing other people's attitudes toward sharing the burdens in marriage, to the little it takes to start a viable microbusiness.  One more week to finish!

Rachel's Adventures - Rachel's been having a great time with her parents visiting, but has also been shouldering the many difficulties of life in Niger.  She's had to deal with frequent electricity outages, difficulties paying bills, driving in rain at night and car issues, computers frying, teeth drilling, and tons of special requests from neighbors (like treating a bad cut on a newborn baby).  Her parents were troopers helping through it all and had some great time experiencing more deeply what our life is like.  That included sicknesses, heat stress, and home improvement projects from the forts to curtains.

Michael and Rachel Ludwig

If you would like to follow their adventures and their mission work in Niger, please contact Staci Percy at  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.

Reaching people with your message is easier said than done.  The people you are trying to reach are bombarded with a slew of messages every day. From text messages and emails to social media and advertisements, they are swimming in a sea of information.  To cut through this clutter and rise above the noise, you don't need an uber creative idea or a multi-million dollar budget. All your church needs is a communication strategy.  Here are four questions you need to answer to develop a communication strategy for any event...continue reading.

I speak across the country to many church communicators and ministry leaders. In fact, I just finished talking to 100 churches in Atlanta.  I'm passionate about what I do - I want our world to hear about Jesus Christ.  And the crazy thing? God wants to use  us  to share His message. H e uses us personally, as well as the local church, corporately. Through good communications.  If we're not doing a good job at communicating - truly reconnecting to our unchurched communities - we're failing at the Great Commission. This failure is one of the reasons our church attendance is on the downswing. We must do better.  So when I "preach to the choir" at these conferences, I often see a raised hand and they ask "the" question. It almost always happens. Or at a break, someone bolts to me to ask it. .. 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
Parish Paper
Book of Order
Pastors In Transition
In Our Congregations
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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Harvest Dinner
October 12
4:00 pm

Evening with Professor Don Mead
October 13
7:00 pm

PW Fall Gathering
October 14
10:00 am

Commission on Preparation for Ministry
October 18
10:00 am

Fish Fry
October 20
5:00 pm

Records Review
October 21
10:00 am

Personnel Team
October 23
10:00 am

Commission on Ministry - Outreach and Administration Team
October 25
11:00 am

Records Review
October 28
10:00 am

Installation of Dawn Stoker
October 29
3:00 pm

Pastors in Transition
October 30-31

Records Review
November 4
10:00 am

November 6
1:00 pm

Coordinating Team
November 8
10:00 am

Presbyterian Women
November 9
10:00 am

Commission on Preparation for Ministry
November 15
10:00 am

Commission on Ministry - Full Team
November 22
11:00 am

Presbytery Office Closed in Observance for Thanksgiving
November 23-24

Personnel Team
November 27
10:00 am

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