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 1, 2017 

Come, bless the LORD,
all you servants of the LORD, 
 who stand by night in the
house of the LORD! 
Lift up your hands to
the holy place,
and bless the LORD.
May the LORD,
maker of heaven and earth, 
bless you from Zion.

Psalm 134:1-3
We Pray For 
We Lift Up In Prayer...  

Michael Hosler, son of Elders Alan and Cheryl Hosler, Croswell-First  who is doing very well following recent open heart surgery.

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 is happy to be home and continuing rehab after breaking his hip this summer. 

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 November and December:

The Rev. Tom Cundiff (11/27) - 40 years - Honorably Retired
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. Dr. Shimon Pak (11/8) - Pastor of Saginaw-Korean
The Rev. Dr. Dan Saperstein (10/2) - Executive Presbyter
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 Lion's Den

Reframing Negativity

Two columns ago, I wrote about the "death spiral" of negativity that often affects churches in long-term decline. This negativity impedes the church's ability to imagine a 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 using creatively and faithfully the gifts that are present in the church already. It is a downward spiral that leads to a loss of hope, feelings of helplessness, congregational passivity and withdrawal.

Vital churches come in all sizes and budgets. I recently read about Jan Hus Presbyterian Church in Manhattan that has 18 members but serves thousands of meals to homeless people every year, and offers space to non-profits in the otherwise unaffordable Upper East Side. First Presbyterian Church of Jasper, Texas - with only 20 members and a half-time pastor - began a ministry of racial healing in a town best known for its hate crimes against people of color. It formed a foundation called Peace Beyond Understanding to outlast the small church in which the average age was 75. Small doesn't meaning dying. Declining doesn't mean dead.

In this column, I want to pick up that discussion and move to how churches can pull out of the death spiral and restore vision and vitality to their ministries. Overcoming negativity begins by connecting to the "positive core" that exists within every organization. The process known as Appreciative Inquiry was developed less than 30 years ago as a technique to help people identify and rekindle the positive core in their businesses, organizations, and churches. The positive core consists of those experiences, practices, relationships, and resources that generate life and keep people connected to the church.

One ground rule of Appreciative Inquiry is that deficit language ("we need...", "if only...", "we can't...") is prohibited, and people must reframe their language positively ("we have...", "we learned...", "we can..."). Being aware of how our language shapes our perception can have a big impact on how we view our church and its future.

An Appreciative Inquiry "summit" begins with persons conducting conversational interviews to tell the stories of those times they felt most vital, connected, energized, and affirmed in their relationship with the church, and to explore the contributing factors and circumstances that made those experiences life-giving. The "interview" goes on to ask questions such as identifying three wishes (or prayers) for your church's future that are grounded in reality and achievable.

By sharing our stories, we reconnect to those feelings and attitudes that connected us to the church in the first place and keep us committed now. By resurfacing and identifying those experiences we can begin to identify where the life-giving Spirit of the church lies dormant, ready to be released. Even if we don't have the opportunity to hold a summit (which usually takes a whole day, minimally) we can start to share our individual stories and dreams in worship services and session meetings. These aren't intended as exercises in nostalgia, but as windows to the blessings that reside in every community of faith.

Of course, "wishing doesn't make it so." There is hard work involved in identifying and translating our positive core into a viable plan for the future. But "without a vision, the people perish." Identifying where the life-giving qualities of your church exist is the first step towards developing a vision that builds on them for a more vital future. In future columns we will continue to explore how that happens.

Dan Saperstein,  Executive Presbyter
Records Review
*** Last one is this weekend ***

The annual records review will take place on three Saturdays this fall. You are welcome to attend any one which works for you. We hope that by having sites around the Presbytery, one will be geographically close.

October 21  Grand Blanc-Kirkridge 10:00am
October 28  Marlette-First 10:00am
November 4  Midland-Chapel Lane 10:00am

Be sure to bring your Session Minutes and Records books along with a filled out review form. 
Details, including a copy of the letter recently sent to all Clerks of Session and the review form, may be found on the Records Review page of our website.

If you have any questions or need to schedule another time, please contact Ted McCulloch at or 989-799-7481 x4

In Our Congregations
Holiday Bazaar
Saginaw-Second will host their  9th Annual Holiday Bazaar on  Saturday, November 4th from  9:00 am to 3:00 pm. The church is located at:  2665 Midland Road, Saginaw.
Artists, Crafters, Vendors,  Bake Sale, & much more.  Free admission.
Holiday Bazaar
Saginaw-Countryside Trinity will host their annual Holiday Bazaar on  November 4th from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  The church is located at  
4690 Weiss Street in  Saginaw.
Come shop for handcrafted items too numerous to mention as well as direct sales items. Our Bakery will be stocked with mouth-watering treats and our luncheon is delicious as always. 

Organ Recital
Join the Saginaw Valley Chapter of the American Guild of Organists for the annual Kent S. Dennis Memorial Organ Recital, featuring Adrienne Wiley on the piano and organ on November 12th at 7:00pm at Midland-Memorial.

The evening will be spent listening to works by Bridge, Moszkowski, Hammond, Wild, Percy, Franek, and Rowley.
The event is sponsored by the Saginaw Valley Chapter of the American Guild of Organists and the Memorial Presbyterian Church of Midland. This event is free and open to the public. Guests are asked to make a free-will offering to benefit the Kent S. Dennis Memorial Endowed Scholarship, offered by the Midland Area Community Foundation. The Kent S. Dennis Memorial Endowed Scholarship encourages the musical education of present and future church or synagogue organists in the region by providing a scholarship for beginning or further study of the organ.

Click here for more 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. Click on the title to read the entire article.

For those of us who live in the northern U.S., it's time to prepare for lots of snow and ice. We have the infrastructure to clear the roads fairly quickly, but there are days when even an army of snowplows can't do the job fast enough.  Regardless of where you live, you're likely to run into weather conditions that make driving to church less than safe at some point. It's best to prepare for those days well before they occur.  Here are five steps to consider as you plan for inclement weather . .. continue reading .

A wise person once shared with my husband that "Frustration is the difference between expectation and reality."  He went on to say, "If you are frustrated, you will need to either change your expectation or you will need to change your reality."
As we continue to have conversations about including all generations in corporate worship, I think it might be wise for us to do consider this idea  In the past, the church has chosen to "change the reality."  When children and youth were seen as distracting or having specialized needs that couldn't be met in a corporate worship setting, the church changed the reality. We removed them from the space, put them in their own spaces, and separated the generations from one another as much as possible.  However, time has revealed to us some unintended consequences of this age segregation model adopted in the mid-20th century. And it's not just in the church; our whole culture bought into the idea that separating generations is a good idea...but we were wrong. .. continue reading .

Your website should be the center of your digital communications. Everything should rely on it to inform your congregation and to engage your community. Most will approach a website for answers.  Check your analytics (data that's kept to see where people click on your website), and you'll probably discover that your staff page  (if you have one)  is a top page. Why? . .. 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
Records Review
Holiday Bazaars
Organ Recital
Communications Corner
Connect With LHP Churches
Join Us On Facebook

Who We Are
About the
Bi-Weekly Brief

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Nominating Team
November 2
10:00 am

Holiday Bazaar
November 4
9:00-3:00 pm

Holiday Bazaar
November 4
9:00-3:00 pm
Saginaw-Countryside Trinity

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

Organ Recital
November 12
7:00 pm

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.