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 15, 2017 

"As we express our gratitude,
we must never forget that
the highest appreciation
is not to utter words,
but to live by them."

~ John F. Kennedy  
We Pray For 
We Lift Up In Prayer...  

The Rev. Mark Morningstar, former Pastor of Sandusky on the passing of his mother, Norma Morningstar. Her funeral is tomorrow at Davison-St. Andrews. Click here to read her obituary.

Bruce Graham, husband of the Rev. Linda Graham, Pastor of Cass City-First and Cass City-Fraser who is scheduled to have surgery on November 27th.

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 doing well and recovering from back surgery.

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

We are in an odd season of the church year. The secular society is caught up in the season of "Hallowthankmas" as I once heard it described, that commercial blitz that starts around Labor Day and continues into the New Year with its popular mythology and quasi-religious observances of death, gratitude, and hope heavily seasoned with gluttony and greed. Meanwhile the church is engaged in the pre-Advent and Advent themes of judgment, the end of the age, and God's final victory in Christ.

The two are an uneasy fit. On the one hand we are called to repentance by ancient prophets like Amos, Isaiah, and John the Baptist. On the other, we are encouraged to gratify our worst impulses for materialism and self-indulgence. The oft-cited and oft-abused shibboleth to put "Christ" back in "Christmas" is at least one expression of our awareness of this cultural dissonance.

However, there is one point in which our secular and sacred observances intersect, and it can be a fruitful connection in our lives and in the lives of our congregations. That is in our practice of expressing gratitude. Gratitude is the foundational response in the life of faith: God acts in grace and mercy toward us and we respond with lives of grateful service and obedience to God's will. Gratitude is also the foundation of our prayer lives. The medieval mystic Meister Eckhart once observed, "If the only prayer you say in your life is 'Thank You,' that would be enough." More recently, Anne Lamott wrote a short book on prayer titled, Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers. When it comes to our secular society, Thanksgiving may actually be the most truly spiritual holiday we observe, even if it is so often narrowly focused on family and country, and is increasingly compromised by "Black Thursday" sales in the stores.

But gratitude is an important part of the lives of congregations as well. Churches that regularly and enthusiastically express appreciation not only build healthy relationships, they build positive energy. I have recently been writing about breaking the downward spiral of negativity in congregations, and practicing the discipline of gratitude is one effective way of combatting negativity. It is a discipline because it is so easy to overlook. No act of generosity or volunteer effort should go unrecognized. Public expressions of gratitude should be shown to church leaders - not only when they end their terms of service or retire or leave - but regularly throughout their service. How many of our pastoral prayers in worship give thanks for the elders, deacons, and other volunteers? How many churches regularly say "thank you" to those who give time, talent, and treasure. One important takeaway from last summer's stewardship workshop was the power of the thank you note. Steve Keizer encouraged pastoral leaders to make a habit of writing ten thank you notes a week.

We have much for which we can be thankful - to God, first of all, but also to the scores of people in our churches and communities who serve us every day. A ministry of gratitude undertaken as a sincere expression of appreciation will not only help break the cycle of negativity, but will also connect churches to their communities in powerful and transformational ways.

I too need to develop my discipline of gratitude. I am grateful to God and this presbytery for allowing me the privilege of serving you as Executive Presbyter, and for the many extraordinary gifts in service to our shared mission which I see every day around our presbytery. Thanks be to God for every one of you.  

Dan Saperstein,  Executive Presbyter
Presbytery Meeting Documents

The documents for the December 5th stated meeting of presbytery will be posted by the end of the day on Tuesday, November 21st. A separate message will NOT be sent. Please check the Presbytery Meetings page of our website Tuesday afternoon.
Presbytery Meeting To Emphasize Youth Ministry

On Tuesday, December 5 churches will have a special opportunity to learn about the cutting edge of youth ministry during our Presbytery meeting equipping time. We are pleased to welcome the Rev. Matthew Deprez, the Church Engagement Specialist for the Fuller Youth Institute. Matthew was pastor of Frontline Community Church in Grand Rapids for nine years before turning his energies full time to developing vibrant youth ministry in congregations.

Matthew will share with the presbytery core findings in the groundbreaking "Growing Young" research study of the Institute, an arm of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. The study identified six core values that undergird successful youth ministry in churches of every size and context. Copies of the study book based on the research will be available at the meeting at discounted prices to take back to your congregations.

Our time with Matthew will be beneficial not only to pastors and commissioners, but to others in the leadership and youth programming of our congregations. The event is open to the whole church, and we encourage churches to bring those people to our morning worship and equipping time at Bay City-Westminster. The meeting begins at 9:30 a.m. with worship starting shortly thereafter. Guests are also invited to stay for lunch.


Matthew Deprez is the Church Engagement Specialist at the Fuller Youth Institute. As the Church Engagement Specialist, Matthew equips, trains and resources churches from around the country, while also leading FYI's cohorts. Holding a Master's in Children, Youth and Family Ministry (Wesley Seminary), Matthew speaks internationally at colleges, conferences, and churches on issues surrounding intergenerational and family ministry. He has over 12 years of pastoral ministry experience as an ordained minister in the Wesleyan Church and is the author, or coauthor, of multiple books. Matthew lives in Grand Rapids, MI, with his wife, Megan, and have adopted both of their sons, Isaiah and Silas.
In Our Congregations
Happenings At Holly
Holly Presbyterian Church is inviting all to join them for two upcoming events: 

November 24th at 6:00pm you are invited to join the congregation and the village of Holly for a Community Sing at the church. Refreshments will be served. The group will join the community light parade at 7:30pm.

December 3rd at 7:00pm p lease join us and invite your friends for an evening of music fellowship. There is no charge for this concert. There will be an offering that will go to our local needs this season.  Refreshments will be served.
Celebration of Ministry
Midland-Memorial recently celebrated the ministry of the Rev. Dr. Tom Schacher. Tom has served the congregation as Senior Pastor and Head of Staff since 2013. In commendation and gratitude for his ministry, the congregation hosted a reception honoring him on November 12th in Mayton Fellowship Hall at the church.  Community friends and neighbors were invited.  Rev. Schacher's last day serving the congregation is November 19th.
Cass City-Fraser Community Outreach
Cass City-Fraser partners with Local 4-H Club for Gifts of the Heart Program.  Fraser Church decided to collect personal hygiene kits in response to the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Gift of the Heart Program.  In spite of the its small congregation and remote location, Fraser is known for having a huge heart when it comes to supporting a long list of mission projects locally, nationally, and internationally.  After receiving a generous outpouring of congregational support for this project, Fraser invited the Boots and Bling 4-H club that meets in Fraser's fellowship hall, to join them for "Pizza and Packing" on November 3.  The event began with the church members who were involved in 4-H as youth and current members of the local 4-H club, packing the hygiene kits together.  Afterward, Fraser treated everyone to pizza and beverages.  In addition to their physical participation, the Boots and Bling 4-H Club presented a $50 check to Pastor Linda Graham for the purpose of purchasing additional hygiene kits.  The clubs partnering with Fraser made for a great intergenerational activity that focused on a common theme----to help those in need by providing hope out of chaos.  A total of 40 hygiene kits were packed.  Kim Strunz, a member of Fraser Church organized this fantastic evening of mission and fellowship!

Retirement Celebration
Midland-Memorial invites neighbors and community friends to a reception on Thursday, November 16 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the church's Mayton Hall.   The occasion honors Guy A. Lynch, Director of Music and Arts, upon his November 30, 2017 retirement.  A highlight from the date of his employment with the church in 2006 is the installation of the new LeTourneau organ in the church sanctuary in 2011-2012. 
The address of the church is 1310 Ashman Street in Midland.  The reception site is accessible.  Guy with his wife Emily will retain his home in the Midland community.  Current church music staff includes George Widiger, Associate Director of Music and Arts, and Dr. Adrienne Wiley, Organist.
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. 

Our Executive Presbyter, Dan Saperstein, recently shared this article on our Facebook page.

Gunshots rocked yet another church over the weekend. Sunday services in Sutherland Springs, Texas turned into a bloodbath, with at least 27 dead. Before that horrifying incident, the folks of this small town felt protected by their rural setting. But as we're discovering, even those things don't prevent gun violence from unfolding.  What's a church to do? I want to share with you seven practical tips from Rev. Derrek Belase, a former certified police officer turned pastor, with two degrees in criminology. He is now the Director of Discipleship of the Oklahoma Annual Conference. His current portfolio includes coordinating the Safe Sanctuary Training. .. continue reading .

As a church grows, the need for more "hands to the plow" increases as well. Unless your leadership team decides to hire more people, you'll need volunteers you can trust with more complex tasks. This could include leading teams of other volunteers or managing an area on Sunday that staff members have typically handled.  To prevent miscommunication and frustration for staff and volunteers, here are four keys to delegation success . .. continue reading .

Include church members that are good at making people feel welcome. We've all heard the old adage about the revolving church door. People come in and, before we know what happened, they leave, never to return. But what if this didn't have to be the case? How do we treat those visiting or relatively new to our churches in ways that make them know we are glad they came? Although there are lots of ways to do this, I want to briefly look at one routine event: mealtimes. Meals are great ways to get to know people and extend hospitality. .. 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
Presbytery Meeting
In Our Congregations
Communications Corner
Connect With LHP Churches
Join Us On Facebook

Who We Are
About the
Bi-Weekly Brief

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Commission on Preparation for Ministry
November 15
10:00 am

Commission on Ministry - Full Team
November 15
11:00 am

Presbytery Office Closed in Observance for Thanksgiving
November 23-24

Personnel Team
November 27
10:00 am

Presbytery Meeting
December 5
9:30 am

Commission on Preparation for Ministry
10:00 am
December 20

Presbytery Office Closed for Christmas
December 22-January 1

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