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." 

December 13, 2017 

Wise men still seek him...
May we find the same joy in giving
to others as the Wise men did to
the infant child.

Blessings for a very Merry Christmas
and a Happy New Year
from the Presbytery Staff.

We Pray For 
We Lift Up In Prayer...  

The Rev. Ken Hetzel, Honorably Retired who is experiencing some heart issues again.

Bruce Graham, husband of the Rev. Linda Graham, Pastor of Cass City-First and Cass City-Fraser who is recovering from surgery earlier this week.

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 December and January:

The Rev. Doug Abel (1/5)  - Pastor of Vassar-First
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. 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 Sam McKim (1/1) - Commissioned Ruling Elder of Lapeer-First
The Rev. Dr. John Musgrave (1/1) - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Alex Peterson (1/22) - One Year - Pastor of Lapeer-First
The Rev. Dr. Rodney Shoemaker (12/2) - Member-At-Large
The Rev. Elizabeth "Betsy" Stilwell (1/22) - 35 Years - Member-At-Large
Presbytery Office
Dan Saperstein
From the Lion's Den

What Happens in the Dark?

December in Michigan is dark and gray. The short days and overcast skies take their toll on our physical and psychological well-being. It is no accident that we celebrate Christmas when darkness is preponderant, when we are most in need of light and hope. The scriptures give us scant clues as to the actual day of Christ's birth, so the selection of December 25 for its celebration was determined by theology, not history.  The rich message of the incarnation found in the opening chapter of John's gospel expresses it well: "What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it" (John 1:3b-5). Christ comes as light in our darkness.

Fear of the dark is primal. I remember once driving a long stretch of US-50 across Nevada at night. There were no towns, no street lights, no moon, and no other traffic. I had to trust my headlights to illumine the way, five hundred feet at a time, across miles of desert darkness. I remember the sheer joy of cresting a hill and seeing the distant light of a town maybe 15 miles in the distance. The joy came in knowing there was a place of safety ahead, a place where the darkness did not prevail.

That's the message of Advent and Christmas. Christ has shown us that there is light in the darkness, and the darkness will not overcome it. There is hope that lifts despair, comfort that drives out fear, and a shining future to guide our earthly travels.

My friend Paul Hooker, who serves on the faculty of Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, is also a poet of some talent. I recently came across a poem of his posted on the blog, titled "Adventus" ( ):
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go now to Bethlehem...."  - Luke 2:15

What proximate apocalypse arrives tomorrow?
Lost key lost love cancer butterfly extinction
blood on the floor of schoolyards sanctuaries-
must we endure yet more of heaven's plan?
Do you dare to raise your eyes, peek between
the stars to see the angels turn for home
after they have rearranged your dreams?
After the dream comes the dark.

"Be not afraid": why do the bless├Ęd say this
when the only reasonable response is fear
or maybe flight if you can make your feet work?
Are you not supposed to fear the beast?
When you meet a bear-or host of angels-
and your back's against the wall, will you stand
your ground before the feral claws of glory?
After the glory comes the dark.

Do you yearn to leave the sheep and wander
into town to search for manger mother
child aglow with heaven's subtle light;
leave the eastern palaces to track a star,
offer homage at the hard world's fraying edge;
leave the boats and nets and trail a migrant
preacher pinned like a butterfly to a cross?
After the cross comes the dark.

And who knows what might happen in the dark?

What happens in the dark is light and hope and resurrection. What happens in the dark is Jesus.

Dan Saperstein,  Executive Presbyter
Presbytery Meeting Minutes

The minutes and feedback responses of the December stated meeting of presbytery at now  are available on the Presbytery Meetings page of our website.

We would like to thank  Bay City-Westminster  for being such incredible hosts! It was a very uplifting day and we're grateful to have had an opportunity to spend it with all of you who were able to attend.
Latest Parish Papers

The latest editions of the Parish Paper are available on our website along with the all previous editions since 2011. The presbytery's subscription includes the use of these by our congregations. They make for awesome elder training material!
You're Invited
Advent Candle
Advent Events

Ithaca-First has several Advent events/services planned that they are inviting everyone to. Click here for details.
Advent Bible and Candle
Longest Night Worship Service

Mt. Pleasant-First hosts "A Service of Grief and Remembrance" on Thursday, December 21st at 7:30pm

This worship service will offer a safe and sacred space for those who are struggling to feel the joy and light of this holiday season due to loss of any kind. While what we lose cannot always be replaced, this service will acknowledge the hole that grief leave's in one's heart while simultaneously remembering that we worship a God who is with us, even in the lowest and darkest of times. 

If you know of family members or friends who are suffering this holiday season, invite them to this service. All are welcome. Help us show love, support and comfort to those who are struggling.
Mission Co-Workers
Update From The Ludwigs

It was another active month with a lot of things happening at the end.  From making progress in language as a family to teaching new things in CHE, from visiting church harvest services to graduations, and even a special visit to a new building site!  We've also been busy learning and testing out techniques for some special CHE microbusiness ideas, like grinding sesame seed and raising fish. As we wrote in our last Mission Connection letter, our EERN church supervisor recently made a big deal of the ways we've impacted their work. We know we are only one part of their efforts, but we value this feedback as a good reflection of the prayers and support you all continue to pass on to be a life-giving part of what God is doing here in Niger.

CHE visiting - Michael and Issa had a great visit with the 4 CHE evangelists in the Dogondoutchi area.  We worked on making natural compost and several lessons on having healthy homes.  We continued working with the Bible school students at Aguie and even snuck in several lessons on how to make highly efficient clay cooking stoves before final exams.  The students were amazed and energized to learn why these keep heat so much better than the traditional pot-on-3-rocks method of cooking.  We are also starting to plan the major training of 30 more evangelists in the Maradi region in early February!

Everything Family - We had a very nice Thanksgiving celebration with some other US missionaries in our city.  We're grateful that our area seems to be safe and the situation is very calm. Please pray with us as we are thinking about living in closer community to the students at a Bible school for a month. This mini move would give us a simple lifestyle, more conversation in Hausa, and maybe some opportunity to share more CHE projects with the students. But we're still in the beginning stages of considering this.


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. 

We all know churches need strong, committed volunteer teams. Volunteers greet people, take care of infants, teach children, make coffee, lead small groups and much more.  Members of your congregation need the opportunity to serve to develop strong relationships within their church family, grow in their faith and experience the joy that comes from serving others.  If you have any influence over or responsibility for coordinating volunteers at your church, here are a few ways to grow your current team . .. continue reading .

With the constant sharing of photos on social media, it's tempting to play fast and loose with the photos you've taken. It surely can't matter that much as to how and where you publish them, right? But it does, and it makes sense for the church to be extra sensitive in this area. Sometimes, obtaining permission from someone to use their photo is a courtesy. In other instances, the law requires you to get permission first. Several considerations go into when you should or have to obtain photo permissions, such as the six detailed here. .. 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 Minutes
Parish Paper
Advent Events
Longest Night Worship Service
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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Commission on Preparation for Ministry
10:00 am
December 20

Presbytery Office Closed for Christmas
December 22-January 1

Commission on Preparation for Ministry
January 10
10:00 am

Presbyterian Women
January 11
10:00 am

Presbytery Office Closed In Observance of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
January 15

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

Personnel Team
January 22
10:00 am

Commission on Ministry
January 24
11:00 am

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