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." 

May 30, 2018 

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 is recovering from recent surgery and has developed an infection.

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 June and July:

The Rev. David Blackburn (7/1)  - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Jim Browne (6/24) - 40 years - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Roger Browne (6/1) - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Lindsey Carnes (7/29) - Co-Pastor of Fenton-First
The Rev. Robert Carnes (7/29)  - Co-Pastor of  Fenton-First
The Rev. Bert Clark (6/5) - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Annie Duncan (7/27) - Temporary Supply of Swartz Creek-Mundy
The Rev. Dr. Bob Emrich (6/7) - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Fred Gates (6/3) - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Dr. Sharlyn Gates (6/16) - Pastor of Holly
The Rev. Ron Grimes (6/13) - 40 years - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Martin Han (7/3) - Temporary Supply of Flint-Unity
The Rev. Robert Leas (6/30) - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Michael Loenshal (6/18) - 40 years - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Dr. Rhonda Myers (7/28) - Pastor of Midland-Chapel Lane
The Rev. Jim Neumann (7/1) - Pastor of Saginaw-Second
The Rev. Donald Neuville (6/19) - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Dr. Joseph Novak (6/24) - Pastor of Flint-First
The Rev. Jim Offrink (7/25) - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Philomena Ofori-Nipaah (6/2) - Temporary Supply of Fairgrove
The Rev. Ken Parker (6/24) - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Teresa Peterson (6/3) - Pastor of Flushing
The Rev. Peter Russell (6/29) - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Dr. Tom Schacher (7/17) - Member-At-Large
The Rev. Dr. Noel Snyder (7/31) - Member-At-Large
The Rev. Robert Taylor (6/29) - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Cassie Todd (6/19) - Member-At-Large
The Rev. Dr. Joseph Walser (5/22) - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Jim Williams (6/1) - Temporary Supply of Saginaw-Warren Avenue
The Rev. Linda Williams (7/1) - Parish Associate of Bay City-Westminster
The Rev. Paul Ytterock (6/8) - 10 years - Associate Pastor of Flint-First
Presbytery Office
Dan Saperstein
From the Lion's Den

We have received the annual statistical report for the presbytery for 2017 - just the aggregate figures, for now - and there is both good news and bad.

The bad news is that membership continues to decline: our presbytery's total membership at the end of 2017 was 7244, down from 7530 a year earlier. The good news is that the net loss of 286 was the lowest loss, both in actual numbers and percentage, in recent history.  That reflects an increase in total gains (members received) from 191 to 246. Another piece of good news is an uptick in baptisms from 2016 (75 vs. 66), though we are still down 40% from only 5 years before, and the total of adult baptisms is only 14 for our 47 churches.

That last figure is jarring, nevertheless. It represents an increase of one adult baptism over 2016, and maintains a fairly consistent number over the past four years.  Adult baptisms are one of the key signs of a healthy, vibrant, ministry. They signal new professions of faith in Christ, whether by conversion from another faith, from no faith, or as an initial profession for someone not baptized as an infant. While Presbyterians are historically more successful as a denomination of "second affiliation" rather than as primary evangelists, it suggests that our churches have become closed communities that do not take seriously the Lord's command to make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:16-20).
The other statistic that speaks to this is the number of total gains (by profession of faith, transfer, reaffirmation, or other means). In 2017 our churches had a combined total of 246 other gains - roughly 5 per church. While the increase from 2016 is commendable, it is still a statistic that should stir us to action. When I consult churches, I advise them that a reasonably reliable indicator of the long-term membership of that congregation is roughly ten times the number of total new members received. In our case, that would indicate a long-term membership of the presbytery (and its churches) that is roughly one-third our current size.

All this is not intended to lay a burden of guilt on our churches, pastors, or leaders. It is, however, a telling sign of the need to adopt a renewed emphasis on growing our congregations. As I have been outlining over the past two years, the most faithful and effective way to do this is "inside-out, upside-down, and sticky."

We have some signs of encouragement amid what is otherwise a downward trend. When we get statistics on all of our churches, we will be able to highlight those congregations that are showing statistical improvement. But more important than numbers is the spiritual vitality and missional impact of those congregations. When that is present, the numbers will follow, or will prove unimportant. What cannot happen if we are to see a return to greater vitality is to remain on the same course we are headed.


Dan Saperstein, E xecutive Presbyter
Boundary Training

On  Wednesday, September 12, 2018 we will be holding  Boundary/Misconduct Training from 10:00am until 3:00pm at  Mt. Pleasant First Presbyterian Church.  This will be a joint offering with the Presbytery of Lake Michigan.  The Stated Clerk for Lake Michigan Presbytery, the Rev. Fran Lane-Lawrence, is skilled in leading this type of training.  She will come provide the leadership.  Lunch will be provided as well as any materials needed.  Please sign up through the Presbytery website and fill out the basic on-line form by  clicking here.

Please be sure to read the following:

As a reminder,  all of our current serving clergy and CREs are required to attend this training. If you attended last year, you do not have to attend this session. If you were not able to attend last year or not able to attend this year, you will have one last opportunity in the fall of 2019.

This initial Training, no matter when it is taken, will be in a face-to-face setting.

The Boundary/Misconduct Training will be good for a five year period, starting the end of the 2019 Training date (i.e. thru 2024).  Then a Boundary/Misconduct refresher will be needed.  We are confident that we will be able to have this refresher training done on-line. 

Thank you for your attention to this important matter and, as always, if there are questions, please let me know.

Yours in Christ,

Ted McCulloch, Stated Clerk
Summer Hours Begin

From Memorial Day through Labor Day the Presbytery Office will be switching to our summer hours of:

Monday - Thursday 8:00 am to 3:30 pm
Friday 8:00 am to noon

Please contact the office at 989-799-7481 should you need to make special arrangements for a meeting.
June Presbytery Meeting

All of the documents for the June 5th stated meeting of Presbytery at Lapeer-First are now available on our website on the Presbytery Meetings page.

For this meeting, we have several significant portions.  For our equipping time, we will offer two workshops to run side-by-side.  One, provided by Lori Neff-LaRue of the Board of Pensions, will be on "Clergy Self-Care."  The other, led by Rev. Lisa McIlvenna from Fresh Aire Counseling, will be on "Care for the Caregiver."  The idea is that those serving in pastoral leadership will be encouraged to attend "Clergy Self-Care" and elders and general commissioners will be encouraged to attend "Care for the Caregiver." 
For the business portion, we will commission our General Assembly Commissioners; hear from two of our Presbytery Inquirers as they move towards Candidate status; hear from our regional Board of Pensions representative, Doug Portz, on the many changes coming to the plan; and the possibility of appointing an Administrative Commission to assist a congregation with possible closing plans.
Ecumenical Dignitary to Tour Presbytery

The Presbytery of Lake Huron has the great honor of hosting the Rev. Mai-Aiki Kadade, the President of the Evangelical (Protestant) Church of Niger during a five-day itineration June 28 - July 2. He is the head of the Protestant Church in Niger, where our mission co-workers Michael and Rachel Ludwig serve. He is itinerating in the US as an ecumenical delegate to the General Assembly in Saint Louis.

President Kadade is scheduled to have events at different locations in our presbytery.  Currently there is a plan for an event at Midland Memorial Presbyterian Church, Westminster Presbyterian Church in Bay City, and one in the southern end of the Presbytery, possibly First Presbyterian Church of Flint. In addition, there will be a luncheon for presbytery pastors and leaders held on Monday, July 2.

Please look to our Presbytery web page and the Bi-weekly Briefs in June for more details.

Help Wanted
Midland-Chapel Lane
Director of Christian Education

Chapel Lane Presbyterian Church in Midland seeks part-time Director of Christian Education for Children, Youth, and Adults
Chapel Lane Presbyterian Church is a nurturing and caring congregation of approximately 230 members. We are an active church, with programs and activities guided by our vision: "Growing a Faith That Must Be Shared."
Chapel Lane is currently seeking a part-time DCE to begin employment in July. The role requires an average of 18 hours per week in September - May.  Summer hours are more flexible.  Compensation will reflect experience and education with an annual compensation ranging from $10,000 to $15,000.
The ideal candidate:
  • demonstrates strong Christian values
  • has previous experience working with children, youth, and adults
  • is self-motivated and an enthusiastic, high energy person with a passion for leading children and youth in growing their faith
  • is a team-oriented leader with the confidence and ability to provide guidance and support to participants and volunteers
  • exhibits strong planning and organizing, administrative, time management, and follow-through skills
  • has effective written and verbal communication skills
For more information, please go to under "About Us," "Employment Opportunities."
223rd General Assembly
GA 223 News Subscription

What's happening at General Assembly this year? When GA 223 meets in St. Louis June 16-23, the General Assembly Newsroom will publish the GA Newspaper every day. A team of crackerjack reporters will fan out through the committees and events, to bring all the news right to your inbox. Subscription is easy and FREE!
As congregational leaders, you are the "front line" responders to help your people understand what the Assembly ACTUALLY did, and the whole scope of news.  What we hear repeatedly is that pastors who can't be at the Assembly are frequently asked questions about GA that they are not prepared to answer - by subscribing to the daily paper, they will be well-equipped to respond when parishioners (and others) ask.  
Here's the deal: click on the link below. It will take you to the sign-up page to receive the GA NEWS delivered free to your inbox each morning of the Assembly. What you will receive is a pdf of the actual newspaper printed each day at the Assembly.

In Our Congregations
Celebrating Pentacost

Building up the idea of our connectedness, the Houghton Lake-Kirk of the Lakes, publicly read aloud the names of all the congregations in the Presbytery of Lake Huron during its Pentecost Sunday worship service. The list was printed in the bulletin and was read aloud by the congregation prior to the Lord's Supper when the light from the Christ Candle lights the seven red candles which surrounded the Christ Candle in the Cross shaped candle holder used for this occasion. Hope this idea triggers some ideas for you all-that would be "Mission accomplished."

Pastor Karen Blatt

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
Boundary Training
Summer Hours
June Presbytery Meeting
Ecumenical Dignitary
Help Wanted
GA 223 News
In Our Congregations
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. 

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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 Office Closed for Staff Development
May 30

Presbytery Meeting
June 5
9:30 am

Mission Coordinating Team
June 11
1:00 pm

Presbytery Council (Tentative)
June 13
10:00 am

Commission on Preparation for Ministry
June 13
10:00 am

Nominating Team
June 13
1:00 pm

Presbyterian Women
June 14
10:00 am

Personnel Team
June 25
10:00 am

Commission on Ministry
June 27
11:00 am

Worship Planning
June 27
1:30 pm

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