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 9, 2018 

The flower s appear on the earth;
the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove
is heard in our land.
~ Song of Solomon 2:12
We Pray For 
We Lift Up In Prayer...  

The family of Elder Roger Terrill and the Fenton-First congregation on his recent passing. Roger was very active at the presbytery level and was serving on the Presbytery Council at the time of his death. (Click here to view his obituary.)

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 May and June:

The Rev. Dr. Daniel Ahn (5/18) - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Dr. Ed Borycz (5/12) - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Alec Brooks (5/1) - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Jim Browne (6/24) - 40 years - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Roger Browne (6/1) - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Bert Clark (6/5) - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Bruce Cunningham (5/18) - Honorably Retired
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. Robert Leas (6/30) - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Michael Loenshal (6/18) - 40 years - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Donald Neuville (6/19) - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Dr. Joseph Novak (6/24) - Pastor of Flint-First
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. Dale Swihart (5/16) - Honorably Retired
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. Paul Ytterock (6/8) - 10 years - Associate Pastor of Flint-First
Presbytery Office
Dan Saperstein
From the Lion's Den

In this season I have been exploring dimensions of what it means to become an "upside-down" church. Following the model of Christ in Philippians 2, an upside-down church empties itself of privilege, inverts the social ladder, and adopts the role of a servant.

This is a necessary shift not only in mission but in our internal power structures as well. The upcoming General Assembly being held in mid-June in St. Louis will be a test as to whether the PCUSA has the courage and will to begin this transformation in its own power structures. In that regard it may be the most significant Assembly of the century for the future of the church.

This Assembly will receive reports from three task forces charged with addressing the future mission of the denomination:
  • The Way Forward Commission was charged with finding ways to bring our denominational structures in line with the new realities of shrinking membership and declining finances.
  • The Vision 20/20 Task Force will make an initial report on its charge to present a new mission statement and direction for the denomination's public profile.
  • The All-Agency Review Committee will issue its once-every-six-years report on how our General Assembly agencies collaborate for the good of the church and its mission.
But much of the energy at the upcoming Assembly will be focused on a proposal to raise the General Assembly portion of the per capita assessment by 39% in 2019 and another 7% in 2020, an increase of nearly $4.00 per member. Per capita assessments fund the administrative costs of operating our church agencies and holding the biennial General Assembly. Presbyteries are required to pay the assessment in full, based on their total membership. A presbytery may pass the expense on to its churches together with a per capita assessment for its own operation.

The problem is that many churches do not have the available resources to add $4 per member to their denominational support without decreasing mission giving proportionally. This is the opposite direction from an "inside-out, upside-down" church. There are many good reasons why the per capita budget must increase (it has been kept artificially low for a decade) - but what is disappointing about this increase is that it represents a failure of missional imagination and adaptive leadership.

The same is true of the three task force reports coming to the Assembly - at a time when bold vision is needed, for the most part their recommendations are designed to maintain the status quo rather than chart a new direction. We face challenges that cannot be met with technical fixes.  If the challenge is defined as "How does the PCUSA fulfill the mission of Christ in a post-Christendom, post-denominational society?" Then I think the model of mission and governance would need to change:
  • Change the model of a "congregation" to discipleship and mission communities
  • Change the model of "minister" to discipleship and mission leader. Give greater latitude to adapting standards locally by presbytery.
  • Move away from a membership model (and membership based funding model) to a model based on a shared commitment to mission
  • Shift the function of the national church (if one is needed) from serving institutions to serving mission
  • Ground our connectional life in commitment to shared principles and mission goals, not shared laws (what organizational leaders call a "centered-set" model, as opposed to a "bounded-set" model)
  • Allow maximal local interpretation of mission priorities
This would lead to some structural changes, but the form would follow function. For example, it might lead to smaller presbyteries where executive leadership would not be required; the reduction of synod functions to administrative and judicial review; a rethinking of the property trust clause; and restructuring national offices to support congregations and grassroots mission networks.

The result would be a leaner, bottom-up model of mission and governance for a post-denominational society, while preserving core Presbyterian values. I doubt that will happen at this Assembly, but it is a direction in which we need to head if we are to become the inside-out, upside-down church for our time.


Dan Saperstein, E xecutive Presbyter
Order Your 2018-2019 Planning Calendar


The Presbytery Office will place a bulk order for the 2018-2019 Presbyterian Planning Calendar for individuals and churches. If the calendars arrive in time, they will be available for pick-up at the June 5th Presbytery meeting at the  Lapeer-First.  Otherwise, they can be picked up at the Presbytery office. 
Cost per calendar is $8.80. All orders must be pre-paid. Please click here to use our on-line order form. Rose Onan will email you an invoice when she receives your order and payment is due  no later than May 10, 2018.  
Contact Rose Onan at or 989-799-7481 ext. 6 with any questions.

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. 

Vacation Bible School. It's not exactly a vacation. It doesn't happen at school. And hopefully the Bible's involved in there somewhere. About two-thirds of churches host a VBS every summer, but it's always a daunting task to plan and execute. To help you in your time of need, here are 10 things to keep in mind for this year's VBS. ..continue reading.

I'm kind of a nerd. I like musical theater. I like obscure historical figures. In other words, the Broadway smash hit  Hamilton  is my cup of tea. Apparently, it is for everyone else, too. If only it wasn't so popular, I might  actually be able to get a ticket  to see the show.  Thankfully, I can still listen to the brilliant music from the Broadway production for free on Spotify. And while I was listening the other day, it dawned on me that there are plenty of leadership lessons that we church communicators can glean from  Hamilton After all, we can learn about communications from  tacos stand-up comedy , and  Homestar Runner . So why not one of the U.S. founding fathers ... 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
Calendar Orders
Communications Corner
Connect With LHP Churches
Join Us On Facebook

Who We Are
About the
Bi-Weekly Brief

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Mission Coordination Committee
May 14
1:00 pm

Commission on Preparation for Ministry
May 16
10:00 am

Commission on Ministry
May 23
11:00 am

Presbytery Office Closed in Observance of Memorial Day
May 28

Personnel Team
May 29
10:00 am

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