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." 

August 15, 2018 

We Pray For 
We Lift Up In Prayer...  

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 August and September:

The Rev. John Becker (9/17) - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Tom Brackbill (8/31) - Pastor of Alma-First
The Rev. David Eshleman (8/3) - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Glenn Grant (8/15) - 25 Years - Pastor of Grand Blanc-Kirkridge
The Rev. Katja Gruening (9/7) - Pastor of Sandusky and Yale-First
Elder Shaun Hardimon (8/11) - 5 Years - Commissioned Ruling Elder of Swartz Creek-Mundy
The Rev. Ken Hetzel (8/16) - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Chip Marquardt (8/29) - Member-At-Large
The Rev. Ted McCulloch (8/20) - Pastor of Saginaw-First and Presbytery Stated Clerk
The Rev. Leslie Piper (8/1) - Interim Pastor of Bay City-First
Elder Kathleen Rowe (8/1) - Commissioned Ruling Elder of Tawas
The Rev. Matt Schramm (9/19) - Pastor of Bay City-Westminster
The Rev. Dr. Stephen Shugert (8/1) - 50 years - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Ron Vredeveld (9/1) - Temporary Supply of Beaverton-First
The Rev. Dr. David Weber (9/25) - 30 years - Temporary Supply of Davison-St. Andrew's
Elder Don Wixson (9/3) - 1 year - Commissioned Ruling Elder of Croswell-First
Presbytery Office
Dan Saperstein
From the Lions' Den

The news headlines on Tuesday were sickening: a Pennsylvania grand jury issued a report accusing six Roman Catholic dioceses (their equivalent of a presbytery) of covering up child sexual abuse by over 300 priests affecting over a thousand known victims and unknown thousands of others over a period of seventy years. The incidents of abuse are horrific, and many will never be adjudicated or compensated because of the statutes of limitations and the deaths of accused priests. But the report also focuses on the actions of the dioceses in failing to discipline offenders, in covering up the offenses, relocating offenders to other dioceses, and failing to care for victims. The report notes improvement over the past fifteen years, but the problem persists.

Sexual abuse by clergy and other church leaders is a very real concern for all denominations. Any sexual misconduct is contrary to both our morals and ethics. Sexual abuse violates a trust relationship and targets vulnerable members for personal pleasure or gain. It is a rejection of the gospel itself.
I want to take this opportunity to do two things: first, to help our readers understand what protections and processes are used in the Presbytery of Lake Huron to minimize and address incidents of sexual abuse, and secondly, to open a conversation about past incidents in our presbytery that may not have been addressed appropriately. One thing the Pennsylvania report indicates is that it is never too late to bring justice and healing.

The Presbytery is proactive in addressing potential sexual abuse in the following ways:
  • No person is permitted to practice ministry within our presbytery without having submitted to and passed a 50-state criminal background check.
  • All clergy are required to participate in regular Boundary Training events (see the announcement for the upcoming event in this Bi-weekly Brief). Those who fail to do so will not be allowed to seek new positions in the church.
  • Persons who have been convicted of any form of sexual misconduct in the church and have been restored to ministry must state this fact on their information forms, which must be attested by the stated clerk of the presbytery before it is circulated. In addition, all persons being considered for ministry positions from other presbyteries are subject to confidential executive-to-executive reference checks to identify issues that might not have risen to the level of a conviction.
  • We have a robust Sexual Misconduct Policy which applies to all ministers and Commissioned Ruling Elders in the presbytery, as well as all Presbytery staff. It is available on our presbytery website. It is scheduled for review and amendment in the near future.
  • All sessions are required to adopt both a Sexual Misconduct Policy governing persons who are accountable to the session (both volunteers and paid staff), as well as a Child and Youth Protection Policy setting forth requirements for screening, reporting, and training of persons working with children and youth, as well as policies and practices to help prevent abuse (such as two-adult rules, worker-child ratios, and auto safety policies).
It is our commitment as a presbytery to ensure the safety of all persons in our churches and to take seriously every allegation of sexual misconduct or abuse so that each is fully investigated and offenders are disciplined. We recognize that this has not always been the practice in past decades, and there are undoubtedly many instances of misconduct that may never have been reported. It is my intent to help bring healing and justice to those who were victimized by sexual misconduct in our presbytery regardless of when it occurred. There is no statute of limitations in our Rules of Discipline for instances of sexual abuse (D-10.0401). Even if formal discipline is not feasible, bringing to light what has been kept in the shadows can help heal both individuals and congregations.

May our presbytery be a place where all persons may worship and serve confident of their safety and of the integrity of their pastoral leaders.


Dan Saperstein, E xecutive Presbyter

Presbytery Meeting Date Change

The Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, the Stated Clerk of the General Assembly, will be in our Presbytery on Thursday, September 20.  We are very excited and pleased to have him come.  He is a dynamic and challenging preacher and leader.

Because of his coming, we have moved the Presbytery meeting from Tuesday, September 18 to Thursday, September 20. The meeting will still be at the Tawas Area Presbyterian Church.  
Boundary Training

As the summer moves along, a reminder to keep Wednesday, September 12, on your calendars. Once again Boundary Training will be provided. The training will take place at Mt. Pleasant-First from 9:00am until 3:00pm.  The Rev. Fran Lane-Lawrence, the Stated Clerk of Lake Michigan Presbytery, will lead the training.

This training is required for all pastors and CREs.  If you did not attend last year's training or are new to service in our Presbytery, you still have this year and next to attend.  Again, this is a requirement for service, so it's important to attend.  Please sign up through the Presbytery website and fill out the basic on-line form by  clicking here .
Parish Paper

The latest editions of the Parish Paper are now available for your use - free of charge. The topics are:

September: Checking Up on Clergy Health
October: Don't Disagree, Deliberate: How To Lead Community Conversations In Your Church

Click here to read and/or download your copies.
Emergency Preparedness
Is your church prepared?

In the second article of his series on Emergency Preparedness, Elder CJ Merriman discusses Phone Tree Importance and Setup Information. His previous article as well as other helpful documentation may be found on the Emergency Preparedness page of our website.
The first article in this series dealt with the presbytery's implementation of a disaster plan outlining how it would respond should a disaster strike one or more churches within it's boundaries and how individual churches can initiate the process of becoming more prepared for disasters. This article is intended to encourage you and your church to begin taking action.
By now I hope your church has at least started the conversation about how prepared or perhaps unprepared you are for a disaster or other type of emergency. Anticipating a disaster and how to respond is an easy topic to put off with the anticipation that it won't happen here. Frankly, I hope that you are right. I hope it doesn't occur in your church. But just in case...........  what if it does happen?  As I mentioned in the first article there are a number of steps that your church can likely take that will involve minimal time or expense.
One of the first steps, if not the first step, your church will want to take is to identify 2 or 3 people who are genuinely interested in being prepared and committed to leading your church's effort to be ready. This group does not need to be large just committed to the job and supported by the session.  In most cases the session will need to identify and endorse the preparedness team. The team will then need to consult with other church members as they develop the action steps and strategies the church will use in case of an emergency.
One of the most important steps for a church in any emergency is...continue reading.
Help Wanted
Lapeer-First Seeking CE Director and Church Organist

Lapeer-First is actively seeking  a new Organist and a new Christian Education Director. For more information and how to apply please click on the following links:

In Our Congregations
Worship In The Street

Cass City-First and Fraser Presbyterian Churches took part in the 4th annual Freedom Festival - "Worship in the Street" on July 8th.  The minister's group of Cass City joined together leading worship and communion for 496 people!  It was a beautiful morning and exciting to be a part of it.  The homeschool group created a drama to the song "Be One".  The drama was a powerful message of working together as the church. Two of the young people were from Fraser church, Addy and Dori Battel. We were blessed to also have Shelley Abel (wife of Pastor Doug) from Vassar join us.  The Thumb churches are divided into regional groups, Vassar and Cass City are in the Tuscola group.  We are working to find ways to share ministry and ideas for mission to our communities.  Shelley showed her support by joining us, and we were blessed to have her!  An offering was taken for the Koinonia project that involves young people in doing community service projects, a lock in with games, worship and Bible study.  This is sponsored by one of the churches in town, but it is a community project.  Almost $3,000 was collected!
Presbyterian Women
PW Logo
Lake Huron Presbyterian Women Fall Gathering

The 2018 PW Fall Gathering will be held on October 20, 2018 at Trinity United Presbyterian Church located 5151 Lennon Road in Flint, Michigan.  The theme for the day is " To Serve With Love"

"For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give His life as a ransom for many"
~ Matthew 20:28
We are fortunate to have the Rev. Dr. Rhashell D. Hunter as our workshop presenter and to bring the message during the worship service beginning at 1:20 pm. Registration begins at 9:30 am followed by a brief coordinating team business meeting and installation of officers. Dr. Hunter will present on the topic 'Status of Women and Leadership in the Church' at 11:00 am. Lunch will be served prior to worship. An offering will be collected during the worship service. The offering will be designated to the Flint water crisis. Click here for the registration form.
GLAPCE Fall Retreat

The Great Lakes Association of Presbyterian Church Educators invites all those who are involved in Educational Ministries to our annual fall Retreat "See all the People" from October 9-11 at the Geneva Conference Center in Rochester, IN. Long-time educator, Tori Smit will lead our keynote presentations talking about Intergenerational ministry. There will be opportunities for worship and reflection, along with workshops and fellowship with other educators. Click here for more information and to register visit our website.
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
From The Lions' Den
September Presbytery Meeting
Boundary Training
Parish Paper
Emergency Preparedness
Help Wanted
In Our Congregations
PW Fall Gathering
GLAPCE Fall Retreat
Connect With LHP Churches

Who We Are
About the
Bi-Weekly Brief

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Presbytery Council
August 15
10:00 am

Nominating Team
August 21
10:00 am

Commission on Ministry
August 22
11:00 am

Personnel Team
August 27
10:00 am

Presbytery Office Closed in Observance of Labor Day
September 3

Mission Coordination Committee
September 10
1:00 pm

Boundary Training
September 12
9:00 am
Mt. Pleasant-First

Presbyterian Women
September 12
10:00 am

Commission on Preparation for Ministry
September 19
10:00 am

Presbytery Meeting
September 20
9:30 am
(Note Date Change)

Personnel Team
September 24
10:00 am

Commission on Ministry
September 26
11:00 am

Planning/Equipping/Vision Committee
September 27
1:30 pm

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