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 16, 2017 

"The moral arc of the universe
bends at the elbow of justice."

Martin Luther King, Jr.

We Pray For 
We Lift Up In Prayer...  

The family and loved ones of the Rev. Robert (Bob) Lakey, Honorably Retired, and his son-in-law, Armand Martin who both passed to the larger life this week. A funeral for both were held yesterday. Click here to read Bob's obituary and click here to Armand's obituary.

The Rev. Dr. George Baird, Honorably Retired,  w ho has been diagnosed with acute leukemia. He is currently at home under hospice care.

The Rev. Dr. Tom Schacher, Pastor of Midland-Memorial and his family and congregation  as they deal with his recent diagnosis of Parkinson's Disease.

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) - 45 years -  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) - Pastor of Grand Blanc-Kirkridge
The Rev. Doris "Katja" Gruening (9/7) - Pastor of Sandusky and Yale-First
Elder Shaun Hardimon (8/11) - Commissioned Ruling Elder of Holly and Swartz Creek-Mundy
The Rev. Ken Hetzel (8/16) - 30 years - Pastor of Croswell-First
The Rev. Charles Marquardt (8/29) - Member-At-Large
The Rev. Ted McCulloch (8/20) - Pastor of Saginaw-First and Presbytery Stated Clerk
The Rev. Jill Rasmussen-Baker (9/16) - Member-At-Large
Elder Kathleen Rowe (8/1) - Commissioned Ruling Elder of Tawas-Tawas Area
The Rev. Matthew Schramm (9/19) - Pastor of Bay City-Westminster
The Rev. Dr. Stephen Shugart (8/1) - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Ronald Vredeveld (9/1) - Temporary Supply of Beaverton-First
The Rev. David Weber (9/25) - Interim Pastor of Ithaca-First
Presbytery Office
Dan Saperstein
From the Lion's Den

By now you are probably aware that an "alt-right" rally and march in Charlottesville, Virginia this weekend turned violent, resulting in one death and dozens injured, mostly among counter-protesters who were attacked by alt-right supporters or struck by a vehicle driven by an alt-right sympathizer. The night before the rally, participants in a peaceful counter-protest were assaulted and sprayed with mace by a torch-bearing assemblage of alt-right marchers.

"Alt-right" is the generic self-designation of various White Supremacist and White Nationalist groups including the KKK, Neo-Nazis, and their sympathizers. What were once fringe groups have been emboldened and empowered in the present political climate in our nation. Many of them embrace a false form of Christian faith that claims divine endorsement for racial discrimination, violence against Jews, and subjugation of women and people of color.

I have personally been the target of their hatred as a Christian minister of Jewish ancestry. Early in my ministry I served congregations in Idaho and Eastern Washington close to the compound of the Aryan Nations cult of white supremacy. On two occasions, after profiles about me ran in the local papers, I received racist hate mail from anonymous persons, questioning my ministry and seeking to intimidate me because of my ethnicity.

When faced with such hatred, now as then, it is important for us who follow Christ to bear a faithful witness to him. This involves offering a clear and positive testimony to Jesus' gospel of peace, grace, and welcome while denouncing attempts to invoke his name for purposes antithetical to his teaching and present Lordship. We have done this as a Reformed Christians at various times through our confessions and as a denomination through social witness statements.

Both the Confession of 1967 and our newest confession, The Confession of Belhar, explicitly condemn racial hatred and division and obligate the church to work against discrimination and for reconciliation. When it added the Confession of Belhar to our Book of Confessions, our most recent General Assembly adopted an anti-Racism policy and study guide. 

The policy states,

Racism is the opposite of what God intends for humanity. It is the rejection of the other, which is entirely contrary to the Word of God incarnate in Jesus Christ. It is a form of idolatry that elevates human-made hierarchies of value over divinely-given free grace. Through colonization and slavery, the United States of America helped to create and embrace a system of valuing and devaluing people based on skin color and ethnic identity. The name for this system is white supremacy. This system deliberately subjugated groups of people for the purpose of material, political, and social advantage. Racism is the continuing legacy of white supremacy. Racism is a lie about our fellow human beings, for it says that some are less than others. It is also a lie about God, for it falsely claims that God favors parts of creation over the entirety of creation.

Because of our biblical understanding of who God is and what God intends for humanity, the PC(USA) must stand against, speak against, and work against racism. Antiracist effort is not optional for Christians. It is an essential aspect of Christian discipleship, without which we fail to proclaim the Good news of Jesus Christ.

Let us be clear:
  • Ideologies of racial superiority or separation are contrary to the gospel and must be both denounced and actively resisted by the church. This includes alt-right ideologies of white supremacy and white nationalism.
  • Violence and intimidation founded on racial hatred is evil. Minimizing such violence by equating it with actions of self-defense by those being attacked is also evil.
  • The perpetuation of systems of racial privilege or injustice within our society, such as racial bias in law enforcement and criminal justice, is part of the same ideology of racism, only less overt.
What can we do about this? In addition to bearing a clear and faithful witness in our own daily lives, we can learn to recognize covert racism in its various forms in our own lives. There will be several events in and around the visit of General Assembly Co-moderator Denise Anderson dealing with Race, Privilege, and Reconciliation. Rev. Anderson will be leading equipping time at our Presbytery meeting September 12 at Midland Memorial Presbyterian Church on this theme. In addition, a workshop with Rev. Anderson is scheduled to be held on Monday, September 11 at 2 p.m. at Trinity United Presbyterian Church in Flint to address issues of Race, Privilege, and Reconciliation. Everyone is invited to all these events.

The images from Charlottesville reminded me of other scenes in our national memory, such as the use of water cannons against civil rights protesters in Birmingham, Alabama in 1963, and the "Bloody Sunday" attacks at the Edmund Pettis Bridge in Selma in 1965. As painful as they were to witness or experience, they were necessary steps on the way to becoming a better society. Perhaps the violence and hatred displayed so openly in Charlottesville will have the same effect. If that is to be the case, it will require all of us to work together to bear witness to Christ's love and justice in the world.

Dan Saperstein,  Executive Presbyter
Come Celebrate
Centennial Celebration
First Presbyterian Church, Kinde will celebrate its 100 years in ministry.  There will be a worship service at 10 a.m. on August 20, 2017 and a dinner and program following worship.  RSVP is required for the dinner.  So, please email or call Elder Kathy Grimes at or 989-874-6573.
Midland Memorial
150th Anniversary Celebration
Memorial Presbyterian Church of Midland will be celebrating their 150th Anniversary on September 9th & 10th.  We will celebrate our Presbyterian heritage with guest pastors including the Co-Moderator of the General Assembly, Denise Anderson. All are welcome. Please contact the church at or (989) 835-6759 for details.
Disaster Planning
Planning for Disasters
If your church burned down on Friday, where would you meet on Sunday? If a tornado came through your community, how would you care for your members and neighbors?
While we all hate to contemplate being faced with a disaster unfortunately they do occur. Two major disasters have occurred recently in our presbytery. The Flint water crisis continues to affect thousands, including members of our churches. The flooding in Isabella, Midland, and Bay counties also impacted many people including church members. While we are blessed that we have not experienced a tornado, a toxic spill, or a church shooting, we are better able to deal with such events if we are prepared.
The Presbytery Coordinating Team appointed a vision task force in January to explore ways to help the presbytery and it's churches to become more missional. Part of that mission emphasis is to develop a disaster preparedness policy and plan for the presbytery and to provide information for individual churches to help in creating their plans. With the help of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, the documents have been completed and were approved by the Coordinating Team at its July meeting.
The plans are available by clicking on these links or on the Presbytery of Lake Huron web page under the "Misc" tab and then "Documents and Forms." The Presbytery Disaster Plan outlines how the presbytery will communicate and coordinate activities in case of an emergency. The Emergency Preparedness for Churches is a document that was originally created by St. Joseph's Mercy Faith Community Nursing in cooperation with Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard and graciously shared with us.
You are encouraged to become familiar with both documents to aid your own preparation. The presbytery plan is still a work in progress as we continue to identify people that are qualified and interested to fill the various volunteer positions.
The church document is a guide to help individual churches create their own disaster preparedness plans. You are encouraged to begin discussions within your church about how the church will respond to a crisis in your community if and when one may occur.
Parish Paper
Newspaper - Top Border
New Parish Paper Editions Available
The latest editions of the  Parish Paper are now available to download. 

The topics are:
September:  Equipping Volunteers Builds a Strong Church Community
October:  Short-Term Mission Trips that Yield Long-Term Success
Always great info in these! The presbytery's subscription includes the use of these by our congregations.
Presbyterian Women
PW Logo
Presbyterian Women Remittances
Please send all your PW remittances to:

Nancy Macklem
402 Joseph Drive, Apt. 115
Midland, MI  48642
**** NOTE: The apartment number listed in the last edition was incorrect. ****
Presbyterian Women of Lake Huron Presbytery Fall Gathering 2017
Please join us for our a nnual  Presbyterian Women Fall Gathering on  Saturday, October 14, 2017 at Lapeer-First from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm.

Registration fee: $10.00 per person 
and covers the program and lunch.

This year's topic is:

" Out of Darkness into the Light"
John 5:1
Guest Speaker will be Pat McBride,  PW Synod of the Covenant Moderator.
The events of the day will include Installation of new
PW-LHP Coordinating Team, a delicious luncheon, followed by the presentation, then worship with communion.
An offering will go to Cathy Chang's Ministry.

Click here for more details.
Click here to register.
Help Wanted
Organist/A ccompanist Needed
Fenton-First is searching for a part-time organist/accompanist to begin in mid-August/September. Please click here for complete details including how to apply.
S.T.A.G.E. Youth Director
An unique, ecumenical position available within the Detroit Presbytery, sponsored by several Presbyterian/Lutheran congregations in the inner ring suburbs of northwest metro-Detroit.

S.T.A.G.E. (Somewhere To Ask God Everything) is a ministry open to all youth enrolled in grades 6th-12th that meets weekly during the school year. Fun, service, community engagement, and relationships are the foundational building blocks of S.T.A.G.E. This organization is proud to be a shared youth ministry supported by Presbyterian and Lutheran churches in Berkley, Ferndale, and Royal Oak.

Click here for details.
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. Click on the title to read the entire article.
Fall is an exciting time for churches. People come back from summer vacation, kids get ready for school, and everyone starts returning to a normal schedule. Like most churches, you're probably planning a back-to-school event or some other fall kickoff program to welcome everyone back to church. From there, Thanksgiving and Christmas are right around the corner.  Before your schedule becomes more jam-packed than usual, this might be a good time to handle a few "housekeeping" chores. These are administrative areas to review, update or change in-time for fall and year-end activities. .. continue reading.
As long as your preferences are about positive opportunities, not negative excuses, it doesn't matter what size of church you go to. Let's admit something to ourselves. All the arguments we have over church size are about our personal preferences, nothing more. Apples and oranges. There is zero evidence to suggest that big or small churches are more biblical or more effective, no matter how much we want to debate it. While some studies show that small churches have more new converts, adult baptisms, calls into ministry and missions giving per capita than big churches, others suggest that big churches do many of those things better and more consistently than small ones. .. 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
Disaster Planning
Parish Paper
Presbyterian Women
Help Wanted
Get Talkin'
Connect With LHP Churches
Join Us On Facebook

Who We Are
About the
Bi-Weekly Brief

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Nominating Team
August 16
10:00 am

Centennial Celebration
August 20
10:00 am

Commission on Ministry - Full Team
August 23
11:00 am

August 23
2:30 pm 

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