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 2, 2017 

Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a deserted place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns.  When he went ashore, he saw a great crowd; and he had compassion for them and cured their sick.  When it was evening, the disciples came to him and said, "This is a deserted place, and the hour is now late; send the crowds away so that they may go into the villages and buy food for themselves."  Jesus said to them, "They need not go away; you give them something to eat."  They replied, "We have nothing here but five loaves and two fish."  And he said, "Bring them here to me."  Then he ordered the crowds to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds.  And all ate and were filled; and they took up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve baskets full.  And those who ate were about five thousand men, besides women and children.

Matthew 14:13-21
We Pray For 

We Lift Up In Prayer...  

The Rev. Dr. George Baird, Honorably Retired,  w ho has been diagnosed with acute leukemia. He is currently at MidMichigan Medical Center in Midland.

The Rev. Robert (Bob) Lakey, Honorably Retired,  is now under hospice care at the Cartwright Center in Saginaw. Brief visits are welcome.

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

"The Welcome Table"

Summer is a time for picnics and barbecues, for family reunions and outdoor weddings. A grilled hot dog, hamburger, or chicken skewer never tastes better than when it is eaten outdoors. I don't know what grilled tofu tastes like, but I suspect even my vegan friends will say it is better grilled and enjoyed in the summer sun. Outdoor meals are meant to be shared. Invite the neighbors; share a hot dog and make a friend.

Which is why I think this week's gospel reading in the common lectionary is perfectly timed: it is the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand. You know the story - Jesus tries to take a little summer vacation.  He wants to get away from the crowds and spend some time on the lake with his disciples, maybe even camp by the lakeshore a few days, but the crowds get there ahead of him. So he cures the sick and preaches late into the day.

I used to read this text and imagine a giant church service, maybe a Billy Graham type of revival meeting. But my daughter Jenny, a seminarian who is preaching on this text this week, helped me imagine it differently. It is less a church service and more of a spectacle; less Billy Graham and more Coachella (maybe even Burning Man). Five thousand men, plus unnumbered women and children, no doubt, camped out on the green grass while Jesus does his thing. They watch him cure the sick. They take in the provocative, inspiring, and entertaining stories of the latest religious superstar. Were this today, the disciples would likely be using T-shirt guns to whip up the crowd.

But unlike our modern festivals, there was no food court, no vendors of nachos supreme or deep-fried Twinkies to feed the hungry crowd. Just five rounds of pita bread, two small fish, and one big problem.  So Jesus divides the crown into groups of 50 and 100, takes the meager resources, looks to heaven, blesses and breaks the loaves, and just like that, there is food enough and to spare. My daughter compares it to her childhood experience of winning free pizza for the entire section of a stadium at a football game.

We can parse the fine points of the text, debate the significance for sacramental theology, or even try to explain what "really" happened. But I like to think Jesus decide to turn the gathering into a block party, turned up the grill, and made sure there were fish tacos for everyone.

There's an African-American spiritual that proclaims, "I'm gonna eat at the welcome table, alleluia!" Just like our summer picnics, the Table of the Lord is a place for all to come and be fed. It is a welcome table - where the sick and the hungry can feast alongside the healthy and well-fed. And whether it is bread and juice, fish tacos, or a grilled burger - if Jesus is our host, all will be welcome, all will be fed.

Dan Saperstein,  Executive Presbyter
Come Celebrate
Midland-Chapel Lane
Ordination of Christina Westbury
Lake Huron Presbytery invites you to celebrate the ordination of Christina Westbury to the Ministry of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (USA) on  August 13, 2017 at 3 o'clock at  Chapel Lane Presbyterian Church, 5501 N. Jefferson Ave., Midland, MI 48640.  Reception to follow.

Click here for a printable invite/flyer
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.
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. 15
Midland, MI  48642
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.
Camp Westminster
Worshiping at Camp Westminster on Higgins Lake
This "breaking news" report comes from the Presbyterian Kirk of the Lakes (USA), Houghton Lake, MI.

We, congregation and pastor have just celebrated Sunday worship (July 23) at Camp Westminster on Higgins Lake. I Corinthians 11:23-26, Paul's "re-remembering of the Last Supper" focused us on what it means to be one community, without regard to social class, race, ethnicity, or gender, as we are at the Lord's Table.

The Camp Westminster of Higgins Lakes on this Sunday brought together members of the Presbyterian Kirk of the Lakes (USA), the staff of Camp Westminster on Higgins Lake, and several campers and summer residents who are on or around Higgins Lake. The staff alone made us an international community, because some 12 hailed from England, Northern Ireland, and Scotland. This global community is present every summer at Camp Westminster on Higgins Lake as Suzanne and Jim Bates, Directors at Camp Westminster on Higgins Lake, will go each early Spring to Edinburg and through Presbyterian Church connections recruit young university students for their staff.

The Presbyterian Kirk of the Lakes (USA) has an advantage on our other congregations within the Presbytery because it is so close to Camp Westminster n Higgins Lake. But in all actuality, any of the congregations desirous of worshiping on a summer Sunday at Camp Westminster on Higgins can call or contact Suzanne Bates at 248-320-6095. For the adventurous who want the trails and pine trees and the waters of Higgins Lake in their sacred memory bag, come north on 127 to Exit 206 to North Higgins Lake Road, go right, past the North Higgins Lake State Park and the Ralph McMillian Conference Center, carefully now, as the sign for Camp Westminster on Higgins Lake will be right there to the right.

And yes, I need to mention, the outdoor chapel is God's gift to all.

Reporter, Rev. Karen Blatt
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.
About a third of our communities don't have any connection or identification with a particular church. And about three quarters don't attend church on a regular basis. The world simply doesn't fully understand what we're all about.  If you're known only as a church, you're going to be ignored.  Each church needs to discover a unique communication thread. A controlled message that is repeated everywhere in communications. Some call it a tagline, but it's more than that.  A thread should be a declaration of why people attend, what you're known for throughout your ministries, and why someone in your community should pay attention to what you're doing. You'll need to maintain and build on this thread over years since it takes time to build awareness outside of your walls. You want your congregation to have your thread concept top-of-mind when someone asks, "Why do you go to your church?".  Here are three foundational tips for picking effective threads . .. continue reading.
In an effort to meet the needs of believers, modern churches have become increasingly segregated. Groups exist for middle school, high school, college, young marrieds, moms, and retirees - and while it's beneficial to gather with people who share our life stage, this separation is not always the best choice. By separating the young from the older, the church hamstrings one of the most vital aspects of discipleship: cultivating a sense of  belonging for young believers.  Our culture battles for the souls of our young people. As a leader to young women, I see this every day. Young women want to be a part of their church, but often feel as if their only place is the youth or college group. It's up to older members to intentionally include them in the mission of the church, and here are ten ways to do so .. .. 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
You're Invited
Disaster Planning
Parish Paper
Help Wanted
Get Talkin'
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. 

You can reissue or modify this content for your own church bulletin or newsletter, without crediting the Bi-Weekly Brief, but please credit any organizations, photographers, etc, that we credited.


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.


Like us on Facebook  



Coordinating Team
August 9
10:00 am

Ordination of Christina Westbury
August 13

Commission on Preparation for Ministry
August 16
10:00 am

Centennial Celebration
August 20
10:00 am

Commission on Ministry - Full Team
August 24
11:00 am

Personnel Team
August 28
10:00 am 

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