We Lift Up In Prayer...
Elder Linda Living-Hawley, Commissioned Ruling Elder of Fenton-Tyrone
who experienced a major cardiac event in December, spent several days in the hospital and recently started cardiac rehab.
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 February and March:
The Rev. Cathy Chang (2/17)
- Mission Co-Worker serving in the Philippines
Elder Liz Long (3/5) - Commissioned Ruling Elder of Ithaca-Lafayette
In this season when sessions are remitting their per capita assessments, I am sometimes asked the questions, "What does per capita do?" and "Why do we have to pay it?" Let me offer some answers forthwith.
WHAT IS PER CAPITA?
Since the mid-1800s, per capita assessments have been a means of sharing the costs of operating the administrative structures, or councils, of the denomination: presbytery, the synod, and the General Assembly. Per capita is not the only source of funding -
many presbyteries and synods have endowed or reserve funds that contribute towards their budgets; some receive mission donations only and do not have per capita at all. The General Assembly used to have significant undesignated reserves, but these have been depleted due to non-payment of per capita and maintaining an artificially low rate over many years.
Per capita assessment may be compared to bringing a dish to a potluck supper or chipping in for the price of gas for a road trip: it is our participation in the cost of something from which we all receive benefit. Per capita assessments share costs across presbyteries and congregations on an equitable basis.
WHAT DOES PER CAPITA PAY FOR?
n many councils, per capita and mission funding streams are kept distinct: per capita pays for administrative expenses and mission pledges and donations fund mission endeavors. This is an artificial distinction, however, as mission relies on administrative support and much of what constitutes "administration" also promotes mission. In the Presbytery of Lake Huron, we have a unified budget which combines both mission pledges and per capita assessments to fund the total ministry of the Presbytery.
Roughly 36% of our presbytery operations budget is funded by per capita, about 37% through mission pledges, and about 27% by investment income (including our share of interest from a bequest administered by Detroit Presbytery). Personnel expenses for our staff (one full-time executive, one part-time stated clerk, and three part-time support staff) comprise 72% of the budget. This is typical for presbyteries our size. About 23% funds the direct administrative expense of maintaining our building, holding our quarterly assemblies, and supporting the work of our committees. About 5% is direct support of mission partners and budget-funded grants. This does not include either the per capita assessments and mission funds we receive and remit toward the work of the Synod of the Covenant and the General Assembly, or grants funded through our various reserve accounts.
HOW IS PER CAPITA DETERMINED?
Per capita assessments are based on the budgets approved by commissioners at each level of the church, divided by the number of members in each. General Assembly and synod assessments are levied on presbyteries, which may distribute its liability - along with an assessment for its own operation - upon the sessions of its churches. The General Assembly assessment for 2019 is $8.95 per member and the Synod of the Covenant is $3.25. On top of this, the Presbytery of Lake Huron assesses sessions at a rate of $16.57 per church member for a total of $28.77. This is among the lowest per capita assessments in our synod. By contrast, many western presbyteries have per capita assessments in excess of $50.00.
Per capita assessments paid by individual members are not "dues" - they are voluntary contributions made to offset the amount paid by their sessions, and in turn, by the presbytery. We are blessed in our presbytery to have near 100% pay-in of per capita expenses by sessions, which helps keep our rates low.
Thanks to our sessions and faithful members for sharing the cost of being Presbyterian!
For more information, our Presbytery has a bulletin insert that discusses per capita, which can be found on our website under "
Documents and Forms.
" The General Assembly has many resources which can be found at
Dan Saperstein, E
Couple of things to note: 1) The day of the meeting is a Saturday. 2) Due to some committees meeting after the docket needed to be posted we expect to have an addendum included in your packet at the meeting.
For our equipping time, Martha Miller, from Mt. Pleasant-First, will lead us on "Equipping Leaders in the Small Church." Finding leadership is tough enough - finding the right leadership is even harder and this time together should help all our congregations.
For business, the main item of business will be voting on the proposed amendments to the Book of Order as sent by the 223rd General Assembly. Paper copies of the amendments are no longer sent to the Presbytery so if you would like to read them earlier, go to
to view them online or print off a copy. Other business will include recognizing the ministry of one of our retiring pastors, a few nominations for offices, and other items from our committees/commissions.
The 2019 Directory is now available on our
. Click on the Directory link on the left side of the page.
Download and print as many copies as you need.
For everyone's privacy the page to access the directory is password protected. You will need the following information to access the directory:
***** The login information was included in the version sent to our mailing list. For privacy, we have not included that information on the version we post online. For the Username and Password, please contact
the Presbytery Office. ****
We would like to send a huge "Thank You!" to all who worked so hard on getting your annual statistics completed this year. We ended up with unexpected changes from the denomination and some technical difficulty with our website but you still got the job done. We appreciate the work that you do.
|Flint Water Crisis Documentary
Flint's Water Crisis Far From Just a Flint Problem
Filmmaker David Barnhart's goal is to anger audiences, get them talking - and spur them to action.
At its heart, said filmmaker David Barnhart, his nearly-completed documentary "
Flint: The Poisoning of an American City
" is the story about what happens to democracy when people's voices are taken away.
, a ministry of
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance
, "Flint" elicited reactions of anger when shown at gatherings in places like Sundance, the nation's largest independent film festival. "That's what we want" Barnhart told the Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, II, Stated Clerk of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) during "
Coffee with the Clerk
" screened via Facebook Live on Monday. Because of scheduling challenges, the Barnhart interview had been taped at
North Avenue Presbyterian Church
in Atlanta the week before.
"We want people to be moved to action," Barnhart told Nelson. "We want them to engage in their city and nationally."
Barnhart said he made three of four trips to Flint to meet people before the cameras began rolling.
"For me, filmmaking has always been about relationships," he said. "We don't go anywhere we aren't invited, and we don't come with an agenda. We come to listen and we let the community guide us."
The space where the interview is conducted becomes "sacred space," he said, because the filmmaker is invited into the space by the person being interviewed.
"Flint" became a film about systemic racism and poverty as Barnhart and his team wrestled with the question, "Why is it OK that some people have access to clean water and others don't?"
I recently had a conversation with a county emergency manager within the presbytery about being prepared for emergencies. Our discussion centered around how the presbytery will need to communicate and coordinate with emergency managers in a disaster and how we can not only obtain aid but also provide helpful assistance to our communities in an emergency. We had an excellent discussion and this conversation will help the Disaster Coordination and Communication Team better understand our role and work with the presbytery should we encounter a major disaster. However, of everything that we talked about two topics stood out above all the others.
The manager related that almost without exception there is one thing that they always hear from victims following a natural disaster: "I can't believe it happened here." Despite all that we see on TV or read in the news about severe weather, floods, wildfires, or any other disaster we always believe that it happens somewhere else and not to us. Unfortunately it did happen to the victims and as much as we may not want to believe it, a disaster could happen to us as well.
So, if we accept that a disaster can indeed happen to us what are some of the steps we can take to keep our families and ourselves safe. According to emergency managers the number one action that we all need to take is... We must be prepared to be self-sufficient for at least three days.
In the situation of severe weather or flooding, which by the way are the two most common disasters in Michigan, it may very well take first-responders that long to get to you. First-responders are often overwhelmed in the first hours or days of a disaster. Their own families may be some of the people in serious need of help. Roads may be blocked by flooding or downed wires or trees. Some of the response vehicles may have been damaged and not available. Despite everyone's best efforts you may be on your own without resources for a while. It's up to you to do what is necessary to stay safe and keep your family safe. It is also important that you check on any elderly neighbors who may need help.
The first step is to Prepare and maintain a disaster preparedness kit that should contain:
- At a minimum, one gallon of drinking water per person per day. This is for drinking or cooking. Additional water may be necessary for other uses especially if you are on a well and without electricity or the local water main is ruptured. For such purposes filling the bathtub in preparation can be a good idea.
- You should have enough non-perishable food such as canned vegetables, soups, grains and meats, powdered milk and dried foods to feed your family for three days preferably with some to spare..
- Anything you need to prepare and eat meals, include it. Better to be over prepared than under.
- Personal care items like toothpaste, shampoo and hand sanitizer.
- A flashlight with extra batteries
- A cellphone with a car charger or external battery pack. Remember that a text will often go through even when a phone call will not.
- A small amount of cash, preferably in small bills. If the power is out at the local store a credit card is probably useless and its unlikely they can break a $100 bill.
- Gallon-size, plastic zip-close bags to act as weatherproof totes or serve many other useful purposes.
- Whistle (to alert rescue parties)
- Directions on how to turn off the gas, water supply or electricity if necessary.
- A basic first aid kit including band aids, bandages, antiseptic creams, aspirin or acetaminophen. Don't forget your prescriptions!
Mark it on your calendar to check and refresh your preparedness kit at least every six months. Spring is often a time for severe weather and flooding in Michigan so now is a good time to make sure you are ready.
CJ Merriman, Director
For additional information on how to prepare your church, please visit the Emergency Preparedness page on 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:
'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!
Communications Manager/Recording Clerk
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.
Commission on Preparation for Ministry
Commission on Ministry
March Presbytery Meeting
Mission Coordinating Committee
Commission on Preparation for Ministry
Commission on Ministry
Details on these meetings can be found on the presbytery's website on the calendar.