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." 
February 6, 2019 
We Pray For 
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. 

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 February and March:

The Rev. Dawn Russell (2/9)  - Pastor of  Linden
The Rev. Larry McMellen (2/12)  - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Cathy Chang (2/17) - Mission Co-Worker serving in the Philippines
The Rev. Mary Anne Evans-Justin (2/25) - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Chris Moody (2/25) - Member-At-Large
The Rev. Jean Winther (3/2) - Temporary Supply of Rosebush
Elder Liz Long (3/5) - Commissioned Ruling Elder of Ithaca-Lafayette
The Rev. Karen Blatt (3/12) - Temporary Supply of Houghton Lake-Kirk of the Lakes
The Rev. Hakbae Moon (3/19) - Pastor of Flint-Unity
The Rev. Desiree Lawson (3/20) - Pastor of Flint-Trinity United
The Rev. Linda Graham (3/25) - Pastor of Cass City-First and Cass City-Fraser
The Rev. Jan Chambers (3/29) - Honorably Retired and Pastor Emerita of Tawas

Presbytery Office
Dan Saperstein
From the Lions' Den

As regular readers are aware, film is a big part of my life and faith. Every year I lead a Lenten "Faith and Values" film series in a church in our presbytery - a seasonal practice I began in my last parish in 1998 and have continued almost every year since. (This year, I am offering my series at Trinity United Presbyterian Church in Flint - films will be announced soon.) Most of my sermons contain references to films because their stories are the myths that describe our world; they are the stories that connect us in popular culture.

Film is perhaps our most important and powerful cultural medium. Movies not only entertain, they communicate meaning and shape our values. The narratives of film both reflect our society, but also shape our view of the world. (Classic Westerns, for example, reinforce our cultural myths about Manifest Destiny, colonial patterns of racial dominance, and moral values of "good" and "evil", "right" and "wrong." It wasn't until the cultural shifts of the late 1960s that Native society was depicted as anything other than "savage.") What we see on the screen teaches us about our place in society.

Which is why the films receiving Oscar nominations are so important. It wasn't so long ago that the most common Oscar night hashtag was #oscarsowhite, because the films being recognized by the Academy reflected an industry and a society that was overwhelmingly Caucasian (and male, too). But rules have changed and the voters are more diverse, which has resulted in a more diverse set of nominations. That, in turn, has created more opportunities for persons of color to star, write, and direct films, providing us with different stories to shape our own worldviews.

The result this year is one of the most diverse set of nominated films, directors, actors, and artists ever. Five of the eight Best Picture nominees feature stories and characters that not long ago would not have been made, much less celebrated:

Black Panther, the first blockbuster superhero adventure film, has an African-American director (Ryan Coogler) and features African and African-American characters. It subverts racist norms and assumptions about heroes and futuristic fantasies.

BlacKkKlansman directly addresses white supremacy with the true story of how an African-American detective in Colorado infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan. It also brought the first Best Director nomination to Spike Lee, who previously directed two of the greatest films ever made ( Do the Right Thing, Malcolm X) without Oscar recognition.

Bohemian Rhapsody tells the story of Freddy Mercury and the rock group Queen, emphasizing Mercury's South Asian ancestry (a social comment in the Brexit era). It depicts his struggle with his sexual identity and his heroic battle with AIDS.

Green Book is the true story of a road trip taken by famous African-American musician Don Shirley into the American South during the Jim Crow era. It focuses on the transformational relationship between Shirley and his white chauffeur/bodyguard, a racist Italian-American.

Roma directed by Alfonso Cuarón, is set in Mexico City with a Spanish-language script. It addresses issues of social class and American colonialism by telling the story of a pregnant domestic servant for a wealthy Mexican family. Cuarón won the Best Director Oscar in 2014 for Gravity .

In addition, though not nominated for Best Picture, If Beale Street Could Talk is a powerful adaptation of the James Baldwin novel about a young African-American couple in the early 1970s struggling to maintain hope and dignity in the face of systemic racism. Directed by Barry Jenkins ( Moonlight ) it was one of the best films of the year.

These movies are important for us as followers of Christ because they challenge our own assumptions about race, privilege, and inclusion in the church. Jesus surrendered his privilege to identify with us in our humanity and affirmed the dignity and inclusion of those on the margins of society. He formed a community of faith in which there "is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female, for all of you are one in Christ Jesus" (Gal. 3:28). If Hollywood can tell that story, how much more should we!

Dan Saperstein, E xecutive Presbyter
Free Notary Service

In need of a Notary Public? Tracy Carr, our Financial Secretary, can assist you free of charge. Contact her directly at either or 989-799-7481 extension #3. Note that she is a part-time employee and not in the office every day, so please call or email her ahead of time.
Parish Paper

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

March Media Technology For Worship
April Building Your Community Ties With a Block Party

Click here to read and/or download your copies.

Annual Statistics
PC-USA Seal Round
Annual Statistics

The deadline for reporting your church's 2018 Annual Statistics is quickly approaching. Click here to go directly to the page on our website.

The deadline for entering them is Thursday, February 14th.  This is a hard deadline set by the denomination that we cannot change.

IMPORTANT NOTE: We have had a few people report that they are not able to access our website. One reason may be your virus protection software. (This was the case on my personal computer.) If you are comfortable doing so, try temporarily disabling it and see if you can access it. If you are still having problems with this please contact Staci Percy anytime at or Monday-Wednesday until 4:00pm at 989-799-7481 extension 2. If you have all of the information available I can enter it for you but I am part-time and need a heads up.
Emergency Preparedness
Are You Prepared

In this article I would like to revisit a topic that was originally covered in this column last fall.  The topic is notifying your congregation or groups within your congregation quickly. Its certainly no secret that winter weather in Michigan can create the need to cancel Sunday morning worship on short notice. Perhaps a gas leak in the basement means that weekday activities need to be canceled until it is fixed and the building has been adequately ventilated. Maybe a session meeting needs to be postponed for some reason. There can be a variety of reasons why it may be very helpful to contact a lot of people in a short time.  Traditionally a phone tree where one person calls two others each of whom also call two others and so on until everyone is notified has been the method of choice. Obviously there are potential problems with this approach. If one of the people who is to make calls is on vacation or sick perhaps the calling chain is slowed or broken at that point. There is also no convenient method for ensuring that everyone who needed to be contacted actually got the message.

An option other than a phone tree that your church may wish to explore is an automated calling service for use when the church needs to quickly contact people. Now if you are like me when I think of robo-calls I picture some annoying recorded voice telling there is a problem with my credit card or I have just won a free vacation in the Bahamas. But, in fact, robo-calls can be helpful when used in a legal manner to rapidly spread the word to a targeted group of people.  There are a number of legitimate services that can place a call or send a text to your entire congregation in a only a matter of minutes at a reasonable cost. Basically what happens is the pastor records a brief message explaining what the situation is and hits a button to send the message by either phone call or text message to a list of phone numbers that had been created earlier. The call may go to the entire congregation or only a group within the congregation. The calling service makes the calls or sends the texts showing the church's phone number as the caller so the recipient's caller ID will know that it is the church contacting them. When they answer the phone or if the call goes to an answering machine or voice mail the recipient will hear the pastor's message in his or her own voice clearly stating details of the emergency or other situation. The church, if they choose, can receive a report of who received the call or text and who did not in case follow up is needed.  A number of the services offer a discount for non-profits so that calls can be made for 5-8 cents per call with no subscription service. The church purchases credits and then uses them as necessary.

This article is intended to share an idea with you and not to recommend a specific calling service. There are a number of good options should you wish to investigate this type of service for your church.  Google is a good place to start finding a variety of companies that offer an assortment of plans. Here are a few websites to give you some ideas:

These websites are not recommendations on which service to use. They are only a starting point if you are interested in exploring what is available.  Many websites will offer a free trial period so you can experience how the service works and ensure it provides all the features that your church needs. Ask plenty of questions including about site security, creating groups so that just the choir or the PW can be contacted if necessary. Ask about call documentation reports and cost per call making sure there are no hidden costs Also, be sure to ask if they offer a discount to churches. The free trial period allows your church to do a test with a small portion of your congregation to see if it will work for you.

To be clear, let me state that I'm not selling robo-call services but I am suggesting that this may be a handy tool to have available if your church needs to rapidly and dependably get a message to your congregation or a group within the congregation.  If you have questions please contact your Regional Coordinator for Disaster Preparedness or let me know.


CJ Merriman, Director

For additional information on how to prepare your church, please visit the Emergency Preparedness page on our website.
Youth Triennium 2019
Youth Triennium Information

The Presbytery of Lake Huron is forming a delegation to attend Triennium. We want
YOU to be a part of this life changing event! Please contact Philomena Ofori-Nipaah
( or Nikelle Johnson ( with questions and/or to indicate your interest in attending.

Click here for a flier with additional details.
Mission To The U.S.A.
Synod Logo
MUSA 2019

Mission to the USA - Synod of the Covenant
Reverse mission. You do not go to Africa; our Synod brings Christian leaders to you. For three weeks. This coming October. They come from Muslim majority countries to inform and participate in your congregation and community. Most of it paid for by the Synod. Here is one great opportunity we have been doing for 35 years. Contact our MUSA Director, Steve Gorman, for details: 216-801-2036 God is opening one big door here!

Click here for more details.
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:

Fairgrove  *** NEW ***

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
Notary Service
Parish Paper
Annual Statistics
Are You Prepared
Youth Triennium
Connect With LHP Churches

Who We Are
About the
Bi-Weekly Brief

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Warren Avenue Administrative Team
February 11
12:00 pm

Mission Coordination Committee
February 11
1:00 pm

Presbytery Disaster Team
February 12
10:00 am

Presbytery Council
February 13
10:00 am

Commission on Preparation for Ministry
February 20
10:00 am

Personnel Team
February 25
10:00 am

Commission on Ministry
February 27
11:00 am

Nominating Team
February 27
1:30 pm

March Presbytery Meeting
March 2
9:30 am

Mission Coordinating Committee
March 11
1:00 pm

Vision Team
March 14
2:00 pm

Commission on Preparation for Ministry
March 20
10:00 am

Presbyterian Women
March 21
10:00 am

Personnel Team
March 25
10:00 am

Commission on Ministry
March 27
11:00 am

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