A church member in our Presbytery recently asked me some questions about the Presbytery for an article in a church periodical. It struck me that to many of our church members, Presbytery is an abstraction - part of the great mystery of the wider Church-with-a-captial-C. So, I thought I would share some of the questions posed and my answers here.
Q. Who is included and how large is the Presbytery of Lake Huron?
The Presbytery of Lake Huron consists of 46 congregations with about 7200 members in Mid-Michigan, in a region roughly approximating the weather map on the evening news. Each church session is entitled to select one or more ruling elders to serve as voting commissioners at Presbytery meetings. In addition, all ministers on our rolls are members of Presbytery. If there are more minister members than ruling elder commissioners, a balance is achieved by assigning additional elder commissioners.
Q. What are some of the primary goals of the Presbytery?
This question can be answered many ways. Constitutionally, the Presbytery is responsible for the governance of the church, the support of congregations, the administration of mission, and the regulation of the ministry of Word and Sacrament in its district. Officially, our mission statement is: "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." Informally, our aim is to build the presbytery and its churches into agents of mission that is "inside-out, upside-down, and sticky" - that is, which sends its members to serve God in the world; divests itself of power and privilege to serve and welcome the poor, vulnerable, and marginalized; and practices mission that builds relationships with those served and invites them to join in the mission. Additionally, each year the Presbytery Moderator selects a theme for the year to direct the content of our presbytery meetings. Moderator Chris Wolf (a lay pastor from Marlette) has chosen her theme for 2019 to be Matthew 25:40: "As you did it to the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did it unto me."
Q. What is accomplished at the Presbytery meetings?
Each presbytery meeting consists of three components: Worship, Equipping, and Governance. The first order of business is Worship. We try to offer worship that reflects the gifts and diversity of our presbytery. At recent meetings we have been inspired by Korean drummers, a gospel choir, and a jazz guitarist, as well as by outstanding preachers, creative liturgy, and gifted accompanists. After worship is our Equipping Time. The equipping time is part of our commitment to making Presbytery meetings a "value-added" experience-so that every commissioner feels the meeting was beneficial to their church's mission. Recent equipping times have included presentations and conversations on building congregational mission; welcoming diversity; clergy self-care; youth ministry; and creative approaches to stewardship. Upcoming themes include Elders as Spiritual Leaders (March); Becoming a Matthew 25 church (with General Assembly Stated Clerk J. Herbert Nelson - June); and Facing Racism (September).
Q. What else would you like our members to know about the
Presbytery of Lake Huron or the Presbytery meetings?
Presbytery is not "them" - it is all of us together! The Presbytery exists to serve Jesus Christ by serving our congregations - in the firm belief we can accomplish more for God working together than we can separately. Thank you for your faithful support of our work and your generous sharing of your time and talents!