We Lift Up In Prayer...
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 January and February:
The Rev. Cathy Chang (2/17)
- Mission Co-Worker serving in the Philippines
One of the most important tasks I have as Executive Presbyter is to resource the Commission on Ministry in helping congregations in transition between pastors. Often this involves working directly with sessions, interim pastor search committees, and pastor nominating committees to navigate the unfamiliar, often confusing, and sometimes frustrating process of identifying new pastoral leadership.
The transition process in our denomination can take a long time - one to two years on average between the departure of one installed pastor and the arrival of the next, not counting the transition time before the pastor leaves the field.
Congregations in transition go through important processes of grief, rediscovery of identity and mission, and coalescence around a new pastor. Usually, there is an interim pastor to care for them and help guide them through much of the journey. We have been blessed with some extraordinary transitional leaders in our presbytery who do this important specialized ministry for our churches.
Two pastoral transitions have recently been completed in Lake Huron Presbytery. the Rev. Hakbae Moon is the new Pastor of Unity Presbyterian Church in Mt. Morris and the Rev. Matt Schramm has begun a new ministry as Designated Pastor of Memorial Presbyterian Church in Midland. They are gifted leaders whose calls demonstrate that the transition process, for all its challenges, can be used by the Spirit of God to bring the right leadership at the right time.
Typically, only 4 or 5 of our 46 churches are in transition at one time. As I write this, 11 different churches are saying goodbye to pastors or are actively seeking new pastors. I do not have an explanation as to why there are so many. For some, the transition process is longer than expected, but for the most part it is just due to natural fluctuation. We are near (I hope) the crest of a "wave" of pastoral transition.
Transitions can be anxious times for congregations. When I coach a session entering transition, I always remind them that the most important task they have is to moderate the anxiety in the congregation through communication and transparency. When anxiety escalates in congregations, it usually expresses itself in unexpected or even unrelated places. Often, it becomes lodged in or around the most visible, the most vulnerable, or the most volatile persons in the church family.
When we have 11 different churches in states of heightened anxiety it is bound to affect our common life as a presbytery.
For one, we are already experiencing grief at the loss of so many familiar faces and their leadership gifts. Several of our Presbytery committees will have temporary vacancies and new minister members. Those in ongoing ministries may have to take on more presbytery responsibility. Presbytery staff will be stretched in resourcing these committees.
But on the other hand, there will be exciting things to come. We will likely be welcoming many new pastors in the next year or two. They will bring fresh ideas, new enthusiasm, and leadership gifts of their own. We will have a rare opportunity to build a new presbytery community and live into new visions for our common life and mission.
As we move together through this exciting, anxious time I invite you to pray for our congregations in transition, for the leaders of our presbytery, for our capable but overworked Nominating Committee, and for your dedicated Presbytery staff. Above all, pray asking how God might use your gifts in new ways for God's mission in your church, community, and even in our presbytery. And be patient and forbearing with one another, especially those whose anxiety might be elevated during transition.
Change is never easy, can often be good, and will happen to all of us at one time or another. God is doing a new thing, right before our eyes. Let's welcome it!
Dan Saperstein, E
In need of a Notary Public?
, our Financial Secretary, can assist you
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.
Healing the Wounds of Privilege (FREE webinar)
The presbytery will cover the cost of viewing the following webinar from the
for anyone who is interested. The only requirement is that you
email Staci Percy
no later than
5:00 pm on Monday, January 14th at
and request a code to view it. We will be viewing it at the office and you are welcome to join the staff at 2:00 pm on Tuesday.
Tuesday, January 15th 2:00pm
The social divisions in contemporary culture - divisions of race/ethnicity, socioeconomic class, ability, gender, sexuality and more - threaten to tear apart communities. These divisions perpetuate injustice and provoke violence, shame, defensiveness and fear. This web of social problem has spiritual roots, and Christians have an opportunity to apply the spiritual tools of our faith tradition to bring a message and actions of healing and hope in a world often overcome by fear and hurt. As a white woman who grew up in a small southern town, as an affluent woman who now lives in the northeast and as the mother of a child with Down syndrome, Amy Julia Becker will share personal stories as well as biblical and theological reflection to invite participants to explore their own experiences of privilege and exclusion and the deeper privilege of connecting with others through our common humanity.
This webinar will offer congregations and pastors alike a way to address the challenging topic of privilege and social divisions with generosity, humility and hope. This webinar will be particularly useful in the context of predominantly white congregations with members who want to explore the concept of privilege and consider whether a loving response is possible.
- Recognize what privilege is and how it functions in our culture.
- Be able to identify the ways social divisions harm vulnerable people through the injustices of exclusion as well as the ways social divisions harm the very people they supposedly benefit .
- Understand Jesus' approach to social divisions and apply a model of healing to our broken world
The mileage rates for 2019 are as follows:
|Medical and Moving
Human Trafficking Awareness Presentation
Please join us on Sunday, January 13th at 10:45 (after worship) as we invite Sandra Eagle from the Midland County Human Trafficking Task Force to give a presentation. She'll be focusing on the headway they're making in the Fight against Human Trafficking in our own state -- including all neighboring agencies involved. Educating the community with what signs to look for is key, as well as, the tools when taking that next step with law enforcement. Many of the victims are right under our noses or literally living right next door. The mentality of saying "I don't want to get involved" or "this would never happen in my town" has to change if we're going to fight Human Trafficking.
We'll also be collecting Birthday items needed for their Emergency Shelter here in Saginaw throughout the whole month of January. So often, the children are placed in a shelter with a parent or guardian and have a birthday without any cake, balloons, party favors to celebrate them. Therefore, we're putting together birthday items in small bags for the kids.
We hope to see you all there as we continue to educate our Mid-Michigan population with all the different aspects of Human Trafficking. Education is key!
For more information or questions, please contact the church at 989-792-1023.
Installation of Matthew Schramm
The Presbytery of Lake Huron and the Session of Memorial Presbyterian Church in Midland invite members of Presbytery and friends to the Service of Installation for the Reverend Matthew W. Schramm as Senior Pastor and Head of Staff of the Bertha E. R. Strosacker Memorial Presbyterian Church in Midland, Michigan. The Installation Service begins at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 20, 2019 in the Sanctuary of the church. The hospitality of a reception follows the service of worship. Guest preacher is the Reverend Dr. J. David Pierce, PCUSA Honorably Retired, former Senior Pastor and Head of Staff of Memorial Presbyterian Church.
Celebrating The Ministry of Rhonda Myers
The congregation of Midland-Chapel Lane invite members of Presbytery and friends to help them celebrate the ministry of the Rev. Dr. Rhonda Myers on her last day as their Pastor.
A public celebration will follow worship and will begin at approximately
11:30 a.m. on Sunday, January 27, 2019
at the church.
Rhonda has served as Pastor of Chapel Lane for more than seven years. She has also served the presbytery most of that time as the Moderator of the Commission on Preparation for Ministry, as a member of Presbytery Council and is currently the Vice Moderator of presbytery.
The church is gathering pictures, momentos and messages for a scrapbook to give to Rhonda. If you would like to contribute to this, please contact the church at
Greetings from your Presbytery's Hunger Advocate.
First, thanks to all who came over to the Table "Building Partnerships to Address Poverty" at the December Presbytery meeting. Our focus honed in on hunger and how the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan partners with local food pantries, churches with backpack programs, and provides mobile food trucks and other ways of accessing the abundance of our farm produce so that the working poor, the disabled, the senior citizen, or our children have access to this abundance.
As you think through the community or communities around your congregation, I would like you to think about "food deserts". No, I did not misspell the last word. I mean "desert."
A "food desert" is found in an geographical area/region, both rural and urban, that is especially populated by low-income residents, i.e. "the poor", where there is limited access to affordable and nutritious food, i.e. good quality fresh foods, vegetables and fruit, and good quality food in general.
By contrast, a "food oasis" is a geographical area/region, both rural and urban, with supermarkets and/or vegetable and fruit shops in abundance for all to get to.
So, the key term might be "limited access". Limited access covers such realities as
For people living in urban/suburban areas, be mindful of the relationship between the housing complexes, the residential sites, and other housing areas and the food sources nearest to the people living there.
- A lack of transportation to the grocery stores, food pantries, farmers' markets present in the area;
- A lack of income needed for the purchase of the food;
- A general absence of grocery stores, so that party stores or gasoline stations become the food stand-ins available to the people.
Pastor Karen Blatt
Another holiday season has come and gone. Christmas with all it's excitement is over. Epiphany is past and in most cases the decorations are stored for another year. Many of you like me probably made a new year's resolution or two. Perhaps it is to lose a few pounds, eat more healthy foods, exercise more, or beef up the savings account. These are outcomes that many of us will strive toward and some of us will accomplish this coming year. In addition to any other resolutions I am asking you to set one more important goal for 2019.
Please commit to actively working toward making sure your family and your church are better prepared for emergencies this coming year. Not just thinking about being prepared, Not just talking about preparing. Not just encouraging others to take the lead in preparation. But actively taking steps that may mean the difference if someone suddenly becomes seriously ill or if someone is severely injured.
About once a month during 2019 this column will make suggestions and offer assistance in your church's preparations for emergencies and disasters. But here are five good places to start.
1. If your church has not already been in communication contact your Regional Disaster Coordinator. They are:
Andrew Miller, R
egional Coordinator for Region I
Regional Coordinator for Region II
Georgia McCall, R
egional Coordinator for Region III
Regional Coordinator for Region IV
They are ready to help your church develop plans, locate resources or provide other assistance that you may need.
2. Contact your local police and fire departments. They are very willing to help you assess your current situation and provide helpful suggestions.
3. Make sure that your smoke detectors, Carbon Monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers, AED's, and first aid kits are all accessible and ready should they be needed.
4. If you haven't done so recently make sure that your insurance coverage is adequate and up to date. Make sure that you have an inventory of important or valuable items for insurance purposes.
5. Make sure that your church's records such as session minutes, registers, historical documents and the like are protected in fire and water proof cabinets and preferably backed-up off site.
These five actions will be a great start to your church's preparation for emergencies or provide excellent comfort in knowing that your church has a good start on being ready.
Disaster Coordination and Communication
Click here to read this and previous articles on Emergency Preparedness.
Youth Triennium Coordinator Sought
The Presbytery is looking for a registrar/coordinator for the Presbytery's participation in the Presbyterian Youth Triennium to be held July 16-20 at Purdue University. This is a volunteer position, but your registration at the Triennium will be paid ($575 value).
Information about the event can be found at
. The registrar must be a minister or member in good standing of the Presbytery of Lake Huron, receive the endorsement of their session (if an elder), and successfully complete a criminal background check. Please contact Executive Presbyter Dan Saperstein (
) if interested.
On Saturday, January 19th Rev. Jim Williams will lead a retreat from 9 AM - Noon in the Memorial Lounge of the Warren Avenue Presbyterian Church building. This will be the first in a series of monthly retreats scheduled for 2019. Each mini-retreat will be self-contained. One need not attend the entire series. A schedule for the year will be available on January 19th.
Rev. Williams is a trained Spiritual Director. He studied Personal Spiritual Direction with Oasis Ministries, and is a graduate of the Shalem Institute of Spiritual Formation's programs on "Group Spiritual Direction and Leading Retreats," and "Clergy Life and Leadership." He is trained in life coaching through Coaching4Clergy.
The opening retreat will focus on the spiritual discipline of prayer.
You have a treasure. It's the gift of prayer. A gift worth knowing and, above all, worth using well. In this brief retreat, we will reflect on this precious gift. I invite you to put some time aside in the next few days to pray.
Prayer is "a conversation with God." Like conversation, prayer takes different forms. It may be impossible to describe all the ways people pray.
We pray as we speak - with our own voice. Our unique personalities, our different gifts and experiences, give our prayer its own particular intonation. Even though we may use the same words, we each pray with our own voice. God wants to hear your voice. The reflections which are part of this retreat may help you find your own voice for conversing with God, who listens to you with infinite love. Or perhaps these thoughts will re-visit what you have already learned.
Jesus retreated often in prayer. "Come away for awhile," and retreat from the ebbs and flows of your personal life. One need not be a biblical scholar nor particularly spiritual. The only requirement is a desire to improve your conscious contact with God through the practice of spiritual disciplines. May God guide your consideration of this retreat opportunity.
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.
Human Trafficking Awareness Presentation
Mission Coordination Committee
Commission on Preparation for Ministry
Installation of the Rev. Matthew Schramm
Presbytery Office Closed in Observance of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Commission on Ministry
Celebrating of Ministry for Rhonda Myers
Details on these meetings can be found on the presbytery's website on the calendar.