Bi-Weekly Brief news & updates
August 12, 2020
We Lift Up In Prayer
The Rev. Linda Graham, Temporary Supply of Davison-St. Andrews, on the passing of her husband Bruce Graham two weeks ago. Click here for his obituary.

Elder Don Wixson, Commissioned Ruling Elder of Vassar-First, who is being treated for cancer.

Our churches currently in pastoral transition.

Our Mission Co-Workers:
Lucy Der-Garabedian serving in Lebanon.
Cathy Chang and family serving in the Philippines.
Michael and Rachel Ludwig serving in Niger.
Upcoming Ordination and Commissioning Anniversaries:
The Rev. Leslie Piper (8/1) - Interim Pastor, Bay City-First
Elder Kathleen Rowe (8/1) - 5 Years - Commissioned Ruling Elder of Tawas
The Rev. Dr. Steve Shugert (8/1) - Honorably Retired, Pastor Emeritus of Mt. Pleasant-First
The Rev. David Eshelman (8/3) - Honorably Retired
Elder Shaun Hardimon (8/11) - Commissioned Ruling Elder of Swartz Creek-Mundy
The Rev. Glenn Grant (8/15) - Pastor of Grand Blanc-Kirkridge
The Rev. Ken Hetzel (8/16) - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Ted McCulloch (8/20) - Pastor of Saginaw-First and Stated Clerk of Presbytery
The Rev. Charles Marquardt (8/29) - Honorably Retired
Elder Jon Essex (9/1) - Commissioned Ruling Elder of Twining-Maple Ridge
The Rev. Ron Vredeveld (9/1) - Temporary Supply of Beaverton-First
The Rev. John Becker (9/17) - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Matthew Schramm (9/19) - Pastor of Midland-Memorial
The Rev. Timm High (9/28) - Interim Pastor or Midland-Chapel Lane


We ask that you consider including these requests each week in your bulletin and/or newsletter.
 
We also encourage everyone to send a card or e-mail or make a phone call to those listed. Sometimes a small gesture creates a big smile. 

Contact information for anyone on this list may be obtained by calling the presbytery office at 989-799-7481 or replying to this email.
A Pastor’s Thought…
Dan is taking his annual break from writing The Lion's Den. Today we hear from our Stated Clerk, the Rev. Ted McCulloch who is also the Pastor of Saginaw-First.

I write this as a pastor of a congregation and not as the Stated Clerk. As a pastor in Lake Huron Presbytery, I am blessed to currently serve First Presbyterian Church of Saginaw. It is a beautiful and, for me, sacred worship space. The stained glass windows are gorgeous, colorful, and full of spiritual meaning. The wood pews and balconies are warm and inviting. The pipe organ is even more majestic in sound than it is awesome to look at. And many of those same thoughts were true in my first call at Taymouth Presbyterian in Birch Run. Yet the pandemic came and, for a while, took that.

I say that so that we can understand that I know and cherish the sacredness and the holy beauty of our worship spaces. They do help me find God’s presence again and again. It is one of the reasons that the last few months of worship have been challenging. I long to be back in our sanctuary, worshipping together. And I know I am not alone in that. Many of us want that as soon as possible in our own sanctuaries.

Yet it is in that yearning to return to our buildings and their spaces that there is a challenge. The challenge is the difference between what might be called a “theology of the building” and a “theology of faith.” The “theology of the building” being the idea that real worship or the best worship is found only when we are in our buildings and our sanctuaries. It’s the idea that if we can just get back in the sanctuary, then we’ll be the church again.

The “theology of faith” is the idea that real worship or the best worship is wherever we gather, in whatever way we gather. That can be in our sanctuaries. But as we’ve learned over the last few months, that can also be in our parking lots and online and with small FM transmitters and other amazing and creative ways of sharing a faithful Christian witness.

When Jesus encountered the woman at the well in John 4, she was caught up in a conflict between Jews and Samaritans focused on a “theology of building”: whether the “right” way to worship was in Jerusalem or Samaria. Jesus replied, “The hour is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem…. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him.”

We have so much to be grateful for in our sanctuaries and our buildings. They are beautiful and often sacred and holy. And the day we can return to them safely will be one of the happiest days in a long time. But it is our faith, as Christians, that connects us to God. It is our faith that makes however and wherever we gather truly holy.

Just a pastor’s thought…

Parish Paper
The latest editions of the Parish Paper are now available on our website. As a reminder these may be used by all of our congregations free of charge under the presbytery's subscription. Topics this time are:

September Getting Started With Livestreaming
October How To Foster Deep Listening Amid Political Difference

Click here  to download these or any of the issues from the previous decade.
From The Stated Clerk
Bylaw Advice for Electronic Meetings

For many of our churches, these last few months have found us doing a lot of things differently and, seemingly, always on the fly. One of the most frequent concerns is regarding the holding of Session and/or congregational meetings via Zoom or some other type of electronic meeting.

Technically, electronic meetings are only supposed to be allowable when permitted by that council’s bylaws. Most of us (including the Presbytery) don’t have that in our bylaws. This is a good opportunity for congregations to amend their bylaws to permit electronic meetings. An electronic meeting bylaw does not need to be very complicated or lengthy. Talk with the Stated Clerk if help is wanted in creating a proposed bylaw.

With the summer weather, many of our churches are holding at least occasional outdoor services. Those services are a great opportunity to have an in-person congregational meeting to adopt bylaw changes. As always, if there are any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the Stated Clerk, Ted McCulloch.
In Our Congregations








Sharing time

One of the joys of community ministry comes whenever faith-based missions and secular-based missions collaborate in the organization and pulling off of a community event where no questions are asked and no one need be turned around.

On Wednesday, August 5th, such an event happened in Beaverton, Michigan when the community powers that be- the Helping Hands Mission, the New Dawn Shelter for the homeless, Our Savior Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod) and 10/16, an agency working with addicts- came together to put on the 2020 Community Continuum Care Outreach.

The actual event happened at the Helping Hands Mission facility. But before the event could happen, the New Dawn Shelter had to do the networking, Our Savior Lutheran had to put together some 125 backpacks for our students, several dozen personal product bags needed assembling, and the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan needed to send up a mobile truck with food. This all happened with everyone being in place and ready to go. Some 525 food boxes were distributed, some 122 backpacks are now with our students, and almost all the personal product bags are out and about in the community! Thanks to all the volunteers, with a special “tip of the hat” to the 10/16 youth volunteers!

And should there be any doubt, we know these kinds of community ministries are occurring throughout the wondrous Presbytery of Lake Huron, occurring because of and in spite of the COVID 19 pandemic We ask you to share them with us all- because I do not recall any Holy Word that tells me Jesus told the disciples to “keep it quiet” after the five loaves and two fish fed the five thousand- how else did it get into the Gospels?

From the out-spoken Rev. Karen Blatt!
Grants and Scholarship Opportunities
It’s time to apply for the Synod’s grants and higher education scholarships! We want to support the ministries of your churches and the academic work undertaken by your students. Grants and scholarships totaling $85,000 will be awarded in 2020.

The programs (and the dates when application reviews will begin) include:

  • Higher Education Scholarships, available to individual Presbyterians within the Synod who are attending college, university, trade school, or seminary/divinity school. Up to $1500; Reviews start 8/31/20.
  • COVID Emergency Need Grants for Higher Education Students. Up to $500; Reviews start 12/4/20.
  • New Covenant Grants, available to congregations, institutions, and organizations within the Synod for (a) congregational development and transformation, (b) multi-cultural and justice ministries, or (c) ministries in higher education. Up to $5000; Reviews start 10/1/20.
  • Racial Ethnic Program Grants, available to congregations primarily composed of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) planning new mission initiatives or outreach to the neighborhoods surrounding their church. Up to $5000; Reviews start 10/1/20.

Click here to apply and learn more.

You're Invited
The Presbyterian Campus Ministers serving Eastern Michigan University, Grand Valley State University, Michigan State University, University of Michigan, Western Michigan University, Grand Rapids Community College and Kendall College of Art and Design invite incoming students (and their youth leaders) to connect ahead of the fall semester.

Learn about our campus ministry communities, meet some friendly faces before the school year starts and hear about opportunities to grow and connect in faith during your college years.

The Zoom meeting will take place on Thursday, August 20th at 3:00pm.

Click here for a flier.

RSVP to neil@ukirkmsu.org for Zoom link.
Board of Pensions Updates
I hope all are healthy and well. I wish we could be together in person, but as the coronavirus pandemic prevents that from happening, I write to share these key updates from the Board of Pensions. If you have questions, my colleagues in Philadelphia and I are happy to assist.
 
Blessings,
 
Doug Portz, Church Consultant
M: 267-788-4962

Member/Employer Services
800-773-7752
Mon-Fri 8:30-7:00pm EST
Resources Regarding COVID-19
We have set up a page with numerous resources to help you navigate through this challenging time.

Among other things, our COVID-19 page includes information regarding:

  • Virtual Worship and Live Streaming
  • Zoom and online meetings
  • Funerals
  • Online giving
  • Grants and loans
  • Denominational resources
  • Mental wellness
  • Re-opening considerations

If there are other items/resources that you would to see added please contact Staci Percy at spercy@presbylh.org.