Bi-Weekly Brief news & updates
October 21, 2020
We Lift Up In Prayer
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. Dr. Dan Saperstein (10/2) - Executive Presbyter
The Rev. Dr. Ewen Holmes (10/10) - Interim Pastor of Bay City-Westminster
The Rev. Dr. Wally Mayton (10/25) - 45 Years - Associate Pastor of Midland-Memorial
The Rev. Christina Jensen (10/28) - Pastor of Ithaca-First
Elder Chris Wolf (11/4) - Commissioned Ruling Elder of Marlette-First and Marlette-Second
The Rev. Dr. Leigh Holder (11/25) - 25 Years - Pastor of Croswell-First
The Rev. Tom Cundiff (11/27) - Honorably Retired

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.
Presbyterian Women's Fall Gathering
The 2020 Virtual Presbyterian Women Fall Event will be a panel discussion with the panelists sharing their story on the topic of “Justice for All.”  We are excited to welcome Dr. Elona Street-Stewart, Co-Moderator of the 224th General Assembly; Dr. Rhashell Hunter, Director of Racial Equity & Women’s Intercultural Ministries for the Presbyterian Mission Agency; and Dr. Daniel M. Saperstein, Executive Presbyter for the Presbytery of Lake Huron. 

Pre-registration is required. To register, please click the link below and answer the registration questions. You will then receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. If you are having problems registering, please contact the Presbytery Office (989-799-7481) and they can assist you.

Click here to register.

Participants will be invited to pose questions and offer comments through a moderated discussion and by using the Chat feature.

The following resources are recommended readings prior to the event:

  • You Tube Video, “Race in America” Phil Vischer, the creator of Veggie Tales
  • Oprah’s Apple TV Series on Racism
  • Oprah’s Newest Book Club Book, “Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents” by Isabel Wilkerson
  • Amos 5:24
  • Matthew 25

This is an exciting and critical time in our nation’s history. We look forward to you joining us in this Virtual Event. 

While this event is organized by the Presbyterian Women of Lake Huron Presbytery, all genders are welcome and encouraged to participate.

From the Lions’ Den
Dan Saperstein
This is my last column before Election Day; the next time I write we might have decided as a nation who will be our president for the next four years – but it is also quite likely that we might not know for days or weeks later. This has been one of the most polarized elections in my lifetime. Elections not only divide nations they can divide congregations too. In virtually every congregation you will find avid supporters on both the political right and the left. Political wounds in the body politic can also afflict the Body of Christ.

Presbyterians are familiar with political divides. In our long history we have often been divided over political issues. The earliest denominational split occurred in the 1720s over whether ministers may be appointed by the civil magistrate (i.e., the king or his deputies). Later splits occurred over important issues like the abolition of slavery, civil rights, and, most recently, gay marriage. I still hear members upset over a General Assembly action to receive donations for a legal defense fund for Angela Davis fifty years ago.

But Presbyterians also understand that our unity is not in our political beliefs, but in Christ, who alone is head of the church. The very first “Historic Principle of Church Order,” written as a preface for our first Book of Order in 1788 and included ever since, famously states, “God alone is Lord of the conscience, and hath left it free from [human] doctrines and commandments… which are in anything contrary to his Word, or beside it, in matters of faith or worship” (F-3.0101). Another founding principle states, “we… believe that there are truths and forms with respect to which [people] of good characters and principles may differ. And in all these we think it the duty both of private Christians and societies to exercise mutual forbearance toward each other” (F-3.0105).

In 2020, however, our tolerance for disagreement is low. We are already stressed and anxious over the COVID-19 epidemic, racial injustices, public protests, and depictions of urban violence, made more intense by cable news and social media. Even benign statements of biblical social values by pastors and congregational leaders can trigger rapid and disproportionate reactions. And the leaders themselves are stressed to the breaking point trying to adapt to ministry in a time of pandemic. If this is how we are feeling now, how will we feel when Election Day divides us into “winners” and “losers”?

Let me propose that congregations consider incorporating themes of mutual forbearance and reconciliation into our worship on November 1 and 8. The General Assembly has shared liturgical and educational resources for Election Day on its website. There is also a complete liturgy for a Service of Reconciliation. Preachers on November 1 may want to incorporate Jesus’ Beatitudes from the lections for All Saints Day as a summons to humble discipleship; on November 8, the Old Testament lesson from Joshua 24 in which Joshua summons the tribes of Judah from their separate ways to unite in service to God alone offers a call to unity among God’s people.

Among the resources in the new Book of Common Worship are these prayers for the nation and the church, which I invite you to make your own:

Under your law we live, great God, and by your will we govern ourselves. Help us as good citizens to respect neighbors whose views differ from ours, so that without partisan anger, we may work out issues that divide us, and elect candidates to serve the common welfare; through Jesus Christ the Lord.

May the God of justice lead us through the tumultuous seas. May the Christ who came to dwell among us renew the strength of our dreams. May the Holy Spirit guide us to still waters where justice, solidarity, and peace reign. Amen. 

Faithfully, 

Dan Saperstein, Executive Presbyter
Getting To Know The Presbytery
The Synod of the Covenant is doing a series of videos highlighting each presbytery within our Synod.

Please click here to view them including the one for the Presbytery of Lake Huron featuring our Executive Presbyter, the Rev. Dr. Dan Saperstein and our Moderator, the Rev. Philomena Ofori-Nipaah.
Special Offerings
Great article on the Presbyterian Mission Agency (PMA) website about Special Offerings that features our own Birch Run-Taymouth, their Pastor, the Rev. Scott Kroener and Elder Kathy Maurer. Kathy currently serves on PMA.

"If we all give a little — a cup of coffee a couple of times a week — together we can make an impact. That is what it means to be the connectional church." - Kathy Maurer, elder at Taymouth Presbyterian Church in Birch Run, Michigan, and Presbyterian Mission Agency Board

Acknowledging the collective impact small gifts can make, small church designates October to support One Great Hour of Sharing. If there can be Christmas in July, why not Easter in October? Or Palm Sunday, for that matter?
Reconfiguring the traditional and liturgical calendar was precisely what the First Presbyterian Church of Taymouth in Birch Run, Michigan, did after Bonnie Pratt, who chairs the church’s Mission Committee, originally approached the session back in February 2020. Pratt’s proposal that the congregation receive One Great Hour of Sharing during Lent ended up being sidelined. That is, until now. Continue reading.

Stewardship Season
Rosemary Mitchell created a video on Shared Mission Support that she used for Stewardship Kaleidoscope a few weeks ago. Since stewardship season is upon us, you may want to share this with your members.

Click here for the link.
2020 Records Review
Session
Records Review time is coming up and like everything else this year, it will be different. For all of you who are able, I am asking that you submit your minutes in electronic form by emailing them to me at tmcculloch@presbylh.org. These would be your minutes from the last time they were reviewed through August, 2020. 
 
For this year, you do not need to fill out the minutes checklist, I will review each set of minutes with the checklist, make any appropriate notes or exceptions and mail that sheet back to you with your “sticker.” Please note that I will not be checking the “financial review” question this year. COVID shutdowns made it difficult for many churches to complete this item.
 
We will not review the Church Registers this year. We will wait for a time when we can do that again.
 
If you are not able to send your minutes electronically, you can mail a physical copy of the relevant minutes to me at the Presbytery office and I will review them and return the comment sheet back to you. Please send a copy ONLY and not the original as the copy will not be returned.
 
Finally, you may start submitting minutes for review as soon as you have them ready – no waiting this year!
 
Thank you for your patience and flexibility. As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions.
 
Yours in Christ,
 
Ted McCulloch, Stated Clerk
Phone: 989-799-7481
2021 Per Capita Set
The 2021 Per Capita Apportionment approved at the September stated meeting is as follows.

General Assembly $8.98
Synod of the Covenant $3.25
Presbytery $16.53
Total $28.76

(This is a decrease of $0.24 per member for 2021)

This may also be found on the Documents and Forms page of of website under Financial Information
Rethinking How To Do Local Mission
The Mission Committee of Davison-St. Andrews recently distributed “Thanksgiving - Local Mission” envelopes as members and visitors arrived at church. In past years they would take “food/supplies slips” from a Mission Poster for the food items or monies to be donated. Since agencies prefer monetary donations during these COVID-19 days, they are adjusting their donation process to meet their needs.

They provided envelopes and these directions: 

  • Consider the value of the food you are willing to provide.
  • Write a SEPARATE check for that amount.
  • PAY to: St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church.
  • WRITE “LOCAL MISSION “ in the memo line.
  • Put your donation in the envelope.
  • Write your name and offering number on the outside of the envelope.
  • Place in the collection box with your regular offering - or Mail to the church. 
  • Final Due Date for Thanksgiving donations is November 1, 2020.

Based on agencies’ needs, the Mission Committee will authorize donations to be sent to one or more of the following: Family Promise, Flint Eastside Shelter, Food Bank of Eastern Michigan, Outreach East, and/or to other local mission needs that arise. 

What are some ways your congregation is doing mission differently? Send your stories to Staci Percy at spercy@presbylh.org.
Job Opportunities
Trinity United Presbyterian Church, Flint is hiring for a Church Secretary/Financial Secretary position. We are looking to interview in the next 2 weeks. Part-time, 20 hr/wk, M-F, $15/hr. Strong written and verbal communication skills and knowledge of Microsoft Office software needed. Proficiency with social media posting desirable. Willing to train on the financial aspects. Interested candidates, please contact Pastor Lindsey Carnes 810-445-6780 pastorLcarnes@gmail.com.

Click here for the job description.
Holy Spirit Lutheran Church in Grand Blanc is searching for a part-time (10-15 hours/week) to lead youth programming for Middle School and High School age youth. Principle responsibilities include providing leadership and teaching for Middle School and High School youth, working with the pastors, Youth and Christian Education Teams, and coordinating fund-raising activities that support special youth activities and trips. For a full position description, qualifications and compensation information, go to: www.holyspiritlc.net and click on the position posting.

The Rev. Cassie Todd is a minister member of our presbytery and serving as the Associate Pastor at Holy Spirit.
GLAPCE Fall Event
Equipping the Church to Welcome All Gender
Identity/Fluidity/Pronouns, featuring the Rev. Shanea D. Leonard and the Rev. Jess Cook.

Great Lakes Association of Presbyterian Church Educators
Presents an Online Event

Session One - Wednesday, October 14th at 7:00 p.m.
Session Two - Thursday, October 15th at 10:00 a.m.
Times are Eastern Standard Time.

Zoom events will be recorded and available for viewing after the live session has ended.

This is a meaningful opportunity for all church ministries.
Christian Educators, Pastors, Christian Education Ministries and Member Care Ministries

Click here for more details and to register.

Presbyterian Older Adult Ministries Conference
Presbyterian Older Adult Ministries (POAMN) mission is educating and equipping leadership and aging congregations to promote and engage in activity, wellness, care, and social involvement. Our purpose is to educate, advocate, develop and share resources, and train leaders by raising awareness around issues facing those who serve older adults, and are older adults, all in a covenant relationship with the Mission Agency Board of the PC (USA).

POAMN is pleased to announce that registration is open for our first National Zoom Conference, Shaping Faith in Crisis: Peace by Piece on October 27-28, 2020.

This event will bring together leaders and experts on aging, spirituality, and pastoral care, as well as leaders from communities of faith, seminaries, academia, and community organizations. The current pandemic has made pastoral care an even greater challenge with the need for SIP (Shelter In Place) and social distancing. As shepherds and faith leaders we still must care for people, many of whom are feeling a rise in loneliness, anxiety, and depression.

Click here for more information and to register.

A suggested donation of $25 includes both days. POAMN is a 501(c)(3) organization. Funds collected will be given as a donation to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA).

Mediation Skills Training
The last session of Mediation Skills Training Institute for Church Leaders for this year will be November 16-20, 2020. This outstanding 5-day event helps participants deal more effectively with interpersonal, congregational, and other forms of group conflict. The tentative dates for next year are March 1-5, May 3-7, June 21-25, August 2-6, October 4-8, and November 15-19, 2021. No decision has yet been made with regard to returning to an in-person format, so attendees will need access to a device with both a camera and a microphone. Questions? Contact the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center at Admin@LMPeaceCenter.org or 630-627-0507.  To receive a $200 tuition discount for the November 2020 session, register no later than October 16.

To register online for any of our events scheduled for this year, please visit: https://www.brownpapertickets.com/producer/720852.

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.