Bi-Weekly Brief news & updates
November 4, 2020
We Lift Up In Prayer
The Rev. Dawn Russell, Pastor of Linden, on the passing of her father this weekend. (An obituary is not yet available.)

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:
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
The Rev. Dr. Rod Shoemaker (12/2) - Member-At-Large
The Rev. Joy Smith (12/3) - Interim Pastor of Alma-First
The Rev. Brant Piper (12/15) - Designated Pastor of Saginaw-Countryside Trinity
The Rev. Dr. Lucy Der-Garabedian (12/19) - Mission Co-Worker

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 to be held on Saturday, November 7th beginning at 10:00am 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
For years listened to the NPR program Car Talk, which aired every Saturday morning from 1987-2012. The show featured two brothers, Tom and Ray Magliozzi who would respond to listener’s questions about cars and car repair with brotherly jabs and a sharp wit. They would occasionally promote items culled from the “shameless commerce department” of the show.

This is from the “shameless commerce department” of the Presbytery.

October 16 marked the fifth anniversary of my service among you as Executive Presbyter. In my time here we have seen significant changes in our Presbytery mission which have made us more responsive and relational in our service to congregations. We have reimagined Presbytery Assemblies so that they are “value-added” experiences, with worship, equipping, and efficiently run governance components. We have streamlined our structure, consolidating committees, and added a mission coordination function. We have adopted the Matthew 25 mission commitment to combat structural racism, address systemic poverty, and enhance congregational vitality. We have encouraged congregations to engage in mission that is “inside-out, upside-down, and sticky.” We have nurtured mission relationships with mission co-workers in West Africa and the Philippines. When the COVID-19 crisis hit, we were ready to respond with scientifically-informed advice and tens of thousands of dollars of grants and loans to assist financially strapped congregations pay their bills and upgrade their technology to adapt to “virtual church.”

We have also been faithful in the management of your per capita and mission dollars. Did you know that only about 35% of the costs of presbytery mission and operations comes from per capita assessments? About 37% comes from voluntary mission gifts from congregations and individuals; and about 28% from carefully managed endowment and foundation disbursements. We have been diligent in finding ways to be more faithful in reducing costs and supporting our employees. Due to several cost-saving measures our 2021 per capita rate will actually be $.24 lower than the 2020 rate.

While there is still much room for improvement, we have become a model for other presbyteries, who are amazed at the faithful support of our congregations and the quality of our staff.

Our December Presbytery Assembly illustrates the positive changes in our Presbytery. It will be the first Assembly held entirely by Zoom, which saves money while saving lives in a time of pandemic. We will welcome Diane Givens Moffett, executive director of the Presbytery Mission Agency and a riveting preacher to lead us in worship and share how congregations – especially smaller congregations – can live into the Matthew 25 vision. The Presbytery will vote on a 2021 budget that is $10,000 less than 2020 and $20,000 less than 2019. We will vote on a full slate of nominations to fill vacancies on presbytery committees. We will welcome the Rev. Dr. Do Hyung Kim into our presbytery to lead a soon-to-be reunited Korean congregation in Saginaw to be known as the Michigan Nanum (“fellowship”) Presbyterian Church. And if the way be clear, we hope to welcome two new Inquirers in the process of ordination for the ministry of the Word and Sacrament (Ally Muenzer of Holly and Nicholas Asperger of Fairgrove). Look for registration information in the next Bi-weekly Brief.

In a time when many presbyteries are being downsized in staff and mission, we are adapting to changing times with nimbleness and creativity. This is a team effort of which the whole presbytery can take pride. Over these five years I have been blessed with a gifted staff and faithful congregations. There will be more challenges in the years to come. As we remain open to the voice of the Spirit we will continue to be effective witnesses for Christ in mid-Michigan.

Faithfully, 

Dan Saperstein, Executive Presbyter
Request For Assistance
From our Presbytery Moderator, and Interim Pastor of Saginaw-Second the Rev. Philomena Ofori-Nipaah:

I am looking for clergy and lay leaders to participate in the 3 month prayer project for my Doctor of Ministry project. It will be similar to what I shared during the September meeting. The meeting will be virtual via Zoom in a total of 5 times lasting for 30 minutes. All who are interested should contact Philomena at either: nhyira5@gmail.com or 301-974-7879.
December Presbytery Meeting
The December stated meeting of presbytery will be held on Tuesday, December 1st at 9:30 am via Zoom. Please note that this is the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.

Meeting documents and the link to register will be sent out in a couple of weeks.
From The Mission Coordination Committee
Thinking about Mission: Almost every congregation within the Presbytery of Lake Huron knows of the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan and its connections to Feeding America.
This is one of the most important national organizations committed to ending hunger.

But how well are we acquainted with the World Food Program of the United Nations? This year the Nobel Peace Prize Committee awarded this global commitment to addressing the fallout that comes from the global crises that put thousands and millions of people in peril of starvation. Yes, this year the Nobel Peace Prize adorns the World Food Program offices and work, and what makes this an even more personal award for all of us in the Presbytery of Lake Huron, the executive director of the World Food Program, David Beasley, received the news of the award while at a conference in Niger. 

This of course reminds us of the Ludwigs and of the Two Coins A Meal giving from various Presbytery congregations. These monies go to in part to support the cereal/grain barns that enable the farmers there to save some of their harvest for the needs that emerge whenever there are seasonal or civil crises. Thank you for the Two Coins a Meal mission; thank you World Food Program. May the blessing of the new kingdom be upon us where no one will be without and all our tears have been dried.

Shalom,

Pastor Karen Blatt
Member of the Mission Coordinating Team
Advent Services Available To Stream
The Synod of the Covenant is offering weekly Advent services to stream free of charge. The Presbytery of Lake Huron will be providing the content for the December 27th service.

Pastors, worship leaders, musicians, and tech gurus have worked so consistently to create and offer meaningful worship services during the pandemic. Words we would have rarely associated with worship before March (e.g., Zoom, Facebook Live, Vimeo, YouTube, and more!) are now part of our regular vocabulary and planning. Of course, these leaders are still investing heavily in sermons, music, liturgy, and prayers that are as powerful as ever.

To thank you for your hard work, the presbytery and synod staff leaders are planning virtual worship services which you can use for worship throughout Advent. You’ll be able to live stream or download the sermons and scriptures or the whole service, and of course you can choose to use one, all, or none of these services. The presbytery and synod leaders offer these as a gift to thank you for your incredible ministry all year long.

Click here for more information and the schedule.
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.
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.