Bi-Weekly Brief news & updates
September 2, 2020
We Lift Up In Prayer
The Rev. Dr. Leigh Holder, Pastor of Croswell-First, whose brother Calvin Holder passed to the larger life last month. Click here to view 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:
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
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


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.
From the Lions’ Den
Dan Saperstein
“Jesus Christ, as he is attested for us in Holy Scripture, is the one Word of God which we have to hear and which we have to trust and obey in life and in death.” – Theological Declaration of Barmen (Book of Confessions 8.11)

One of the rich resources of our Presbyterian tradition is our history of proclaiming our faith publicly through confessions of faith. There are many such confessions in our history, but the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has identified twelve that we recognize as having special significance for the church.

These twelve form our Book of Confessions, which is part of our church Constitution. They range from the Nicene and Apostles Creeds of the early church to modern confessions such as the Confession of 1967, A Brief Statement of Faith (1991), and the most recently adopted, the Confession of Belhar.

As our Book of Order states, “In these statements the church declares to its members and to the world who and what it is, what it believes, and what it resolves to do. [They] identify the church as a community of people known by its convictions as well as by its actions. They guide the church in its study and interpretation of the Scriptures; they summarize the essence of Reformed Christian tradition; they direct the church in maintaining sound doctrines; they equip the church for its work of proclamation. They serve to strengthen personal commitment and the life and witness of the community of believers.” (F-2.01)

These confessions are both historical and contemporary – that is, though they were written in particular circumstances and for particular reasons, they trace a trajectory of faith that has present-day relevance. One such confession is the Theological Declaration of Barmen.

Written in Barmen, Germany in May 1934 – only 15 months after Hitler’s rise to power – the declaration was a call to resistance against the theological claims of the Nazi state. As Robert McAfee Brown explains, “Almost immediately after Hitler's seizure of power in 1933, Protestant Christians faced pressure to ‘aryanize’ the Church, expel Jewish Christians from the ordained ministry and adopt the Nazi ‘Führer Principle’ as the organizing principle of church government. In general, the churches succumbed to these pressures, and some Christians embraced them willingly. The pro-Nazi ‘German Christian’ movement became a force in the church. They glorified Adolf Hitler as a ‘German prophet’ and preached that racial consciousness was a source of revelation alongside the Bible. But many Christians in Germany—including Lutheran and Reformed, liberal and neo-orthodox—opposed the encroachment of Nazi ideology on the Church's proclamation. At Barmen, this emerging ‘Confessing Church’ adopted a declaration… which expressly repudiated the claim that other powers apart from Christ could be sources of God's revelation. Not all Christians courageously resisted the regime, but many who did… were arrested and executed in concentration camps.” (Kairos: Three Prophetic Challenges to the Church, 1990, Wm. B. Eerdman’s)

Barmen is a biblical judgment against our tendencies to identify the gospel with secular ideologies, nationalism, or “civil religion”; to subordinate the church’s witness to the state or to political figures or movements; and to privatize or compartmentalize faith so as to permit social injustice to flourish. It professes our rejection of tyranny and authoritarianism and affirms the church’s responsibility to speak truth to power.

These are important lessons in every age, including our own. To confess Christ as Lord is to reject the claims of all lesser powers and figures to our allegiance in any way that is contrary to the one Word of God.

Faithfully, 

Dan Saperstein, Executive Presbyter
Covid-19 and Congregations: What You Need to Know
On August 25th we hosted a very informative Zoom event where our special guest was Lisa Allgood, Ph.D., who has served for 36 years as a Research Immunologist and is currently the Transitional Executive Presbyter for the Presbytery of Cincinnati. Lisa is an outstanding resource for understanding the scientific and medical dimensions of the current pandemic and their implications for congregational worship and ministry. She was joined by Jon Baker, the Director of Laboratories at Sparrow Health Systems in the Lansing Area. Jon is also the CRE at Rosebush Presbyterian Church in our presbytery, and is a regular guest on "Fake News Friday," a weekly webcast of Hillsdale Hospital sorting out Covid-19 fact from fiction.

You can find the recording of the event along with resources provided by Lisa after the meeting on our COVID-19 page.
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.

The 2020 version of Stewardship Kaleidoscope, the interdenominational workshop to develop generous disciples, will be held online over three days September 22, 29, and October 6. This year’s theme is “Currents of Faith: The Stewardshift in Community, Technology, and Across Generations.” Each day will feature a different theme and will run from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. EDT.

Stewardship Kaleidoscope is an annual conference offering excellent plenary speakers, informative workshop leaders, provocative worship experiences, and incredible networking opportunities for all who are passionate about stewardship and generosity. Drawing leaders from across the Lutheran Church (ELCA) and the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) and beyond, Stewardship Kaleidoscope is designed to help participants explore stewardship, in its many colorful dimensions! Full information can be found here.

Cost for the online event is $45, but fifty $20 scholarships are available on a first-come, first-served basis from the Presbyterian Foundation. To obtain a scholarship code, contact our Foundation Ministry Relations officer Steve Keizer at stephen.keizer@presbyterianfoundation.org or by phone at 866-317-0751.
Job Opening
The Presbytery of Cincinnati is seeking the General Presbyter who will lead our 67 congregations into the next chapter of our ministry and mission in Southwest Ohio, Northern Kentucky and Southeast Indiana.

The successful candidate will be an ordained Teaching Elder or Ruling Elder who is energetic and highly motivated, with strong interpersonal and technological skills as well as excellent ability in written and verbal communication. Superb organizational and management talents are necessary in this role, as is facility with group processes, leadership development, and a vision for the future that includes gifts of adaptability and creativity for our challenging times.

The General Presbyter will possess a broad knowledge of the Bible, Reformed Theology, and PCUSA polity; will be comfortable working collegially in the ecumenical
setting; and will be a supportive partner and mentor in direct relationship with pastors, staff and lay leadership throughout the Presbytery and its congregations.

This is a permanent, full-time position offering competitive salary and benefits.

Click here for a complete position description. A candidate from within the Presbytery is presently under consideration. Please send cover letter with resume or Personal Information Form for review and consideration beginning September 11, 2020 to our Stated Clerk at erwin@cpresby.org.
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.