Prayer In The Midst of Hurricane Harvey
God of our life, whose presence sustains us in every circumstance,
in storm and distress, we welcome the restoring power of your love and compassion. We open our hearts in sorrow, gratitude, and hope: that those who have been spared nature's fury as well as those whose lives are changed forever by ravages of wind and water may find solace, sustenance, and strength in the days of recovery and rebuilding that come.
We are thankful for the generous grace of days of preparation; for the wise counsel of experts and the generous collaboration of so many communities, that in the face of the storm kept many out of harm's way, and lessened the effects of wind and water on others. We pray for those yet in harm's way; who wait in neighborhoods while the waters rise, who pray for the rains to cease. We pray for those huddled at home or among strangers while wind ravages, for those who have fled from home and wait and wonder. We ask for sustaining courage, for the kindness of strangers, for hope that does not disappoint.
We open ourselves to listen with compassion to the stories of those whom Hurricane Harvey has not spared: communities deeply affected, whose livelihood, homes and stability have been destroyed. We pray in grief, honoring the lives, shattered and the livelihoods, homes and businesses for whom recovery seems an insurmountable mountain. We lift our voices in sorrow and compassion for families who have lost loved ones, homes, or livelihood.
We ask for sustaining courage for those who are suffering; wisdom and diligence among agencies and individuals assessing damage and directing relief efforts; and for generosity to flow as powerfully as rivers and streams, as we, your people, respond to the deep human needs beginning to emerge in the wake of the storm.
In these days of relief, assessment and response, open our eyes, our hearts, and our hands to the needs of your children and the movements of your Spirit, who flows in us like the river whose streams makes glad the city of God, and the hearts of all who dwell in it, and in You.
In the name of Christ the Healer we pray, amen.
The Rev. Dr. Laurie Ann Kraus
We Lift Up In Prayer...
The Rev. Fred Gates, Honorably Retired, and spouse or the Rev. Dr. Sharlyn Gates, Pastor of Holly
who recently fell and broke his hip. Fred is currently in rehab and anticipates returning home in a couple of weeks.
The Rev. Dr. George Baird, Honorably Retired,
ho has been diagnosed with acute leukemia. He is currently at home under hospice care. NOTE: Just prior to publication of the BWB we were informed that George had been taken to the hospital. Further updates will be posted on our Facebook page as we get them.
The Rev. Dr. Tom Schacher, Pastor of Midland-Memorial and his family and congregation
as they deal with his recent diagnosis of Parkinson's Disease.
Pam Brackbill and the Rev. Tom Brackbill, Pastor of Alma-First as they deal with all that encompasses Pam's diagnosis of Younger Onset Alzheimer's Disease. Pam is under the care of Masonic Pathways.
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 August and September:
The Rev. John Becker (9/17) - 45 years -
The Rev. Ken Hetzel (8/16) - 30 years -
Pastor of Croswell-First
The Rev. Charles Marquardt (8/29) - Member-At-Large
I saw the announcement on my Facebook feed: "An ecumenical team of volunteers is assembling 250,000 ready-to-eat meals for Houston flood victims at Preston Hollow Presbyterian Church in Dallas." The crew is under the direction of a Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) team member. It is amazing and inspiring to see how people of faith have responded to the immense damage brought on by hurricane Harvey. Literally hundreds of churches have opened their doors to receive thousands of flood victims. All 29 Islamic mosques in the Houston area have done so as well. Millions of dollars have already been donated through various organizations to assist in what is certainly going to be a restoration effort that will take years to accomplish. (Click here for how you can contribute through PDA.)
One thing I regularly hear from church members is how proud they are of the work of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance. PDA is one of the things we do best as a denomination. I have worked with them in response to wildfires, floods, and tornadoes, but also refugee care, church explosions, water crises, and responder burnout. PDA is just one arm of the mission of our denomination supported by your mission gifts.
We in the Presbytery of Lake Huron have benefitted from the generous support of church members through PDA in response to our own flooding disaster in Midland and Isabella counties in June. The Presbytery received an immediate grant of $7500 to assist in long-term recovery support, and First Presbyterian Church, Mt. Pleasant received a $5000 grant to help repair damage to their church basement. We also receive ongoing support in response to the Flint Water Crisis.
Presbyterians participate in a national network known as VOAD (Volunteer Organizations Assisting in Disaster), which has regional networks in every part of the country. Our local PDA team member, Kelly Buell of Chapel Lane Presbyterian Church in Midland serves as our link to the regional VOAD network.
Disasters come in many forms: natural (floods, fires, tornadoes, earthquakes, epidemics, etc.) and human caused (terrorism, water poisoning, plane crashes, shootings, etc.). Some are a mixture of both (famine, for example). Some can be prevented by careful planning, maintenance, and security; most are beyond our control. But what we can control is our readiness to respond when they strike. At our presbytery meeting in September, the Coordinating Team is presenting a policy and a plan for Disaster Response in our presbytery. This will provide for a clear structure and process for communication and response. Part of the policy will encourage congregations to adopt their own disaster policies and plans.
People ask, "Where is God in my crisis?" while the media focus on the lack of compassion from a prominent televangelist. The reality is that God is not only spiritually present with the victims and survivors, but also physically present through the countless gifts of hospitality, care, and personal sacrifice demonstrated to our neighbors. Let us be ready to show God's presence and care whenever disaster may strike.
|September Presbytery Meeting
September Presbytery Meeting Documents
All of the documents relating to the stated meeting of presbytery on
September 12th at 9:30am at Midland-Memorial
are now available on the
page of our website.
The highlight of this meeting is having one of our General Assembly Co-Moderators with us. The Rev. Denise Anderson will be with us for the leading of worship and to lead our equipping time. Given recent events in Charlottesville, her leading will be both timely and topical for the church. We are really looking forward to her time with us.
In addition, our business for the day will include some of the more important functions of the entire Presbytery. We will have the opportunity to examine one of our Inquirers as he seeks to move to full Candidate status. In addition, we will hear from a potential new clergyperson in our midst who has accepted a call from one of our congregations. She will share a brief homiletical thought with the Presbytery. There will be the matter of voting on the proposed new Per Capita rate (the Presbytery portion) for 2018. As this impacts every church, it is always a worthwhile consideration. Finally, the Coordinating Team will present a Disaster Response Policy for our Presbytery and a first reading for some by-law changes.
General Assembly Co-Moderator to Visit Lake Huron Presbytery
The Rev. Denise Anderson, Co-Moderator of the General Assembly of the PCUSA will be visiting Lake Huron Presbytery from September 9-13 as part of a four-presbytery invitation. She is the first Moderator to visit our presbytery since The Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow in 2009.
Anderson will preach, and then lead the equipping time on "The New Reformation of the Presbyterian Church" at the Presbytery stated meeting at Midland Memorial Church Tuesday, September 12. The meeting convenes at 9:30 with worship at 9:45. The public is welcome to attend.
In addition to the Presbytery meeting, Anderson will have a busy itineration through our presbytery.
- On Sunday, September 10, at 10:45 a.m., she will preach at a service of worship commemorating the 150th Anniversary of Memorial Presbyterian Church in Midland.
- On Monday, September 11 she will meet with groups addressing the Flint Water Crisis in the morning, then lead a workshop on Race, Privilege, and Reconciliation at Trinity United Presbyterian Church at 2:00 p.m. All are invited to the free workshop.
- On Wednesday, September 13 she will guide a conversation at PCUSA-related Alma College, and share lunch with students and other members of the Alma Community.
Anderson was elected on the first ballot for a two-year term as Co-Moderator of the 222rd General Assembly when it met in Portland, Oregon in June 2016. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University and Howard University School of Divinity, Anderson is pastor of Unity Presbyterian Church in Temple Hills, Maryland and belongs to National Capital Presbytery. She is the author of the blog "SOULa Scriptura: To Be Young, Gifted, and Reformed."
She and her Co-moderator the Rev. Jan Edmiston of Chicago Presbytery have stimulated the denominational conversations on race and class through church-wide reading groups of the books Waking Up White (and Finding Myself in the Story of Race) and Always With Us?: What Jesus Really Said About the Poor.
For Teaching Elders or Commissioned Ruling Elders
Over the years, as a Presbytery, we are supposed to provide Boundary/Misconduct Training. Unfortunately, we have been delinquent on providing that training. Now, we are going to begin to rectify that.
Thursday, September 21, 2017
we will be holding Boundary/Misconduct Training from
10 AM until 3 PM
Mt. Pleasant First Presbyterian Church
. This will be a joint offering with the Presbytery of Lake Michigan. The Stated Clerk for Lake Michigan Presbytery, Rev. Fran Lane-Lawrence, is skilled in leading this type of training. She will come provide the leadership. Lunch will be provided as well as any materials needed. Please sign up through the Presbytery website and fill out the basic on-line form by
Please be sure to read the following:
I recognize that it would be unfair to expect every serving clergy person and every Commissioned Ruling Elder to attend the September 21, 2017 Training event on such short notice. To that end, all our current serving clergy and CREs will have through 2019 to get caught up. Each year we will jointly offer this training with Lake Michigan Presbytery. In 2018, the Training will be held in Lake Michigan and in 2019, it will be held again in Lake Huron Presbytery. The 2018 and 2019 dates will be set as soon as possible and communicated to you.
This initial Training, no matter when it is taken, will be in a face-to-face setting.
The Boundary/Misconduct Training will be good for a five year period, starting the end of the 2019 Training date (i.e. thru 2024). Then a Boundary/Misconduct refresher will be needed. We are confident that we will be able to have this refresher training done on-line.
Thank you for your attention to this important matter and, as always, if there are questions, please let me know.
Yours in Christ,
150th Anniversary Celebration
Memorial Presbyterian Church of Midland will be celebrating their 150th Anniversary on September 9th & 10th. We will celebrate our Presbyterian heritage with guest pastors including the Co-Moderator of the General Assembly, Denise Anderson. All are welcome. Please contact the church at firstname.lastname@example.org or (989) 835-6759 for details.
Planning for Disasters
If your church burned down on Friday, where would you meet on Sunday? If a tornado came through your community, how would you care for your members and neighbors?
While we all hate to contemplate being faced with a disaster unfortunately they do occur. Two major disasters have occurred recently in our presbytery. The Flint water crisis continues to affect thousands, including members of our churches. The flooding in Isabella, Midland, and Bay counties also impacted many people including church members. While we are blessed that we have not experienced a tornado, a toxic spill, or a church shooting, we are better able to deal with such events if we are prepared.
The Presbytery Coordinating Team appointed a vision task force in January to explore ways to help the presbytery and it's churches to become more missional. Part of that mission emphasis is to develop a disaster preparedness policy and plan for the presbytery and to provide information for individual churches to help in creating their plans. With the help of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, the documents have been completed and were approved by the Coordinating Team at its July meeting.
The plans are available by clicking on these links or on the Presbytery of Lake Huron web page under the "Misc" tab and then "Documents and Forms." The Presbytery Disaster Plan outlines how the presbytery will communicate and coordinate activities in case of an emergency. The Emergency Preparedness for Churches is a document that was originally created by St. Joseph's Mercy Faith Community Nursing in cooperation with Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard and graciously shared with us.
You are encouraged to become familiar with both documents to aid your own preparation. The presbytery plan is still a work in progress as we continue to identify people that are qualified and interested to fill the various volunteer positions.
The church document is a guide to help individual churches create their own disaster preparedness plans. You are encouraged to begin discussions within your church about how the church will respond to a crisis in your community if and when one may occur.
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.
Office Closed In Observance of Labor Day
Commission on Preparation for Ministry
Worship Planning Team
Commission on Ministry - Outreach and Administration Team
Details on these meetings can be found on the presbytery's website on the calendar.