Presbytery of Lake Huron
Bi-Weekly Brief 
 
"The mission of the Presbytery of Lake Huron is to partner with congregations, helping people to know, grow, share and serve as disciples of Jesus Christ." 
 

September 5, 2018 

Cross at Tawas
We Pray For 
We Lift Up In Prayer...  

New/Thank You:
The Rev. Linda Graham (Cass City-First and Fraser) and husband Bruce would like to thank everyone for their prayers and concerns during Bruce's illness. All were greatly appreciated and helped both of them get through a challenging time.


Ongoing:
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. 

Mission Co-Workers:
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 September and October:

The Rev. John Becker (9/17) - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Katja Gruening (9/7) - Pastor of Sandusky and Yale-First
The Rev. Christina Jensen (10/28) - 1 year - Pastor of Ithaca-First
The Rev.  Joung Nam Lee (10/12) - Member-at-Large
The Rev. Dr. Wally Mayton (10/25) - Associate Pastor of Midland-Memorial
The Rev. Dave Myers (1010) - Interim Pastor of Saginaw-Countryside Trinity
The Rev. Dr. Dan Saperstein (10/2) - 35 years - Executive Presbyter
The Rev. Matt Schramm (9/19) - Pastor of Bay City-Westminster
The Rev. Ron Vredeveld (9/1) - Temporary Supply of Beaverton-First
The Rev. Dr. David Weber (9/25) - 30 years - Temporary Supply of Davison-St. Andrew's
Elder Don Wixson (9/3) - 1 year - Commissioned Ruling Elder of Croswell-First
    
Presbytery Office
Dan Saperstein
From the Lions' Den

Over the past year I have described the need for the church to turn "upside-down" if it is to be faithful in a more marginalized role in society. Mission that is "upside-down" connects with those on the margins, rather than its center. We are encouraged to follow the model of Christ who set aside divine status and privilege to take the form of a servant and be humbled to the point of death on a cross.

This is a difficult adjustment for us who have lived for so long at the social centers of power and privilege. We have had the highest per capita income of any U.S. denomination; we have boasted disproportionate representation among the members of Congress and in the White House; we require our ministers to have advanced degrees, often limiting their ranks to those with the means to afford the time and money of graduate study. In an age when the church dwelt in the seats of power and privilege, these were signs of our success.

But our success becomes an impediment for adapting to life on the margins. We have lived so long at the center that Christ's call to abandon status or wealth or privilege and follow him in his path of downward mobility sounds like a foreign tongue. I see this when working with congregations in transition. When asked to envision their future, churches will often do one or more of the following:
  • Despair in light of declining numbers and aging members because they can't envision being anything other than what they have been;
  • Think the best way to grow is to reconnect and reactivate those who have left the church or become inactive - in other words, try to draw water from a dry well;
  • Try to generate programs that will attract "the right kind" of people - usually young families with money (to tithe) and education (to serve on boards or teach Sunday School);
  • Invest their dwindling resources in professional staff whom they can pay to "grow the church" for them.
What these responses have in common is that they do not require the congregation to change, or to sacrifice, or to surrender their identity as the church at the center. Like the aging silent film star in Sunset Boulevard, the church prefers to live in the illusion of past glory rather than adapt to a new reality. Consequently, we prize and pursue and provide for members with power and privilege while neglecting those of lesser means who might demand time and money with little promise of return, or those of different classes or cultures who aren't just like us, and therefore make us feel uncomfortable.

We cannot be "upside-down" without also being "inside-out" and "sticky." We not only must take the gospel out of the church building and into the community through tangible forms of service, we must also build relationships with those we serve. And you can't do that successfully from a status of privilege. If we truly share the love of Christ, we must love and welcome them as partners, not mere objects of charity. And that requires leaving our world and entering theirs - just as Jesus did in taking on human flesh and dwelling among us.

This week's lectionary reading from James 2:1-10, 14-17 challenges us to do just this. James criticizes his readers for showing favoritism to wealthy visitors over the poor and questions if they truly believe in Jesus - who commands us to love our neighbors as ourselves without distinction. He concludes by telling them to demonstrate their faith by getting "upside-down" and "sticky":

"What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but do not have works? Can faith save you? If a brother or sister is naked and lacks daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill," and yet you do not supply their bodily needs, what is the good of that? So faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead" (2:14-17).

Living by faith means letting God change us more and more into the image of Christ. It isn't easy, but if we do we will find that we might well have discovered Christ living in, through, and among us. 

Faithfully, 

Dan Saperstein, E xecutive Presbyter

Presbytery Meeting Date Change

Please note that the stated meeting of Presbytery will be held on Thursday, September 20  at the Tawas Area Presbyterian Church .  

First, please note the day and date change for this Presbytery meeting.  We moved to Thursday, September 20 to accommodate a visit from the Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, the Stated Clerk of our General Assembly.  Unfortunately, after we had made the change, Rev. Dr. Nelson had to cancel his visit with us in September.  His office will make a visit here in 2019 a highest priority.  Thankfully, the Rev. Dr. Rhashell Hunter, of the General Assembly staff and a member of this Presbytery, is able to come to lead worship and our equipping time. 
 
For the business portion, we will approve our proposed bylaw changes regarding potential meeting dates for Presbytery and to make our Council membership square with our practice.  The 2019 proposed Presbytery portion of the 2019 Per Capita will come before us.  In addition, we will hear reports from our General Assembly Commissioners and Overture Advocate on their experiences this past General Assembly, have the elections for 2019 for Moderator, Vice-Moderator, the Stated Clerk (for a three year term) and many committee and commission slots.

NOTE: Important parking information included in the cover letter.

All of the documents regarding the information may be found on the Presbytery Meetings page of our website.
 
Boundary Training

As the summer moves along, a reminder to keep Wednesday, September 12, on your calendars. Once again Boundary Training will be provided. The training will take place at Mt. Pleasant-First from 9:00am until 3:00pm.  The Rev. Fran Lane-Lawrence, the Stated Clerk of Lake Michigan Presbytery, will lead the training.

This training is required for all pastors and CREs.  If you did not attend last year's training or are new to service in our Presbytery, you still have this year and next to attend.  Again, this is a requirement for service, so it's important to attend.  Please sign up through the Presbytery website and fill out the basic on-line form by  clicking here .
 
Free Piano
Free Piano

The Rev. Tom Brackbill has piano that he is willing to donate to any church/ congregation which might need one.
It's a "horizontal grand", about 5' 2" long. Plays very well, but hasn't been used/tuned in several years. It has been kept
in a stable space, so it should still be in good shape. Finish is not pretty - a crackled varnish. Bench included. He  needs it gone from his house over the next month or two. It's a pretty easy (two steps down) access to the garage, so  there isn't a horrible moving story to be told. There is no cost to whomever would like it , just a letter of donation. Contact Tom at 989-289-6046 for details.
  
In Our Congregations
Hospice Truth Vs. Myth Presentation 

Houghton Lake-Kirk of the Lakes has partnered with Heartland Home Care & Hospice of West Branch to host a two part presentation on Hospice and Home Health Care.  The sessions are open to the public. Click here for details.
  
Help Wanted
Lapeer-First Seeking CE Director and Church Organist

Lapeer-First is actively seeking  a new Organist and a new Christian Education Director. For more information and how to apply please click on the following links:

  
Connections
FB2
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:

Tawas
Vassar-First
Yale-First

If your congregation has a page and it is not listed here, please contact Staci Percy at spercy@presbylh.org

'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! 

Contact Information

Staci Percy

Communications Manager/Recording Clerk

spercy@presbylh.org 

989-799-7481 x2

In This Edition
In Our Prayers
From The Lions' Den
September Presbytery Meeting
Boundary Training
Free Piano
Hospice Presentation
Help Wanted
Connect With LHP Churches


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Mission Coordination Committee
September 10
1:00 pm


Boundary Training
September 12
9:00 am
Mt. Pleasant-First


Presbyterian Women
September 12
10:00 am


Commission on Preparation for Ministry
September 19
10:00 am


Presbytery Meeting
September 20
9:30 am
(Note Date Change)


Personnel Team
September 24
10:00 am


Commission on Ministry
September 26
11:00 am


Planning/Equipping/Vision Committee
September 27
1:30 pm



Details on these meetings can be found on the presbytery's website on the calendar.