Presbytery of Mackinac  
Spring 2021                    

God's Easter Power
Rev. Dr. Anne Hebert
Presbytery Moderator

Christians all over the world are preparing to enter Holy Week. It is our most sacred time of the church year. It requires focused attention to journey through it with intention. Most people would prefer to jump from Palm Sunday to Easter without having to go through Maundy Thursday and Good Friday. While understandable, there are problems with that approach. 1) At first glance, it seems like it is easier to simply avoid the hard stuff; 2) Secondly, we miss the full experience of walking with our Lord through the darkness before the light; and 3) It is not reality. In other words, we have all used avoidance behavior not to do something we have or need to do. On a more serious note, we have all been through Good Fridays in our lives, including those in this difficult year with a pandemic. If the pandemic has done anything, it has reminded us that human beings don’t go through this life without difficult, sometimes harrowing, experiences – even when we have tried to avoid them. I hope you will take the opportunity to attend all the services of Holy Week. They will make it a rich experience. And, if you’re the one putting the services together and leading them, God bless you!
In regard to Easter, I look at the empty cross of the resurrection as a gate for us to enter into the wonderful life of faith in Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul in his conversation with the believers at Ephesus said this:
           I pray that, according to the riches of God’s glory, God may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power through God’s Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and
length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
           Now to God who by the power at work within us is able accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to God be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.  
                                                         (Ephesians 3:16-20)

The italics are mine as I wanted to highlight the number of times in this passage the word “power” is used. It is the power we receive in Christ through the Holy Spirit. Power to comprehend all that God has for us. It is also the power that helps us to know that God can work in us far more abundantly than we ask! On top of all this is the power that we can’t even imagine that God gives.
Eugene Peterson says that “Resurrection is a matter of…
                       living in a wondrous creation,
                                   embracing salvation history,
                                      taking our place in holy community.”
           “Receive this Holy Spirit! By whom Jesus has been raised from the dead. It happens, we do not make it happen.”
The more we get involved with what God is doing, the less we find ourselves running things. The more we participate in God’s work revealed in Jesus, the more is done to us and through us.
Believe in the power of God. It will change your life and you will make an impact that you might not be able to imagine even at this moment.
Have a Blessed Holy Week and Easter,

Making a Difference
Brenda Ransom
Presbytery CLP

In February of this year, our own Brenda Ransom received much deserved accolades in the Sault News. Below is a an excerpt from that article:

Brenda Ransom, a Sault native, has been a licensed massage therapist for almost 25 years as well as a small business owner for close to 20.

Owner and operator of Daymakers Salon and Day Spa in the Sault, Ransom is also a licensed esthetician and a licensed electrologist. “Being a small town, small business owner is challenging,” said Ransom. “(But) overall, it is very rewarding. I love what I do. Knowing that I have a skill that can help a person who is in pain or offer a service that gives them back their dignity, that makes it all worthwhile.”

Six years ago, Ransom became a commissioned lay pastor with the Presbytery of Mackinac. The Presbytery covers from the Gaylord line across the Lower Peninsula and the whole Upper Peninsula, but she mainly offers support to Eastern Upper Peninsula churches. Ransom performs weddings, funerals, graveside services and baptisms.

Ransom said a certain aspect she loves about being a lay pastor is knowing the permanent pastor in a church has a support system. Ransom is the go-to person to trust to take care of their congregation while they are away. “I love all the different personalities in the varying churches,” Ransom said. “They are like family to me. And I miss them when I haven’t been in their pulpit for quite some time. I have developed and nurtured some great friendships."

Church Spotlight
The Presbyterian Church
Traverse City
Carol’s Care Packages
Carol Allen

We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish.
Matthew 14:17

If anyone would have told me last April when our care packages were just getting started, that by the end of 2020 we would have fed over 5000 people, I would have laughed! And yet, somehow, that one pot of chicken noodle soup and a few loaves of banana bread multiplied over and over and by the end of the year we had fed over 5000! Sound familiar?
2020 will long be remembered for many reasons. But for me 2020 was the year, which with guidance from above, Carol’s Care Packages were created. The things God made possible in our church commercial kitchen was nothing short of miraculous!
Our State had been shut down and we were all being encouraged to stay home and work. For safety reasons our church was mostly closed down. But I wanted to do something to help people, feed them, brighten up their day. But what could I do??? I know, I will COOK!
I purchased everything I needed to make a “Carol size” pot of soup and some loaves of bread and drove to the church. After unloading everything in the church kitchen I went down to the office to tell Pastor Myers what I wanted to do and ask if he could help me find a way to get it to anyone who would like it. He said he would think about it and I went back to the kitchen to get started.
While I was cooking, Pastor Myers was preparing an e-blast to announce that tomorrow from the hours of 10-12 we would have FREE chicken noodle soup and banana bread available for curbside pick-up if anyone was interested. He also offered delivery service if needed. And So It Began!
The next day Margie, Pastor Myers and I stood outside with our cart full of 75 boxed meals, each containing a bowl of soup, crackers, banana bread, a cookie and a Lifesaver mint. As advertised, we waited there from 10-12 not knowing if anyone would show up. Two hours seemed like forever but at 11:59 we passed out the last boxed meal. Wow! We all agreed, that was great! Thank you God. Next week we will try 150 meals but shorten the pick-up time to 11-12!
During week 2, 150 meals were picked up or delivered and donations started to come in. We decided it was time to kick it up a notch and added delivering hot meals to essential workers on Mondays. So during week 3 we delivered 80 meals to our neighbors at Foster Family Community Health Center on Monday and 200 meals were picked up at our Thursday curb side service. We now had over two dozen of our church members involved helping with organizing deliveries, preparing and packing food, working at our curb side pick-up and delivering meals. Thank you God.
We continued this ministry until mid-June when our State re-opened. We then stopped our curb side service but continued to deliver meals every Thursday. These deliveries were/are made to anyone for any reason. For many it was a way to stay connected to our church, others enjoyed a friendly “hello” each week from behind our masks, some truly needed the food. It didn’t matter why, we were just happy to do God’s work.
It is now 2021. Parts of our State are still shut down or offer limited service, but the sight of what were once COVID-19 testing centers are now vaccination clinic s, with many workers standing outside, brings hope for many that soon, this too will pass.
We are currently still delivering 100 meals every Thursday and I am still amazed each week as we prepare, package and deliver them, how God has made this all possible. Too many times we have had just enough food, enough drivers to deliver and donations that helped to make this it possible to continue our food ministry. The numerous Thank You notes we have received tell us of the countless ways we have reached out to and helped God’s people during a very difficult time. Yes, it started with our congregation, but then we spread it to our neighbors, our friends and anyone else we could think of.
Behind the name of Carol’s Care Packages are so many other names that have made this ministry possible. Thank You God!

Carol Allen

Retired Pastors' Corner
Rev. Ron Bowen
"Cast all your anxiety on Him, because he cares for you." -- I Peter 5: 7

Greetings from California! Prior to "retiring" as a pastor, one of the hardest things for me was when my parishioners would have long-term physical pain. They would go to the doctor and be told everything was normal, that it was "in their mind," which frustrated them because they knew the pain was physical and real. We would say many prayers, and yet still the pain would not go away.
Now that I'm working as a Behavioral Health Provider in a large medical clinic, I've learned what I wish I knew then, and wanted to share it with you in case it may help:
Many of us incur physical injuries, but the injury itself later heals. Still later, when we are under stress, our brain knows we are in pain, and that it needs to send a pain signal. Not knowing where to send a signal for emotional pain, guess what it does? It sends the signal back to the place where the earlier injury was! It's real, PHYSICAL pain (not imaginary!), just no longer based on the organic wound, so that's why the doctor can't find it.
If there is something still physically injured in the body, this recipe for treating neuropathic pain does not apply. But if one is cleared medically, then the recipe for improvement is the relinquishment of obsession and worry. This can occur through problem-solving, improved health habits, spiritual renewal, and simply "letting go and letting God," as I Peter 5:7 invites us to.
Thank you for accepting Jesus' invitation to "Have life, and have it abundantly!"
Rev. Ron Bown
Honorably Retired

Traverse City Church Receives ECC Certification

The Presbyterian Church, Traverse City was recently certified as an Earth Care Congregation by Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)'s Presbyterian Hunger Program through February 2022. This honor speaks to the great commitment that The Presbyterian Church has made to care for God’s earth.
To become an Earth Care Congregation, this congregation affirmed an Earth Care Pledge to integrate environmental practices and thinking into their worship, education, facilities, and outreach.
The Earth Care Congregation certification is designed to recognize churches that make the commitment to take seriously God’s charge to “till and keep” the garden.
Started in 2010 by the PC(USA), the goal of this program is to inspire churches to care for God’s earth in a holistic way, through integrating earth care into all aspects of their church life. The Earth Care Congregation certification honors churches that make that commitment and encourages others to follow their example.
 “It is exciting that The Presbyterian Church – Traverse City is one of the 276 churches that chose to dedicate themselves to intentional care of God’s earth this year. Particularly in a time of much uncertainty and worry about the future, this congregation’s activities and commitment even in the midst of navigating limitations brought about by COVID-19 brings hope to their community. We believe that The Presbyterian Church – Traverse City will inspire others to respond intentionally to God’s call to care for the earth,” says Jessica Maudlin, Associate for Sustainable Living and Earth Care Concerns for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

For more information on the Earth Care Congregations program visit:
The Presbytery of Mackinac will be hosting its next Stated Meeting, virtually, on Saturday, May 15th. Stated Clerk, Kay Morrill, will be sending out more details in the coming months.
Happy Easter!

The presbytery office would like to wish all of you a Happy Easter!