Presbytery of Mackinac  
Summer 2021                    


To All Brothers and Sisters in Christ, 

As you were previously informed, the Presbytery engaged the services of Holy Cow to conduct a survey to determine how better the Presbytery could serve its member churches. Holy Cow constructed a survey questionnaire tailored to our specific needs and concerns. This survey was sent to each Pastor, Congregational Leader, retired Pastor, Council Member and the session members of the respective congregations. A total number of 331 forms were sent and 201 responses were received. We became aware that a few responses were not processed. This occurred because the Holy Cow format required that the form had to be fully completed in order to be counted. Partial completions could not be included in the final tabulation; a computer thing.

         We will be meeting with the Holy Cow personnel on June 29th to fully review the responses. An analysis will provide us as to how to proceed. This information, for instance, will be utilized along with the results of Rev. Hebert’s recent survey as to how to conduct forthcoming Presbytery meetings.

         Presbytery meetings have long been affected by distance, time and expense as well as personal abilities of members to attend. If there is one positive aspect of the Covid Pandemic, it has been the use of the internet via Zoom which has enabled us to meet and conduct business. We all started using the process as newbies, but as time passed, we became more comfortable with its use. Continued use, even after all health restrictions are removed, will enable small groups and committees to function efficiently.

         Conducting the survey and assembling the information has been the easy part. To fully implement the results will be the challenge. This is when we will call on those willing to help in this most important part of the process. We are taking this entire process step by step, confident that we are being led and that wherever God is leading us will usher in a new chapter in the life of Mackinac Presbytery.

William Clark, Council Chair
Rev. Dr. Anne Hebert, Presbytery Moderator

Planning Calendars & Book of Order Update

2021-2022 Planning Calendars have been ordered!
Calendars are scheduled to arrive to the Presbytery office by the first week of August. An e-mail will go out once they are received. Thank you!

Since there were no amendments made to the Book of Order at the most recent General Assembly in 2020, a new Book of Order will not be published. Therefore, the 2019-2021 version has been extended as 2019-2023 with no changes. Below is a link to the current Book of Order in pdf format.

The Externally Focused Church
On Saturday, July 10th the First Presbyterian Church of Boyne City will be hosting a workshop titled “The Externally Focused Church.” This workshop is based on the book by Rick Rusaw and Eric Swanson that was recently discussed as part of the Presbytery Book Study. The workshop is being led by Rev. Andrew Pommerville and will be from 3:00pm to 5:00pm EST. You are welcome to join in person OR via ZOOM.

For more information, contact Paula Larson at: or 989-941-9991 

**The First Presbyterian Church, Boyne City has been utilizing The Externally Focused Church within their community by doing things like hosting community prayer walks, serving ice cream for their local youth sports, planting flowers at the community free clinic and much more.
Church Spotlight
United Presbyterian Church
The United Presbyterian Church (UPC) of Ishpeming supports several local missions, which include providing lunches to Habitat for Humanity volunteers, collecting for the Salvation Army’s food bank, and donating to Partridge Creek Farm’s healthy foods and gardening school programs.  

Presbytery Point Camp has been a mission of love for UPC since 1936 when Rev. Elmer Gieser (Ishpeming), Rev. Nathanial McConaughy (Iron Mountain), and Michael J. Anuta (Menominee) proposed the purchase of this property to the Presbytery. UPC has supported this treasured place with camperships, annual and special gifts; youth, family and work campers; year-round volunteers; an annual church family weekend and more recently a Sunday worship service and picnic.

This spring the Session formed a Creation Care Ministry to engage UPC’s small congregation in do-able and teachable environmental stewardship activities. This ministry is modeled after the PC(USA)’s Presbyterians for Earth Care. UPC is thankful for additional inspiration and encouragement for this ministry from examples shared by The Presbyterian Church of Traverse City and the First Presbyterian Church of Petoskey.

Upon re-opening for worship services in May, UPC became a drop-off site for glass recycling, and partnered with a local group for proper used battery disposal. Church and community volunteers recently constructed a native plant rain garden in the church yard to welcome bees and butterflies as well as for drainage and erosion control. These activities provide intentional opportunities to work side by side, building awareness and participation in caring for our Father’s world. 

UPC’s Creation Care Ministry team consists of church family members ranging in age from 6 years to 70+ years, community members, and partners from local conservation offices. In the recent church yardwork, members have been blessed to meet and have conversations with neighbors. The garden will be enjoyed as a neighborhood pocket park, a place for meditation, gathering, tending, and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. 

Welcome Rev. Starkenburg
Please give a big Presbytery of Mackinac welcome to the Rev. Jordan Starkenburg and his wife, Rae. Rev. Starkenburg will be installed on July 25th and will be the new Associate Pastor at The Presbyterian Church in Traverse City. Welcome Jordan and Rae!
Retired Pastors' Corner
Rev. Dr. Lois Aroian

This past year has brought new struggles but also new knowledge and new opportunities. In 2 Corinthians 4: 17, the Apostle Paul wrote: “Our temporary minor problems are producing an eternal stockpile of glory for us that is beyond all comparison.”

We’re reminded that we’re not the first to face problems nor will we be the last. We also find ourselves dealing with issues related to our friends and family. We often face expectations and struggle to meet them. We’ve spent the last year with COVID-19 concerns all around us. Millions around the world have died, over 600,000 of them Americans. People in other countries severely afflicted are crying out for vaccines.

Now July is arriving.  You and I are fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful places on earth: Northern Lower Michigan and the Upper Peninsula + a small part of Wisconsin. We have a spectacularly lovely camp at Presbytery Point which we should use and cherish, a haven from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Jesus, our great healer, knew all about afflictions but also about solitude. He was constantly encountering people with ailments but also constantly seeking refuge and quiet time which we can find at Presbytery Point. We need those contemplative moments because we’re living in a time when the ground below us has shifted in a major way.  Sometimes we feel that we no longer know who we are. 

Last month, we commemorated the Tulsa Massacre of 100 years ago. A thriving and prosperous community of African Americans was destroyed: people killed, homes looted and burned, many left homeless. The government itself helped perpetrate the crime. And the event was mostly lost to history.  

William Kondrath in his 2008 book, God’s Tapestry: Understanding and Celebrating Differences has a chronology of Institutional and Cultural Oppression in the United States. But even his chronology doesn’t mention Tulsa. This is just one example of how the history with which most of us grew up turns out to be heavily tainted, and that’s why a reckoning is underway. This isn’t unique to the U.S.

During my time in Kenya, clashes took place among people of different ethno-linguistic groups. Peacemaking and reconciliation sessions convened to address the perceptions and grievances of the parties. People discovered that what united them was far greater than what divided them. We too must follow this course to mend our divisions.

Because we are being tested in these days. Tested as citizens and tested as Christians. As citizens of the Kingdom of God, we should all know where our primary loyalty lies. Jesus the Christ tells us, as related by Mark 3:27, “No one gets into the house of a strong person and steals anything without first tying up the strong person.” You and I need to remember that statement. We need to steel ourselves today with a faith that cannot be compromised, that cannot be watered down. Don’t let yourself be drawn into ways of life that Jesus has called us to abandon. Jesus, after all, came to save sinners. His constant companions were not the elites of his day.

We know that more challenges lie ahead for us, in our country and in our personal lives. Maybe these are health issues. Maybe family issues. Maybe financial strains. Maybe psychological issues. The Apostle Paul reminds us that faith can carry us through all our trials. As he says in a letter to Christians in Corinth: “As grace increases to benefit more and more people, it will cause gratitude to increase, which results in God's glory. 16 So we aren't depressed. But even if our bodies are breaking down on the outside, the person that we are on the inside is being renewed every day.”

That’s our faith challenge, dear friends. Jesus is calling us to be our very best selves. He offers us hope whenever our faith is tested. To him be the glory forever and ever.  

Updates & Happenings

Anchor House - Lake Superior State University

After the past year of mainly having our fellowship meetings online, we are excited to be able to meet again in person in the upcoming fall semester. It was hard this past year to meet new students, so we have our work cut out for us trying to connect with freshman and sophomore students this coming year. We are planning and trusting God to help us to just that. Thanks for all your prayers and support that keeps us going!”

Northern Michigan University

We will be picking up where we left off BC (before covid) . Together with Henry Sale, who is our campus ministry student lead, we have been able to collaborate with other campus ministries to participate in bonfires and nature hikes for the summer. We will be planning a weekend getaway to Presbyterian Point.

The presbytery office would like to wish all of you a safe and enjoyable Independence Day!