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." 

January 6, 2016 


"Do not remember the former things,
or consider the things of old.
I am about to do a new thing;
now it springs forth,
do you not perceive it?"

~ Isaiah 43:18-19 ~
We Pray For 
We Lift Up In Prayer... 

Bruce Graham, husband of the Rev. Linda Graham (Pastor of Cass City-First and Cass City-Fraser) who fell on Christmas evening and spent several days in the hospital. He is home now but it is anticipated that it will be a potentially lengthy recovery period.

Elder Sally Pomeroy (Croswell-First) who had surgery for cancer on December 1st. The prognosis is very positive. Sally is the Clerk of Session for Croswell-First, very involved in the Thumb Ministry Group and has served on presbytery committees including time as the COM Moderator.
Ben Offrink, son of the Rev. Jim Offrink and Elder Sally Offrink who is doing well in his battle with cancer. It is still a challenging time for the entire family however, so continued prayers are appreciated. The Offrinks are very grateful for the support and love shown to them.
The Rev. Tom Brackbill (Alma-First) and wife Pam 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 as they continue training as Mission Co-Workers 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 January and February:

The Rev. Doug Abel (1/5) - Pastor of Vassar-First 
The Rev. Cathy Chang (2/17) - Mission Co-Worker
The Rev. Mary Anne Evans-Justin (2/25) - 20 years - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Robert Fox (1/26) - Honorably Retired
Elder Mark Garavaglia (2/23) - Commissioned Ruling Elder of Deckerville-First
The Rev. Dr. Rhashell Hunter (1/8)General Assembly Staff;  Director of Racial Ethnic and Women's Ministries
The Rev. Richard Lawther (1/4) - 40 years - Pastor of Fairgrove
Elder Linda Living-Hawley (2/3) - Commissioned Ruling Elder of Fenton-Tyrone
The Rev. Larry McMellen (2/12) - 55 years - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Chris Moody (2/25) - 15 years - Member-At-Large
The Rev. Dr. John Musgrave (1/1) - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Elizabeth (Betsy) Stillwell (1/22) - Member-At-Large
Presbytery Office
Dan Saperstein
From the Lions' Den
January is named for Janus, the Roman god of beginnings and transitions. Janus is depicted as having two faces, one looking to the past and the other to the future. The coming of a new year is an opportunity to look back upon the year just past to remember significant events, cherish good memories, and learn from past mistakes. But it is also an opportunity to look to the year ahead to dream dreams, cast visions, set goals, and make resolutions.

To what are you looking forward most in 2016? The summer Olympics (August 5-21)? The presidential election (November 8)? The release of a long-awaited movie (like the Harry Potter-inspired Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, November 18)? My wife Liz and I are most excited about the prospect of becoming first-time grandparents this June!
To what is your church looking forward most? As I have begun to tour the Presbytery, I have encountered some churches which are very good at looking backward - celebrating the "good old days" when memberships were high and Sunday schools were booming - but have little enthusiasm to look forward. We may be tempted to compare the relatively empty pews and dwindling resources of our churches to the abundance of former years, and despair. But faithfulness is not about what used to be or even about what might have been. It is about what we do today with what God has given us, trusting that today's faithfulness will bear fruit for God's reign tomorrow.

Scripture is replete with examples of how God has brought life and hope out of loss and despair. Abraham and Sarah, the exodus from Egypt, the return of the exiles from Babylon, the resurrection of the Lord, and the miracle of Pentecost are all examples in which the people of God had focused on what they lacked and feared for their future, only to be astounded by the God who gives in abundance and holds tomorrow.
Even now, God is doing amazing things in surprising places. And I am excited about what God will do in our churches and our presbytery in 2016, not because it will recreate the glory days of old, but because it will be new and surprising and life-giving in ways we can barely begin to imagine. As God spoke to the exiles, "Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?" (Isaiah 43:18-19).

Thanks be to God for all that God will do in 2016 through God's faithful servants in the Presbytery of Lake Huron.
Dan Saperstein
Executive Presbyter
PC-USA Seal Round
Annual Statistics
The information for completing your 2015 Annual Statistics were sent to all Clerks of Session this week.
A copy of this letter and all of the relevant information and links may be found on the Annual Statistics page of our website.
We are here to assist you with any questions that you may have. Please call or e-mail Staci or Ted should you need anything. Staci may be reached at 989-799-7481 x2 or [email protected]. Ted may be reached at 989-799-7481 x 4 or [email protected]. Please keep in mind that both are part-time employees and are not in the office everyday.
Deadline for entering your information is February 18th.
Please remember that what you submit - or don't submit - affects your future per capita payments.
Click here to read an article from the PC(USA) describing some reasons why completing annual statistics are important to your congregation.

2016 IRS Rate
The mileage rates for 2016 are as follows:

Business/Ministry  $0.54
Medical and Moving $0.19
Charitable $0.14

These may also be found on the Documents and Forms page of our website under the Financial Information heading.
Office Closed
The Presbytery office will be closed on Monday, January 18th in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
New Home
Our Executive Presbyter Dan Saperstein and his wife Liz have settled into their new home. Their new address is 4220 Spurwood Drive, Saginaw, MI 48603.
Mission Yearbook
PCUSA Logo 2
Mission Yearbook Online Only
As of January 1, 2016, the 120-year old Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study is available exclusively online. A Presbyterian Mission Agency press release issued in August said, "This move broadens the reach of the book's audience by sharing its inspiring content in a timelier manner and also demonstrates good stewardship of church resources." Over the past 15 years, as readership of the printed Mission Yearbook declined, the cost per book increased dramatically. In 2000, 79,108 units of the printed Mission Yearbook were sold at a single-copy unit cost of $7.50. That same year, bulk orders of over 100 copies sold to churches and other institutions at a cost $3.50 per copy.

Click here to continue reading.
Mission Co-Workers
Cathy Chang
Cathy Chang and Juan Lopez
Cathy and Juan are visiting congregations and sharing their mission goals. They had anticipated moving by the end of the month, however it now looks like it will be the end of March.

You are encouraged to follow them on their blog (Even If The Sky Falls) and on their PC(USA) Missions Connection page.
Michael and Rachel Ludwig
Excerpt from their December newsletter:
Celebrations - It was party time in our city this month, which made everything about normal life more difficult to pull off.  But, as the city was hosting the national independence day celebration, everyone here was happy with how they pulled the festivities off in the end, and we were happy that there were no big "fireworks" in the political/security sense.  The rest of the month was also exciting with Christmas celebrations, lots of planning, and even the more mundane things at a much lower air temperature.

Work Highlights - It's been exciting to starting working on the next steps for our partners in the EERN to put into place a Community Health Evangelism (CHE) strategy.  This month we've been in conversations with leaders and worked on drafting a variety of plans for how to develop leaders who can use these practices in their situation.  We hope to have a few key leaders trained in a neighboring country this Spring and then come back to start training evangelists here in Niger next Fall.  A key part of the plan is how these evangelists will get further mentoring and training in implementing this strategy which is really counter-intuitive to what people are used to here, but is instrumental for living out a witness that is more holistic, self-sustaining, and responsive to the community.  We don't have an update to give on the Rickshaw project, except to say that we are still hoping donations will come through in the next month so that it can be a key part of how the EERN funds expenses for new evangelist in the new year, in the areas of property and "tent-making" businesses.


If you would like to follow their adventures and their mission work in Niger, please contact Staci Percy at [email protected] or 989-799-7481 x2 for their blog address. (They have asked that the link to it not be published online.)
Journeys of Faith Artifacts from the Mission Field
American Presbyterians have served in mission fields since the 18th century. Over time their work has changed dramatically, from focusing on spiritual conversion to working collaboratively with native populations in areas such as education and public health.

The artifacts featured in this exhibit reflect the experiences of missionaries who lived alongside unique and varied communities from the 1740s into the 1980s-throughout the Americas and overseas. If the past is truly another country, these pieces conjure a world.

New Online Exhibit Journeys of Faith, our in-house exhibit, can now be explored online. Click here to learn about American Presbyterian missionaries who served around the world and the things they carried home.
Continuing Education
Rural Ministry Conference
The 2016 Rural Ministry Conference will be held in Dubuque, IA, March 6-8th. The Rural Ministry Conference outreach is continuing to grow and has become an ecumenical conference for those working in small town and rural parishes throughout the Midwest. The theme this year is "Life Changing Ministry in the Small Membership Congregation." The information will also be useful for larger congregations. Scholarships are available for those who have served in a rural/small town ministry for less than five years.  New this year for congregations within driving distance is the availability for lay people to attend the Monday afternoon workshops at a reduced price.

Click here for more information.
From Our Congregations
Free Organ Available
Friends of the Midland-Memorial congregation wish to donate an heirloom circa 1963 family Baldwin 48 electronic organ to a congregation or household.  It is equipped with two keyboards and 24 foot pedals. In excellent condition.  Mahogany cabinet. For more information, please contact the church at 989-835-6759.
ACT Uganda
Uganda Group Logo
Orphan Sponsorship
ACT Uganda is in immediate need of orphan sponsors. The new school term
is fast approaching and the three children below may not be able to begin the
school term if sponsors are not found by early January. Reaching out to offer a
caring and loving relationship to a Muko orphan exemplifies God's love and care for all His children and brings hope to an otherwise hopeless situation. In addition to providing for physical needs, the child receives a better quality education at a boarding school. If you would like to sponsor a child, please contact Karen Viele at [email protected].  For more information on ACT's orphan sponsorship program, HOPE, please visit our website:

ACT Uganda is an affirmed mission project within the presbytery.
Communications Corner
Headlines of Interest
Here are links to articles that we hope you will enjoy and perhaps spend some time discussing them with others:
Hope, by nature, is defiant, counterintuitive, and lodged in surprising places. So a new report detailing the spiritual, demographic, and financial challenges faced by small religious congregations meant little to the Rev. Robin Bartlett. She plants her hopes for First Church in Sterling, Mass., on firmer ground. "This does not look like a dying and sad church. It looks like a vibrant and active church on a Sunday morning," said Bartlett, who usually sees 130 people on Sundays, even though the sanctuary was built for the days when more than 300 came to worship. Just this year, 30 new members have joined, including young adults such as Ann Taft, 28, who delighted in the warm welcome at First Church: "Everyone was just so excited that I was there." More people in the pews, more energy for programs, more funds to maintain the roof - these are all keys to survival for such small congregations, according to the latest Faith Communities Today report, released Jan. 4 by the Hartford Institute for Religion Research. It finds that congregations with fewer than 100 in weekend attendance - the most vulnerable to collapse - rose to 58 percent in 2015, up from 49 percent five years ago.  Yet the report is optimistically titled: "American Congregations 2015: Thriving and Surviving."
A federal holiday celebrating a pastor? Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day should be big in the church. He's our people.

Take some time this year to honor Dr. King and celebrate his work in your congregation. We've got a few ideas how you can make it happen:
  • Make it a day to volunteer. Too late to organize something yourself? Join somebody else's event.
  • Confront racial realities. Racial conversations can be awkward (and heated!). But they're important and the church needs to be a part of the dialogue.
  • Work MLK into the service. Honor Dr. King with songs, videos, prayers, readings or more.
  • Talk about MLK in your sermon. This one should be easy.
  • Support local MLK Day events. Your church doesn't have to do all the work. Join up with others and support their work.
  • Encourage further research. Don't limit this to one day. Do some research and read more from MLK or some of the many voices speaking to diversity today.
  • Post to social media. We've got free social media graphics that make it easy
Wasting time and energy may be one of my biggest pet peeves as a leader. Some days I leave work and feel I never got off a treadmill. It's physically and mentally draining. Does it ever happen to you? It can be frustrating to feel your most valuable commodity - time - has been wasted, or that you invested good energy on the wrong things. I firmly believe when we get rid of some common drains on our time and energy, we dramatically improve our performance as leaders. With this in mind, I've observed in my own personal development some ways to eliminate time and energy wasters. Here are seven common wastes of time and energy in leadership.

My church recently shared our strategic initiatives for next year. If you're not familiar with strategic initiatives, think of them as short-term goals that move you closer to your long-term goals and objectives. Strategic initiatives are informed by your mission, strategy, and objectives. Many churches create vision and mission statements, but few actually drill down to the level of identifying initiatives. I think that's a big mistake. Strategic initiatives help you focus on the things you need to focus on in a particular season of ministry. You might have 14 things that need attention and improvement, but you can't get to everything all at once.
Whens something becomes obsolete, it happens gradually.  Over time it's used less and less, until one day it disappears completely.  Here are a few examples of things that are nearly or totally obsolete. Telephone Books Dial-up Internet Movie Rental Stores Hard Copy Maps Landlines in Homes Phone Booths Encyclopedias What about in Children's Ministry?  Here are 10 things that some ministries are still using that are either becoming obsolete or are already obsolete
NOTE: The articles listed do not necessarily reflect the opinion of or intended to be an endorsement by the Presbytery of Lake Huron but are shared to encourage discussion of various topics.
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:

Saginaw-Warren Avenue

If your congregation has a page and it is not listed here, please contact Staci Percy at [email protected]

'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

[email protected] 

989-799-7481 x2

In This Edition
In Our Prayers
From The Lions' Den
Annual Statistics
2016 IRS Rate
Office Closed
New Home
Mission Yearbook
Mission Co-Workers
Online Exhibit
Continuing Ed
Free Organ
ACT Uganda
Get Talkin'
Connect With LHP Churches
Join Us On Facebook

Who We Are
LHP Logo  
About the
Bi-Weekly Brief

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Coordinating Team
January 13
10:00 am

Office Closed in Observance of MLK Day
January 18

January 19
1:00 pm

Commission on Preparation for Ministry
January 20
10:00 am

Personnel Team
January 25
10:00 am

Commission on Ministry - Full Team
January 27
11:00 am


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