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." 

March 30, 2016 

Flowering Tree at LHP Office

The day the Lord created hope was probably
the same day he created Spring.

~Bern Williams

We Pray For 
We Lift Up In Prayer... 
(Please note: This list was compiled last week and there may have been updates since then. Anything that has changed will be included in the next edition of the the Bi-Weekly Brief.)

Praying Hands
Elder Carol Dulin (Flushing) whose husband John passed to the larger life earlier this month. Both John and Carol have served on various presbytery committees over the years. (Carol is currently serving on the Coordinating Team and John was most recently on the Commission on Ministry). Our thoughts and prayers are with Carol and the Flushing congregation.

The Rev. Cathy Chang and family who are now in the Philippines settling in and beginning their onsite work as Mission Co-Workers.

The Rev. Ken Hetzel (Pastor of Croswell-First) who had a setback in his recovery last week. He is trying to slowly returning to work as he recovers from a heart attack earlier this year. He and his family greatly appreciate all the prayers that have already come their way.

Ben Offrink, son of the Rev. Jim Offrink and Elder Sally Offrink continues to do well in his battle with cancer. It is still a challenging time for the entire family so continued prayers are appreciated. The Offrinks are very grateful for the support and love shown to them.

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 March and April:

The Rev. Kenneth Anderson (4/30) - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Karen Blatt (3/12) - Honorably Retired; Temporary Supply serving Houghton Lake-Kirk of the Lakes
The Rev. Jan Chambers (3/29) - Honorably Retired; Pastor Emerita of Tawas
The Rev. George Gillette (4/27) - 65 years - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Linda Graham (3/25) - Pastor of Cass City-First and Cass City-Fraser
Elder Henry Kubin (3/5) - Commissioned Ruling Elder of Alma-Eastminster
Elder Mary Kubin (3/5) - Commissioned Ruling Elder of Alma-Eastminster
The Rev. Desiree Lawson (3/20) - 5 years - Pastor of Flint-Trinity United
The Rev. Hoon Koo Lee (4/27) - Member-At-Large
Elder Liz Long (3/5) - Commissioned Ruling Elder of Ithaca-Lafayette
The Rev. Andrew Miller (4/4) - Pastor of Mt. Pleasant-First
The Rev. Dong Won Park (4/15) - Honorably Retired
Elder Peggy Ronk (3/4) - Commissioned Ruling Elder of Breckenridge-Emerson
The Rev. Dr. Brian Stratton (4/2) - Alma College Professor
Presbytery Office
Dan Saperstein
From the Lions' Den
The annual membership statistics for the Presbytery of Lake Huron for have been compiled for 2015, and once again, our churches have seen a collective loss. 2015 saw our membership drop 3.75% from 8208 to 7900. This reflects a fifty-year long decline in so-called "mainline denominations," although more recently, the trend has affected nearly every Christian denomination in the U.S. Despite these megatrends, individual results vary from church to church:  while 28 of the 49 churches in our presbytery reported a decline in membership, 9 reported gains and 12 showed no change.

I mentioned the decline of Protestant churches in the U.S. last month and described the "marginalization of the church" as an unwelcome change in our church life. This month, I want to delve more deeply into this trend. Hundreds of books and perhaps thousands of articles have been written about the decline of mainline Protestant churches. Some claim the decline is due to our lack of evangelism; others blame unfaithfulness in morality or doctrine; yet others say it is because we have not adapted to a changing religious market.  (That last category usually includes some magical formula for reversing the trend based on the model of some fast-growing megachurch.)

The most reliable studies, however, have pointed to two principal factors, which account for the vast majority of our membership loss. The first is demographic. Fifty years ago, the average Presbyterian family consisted of two parents and 3.7 children. Today, the norm is one church-attending parent with an average of less than 1.5 children. All other factors aside, this one statistic would account for a membership drop of nearly 50%. But there is another major factor too: changes in "joining" behavior and participation in organizations generally. We have increasingly become a nation of consumers, not joiners. Americans in 2015 are far less likely to join ANY group than they were fifty years ago. People prefer to "church shop" or simply do without. Denominational labels have lost their cachet if not their meaning altogether.

In 1965 there was a 2 in 3 chance that a child growing up Presbyterian would remain Presbyterian as an adult. Nowadays, the number is less than 1 in 3; perhaps as low as 1 in 4. Our children are no less spiritual; they just no longer express their spirituality through organizations, Presbyterian or other. The fastest growing religious group in America is the "nones" - those having no religious affiliation - consisting in relatively equal parts of the "nevers" - those who have never belonged to a church, and the "dones" - those who have left a former affiliation.

What does all of this mean for the Presbytery of Lake Huron and our individual churches? We will continue our discussion in future columns. As the billboards encourage us, "Watch This Space."


Dan Saperstein, Executive Presbyter
Document Shredding
The Presbytery office has scheduled Shred Experts to do some shredding. Due to the cost, the truck will not be scheduled to sit in the Presbytery parking lot. Shred Experts will drop off 3 large containers on May 4, 2016. They will then come back on May 5, 2016 between 1 pm and 3 pm to pick up those containers and shred the documents on site before they leave. Anyone wishing to have some shredding done is welcome to drop stuff off to the Presbytery on May 4 during normal business hours. Please do not bring stuff ahead of time. We have limited storage space. Any questions please call Stephanie Cervini at 989-799-7481 ext. 3. 
2016-2017 Planning Calendars
The Presbytery Office will place a bulk order for the 2016-2017 Presbyterian Planning Calendar for individuals and churches. If the calendars arrive in time, they will be available for pick-up at the June 7th Presbytery meeting at the First Presbyterian Church, Cass City. Otherwise, they can be picked up at the Presbytery office. 
Cost per calendar is $8.75. All orders must be pre-paid. Please click here for the order form. Make checks payable to the Presbytery of Lake Huron.

Orders must be placed with the Presbytery Office by May 12, 2016!  No cancellations after May 12, 2016! Mail form and your check to:  Presbytery of Lake Huron, P.O. Box 6129, Saginaw, MI  48608-6129.
Contact Rose Onan at [email protected] or 989-799-7481 x6 with any questions.
Mission Co-Workers
Cathy Chang
Cathy Chang and Juan Lopez

Sisters and Brothers of the Lake Huron Presbytery,

Greetings from Quezon City!  It's been almost two weeks since we've arrived, and our days have been filled with lots of activity and waiting.  Exciting as it is to start this new chapter in our lives, it has also been physically and emotionally exhausting with the many things to do before leaving Michigan, and the many things to do here and now.  As if the time difference of thirteen hours was not enough, we've also been initiated into our new Philippine life through the heat and humidity, noise, and dirt.  Waiting to talk with our US-based banks and cell phone provider when their customer call centers are open, causes to wait until early morning or early evening to make these phone calls.

During our first few days we stayed in an apartment/hotel, known as an "apartelle" until our apartment was ready.  With the help of different staff members from the national offices of United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP), our church partner, we shopped for major appliances and furniture, and most importantly, A/C units.  To help us make the apartment more livable, two colleagues from the national offices gave their extra time and energy to set up additional electrical wiring for new A/C unit and washing machine.  What a blessing for the ways in which these two men went out of their way to help us! 

Click here to continue reading the letter from the Chang-Lopez family.

Camp Greenwood
Join Us For a Day of Service and Fellowship
On May 14, 2016 out at Camp Greenwood we're getting ready for another amazing summer season!

Camp Greenwood holds its Spring Clean-Up Day as a way of getting camp transformed from winter slumber to be ready for summer action! Work will include raking paths, recycling old equipment, cleaning cabins, removing shutters, putting up screens and doing some minor repairs. There is a job for every one and every ability! No special skills are needed.
It is refreshing to spend a day at camp after a cold winter. You'll meet fun co-workers, have a great camp meals and serve a worthy cause. Most importantly, many hands will make light work for everyone!

Plan to bring any personal work items and some clothes to get dirty.

Please RSVP by emailing us at [email protected] with the names and any special needs of people attending.

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:
Recognizing God right in front of us can be a challenge. Jesus, seemingly irritated with the disciples, asks, "Do you have eyes, and fail to see? Do you have ears, and faith to hear? And do you not remember?" (Mark 8:18) The risen Christ's refrain to the seven churches in Revelation repeats that message: "Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches." Seeing the work of God and hearing God's Word is not always easy, even for those closest to Jesus. Misunderstanding, obliviousness, and plain wrongheadedness abound. Think of the disciples shooing away the little children, asking Jesus to bring fire down on that Samaritan village, falling asleep in the garden, and failing to recognize the one walking beside them on the road to Emmaus. No wonder admonishments like, "Be alert!" "Keep awake!" and "Keep watch!" reverberate throughout the gospels.
Know who you are trying to reach. You are probably trying to reach two interacting audiences. The first is those already there. They want to know what time the concert is or who is preaching. They also want something simple (with directions) that they might forward to friends and family. The second is those not there. They don't want to know the concert time has changed so much as what the concert is and why you are the kind of church whose choir or organist or pianist gives a concert. The first audience wants to know what and how; the second audience wants to know who and why. Remember the interaction: you want to say things totally truthful to those inside and those outside.
Over the past few decades, in a largely futile attempt to re-engage the growing segment of non-church attenders, churches have shifted toward a model of separating parents and children on Sunday mornings. Usually, this model advertises a one-hour commitment, sending the adults to a worship service with contemporary music and a self-help, teaching-style sermon, and corralling the kids in Sunday School, where they sing hyperactive "kid-friendly" music to a recorded track, do hands-on activities, and listen to a quick lesson on their own learning level. After an hour of separation, everyone goes home and gets on with their lives.

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
Document Shredding
Planning Calendars
Mission Co-Workers
Camp Greenwood
Get Talkin'
Connect With LHP Churches
Join Us On Facebook

Who We Are
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About the
Bi-Weekly Brief

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Commission on Ministry - Outreach and Admin Team
April 5
10:00 am

Coordinating Team
April 6
10:00 am

Nominating Team
April 11
10:00 am

April 19
1:00 pm

Commission on Preparation for Ministry
April 20
10:00 am

Presbyterian Women
April 21
10:00 am

Personnel Team
April 25
10:00 am

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


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