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." 

April 27, 2016 

Pink Flowers

Every April, God rewrites
the Book of Genesis.

~ Author Unknown

We Pray For 
We Lift Up In Prayer... 

Praying Hands
The Rev. Ken Hetzel, Pastor of Croswell-First who continues to make progress following his heart attack a couple of months ago. He is back in the pulpit and is slowly returning to normal activities. He is very grateful for the assistance of his congregation and the prayers of the presbytery.

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

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 April and May:

The Rev. Dr. Daniel Ahn (5/18) - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Kenneth Anderson (4/30) - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Dr. Edward Borycz (5/12) - Pastor of Davison-St. Andrews
The Rev. Alec Brooks (5/1) - 65 years - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Bruce Cunningham (5/18) - Honorably Retired
The Rev. George Gillette (4/27) - 65 years - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Hoon Koo Lee (4/27) - Member-At-Large
The Rev. Andrew Miller (4/4) - Pastor of Mt. Pleasant-First
The Rev. Dong Won Park (4/15) - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Dr. Brian Stratton (4/2) - Alma College Professor
The Rev. Dale Swihart (5/16) - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Dr. Joseph Walser (5/22) - 50 years - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Weenink (5/18) - Pastor of Bay City-First
Presbytery Office
Dan Saperstein
From the Lions' Den
If you are a regular reader of this column, you know from the last several editions:
        • We are in a period of rapid and radical religious change in our society
        • These changes have resulted in the marginalization and decline of "mainline" churches like Presbyterians
        • Churches like ours are faced with an exciting challenge of adapting to meet the changes around us with the gospel
        • The changes demanded of us may require surrendering old ways of being the Church
        • We can never again be the church we once were, but we can always become the church God is calling us to be.
This is as true of denominations as it is of individual congregations. As Presbyterians in the United States, we have a familiar four-tier structure of governance and mission: congregations (governed by sessions); presbyteries; synods; and the General Assembly. The functions and roles of the four tiers have changed over time. Following social trends from about 1880 until about 1980, our structures became more bureaucratic and top-heavy, and our mission more centralized. This is not a bad thing; bureaucracies serve to ensure stability and uniformity in a large, complex organization. As both church and society grew in size and complexity, the "federalizing impulse" was a reasonable response.

But as is often the case, what serves mission in one era impedes it in the next. The very things that made our denomination great in the 1950s became impediments by the 1980s, as the society shifted underneath us. Our centralized, bureaucratic structures were not nimble enough to adapt. Having been at the center of power and privilege in our society, Presbyterians had less ability or incentive to adapt to life on the margins. Rather, like silent-film star Nora Desmond in the classic movie Sunset Boulevard, we persisted in the belief that our glory would return if we only maintained our lifestyle despite the changes going on around us.

Sunset Boulevard. Hollywood, Calif: Paramount Pictures, 1950.

The "federalizing impulse" in the church reached its peak (in the northern branch of the church, at least) in 1972. That year, "Amendment K" was adopted, cutting the number of presbyteries roughly in half, and creating large, regional synods of a quarter-million or more members each. A new class of bureaucrats was established: "associate synod executives," who were hired by the synods and placed in presbyteries to administer and facilitate mission. These morphed into presbytery executives as presbyteries resisted the power of synods and chose to recruit their own leaders.

But the societal changes and denominational decline that began in the mid-1960s began catching up with the church by the early 1980s, but denominational reunion in 1983 camouflaged the effect of those changes. The power of synods eroded as they struggled to keep up with changes at the local level. A looming financial crisis, fueled by changes in giving patterns and a declining and aging membership, sucked resources from presbyteries and the General Assembly. By the 2010s, necessity became the mother of invention as a period of downsizing, experimentation, and re-visioning of our church structures began. The adaptive changes emerged in congregations and presbyteries, but are now reaching synods and the General Assembly. Indeed, the issues before this year's General Assembly are largely about how we will adapt (if at all) to the changing denominational landscape.

Which brings us to the Presbytery of Lake Huron in 2016. Over the past ten years or so, the Presbytery has adopted structural changes like many others in our denomination: reducing staff and program, streamlining committees, and closing small churches which the presbytery could no longer afford to support with mission dollars. We were operating on a smaller scale, but the style, purpose, and function of the presbytery was pretty much unchanged. That's a Nora Desmond response, trying to maintain the same grandeur and glory with fewer and fewer followers and less money.

Over the next nine to twelve months, we in the Presbytery of Lake Huron will have our own conversations about how God is calling us to adapt and thrive in a new era of ministry. In doing so, I hope we will NOT focus on trying to "fix" our system so that it will continue to do what it has always done. Rather, I hope we will envision what a presbytery for the 21st century might do, and what it should look like, and find ways we can become that presbytery. I believe those conversations and the resulting changes will create a new presbytery culture of energy, mission, and renewal. More importantly, however, I think we will be more faithful to serving Christ in our communities in new ways.


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.
Newspaper - Top Border
Parish Paper
The current editions of the Parish Paper are now available on our website. Use by our congregations at no cost is included in the presbytery's subscription. 

The topic for May is: "How Do New People Hear About Your Church?" and June's topic is: "Making Congregations Greener".

These are always great for group discussions and training. 
Mission Co-Workers
Cathy Chang
Cathy Chang and Juan Lopez
Highlights from their latest blog post:

Remember the last time that you moved to a new place?  For our family, that last time has been this first month in the Philippines, filled with many questions and many more answers.  Where exactly do we live?  What is the closest (fill in the blank)?  What church should we attend?  When are we expecting that appliance delivery?  What is the best way to get there?  To what school should we send our child?

No longer owning and driving and insuring two cars, we now entrust our transportation needs to others like our new Philippine colleagues in ministry, but also the taxi, jeepney or tricycle driver and our feet.  No longer buckled up in a car seat, our child sits fixed between us parents.  When walking on sidewalks or more likely, roadsides, our proximity to the street and handgrips are the best safety feature.  No more baguette but now the pandesal is our daily bread.  No more Michigan cherries but now more tropical fruits such as papaya, guava, and pineapple.  No more crunch and shovel of snow but now heat and humidity with cooling relief from warm evening and morning breezes and A/C units.         

As we are settling into our new home as well as a new life in a new country, God has provided us with many blessings during these weeks of transition.  Through informal chats, our landlord has given us insights into Philippine culture, politics, and people.  Our neighborhood includes a local library with many English-language children's books.  In a different neighborhood, our family has discovered that we can continue to enjoy classical and new board games.

Conversations and encounters with our new friends and colleagues from the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) remind us of the essence of mission partnership.  While we have not experienced a formal "orientation program," everything that we have experienced but also the following specific instances demonstrate that we already are being enriched and equipped for the days ahead:

General Secretary Bishop Reuel Norman O. Marigza, during his Palm Sunday Bible study for staff worship service, reminded all of us about what happened in 1986 with the People Power Revolution- set against the ways that Jesus still speaks and embodies truth to power through his sacrificial love.  That perceived "power grab" of him riding into Jerusalem on a donkey makes a mockery of power.  The conference room in which we met for this worship service, overlooks the same street called EDSA in which hundreds of thousands of people gathered and protested in relative peace against corruption and ousted then President Ferdinand Marcos.

Click here to continue reading.
In Our Congregations
Training In Children and Worship

Mt. Pleasant -First is hosting "Training in Children & Worship", an exciting process of faith formation with children, will be held at First Presbyterian Church, Mt. Pleasant on May, 13 & 14, 2016.


This event, sponsored by the Children & Worship Institute and will be led by Director, Rev. Olivia Stewart


Training in Children & Worship is based on methods put forth in the book, Young Children and Worship, by Sonja M. Stewart and Jerome W. Berryman. In Children & Worship

Centers, children hear Bible stories and learn about God as they experience the presence of God.


The Bible stories are told in a way that allows the listeners to enter into the stories and respond out of their own life experiences. In Children & Worship the children also learn the meaning of church traditions and have opportunities to participate in worship practices.


This training in Children & Worship is comprehensive and will give participants the information and training needed to begin a Children & Worship program in their churches.


The cost of the training is $120.00 per person. For registration information, please contact Olivia Stewart, Director of Children & Worship at [email protected] or visit the website

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:
"In the end, the good news is people of all ages speaking, sharing, and praying the words that Jesus taught us."
The Lord's Prayer Challenge
Last Summer St. Andrew's Church took the Lord's Prayer Challenge. The concept was simple: 1) Invite parishioners of all ages to recite the Lord's Prayer, and 2) Challenge people to learn the prayer in as many languages as possible.
Led by Family Minister Day Smith Pritchartt, the project was a huge success. Many children and families learned the Lord's Prayer by heart, and that alone is worth celebrating. The additional surprises were wonderful to see: adults challenging themselves to learn the prayer in languages they had studied long ago, participation both in person and online, and churchwide enthusiasm across generations.
"Let no one despise your youth, but set the believers an example in speech and conduct, in love, in faith, in purity."
-1 Timothy 4:12
Teenagers: The Secret to your VBS Success
Every year it gets harder and harder to find adult volunteers for a full week of VBS. Very early on in my ministry, I decided that we would run VBS with the minimum number of adults required for safety, and then rely on teens and tweens to fill out the body of volunteers. It was the best VBS decision I ever made. Start 'em Young: In children's ministry, it is easy to fall into the habit of focusing on program activities for the very young. Yet it's the older elementary kids - the 'tweens' - who are most at risk of drifting away from church. These are the children for whom sports and other activities require increasing amounts of time. Developmentally, they begin to exhibit a sense of independence and a desire to spend free time with friends. If church programming seems too babyish, they will stop participating. Our solution is to make them VBS helpers at a very young age and empower them to be leaders in this ministry.
In the past decade there have been several initiatives and studies centered on clergy health and wellness. Among these, a ten-year study was undertaken in North Carolina beginning in 2007 (The Clergy Health Initiative) that revealed higher than national averages of obesity, stress and diabetes among clergy. The National Clergy Renewal Program, offered through the Lilly Endowment, continues to provide up to twelve weeks of sabbatical/renewal for selected clergy across the country. These programs, and others, are also lifting up the need for clergy care - which would certainly include better practices of fitness, diet and management of stress. The United Methodist Church some years ago also instituted a nationwide Health Ministry Network (managed through the General Board of Pensions) and has established wellness programs to assist clergy in their health questions and practices. However, as all of these initiatives point out, clergy first need to have a self-awareness and a desire to live a healthy lifestyle. And lifestyle is about practices and disciplines that lead to healthy living.
Here are five that can help clergy begin, and maintain, a healthy lifestyle.
Here's how to harness the power of social media and maximize the reach of fund-raising efforts. Social media holds great potential for nonprofits to publicize and promote their fund-raising initiatives. To make the most of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for a benefit event, follow these easy-to-do suggestions.

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
Parish Paper
Mission Co-Workers
Training Opportunity
Get Talkin'
Connect With LHP Churches
Join Us On Facebook

Who We Are
LHP Logo  
About the
Bi-Weekly Brief

Hundreds of elders, educators, and church leaders read the Presbytery of Lake Huron's email sent out every other week. 

You can reissue or modify this content for your own church bulletin or newsletter, without crediting the Bi-Weekly Brief, but please credit any organizations, photographers, etc, that we credited.


NOTE: The Presbytery of Lake Huron retains permission to modify submissions for clarity and length. Inclusion of an item in the Bi-Weekly Brief means that we think it's interesting and/or important, and does not constitute an endorsement of its point of view or its journalistic accuracy.


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

Shredd It
Shredding Service
May 4

Coordinating Team
May 11
10:00 am

Commission on Preparation for Ministry
May 18
10:00 am

Personnel Team
May 23
10:00 am

COM - Outreach and Admin Team
May 25
11:00 am

Presbytery Office Closed in Observance of Memorial Day
May 30


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