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." 

June 15, 2016 

"18 so that, with the eyes of your heart enlightened, you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance among the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power for us who believe, according to the working of his great power."

Ephesians 1:18-19 (NRSV)

We Pray For 
We Lift Up In Prayer... 

All who are affected by the tragedy in Orlando this week. Click here for a response and here for a prayer from the PC(USA).

Those traveling to and participating in the 222nd General Assembly in Portland. OR including our staff members: the Rev. Dr. Dan Saperstein and the Rev. Ted McCulloch; our Clergy Commissioners: the Rev. Dr. Rhonda Myers and the Rev. Jim Offrink; our Elder Commissioner: Elder Kathy Maurer.

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 June and July:

The Rev. Dr. George Baird (6/21) - Honorably Retired
The Rev. David Blackburn (7/1) - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Roger Browne (6/1) - 50 years - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Lindsey Carnes (7/29) - Co-Pastor of Fenton-First
The Rev. Robbie Carnes (7/29) - Co-Pastor of Fenton-First
The Rev. Bert Clark (6/5)Honorably Retired
The Rev. Annie Duncan (7/27) - Temporary Supply Pastor of Swartz Creek-Mundy
The Rev. Dr. Bob Emrich (6/7) - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Fred Gates (6/3) - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Dr. Sharlyn Gates (6/16) - 20 years - Pastor of Holly
The Rev. Ron Grimes (6/13) - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Bob Lakey (6/8) - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Robert Leas (6/30) - 55 years - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Mike Loenshal (6/18) - Member-At-Large
The Rev. Dr. Rhonda Myers (7/28) - 20 years - Pastor of Midland-Chapel Lane
The Rev. Jim Neumann (7/1) - Pastor of Saginaw-Second
The Rev. Donald Neuville (6/19) - 50 years - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Dr. Joseph Novak (6/24) - Pastor of Flint-First
The Rev. Jim Offrink (7/25) - 45 years - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Ken Parker (6/24) - Pastor of Saginaw-Countryside Trinity
The Rev. Teresa Peterson (6/3) - Pastor of Flushing
The Rev. Peter Russell (6/29) - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Dr. Tom Schacher (7/17) - Pastor of Midland-Memorial
The Rev. Dr. Noel Snyder (7/31) - 5 years - Alma College Chaplain
The Rev. Robert Taylor (6/29) - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Jim Williams (6/1) - Temporary Supply Pastor of Saginaw-Warren Avenue
The Rev. Paul Ytterock (6/8) - Associate Pastor of Flint-First
Presbytery Office
Dan Saperstein
From the Lions' Den


This Saturday, the 222nd General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) convenes in Portland, Oregon. The General Assembly is the highest council of the church, consisting of commissioners sent from all 171 presbyteries of our denomination. It is also the oldest, regularly meeting, democratically elected government in the world - beating the U.S. Congress by one year (although since 2004 the Assembly has met every two years, not annually).

The two systems: Presbyterian government and U.S. civil government, grew up together, offspring of the same mother, the theology of John Calvin (tempered with 18th century British and French philosophy), as taught by Presbyterian minister and Princeton professor John Witherspoon. Witherspoon was not only the lone clergyman to sign the Declaration of Independence, he was also the principle architect of both the original Presbyterian Book of Order and, through his students James Madison and Alexander Hamilton, the U.S. Constitution.

Witherspoon taught theology, which included political theory. He believed that Calvin's tenets of Divine sovereignty and universal human sinfulness demand a republican form of government - that is, a government which checked the tendency to abuse power by limiting the reach of government and establishing "checks and balances" on its power. He also believed that as authority increased in a system of government, so should accountability. Higher levels of power in government must be exercised by increasingly broader representation of the people. For Witherspoon, unlike the European monarchs who claimed "the divine right of kings," power was derived from the consent of the governed, and should be exercised in deliberative assemblies by persons entrusted with discerning what is just and right.

It is important to remember, therefore, that both our civil and church government are designed to be tense and controversial. It is much *easier* to have a monarch settle disputes, or to enshrine a single point of view as law. But Presbyterian republicanism is very much aware that our human sinfulness will lead the former toward tyranny and the latter toward authoritarianism. No, political disagreement is a holy task, the way by which the Spirit breathes freedom, accountability, and reform into a system that left unchecked will lead to the death of freedom.

By this token, those with whom we disagree are not enemies, but partners. By actively (and prayerfully) discerning the will of God together, we make decisions in humility, knowing our proneness to error and the possibility that God could just as well be speaking through those "on the other side." It also means that when we disagree with what has been decided, we must also exercise humility, recognizing that God could be teaching us something through the voice of the majority.

There is much coming to this Assembly to spark controversy, from the morality of investing in fossil fuel producing companies to whether we should adopt new rules for worship. One thing is certain - we will disagree. But worse than a vocal and even heated disagreement are the twin poles of tyranny on the one hand and apathy on the other. What Winston Churchill said of democracy: "The worst form of government ever devised, except for all the others people have tried from time to time," applies as well to Presbyterian General Assemblies.

Stated Clerk Ted McCulloch and I will bring regular updates on the Assembly to the presbytery. But please pray as well - not for a particular outcome, but for your commissioners and for a process that seeks and follows the will of God, and strengthens the witness of the church to the love and justice of Jesus Christ.  And let us also pray for a church that is able to disagree while still recognizing the holy purpose of that disagreement in a community of forgiven sinners, including us.


Dan Saperstein, Executive Presbyter
General Assembly 222 Updates
The 222nd General Assembly (2016) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), will take place June 18-25, in Portland, Oregon.

To view the Opening Worship service and other special events that take place, click here. Opening Worship is scheduled for 11:00 am Pacific time, Saturday June 18.

Our Executive Presbyter, the Rev. Dr. Dan Saperstein, has begun blogging about General Assembly and will continue to do so through until at least the end of next month.

You are invited to view his blog at:

Please feel free to share this with those who may be interested.

**** NOTE: As of publishing time, the blog for the EP is not being updated. Please click the link above for details. ****

Presbytery Meeting
We would like to thank the congregations of both First and Fraser Presbyterian Churches of Cass City for co-hosting the June 7th stated meeting of presbytery held at Cass City-First. We greatly appreciate your hospitality.

The minutes of the meeting are now available on the Presbytery Meetings page of our website. Also included is the text of the sermon given by our Executive Presbyter and the feedback responses.
Parish Paper
The latest editions of the Parish Paper are now available to download. The topic for July is: When Charity Brings Anything But Relief and the topic for August is: Multiple Roads To a Multicultural Congregation. Always great info in these!
Summer Hours
The Presbytery Office is now operating on summer hours through Labor Day. They are as follows:

Monday - Thursday 8:00 am to 3:30 pm
Friday 8:00 am to noon

Please contact the office at 989-799-7481 should you need to make special arrangements for a meeting. 
Background Checks Available
The presbytery has contracted with our insurance company to get a very low rate on running background checks.
A basic background check - which is sufficient for most paid and volunteer positions - is under just $6.25.
For more information contact Stephanie Cervini at [email protected] or 989-799-7481 x3.

In Our Congregations
Sandusky Presbyterian Church - Feeding Kids in Need
Last fall, Sandusky Presbyterian Church began distributing food to children in Sandusky Elementary School through Eastern Michigan Food Bank's Backpack program.  As a church, we were looking to expand our mission outside our walls, and bringing the food backpack program into our local school fit the bill.

Our volunteers first worked with the Board of Education to get approval to implement the program. Backpack program coordinators from neighboring school districts shared their wisdom with us. The school sent home flyers with eligible students, and soon we had 24 kids enrolled. Our community's financial support was such that we were able to double the number of children served to 48 in just a few months.

$100 provides food every weekend of the school year for one elementary school child. Children who qualify for the free/reduced school lunch program are eligible. With some teacher input, the school was able to direct our efforts towards the kids most in need. On Fridays, our Sandusky Presbyterian Church volunteers deliver grocery bags packed with 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners, and snacks to the classrooms for the kids to take home. They pack the bags every 2 weeks, when the Food Bank truck makes its delivery. 

48% of students in our district fall into the category of "economically disadvantaged".  Kids who suffer food insecurity at home also have trouble learning and focusing in school. They are likely to end up in the same conditions as their parents, unless someone helps break the cycle. Our volunteers are working to do just that: take care of the least of these, feed the hungry, and nurture and love those whom Christ explicitly singled out and called to himself.

Sandusky Presbyterian feels such a powerful presence of the Holy Spirit in this mission that we are being driven forward to keep fundraising, with the goal of expanding to provide the Jr./Sr. High School with a food pantry. The elementary students will grow up, but they will not grow out of their need. We are confident the Lord is in this ministry and will provide, through the generosity of our community. We are a small congregation, but we are determined to make a big impact!

For more on the BackPack Program visit: or contact Sandusky Presbyterian Church. We'd love to share with you how we do it!

Click here to view a PDF file of this article.
Golf Scramble
Memorial Presbyterian Church of Midland is welcoming an avid golfers to their third annual golf scramble.  Mark your calendars for Saturday, June 25, at 9:00 a.m. at Sandy Ridge Golf Course.  The cost is $65.00 which includes lunch after the round, cart, and of course, cart service on the course!  All proceeds will go to the HELP Pantry in Midland.

For reservations please call Memorial Presbyterian Church at 989.835.6759.
Memorial Presbyterian Church is pleased to support Cameron Lippoldt, 19, who has a passion not only for golf, but for helping those in need in the Midland County.  Cameron started this event three years ago after being inspired by Pastor Tom Schacher's sermon on using your gifts to help your community.  Each year Cameron has raised over $2000.00 to help support those in need.  Please come on out and support this worthy endeavor to help the community!
Mission Co-Workers
Michael and Rachel Ludwig
At the June presbytery meeting we had the pleasure of visiting with not only Michael and Rachel Ludwig but also their adorable children.

During their report they showed a video which may be viewed here. Viewing of this at your church is encouraged. However, if you share this video please do not do so on your website or through social media. This is due to safety concerns for their children as their names and locations are mentioned in the video. The family greatly appreciate's your overwhelming support both financially and through prayers.

Please note that this link will not be active on the online version of this newsletter per the Ludwig's request.

Flint Water Crisis
Presbyterian Mission Agency
From Tony De La Rosa, Interim Executive Director. Presbyterian Mission Agency:

Greetings to you in the name of whom we live, Jesus Christ. Today I bring you three short video stories showing Presbyterians 'Keeping Faith.' Impacting our world with critical thinking-creating and connecting in ways that allow ministry to flourish, those who need it most.
  • Responding to the Poisoned Water Crisis in Flint, Michigan
  • Witnessing during the NRA Convention in Louisville
  • Creating Hope in Manhattan, New York 
The portion regarding the Water Crisis features our Executive Presbyter, the Rev. Dr. Dan Saperstein, the Revs. Desiree Lawson (Flint-Trinity United) and Paul Ytterock (Flint-First) as well as members of Flint-Trinity United.

Click here to view the video.

Click here to view other videos in this series.
Alma Youth Mix
Save The Date
March 3 - 5, 2017

High school students are invited to spend the weekend on the Alma College campus with youth from multiple churches around the state. Share your time and your faith. Enjoy discussion, fellowship, worship, recreation, entertainment and food!

Click here for more information and for a downloadable flyer or visit their Facebook page.
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. Click on the title to read the entire article.
Confession. My favorite nights in youth ministry-the nights I feel most satisfied and faithful in my vocational calling-have nothing to do with the devotion or message. Don't get me wrong-it's great to see youth make a connection with what Jesus says in the Gospels and to see their identity become more rooted in Christ. And I love it when youth reveal the depths of their hearts in their prayers to the Triune God of grace. These are all wonderful movements of the Spirit in our ministries which should be treasured. For me personally though, the nights I go to bed content come from the moments of hard play in a pick-up basketball game of 21 or three-on-three. It comes from the nights we laugh and play together. It is in these nights I am convinced the Spirit is moving in new ways, drawing us into the vision of a creation being renewed.
Social media should never be a bullhorn of self-promotion. That's something we should know by now. But how can social media be a way you can serve individuals? So often we try to engage with our entire audience. We offer something for everybody. What if we just offered something for one person? That's what Phil Bowdle's church did. They asked for song requests for an upcoming worship event. But they choose several requests they would never play for the event and spent an hour recording those songs and sharing them with people. They responded on an individual level.

It was more about showing how much they value people than being efficient with their time or trying to maximize their reach. They had some fun and made people's day.
"In asking teens to lead others, faith formation is magnified for our youth in ways that I never could have imagined."

VBS needs Teens; and Teens need VBS
At our church in Pittsburgh we invite many teens to help with Vacation Bible School. With our teen and tween helpers  - always with adults for safety and oversight - we've created a wonderful multi-age program that fosters a sense of ownership and connection among young people. Best yet, in asking teens to lead others, faith formation is magnified for our youth in ways that I never could have imagined.

Basic Directions for Volunteers
Safety is always the first priority when hosting VBS, both for our campers and for our volunteers. It is essential that we review safety policies and procedures not only for teens, but often for adults as well. For teens and tweens, helping at VBS often precedes being allowed to care of younger children on their own; adults need the reminder because providing programming for groups of children is different than tending to your own children.  Certainly the safety protocols we teach will serve them well.

Each state has its own guidelines for background checks (which may or may not be required for volunteers under 18); and each diocese has guidelines for who is required to complete Safeguarding God's Children. In addition to that training, I repeat safety basics every day:
I was a VBS kid. From the time I was in preschool all the way through high school, I never missed a week of vacation Bible school (VBS). It was like Christmas for me! I even accepted Jesus as my Savior at VBS. Whatever you call it-VBS, kid's week, backyard Bible club, etc.-dedicating a week of your summer schedule to focus solely on serving and sharing Christ with kids is important and deserves all the energy and resources we can muster.

VBS can take on different shapes: day camps, evening programs, neighborhood-based backyard Bible clubs, big, small, everything in between. Each may require special wording or promotion but I hope we can tackle some big ideas here and that you can use this as a starting point on how to promote your VBS.

VBS is a great way to introduce families to your church. But don't let that connection end when VBS is over:

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:

Flint-Trinity United ***NEW ADDITION TO THIS LIST ***
Tawas *** NEW ***

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
GA 222
Presbytery Meeting Minutes
Parish Paper
Summer Hours
Background Checks
Sandusky Mission Project
Golf Scramble
Mission Co-Workers
Flint Water Crisis
Alma Youth Mix
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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Presbyterian Women
June 16
10:00 am

222nd General Assembly
June 18-25
Portland, OR

Presbytery Office Closed in Observance of Independence Day
July 4

Coordinating Team
July 13
10:00 am

Commission on Preparation for Ministry
July 20
10:00 am

Personnel Team
July 25
10:00 am

Commission on Ministry - Outreach and Administration Team (Only if needed)
July 27
11:00 am

Nominating Team
August 3
10:00 am

Coordinating Team
August 10
10:00 am

Commission on Preparation for Ministry Retreat
August 16-18

Personnel Team
August 22
10:00 am

Commission on Ministry - Full Team
August 24
11:00 am


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