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." 

August 10, 2016 

The Summertime 

Thank you Lord for the golden sun 
That warms the earth from sky of blue 
The rays that brightens the summer's day 
Speaks of the love that flows from you 

The summertime of heat filled days 
We thank you for the cooling breeze 
And the shade that cools us down 
Under the shadow of leaf topped trees 

We seek the shelter of your wings 
Your breath upon us like a cooling wind 
To ease the spirit and comfort the soul 
And the rest you give to us who sinned 

We thank you for the sparkling sea 
To dive beneath its cooling waves 
And Lord we thank you for the blood 
Of your Saviour Son the One who saves 

The summer days we thank you for 
The joys of spending sun filled hours 
Along the coast or countryside 
Or in the garden viewing pretty flowers 

For in the heart redeemed by you 
Your Saviour Son brings a better clime 
Your rays of love; the sunshine of grace 
And for our souls it is always summertime 

We Pray For 
We Lift Up In Prayer... 

Elder Christine Cook (HollyShe has recently gone through a lot, fighting a rare blood cancer and has been in remission. 
This past Saturday she had a severe brain bleed and possibly a massive stroke. She went through a three hour surgery to remove part of her skull because of swelling of the brain. She is in critical condition at Detroit Receiving Hospital. Prayers are needed for Chris, her husband, Randy and two daughters, Marissa and Beki.

Kim Strunz (member of Caro-First and an Inquirer Under Care of the presbytery) who is recovering after fracturing her hip earlier this summer. She is progressing on target. She will soon be driving to University of Dubuque Theological Seminary to resume her studies.

Mission Co-Workers:
The Rev. Cathy Chang and family who are serving 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 August and September:

The Rev. John Becker (9/17) - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Tom Brackbill (8/31) - Pastor of Alma-First
The Rev. David Eshleman (8/3) - Honorably Retired
The Rev. Glenn Grant (8/15) - Pastor of Grand Blanc-Kirkridge
The Rev. Katja Gruening (9/7) - Pastor of Sandusky and Yale-First
Elder Shaun Hardimon (8/11) - Commissioned Ruling Elder of Holly and Swartz Creek-Mundy
The Rev. Ken Hetzel (8/16) - Pastor of Croswell-First
The Rev. Charles Marquardt (8/29) - Member-At-Large
The Rev. Ted McCulloch (8/20) - Pastor of Saginaw-First and the presbytery's Stated Clerk
The Rev. Jill Rasmussen-Baker (9/16) - 15 years - Member-At-Large
Elder Kathleen Rowe (8/1) - 1 year (in current commissioning) - Commissioned Ruling Elder of Tawas
The Rev. Matthew Schramm (9/19) - Pastor of Bay City-Westminster
The Rev. Dr. Steve Shugert (8/1) - Honorably Retired and Pastor Emeritus of Mt. Pleasant-First
The Rev. Ronald Vredeveld (9/1) - 45 years - Temporary Supply of Beaverton-First
The Rev. David Weber (9/25) - Temporary Supply of Birch Run-Taymouth

Presbytery Office
Dan Saperstein
From the Lions' Den

August is upon us. The first days of August are sometimes called "the dog days of summer." While we might think the phrase comes from feeling "dog tired" from the heat and humidity of mid-summer, its origin has little to do with dogs, or the weather. The ancient Greeks coined the phrase because early August is the season when the star Sirius - also known as the "dog star" rises just before the sun.

August itself harkens back to ancient times. The month is named for Caesar Augustus, Emperor of Rome at the time of Christ's birth, and the only Roman emperor mentioned by name in the Bible.  The familiar story of Christ's birth in Luke's gospel begins,

In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. (Luke 2:1-7)

We read that passage every Christmas Eve. But have you considered why Luke took such pains to locate the occasion of Christ's birth in the historical context of the ancient world? Luke introduces the powers of the empire - the emperor, the governor, the mandatory relocation and requirement to be enrolled on the government "watch list" - to set the stage for the clash of powers that would ensue from the coming of the Messiah.

When Luke wrote his gospel, the church was already experiencing persecution in parts of the Empire where Christians were forced to pay tribute to the emperor and declare that "Caesar is Lord." Those who refused were arrested, jailed, or executed. As followers of Christ, they could not utter those words because they professed that Jesus - and only Jesus - was Lord.

So early in the gospel, Luke identifies Jesus as a rival and insurgent against the power of Rome. In chapter one, Mary declares that the child she carries "will cast down the powerful from their thrones." Jesus is born in the city of David, the great King of Israel, the slayer of giants, from whose line the Messiah would arise. At his birth, the armies ("host") of heaven proclaim him as the bearer of "peace on earth" - a true peace for "those he favors" that would supplant the feared "Pax Romana" which was enforced by sword and cross. Later in that same chapter, Jesus is brought to Jerusalem - the seat of power - where prophets Anna and Simeon proclaim him the one who will liberate ("redeem") the city and cause "the falling and rising of many."

Of course, the Lordship of Jesus was not won by sword, but by the saving power of his cross. Just as Christ's death and resurrection revealed the victory of God over sin, death, and the powers of this world, so the early Christians who faced their own crosses would know that their own suffering and death for Christ shared in his victory.

It is still a long way to Christmas, and even longer to Easter. But the month of August reminds us that while the emperor might have a month named for him, for Christians, time itself is measured from the birth of the one true King, who alone is Lord. It may be August, but it is August in the year of our Lord 2016. The power of Caesar is fleeting; the victory of Christ will be everlasting.

Dan Saperstein, Executive Presbyter
Important Board of Pensions Information

All churches and pastors will be getting this postcard in the mail. Do Not Ignore It.

There are significant changes to the Board of Pensions benefits plan for 2017 and your action is required. This postcard leads you to the new Benefits Connect portal on the Board of Pensions website. You must create and submit your Employer Agreement or your pastor(s) and other covered employees will not be able to elect their 2017 benefits during open enrollment in September.

Use this link: Employer Decision Support for the 2017 Benefits Plan

Questions should be directed to our Board of Pensions representative, Doug Portz at 800-773-7752, ext. 7455 or
[email protected]
Deadline is September 30!
Newspaper - Top Border
New Parish Paper Editions

The latest editions of the Parish Paper are now available on our website. These short but informative newsletters are great for session/elder training.

Topics this time are:
September What Keeps Congregations From Implementing New Ideas?
October Keeping Up With The Pastor's Pay: Trends Behind Clergy Wages

Click here to download copies.
GA Appointments

Dear Colleagues in Ministry, I hope that this email finds you well.  As you know, the 222nd General Assembly (2016) created several special commissions, committees, and task forces to be appointed by the Co-Moderators of the 222nd General Assembly and, in the case of the Way Forward Commission, the Co-Moderators with the Moderator and Vice-Moderator of the 221st General Assembly.  Persons who wish to be considered for appointment must complete an application form and provide three references. 
The first two online application forms are now available.  Application forms for the Way Forward Commission and the 2020 Vision Team can be found at ganominations.pcusa.orgPlease share this link widely throughout your mid council and with persons - especially persons of color and persons under the age of 40 -  who may feel called to service on the Special Commission or the Vision Team.  The online application form is due on August 17. Thank you for your assistance in sharing this link widely. 
Valerie Kiriishi Small (Ruling Elder)
Assistant Stated Clerk, Manager for GA Nominations
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) 

PW Logo
Save The Date - Fall Gathering

Save the date for the 2016 Lake Huron Fall Gathering of Presbyterian Women.  
Here is your opportunity to connect with Presbyterian Women.  This gathering is one way to connect others throughout our Presbytery.  The Fall Gathering will be held on Saturday, October 8, 2016 at Korean Presbyterian Church of Saginaw, 5560 McCarty Road, Saginaw, MI.  The speaker will be Judy Hudson and the theme is "All God's Children."  Judy Hudson is a retired school teacher and a volunteer extraordinaire.  Her resume includes cooking for a community free lunch at Marlette Presbyterian Church, mending/altering clothes for a thrift shop, helping at Eva's Place shelter for battered women, making quilts as well as sewing pillowcases and ditty bags and whatever else is needed by the ill, veterans, or whatever group she can help and in her spare time.......she writes and self-publishes children's books!   The scripture is "Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them: for it is to such as these that the kingdom of heaven belongs.'"  In keeping with the Presbyterian Women in the PC (USA), the Lake Huron Presbyterian Women will come "Together in Action for Children's Literacy".  Everyone is invited.  Registration packages will be available in the churches and on the website.

Click here for more information and for the registration form.
Come To Still Waters

From GLAPCE President, Bette Case:
Hope you are enjoying your summer! Time to give a little thought to fall. After you are two months into the program year schedule, and are feeling spent, you will need some Sabbath time to be restored, refreshed, renewed, and resourced. But how will you set aside time for such things? GLAPCE can help!
Come to Still Waters, October 18-20, 2016, at the Geneva Center in Rochester, IN. In the quiet of the woods, in a simple and comfortable conference center, you will have opportunities to worship, recreate, engage in renewing spiritual practices, and engaging with your colleagues in Faith Formation from Wisconsin, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. Lots more information about it at!
The cost of a double room is $260, singles are $275. 
Don't miss out!  It won't be the same without you!
Come join your colleagues in ministry beside the Still Waters, and restore your soul.
Bette Case, President
Great Lakes Association of Presbyterian Church Educators
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.
The pageantry, passion and perspiration of the Olympic Games is officially upon us. The 2016 Rio Olympic Games began last week, and while the accompanying marketing is full swing, churches need to be careful about using official Olympic trademarks. If you're planning a sermon series, Olympic-related event or even just talking about the games, you need to be aware of how the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is cracking down.They're notorious for protecting their brand with extreme vigilance, but this year they're even going after hashtags, retweets and GIFs...continue reading.
Youth ministry and theology have not always gone together. Hopefully you're a bit befuddled by that thought. Hopefully you're shocked that anyone could conceive of youth ministry without theology. But, in fact, youth workers haven't always thought of themselves as theologians, nor have pastors and parishioners considered youth ministry to be a theological task. Sad as it may sound, youth ministry has a history of being little more than fun games and a cheesy Bible study....continue reading.
We're still experiencing warm weather, sunny days and lots of outdoor activities. Oh, and we also have about five months until Christmas.

While that sounds like plenty of time now, consider this:
  • You likely have many events planned between now and Christmas. Back-to-school, small groups or discipleship program launches, fall festivals, Thanksgiving outreaches and more will all compete for your time.
  • You still have Sunday services to plan and conduct.
  • You'll need sufficient time to coordinate volunteers, decide what programs or events you'll host during the Christmas season, and how to pull those off successfully.
With that in mind, now is the time to get started in planning for Christmas: ....continue reading.
Nobody likes to ask for money. But let's be honest, your church needs money.
Whether it's for a leak in your roof, a mission trip to Honduras or everyday maintenance and salaries, there will come a time that your church will need to ask for money. But how? When you ask your members for money, you risk making them feel guilty, pressured or downright uncomfortable. Depending on the language you're using, you might unknowingly be dishing up a piping hot side dish of guilt. Instead, your goal should be to serve a main course of motivation, with sides of fulfillment and growth. But how do you know if your online giving language is currently hurting more than helping? ....continue reading.
It is a seemingly universal truth that people don't know what to say to people in pain. Much has been written about it, and still we all struggle when we see someone we care about going through something difficult. We want to be helpful, we want to provide comfort, but the fear of saying the wrong thing or adding to someone's pain can paralyze us. I have had countless conversations with people who worry about saying the wrong thing, and I've run across several articles that include lists of things one should not say to a person who is grieving. In this social media age, the "listicle" has become a common means for getting information across to large groups. From "10 organization hacks that will CHANGE YOUR LIFE" to "8 foods you should NEVER feed your children," these pseudo-articles scream from our screens to let us know exactly how many ways we are messing up every day. While these lists can be helpful, I think they can also be a bit too focused on the negative, adding to the inherent anxiety we feel around many of the issues we face in life. I respond more positively to, well, positivity, and so I offer not 10, not 8, but 3 simple things TO say to someone who is in pain...continue reading.
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:


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
Board of Pensions
Parish Paper
GA Appointments
PW Fall Gathering
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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Coordinating Team
August 10
10:00 am

Commission on Preparation for Ministry Retreat
August 16-18

Commission on Ministry - Full Team
August 17
9:30 am
(Please note date and time change)

Presbyterian Women
August 18
10:00 am

Personnel Team
August 23
(NOTE: Date Change)
10:00 am

Presbytery Office Closed in Observance of Labor Day
September 5

September 6
1:00 pm

Presbytery Meeting
September 20
9:30 am

Commission on Preparation For Ministry
September 21
10:00 am

Personnel Team
September 26
10:00 am

Commission on Ministry - Outreach and Administration Team
September 28
11:00 am


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