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 24, 2016 



"The grass withers, the flower fades;
    but the word of our God will stand forever."

Isaiah 40:8

  
We Pray For 
We Lift Up In Prayer... 

New:
Elder Kathy Grimes, Commissioned Ruling Elder of Elkton-Chandler and Kinde-First who had surgery earlier this week following her recent diagnosis of breast cancer.

New/Update:
The family of Elder Christine Cook (Holly) who passed to the larger life last week. We lift up her husband, Randy and two daughters, Marissa and Beki as well as the Holly congregation.

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

My mother was a smoker. Like many of her generation, she started smoking as a teenager, unaware of the health risks she was inviting. Once the dangers of smoking were publicized, she tried to quit, but a lifetime of habits is hard to break. She finally did quit, though, but it was too late, and cancer was already taking her life at the age of 61. Change - even life-saving change - is hard.

Earlier this year, I wrote a series of columns in this space about the challenges facing American Presbyterians in our day.  I discussed the reasons for our chronic membership decline, the increasing marginalization of churches in a post-modern, post-Christendom America, and the need to develop a new way of being the church to adapt to this changing landscape.

I call that new way becoming an "inside-out" church. By "inside-out," I mean a church which is not content to sit inside the church building trying to attract those who are outside to come join them to encounter God. Instead, an inside-out church is one which recognizes that we are called out from our churches to engage our neighbors in the world where Christ is already present in mission. The church building is no longer the destination for our mission but its base.

This is a tidal change in how the church has operated over most of its history in North America. It recognizes that our situation is more like the church of the mid-first century than the church of the mid-20th century. But change is hard, especially the kind of change that forces us to adapt our ways of being the church to a new and different set of challenges.

You might be familiar with the parable of the frog in the kettle. The parable points out two ways of trying to boil a live frog (don't try this at home). The one way is to boil a kettle of water and then throw the frog in.  That doesn't work because the frog will detect the hostile environment and jump right out. The second way is to put the frog in a kettle of cold water and raise the heat so slowly that the frog doesn't even know it. The frog will simply stay in the kettle until it is boiled to death. 

The world is changing around us, but if we do not recognize the change and get out of our comfort zone, we will end up like the frog. Change consultant Robert Quinn calls this "the normal state" that leads to "slow death":

The failure to change is a process of closing down, of ceasing to respond to the changing signals from the world around us.  As we become increasingly closed, we lose energy and hope.  We experience negative emotions such as fear, insecurity, doubt, and denial that lead us to shut out the signals being sent by evolving external realities.  We thus become increasingly disconnected and lose still more energy

In [churches], the same dynamics come into play.  We all spend most of our time unconsciously colluding in our own diminishment and the diminishment of the [church].  We collectively lose hope, turn to self-interest, and experience increasing conflict.  The [church] becomes more disconnected and loses more energy.  At both individual and [congregational] levels, we tend to choose slow death over deep change.  (Building the Bridge as You Walk on It, p. 19)

The work of transformation isn't easy. We are creatures of inertia. We settle into routines and expectations that create a comfort zone in which we operate. Whenever we try to break out of those comfort zones and change those routines and expectations, hidden forces of inertia within the organization rise up to return us to the normal state of terminal comfort.

Change consultants call these adaptive challenges. They are different than the kind of problem solving we are used to doing that merely require applying some technical skill or launching some new program. Using a medical analogy, technical challenges are like broken bones: the physician resets the bone, puts the limb in a cast, and the healing will happen. Little is expected or required of the patient. But adaptive challenges are stopping smoking or maintaining long-term weight loss. They require the full participation of the patient to change behaviors and a larger community, typically, to assist in resisting the physical, social, and emotional pressures to return to the former condition. 12-step programs are examples of adaptive change (Heifitz & Linsky, Leadership Without Easy Answers).

Adaptive challenges require new ways of thinking and acting. Real transformation can't happen by technical fixes like changing the worship service or starting a new program. It only happens when we change our way of thinking, and our desire for change is greater than our natural preference for the safe and familiar.

Changes are happening around us. The heat is on and no one will turn it off. We can recognize the change and get moving, or sit and boil.  
 
Faithfully,

Dan Saperstein, Executive Presbyter
 
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance
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Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Deploys National Response Team In The Wake of Gulf Flooding
Once again Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is helping out where there is need. Our presbytery has been blessed with their assistance recently. Click on the link below to find out what they are doing for the victims of this devastating flood and to donate if you feel called to do so.

In the aftermath of catastrophic flooding in the Gulf region, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is providing assistance to the Presbytery of South Louisiana and reached out to the Presbytery of Mississippi. PDA has approved two grants to be used to address community needs. The flooding last weekend dumped nearly 22 inches of rain in parts of Louisiana and other Gulf states according to the National Weather Service. Some communities reported as much as 31 inches of rainfall. "Presbyterian Disaster Assistance joins the whole church in expressing its sadness and extending prayerful support to our neighbors in southern Louisiana and Mississippi in the wake of the flooding," said the Rev. Dr. Laurie Kraus, coordinator for PDA. "We are grateful for the church's faithful past giving and support of One Great Hour of Sharing, which has enabled PDA to make financial resources immediately available to affected communities."

Click here to continue reading and to find out how you can help.
Events
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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 www.glapce.com!
 
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.
  
 
Internet Address
Your church website's homepage is probably the most important page on your whole site. For many church visitors, this could be a big first impression of your ministry-and you only get one of those. Having the best information on your church website homepage can be a delicate balance, but there are certain things you should always avoid. Take our advice and make sure these 6 things don't live on your homepage...continue reading.
 
Last Fall, in anticipation of the new Star Wars movie, members at Highland Presbyterian Church in Louisville, Kentucky explored the theology of the first six Star Wars movies (after all, we had some big fans!).  The three sessions were conducted largely as discussion classes with the teacher (and curriculum writer, Ruling Elder Kevin Burns) presenting a small amount of information and then opening the floor for discussion. We also used a projector to view snippets of the movie and interview with George Lucas as indicated in the curriculum. Although several who attended had seen the movies, we had a few participants who had not. They were also helpful in the conversation, bringing "fresh eyes" to the responses. The curriculum was appropriate for both adult and high schoolers, and we certainly benefited from having members of the class ranging from 14-year-old to over 70 years of age!
Click here to download and for more information.
 
If you haven't heard yet (which would be very impressive, since it seems people are talking about it everywhere I turn), Pokémon GO has swept the world off its feet-even people who aren't into video games. More and more people are using it every single day! But we're not just talking about it because it's new and trendy-your church should care, too, for a lot of reasons....continue reading.
  
On the first night of Vacation Bible School, the giggling campers lined up in a row for a relay race. Their task? Rub their faces in a plate of Vaseline, then stick their nose to a cotton ball and carry the cotton ball hands-free to the opposite wall. "Ready, set, go!" They set off instantly, smearing their noses gooey with gusto. Intent on emptying her bowl of cotton balls first, every single competitor tore back and forth across the room - even if she had to use a cane or a motorized scooter to do so. At Vacation Bible School for senior citizens, the games are the same even if the participants are quite a bit older than usual....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.
Connections
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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:

Tawas
Vassar-First
Yale-First

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

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'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
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance
PW Fall Gathering
GLAPCE
Get Talkin'
Connect With LHP Churches
Join Us On Facebook


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About the
Bi-Weekly Brief

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Presbytery Office Closed in Observance of Labor Day
September 5



Trustees
September 6
1:00 pm



Installation of the Rev. Dr. Joseph Novak
September 11
2:00 pm



Presbytery Meeting
September 20
9:30 am



Commission on Preparation For Ministry
September 21
10:00 am



Personnel Team
September 22
10:00 am
(Note: Date Change)



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.