"If there is among you anyone in need, a member of your community in any of your towns within the land that the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hard-hearted or tight-fisted toward your needy neighbor."
We Lift Up In Prayer...
The team of eleven ACT Uganda volunteers who are traveling from Michigan to Uganda
September 7-23, 2016. ACT Uganda is a validated ministry of the presbytery that several members of Midland-Memorial are active participants and leaders. Follow their journey by clicking here
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 September and October:
Elder Jon Essex (10/1) - 1 year - Commissioned Ruling Elder of Twining-Maple Ridge
THE HEARTBEAT OF FAITH
There is a rhythm to being the church. It is the rhythm of gathering and sending. It was present in the very first community of disciples whom Jesus called to follow him and then sent out to do his work in the world. This pattern of calling together and sending out is found in two New Testament words which name Christ's followers: ekklesia (church, assembly, literally "called out") and apostoloi (apostles, literally "sent away"). We practice it every week in our worship, which begins with our being called to worship and ends with our being sent into the world.
These two processes of being called together and sent out are the heartbeat of our lives as Christians, the breathing in and breathing out of the Body of Christ. We often think of the church only in terms of the gathering part of our identity. We are visibly the church when we are together. We value the fellowship, the caring, the worship, the education, the prayers, the sense of belonging that we experience as the gathered church. We build places for our gathering that become symbols of the all the ways we experience the presence, power, and pathos of God when we are gathered together.
But that is only half of who we are, only half a heartbeat. The other half is the church that is sent in the power of the Spirit to bring the presence, power, and pathos of God to the world. It is easy to overlook or minimize this half. Like the wind, it is visible only in its effects. It has no spires, no pews, no stained glass to distinguish its presence. But it is as essential to being the church as is the calling together half. Without it, we are holding our breath, or worse still, not breathing at all.
When we gather as a presbytery on September 20, we hope to hear this second half of our heartbeat, we want to make visible the wind of the Spirit who sends us out. One way we will do this is during our worship. As we present our offering, we will invite the teaching elders and ruling elder commissioners to present, along with their financial gifts, an offering of mission - symbolized by stars, hearts, or crosses on which are written the various ways in which their congregations are engaged in the "sending out" part of our lives as Christians. It could be service rendered through Meals on Wheels or Habitat for Humanity. Perhaps it is a community day care or a mission partnership in a foreign land.
Whatever it is that keeps our churches breathing, whatever completes the heartbeat of our shared lives, we want to celebrate by making it visible. And in so doing, we might inspire each other to serve in new ways, and identify common mission interests.
It is an exercise that can be replicated in congregations, too. On one Sunday (perhaps during stewardship season), we could invite worshipers to present an offering of one or more ways they are individually engaging in the "sending out" part of our Christian lives and then post them on bulletin boards to show the combined impact of their individual mission efforts.
Gathering and sending; worship and mission; fellowship and service - these are the two halves of our Christian vocation. They are the heartbeat of faith, the breathing in and breathing out of the Body of Christ. As the Presbytery of Lake Huron, let's help one another to a stronger heartbeat, healthier respiration, and more transforming mission as God's apostolic people.
Dan Saperstein, Executive Presbyter
Documents For September Meeting of Presbytery Now Available
All of the documents for the September 20th meeting of presbytery at Flushing
are now available on our website.
Some important items to note:
- HOMEWORK: Prior to the meeting, be thinking about a mission that either you or your congregation is involved in. During registration, items will be available for you to select from to visually express your missions. The opportunity to do so will be during the offering time in worship.
- During our equipping time we will examine the Holy Question of "What Are We Called to Do?" The Rev. Dr. Carol McDonald will lead us in this time.
- We have a number of business items to consider.
- Report from our commissioners to General Assembly
- Celebrating the bestowing of the C. Fred Jenkins Award on our own George Baird.
- Nominations for committee members and Presbytery Moderator and Vice Moderator.
- An important recommendation from the Personnel Team on changing our staffing pattern in the Presbytery office.
- The 2017 Per Capita rate.
- The 2017 Minimum Terms of Call.
Please click here
to download and/or print a copy. We will have a very limited number of extra copies available at the meeting so please be sure to bring one with you.
Important Information for ALL Churches
Please read this important information from our Board of Pensions representative:
I want to make you aware of a few important actions that all churches/employing organizations will need to make before September 30.
As you may know the Board of Pensions has made a number of significant changes to the Benefits Plan and the way employee benefits are priced and structured. There have been many communications about the changes from the Board, but there are many churches that I have encountered which have not either heard or understood the actions all churches are required to do by September 30. Here is some helpful information.
- Before Sept 30 all churches will need to have the "Authorized Person" from their church ( i.e. normally the treasurer, business manager, or chair of personnel who inputs salary information into Benefits Connect for billing purposes from the Board of Pensions), access Benefits Connect and input salary information for each employee and choose the benefits/classifications for all employees. Even if there is only one employee, e.g. the pastor, the authorized person from each church will need to fill in the information on Benefits Connect by Sept 30. Once Benefits are chosen, an employer agreement would be created that would determine accurate billing.
- Once benefits are chosen for employees, the employees and/or pastor will need to access Benefits Connect. Each employee will see only their information and the benefits offered them by their employer/church. Then, each employee and/or pastor will need to access Benefits Connect between Oct 17 and Nov 11 to choose which benefits they will select or waive from the benefits offered by their employer/church.
Here are several links that will help guide the process and help people and churches move forward.
To access Benefits Connect go to www.pensions.org
. and in the upper right side will be a Benefits Connect "log in".
For support call Member Services or Employer Services at 800-773-7752 or you can call your regional Church Consultant Rev. Doug Portz at 267-788-4962.
Commissioning of Church School Teachers and Leaders
Most churches will begin their program year this weekend. The PC(USA) has resources to help you plan a commissioning service for school teachers and leaders. For details please click here
Michael and Rachel Ludwig
Highlights from their latest blog post:
We're back in Niger! Thank you for all your prayers. After a few months of visiting churches and family we are back at our home in Maradi and getting settled.
Network News - While in the US, we were part of an exploratory meeting about establishing a Niger Mission Network for churches interested in being more closely involved in partnerships in Niger. No Mission Network was started during the meeting but there is an email list for more information and to be part of the future decisions on this topic. This initial meeting took place at the New Wilmington Mission Conference where we could gather PC(USA) World Mission staff, some supporters, and representatives from groups like Presbyterian Frontier Fellowship and The Outreach Foundation. The group of 25 learned about what goes into a Mission Network, which is usually an organization of Presbyterian churches who are involved in a particular country, and which has its own officers and yearly meeting. The purpose of the Mission Network is to help share information and coordinate efforts so that what each individual church is contributing to the work in the country is done in connection to partnership, best practices, and synergy with what else is being done.
What's Next in Niger - We're still going to be working on language learning with class a few times a week and focused conversations to get us over the hump. Michael will be teaching English and a new introductory class on Community Health Evangelism (CHE) at a Bible school about an hour away. Rachel is already teaching three students in homeschool and looking at new ways to develop relationships with women and children in the area. We'll also be working to assist with bringing together the last pieces for the CHE training program that the EERN is developing. One of the biggest pieces of this puzzle is still discerning who the right leaders are, who have the education and passion to lead this training and mentoring. A small update on the rickshaws is that the drivers are doing well despite two accidents and we look forward to a quarterly report on the project next month
If you would like to follow their adventures and their mission work in Niger, please contact Staci Percy at [email protected] or 989-799-7481 x2 for their blog address. (They have asked that the link to it not be published online.)
Pastors In Transition Seminar
The fall session of the Pastors in Transition Seminar will be held October 24-25, 2016 at the St. Francis Retreat Center in DeWitt, MI. All clergy and CRE who have been in their current position less than three years are invited.
Presbyterian Women Fall Gathering
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.
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
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.
Would you like to do the worst possible job of getting people involved in ministry in your church? Sometimes I think church leaders take the most negative approaches in an attempt to encourage more people to get involved in ministry in the church. There are several common blunders. Here are six of them:...continue reading.
Snapchat is the latest social media rave. It's where all the kids are these days, so let's take a look at this new platform and see what it means for the church. Ug, not another social media platform, right? I know. I'm right there with you. I'm not a Snapchat fan, and I'm far from an expert. I'm a reluctant user, wondering what the big deal is and if churches need to care. The simple answer? If people are there, the church should care. So let's (grudgingly) dive in...continue reading.
I have never known a stressed-out person who was helped by the suggestion: "You shouldn't stress out." Helping someone think differently about a stressful situation is likely to work better. In truth, some help is simply more helpful than other help. If you want to support a stressed-out colleague, it can be helpful to know what not to say. Here are some things to avoid...continue reading.
A pastor from Alabama reached out to me some time ago with a dilemma. He said his church had a killer social media strategy and a great tech person heading up the team. Yet, their social media ministry was producing no fruit at all. I took a look at their social media platforms and can say I was honestly impressed. For a relatively small church (a congregation of about 150 members), they really did go all out on their social media strategy. They had a great Twitter account that was updated at least once a day. Their Facebook page looked great as did their website. Especially well done was how the church effectively branded itself across all its platforms.
They even had Google+, Instagram, and Pinterest accounts. Yet one thing was missing...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:
'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!
Communications Manager/Recording Clerk
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.
Installation of the Rev. Dr. Joseph Novak
Commission on Preparation For Ministry
(Note: Date Change)
Commission on Ministry - Outreach and Administration Team
Details on these meetings can be found on the presbytery's website on the calendar.