"I loved autumn, the one season of
the year that God seemed
to have put there
just for the beauty of it."
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
In previous columns I have explored how the church's place in society has changed over the past fifty years. I have talked about how religion - especially mainline Protestantism - used to be at the center of our civic lives, but has been displaced. This "disestablishment" of religion has had the effect of forcing the classic Protestant denominations to rethink their identity and mission, and retool for a new ministry context.
In this column I want to discuss how those changes have affected the practice of ministry. Not long ago, ministry was a prestigious profession. Indeed, the very word "profession" originally was applied to only three occupations: medicine, law, and ministry, and all were held in high social esteem. According to Gallup, as recently as 1985, over 2/3 of Americans rated ministers "high" or "very high" in honesty and trustworthiness, putting ministry among the most respected occupations. By 2015, that number reached an all-time low of 45%. Demographic analysis shows that regard for ministry is lowest among younger generations, indicating that an even greater decline is looming.
The result is that what was once a high-status, low-stress profession has become a low-status, high stress job.
- The growth of the "consumer model" of American religion has diminished the authority of the minister and increased pressure to satisfy a diverse set of member expectations.
- Declining membership has caused many churches to reduce paid support staff, and forced more ministers to serve two churches or hold two jobs.
- The growth of two-income families (and single-parent families) along with increased options for early retirees has diminished the core volunteer pool for churches. This has increased the expectation that the minister should do more tasks that used to be performed by volunteers.
- What used to be a profession valued because of the time it permitted for prayer, study, and leisurely pastoral calls now requires an average 56 hours/week in a full-time position. At presbytery minimum salary, that works out to less than $15 per hour.
- Those hours are increasingly spent in administration, a task that is ranked low in personal satisfaction among ministers. A typical pastor spends up to 20 hours a week in administration. Pastors now must often be business executives, personnel managers, professional counselors, tech wizards, community organizers, and youth programmers on top of being preachers, teachers, scholars, and care-givers.
- The first clergy malpractice suit in America was filed in 1979. Since then, ministry has taken on a legal dimension heretofore unknown. The increased awareness of clergy sexual abuse and other forms of misconduct - which has helped bring justice, healing, and necessary accountability - has also brought suspicion upon innocent pastors, and created a hyper-vigilance about interpersonal boundaries.
I could go on, but the point is clear: ministry today is a more demanding, less socially-rewarding occupation than ever before. And ministers are increasingly subject to job-related stress and strain that can lead to ministry burn-out, loss of spiritual vitality, and reduced effectiveness in ministry.
In my next column, I will address how we can help to remedy this condition for the health of our pastors and our congregations.
Dan Saperstein, Executive Presbyter
The review of session Minutes and Records will take place on Saturday, October 22nd
at Mt. Pleasant-First
and Saturday, November 12th
. Letters to all Clerks of Session are being sent out today.
If you have any questions or need to schedule another time, please contact Ted McCulloch at [email protected]
or 989-799-7481 x4
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.
Thank you to Flushing Presbyterian Church
and all who made yesterday's meeting of presbytery so enjoyable! We know that a lot of time and preparation goes into hosting a meeting and we appreciate your hard work!
Mission Hosting Opportunity
Cathrine Abuamsha of Beit Jala, Palestine from October 13th to November 6th.
Cathrine is a 24 year-old Palestinian woman who is of the Greek Orthodox faith tradition. Born in Bethlehem, she has faced a lifetime of Occupation as a Palestinian. Her father is a YMCA director in the Bethlehem area. Her mother is an English teacher. Her siblings have a wide variety of vocations-from Civil Engineering to Business. And Cathrine, herself, is in training to be a lawyer. She is also part of the youth ecumenical movement in Palestine.
Cathrine has trained with the Youth Ecumenical Institute of the Middle East, involving youth from 7 Arab countries in choosing to be open to the experiences, cultures and witnesses of other Christians. She comes as a M.U.S.A. Mission Partner prepared to talk about both the issues all Arab Christians face in their respective contexts, as well as the particular issues facing Palestinian Christians today in light of the Israeli Occupation.
Cathrine will not be here to preach, but she will be here to witness and to speak to that which she is most familiar-her faith and her homeland.
to request a time for Cathrine to visit your congregation.
Alma College Coloring Book
Relieve some stress and show your Plaid Pride. Alma College
now has a printable coloring book available free on their website. Check it out and show off your pages on social media using #ColorMePlaid.
The congregation of Cass City-Fraser invites you to celebrate their 140th anniversary with them on Sunday, September 25, 2016.
Lunch will be served at 12:30 p.m. and Worship Service begins at 2:00 p.m. The theme is: Celebrating and Rededicating Our Church and Our Lives. Cake and ice cream to follow worship service. Everyone is welcome!
The church is located at: 3006 W. Huron Line Road; Cass City, MI 48726. It is 5 miles north of the M-81 and M-83 intersection. For additional details you may call the church at: 989-872-5400.
Presbyterian's and Quilters: If you know of someone who has created and quilted a wall hanging with the Presbyterian Symbol design incorportated in it please contact Liz Leitch, Cass City-Fraser Clerk of Session at 989-269-6352.
Collecting Coats For Kids
Croswell-First will once again be collecting coats for kids this year. All sizes, all ages preschool through high school. New or good, clean used coats as well as hats, mittens, boots, gloves and scarves will be collected and distributed. Monetary donations accepted also. Cash or
check with checks made out to First Presbyterian Church.
The First Presbyterian Church of Croswell will be open to receive donations Tuesdays through Fridays 9am till noon.
Distribution for 2016 will take place on Friday, October 14th from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.
See Lisa Haddix, Secretary or call Amy with questions at 810-679-3754.
Cathy Chang and Juan Lopez
Friends in Faith,
Hello from the Philippines!
It's hard to believe that nearly a year ago our family was starting to say our goodbyes while preparing for our new call to international mission service. It's been a bit over six months since we moved to Quezon City, with many things to learn and to get accustomed to with culture shock slowly giving way to cultural assimilation.
Yet culture shock still persists such as two weeks ago when trying to understand a bombing that happened in the southern Philippine city of Davao City. News reports in the U.S. might attribute the explosion to ISIS, but there is another alleged reason and group behind this explosion: in the ongoing drug war, "narco-terrorists" might have been trying to send a message to the current Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte who previously served as the same city's mayor, that he has made some enemies because of his tactics and strategies.
Sadly many other individuals and families became victims through that explosion and through the ongoing drug war. Our family has not experienced any of the direct impact of this ongoing drug war, although because we live here we are troubled by the government's actions and impact on society as a whole. This drug war is an ongoing prayer concern and cause for action among the many churches and Christians here in the Philippines.
In the spirit of gratitude for the many individuals and congregations who invited us to share about God's calling and God's mission in southeast Asia throughout fall 2015 and winter 2016, we would like to share a video with you. One of our supportive congregations in Indiana asked us to prepare a brief video for World Communion Sunday. This video is a good reminder of our connections, specifically through our local church Pastor Gane Deslate of the National City United Church.
Many of you are lifting us up in prayers and providing us with financial support, not to mention the occasional email or Facebook post, all of which help us to stay connected with one another. We're thankful for your support and pray that you will continue your support throughout these next 3 years of our term of service.
Please drop us a line and let us know how you are doing and how God is at work in your respective communities. Let us know how we can pray for you!
Grace and peace, Cathy, Juan & Aurélie
Special Note: in order to facilitate effective communion, I have also prepared a transcript for each video. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at [email protected]
to read and/or download the full letter with the description of the videos.
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.
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.
Many churches have a practice of giving a Bible to a child or to a family. The most common occasion is the beginning of the school year when a child is entering second or third grade. This recognizes their growing ability to read and comprehend stories. Then often a second Bible is given to a teenager at either the beginning or completion of confirmation. Less common is the giving of a Bible storybook appropriate for very young children, which some congregations give at birth/adoption or at baptism or dedication. Sometimes these important practices need some reconsideration and updating. Here are some suggestions to consider as you review the tradition of your congregation. Which One?...continue reading.
I think my small church is a gift. They know that each person there is vital to our continuing ministry and to the kingdom of God. They value the children in their midst. In our sanctuary we know each other's names and stories. We look around and notice if someone is missing and make a point to call or send her a card. Of course I wish we had more children and young adults, but not just to increase our numbers. I want more children to experience the gifts my church has given my nephew. I want youth and young adults who are struggling with identity to have a safe place to question and doubt....continue reading.
Helping a child grow into praying with the worshiping congregation requires more than repeated shushing and instructions to "close your eyes and be quiet!" It requires that parents become prayer partners with their children. Different weeks and different prayers in any given service can be shared by parents and children in a variety of ways. Below is a collection of strategies for parents to use in the pews with their children. The goal is not that a child is fully involved in EVERY prayer EVERY week, but to encourage children to participate in at least one prayer each week. And, BTW, sometimes we do pray more readily with our eyes open and a pencil in hand (especially when we are children). So...continue reading.
It's way too early to see Christmas in public, but it's never too early for your church to start planning Christmas
. That might cause some of you to break out in hives. If even thinking about starting to plan Christmas festivities for your church feels daunting, you're not alone. But technology can help. There are a lot of ways you can make your Christmas efforts more productive-and maintain your sanity-with the judicious use of technology. First and foremost, let's recognize that
technology can be wonderful, but it can also be crazy making. The goal here is not to digitize everything or force your church into doing Snapchat and Facebook Live sermons. Those things may work for some churches, but some churches are not all churches. We're not going for crazy, shiny, slick tech solutions; we want simple, efficient, and sane here people. Technology should save work, not create work.Let's look at two ways technology can help make your Christmas efforts more efficient:...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.
Commission on Preparation For Ministry
(Note: Date AND Time Change)
Commission on Ministry - Outreach and Administration Team
Worship Planning Committee
Ministry Appreciation Dinner
Presbyterian Women Fall Gathering
Commission on Preparation for Ministry
Commission on Ministry - Outreach and Administration Group
Details on these meetings can be found on the presbytery's website on the calendar.