Support the Hanmi Church’s College Ministry

A Letter from Rev Jin Seung Kim, Pastor of the Hanmi Presbyterian Church in Maumee Valley Presbytery

Thank you for the generous support and prayers for the Korean International College Students ministry at Hanmi.

We are experiencing exciting growth in this ministry!  We are looking forward to at least 20 and maybe 30 or more Korean students who will become involved in our congregation from the University of Toledo this coming fall.  This growth comes with challenges.  We are hoping to find a 15-passenger bus (or a minivan would also be helpful) for transportation to our Friday meetings. We can probably manage Sunday transportation with the help of the church members, but a donation for a bus or a van will make the Friday ministry much more likely.  

Hanmi’s Sunday attendance without college students is about 35,  with 12 people who are 65 years old and up among them.  It will mean so much to have 20-30 college students among us in the fall!  Can you help us with transportation, or in other ways?  Our church feels overwhelmed to handle this many students, and is also blessed with this GOOD problem.  Thank you for your help!

 Stay Blessed.

Jin Seung Kim


From Your Executive: June

From your Synod Executive,

One of my favorite parts of serving you in the synod is the chance to see God at work in so many different congregations in so many different ways.  We have about 650 churches, which means the Holy Spirit is at work in at least 650 distinctly thrilling ways in our denomination throughout Michigan and Ohio (and a bit of Indiana and Kentucky).  I want to tell you about two churches that I recently visited in particular.

 In mid-May, I preached at West Berlin Presbyterian Church (Home ( close to Delaware, Ohio (Scioto Valley Presbytery).  This historic congregation has shown great innovation in how it connects with its worshipers and helps those joining by Zoom to feel a part of the gathered body.  By email, each member receives a copy of the week’s bulletin with copies of the hymns and the Zoom link.  When folks join through Zoom, an online greeter welcomes them by name, checks in with them, and connects them with others joining virtually.  

A large screen TV is set up in the modestly-sized sanctuary so that in-person worshipers accept Zoom attendees to be a part of a greater body.  On Zoom, attendees can decide if they want to watch the close-up camera on the pulpit or watch the camera facing the pews so that they can see their friends, or watch the view of the full chancel area.  Regularly a Zoom attendee will be the liturgist for the service.  Those on Zoom and those in person together offer announcements and prayer requests at that time of the service.

All of this takes five computers on a Sunday morning, but it pays off.  The day I was there, 27 people attended in person and 17 on Zoom.  One congregation, growing together, due to the thoughtful way the congregation is using technology to draw people to each other for worship, rather than simply broadcasting the service as if it were a TV show.

Next I attended Northbrook Presbyterian Church in Beverly Hills, Michigan (a middle-sized church in Detroit Presbytery).  Most of us probably agree that announcements are the bane of worshipers’ (and preachers’) existence.  Here, though, the pastor used the announcements to ask for worshipers’ feedback on what highlight of the worship service should be shown on the church’s social media platforms to help outsiders learn who they are and how they follow Christ.  People were enthusiastic in their answers!  (You can see what they’ve chosen recently by visiting their Facebook page at (1) Northbrook Presbyterian Church-Beverly Hills, MI | Beverly Hills MI | Facebook.)

I loved how it gave the worshipers a chance to articulate when they felt God’s presence most, and a chance for people who might want to learn more about the Gospel or this congregation an easy way to learn. It is exciting to see how this might break down walls between the church and the world, one of the goals toward which Northbrook moves.

I wonder how your congregation might more fully integrate the virtual and physical attendees in worship, and how you might creatively spread the Word of God’s work in your midst?

Your partner in ministry,



Rev. Charles B Hardwick, PhD
phone number 309-530-4578

From Your Executive: May

From your Synod Executive,

In my devotions recently, I have been reading through the book of Joshua.  The very first passage (Joshua 1:1-9), called “The Lord’s Charge to Joshua” in my Bible, caught my eye for the way it pairs a challenge with a promise:  “be strong and courageous” and “For the Lord is with you wherever you go.”  These two statements have given me perspective not just on the rest of the book, but on our churches’ lives together, too.

Moses has died at the end of Deuteronomy, and here God calls Joshua to lead Israel into the Promised Land. That would be overwhelming even if Joshua was not grieving the loss of his friend and mentor.  A new land comes with new crises and opportunities and unexpected stresses and joys.


On this precipice, God tells Joshua four times “Be strong and courageous.”  Moses is a hard act to follow, and Joshua needs to do his best to lead as he has learned.  It would be easy to feel weak and wimpy, but God calls for strength and courage.  Thankfully, this challenge is bookended by the promise “I will be with you…I will not fail you or abandon you.”  


As we haltingly move out of the pandemic to discover what the “after church” will look like, we are on a precipice too.  We need to be strong and courageous.  We need to consider changes that would never have arisen in 2019.  We have options for ministry that were impossible in the “before times.” We will have to make decisions that seem riskier than they ever have before.  And God tells us what Joshua heard:  “Be strong and courageous.”

 At the same time, we can rest in the promise that God will not fail or abandon us.  As we step out in faith, Jesus is faithful to his promise to be with us always, even to the ends of the age.  It is easier to be strong and courageous when we know that God is walking beside us.  Even when our courage leads us to make decisions that don’t pan out as we hope, we can have confidence that the good work that God has begun in us will come to completion in the day of Jesus Christ (see Philippians 1:6).

The new land before us comes with new crises and opportunities and unexpected stresses and joys.  Please let the Synod know how we can support you as you live up to God’s challenge and receive the promise of the Spirit’s presence.

Your partner in ministry,



Rev. Charles B Hardwick, PhD
phone number 309-530-4578

Help The Synod Resource Congregations More Fully

Help The Synod Resource Congregations More Fully

Take a Brief Survey Telling Us About Your Communities

Take the Survey

The Synod wants to hear from you! 

Ruling Elders, Teaching Elders, CREs, members of all kinds- at the Synod we would like to know more about what’s going on in your communities. Your answers for this short survey will help us think about how to better resource congregations and leaders for ministry and gather people together in supportive ways. These surveys will be anonymous, and will be collated and reported on by our Organizer for Synod Communities of Color, Lindsey Anderson. We hope to gather a large sample of responses from all communities. Please take five minutes and share your thoughts with us. 

Thank you!

Take the Survey

Standing In the Breach: Preaching and Conflict

Caring for the Preacher’s Soul

August 2, 2023 : 10:00 am by Zoom

Register Here

Conflict and division within a congregation can lead to fraught moments for a preacher. Many in our churches harbor an unspoken belief is that the existence of conflict is a sign that something has gone wrong. When conflict hits, should preachers take sides? Be “prophetic”? Try to ease tensions or smooth things over? What if we could reimagine conflict as a normal part of life in community, and a moment where God might be speaking to us? In this workshop, we will explore our assumptions about conflict and its dynamics, and envision some opportunities conflict presents for the preacher.

Facilitator:  Rev. Aimee Moiso, Ph.D.

Associate Director, Louisville Institute

Aimee Moiso is the Associate Director of the Louisville Institute at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. She enjoys gardening, baking, and creative reuse of old things. She received her Ph.D. in homiletics and liturgics from Vanderbilt University and her M.Div. from San Francisco Theological Seminary. She and her husband, Nolan Huizenga, are both Presbyterian pastors.

Register Here

This workshop is part of a monthly workshop series on preaching, the first Wednesday of every month from 10:00 to 11:30 am. For an overview of the series, Click Here

From Your Executive: April 23

From your Synod Executive,

Holy Week is upon us, with its rollicking roller coaster of palms and praise, of tumultuous turmoil in the temple, of seder and sorrow, suffering and surrender, and of the rock-away realization of resurrection.

The poem “Holy Week” by Presbyterian elder Ann Weems captures the criticality of each of its days as Easter comes our way.

 Holy is the week …

Holy, consecrated, belonging to God …

We move from hosannas to horror

with the predictable ease

of those who know not what they do.

Our hosannas sung,

our palms waved,

let us go with passion into this week.

It is a time to curse fig trees that do not yield fruit.

It is a time to cleanse our temples of any blasphemy.

It is a time greet Jesus as the Lord’s Anointed One,

to lavishly break our alabaster

and pour perfume out for him

without counting the cost.

It is a time for preparation …

The time to give thanks and break bread is upon us.

The time to give thanks and drink of the cup is imminent.

Eat, drink, remember:

On this night of nights, each one must ask,

as we dip our bread in the wine,

“Is it I?”

And on that darkest of days, each of us must stand

beneath the tree

and watch the dying

if we are to be there

when the stone is rolled away.

The only road to Easter morning

is through the unrelenting shadows of that Friday.

Only then will the alleluias be sung;

only then will the dancing begin.

God bless you this Holy Week,



Rev. Charles B Hardwick, PhD
phone number 309-530-4578

Acceleration, Amplification, Accumulation, Alienation: Preaching in Times Like These

Acceleration, Amplification, Accumulation, Alienation:  Preaching in Times Like These

June 7, 2023 : 10:00 am by Zoom

Register Here

We talk a lot about how cultural dynamics impact our preaching–how we read, what we say, how we’re heard.  We speak of cultural conflict, social media, generational divides, and more.  Yet we’re too often left with impressions observations that aren’t explored in enough depth to help us.  But there are philosophers, sociologists, and cultural theorists who might help us go deeper.  The tremendous cultural change we’re experiencing begs us to find those partners.  In this workshop, we’ll try just that by asking how some thoughts from the work of one recent religiously-open sociologist, Harmut Rosa, might help us.  in Resonance, among other writings, Rosa thinks at depth about the implications for how we live of what we might call the four “a”s:  acceleration, amplification, accumulation, and alienation.  Let’s think about the implications of those on how we read, what we say, and how we’re heard.  And let’s think together about how to be impactful preachers in cultures shaped byacceleration, amplification, accumulation, and alienation.

Facilitator: Rev. Dr. Wes Avram

Senior Pastor of Pinnacle Presbyterian Church

Wes Avram is the Senior Pastor of Pinnacle Presbyterian Church, in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Director of Pinnacle’s Park Center for Faith and Life.  He has served this role in two other congregations.  Wes has also served as the College Chaplain at Bates College and as Professor of Homiletics, practical theology, and religion and the arts  at Yale Divinity School.  He has also taught DMin courses for Pittsburgh Seminary on preaching faith and science and preaching and theological diversity.  Author of Where the Light Shines Through and Anxious About Empire, Wes has written widely in areas of homiletics, theology and culture, and for lectionary commentaries.  He did his MDiv at Princeton Seminary and a PhD at Northwestern University.  Wes grew up the Detroit area.  His wife, Lynne, is a high school nurse.  They have two grown sons, both living in Nashville.

Register Here

This workshop is part of a monthly workshop series on preaching, the first Wednesday of every month from 10:00 to 11:30 am. For an overview of the series, Click Here

Caring for the Preacher’s Soul

Caring for the Preacher’s Soul

May 3, 2023 : 10:00 am by Zoom

Read News ArticleWatch on YouTube

The soul of the faithful preacher is a crucible in which the holy words of God get mixed
together with the ordinary words collected all week long through hospital visits,
committee meetings, and pastoral counseling, as well as those from the newspapers and
social media. The sermon is where this holy conversation becomes a sacred moment.
The greatest danger to the sacredness of the sermon is the pastor’s own soul. Sometimes
our souls get in trouble because of something going on in the congregation or our
relationships. At other times the issue is our own struggle with God. Often, we are just
soul weary.
This workshop will consider the unique threats to the pastor’s soul, and it will explore the
ways the Holy Spirit renews and enlivens us for the spiritually vulnerable act of climbing
behind a pulpit to say, “Hear the Word of the Lord.”

Facilitator: The Rev. Dr. M. Craig Barnes

President Emeritus, Princeton Theological Seminary

Craig has served as the pastor three Presbyterian congregations and was a professor of pastoral ministry at Pittsburgh Seminary before becoming the president of Princeton Theological Seminary. He retired in January 2023 and continues to speak and write about pastoral leadership. He has nine published books including Pastor as Minor Poet, and Diary of a Pastor’s Soul. He is married to Dawne Hess Barnes. They have three fabulous children, four delightful grandchildren, and a frisbee-addicted Bearded Collie.

This workshop is part of a monthly workshop series on preaching, the first Wednesday of every month from 10:00 to 11:30 am. For an overview of the series, Click Here

From Your Organizer: March 23

I am writing this on the day before Lent begins. This is a season that I have learned has much more meaning for me when I focus on expansive practices rather than restrictive practices. For the last decade I have committed to adding practices during Lent that expand my spirit and enrich my faith, rather than restricting what I do in search of more discipline and penitence. I wonder if this approach is more meaningful for me because in my community, vast generational experiences of restriction, silencing and limitation still weigh heavily
on us. 

When most days are an exercise in being ignored or diminished, when most public spaces expect your silence, as is the case for many people of color, then adding silence in the context of worship may feel like nothing more than the injustice of society, seeping down through the steeple. For those who every day go without, sacrifice is not a spiritual attribute that needs honed. Likewise, my worshiping community does not give up our hallelujahs* during this season, as for generations lament has been perennial among African Americans, and has given birth to rich theological groundings for a hallelujah anyhow or the witness of praise even amidst lament.

 The introspection of this season yearly seems to reveal that my spirit needs more meditation and more practice with moving through limitations that are unholy, than it does with limiting in order to find what is holy. All of this represents learnings formed in me while feeling a little disoriented before the widely-practiced traditions of the Lenten season, as friends and mentors walked me through practices that were not centered on our experience, letting the strangeness lead us to new ways.  

 Now before this starts to read too much like a journal entry, I share this to say we get into some of our worst tangles about ‘how things ought to be’ around these shared holy days. There is a right way (which implies a wrong way) to do Lent, I have often been told, often by other church folks and sometimes even by my own inner voice. But no wilderness journey I’ve read in the Bible begins with so much self-assurance, and good thing too, lest the heroes of our faith be trapped in their own expectations and answers and miss an encounter with the wild Spirit of God.

But what would it be like if our Lenten practices this year took shape around letting ourselves be knocked off center a little bit?  Pursuing the spiritual discipline of knowing ours is not the only way to experience faith; letting ourselves be broken open to make space for something new. The wilderness is nothing if not a little disorienting; and on a wilderness journey like that there are many Lenten practices one might take up:

  •       practicing the hospitality needed to building relationship across difference
  •       investing in a relationship with someone from a different race, orientation, geography than you
  •       developing the discipline of deep, active listening
  •       meditating on not being at the center of things
  •       pursuing the wisdom of theology and ministry models from other cultural perspectives
  •       doing things differently, experimenting, trying something new as a discipline

Just to name a few. Lent is the season in the church in which we attempt to be in solidarity with Jesus’ wilderness journey. If we’re doing what we’ve always done, moving with comfort through familiar rituals, are we really in the wilderness?

Do not be afraid, you don’t have to do it alone. As I continue to meet people across our synod, I am more convinced than ever that you have excellent journeying partners, siblings across our congregations and presbyteries who know how to journey in the unknown, whom you can lean on when you feel a little upended by a holy decentering. Of course, there are also your neighbors outside the church, some of the best journeying partners when you enter a space of wondering and questioning, are those who don’t have a stake in having to know all the answers.

 So, I hope for you a slight stumble this season as you walk the familiar roads of Lent. I pray for a little disruption, a disorienting, that you might lose the path for a bit to find a new one. May we choose to go the way of Jesus, into the wilderness, vulnerable and expanding and relying on God. The God of the wilderness waits to guide us into something new, may we find each other out on the road.


 *A tradition practiced in many congregations in the Reformed Tradition in the US, is to “bury the hallelujahs” or to refrain from singing or saying “Hallelujah” throughout the season of Lent bringing them back to the liturgy with gusto on Easter morning. 

Rev. Lindsey Anderson                                

Organizer of Synod Communities of Color                                   

248-729-2415 ext. 6

From Your Executive: March 23

From your Synod Executive,

February has been such a difficult month for communities within the Synod.  Between the train derailment in East Palestine, OH (Eastminster Presbytery) and the mass shooting at Michigan State University (Lake Michigan Presbytery), the lives of too many of our congregations and members have been tragically reminded that the world is not the way that God wants it to be. 

On February 3, a Norfolk Southern train derailed with fifty cars involved, leading to smoke and fire from hazardous materials burning up the sky and causing residents to be evacuated.  Town hall meetings do not seem to have quelled the concern from residents about the long-term impact of the catastrophe, which has already caused a week-long evacuation.  Among the impacted is Rev. Stacie Maynard, a hospital chaplain in the area.  You can read about her experience and learn more through this article from the Presbyterian News Service:

Article Here

Less than two weeks later, lives were cut short at Michigan State University on May 13 as a gunman killed three and wounded five students (before turning the gun on himself).  Two of the injured had connections to congregations in Lake Michigan Presbytery, and the three killed all grew up within the geographic bounds of Detroit Presbytery.  The campus and East Lansing community are reeling, particularly those who had already been touched by prior mass shootings.


I am grateful for the incredible impact of ministries in the area.  Rev. Fritz Nelson officially pastors the First United Presbyterian Church in East Palestine (and the neighboring First Presbyterian Church of Columbiana), but in the days since the derailment he’s been pastoring the whole community. For more information on supporting their efforts financially, click the button below.

Learn More

UKirk, the college ministry at MSU, has been led so ably by Neil Myer and is a beacon of the Gospel on campus, as have their partner congregations. He particularly asks you to let him know if a Spartan student could benefit from his touching base with them; you can email him at to let him know.  If you would like to invest further in their care for students click the button below.

Learn More

Of course, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance is helping as much as possible.  By giving to the One Great Hour of Sharing Special Offering you can help fund responses to both natural and human-caused tragedies.


Even more important than financial support, of course, is lifting up prayers to our God who wants us all to experience the abundant life.  May the Spirit speak to us about how we can join in Jesus’ efforts to spread this life to all.

Your partner in ministry,



Rev. Charles B Hardwick, PhD
phone number 309-530-4578