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July 27, 2014
Reflecting on Missions
Our Plymouth Youth
Lessons: 1 Kings 3:5-12, Psalm 119:129-136
Romans 8:26-39; Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52
Rev. Robert A. Higle, Senior Minister
Rev. Robert A. Higle (Pastor Bob), Our Senior Minister
In early February of 2013, Rev. Robert A. Higle (Pastor Bob) was the unanimous choice by our Senior Minister Search Committee and was recommended to our Church Council. After a unanimous vote by our congregation on March 3, Bob arrived on April 1, 2013. Pastor Bob was ordained into Christian Ministry by the First Congregational Church of Royal Oak of Michigan in 2010 after licensure for ministry by the Southeast Michigan Association of Congregational Churches (SEMACC) in 2009. Bob serves as Secretary of the Executive Board for the Michigan Conference of Congregational Christian Churches.
Bob received the degree Master of Divinity in 2009 from The Ecumenical Theological Seminary in Detroit. Bob served as Chaplain for a full year while receiving two units of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) at Sinai Grace Hospital in Detroit. Bob received "The Presiding Bishop's Certificate in Church Music" - a two year leadership program for musicians serving small congregations, sponsored by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Episcopalian Church in the USA (2004). Bob continues his studies in both Hebrew and Greek as well as Pastoral Care, Church Leadership, and Management.
Bob lived in Lansing throughout 2013 while Megan and their sons remained in Detroit. In April of 2014, Bob and Megan purchased their home in Delta Township and began to move the family here to the greater Lansing Area. Bob and Megan have two adult sons. Tim is pursuing Music Education with a minor in Vocal Performance from Wayne State University while also serving as a paid chorister for St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral in Detroit. Tony is here in Lansing in pursuit of his undergraduate degree through LCC and MSU. Tony loves philosophy, sociology, anthropology, and is a terrific humorist. Megan received her Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from Marygrove College and Master in Music for Choral Conducting from Oakland University. Megan was hired by First Presbyterian Church of Lansing as their Music Minister in the summer of 2014. In addition to their adult sons, their family also includes a 72 pound black lab named Abby, and two cats named Elijah and Jeremiah.
Prior to our call, Bob served the Chrysler Corporation (Powertrain Engineering) in Process Engineering where he partnered with much of the leadership in several turnaround initiatives within Engineering to aid the corporation in becoming more flexible and responsive in an ever changing market. Bob led conflict resolution, team building, and goal setting workshops as well as measured improvement efforts all of which were enablers to help him help us. We spent our first year in monthly "Believers Workshops" where we unpacked our past, looked at our present to begin planning for our future. One key enabler that grew from our first year of ministry together was our newly formed Mission Statement (March 2014):
We Are Christ's people who will live within our means as we
- Preach the Good News
- Study and Teach the Good News
- Be the Good News to each other and to all others
The Good Lord leading, willing, and assisting.
John Dale Smith, Director of Music/Communication/Events
John Dale Smith is well-known in musical circles in the Lansing area and has experience in virtually all areas associated with musical performance, as producer, performer, and coordinator for a wide variety of musical events. He is leader of the John Dale Quintet, and co-leader of J & J Sounds. John received a Bachelor of Music Degree in Piano Performance from Bowling Green State University and a Master of Music in Piano Performance from Michigan State University. His professional affiliations include memberships in Phi Mu Alpha and the honorary Pi Kappa Lambda music fraternities. John recently retired from a 28 year career at Lansing Community College where he served in a number of capacities, including Program Director of Music, Director of Performing Arts, and most recently as Director of Communication and College Events. While at LCC John had positions at two Lansing churches, as Coordinator of Music at First Presbyterian Church, and for 10 years as the Director of Music at Mount Hope Presbyterian Church where his duties included directing the choir and playing piano for services.
In addition to these duties John has been very active in many community organizations, including the American Heart Association, Rotary Club of Lansing, the University Club of Michigan State University, and the Arts Council Center of Lansing, having served on the boards of directors of the latter two organizations. John is married to Janine Novenske Smith, who is the Director of Choirs at University Lutheran Church in East Lansing and an adjunct instructor at LCC. John and Janine have two children, Jennifer and Jonathan, both of whom are active in the performing arts.