Welcome to Delta Presbyterian Church, where we are

Strengthening Christ in us, Sharing Christ among us, and Showing Christ around us.






                                                                                                                                        By Betty MacDowell


            This history of Delta Presbyterian Church was written in celebration of Delta's Twenty-fifth Anniversary.  It is based in part on previously written histories, as well as on information found in Session minutes, issues of the Ambassador, printed programs and many other sources.  The story of Delta's first twenty-five years has been recorded so that we will remember the major events of our first quarter century. It is dedicated to all those who have guided our church through its formation and early decades and to all who now support Delta Presbyterian Church with their time, talents, energy and resources.


            Delta Presbyterian Church had its beginning in the early 1970s.  In March of 1972, the Synod of Michigan purchased by land contract nine acres of property on West Michigan Avenue in DeltaTownship, Lansing, Michigan, and turned it over to the Presbytery of Lake Michigan, with the hope of establishing a Presbyterian church on the site sometime in the future.  For over a year, the Westminster Presbyterian Church of Lansing conducted worship services at the nearby Winans School in Delta Township, looking forward to a possible relocation for its congregation.  These services ended in December of 1973 when the Westminster Session decided to dissolve its branch church experiment at WinansSchool and to devote time and energy to its own church instead.  However, Westminster's Session encouraged the Presbytery to start a new church in DeltaTownship, the center of a suburban area west of Lansing where the population had more than doubled from 1960 to 1970.

            In January of 1974, the Mission Coordination Department of the Lake Michigan Presbytery authorized a new church development survey in the DeltaTownship area.  The survey was conducted by the Rev. Tom Foster, a specialist in demographic studies, who made a thorough analysis of population characteristics and projections, existing churches in the community, relevant economic factors, and interest shown by local people in having a church.  In his report, "A Study for New Church Development, Delta Township/Eaton County for Lake Michigan Presbytery," Rev. Foster strongly recommended that people interested in such a church should petition Presbytery for its establishment and that Presbytery take the initiative in starting a new congregation as soon as possible.  He also urged that Presbytery continue to purchase the Michigan Avenue property "toward the day when it might be feasible to erect a building." 

Encouraged by Rev. Foster's recommendations, a small number of area residents met informally several times during January, then held an informational meeting at Waverly West school auditorium on February 17, 1974, with Francis Moss presiding.  Dr. W. Fred Graham, Professor of Religious Studies at Justin Morrill College, Michigan State University, gave a brief devotional message and prayer.  Jack Hilmert of Three Rivers, Chairman of the Presbytery's Mission Coordination Department, outlined procedures to follow in obtaining help from Presbytery and organizing a church.  Dr. Alvin Smith, Presbytery Executive, reviewed the recommendations made in the study by Rev. Tom Foster and promised his support in helping the group get started.  From this meeting emerged the Delta Presbyterian Fellowship, which included thirty-four members who petitioned the Department of Mission Coordination to begin a new church development project in Delta and pledged their support. 

            In March, the fledgling congregation rented the LansingSeventh-dayAdventistChurch at 5400 West St. Joseph Highway for its meeting place.  On Sunday, March 17, 1974, the first worship service of Delta Presbyterian Fellowship was conducted by Dr. W. Fred Graham, whom Presbytery had appointed to be interim pastor.   Following the worship service on May 19, 1974, the Fellowship met with Jack Hilmert, who again outlined the steps to be taken to become a church and assured financial support, encouragement and direction from Presbytery.  The membership then elected an Interim Steering Committee, composed of Francis Moss, Chairman; William Sheaffer, Treasurer; Lucille Waltersdorf, Bea Cuthbert, Keith Ryan, Clifford Marcus, Secretary, and Dr. Graham.  The Interim Steering Committee worked with three representatives from the Mission Coordination Department in their sessions.

            A "Grant Proposal for Delta New Church Development" was prepared and submitted to the Presbytery of Lake Michigan, the Synod of the Covenant, and to the Financial Resources Division, Support Agency, United Presbyterian Church, USA.  This proposal included six first-year objectives:

            1.  To secure a full time, resident, organizing pastor

            2.  To continue regular worship experiences and Christian  

                  education programs of "The Delta Presbyterian Fellowship"

            3.  To become organized as a congregation with a minimum of 50                   organizing families

            4.  To provide training for each participant in communicant

                  membership and in the needs, concerns and issues of the

 metropolitan Lansing area                                                                       

5. To identify at least one of the needs, issues or concerns of the

"inner city" and one in the Delta area and explore engaging them in mission jointly with other Presbyterian groups or other appropriate agencies in the Lansing area

6.  To engage in a program of stewardship training to the end that the new congregation may become self-supporting in the shortestpossible time

The grant proposal further stated that the Department of Mission Coordination of the Presbytery of Lake Michigan would provide continuing supervision and guidance and that the project would be evaluated at the end of the first year in light of the "first year objectives."

            On August 4, 1974, a Pulpit Nominating Committee was elected, consisting of four persons from the Delta Presbyterian Fellowship: Bea Cuthbert, Temp Petovello, Peter Munson, and Keith Ryan.  Three members of the Mission Coordination Department and one member of Presbytery Ministerial Relations also served on the committee.  After a thorough review of available candidates, the committee recommended the Rev. Alfred D. Deutsch as a potential organizing pastor for Delta Presbyterian Fellowship.  As a pastoral candidate, Rev. Deutsch preached his first sermon at the Delta Presbyterian Fellowship on January 26, 1975.  Following the worship service, Rev. Deutsch, his wife Delores, daughter Damaris, and sons Paul and Stephen were introduced to the Fellowship at an informal "Bohemian" potluck dinner and a vote of the membership elected Rev. Deutsch to be the organizing pastor of Delta Presbyterian Fellowship.

            A native of Basking Ridge, New Jersey, Rev. Alfred ("Al") Deutsch graduated from BloomfieldCollege in Bloomfield, New Jersey, and McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, then did further graduate work at the Earlham School of Religion in Richmond, Indiana.  His previous ministries were at First Presbyterian Church, Galesburg, Illinois; Marquette Presbyterian Church, Pekin, Illinois; Union Church of Eastern Venezuela (an interdenominational congregation from four oil camps); First Friends (Quaker) Meeting in Richmond, Indiana, and Spiceland Friends Meeting in Spiceland, Indiana.  Delores ("Dee") Deutsch, his wife, was born in Minden, Nebraska, and graduated from DoaneCollege in Crete, Nebraska, and McCormick Theological Seminary, where she majored in social work and where the couple met.  The Deutsch family also included four children: David, Damaris, Stephen, and Paul.

            The proposed operating budget for 1975 totaled $40,051.  This amount included $17,560 for the minister (salary, mileage, housing, utilities, pension plan and study leave); $3,641 for benevolences; $2,200 for worship (music, morning service, Sunday School, youth, pulpit supply); $9,650 for administration (church rent, office rent, clerical, supplies, postage, printing, publicity, insurance); $7,000 for contingencies. 

            In February an Organizing Session for Delta Presbyterian Fellowship was formed.  Its members included the original seven members of the Steering Committee and three members from the Department of Mission Coordination: Rev. David Milbourn, Pastor of Holt Presbyterian Church; Nolan Mitchell, from the Dimondale Presbyterian Church; and Rev. Paul Green, Pastor of Eastminster Presbyterian Church, Lansing.  The Organizing Session held its first meeting on February 17, 1975, at the Marcus home.  Pastor-elect Rev. Alfred Deutsch also was present.

A home was rented for the Deutsch family at 11165 Upton Road and Rev. Deutsch officially began his ministry at Delta on Palm Sunday, March 23, 1975, sharing the morning worship services with Dr. Graham.  The following weeks were busy with developing Bible study groups, calling on potential members, getting out publicity, supporting the Christian education and youth fellowship programs, and arranging for music, hymnals, ushers, bulletins, and the myriad other details of worship service and church life.  By April of 1975 an average of sixty adults and twenty children were attending Sunday worship services.

            In the months following Rev. Deutsch's arrival, Delta Presbyterian Fellowship moved toward formal recognition as the Delta United Presbyterian Church, the name voted upon after considering other names such as Advent, Amity, Apostles, Concord and Unity.  Small group meetings of four to six couples were held in Session members' homes so that everyone could contribute ideas to a mission statement.  This process resulted in the adoption of the following "Statement of Purpose," formally approved by Organizing Session on August 11, 1975:

            "The purpose of Delta United Presbyterian Church is to worship God through Jesus Christ by:

            CELEBRATION: Providing opportunities for personal and spiritual growth of members.

            STUDY: Providing opportunities for religious education.

            CARE: Ministering to individuals and families in times of crisis, sorrow and joy.

            SERVICE: Working for a better community and a better world."

            On September 21, 1975, following worship service and a potluck dinner, the congregation formally adopted the "Statement of Purpose," elected twelve Elders to be its leaders and approved an organizational plan that included the following four standing committees, each led by elders, to develop and support its program:

            Celebration Committee, to oversee worship, music and special services

            Study Committee, in charge of Christian education, youth groups, and special study groups

            Care Committee, responsible for fellowship, membership, evangelism, and publicity

            Service Committee, covering outreach opportunities (local and through general mission of the Presbyterian Church), finances, budget, building, treasurer

At the worship service on October 5, 1975, the members of Delta Presbyterian Fellowship signed the following Covenant which was framed and which now hangs in the church lounge area:

We the undersigned persons desire to be constituted and organized as a church which is to be known as Delta United Presbyterian Church.  We do covenant and agree to walk together as disciples of Jesus Christ in a church relation according to the provisions of the Constitution of The United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America.  We promise to maintain this church by our attendance at its services, our support of its work, our gifts, our efforts, and our prayers, and to seek in its fellowship to glorify the name and further the cause of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Those who signed the above Covenant were the following:

Nancy Moss•Francis E. Moss•Arnold E. Rueckert•Helen K. Rueckert•David B.Houts•Loretta Munson•Gary R. Cuthbert•Beatrice J. Cuthbert• David R. Green•Nancy A. Green•Art Baker•Patricia Baker•Rich Karelse•Joann Karelse•Arlene I. Petrovich•Adam Petrovich•Susan Moss•Doris Brafford•Robert W. Brafford•Rebecca Munson•Margaret A. Hedlund•David E. Hedlund•Esther Marcus•Clifford A. Marcus•Bessie G. Tyson•Margaret Sheaffer•William Sheaffer•Irvena A. Rogna•Guerino Rogna•Sharlene Johnson•Richard Johnson•Clara Weaver•Mary Ellen Knick•Jean Butler•Lloyd A. Butler•Iris Wood•George Wood•Barry D. Wood•Janet Wood•Lillian Pajunen•James J. Pajunen•Virgiline L. Stanaback•David G. Stanaback•Read C. Ross•Sharon Ross•Lydia Mussulman•David G. Mussulman•Susan Dohnal•Tamara J. Walsh•David C. Walsh•Mary Jo Kelley•Arthur J. Kelley•Carl George Fenner•Richard P. Mead•Mary A. Mead•Rex Waltersdorf•Tempest Petovello•Lucille M. Waltersdorf•Barbara Moss•Gloria Jenks•Richard H. Ghainer•Mary Jane Ghainer•Laura Ghainer•Thomas Richard Ross•Rex Waltersdorf Jr.•Anne Ryan•Kathy Ryan•Susan D. Foltz•Sharon Van Court•Jack Van Court•Laura Petovello•Keith Joseph Petovello•Jean A. Randall•Charles Fredenburg•Agnes Fredenburg•Geraldine Mead•Maxine Unrath•Michael B. Tebeau•Dennis W. Duffey•Joyce E. Duffey•Donna Ebright•Dorothy Beck•John Beck•Eric Beck•David Baker•Brian Jenks•Dale Mead•David M. Mulder•Rochelle Mulder•David E. Dohnal•Mindy S. Dohnal•Tom Baker•Dennis Jones•Beth Jones•Penny Jenks•Vicki Zaikowski•David Deutsch•Jean E. Potter•Stephen S. Potter•Margaret A. Oyler•Sue A. Edlin•Gary R. Edlin•Joseph Petovello•Alman L. Love•Sheri Jenks•Debbie Pajunen•Dolores Deutsch•Robert C. Randall•Patricia A. Love•Alison Love•Leslie Love



            On December 7, 1975, during the regular Sunday morning worship at the Seventh-dayAdventistChurch, Rev. Alfred D. Deutsch was officially installed as our pastor by the Rev. John Toth, pastor of Dimondale United Presbyterian Church.  In the afternoon a "Service of Organization" took place, during which 111 charter members were received, the twelve Ruling Elders were installed and ordained, and Delta United Presbyterian Church was

officially chartered as a congregation of the Presbytery of Lake Michigan.  Participants in the "Service of Organization" included Rev. Deutsch, Organizing Pastor; Lillian Pajunen, organist and church member; Francis Moss, Ruling Elder and Clerk of Session; Jack Hilmert, Vice Moderator of the Presbytery of Lake Michigan and Ruling Elder from Three Rivers Presbyterian Church; Irving R. Phillips, Moderator of the Presbytery of Lake Michigan and Pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Lansing; Ellis Marshburn, Stated Clerk of the Presbytery of Lake Michigan and Pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Benton Harbor; Paul W. W. Green, Moderator of the Organizing Session of Delta United Presbyterian Church and  Pastor of Eastminster Presbyterian Church, East Lansing; Oliver Johnston, Pastor of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Lansing; David P. McClean, Pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church, Lansing; and R. C. Munson, Ruling Elder of Delta United Presbyterian church and Chairperson of the Pulpit Nominating Committee.  Worship continued at the Seventh-dayAdventistChurch, with office functions conducted at first in the pastor's home and later in rented office space at 4435 West Saginaw, Suite 102, Lansing.  Weekday activities were held in members' homes.

            The first twelve Ruling Elders of Delta United Presbyterian Church included the Class of 1976 (1-year terms): Lucille Waltersdorf, Arnold Rueckert, Bea Cuthbert, Richard Karelse; Class of 1977 (2-year terms): William Sheaffer, Francis Moss, Dorothy Beck, Temp Petovello; and Class of 1978 (3-year terms): Robert Brafford, Arthur Baker, R. C. (Pete) Munson, and Richard Mead.

An installation service was held for Rev. Deutsch on April 25, 1976.

In addition to Rev. Deutsch as Delta's pastor and teaching Elder, the church staff consisted of Mary Mead, Administrative Secretary; Cherie Vogler, Christian Education Director; Anne Gilmore, Choir Director; and Richard McKinley, Church Treasurer.  Delta's Charter Members included the following people:

Arthur Baker

Patricia Judson Baker

Thomas Baker

David Baker

John Beck

Dorothy Witter Beck

Eric Beck

Robert Brafford

Doris Geselbracht Brafford

Sharon Brafford

Lloyd Butler

Jean Hinshaw Butler

Gary Cuthbert

Beatrice W.  Cuthbert

Delores DeBar Deutsch

David Deutsch

Damaris Deutsch

David Dohnal

Susan E. Dohnal

Mindy Dohnal

Dennis Duffey          

Joyce Navue Duffey

Donna Ebright

Gary Edlin                

Susan Harkness Edlin

Carl Fenner

Susan Reed Foltz

Charles Fredenburg

Agnes Grice Fredenburg

Richard Ghainer

Mary Kurth Ghainer

David Green

Nancy Coombes Green

David Hedlund

Margaret Carlson Hedlund

Mary Estes Jarrard

Gloria Sherwood Jenks

Sherrie Lee Jenks

Brian Jenks

Penny Kay Jenks

Richard Johnson

Sharleen Bearman Johnson

Dennis Jones

Beth Weideman Jones

Joann Simmons Karelse

Richard Karelse

Arthur Kelley

Mary Jo Eckloff Kelley

Almon Love

Patricia Gregg Love

Clifford Marcus

Esther Bultman Marcus

Richard Mead

Mary Miller Mead

Lynn Mead Payne

Dale Mead

Geraldine Phillips Mead

Francis Moss

Nancy Ludlum Moss

Susan Moss

Barbara Moss

Thomas Moss

David Mulder

Rochelle Merrifield Mulder

R. C. Munson

Loretta Pilchowski Munson


David Mussulman

Lydia Hinden Mussulman

Margaret Kidd Oyler (Gregory)

James Pajunen         

Lillian Austin Pajunen

Debbie Pajunen

Joseph Petovello

Tempest Fraleigh Petovello

Laura Petovello

Adam Petrovich

Arlene Richards Petrovich

Stephen Potter

Jean McDermid Potter

Jean Gherman Randall

Robert Randall

Guerino Rogna

Irvena Goldsmith Rogna

Read Ross

Sharon Kragler Ross

Arnold Rueckert

Helen Strange Rueckert

Anne Wheeler Ryan

William Sheaffer

Margaret Barnes Sheaffer

David Stanaback

Virgilene Locher Stanaback

Kellie Stanaback

Cindy Stanaback

Michael Bruce Tebeau

Laura Petovello (Tebeau)

Bessie Tyson

Maxine Phillips Unrath

Jack Van Court

Sharon Bailey Van Court

David Walsh

Tammy Harper Walsh

Rex Waltersdorf, Sr.

Lucille Jenks Waltersdorf

Rex Waltersdorf, Jr.

Jane Waltersdorf

Clara Tews Weaver

Barry Wood

Janet Barnett Wood

Vickie Smith Zaikowski





            In the fall of 1977, Delta's Session appointed a Church Development Committee to assess the growth and development of the church up to that time and to determine future needs, directions and opportunities.  The committee made a detailed report in October of 1978, which included thirty-five recommendations relating to church leadership structure, stewardship, financing, space and Delta's future role.  Among these was a recommendation that the church begin to plan for a building of its own. 

            By December 7, 1978, three years after its founding, Delta United Presbyterian Church had a congregation of 105 family units and was holding worship services and Sunday school in the sanctuary and classrooms of the Seventy-dayAdventistChurch.  Members and visitors came from many surrounding communities.  A large proportion of the membership was actively participating in the programs of Christian education, music, fellowship and study groups.  To assist with the growth of the youth programs, the staff position of Christian Education Director was added in August of 1979.  By the end of that year, membership had grown to 282.  In May 1980, the first church by-laws were adopted, with the 1975 "Statement of Purpose" included as a preamble to the by-laws.

            In anticipation of acquiring our own church home, a Building and Steering Committee was formed and had its first meeting on September 19, 1979.  Sub-committees for Building, Architect Selection, Finance and Service aided in the planning.  Delta's members formed stronger bonds with one another as they gave great amounts of time and energy to making decisions and carrying out activities involved in the building program.  Financing for the new building was met through a commercial loan, a General Assembly loan, and pledges from members and friends during three three-year periods, beginning in 1980 and ending in 1989.

            On a bitterly cold but bright sunny January 4, 1981, we praised God at a ground-breaking ceremony on the site of the new church edifice to be built at 6100 West Michigan Avenue.  As work progressed, we again sought God's continuing presence in a ceremony for "Blessing the Rafters" on May 14, 1981.  On October 4, the first worship service was held in the completed building.  The $450,000 wood and masonry structure, nestled into the side of a hill, was designed by Rother and Hartwick, Lansing architects, and constructed by Design and Build, Inc.  Its 2,000 square feet of space housed a multipurpose sanctuary seating 360 persons, offices, kitchen, library and meeting rooms on two levels.  Much of the painting, landscaping and other finishing work was done by church members.  The commercial and General Assembly loans, used for the construction of our church, were retired in November, 1988, and April, 1996, respectively.

            On Sunday, October 25, 1981, we humbly thanked our Lord at the Dedication Service for our beautiful new church home.  Special guests at the ceremony included the Rev. John Chandler, minister-at-large for the Presbytery of Lake Michigan; the Rev. David Milbourn, pastor of Holt Presbyterian Church and chairman of the Presbytery Mission Coordination Department; the Rev. Paul Green, pastor of Eastminster United Presbyterian Church; Pastor Oliver Johnson, of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Benton Harbor; and Pastors Bruce Babienco and Arthur Covel, of the Seventh-day Adventist Church on West St. Joseph Hwy, where the Delta congregation held services for six years.



            From the beginning, the emphasis at Delta Presbyterian Church has been community service and family involvement.  The four basic committees of Celebration, Study, Care, and Service, composed of Session members and members of the congregation working with the leadership of our pastor, carried out all the program activities of the church life for several years.  As growth and needs dictated, the Service Committee was dissolved and new standing committees on Mission Outreach, Finance, Property, and Personnel were added to carry out the work of the church.

            In 1983 an Ad Hoc Structural Review Committee was appointed to review staff and standing committee responsibilities and functions, and to make recommendations for any changes.  On January 18, 1984, the Ad Hoc Structural Review Committee presented its final report.

            A half-time Assistant Pastor, the Reverend Mary M. Wills, was added to the staff on August 1, 1985, to work with the junior and senior high youth and to assist with pastoral and Christian Education needs.  Rev. Wills, a graduate of Muskingum College and Union Theological Seminary, served Delta in that capacity until July of 1988, after which lay people were employed part-time to work with junior and senior high youth and in adult education and fellowship programs, with the Christian Education Director responsible for the entire church school program. Reverend Wills died in 1992 while serving as Associate Pastor at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Lansing.

            The Tenth Anniversary of Delta Presbyterian Church was celebrated on Sunday, December 8, 1985, with a special afternoon program.  Rev. Deutsch welcomed the special guests and participants: Rev. Dr. Paul W. W. Green, Pastor of Eastminster Presbyterian Church, East Lansing; Rev. David Milbourne, Pastor of Holt Presbyterian Church, Holt; Rev. Dr. Fred Graham, Professor of Religious Studies, James Madison College, Michigan State University; Rev. Dr. Ellis Marshburn, Stated Clerk of Presbytery; Ruling Elder Ray Yeutter, Mason Presbyterian Church; Rev. Brad Rohwer, Minister at Large, Executive, Presbytery of Lake Michigan; and Rev. Dr. Walter Teeuwissen, Pastor Emeritus, North Kent Presbyterian Church.  Music was provided by Delta's adult, youth and children's choirs, directed by Anne Knox and Ruth Mulder and accompanied by Betty Basolo and Becky Stockbridge.  Rev. Mary Wills, Delta's Assistant Pastor, gave the benediction.

            In 1986 Session appointed a "Future Planning Committee" to study church programs and growth.   Following the committee's recommendation in February 1987 that the areas of Mission Outreach and Christian Education be our immediate concern for emphasis, programs were expanded in those areas.  A Mission Statement adopted by Session in July of 1989 expresses this concern:

            Delta Presbyterian Church worships God through Jesus Christ by     providing a program that reflects the Love of God, the Lordship of Christ, and the Power of the Holy Spirit.  Through the ministry of its members, Delta provides opportunities for:

SPIRITUAL GROWTH through praise and worship and study of His


            OUTREACH through the proclamation of His word and demonstration 

                        ofHis love to a hurting world.

            On June 17, 1990, a Service of Ordination was held at Delta for Stephen C. Deutsch, the son of Pastor Al and Dee Deutsch.  Stephen, a member of our church, graduated from OralRobertsUniversity in 1987 and received his Master of Divinity degree from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary on May 20, 1990.  After the service, a reception was held in honor of Stephen and his family, wife Amy and daughter Brianna.  In July Stephen began his ministry as the pastor of a yoked parish in southeastern New Mexico, at the First Presbyterian Church in Dexter and the First Presbyterian Church in Hagerman.  Paul Deutsch, another son of Pastor Al and Dee, was later ordained into the ministry by the Assemblies of God denomination.  Paul and his wife Lisa became home missionaries to the Jewish people.

            Through the years, the congregation continued to grow.  In 1990, Session appointed another special committee, the "Dream Team," to look into staff, space and equipment needs. (Bob Buchanan, Peggy Kapuscinski, Dick Mead, Mary Mead, Sue Settle, Cherie Vogler)  As a result of their recommendations to Session, an Adult Education staff person was hired; a second worship service was added to alleviate crowding in the sanctuary, starting in January 1991; a computer was added to aid the staff and manage the workload; and a building committee was formed in January 1991 to study space needs of the church.  An expansion of the facilities for more office and classroom space was the building committee's recommendation.  A unanimous vote of the membership on March 10, 1991, authorized the construction of an education and office wing and the raising of funding through a Building Fund Campaign and necessary loans.  Groundbreaking took place in September.  The new building addition, designed by Hans Rother of Rother & Hartwick Architects and built by Hull Construction, was dedicated on Sunday afternoon, May 17, 1992.  The church sanctuary also was later enhanced with the installation of fifteen new chandeliers in April of 1999.

            A new committee called "Goal Tenders" was appointed by the Session and began meeting on March 10, 1992.  Its purpose was to determine if the church was "on course" toward the goals set forth in Scripture and in the Future Planning and Dream Team reports, to recommend to Session any changes in program and policy necessary to meet those goals, and to find ways to keep the goals before our congregation at all times.  The members of the Goal Tenders Committee included Peggy Kapuscinski, Kathy Boltz, Bob Buchanan, Rich Karelse and Mike White.

            On March 29, 1992, our first Stephen Ministers were commissioned at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Lansing, where they had completed their 50-hour training.  They were again commissioned at Delta during a worship service in April.  The StephenMinistry is an international lay ministry that equips lay people to assist their pastors in providing distinctively Christian one-to-one care to those who are experiencing all kinds of life needs and circumstances, in both the congregation and the community.  Delta's first Stephen Ministers included Merrilee Brockman, Sue Delp, Mary Mead and Jim Robinson.  In August of 1992 Beverly Kleinhans and Sue Delp attended a two-week Leader's Training Course for the Stephen Series at Baltimore, Maryland.  After their return, they began a training class for other people at Delta, teaching them to be Stephen Ministers.  Since 1992 other Stephen Ministers have been commissioned to serve at Delta.  Other directors of Delta's StephenMinistry have been Nancy Collins, Cindy Schilling and John Cloft.  "Stephen Ministry Desserts" have been held each December since 1994, to support the work of this important lay ministry.

            In June of 1992 Lyle and Merrilee Brockman retired from their work and began a new life as traveling missionaries for Christ.  Moving around the country in their motor home, they planned to use their skills in home repair, Stephen Ministry, and disaster relief training to help local churches and the poor and elderly in need. Since 1992 the Brockmans have been Delta's "Missionaries at Large," through their affiliations with two Christian RV groups, SOWERS (Servants on Wheels Ever Ready) and RVICS (RVers in Christ's Service) and with Presbyterian USA's "Volunteers in Mission" program.  They have worked on "Puentes de Cristo," a project of the Presbyterian Border Ministries, to help build a dormitory for one of the mission sites in Mexico; spent two weeks improving Stephen Deutsch's church building in Hagerman, New Mexico; worked at the House of Neighborly Service in Tucson, repairing a building and helping with the food bank; and spent the summer making repairs at Camp Greenwood.  The Brockmans shared these and other mission experiences with us during our worship service on May 7, 2000.



            In May of 1996 Rev. Alfred Deutsch, Delta's first pastor, submitted his resignation in order to retire from the active ministry.  His last Sunday as the pastor of Delta Presbyterian Church was on May 5.  During Pastor Al's ministry, the church membership grew to about 390 members and church programs included Christian education classes for all ages, Bible study groups, prayer and praise groups, breakfast discussion/fellowship groups, choirs for all age levels, hand bell choirs, junior and senior high youth groups, and two Sunday morning worship services.  On Saturday, May 4, an Open House reception was held at the church from 1 to 5 p.m. so that friends and associates of Al and Dee Deutsch could wish them well in their retirement.  Rev. Deutsch preached his final sermon as the pastor of DeltaPresbyerianChurch on Sunday, May 5.  A potluck dinner and special program for church members, friends and the Deutsch family took place that Sunday evening to honor Al and Dee and express our gratitude for their many years of service to our church.

            In June of 1996, Session called the Reverend Elizabeth D. "Betty" Beck to serve as Interim Pastor.  Rev. Beck, born in Reno, Nevada, was the first woman ordained to the ministry of Word and Sacrament by the Presbytery of Nevada in 1968.  She is a graduate of Lewis and ClarkCollege in Portland, Oregon, and Princeton Theological Seminary in New Jersey, and has served churches in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Minnesota.  Betty Beck served as our Interim Pastor through October of 1997 and on October 19 Delta honored Pastor Betty for her dedication and faithful leadership.  After Betty's husband David retired as pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Mason, the Becks moved to Boise, Idaho, in 1998 and in April of 2000 Betty became the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Emmett, Idaho.

            In June of 1996, the congregation elected a Pastor Nominating Committee to search for a new permanent pastor.  The Presbytery of Lake Michigan's Committee on Ministry assigned a Transition Counselor, the Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Weenink of Holt Presbyterian Church, to assist in this process.  The Pastor Nominating Committee included Kathy Boltz, Steve Brown, Nancy Collins, Susan Delp, Scott Goodman, Frank Jackson, Art Kelley, Anne Knox, Cliff Marcus, Dick Mead, Mike Schilling, Laurie Stirling, and Cindy Troshak.  During the following months, the Committee considered many applications before unanimously selecting a candidate for the position of permanent pastor of Delta.

            A Congregational Reception, held on Saturday, September 13, 1997, introduced pastoral candidate Rev. Steven E. Nuss and his family to the members and friends of Delta.  The following day, Rev. Nuss preached at both services and was called to be Delta's permanent pastor at the congregational meeting that followed.  Pastor Steve, his wife Kathy, and their children Emily and Joshua were welcomed to Delta at a potluck dinner on November 2.  A native of Santa Rosa, California, Steve Nuss was an active member of the Presbyterian Church of the Roses and a teacher and counselor for developmentally disabled adults before entering the ministry.  After his graduation from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity degree and his Ordination on October 16, 1988, he served as Associate Pastor of Sycamore Presbyterian Church in Cincinnati, Ohio.  In 1993 he accepted a call to become the Pastor of Heritage Presbyterian Church in St. Clair Shores, Michigan.  Rev. Nuss began his ministry at Delta on November 2, 1997.  He was officially installed as the new pastor of Delta Presbyterian Church on Sunday afternoon, December 14, 1997.

            Another high point in Delta's history took place on June 22, 1997, with the Ordination of George Bendall, a former member and Youth Director at Delta.  George was a buyer for Jacobson Stores for many years before entering the ministry.  He and his wife Joyce were active members of Delta from 1982 until 1994, when he began studies at Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Kentucky.  After receiving his Master of Divinity degree in 1997, George was installed as the Associate Pastor for Christian Education at Mifflin Presbyterian Church in Gahanna, Ohio, on September 28, 1997.  He is presently studying for a Doctor of Ministry degree from the Louisville Seminary.  On December 10, 2000, the Bendalls and their son Matthew joined us for Delta's 25th Anniversary Worship Service, in which George took part.

            A new Stewardship Commitment program was adopted by Delta in October of 1997.  On October 26, "Consecration Sunday," a guest speaker inspired us in our spiritual walk and helped us to consecrate ourselves to a new level of service to God, through involvement in the life of Delta Presbyterian Church under our new pastor's leadership.  At the end of the service, the congregation brought their "Estimate of Giving Cards" forward to be consecrated.  A "Celebration Luncheon" followed, during which the results of our growth in commitment were learned.  A final budget for the coming year, based upon that commitment, was later approved by Session. "Consecration Sundays" were held again on October 25, 1998, October 31, 1999, and in October 2000.

            In October of 1997 Delta was linked to the World Wide Web through the Houses of Worship project, which plans to provide every Christian church in the world with its own free Web site.   The project is sponsored by the Pittsburgh Leadership Foundation and the American Bible Society.   Delta's Web site includes pages for a welcome and Delta's Statement of Purpose, a description of our staff and ministries, the monthly pastor's message, a schedule of services and events, and a youth calendar. Our Delta Web address is http://www.ForMinistry.com/48917DPC.  This new means of communication was adopted for a dual purpose: to keep Delta's own members and friends better informed about the church programs and to reach out to countless others in the Delta area and throughout the world.  We hope that our church family will make regular visits to Delta's Web site and will let the Web site editor know of any activities or announcements that should be posted.

            Our organizing pastor Rev. Alfred D. Deutsch was installed as Pastor Emeritus of Delta Presbyterian Church during the Sunday morning worship service on October 18, 1998.  Rev. Deutsch's sermon, entitled "Blest, Equipped and Anointed," reminded us that we are "too blessed to be distressed, too equipped to be whipped, and too anointed to be disappointed." A luncheon reception in honor of Pastor Emeritus Al and Dee followed the service.

            In the fall of 1998, Sallie Campbell, an active member of Delta, began a three-year academic program that would lead to a Master of Religious Education degree from Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan.  While commuting between Holland and Grand Ledge and studying for her degree, Sallie has also served as Delta's Youth Director and Adult Education Director, in addition to overseeing her active family.  We will rejoice with her when she receives her MRE degree in May of 2001.




            Music has been an important part of worship ever since Delta's beginning.  An adult choir was organized in the spring of 1976.  Carol Hearn of the Seventh-dayAdventistChurch directed the choir from September 1976 through June of 1978, followed by Denise Saueter as director.  Other choir directors have included Charlotte Altland, Anne Knox, and our present director, Jeff English.  Directors of the children's and youth choirs have been Barbara Moss, Bill Kinney, Joan Sheaffer, Ruth Mulder, Mary Jo Kelley, and our present director, Melissa Nott.  Among the pianists who have accompanied our choirs have been Lillian Pajunen, Barbara Moss, Mary Jane Wright, Becky Stockbridge, Fred Alhaddad, Jan Beglin and Betty Karelse.  Many other musicians have also contributed to Delta's music program, including Steve Brown who now plays the drums for Sunday worship service.

            A handbell choir was formed in 1994.  Memorial gifts and other donations permitted the purchase of a two-octave set of Malmark Handbells in April and the "Bellievers" began in September of that year, under the direction of Holly Brock.  More memorial and honorary gifts provided for the addition of a third octave of bells in September of 1995 and a three octave set of Choirchimes in September of 1997.   A Windchime Bell Tree, added in September of 1999 as a memorial gift, completed Delta's set of bells and chimes.  Participants in Delta's Handbell Choir have included Director Holly Brock, Billie Jo Brink, Susan Delp, Sarah Dymond, Kyle Dymond, Janice Hagan, Lori Hooker, Mary Jo Kelley, Corinne Kiefer, Sherry Knapp, Judy Kulicamp, Holly LaPratt, Allison Love, Cory McElwee, Bob Potter, Debbie Schefke, Sue Settle, Janet Small, and Gayl Venman. The Bellievers have participated for several years in the annual Spring Ring, an all-day workshop of classes and a public concert, sponsored by the Lansing Area Ministry of Bells.

            Other changes in recent years have expanded Delta's music ministry.  Special contributions made possible two major additions to our music program.  A beautiful new grand piano was purchased for the sanctuary and on Sunday, October 4, 1998, 200 new hymnals, The Celebration Hymnal, were introduced at a hymn sing, followed by an ice cream social.  "Singspiration," a time for congregational singing of contemporary Christian praise songs and choruses prior to the beginning of Sunday worship, began on June 13, 1999, as a summer worship feature and now opens each Sunday worship service, with the help of song leaders and drum accompaniment.  Handsome new blue choir robes were dedicated in August of 2000.

            Through the years our choir has presented many special cantatas and musical programs.  Among these were the "Holy City" in May of 1978, sung with the Seventh-day Adventist and Grand Ledge Academy choirs; "Celebrate Life" and "The Power and the Glory," Easter cantatas in 1984 and 1991; "The Witness" in 1989; "The Homecoming" in 1992; and "Acts" in 1993.    One of the highlights of the year 2000 was our combined choirs' presentation of the twenty-fifth anniversary cantata composed by our choir director Jeff English.




            Since its beginning in 1975, Delta has been committed to a strong Christian education program.  Church school is provided for all ages. Through the years the children's education program has been led by several dedicated people, including Bea Cuthbert, Dorothy Beck, Cherie Vogler, Sue Wallace and our present Director of Christian Education, Judy Gombas.  Among the Directors of adult education have been Ieva Inglis, Bev Kleinhans and our present Director of Youth and Adult Education, Sallie Campbell.  Youth Directors have included Dick and Mary Mead, George Bendall, and Brad Ewart.  Other church members have served as Youth Advisors.


            Church School Learning Goals were adopted by Study Committee and approved by Session on October 20, 1986.  These included general goals and guidelines for all children's age groups, as well as specific goals for preschool children, kindergarten, elementary grades, and junior and senior high classes.  Classes are provided for Toddlers (6 months to 3 years), Preschool (3 and 4 year olds), Primary (5 year olds, kindergarten and 1st graders), Elementary (2nd and 3rd graders), Junior High (6th, 7th and 8th graders), Senior High (9th, 10th, 11th, and 12th graders) and Adults.


            In September 1993 Delta adopted the Christian education program called "Children in Worship" for children ages three to first grade.  "Children in Worship" allows children to experience God while learning about God.  It involves children who worship in a special place apart from the worshipping congregation, so that they become able to worship meaningfully with the congregation.  The program uses a sensorimotor style of storytelling and allows appropriate freedom, so that young children can respond to stories of God through art materials and story figures.


            The "Secret Prayer Partners" Program was launched at Delta on September 12, 1993.  Through this program, each of Delta's students, from elementary school through college, is matched with an adult volunteer "Secret Prayer Partner" who prays for that young person at least 15 minutes each week throughout the school year.  The Prayer Partners often send anonymous encouraging notes to the students, to let them know that they are being lifted up in prayer.  Toward the end of each school year, the students and their Prayer Partners attend a banquet where the identity of the Prayer Partners is revealed.


            Through the Candlelighter Program, candles are lit on the Communion table during the worship service by children in grades 2 through 5.  A training program held each fall teaches the candlelighters the significance and procedures of lighting candles in church.  Each year children in the 2nd and 3rd grads make their own candles to be used periodically in worship.  The Communion Workshop, led by our pastor each September, teaches children and their families the meaning and symbolism of Communion.


            Each child has the opportunity to earn a Bible at the end of their third grade year.  The six learning objectives, established by Study Committee, include the Doxology, the Lord's Prayer, the Gloria Patri, the Ten Commandments, the twelve disciples and Jesus' two commandments.  Children who begin attending Delta after the 3rd grade have the same opportunity to earn a Bible by learning the six objectives and meeting with the Christian Education Director.


            Vacation Bible School, for children of kindergarten age up to children entering 7th grade, is held during the mornings of one week during each summer.  The week involves singing, recreation, craft time, lesson time, and special guests.  Vacation Bible School is provided for any children in the community as well as for those who attend Delta.


            Delta's youth and children have at least two opportunities during the year to lead the entire worship service.  These include the Children's Christmas Program in December and the Children's Sunday Program held in the late spring.




            The goal of youth ministries at Delta Presbyterian Church has been to provide a variety of fellowship, educational and spiritual growth opportunities for our youth.  Our young people have led and participated in Sunday worship and Rally Day activities, prepare and serve Christmas brunch and Easter breakfast, and assisted with Vacation Bible School and other children's activities.  They have enjoyed fellowship through retreats, lock-ins, the annual ski trip, monthly fellowship breakfasts, and Summer mission trips and conferences.  Their Sunday classes and midweek meetings have prepared them for Confirmation and church leadership.




            At Delta there have been many opportunities for adults to learn, serve and enjoy fellowship with one another.   


Delta's Women's Ministry has adopted this Mission Statement: "As women belonging to Jesus Christ, our mission is to help provide encouragement, instruction and nurturing to women for building relationships with God, family and community.  We will provide opportunities for growth, in issues relating to women, using the gifts and talents provided to us by God."  This is accomplished through Bible studies, sharing groups, prayer groups, fellowship teas, salad luncheons and suppers, special speakers, circle meetings, shopping trips, and women's retreats."


Our Men's Ministry has this Mission Statement: "Recognizing that the source of our identity is in Jesus Christ, our goal is to build godly men of integrity, intimacy and influence.  We will provide opportunities for men to build growing relationships with each other, as disciples of Jesus Christ, through study, fellowship, prayer and service."  Typical activities for men at Delta include regular midweek study groups, Sunday morning prayer sessions, men's breakfasts and dinners, attending the Promise Keepers Conferences, Bible study groups, video discussion groups, and men's retreats.




            The goal of Delta's Mission Outreach program has been to bring to our congregation an awareness of the needs of the community and world and to give our members opportunities to respond to those needs with personal involvement and resources.  The following have been some of Delta's mission projects through the years:



Economic Crisis Center (now Haven House) a temporary shelter and help for families in need

Advent House Ministries

CONA-Advent House meals, the second Sunday each month

Community Organization of Neighborhood Activities

Habitat for Humanity Homes

"Adopt-a-Home" Program - temporary shelter for needy families

Delta House, leased from St. Lawrence Hospital, a temporary shelter for homeless families

Support for Lyle and Merrilee Brockman, Delta's Missionaries at Large

"Giving Trees" at Christmas - for mittens, hats, scarves

Ebenezer Glenn Orphanage, Haiti

One Great Hour of Sharing

Presbyterian Hunger Program

Church World Services

Bibles to Russia

Heifer Project International

Christian Services in Lansing, Personal Needs Bank, Thanksgiving Baskets

Presbyterian Child Welfare Agency

The Greater Lansing Food Bank

SIREN/Eaton Shelter

"Clothe a Child for School" Sundays

Sisters, a  shelter for women experiencing a crisis pregnancy

Ingham County Food Bank

Dresser Project for baby needs

Gideons International Memorial Bible Program

Christian Salvage Mission - for recycling Christian materials

American Red Cross Blood Drive

South Lansing Hilltoppers, a day care center for older adults

Southside Community Kitchen

Camp Greenwood Scholarships

Emergency Services Providers of Eaton County

CAIR/Respite to give caregivers a much-needed break each week

Judson Memorial Baptist Church "Love Clothing Center"

Kosovo Refugee Relief

Christian Children's Fund - sponsored Miguel Moralies and Juan Carlos Hernandez-Peralta,in Mexico and Fama Fall and Ndeye, Senegal

Youth Mission Trips

 "Hands to Honduras" - A mission trip to Honduras for adults and youth in August of 2000




            Our Delta family has become much better acquainted with one another as a result of many enjoyable social events held throughout the years.  For our adults there have been potluck dinners, Halloween parties, road rallies, Skip-Bo tournaments, mystery dinners, Fall Festivals, Winterfests, Friendship Circles, paddleboat rides on the Grand River, trips to Detroit Tiger and Lansing Lugnut baseball games, Women of Delta Annual Salad Suppers, Delta Golf Scrambles, a barn dance, the Women's Open House and Tea at the Nuss home, Rally Day picnics and theme parties such as the memorable "Sail the S.S. Delta" of 1992, when our church was transformed into a cruise ship. 


Other activities that have brought us closer together have been the weekly "Sinners Breakfasts" at area restaurants, Lenten Family Suppers and Study evenings, annual Advent workshops and "Hanging of the Greens," women's and men's retreats, Family Retreats at Camp Greenwood, the Secret Prayer Partners program, signing and sending "Prayer Sheets" to those on our Prayer Care list, organizing our "garage" sales, working together at the MSU Football concession stand and on houses for Habitat for Humanity, and participating in basketball and softball church leagues. (Our basketball team won the league championships in 1989, 1990 and 1991 and our softball team, "The Battling Presbyterians," were the Westside Church League champs in 1992.) Our children and youth have had many similar opportunities for fun experiences that have helped them to form lasting friendships.




            The year 2000 was marked by several exciting events in Delta's history. Another Habitat for Humanity house was completed through the generosity and help of many Delta members, sixteen youth and their leaders went to North Carolina on a mission work trip, and twenty-two people from Delta participated in the "Hands to Honduras" mission trip in August.


A special event of our anniversary year was "Spirit Alive", a spiritual renewal retreat held at Delta from October 5 through October 8.  Sponsored by the Presbyterian and Reformed Renewal Ministries International organization, "Spirit Alive" brought to Delta a team of people from several other churches to share their faith and experiences through worship, teaching and small group interaction. Its purpose was to help each of us grow spiritually stronger.  Many of Delta's members also were much involved with planning the retreat, providing housing and meals for the visiting team, preparing and serving men's and women's coffees, congregational meals, a Senior breakfast, men's breakfast and women's luncheon.


            In September of 1998, preparations began for the celebration of Delta's twenty-fifth anniversary in the year 2000.  The Twenty-fifth Anniversary Committee met throughout the next two years, to plan events and items that would celebrate the history of Delta Presbyterian Church from its beginning in 1974 to its chartering on December 7, 1975, and its twenty-fifth anniversary in the year 2000.  The Twenty-fifth Anniversary Committee included Art and Pat Baker, Kathy Boltz, Harlan and Betty MacDowell, Cliff Marcus, Dick and Mary Mead, and Pastor Steve Nuss.  An anniversary logo was used throughout the year on our Sunday bulletins and Ambassadors.  "We cherish the past and have faith in the future" was adopted as our anniversary motto. Commemorative mugs, inscribed with our motto, and trivets, which pictured our church home, were available for purchase.  A special "Year 2000 Calendar," filled with the dates of significant events in Delta's history and with photos of our past, was designed and available for purchase. Celebration plans also included the compiling of a church history book and album.


With funds from the Paterson bequest, the Anniversary Committee purchased new furnishings for the lounge area, including a sofa, wing chairs, end tables, and lamps.  The Paterson fund also provided for a new sign, which reads "Delta Presbyterian Church," installed on the front wall of our building. Under the leadership of Ellen Jackson, several talented Delta women created a beautiful quilted wall hanging that incorporates scenes and symbols that tell the story of Delta's first twenty-five years.  Its border is embroidered with our anniversary motto.   The wall hanging was dedicated at our worship service on December 3 and then hung above the new sofa in the lounge area.  Those who helped make the wall hanging included Gala Brown, Lori Hooker, Ellen Jackson, Meredith Jackson, Luci Kull, Esther Marcus, Mary Ann Martin, Ginny Noble, Lisa Udy, and Vicki Zaikowski.


Our anniversary year culminated in two very special events.  On the evening of November 5, 150 of our members and former members gathered at the Best Western Midway Hotel for a banquet to celebrate Delta's twenty-five years of Christian witness.  The program following the delicious buffet dinner included remarks from the first pastor of our Delta Fellowship, Dr. Fred Graham, our first pastor and present Pastor Emeritus, Rev. Alfred Deutsch, and our present pastor, Rev. Steven Nuss,  Music was provided by a men's quartet (David Brock, Bob Kull, Mark McElwee and Ed Troshak) and a women's duet (Joan Sheaffer and Karen Hossink). The evening ended with everyone joining in singing "Bind Us Together," a hymn that has become closely identified with our church over the years.


On Sunday, December 10, a special 25th Anniversary Worship Service featured the first performance of the anniversary cantata entitled "Alleluia, Praise the Lord, O Sing," composed by our own choir director Jeff English. The cantata was performed by Delta's vocal and bell choirs, together with cello and the choir of First Presbyterian Church of Lansing.  Participating in the service were the Rev. Stephen Doughty, who brought congratulations from the Presbytery of Lake Michigan and presented the 25th Anniversary Certificate from the Presbyterian Historical Society; Dr. Fred Graham, first pastor of our Delta Fellowship, who offered a Prayer of Thanksgiving for Delta's Charter Members; and the Rev. George Bendall, former Delta member and Youth Director, who prayed for Delta's children and youth. Danielle Whitinger and Adam Knapp, representing Delta's youth and children, spoke on "What Delta Church Means to Me."  Dale and Pam Mead remembered "What it was like growing up in Delta."  Pastor Emeritus Alfred Deutsch and Pastor Steven Nuss shared the sermon, "We Cherish the Past and Have Faith in the Future." 


During the service, our Junior High youth presented a handsome anniversary banner that they had designed and created.  Charter members who were present were recognized and photographed as a group.  The well-attended service was followed by a time for refreshments and fellowship.  In the evening, Delta's "Bellievers" handbell choir concluded this special day with a Christmas concert.  Adrian Oudbier documented both the November banquet and the December worship service with many photographs that are now part of our church history albums.





This brief history of Delta Presbyterian Church has undoubtedly left out the names of many people who have contributed to Delta's beginning, growth and ministry in a variety of significant ways.  Many memorable events may also have been omitted.  However, it is hoped that this history will serve as a reminder of all that has been accomplished throughout our first twenty-five years and will inspire us to continue witness for Christ in the Lansing area for many years to come.  In the words of our Twenty-fifth Anniversary, let us "cherish the past and have faith in the future."