The Valley Bridge
The weekly newsletter from the
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
December 13, 2017
 We are congregations who seek to be a collective expression of the Body of Christ, 
joyfully participating in Christ's ongoing life and work. "Therefore encourage one 
another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing." 
(I Thessalonians 5:11)
Regular Presbytery office hours are 8:00 - 5:00 Monday - Friday
The office is closed Thursday - Friday this week.
Congregation of the week of December 17-23
First Presbyterian Church of Ashby
Our Current Active Elders:
Barb Dewey
Troy Johnson
Judy Helle
Betty Lou Cravens
Kyle Rylander
Jim Rylander
Cindy Welch
Jim Risbrudt

Our prayer list:  Ian Bertram, J.R. Caraway, Jon Heinrich, Jarod Johansen, Megan Jochim and All military personnel; Members and Friends: Delores Bullis,  Marge Boren, Winnie Thompson, Betty Lou Cravens, Jim Olson
We also ask for prayers for First Presbyterian/Shared Ministry as they look to call a new pastor in 2018.
Come, Lord Jesus

This is the third week of Advent, and I wish we could slow time down a bit. The days are going so fast--I desire more time to savor the season. A few more Sundays are needed so all my favorite Advent and Christmas hymns can be sung. For most, this is the season that makes us believe in miracles. Peace seems probable. Reconciliation is likely. God is present with us.

Conversely, this is also the season when the teachings of Christ move us beyond a baby in a manger to self and communal examination. How closely do our lives line up with the greatest commandment "Love God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself"? Additionally, we are called to examine how ready we are for the second coming of Christ. Have we stopped believing that Christ will return? Are we so settled in this world and its trappings that we no longer long for the new heaven and new earth Jesus promised?

Advent is the time in which we pray "Come, Lord Jesus." Additionally it is the time to turn our attention toward the parables of the fig tree, the thief that comes during the night, five foolish virgins, the wheat and the tare, and the unfaithful steward. The call is to pay attention to the happenings around you, the disruption of peace, the unearthing of things done in the dark, threats of war and unrest. These are all signs of last things (Eschatology).

Over the last few weeks when case after case of sexual harassment charges were exposed, I wondered what this world is coming to. Every news cycle seems to be evidence of humanity prone to dip to its lowest. The abuse of power, injustice, and deep indulgences of self-preservation are all signs of last things. Jesus warned that these things would happen, however they are not to consume our focus.  We are called to look up--to rise above and see God. Very long ago, into the midst of the messiness of life, God came. God incarnate in human flesh is the first miracle. Jesus' birth was no hallmark moment...a smelly stable, a poor family steeped in scandal, and a hostile government. Mary's Song in Luke 1:46-55 proclaims Jesus' birth in redeeming terms " from now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me--holy is his name." The scandal of Mary's own story will be reconciled. The humble are lifted and the proud are brought low. I nto life's messiness God comes. Regardless of all the things that need repair in this life, we have much to rejoice about. Let us sing:

Joy to the world, the Lord has come!
Let earth receive her King
Let every heart prepare Him room
And Heaven and nature sing
And Heaven and nature sing
And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing

Joy to the World, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat the sounding joy
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy

No more let sins and sorrows grow
Nor thorns infest the ground
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found
Far as the curse is found
Far as, far as, the curse is found

He rules the world with truth and grace
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of His love
And wonders of His love
And wonders, wonders, of His love
 
SanDawna

Pictures from Christmas Open House - December 11
Al Jergenson, Le Roy Ennenga,
Richard Lange and Lynn Yueill
Pamela cutting her bread, which started out in the shape of Mickey Mouse's head
Lynn Miller at her harp
Pamela and Arlen Sjerven
The lunch line
The desserts!
SanDawna, Jill Boeyink,
Anna Williamson
Deb & Gerry Hess and Murphy Ashley
Le Roy, Lou and SanDawna
Lou Perli getting the desserts prepared

Thanks to everyone for coming to our Christmas Open House on Monday. Even with slippery roads, we still had about 30 people here! With Lynn Miller providing beautiful Christmas music on her harp, we all had a great time visiting and tasting some great food provided by the presbytery staff and the Personnel Committee.
Free Advent Devotional from
Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
Prayer concern

The Rev. Dr. James R. Carbaugh, Metamora, IL, died November 29 from cancer. A private family service is being planned for a later date.
Rev. Carbaugh was Pastor at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Worthington MN 1989-1992 and Harrison Presbyterian/Zion-Irving Lutheran near Spicer/Atwater from 1992-1998, and served on several presbytery committees.
Expressions of sympathy and condolences may be sent to his daughter
Karin Earl
99 Commerce Dr
Morton, IL 61550
Seeking Nominations for Women of Faith Award
2018 Theme: Clergywomen Who Challenge Racism and Injustice

Basis for the Theme: Many of us are blessed to know clergywomen who have been advocates for racial and intercultural justice, with a respectful awareness and appreciation for each other's different races, ethnicities, cultures and languages. At the Women of Faith breakfast, we will show gratitude and recognize clergywomen who are "woke" and who challenge systemic racism and oppression.

Purpose of award: This award recognizes clergywomen who challenge racism and injustice.

Save the Date - Committee/Commission/Task Force Members

Thank you for offering your gifts in service to the presbytery. Your gifts will assist the presbytery's larger mission "to be a collective expression of the Body of Christ joyfully participating in Christ's ongoing life and work." As a part of your orientation, please plan to attend the full day of Leadership Training January 13, 2018 from 9:00 - 4:00.  For those who want to arrive the night before contact Karen Lange at karen@minnesotavalleys.org  for hotel suggestions.

This Leadership Event is intended for all commissions, committees and task forces. The day will consist of building relationships and training in tooling for the future, implementing the vision, adaptive leadership, and working together effectively.

Confirm your participation via email to karen@minnesotavalleys.org  by January 10th.  Please indicate if you have special needs or dietary restrictions. Chairs, please make sure that all members of your commission, committee or task force are informed.
Steering Congregations to Formational Resources

The Commission on Congregational Transformation and Development exists to resource congregations. We have identified six critical areas: discipleship, evangelism, mission, spiritual leadership, stewardship and worship. Each area has one or two individuals who serve as point persons. The point person's goal is to steer you in the right direction toward valuable resource. Please let us know how we can come alongside of your congregation.


Discipleship: Pam Bush, pambush@woodstocktel.net , 507-823-4697
EvangelismAnne Veldhuisen, aveldhuisen@gmail.com, 507-215-5617
Mission: Richard Lawrence, richlawrence66@gmail.com , 320-260-9639
Mission: Darlene Scherbing, darlenescherbing@yahoo.com , 320-292-2610
Spiritual Leadership: Tom Voigt, tvoigt1960@hotmail.com , 612-875-6398
Stewardship: Rick Hauge, rdhmnara@mchsi.com , 507-829-5227
Worship: Darin Seaman, pastordarin@fpcstcloud.org , 320-251-8277
Pastoral Leadership Opportunities

The following congregation within the bounds of our presbytery is currently seeking pastoral leadership:

Randall Presbyterian Church, Randall
- Pastor
   Ministry Information Form - 03892.AC

First Presbyterian Church, Fulda - Solo Pastor, 3/4 time
   Ministry Information Form - 03782.AD

The Ministry Information Forms for these opportunities are posted on the Church Leadership Connection web site --  http://oga.pcusa.org/section/mid-council-ministries/clc/
2018 Per Capita is $40.13

$27.00 for Presbytery
   5.40 for Synod
   7.73 for GA
$40.13 Total
Mosaic of Peace Conference

Witnessing for Peace and Wholeness in a Land called 'Holy'
A Presbyterian Peacemaking Conference in Israel/Palestine
April 29-May 12, 2018

For more information, including a sample conference schedule and information from past conferences, visit presbyterianmission.org/mosaic or contact the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program at 800-728-7228 x5805 or 502-569-5805.
Six New Things
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