The Valley Bridge
The weekly newsletter from the
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
February 28, 2018
 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: 7:30 - 5:00
Congregation of the week of March 4-10
Crosslake Presbyterian Church of Crosslake
Crosslake Presbyterian, a place to belong! 
Where faith is nurtured, curiosity is encouraged, 
diversity is welcomed, and all are loved. 
Presbyterian by Tradition and Ecumenical by Experience.
...and the newest church development and GREEN church in the Synod which reaps the environmental benefits from our solar panels and geo-thermal heating system!
Pastor: Open
Moderator: Rev. Mark Ford, Pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Brainerd
Office Administrator: Emilie Fitch
Custodian: Steve Anderson
Elders: Jack Becker, Amy Bloch, Jerry Norgaard, Doug Steele, & Mary Tyler
Clerk of Session: Open
Treasurer: Steve Anderson
Financial Secretary: Jan Lallman
Deacons: Bill & Becky Bury, Mary Lu Dietz, Audrey Eiler & Pat Tweed
Keyboardist: Glenda Meech & Nancy Skoog
Choir Director: Open
PRAYERS . . . FOR OUR Pastoral Nominating Committee:
Resource: Lynn Olson, Co-Chair. Commission on Leadership
Marge Angell, Karen Butler, Audrey Eiler, Peter Mann, Tom McCormack,
Bonnie Miller & Jack Sargent.
  • To fill "Open" leadership positions.
  • For members who are dealing with illness, replacement surgeries, and diseases.
  • For those who have suffered a significant loss.
  • For our military and their families.
Church Disciplines & Activities.
  • Members gather Wednesdays for Bible Study and/or the Literary Huddle.
  • Monthly Wednesday night fellowship and pot-lucks following choir practice.
  • Participate in and host various worship experiences with First Presbyterian Church of Brainerd and Crosslake Lutheran Church (ELCA). (Thanksgiving, Ash Wednesday, & Maundy Thursday worship services.
  • Intentional tradition of being responsive to local, regional, national, and international needs which are channeled through hands on volunteer practices and Mission Outreach & Social Witness Committee.
  • Supportive of the four annual denominational offerings: OGHS, Pentecost, Global Peace Keeping & Joy.
Prayer concern

Rev. George Buchin, honorably retired, passed away Monday evening. The funeral is scheduled for Saturday, March 3 at 11:00 a.m. at the First Presbyterian Church of Brainerd.
Here is the address for Lois Buchin
12905 Brentwood Circle
Baxter MN 56425

Link to  obituary

Pastors coming to George's funeral are asked to wear a robe and stole and process in together.
What is transformation? Can you define transformation in 20 words or less?
Please take a moment and answer this question as creatively as possible. All out-of-the-box thinking is welcome. Your responses will be posted on the presbytery's website and used at the upcoming Transformation Training.
Transformation ... going beyond change
Transformation 2018 Ministry Event
Minnesota Valleys Presbytery
Location: First Presbyterian Church, St. Cloud, Minnesota
April 5-7, 2018

Minnesota Valleys Presbytery is partnering with Midwest Initiative for Leading Transition to host a two and half day transformation training event. The event is designed for congregation teams and will focus on the complexity of leading churches through a transformation process. The faculty will address the misconceptions of the one size fits most concepts of church growth strategies. Trained in building the capacities of leaders to enter systems, coach change and resourcing various congregational systems this event will assist participants in retooling for ministry in the 21st century.

Participants can expect to return home with a greater understanding of:
  • Leading change in the 21st Century Church
  • Working within systems
  • Cultural and systemic challenges to ministry today
  • Transformation models
  • Vocational Discernment
  • Visioning for the future
Celebrate the Gifts of Women

On Celebrate the Gifts of Women Sunday we honor women who answer God's call to leadership and service. Though Celebrate the Gifts of Women Sunday is March 4, 2018, your congregation or women's group may use this on any date that you choose to celebrate women whom God has called to lead with love. Women who lead with love often have two characteristics (1) the gift of hospitality and (2) the gift of building consensus. These women serve as role models for the rest of us.

The Celebrate the Gifts materials are available for download and printed copies. Order the bulletin cover through Presbyterian Distribution Service, item 27501-18-002, or download from

Resources for International Women's Day on March 8:
Letter Writing Campaign

A great idea has come to us via James Potts, Director of Family Ministries at First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood. He has networked with churches across the nation to begin a Children's Letter Writing Campaign to the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. If you would like to have your children or youth ministries participate, please begin the campaign as soon as you can, gather the letters and send them to the Presbytery Center, without envelopes (one envelope for all is fine). We will give them to Rev. Willy Figueredo to hand deliver them to a guidance counselor at Stoneman Douglas. There will not be a time frame for this project in frequency or duration. However, immediate response will be beneficial for the students as they are currently in shock and in grief.

Should you have any questions, please call Sandra 954-785-2220 or email

Mail items to:
Presbytery of Tropical Florida
Attn: Sandra Figueredo
1919 SE 5th Street
Deerfield Beach FL 33441
Annual Report Forms

Pastors and Commissioned Ruling Elders, here are links to this year's annual report forms. The deadline to return them to the presbytery office is March 1.
What an educational bargain!!!

Edith Alvarez
For just $250 a year you, your family, your church, your organization could educate the child of a pastor in our sister Occidente Presbytery, Guatemala. This would include enough money to buy a uniform, a pair of shoes, books, and other school supplies and might mean the difference between a child's being able to attend school or not. Pastors in Guatemala earn very little money and are often forced to hold one or two jobs other than preaching to provide for their family. The Occidente Committee on Ministry selects which children receive scholarships based on need.

Thank you from Jaime Yordani Pérez Sontay
Scholarship Recipient
Occidente Presbytery 2017
El Palmar, Quetzaltenango, Guatemala
November 28, 2017
To the Brethren of Minnesota:

Receive a fraternal greeting, hoping that God, Our Father, is blessing you.

The purpose of this letter is to express my gratitude, once again, for the financial assistance that you have sent so that I can continue my studies.  Thanks to God and to your good heart, the economic help provided for my books, uniform and other items that are necessary for my studies.

Again, thanks a lot, brethren, for helping me continue with my studies. May God pour abundant blessings upon you and your families.
Sincerely, your brother in Christ,

Jaime Yordani Pérez Sontay


Note: Jaime's school report indicates he did have difficulty in Language and Literature, as well as in Gym and Athleticism, but he passed his grade.

The school year in Guatemala begins in January; in order to get the scholarship money sent in time for preparation, it needs to be sent in October. If you would like to help, money should be sent to the Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys, 4055 Abbott Drive, Willmar, MN 56201 by early October. Indicate that it is for a Guatemalan scholarship. We do not reveal who the donors are to the recipients to avoid further requests for financial assistance, but we do try to provide you with a photo, academic record and thank you note of a recipient.

If you have any questions, contact Edith at 218-963-4812.
Mozart's Requiem to be performed in Saint Peter and New Ulm

Submitted by Sara McKay

Several members of Union Presbyterian Church in St. Peter are involved in two performances of the Mozart Requiem in March. On Sunday, March 11 at 2:30 p.m. the St. Peter Choral Society will present this rarely-heard work with professional orchestra at the Catholic Church of St. Peter, 1801 W. Broadway Avenue. One week later, March 18 at 3 p.m., there will be a second performance at the Cathedral of the Holy trinity in New Ulm, 605 N. State Street., as the final concert in the series to celebrate the J.H. Nordlie Pipe Organ restoration. Tickets are $15 at the door, but may be purchased at Swedish Kontur, St. Peter or New Ulm HyVee in advance for $12. Students are admitted free of charge.

Directed by Sara McKay, soloists are Naomi Karstad, soprano, Katha Chamberlain, alto, Roy Heilman, tenor and Michael Jorgensen, bass, with guest organists David Fienen at the St. Peter concert and Nathan Knutson at the New Ulm concert.
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.

EvangelismAnne Veldhuisen,, 507-215-5617
Mission: Richard Lawrence, , 320-260-9639
Mission: Darlene Scherbing, , 320-292-2610
Spiritual Leadership: Tom Voigt, , 612-875-6398
Stewardship: Rick Hauge, , 507-829-5227
Worship: Darin Seaman, , 320-251-8277
Pastoral Leadership Opportunities

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

Faith Presbyterian Church, Silver Lake - Part-time Solo Pastor
   Ministry Information Form - 03851.ACO

Randall Presbyterian Church, Randall
- Pastor
   Ministry Information Form - 03892.AC1

First Presbyterian Church, Fulda - Solo Pastor, 3/4 time up to full-time
   Ministry Information Form - 03782.ADO

The Ministry Information Forms for these opportunities are posted on the Church Leadership Connection web site --
Synod School Catalog is online!

Registration opens March 1

Even though the catalog is here, registration doesn't begin until March 1. For now, however, browse the catalog to see what Synod School offers, and take a look through the class list to see what interests you. In an environment of hospitality, healing and hope, Synod School offers so much.

This year ...

We're planning 76 classes for adults, running the gamut from fun to serious, from entertaining to informative, and almost always at the same time. There will also be a full program for children and youth.

Convocation Speaker:  Jason Santos
Worship Leader:  Jana Childers
Music Leader:  Hans Peterson, Dakota Road
Artist in Residence:  Gina Penn, dancer

Live Generously. Live Happier:

Lessons from "The Generosity Project"
Saturday, March 10 from 9:00 - 2:00
Southwest Minnesota State University (SMSU)/Marshall
Conference Center, Marshall, MN
Livestream Option Available

"The Generosity Project"    is designed to equip your congregation-and especially family units or single persons--- in the spiritual practice of generosity. It teaches "why" and "how to" talk about generosity, stewardship, abundance and money practices. It does this through a day filled with interactive, fun, full of laughter, faith centered lessons and practices. Begin 2018 by learning so you can bring these practices to your setting. Join us as together we learn to "live generously and live happier" 

Please register online by  clicking here
  • Registration Cost is Free! Resource materials and snack are included. The event costs are provided by the Lilly Grant and our Embrace God's Mission + Equip God's People Funding Initiative.
  • Non-SW MN Synod groups and other denominations are welcome. Lunch will not be provided. SMSU will have snacks provided but groups must pay for their own lunch at the SMSU cafeteria or other locations.
All groups are invited to make a contribution to the Funding Initiative, but not required. Send gifts to: SW MN Synod, PO Box 499, Redwood Falls, MN 56283. To make an online gift  click here.

To receive the Livestream link you must register online.
Livestream groups commit to have at least 4-6+ persons in attendance in their location and provide their own technical support at that location re: video and audio projection. 

 From Southwestern Minnesota Synod (ELCA)
  submitted by Deb Hess
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 or contact the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program at 800-728-7228 x5805 or 502-569-5805.
Westminster Town Hall Forum:
An American Abroad in a Post-American World

Thursday, March 22 at 12:00 Noon
Westminster Presbyterian Church
1200 Marquette Avenue, Minneapolis

ABOUT SUZY HANSEN: Suzy Hansen is an American journalist and editor. A graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, she moved to Istanbul in 2007 after receiving a journalism fellowship from the Institute of Current World Affairs to write on Turkish politics and foreign affairs. Since then, she has traveled to Libya, Greece, Egypt, Afghanistan, Kuwait, India, Kenya, and beyond to study and reflect on socio-political issues. She is a contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine, London Review of Books, Vogue, Bloomberg, and Businessweek. Her first book, Notes on a Foreign Country: An American Abroad in a Post-American World, is a memoir exploring her assumptions about American beneficence abroad, America's role in the Middle East. and its standing in the world.


Leadership and Anxiety in the Church: 

  A Family Systems Perspective 


This is one-day workshop looks at the challenges presented by the rising levels of anxiety being experienced in churches today, as well as the role that self-differentiated leadership can play in calming such anxiety. You will learn practical skills that will help you defuse anxious situations and maintain a non-anxious presence. This interdenominational workshop will be hosted by Minnetonka United Methodist Church in Minnetonka, MN (Minneapolis area) on May 16, 2018.  It is sponsored by the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center in Lombard, IL.  Discounts are available for individuals and church groups who register by May 2, 2018. For more information about this workshop, click here. To register or to download a group discount coupon, click here

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