The Valley Bridge
The weekly newsletter from the
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
January 18, 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)
Congregation of the week: January 22-28
Crosslake Presbyterian Church

Pastor: We are just beginning our search to fill our pastor position recently vacated by Rev. Kate Stangl. Crosslake is a beautiful, small "North Woods" Minnesota gem! 
Session Members: Butch Lund, Ron Ochs, Ginny Anderson
Clerk of Session: Emilie Fitch
Church Administrator: Cheryl Cole

Prayer Concerns: 
  • We ask for wisdom and discernment to guide us through our pastoral search process.
  • We offer prayers of thanksgiving for all the volunteers who are "stepping up" during this stressful time for our congregation.
  • We ask that patience be granted to our individual congregants as they struggle with their own stresses over their loss of Kate.
  • And finally, we ask for healing for our divided nation as we begin the term of a new leadership team in Washington, D.C.
The Word from Rick: Charting the Course: Minnesota Valleys Orientation and Organization Gathering
Saturday, January 21, 2017
10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
First Presbyterian Church in Willmar

We have been preparing for this coming Saturday for some time. It is an important day for our presbytery, as the members of our five major ministry teams come together to get started on the work that is ahead of us. It will be a time for us to look back and see how we did during the first ten months of our new mission design, and to look ahead to see how we can build, both on what has gone well and what has fallen flat, and continue to become the presbytery that we said we wanted to be when we approved the work of the Next Pres Team.
As I write this, your presbytery office is beginning to look like a publishing house, as the materials pour out of the copier and set ready to be pulled together into the packet that will resource the group as they work on behalf of all of us. There is a lot of excitement for this Saturday, but there is also that touch of reality. Yes, that reality; the one about this being January in Minnesota. I keep watching the weather and the forecast (as of Tuesday) for this Saturday's gathering promises above normal temperatures, but with that nasty phrase "wintry mix" attached. So, what else is new! This is God's Country; this is Minnesota, and we reminded as to why some animals hibernate!
It is our hope that this gathering will happen, but we do not want it to do it at the expense of anyone's safety. We will watch the weather closely and make a decision regarding the gathering by mid-day on Friday. We will send out a broadcast e-mail with that decision and place a message on the presbytery's voice mail.
Due to there being a presbytery meeting on February 4, we do not have an alternate meeting date for this gathering. If the need arises to put a Plan B into place, the chairpersons of our five major ministry teams will have some conversations with one another, and then we will notify all team members of that plan! So, please, I am asking for our entire presbytery family, whether you are a participant in this meeting or not, to pray for decent weather, safe travels for all who participate, and most importantly, for a most productive event.
Praying that everything will work out, I need to remind all our event participants that the RSVP deadline was Tuesday, January 17!!! It you have not responded, please contact Karen Lange right away! 

Grace and Peace,
On the Road with Rick: The Pre-Retirement Tour
January - March
January 21 - "Charting the Course 2017," First Presbyterian Church, Willmar
January 22 - Preach at First Presbyterian Church, Osakis
January 24-31 - Association of Presbyterian Church Educators Annual Event and Related Meetings, Denver and Albuquerque
February 4 - Presbytery Meeting, First Presbyterian Church, Saint Cloud
February 5 - Preach at Faith Presbyterian Church, Silver Lake
February 14 - Session Meeting, First Presbyterian Church, Osakis
February 19 - Preach at First Presbyterian Church, Brainerd
February 20 - Session Meeting, Faith Presbyterian Church, Silver Lake
February 26 - Preach at First Presbyterian Church, Luverne
February 26 - Nathan Lamb Installation at First Presbyterian Church, Pipestone
March 14 - Session Meeting, First Presbyterian Church, Osakis
March 19 - Worship Visit, Grace-First Parish, Russell
March 26 - Worship Visit, First Presbyterian Church, Redwood Falls
Young Adult Volunteers
Who will be the next Mindy?

As many of you know, Mindy Vande Brake, from Foley, is now serving her second year as a Presbyterian Church (USA) Young Adult Volunteer. She spent one year in New Orleans and now, this year, is in New York City - yes, from the "Big Easy" to the "Big Apple."
The YAV program is one of the great things that our denomination does. It provides some great opportunities for service and growth among young adults, aged 19-30, and they are looking for people to serve beginning this summer. So, the question is, "who will be the next Mindy?" What young adult or young adults in this presbytery are looking for the kind of challenge the YAV's provides?
This week, we received a reminder from our friend in Louisville, Blake Collins, wanting us to be aware of some deadlines that were approaching. He noted that February 1 was the application deadline for people wishing to serve at one of the YAV international sites, and while that deadline is approaching rapidly, it is not too late for interested young adults in our presbytery to make applications to serve in the 2017-2018 term.
Information about the Young Adult Volunteer program of the Presbyterian Church (USA) can be found at: . Below are available sites and important dates for the 2017-18 application season. 
2017-18 National Sites
Albuquerque                         Asheville                             Atlanta
Austin                                   Boston                                 Chicago
Denver                                 Indianapolis                          Little Rock
Los Angeles                           Miami                                   New Orleans
New York City                     Tucson                                 Washington, DC
2017-18 International Sites
Colombia                               Scotland                             Peru
Philippines                            Zambia
Important dates for the 17-18 recruitment season:
*     Round 2: February 1, 2017 (Final date to apply for International Placement)
*     Round 3: April 1, 2017 (National Sites Only)
*     Last Call: June 1, 2017 (Final application date)
Continued blessings to your ministry and the new year!
-Blake Collins
Important Communication has been sent to all congregations

The annual report form for pastoral leaders, the presbytery's compensation policy, and the manse inspection form has been emailed to all pastoral leaders and clerks of session. The reports are due at the presbytery office by March 1.
The annual report form is new and asks for significant information from all of our pastoral leaders. It is part of the Commission on Leadership's effort to support our congregation's leaders. The report not only asks for compensation information, but it also asks for reports on continuing education, vacation, personal leave, and sabbaticals. COL is responsible for  all aspects of the pastoral call, and this new form is intended to assist the commission in it relationships with our pastoral leaders.
Pastors with salary changes are also reminded to report changes of salary to the Board of Pensions through Benefits Connect. The presbytery does not send this information to the Board of Pensions which requires pastors to notify them within 31 days of the effective change. 
If you have questions or concerns regarding completion of this report, you may call Stated Clerk Pam Prouty at 507-627-5486 or Bea Ourada at 320-796-5310.
Pastoral Leadership Opportunities

The following congregations within the bounds of our presbytery are currently seeking pastoral leadership:
Randall Presbyterian Church, Randall, Minnesota - Ministry Information Form - 03892.AC
First Presbyterian Church, Osakis, Minnesota - Ministry Information Form - 3890.AC4.   
The Ministry Information Form for these opportunities are posted on the Church Leadership Connection web site --
In addition, our congregation in Crosslake is seeking individuals who would be willing to provide pulpit supply on Sundays as they are living into a time of transition. For more information, please contact the Rev. Mark Ford who is currently serving as moderator of the session at Crosslake Presbyterian Church. Mark can be reached at
Lenten Devotional 2017: Meeting Jesus
This year's Lenten devotional by Jodi Craiglow invites us to  join 47 biblical figures--one for each day of Lent--who encounter Jesus during his earthly life and ministry. Speaking in unique, first-person conversational form, these characters tell us "in their own words" what they've seen and learned. They draw us in to share their joys and struggles, and help us understand Jesus in a newer, richer way. The narratives are rounded out with a daily Scripture reading and short prayer.

Along with the text, Meeting Jesus includes a collection of multimedia artwork from Creation Lab in Chicago featuring ancient Lenten symbols expressed in a contemporary, urban style.

Meeting Jesus is perfect for congregations, families, and individuals.

Your congregation is invited to order these devotionals at $2.25 per copy through the presbytery office. The deadline to order is Monday, January 30. Please call or email Karen at the presbytery office: 320-235-7910 or
News Briefs
INSIDE OUT: Life in the Teenage Brain
If you have teenagers in your congregation, family, or neighbor, you might want to check out this week's offering from the advocate blog of the Association of Presbyterian Church Educators. Written by one of our denomination's most insightful educators, Dr. Rodger Nishioka, this short article is worth a read by many of us who truly want to know and understand the younger generation around us. Check it out:

Here is a possible resource for you to consider:  Lenten Reflections on the Confession of Belhar, with an introduction by Allan Boesak, and edited by Kerri Allen and Don McKim. This reflection has been written by a variety of Presbyterians, reflecting on a portion of the confession in relation to Scripture texts that are associated with the confession. It can be ordered through the PC(USA) Store - Call (800) 533-4371.
The Lilly Endowment Clergy National Renewal Program provides funds to congregations to support renewal leaves for their pastors. Congregations may apply for grants of up to $50,000 to underwrite a renewal program for their pastor and for the pastor's family, with up to $15,000 of those funds available to the congregation to help cover costs for ministerial supply while the pastor is away. There is no cost to the congregations or the pastors to apply. The grants represent the endowment's continued investment in renewing the health and vitality of American Christian congregations. Application deadline is April 21, 2017. Application information can be found at .

Car for Sale

2015 Nissan Altima with 30,000 miles. Average gas mileage of 35 mpg. This car was used by Pastor Hicks when he was in Pipestone. If you are interested, make a reasonable offer to  John McCallum at 215-0575 during the month of January and after January contact Bud Eernisse at 215-0584. Car may be seen at Southside Motors in Pipestone.
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