The Valley Bridge
The weekly newsletter from the
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
October 25, 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
Congregation of the week: October 29 - November 4
Maine Presbyterian Church , rural Underwood
Ruling Elders ; Linda Gronner, Clerk; John Moe, Treasurer, Catherine Barner, Cheryl Barry, Jim Crouse,  Kris Hanson, Nina Selzle.  
Stated Supply Pastor; Rev. Tom Junkert
 
Prayer Concerns ; Some of our members are in transition; moving to their 'winter homes'; some  moving into assisted living arrangements.  Tis the season for change!  
 
Season of Thanks;   We are thankful for this past 'Summer's Splash' outreach with the grant
from the Madelia Presbyterian Church; our members supplied a small town in Nicaragua two 
wells for drinking water; we will be installing a TV monitor and computer to help enhance
our worship services, thanks to a generous gift; our fall annual auction was a great success
with members and friends attending; we've begun a 'Singing and Sharing the Faith' gathering  at 6 local care centers where our members are residents; our members continue to faithfully  worship, serve and share fellowship!
The Essential Tenets of the Reformed Faith

As a child, I was confirmed in the Roman Catholic tradition and attended Catholic parochial schools. The priest and nuns taught me to honor God through rituals and traditions. The faith was instilled within me that God is closer to us, even closer than breath itself. Hence, as a child I would write to God and place the letters in my bible, believing as some children write to Santa Claus, my prayers would be read and then answered. This childlike faith shapes my belief as an adult. I do not write prayers and place them in my bible; but I do sometimes journal, writing reflections from what I believe God might be saying to me today. Faith formation is essential for those who lead congregations today. It is startling to hear that most church goers today cannot name the Ten Commandments, the Lord's Prayer, know how many books are in the Bible, name the twelve disciples, or explain their denominational beliefs. As we think about the Reformation, the reformers worked to clarify the faith. The reformers opposed church systems that showed partiality, abuse of power, limited access to knowledge, and theological benefits that encouraged idolatry and heresy.
                                                                                                     
John Calvin in the Institutes worked to name the faith we believe in. As Presbyterians, the Book of Confessions serves the same purpose. We have a credo tradition, meaning we make "We Believe Statements."  Our twelve confessions were written at times when the faith and social issues required the church to examine its beliefs and practices. The Larger and Shorter Catechisms are written in question and answer format. This Greek way of teaching children made learning the faith simpler. Question One should speak to the foundational belief of all Presbyterians, "What is the chief end of man?" The answer is "Man's chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever."
 
Below is a summary of themes of the Reformed Tradition from the perspective of the PC(USA).
  1. All power in heaven and earth is given to Jesus Christ (Book of Order G-1.0100) 
  2. The election of the people of God for service as well as for salvation; Covenant life marked by a disciplined concern for order in the church according to the Word of God; A faithful stewardship that shuns ostentation and seeks proper use of the gifts of God's creation; The recognition of the human tendency to idolatry and tyranny, which calls the people of God to work for the transformation of society by seeking justice and living in obedience to the Word of God".
  3. Christian Freedom, that all believers are responsible foremost to God in their faith and actions, since "God alone is Lord of the conscience and hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments of human beings (Book of Order G-1.0301). Here the concept of the sovereignty of God is highlighted...God's majesty, holiness and providence rules the world in righteousness and love.
  4. Reformed Always Reforming According to the Word of God (Ecclesia reformata, simper reformanda). Emphasized here is the concept that the church should not be static but always open to the Holy Spirit and the change which the Spirit brings. In practice here is the central belief that the Session is charged with leading the congregation continually to discover what God is doing in the world and to plan for change, renewal, and reformation under the Word of God.
  5. Protestant Watchwords: grace alone, faith alone and Scripture alone (G.20400). Based upon Romans 1:16-17; 3:27-28 and Gal. 2:15-21.
  6. The Great Ends of the Church (Book of Order F-1.0304) The proclamation of the gospel for the salvation of humankind; the shelter, nurture, and spiritual fellowship of the children of God; the maintenance of divine worship; the preservation of the truth; the promotion of social righteousness; and the exhibition of the Kingdom of Heaven to the world.
Go and Teach the Faith,
SanDawna

Denise is coming! Denise is coming!

We are so excited to announce that General Assembly Co-Moderator Denise Anderson will be at our Nov. 4 presbytery meeting in Redwood Falls to lead worship, officiate at communion and share with us news from General Assembly and answer questions you might have. Come join in the excitement - All are welcome!
Upcoming Webinar - Wise Debt!  Strategies and tools for determining if, when, why, and how much, a church should borrow.

Thursday, Oct. 26 at 1:00 p.m. Central Time

Used strategically, debt can be a valuable tool for churches wishing to expand their mission and ministry. Understanding when, or if, a congregation should consider assuming debt is the key to successful debt management. Learn best practices - the pros and pitfalls experienced by congregations who have successfully used debt as tool for ministry.
November Presbytery Meeting

WHERE: First Presbyterian Church
              235 E 4th St
              Redwood Falls MN 56283
              507-627-8751
WHEN: Saturday, November 4 at 10:00 
Registration begins at 9:00

November Teaching Elder Ordination Anniversaries

11/12/2000    Beverly Brock
11/14/1999    Jon Armajani
11/18/1986    Norma Spurgin
11/24/2012    Steve Tyykila
Reformation Sunday: Oct 29
and Luther's Bible

This year Presbyterians celebrate the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther's 95 Theses. The theses, which criticized the sale of indulgences by church officials, are considered the opening salvo in the Protestant Reformation--a movement that emphasized individual relationships with God and salvation through faith alone. Luther is also celebrated for a second piece of writing: his translation of the Bible into German. After Pope Leo X excommunicated Luther in 1521, the reformer took refuge inside Wartburg Castle. There he completed his translation of the New Testament, based on Erasmus's 1516 Bible text. First printed in September 1522, the "September Testament" does not include Luther's name on the title page, an elision meant to limit church reprisals

Link
Send us pictures!

We would love to use pictures from our congregations during presbytery meetings, on our website, and in the newsletter. Do you have some great stained glass windows, unique symbols or art in your church? Some great action shots of congregation members, children and youth? If you are out and about and see some great images, send those too. Please email these high quality png or jpg images to Karen Lange. If sending pictures of children or youth for our use, please get permission from their parents.
What an educational bargain!
 
by 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.

The school year in Guatemala begins in January. If you would like to help, money should be sent to the Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys, 4055 Abbott Drive, Willmar, MN 56201 by November 4. 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.
First Presbyterian Church of Foley is hosting a welcome for their new interim pastor, Rev. Beverly Brock at 11:45 am on Sunday, Oct 29th in their Fellowship Hall.  Everyone is invited to attend.  

Claim these donated books

We recently received a generous donation of books for giveaway. Those in the Lay Academy may find them especially helpful. Please contact Karen at the presbytery office to claim yours and arrange for pickup or shipping (at your cost).
  • Practicing Our Faith, by Dorothy C. Bass
  • Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew, by Bart D. Ehrman
Seeking Seeking Commission Members

Commission on Congregational Transformation & Development - 1 position
Committee on Congregational Nurture - 1 position
Commission on Leadership - 2 positions
If you are interested, please fill out the personal information form or the application for GA. If you have questions about any of the positions, please talk with Stated Clerk Pam Prouty or Sara McKay, chair of the COR.
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

Hope Presbyterian Church, Spicer - Interim Pastor
   Ministry Information Form - 09565.AC

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/
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.

Link to Pastor's Tool Box for Stewardship:
Presbytery of Detroit invites Mission Work Groups
Six New Things
Clergy Renewal Grants
Theology of Prince
Remember that you will die
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