The Valley Bridge
The weekly newsletter from the
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
October 4, 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 8-14
First Presbyterian Church of Saint Cloud
Pastor: Rev. Darin Seaman
Clerk of Session: Lynne Osteraas
Director of Youth and Campus: Mark Giese
Handbell Director: Lori Potter
Music Director: Don Fortner
Facilities Director: Scott Varner
Children's Ministry Coordinator: Jeanne Duininck

Prayers for:
  • Hurricane Relief Bucket Challenge
  • "God Chat Apps" event on Saturday
  • Aging/Transition concerns of many members 
  • Employment openings at the church
  • Spiritual growth of the church
Partners in Reducing Domestic Violence

In this designated month of October, the Presbyterians Against Domestic Violence Network urges us to be particularly aware that in every congregation, victims, survivors, and abusers sit in our pews.

Our Occidente partnership has revealed this is true in the macho culture of Guatemala.  Karla Koll, former mission co-worker there, was unpopular among some for her repeated urging: "Stop beating your wives."

PADVN declares: "All need to hear a clear message that violence in our homes is against the will of God." With financial support from our presbytery, that message has been and continues to be heard in Occidente.

Irene Escobar, the Stated Clerk of their presbytery, reports that seven of their pastors attended the "Men in the Mirror" seminar at the Evangelical Presbyterian Seminary in Retalhuleu. We provided the tuition of $60 per student. Funds are being held for others who were blocked by closed roads.

We know many of those who attended, including Pastor Aurelio Carcamo, their current General Assembly moderator. These pastors are very grateful for our support and felt it was very beneficial. They plan to pass on to other men in Occidente the 13 topics of information and insights that they felt were helpful. We pray for this expanding vital ministry.

Kevin E. Frederick authored the curriculum subtitled "Orienting Our Lives toward a Christ-centered Masculinity." Rev. Frederick is a PCUSA pastor with a doctorate in relation ethics from Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary. He has served as a member and moderator of the PADVN.  

Kevin states that he felt called "to develop a ministry directed toward male perpetrators that would challenge these men to change their whole understanding of relationships and confront their destructive behaviors." The curriculum offers a structure of accountability and a safe place to gain insights and explore solutions.  Participants focus on the relationship skills that Jesus demonstrated within the context of his own life.

Our Occidente partners can serve as an inspiration for people in our presbytery. We too can stand with those in our congregations who suffer from domestic violence. The "Men in the Mirror" can be downloaded online.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month
PADVN Annual Congregational Awareness and Worship Resource packets

In every congregation of every faith, victims, survivors and abusers sit in our pews. Some are listening for words of recognition, understanding, comfort and healing, hoping to hear that the church stands with them and wants them to choose life. All need to hear a clear message that violence in our homes is against the will of God. Our silence makes us complicit to the suffering.

Presbyterians Against Domestic Violence Network (PADVN) invites you to make your church a place where the gospel of wholeness is heard and lived out. We offer the following resources to aid you in that journey.
  • Ten Things Your Congregation Can Do About Domestic Violence | Download
  • 2016 Resources:  What Can Your Congregation do? | Download
  • 2015 Resources: Take Back the Night, Clothesline Project, Silent Witness Initiative, Empty Place at the Table | Download
  • 2014 Resources: Breaking the Silence; Introducing Men In The Mirror curriculum | Download
  • 2013 Resources: Stories of Hope and Restoration | Download
  • 2012 Resources: Entering the Brokenness | Download
  • 2011 Resources: Human Trafficking and the Intersect with Domestic Violence | Download
  • 2010 Resources: Parent/Youth Relationships | Download
A prayer to share with the church

God of our life, whose presence sustains us in every circumstance,
As the sound of gunfire again echoes over another American city,
we seek the grounding power of your love and compassion.
As death rained down from above in the dark of night,
We pray this day for the Sun of Righteousness to arise with healing in its wings,
and rain mercy, grace and peace upon our broken people.

So many have been lost: brothers and sisters, neighbors and friends
gathered in the unity of music, scattered by evil and hatred.
We pray for solace for all who loved them.
We pray for those who have been spared and those whose lives are changed forever
that they may find healing, sustenance, and strength in the hard days to come.

We give thanks for first responders:
who ran toward gunfire, rather than away
who dropped everything to save the wounded and comfort survivors
We pray for doctors and nurses and mental health providers
who repair what has been broken
who to try to  bring healing and hope
in the face of the unchecked principalities and powers of violence .
We ask for sustaining courage for those who are suffering and traumatized.

We cry, how long, O Lord?
But the same words echo back, again and again
as if the question comes to us from You- how long, how long, how long...
In the wake of an event that should be impossible to contemplate
but which has become all too common in our experience,
open our eyes, break our hearts,
and turn our hands to the movements of your Spirit,
that our anger and sorrow may unite in service to build a reign of peace,
where the lion and the lamb may dwell together,
and terror no longer holds sway over our common life.
In the name of Christ, our healer and our Light, we pray, Amen.

Prayer by the Rev. Dr. Laurie Ann Kraus
Director, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance
Employers: Submit Your Agreement for 2018 Today!

Employers, why wait until October 13 to submit your Employer Agreement for 2018?
As you gear up for fall - and all of the activities that the new season brings - why not check one item off your list and submit your Employer Agreement through Benefits Connect?
Every employer must log on to Benefits Connect by the deadline to review, update, and submit the Employer Agreement for 2018. But, why wait until October 13, when you can submit your Agreement today? We have added some features to make selecting benefits easier:
  • You can select different employer contribution amounts for PPO and EPO medical options in menu options.
  • Employer contributions are displayed with two decimal places to align more easily with budgeted dollar amounts.
  • We have added a reminder message that returns you to any part of the Agreement where you may have forgotten to select benefits for a benefit group.
The benefits selections employers submit in their Agreements will determine the coverage employees will see, and be able to elect, on Benefits Connect during annual enrollment October 30-November 17, 2017.

Employers who have questions about the benefits available to employees or the benefits selection process may find more information in this  90-second video, in the  expanded pensions.org section, or by contacting the Board at 800-773-7752 (800-PRESPLAN).

Buckets for Hurricane Relief

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance needs buckets! They are currently out of clean-up buckets to be sent to areas affected by flooding in Texas and Florida, etc. First Presbyterian Church in St. Cloud has secured a (donated!) semi truck to ship as many buckets as we can to the PDA warehouse in Little Rock, Arkansas. What once was a congregational challenge to "adopt a bucket" in St. Cloud has now become a call to "Fill the truck." We'll take your completed buckets and include them in our shipping. Or, don't have the time or interest to shop for items and assemble the buckets? We'll also take donations (money or specific items on the list). We are currently arranging with local retailers to order items by the case and then will assemble the clean-up buckets here. We are hoping to ship by mid-to-late October. The need is real, folks. Consider how you and your congregation, family, workplace, neighborhood might choose to respond. This is not to replace your congregation's or personal giving to the PDA ministry - this is a tangible way to encourage those who've thought about how to respond to Hurricane Relief but haven't yet, or want to do more. Contact Mark Giese ( mark@fpcstcloud.org) at First Presbyterian Church in St. Cloud for more info, or with specific questions and/or donations. Ph. 320-251-8277  Or visit www.fpcstcloud.org to download a list along with more info. 

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).
  • Companion to the Constitution: Polity for the Local Church, Presbyterian Church (USA), 1999
  • The Book of Confessions, 1996, Presbyterian Church (USA)
  • Practicing Our Faith, by Dorothy C. Bass
  • A History of Israel, by John Bright
  • The New Pastor's Guide to Leading Worship, by Barbara Day Miller
  • Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew, by Bart D. Ehrman
  • Presbyterian Polity for Church Officers, Third Edition, by Joan S. Gray, Joyce C. Tucker
  • The Left Hand of God: Taking Back Our Country from the Religious Right, by Michael Lerner
  • Introducing the Reformed Faith: Biblical Revelation, Christian Tradition, Contemporary Significance, by Donald K. McKim
  • Finding Your Religion: When the Faith You Grew Up with Has Lost Its Meaning, by Rev. Scotty McLennan
  • First Easter: The True and Unfamiliar Story in Words and Pictures by Paul L. Maier
  • Why Religion Matters: The Fate of the Human Spirit in an Age of Disbelief, by Huston Smith
  • The Story of the Reformation, by William Stevenson
  • Soul Feast: An Invitation to the Christian Spiritual Life, by Marjorie J. Thompson
  • The Evolution of God, by Robert Wright
Commission/Committee Members and General Assembly Commissioners, alternate and YAADS sought
 
The Commission on Representation (COR) will be meeting in late September to begin their work to fill all the presbytery commissions and committees. Also they will be reviewing applications received to be a General Assembly Teaching/Ruling Elder commissioner, alternate or Young Adult Advisory Delegate. If you are interested in any of this, 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.
God Chat Apps: A Life of Prayer
Saturday, October 7, 2017
9:00 - 3:30
Hope Presbyterian Church
Spicer

Come to deepen and strengthen your prayer life!
 
Luke 11:1 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his
disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples."
 
Don't miss this multigenerational event - it will be a full day of learning about living a life of prayer.
 
Your ticket ($15) covers the full cost of your participation for the event. It includes our fabulous  speakers, coffee and snack at registration, lunch, and a snack for the ride home.
The church is hosting their annual bazaar that day - feel free to shop!
 
Sessions and speakers
Prayer and the Presence of God. Kara Root. Plenary speaker
Why Pray? In the valley, on the mountaintop and everywhere in between. Robin Hasslen
Centering Prayer. Sr. Katherine Howard
Aids to Contemplation: Tools and Resources for the Journey. Nathan Lamb
Yoga, Meditation and Devotion. Angie Ray
Let's Talk: The Basics of Prayer. Leanne Thompson
Personal Prayer for Everyone on Earth: How prayer apps help us fulfill the Great Commission. Chris Lim 

Contact Karen Lange to register

Final Promo
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
Lakeshore Center at Okoboji,  October 13
Pastors and CREs: Here is a great opportunity for you to spend a day with preacher/teacher/author Tom Long.  He will be in the area to teach a class for the new Academy and will be doing this day long workshop at the Lakeshore Center at Okoboji on Friday, October 13
Teaching Fish to Walk: Church Systems and Adaptive Challenge
featuring Dr. Peter L. Steinke

Today's culture offers us both great challenges and opportunities for ministry. Easy answers won't cut it; we need to change and adapt. That's hard work. But there are people who can guide us.

"Teaching Fish to Walk: Church Systems and Adaptive Challenge," will draw on the deep and long experience of Dr. Peter L. Steinke, author and internationally respected church consultant. The workshop will begin with lunch at 12:00 noon on Monday, November 13, and conclude at 12:00 noon, Tuesday, November 14, 2017, at Mt. Olivet Conference and Retreat Center in Farmington, Minnesota.


This lifelong learning event will support and equip congregations in their exploration of faithful means to follow the Holy Spirit into a changing world. Clergy, Commissioned Pastors, and lay leaders are encouraged to attend as individuals or by forming a small team from a congregation. Through support from the Presbytery of Twin Cities Area and the Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation, we are able to keep the cost reasonable.

HOW TO REGISTER:

  • $100 ... Resident Rate
Five sessions with Peter Steinke, lodging on-site (double-room), three meals (lunch and dinner Monday, breakfast Tuesday), and all workshop materials.
 
All rooms are double rooms, in order to maximize on-site participation. You will be assigned a roommate unless both you and your desired roommate list each other on your registration form.
  • $80 ... Non-Resident Rate
Five sessions with Peter Steinke, two meals (lunch and dinner Monday), and all workshop materials.
 
QUESTIONS:

Contact Jeff Japinga, executive presbyter, PTCA: ep@ptcaweb.org, 651-357-1150. 
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, Saint James - Solo Pastor
   Ministry Information Form - 03802.AD

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/
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.

The Giving Magazine

This magazine has become a premier stewardship resource for churches and denominations throughout North America. Each magazine is packed with resources to support stewardship in the local church. Articles explore the intersection of faith and giving, offer practical information on Christian stewardship for all generations, and critique the newest resources on stewardship.  Click here for more information.


Link to Pastor's Tool Box for Stewardship:
Six New Things
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