The Valley Bridge
The weekly newsletter from the
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
April 11, 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)
Congregation of the week of April 15 - 21
Western Presbyterian Church of rural Fergus Falls
Pastor: John Lindholm
Clerk: Melissa Davenport

Pray for Pastor John, and pray for those in the congregation with health issues. Pray for the spring field work (and the price of corn and beans). We are celebrating that God is truly full of grace and mercy in the parts of our lives that need it. We pray for peace in the world and in our own community. We ask God what he's got planned for us as the "neighborhood" (farms) ages.
Transformation ... Going Beyond Change

The Transformation ... Going Beyond Change Conference April 5-7, 2018, First Presbyterian Church, St. Cloud, MN was a great success. A total of 44 people participated in the event. The majority of the participants were from Minnesota Valleys Presbytery; however, Missouri River Valley Presbytery (Mary Newbern-Williams), Milwaukee Presbytery (Rachel Yates and staff) and Twin Cities Presbytery (Jeff Japinga, plenary speaker) also attended. The meeting was co-sponsored by the Transitional Ministry Education Consortium (TMEC), Minnesota Valleys Presbytery, and the Synod of Lake and Prairies. Churches were encouraged to send congregational teams. This request was honored by many of the congregations. Two of our smaller congregations in the presbytery, First Presbyterian of Osakis and Faith Presbyterian of Silver Lake, both sent teams of three or more people to attend the event. The largest congregational team came from St. Cloud church, boasting six participants. However, we are thankful for all who attended, and each person enriched the event.

It was commonly noted that last week's event should start a new tradition in the presbytery. Rev. Darin Seaman, pastor of St. Cloud Church and co-chair of the Transformation and Development Commission, is looking ahead to a 2019 event. Each presenter focused on answering the question, "Why change?". The general analysis was, no it's not the church of the 1950s, yet today's church presents many opportunities for creativity and effective ministry. One elephant named during the event is change includes grief. Leaders were encouraged to acknowledge the pain of decline. To not recognize the pain of change is to be reckless in one's leadership. Additionally, we discussed first steps towards the solution. Step one is establishing realistic expectations. Sustainable change takes time. Leaders were encouraged to tap into spiritual ways of gaining strength for the journey through centering prayer, stepping back reflecting, building teams, and trusting in God's divine plan for each congregation. In many ways, we were reminded that there is not a "one size fits all" solution. Discernment and contextualization of ministry are key. We were told the spiritual truth that God honors faithfulness. Failing is the best educator. With this in mind, one task for transformation is to foster an environment of experimentation. Additionally, we learned about inspiration, working with present resources, assessments, leaders' self-evaluations, retooling, right-sizing mission and core value ministry. As it is said, a picture is worth a thousand words. Enjoy.


Call to Prayer

On May 3rd at Noon our nation will pause to observe The National Day of Prayer. The tradition goes back to 1952 when President Harry S. Truman signed the bill into law the joint resolution of the United States Congress. This year's theme is "Pray for America - Unity" based upon Ephesians 4:3 "Making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." Join the presbytery in a Zoom prayer gathering led by moderator Stan Menning. Zoom instructions will be posted closer to the date. Mark your calendars now to participate in this powerful time of intercession and thanksgiving.

We welcome two pastors to our presbytery. Rev. David Lick was installed on Sunday at the First Presbyterian Church of Saint James; and Rev. Murphy Ashley has started at the Faith Presbyterian Church of Silver Lake.
Rev. David Lick welcomed by Presbytery Moderator Stan Menning
Rev. Murphy Ashley giving the children's sermon at the Silver Lake church 
You are invited

Rev. Cory Germain's Installation Service at the First Congregational United Church of Christ, 319 Downtown Plaza, Fairmont, MN, will be Saturday, April 14, at 3:00 p.m.  A reception and meal will be held following the installation service.  All clergy are invited to wear robes and red stoles.  Cory has served First Congregational UCC in Fairmont since November of 2016.

Harrison Community Presbyterian Church, 14110 105th Ave NE, Spicer, MN will celebrate their 150th Anniversary on Sunday, May 20. Worship begins at 10:30 followed by a catered meal, then a program and open house from 1:30 - 3:00. To RSVP or for more info, contact Lori Dietz at or call 320-894-8589.

Westminster Presbyterian Church of Worthington will celebrate their 145th Anniversary on May 20 with Worship at 10:00 a.m. and Dinner at 11:15.
Attention Clerks!
Since we have been snowed out twice, we have decided to have clerk training in June! Hopefully it won't be snowed out! :)  Clerk training will be held on Thursday, June 7 from 2:00 - 5:00 p.m. at the presbytery office. Lynn Olson, clerk extraordinaire, will lead training; and following the training we will have the annual record review.  I'm excited about all the clerks coming together in one place for training, record review and fellowship. I hope that most of you will be able to make this work. If you have questions/concerns, please contact Stated Clerk Pam Prouty.
Photo shared by Rev. Owar Ojulu

It was a great Easter Celebration on Saturday in Rochester, Minnesota, where the Anuak Christian Community came together to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Apply  to the Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) program  today !! 
Final round for the 18-19 season open until June 1. National sites only are available.
Program benefits include a regular stipend, housing, transportation and student-loan repayment options throughout the duration of the service year. For more info, visit the FAQ tab at the top of the YAV homepage. Also, follow @yavprogram as current YAVs take over the account. Help plants seeds of service and spread the word!
Grants Available from FPC Madelia

The Mission Redevelopment Committee of First Presbyterian Church, Madelia is seeking applications to receive grants. Qualifying projects may include:
  • Development, formation, or redevelopment of Presbyterian churches
  • Evangelism or recruitment of new members
  • New building construction
  • Renovations or capital improvements
  • Presbyterian sponsored mission projects
A written letter of application describing the project and the amount of grant being requested should be submitted to the Mission Redevelopment Committee and postmarked by May 1, 2018. Grants will be selected and distributed by May 31, 2018.
Mission Redevelopment Committee
PO Box 156
Madelia MN 56062
PWP Spring Gathering

Submitted by Betty Thorson

PWP Spring Gathering will be held on June 5th, 2018 at the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Worthington. All are invited whether you have a PW or not. Our speaker will be Sue Ingels from Iowa. She was on the Indonesia Mission trip. Meal is $8.00. Need to send reservation to Darlene O'Neil 32505 300th St, Worthington, MN 56187. Tell her from what Church and how many. Send check or let her know you will pay when you get there. Starts with registration at 8:30 am and meeting starts at 9:20. Hope to see many of you there. Need to be registered by the middle of May so they can plan their meal.
Thank you from Jeffry Castillo
Scholarship recipient,  Occidente Presbytery 2017

Beloved Brethren:

I am writing to you in the most sincere way hoping that Our God will continue to bless you.

I am grateful to you for the financial help that you have bestowed upon me during this past year for my academic studies, so that I might continue studying at the University. I am grateful to God and to you for this opportunity. This year I successfully completed my first year of university. My experience was a very good one. I would get up very early to catch the bus to the terminal where I would get on a different bus to go to the university. I want you to know that I am studying to be a lawyer and a public notary. With God's help, as well as your help, I hope to finish my professional studies.

I am grateful to you; may God bless you.

Jeffry Castillo
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.

DiscipleshipAnne Veldhuisen,, 507-215-5617
Evangelism: Randy Knuth,, 712-540-8243
Evangelism :  Darlene Scherbing,, 320-292-2610
Mission: Richard Lawrence, , 320-260-9639
Mission: Kathy Terpstra,, 320-815-8158
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:

First Presbyterian Church, Fulda - Solo Pastor, 3/4 time up to full-time
   Ministry Information Form -  03782.AD1

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

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

The Ministry Information Forms for these opportunities are posted on the Church Leadership Connection web site --
Co-sponsored by Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program
90-minute Outlook webinar

Monday, April 16, 2018 at  1 p.m. CT

Thanks to the generosity of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program, we are able to offer this webinar at the reduced rate of $9.99.

Join us as we share information, resources and conversation with others concerned about gun violence prevention. In the wake of yet another school shooting, another headline of gun violence, another story of a life cut short by a bullet either by accident or intent, many people of faith are asking how they can participate in preventing such tragic events in the future. Often congregations and their leaders want to respond but don't know how to do so effectively and faithfully. This webinar will begin to equip those who are feeling called to prevent gun violence but unsure what the shape of that call should take.

A panel of thoughtful leaders who have been addressing this issue for years will share their knowledge and answer your questions. We will look at the big picture of statistics and current policies, examine the theology of the gun culture in our country, hear from one pastor about his congregation's ongoing work in this area and learn about some of the many resources already available to us in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
This webinar will:
  • Provide a theological framework for understanding our culture's relationship to guns;
  • Help participants understand current and proposed policies that relate to preventing gun violence;
  • Give tangible examples of what a congregation can do to participate in preventing gun violence; and
  • Equip participants with resources for ongoing action and education.
Who should participate? This webinar is for all church leaders, members and people of faith seeking to be part of the solution to the problem of gun violence in our country.
Six New Things
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