The Valley Bridge
The weekly newsletter from the
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
April 13, 2016
 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 17-23:
First Presbyterian Church of Madelia

Janitor: Jessica Holm
Treasurer: Jan Ulmen
Clerk of Session: Doug Teigum
Health Minister: Linda Becken
Pastor: Penny Johnson
Prayer concerns:
1. For those dealing with chronic illness and pain 
2. For our friends and members residing in care centers 
3. For those recovering from surgery 
4. For those grieving after the fire in our town 
5. For the recovery of our town

The Word from Rick: A Couple of Items to Share This Week

Very early Saturday morning, I returned from the Board of Pensions Regional Benefits Conference in San Diego, where we spent a rather fast-paced time gaining insights into the "redesigned" benefits plan that will be offered to our denomination. Once again, it felt like drinking from a fire hose and it will take some time to fully understand the implications that it will have for us here in Minnesota Valleys.
To that end, we have invited Edward Thompson, our Board of Pensions Regional Representative to spend some time with us in early August. He is making plans to be here on August 8-9. We know that he will be sharing time with us at the August 9 Presbytery Meeting in Browns Valley, as well as sponsoring a lunch for retired pastors and spouse in Willmar on August 8. Other parts of Edward's schedule are still being negotiated.  Read more

On the Road with Rick
April 15 - Pioneer Public Television - taping of conversations about pastoral leadership in rural and small town Minnesota
April 17 - Preach at Christ United Presbyterian Church, Marshall
April 17 - Pre-Triennium Gathering, First Presbyterian Church, Redwood Falls
April 21 - Communications Event at Southwestern Minnesota Synod ELCA Offices, Redwood Falls
April 24 - Preach at First Presbyterian Church, Foley
April 26 - Lay Academy Consultation at Lakeshore Center at Lake Okoboji
April 30 - Matthew Zelie's Ordination and Installation to be held in Dalton
May 1-7 - Presbytery Leader Formation Program - Residency Week - Seattle
Worship in Malacatan, Guatemala

By Chuck Moore

The Minnesota Valleys Presbytery (MVP) group along with members of the Occidente International Committee bounced in a van up steep, cobblestone, narrow roads. We headed for the Presbyterian church in Malacatan located in an out-of-the-way place in what appeared to be a rain forest. We were an hour late for the worship service to dedicate the manse to which MVP donated $4,000. With our lateness and with hot and steamy weather, somewhere between 200-250 waited to worship.

The pastor Juan Alfonso Yoc expressed an appreciation of MVP and the contribution toward the building expenses. The MVP group brought greetings from Minnesota and presented the wall hanging for the new manse.

Read more for full article and pictures.
Federated Church of Fergus Falls Receives Katherine Hawes Award 

The congregation at Federated Church of Fergus Falls has been chosen to receive the Katherine Hawes Award for effective youth ministry that engages youth in all areas of the church's mission, extending beyond the church into the community and the world. 

A comment from the panel about Federated Church's Timothy Project: "An innovative approach toward fostering young men and women in their initial period of discernment of a call to ordained ministry or Christian education. The congregation is to be commended for their active, systematic approach to supporting the discernment process. The current Fellow, Jordan Schiefert, has not only benefited from the program but added significantly to the mission of the congregation."

The award-winning program will be featured on the Union Presbyterian Seminary website at, and will be announced at the Union Presbyterian Seminary Board of Trustees Meeting in April 2016 and at the Association of Presbyterian Christian Educators Annual Event in 2017.
Retired Pastors and Spouses: Save August 8!

A luncheon for retired pastors and spouses is tentatively being planned in Willmar on August 8. Edward Thompson, our Regional Representative for the Board of Pensions, will host that gathering at a time and place to be announced at a later time. Save the date and watch for further details!
Pre-Triennium Gathering: All Systems "Go!"

It will happen this Sunday, April 17 from 2:00-5:00 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church in Redwood Falls . Our presbytery's Triennium participants will gather to meet one another and engage in an afternoon of group-building, fellowship, and information sharing led by Rich Swartwood, the Executive Director of Presbyterian Clearwater Forest!
All those who are planning to attend are asked to RSVP to Karen Lange at the Presbytery Office! Let us know! Having adequate pizza is dependent upon everyone responding!
Communications Workshop

Conducted by the Presbyterian Mission Agency 
Location: The Southwest Minnesota ELCA Synod Office 
175 East Bridge Street, Redwood Falls 
When: Thursday, April 21, from 9:00-3:00 

Available to give away from the Kerkhoven church
  • 93 Blue Hymnals
  • 81 old Red Hymnals
  • 62 Red Pew Bibles (RSV)
Contact the presbytery office!
Volunteer some time in Browns Valley

The United Methodist Presbyterian Church of Browns Valley is looking for a team to come serve as church people. The town of Browns Valley is having its sesquicentennial (150) celebration June 23-26, 2016. The congregation would like to have their building open to serve meals, and possibly provide limited childcare services but do not have enough people to staff it. The mission is simple, be present, be friendly, serve some food, watch some kids. Various accommodations are available. Come one day, or all. Any assistance is appreciated.

Please contact Janna at 320-444-2130, or for more details. See mission proposal  for more details on volunteer duties.

Ministry Opportunities

First Presbyterian Church of Osakis is seeking a Pastor to lead them as they live out the visions that have been generated by their New Beginning conversations. If you or someone you know has a passion for small towns and energetic small-member congregations, please encourage consideration of this opportunity!
While the primary work is with the Osakis congregation, the pastor of this congregation will also provide pulpit supply and pastoral care for the United Church of Christ in Sauk Centre.
The Ministry information Form for this opportunity is posted on the Church Leadership Connection web site. It is MIF#: 03890.AC0. For more information, please contact PNC Chairperson Shari Maloney at 320.859.3098 or by e-mail - ; or Transitional Executive Presbyter, Rick Carus at the presbytery office.

First Presbyterian Church of Pipestone  is preparing to search for a Designated Pastor. That search is expected to begin in the near future. Please watch for more details!

First Presbyterian Church of Mankato is beginning a search for an Interim Pastor. More details will be forthcoming. 

St. John's Presbyterian Church of Devon, Pennsylvania is seeking an Associate Pastor for Youth and Family Ministries. The MIF #: 07370.ACO.  If you know anyone who may be a good match for this position, or have any questions about the position, you can reach the Associate Pastor Nominating Committee at
PW Global Exchange

Every three years, a group of Presbyterian Women travels to another part of the  world to learn about the lives of women in that part of the world and to share faith stories and ministries with each other. It is a global exchange because the following year, a group of women from the same part of the world is invited to attend the  Churchwide Gathering of Presbyterian Women  to tell their stories to their North American sisters.

In 2017, the destination is Indonesia.  More info and applicationReference forms. The completed forms should be sent to:
Marilyn Stone
3915 Lake St
Burlington WI 53105
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