The Valley Bridge
The weekly newsletter from the
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
April 20, 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)
The Presbytery office will be closed on Thursday, April 21. Rick, Pam and Karen will be attending the Communications Workshop in Redwood Falls. 
Congregation of the Week of April 24-30:
First Presbyterian Church of Mankato

Church leadership:  
Bridge pastor - Dr. John McKay
Clerk of Session - Doug Otopalik
Administrative Assistant - Kirsten Davis
Treasurer - Jamie Goulson
Deacons moderator - Sally Erdahl
PWC co-chairs - Marge Anderson and Sally Coomes
Other elders and committee chairs - Paige Attarian, Genette Carleton, Deb Kienholz, Taylor Kuechle (youth), David Nelson,Janet Prehn, Nan Rushton, McKenzie Sonnek (youth), Rick Sartell, Norb Smith, David Stinocher, Pete Steiner, Rich Stolp and Nancy Zallek

Prayer concerns and joys:
Please pray for our congregation, session and Interim Pastor Nominating Committee, and for our outreach to the community.  In May, we will welcome confirmands and celebrate our graduating high school seniors.  With the departure of our pastor, we remain faithful and focused on glorifying God's vision for us. We have been blessed with many talented, dedicated members who have served in leadership roles to continue to provide the services to our our community and congregation such as Bible studies, caregivers support group, outreach programs, and much more.  We look forward and continue to support our youth in their mission trip and participation in Triennium. During this time of transition, be with us as we try to translate recent events into actions that will be pleasing to God. 
The Word from Rick: It Is a Work in Progress

It has now been two months since our presbytery's new Mission Design was officially launched. I would like to be able to report to you that everything is going extremely well, that we have not missed a beat, and that we are wondering why we didn't make some of these changes years and years ago ... but I can't! What I can tell you is that this continues to be a "work in progress," that we have missed a few beats, we have been a bit bewildered and confused, and we find ourselves wondering why we are doing this. What I can also tell you is that we have many outstanding, creative, and committed servants and risk-takers who have willingly stepped forward and steps that we need to take in order to live into the new reality that has been created. 
Read more

On the Road with Rick
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
May 17 - Minnesota Council of Churches Board Meeting -- Minneapolis
May 22 - Preach at First Presbyterian Church, Holland
PW Spring Gathering

Tuesday, June 7 at Harrison Presbyterian Church of Spicer. Coffee & treats at 8:45 a.m.
Meeting at 9:30 a.m. 
Registration deadline: June 1

The Flyer
Retired Pastors and Spouses: Save This Date!

A luncheon for retired pastors and spouses is tentatively being planned in Willmar on Monday, 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!
Occidente Presbytery/Occidente Synod

By Edith Alvarez

It seems as if "restructuring" is prevalent in both Minnesota Valleys Presbytery and in the whole of the Presbyterian Church in Guatemala. One of the goals of the recent MVP delegation to Occidente Presbytery (Pastor Elaine Boyd, Le Roy Ennenga, Pastor Mark Ford, Chuck Moore and myself) was to understand how and why our partnered presbytery was changing fairly radically.

Until now, the national Presbyterian Church in Guatemala was a synod. However, transportation there is difficult and very time consuming, so the decision was made to divide the country into six synods. The national church would be the general assembly and this regionalization would facilitate meetings and cooperation within each region.

Connor Garvey Performs at First Presbyterian Church of Canby

Connor Garvey singer/songwriter from Portland Maine
Sunday May 1st at 7 pm
First Presbyterian Church of Canby
311 St. Olaf Ave N 
Canby MN 56220
Tickets: Adults $15 kids 12 and under free
Come early from 5 to 6:30 pm for a sloppy joe dinner with a freewill offering.

Pre-Triennium Gathering: It Happened
This past Sunday, nearly 50 members of our presbytery's delegation to the 2016 Presbyterian Youth Triennium gathered at the First Presbyterian Church in Redwood Falls 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! It was truly a high energy gathering! Check out our pictures.

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.

Speaking of volunteering ...

Can you spare an hour a day from July 25-29? That is when Rick, Pam and Karen will be at Synod School. We would love to have a volunteer at the presbytery office from Monday through Friday from 10:30-11:30 a.m. to bring in the mail, check phone messages, and check in with Rick by phone.

Interested? Call Karen at 320-235-7910.
J. Herbert Nelson named as nominee for PC(USA) Stated Clerk

Our own Rev. Scott Prouty from the First Presbyterian Church of Redwood Falls was on the Nominating Committee that selected J. Herbert Nelson as nominee for PC(USA) Stated Clerk. See the article on the PCUSA website about the nomination. And the article in the Presbyterian Outlook.
Choir Robe Request

Elizabeth Tot, pastor in Saint Cloud to the South Sudan refugee community, is planning a visit to South Sudan in early 2017. She seeks choir robes for adults and preferably adult female robes, that she would carry as excess luggage to her village upon her visit. If any congregation is able to assist with this request, please get in touch with Peter Mann at .
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. The DPNC has been elected and the process of preparing a Ministry Information Form has begun. 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. 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

Crossroads Presbyterian Church of Mequon, Wisconsin, is in search of a new Associate Pastor for Discipleship. Our prayer is for a pastor who feels called by God to Crossroads Presbyterian Church, can inspire us on our faith journey through hand-on mission activities, has a passion for growing relationships with God through adult education, and can practice faith with us, leading through authentic relationships. MIF #09445.ALO. More information at
Know Where to Go, Whom to Call for Help at the Board

Member Services Team Reorganizes To Better Serve Members, Employers

The next time you reach out to the Board of Pensions for member or employer assistance, you'll notice some important changes. As explained in the article 800-PRESPLAN: Same Great Service for Members; Dedicated Resources for Employers, on, the Member Services team is now called Plan Operations -- with separate, dedicated teams for Member Services and Employer Services.
What will be different for members?
The most important difference, according to Kelly Riley, Vice President, Plan Operations, is that members and employers should get immediate access to resources they need to administer and participate in the Benefits Plan. "The reorganization, coupled with the recently revised prompts for the telephone system that supports 800-PRESPLAN, provides direct access to targeted resources for members and employers," Ms. Riley explains.
In addition to Member Services and Employer Services, the new organization houses the Plan Operations and Integration team, responsible for the strategic direction, design, and implementation of processes necessary to operate, measure, and continuously improve day-to-day service delivery.
Synod's Keeping in Touch newsletter, April 19, 2016
includes an article about an interfaith gathering in Washington, D.C. 
that Rev. Scott Prouty (First Presbyterian, Redwood Falls) attended.
Through April 30, you can download a complimentary Amazon Kindle edition of 
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