The Valley Bridge
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 10-16
Cambria Presbyterian Church of Cambria
Ruling Elders: Darin Altmann, Darlyne Deopere, Curt Johnson, Howard Jones, Kent Wilson Jones, Steve Kodada, Marcia Pugh, Tim Stokes, Verna Walters
Clerk of Session: Ronelva Dauer
Treasurer: Terry Thorson
Commissioned Ruling Elder: Sue Goebel
Pastor: Penny Johnson

Health concerns of many members and friends, for the people of Ukraine, unexpected death of extended family members, for those suffering long-effects of COVID-19.

We are also having a year-long celebration of our 100th anniversary by remembering the histories of many of the small churches around us that have closed. We are having historical services with content contributed by former pastors and their families.
A Word from Kathy
We had a great Presbytery meeting yesterday. It was full of joy and laughter and big decisions. We called a new Presbytery Executive that will start June 1st, and we also voted to hire a part-time youth director for the Presbytery. These decisions will set us on a positive track for the future. I am very enthusiastic about the direction this Presbytery is taking. I was also overwhelmed by the kind words, cards and gifts for my retirement.

God is doing a new thing here in Minnesota Valleys. Thank the Lord for God's blessings on us all.

Thought for the Week:
"Religion is at its best when it makes us ask hard questions of ourselves. It is at its worst when it deludes us into thinking we have all the answers for everybody else."
--Archibald MacLeish

Blessings,
Kathy Terpstra
Gap Executive Presbyter
The Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys met in a hybrid in-person/Zoom meeting at the Hope Presbyterian Church, Spicer, MN on Tuesday, April 5. We were warmly welcomed with great hospitality by the Hope members. The meeting began with worship where we were introduced to the Rev. Beth Buckwalter-Miller, the candidate for the Executive Presbyter position, who also preached on selections from Psalm 139. The Hope choir sang two selections during worship, communion was served, and an offering was received for the One Great Hour of Sharing totaling $337.
 
During the afternoon session, the Presbytery approved extending the call as Executive Presbyter to the Rev. Beth Buckwalter-Miller. Her bio can be found here. She will begin her work on June 1, 2022. Also, the presbytery approved seeking a part-time presbytery youth director. The Personnel Committee will be directing this search and hire. We welcomed the Rev. Bob Kersten to the presbytery as the pastor at Maine, Underwood. Reports were heard from the Commission on Leadership, the Commission on Presbytery Life, the Budget and Finance task force of the Commission on Operations and the Committee on Congregational Nurture. Presbyterian Clearwater Forest and Lakeshore Center at Okoboji were present for reports about the upcoming summer camping season. We also heard about the capital campaign at Clearwater Forest.
 
The final report was from the Personnel Committee who honored our Gap Executive Presbyter Commissioned Ruling Elder Kathy Terpstra whose work will be ending as the new Executive Presbyter starts. Kathy has been in place for almost a year and a half and was honored for her commitment and dedication to her service to the Presbytery.
 
The meeting ended with a mini spiritual retreat led by the Rev. Candace Adams. As we left the meeting, we held a chocolate chip cookie bake off. The winning cookie was baked by the Rev. Beverly Brock, pastor in Foley. Here’s the recipe:
Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups pulverized oatmeal
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
1 (12 ounce) package semi-sweet chocolate chips
How to make:
  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine flour, pulverized oatmeal, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. Cream butter and eggs, add sugar, brown sugar and vanilla at high speed. Add flour mixture, beating at low speed. If dough is too stiff, add a stick of melted butter. Stir in chips.
  4. Drop onto cookie sheets and bake 10-15 minutes.
 
The presbytery will meet next via zoom on Tuesday, June 7 from 9:00 – 10:30 a.m.

Stated Meeting photos on our Facebook page are here.
New website is here!

Check it out! minnesotavalleys.org
We are working on adding PayPal and Vanco as online payment methods.
More pages will be coming as they are completed.

Pictures of churches and people are included in the directory, and Karen has been looking in the presbytery photo files, on Facebook and elsewhere for photos of people to go with their contact information. Please let Karen know if you do not want your picture to appear with your contact information. You are welcome to submit a photo of yourself to use in the directory. Contact Karen to get your login phrase for the directory also.
Opportunity to Try Something New Sunday, April 24

I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? Isaiah 43:19

I believe the church has changed more since March 2020 than it has in my entire lifetime! As we live into this new age of being the church, I encourage every congregation to try something new. We will be offering a new way to truly be connected to each other, by having the same sermon heard throughout many congregations in our Presbytery.

This is an opportunity to be connected, but it also is an opportunity to explore another way in which pulpit supply could be offered or another way in which churches could share a pastor. On average pastoral searches are taking much longer, so here is yet another way that we can share resources to build up the body of Christ in a new way, using the technology that many of our congregations have embraced since March 2020. Don’t worry if your church doesn’t have access to technology yet, you can participate too, by reading a written manuscript of the sermon.

In an effort to be more connected, the Presbytery is encouraging every church to hear the Word of God proclaimed together virtually. A sermon by one of the leading pastors in our Presbytery will be video recorded and available to download or streamed on YouTube. For churches that do not have the technology, a written manuscript will be available for a church member to present in worship. The video, as well as additional liturgical material, will be available to churches no later than April 13.

So, I invite to try something new, and join the Presbytery for worship on Sunday, April 24.

Paul Snyder
Inventive Ministries Task Force of the Commission on Leadership
Exploring a Call

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I; send me!’ Isaiah 6:8

Have you ever heard God calling you to serve in a new way? Calls happen in various ways. Maybe God is calling you to take on a larger role in leadership in your congregation? Maybe God is calling you to assist in the leadership of worship in your congregation? Maybe God is calling you to develop skills to be able to provide a sermon on Sundays when a congregation needs pulpit supply? Maybe God might even be nudging you towards considering being a pastoral leader as either a CRE or a teaching elder? If you have heard God calling you, our Presbytery is offering an easy way to begin exploring this call.

On May 9th at 7:00 p.m. the Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys will offer a Zoom meeting for anybody exploring any of these questions. PNC’s have discovered that we are experiencing a shortage of pastoral candidates to fill positions. This is especially true in rural Minnesota. Many of the new pastoral candidates are coming from suburban and urban places on the East or West coast, while most of our PNC’s are looking for candidates with small church experience, small town experience, and somebody who is familiar with the culture of the upper Midwest. If you look at the pastors presently serving in our Presbytery, there are several pastors who grew up in this Presbytery or the surrounding presbyteries. Yet, we have had no candidates under care for several years.

If you hear God calling (even faintly) please join us as we explore ways to assist you in answering that call. There will be information on the Academy and the opportunity to explore attending seminary or other continuing education programs. Please get the word out to every one of our congregations and encourage anybody in which you see gifts to explore a call by attending this event on May 9th at 7:00 p.m. via Zoom.

Paul Snyder
Inventive Ministries Task Force of the Commission on Leadership
Pastor Opportunity

It's been a hard couple of years for everybody! Pastors are dealing with all the issues that are related to the pandemic, along with all the normal ups and downs and other parts of ministry. In addition, they are ministering to congregations that are also dealing with a lot of stress and anxiety.

The Commission on Leadership has decided to give those in ministry some help and support in the form of affordable coaching. The Synod has trained coaches to provide the service at a cost of $50.00 per session. The Commission on Leadership has approved paying one half of the cost for one session a month for up to 24 months. If you are already working with a coach or want to use another one, you still can be reimbursed $25.00 per month. This program is available to all pastors, CREs who are serving churches and Christian educators.

We all can use some help and support as we continue to deal with a lot of heavy issues. If you are feeling just a little (or a lot) overwhelmed, please take advantage of this opportunity.

Contact Kathy Terpstra if you want to get started: 320-815-8158 or e-mail kterp101@yahoo.com
SDOP Application Deadline is May 1

Our presbytery has been allotted $4,393 to fund Self-Development of People projects in 2022. The deadline for submitting applications is May 1.

We have accelerated the timeline for several reasons. We are already receiving inquiries about possible projects to be funded. The needs are immediate and real. The committee can do its best work if not rushed. So, our invitation at this time is for our Presbytery’s congregations and their leaders to identify grassroots groups in their communities who are struggling but want to improve their situations. This is a wonderful way for your church to join God in reaching out to neighbors in need.

The basic criteria to qualify is that the group 1) own, 2) control, and 3) benefit from the project. The process includes groups submitting application forms to the committee chair as soon as possible. The Committee will review the application and do an on-site or zoom visit and decide whether to submit the application. Application forms can be downloaded from www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/sdop/apply-grant. Assistance can be provided by contacting our presbytery’s SDOP chair Jim Krapf at 507-350-1662 or jimcynkrapf16@gmail.com.

Committee members currently include Paula Tift and Dick Andzenge of St. Cloud, Thalia Taylor of St. Peter and Jessie Gaytan and Jim Krapf of Worthington. If you value SDOP’s approach of offering hand-ups, rather than hand-outs, contact Jim about joining the committee. Training will be provided.
Dear Pastors and Worship Leaders,

As a member of the Presbytery’s Committee on Congregational Nurture, I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you all a new, emerging music ministry out of the First Presbyterian Church of St. Cloud called the “Lowertown Project.”

Don Fortner, the current music director at First Presbyterian Church, and Mike Karl, a Presbyterian Elder and member of 1st Pres of St. Cloud have been working hard on creating this ministry, which includes a contemporary praise and worship band with a message of encouragement and hope. They are now prepared to offer a program that could serve as either a stand-alone concert or a complete service of worship led by them, and needing only local announcements and introductions.

They are now looking to book in churches and for community events for 2022 and 2023.

Attached below is a link to a video they have just completed, and their website is below that. This will give you an idea of their work. Their cost is normally a free will offering, with a minimum of $500.00 for the full band, but they would also be open to somewhat less depending on travel necessities and the number of band members needed.

If you will take the time to watch their video, I believe you’ll be blessed, and catch a glimpse of the wonderful message through Christian music they could bring to your church or community event. I encourage you to seriously consider giving them a call soon to discuss possible booking dates on your church or community event calendar!

Contact:
Mike Karl: 320-267-4584 (c) or
Don Fortner: 612-790-5821
FPC Windom Middle School Youth Group Sharing Center Donation
The people in the Middle School Youth Group decided to donate food to the Windom Sharing Center to help all the people who are hungry in Windom. The whole month of March we collected items with a different category each week. Each week, people brought items to church, and we packed them into two cupboards. On March 27, we loaded all the items in a car and took them to the Sharing Center. The total weight was 213 pounds! Our total monetary donation was $890!
FY22 ACPE Summer CPE Unit Program
VA Midwest Health Care Network (VISN 23)

The St. Cloud VA Hospital in St. Cloud, Minnesota is announcing its FY22 Summer CPE Program. There is no tuition fee, and a housing option can be arranged at the nearby St. John’s School of Theology in St. Joseph. Dates are 5/31/2022-8/12/2022. Seminar times will be Virtual on Monday 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Participants will be assigned to Wards for ministry with Veterans Tuesday-Friday using proper COVID 19 protective ware. A fuller description with additional information is here
 
Applicants may send their application materials to the contact information below: 
Rev. Daniel R. Duggan, M.Div., BCC, ACPE Certified Educator
Chaplain, ACPE Certified Educator, Manager of CPE Program
St. Cloud VA HCS
4801 Veterans Drive
St. Cloud, MN 56303
320-255-6480 x7543
FAX: 320-202-2309
2022 Per Capita
$43.00 Total
$28.52 for Presbytery
$5.50 for Synod
$8.98 for GA

2022 Presbytery Meeting Dates
Tuesday, June 7 via Zoom from 9:00 – 10:30 a.m.
Tuesday, August 16 via Zoom from 7:008:30 p.m.
Saturday, October 8 in person from 10:003:00 p.m. (location: St. Cloud)
Tuesday, December 6 via Zoom from 6:308:00 p.m.
Prayer List
  • For the family and friends of Rev. Dawn Carder, who passed away on Sunday (retired pastor, formerly at First Presbyterian Church, Mankato)
  • For Rev. Jeff DeYoe, undergoing cancer treatment (former pastor at Hope Presbyterian Church, Spicer)
  • For Rev. Mark Chamberlain, retired pastor, Willmar
  • For Rev. Bob Bartlett, First Presbyterian Churches of Brewster & Round Lake
  • For Rev. Michael Roys, retired pastor, Winnebago
  • Pray for our brothers and sisters in the Occidente Presbytery of Guatemala - for their health, safety, and recovery from the effects of the Covid pandemic
Pastoral Leadership Opportunities

First Presbyterian Church of Edgerton and First Presbyterian Church of Lismore - Pastor, yoked parish
Ministry Information Form - 03781.AD0

Zion Presbyterian Church, Ellsworth, First Presbyterian and Emmanuel Presbyterian Churches, Rushmore - Pastor, yoked parish
Ministry Information Form - 09163.AF0

First Presbyterian Church, Pipestone - Pastor
Ministry Information Form - 03796.AD0

Harrison Presbyterian Church, rural Spicer - Pastor, yoked parish
Ministry Information Form - 03878.AA0

First Presbyterian Church, Winnebago - Pastor
Ministry Information Form - 03811.AA1

Ministry opportunities are posted on the Church Leadership Connection website -- http://oga.pcusa.org/section/mid-council-ministries/clc/
Presbyterian Church USA Weekly News
Cultural, Faith & Disability Communities Covid-19 Updates
A free recorded Earth Day worship service will soon be available!

Tired after a lengthy Lenten journey? Join Rev. Nicole Havelka, registered yoga teacher, for a two-hour post-Easter yoga release, including gentle movement; restorative yoga (the laying around kind!); and guided meditation. Monday, April 18, 2022; 12:00-2:00 CT; learn more and register here.
AND
The Ministry Lab worked with Lutherans Restoring Creation to create a beautiful Earth Day Worship Service. Free to use April 24 or anytime thereafter. Learn more here; register to receive the link here.
Let your own body, mind, and soul experience a little New Life this Easter!