The Valley Bridge
The weekly newsletter from the
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
August 1, 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 August 5-11
First Presbyterian Church of Mountain Lake
Minister: Linda Becken, CRE
Clerk of Session: Julie Johnson
Treasurer: Char Peters
Ruling Elders: Steve Peters, Frank Wallert, Jerry Logue, Jean Haberman, Roxann Wellmann

Missions we Support: Loaves and Fishes Food Shelf, Ride By Faith, Operation Christmas Child

Prayer Concerns: Aging members, members who have lost loved ones, members with health issues, farmers affected by flooding, all who have been affected by natural disasters.
This Will Preach!

Last week I visited Litchfield Presbyterian Church, and my sermon for the day was from Ephesians 3:14-21. This is one of my favorite Scripture passages: "I pray that you may have the power to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen."
Each time I read this text I am inspired to share with others the challenge to the Church. Do we have the ability to truly comprehend the breadth, height, and depth of God's love? Paul was not shy in saying that this love is found in Christ Jesus. I believe this message will preach. The love of God found through Christ Jesus is extravagant. No human mind can fully comprehend it. It can be known and experienced. This story does not adequately describe what Paul meant. However, I believe it does give us a picture of what love can do.
In 1920 Louis Lawes became warden of Sing Sing Prison. The inmates existed in wretched conditions, and Lawes introduced prison humanitarian reform. He gave much of the credit to his wife, Kathryn, who always treated the prisoners as human beings. She would often take her three children and sit with the gangsters, the murderers, and the racketeers while they played basketball and baseball. In 1927 Kathryn was killed in a car accident. The next day her body lay in a casket in a house about a quarter of a mile from the institution. When the acting warden found hundreds of prisoners crowded around the main entrance of the prison he knew what they wanted. Opening the gate, he said "Men, I'm going to trust you. You can go to the house." No count was taken; no guards were posted. Not one man was missing that night. Love for one who had loved them made them dependable.
At the August Presbytery Meeting, we will discuss evangelism. I have found the best way to evangelize is to begin with your own story. How has your life been transformed, shaped, set right, reconciled or inspired by the love of Christ spoken of in Ephesians 3? What Jesus tells us is that love is more powerful than hate. Love is not just an emotion, but it is action. It motivates us to live as Christ did. Love is what a hurting world needs. Love will solve our health care problem. Love will curtail the effects of poverty. Love will tear down the walls of division between peoples. Love will keep marriages together. Love will cause us to care for the elderly. Love will cause some to open their doors to the unlovable. Love will motivate us to forgive as we have been forgiven. Love will cause us to open our wallets and give to those in need. Love gives us new eyes to see others in the dignity of their humanity. Love can build a congregation. Jesus said, "if you love me, keep my comments and my Father will love you." Apostle John said, "He who does not love has not become acquainted with God."
How do you build people up? You help them realize how much they are needed, wanted, cared for, loved. This will preach!
Twenty-One Days to Presbytery
I know that you are all excited by your foray to central Minnesota (we are a long way from Canada!) for the August 21st Presbytery meeting in Brainerd! We will have Ray Jones, the associate director of Evangelism, making a morning presentation, followed by a prayer walk in downtown Brainerd. A great worship service is planned, included a couple of songs from the choir and a special appearance from a member of the Lakes Area Music Festival.
Since it will be a distance for many of our brethren and sisthern (I know that is not a word, but hard to find a plural for sister) to come this far north, we have found housing at Clearwater Forest for those who would like to come up on Monday night. The cost for a room is $53 for the night, but you will have to share it with another person. This is a real bargain since it is difficult to find inexpensive lodging during this time of year. Unfortunately, there are only 15 rooms/30 beds available, so it is first come-first served. Please contact Karen at the presbytery office today to reserve a room. For those who are coming the night before, we will be having s'mores and a sing-along at Clearwater Forest around 8:00 p.m. There may also be an opportunity to take a pontoon ride on the lake, as well.
You will rise bright and early on Tuesday morning to the sounds of loons on Clearwater Lake and have a chance to enjoy the beauty of Clearwater Forest Camp. There is a labyrinth and hiking trails. Then you can enjoy the 20-mile drive to First Presbyterian Church in Brainerd. Head south out of Clearwater and head west on Highway 18, which turns into Oak Street. At the second four-way stop, the church building is on the northwest corner, with a parking lot on the north side. Parking is also available on Eighth Street, and if there is not a funeral, Halverson-Johnson allows us their parking lot, which is on the west side of the street. Check-in and refreshments will await you!
For those not staying at Clearwater Forest, there is a lot of road construction happening in Brainerd/Baxter. If you are coming from the west on Highway 210, follow all the way to the light at Eighth Street. Turn south (right) and go five blocks to the church. If you are coming from the south on Highway 371, there are two options. If you take the main route (the four-lane), go to Highway 210 (or Washington Street) and follow the directions above. DO NOT TAKE OTHER ROUTES SUGGESTED BY YOUR MAP PROGRAMS AS THE OTHER ROUTES ARE ALL UNDER CONSTRUCTION. If you take Business Route 371, follow the detour signs. You will come to a four-way stop at Oak Street. Head west (left) and follow Oak Street to the next four-way stop.
Continue to read the Valley Bridge in the days ahead for further information about Ray Jones and the events of scheduled for August 21st!
Planning Calendars

The 2018-2019 Presbyterian Planning Calendars arrived! You can pick them up at the presbytery office. If you would like yours mailed to you, we ask that you would pay the postage. The remaining planning calendar orders will be handed out at the August presbytery meeting.
Leadership on the Line

Join the Presbytery in a book study of
Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Change
Ronald Heifetz, Marty Linsky
Pastors, sessions and church leaders are invited to read along with other co-learners as we take the transformation conversation one step further.  Planned for late July through Zoom and in-person discussions, we will explore the topics of productive change, lowering the risk of change agents, avoiding leadership traps, and answering the question-What does it mean to see new chapters in ministry. These are just a few of the themes we will discuss.  Leadership on the Line is a Harvard Business book commonly used by religious organizations. The book includes religious themes easily adaptable for the church context. Three Zoom book discussions will take place as follows:
August 23 - Part Two, Chapters 3-7
September 20 - Chapters 8-11
The discussions will be at 11:00 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., choose the time that works for your schedule. Zoom instructions will be in the Valley Bridge the week of the discussion.
Elder and Deacon Training scheduled

Ruling Elder and Deacon training will on Wednesday, August 29, from 6:00 - 8:00 at the Randall Presbyterian Church of Randall. We'll start with a light supper at 6:00, and the training will follow. Please let Karen know at the Presbytery office your attendance plans so we can plan meals accordingly. 
Mark Your Calendars for September 15

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) is a Presbyterian Church ministries funded in part from One Great Hour of Sharing. It is one of the most visible mission arms of the church. Volunteers in blue shirts show up to give aid and comfort for those suffering from natural and man-made disasters both in the US and abroad.

To find out more mark your calendar for September 15th, when team members from the national office will be with us for a day to talk about their work, ways we can help and what PDA can do for us when we are in need.

Watch the Valley Bridge for more details.
Per Capita and Mission Dollars

The Commission on Operations is asking congregations to henceforth send their per capita and mission dollars directly to the presbytery office - 4055 Abbott Drive, Willmar MN 56201. If checks have already been sent to the Synod, that is just fine.
August Ordination Anniversaries

08/04/2012  Paul Snyder
08/06/1957  Hugh Miller
08/14/1961  Wayne Purintun
08/15/2006  Leanne Thompson
08/15/2006  Scott Thompson
08/28/2005  Andy Davis
Synod School Memories
Our convocation speaker, Jason Santos
Our evening worship leader, Jana Childers
Some of our Minnesota Valleys Presbytery
folks participated in the choir
A familiar face here ...
A familiar face there ...
Suzy Synod School (right) presented Sarah Davis with Cinnamon the dog to take home! 
The children were often invited up front to participate

Here are most of the Minnesota Valleys Synod School attendees.
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

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

First Presbyterian Church, Mankato - Full-time Solo Pastor
   Ministry Information Form - 03792.AEO

The Ministry Information Forms for these opportunities are posted on the Church Leadership Connection web site --

Also: First Presbyterian Church, Lake Crystal - Interim Pastor, 3/4 time
                Link to position description
Scholarship Funds for Racial Ethnic Students available from Synod of Lakes and Prairies

The Student Scholarship Fund is an educational assistance program designed to encourage racial ethnic students in their preparation for academic success in higher education. Students must have a permanent residence within the Synod of Lakes and Prairies and be active members in a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) congregation. The synod is committed to partner with students and schools for leadership development and quality instruction of clergy and lay persons for lifelong service. Application awards are based on personal achievement, financial need and recommendation from a teacher and pastor. Completed applications are due September 30 and must include an official transcript and financial aid statement.

Free Advent Devotional
Each year I craft an Advent devotional for my two presbyteries. If you would like to make it available to your congregations, (free of charge of course!), you will find it linked. Feel free to share with any, all, or none as you wish. The PDF prints as a booklet.
My only request is that there be no charge for the document. Congregations who wish to make hard copies will have to pay paper and copying cost to distribute it to their people, which is enough of an expense.
I find congregations make decisions about ordering resource materials fairly early so I try to get ahead of the curve...consider it Christmas in July. Have a blessed week!
Grace out,
Brad Munroe
Pastor to the Presbytery
Grand Canyon and de Cristo presbyteries

When: October 1-5, 2018
Where: Minnetonka United Methodist Church (Twin Cities area)
Who:  Clergy and all persons in positions of church leadership who are interested in learning skills that will equip them to deal effectively with interpersonal, congregational, and other forms of church conflict 
Participants are eligible for up to 32 hours of continuing education.  If they register no later than August 31, 2018, they are also eligible for a $200 tuition discount!

Mediation Skills Training Institute for Church Leaders (October 1-5, 2018 Minnetonka, MN)
The Mediation Skills Training Institute is designed to equip church leaders with the skills necessary to deal effectively with interpersonal, congregational, and other forms of group conflict. The five-day institute also includes a component on congregational mediation and consultation, placed within the context of family systems theory.
Although focused primarily on the church setting, the skills learned are directly transferable to other settings. Thus, managers in business, attorneys, experienced mediators, and others in leadership will be enriched by the training as well.

The Mediation Skills Training Institute runs daily from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., with the exception of Monday, which starts at 9:00 a.m., and Friday, which concludes at 4:00 p.m.

Monday  10/01
Introduction: The Nature and Role of Conflict
Conflict in the Bible: Finding Renewal in Conflict
Understanding Your Own Style of Response to Conflict
Your Personal Style Profile for Communication at Work
Affirming Your Strengths and Managing Your Excesses

Tuesday  10/02
Interpersonal Peacemaking Skills: How to Be Effective When People Are Angry
Interpersonal Peacemaking Skills: Negotiating Win-Win Solutions
Mediating Conflict Between Individuals: An Overview of the Process
Mediation Skills: Getting People to the Table
Mediation Skills: The Introduction Stage

Wednesday  10/03
Mediation Skills: The Story-Telling Stage
Mediation Skills: The Problem-Solving Stage
Mediation Skills: The Agreement Stage

Thursday  10/04
Mediating Multi-Party Disputes
Congregational Conflict: Understanding Conflict in Groups
Family Systems Theory and Church Conflict
Designing Effective Group Decision-Making Procedures
Congregational Conflict:  Structuring Dialogue When Anxiety Is High

Friday  10/05
Mediating Congregational Disputes: An Overview of the Mediation Process
Mediation Skills: Contracting, Information Gathering, and Education Phases
Mediation Skills: Healing and Problem-Solving Phases
Mediation Skills: Bringing Closure to the Mediation

Minnetonka United Methodist Church
17611 Lake Street Extension - Minnetonka, MN

Tuition is $695 when paid by August 31, 2018; or $895 after that date. Participants receive a training manual and other materials upon arrival. Cancellation Policy: All refunds subject to approval. Please contact LMPC at 630-627-0507
Six New Things
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