The Valley Bridge
The weekly newsletter from the
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
August 10, 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 August 14-20
First Presbyterian Church of Slayton

Commissioned Ruling Elder:  David Hollis
Moderator:  Rev. Lynne Matthews
Clerk of Session: Nola Aanenson
Organist/Music Director: Cathy Magnus
Sunday School Superintendent:  Leslie Wajer
Sunday School Music Director/ Bell Choir Director: Luann Parker
Session Members : Bud Kooiman, Barb Bergman, Shannon Pederson, Gail Johnson, Branch Haken and Rich Wajer
Trustees : Craig Johansen, Cal Johnson, Bruce Haken and Rick Parker

Sharing our joys and concerns:
  • The Slayton Presbyterian Congregation was excited to experience the commissioning of Ruling Elder David Hollis at the May Presbytery meeting.
  • We had five students attend church camp this summer, and they came home with exciting experiences to share.
  • We pray for our Christian Education Committee as they prepare the programs for the Sunday School classes.
  • We pray for the members of our congregation facing health issues, for those that are home bound or in nursing home facilities.
  • We continue to ask God's guidance as we continue our journey.
A Word from Rick: Back from 'The Bump'

It was a good day in Browns Valley, out there on "the bump." The "bump" is that one spot in our state, that, as our Moderator Andy Davis pointed out, is located north, south, and east of South Dakota!  Along with Andy's observation, I would also add that Browns Valley is located on what is called the Laurentian (Continental) Divide which separates Lake Traverse and the Hudson Bay Watershed from Big Stone Lake (a few miles to the south) and the Atlantic Watershed. Browns Valley is indeed a special place, not only geographically and geologically, but in the world of our presbytery.
The Browns Valley congregation represents a long-time union between Methodist and Presbyterian Christians who have learned to accept one another's quirkiness and have committed themselves to a united ministry out there on "the bump." Over twenty years ago, this congregation committed itself to giving up two aging and not very accessible buildings and built a new single-story facility on the edge of town. It was hard to give up the previous buildings, but the congregation brought pieces of each facility, such as pews, stained glass, and other things to the new building. There remains a connection to the past, and at the same time, an emerging vision of what the future will bring. The community and the congregation is not huge in population, but that does not seem to limit what the congregation seeks to provide in ministry and hospitality. We were comfortably at home yesterday!
I want to add my thanks to those that have already been extended by the presbytery to our friends in Browns Valley. The hospitality was welcoming and warm, just what would be expected a community like Browns Valley. The super gooey cinnamon/caramel rolls were definitely worth the trip, and because the crowd was a bit smaller than usual, that meant more of these goodies for those of us who trekked across the presbytery, and even through South Dakota, to be present. I also want to thank all of our presbyters for their participation in our time together. You sang with your usual joy, asked insightful questions, demonstrated a sense of community in your fellowship, and sought to honor God in all that you did. And, in case you missed it, you now officially put my retirement date in the presbytery minutes . . . from that, there is no turning back!
I am grateful to the folks in Browns Valley for inviting us to come out to their place for a visit, and I am blessed by your commitment to be the church and be open to what it is that God is doing in our midst. I feel that our time together was worth the journey!
Grace and Peace,

On the Road with Rick
August 14 - Morning Worship at Cambria and Madelia Presbyterian Churches
August 21 - Preach at First Presbyterian Church, Willmar
August 28-September 7 - Vacation!
September 11 - Preach at Zion Lutheran and Harrison Presbyterian Churches
Save the Date!
September 24
9:00 am - 4:30 pm
Continuing Education opportunity!

Conflict Transformation  Skills 
for Churches

will be held at First Presbyterian Church in St James.
This workshop will provide a lens for looking at conflict,  a way to understand your own style of responding to conflict,  and an opportunity to learn basic skills and find resources  to help with interpersonal and congregational conflict.

This event is open to all churches in the Presbytery.  The only cost will be $10 for lunch! Watch  this space for more details!
To Pastors, Clerks of Session, PWC:
One of the goals of the redesign of the Presbytery is to enhance relationships between the churches of the presbytery. At the July meeting of the Commission of Presbytery Life, we discussed ways to accomplish that goal. We need your help in this first attempt.
Here is what we intend to do. We will work with our staff to add a new category in the black bar across the top of the presbytery's web page. It will be entitled churches/mission. This will not be password protected. This link will bring you to a church directory that is similar to the one under directories except it will not have any personal staff information. Instead it will list the mission activities of the church.
This is where we need your help. Please send Karen a list of any mission activities that your church is participating in. We will let you define mission. Karen will add this list to your church listing in the new directory.
What do we hope to accomplish by doing this? Any one in any of our churches will be able to scan this information to look for mission ideas to use in their congregation. They will also be able to contact that church to solicit help in beginning and sustaining that mission. They might also be able to find a mission that they are interested in but not able to accomplish by themselves. They could then collaborate with the church that is already involved in that mission.
Our hope is that everyone will participate. Please contact Karen with the information requested and as your mission program changes, keep Karen informed so she can update the information on the website and keep it accurate. We will give you a couple of weeks to get the information to her, and then we will start contacting those who have not responded. 

Next Delegation to Guatemala

by Jim Krapf

Our partners in Occidente Presbytery have requested that we join them in two projects to improve the conditions of their people. During our visit a year ago and since, we have been developing Health Fairs and Quilting Classes. The timing of these projects is being coordinated with the Network Meeting scheduled normally every two years in Guatemala.

We are recruiting participants from our presbytery. Application forms can be downloaded from the presbytery website or obtained from Jim Krapf by calling 507-350-1662 or emailing You can sign up for either the projects or the Network Meeting and the projects. To accommodate in-country transportation arrangements, we can take up to eleven people. The funds granted to the Occidente Partners Task Force will supplement the cost. Further details are printed on the application form.

The Fairs and Classes will occur from February 3 to 13 following the January 30 to February 2 Guatemalan Network Meeting. The Fairs and Classes will be offered together in two day sessions in three location for a total of six days. Additional days are allotted for travel, worship, and visits.

Participants in the Network will learn best practices from other partnerships. Participants in the Fairs will help distribute information regarding health issues. Since the request came primarily from Occidente's Presbyterian Women organization, the focus will be on women's health concerns. Participants in the Classes will demonstrate and give instructions in quilt making. Their quilts will provide personal use and additional income for their families.

These experiences provide mutual opportunities to make friendships and to grow in faith. Our Occidente partners call this "developing transformative global disciples for Jesus Christ."

Support Education for Children in Our Sister Presbytery in Guatemala

by Jim Krapf

Education yields opportunities. You can support this possibility for children in our sister presbytery of Occidente. Donating $250 scholarships provide funds for a student's required uniforms, books, and other expenses for a year.

Their next school year begins in January. We send the scholarships in late October.  Until then, your checks can be mailed to the presbytery office. Any amount is appreciated; but $250 per student is the goal.

Donors will receive photographs, academic reports, and thank you notes from children and/or their parents. We do not reveal the donors to the recipients to avoid further requests for assistance. We have found presbytery-to-presbytery arrangements are a fairer more manageable way to offer assistance.

Occidente Presbytery, along with others throughout Guatemala, have reorganized. The whole country is becoming a General Assembly with new groupings of synods and presbyteries. With fewer churches in each, communications will be more effective and travel to meetings more convenient. Occidente's Committee on Ministry will continue to select the recipients from among their now 20 churches. Keeping our donations at current levels could support more children beyond elementary into middle and high school.

Thank you in advance
A Call to Serve

Who will be the next Scott Prouty or Kathy Terpstra, as members of our presbytery serving at the General Assembly level?
The 222nd General Assembly (2016) created several special commissions, committees, and task forces to be appointed by the Co-Moderators of the 222nd General Assembly and, in the case of the Way Forward Commission, the Co-Moderators with the Moderator and Vice-Moderator of the 221st General Assembly. If you wish to be consider for one of these opportunities, you must complete an application form and provide three references.  
The first two online application forms are now available. Application forms for the Way Forward Commission and the 2020 Vision Team can be found at The online application form is due on August 17. 
A New Website for Presbyterian Mission Agency

The Presbyterian Mission Agency has rolled out a brand new website - that seems to be more user friendly - and really works!
We encourage you to check it out and use it . . . OFTEN!! The address for this new website is

Ministry Opportunities

The First Presbyterian Church of Pipestone  is seeking a Designated Pastor to lead them as they seek to grow and develop active disciples. First Presbyterian Church desires to be a congregation that will embrace new ideas that will lead them into a new and exciting future. 
If you, or someone you know, might be the dynamic, committed pastoral leader that FPC-Pipestone needs, please take a serious look at this opportunity! The Ministry Information Form is posted on the Church Leadership Connection web site -- It is MIF ID#03796.AC0. For more information, contact Rick Carus at the presbytery office - 320.235.7910 or .

The First Presbyterian Church Osakis is continuing its search for 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!  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 - .
Thankful for Son's Experience and Personal Growth at Camp

Just passing along a comment from one of our first-time campers' Mom who wrote "Thank you so much for giving Blake this opportunity, through this scholarship! He loved camp and wants to go back next year! It has helped me personally watch him grow, expand and learn new things without having to be with family all of the time! It boosted his confidence to do things on his own and away from home!  He's proud of himself!"

Useful Link for Church Treasurers: 
PWP News and Fall Spiritual Retreat

The PWP Fall Spiritual Retreat happens Monday, September 26 - Tuesday, September 27 (noon to noon) at the Green Lake Bible Camp. This year we will hear from Rev. Elaine Boyd on the " Sweet Life Café." Registration deadline: September 1.

There are also links to the current PWP newsletter and a mission pledge form.

Flyer and registration form
Lifelong Learning Program Grants have been awarded by the Foundation to Presbyterian planning groups in its 13-state region since 1972. Teaching Elders, Commissioned Ruling Elders (CREs) and Lay Leaders greatly benefit from lifelong learning events which are located in their Presbytery or state.

Through the years, the Foundation has provided over a million dollars to support many educational events, workshops and/or seminars which cover a wide range of topics and serve anywhere from 10 to more than 200 people.
If your Presbyterian group is located within the Foundation's 13-state region, an application for financial assistance is available. A grant provides up to one half of the cost of presenting an event or workshop to benefit area clergy, CREs and/or lay leaders. (Application forms and guidelines may be downloaded from the bottom of this page.)
Applications and estimated expense/income totals for Lifelong Learning Program Grants are due in the Foundation office by August 15th  of the current year for an event planned for the following year.

Requests for payment for approved Lifelong Learning Program Grants are due before November 15th  following the event. Extensions will be considered upon request.
The region served by the Foundation includes the following 13 states: Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, MissouriMontanaNebraskaNorth DakotaOklahomaSouth Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.
Church Law Day

August 18, 2016
Gustavus Adolphus College, Heritage Room or Livestream
9:30am to 3:00pm
sponsored by ELCA SW Minnesota Synod

Click here  to download event flyer.
Click here  to register.
Topics to be covered:
  • What You Need to Know About the Employment at Will Rule.
  • The Fair Labor Standards Act and Revisions to Exempt Employee Salary Requirements.
  • Employment Policies and Employee Handbooks.
  • Interviewing and Hiring.
  • Discipline and Discharge.
  • What Is the Ministerial Exception and Why You Should Care.
  • "Quick Hits" on Other Legal Issues That May Affect Religious Organizations:
    • Unemployment insurance
    • Worker's compensation insurance
    • Employment practices liability insurance
    • General liability insurance
    • Equipment leases
    • Space sharing agreements
    • ELCA constitution and bylaws
    • Embezzlement
    • Disclosure of significant events
    • Membership or attendance by sexual abuser or child abuser
    • Mandatory abuse reporting
    • Dealing with trouble makers
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