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 August 18-24
First Presbyterian Church of Mountain Lake
Clerk of Session/Church Secretary: Julie Johnson
Custodian: Steve Peters
Treasurer: Char Peters
Commissioned Lay Pastor: Linda Becken

Session: Steve Peters, Frank Wallert, Jerry Logue, Roxann Wellman, Jean Haberman 

Mission Projects We Have Supported/Participated in: Loaves and Fishes Food Shelf, Souper Bowl of Hunger, Operation Christmas Child, Heifer Project, Ride By Faith, Gideons and other local projects

Prayer Requests:
  • For our elderly in the nursing home
  • For families who have lost loved ones this past year
  • For our nation that is in turmoil
  • For our children’s safety as they return to school
  • For our farmers who have had a tough year both weather wise and financially

We wanted to include a new picture of our church which shows the original bell from the old bell tower. It was in storage for 67 years and finally restored so we can ring out the joy of Christ’s love as we begin each service. 
Small and Rural Church Ministry Focus of August Presbytery Meeting

 By Mark Ford

Make plans to attend the August 20 th meeting of Presbytery to learn more about rural and small church ministry. 

The Reverend Doctor Mark Yackel-Juleen will be making a presentation at the August Presbytery meeting at the Federated Church in Fergus Falls focusing on the ministry needs of small and rural churches. We encourage everyone in small and rural ministry to come hear how we can serve the kingdom of God in our current situations. 
Dr. Yackel-Juleen has extensive knowledge in small town and rural ministry and culture. He has worked with developing multi-point parishes and rural missional redevelopment. He is currently the Director for Small Town and Rural Ministry with the Center for Theology and Land at Wartburg Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa. In 1992, he and his spouse Margaret founded Shalom Hill Farm, a rural ministry education and retreat center in southwestern Minnesota where he served as executive director until 2017. 

Prayer List

  • For the family of Rev. Don Crissinger-Clark, who passed away July 24.
  • For Rev. David Poppen, in ICU following a motorcycle accident on July 21. He has served churches in Ellsworth, Rushmore Emmanuel, Slayton and Iona.
  • For folks affected by the tornado that tore through Silver Lake
  • In our Synod of Lakes and Prairies, Central Nebraska, Prospect Hill, North Central Iowa Presbyteries have been hit especially hard by flooding.
  • Sue Thompson, Clerk of Session at First Presbyterian Church, Maynard
  • Rev. Araceli Itzep from the Occidente Presbytery
  • For Beatriz (Betty/Beti) Cifuentes, the treasurer of the Partnership Committee, who is beginning chemotherapy.)
  • For the "Men in the Mirror" program. Men from Occidente that MVP supported financially to attend the classes a couple of years ago are going to share the information they gained with different churches in the eastern and central parts of Guatemala. They, along with the chaplains of the national Presbyterian church, will also be training Christian policemen in what they learned from "Men in the Mirror."
  • For Guatemala as this is election year and new leaders will be chosen.
  • For the churches in Occidente Presbytery as they will be gathering in July 26-27 for their Mission meeting.
Photo from Rev. Don Crissinger-Clark's memorial service: Here is the group of clergy who robed and sat as a body at Don’s service. Those from Minnesota Valleys Presbytery are in the front row left to right: Dr. Ray Larson, Rev. Mark Chamberlain, Dr. Terry K. Olthoff, and Rev. Mark Ford. The other clergy are seminary classmates and clergy friends of Don. Rev. Hal Rainey, formerly of our presbytery, was at the service as well but did not sit with our group. Also present were Judie Larson, Nancy Chamberlain and Lucy Rainey. Minnesota Valleys was well represented.
Submitted by Dr. Terry K. Olthoff
Free for the Asking

In anticipation of my approaching retirement, I hope to reduce a large portion of my pastor's library. I am offering a variety of commentaries, books about preaching and of sermons. I'd be happy to email you a list, and can talk about ways to get them to you, to presbytery, or the Willmar office. Commentaries include volumes from the Anchor Bible & O.T. Library series; Harper's N.T. series; a 12 volume Interpreter's Bible & Barclay's set. Preaching books include works by Craddock, Barbara Brown Taylor, Hoefler and others; series by Best Sermons; Abingdon & Augsburg. You can request a list a

Rev. Michael A. Roys
Upcoming events at a glance

August 20: Presbytery meeting at Federated Church of Fergus Falls
Sept 10: "Making the Ask" webinar by Shirley Carter begins at 10:00 (email Karen Lange to register)
Oct 3: "Preaching in Times of Transition" webinar by Gerald Lui begins at 10:00
Oct 15: Boundary Training at FPC Redwood Falls
Nov 2: Presbytery meeting at FPC Redwood Falls
Nov 11-13: Pastor Retreat at Presbyterian Clearwater Forest
Books of Order now available

The PDF of the 2019-2021 Book of Order has been added to the PCUSA Store website and is available for free download

The Presbytery has ordered Books of Order for congregations at a cost of $8.50 each to be handed out at the August presbytery meeting. We will ask for postage reimbursement if we mail them out.

Planning Calendar Orders

The PC(USA) Store will ship out Presbyterian Planning Calendars in August, and we have again ordered calendars for congregations for $9.50 each. This 16-month calendar will begin in September and end December 2020. Please place orders for calendars with Karen. If they are here by the presbytery meeting, we will hand them out there. We will ask for postage reimbursement if we mail them to congregations.

Results from the GA amendments

Here is a link to the Presbyterian Outlook’s article on the General Assembly amendments:
The FPC Mankato invites you to hear Mission Co-Workers
Charles and Melissa Johnson, mission co-workers in Zambia, are visiting First Presbyterian Church of Mankato on Wednesday, August 14th . The event will be from 5:00-8:00pm. We're going to have a potluck supper and will enjoy time with Charles and Melissa as they share about God's mission happening in Zambia, how they were called into mission partnership, and how churches might hear their call into mission partnership.
Tuesday, September 10 10:00am Webinar
Making the “ask,” stewardship, funds development and talking about money
Speaker: Shirley Carter
Shirley D. Carter has a deep passion for service and leadership for the public good. She began fundraising in her late teens, as president of the Young Adult Fellowship and later became the youngest trustee of a multi-million-dollar trust administered by her local United Methodist Church.
She has led two hospital foundations for the last 13 years. Prior to that, she held leadership positions at two other hospitals and a global humanitarian organization. 

Shirley and her husband Joel have three young adult children. She is active in her local Church and volunteers on the Kandiyohi County Area YMCA and Lutheran Social Services of MN boards of directors. She is also actively involved in a philanthropic education organization.

Shirley holds a Master of Business Administration degree with emphasis in healthcare and is a Certified Fund Raising Executive. She is the current Executive Director of Rice Health Foundation at Rice Memorial Hospital - Carris Health.   

Making the Ask: This course will provide insights into creating a culture of philanthropy in congregations, by connecting the Church’s purpose with opportunities for giving. Participants will learn how age and gender impact giving, and ways pastors can feel comfortable about asking. 

Email Karen Lange to register.
The Synod of Lakes and Prairies Presents
The Art of Transitional Leadership
Learning Ministry Skills for Today’s and Tomorrow’s Church
Pastors, Staff, COMs and Congregational Leaders
September 16-20, 2019
Christ the King Retreat Center in Buffalo, Minnesota
Track 1: September 16-20, 2019
Whether it is a change in leadership or a changing community, leading a congregation through change is both challenging and rewarding.It takes knowledge, skill, resilience and spiritual strength to navigate the waters of change in a way that leaders and congregations thrive. This training is for individuals who are considering ministry in temporary settings (as an interim, transitional or designated pastor) or are experiencing ministry in these transitional times. Materials presented will include the basics of transitional ministry and will be of value to all congregational pastors regardless of their ministry setting. Best practices in transitional ministry include ways to enter the congregation and community, how to analyze a congregation’s strength and growing edges, and how to assist a congregation in moving toward a vibrant future. This training will delve into navigating change, the pastor as a spiritual interpreter of transition, family systems, mission focus ministry, conflict mediation, and building resiliency.

Track 2: September 18-20, 2019
Congregational leaders seeking to serve God faithfully are invited to Part Two of the Art of Transitional Ministry Event. The Wednesday–Friday training is for ruling elders, deacons, and other congregational leaders. Workshops for this group will focus on the vital role you play in collaborating with pastors to lead congregations through ministry transitions. Participants can expect to learn about core value mission planning, leadership development, congregational systems, stewardship, and creating spiritual energy in congregations.

Save the date for Boundary Training
Tuesday, October 15 from 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
First Presbyterian Church of Redwood Falls
Boundary Training is required for all minister/teaching elder presbytery members and commissioned ruling elders. The Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys will be holding a boundary training on Tuesday, October 15 from 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church in Redwood Falls. The Rev. Mark Sundby from Leaderwise will be leading the boundary training. The training will focus on a holistic approach to boundaries, looking at overall resilience and well-being as the best prevention against impaired decision making and boundaries violations. More information will be coming.
Save the Date :
Pastors’ Retreat
November 11-13, 2019

Leaning Tree Lodge
Presbyterian Clearwater Forest
16595 Crooked Lake Rd
Deerwood MN 56444
Begins with lunch on Monday and ends before lunch on Wednesday.
Cost: $40, includes meals and lodging

Come and enjoy the fall beauty of Presbyterian Clearwater Forest and spend time with presbytery colleagues. We will reflect on the year of transformation and take a deep breath. The retreat is in the planning stages, but mark your calendars to attend.

Retreat Speaker Rev. Jennifer Hope Kottler is a spiritual director/certified life and leadership coach and yoga teacher in private practice in Florence, SC. An ordained pastor in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) with standing in the United Church of Christ, Jen serves clergy and lay leaders who want to deepen their own spirituality and lead their communities with intentionality and grace. Jen facilitates retreats and events for congregations, non-profit organizations, and church leaders. In all her work, Jen incorporates ancient spiritual practices with modern techniques including Energy Leadership Coaching and Conversational Intelligence®. Jen is married to Rev. Gavin Meek, Transitional Executive Presbyter and Stated Clerk in New Harmony Presbytery (NE South Carolina) and she enjoys hiking, tennis, cooking for family and friends, and traveling with Gavin.
Church Staff: Schedule a Day with Karen

Associate for Administration Karen Lange is available to spend a day with church office folks to share tips on setting up bulletins, newsletters, making a Facebook page or to help with any general questions. The cost is Karen’s mileage to and from the church plus providing lunch. Please email Karen to schedule.
Pastoral Leadership Opportunities

First Presbyterian Church, Fulda - Solo Pastor
  Ministry Information Form -  03782.AD1

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

Hope Presbyterian Church, Spicer - Solo Pastor
  Ministry Information Form -  09565.ADO

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