The Valley Bridge
The weekly newsletter from the
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
August 15, 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)
SanDawna Ashley is on vacation, returning on Monday, August 20.
Karen Lange is out of the office on Friday, August 17.
Congregation of the week of August 19-25
First Presbyterian Church of Pipestone
Pastor: Nathan Lamb
Clerk of Session: Geraldine (Gerri) Mitchell
Administrative Assistant: Amy Staples
Custodian: Craig and Pam Haraldson
Treasurer: Rose Vander Poel
Session members:  Janet Bush,  Sue Gorter,  Duane Schelhaas,  Nathan Paulsen,  Amy Staples, D akota Staples (Youth Elder),  Bud Eernisse,  Tony Koenders,  Gerri Mitchell
Prayers for the aging members of our congregation, for the families who have lost loves ones, for the staff, students, teachers and bus drivers as we start the 2018-2019 school year, for our Christian Education Committee as we start a new Wednesday night Sunday School program J.A.M.S (Jesus and Me)
Missions: Food Shelf, Relay for life, tour of tables, Hospice banquet, back pack program. Our mission pledge this year is that we have a noisy Sunday change for the Lake Shore Center at Okoboji.
Upcoming event: Our end of the Summer Potluck after worship on Sunday, August 26.
Presbytery Meeting Updates

From Mark Ford

We are well on our way to welcoming you to the Brainerd Lakes area for the Presbytery meeting scheduled for August 21st. If you are coming up on Monday, August 20th, and have not yet made reservation for a place to stay, Clearwater Forest is opening Leaning Tree Lodge. Please contact Karen before Friday, August 17th, if you need a room. You can check in as early as 4:00 on Monday. (Please check last week's Valley Bridge for pricing information). We are planning on having a campfire, s'mores and a sing-along beginning at 8:00 p.m.

The Reverend Ray Jones will be speaking on evangelism at the opening of the Presbytery meeting. After his presentation, we will be breaking into smaller groups to do a prayer walk around Brainerd. Mark Ford will have maps and information about routes and group assignments. The following is information about what a pray walk involves.

What is Prayer-Walking?

If we pray for our communities, we can begin to see a spiritual awakening around us prompted by God. Prayer allows us to tap into God's power. Realizing this, we can know that concentrated prayer has the power to literally change the world around us. A great way to put our prayers into motion is through prayer-walking our communities and neighborhoods.
Prayer-walking involves taking our prayers to the very places where we desire to see God's presence manifested and our prayers answered. It is the powerful dynamic of prayer on-site with insight from God's sight.

As you pray, you will find that God opens your eyes and prepares your heart to see the community from God's perspective. Prayer walking is Prayer walking is "Ordinary believers stepping into the streets to pray effectively for their neighbors. With eyes wide open to real needs and with ears open to the promptings of God's Spirit, intercession becomes an adventure" (Graham Kendrick).

Preparation for Prayer-Walking
  • Pray for a sensitivity to God's work (John 17:24)
  • Pray for open doors to share Jesus with others (Col. 4:2; Acts 4:31)
  • Pray for spiritual eyes to pray strategically (Eph. 1:1)
Know God's Guidance. Ask God to guide, direct, lead and impress you with God's agenda for God's people.

Prayer-walking is an act of worship and faith. God wants to use you to advance the Kingdom. Expect that God will help you see the true spiritual needs of the community and people. Expect that God will act. Expect that God will hear your prayers. Expect that God will use you to love His people.

RSVP for the presbytery TODAY.

Driving Directions: 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.
Final Worship at Western Presbyterian Church, rural Fergus Falls

On Sunday, August 12, Western Presbyterian Church had their final worship service. Many past pastors were there to offer remarks, including Rev. Ed Morgan and Rev. Michael Moore. Presbytery Moderator Ruling Elder Stan Menning offered the prayer of dissolution, and Rev. John Lindholm led the worship service. Also in attendance were many past members as well as members from neighboring churches of Fergus Falls Federated, Ashby and Doran. Rev. Doug Dent and Rev. Karen Anderson and Rev. Pamela Prouty were also there. A delicious lunch was served outside in a tent following the worship service.

Rev. John Lindholm
Ruling Elder Stan Menning, Presbytery Moderator

Article and pictures by Pamela Prouty
What do these things have in common?

California wildfires
Porto Rico hurricane Maria
Houston flooding
School shootings in Parkland Florida
Immigrant distress at the southern border
They are all places where Presbyterian Disaster Assistance was on the scene to work with local churches to help those who are in need.
Find out more about Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA). Hear stories about the ways that they serve and also learn what you and your church can do to be more prepared for an emergency.
Plan to attend a training an information and training session on September 15th, from 10:00 -3:00 at First Presbyterian Church in Redwood Falls.
Presenters will be: Laurie Kraus - PDA Director
James Kirk, Associate for Disaster Response
Susan Krehbeil, Refugee and Asylum Catalyst
Rhonda Kruse, Mission Engagement Advisor, Midwest Region.
Our Presbytery is honored to have these individuals with us. Please make it a priority for you church to send representatives to this event.
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.
Western Presbyterian Church, rural Fergus Falls, has a pulpit, three traditional high backed chancel chairs and two extra large coffee urns looking for a new church home. Contact Joel Borowski at 218-739-6549 or John Lindholm at 218-739-3260. All you do is come and get them if still available.
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.  During our 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. The remaining 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. 
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.
What can the church do about the growing addiction crisis?

There is an opioid addiction crisis sweeping the nation and there is no distinction between urban and rural areas. A June 2017 article in The New York Times identified drug overdose as "the leading cause of death among Americans under 50, with two-thirds of those deaths from opioids." Churches want to help people find recovery, but critical knowledge and resources to address the crisis are just not consistently available across our region.
Those who struggle with addiction and those who care about them often look to the church but find little help because they are under equipped even if they are an ideal place to provide hope and healing.
The Synod of Lakes and Prairies has found a way to help churches fill that vital role and take steps to address the crisis by participating in the Faith & Addiction Conference, planned September 28-30, at the DoubleTree Hilton in Bloomington, Minnesota. The event is designed to help congregations, clergy and care givers address the opioid crisis. Hosted by  the Fellowship of Recovering Lutheran Clergy (FRLC), the scheduled speakers include Nadia Bolz-Weber, Omar Manegwala and Anne Wilson Shaef and will feature interactive workshops and breakout sessions.
The synod encourages presbyteries to identify interested persons to attend. The synod will cover 20 registrations and invites not more than two per presbytery to apply for a scholarship. Attendees will be responsible for their own transportation and lodging costs.  Priority will be for persons engaged in or representing existing addiction support collaborations, especially in urban areas, tribal communities, rural regions and marginalized populations. Those who receive a synod-paid registration will be expected to reconvene for a daylong session to share their experiences and resources to provide support at the synod level that could be offered across the region.  
The Addiction and Faith Conference closes on Sunday morning. Commissioners and presbytery leaders attending the Fall Synod meeting, September 30-October 2, 2018, should note that the conference closes on Sunday morning prior to the evening opening of the synod meeting out at Mt Olivet Conference Center in Farmington, Minnesota. Please contact Elona Street-Stewart, synod executive, at 651-357-1149 for more information. Applications are available.
The Addiction and Faith conference is open to anyone interested in exploring the devastation of addiction and the remarkable healing process of faith. CEUs are available for health care professionals. The event will offer knowledge about addiction recovery, stories of learning and hope, and a celebration of God's abiding grace.

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.

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!

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.

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
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