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)
Karen Lange will be out of the office Thursday, Aug 22 - Friday, Aug 23
SanDawna Ashley will be out of the office Monday, Aug 26 - Wednesday, Aug 28
Congregation of the Week of August 25-31
First Presbyterian Church of Osakis
First Presbyterian Church, Osakis, Minnesota
Pastor: Randy Knuth
Clerk of Session: Shari Maloney
Administrative Assistant: Dianne Majerus
Custodian: Keven Withers
Organist: Ellen Bangtson
Treasurer: Shirley Helberg
Session Members: Shirley Helberg, Ron Majerus, Randy Neumann, Dianne Majerus, Keven Withers, Ellen Bangston
Deacon Members: Ilene Olson, Joan Bischoff, Deb Cody and Barb Neumann, Nancy Markey, and Barb Borseth
Your prayers have been appreciated over the past year as our pastor has had two major surgeries. We hope and pray that he is getting stronger every day. As with every congregation that is in transition, we seek your prayers for the Holy Spirit’s leading and guiding to continue to energize the faithful, and to encourage the congregation in her outreach efforts that as the seeds are planted that more fruit might be seen from sharing the good news. We continue to seek out God’s will for our lives as a congregation and what God may have in store for us as we lend ourselves to Spirit’s direction. Please keep these people who struggling with trials of health, aging, and loss of loved ones in your prayers: Joel, Bud, Nancy, Pat, Gladys, Bernice, Edna, and Tyler.  
In our efforts to be faithful to God’s calling, we nearly monthly host a “Friendship Table” event which serves a community meal to an ever-growing number of people that come from within a 20-25 mile radius. We are actively engaged in ecumenical efforts along with United Way to serve weekly about 50 some students in the school district with our local Backpack Attack program to curb hunger in our community. Weekly we host a community Bible Study/Prayer group on Thursday mornings. We had a successful VBS with a diverse group of children.  We also serve the needs of our area with a community Thanksgiving Dinner serving over 125 people this past year. Letting our community know we are here we have entered a float in the Osakis Festival which is followed by our Pie and Ice Cream Social. We give thanks for our “senior saints” as we hosted a special dinner in their honor. We reach out to our community youth by hosting a “Trunk or Treat” event which has growing appeal providing opportunity for other people in our community to join with us.
Prayer List

  • For Rev. Michael Roys, pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Winnebago
  • For Rev. Elaine and Ken Boyd at First Presbyterian Church of Amboy
  • For the family of Rev. Don Crissinger-Clark, who passed away July 24.
  • For Rev. David Poppen, who had a motorcycle accident on July 21. He has served churches in Ellsworth, Rushmore Emmanuel, Slayton and Iona.
  • 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."
Highlights from the Presbytery stated meeting in Fergus Falls

by Karen Lange

We had such a great day at Federated Church in Fergus Falls on Tuesday!
Linda and Kathy warmly greeted us upon arrival.
Connie and Ingrid organized the registration table - thank you!!
John Lindholm recalled the history of the Federated Church of Fergus Falls and how they became Federated, with Presbyterians and United Church of Christ joining together after a cyclone destroyed much of Fergus Falls.

We celebrated the June, July and August ordination anniversaries.
Our speaker and preacher was Rev. Dr. Mark Yackel-Juleen, and the focus of the day was Small Church and Rural (STAR) Ministry.
Book recommendations: Hope Is an Imperative by David W. Orr
Everyone Must Eat: Food, Sustainability, and Ministry by Mark Yackel-Juleen
Presbytery Moderator Mark Ford ably led us through the day.
Jill Boeyink, Andrea Walz, Allyson Johnson and Galen Smith shared their experiences at Presbyterian Youth Triennium.
Clara, Collin, Kathy Terpstra, and Jim Krapf talked about Synod School. Collin said his favorite thing about Synod School was the ice cream machine :)

Pam Prouty also reported about her and husband Scott's experience at Big Tent.
Steve Tyykila, chair of Presbytery Life, answered questions about the Matthew 25 Initiative. We voted to become a Matthew 25 Presbytery.

We also approved that beginning in 2020, presbytery meals will be $10 and will be collected at the registration tables on the day of the presbytery meeting.
During Speak Out, several folks shared joys and invitations and happenings. Here, Owar Ojulu asked for prayers for his family for a life transition/move to another part of the country and gave thanks for supporting him through the years.
Lindsay Conrad answered the question, "Where have you seen God at work?"

Other notes:
  • Approved the Session Records Report
  • Noted the process for the Stated Clerk Election; the due date to submit resumes is September 20.
  • Encouraged the use of the Congregational Financials Sustainability Assessment
  • Approved the 2020 Compensation Policy
  • Edith Alvarez reported from the Occidente Task Force - They will take a group to Guatemala from approximately January 27 - February 8. If you'd like to join, the deadline to sign up is November 8; and December 6 is the deadline to register for the Guatemala Network Meeting.
  • The presbytery meeting dates for 2020 are now:
  • Saturday, February 15
  • Tuesday, May 19
  • Tuesday, August 18
  • Saturday, November 7

Many thanks to the Federated Church of Fergus Falls for their hospitality. Thanks to Bill for his technical expertise with computer and sound, to the kitchen crew for the DELICIOUS meal (and fresh baked buns!), to the greeters, ushers, servers, and all that were there to make things run smoothly. It was a great day!
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

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
Live Presbyterian Outlook Seminar
Thursday, August 29 at 1:00 p.m. Central Time
Stories are told everywhere — at the dinner table, in the store and in the classroom. Stories shape us and influence our formation and decision-making. And, storytelling informs and shapes practices of discipleship as well.

Join Sean Mitchell in this webinar as he presents storytelling as a core practice for equipping the saints to mature as generous stewards. 

He will discuss examples of stewardship storytelling from Scripture and church history and provide a framework for developing a storytelling model for church leaders.

Who should attend?
If you are a pastor, elder, congregational leader of a stewardship ministry team or involved in planning a church fundraising initiative, this webinar will teach you how and when to tell stewardship stories throughout the year. You will also hear real examples of the impact stewardship stories have had in helping disciples grow in practices of generosity.

Live webinar with replay — $29.95 (1-6 participants from the same church/ministry)

Presented by Sean Mitchell, the author of "Gracious Stewardship" and founder of "Generosity Development."

On-demand video replay allows you to watch the video recording on the Outlook's website whenever it is convenient for you and as many times as is helpful.
U = University    
Kirk = Scottish for Church
First Presbyterian Church in St. Cloud would like to extend an invitation to all Minnesota Valleys congregations: Please connect your Young Adults with us if you know of any who will be returning to St. Cloud, or headed here for their first semester of college. We will strive to be their University Church while they are in our community. We offer times for worship, fellowship, and volunteering. If you have a young person to connect, please contact:
Mark Giese, Director of Youth & Campus Ministry
First Presbyterian Church
340 5 th Avenue South
St. Cloud, MN
Ph. 320-251-8277
Worship : Sunday mornings at 10:00am
Fellowship & Service for students : tba
The Lord's Prayer as rendered by the youth at Synod School

Our friend, mother, loyal mentor, father, parent,
Holy, sacred, important and everlasting is your name.
May you come to earth and console grieving people, spread love, give hope and support to anyone and everyone.
Give us this day, enough money for medicine for our mental health,
Care for our lives and the lives of others,
Clean water to drink and safety for all.
Lift the weight off our our shoulders,
Restore us in our communities and welcome us back into full relationship
Which is the very same forgiveness offered to us by Jesus on the cross.
Help us resist the unkindness and false images on social media
Help us resist anger, the urge to lie, drinking underage or drugs (ever)
God, you are the GOAT (greatest of all time) and have the power of resurrection.
So be it. (Amen)
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:
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. We are looking at making this a Facebook Live event and also invite folks to come to the presbytery office if they would like to experience this training in person.
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.

The Synod is also offering scholarships for half of the registration fee. Please contact Deb DeMeester at the synod office.
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

Please email Karen Lange your attendance plans by September 30.

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 --