The Valley Bridge
The weekly newsletter from the
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
August 22, 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 26 - September 1
Randall Presbyterian Church of Randall
Pastor: Michael Hartwell
Clerk: Terry Coffin
Treasurer: Jim Skoog
Session Members: Chris Magee, Joyce McDonald, Jim Skoog, Mary, Skoog, Terry Coffin, Jake Farrow, Michael Lashinski
Randall Presbyterian Church began a new chapter in its history as the Rev. Michael Hartwell was called to serve as pastor. After 17 years in Phoenix, AZ, he began his ministry in Minnesota on July 1st. 
The Presbytery will have the opportunity to get to know Michael and the Randall church better as the church will be hosting the Elder and Deacon Training on August 29. The Presbytery is also invited to the installation of Pastor Michael September 16, at 4:00 pm.  A reception will follow. 
The people of Randall are involved in several mission programs. Members help serve monthly at the Morrison County Food Shelf in Little Falls and annually at the Little Falls Care Center. The church supports One Great Hour of Sharing, Pentecost Peace offering, Christmas Joy and Habitat for Humanity. Individually, members serve in Meals on Wheels, Kinship and Relay for Life.
The church prays that this new chapter will be a season of spiritual growth and outreach to the community.  The congregation continues to offer prayers of thanksgiving for the leadership of committed members, those who supplied pulpit supply and the support of the Presbytery during the two years the church was without an installed pastor.
Conversion, Accepting Christ and Election!

Yesterday, as I listened to Ray Jones talk about evangelism, it reminded me of my spiritual transformation. I was raised Roman Catholic. As a youth, I do not remember conversations about accepting Christ as Savior or conversion. Catholic youth looked forward to Confirmation. I especially looked forward to the day I would receive my First Communion and join the Church. The thought that everyone in my Sunday School Class would be going through Confirmation was a primary motivator. But beyond the peer pressure of youth, I knew this rite of passage would bring me closer to God. I became Presbyterian when my husband and I moved to Atlanta, Georgia and looked for a church home. Before moving to Atlanta, we were a part of Military Chapel services and multi-denominational Military congregations. I intentionally did not use the term "non-denominational" because there is no such thing. Denominational beliefs and practices form all congregations.

New Life Presbyterian Church in 1991 became our church home. At New Life, we learned the principles of the TULIP (Total Depravity, Unconditional Election, Limited Atonement, Irresistible Grace, and Perseverance of the Saints). The concept of irresistible grace especially touched my heart. I knew from experience that human beings are not on a search for God. God is in search of us, making God self-known in many ways in hopes to get our attention. During the years before going to seminary, I began a thorough study of Romans 8:29-30 "For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn within a large family. And those whom he predestined he also called; and those whom he called he also justified; and those whom he justified he also glorified." I wanted desperately to understand my standing with God. Yesterday Ray Jones said that when we arrive in heaven, the only question Christ will ask is "Did you believe that I love you?" Struck by these words, I replied my answer would be yes. From the time I became aware of God, I have been assured of Christ's love. This has been the most empowering knowledge I have had in life.

From the message yesterday it seems evangelism is just sharing your story and listening for the opportunities to share the story of God's love with others. The take away from yesterday presented the following questions:
-   What does your discipleship look like?
-   Can you be trained to share the good news with those who are not open to hearing it?
-   What conversations do you need to have in your community about God's love?

Jones made this profound statement "You can only be as big as your concept of God." My life is changed; I am not the same person I was before. The knowledge of God's love and grace in my life has made me a new creation. This is a little of my story.

Presbytery Meeting Highlights

Thanks to the First Presbyterian Church of Brainerd for hosting the stated presbytery meeting yesterday. From the moment we arrived, friendly faces and helpful folks surrounded us. Rev. Ray Jones (from the Presbyterian Mission Agency/Theology, Formation and Evangelism) presented on Becoming a Sent Church. Then we broke into groups and walked around Brainerd. Each group was instructed to pray during their walk for those they saw, for those who lived in or worked in the homes and buildings they passed. We lunched on tator tot hotdish (yum!). The business meeting followed. Executive Presbyter SanDawna Ashley did a quick review of her first year, we learned about the ministry of the Randall Presbyterian Church, Darin Seaman talked about what Jesus means to him, the GA Commissioners reported about their experiences at General Assembly, we met Michael Hartwell, new pastor at Randall, and honored the retirements of John Lindholm (Western Presbyterian Church of rural Fergus Falls) and Kathy Terpstra (Harrison Presbyterian Church of rural Spicer). We moved into a time of worship, and Ray Jones gave a wonderful sermon on Beautiful Feet. Here are a few photos from our time there.

Some of us came up the day before at stayed at Clearwater Forest. There was a bonfire and some singing! (photo by Anne Veldhuisen)
Prayer walkers (photo by SanDawna Ashley)
Prayer walkers (photo by SanDawna Ashley)
Prayer walkers (photo by Karen Lange)
Our speaker, Ray Jones (photo by Karen Lange)
The Brainerd Choir (photo by Karen Lange)
Kathy Terpstra and John Lindholm's retirement recognition (photo by Karen Lange)
Spotlight on Randall Presbyterian Church: Terry Coffin and Michael Hartwell (photo by Karen Lange)
Moderator Stan Menning anoints Michael's
hands for ministry (photo by Karen Lange)
Pamela Prouty and Ray Jones lead communion (photo by Karen Lange)
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. 
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 provides 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.  You can bring your checks made out to the Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys to the August 21 Presbytery meeting in Brainerd. Or you can mail them to the presbytery office. Any amount is appreciated; but $250 per student is the goal. You may consider making this more than a one year commitment.
This support would be in addition to the six scholarships that are provided through our presbytery's Occidente Partners budget. Keeping our donations at current levels could support more children beyond elementary into middle and high school.

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. Some of these will be on display at the next Presbytery meeting. We have found presbytery-to-presbytery arrangements are a fairer more manageable way to offer assistance. Occidente's Committee on Ministry will continue to select the recipients from among their now 20 churches.

Thank you in advance
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. 
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
by 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.

Instructions for 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, August 23
Topic: Leadership on the Line, Chapters 3-7
Time: Aug 23, 2018 11:00 AM Central Time (US and Canada)
Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:
Or iPhone one-tap :
US: +16699006833,,827894997# or +16465588656,,827894997#
Or Telephone:
Dial (for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
US: +1 669 900 6833 or +1 646 558 8656
Meeting ID: 827 894 997

Instructions for 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 23
Topic: Leadership on the Line, Chapters 3-7
Time: Aug 23, 2018 6:30 PM Central Time (US and Canada)
Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:
Or iPhone one-tap :
US: +16699006833,,600664685# or +16465588656,,600664685#
Or Telephone:
Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
US: +1 669 900 6833 or +1 646 558 8656
Meeting ID: 600 664 685
What does it mean to be a Presbyterian?
The National Capitol Presbytery, in responses to the 223rd General Assembly, invites mid-councils and churches to discern your answers to the question, "What does it mean to be Presbyterian" through the unique and consequential ministry of Rev. Henry Highland Garnet. Responses to the question will be used to republish a contemporary and practical reprinting of A Memorial Discourse, three messages from Rev. Garnet between 1843 and 1865, culminating in the memorial address on the occasion of the passage of the 13th Amendment. Garnet was the first African-American to give a speech in the U.S. Capitol. Had Rev. Garnet not been ordained by the Presbytery of Troy, called by Shiloh Presbyterian of New York City and again by 15th Street Presbyterian, that moment of deliverance may not have happened.
In 2019, the 400th anniversary of the first ship carrying kidnapped Africans to land in Virginia will occur. Our churches will have the opportunity to interpret how God moved through history to carry out Scripture through a prophet like Rev. Garnet. By participating, you can engage the format and content of this new resources for worship and study; organize your own observances and re-enactments of Rev. Garnet's extensive library. Contact the Overture Advocate, RE John William Templeton at or 415-240-3537 or Dr. Perzavia Praylow, pastor of 15th Street Presbyterian Church at for more information.

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 September 10, 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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