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 the afternoon of Thursday, August 29, and all day on Friday, August 30. The presbytery office will be closed on Labor Day, Monday, September 2.
Congregation of the Week of September 1-7
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: John McCallum, Gary VandeVoort, Lee Gorter, Amy Staples, Dakota Staples, Amy Staples, Jenn Lamb, Toni Kruger,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 2019-2020 school year, for our Christian Education Committee as we continue our Wednesday night Sunday School program J.A.M.(Jesus and Me) in cooperation with our Methodist and Lutheran friends, prayers for our new youth leader Michelle Bernett who will lead our churches as well.
Missions: Food Shelf, Relay for life, Hospice banquet, back pack program. Our mission offering called Noisy Collection.
Upcoming event: Rally Day, September 8th (with our Methodist and Lutheran partners).
Prayer List

  • For Rev. Michael Roys, pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Winnebago
  • For Rev. Elaine and Kent 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."
Clerks sharing news about their congregations in the Session Records Review (this was shared in July, but wanted to include now that more reviews are completed)

Westminster Presbyterian Church of Worthington : A backpack giveaway was held in August, with 400+ given away to area students.
First Presbyterian Church of Windom celebrates Lunch Buddies and Kidz Closet.
First Presbyterian Church of Willmar noted Family Promise and the mission trip to Louisiana.
Harrison Presbyterian Church of rural Spicer celebrates their new pastors, who started November 2018.
First Presbyterian Church of Slayton:
  • Church signs "I love my church"
  • Pay camp fees
  • Special item each month - Murray County Food Shelf/monetary donation matched
  • School supplies collected
  • Gift cards for grocery store at holidays for needy families
  • Pastor Dave involved in many community activities
  • Sunday School helped clean up church lawn
  • PW: Bazaar - Craft Days - Bible Study
  • Support many local mission projects
  • Participate in Relay for Life/Bail & Jail
  • Homecoming treats with note from church
  • Fellowship coffee before church services
  • Caring for school kids
  • Visit or make telephone calls to shut-ins
  • Family Fair Booth/MCC School
  • Youth Hanging of the Greens
  • CE Palm Sunday Breakfast
First Presbyterian Church of Saint James is beginning preparations to celebrate the church's 150th anniversary in 2020.
First Presbyterian Church of Saint Cloud shares that on April 16, the Mission Committee sponsored a dinner party as a fundraiser for Sargodha Schools in Pakistan, and celebrates the completion of the new westside entrance to the church.
Emmanuel Presbyterian Church of Rushmore has a monthly loud offering which is used to buy Christmas gifts for a local family identified by the County Family Services Agency. Church families also purchased gifts for five more needy families.
First Presbyterian Church of Round Lake joined with the Bethel Lutheran Church of Round Lake (Missouri Synod) in serving a community breakfast and Easter egg hunt and a Christmas community breakfast. Also join annually with serving at the banquet in Sioux Falls, SD.
First Presbyterian Church of Osakis celebrates over 80s birthdays, Friendship Table meals, Backpack Attack, and Osakis Hunger Coalition.
First Presbyterian Church of Maynard is planning a birthday for the church, and receiving three new members.
First Presbyterian Church of Holland celebrates Vacation Bible School.
First Presbyterian, Kasota Hosted a Garage Sale on May 24-25, Vacation Bible School July 15 thru 18, In August we will have a Confirmation Open House August 14th and Ice Cream Social. Fall brings our Annual Church Bazaar. Dates and Times will be posted on our website. Our Activities: weekly worship service and Sunday School, Communion Services seven times a year, Christmas Eve Candlelight Communion Service, Easter Sunrise Service and Breakfast, Lenten Soup and Stories, participating in the presbytery four designated special offerings, include hosting and participating in the Adopt a Family Program for Christmas-we sponsor 1-3 families each year, participating in the Food Shelf Program twice a year March and November, Holding annual Pancake Supper, donation to the LeSueur County Sheriff's Department Drug Awareness and Bullying Programs, donations to Habitat for Humanity. We continue to support other community outreach such as National Night Out.
First Presbyterian Church of Fulda has community worship in the Fulda City Park during our June Wood Duck Celebration.
Federated Church of Fergus Falls honors Pastor Doug Dent receiving his Doctor of Ministry this spring.
Cambria Presbyterian Church will be celebrating its 100th church anniversary beginning December 2019.
First Presbyterian Church of Blue Earth : After a major mold abatement in the church basement, we are please with how fresh and clean it looks. It was necessary to purchase new table and chairs. We have used it to host a graduation reception, and funeral lunch. Due to a hail storm last summer, our roof has been reshingled.
Lakes Area Presbyterian Church of Baxter (formerly First Presbyterian/Brainerd) Relocation of a church, and changing the name is a major undertaking, with some surprises along the way.
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 is tomorrow
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.
Matthew 25 Introduction Video
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
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. 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 ordered calendars for congregations for $9.50 each. This 16-month calendar will begin in September and end December 2020. We will ask for postage reimbursement if we mail them to congregations. They have not arrived yet as of today, August 28.

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 --