The Valley Bridge
The weekly newsletter from the
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
August 31, 2016
 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 September 4 - 10
First Presbyterian Church of Saint Cloud

Administrative Assistant: Marsha Ziebarth
Custodian : Mike Tollefson
Facilities Director : Scott Varner
Director of Youth and Campus Ministry : Mark Giese
Pastor : Darin Seaman
Organist : Ann Oleksowicz
Choir Director : Nancy Parker
Bell Choir Director : Lori Potter
Prayers for:
Students, faculty and staff returning to school and campus
Ukirk ministry at St. Cloud State
Unity amid diversity in St. Cloud
Those facing aging health-related concerns
Those with mental illness in our communities
Homeless community of St. Cloud
Upcoming Gatherings

: Tuesday, September 13
"Boundary Training" from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. at Hope Presbyterian Church in Spicer. This is a required gathering for all of our pastors and ruling elders commissioned to a particular service, in order for our credentials to be found in order for the coming three years. Other interested participants from our congregations are welcome, as well.
Mark Sundby from the North Central Ministry Development Center will be the presenter and lunch will be provided. RSVPs are necessary - both for those planning to attend and those unable to attend. Please contact Karen at the presbytery office by September 8th. Our pastors and CREs should be present and engaged in this important training.
Saturday, September 24 - "Conflict Transformation Skills for Churches" from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church in Saint James. Pastors Leah Elrod and Scott Prouty will be leading this workshop, in partnership with Bill Blank, from the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center. Brochures and registration information are now available. Don't miss out on this great opportunity for your congregation and your leaders to see how conflict can be transformed into an opportunity for growth, and how you can respond to conflict when it appears in your congregation. Contact Leah Elrod at 507.375.3432 for more details.
Saturday, October 15 - "Building Interfaith Bridges" from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church in Redwood Falls. You heard Scott Prouty talk about this at the May presbytery meeting, and I hope that you have already put it on your calendars. Dr. Sayyid Syeed, the National Director of the Islamic Society of North America will be the guest of Scott and the Redwood Falls church during that weekend. Our presbytery is working with Scott to sponsor this gathering with the hope that it will engage us all in some important conversations about relationship and building bridges of understanding and collaboration between our faith traditions and communities. More details will be shared, but I hope that our people take hold of this opportunity to be in dialog. Stay tuned for more!
Saturday, November 5 - Presbytery Meeting and Music Workshop at the Union Presbyterian Church in Saint Peter, from 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. In the morning, Bill McConnell, Executive Director of PAM, the Presbyterian Association of Musicians will share with all of us how the Glory to God hymnal can be a vital resource for our congregational worship. Following lunch, while the presbyters conduct presbytery's business, Bill will lead a workshop for musicians, worship planners, and other interested folk. Make this a big day - bring your music lovers and worship leaders to the presbytery gathering. It will be great!
Opportunities to Serve in the Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys

The Committee on Representation will be nominating individuals to serve in the following areas of our presbytery's ministry:
  • The Commission on Leadership
  • The Commission on Presbytery Life
  • The Commission on Presbytery Operations
  • The Commission on Congregational Transformation and Development
  • The Committee on Congregational Nurture
  • Vice-Moderator of Presbytery
  • The Committee on the Self-Development of People
Descriptions of these groups and their ministries can be found on the Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys website, using the Commissions/Committees tab -

On the Road with Rick: August and September
August 28-September 7 - Vacation!
September 11 - Preach at Zion Irving Lutheran and Harrison Community Presbyterian Churches
September 13 - Boundary Training at First Presbyterian Church, Willmar
Available from the Wilmont Church

There are several items available from the Wilmont church. Click here for pictures. If you would like any of them, please let Charles Moore, chair of the Administrative Commission, know. Freewill donation.
The presbytery office also has two flags available, one American and one Christian. Contact Karen Lange.
Hello, Presbyterian Women!

We all love going out for a warm cup of coffee or tea with friends. And most of us long to extend those short visits and take time to slow down and really enjoy time together. 
That's exactly what we'll do at Sweet Life Café. Join us at this retreat, where we'll savor time with God and friends. Together we'll experience meaningful Bible studies, flavor-filled activities, and scrumptiously delicious fun!
We'll begin with registration from 12-1 PM on Monday, September 26 and will finish with a noon meal on Tuesday, September 27. Our Sweet Life Café retreat will be held at Green Lake Bible Camp, Spicer, Minnesota and the cost is only $85 per person! This covers three delicious meals, fun and refreshing activities, and comfortable lodging. 
Registrations should be made by September 1 and should be sent to Darlene O'Neal at 32505 300th St., Worthington MN 56187. Just missed the deadline? It's still not too late, but act soon. You do not have to be part of an organized Presbyterian Women's group or even Presbyterian to attend. All women welcome.
Take time to relax, to make new friends, to worship God, and to savor your relationship with Jesus. We hope you'll join us at Sweet Life Café!
Rev. Elaine Boyd
Sweet Life Café Director
Have you recently emailed Rick, Pam or Karen at the presbytery office?

Our emails went down late this past weekend and came back up again sometime Tuesday morning, August 30. Please resend any emails that have not been replied to.

Update on Rev. Charlie Reid:  Charlie is in Eau Claire near daughter Kathy for rehabilitation following a stroke. Cards may be sent directly to the hospital or to Kathy's home address:

Rev. Charles Reid
Dove Healthcare South
3656 Mall Drive #210
Eau Claire WI 54701

Rev. Charles Reid
c/o Rev. Kathy Reid
3310 McElroy Street
Eau Claire WI 54701

Mrs. Norma Elrod passed away on Wednesday, August 24. She was Rev. Merle Elrod's (honorably retired) wife and Rev. Leah Elrod's (First Presbyterian Church, Saint James) mother.
Visitation is Wednesday (8/31) from 5:00 - 8:00 p.m. at Dobratz-Hantge Funeral Parlor. 
Funeral is Thursday (9/1) at 11:00 a.m. at Bethlehem United Methodist in Hutchinson. 
Interment is Friday (9/2) in Minneapolis.
Merle's address:
Rev Merle Elrod
925 Hayden Ave SW
Hutchinson MN 55350-2341
Chris Cunningham
--A Minnesota Mini Tour with--
Wes Kirkpatrick

Concert at First Presbyterian Church
Canby MN
Sunday, September 11
4:00 p.m.
$15 at the door
(kids are free)
Send Us Your Congregation's Mission Activities!
One of the goals of the redesign of the Presbytery is to enhance relationships between the churches of the presbytery. At the July meeting of the Commission of Presbytery Life, we discussed ways to accomplish that goal. We need your help in this first attempt.
Here is what we intend to do. We will work with our staff to add a new category in the black bar across the top of the presbytery's web page. It will be entitled churches/mission. This will not be password protected. This link will bring you to a church directory that is similar to the one under directories except it will not have any personal staff information. Instead it will list the mission activities of the church.
This is where we need your help. Please send Karen a list of any mission activities that your church is participating in. We will let you define mission. Karen will add this list to your church listing in the new directory.
What do we hope to accomplish by doing this? Any one in any of our churches will be able to scan this information to look for mission ideas to use in their congregation. They will also be able to contact that church to solicit help in beginning and sustaining that mission. They might also be able to find a mission that they are interested in but not able to accomplish by themselves. They could then collaborate with the church that is already involved in that mission.
Our hope is that everyone will participate. Please contact Karen with the information requested and as your mission program changes, keep Karen informed so she can update the information on the website and keep it accurate. We will give you a couple of weeks to get the information to her, and then we will start contacting those who have not responded. 

Next Delegation to Guatemala

by Jim Krapf

Our partners in Occidente Presbytery have requested that we join them in two projects to improve the conditions of their people. During our visit a year ago and since, we have been developing Health Fairs and Quilting Classes. The timing of these projects is being coordinated with the Network Meeting scheduled normally every two years in Guatemala.

We are recruiting participants from our presbytery. Application forms can be downloaded from the presbytery website or obtained from Jim Krapf by calling 507-350-1662 or emailing You can sign up for either the projects or the Network Meeting and the projects. To accommodate in-country transportation arrangements, we can take up to eleven people. The funds granted to the Occidente Partners Task Force will supplement the cost. Further details are printed on the application form.

The Fairs and Classes will occur from February 3 to 13 following the January 30 to February 2 Guatemalan Network Meeting. The Fairs and Classes will be offered together in two day sessions in three location for a total of six days. Additional days are allotted for travel, worship, and visits.

Participants in the Network will learn best practices from other partnerships. Participants in the Fairs will help distribute information regarding health issues. Since the request came primarily from Occidente's Presbyterian Women organization, the focus will be on women's health concerns. Participants in the Classes will demonstrate and give instructions in quilt making. Their quilts will provide personal use and additional income for their families.

These experiences provide mutual opportunities to make friendships and to grow in faith. Our Occidente partners call this "developing transformative global disciples for Jesus Christ."

Ministry Opportunities

The First Presbyterian Church of Pipestone  is seeking a Designated Pastor to lead them as they seek to grow and develop active disciples. First Presbyterian Church desires to be a congregation that will embrace new ideas that will lead them into a new and exciting future. 
If you, or someone you know, might be the dynamic, committed pastoral leader that FPC-Pipestone needs, please take a serious look at this opportunity! The Ministry Information Form is posted on the Church Leadership Connection web site -- It is MIF ID#03796.AC0. For more information, contact Rick Carus at the presbytery office - 320.235.7910 or .

The First Presbyterian Church Osakis is continuing its search for a Pastor to lead them as they live out the visions that have been generated by their New Beginning conversations. If you, or someone you know, has a passion for small towns and energetic small-member congregations, please encourage consideration of this opportunity!  The Ministry Information Form for this opportunity is posted on the Church Leadership Connection web site. It is MIF#: 03890.AC1. For more information, please contact PNC Chairperson Shari Maloney at 320.859.3098 or by e-mail - .

08/25/16 In this season: GA222 Co-Moderator reflections
08/25/16 In this season: 
GA222 Co-Moderator reflections

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