The Valley Bridge
The weekly newsletter from the
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
August 8, 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.
Congregation of the week of August 12-18
First Presbyterian Church of Osakis
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, Shari Maloney, Dianne Majerus and Kevin Withers
Deacon Members: Ilene Olson, Madelyn Hale, Jan Krmpotich, Joan Bischoff, Deb Cody and Barb Neumann
Prayers are appreciated for our congregation consists of aging saints with a number in nursing homes or assisted living. Prayers of thanksgiving for new and renewed people coming to worship and the reintroduction of children to our worship.   For the leading of the Holy Spirit, to energize and encourage the faithful, to inspire the congregation in her outreach that new people be connected with to share the good news.  For the Lord's wisdom as we are presented with transitions in people's lives and consequently our church family.  
Earlier this year a few people attended the Transformation Ministry Event, since then we have continued transformation conversations in our congregation.  We have changed our community meal gradually to "Friendship Table" event which we serve monthly to heighten awareness of our church and her ministry.  We are active with other community churches and the United Way in the local Backpack Attack program which weekly 70 students in the school district are served.  We host a community Bible Study/Prayer group on Thursday mornings which has a growing appeal as well as an Annual VBS.  Monthly our men meet for breakfast, carry out building upkeep needs, host a "Fat Tuesday" pancake supper, and an annual garage sale.  Recently we hosted a Pie and Ice Cream Social for the first time during our community's celebration as well as having a float in the parade.  Coming up yet this year, we will host outdoor worship and picnic at the park inviting another congregation to join us, an "Over 80's Party" to celebrate our senior saints, "Trunk or Treat" event for community youth on Oct 31, and our annual Community Thanksgiving Meal and Christmas Tea.
Lucky-Thirteen Days to Presbytery

It will be lucky thirteen if you have made reservations for housing at Clearwater Forest! Otherwise, you may have to crash on an inflatable mattress at Mark Ford's house!

We want to remind you that Ray Jones will be speaking to us on evangelism and we will be doing a prayer walk in downtown Brainerd. Here is some info about Ray!

Ray Jones is the Associate Director of Evangelism for the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). He has served the church as a pastor for thirty years in congregations in Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. For the past seven years he has served the denomination through the Presbyterian Mission Agency.

Ray has a heart for helping people come to know and grow in their love of God in Jesus Christ. Through Ray's guidance, The Presbyterian Mission Agency is producing curriculum to encourage and equip churches to help people live into their stories of faith, grow as followers of Christ, and see themselves as missionaries to their communities. Ray believes that renewal in the church begins with God's radical, unconditional love revealed in Jesus.

Ray is married and has two grown daughters. He has experienced training and education at Furman University, Columbia Theological Seminary, the church, and through living in the world.

Check back next week for information about the prayer walk!
For those not staying at Clearwater Forest, 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.

RSVP for the presbytery meeting by August 14.
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 and three traditional high backed chancel chairs 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.
A Visit with Charlie Reid

On July 31, Stated Clerk Pamela Prouty had the opportunity to visit Rev. Charlie Reid at a care facility in Eau Claire, WI. Rev. Reid has served the Windom and Jackson churches in our presbytery. 

If you wish to send him greetings, here is his address:
Rev Charlie Reid
Oak Gardens Place
342 Twin Oak Dr Apt 207
Altoona WI 54720-3304
Minnesota Valleys SDOP completes re-certification
Synod Executive Elona Street-Stewart, and Minnesota Valleys SDOP committee members Rev. Jim Krapf, Rev. Elizabeth Tot, Nancy Horn, Peter Mann, and Thijin Gatwech

Members of Minnesota Valleys' Self-Development of People completed their re-certification training at the Synod office in Eagan on August 4. Instructions were given by national staff Margaret Mwale.
From the One Great Hour of Sharing offerings contributed by our congregations, funds are allotted to our presbytery. If your congregation supports this offering, thank you. If not, ask your session to start promoting this opportunity. The more our presbytery churches give, the more we are able to help groups in need.

Currently the committee is working with Sudanese refugees in St. Cloud on projects they desire to improve their lives.

The committee is open to other applications from underserved populations who are seeking to own and control projects that will benefit their growth in economic and social justice platforms. Who are the groups in your community who want to empower poor disadvantaged people?   Please contact chairperson Rev. Jim Krapf at 507-350-1662 or for more information. Or you can send Jim the name and contact information, and the committee will handle it from there.

Our SDOP committee invites more people to join the team of people wanting to help people help themselves. Contact Jim if you are interested.
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. 
Mark Your Calendars for September 15

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) is a Presbyterian Church ministries funded in part from One Great Hour of Sharing. It is one of the most visible mission arms of the church. Volunteers in blue shirts show up to give aid and comfort for those suffering from natural and man-made disasters both in the US and abroad.

To find out more mark your calendar for September 15th, when team members from the national office will be with us for a day to talk about their work, ways we can help and what PDA can do for us when we are in need.

Watch the Valley Bridge for more details.
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.
August Ordination Anniversaries

08/04/2012  Paul Snyder
08/06/1957  Hugh Miller
08/14/1961  Wayne Purintun
08/15/2006  Leanne Thompson
08/15/2006  Scott Thompson
08/28/2005  Andy Davis
Lakes and Prairies Synod School draws more than 600
Weeklong Synod School puts successful 65th year into the books

by Duane Sweep | Special to Presbyterian News Service
Presbyterian News Service, August 7

Synod School attendees fill Schaller Chapel on the Buena Vista University campus for opening-night worship Sunday, July 21. (Photo by Duane Sweep)

STORM LAKE, Iowa - Marking its 65th year, this year's iteration of Synod School, the midsummer ministry of the Synod of Lakes and Prairies, drew more than 600 for a week of worship, classes, fun and fellowship on the campus of Buena Vista University in Storm Lake, Iowa.

Synod School 2018, which ran July 21-27, featured more than 70 classes, convocation addresses by Jason Brian Santos, worship services led by Jana Childers, and the music leadership of Hans Peterson and Nelson Morlock.

While participation in Synod School is usually measured by the number of participants from a presbytery, this year a single church contributed 29 attendees. "There were 29 of us, counting me," noted Lance Loveall, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Loveall said the group included "four kids, 10 youth and 15 adults." Loveall and his wife, Paige, "have been talking about Synod School since we started coming seven years ago," he wrote in an e-mail.

Grandparents started bringing grandchildren. "In the meantime the grandparents that came spread the word of how awesome Synod School is and recruited people of that generation as well," Loveall noted. This year's group include 16 first-timers, including one man who attended for the first time with his wife and grandson, another grandchild with his grandmother, a couple, a single adult, and four families with children.

"To the person, everyone reported having a good time," Loveall wrote. "Whether it was a class or classes, the worship, or [Santos], or a combination thereof, they all reported having fun, learning, being spired, having thoughts about our congregation, and having wonderful conversations about spiritual development and the church."

Through five convocation addresses, Santos, who is the mission coordinator for Christian formation at the Presbyterian Mission Agency in Louisville, explored what it means to be an intergenerational "Sabbath people."

Addressing the way the church connects with youth, Santos asked, "Are we entertaining our youth or engaging them in Christian practice?" And commenting on church as entertainment, and children's time and youth activities, Santos said, "If that's all we have, we have failed."

Santos said, "We have to put action into our words." The connection with youth is gained through community, shared time and experiences together. "We often think our memories are our own," Santos said, but added, "All of our memories are connected to our communal environment."

That's true, too, for the community of the church. "At the end of the day, sometimes we put too much emphasis on the sermon. ... Is it so cerebral that we've lost the art of connecting?" Santos asked. "We no longer live in a pastoral model of the church."

The 70-plus classes ranged from "Spiritual Formation" to "Yoga: Vacation Style," and "Immigration: Economics, Ethics & Ethnics" to "The Coming of the Internet & the Loss of Everything Else." Classes also varied from the "Introduction to the New Testament" to "Sheldon Cooper on Relationships," and the "Doctrine of Discovery" to "Outdoor Cooking."

Classes even included "Laughter as a Spiritual Discipline," a class taught by Tom Willadsen, a Presbyterian minister, humor columnist and author of "OMG! LOL! Faith and Laughter." Willadsen is also well known at Synod School for "Caramel Roll Day," which usually takes place on Thursday.
In some past years, Willadsen would take plates of caramel rolls from the serving pans and deliver them throughout the dining hall. But in 2016, Willadsen noted, "[T]he food handling guidelines changed, and one could not take food from the line and deliver it without using gloves and tongs."

This year, on "Caramel Roll Day," Willadsen greeted breakfast diners at the door with a paper plate smeared with the "sweet, sticky goodness" of a devoured caramel roll. But Willadsen's desire to serve the delicious delight did come to pass. "I was pleased," he noted. "There were a lot left about 10 minutes before breakfast ended, so they let me put on gloves and deliver them until we ran out."

Childers, dean of the seminary and vice president for academic affairs at San Francisco Theological Seminary, led evening worship Sunday through Thursday. A Presbyterian minister, Childers is a popular conference speaker, preaching often in national and international settings. She has also been featured on the Hallmark Channel's "Great Preachers" series.

Dance also played a role in worship as Gina Penn, who discovered at age 13 she could dance as a form of worship, served as the School's artist in residence and led dancers during evening worship.
The success of Synod School has continued through another year, and plans are already in the works for Synod School 2019 - planned again during the last full week of July, July 21-26, 2019 - and at the same location.

Next year's convocation speaker has already been chosen - Deidre "Dede" Johnston, professor of communication at Hope College in Holland, Michigan, who conducts research in the area of global communication and cross-cultural happiness. Johnston also led the development of a new peace and justice studies minor at the college, and was involved in curriculum development for women's studies and American ethnic studies.

Shawna Bowman, associate director of field education and experiential education at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, will lead next year's evening worship. Bowman is also an artist and pastor at Friendship Presbyterian Church in Chicago and co-found of Creation Lab, an art collective.

And there are others making plans for next year's Synod School. Loveall noted that people in his congregation are already thinking about it. "People are already talking about next year ... Some people are already motivated to attend for the first time and many people are ready to go back."
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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