The Valley Bridge
The weekly newsletter from the
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
December 14, 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: December 18-24
Cambria Presbyterian Church of Cambria
Pastor: Rev. Penny Temple-Johnson
Commissioned Ruling Elders: Betty Thorson and Sue Goebel
Clerk of Session: Roni Dauer
Treasurer: Melva Stokes

What a special day of worship on December 4th. Our congregation came together to celebrate 15 years with Pastor Penny! To her surprise, a special song from our talented Jodi Poehler, gifts, a prayer blessing our beloved Penny, and the gratefulness and well wishes from all the congregation!! Penny and Doyal are both such a blessing to our little church in the prairie and we are so happy they chose us 15 years ago!

Please pray for members and friends dealing with cancer, injuries, and loss.
The Word from Rick 

As my plane broke through the thick clouds above the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport on Saturday night, it was quickly obvious to me that I my decision to extend my trip by another night was not my first choice, but indeed, a good decision nonetheless. The windy wintry whiteness of Minnesota announced the fact that I was no longer in California, and confirmed for me that the decision to reserve a hotel room near the airport was rather wise, even though I was looking forward to my own bed after a week in a conference which had previously been a convent!
For the first time in sixteen December trips to San Francisco, I was unable to make it home on the same day; and as I discovered on Sunday morning, it was probably a good thing. My decision to stay in The Cities not only kept me from navigating nasty roads, but it most likely saved me from an encounter with the Minnesota Highway Patrol, or a country sheriff. I learned two years ago that our law enforcement professionals take a dim view of vehicles travelling with a burned-out headlight, and as I scooped about 8 inches off my car, I discovered that I was running with only one headlight.
Fortunately, getting a headlight replaced on a Sunday morning in Bloomington is probably easier than getting it replaced in most of the towns along US-12 between Wayzata and Willmar, and so the journey was a little bit longer, which again, was a good thing. As the day progressed, the spin-outs and accidents were getting fewer and the roads got better, and at 3:45 p.m. Sunday afternoon, I finally pulled into my garage, a mere 27 hours after going through TSA at San Francisco International.
I love to travel, but I also like to get where I am going, especially when that place is home, and when the travel plans get changed, or the journey is extended, I find that I can lose my patience and goodwill, along with a piece of my soul. There are those times when I would like the journey to be done and after a week away, my "are we there yet?" mode begins to kick in. It is there, in that moment, just as I am ready to hit the wall that something or someone greater than myself steps in to redeem the moment. And so it was on Sunday afternoon.
As I made my way along US-12 through Lake Wobegon's clones - Waverly, Dassel, Cokato, Atwater, and others. - I called up a few tunes from my friend Jim Morgan's Advent CD. Listening to those songs, a combination of traditional hymn tunes, folk songs, and classical pieces, I found my spirit begin to return. My impatience with snow-covered roads, burned out headlights, an extra night on the road, and yes, a lack of clean laundry, was being replaced by the wonder of this holy season, which in itself is a journey. As the light of the afternoon began to fade and the snow's intensity returned, the holiday lights in each town seemed to become more brilliant and with it the reminder of where this journey leads each one of us.
We are now a bit more than halfway through the Advent journey. It is a journey that has a definite destination, one that this year takes 28 days for us to travel - a journey that never gets delayed by blizzards, air-traffic delays, burned out headlights, or anything else. It is a journey to discover, or re-discover the "One who comes in the name of the Lord" to transform our lives and usher in the reign of God on Earth. I pray that you are finding your spirit strengthened and encouraged as you walk through the days ahead, and may your journey to Bethlehem continue to be blessed!

Grace and Peace,
On the Road with Rick
December 18 - Preach at First Presbyterian Church, Brainerd
December 24 - Christmas Eve Worship at First Presbyterian Church, Fulda
January 8 - Preach at First Presbyterian Church, Osakis
January 21 - Presbytery Orientation and Organization Gathering, First Presbyterian Church, Willmar
January 24-31 - Association of Presbyterian Church Educators Annual Event, Denver
February 4 - Presbytery Meeting, First Presbyterian Church, Saint Cloud
In the News ...

Check out this article from the Presbyterian Outlook about an initiative that is taking place in Saint Paul:
For the 44 new tenants who moved in this fall - young adults who previously were homeless - the new Prior Crossing development in St. Paul is exactly what they need: affordable housing, clean and new, close to public transportation and ready before cold weather sets in.
At its heart, this is not really the story of how one big congregation gave a big gift and made something happen. It's much more an image of what energy percolates when people of faith work hard to identify community needs, then join with others in partnership to see what they can learn and accomplish together.
Read the whole article by following this link:
Commission and Committee Members - Save this Date
Presbytery Orientation and Organization Gathering

Saturday, January 21, 2016 - 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
First Presbyterian Church in Willmar  
More details will be forthcoming right after the holidays!
Who's Who in Minnesota Valleys for 2017

At the November 5 Presbytery Meeting, a number of individuals were elected to serve in the presbytery's mission design for the coming year. We are in the process of updating all the commission and committee rosters and will finish that over the next several weeks. In the meantime, we can to introduce you all to those serving on our behalf in this and upcoming issues of the Valley Bridge.
This week:
  • Commission on Congregational Transformation and Development
    • Class of 2017
      • Ruling Elder Pam Bush - Russell
      • Ruling Elder Mary Hansen - Browns Valley
      • Ruling Elder Richard Lawrence - Saint Cloud
    • Class of 2018
      • Ruling Elder Rick Hauge - Redwood Falls
      • Teaching Elder Darin Seaman - Saint Cloud
      • Teaching Elder Anne Veldhuisen - Marshall
    • Class of 2019
      • Ruling Elder Darlene Scherbing - Saint Cloud
      • Teaching Elder Candace Adams - Spicer Hope - Chair
      • Teaching Elder Tom Voigt - Edgerton/Lismore
  • Committee on Congregational Nurture
    • Class of 2017
      • Teaching Elder John Lindholm - Fergus Falls Western
      • Ruling Elder Jan Prehn - Saint Peter
      • Teaching Elder Bill Yueill - Saint Cloud - Vice-Chair
    • Class of 2018
      • Ruling Elder Dennis Peterson - Spicer Harrison
      • Ruling Elder Sue Goebel - Cambria
      • Ruling Elder Keith Lohse - Windom
    • Class of 2019
      • Teaching Elder Bob Bartlett - Round Lake/Brewster - Chair
      • Teaching Elder Herb Rotunda - Dawson
      • Ruling Elder Jean McCallum - Pipestone
  • Permanent Judicial Commission
    • Class of 2017
      • Teaching Elder John Lindholm - Fergus Falls Western
      • Teaching Elder Kate Stangl - Crosslake
    • Class of 2019
      • Teaching Elder Bob Bartlett - Round Lake/Brewster
      • Teaching Elder Jason Cunningham - Luverne
    • Class of 2021
      • Ruling Elder Judy Oldemeyer - Holland
      • Ruling Elder Deb Hess - Redwood Falls
      • Ruling Elder Stan Menning - Dawson
Do you know someone who is looking for a new ministry opportunity? If so, here is one to consider!

The Randall Presbyterian Church, Randall, Minnesota is seeking a Pastor to lead them into the next chapter of their congregation's life. If you, or someone you know, has a passion for small towns and energetic small-member congregations, please encourage them to take a look at this opportunity!  The Ministry Information Form -- MIF#: 03892.AC. -- for this opportunity is posted on the Church Leadership Connection web site --
Six New Things
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