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)
Congregation of the Week of December 26 - January 1
First Presbyterian Church of Saint Cloud
Elders: Melinda Anderson, Richard Lawrence, Chris Morris, Kim Tollefson, David Buchin, Lynn Rae Olson, Lori Smith, Tomoko Rebeck, Tom Horn, Jeanne Duininck, Darlene Scherbing, Rodney Kadlec

Deacons: Chris Chopp, Karen Chopp, Don Ramsey, Bonnie Ramsey, Norm Seehusen, Judy, Hook, Peter Espelien, Jeannie Chu, Norine Schmitt, Marsha Elg, Linda Addicott, Mary Jost, Betty Vigen, Sandy Johnson, Janis Cimperman, Barb Isaacson

Staff: Don Fortner, Mark Giese, Mary Nothnagel, Patty Scott, Darin Seaman

Prayers for:
  • Those with COVID-19 at the St. Cloud Hospital
  • Hospital Staff
  • Those facing a transition
  • For those who grieve
  • Evangelistic witness of our church
A Word from Kathy
This is probably one of the most common portrayals of Mary and baby Jesus most of us are familiar with. We tend to see her as a sweet, young, serene woman. She looks beautiful and docile, a perfect young woman. I don't think she was much like this picture of her. For one, if she looked like this, she and Jesus wouldn't have been able to hide in Egypt. I'm pretty sure they weren't Caucasians. They look pretty white to be people from the Mideast. Probably, they looked more like this...
I also believe she was not so sweet and docile. In fact, she was a rebel. If she were here today, she would be carrying a sign in some kind of protest march. Mary would be fighting for justice and working to help those who were oppressed. She wouldn't be worrying much about what others thought of her.
After all, if she were a good Jewish girl, she would not have said yes when the angel told her of God's plan. A proper young woman would not want to shame herself or bring shame on her family. She would not want to offend Joseph. A good girl would have consulted with her parents before she agreed to such a radical plan.

Obviously, Mary had a mind of her own. She decided to do what she thought was right, in spite of what it might look like to others, in spite of her family, in spite of Joseph's feelings. She knew she would be a social outcast and that her future would be unsure. Still, she said yes to God. That took some guts. It probably didn't go well when her parents found out. No wonder she left to spend three months with her aunt Elizabeth.

Yes, Mary was a radical. Her words to Elizabeth:
God has brought down the powerful from their thrones and lifted up the lowly. God has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty.

Those are not the words of some young, docile, back country girl. These are rebellious, political words. This is not the kind of talk you expect from an unwed, pregnant teen ... too political for a young woman whose only thoughts should be on marriage and family.

Perhaps we have made ourselves and our churches too docile, too worried about what others think, too conforming to society. I think we all should take a cue from Mary and be more radical. Say yes to God even when it doesn't make sense, when it causes us trouble, when it's not what others want us to do or be.

May you all have a blessed Christmas and a healthy and happy New Year.

Thought for the week:
Mary took a big risk, what are we willing to risk, just because God asks?

Kathy Terpstra
Gap Executive Presbyter
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Kathy, Pam and Karen! A reminder that the presbytery staff will be on holiday break, returning to work on Tuesday, January 4.
Presbyterian Youth Triennium 2022
Indianapolis, Indiana
DEPART July 23 – RETURN July 28

Deadline is coming soon...
All registration forms and deposits are due January 20. Please click the link below for detailed information. Contact your pastor or education representative for more information.

A gathering for High School age youth, youth leaders and young adults in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Cumberland Presbyterian Churches.

CLICK HERE for a PDF with more information for our 2022 MN Valleys Presbytery delegation

2019 PYT Highlights Video:
Attention all presbytery committee and commission members:

Put Saturday, January 15th on your calendars. There will be a meeting for all committee and commission members at the Presbytery Office (First Presbyterian Church in Willmar). We are tentatively planning to meet in person from 10:00 to 2:00.

It will be a time to get to know others on your committee or commission. A time to get oriented to the work of the whole Presbytery and to make plans for your individual groups.

Please make an effort to be there; there will be food!!! Maybe even homemade cookies!!
Save the Date!

Ruling Elder, Deacon and Personnel Committee training will be on Tuesday, January 18, 2022, from 4:30 – 6:30 PM in person at the Presbytery Office (312 6th St SW, Willmar) and via zoom. This will be a great way for your ruling elders, deacons and personnel committees to learn more about their roles and learn more about what other churches are doing. Please register with the Presbytery office for meal planning and zoom links.
2022 Per Capita
$43.00 Total
$28.52 for Presbytery
$5.50 for Synod
$8.98 for GA

Treasurers: checks received before January 4, 2022, can still count toward 2021. Checks should be mailed to Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys, PO Box 431, Kerkhoven MN 56252.
A climate word to fellow great-grandparents

by Earl O. Knutson, First Presbyterian Church of Willmar

Climate change has not fallen as heavily on Minnesota as it has in other parts of the US. Climatologists like Mark Seeley and Paul Douglas are convinced of this change, but only after studying decades of weather data. It is no wonder that only a few Minnesotans are deeply concerned about the issue.

But the trends that are apparent to Seeley and Douglas were predicted by scientists decades ago - and the predictions for 2050 and beyond are grim. The main cause of this undesirable climate change is carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, put there by centuries of use of fossil fuels.

If you are one who worries about the climate that your great-grandchildren will experience, you may be wondering what, if anything, you can do about it. There is a group called Presbyterians for Climate Dividends (P4CD) that provides an answer: press congress and the president to institute a nationwide fee on fossil fuels, also called a carbon fee. This will gently but firmly effect a nationwide transition to renewable energy, so that atmospheric carbon dioxide will start to decrease.

In fact, a carbon fee is in the mix of legislation currently under consideration in the US Senate. This fee is the right thing to do, but senators and the president are leery of any wide-based fee. They need encouragement. P4CD ( has convenient internet links useful for providing this encouragement. There’s even one for those who can do twitter.
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance and the December Tornadoes
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.
(John 1:5)
As night fell on December 10, a horrific line of powerful tornadoes ripped across several states, ending the lives of more than 100 people and wreaking devastation across many communities by the time morning had broken. One of these tornadoes was on the ground for a terrifying and unprecedented 250 miles, more than 200 of those miles in Kentucky alone, where the town of Mayfield saw the catastrophic destruction of much of the downtown area, including the Presbyterian, Methodist and Baptist churches.

It is the season of Advent — a time of watchful expectation that begins with a warning of impending judgment, the end of days, and continues with a prayerful journeying toward the birth of the Christ Child at Christmas, an ordinary babe dependent on the love and care of others for his survival.

In the wake of these terrible and catastrophic storms, it is the role of ordinary people of faith like us to shine as light in this bleakest of winters. We are called to be the hands and feet of God as we reach out to shelter, feed, care for and help rebuild the lives of those who have lost loved ones, homes, work and a sense of safety as a result of the tornadoes. We are invited to stand with them — and to stand together — bearing witness by our gifts and prayers that God is indeed incarnate among us, no matter what.

The needs for the response will be great. God’s people are once again called on to stand in the "GAP" — Give. Act. Pray.


GIVE: Gifts can be made online at, by phone at (800) 872-3283, or by check using the below reply device. You can also text PDA to 41444 to donate.

  • Download and use the bulletin insert.
  • Gift of the Heart Kits are a hands-on way to help others this Advent season.
  • To register your interest in future rebuilding efforts, email You will be notified when volunteer opportunities are available.
Stay informed and like us on Facebook (, download resources at and share updates with your congregation.

PRAY: As we awake to news of devastation and death from another natural disaster, we pray. For those experiencing loss, confusion, and despair, may they feel comfort only your Holy Spirit can bring. For the community leaders and emergency personnel, we pray for wisdom and strength as they work to restore and repair their communities. May we heed your call, oh God, to be co-creators with you in the caring of creation, our communities, and your beloved children in their time of need. May the hope, peace and love of the Christ child comfort and keep us all.

Rev. Dr. Diane Moffett, President and Executive Director, Presbyterian Mission Agency
Pictures or Videos from Our Presbytery Sought

We are working on a video for our new website, and invite you to send pictures or videos that we might use. We'd like high resolution nature pictures from within our Presbytery. Send links or pictures to Karen Lange.
Copyright Concerns for Ministries from the Insurance Board
Summer CPE Program at St. Cloud VA Hospital

The St. Cloud VA Hospital in St. Cloud, Minnesota is announcing its FY22 Summer CPE Program. There is no tuition fee, and a housing option can be arranged at the nearby St. John’s School of Theology in St. Joseph, MN. Dates are 5/31/2022-8/12/2022. Seminar times will be Virtual on Monday 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Participants will be assigned to Wards for ministry with Veterans Tuesday-Friday using proper COVID 19 protective ware. A fuller description with additional information is here
Applicants may send their application materials to the contact information below. Have a wonderful holiday season. Peace. Dan
Rev. Daniel R. Duggan, M.Div., BCC, ACPE Certified Educator
Chaplain, ACPE Certified Educator, Manager of CPE Program
St. Cloud VA HCS
4801 Veterans Drive
St. Cloud, MN 56303
320-255-6480 x7543
FAX: 320-202-2309
Prayer List
  • For Rev. Jeff DeYoe, undergoing cancer treatment (former pastor at Hope Presbyterian Church, Spicer)
  • For Rev. Mark Chamberlain, retired pastor, Willmar
  • For Rev. Bob Bartlett, First Presbyterian Churches of Brewster & Round Lake
  • For Rev. Michael Roys, retired pastor, Winnebago
  • Pray for our brothers and sisters in the Occidente Presbytery of Guatemala - for their health, safety, and recovery from the effects of the Covid pandemic
Pastoral Leadership Opportunities

First Presbyterian Church of Edgerton and First Presbyterian Church of Lismore - Pastor, yoked parish
Ministry Information Form - 03781.AD0

Zion Presbyterian Church, Ellsworth, First Presbyterian and Emmanuel Presbyterian Churches, Rushmore - Pastor, yoked parish
Ministry Information Form - 09163.AF0

Maine Presbyterian Church, rural Underwood - Solo Pastor
Ministry Information Form - 03870.AB0

First Presbyterian Church, Pipestone - Pastor
Ministry Information Form - 03796.AD0

First Presbyterian Church, Slayton - Pastor
Ministry Information Form - 03805.AB0

Harrison Presbyterian Church, rural Spicer - Pastor, yoked parish
Ministry Information Form - 03878.AA0

First Presbyterian Church, Winnebago - Interim Pastor
Ministry Information Form - 03811.AA1

Ministry opportunities are posted on the Church Leadership Connection website --
The Ministry Lab is excited to offer fresh, free Advent, Christmas and Epiphany resourcesDreams of a New Day: An Intergenerational Pageant Liturgy, provides study and community-building throughout the season. Our two Illustrate-Your-Own Christmas/Eve sermons are simple ways to engage the whole congregation in worship. And our Epiphany Worship Service (members: contact The Ministry Lab) is led by colleagues from around the state with Michel Gribble leading liturgical movement and music from Billy McLaughlin.

Find additional seasonal resources for faith formation and worship in our curated lists!!