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 on Friday, February 21.
Congregation of the Week of February 23-29
First Presbyterian Church of Brewster
Congregational Leaders:
Ruling Elders: Terry McNab, Richard Cross, Suzann Boots, Brett McNab, Steve Naumann and Richard Garmer
Treasurer: Jim Behrends
Clerk of Session: Lynda McNab
Music: Carolyn Pohlman, Vonnie Rutgers and Bev Stude
Groundskeepers: Rodney Plantz and Suzanne Busch
Custodians: The Congregation
Teaching Elder: Rev. Robert D. Bartlett

Our Mission Activities include:
  • A monthly mid-week coffee fellowship in the church building
  • Samaritans Purse Shoe Boxes - So that children around the world may experience the love of God through the greatest of all gifts, Jesus the Christ
  • Participate in Mid-week Lenten Services with other area churches
  • Provide needed resources to the Brewster Elementary School
  • Join with the Round Lake Church in serving at the Banquet in Sioux Falls
  • Share in special services of worship and activities with the Round Lake Church
  • Support the Manna Food Pantry in Worthington

Prayer Concerns:
  • Kevin Pohlman hospitalized in Rochester until he can have a heart transplant.
  • Bev Stude and family as they mourn the death of her mother in Iowa.
  • People within our community struggling with health issues and mourning the death of loved ones.
  • Those struggling with the coronavirus and other strains of flu, etc.
  • Those serving in the United States Navy, the Minnesota National Guard and in the United States Marine Corps
  • For the future of all of our rural communities including our rural churches and their shrinking congregations
  • For the Presbytery staff and those who serve on its commissions, committees, etc.
Highlights from the Stated Presbytery meeting in Redwood Falls on Saturday, February 15
We were thrilled to host General Assembly Co-Moderator Elder Vilmarie Cintron-Olivieri at the presbytery meeting in Redwood Falls on Saturday! She gave the sermon based on Matthew 22:34-40 - loving God and loving neighbors. She also spoke movingly about her experiences as co-moderator and how we can be the church right now, right where we are.

We installed Rev. Pamela Prouty as Stated Clerk. We remembered the elders who passed away in 2019 during the PowerPoint necrology report. Elder Karen Houtman spoke about the First Presbyterian Church of Canby's ministry. We heard reports from the presbytery commissions and committee, voting to concur with three proposed GA amendments brought to our attention by the Commission on Presbytery Life. We approved actions on designated accounts, investment portfolio changes and an Operating Procedures addition brought forth by the Commission on Operations. Rev. Elaine Boyd, Elder Colette Meidinger and Executive Presbyter Rev. SanDawna Ashley shared slides and stories from their trip to Guatemala. Synod Executive Elder Elona Street-Stewart brought greetings from the Synod of Lakes and Prairies.

We sang hymns, worshiped, and spent time together as brothers and sisters in Christ. It was a wonderful and inspiring day. Thanks to the congregation at First Presbyterian Church of Redwood Falls for their wonderful hospitality.
Part of the kitchen crew - thanks for the smiles, helpfulness and deliciousness!
Vice Moderator David Lick and Moderator Anna Williamson
Pam is installed as stated clerk
Karen Houtman talks about FPC Canby, and how we are ministers at EVERY age.
General Assembly Co-Moderator Vilmarie Cintron-Olivieri. She encouraged us to, when praying The Lord's Prayer, to sometimes pray instead of " Thy will be on on earth as it is in heaven" to pray " Thy will be done in (insert your town name) as it is in heaven." Pray it this way and see what a difference it makes!
Synod Executive Elona Street-Stewart
SanDawna Ashley, Colette Meidinger and Elaine Boyd
Report from Our Visitors to Guatemala:
Two Special "Sisters"
by Edith Alvarez, Ruling Elder,
Lakes Area Presbyterian Church of Baxter

Pastor Aracely Itzep and Elizabeth (Bety) Cifuentes are outstanding examples of strong Christian Guatemalan women. I have known them for the past 20 years and am a real fan of theirs.
Aracely, at present, is the only female pastor in Occidente Presbytery (there are eight currently in Guatemala). She has worked closely with the Occidente International Partnership Committee and the PW groups. To provide income for her family, she and her husband have a fruit stand on the highway that connects the northern and southern highways across the country. When MVP groups are in Guatemala, we often travel past their stand and stop to say “hola,” as well as sample bananas (the red ones are terrific!), coconuts, mangoes, papaya, etc. In September Aracely was diagnosed with a heart condition that needs surgery. That has still not been performed due to, possibly, a lack of money, a dental infection, her doctor went on vacation, etc. As of our visit in February, she is still waiting. She’s doing better as the infection is under control, but still needs the surgery. She also needs our prayers that she get the surgery she needs and that it be successful. Her congregation is a small one, but she is very committed both to her members, to the presbytery and to the national Presbyterian church (IENPG.)

Bety, the mother of eight children, was abandoned by her husband, a former Presbyterian pastor in Occidente Presbytery, with no financial support from him or the government. She made snacks/meals to sell in a school and cleaned houses to keep her own family housed and fed. Her children are all older, educated, active in their churches, and have good jobs – only the two youngest still live with her while going to university. Bety has always been very active in the PW; at one point she was the national moderator of the PW organization. She was very recently elected the moderator of the Occidente International Partnership Committee. However, she was diagnosed with cancer and has undergone a series of difficult chemotherapy treatments. She is now awaiting radiation treatments in Guatemala City. One of her daughters lives there, so she will be able to stay with her during this trying time. One evening while Bety and I were talking in our room at the Mission Networking Conference that we just attended, she wanted to show me the cancerous growths on her body. They were mindboggling! And they are becoming larger and more plentiful. She, too, needs our prayers for strength during her treatments. She has turned her situation over to God’s grace and accepts whatever the outcome will be.

Those of us that have come to know these ladies, have been blessed by their faith and service. They are examples to us all.
Presbyterian Women in the Presbytery - Save the Date
Spring Gathering
Tuesday, June 2
Ebenezer Presbyterian Church
Renville MN
Prayer List

  • 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
  • For Rev. Elaine and Kent Boyd at First Presbyterian Church of Amboy
  • Rev. Araceli Itzep from the Occidente Presbytery
  • For Bety 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."
Transformation Going Beyond Change Survey

We have created a survey to help us understand benefits and insights gained from our Transformation Going Beyond Change events over the past year. Will you please take a moment and answer the question in the survey we have linked?
Webinar is tomorrow!!!

Email Karen to register

Join the next webinar zoom on Thursday, February 20, at 2:00 p.m. with Gerald Liu for Preaching in Lent: Atonement and Redemption
Gerald C. Liu is assistant professor of worship and preaching at Princeton Theological Seminary. He earned his BA in Music at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, his Master of Divinity from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University (during which time he was also a theological fellow at Georg-August Universität in Göttingen, Germany), and his PhD from Vanderbilt University with a concentration in homiletics and liturgics. He has previously served as a British Methodist Minister in Nottingham, England before becoming ordained in the Mississippi Conference of the United Methodist Church. Currently he volunteers as a minister in residence at Church of the Village, a United Methodist congregation in Manhattan. His classes and publications explore curiosities about the arts as theological resources and phenomena, Asian American identity, multicultural worship, and the production of believable public Christian witness.

Join Rev. Liu in a discussion about how the biblical canon can shape weekly preaching into an arc of messages rooted in the ever-expanding call to new identities in Christ, adaptive living, and welcoming all people for the glory of God.

Contact  Karen Lange to register.
Public Theology for the Common Good
Led by Phil Tom
Tuesday, March 24
Hope Presbyterian Church
7730 N Shore Dr, Spicer
$15 for Presbyterians
$25 for others

"Public theology is the Christian engagement and dialogue within the church and especially with the larger society. It seeks the welfare of the state and a fair society for all by engaging issues of common interest to build the common good. This is Christian theology that talks with society, not just to society." (Wikipedia)
The reality is that many congregations are disconnected from their communities. In our workshop, we will explore how the tool of faith-based community organizing can help your congregation to learn how to connect with and to serve your community.

Phil currently serves as Executive Director for the International Council of Community Churches, and as a consultant to The Riverside Church in New York City. He has served in the following capacities: the PCUSA General Assembly for 10 years as Associate for Urban Ministry Office, and three years as Associate for the Small Church Ministry Office (urban, rural, suburban); Co-Director of McCormick Theological Seminary Church and Community Ministry Project; pastored for 27 years with congregations in Chicago, St. Paul, MN, Indianapolis, IN and New York City; and as Director of the White House Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnership Office in the U.S. Department of Labor in the Obama Administration.

To register, email Karen Lange
An Invitation to Spiritual Leaders

This is your invitation to submit a short video of yourself offering a meditation of your favorite passage from the Bible for the Presbytery YouTube channel. If you are interested, please contact Steve Tyykila ( ) or Andy Davis ( ). We'll give you more parameters and information, but we are looking for informal (not from the pulpit), personal, short (less than five minutes) videos on your favorite passage that you can record from your phone or computer. Thanks!
Transformation Testimonies Sought

We are preparing the reporting for the Transformation Going Beyond Change Initiative grants. Please think about how you have been using the information gleaned from these events and email Karen or SanDawna a short testimony about how you have benefited.
Pastor Cohort Groups

We are creating pastor cohort groups for interested pastors. Each group will meet monthly via Zoom. The format will include prayer, a book study, case studies, special speakers, cross-pollination of resources and active listening. Interested? Email SanDawna
Pastoral Leadership Opportunities

First Presbyterian Church, Ashby  - Pastor, yoked parish
Ministry Information Form -  12363.ABO

First Presbyterian Church, Fulda  - Solo Pastor
Ministry Information Form -  03782.AD1

First Presbyterian Church, Lake Crystal - Pastor, yoked parish
Ministry Information Form - 03709.AB0

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

Faith Presbyterian Church, Silver Lake  - Solo Pastor
Ministry Information Form -  03851.AC3

Hope Presbyterian Church, Spicer  - Solo Pastor
Ministry Information Form -  09565.ADO

First Presbyterian Church, Winnebago - Interim Pastor

Ministry opportunities are posted on the Church Leadership Connection website --