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 on vacation the week of February 25 - March 2,
so there will be no Valley Bridge next week (February 27).
Congregation of the Week of February 24 - March 2
Cambria Presbyterian Church of Cambria
Commissioned Ruling Elder: Sue Goebel
Ruling Elders on Session: Cliff Jones, Tim Stokes, Jim Thomas, Gene Walters, Gene Rosenau, Keara Curtiss, Gloria Bidwell, Danielle Deopere, and Howie Jones
Pastor: Penny Johnson

Prayer Concerns: Recent deaths of family members, members and friends who are hospitalized, members and friends who are struggling with medical issues

We are using the theme of our denomination "Awakening to God's Beauty: A Lenten Invitation to Pray with Art" during our weekly Lenten gatherings. We are having various artists from our and the Madelia congregation show us their art, explain what got them into creating art, and how God informs what they make.
Congregation of the Week of March 3 - 9
First Presbyterian Church of Canby
Session: Doug Frazeur, Patty Gubrud, Karen Houtman (Clerk of Session), Randy Lopau, Tom McCammon, Carol Tobin, Genevieve Tyykila, and Barb Vanstrom 
Pastor: Rev. Steve Tyykila 
Janitor: Robin Enstad

Prayers: Please pray for the weather to improve.
For those who are dealing with illness, or are in the nursing home.

Mission activities
Member of the Canby Area Ministerial Association (CAMA)
Supporting The Connection (After school and summer program)
Baby Closet (provide larger toys, blankets, quilts, and other items for infants and young children)
Hosts the All By Myself Widow/widower support group
Adopt a Highway clean-up
Hosts an annual community Thanksgiving Day dinner
Deliver for Meals on Wheels

Heifer project aluminum can collection
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance support
Provide education scholarships for children of pastor’s in Guatemala
National Denominational Offerings
Selling SERRV (Fair Trade) items
Prayer Concern:

Rev Beverly Brock, interim pastor at the Foley church, has been hospitalized but is recovering. Please keep her in prayer.

Cards can be sent to her home address:
5704 Highway 25 NE
Foley, MN 56329-8705
History ... the Good, Bad and the Changeable!
Several years ago I preached a sermon entitled, "History … the good, the bad and the changeable!"

As I reflect on the sermon, I realized that much of what I shared at the Presbyterian Center Chapel still applies today. History is one of those subjects that can give us a great sense of pride, while at the time cause shame and embarrassment. Several times in the Gospels, Jesus takes the listeners on a journey through history using parables. The simplest definition of a parable is an earthly story with a heavenly meaning. Parables were made from the real stuff of life, things familiar to the listeners but not actual events. The key to parables was that the listeners could perceive the ending. The parables were self-explanatory. As Jesus ended his teaching, the religious leaders were ready to kill Jesus. Why? Because it was perceivable for them to imagine religious leaders being among those who would kill prophets who dared to speak to power. It was not hard for them to imagine that repeatedly, people would resort to violence when they were fearful. It was common practice to dehumanize individuals to justify ill-treatment. It was not hard for them to imagine that although they were not participants in the mistreatment of prophets, that they themselves would be unchanged by the way others have been treated in the past. It was easy for them to visualize the Good Samaritan stopping to care for a wounded man on Jericho Road and the priest passing the injured man going about their merry way. Although the Samaritans were thought of in poor light, no one disputed that they were compassionate and loving people. If they were not, Jesus could not make the Samaritan the subject of the famous parable, The Good Samaritan.

Our own country today struggles with reconciling history. United States’ history is partially told. For years, Black History was not taught in schools. Or the limited history taught focused only on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a few other civic rights leaders and sports figures. In 2016, America learned the story of Hidden Figures Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, and Dorothy Vaughan. Three women instrumental in space science at NASA. Mary Jackson was one of the first African American managers at NASA, a mathematician and human computer. Katherine Johnson who happens to be Presbyterian and a member of Caver Presbyterian in Newport News, Virginia, discovered the equations that helped send John Glenn into orbit around the earth and landed Neil Armstrong on the moon. Dorothy Vaughan became the first black NACA supervisor in 1949. Are we just learning their stories because of innocent neglect, or have we possibly fallen into the same scenario that Jesus raises in the Gospels, that we are guilty of not being good stewards of history? The three women, Johnson, Jackson, and Vaughn, are just one example of partially told American history. Other examples include Dr. Kenneth Matsumura, an Asian American physician that invented the Bio-Artificial Liver. Jose Hernandez-Reboyar invented the Acceleglove, a glove that can translate sign language into speech. John Harrington, an astronaut, and aviator, was the first fully-enrolled member of a Native American tribe to travel into outer space. We remember that immigrants helped to build the United States, hewing out stones to make tunnels and laying railroad tracks to improve transportation. These are just some examples and this is nowhere near an exhaustive list.

The listeners heard Jesus say as he taught through parables … it is too bad that knowing history has neither impacted them institutionally or caused them to be better human-beings themselves. Consider this quote from Josiah Holland:
God give us leaders…
Leaders whom the lust of office does not kill;
Leaders whom the spoils of office cannot buy;
Leaders who possess opinions and a will;
Leaders who have honor, leaders who will not lie;
Leaders who can stand before a demagogue, and cruise his treacherous flatteries without winking!
Tall leaders sun-crowned, who live above the fog in public duty and private thinking (adapted from Josiah Holland by Martin Luther King, pg. 223, Rhetoric, Religion and the Civil Rights Movement). We are the leaders Holland prays for.

In just a few weeks we will begin the journey towards the cross. We will recall the many parables Jesus taught and search to find their meaning for today. Will we be students of history that are apathetic, indifferent, or unchanged by history? Or will we be like those who were in earshot of Jesus' teaching who were witnesses of the impact of greed, immorality, the abuse of power, and separatism? Thanks be to God that some heard Jesus and spent the remaining of their lives being agents of reconciliation? These individuals redeemed the past by naming the good and the bad. History can be changed! Today we are invited to own the truth of the past and recognize what can be as we write new history every day of our lives.

Removing Internal Barriers to Success and Implementation
When: Tuesday, March 19, from 9:30 am - 4:00 pm
Location: Minnesota Valleys Presbytery, 4055 Abbott Drive, Willmar
Cost: $15 payable at the door, checks payable to Minnesota Valleys Presbytery are preferred.
Speaker: Rev. Felicia LaBoy, MA, MDIV, Ph.D. Dr. LaBoy is known for her inspirational, practical, and common-sense approach to ministry and business. She is a popular speaker and expert in the fields of faith- based community, economic and leadership development; evangelism; and race relations.

Many clergy spend countless hours reading and in live and webinar training on how to move their congregations forward. However, movement forward is often hard or non- existent. In this highly interactive seminar, participants work on what is really holding them and their congregations back from achieving their vision for the future. Utilizing biblical and theological resources, as well as best practices from transition and change management, participants will begin to develop strategies for how to help their congregants deal with uncertainty, loss, and change.

More About the Speaker
Dr. LaBoy academic credentials include a B.S. in Marketing from Lehigh University, an MBA in Marketing and Finance from Duke University, an M.A. in Christian Ministries from Indiana Christian University, and an M. Div with a concentration in Evangelism and a Ph.D. in theology, history and ethics from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and Associate Dean in Black Church Studies, Louisville Theological Seminary. She is an Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC) trained life transitions coach.

Her books include Table Matters: The Sacraments, Evangelism and Social Justice ; Unstuck: 8 Steps You Can Take Right Now to Possess Your Promise; and Not For Women Only: Leadership Lessons From Women in the Bible – A 40-Day Devotional (Spring 2019) .

Pastor Nominating Committee Webinar

On Thursday, March 28, Executive Presbyter SanDawna Ashley will lead a Zoom webinar for PNCs at 2:00 p.m. Contact Karen Lange to register and to receive the instructions.
Called as Partners

Elaine Boyd, member of Occidente Task Force

“May we learn the art of sharing, side by side and friend with friend, equal partners in our caring to fulfill God’s chosen end.” (Called as Partners in Christ’s Service)

These words from one of my favorite hymns convey so well what we as Minnesota Valleys Presbytery are working toward in our mission partnership with Occidente Presbytery in Guatemala. 

Future partnership projects will be those proposed by Occidente Presbytery and will have as their focus the support and encouragement of the mission of Occidente Presbytery in their communities. 

How can you join in this partnership?  The Occidente PW has requested help with the purchase of sewing machines in order to finance the needs of the PW groups in churches there. We have funding to purchase three machines at about $330 each, to be purchased locally in Guatemala. Perhaps your PW or others in your congregation would like to donate additional money so that more machines could be purchased. The Occidente PW is also suggesting help with knitting supplies in order to make items to sell. Because shipping is difficult and because we want to support the local economy, we can only take donations of money, not supplies.

Another project that we are working on with our partners are requested health classes involving CPR training or education in other health issues. Details are still to be worked out.

But the most important focus of future partnership is the building of relationships—person to person. By sharing our stories, barriers of distance and culture and language disappear, and strangers become family.

Would you like to meet our partners face to face? The Occidente Task Force is planning a trip to Guatemala in February of 2020 to join with them in their mission to their members and communities. Some Spanish is useful but not required. If you have skills to share, or if you just have a passion for meeting these brothers and sisters in Christ---and would like to go along, contact the presbytery office. Donations should be sent to the presbytery office and designated for Occidente as desired. Gracias.( Brochure )
The Academy

Would you like to
·      grow in your faith and knowledge? 
·      grow as a leader? 
·      have more opportunities to serve God as needed in your area? 
We invite you to consider joining The Academy, a unique, cohort-based learning community.  

Needed: Teaching Elder with a heart for developing Presbyterian Christian leadership

Beginning at Synod School on July 23-27, 2019, a facilitator is needed to accompany a new group of students taking classes from the Academy.  The facilitator accompanies the students, attending classes with them over a two year period to support and encourage. During and after classes, facilitators receive assignments, make comments on them, and record completion. Responsibility would be for students from MN Valleys and possibly a few from other presbyteries, up to about 6 students. 

The training of people interested in becoming a commissioned pastor is becoming more and more vital in today’s church. If you are interested in this important and and fun position, the contact Commission on Leadership—Paul Snyder and Bev Brock, co-chairs. Have questions? Current facilitator is Elaine Boyd 320-212-6456
Book Study: Rebuilding the Foundations
Join the Presbytery in a book study of Rebuilding the Foundations: Social Relationships in Ancient Scripture and the Contemporary Culture by John Brueggemann and Walter Brueggemann, Westminster John Knox Press. Next chapters to discuss: 5 & 6. The Zoom discussion will be on Thursday, April 4, at 1:00 PM, and instructions will be in the Valley Bridge on April 3.
2019 Presbyterian Youth Triennium
Get Ready for the 2019 Presbyterian Youth Triennium - a gathering held every three years for high school age students in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Youth from all churches (across sponsoring denominations) come together for this life changing, life giving, faith growing gathering! Five days that help form a younger generation of active Presbyterians. Five days that shape the leadership gifts and deepen the discipleship awareness for a generation who are already achieving a strong presence in this church and in this world!
Event Essentials

DATES: Monday, July 15 - Sunday, July 21 (includes travel days)
LOCATION: Purdue University - West Lafayette, IN
AUDIENCE: High School Age youth entering freshman through graduated seniors
THEME: "Here's My Heart"
REGISTRATION FEES: Anticipated Cost - $625.00 to $650.00
                (Registration fee includes all programming, food, lodging and travel)  

Registrations are now due, along with $250.00 payment for each participant
MAY 6: Final Payment Due

Contact Mark Giese:  ∙ 320-251-8277 (church) ∙ 320-493-8272 (cell)
Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) international placements open until March 1 st APPLY  to a transformational year of service in  South Korea , Zambia , Colombia , Scotland , Peru & the Philippines  by March 1 st  - or encourage young adults (ages 19-30) you know to consider! More info online at . National sites open until June 1.
Pastoral Leadership Opportunities

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

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

The Ministry Information Forms for these opportunities are posted on the Church Leadership Connection web site --
Upcoming Events

Big Tent - August 1-3, 2019 in Baltimore
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
4055 Abbott Drive
Willmar MN 56201