The Valley Bridge
The weekly newsletter from the
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
February 22, 2017
 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: February 26 - March 4
Federated Church of Fergus Falls
Pastor Douglas Dent
Clerk of Session Jean Bowman
Treasurer Mark Rodning
Director of Christian Education Karen Anderson 
Director of Church Operations Ed Morgan 
Secretary Elizabeth Hatling 
Parish Nurse Connie Seltz 
Bookkeeper Adam Baker 
Organist Carol Andstrom 
Choir Director Karen Hauck 
Bell Choir Director Doris Enderson 
Accompanists Molly King & Gloria Ronning 
Praise Band Director Jordan Schiefert
Prayer Requests:
  • Mission partners and kids at House of Hope, Zacapa, Guatemala.
  • For our five Confirmands who will be confirmed on 2/26.
  • For members and friends dealing with physical and mental illness, addictions, memory loss, and elder care.
  • For the Spirit's power and guidance as the congregation engages more actively in the community.
  • For Pastor Doug as he continues his Doctor of Ministry studies.
On the Road with Rick: The Pre-Retirement Tour
February - March
February 26 - Preach at First Presbyterian Church, Luverne
February 26 - Nathan Lamb Installation at First Presbyterian Church, Pipestone
March 5 - Preach at the Crosslake Presbyterian Church, Crosslake
March 14 - Session Meeting, First Presbyterian Church, Osakis
March 19 - Worship Visit, Grace-First Parish, Russell
March 26 - Worship Visit, First Presbyterian Church, Redwood Falls
Clerks! Clerks! Clerks!
We are now into February and hopefully you have completed your annual reports, but have you remembered to renew your incorporation status--especially if your church is incorporated with the MN Secretary of State? I hope the answer is yes. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, please contact me. This is an important annual step in order to have all your records in order.
Pam Prouty

by Jim Krapf

This is the first in a series of three articles describing connections with our Occidente partners.

We have seen the circumstances. We have heard the stories. We know something of what causes people to leave their homes and migrate to the U.S. The lack of jobs and education, violence, hunger and medical bills, and alcoholism and abuse that break up families compel desperate people to seek a better life.

The campaign promises of our new president affect the situation. The record high deportations of the previous administration with continued priority on criminals are increasing. And so opportunities and unification of families are decreasing. We and our partners need to respond to God's calling in these situations.

Among the Occidente delegates that you will meet in May will be Yanida. Twelve years ago she and her husband were apprehended in the Arizona desert and sent back to Guatemala. She says that she would never risk the horrors of that experience again. Fortunately today her husband makes a decent income as a metal worker as they raise four children. You will also meet Demitrio who lost his job with a factory closing. Instead of leaving, he used his entrepreneurial spirit to start a juice shop. He rubs salve on the muscles and tendons stressed by the repetitious manual squeezing of the fruit. We pray he can continue to provide for his family. Kristina will tell you about how women are being empowered to provide good homes. Their efforts were enhanced by the health fairs and quilting classes that we offered.

We heard some complain that the increased violence in Quetzaltenango near the Mexican border) is being perpetrated by migrants form El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Others said they are the victims being attacked by gangs who rob them of the money their families have scraped together to pay the coyotes. Many agree drug trafficking and corrupt police make the situation worse. And some reminded us that we and they need to know people before we judge them.

At the Network Meeting we met Amanda Craft, one of our mission co-workers who has served as Regional Liaison for Mexico and Guatemala. She was honored for her work and tearfully hugged as she said goodbye to leave for her new position as head of the Immigration Office at our General Assembly headquarters in Louisville, KY. Amanda declared: "Immigration connects us."
Coming Soon: The Academy

Simply put, it is a series of 11 courses designed to develop well equipped, thoughtful people to better serve councils in a variety of capacities. For some this may lead to becoming commissioned ruling elders (CREs) while others delight in learning and growing as a leader.  We are lining up some of the finest instructors we can find! The brochure
Pastoral Leadership Opportunities

The following congregations within the bounds of our presbytery are currently seeking pastoral leadership:

Randall Presbyterian Church, Randall, Minnesota - Pastor
Ministry Information Form - 03892.AC
Crosslake Presbyterian Church, Crosslake, Minnesota - Interim Pastor
Ministry Information Form - 11950.AC0

The Ministry Information Forms for these opportunities are posted on the Church Leadership Connection web site --
Save the date!
Healthy Congregations Workshop
First Presbyterian Church
St. James, MN
March 24-25, 2017

This workshop will help you . . .
  • Learn how you as a leader can influence the health of your congregation - how to detect and avoid unhealthy patterns of living together in community.
  • Learn how to keep anxiety from becoming infectious.
  • Gain confidence in responding to challenges and opportunities.
  • Learn how to put limits on invasive behavior, manage reactivity,and overcome sabotage.
  • Discover how leaders can function as the congregation's immune system.
  • Learn to focus on strengths, resources, options, and the future.

Note:  there is a Super 8 Motel in St. James for people who want to make overnight arrangements. They do fill up, so it is good to make reservations early. They will honor a church's tax free ID for folks to save a little money. Call 507-375-4708 for reservations.
Grants Available!

The Mission Redevelopment Committee of First Presbyterian Church, Madelia is seeking applications to receive grants. Qualifying projects may include:
  • Development, formation, or redevelopment of Presbyterian churches
  • Evangelism or recruitment of new members
  • New building construction
  • Renovations or capital improvements
  • Presbyterian-sponsored mission projects
A written letter of application describing the project and the amount of grant being requested should be submitted to the Mission Redevelopment Committee and postmarked by March 31, 2017. Grants will be selected and distributed in April.
Mission Redevelopment Committee
PO Box 156
Madelia MN 56062
News Briefs

LILLY ENDOWMENT CLERGY RENEWAL PROGRAM The Lilly Endowment Clergy National Renewal Program provides funds to congregations to support renewal leaves for their pastors. Congregations may apply for grants of up to $50,000 to underwrite a renewal program for their pastor and for the pastor's family, with up to $15,000 of those funds available to the congregation to help cover costs for ministerial supply while the pastor is away. There is no cost to the congregations or the pastors to apply. The grants represent the endowment's continued investment in renewing the health and vitality of American Christian congregations. Application deadline is April 21, 2017. Application information can be found at .

SUMMER YOUTH MISSION OPPORTUNITY The Rocky Mountain Mission program began in July 2014 and is offering six weeks of service opportunities for youth again this summer. Youth who travel to Nederland, Colorado will have the chance to share in a few different projects that might include working on homes in need of repairs, helping with VBS, providing outreach to the homeless community, adopting the local cemetery, continuing recovery following floods and fires, and more.
For information, visit , or call Pastor Hansen Wendlandt at 303.258.3579.
Six New Things: February 21
See what's happening on our Facebook site:
Like us on Facebook