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 February 10-16
First Presbyterian Church of Brewster
Congregational Leaders:
Ruling Elders: Terry McNab, Richard Cross, Suzanne Busch, Lynda McNab, Steve Naumann and Richard Garmer
Treasurer: Jim Behrends
Clerk of Session: Lynda McNab
Christian Education: Beverly Stude
Groundskeepers: Rodney Plantz and Suzanne Busch
Custodians: The Congregation
Teaching Elder: Rev. Robert D. Bartlett

Prayer Concerns:
  • Members in Physical Rehabilitation and Assisted Living Facilities
  • People within our community struggling with health issues and mourning the death of loved ones.
  • Everyone throughout our region dealing with icy roads, extremely frigid temperatures, numbing wind chills, and stressed by rising heat bills.
  • First Responders who leave warmth and safety in order to render aid to those who are stranded, injured or critically ill.
  • Farmers as they anxiously look forward to the end of winter and spring planting
  • Children and youth who are being indoctrinated by
  • Members of our church family serving in the United States Navy and in the United States Marine Corps
  • 600 Members, and their families, of Minnesota’s own Red Bulls, the 34th Infantry for mission command of Task Force Spartan, which spans 20 countries through 6 time zones, with 22 ethnic groups speaking 18 different languages and a total population of over 550 million people
  • Our sister church in Round Lake and sister churches throughout Nobles County
  • For another Christian "Great Awakening" within the PC(U.S.A.), the U.S.A., and every nation.
  • For Christians who are being persecuted and sometimes martyred on every continent
  • For the future of all of our rural communities and their shrinking congregations
  • For the Presbytery staff and those who provide leadership to our congregations
Presbytery Office Closed on Friday

SanDawna and Karen will be out of the office on Friday, so the office will be closed.
Presbytery Meeting Highlights
The processional included bagpipes!
Two Confirmation students and other friends from Faith Presbyterian Church of Silver Lake attended the meeting. Visitors are always welcome!
The Presbytery had the privilege of having Curtiss DeYoung, CEO of the Minnesota Council of Churches, preach during worship. The title of his sermon was "Called Out of Egypt" referencing Matthew 2:13-15. He also shared more information about the programs and projects of the MCC during a workshop time.
Moderator Mark Ford and Vice Moderator Anna Williamson discuss some of the afternoon business details.
This is our regional Board of Pensions Representative, Ken Green. He met with the Commission on Leadership in the morning and spoke about the Board of Pensions to the gathering in the afternoon. Please check out newly-revamped Board of Pensions website at http://www.pensions.org/.
We met and heard from three of our newest pastoral additions to the presbytery, Galen Sylvester (Harrison Presbyterian Church of rural Spicer), Lindsay Conrad (First Presbyterian Church of Mankato), and Tony Oltmann (Crosslake Presbyterian Church of Crosslake.
We celebrated Commissioned Ruling Elder Betty Thorson's contributions to the presbytery upon her retirement from Cambria Presbyterian Church.
General Assembly Business: The Presbytery on Saturday voted on the ten amendments from the General Assembly. Scott Prouty, Minister of the Word and Sacrament GA commissioner, presented the business. The Presbytery voted to approve eight of the amendments and disapprove two. The two which were disapproved were 18-B1 and 18-C. 18-B1 is on amending G-2.0509 which has to do with renunciation of jurisdiction. 18-C is amending G-3.0104 which has to do with church officers. The voting information has now been passed onto the General Assembly. For more information about the GA business, go to the Office of the General Assembly website http://oga.pcusa.org/
Bonnie Roys shared her "What Jesus Means to Me" story.
Lynn Olson renewed his acquaintance with this grand piano, which used to live at First Presbyterian Church of Brainerd.

Thank you to the folks at First Presbyterian Church of Saint Cloud for their hospitality, their help throughout the day and the delicious food!
Worship Resources for Lent

The Season of Lent

The season of Lent is a time of prayer, fasting and self-examination in preparation for the celebration of the resurrection of the Lord at Easter. It is a period of 40 days — like the flood of Genesis, Moses’ sojourn at Mount Sinai, Elijah’s journey to Mount Horeb, Jonah’s call to Ninevah to repent and Jesus’ time of testing in the wilderness. (The Sundays in Lent are not counted in this reckoning of the time between Ash Wednesday and Easter, as every Lord’s Day is a celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In the early church, Lent was a time of preparation for the celebration of baptism at the Easter Vigil. In many communities of faith it remains a time to equip and nurture candidates for baptism and confirmation and to reflect deeply on the theme of baptismal discipleship.

Our Occidente Partners Say “Gracias”

by Jim Krapf

Funds from our Presbytery support the ministry of our sister Presbytery of Occidente in Guatemala. We recently received a letter from their Committee on Ministry. They expressed an affectionate greeting and well wishes for our ministry. They stated: “It is a pleasure to present the report of the projects carried out with God’s blessings and your support.”

Scholarships were presented to 10 children of pastors at their Presbytery office last May. There pictures were taken and prayers given urging the recipients to wisely use the resources and to be mindful of their origin. The $250 per student comes from our budget and from donors. Thank you notes and information have been sent to the congregations, PWs and individuals who contributed.

Pictured here are the students and their pastor fathers at their Presbytery office as they received their scholarships.  
Pictured here is David Jose Pable de Leon Cifuentes and his father David receiving his scholarship. The father wrote us saying: “My family and I greet you with a lot of love in Christ. First, I am grateful for the economic aid that you are providing which is of great help. I want to let you know that my son is studying in preschool in the public school. He finds it to be a very enjoyable experience as his teacher teaches with songs, games, painting, puzzles, and other activities. He participated in the school sports Olympics. God willing, next year he will finish preschool. He enjoys going to school and to church. Once again, I appreciate your support.”

The certificate from David’s school in Sibilia, Quetzaltenango, dated October 31, 2018, indicates that he finalized the course for 5-year-olds and is promoted to the next preschool class.
Our partners also reported on the pastoral training held in July with 22 pastors in attendance. On this occasion Dr. Ramiro Bolanos spoke on “Unity in a Reformed Presbyterian Pastoral Identity,” with subtopics being “What is God-centered and anthropologic–centered worship?” and elements and order of Reformed liturgy.  In November 23 pastors attended a retreat to continue the July training. The subtopic on this occasion was “The Value of the Liturgy.” We send $1250 annually for these events.
We are grateful for the support we can offer to encourage and resource the pastors, their families and congregations in our sister Presbytery of Occidente.
David Gambrell answers questions about Presbyterian worship: His new book answers FAQs and not-so-frequent inquiries on worship

by Westminster John Knox Press | Special to Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE — Westminster John Knox Press announces the release of “Presbyterian Worship Questions and Answers” by the Rev. Dr. David Gambrell.

Drawn from scholarly insights, pastoral instincts and Gambrell’s decade of experience in the Office of Theology and Worship, this book provides accessible answers to frequently asked questions about Presbyterian worship along with a few questions we ought to ask more frequently. Find answers to questions such as:
  • What is the order of worship?
  • Should Presbyterian worship be traditional, contemporary or blended?
  • What is the lectionary, and where does it come from?

From the practical to the philosophical, “Presbyterian Worship Questions and Answers” sheds new light on the meaning and mystery of worship in the Reformed tradition. Discover answers to all your questions about Presbyterian worship today. “Presbyterian Worship Questions and Answers” is now available through  Westminster John Knox Press  and other major retailers.

David Gambrell is associate for worship in the Office of Theology and Worship in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). He is the author of “Breathing Spirit into Dust: Fifty Hymn Texts” and coeditor of the “2018 Book of Common Worship.”
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.  

Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Sundance Film Festival

Almost-completed documentary about Flint water crisis will be shown to some festival attendees

By Rich Copley | Presbyterian News Service

Signs guide Flint residents to bottled water in “Flint: The Poisoning of an American City,” a new documentary from Story Productions, a ministry of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance. (Photo by David Barnhart)

LOUISVILLE — Somewhere in the swirl of movie stars, auteurs, paparazzi and snow at this year’s  Sundance Film Festival  you could find the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

“Flint: The Poisoning of an American City,” a nearly-completed documentary about the water crisis in Flint, Michigan by  Story Productions , a ministry of  Presbyterian Disaster Assistance  (PDA), will be shown as a work-in-progress preview at a screening room in Park City, Utah, this weekend.

“Flint” is the latest film directed by David Barnhart, PDA’s associate for Story Ministry, whose other credits include “Trigger: The Ripple Effect of Gun Violence” and “Locked in a Box,” which looks at the U.S. immigration detention system.

Presbyterian Foundation offers free webinar series
Themes include boosting stewardship, talking about money

Susan Herman | Special to Presbyterian News Service - January 8, 2019

LOUISVILLE

Rob Hagan and Karl Mattison of the Presbyterian Foundation will lead a free five-part webinar for congregations.

The  Presbyterian Foundation  is offering a series of five webinars in 2019 on engaging church givers in stewardship and money-related conversations.

Pastors, business administrators, stewardship chairs, treasurers, session clerks and others involved in the financial life of the church are invited to register. The webinars are free. Sign up for the whole series, or just topics that interest you the most.

Rob Hagan and Karl Mattison will present the webinars. Hagan is a  Ministry Relations Officer  for the Presbyterian Foundation. Mattison is the Foundation’s Vice President of Planned Giving. They have teamed up many times to educate church leaders on financial topics and say they’re excited to offer webinar participants tools for building generous, vital communities of faithful givers who want their resources to change people's lives for Jesus Christ.

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.
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)  

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

Questions?
Contact Mark Giese:  mark@fpcstcloud.org  ∙ 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  youngadultvolunteers.org . 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 --  http://oga.pcusa.org/section/mid-council-ministries/clc/
Upcoming Events

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