The Valley Bridge
The weekly newsletter from the
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
February 7, 2018
 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)
This week, Presbytery office hours are 7:30 - 3:30
Karen is out of the office on Friday.
SanDawna is out this week.
Congregation of the week of February 11-17
First Presbyterian Church of Canby
Rev. Steve Tyykila
Janitor Robin Enstad
Treasurer Marge Frazeur
Clerk of Session Karen Houtman
Elders:  Doug Frazeur,  Patty Gubrud,  Karen Houtman,  Randy Lopau,  Tom McCammon,  Carol Tobin,  Genevieve Tyykila,  Barb Vanstrom
Deacons:  Myron Busse,  Marian Cordiner,  Charles Houtman,  Kathy Merrill,  Jody Olson,  Betty Rehn,  Virgil Vanstrom
We are praying for:
  • Members who are dealing with illness and cancer
  • Our Guatemalan prayer partners in Solola
  • For a reflective Lenten season
  • For those in our congregation who are grieving recent losses
Presbytery Meeting Highlights

Thanks to the congregation at Hope Presbyterian Church in Spicer for hosting us so well at the stated presbytery meeting on Saturday. From arrival to departure, folks were helpful in every way. We got to hear beautiful music from Maggie and the choir, eat delicious and healthy food, use their new sound/tech booth and felt welcome throughout our day.

SanDawna spoke about "Thinking Like God, Speaking for God." $536.00 was collected for One Great Hour of Sharing. We remembered those teaching and ruling elders who passed away in 2017, and we celebrated Holy Communion.

In small groups, we discussed two case studies--one about per capita and being part of the wider church and the other about welcoming those who are different from ourselves.

Bessie Klose shared some history of the Harrison Presbyterian Church of rural Atwater/Spicer. Harry and Cassie Gabe and Leanne Thompson updated us on what's happening at Lakeshore Center at Okoboji and Presbyterian Clearwater Forest. We received reports from Pam, SanDawna and the commissions and committees. We welcomed Murphy Ashley to the presbytery. Gordy Pennertz answered the question, "What Does Jesus Mean to Me?" We remembered our time with Rick Carus, our former executive presbyter, who passed away at the end of January.

We ended our day a little early and headed out back into a beautifully snowy world refreshed, informed and thankful for our Presbyterian connections.

A few pictures from the day:
First-time commissioners

Beverly Brock and Al Jergenson
The choir

Harry & Cassie Gabe, Presbyterian Camps
Bessie Klose, Harrison Presbyterian
Murphy Ashley being welcomed
Annual Report Forms

Pastors and Commissioned Ruling Elders, here are links to this year's annual report forms. The deadline to return them to the presbytery office is March 1.
Calling all Elders and Deacons!

On Saturday, February 24 from 10:00 - 3:00 p.m., officer training will be held at the First Presbyterian Church, Redwood Falls 235 East 4th Street). Deb DeMeester, Director of Leadership at the Synod of Lakes and Prairies will offer a keynote about leadership in 2018. Then after lunch clerks of sessions, deacons and ruling elders will have their own sessions led by Lynn Olson, Galen Smith and Pamela Prouty. Worship will also be part of the day. This training is for active and inactive church officers as well as anyone who wants to learn more about leadership in the local church.  Please RSVP by Monday, February 19 to Karen Lange at the Presbytery office at, so lunch can be planned accordingly.
February Ordination Anniversaries

02/07/2010  Erin Kobs
02/10/1974  Ray Larson
02/12/1995  Leah Elrod
02/16/2014  Elaine Boyd
02/19/1984  Dennis Secrease
Thank you from the father of Devis Estuardo Recinos Palacios

Scholarship recipient, Occidente Presbytery, 2017
December 5, 2017
Dear Brethren of Minnesota Valleys:
I greet you in the love of Our Lord Jesus Christ, trusting you are receiving God's blessing.

The reason I am writing to you is to thank you for the financial help that you have sent to cover the expenses for the studies of our son, Devis Estuardo Recinos Palacios. It has been a real blessing to us.

We hope that you might be able to continue helping us so that he can continue with his studies.

We are grateful for your attention to this letter.
Sincerely, your brother in Christ,
Pastor Emilio Leonel Palacios Gómez
Note: Devis has some coursework to restudy for later examination.
Steering Congregations to Formational Resources

The Commission on Congregational Transformation and Development exists to resource congregations. We have identified six critical areas: discipleship, evangelism, mission, spiritual leadership, stewardship and worship. Each area has one or two individuals who serve as point persons. The point person's goal is to steer you in the right direction toward valuable resource. Please let us know how we can come alongside of your congregation.

EvangelismAnne Veldhuisen,, 507-215-5617
Mission: Richard Lawrence, , 320-260-9639
Mission: Darlene Scherbing, , 320-292-2610
Spiritual Leadership: Tom Voigt, , 612-875-6398
Stewardship: Rick Hauge, , 507-829-5227
Worship: Darin Seaman, , 320-251-8277
Pastoral Leadership Opportunities

The following congregation within the bounds of our presbytery is currently seeking pastoral leadership:

Faith Presbyterian Church, Silver Lake - Part-time Solo Pastor
   Ministry Information Form - 03851.ACO

Randall Presbyterian Church, Randall
- Pastor
   Ministry Information Form - 03892.AC1

First Presbyterian Church, Fulda - Solo Pastor, 3/4 time
   Ministry Information Form - 03782.ADO

The Ministry Information Forms for these opportunities are posted on the Church Leadership Connection web site --
2018 Per Capita is $40.13

$27.00 for Presbytery
   5.40 for Synod
   7.73 for GA
$40.13 Total
Transformation ... going beyond change
Transformation 2018 Ministry Event
Minnesota Valleys Presbytery
First Presbyterian Church, St. Cloud, Minnesota
April 5-7, 2018

Minnesota Valleys Presbytery is partnering with Midwest Initiative for Leading Transition to host a two and half day transformation training event. The event is designed for congregation teams and will focus on the complexity of leading churches through a transformation process. The faculty will address the misconceptions of the one size fits most concepts of church growth strategies. Trained in building the capacities of leaders to enter systems, coach change and resourcing various congregational systems this event will assist participants in retooling for ministry in the 21st century.

Participants can expect to return home with a greater understanding of:
  • Leading change in the 21st Century Church
  • Working within systems
  • Cultural and systemic challenges to ministry today
  • Transformation models
  • Vocational Discernment
  • Visioning for the future
Live Generously. Live Happier:

Lessons from "The Generosity Project"
Saturday, March 10 from 9:00 - 2:00
Southwest Minnesota State University (SMSU)/Marshall
Conference Center, Marshall, MN
Livestream Option Available

"The Generosity Project"    is designed to equip your congregation-and especially family units or single persons--- in the spiritual practice of generosity. It teaches "why" and "how to" talk about generosity, stewardship, abundance and money practices. It does this through a day filled with interactive, fun, full of laughter, faith centered lessons and practices. Begin 2018 by learning so you can bring these practices to your setting. Join us as together we learn to "live generously and live happier" 

Please register online by  clicking here
  • Registration Cost is Free! Resource materials and snack are included. The event costs are provided by the Lilly Grant and our Embrace God's Mission + Equip God's People Funding Initiative.
  • Non-SW MN Synod groups and other denominations are welcome. Lunch will not be provided. SMSU will have snacks provided but groups must pay for their own lunch at the SMSU cafeteria or other locations.
All groups are invited to make a contribution to the Funding Initiative, but not required. Send gifts to: SW MN Synod, PO Box 499, Redwood Falls, MN 56283. To make an online gift  click here.

To receive the Livestream link you must register online.
Livestream groups commit to have at least 4-6+ persons in attendance in their location and provide their own technical support at that location re: video and audio projection. 

 From Southwestern Minnesota Synod (ELCA)
  submitted by Deb Hess
Mosaic of Peace Conference

Witnessing for Peace and Wholeness in a Land called 'Holy'
A Presbyterian Peacemaking Conference in Israel/Palestine
April 29-May 12, 2018

For more information, including a sample conference schedule and information from past conferences, visit or contact the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program at 800-728-7228 x5805 or 502-569-5805.
NextChurch 2018

"The Desert in Bloom: Living, Dying, and Rising in a Wilderness Church"
Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel, Baltimore, MD
February 26-28, 2018

The NEXT Church National Gathering is filled with church leaders (pastors and lay people) sharing stories of their experiences of ministry, new ideas they are trying, and honest conversations about ministry today. Creative worship centers us around God's presence. Multiple opportunities to engage in workshops and conversation about particular aspects of ministry foster new and deeper connections. We hope you will join us!

Sooner or later, our sacred stories - individual and communal -  return to the desert. Jacob. Moses. Miriam. Hagar. Jesus. The Desert Mothers and Fathers. Sometimes we retreat there. Sometimes we are driven there against our will. Sometimes it is simply where we find ourselves. Regardless, we eventually dwell in that harsh and empty place where the line between life and death grows thin. However improbably, Scripture says that this is precisely the place where God's promises begin to bloom. The prophet Isaiah wrote to a people in despair: "The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad, the desert shall rejoice and blossom" (35:1).

For many of us, wilderness is a metaphor. It can be understood as a spiritually renewing place to strip away distraction and re-center on God. It can represent the isolation sometimes felt in ministry and life. It can symbolize times of testing and temptation. It can suggest moving outside our comfort zones to places of uncertainty and risk, creativity and opportunity. Wilderness is also found in real places - from dying towns and blighted city neighborhoods, to the retreat spaces where we seek discernment and clarity.
Throughout Scripture and the history of the people of God, the wilderness is a place of radical change and reliance on God's unwavering care.

At the 2018 NEXT Church National Gathering, we will ask how the church can embrace a wilderness identity in pursuit of the hope, resilience, clarity, and resurrection so often found there. We'll bear witness to promises blooming in desert spaces - from the corners of Baltimore City to wide open places to sprawling suburbs to coastal towns and every other space God calls us to be present. We'll seek desert blossoms in our politics, our prayers, our pews, in each other and ourselves. We will find fellow travelers on the Holy Way.  We will embrace the wildernesses of our present moment, trusting with the prophet Isaiah that there we "shall see the glory of the Lord" (35:2).
NEXT Church Post-Gathering
Forming Generous Disciples
February 28, 2018 1:00 pm - March 1, 2018 12:00 pm

How can your church form generous people to support and engage God's mission? Gain practical tools and theological underpinnings for a successful and sustainable approach to stewardship. Explore spiritual practices that can help the people in your pews become more generous. Learn to tell your church's financial story in compelling ways. Conquer fears of talking about money.

If you would like to participate in this post-Gathering seminar, you must register for it when you register for the entire National Gathering.

This Post-Gathering is $50 due to the generous support of the Presbyterian Foundation with support from the Lilly Endowment, Inc.

Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel
Baltimore, MD 21202

Leadership and Anxiety in the Church: 

  A Family Systems Perspective 


This is one-day workshop looks at the challenges presented by the rising levels of anxiety being experienced in churches today, as well as the role that self-differentiated leadership can play in calming such anxiety.  You will learn practical skills that will help you defuse anxious situations and maintain a non-anxious presence.  This interdenominational workshop will be hosted by Minnetonka United Methodist Church in Minnetonka, MN (Minneapolis area) on May 16, 2018.  It is sponsored by the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center in Lombard, IL.  Discounts are available for individuals and church groups who register by May 2, 2018.  For more information about this workshop, click here. To register or to download a group discount coupon, click here

Six New Things
Presbyterian Peace & Justice Monthly
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