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 January 17-23
First Presbyterian Church of Windom
Pastor: Rev. Pamela Prouty
Clerk of Session: Mary Klosterbuer
Treasurer: Keith Lohse
Co-Moderators of the Board of Deacons: Marlis Einkopf and Marlene Murphy
Elders: Bruce Gross, Kelly Piotter, Keith Lohse, Brian Jensen, Marsha Ysker, Dave Easler, Mary Klosterbuer
Deacons: Lisa Fredin, Mary Lou Walinga, Marlis Einkopf, Connie McCarthy, Daphne Easler, Marlene Murphy

Mission projects Windom: Kids Closet, Lunch Buddies, Coats for Kids, Birthday Bags and The Dinner Table. We are also a Matthew 25 church and are a part of the Hunger Action program.

Prayer concerns: We pray for healing for all people who suffer with COVID and long term side effects, people who suffer with other illness and disease, people who are grieving. We pray for this country and the political strife and racial discord. We are thankful for a God who loves, redeems and is present with all of us.

Prayer of Joy: We are grateful to have Pastor Pam join us and are optimistic about recent renewal and growth.

We are resuming in person worship on January 24 and hope to keep an online presence too.
Looking Ahead

The below notes are from my morning devotion. I believe they are apropos considering current world conversations, the country's division, and looking ahead toward Intercultural Justice Sunday this week. Brain McLaren and Gareth Higgins authors of The Seventh Story: Us, Them, and the End of Violence, Porch 2018, pg. write:
  • Jesus came to subvert all stories of violence and harm, not repeat them.
  • Instead of patriarchal stories of domination, he taught and embodied service, reconciliation, and self-giving.
  • Instead of stories of violent revolution or revenge on the one hand or compliant submission on the other, he taught and modeled transformative nonviolent resistance.
  • Instead of the purification stories of scapegoating or ethnic cleansing, he encountered and engaged the other with respect, welcome, neighborliness, and mutuality.
  • Instead of inhabiting a competitive story of accumulation, he advocated stewardship, generosity, sharing, and a vision of abundance for all.
  • Instead of advocating escapist stories of isolation, he sent his followers into the world to be agents of positive change, like salt, light, and yeast.
  • And instead of leaving the oppressed in stories of victimization, he empowered them with a vision of faith, hope, and love that could change the world.

I assert that when we think of the person of Jesus Christ, the above description of his ministry is most compatible with Scripture. Jesus is our model to follow. Jesus was filled with compassion toward us. Today's Lectionary reading Mark 1:40-45 shows us, Jesus, who chose to not only heal the leper but restored his sense of humanity. He touched the one the world called unclean.
May we, in the coming days, find more ways to live like Christ.

Grace and Peace,
Elder and Deacon Training by Zoom Jan 20 and Jan 21

Wednesday, January 20 from 5:30 - 7:30 PM led by Rev. Pamela Prouty
Ruling Elder Training 101, come and learn about the duties and responsibilities of being a Ruling Elder and meet other REs from around our presbytery.

Thursday, January 21 from 5:30 - 7:30 PM led by Rev. Leanne Thompson
Deacon Training 101 – More Than Just a Social Visit: Practicing the Ministry of Caring in Your Congregation

Register by emailing Karen Lange
Unmasking the Post-COVID Church

Saturday's Leadership Event led by Rev. Dr. Ross Lockhart engaged the presbytery in a conversation about the Post COVID19 Church. Below are questions we encourage you to discuss with your congregations.

  • What are the most significant changes in the church's life on a Sunday morning during COVID19?
  • What is the most effective initiative you've started during COVID19?
  • What will you continue after the pandemic?
  • What did you start new during COVID19 that you will continue?
  • What is one thing that you hope the congregation will not pick up and start doing again after the pandemic is over?
  • What has COVID19 taught you about the nature and necessity of your church building?
  • What new dreams has God been planting in your congregation during COVID about how you might better your property for mission engagement?
  • Describe your spiritual practices at home. How have these changes been adapted during COVID to strengthen your relationship with Jesus and the people around you?
  • How did your congregation prepare you for discipleship in isolation? What is one thing that the congregation could do more effectively to equip its people for faithful practice when scattered?
  • What has the COVID experience taught you about human nature, and how might you respond effectively with an evangelistic witness?
  • Tell a story about a sign of hope that you've witnessed during this challenging time that might be evidence of God's light breaking into a darkened world?
  • How has your understanding of incarnational ministry been transformed during this pandemic?
  • What do you think God is trying to teach us about how we form community in person or virtually?

Rev. SanDawna Ashley
Unmasking the Post-Covid Church Links
YouTube Video:
Church Safety/Security Resources

Mitigating Attacks on Houses of Worship Security Guide: A DHS Guidebook for both thinking about the security of Houses of Worship and achieving a security plan best suited to the unique circumstances of every community.

Houses of Worship Security Self Assessment: A CISA developed baseline
security self assessment tool designed for a person with little to no security

PDA Resource Guide for Human Caused Disasters
Position Available
Gap Executive Presbyter

PURPOSE OF THE POSITION: The Gap Executive Presbyter will serve as the presbytery leader and head of staff for the Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys during the search process for the permanent Executive Presbyter. The Gap Executive Presbyter will work with the leadership of the presbytery, holding the presbytery’s vision before the collective body, and providing the coordination, nurture, and encouragement necessary to promote the ministry and mission of the presbytery through its officers, committees, congregations and members. 

TYPE OF POSITION: This is a half-time, exempt position appointed by the Commission on Presbytery Operations for a one-year term or until permanent Executive Presbyter position is filled, reviewed at 6 month intervals or at intervals deemed appropriate.

Letters of application due to LeRoy Ennenga by February 5, 2021.
Contact LeRoy Ennenga for detailed position description, questions or comments.  
Phone: 507-360-9254  
Beginning January 1, 2021 the standard mileage rates are:
56 cents per mile for business use
16 cents per mile for medical, or moving purposes
14 cents per mile for service of charitable organizations
2021 Per Capita
$43.00 Total
$28.52 for Presbytery
$5.50 for Synod
$8.98 for GA
2021 Sam & Helen Walton Awards

The Office of Mission Program Grants would like to take this opportunity to share the current nomination forms for the 2021 Sam & Helen R. Walton Awards for outstanding new church developments that have placed an emphasis on site acquisition. Please refer to the attached documents for additional information.
The Mission Development Resources Committee (MDRC) will make decisions on Walton Awardees during their March 2021 meeting.
If you have any questions or comments about the Walton Award or Mission Program Grants, please contact our office. We are sure that we will be able to answer your questions and assist you through this process. Please visit our webpage,, to download our resources and application form.

Learning Ministry Skills for Today’s and Tomorrow’s Church for Pastors, Staff, COMs and Congregational Leaders
February 8-12, Online

Whether it is a change in leadership or a changing community, leading a congregation through change is both challenging and rewarding. It takes knowledge, skill, resilience and spiritual strength to navigate the waters of change in a way that leaders and congregations thrive. This training is for individuals who are considering ministry in temporary settings (as an interim, transitional or designated pastor) or are experiencing ministry in these transitional times. Materials presented will include the basics of transitional ministry and will be of value to all congregational pastors regardless of their ministry setting. Best practices in transitional ministry include ways to enter the congregation and community, how to analyze a congregation’s strength and growing edges, and how to assist a congregation in moving toward a vibrant future. This training will delve into navigating change, the pastor as a spiritual interpreter of transition, family systems, mission focus ministry, conflict mediation, and building resiliency.

Participants completing the full 30 hours of training will meet the requirements for Week I Transitional Ministry Education. If you want a certificate of completion, you must actively participate in all sessions in their entirety. We will meet Monday-Thursday from 9:00-11:30, 1:30-4:30 and Friday from 9:00-noon. Tuition and fees cover the tuition as well as the costs of taking the Thomas Kilman Inventory and the Intercultural Development Inventory. Continue reading for additional information.

Prayer List

  • For Rev. John Lindholm, retired pastor, Fergus Falls, health concerns
  • 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

Pray for Our Occidente Partners in Guatemala
  • For the families of the three Occidente pastors that have recently died
  • For those who have contracted the Covid virus
  • For the "Men in the Mirror" program. Men from Occidente that MVP supported financially to attend the classes are sharing 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, are training Christian policemen in what they learned from "Men in the Mirror."
Pastoral Leadership Opportunities

Zion Presbyterian Church, Ellsworth; Emmanuel Presbyterian Church, Rushmore; First Presbyterian Church, Rushmore - Interim Pastor
Ministry Information Form - 09163.AE0

First Presbyterian Church, Lake Crystal; First Presbyterian Church, Kasota - Pastor, yoked parish
Ministry Information Form - 03709.AB1

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

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

First Presbyterian Church, Slayton - Pastor
Ministry Information Form - 03805.AB0

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

First Presbyterian Church, Winnebago - Interim Pastor
Ministry Information Form - 03811.AA1

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

A Winter Learning Opportunity for Presbyterians

February 1-March 8
Join this class to explore what it means to reflect on what it means to provide pastoral care in a variety of settings and concerns. Rev. Lisa Watson, a long-time hospital chaplain, who currently serves as a Marriage and Family Counselor is the instructor.

Who might want to take this class?
  • Deacons who provide pastoral care and make pastoral visits
  • Commissioned Pastors who would like to improve their pastoral care
  • Those who might be called to be commissioned pastors as it meets the criteria of participating presbyteries

What will this class involve?
This course is designed to introduce you to pastoral care and the issues that commonly arise in this ministry. Our goal is to address topics that are directly relevant and applicable to your ministry work. Through readings, discussion, and self-reflective exercises, you will:
  • Increase your understanding of the essence of pastoral care.
  • Identify theological, scientific and awareness resources for future use in pastoral care
  • Deepen self-reflection awareness and skills needed to provide thoughtful pastoral care. There will be one book to read in advance and two instruments to take prior to the class.
The class runs asynchronously, meaning, you will participate in weekly activities at your own pace, based on your schedule. Each week, you will be expected to complete an assigned reading, participate in a discussion, respond to two of your classmates’ discussion posts, and complete an assignment. We estimate that you will spend about two hours weekly on coursework. There will be two Zoom meetings with the instructor: February 15 and March 1 from 7-8 p.m.

What is the cost?
  • $125 for those whose presbyteries support The Academy. $150 for those whose presbytery is not a partner. For those interested in the whole series of 11 classes in the Academy, there is an additional discount. 

Who is sponsoring this?
  • This is a class offered through The Academy, a series of classes for church members designed to deepen faith as participants encounter Christ in a new way. For those who are called or are exploring a call to become a Commissioned Pastor, this is a program that can help that happen. The Synod of Lakes and Prairies and the Presbyteries of Minnesota Valleys, North Central Iowa, Northern Waters and Prospect Hill are the current sponsors of the Academy.

How do I register or find additional information?
Formation for Mission: Dipping into the Well of PC(USA) Resources

A Spring Learning Opportunity for Presbyterians

March 13-14
This weekend class offers participants the opportunity to learn more about the breadth and depth of resources available for Presbyterian church leaders. This course provides the opportunity to interact with a number of national staff people for the PC(USA) and to become acquainted with the resources their offices offer to aid and further the ministry of local congregations. 

Who should consider taking this class?
  • Anyone who wants to grow in their faith and understanding of being Presbyterian
  • Session members and Deacons
  • Committee chairs
  • Commissioned Pastors seeking a helpful continuing education opportunity
  • Those who might be called to be commissioned pastors

What will this class involve?
  • Through a series of interactive panel discussions with national staff for the PCUSA, participants will dip deep into the well of resources for:
  • Understanding and engaging the Matthew 25 initiative of the denomination and its focus on building congregational vitality, eradicating system poverty and dismantling structural racism.
  • Forming lifelong disciples who are grounded in the reformed tradition and equipped for evangelism, equipped to be peacemakers and witnesses to the world, and who engage the reformed tradition to work towards justice and equity for all God's people. 
  • The Presbyterian Publishing House will share new resources for faith formation of all ages and participants will explore a variety of resources and how they can be used in local congregations.
  • This class will meet by Zoom on Saturday 9:00-5:00 and Sunday 9:00-3:00 CT.

What is the cost?
  • $125 for participants from partner presbyteries. $150 for participants from non-partner presbyteries. For those interested in the whole series of 11 classes in the Academy, there is a discount. 

Who is sponsoring this?
  • This is a class offered through The Academy, a series of classes for church members designed to deepen faith as participants encounter Christ in a new way. For those who are called or are exploring a call to become a Commissioned Pastor, this is a program that can help that happen. The Synod of Lakes and Prairies and the Presbyteries of Minnesota Valleys, North Central Iowa, Northern Waters and Prospect Hill are the current sponsors of the Academy.

How do I register or find more information?