The Valley Bridge
The weekly newsletter from the
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
January 19, 2016
  The Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
We are congregations who seek to be a collective expression of the Body of Christ
joyfully participating in Christ’s on-going life and work.
  “Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.”
(I Thessalonians 5:11)
  Approved August 4, 2015
Fellowship of Prayer/Church of the Week of January 24:
Western Presbyterian Church of Fergus Falls
Western Presbyterian Fergus Falls
Staff List:
Rev. John Lindholm, teaching elder Shirley Brause, organist Paula Davenport, bulletin lady

Prayer Concerns:
Health of loved ones; Planning for our future; Understanding our gifts; Fun surprises from God; A big thank you for God’s love and faithfulness to us.
The Word from Rick:
Over the final five months of 2015, this presbytery and some of its ministry units took actions that, as we move through January and deeper into this year, will have a major effect on how we do our ministry together. Additionally, there will be other actions taken in this current year that will determine how this presbytery will be led deeper into its future.

With the start of the new year, we embarked on a new way of managing the presbytery’s financial resources. Read more
On the Road with Rick

January 24 – Preach at First PC, Jackson
January 24 – Ecumenical Worship Celebration – “Week of Prayer for Christian Unity” – First PC, Redwood Falls
January 26-27 – Synod COM/CPM Retreat – Buffalo
January 27—31 – Association of Presbyterian Church Educators Annual Gathering – Chicago
February 6 – Presbytery Meeting at First PC, Willmar
Read more

Introducing Rev. Dr. Leah Elrod 
New Interim Pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Saint James
Rev. Elrod is a lifelong Presbyterian and native Mid-Westerner. As the daughter of a pastor father and social worker mother, she and her four siblings grew up in small towns and cities in Iowa, Nebraska and Minnesota. Read more
Around the Presbytery
Westminster Presbyterian Church of Worthington benefits from grocery purchases made with gift cards available at the church office, 5% from Hy-Vee gift cards (can also be used to purchase gas at Hy-Vee) and 3% from Fareway gift cards.

First Presbyterian Church of Willmar has formed a new small group for young adults, Good Table. They will meet at a coffeeshop downtown.

First Presbyterian Church of Canby held a Game Day the afternoon of January 9 in the church basement. There were pinochle and regular playing cards, dominoes and many board games.

At Hope Presbyterian Church of Spicer, the Chatterbox group m eets the second Thursday of the month at 1:30 p.m. for coffee, special treats, and socializing. The group is for anyone that has the afternoon off. They enjoy personal joys, stories and remembrances, devotional reading and reflections. Once in a while, the group has special guest speakers, activities, and outings.

The First Presbyterian Church of Lake Crystal is putting together a Vision Team of positive, trusting, thoughtful members who are open to building consensus, open to God's Spirit and the power of prayer, open to thinking "out of the box," open-minded, and open to digging deep. They will seek to discover and understand God's agenda for First Presbyterian Church.

On January 10, Union Presbyterian Church of Saint Peter celebrated providing more than 500 birthday party kits for the Saint Peter Area Food Shelf. That's a lot of cake mix, frosting and other birthday items!

As you enter the front door of Crosslake Presbyterian Church, your eyes are immediately drawn to an array of five pieces of...."Of what?" many have asked. There is simplicity and beauty in the abstract art of wood and steel by professional artist Pat Musick and her husband Jerry Carr, a retired engineer and NASA astronaut. It takes a bit of time to understand what the art is depicting. Once you understand it, you can't help but see it is aptly named "Hallelujah!"

The sculpture consists of five elements varying in height up to nine feet. They were inspired by the gospel choirs which Pat Musick frequently heard when she lived in the South. A leader faces four singers with arms raised directing. The singers reach to heaven in various contortions of arms and waving hands. Music seems to flow from the piece, leaving the viewer to respond and interpret..."Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound."

The sculpture represents the joy and lifted hands of our Congregation as we dedicated the Friendship Hall and during our times of worship and prayer. After all, God has done marvelous things at and through Crosslake Presbyterian Church! The sculpture is a gift from Ronda Hopkins who thought of our church as she was visiting friends Pat and Jerry in Vermont. For her, and for us, it represents our joy and newness of life coupled with the simple, rustic and minimal architecture of both the sculpture and our church building. (Kate also loves the fact that it takes people awhile to figure it out....which of course is so symbolic in our lives of faith!)

(1) The "Hallelujah" sculpture. (2) Hands of the congregation raised in Hallelujah at the dedication of Friendship Hall.
The Due Date Is Coming! The Due Date Is Coming!

Clerks of Session! The due date for the annual General Assembly statistical report is on February 5, 2016. At the October 31, 2015 Presbytery meeting, information was distributed. If you have no idea of what this is about, please contact Stated Clerk Pam Prouty. 

We have had quite a few questions about the Clerk’s Annual Questionnaire; here is the link -  Once you get to this page, you can download the questionnaire and submit it from there.

Leadership Event
March 11-12 at the Presbytery Office
This event is for CREs, those considering becoming commissioned, and other interested folks.

Friday night
5:30 – Supper

6:30 p.m. – Presentation on dealing with church conflict. Leaders: Rick Carus and others who have been trained by the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center.

9:00 a.m. - Session on Pastoral Leader Styles. Mark Sundby from the North Central Ministry Development Center will lead an all-day session on pastoral leader styles. Assessments cost $100

Lunch provided

3:00 p.m. - Adjourn 

Presbytery will pay for all meals and travel for everyone who attends. Presbytery will also pay the assessment fee for all commissioned ruling elders and those who have met with the Committee on Preparation for Ministry who have expressed interest in becoming a commissioned ruling elder.  Everyone is responsible for their lodging.

Questions? Contact Pam Prouty at

Time to Get Your Registrations In!
Triennium Churches: Registration Has Officially Begun!
Please have your Triennium participants complete their registration forms NOW! With each passing day, we are getting closer to the start of the Triennium!  

Please complete your congregation’s registrations by February 1!!  Send the completed registrations, along with a $250 per person payment, to the Presbytery Office. 

Questions can be directed to Rick Carus or Pam Prouty!



THIS SUNDAY, JANUARY 24 – 2:00 p.m.


A Thank You for Our Food for Kidz Packing Event (12,312 bags) at the Presbytery Meeting at Hope Presbyterian in Spicer.

During the year 2015, you were involved in a packing event or contributed financially to the effort of Feeding Children of Stewart. We consider it a privilege to include you in our family of supporters. Your support enabled us to reach and surpass our goals of providing children her in the US and around the world, a nutritious meal where people were facing food insecurities.

Our work will continue because of your support.

Thank you for your generosity.

Feeding Children of Stewart
Food for Kidz
A New Arrival for Owar Ojulu and Apay Okello Olok
Owar Ojulu, a candidate under the care of our presbytery, and his wife, Apay, have welcomed their new child, BodoJwok, which means God is victorious in every aspect of my life. BodoJwok was the first baby boy born in 2016 in the Austin, Minn., hospital. The name honors the couple's life and faith journey from Ethiopia and in America. Though a birth in Worthington was planned, the baby arrived unexpectedly early while Owar and Apay were attending a spiritual conference in Austin, Minn. In fact, BodoJwok arrived nine minutes from the time they arrived at the hospital. Welcome, BodoJwok, to our faith community!
2016 Lenten Devotional from Presbyterians Today: Be Holy

Lent is a holy journey with God, but what exactly does it mean to be “holy”? For some, it’s all about following a set of rules and not messing up. But what if holiness is not good marks on a chalkboard but a gift from God? 

Pastor and author Brian Coulter has put together a series of brief daily reflections, paired with a short, ancient form of praise and petition called a breath prayer, to explore what holiness means for Christians today. He invites us to receive from God this blessed gift that makes our lives more compelling, more enjoyable, and more faithful. Bess Reynolds’s original artwork brings this holy Lenten journey to life. 

Perfect for congregations, families, and individuals, Be Holy provides a Scripture reading, meditation, and prayer for each day of Lent. 

Your congregation is invited to order these devotionals at $2.00 per copy through the presbytery office. The deadline to order is Tuesday, January 26. Please call or email Karen at the presbytery office: 320-235-7910 or .
Click the pictures at left and below for the latest news from the Synod of Lakes and Prairies, Presbyterian Clearwater Forest, and Lakeshore Center at Okoboji
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys | k 
320-235-7910 | w
The Presbytery calendar is on the front page of our website at the bottom left.