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 26 - February 1
First Presbyterian Church of Amboy
Pastor: Elaine Boyd
Clerk of Session: Nancy Runge
Elders: Shirley Rose, Jane Caldwell, Karla Caldwell, Keith Larson, Ruth Lemmon, Mike Stevens, Cindy Boesch, Joel Caldwell, Twyla Curry
Secretary: Rhonda Martin
Accompanists: Ruth Lemmon, Cindy Boesch, Nancy Runge, Angela Stevens
Treasurer: Shirley Rose

This past year we celebrated our 150 th anniversary year and are now looking forward to the next 150. The local food shelf Maple River Loaves and Fishes is a major mission focus for us, which we support with generous funds and volunteers. We financially support the Bdecan Ministry in North Dakota, especially since Joe Obermeyer the youth and volunteer coordinator was raised in this congregation. We also support an annual local mission, as yet to be determined, in conjunction with other churches in town in joint Wednesday evening Lenten Services.

Upcoming event:  Midwinter Celebration Concert on February 16, featuring music of the Sonrise Singers. 3 PM at First Presbyterian, Amboy. Open to the public.

Prayer concerns:
Encouragement and healing for the several members with broken bones and recovering from surgery, along with other health concerns. 
Prayers for discernment in congregational financial decisions and stewardship.
Committee on Representation wants you to help us be the best presbytery we can be!

We have been busy these last few weeks finding folks to serve the presbytery on several commissions, and we are still looking for:

Committee on Congregational Nurture
1 ruling elder to serve a three-year term
1 ruling elder to serve a two-year term
1 ruling elder to serve a one-year term

General Assembly
1 ruling elder to serve as an alternate

Please, if you feel called, or know of someone who would be great on one of these commissions, contact Audrey Knuth at 507-830-0520 or David Lick at 414-334-9385.
Prayer List

  • For Rev. Mark Chamberlain, retired pastor, Willmar
  • For Rev. Bob Bartlett, First Presbyterian Churches of Brewster & Round Lake
  • For Dave Hollis, First Presbyterian Church of Slayton, hip replacement
  • For Rev. Michael Roys, retired pastor, Winnebago
  • For Rev. Elaine and Kent Boyd at First Presbyterian Church of Amboy
  • Rev. Araceli Itzep from the Occidente Presbytery
  • For Beatriz (Betty/Beti) Cifuentes, the treasurer of the Partnership Committee, who is beginning chemotherapy.
  • For the "Men in the Mirror" program. Men from Occidente that MVP supported financially to attend the classes a couple of years ago are going to share 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, will also be training Christian policemen in what they learned from "Men in the Mirror."
Refugee Resettlement

To date, 42 governors across the U.S. have issued consent to Refugee Resettlement. Minnesota’s governor Governor Tim Walz has issued consent for the State. Twenty-two counties also voted for consent. The affirming counties Blue Earth, Brown, Clay, Dakota, Dodge, Goodhue, Hennepin, Kandiyohi, Mower, Murray, Nicollet, Nobles, Olmsted, Otter Tail, Pipestone, Pope, Ramsey, Rice, Sherburne, Steele, Washington, Watowan. Other counties have upcoming public hearings.

Regardless of your political position on the issue, take time to understand the issues and use your voice to communicate with officials. Taking action on this issue is one way to live our commitment to Matthew 25 to act boldly and compassionately to serve people who are hungry, oppressed, imprisoned or poor.
Trip to Occidente

A group representing the Minnesota Valleys Presbytery is traveling to Guatemala at the end of January/beginning of February. Please hold SanDawna Ashley, Elaine Boyd, Mark Ford, Colette Meidinger, Edith Alvarez, Judy Jackson and Logan Ford in your prayers during their visit. 

Thank you for your donations to the Occidente Presbytery, which recently has
  • purchased sewing machines for Presbyterian Women groups so that they can make and sell their creations as a way of fundraising
  • supported education for the children of pastors in the Occidente Presbytery
  • provided for reformed theology training for the Occidente pastors and seminary students 
  • set aside funds for future trips of Occidente delegates to Minnesota as well as for delegates from Minnesota going to Occidente
  • paid for the 5% administration costs of sending funds to Guatemala

Activities during this trip include meeting with all of the committees of Occidente Presbytery, cooperating with maintenance of one of the manses partially funded by MVP, attendance at a church service (SanDawna will preach and Mark will assist her in serving communion), conducting a day-long workshop on making quilts (Colette) and four will attend - along with four from Occidente - the Mission Networking Conference in Guatemala City. Other Americans whose presbyteries have a partnership with a Guatemalan presbytery will also be there along with delegates from their respective presbyteries.
Be on the lookout for articles in the Valley Bridge written by the delegates listed above upon their return from Guatemala.
Scholarship recipients in 2019 are pictured above with their pastor fathers. There are 13 recipients designated for 2020.
Order Lenten Devotionals through the presbytery office
Presbyterians Today invites you to experience the power of God working in community with its newest devotional , “Becoming a Beloved Community: A Matthew 25 Journey to the Cross.”

The devotional begins on Ash Wednesday, Feb. 26, and concludes on Easter Sunday, April 12. Every day, a Scripture reading, short reflection and closing prayer tell the powerful story of how God’s love in action is changing lives. Also featured in the devotional are ancient and modern mosaics depicting the life of Jesus.
Readers are invited to pause and ponder the reflection question that accompanies each picture. The mosaics underscore how each person’s action, gift, prayer and desire for a better world are necessary — and beautiful — pieces in the picture of God’s kingdom here on Earth.

“Beloved Community” is a term that was first coined by 20th-century American philosopher  Josiah Royce . However, it was the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  who popularized it , using “beloved community” often in speeches and sermons to illustrate God’s kingdom as truly a kin-dom. For King, a beloved community was not an idealized utopia, but rather an attainable society based on justice, equal opportunity for all and selfless love of one another. In his eyes, a community became “beloved” when every human in that community had his or her basic needs met.

You can order through the presbytery office for a discount. If our presbytery's pre-order reaches 100 copies, we will place the order and your congregation's cost for these devotionals will be $2.40 per copy through the presbytery office. The deadline to order is Monday, January 27. Please call or email your order to Karen at the presbytery office: 320-235-7910 or
Transformation Going Beyond Change Survey

We have created a survey to help us understand benefits and insights gained from our Transformation Going Beyond Change events over the past year. Will you please take a moment and answer the question in the survey we have linked?
"Will You Be My Neighbor”
Led by Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri, GA Co-Moderator
at the Stated Presbytery meeting in Redwood Falls
Saturday, February 15
Vilmarie Cintrón-Olivieri is a teacher and a Presbyterian Ruling Elder. A life-long Presbyterian, she considers serving as a Youth Advisory Delegate (YAD) to the 205th General Assembly (1993) a pivotal experience in understanding for the first time the scope of being a connectional church. Soon after serving as a YAD, Vilmarie was ordained as a ruling elder at the Iglesia Presbiteriana en Caparra Terrace, San Juan, Puerto Rico. At some point in her life, she has served at the session, as a member and chair of several presbytery committees —including the Committee on Preparation for Ministry and Nominating Committee—, vice moderator of Synod Boriquén and council member, a commissioner to the 212th General Assembly and as a member of the General Assembly Committee on Theological Education. Vilmarie has found great joy in working as an interpreter (Spanish/English) at the biennial General Assembly meetings since 2006 and at the past two Presbyterian Women Churchwide Gatherings. At a professional level, Vilmarie holds a B.A. in Education (English as a Second Language) from the University of Puerto Rico and a Master’s in Education (Curriculum and Teaching) from Turabo University. Dedicating most of her adult life to education, teaching high schoolers and adults, she began her teaching experience as a Sunday School teacher. In 2011, Vilmarie and her husband, Rev. José Manuel Capella-Pratts, moved from San Juan, Puerto Rico to Miami, Florida, where he is the pastor of First Spanish Presbyterian Church. Since moving to Miami, Vilmarie has taught ESL to adult students from all over the world in a language school in Miami. A member of First Spanish and a PW You (Presbyterian Women) , she has served as the Moderator of the Presbytery of Tropical Florida (2017), is currently a member of the Leadership Council, serves as clerk of the Presbyterian Hispanic Latino Caucus, Synod of the South Atlantic chapter, and is a faculty member of a CREDO team. An organizer at heart, she loves arts and crafts, decorating and…Christmas! Vilmarie also enjoys spending time with friends and family relaxing over a good cup of Puerto Rican coffee.
Public Theology for the Common Good
Led by Phil Tom
Tuesday, March 24
Hope Presbyterian Church
7730 N Shore Dr, Spicer
$15 for Presbyterians
$25 for others

"Public theology is the Christian engagement and dialogue within the church and especially with the larger society. It seeks the welfare of the state and a fair society for all by engaging issues of common interest to build the common good. This is Christian theology that talks with society, not just to society." (Wikipedia)
The reality is that many congregations are disconnected from their communities. In our workshop, we will explore how the tool of faith-based community organizing can help your congregation to learn how to connect with and to serve your community.

Phil currently serves as Executive Director for the International Council of Community Churches, and as a consultant to The Riverside Church in New York City. He has served in the following capacities: the PCUSA General Assembly for 10 years as Associate for Urban Ministry Office, and 3 years as Associate for the Small Church Ministry Office (urban, rural, suburban); Co-Director of McCormick Theological Seminary Church and Community Ministry Project; pastored for 27 years with congregations in Chicago, St. Paul, MN, Indianapolis, IN and New York City; and as Director of the White House Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnership Office in the U.S. Department of Labor in the Obama Administration.

To register, email Karen Lange
An Invitation to Spiritual Leaders

This is your invitation to submit a short video of yourself offering a meditation of your favorite passage from the Bible for the Presbytery YouTube channel. If you are interested, please contact Steve Tyykila ( ) or Andy Davis ( ). We'll give you more parameters and information, but we are looking for informal (not from the pulpit), personal, short (less than five minutes) videos on your favorite passage that you can record from your phone or computer. Thanks!
Transformation Testimonies Sought

We are preparing the reporting for the Transformation Going Beyond Change Initiative grants. Please think about how you have been using the information gleaned from these events and email Karen or SanDawna a short testimony about how you have benefited.
Pastor Cohort Groups

We are creating pastor cohort groups for interested pastors. Each group will meet monthly via Zoom. The format will include prayer, a book study, case studies, special speakers, cross-pollination of resources and active listening. Interested? Email SanDawna
2020 Per Capita

$41.45 Total
$27.00 for Presbytery
 $8.95 for GA
 $5.50 for Synod

What Is Per Capita? link

2020 Compensation Policy link

2020 Per Capita Apportionment and Mission Pledge Form link Please send to the presbytery office by January 31, if possible.
Pastoral Leadership Opportunities

First Presbyterian Church, Ashby  - Pastor, yoked parish
Ministry Information Form -  12363.ABO

First Presbyterian Church, Fulda  - Solo Pastor
Ministry Information Form -  03782.AD1

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

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

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

First Presbyterian Church, Winnebago - Interim Pastor

Ministry opportunities are posted on the Church Leadership Connection website --
Do you remember?

The Cambria Presbyterian Church is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year!  On December 2,1919 the Cambria Presbyterian Church was organized and it became a part of the Bethel and Horeb parish. As we celebrate we would like to recognize the small churches around us which helped us along the way.  We are in search of people who remember the Jerusalem Presbyterian Church, the Bethel Presbyterian Church, the Horeb Presbyterian Church, the Salem Welsh Congregational Church, the Carmel Presbyterian Church, and the Salem Townline Church and have a connection.  All of these churches were located in rural Judson, Lake Crystal, Cambria, and New Ulm. We would like to hear your stories and see your pictures if you have them. Please email Penny Johnson at or call 507-947-3955 if you have questions or contributions.