The Valley Bridge
The weekly newsletter from the
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
January 31, 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)
Regular Presbytery office hours are 8:00 - 5:00 Monday - Friday
Congregation of the week of February 4-10
Cambria Presbyterian Church 
Pastor/Teaching Elder: Penny Johnson
Commissioned Ruling Elders: Betty Thorson and Sue Goebel
Organist/Pianists: Viva Bowen, Kathy Jones, Mary Deopere
Class of 2018                            Class of 2019                   Class of 2020    
Dan Thorson                             Jim Thomas (2)                Gene Rosenau
Danielle Deopere                      Tim Stokes                       Keara Roberts
Terry Thorson (2)                      Cliff Jones                       Gene Walters
Class of 2018                             Class of 2019                   Class of 2020
Karen Deopere                          Marian Thomas                 Greg Davis (2)
Coreen Johnson (2)                   Deb Bradley Thomas         Nancy Deopere
(2) indicates second term
Session Elected Positions 2018
Presbytery Representative: Terry Thorson    
Presbytery Alternate: Tim Stokes, Cliff Jones                 
Treasurer: Terry Thorson
Auditors: Tessa Matter, Keara Roberts       
Primary Financial Secretaries: Butch and Nancy Deopere
Alternate Financial Secretaries: Harry and Darlyne Deopere
Clerks: Ronelva Dauer, Mary Koch
Newsletter Editor: Mary Koch
Prayers for:
  • Our church family and friends who are ill, fighting cancer and other diseases, or facing other challenges
    • Help them to feel the Lord's Amazing Strength, Comfort, Love, Joy and Peace in these and other challenging life journeys
  • For those who are reluctantly declining in health and mobility with age but still want to lead purposeful lives
    • May they feel the Lord's renewal of enrichment and purpose in their daily lives.
  • For our youth who will be our future leaders and need to feel the Lord's presence and guidance in choices now and ahead.
  • Help each of us to bear the Fruit of the Spirit  in our work for the Lord (Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, Self-Control) and use our gifts from Him to help others to know His Love.
  • For our leaders, church family and volunteers striving to carry out our mission for the Lord in so many ways in 2018
Mission Statement: 
The mission of the Cambria Presbyterian Church is to follow the commandments of God by showing our love for God and for all people through our daily life experiences.  This will include:
  • Providing spiritual and/or physical support to all those who need it;
  • Sharing our faith in word and deed with all we encounter;
  • Offering regular opportunities for worship and continued study of God's Word for all members of God's family;
  • Supporting the worldwide mission of the church.
Rick Carus Memorial Service Information

We at the Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys are sad to share with you that our friend  Rick Carus  entered his eternal home Sunday morning.

Rick Carus memorial service - Milwaukee area
Thurs., Feb. 1st, 3:00 PM
Apostle Presbyterian Church
1509 S 76th St.
West Allis WI 53214
phone 414-476-2043

Rick Carus memorial service - Albuquerque
Mon., Feb. 5th, 2:00 PM - light refreshments afterwards
Shepherd of the Valley Presbyterian Church
1801 Montano Rd NW
Albuquerque, NM 87107
phone 505-344-9798

Cards can be sent to Sue at:
Sue Carus
3455 Llano Vista Loop NE
Rio Rancho, NM 87124

Memorial Gifts can be sent to:
Montreat Conference Center Development Office
PO Box 969
Montreat NC 28757
Please indicate memorial gift for Rick Carus for youth conferences

YAV Young Adult Volunteer Program
Santa Fe Presbytery
217 Locust St
Albuquerque NM 87102-3633

Roadrunner Food Bank of New Mexico-Albuquerque
5840 Office Blvd NE
Albuquerque NM 87109
Hello Clerks of Session!
The due date for the General Assembly annual statistics is near.....Friday, February 2! 
  1. Go to the Presbytery website to download the 2017 Stat workbook; included in this are FAQs and other directions which can be helpful. Once you have gathered your data, you can enter it online using your password.


Remember the Session needs to approve your work, NOT the congregation.

3. The final due date is Friday, February 2, 2018.

Please remember if you have issues/concerns/questions, please let me know.  This process needs to be straightforward and uncomplicated, not frustrating. We are here to help.
Yay for stats!

Stated Clerk Pamela Prouty
Souper Bowl of Caring Gears Up for 22nd Year
Collecting donations, serving soup, stocking pantry shelves
all part of annual youth effort

by Jerry L. Van Marter, Presbyterian News Service

While America turns their attention to the matchup between the Packers and the Steelers in Super Bowl XLV, more than a quarter of a million young people are working to transform Super Bowl weekend into the nation's largest celebration of giving and serving through the Souper Bowl of Caring.

"For over two decades, young people have been inspiring the country to leverage the energy of the Super Bowl to help people in need through Souper Bowl of Caring, raising more than $71 million for soup kitchens, food banks and other charities," said Tracy Bender, president and CEO of Souper Bowl of Caring. "Together, we all can make a difference through this effort. I hope everyone will find a way to give and serve."

In 2010, more than 13,000 organizations collected over $10.2 million and every penny went to local organizations that help people in need. Souper Bowl of Caring organizers expect this year to be bigger than ever, with young people from more than 15,400 congregations, schools and civic clubs signed up to participate.

In 1990, Brad Smith, a seminary intern at Spring Valley Presbyterian Church in Columbia, SC, asked worshipers to bring donations of canned goods and money on Super Bowl Sunday to help feed the local hungry.

Inspired by the Spring Valley youth group's modest start that day, the  Souper Bowl of Caring has transformed professional football's biggest weekend into a the nation's largest youth-led weekend of giving and serving.

In 1991 the effort went statewide and by 1993 was national. Prominent national advocates include former U.S. Presidents George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter and their wives, as well as the owners of a half-dozen National Football League teams, such as the Indianapolis Colts, Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars and Miami Dolphins.

Presbyterians Bob and Janice McNair, owners of the NFL Houston Texans, worship at Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church in Houston. H. Wayne Huizenga and family, owners of the NFL Miami Dolphins, worship at First Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale.

Last year Presbyterian churches collected $1,124,514.83. A total of 2,247 groups participated. There are 2,467 groups registered to participate this weekend for Souper Bowl of Caring 2011. The overall goal is $11 million.

"Presbyterians have a rich history and strong tradition of bearing witness of the gospel to the world," Smith, now an ordained PC(USA) minister who is executive director of the Souper Bowl of Caring, said. "The Souper Bowl of Caring is a contemporary example of that."

The Presbyterian Hunger Program typically contributes money to the campaign to help meet administrative expenses and provides Souper Bowl resources to PC(USA) congregations.

The Souper Bowl of Caring is as simple as holding soup pots at church doors following worship on Super Bowl Sunday and asking worshippers to drop in a dollar to help those who are hungry.  Each group then gives their collection directly to the charity of their choice - no money is sent to Souper Bowl of Caring headquarters. Organizers simply ask that groups report their collection amount so a national total can be determined.

In many communities, the Souper Bowl has expanded to include a variety of service projects in addition to the Sunday collection of money and food.

To register your congregation, school or group, visit the  Souper Bowl of Caring website.
Chaplains Sunday: February 4, 2018

from the website Presbyterians Caring for Chaplains and Military Personnel

Here is a collection of resources you may want to look at to help your church map out a ministry to military and help assist military and VA chaplains in your community.

This is an article that demonstrate the need for support for our military personnel and families:  Caring for Military Families

A few helpful websites are the following:
"Soul Repair: Recovering from Moral Injury after War"
Dr. Rita Brock was our 2013 Chaplain Training Conference speaker and author of this wonderful book looking at the issue of Moral Injury.

"Welcome them Home, Help them Heal"
Explains the psychological and spiritual stress experienced by military personnel, suggests interventions for churches, and offers assessment tools and bibliographies. The book is written by a VA Chaplain/Navy Reserve Chaplain and other health care providers in a VA center. We have used it in church conferences and at chaplain training conferences.

A resource for civilian clergy on ministry to families affected by military deployment; especially useful for churches located in military communities or in areas where members serve in reserve or national guard units. It is also an excellent tool for use in working with veteran groups.

National Military Family Association
National Military Family Association is a non-profit advocacy group for military families. They also have useful publications and links.

To help a returning military member find medical resources:

Pray for our military members who have been wounded and those transitioning from a war environment to peace:

Support the work of the PCCMP.  The PCCMP is a joint ministry of the Presbyterian Church (USA), Cumberland Presbyterian Church, Cumberland Presbyterian Church in America, and the Korean Presbyterian Church Abroad. As a joint ministry of these four denominations, we only receive less than 50% of our operating funds from these General Assemblies and Presbyterian Mission Agency.

Helpful Resources for committees and congregations:
Pilot Toolkit for Vital Congregations:
30 Years of Presbyterian Women Survey:
Revised Advisory Handbook for Preparation for Ministry
The new edition of the Advisory Handbook for Preparation for Ministry reflects amendments to the Book of Order approved by the presbyteries in 2017.

The Book of Order (PDF)

The Book of Confessions (PDF)
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.
2018 Presbytery Meetings

Saturday, February 3 at Hope Presbyterian Church of Spicer
  Tuesday, May 22 at Ebenezer Presbyterian Church of Renville (tentative)
  Tuesday, August 21 at First Presbyterian Church of Brainerd (tentative)
  Saturday, November 3 at First Presbyterian Church of Dawson

Presbytery Packet, Part 1
Presbytery Packet, Part 2

Please let me know your attendance plans for the stated meeting in Spicer by Monday, January 29. (deadline has passed, but please let me know!) Email
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.
A Note from Jon A. Kirschhoffer
President of the Clearwater Forest Board

I am writing to inform you that our Executive Director, Rich Swartwood, has informed us that he has accepted the call to be Executive Director at Camp Lake Stephens, a Methodist Camp in Oxford Mississippi beginning February 5, 2018. We are grateful for Rich's nearly four years of dedicated service and wish him and his family the very best as he moves to this new opportunity.
Clearwater Forest is blessed with an outstanding staff and Board of Directors who are working to ensure a smooth transition between Rich's departure and the arrival of a new staff. On February 10 the Board will meet to approve new position descriptions and a way forward. In his time here, Rich has brought strong leadership to developing and improving our infrastructure, administration and hospitality. The camp has never looked better and as we move forward our board will continue to build upon the work we did with him.
We welcome your prayers as we move through the coming months and anticipate sharing exciting news as the future unfolds.
Jon A. Kirschhoffer, President of the Board

A personal note from Rich:
It is with mixed emotion I tender my resignation as the Executive Director of Clearwater Forest. I have accepted the position of Executive Director at Camp Lake Stephens, a Methodist Camp near Oxford Mississippi. This journey has been God filled and led. This move will allow my family to relocate closer to my immediate and extended family and use my skills in a new setting.
I truly appreciate the opportunity over the past four years to grow in my faith, my leadership, and am incredibly blessed with the countless relationships that I have had the privilege to develop. My prayer is that the ministry of Clearwater Forest continues to grow and provide opportunities for many more generations to experience God's love.
I appreciate your prayers and support during this transition time. Please know you are in my prayers as well.

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
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.
We have a couple workshops coming up at United Theological Seminary with renowned playwright Christina Ham that might be of interest to your clergy and/or congregations. More information can be at the links below.
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
Six New Things
Meet the need for civil discourse - Talk about #metoo in church - So much to look forward to
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