The Valley Bridge
The weekly newsletter from the
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
January 4, 2017
 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)
The Word from Rick 

The holidays are now behind us and it is time for all of us to move boldly into 2017, as congregations of God's people and as the Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys.
This will be an important year for this presbytery. It will be the first full year of living out the Mission Design that we approved in October 2015. We used the final nine months of 2015 to feel our way into this new design. We needed to try out some things, to break some old patterns and habits, and see if we were catching the vision that had been set before us. We had to test the design, to see what worked and to learn of the places where some fine-tuning might be applied.
To those who were watching to see what big changes would take place and how things would be different, it might appear that not a whole lot happened and that there were no substantive changes, and that would not be fair. Many things happened. It's just that much of it was not glamorous or flashy, and that some of it was in the background. Some of what happened in 2016, we believe, it helping set the stage for this year.
Two of our commissions - Presbytery Operations and Leadership - were each formed by the merging of two predecessor committees. They spent the year figuring out how to operate in this new configuration, while at the same time making sure that nothing fell through the cracks. They had to learn by doing, and their discoveries will make things better in the new year. The new Committee on Congregational Nurture took seriously its call to be deacons to the presbytery and started building some healthy connections with congregations, sessions, and pastoral leaders. Each committee member brought their individual gifts and sense of calling into their work . . . and it began to make a difference. They also kept this presbytery, its congregations, and its leaders in prayer . . . they were the prayer network for us all.
The Commission on Presbytery Life gave our mission partners a place to be connected into the whole of the presbytery and will help us strengthen our partnerships with our camps, our immigrant communities, and our international relationships. At the same time, they have envisioned new ways for us to do the work of presbytery, which we will try out this year. The Commission on Congregational Transformation and Development continues to support congregations with grants, but that is not sufficient for them. They want to be known for more than that, and are looking for ways to resource our congregations and equip all the saints of the presbytery. They are working on a new identity and a more engaged response to the needs of our congregations.
The primary intention of the new Mission Design was to build a vital, mission-focused presbytery by first building strong and committed congregations. The key to building our congregations will be found in the development and support of our congregational leaders - pastors, commission ruling elders, session members, and other key individuals. Our commissions and committees will take what they have learned and create ways to respond appropriately. Next week, the leaders of these presbytery entities will have their first conversations together, and in less than three weeks these commissions and committees will go to work, seeking to fulfill the intentions of our common life as a presbytery.
I would ask the following of each congregation and each Minnesota Valleys Presbyterian, as we move forward into 2017:
  • Please pray for all of those serving on our behalf as members of presbytery's commissions and committees;
  • Please share your input with the commissions and committees as they seek to support and encourage your pastoral leaders, session members, and others in your congregations; and,
  • Please, when asked, give of your time and energies to engage in the ministries of this presbytery - we are stronger when we do things together and draw upon one another's time, talents, and resources.
It is time for us to go to work, and make something special happen!

Grace and Peace,
Scenes from the Road (as recorded by Road Warrior Rick)

Christmas Eve in Fulda:
Youth musicians from the congregation provide the Prelude for Christmas Eve

Worshipers created two candlelight circles within the sanctuary while singing "Silent Night."

An old Milwaukee Road caboose provides the setting for a community Christmas scene in Fulda
New Year's Day Worship in Willmar:
Hearing the Witness of Simeon (aka Pastor Scott Thompson)
On the Road with Rick
January 8 - Preach at First Presbyterian Church, Osakis
January 9 - Officer Training, First Presbyterian Church, Redwood Falls
January 10 - Session Meeting, First Presbyterian Church, Osakis
January 21 - Presbytery Orientation and Organization Gathering, First Presbyterian Church, Willmar
January 22 - Preach at First Presbyterian Church, Osakis
January 24-31 - Association of Presbyterian Church Educators Annual Event, Denver
February 4 - Presbytery Meeting, First Presbyterian Church, Saint Cloud
February 5 - Preach at Faith Presbyterian Church, Silver Lake
February 19 - Preach at First Presbyterian Church, Brainerd
February 26 - Preach at First Presbyterian Church, Luverne
March 19 - Worship Visit, Grace-First Parish, Russell
March 26 - Worship Visit, First Presbyterian Church, Redwood Falls
Two prayer concerns

Rev. John Lindholm (pastor at Western Presbyterian Church, Fergus Falls) -- we heard from Rev. Doug Dent that John fell over the holidays and did major damage to his back. John's address:
2316 Lakeview Dr
Fergus Falls MN 56537-3905

Rev. Erin Kobs -- Erin moved on from our presbytery over a year ago, but is still a member at-large; she is having total hip replacement surgery this week. Erin's address:
8856 Washington Colony Dr 
Dayton OH 45458-3316
2017 Prayer Service for Christian Unity

All are invited to attend!

Sunday, January 15, 2017 at 2:00 p.m.
Church of St. Boniface
551 Main Street
Stewart, MN

Individuals and congregations, representing several Christian denominations in southwest and west-central Minnesota, will gather together for an Ecumenical Celebration of the Word of God. The service is held as part of the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
Commission and Committee Members - Save this Date
Presbytery Orientation and Organization Gathering

Saturday, January 21, 2016 - 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
First Presbyterian Church in Willmar  
A letter with all the details will be sent to commission and committee members on 
January 10. RSVP deadline will be Tuesday, January 17!!!
Car for Sale

2015 Nissan Altima with 30,000 miles. Average gas mileage of 35 mpg. This car was used by Pastor Hicks when he was in Pipestone. If you are interested, make a reasonable offer to  John McCallum at 215-0575 during the month of January and after January contact Bud Eernisse at 215-0584. Car may be seen at South Side Motors in Pipestone.
Pastoral Leadership Opportunities

The following congregations within the bounds of our presbytery are currently seeking pastoral leadership:
Randall Presbyterian Church, Randall, Minnesota - Ministry Information Form - 03892.AC
First Presbyterian Church, Osakis, Minnesota - Ministry Information Form - 3890.AC4
The Ministry Information Form for these opportunities are posted on the Church Leadership Connection web site --
Attention Clerks of Session!
By now you have received the information you need to fill out the General Assembly Statistical Report. The due date for this report is Friday, February 3, 2017. If you have questions, concerns or have no idea what I'm talking about, please contact me. My phone number is 507-627-5486. Pamela Prouty, Stated Clerk
RCC's Web Resource Page
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