The Valley Bridge
The weekly newsletter from the
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
July 11, 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)
Karen will be out of the office on Friday, July 13
Congregation of the week of July 15-21
Christ United Presbyterian Church of Marshall
Pastor: Anne Veldhuisen
Pianists: Margaret Greig and Angela Fischer
Administrative Assistant: Mary Thielke
Janitor: Gerald Wendt
Prayer Requests:
Pray for the future of our church and our congregation. The changing times have led to changing ministry. We ask for prayers as we faithfully discern what steps God would have us take next, and how we can continue to serve God's people in Marshall.
Leadership on the Line

Join the Presbytery in a book study of
Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Change
Ronald Heifetz, Marty Linsky
Pastors, sessions and church leaders are invited to read along with other co-learners as we take the transformation conversation one step further.  Planned for late July through Zoom and in-person discussions, we will explore the topics of productive change, lowering the risk of change agents, avoiding leadership traps, and answering the question-What does it mean to see new chapters in ministry. These are just a few of the themes we will discuss.  Leadership on the Line is a Harvard Business book commonly used by religious organizations. The book includes religious themes easily adaptable for the church context. Three Zoom book discussions will take place as follows:
July 12 - The Introduction and Part I Chapters  1 and 2
August 23 - Part Two, Chapters 3-7
September 20 - Chapters 8-11
The discussions will be at 11:00 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., choose the time that works for your schedule. 

11:00 discussion:  Leadership on the Line: The Introduction and Part I Chapters 1 and 2
Time: Jul 12, 2018 11:00 AM Central Time (US and Canada)
Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:
Or iPhone one-tap:
US: +16465588656,,227502420# or +16699006833,,227502420#
Or Telephone:
Dial (for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
US: +1 646 558 8656 or +1 669 900 6833
Meeting ID: 227 502 420

6:30 discussion:  Leadership on the Line: The Introduction and Part I Chapters 1 and 2
Time: Jul 12, 2018 6:30 PM Central Time (US and Canada)
Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:
Or iPhone one-tap:
US: +16465588656,,505940884# or +16699006833,,505940884#
Or Telephone:
Dial (for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location):
US: +1 646 558 8656 or +1 669 900 6833
Meeting ID: 505 940 884

For many, Ecclesiastes Chapter 3 is reserved for Witness to the Resurrection Services. I have found Solomon's words to be meaningful for all of life. I invite you to read again the poem, focusing on the words that encourage taking a deep breath, reflection, recreation, and joy.

There is a time for everything,
   and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
   a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
   a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
   a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
   a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
   a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
   a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

Dancing, laughing, embracing, mending and peace are words that stick out to me. I often have to remind myself that these things are just as important as some of the other realities of life. Leisure and play are not words we hear preached about often on Sunday morning. I imagine our Protestant Work Ethic is one reason play and leisure might be frowned upon. Ecclesiastes suggests there are a time and season for all things. The benefits of play for adults are numerous. A few benefits include improving social skills, teaching cooperation, healing emotional wounds, physiological stimulation, creativity and stress release. Play reminds us of a time when we still believed in mystery and enchantment. Betsy Johnson-Miller answers the question of why play should become a fundamental consideration of human existence and of theology.

"Considering play for human existence helps us to realize what makes our lives most meaningful. The temptation exists to reduce ourselves and the world to instruments, tools to fulfill some task. But, of course, we hope we retain the knowledge that 'what matters most' in our lives does not fit this at all. Our loved ones - precisely by being loved - are never just instruments for us and all those activities we do out of love are not simply some means to some other end. They carry a weight "purpose" doesn't measure. To defend play pushes against the deadening of our ability to appreciate the best in life. Theology can benefit from this line of thinking in a number of ways. First, attentiveness to play in its various forms might reconnect theology to its roots - in particular, liturgy, which entails ritual, but also poetry, music, and even dance in most churches. The soil of theology is a kind of purposeless, bodily action, an action the ends of which are fulfilled in the doing - and doing again and again over time. This is incredibly important. It changes the presumed context of theology from, say, the classroom to the gathered liturgical assembly. With play, we are not trapped in abstract mental spaces, dealing in a vapor. We are rather talking about flesh and blood human beings."

Creation is thought of like the play of God. In nature we see the wild moment of wind and air, seedtime and harvest, changing seasons, sea and land. Thomas Aquinus remains us that "the world, is not an object of purpose or necessity for God. It does not satisfy some sort of externally or internally imposed need on God's part. It is exclusively the object of gratuitous love." Allowing time for play might be a sign of faith. It is undoubtedly a sign of surrender to our sovereign God who is able to keep our todays and tomorrows. Enjoy the summer!


Creator of all, thank You for summer!
Thank you for the warmth of the sun
    and the increased daylight.
Thank You for the beauty I see all around me
    and for the opportunity to be outside and enjoy Your creation.
Thank You for the increased time I have to be with my friends and family,
    and for the more casual pace of the summer season.
Draw me closer to You this summer.
Teach me how I can pray
    no matter where I am or what I am doing.
Warm my soul with the awareness of Your presence
    and light my path with Your Word and Counsel.
As I enjoy Your creation, create in me
    a pure heart and a hunger and a thirst for You. 
--author unknown
Elder and Deacon Training scheduled

Ruling Elder and Deacon training will on Wednesday, August 29, from 6:00 - 8:00 at the Randall Presbyterian Church of Randall. We'll start with a light supper at 6:00, and the training will follow. Please let Karen know at the Presbytery office your attendance plans so we can plan meals accordingly. 
Clerks: Records Review 
If you missed the review in June, the makeup records review will be held on Thursday, July 12 at 7:00 p.m. at the Westminster Presbyterian Church of Worthington. If you have questions/concerns, please contact Stated Clerk  Pam Prouty.
Mark Your Calendars for September 15

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) is a Presbyterian Church ministries funded in part from One Great Hour of Sharing. It is one of the most visible mission arms of the church. Volunteers in blue shirts show up to give aid and comfort for those suffering from natural and man-made disasters both in the US and abroad.

To find out more mark your calendar for September 15th, when team members from the national office will be with us for a day to talk about their work, ways we can help and what PDA can do for us when we are in need.

Watch the Valley Bridge for more details.
Information Please

We here at Osakis are looking for options to organist shortage. Has any congregation converted their organ to midi or whatever program to enable it be played by itself with computer programming and set up?  If so would you please contact us at  or you might call me, Pastor Randy Knuth, at 712-540-8243.  We are in the beginning stages of discovery in regards to this so all help be greatly appreciated.  
Per Capita and Mission Dollars

The Commission on Operations is asking congregations to henceforth send their per capita and mission dollars directly to the presbytery office - 4055 Abbott Drive, Willmar MN 56201. If checks have already been sent to the Synod, that is just fine.
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.

DiscipleshipAnne Veldhuisen,, 507-215-5617
Evangelism: Randy Knuth,, 712-540-8243
Evangelism :  Darlene Scherbing,, 320-292-2610
Mission: Richard Lawrence, , 320-260-9639
Mission: Kathy Terpstra,, 320-815-8158
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:

First Presbyterian Church, Fulda - Solo Pastor, 3/4 time up to full-time
   Ministry Information Form -  03782.AD1

Faith Presbyterian Church, Silver Lake - Part-time Solo Pastor
   Ministry Information Form -  03851.ACO

First Presbyterian Church, Mankato - Full-time Solo Pastor
   Ministry Information Form - 03792.AEO

The Ministry Information Forms for these opportunities are posted on the Church Leadership Connection web site --

Also: First Presbyterian Church, Lake Crystal - Interim Pastor, 3/4 time
                Link to position description
Scholarship Funds for Racial Ethnic Students available from Synod of Lakes and Prairies

The Student Scholarship Fund is an educational assistance program designed to encourage racial ethnic students in their preparation for academic success in higher education. Students must have a permanent residence within the Synod of Lakes and Prairies and be active members in a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) congregation. The synod is committed to partner with students and schools for leadership development and quality instruction of clergy and lay persons for lifelong service. Application awards are based on personal achievement, financial need and recommendation from a teacher and pastor. Completed applications are due September 30 and must include an official transcript and financial aid statement.

Free Advent Devotional
Each year I craft an Advent devotional for my two presbyteries. If you would like to make it available to your congregations, (free of charge of course!), you will find it linked. Feel free to share with any, all, or none as you wish. The PDF prints as a booklet.
My only request is that there be no charge for the document. Congregations who wish to make hard copies will have to pay paper and copying cost to distribute it to their people, which is enough of an expense.
I find congregations make decisions about ordering resource materials fairly early so I try to get ahead of the curve...consider it Christmas in July. Have a blessed week!
Grace out,
Brad Munroe
Pastor to the Presbytery
Grand Canyon and de Cristo presbyteries
Clearwater Forest Friends and Neighbors Day - July 14, 2018

Join us on Saturday, July 14, 2018 for the annual Friends and Neighbors Day, our celebration of Clearwater Forest and the communities of supporters that make it great. On this day, we open the doors to showcase our beautiful, historic buildings, our exciting programming, and God's amazing wilderness. You will have the opportunity to be part of the annual Lake 2 Lake bike ride to raise scholarship funds, tour the grounds and buildings, and participate in activities on land and on water. A picnic lunch, celebration program, and campfire singing will round out the day. Registration and more information are available at or by calling 218-678-2325. This event is free and open to the public, but an RSVP is strongly encouraged to aid our planning.
Six New Things
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