The Valley Bridge
The weekly newsletter from the
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
July 12, 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)
Congregation of the week: July 16-22
Randall Presbyterian Church of Randall
Pastor:  Pulpit Supply
Clerk of Session:  Terry L. Coffin
Treasurer:  Jim Skoog
Session members:  Terry L. Coffin, Renee Hegg, Mike Lashinski, Joyce McDonald, Jim Skoog, Mary Skoog, Matt Smith. 
Temporary Session Moderator filling in for Reverend Norma Spurgin:  Dr. Richard Lawrence
Deacons:  Ken Ballou, Makayla Ganz, Sonya Ganz, Deb Louison, Kylee Magee, Dan Thilquist, Sharon Thilquist, Sarah Wester
It has been a little over a year since our pastor of 10 years retired.  We would greatly appreciate prayers for our Pastoral Nominating Committee as they continue in their search for a new pastor.  We have endured some hiccups during the search process in this past year but our church family is strong and our members step in to help where it's needed.  Please also include prayers for our congregation as they patiently wait in our search for a new pastor and for our Pulpit Supply who have been so gracious and generous with their time to lead us in Sunday worship and to become part of our church family. 

We had another successful Vacation Bible School (VBS) this year in June.  Our few young children were joined by many children from the community.  Activities included Bible study, arts and crafts, music and outdoor activities.  We have found having VBS midafternoon to early evening and providing a light supper before sending them home helps increase the attendance.  Reaching out to the community children also provides an opportunity to reach those who may not have a regular church life. 

Thank you for your prayers and please stop by and join us for worship if you are in our area. 
Pam out, Karen and Deb are pinch hitting

Stated Clerk Pamela Prouty had surgery on June 27 and will be unavailable until August 1. In the meantime, please contact Associate for Administration Karen Lange or Presbytery Moderator Deb Hess with any questions or concerns. 
Karen: or 320-235-7910 at the presbytery office
Deb: or 507-829-6411
Sharing from Recent Session Records Reviews

Union, Saint Peter: As a result of the New Beginnings study, Union partnered with the Royal Family Kids Program last summer and increased our commitment to the weeklong summer camp for children in foster care and the social service system. We will sponsor at least one camper, provide 34 gift packages, and host the birthday party by providing treats and decorations.

Brainerd: Lease Agreement with New Pathways, Inc. for 3,200 sf in the lower level of the church for administrative offices and daytime activities. New Pathways, Inc. provides services for homeless families.

Crosslake: Crosslake is happy to report that we have entered into a covenant with Rev. Patricia Schick as our intentional interim pastor as of July 1 for a one-year period with a second year possible.

Ashby: First Presbyterian's most recent excitement has centered around our Reaffirmation of Baptism service. For a number of years, we have not had candidates in a confirmation program. Now after two years of training in scripture, creeds, sacraments, and Reformed traditions with students writing faith statements each year, five students publicly affirmed the covenant of Baptism and read their statements of faith. Session members were as impressed as I with the thoughtful insight students shared. I was especially impressed by how many clearly affirmed faith as a gift received rather than something achieved through effort or assent. Two students shared about their struggles with doubts and questions--some that were addressed in class and some raised by class discussion. I had the privilege of meeting with students and parents outside of weekly classes to discuss theological questions. I was thrilled that students felt comfortable enough to be honest about their struggles. Teaching confirmation classes has been a great joy, especially hearing students bear witness to their faith in public!  ---Rev. Matthew Zelie
Grace Note

Dear Presbytery:

Thank you for the money to help me go to camp. I had A LOT of fun!  Some of the things I got to do was learn to play the ukulele. I got to swim and learn archery. We got to study Bible verses and have worship time every day. I made lots of friends.

Thank you for helping and I hope I get to go again next summer.

Presbyterian Planning Calendars have arrived and were distributed at the Session Records Reviews. The remaining calendars will be brought to the August 22 presbytery meeting to be picked up by the churches that ordered them. If you would like your congregation's calendars mailed sooner, contact Karen at the presbytery office. We ask churches to pay for the cost of the postage.
July Ordination Anniversaries

07/01/1973  Steve Boots
07/02/1995  Scott Prouty
07/07/1991  Dawn Carder
07/07/1953  Harold Utzinger
07/09/2000  Jason Cunningham
07/09/1972  Terry Morse
07/09/2016  Owar Ojulu
07/09/1989  Galen Smith
07/10/1994  Tim Sutton
07/13/1980  Kate Stangl
07/14/1991  Al Jergenson
07/14/2002  Ken Matthews
07/14/2002  Lynne Matthews
07/14/2002  Darin Seaman
Prayer Concern

We extend our sympathy to Rev. Terry and Renee Olthoff and family. Terry's dad, Clancy, passed away in June in Arizona.
Cards may be sent to:
Terry & Renee Olthoff
11066 W Winchester Dr
Sun City AZ 85351-1559
God Chat Apps: A Life of Prayer
Saturday, October 7, 2017
9:00 - 3:30
Hope Presbyterian Church

Email Karen Lange to register. Cost: $10 if preregistered by September 22
Plenary Speaker: Rev. Kara Root
Breakout session topics:
  • Centering Prayer
  • Spiritual Practices
  • Yoga, Meditation & Prayer
  • Introduction to Prayer
  • Tech Tools for Prayer
2017 Summit Meeting
God Chat Apps: A Life of Prayer
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.

Discipleship: Pam Bush, , 507-823-4697
Discipleship: Anne Veldhuisen, , 507-215-5617
Evangelism: Candace Adams, , 320-796-2650
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
Presbytery office hours are 7:30 - 3:30 Monday - Friday.
Office will be closed on  Friday, July 14
and July 24-28 during Synod School
Lakeshore Center at Okoboji,  October 13
Pastors and CREs: Here is a great opportunity for you to spend a day with preacher/teacher/author Tom Long.  He will be in the area to teach a class for the new Academy and will be doing this day long workshop at the Lakeshore Center at Okoboji on Friday, October 13
Do you hear a call to a new role in church leadership? 

In response to a need for accessible educational opportunities for church leaders, the Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys along with two other presbyteries and the Synod of Lakes and Prairies have developed an exciting new course of study called "The Academy." 
Maybe God is calling you to respond to a specific need for a Commissioned Ruling Elder in your church. Or maybe you feel a hunger for personal spiritual growth. Perhaps you are a current CRE who feels you could benefit by a refresher on certain topics.
Courses may be taken as a series with the goal of meeting the requirements of becoming a Commissioned Ruling Elder, or individual classes may be audited for personal education and growth.
Hurry! The first classes start at Synod School in July, so registrations are being taken now. Check out the link for the brochure or visit the registration website for more information about the courses and the quality teachers. Questions may be directed to the presbytery office, or Academy board members: Rev. Elaine Boyd and Kathy Knips.
To register, go to:
For more information:
The brochure
Pastoral Leadership Opportunities

The following congregation within the bounds of our presbytery is currently seeking pastoral leadership:

Randall Presbyterian Church, Randall, Minnesota  
- Pastor
   Ministry Information Form - 03892.AC
First Presbyterian Church, Foley, Minnesota - Interim Pastor
   Ministry Information Form - 03882.AAO

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

Additionally, there will be other opportunities arising in the near future. Please keep your eyes open as Fulda begins a pastoral search. 
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

Join the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program as we experience this remarkable and troubled region, encounter its diverse people, explore its rich history and complex current situation, and engage with those who seek its peace. By attending this conference, you will be
  • inspired by the stories of Christian peacemakers in the Holy Land, walk in the footsteps of the Prince of Peace and encounter contemporary Palestinians and Israelis;
  • equipped by engagement with Christian, Muslim and Jewish leaders, experience contextual theology and study peacemaking practices within the framework of PCUSA policy;
  • connected with global and local partners to take meaningful action for a just and lasting peace in the region.
APPLICATIONS - Apply online through November 15, 2017. Notification and commitment packets will be sent shortly after your application is received and processed. First-time visitors to the Holy Land are encouraged to attend. Previous conference participants and seasoned travelers to the region are welcome as well. Must be 18 years old.

COST - The double-occupancy rate for the conference is $2,600. This includes all conference expenses (including all meals, accommodations, programs, tips, tours, and on the ground transportation). Airline travel is not included. Limited single occupancy is available for an additional charge.

HOTELS - The conference includes 11 nights of lodging. The current conference hotels include: The Gloria Hotel of Old Jerusalem, Bethlehem's Manager Square Hotel, and the Golden Crown Hotel in Nazareth.

TRAVEL - Participants are responsible for their travel and may book their own airline tickets, but all itineraries must be submitted for approval by the conference registrar prior to ticketing. Departures from the US should be on Sunday, April 29 to arrive to Tel Aviv (TLV) on Monday, April 30. Return flights may depart TLV on Friday evening, May 11 to arrive in the US on Saturday May 12.

SMALL GROUPS - Conference participants will be placed into small groups led by group leaders. These teams will engage in preparation before the conference, meet as a group during the conference, and consider meaningful collective action upon returning home.

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.

Six New Things
Synod School 2017 - July 23-28 - Storm Lake, Iowa
See what's happening on our Facebook site:
Like us on Facebook