The Valley Bridge
The weekly newsletter from the
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
July 3, 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)
The Presbytery Office will be closed July 4-6
Congregation of the week of July 8-14
First Presbyterian Church of Mankato
  • Connie Miller, Church Manager
  • Jamie Goulson, Church Accountant
  • Stacy Grunden, Christian Ed Director
  • Ben Marti, Organist
  • George Johnson, Building Manager
  • Britt Fleming, Assistant Building Manager
  • Rhonda Taylor, Clerk of Session

Prayer requests:
  • Of course, the retirement of Rev Dr Nan DeVries. Our appreciation for her Interim Pastoral services and our prayers and well wishes for her future.
  • Extra prayers are always needed for our excellent and diligent PNC and Session members as we search for our next Pastor.

Missions we have recently been involved in:
  • Mankato's Walk to End Alzheimer's
  • Habitat for Humanty's "Get on the Beam" campaign
  • Donations to shelters: Theresa House and Welcome Inn
  • Fair Trade coffee, tea and cocoa
  • Caregivers Support Group
  • Dementia Friends
  • VINE Adult Day Program
  • Amazon Smile Program
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 one that works for your schedule. Please contact Karen Lange to receive the Zoom instructions.
Highlights of Actions of the 223rd General Assembly (2018) in 1,500 words or less

Jerry Van Marter | Office of the General Assembly Communications - June 29, 2018

Vilmarie CintrĂ³n-Olivieri (left) and Cindy Kohlmann (right) Co-Moderators of the 223rd General Assembly - Photo by Michael Whitman.

Church Leadership: In one of closest elections in years, Ruling Elder Vilmarie CintrĂ³n-Olivieri (Presbytery of Tropical Florida) and the Reverend Cindy Kohlmann (Presbyteries of Boston and Northern New England) were elected Co-Moderators of the 223rd General Assembly (2018) on Saturday evening, June 16. On a fourth ballot vote of 266-253, they prevailed over another Co-Moderator team-the Reverend Eliana Maxim (Presbytery of Seattle) and the Reverend Bertram Johnson (Presbytery of New York City). A Moderator/Vice-Moderator pair-Ruling Elder Chantal D. Atnip (Presbytery of Carlisle), and the Reverend Ken Hockenberry (Presbytery of Chicago)-trailed.
In other actions involving Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) leadership, the assembly:
  • Confirmed the election of the Reverend Diane Moffett as president and executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency.
  • Confirmed the reelection of the Reverend Tom Taylor as president of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Foundation.
  • Confirmed the election of Alton B. Pollard III as president of Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary.
Fossil Fuel Divestment: By a vote of 332-178, the assembly voted in favor of a minority report that called for the PC(USA) to continue its corporate engagement with fossil fuel companies-through its Mission Responsibility Through Investment Committee-rather than divest from those companies. The Assembly Committee on Environmental Issues had voted 35-20 for the divestment proposal offered by the Presbytery of Hudson River. After the minority report became the main motion, it was approved by the assembly 409-106.
Israel-Palestine/Middle East: After spirited debate in the Assembly Committee on Middle East Issues that spilled out into the hallways of America's Center (St. Louis' convention center), the assembly raced through the committee's report in just thirty-five minutes on June 22. Among its actions, the assembly:
  • Asked RE/MAX, LLC, to end its sale and rental of property on occupied, disputed land in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. The vote was 393-55.
  • Voiced support for all efforts to bring Palestinians and Israelis together peacefully.
  • Asked the state of Israel to fully comply with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in order to stop discriminatory practices and called on the U.S. government to rejoin the United Nations Human Rights Council.
  • Condemned the recent violence along the border between Israel and Gaza.
Per Capita: The assembly approved a 2019 General Assembly per capita apportionment of $8.95 per member-an increase of $1.25 (or 15.8 percent) per member over 2018. The Committee on the Office of the General Assembly had originally proposed a 39 percent increase in 2019 to $10.71 per member. At the assembly, General Assembly Stated Clerk J. Herbert Nelson, II, revised that request down to a 10 percent increase in 2019 (to $8.50) and 2020. The Assembly Committee on General Assembly Procedures approve the 2019 request, but not the 2020 increase. The assembly added $643,000 (or 45 cents per member) to the per capita budget by the actions it took, raising the final per capita apportionment to $8.95. In other per capita-related actions, the assembly:
  • Approved, in a slightly amended form, an overture from the Presbytery of Newton to establish a team of twelve to fifteen persons to "review the current per capita-based system of funding the ministry of councils higher than the session, for financial sustainability into the next ten years."
  • Asked the Committee on the Office of the General Assembly and the Office of the General Assembly to explore ways of reducing the cost of future General Assemblies.
The Way Forward: By a vote of 474-47, the assembly overwhelmingly approved the report of The Way Forward Commission, which was created by the 222nd General Assembly (2016) "to discern the vision for structure and function of our denomination." The Way Forward Commission was joined by the All-Agency Review Committee in many of its recommendations. The assembly also created a Moving Forward Implementation Team to ensure follow-through of the actions taken and to make "mid-course corrections" between now and the 224th General Assembly (2020). Among its actions on The Way Forward, the assembly:
  • Restructured PC(USA) A Corp to be representative of five of the six agencies of the PC(USA)-previously the A Corp board was identical to the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board. The new A Corp board is composed of eleven members, representing each agency, with the exception of the Board of Pensions, plus at-large members.
  • Strengthened the role of the General Assembly Stated Clerk, reaffirming that person as the "continuing ecclesial officer and Head of Communion," naming the Stated Clerk as "constitutional and spiritual leader" for the life and witness of the church, giving the Stated Clerk ex officio membership on all agencies of the church, and giving the Stated Clerk consultative authority prior to the consideration for election of any candidate for chief executive of any of the PC(USA)'s six agencies.
  • Authorized a "financial sustainability review."
  • Beefed up the denomination's translation services and efforts toward greater inclusion, equity, and reconciliation between all constituencies of the church.
  • Endorsed an "administrative action issued by the commission on June 12 calling for greater transparency, particularly in the Presbyterian Mission Agency, and freedom for national staff employees to speak their minds in addressing the prevailing culture without retribution or retaliation.
Racism/Poverty/Violence: The assembly engaged in various acts of public witness that sought to engage issues of racism, poverty, and violence in St. Louis under the umbrella of Stated Clerk J. Herbert Nelson, II's, Hands and Feet initiative. In addition to a number of groups who came to St. Louis to engage in Hands and Feet service/learning projects during the assembly, several "mission trips" for assembly-goers engaged with various faith-based community groups to address poverty and racism in the city. The offering from the opening worship service raised more than $54,000, which after a dramatic march by nearly 1,000 assembly-goers from America's Center to the City Justice Center on Tuesday afternoon, was given to ArchDefenders, a faith-based group that bails low-level offenders out of jail. Nearly three dozen people, victims of St. Louis' draconian cash bail system, were released from custody with the money. In its actions, the assembly:
  • Approved "The Gospel from St. Louis," prepared by the Advisory Committee on Social Witness Policy.
  • Initiated the arduous process of possibly including Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" in the Book of Confessions.
  • Strongly condemned "the unjust, racist disparagement of people and entire nations" and committed the PC(USA) to "a collective effort to solve the real problems facing our nation and the world."
  • Changed the church's nomenclature from "racial ethnic people" to "people of color" and the name of the Advocacy Committee for Racial Ethnic Concerns to the Racial Equity Advocacy Committee.
  • Called for an immediate moratorium on the imposition of the death penalty and for the commutation of all death sentences to sentences of life imprisonment.
  • Authorized a five-member task group with a black women majority to raise awareness of issues adversely affecting black girls and women in society and the church, and to develop action plans to address those issues.
  • Affirmed and celebrated the "full dignity and humanity" and gifts of people of all gender identities and sexual orientations.
Immigration: Following on statements issued by General Assembly Stated Clerk J. Herbert Nelson, II, the assembly called upon the federal government to end family separations at the U.S.-Mexico border, to immediately reunite parents with their children, to inform every parent where their children are being held and their condition, to stop using separation of children from their parents as a tactic to force criminal confessions; and called upon Presbyterians to support immigrant families, particularly parents and their separated children in any ways they can. The assembly also addressed war, violence, and human rights in Central America (particularly Nicaragua), South Sudan, Yemen, Syria, Madagascar, and the Korean Peninsula.

Gun Violence: The assembly reaffirmed previous General Assembly policies designed to reduce gun violence, called all Presbyterians to pray for a movement of the Spirit to engage Presbyterians in nationwide actions to prevent gun violence, and urged them to create opportunities to study the issue of gun violence, with an emphasis on resources produced by the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship.

Paid Family Leave: After long debate in both committee and plenary, the assembly referred to a task force to report back to the 224th General Assembly (2020) proposed actions to develop denomination-wide standards and financial support mechanisms for paid family leave for church workers.

Congregational Leadership: The assembly rejected, by margin of 425-57, an overture from the Presbytery of Monmouth that would have allowed congregations to elect and ordain ruling elders without requiring them to serve on session. The proposal was designed to provide more lay leadership in a church that is changing-leadership, for instance, for new worshiping communities, immigrant fellowships, and other nontraditional faith communities.

For the official record of the 223rd General Assembly (2018), visit: .
For General Assembly News reports, visit:
A Prayer on Independence Day

Offered by Chief of Navy Chaplains, Rear Admiral Mark L. Tidd at the 220th General Assembly
Sharon Youngs - July 4, 2012

Everlasting God of righteousness and grace, as our nation celebrates this Independence Day, remind us of our complete dependence upon you. We look to you for your wisdom and mercy as important issues are discussed. On this day, we ask you to keep this nation, and all nations, under your care, that we may be peoples who are at peace, and who are a blessing to others in this earth. Grant our nation's leaders wisdom, that there would be times of peace and justice in our land and in our world.

On this day, we lift up to you all who serve in our Armed Forces, who serve as the centurion did as ones who are under authority-brave men and women who risk their lives for their country. Remind us of those who are far from home and loved ones, who on this day sail or fly or walk in harm's way, and keep them always close to you. Where there is combat, grant them compassion for their enemies, and keep them brave in the face of evil. Hold in your loving hands the families of those who are far away. Grant them comfort in their anxieties. And comfort those who grieve, because they have received the dreaded message that their loved one has died. Strengthen those who carry the wounds of war, visible and invisible, and be to them a sure presence.

And on this day, we lift up to you those who serve your people as chaplains wearing the uniforms of our military services, and the families of those chaplains. Grant that they may always be true to the churches and groups who send them as they serve in the always complex and challenging environment of institutional ministry in the military. As Jesus sent the Twelve with the exhortation to be "wise as serpents and innocent as doves," may they also have both wisdom and innocence as they navigate the rocks and shoals they encounter in living out their calling. Remind us always that we serve the One who washed the feet of his disciples.

And on this day keep all of us grounded not in our strength but in yours, ever relying upon the promise that "those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength ... They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint."

All of this we pray in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
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
07/09/1989  Galen Smith
07/09/2016  Owar Ojulu
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
07/17/1994  Jerry Dirks
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.  
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.
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.

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.
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