The Valley Bridge
The weekly newsletter from the
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
July 6, 2016
 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 of July 10-16
Emmanuel Presbyterian Church of Rushmore

Pastor: Rev. Paul Snyder
Church Secretary: Darcey Groen
Clerk of Session: Randy Jacobs
Treasurer: Janet Smid
Ruling Elders: Amber Luinenburg, Burdell Bents, Gayle Larson, Janet Smid, Randy Jacobs, Ron Wiertsema, Shirley Heidebrink, Vernette Wiertsema
Prayer Concerns:
Pray for those in our community who have cancer.
Pray for families who are grieving the loss of loved ones.
Pray for our sister congregation, Zion Presbyterian Church of Ellsworth.
The Word from Rick: Doing a New Thing

In last week's Valley Bridge, I shared some statistics related to our denomination's "1001 New Worship Communities" initiative, which was launched about four years ago with the goal of establishing 1001 new worship communities related to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) by 2020. In case you missed the statistics, I want to offer them again as a lead in to something very significant that is happening in our own presbytery.
As of this date, 344 New Worship Communities (NWCs) have been established across the face of our denomination, and this is what we know about these NWCs:
 o   64% of the participants in these NWCs are under age 40;
   o    53% of the participants in these communities are racial-ethnic
 o   78% of the participants in the NWC's are new to the PCUSA
 o   57% of these communities meet in non-traditional settings
 o   53% of these communities are led by ordained Teaching Elders
 o   71% of our presbyteries have at least 1 NWC - and we are one of those presbyteries!
These worship communities are beginning to change the face and culture of life and ministry in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). While not every New Worship Community makes the transition to becoming an actual congregation, and some even fail after a time, NWC's are taking a risk and engaging people who might not find a place in one of our more traditional congregations. They are making a difference as they reach out to those who are seeking an experience of the Living God, and God's Son, Jesus Christ.
Owar Ojulu

As you look these numbers, I want you to pay attention to the last bullet point. Yes, we here in the Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys have one of those 344 New Worship Communities. It is called Hope Christian Ministry. It is located in Worthington and on this Saturday, our presbytery will mark a significant day in the life of Hope and in our presbytery.

Hope has growth out of the vision of Owar Ojulu. Owar came to the United States from Ethiopia and settled in Worthington, where there is a significant Ethiopia population, made up of people who speak the Anuak language. Owar completed his
Master of Divinity degree at Dubuque Seminary, and with the assistance of Westminster Presbyterian Church, began to reach out to the Anuak people in a number of ways, providing spiritual and practical leadership. With grants from the PCUSA's 1001 New Worship Communities and assistance from both the former Congregational Resource and Development Committee and a newly formed Ethiopia-South Sudan Ministry Network, Hope Christian Ministry has taken shape. This past winter, the presbytery recognized Hope Christian Ministry as a validated ministry and approved a call to Owar to serve Hope as its Pastor.
This coming Saturday, the Presbytery will ordain Owar as a Teaching Elder (Minister of Word and Sacrament) in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) so that he might serve this developing worship and ministry community. The service will be held at 1:00 p.m. at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Worthington. The church is located at 230 Clary Street. There will be an African Choir, and it is anticipated that there will be guests in attendance from the Synod of Lakes and Prairies as well as the Presbyterian Mission Agency.
Ordination and Installation services are important celebration moments in our life as a Presbytery family, and we need to be with each other in these important times! I invite you all to bring a carload from your congregation on Saturday to celebrate with Owar, the people of Hope Ministry, and our presbytery! This will truly be a "God Moment" for us all!
See you in Worthington on Saturday!

Grace and Peace,

On the Road with Rick
July 9 - The Ordination of Owar Ojulu, Worthington
July 9 - Participating in the Vesper Service at the Old Log Church (Norway Lake)
July 10 - Preach at First Presbyterian Church, Randall
July 12-13 - Lay Academy Strategy Meeting, Lakeshore Center on Okoboji, Iowa
July 16-23 - Presbyterian Youth Triennium, West Lafayette, Indiana
July 24-29 - Synod School, Storm Lake, Iowa
July 31 - Preach at Ebenezer Presbyterian Church, Renville
August 7 - Preach at First Presbyterian Church, Randall
August 9 - Presbytery Meeting at Browns Valley
August 14 - Morning Worship at Cambria and Madelia Presbyterian Churches
August 21 - Preach at First Presbyterian Church, Willmar
You are most welcome to attend!

On Saturday,  July 9th  at 1:00 p.m., ther e will be a Service of Ordination and Installation for Owar Ojulu at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Worthington. Owar is pastor for the Hope Christian Ministry which serves the Anuak-speaking community in Worthington. It is one of the PCUSA's  1001 Worshipping Communities.  The service will include music from an African choir and will be followed by a time of fellowship with food from Ethiopia.
Be the Light: Go Disciple Live Conference

Scholarships available from the Commission on Congregational Transformation and Development!

Check This Out! A New Website for Presbyterian Mission

The Presbyterian Mission Agency has rolled out a brand new website - that seems to be more user friendly - and really works!
We encourage you to check it out and use it . . . OFTEN!! The address for this new website is
Board of Pensions Update

Edward Thompson, our current Board of Pensions Regional Representative, is coming to Minnesota Valleys in August. It will most likely be Edward's last visit to our area, as the board's regions are being reshaped. Later this fall, Kenneth Green will become our representative. Hopefully, he will get a chance to see us, perhaps even before the year is out!
Edward's visit will have three public portions to it, as follows:
  • Monday, August 8 - 11:00 a.m. -- Lunch and conversation with Retired Pastors and Spouses at the Green Mill in Willmar. All retired pastors should have received an invitation from the Board and RSVPs are requested. If you did not get an invitation, please contact the presbytery office!
  • Monday, August 8 - 3:00 p.m. - The 2017 Benefits Plan: Changes and Updates. There are some changes and transitional provisions coming within the Benefits Plan for 2017, and in a short report to the presbytery meeting, Edward may not have enough time to be fair to this. Pastors, church treasurers, session members, and other interested folks are invited to come to the Presbytery Office in Willmar for an unhurried conversation with Edward.
  • Tuesday, August 9 - Presbytery Meeting in Browns Valley - Edward will share news and information with the presbytery. He will also be able to chat with interested individuals.
An overview to the 2017 Benefits Plan can be found on line at the Board of Pensions web site --
Take time before August 8-9 to check it out!
Ministry Opportunities

The First Presbyterian Church Osakis is continuing its search for a Pastor to lead them as they live out the visions that have been generated by their New Beginning conversations. If you, or someone you know, has a passion for small towns and energetic small-member congregations, please encourage consideration of this opportunity!  The Ministry Information Form for this opportunity is posted on the Church Leadership Connection web site. It is MIF#: 03890.AC0. For more information, please contact PNC Chairperson, Shari Maloney, at 320.859.3098 or by e-mail - .
Ministry Opportunity - St. Cloud, MN

Seeking part-time Children's Ministry Coordinator at First Presbyterian Church, St. Cloud, MN. This individual will coordinate the ministries related to children and their families. This will include Sunday School and other educational/relational programming to children and younger families. Work hours (+/- 15 hrs/week) may vary based on availability, the time of year, and/or seasonal demands. To learn more about our Congregation, or to view a full job description, please visit:
Camp/Synod School Scholarships Available

The Commission on Transformation and Development wants to be sure that you are aware that there are scholarships available for camps and synod school. Churches may request $75 per camper. Scholarships for $100/person are also available for Synod School.

Scholarships are also available for individuals interested in attending PC(USA)-sponsored conferences or events.

A Ken Stinson Grant is available for churches interested in sponsoring seminars or workshops pertaining to substance abuse/health.

Application is very simple. Just go to the Presbytery web page. Click on Resources. In the drop box, click on forms. Scroll down until you find Loans, Grants, Scholarships. Then click on Scholarship Application Form. Fill it out and submit it to the Presbytery office.

Camp and Synod School forms are usually approved the same day. Other scholarships will be considered at the next monthly meeting.

Communion Set

Do you have a portable communion set you don't need anymore? Please contact Karen Lange at the presbytery office.

Planning Ahead

During the week of July 24-29, Rick Carus and Karen Lange, as well as Stated Clerk Pam Prouty, will be attending Synod School in Storm Lake, Iowa. This will be a vacation week for Karen and she will be unavailable during this time. Pam is on the Synod School Planning Team and Rick will be using this time as study leave, but also plans to do some work!
During this time, the Willmar office of the Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys will be closed, but Rick will have an off-site presbytery office in Storm Lake, Monday, July 25 through Thursday, July 28 from 11:00 a.m. through 12:45 p.m. each day. We will also have a volunteer at the office daily from 10:30-11:30 a.m. This volunteer will check the mail and voice messages, answer any calls that come in during that time, and have a daily check in call with Rick, so that nothing gets lost during the week.
We hope that this arrangement will be helpful in keeping touch with, and serving our presbytery, while our staff and Stated Clerk are sharing in our of our synod's most significant ministries.
Better Together: Packing Food and Building Community

On  July 28th, at Apollo High School , a coalition of local faith-based and community organizations plans to package over  200,000 meals for local charities, food shelves and disabled veterans' support organizations. Online sign ups to serve at this event will begin in late June. In the meantime, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to help purchase food packaging supplies. Financial contributions can be sent directly to  United Way of Central Minnesota at  3001 Clearwater Road, Suite 201, St. Cloud, MN 56301.   Please denote the gift is for the BETTER TOGETHER event! Congregations and individuals may also give online at . We will also accept gifts on the day of the event. Thank you for your prayers and support.
Useful Link for Church Treasurers: 
News from Presbyterian Older Adult Ministries Network
The 2016  Summer PNN is now available!
Good Morning from Oregon,
The theme of this issue of  PNN  is  Parenting Your Parents.  Ready or not, all of us are aging. In addition, most of us will spend more years taking care of our aging parents than we spent raising our own children. The welcome news is that this "role reversal" can also be an opportunity to make new memories with someone who has loved and cared for us from our birth.  In this issue of  PNN  you will find several articles written along this theme.
Read the 2016 Summer PNN  online or contact  Ginny Nyhuis to receive your own electronic copy.

The Sower Newsletter
July Issue
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