The Valley Bridge
The weekly newsletter from the
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
June 1, 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 June 5-11
First Presbyterian Church of Pipestone

Rev David C. Hicks, Interim Pastor
Gerri Mitchell, Clerk of Session
Janet Bush, Jennifer Cronin, Bud Eernisse, Sue Gorter, John McCallum, Doug Nagel, Duane Schelhaas, Joan Stout, and Jana Willey are our Session members
Judy Fellows, Katie Foss, Lori Grogan, Karlee Kruger, Kay Kruger, Toni Kruger, Judith Rue, Dean Schoolmeester, Lee Vande Voort, and Marge Vande Voort are our Deacons
Carol Baker, Secretary
Craig and Pam Haroldson, Custodians
Denise Nagel and Judith Shreck, Organist/Pianist
Our church is not only red stone, but we are red hot with change through the direction and care of David and the Administrative Committee. Our congregation is dreaming dreams and has visions of a bold future. Committees are empowered. The sanctuary has varying decorations and changing worship styles, memorial projects are taking shape, youth are going to camp and Triennium, and our Deacons have started a flock ministry. The format for the confirmation class enabled them to feel part of the Presbytery with a trip to meet Rick and Pam. Each confirmand had a sponsor/s within the church for support and guidance during confirmation. A supper with parents, sponsors, and the Session before the Session meeting to accept them into membership affirmed to the Confirmands that they were a valued part of our congregation. Our church was involved with the selection and distribution of the Steinke Scholarships to the senior class.

Come and visit us!
Our prayer concerns are for those who have lost loved ones, our shut-ins, the Designated Pastor Nominating Committee, the work of the General Assembly, and the care and guidance of our congregation. 

The Word from Rick: Welcome Summer, and Hello Road Trips!

Well, Memorial Day has come and gone, and that means that summer has officially arrived here in Minnesota. Of course, the sudden proliferation of orange barrels, detours, and construction zone signs along the highways sort of let us know that it was coming. Yes, summer is here and for many of us, life is going to get busier, all at a time when it should be slowing down.
For me, summer will be lived largely on the road. I know that some of you will say, "So, what's new about that? You are always on the road!" Yes, I do spend a great deal of time on the road, but most of the time, my "road trips" take me out to your congregations in support of your ministries. However, this summer, my road trips will be a combination of service to the greater church, continuing education, and sharing in special times with special friends - and just maybe, a vacation!
For me, the summer of 2016 will include my 45-Year Reunion at Macalester College, performing a wedding in Nebraska for one of my very special "Texas kids," attending General Assembly, serving as the Exhibit Hall Coordinator at the 2016 Presbyterian Youth Triennium, and spending a week at Synod School, getting my batteries recharged by John Bell of the Iona Community. While at Synod School, I will also staff our "remote presbytery office" from Storm Lake, so that our other staff members can enjoy their week at Synod School. You will hear more about that in early July.
Please know that, in spite of what looks like a heavy travel schedule, when I am here within the bounds of our presbytery, I will be tending to the important work of leading us through our final months of transition. Our new commissions and committees are beginning to find their rhythm, and as they do, things are beginning to happen. From their experiences, we are fine-tuning our Presbytery Operations Manual and our Commission on Leadership Manual. We are living into this and I appreciate how so many people are helping to make things happen.
On Wednesday, June 8, the Search Team for our new presbytery leader - the Director of Presbytery Mission - will begin its work as they meet with our Synod Executive, Elona Street Stewart. Please pray for this team - Candace Adams, Deb Hess, Keith Lohse, Darin Seaman, Ross Stone, and Scott Thompson - as they begin this important task.
Now, I don't want to rush things, as summer in Minnesota seems to move fast enough, but I am beginning to build my fall schedule - on my brand new 2016-2017 Presbyterian Planning Calendar - and am planning my Sunday morning visits among our congregations. I know that a good number of our pastors use summer to plan the next year's worship schedules, and so I plan my schedule as well. I will be in touch with some of you all to make plans to worship with you, or if needed, to give you a Sunday off from preaching. I have found that preaching twice a month has been good for my spirit!
And so, summer is indeed here. It is my hope and prayer that this will be a blessed and exciting time for you all and the congregations of which you are a part. It is my prayer that this is a great and profitable summer for our farmers and ranchers; a wonderful summer for our children and youth as they participate in VBS, summer camps, the Triennium, and mission trips; an enriching summer for our pastoral leaders and congregation members as they attend Synod School or have times of personal and spiritual enrichment; and a safe summer for all who travel, whether it be across town or around the world!
I pray that God will bless us and keep each one of us surrounded in love. Stay safe, stay healthy, and stay faithful! Have a great summer!

Grace and Peace,

On the Road with Rick
June 1 - General Assembly Commissioner Briefing, Redwood Falls
June 9 - Presbytery Meeting Planning Team, Redwood Falls
June 12 - Preach at First Presbyterian Church, Randall
June 14 - Session Meeting at First Presbyterian Church, Osakis
June 17-26 - General Assembly - Portland, Oregon
July 1-3 - Wedding in Lincoln, Nebraska
July 9 - Owar Ojulu's Ordination, Worthington
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
General Assembly Opening Worship - Saturday, June 18

Make plans now to join in opening worship of the 222nd General Assembly (2016) of the Pre sbyterian Church (U.S.A.). For more information, please use this link:

Report Submitted to Assembly on Identity, Purpose of PC(USA)

By Toya Richards, Director of Communications and Assistant Stated Clerk
A vibrant family portrait of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has emerged from the recent church-wide conversation on the identity and purpose of the denomination, and God, Christ, love, and the world are among the most prominent subjects.
To read the complete article, please follow this link:

PW Spring Gathering 

Tuesday, June 7 at Harrison Presbyterian Church of Spicer. Coffee & treats at 8:45 a.m.
Meeting at 9:30 a.m. 
Registration deadline: June 1 
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 - ; or Transitional Executive Presbyter, Rick Carus at the presbytery office.
First Presbyterian Church, Mankato is beginning a search for a well-trained intentional Interim Pastor, who will guide the congregation through its pastoral transition. The Ministry Information Form for this position - MIF# 03792.AD0 -- is now on-line. If you cannot access it through the Church Leadership Connection, please contact Rick Carus at the presbytery office ( and he can send you a copy of the form.   If you or someone you know would be the right person for this opportunity, contact Rick Carus at the presbytery office.
Coming Soon - First Presbyterian Church, Pipestone - Watch for announcements about their upcoming search for a Designated Pastor.
A Special Message and Offer from the Commission on Congregational Transformation and Development

One of the responsibilities of our Commission is to help provide resources and opportunities for congregations and their leaders that will help equip and empower transformation and change among the saints in Minnesota Valleys.
In keeping with our commitment to do that, we want to offer information about the Presbyterian Mission Agency's "BE THE LIGHT" conference, August 8-11, for your consideration, and even more than that, we stand ready to offer three $500 grants to individuals from this presbytery who might wish to attend this conference.
If you are interested in attending the conference, we encourage you to first check the conference web site -- -- for all the details. Then, submit a Grant Application Form to the Presbytery Office. Please note that upon your return from the conference, you will be asked to report back on what you learned and how those learning will be used in your congregation, and how they will be shared with other congregations and the presbytery. Grants will be made on a "first come-first served" basis, and no more than one conference grant will be awarded to any congregation.
If you have questions, please contact Rick Carus at the presbytery office - 320.235.7910.
More information about the conference

The Go Disciple Live  "Be the Light" Conference, formerly known as the Evangelism and Church Growth Conference, is a vibrant gathering of Presbyterians committed to disciple-making, which leads to authentic evangelism, effective church transformation, justice, and church planting through 1001 new worshiping communities. It will be held at the  Trade Winds Island Resorts in St. Pete Beach, Florida.

The plenary speakers will include: Casey Fitzgerald, biblical storytelling; Mike Breen, disciple making; and Ralph Watkins, authentic evangelism. These leaders will join with others to provide a time of inspiration, nurture, and equipping, as they explore our theme of "Be the Light" (Matthew 5:14-16).

On-site check in will be open Monday, August 8, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Welcome and orientation will begin at 5:30 p.m. The conference concludes with worship on Thursday, August 11, at 7:00 p.m.

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