The Valley Bridge
The weekly newsletter from the
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
June 13, 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)
Congregation of the week of June 17-23
First Presbyterian Church of Litchfield
Staff list: 
  • Commissioned Ruling Elder--Gordy Pennertz
  • Music Director--Jayne Ackman
  • Administrative assistant--Julie Rae Pennertz
  • Treasurer--Leetha Waldren
  • Clerk of Session--Sue Berg
  • Session--Don MacKay, Michael Joldersma, Judy Holmes, Shirley Brooks, Kay Hanson;
  • Deacons--Savannah Joldersma, Rhonda Joldersma, Barb Bremseth, Julie Rae Pennertz, David Pennertz, Rosie Graphenteen.
  • for issues associated with an aging congregation for ecumenical efforts in Litchfield 
  • for our efforts to face abuse issues in our community 
  • several members undergoing surgery in next few weeks
Order, Disorder and Reorder

At the Pastors' Gathering, the theme of the Third Way and order, disorder and reorder guided our conversations. Each theme invites the church to consider the what, when, and why our of processes, decisions, relationships, and future actions. The expected response here is to say our actions are led by the Spirit. I cautioned us from responding too quickly; Third Way thinking challenges us to look for spiritual direction outside of the ordinary expected responses. Third Way thinking moves beyond binary two options, right/wrong, their side/my side, winning and losing living. The Spirit is at work when all involved are able to control their egos and seek the greater good through higher level thinking. Creativity is birthed out of ideas that are not bound to how things were done in the past or proven resolutions. Third Way thinking is risk-taking, permission-giving and establishes that "failing forward" is a part of the progress.
The concept of order, disorder, and reorder hones in on the worldviews that shape our understanding of life, ethics and faithfulness. Most importantly, our understanding of order sets the standards for how normative living should be. Disorder is the place of chaos when the apple cart is turned upside down and nothing makes sense anymore. Many scholars believe disorder is the place where most live. Individuals who regularly live on the margins of society live out this reality daily. Ministry happens at the occurrence of reorder. Here are the gospel transforms life, heals brokenness, builds bridges, tears down walls, and reconciles people to one another. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said it best:
The Christian gospel is a two-way road. On the one hand, it seeks to change the souls of men, and thereby unite them with God; on the other hand, it seeks to change the environmental conditions of men so the soul will have a chance after it is changed. "
What could happen if we as a presbytery begin to think about these concepts in our work together? What would happen if congregations would make order, disorder, and reorder the ultimate goal of ministry? I hope in the coming days we can continue to talk about these issues as we look towards the hopeful future that God has for us.
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 begin at 11:00 a.m. Please contact Karen Lange to receive the Zoom instructions.
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.
General Assembly Resources

Get the latest information for the 223rd General Assembly (June 16-23, 2018) in St. Louis, MO. 

Go to to find a live stream of the plenary sessions.

Twitter: #GA223

40 Days of Prayer VI

Submitted by Stan Menning

With this week's prayer list, the event about which we have been praying is upon us. The preparation is completed and the work is being done. The commissioners will meet in their respective committees Monday through Wednesday AM and in plenary sessions Wed. PM through Friday. The work will go on Friday night until it is completed.

The commissioners simply cannot make appropriate decisions without the power of the Spirit moving them in response to your prayers. As you pray for the various committees and plenary sessions, please look back at the articles dealing with the committees, their leadership teams and in particular the committees that our commissioners are on. Pray for openness to the moving of God's Spirit, wisdom, courage, and energy for all of the commissioners, but especially the ones from Minnesota Valleys Presbytery.

Thank you for participating in this journey and for supporting the commissioners with your prayers. They look forward to the opportunity to report back to you through the Valley Bridge and at the August Presbytery meeting.

MONDAY June 16: The work of the committees

TUESDAY June 17: The work of the committees. The march to the Jailhouse. This is a change for the Presbyterian Church to get out into the streets in a public call for justice and to stand with those the Gospel calls us to serve. May God be praised in this act of mercy.

WEDNESDAY June 18: The work of the committees/plenary session. 

THURSDAY June 19: Plenary sessions

FRIDAY June 20: Plenary sessions

SATURDAY June 21:   Traveling mercies as the commissioners return home

SUNDAY June 22: Pray for the PCUSA as the decisions made at General Assembly are reviewed and voted on by the presbyteries during the coming months
Former Stated Clerk Parsons pens 'Our Connectional Church'

New title from WJK explores future of PC(USA)
WJK Press release

LOUISVILLE - Westminster John Knox Press is pleased to announce the publication of  Our Connectional Church: The Hopeful Future of the PC(USA) from Gradye Parsons with a foreword by Frank Clark Spencer. From Spring City, Tennessee, to Atlanta, Georgia, Parsons explores the unique faith traditions of four Presbyterian churches, demonstrating the diversity of ministry done by Presbyterians today. With particular emphasis on the importance of the congregation and its connection to the larger church body, Parsons argues for networking and relationship building to bolster the denomination's long-term renewal.

As former Stated Clerk of the PC(USA), Parsons brings to this project a faithful understanding of the church as he celebrates our connectional lives, whether connection is found in congregations, colleagues, ministry, or Reformed theology. The diversity of our worship and ministry gives hope for the future of the PC(USA), he writes, tapping into the deep wells of the Presbyterian aquifer - the common ethos that unites the church, serving as a source for different ministries and growth.

Reflecting on the current roles of local congregations, as well as beyond the congregation, Parsons also considers the future of the Presbyterian Church. "I sense in many PC(USA) congregations a willingness to connect to our resurrection faith, connect to their community, and connect to the denomination as they move out in ministry and mission," he writes. "These are signs that God is not finished with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)."

"Thank you, Gradye Parsons, for this beautiful snapshot of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)," says J. Herbert Nelson II, Stated Clerk of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Perfect for Presbyterians interested in the state of ministry being done today,  Our Connectional Church is now available for purchase from Westminster John Knox Press and other major retailers.
Gradye Parsons served as Stated Clerk of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) from 2008 to 2016. A Tennessee native, he pastored two congregations for over fifteen years in Newport and Bristol, Tennessee. Parsons served as presbytery executive and Stated Clerk of Holston Presbytery before coming to the Office of the General Assembly. He and his wife, Kathy, live in Kodak, Tennessee.
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.
You are invited 

We invite you to summer supper at Harrison Community Presbyterian Church (14110 105th Ave NE, Spicer) on Wednesday, June 20, from 4:30 - 7:00 p.m. On the menu: meatballs, mashed potatoes, glazed carrots, coleslaw, roll, homemade pie/desserts, coffee, lemonade, water. The cost: $12 for adults, $6 for 4-12 year olds, free for ages 3 and under.
Shipwrecked VBS - Where We Are Rescued by Jesus!
Holland MN 2018

Shipwrecked! Haven't each of us experienced a shipwreck of one sort or another? Financial shipwreck, health shipwreck, family relation shipwreck. And our children experience shipwrecks as well ... didn't get invited to a birthday party, a grandparent dies, their parents divorce, they make mistakes that get them in trouble. Shipwrecks ... they are all around us. Amidst the shipwrecks in our lives, Jesus rescues! When we place our faith in Him! VBS students (94 of them!), 14 youth leaders and many adult volunteers navigated their way through various shipwrecked situations to find hope in knowing that Jesus will rescue us. The five-day long Vacation Bible School was held Sunday, June 3rd through Thursday, June 7th at the Holland Presbyterian and Christian Reformed Churches. The VBS finale included a very well attended picnic open to the public and a program on Thursday evening. Praise God for an awesome VBS!
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
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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