The Valley Bridge
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 6-12
First Presbyterian Church of Fulda
Fulda youth spent the morning of Monday, May 17 repainting and freshening up the Born Learning Trail located at the City Park.
The PW along with Pastor Randy put together vases of fresh flowers and delivered them to the Maple Lawn Nursing Home residents and some of our members for a day brightener. 
Our youth along with some of our adults served at "The Banquet" in Sioux Falls, serving over 300 people in need.  
Pastor: Randall Knuth
Clerk of Session: Loren Carlson
Treasurer: Ruth Carlson
Secretary: Angela Pelzel
Custodian: Susan Lee
Session Members: John Beeck, Jodie Getting, Mark Knorr, Kasey Konrady, Susan Lee, Shirlene Pritchard

Prayer Requests:  Tessa Meyeraan, Payton Raasch (grandson of Pastor Randy), Phyllis Steinman, Marv Storm, Marlene Magnus, Gen Stewart, Pastor Carl Gearhart, Don Rolph, and those who are in care facilities or confined to their homes.
Karen Lange is normally available Monday through Friday from 7:30 - 3:30, checking emails until 4:00 or 5:00 (except after 2:00 on Thursday afternoons for banking).
Presbytery Office Moving

New mailing address:
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
PO Box 431
Kerkhoven MN 56252

On May 18, the presbytery voted to move the presbytery office to the First Presbyterian Church of Willmar. We will be greatly downsizing our office and will have two "open house" days on June 10 and June 17 from 10:00 - 3:00 for Minnesota Valleys churches to come and pick up anything (first come, first served basis at no cost) we are not taking to our new space, including tables, chairs, file cabinets, desks, and LOTS of other items.
Reading the Bible with New Eyes: Learning and Practicing Life-Giving Faith in Guatemala and Minnesota Valleys

By Rev. Jim Krapf

Many of the congregations where I do pulpit supply are concerned about surviving. In our presbytery, 20 churches are without installed pastors. Prospect Hill Presbytery across the border in Iowa faces a similar situation.

This realization was triggered again in a breakout discussion that was a part of the May 19 Intercultural Encounters Virtual Journey’s “Reading the Bible with New Eyes.” This event, publicized in the Valley Bridge, was sponsored by CEDEPCA (the Protestant Center for Pastoral Studies in Central America). Our PCUSA mission co-workers Leslie Vogel, Eliane Menezes, and Betsey Moe support this ministry. As also noted in the Bridge, the co-workers’ virtual sermons are available for MVP congregations.

CEDEPCA is changing the theological landscape among our brothers and sisters in Central America. The shift is away from a sole focus on bliss in heaven as a way to accept suffering as God’s will for his people now. CEDEPCA is equipping its students to engage in the social justice called for in scripture.

Dr. Paulo Ueti, a CEDEPCA professor, illustrated contextual theology with a study of Luke 24:13-35--the walk to Emmaus. Jesus walks alongside the bewildered and dejected disciples. He does not start with the revelation of scripture, but with their context. He listens curiously, patiently, and respectfully. Then Jesus calls them foolish. He challenges them to rise above their distress to recall what God has revealed, what God has done. Memories help move us forward with hope. After they welcomed this stranger into their home and he shared bread at their table (context), they said to each other “Were not our hearts burning within us while he was talking to us on the road, while he was opening the scriptures to us?”

In our breakout sessions we were asked to discuss the reading of scripture together in community in a way that pays attention to our context. We pondered: How do we read the Bible? Why do we read the Bible?

We can continue to welcome the “stranger” into our midst as the One who walks with us. We can listen as he opens the scriptures not just to know more but to be transformed. We must do this with and for our communities. We can eagerly rush to our companions to proclaim that our Lord is risen. We can rise above our vulnerability and fears of not surviving as we go into the future together to continue our mission. We can love God and our neighbor. We can advocate for righteousness and justice. As Dr. Ueti proclaimed: “Be a parable of the Kingdom of God.”

In case you would like to watch the virtual journey, you are invited to visit the CEDEPCA YouTube channel at
Virtual Summer Concert Series

We are reaching out to invite the Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys to join us in celebrating our connection to one another through our gifts and music. Beginning in June, the Presbyterian Giving Catalog will host a Summer Concert Series featuring three unique virtual concerts over the course of the summer months.

Concerts will premiere on YouTube and are absolutely free! Elizabeth Stockton Perkins, a vocalist, student at Vassar College and longtime Presbyterian Mission supporter, kicks off the concert series on June 21. The Stillman College Choir concert will premiere on July 21, and on Aug. 21 the Mission Musicians of the PC(USA) will close out the series. Once they premiere, all concerts will be available to enjoy through September.

We are encouraging congregations and mid councils to hold viewing parties for the concerts, gathering safely in person or virtually, to enjoy beautiful music and connectivity with the wider Church.

We would also love for you to include this invitation in an upcoming newsletter. You can find promotional images at

As we head into the summer months, let’s celebrate and make music together! If you would like to learn more, contact me! 502-381-6084, or I will provide you with the resources you need to set up a watch party.
Transitional Ministry Education for All Pastors—A message from TMEC (Transitional Ministry Education Consortium)

Change happens. Transition is how we adapt to change.

As we look beyond the Covid-19 pandemic, it is obvious that our communities and the world are not the same as they were in 2019. Even the church has changed, adopting technologies and practices that we may not have considered without the impetus of Covid. In such a time as this, church leaders require special skills and understanding. Transitional Ministry Education, once regarded as training for interim pastors, has become a vital resource for all church leaders.

Did you know that other denominations have looked to the PC(USA) for leadership in managing transitions for more than 25 years? Our Transitional Ministry Education Consortium (TMEC) has offered outstanding continuing education programs since the 1990s, attracting both U.S. and international participants to eleven sites (seminaries and conference centers). Some programs have been interrupted by the pandemic, but TMEC is working to restore as many opportunities as possible this year.

Updated information is available on the TMEC website; please share with your COM and pastors who might benefit from this timely continuing education opportunity. There are currently six opportunities listed, in a variety of locations or online. We’ve also had word of an event sponsored by the Synod of Mid-America, October 18–21. In addition, Transitional Ministry Workshops has a fall online workshop in the planning stages; check back for dates and other specifics.
Pastors, Christian Educators, Youth Workers, 
Sunday School teachers and Youth Committee volunteers 

Sharpen your faith-formation ministry’s vision and purpose
Be more efficient in your time devoted to youth ministry
Plan your calendar 12 to 18 months ahead

Announcing: “Plan-It”  Wednesday, June 9th
Join us for PLAN-IT - a one-day ZOOM (10:00am-4:00pm) guided planning experience for those responsible for your faith formation ministries. Register as a team or individual. 

Pastors – invite key volunteers in your setting to join you! 
Children’s Ministry and Youth Workers – recruit your Pastor to join 
They will thank you for it!

The June 9th Plan-It event is a Zoom video call
In fact, 3 separate Zoom sessions, scattered throughout the day
Each Zoom session is facilitated by Lyle Griner
individual/team planning time between Zoom sessions
individual/team coaching by Lyle Griner is available that day
Cost: $39 per church* (*see below for Minnesota Valleys discount code)
REGISTRATION is now live. Click here to register

Minnesota Valleys Presbytery congregations only, choose this option ↴
WED JUN 9, 2021 with an added copy of the book PLAN IT
Then, use the coupon code MINNESOTAVALLEYS for a $25 discount and a free digital copy of Lyle’s book, Plan It, which contains an abundance of tips and tricks for planning your year. 
With the coupon code, that lowers your registration cost to $28.95
THANK YOU Minnesota Valleys Presbytery Commission on Congregational Transformation & Development for the discount!

Facilitator: Lyle Griner, (click for a Plan-It introduction)
With Lyle and friends, we will review common and best-practice faith formation lenses, planning tools, and potential templates that may work in your setting. Through group Zoom sessions, and some planning time in between Zoom sessions, participants will design a well-balanced, intentional, nine-months-to-a-year framework. 

Sounds awesome, right? 
You could have your Children’s & Youth Ministry planned for
the entire 2021-2022 JUNE!

For more info, contact:
Mark Giese First Presbyterian, Saint Cloud
Jill Boeyink First Presbyterian, Willmar
From Transformation & Development

The Commission on Transformation and Development is working to make sure we are serving you and your churches the best we can in this next year.

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. Please feel free to contact any of the members of the Commission on Congregational Transformation and Development as to what might be areas that you may be seeking assistance with locating valuable resources. Those currently serving on the Commission on Congregational Transformation and Development are: Randy Knuth, chair, Anne Veldhuisen, Michael Hartwell, Darlene Scherbing, Barb Wawrzyniak, Gerri Mitchell, Lindsay Jacaruso. Please let us know how we can come alongside of your congregation.  Please contact Randy Knuth, the chair, at 712-540-8243 or via email at

Having a difficult time finding pulpit supply? Have you considered a virtual sermon?
A Sermon for Every Sunday ( is a website that provides lectionary-based video sermons by America’s best preachers for use in worship, bible study, small groups, Sunday school classes, or individual use. All you do is push the button. If you have a computer and a projector, these professionally recorded sermons can be downloaded and viewed on Sunday mornings. The site features nationally known preachers from multiple denominations. Although donations are accepted, the sermons are free. Check out

Technology Grant
The Commission on Congregational Transformation and Development has the privilege of awarding matching Technology Grants of up to $500. However, because of the demand, churches or other entities will not be able to receive grants in two consecutive years. Grants have been used for updating office equipment, purchases to buy or replace computers, or updating audio video equipment. If your church has not received a grant this year or last, take advantage of this grant. Please use the new form which is specific for the Technology Grant.

Thanks to the gracious generosity of the Budget and Finance Committee, we are now able to offer annually technology grants up $750.00 not to exceed ½ of the cost of the total project. So the total project will have to be over $1500 in order to receive that amount. This is effective May 27, 2021. Again thanks to the Budget and Finance for graciously increasing these funds that church may apply for in regards to technology upgrades or new projects.

The above resources are shared by the Commission on Congregational Transformation and Development
Registration links

Synod School July 25-30

Thursday June 16, 4:00 PM - Sunday, June 19, 11:00 AM
Place: Hilton Garden Inn, Sioux City Riverfront, Sioux City IA
Final details will be available this Fall. Registration will start in January 2022.
More details to follow.

2022 Presbyterian Youth Triennium
Minnesota Department of Health Coronavirus Resources

There is help with funeral expenses for people who have lost loved ones to Covid19. The following link gives the information:
Matthew 25: Congregational Vitality
The Presbyterian Mission Agency of the PC(USA) proposes that there are seven marks to help you determine your current level of vitality — and then various processes for self-assessment, discernment and renewed commitment to the habits that foster an energetic engagement with the Spirit’s work in the world.

Here are the seven marks:
  1. A commitment to forming disciples over every member’s lifetime. This leads first to personal transformation, as people put on the heart of Christ, and then to social transformation, as people joyfully go forth into the community and tackle the issues facing today’s culture.
  2. Embracing the call to evangelism. We show forth the love of Christ by our actions and our lives even more than by our words. Our relationships are genuine and caring. People know we are Christians by our love.
  3. An outward focus. Our church is not a place to escape from the world, but rather our gateway to our community where we may be the hands, feet, heart and mouth of Jesus Christ for people who are suffering or marginalized.
  4. Empowering every member to discover their individual calling and the gifts God has given them so they can go forth and serve.
  5. Spirit-inspired worship that challenges, teaches, transforms, convicts and energizes us so when we are sent out, we have experienced the wonder of God and are changed for the better from when we arrived.
  6. Caring relationships modeled on God’s love. We open our doors and hearts to all people, and we build relationships modeled on God’s love, which leads to genuine reconciliation and peace.
  7. Congregations with healthy systems. Our mission focuses are clear. There is fiscal responsibility and accountability. We have thoughtful decision-making structures. Our leaders and staff enjoy a sustainable balance of work/rest time.
Prayer List
  • For Rev. Mark Chamberlain, retired pastor, Willmar
  • For Rev. Bob Bartlett, First Presbyterian Churches of Brewster & Round Lake
  • For Rev. Michael Roys, retired pastor, Winnebago
  • Pray for our brothers and sisters in the Occidente Presbytery of Guatemala - for their health, safety, and recovery from the effects of the Covid pandemic
Pastoral Leadership Opportunities

First Presbyterian Church, Lake Crystal; First Presbyterian Church, Kasota - Pastor, yoked parish
Ministry Information Form - 03709.AB1

Maine Presbyterian Church, rural Underwood - Solo Pastor
Ministry Information Form - 03870.AB0

Faith Presbyterian Church, Silver Lake - Solo Pastor
Ministry Information Form - 03851.AD0

First Presbyterian Church, Slayton - Pastor
Ministry Information Form - 03805.AB0

Harrison Presbyterian Church, rural Spicer - Pastor, yoked parish
Ministry Information Form - 03878.AA0

Hope Presbyterian Church, Spicer - Solo Pastor
Ministry Information Form - 09565.ADO

First Presbyterian Church, Winnebago - Interim Pastor
Ministry Information Form - 03811.AA1

Ministry opportunities are posted on the Church Leadership Connection website --
PW's Justice and Peace Book Club

Contact Kathleen Keefer ( to register for discussions of the books by Zoom, which are 12:30 - 2:30 PM OR 6:30 - 8:30 PM. ANYONE can join!
White Devil’s Daughters will be discussed June 14

Datebook review by Anisse Gross, May 9, 2019: In the Evergreen Cemetery in East Los Angeles, Donaldina “Dolly” Cameron, a Presbyterian missionary from a Scottish American family, and Tien Fuh Wu, a Chinese woman who was brought to America as a household slave, are buried side by side. How these women from very different backgrounds became intertwined is at the heart of Julia Flynn Siler’s meticulously researched and inspiring new book “The White Devil’s Daughters: The Women Who Fought Slavery in San Francisco’s Chinatown.”

The book opens with a teenage indentured prostitute, Jeung Gwai Ying, whose captors have allowed her 30 minutes at a local beauty parlor. Before they return, she escapes into the night, climbing the hill to a home she’d only heard about, where women could be safe. She rings the doorbell and is welcomed inside by women who encourage the teen: “Tell us your story.”

Telling their stories is what Siler does, recounting the bravery of the women who dared escape their imprisonment and the devotion of the women who ensured their safety. The lens is on the early years of Chinese immigration to San Francisco during the late 19th century, when thousands of Chinese women were sold and brought in as domestic slaves and prostitutes to work in the brothels and homes of the city’s Chinatown district. Siler draws upon a vast array of sources, from letters to fascinating photographs of the time, to paint the city’s lawless early years, when smugglers operated largely with impunity.
While many city officials were willing to look the other way (while sticking one hand out for bribes), a small group of Presbyterian women scraped together funds to purchase a boardinghouse on Sacramento Street, which would become the Occidental Mission Home for Girls, a safe haven to house Chinese girls and women from Chinatown’s slavery syndicates.

The Color of Law will be discussed on August 9

The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America is a 2017 book by Richard Rothstein on the history of racial segregation in the United States. The book documents the history of state sponsored segregation stretching back to the late 1800s and exposes racially discriminatory policies put forward by most presidential administrations in that time, including liberal presidents like Franklin Roosevelt.[2] The author argues that intractable segregation in America is the byproduct of explicit government policies at the local, state, and federal levels, also known as de jure segregation — and not happenstance, or de facto segregation.[3] Among other discussions, the book provides a history of subsidized housing and discusses the phenomena of white flightblockbusting, and racial covenants, and their role in housing segregation. Rothstein wrote the book while serving as a research associate for the Economic Policy Institute, where he is now a Distinguished Fellow.

The book has been reviewed many times and was received with critical acclaim; among other honors, it made the longlist for the 2017 National Book Awards,[4] was placed at number four on Publishers Weekly's Top 10 Best Books of 2017,[5] and won Rothstein the 2018 Hillman Prize for Book Journalism.[1] It went on to become a bestseller during the mid-2020 resurgence of national interest in racial injustice following the George Floyd protests.[6] As of the December 20th, 2020 issue, the book has spent 32 total weeks on The New York Times Best Seller list.[7]

The Ministry Lab is delighted to offer a 2021 Summer Worship Series - featuring three excellent preachers and a beautiful team of current United Theological Seminary students giving voice to the diversity of identities and contexts of our supporting congregations. In gratitude for our judicatory leaders, these three services are offered as a gift, in the hopes that they enable clergy, faith formation, and worship leaders to take a much needed break once, twice, or thrice over the course of this summer.

Find details about leaders, themes, and content here: Summer Worship Series – The Ministry Lab