The Valley Bridge
The weekly newsletter from the
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
June 20, 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 24-30
First Presbyterian Church of Luverne
  • Pastor: Rev. Dr. Jason Cunningham
  • Youth Club Leaders: Sarah DeBeer and Niki Buss
  • Clerk of Session: Gayle Stegemann
  • Administrative Assistant: Becky Sehr
  • Music Director: Barb Antoine
  • Organists: Diane Boyenga, Denice Dirks, Colleen Cragoe, Betty Mann, and Leona Hoek
  • Custodian: Renee' Sawtelle
  • Newsletter Editor: Annalisa Cunningham
  • Head Usher: Pat Weerheim
  • Ruling Elders: Anna Ahrendt, Dan Iveland, Kari Lais, Brett Stegenga, Carissa Cunningham (youth elder), Larry Frey, Brett Miller, Brenda Wessels, Staci Zwaan, Greg Antoine, Paul Boyenga, Erin Sandstede, Louella Voigt
  • Deacons: Travis Pierce, Mike Olson, Barbara Schiebout, McCall Stegenga (youth deacon), Sarah DeBeer, Gloria Rust, Evan Verbrugge, Carol Boelman, Katie Hemme, Ruth Stoakes

Prayer Requests: 
  • Safe travels for everyone taking vacations and making trips in the summer time
  • Vacation Bible School
  • Our High School youth mission trip to Bozeman, MT in July
  • Our congregation as we continue to explore funding sources for adding audio/visual (screens) to our sanctuary
  • Our PW Salad Luncheon in July
  • The Boy Scout Troop from Illinois traveling to the Black Hills who will be staying in our church on July 6th
  • All who are ill or recovering in health
  • Those who have recently lost loved ones and need the comfort of the Gospel
  • Congregations in our Presbytery that are in transition.
From our folks at General Assembly

L-R: Deb Hess, Scott Prouty, Pamela Prouty, Julia Prouty, SanDawna Ashley, Stan Menning

This is a picture of the Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations Committee I moderated at General Assembly. It was an awesome group! In addition to the business at hand, we heard from many ecumenical leaders from all over the world that told us of the victories and struggles they face in their various countries. We also heard from Jewish and Muslim leaders that are striving to build bridges of peace and understanding with Christians. This experience gave me a renewed hope for our world!----Scott Prouty

I love being at GA to see people I don't often see, to observe the business meetings (I actually learn a lot!) and going around the exhibit hall. This picture (left) is of Raymond Meester, stated clerk from the Presbytery of Homestead and me staffing the Synod booth in the exhibit hall.
----Pamela Prouty

I am proud to be a part of a denomination that works for justice and 
building partnerships. This GA Assembly, both are emphasized. To end Cash Bail $47,000 was donated for this cause. Our own presbytery gave $2200. Thank you for your commitment to justice. Additionally, I am working with a national coalition to find solutions for our small congregations. The two pictures above (of this group of five pictures) are from this morning's meeting with Military Chaplains to discuss partnerships for bi-vocational pastors and possible military residency sites within the presbytery. 
----SanDawna Ashley

The most impactful statement that touched my heart: At the Ecumenical breakfast this morning, Rev. Michael Blair, United Church of Canada, shared that historically people have been oppressed by churches throughout the world. He said that as long as the story is written from the perspective of the hunter we don't hear the story of the hunted. (the lion)
----Deb Hess

Front row: Julia Prouty, Scott Prouty
Second row: Deb Hess, Ginny Magnus (Bev Crute's sister)

I've enjoyed meeting new people, observing the business process, and going on the protest to end cash bail. Above is a picture of all of the YAADs with the new co-moderators, I am one of the youngest ones. 
----Julia Prouty

The label on the name tag I have been wearing around my neck this week says I am an observer, so I have been observing. I have observed fellow Presbyterians working through the difficulties of the work assigned to their committee. I have observed old friends renewing acquaintances. I have observed people passionate about a cause taking a stand for what they believe. I have observed the church of Jesus Christ being obedient to the call to be salt and light in a world desperately in need. I have observed the church being the church, and it is satisfying. 
----Stan Menning

Ruling Elder Vilmarie CintrĂ³n-Olivieri and the Rev. Cindy Kohlmann, co-moderators of the 223rd. General Assembly. Photo by: Michael Whitman
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.
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.
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.
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.
Six New Things
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