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 7-13
First Presbyterian Church of Jackson
Pastor: Eunice Woodberry
Clerk of Session: TBD
Treasurer: Dean Albrecht
Secretary: Troy Christensen
Custodians: Rodney and Terrie Hlavac
Elders: Tim Hecht, Dean Albrecht, Ginny Krejci, Mary Jo Lutz, Dennis Hample, Troy Christensen.
Deacons: Brenda Janning, Dani Janning, Cindy Albrecht, Terrie Hlavac.


Cares & Prayer Concerns:
  • Our congregation as we discern the future of the Presbyterian church in Jackson.
  • For all those serving in the military and their families.
  • All those dealing with the Covid 19 virus.
  • The unemployed/under employed.
  • Those persecuted in the name of Christ.
  • Denny and Diane Frodermann, John and Dorothy Dykstra, Marv Fischer, Darryl Iversen, Liz and Guy Vacura, LaVonne Clarksean, Jim Hough, our members recovering from surgery. Members who are facing on-going medical treatments.
  • Our family members in nursing homes; Nina Walterman, Phyllis Hugunin, John Dykstra, and Eleanor Hutchinson.
  • The youth of our community, we pray that they may know and trust Jesus.
  • The prayer concerns of the First Presbyterian Church of Blue Earth.
A Trinitarian Faith
Greetings in the Strong name of Christ. On Sunday, the Church will celebrate the unfathomable mystery of God as Holy Trinity. Our celebration includes adoration and praise. We will affirm our confession of the Triune, a synthesis of God’s holy presence among us. “In the name of this triune God, we are baptized. As the baptized ones, we bear the name of the triune God in our being. We are of the family of the triune God. We affirm this parentage when, in reciting the creeds, we say what we believe. Our discipleship is rooted in the mighty acts of this triune God, who is active in redeeming the world. The triune God is the basis of all our prayers — we pray to God the Father, through Jesus Christ, by the Holy Spirit” (Presbyterian Church U.S.A.).
Our belief in the Trinity traces back to Creation when the Holy brought order out of the void. Today we look for God among us as we continue to face the current protests, riots, and COVID19. Though weary in this liminal period, we tread onward, encouraged that this season will pass, and we will overcome the vicissitudes of this hour. 
 
Many times this week, the lamenting cry was a signal that there is no going back to what was. The DNA of injustice woven within the American culture was exposed. The divisive hate that sets in conflict individuals and groups polluted the air and, like salt, was poured into old wounds. Again people of color were reminded that equality among people is not truly a core value in our country. Even the Constitution was written to benefit White people, and in part, excluded women. As a whole, it excluded and People of Color.
 
On the other hand, as people across the world responded to the murder of George Floyd, we observed the strong love of communities. In direct opposition to hate, we saw people who would not allow their fellow human beings to suffer alone. The like-minded, similarity wounded, and empathetic individuals showed true human spirit by sharing the burden—weeping with those who weep. These uncomfortable days are the result of many years of unaddressed pain and slow-moving change. It is truly the deep cry for help in the face of the systematic Goliath. 

As a person of color, I know this pain in ways more profound than many reading this article. Yet, our Christian faith calls us to learn the suffering of the oppressed. We are told to consider what it would be like to walk in the shoes of those victimized by systems of injustice and the implicit biases that shape the norms and standards for daily life.  
 
If this were all to the story, we would be a people without hope. However, we know well that there is a resurrection of redemption to come. God’s restorative grace will make clear our way forward. The future will include institutional change, reconciliation of a painful history, a laboratory for personal disarmament, shared realities, forbearance, and mutual respect. We should be hardened by our strong belief in the unfathomable mystery of God one, eternal and incomprehensible. Let us not lose faith in these trying days; instead, let us be the voice of incomparable love and remarkable peace.

Let it be so!
Rev. Ashley
First Presbyterian Church of Foley holds worship in parking lot on Sunday, May 31
First Presbyterian Church of Mankato offers space for homeless shelter
Paycheck Protection Program Forgiveness Application
General Assembly bulletin inserts – GA224 in 2020

What’s coming to the 2020 General Assembly? How will you explain the actions of GA to the congregation?

The 224th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) meeting in June 2020 is shaping up to be an assembly like no other. For the first time, GA will be held virtually.
This year’s assembly will consider critical business and elect a new team of moderators (co-moderators or moderator/vice moderator).

Help your congregation know what’s coming to GA and give your church members a fast, accurate and fair account of what happened after the votes are taken. We know many congregations are facing unprecedented financial challenges this year. So, we are offering our balanced, trusted GA bulletin inserts for a special price. You will receive both the pre-GA and post-GA inserts for the price of one in a full-color, easy to read format that you can easily email to all members of the congregation. Only $20 for congregations of less than 200 members and $30.00 for churches greater than 200 members. You download a PDF file of a master, prepared by the award-winning staff of The Presbyterian Outlook, and then email them to the congregation.

Pre-GA bulletin inserts will be available June 12.
Post-GA bulletin inserts will be available June 27. (late evening, after the assembly concludes)

Order now!
Churches with membership less than 200 =  Order for $20
Churches with membership of 300 or more =  Order for $30
Presbyteries are invited to order for all of their congregations for 1 cent per member. Call George Whipple to order: (800) 446-6008 ext. 756.


General Assembly Docket Link
How to Lead When You Don't Know Where You're Going
New presbytery book study: How to Lead When You Don’t Know Where You’re Going: Leading in a Liminal Season by Susan Beaumont speaks to where we are today. We will discuss on June 30 at 11:00 AM by Zoom.

How do you lead an organization stuck between an ending and a new beginning—when the old way of doing things no longer works but a way forward is not yet clear? Beaumont calls such in-between times liminal seasons—threshold times when the continuity of tradition disintegrates and uncertainty about the future fuels doubt and chaos. In a liminal season it simply is not helpful to pretend we understand what needs to happen next. But leaders can still lead.
Neighborhood Church: Transforming Your Congregation into a Powerhouse for Mission
The Presbytery's Commission on Congregational Transformation and Development is studying a book that was recommended by PC(USA) Co-Moderators Rev. Cindy Kohlmann and Ruling Elder Vilmarie Contron-Olivieri. They believe the book offers practical advice and personal examples for church leaders, members, and pastors for working together in connecting with their neighborhoods. 
The authors of the book, Krin Van Tatenhove and Rob Mueller, are Presbyterian pastors who share their years of experience working with congregations in challenging environments. The chapters of the book outline five critical practices that they have observed in their church ministries.
1. Converting our perspective from scarcity to abundance, and from self-absorption to our neighbors.
2. Learning to listen as an essential discipline.
3. Embracing transformative partnership.
4. Integrating our buildings in new ways.
5. Sustaining our vision through Spirit-filled worship and mentoring new leaders.

The Commission on Congregational Transformation and Development will provide Study and Discussion Guides for each chapter of "Neighborhood Church" to pastors and church leaders over the next couple months.

More detailed information about the book and how to purchase a copy at a reduced price of $13.00 from the PCUSA Store may go to:

--Rich Lawrence, Commission on Congregational Transformation and Development
2020 Synod School Canceled

The Synod School Committee came to the difficult decision to cancel Synod School for 2020 as we know it due to the pandemic. This is not something we wanted to do but because of our care for each other, our deep desire not to be a source of illness for anyone, and the inability to truly be together as we ordinarily are – singing heartily, laughing together, sharing meals in close proximity, and more – we feel as if this was what we have to do.

Recognizing that we cannot replicate the Synod School experience online, we are not going to try to do so. BUT we are working to put together some special opportunities for a simpler Synod School online for the week of July 27. We are looking at opportunities for worship, learning, fellowship and fun and will have a better sense of what this looks like by early June. At that point you will receive an email with information about how to participate in the pieces that stir your interest. We certainly won’t have you or your children in front of a screen for 12 hours/day!! Stay tuned for more information.
In the meantime, I am working on refunding any fees you paid for Synod School. What we offer virtually will be at no cost to the participants.

Thank you for understanding! Mark your calendars for July 25-30, 2021! We will be graced with the presence of Jill Duffield, editor of Presbyterian Outlook, as our convocation speaker and Samuel Son, manager of diversity and reconciliation at the Presbyterian Mission Agency, as our evening worship leader. Bryce Wiebe will return as the youth convocation speaker.

Forms to submit class or teaching proposals for all ages will be on the website next week:  www.lakesandprairies.org  They are due by September 1, 2020.

Sincerely,
The Synod School Committee – Mac Stanfield, Dean; Dan Voigt, Associate Dean; Pam Prouty, Paul Penn, Meredith Sauer, Marian Hart, Jim Bonewald, Dan Davis, Raymond Meester, and Deb DeMeester, Staff
Online worship opportunities in our presbytery

Amboy: Weekly video devotions available on Facebook at First Presbyterian Church of Amboy or on YouTube at Pastor Amboy

Baxter: https://zoom.us/j/232179218 Meeting ID: 232 179 218; worship at 10:15



Edgerton: 10:30 Sunday mornings  Worship on church Facebook Page, and 11:30 Sunday mornings  Worship Audio Version available on church website

Fergus Falls: our sermon available on our website ( www.federatedff.org ) and our YouTube channel ( FF Federated Church ) Friday afternoons. We will also post a devotion video in the middle of the week.


Jackson: Facebook Live - Facebook site is Salem Lutheran Church, Jackson, MN
Sunday 9:30 a.m., Wednesday 5:30 p.m., Holy Week - daily devotions, MT and GF 5:30 p.m.

Lake Crystal: Our church is sending Worship bulletin content and sermon via email and regular mail to our membership for each Sunday.  Also recording a service from Sanctuary of myself and musician to be accessed on You Tube on the Friday before the given Sunday. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSDuL79Bte0CjYxgTVor1ng

Lismore: 9:00 Sunday mornings - Worship on church Facebook Page

Litchfield: 10:00 am Sunday mornings and Tuesday morning Bible study by Zoom. Contact Gordy Pennertz for instructions.

Luverne: 10:15 am Sunday mornings on Facebook Live. Also carried by local cable company.

Maine: Services available at https://youtu.be/iiBy9u-Dt_c 

Mankato: www.fpcmankato.org - archive of all resources listed below
SUNDAYS on Facebook 
10AM sermon/prayer with Pastor Lindsay
10:20 (ish) Children's Time with Bailey DeVetter
10:30 (ish) Music Selection by Ben Marti posted

Osakis: Our COVID 19 worship is accessible via our church's Facebook page Osakis Presbyterian Church.  https://www.facebook.com/OsakisPresbyterian/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel&eid=ARA5ysO4KIcpzyQNhFW-6Wte8oBltOnd3khseIh8NN6ftvsUpUl2Wi55wloIJddhhZoClVftKl84hWbr

Randall: 10:00 am Sunday worship service is on Facebook and webpage

Redwood Falls: 10:15 am worship on Facebook Live on First Presbyterian Redwood Falls page and 6:30 pm Wednesday Witness with Pastor Pam (same) 

Saint Cloud: Services available online at www.fpcstcloud.org  

Saint James: Facebook Live worship @ 10:15 facebook.com/fpcstjames/



Slayton: Uploaded to their YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6o_vug3Us-sRQfEGbLDqJw

Spicer Hope: Facebook live at 10:00, link on Hope Presbyterian Church website Also services are uploaded there later in the day.

Willmar: Facebook Live at 10:00 am Sunday mornings

Worthington: online worship services via Zoom and Facebook live Sunday at 10:00 am. The link for Zoom is on our website . For Facebook go to @WestminsterPresby
Coronavirus/COVID-19 Resources for Congregations and Members

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?—Psalm 27:1
Along with our brothers and sisters all around the world, we’re now coming to terms with the “new normal” brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. It is our hope and goal to equip churches and worshipers with useful information and resources during these trying times. Please check back often for updated information. If you have ideas or resources that might be of interest to the wider church, we invite you to email them to us at  connected@pcusa.org .
Guidance for Faith-Based Communities from the MN Department of Health Link to guide
From Ministry Lab: United Theological Seminary

To support engagement in marches, protests and other work of the people, The Ministry Lab's Co-Lab Webinars for the week of 06.01.20 have been postponed. Leading in a Time of Seismic Change with Rev. Susan Nienaber is rescheduled for Thursday, June 18 (12:00/noon CST). Please watch the website for updates on Group Spiritual Direction with Cynthia Bailey Manns. Also, please mark your calendars to join us Tuesday, June 9 (2:00 PM CST) for Rev. Tanya Sadagopan's leadership on Seeing Inequity and Re-Envisioning God's Reign: Pivoting from Hierarchical Approaches to Partnership & Solidarity Ways and Tuesday, June 16 (2:00 PM, CST) for Prof. Justin Sabia-Tanis' Transforming Communities: Growing At-Home Social Justice Practices and Community Engagement.
From FPC Litchfield: Due to the uncertainties of the COVID-19 Pandemic, First Presbyterian Church of Litchfield has postponed our 150th Anniversary celebration until next summer. Details and invitations will be shared next spring.
June Ordination Anniversaries

06/04/1974 Terry Olthoff
06/08/1956 Charles Reid
06/13/1971 Bob Maharry
06/20/1982 Ed Morgan
06/20/1981 Michael Roys
06/21/1998 Les Winters
06/22/1980 Bonnie Sue Roys
06/27/2009 Tony Oltmann
06/29/1953 Merle Elrod
06/29/1989 Marcia Sylvester
Prayer List

  • For Rev. John Lindholm, retired pastor, Fergus Falls
  • 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
  • For Rev. Elaine and Kent Boyd at First Presbyterian Church of Amboy
  • Rev. Araceli Itzep from the Occidente Presbytery
  • For Bety Cifuentes, the treasurer of the Partnership Committee, who is beginning chemotherapy
  • For the "Men in the Mirror" program. Men from Occidente that MVP supported financially to attend the classes a couple of years ago are going to share the information they gained with different churches in the eastern and central parts of Guatemala. They, along with the chaplains of the national Presbyterian church, will also be training Christian policemen in what they learned from "Men in the Mirror."
Presbyterian Women: Opportunity is Knocking at Your Heart

Our PW Presbyterian Women are hoping to have some more women join our Coordinating Team. We usually meet twice a year, once in the Spring and once in the Fall. We also have a Spring Gathering, a day for all Minnesota Valleys Presbyterian Women to meet together for fellowship, food, fun, interesting speakers, SERRV vendors, and much more, usually in June. With the virus this year it is very possible that our Spring Gathering will become a Fall Gathering!

Our CT has members that have been on this team for many years and would like some new faces, ideas, etc. We do need a Treasurer, if you enjoy working with numbers. This might be just the thing for you! We have committees too: Communications, Mission/Issues, Search. Please consider this opportunity as we continue to fulfill the Presbyterian Women Purpose

If you have any questions or concerns about this opportunity, please contact me at:
Gloria Rust, Moderator
H) 507-283-4975
C) 507-227-7393

Blessings to all as we work together to praise God, knowing that all things are in his hands!
Four Students from Dubuque Seminary Looking for Summer Internship

Are you open to serving as a ministry learning site? If so, students from Dubuque Seminary are looking for summer placements. Congregations will provide housing and a monthly stipend. Summer internships are paid at the rate of $1,000 a month. The work-week includes 40 hours, Sunday and mid-week worship leadership, mission engagement and mentor conversations. Students will receive training in pastoral ministry, sit on the session with voice, participate in the presbytery, be assigned to a presbytery commission, engage in community outreach, and participate in the presbytery transformation training. Additionally, interns will receive a mentor.
 
A successful internship will include a learning experience that prepares new leaders to serve the church with a greater sense of vocational clarity. Interns will gain cultural competence, develop skill in adaptive leadership, and grow in their pastoral identity.

For More Information:
Rev. Dr. SanDawna Gaulman Ashley
Executive Presbyter
An Invitation to Spiritual Leaders

This is your invitation to submit a short video of yourself offering a meditation of your favorite passage from the Bible for the Presbytery YouTube channel. If you are interested, please contact Steve Tyykila ( styykila@gmail.com or Andy Davis ( revrn1973@gmail.com ). We'll give you more parameters and information, but we are looking for informal (not from the pulpit), personal, short (less than five minutes) videos on your favorite passage that you can record from your phone or computer. Thanks!
Pastoral Leadership Opportunities

Zion Presbyterian Church, Ellsworth; Emmanuel Presbyterian Church, Rushmore; First Presbyterian Church, Rushmore
Interim Pastor  Description

First Presbyterian Church, Fulda  - Solo Pastor
Ministry Information Form -  03782.AD1

First Presbyterian Church, Lake Crystal; First Presbyterian Church, Kasota - Pastor, yoked parish
Ministry Information Form - 03709.AB0

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

Faith Presbyterian Church, Silver Lake  - Solo Pastor
Ministry Information Form -   03851.AC3

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

First Presbyterian Church, Winnebago - Interim Pastor

Ministry opportunities are posted on the Church Leadership Connection website --  http://oga.pcusa.org/section/mid-council-ministries/clc/