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 9-15
First Presbyterian Church of Lismore
Ruling Elders
Joyce Gengler
Candace Joens
Dean Knips
Kathy Knips
Karon Nagel
Jim VandeKieft

Teaching Elder
Reverend Thomas Voigt

Lorna VanDerLinden

Praises and Prayers
  • Thankful for a successful first year of 'Wednesday School' which was completed this spring
  • Thankful for generosity among church family
  • Prayer for the farmers in our community as they plant their crops
  • Prayer for summer vacations that will begin and the miles of travel that will be experienced
  • Prayer for continued healing among those who have had surgeries
  • Prayer for new vision as a Matthew 25 community
  • Prayer for our students (and chaperone) that will be attending this year's Triennium
Karen Lange is out half of the Fridays during the summer, and in June, she will be gone Friday, June 14 and Friday, June 28.
This Week's Highlights
Maine Presbyterian Church says farewell to their beloved pastor and wife Jane, joined by members from Ashby and Dalton congregations. Tom Junkert began his last sermon by describing a large table they brought when they moved to their second call. He emphasized that this time he and Jane will need to leave the table behind, and it will be gifted to a new family. The move requires a different table, one that will fit in the space of their new home.
We were reminded that at table is the place where we meet Christ and where we develop relationships with one another. During the drive home I thought deeply about the many truths and values I learned around the dinner table. Beyond setting a table with the best cutlery and dishes, in a spirit of hospitality, setting the the table will forever have the goal of welcome, truth sharing, love and a place to be included in our home.

On Tuesday Laurie Ferguson spoke of Resonance. The webinar is available by request. One takeaway is that rest and relaxation does not fully provide what we need for resiliency. “We are renewed when we arouse the limbic system in new ways through hope, mindfulness, compassion, and playfulness.”
Today, I’m attending the Minnesota Council of Churches Annual Appreciation Luncheon at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Saint Paul. Each board member will sit at table with donors. We are not there to ask for more donations but to thank contributors for what they have already given. I am looking forward to meeting new people and learning how life is going for them.

Blessings as you prepare to celebrate Pentecost Sunday.

Prayer List

Rev. Araceli Itzep from the Occidente Presbytery
Rev. Randy Knuth, First Presbyterian Church, Osakis
Sue Thompson, Clerk of Session at First Presbyterian Church, Maynard
For Clerks of Session and Treasurers

This year, the treasurers will receive financial training from Presbytery Business Consultant Bea Ourada while the clerks of session are reading session records. So send your clerk and your treasurer (and/or anyone interested in learning more about church finance) to one of the following trainings in June:
Monday, June 10 from 4:00-6:00 at the First Presbyterian Church of Osakis
Monday, June 24 from 4:00-6:00 at the First Presbyterian Church of Windom

Below are photos from the training and review held at the presbytery office on Monday. There are more pictures on our Facebook page.
During Pentecost, we celebrate that the Holy Spirit has opened the doors to faith in Jesus Christ. While serving survivors of human trafficking, Presbyterian Young Adult Volunteer Cherokee Adams was changed in ways she wasn’t expecting. She sensed the Holy Spirit was shaping her. “It was kind of like the Pentecost story,” she explains. “The Holy Spirit took me and changed me in ways that I wasn’t expecting.” She now wants to attend seminary and be a parish pastor or a chaplain. Her goal is to “go out and tell the story.” The Pentecost Offering unites us in a churchwide effort to support young people in Christ and inspire them to share their faith, ideas, and unique gifts with the church and the world. Our support today helps nurture the faith of those who are the church to come — children, youth, and young adults.

The Pentecost Offering helps our youth begin life with a strong start--a solid foundation of faith formed in the years from childhood through young adulthood.

  • 40% stays with this congregation to develop and support programs for young people in our own church and community.
  • 25% supports Young Adult Volunteers (YAV), serving in communities around the world, and growing as leaders through transformative Christian service.
  • 25% supports Ministries with Youth to help guide our youth by uniting them in Christ and lifting them up as leaders and messengers of God’s word.
  • 10% is devoted to children at-risk to improve education and provide safe havens.

Our presbytery is joining the whole church in building for our future, in building individual lives of faith. Won’t you join in your support? 
Rev. Doug Dent, pastor at Federated Church of Fergus Falls, earns Doctor of Ministry
Federated Church of Fergus Falls members are excited to share this news! Here is the link to the newspaper article. Photo by Jean Bowman.
What is a Matthew 25 church?
Matthew 25:31–46 calls all of us to actively engage in the world around us, so our faith comes alive and we wake up to new possibilities. Convicted by this passage, both the 222nd and 223rd General Assemblies (2016 and 2018) exhorted the PC(USA) to act boldly and compassionately to serve people who are hungry, oppressed, imprisoned or poor.

How the vision unites all Presbyterians
By accepting the Matthew 25 invitation, you can help our denomination become a more relevant presence in the world. We recognize Christ’s urgent call to be a church of action, where God’s love, justice and mercy shine forth and are contagious. And we rejoice how our re-energized faith can unite all Presbyterians for a common and holy purpose: our common identity to do mission.

We invite you to join us on this journey!
Become a Matthew 25 church.

From the PCUSA Store:
PC(USA) Store has gathered a list of resources to help you with your goals. Key among these is the Co-Moderators selection for church-wide book study, Neighborhood Church . Perfect for a fall or winter study book selection, you can find a free, downloadable study guide and other resources for using this book in your congregation, session, or presbytery, here .
Synod Gathering for Presbyterian Women in the Synod of the Lakes and Prairies
June 20-23, 2019

Gateway Hotel & Conference Center
2100 Green Hills Dr
Ames, Iowa

Full registration is $200 and includes meals and programming.

Link to Flyer
Join the movement of Presbyterians in Baltimore for a Big Tent like no other.

The theme, Called to a Movement beyond Institution, will emphasize our hope of the Gospel and its power to challenge institutional conventions. The goal is to come together and live in this moment, immersed in our current cultural context of racial division, gender inequality, and economic disparity to be renewed, refreshed and reformed, so that we may be sent out to affect change in our own communities. Big Tent will provide a place where our Presbyterian polity and identity is the foothold by which we proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ in action and answer the call to discern the will of God together.

Through worship, Bible study, learning opportunities, and active engagement with one another and the community, attendees will encounter the Church participating in God’s mission for the transformation of creation and humanity. 

Organizers for this year’s Big Tent celebration have lined up the guest preachers and leaders for the three-day gathering in Baltimore this summer. The Rev. Dr. Soong-Chan Rah will be the featured speaker at the opening plenary on Thursday, Aug. 1.

“Conversations are taking place about the changes that are occurring in our society, especially in terms of our demographics. Churches are experiencing change, including decline and diversity,” said Rah. “I will touch on those, but I really want to touch base on what the appropriate response to these changes should be.”

The FPC Mankato invites whoever might be interested to hear Mission Co-Workers in August

Charles and Melissa Johnson, mission co-workers in Zambia, are visiting First Presbyterian Church of Mankato on Wednesday, August 14th. The event will be from 5:00-8:00pm. We're going to have a potluck supper and will enjoy time with Charles and Melissa as they share about God's mission happening in Zambia, how they were called into mission partnership, and how churches might hear their call into mission partnership.
The Synod of Lakes and Prairies Presents
The Art of Transitional Leadership
Learning Ministry Skills for Today’s and Tomorrow’s Church
Pastors, Staff, COMs and Congregational Leaders
September 16-20, 2019
Christ the King Retreat Center in Buffalo, Minnesota
Track 1: September 16-20, 2019
Whether it is a change in leadership or a changing community, leading a congregation through change is both challenging and rewarding.It takes knowledge, skill, resilience and spiritual strength to navigate the waters of change in a way that leaders and congregations thrive. This training is for individuals who are considering ministry in temporary settings (as an interim, transitional or designated pastor) or are experiencing ministry in these transitional times. Materials presented will include the basics of transitional ministry and will be of value to all congregational pastors regardless of their ministry setting. Best practices in transitional ministry include ways to enter the congregation and community, how to analyze a congregation’s strength and growing edges, and how to assist a congregation in moving toward a vibrant future. This training will delve into navigating change, the pastor as a spiritual interpreter of transition, family systems, mission focus ministry, conflict mediation, and building resiliency.

Track 2: September 18-20, 2019
Congregational leaders seeking to serve God faithfully are invited to Part Two of the Art of Transitional Ministry Event. The Wednesday–Friday training is for ruling elders, deacons, and other congregational leaders. Workshops for this group will focus on the vital role you play in collaborating with pastors to lead congregations through ministry transitions. Participants can expect to learn about core value mission planning, leadership development, congregational systems, stewardship, and creating spiritual energy in congregations.

Save the date for Boundary Training
Tuesday, October 15 from 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
First Presbyterian Church of Redwood Falls
Boundary Training is required for all minister/teaching elder presbytery members and commissioned ruling elders. The Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys will be holding a boundary training on Tuesday, October 15 from 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church in Redwood Falls. The Rev. Mark Sundby from Leaderwise will be leading the boundary training. The training will focus on a holistic approach to boundaries, looking at overall resilience and well-being as the best prevention against impaired decision making and boundaries violations. More information will be coming.
Church Staff: Schedule a Day with Karen

Associate for Administration Karen Lange is available to spend a day with church office folks to share tips on setting up bulletins, newsletters, making a Facebook page or to help with any general questions. The cost is Karen’s mileage to and from the church plus providing lunch. Please email Karen to schedule.
Pastoral Leadership Opportunities

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

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

The Ministry Information Forms for these opportunities are posted on the Church Leadership Connection web site --