The Valley Bridge
The weekly newsletter from the
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
June 8, 2016
 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 12-18
Randall Presbyterian Church of Randall

We are currently using Pulpit Supply while we search for a new pastor. 
Reverend Norma Spurgin, Temporary Moderator
Terry L. Coffin, Clerk of Session
Ruling Elders:  Renee Hegg, Mike Lashinski, Marlys Olson, Jim Skoog, Mary Skoog, Matt Smith
Deacons:  Ken Ballou, Sonya Ganz, Jennifer Lashinski, Vicky Lashinski, Deb Louison, Chris Magee, Dan Thilquist, Sara Wester
Jackie Magee and Harriet Turner, Pianist and Organist

Randall Presbyterian Church is located in beautiful Central Minnesota. We are a warm, caring and compassionate congregation who welcomes all visitors and members with open arms and a hug. If you come for a visit, plan on joining us in a meal as we always have fellowship and potluck on the last Sunday of the month. 

Our pastor of 10 years recently retired and so we are currently in a transition period without a permanent pastor. Our congregation has wholeheartedly stepped up and volunteered to do the tasks to run a church normally done by our pastor. In mid-June we will be having Vacation Bible Study for children in our congregation and those in the community. We are excited to see how many children show up and participate. Lots of fun, food and teaching programs are being planned by volunteers. Our church also has many volunteers active in community services such as Morrison County Food Shelf, Meals on Wheels and American Cancer Society. 

We ask for prayers for our Pastoral Nominating Committee and the congregation to assist us in our journey in calling a called teaching elder in order that we make the best decisions for our Church.  We also ask for prayers during our transition as we seek temporary worship leadership. 

Please stop in for a visit and a warm welcome!
The Word from Rick: 
The Journey Still Continues

This past weekend, I spent the better part of four days in Saint Paul on the campus of my alma mater, Macalester College. The occasion was Reunion Weekend, and in particular, the gathering of my class - The Class of 1971 - for our 45-Year Reunion. In spite of some contrary weather on both Friday and Saturday, I don't think that the spirit of the weekend was dampened in the least.
As part of the committee entrusted with encouraging our classmates to return for this weekend, I was also part of the group who served to welcome our brothers and sister back to campus. It was really great getting to see friends I hadn't seen in some time . . . like forty-five years, as well as to get acquainted or re-acquainted with others I did not know very well, largely because I did not step outside of my comfort zone often enough and extend myself out into the larger and more diverse community which Macalester was, and still is.
Over the weekend, I got to spend a good deal of time with several of these individuals and became engaged in significant conversations with them. The conversations were fun and they were challenging, and they left me feeling a bit disappointed that I didn't get to know some of these folks all those years ago. From our chats, I discovered that I had spent four years in the presence of some rather awesome, insightful folks, who had the potential to help me see and experience a lot more than I did. My time at Macalester from 1967-1971 was amazing and I would never exchange it for anything else, but in a sense, it was incomplete. Who knows what it could have been had I stepped aside from the known and the comfortable, and learned more from those who surrounded me, but were never encountered.
The good news for me is that the weekend offered me another chance - a chance to engage some very special people on a more significant level; a chance to re-open some old friendships and begin some new ones; a chance to begin to complete that which has been incomplete. The conversations will continue and the journey will do so as well, and for that I am thankful.

Grace and Peace,

On the Road with Rick
June 9 - Presbytery Meeting Planning Team, Redwood Falls
June 12 - Preach at First Presbyterian Church, Randall
June 14 - Session Meeting at First Presbyterian Church, Osakis
June 17-26 - General Assembly - Portland, Oregon
July 1-3 - Wedding in Lincoln, Nebraska
July 9 - Owar Ojulu's Ordination, Worthington
July 9 - Participating in the Vesper Service at the Old Log Church (Norway Lake)
July 10 - Preach at First Presbyterian Church, Randall
July 12-13 - Lay Academy Strategy Meeting, Lakeshore Center on Okoboji, Iowa
July 16-23 - Presbyterian Youth Triennium, West Lafayette, Indiana
July 24-29 - Synod School, Storm Lake, Iowa
A Prayer for Vacation Bible School
(Beth Herrinton-Hodge, from the APCE Advocate)

It is that time of the year when many of our congregations will be conducting what has become a treasured summer ritual - Vacation Bible School. For all of the VBSers out there in our presbytery, we share this prayer authored by one of Rick and Sue Carus' Montreat Youth Conference colleagues, Beth Herrinton-Hodge.

Abundant and Energetic God,
You fill your world with a season of summer delights. Sunshine, warm breezes, a slower pace to enjoy your creation. Fill us with the joy of this season.
We gather around your Word in the midst of our summer. May our days together lead to new friendships, new activity, new insights, and a strengthened relationship with you. May your Spirit shower upon our teachers, leaders, and volunteers; giving energy, creativity, and patience. May your love embrace the children and young people who join us for Bible School so they may come to know you more deeply. May your people experience good fellowship in these days as we study, create, and play.
Bless us, O God, as we seek to learn from your Word and to share your love. As you gather us in for summer Bible School, send us out beyond this place to show the world what we have come to know: that your grace and welcome and wonder are for all.
We pray in the name of your Son. Amen.
Beth Herrinton-Hodge is a Teaching Elder in the PC(USA) and an active APCE member. A free-lance writer and college instructor, Beth is married to Jay Hodge and is mom to two daughters: a teen and a tween. She lives in Shelbyville, KY with her family and their 3 lab-mix rescued dogs. Life is full!

A Special Message and Offer from the Commission on Congregational Transformation and Development

One of the responsibilities of our Commission is to help provide resources and opportunities for congregations and their leaders that will help equip and empower transformation and change among the saints in Minnesota Valleys.
In keeping with our commitment to do that, we want to offer information about the Presbyterian Mission Agency's "BE THE LIGHT" conference, August 8-11, for your consideration, and even more than that, we stand ready to offer three $500 grants to individuals from this presbytery who might wish to attend this conference.
If you are interested in attending the conference, we encourage you to first check the conference web site -- -- for all the details. Then, submit a Grant Application Form to the Presbytery Office. Please note that upon your return from the conference, you will be asked to report back on what you learned and how that learning will be used in your congregation, and how they will be shared with other congregations and the presbytery. Grants will be made on a "first come-first served" basis, and no more than one conference grant will be awarded to any congregation.
If you have questions, please contact Rick Carus at the presbytery office - 320.235.7910.
More information about the conference

The Go Disciple Live  "Be the Light" Conference, formerly known as the Evangelism and Church Growth Conference, is a vibrant gathering of Presbyterians committed to disciple-making, which leads to authentic evangelism, effective church transformation, justice, and church planting through 1001 new worshiping communities. It will be held at the  Trade Winds Island Resorts in St. Pete Beach, Florida.

The plenary speakers will include: Casey Fitzgerald, biblical storytelling; Mike Breen, disciple making; and Ralph Watkins, authentic evangelism. These leaders will join with others to provide a time of inspiration, nurture, and equipping, as they explore our theme of "Be the Light" (Matthew 5:14-16).

On-site check in will be open Monday, August 8, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Welcome and orientation will begin at 5:30 p.m. The conference concludes with worship on Thursday, August 11, at 7:00 p.m.

Presbyterian Youth Triennium Update

A letter with important information has been sent to all 70 of our presbytery's Triennium participants. This letter contains vital information about the upcoming event. Please make sure that your congregation's participants have received the letter and shared it with their families!
General Assembly Opening Worship - Saturday, June 18

Make plans now to join in opening worship of the 222nd General Assembly (2016) of the Pre sbyterian Church (U.S.A.). For more information, please use this link:
Ministry Opportunities

The First Presbyterian Church Osakis is continuing its search for a Pastor to lead them as they live out the visions that have been generated by their New Beginning conversations. If you, or someone you know, has a passion for small towns and energetic small-member congregations, please encourage consideration of this opportunity!  The Ministry Information Form for this opportunity is posted on the Church Leadership Connection web site. It is MIF#: 03890.AC0. For more information, please contact PNC Chairperson, Shari Maloney, at 320.859.3098 or by e-mail - ; or Transitional Executive Presbyter, Rick Carus at the presbytery office.
First Presbyterian Church, Mankato is beginning a search for a well-trained intentional Interim Pastor, who will guide the congregation through its pastoral transition. The Ministry Information Form for this position - MIF# 03792.AD0 -- is now on-line. If you cannot access it through the Church Leadership Connection, please contact Rick Carus at the presbytery office ( and he can send you a copy of the form. If you or someone you know would be the right person for this opportunity, contact Rick Carus at the presbytery office.
What's coming to General Assembly?  Outlook  bulletin inserts will help you share news with your congregation.
The 222nd General Assembly will be making important decisions about the future of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). How will we be structured? What will be our shared vision? In addition, there will be debates and votes on overtures that have the potential to impact the world. 
Inform your congregation with bulletin inserts that give sound, level-headed summaries of what's coming. A front/back bulletin insert produced by the award-winning staff of the Outlook will present some of the key issues the assembly will consider. 
Click here to order and download now. You will receive regular and large print versions.
Post-GA bulletins (available June 25) will help you share balanced, non-anxious news coming out of GA with your congregation.  Pre-order now.
May 31, 2016 issue of Keeping in Touch includes an article about Dan Saperstein 
blogging about important issues facing commissioners at the General Assembly
Covenant Bible Study Offer
Read the June issue of Board Connections from the Board of Pensions
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