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 March 24-30
First Presbyterian Church of Doran
Pastor: Wendell Kelm
Student Pastors: Kelly Hart
                         Chris Nab
Scripture Reader: Mike Wanek

Treasurer: Beverly Christensen
Clerk of Session: Mary Ann Layton
Elders: Sarah Tolbert
            Mike Wanek
            Barb Baumgartner

Ladies Aid Leader: Beverly Christensen
Co-Leader: Sarah Tolbert
Secretary: Marcile Ellingson
Treasurer: Janet Williamson

Prayer concerns: Prayers requested for our aging congregation.

Upcoming events: Chili and Pie Feed, March 24 th following service.
                            Easter Breakfast, April 21 st before service. 
Prayer List

Rev. Araceli Itzep from the Occidente Presbytery
Rev. Beverly Brock from First Presbyterian, Foley
The Presbyterian churches that were affected by recent tornadoes in Alabama
Removing Internal Barriers to Success and Implementation

Yesterday’s training with Felicia LaBoy focused on Removing Internal Barriers to Success and Implementation. Thirty pastors and ruling elders attended the daylong event. We learned about Bruce D. Schneider’s concept of Energetic Transitions. According to Schneider, “it is important to have the perspective and engaged energy that can sustain momentum. How you choose to approach any situation can either keep you in a state of flow or make you feel like you are trudging through oatmeal to make progress.”

The group considered how we lead and motivate others to lead as well. Seven Levels on the ways leaders approach situations focused the conversation. The seven levels in part are named here:
Level 1 – The Victim (Why me? I can’t do this, unproductive, focus on survival)
Level 2 – The Fighter (If you want something done right, you have do it yourself, you can’t trust anyone, my way is the only right way)
Level 3 – The Rationalizer (how can I make this work to my advantage? I always try to find the silver lining, respond to keep peace, respond with logic, not emotions)
Level 4 – The Care Giver (Can I help with that? What can I do for you? Lead from you heart, take little personally)
Level 5 – The Opportunist (What’s the opportunity? What might this mean? Solution-focused and action-oriented, win-win, see others full potential)
Level 6 – The Visionary (We are all in this together, life is something to experience, Access creativity and intuition, harmony between the bottom line and satisfaction and the organization’s impact on the world)
Level 7 – The Creator (complete objectivity, fearless, connect to inner genius)

These concepts were discussed in light of moving toward mission goals and professional and self-development. The day included much laughter, play, and group talk. Enjoy some of the pictures from the event below. More photos are on the presbytery’s Facebook page.
I was inspired by the many people who came to the training. Several congregations were represented by pastor and elders. Please consider identifying a team from your congregation to attend upcoming events. Change is not a one-person initiative, it takes a village to discover new ways of living and doing.

Our next training is May 2 with Dr. Peter Steinke in Willmar.

Blessings on the journey.
Presbyterian Hymnals to Give Away

Harrison Presbyterian Church of rural Spicer has 100 blue Presbyterian Hymnals to give if anyone can use them. Contact Dennis Peterson at
Pastor Nominating Committee Webinar

On Thursday, March 28, Executive Presbyter SanDawna Ashley will lead a Zoom webinar for PNCs at 2:00 p.m. Contact Karen Lange to register and to receive the instructions.
Save the date for Boundary Training
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 8 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.
The Stewardship Navigator is a new online tool to help you create a year-round stewardship program. The Stewardship Navigator includes tools and resources along with customized materials for your congregation.

It is important for churches to develop a creative and comprehensive annual stewardship program. Successful stewardship programs are generally not one-time, fall events but rather ongoing, year-round initiatives that keep members challenged and engaged.

To help you with your stewardship program, the Stewardship Navigator offers …
  • Usable Templates
  • Year-Round Guidance
  • Stewardship Calendar
  • Assistance from Presbyterian Foundation Ministry Relations Officers

Get started with the Stewardship Navigator today by registering your church at . For assistance with setting up your account contact or 800-858-6127.

Church Staff: Schedule a Day with Karen

Associate for Administration Karen Lange is available to spend a day with the person or persons in the church office 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.
Called as Partners

Elaine Boyd, member of Occidente Task Force

“May we learn the art of sharing, side by side and friend with friend, equal partners in our caring to fulfill God’s chosen end.” (Called as Partners in Christ’s Service) These words from one of my favorite hymns convey so well what we as Minnesota Valleys Presbytery are working toward in our mission partnership with Occidente Presbytery in Guatemala. 

Future partnership projects will be those proposed by Occidente Presbytery and will have as their focus the support and encouragement of the mission of Occidente Presbytery in their communities. 

How can you join in this partnership?  The Occidente PW has requested help with the purchase of sewing machines in order to finance the needs of the PW groups in churches there. We have funding to purchase three machines at about $330 each, to be purchased locally in Guatemala. Perhaps your PW or others in your congregation would like to donate additional money so that more machines could be purchased. The Occidente PW is also suggesting help with knitting supplies in order to make items to sell. Because shipping is difficult and because we want to support the local economy, we can only take donations of money, not supplies.

Another project that we are working on with our partners are requested health classes involving CPR training or education in other health issues. Details are still to be worked out.

But the most important focus of future partnership is the building of relationships—person to person. By sharing our stories, barriers of distance and culture and language disappear, and strangers become family.

Would you like to meet our partners face to face? The Occidente Task Force is planning a trip to Guatemala in February of 2020 to join with them in their mission to their members and communities. Some Spanish is useful but not required. If you have skills to share, or if you just have a passion for meeting these brothers and sisters in Christ---and would like to go along, contact the presbytery office. Donations should be sent to the presbytery office and designated for Occidente as desired. Gracias.( Brochure )
Is God calling you to a new adventure?  

You are invited on a double adventure: attending Synod School AND beginning an exciting spiritual journey with the Academy. A new series of Academy classes begins at this summer’s Synod School with Old Testament and Spiritual Formation. This series of 11 classes is a necessary step for becoming a commissioned pastor, or to enhance your ability to serve God and your church many different ways.

See the Academy brochure for more information. Questions about the classes may be directed to
Elaine Boyd /  507-674-3895 or
Deb DeMeester at the Synod office  / 800-328-1880

Book Study: Rebuilding the Foundations
Join the Presbytery in a book study of Rebuilding the Foundations: Social Relationships in Ancient Scripture and the Contemporary Culture by John Brueggemann and Walter Brueggemann, Westminster John Knox Press. Next chapters to discuss: 5 & 6. The Zoom discussion will be on Thursday, April 4, at 1:00 PM, and instructions will be in the Valley Bridge on April 3.
2019 Presbyterian Youth Triennium
Get Ready for the 2019 Presbyterian Youth Triennium - a gathering held every three years for high school age students in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Youth from all churches (across sponsoring denominations) come together for this life changing, life giving, faith growing gathering! Five days that help form a younger generation of active Presbyterians. Five days that shape the leadership gifts and deepen the discipleship awareness for a generation who are already achieving a strong presence in this church and in this world!
Event Essentials

DATES: Monday, July 15 - Sunday, July 21 (includes travel days)
LOCATION: Purdue University - West Lafayette, IN
AUDIENCE: High School Age youth entering freshman through graduated seniors
THEME: "Here's My Heart"
REGISTRATION FEES: Anticipated Cost - $625.00 to $650.00
                (Registration fee includes all programming, food, lodging and travel)  

Registrations are now due, along with $250.00 payment for each participant
MAY 6: Final Payment Due

Contact Mark Giese:  ∙ 320-251-8277 (church) ∙ 320-493-8272 (cell)
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 --
Upcoming Events

Big Tent - August 1-3, 2019 in Baltimore
Faithful Innovation Summit
July 24-26
University of St. Thomas, Minneapolis
The church is changing. What is God calling us to do about it? At Luther Seminary’s Faithful Innovation Summit, gather with fellow Christian leaders who want to lead the church more deeply into God's life and love for the world. Discover what it means to trust God's leadership in times of disruption, hear real-world stories of innovation from leaders in a variety of ministry settings, and come away with a realistic plan for transformational change.  Learn more and register.  
Responding to Christchurch
Minnesota county prejudice map
Beautiful churches