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 27 - April 2
First Presbyterian Church of Brewster
Congregational Leaders:
Ruling Elders: Steve Stude, Suzann Boots, Brett McNab, Austin Boots, Brennan Cross and Laurie Cross
Treasurer: Jim Behrends
Clerk of Session: Laurie Cross
Music: Carolyn Pohlman and Bev Stude
Groundskeepers: Brennan Cross and Austin Boots
Custodians: The Congregation
Tri-Church Coordinating Committee: Laurie Cross and Susan Boots
Teaching Elder: Rev. Robert D. Bartlett
Our Mission Activities include:
  • Our members support the Samaritan's Purse Christmas Shoe Box Ministry - so that children around the world may experience the love of God through the greatest of all gifts, Jesus the Christ.
  • We participate in Midweek Lenten Services with other area congregations which share our Reformed Theology and Heritage.
  • We share our resources with various organizations and groups within our community in order to enhance our various, local ministries.
  • We share in special services of worship and a variety of activities with the Round Lake First Presbyterian Church and the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Worthington.
  • We support the Manna Food Pantry in Worthington, with donations during the Annual Minnesota Food Share Campaign thru April 10th and throughout the year.
  • We seek to responsibly respond to specific needs of our sisters and brothers in the Brewster community, focusing only upon their needs and regardless of any church affiliations. 

Prayer Concerns:
  • Everyone involved in agriculture as a new crop season nears amidst economic uncertainty and a deficiency in moisture reserves.
  • Those who continue to struggle with the coronavirus, it’s variants, other strains of flu, and a variety of other illnesses, diseases and chronic health conditions.
  • Our young adults serving in the United States Navy, the Minnesota National Guard and in the United States Marine Corps
  • For the future of all of our rural communities including our rural churches and their shrinking congregations
  • For the Presbytery staff during this time of transition and for those who serve on its commissions, committees, etc.
  • For the successful implementation and development of shared ministries with the Round Lake FPC congregation and the Westminster congregation in Worthington.
  • For all who are traumatized by violence and the victims of the war between Russia and the Ukraine; along with prayers for a return to peace.
  • For all of the congregations who are now seeking and who will soon be seeking new pastoral leadership; and for those within the Presbytery, who make sacrifices in order to facilitate the acquisition of new pastoral leadership for these mostly rural/small town congregations.
  • For the citizens of the United States and of the world will learn how to respect one another, value different viewpoints, listen to one another and seek ways for people to live together in harmony and holy love.
A Word from Kathy
A friend of mine sends me greeting cards with notes in at random times. They come not on special occasions, but they just show up on an ordinary day. When the mail comes and I see her handwriting on an envelope, it just makes me smile. A small thing maybe, but something that makes my day brighter. It doesn't always take a lot to lift the spirits of another person. A small kindness, a call just to check in, maybe just a compliment for something you've done. I'm sure most of us can recall when we received an unexpected compliment and it felt so good to be appreciated. I find when I am in a better more cheerful mood, I tend to pass along good will to others. It's so much easier to feel kind and generous when you are feeling good about yourself.

In the same way, if you have been treated rudely or have been the subject of some hurtful remarks, your day can be ruined. It's something that you dwell on and you are not likely to be charitable and pleasant to others around you.

If we all just made a conscious effort to be more kind and thoughtful to those we come across in a day, maybe we could change not only one person's day but the day of those they encounter. Love and kindness can be very contagious.

Thought for the Week: Good and evil both increase at compound interest. That is why the little decisions you and I make every day are of such infinite importance. –C. S. Lewis

Kathy Terpstra
Gap Executive Presbyter
Gifts for Presbyterian Disaster Assistance for Ukraine can be made out to the Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys with DR000156-Ukraine on the memo line and sent to the Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys, PO Box 431, Kerkhoven MN 56252.
To date, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance has sent support to several of our reformed and orthodox partners who are working with national and local churches:
Community of St. Egidio in Ukraine – working in western Ukraine
Hungarian Reformed Church Aid – western Ukraine & Hungary
Hungarian Interchurch Aid – Ukraine & Hungary
Lutheran World FederationPoland
International Orthodox Christian Charities – Romania
Ukraine situation page

Disaster appeal bulletin insert:

One Great Hour of Sharing Ukraine bulletin insert:

Separate from Ukraine but still a helpful resource, PDA’s 2021 At A Glance report:
New website and new database coming soon!

This week, the staff is training on our new website, and the new database is almost ready to go! Pictures of churches and people are included in the directory, and Karen has been looking in the presbytery photo files, on Facebook and elsewhere for photos of people to go with their contact information. Please let Karen know if you do not want your picture to appear with your contact information. You are also welcome to submit a photo of yourself to use in the directory.
Get Connected!
Sunday, April 24

The Presbyterian Church is a connectional church. But in the Presbyterian Outlook, Shannon Kiser asks us this: if we are a connectional church, why doesn’t it feel that way? She went on to say: Now, don’t get me wrong. In formal polity, we are connectional. General Assembly is this summer and we’ll see the “connectional” body gather and make decisions. But I wonder how our priorities and the way we work together would change if we really took seriously our tenet about being the connectional church. (Presbyterian Outlook, June 5, 2014).

In an effort to be more connected, the Presbytery is encouraging every church to hear the Word of God proclaimed together virtually. A sermon by one of the leading pastors in our Presbytery will be video recorded and available to download or streamed on YouTube. For churches that do not have the technology, a written manuscript will be available for a church member to present in worship. The video, as well as additional liturgical material, will be available to churches no later than April 13.

So, get connected, and join the Presbytery for worship on Sunday, April 24.

Michael Hartwell
Inventive Ministries Task Force of the Commission on Leadership
Pastor Opportunity

It's been a hard couple of years for everybody! Pastors are dealing with all the issues that are related to the pandemic, along with all the normal ups and downs and other parts of ministry. In addition, they are ministering to congregations that are also dealing with a lot of stress and anxiety.

The Commission on Leadership has decided to give those in ministry some help and support in the form of affordable coaching. The Synod has trained coaches to provide the service at a cost of $50. per session. The Commission on Leadership has approved paying one half of the cost for one session a month for up to 24 months. If you are already working with a coach or want to use another one, you still can be reimbursed $25.00 per month. This program is available to all pastors, CREs who are serving churches and Christian educators.

We all can use some help and support as we continue to deal with a lot of heavy issues. If you are feeling just a little (or a lot) overwhelmed, please take advantage of this opportunity.

Contact Kathy Terpstra if you want to get started: 320-815-8158 or e-mail
Receiving SDOP Applications Begins Now

Notification of the amount of the Self-Development of People funds allotted to our Presbytery will come in late March. The absolute deadline for applications to the national office is November 1.

But we are accelerating the timeline for several reasons. We are already receiving inquiries about possible projects to be funded. The needs are immediate and real. The committee can do its best work if not rushed. So, our invitation at this time is for Presbytery’s congregations and their leaders to identify grassroots groups in their communities who are struggling but want to improve their situations. This is a wonderful way for your church to join God in reaching out to neighbors in need.

The basic criteria to qualify is that the group 1) own, 2) control, and 3) benefit from the project. The process includes groups submitting application forms to the committee chair as soon as possible. The Committee will review the application and do an on-site or zoom visit and decide whether to submit the application. Application forms can be downloaded from Assistance can be provided by contacting our presbytery’s SDOP chair Jim Krapf at 507-350-1662 or

Committee members currently include Paula Tift and Dick Andzenge of St. Cloud, Thalia Taylor of St. Peter and Jessie Gaytan and Jim Krapf of Worthington. If you value SDOP’s approach of offering hand-ups, rather than hand-outs, contact Jim about joining the committee. Training will be provided.
From the Presbyterian Outlook
Thousands of churches close every year. What will happen to their buildings?

March 16, 2022 by Religion News Service

(RNS) — When he was named a district superintendent for the Church of the Nazarene, the Rev. Albert Hung found himself facing the same problem many denominational leaders face.

Too many churches.

Not enough people.

Of the 90 or so congregations in the Northern California district Hung leads, few have more than 100 people, with most drawing around 40 people to worship services in buildings designed to seat far more. Their long term, viable future is questionable — as those congregations are aging, shrinking and often disconnected from their neighbors. A number of churches in the district have already decided to close, leaving empty pews in shuttered buildings.

But an empty church building is not just an asset to be liquidated, said Hung, who insists these are still sacred spaces that God can use even if the churches that once worshipped in them no longer exist. That belief led Hung to look for creative ways to use empty church buildings.

Lenten Zoom Study
24 Hours that Changed the World
Wednesdays, 6:30 p.m. March 9—April 13
The First Presbyterian Church of Windom and Randall Presbyterian Church invite you to participate in this Lenten Study by Adam Hamilton. Drawing on insights from history, archaeology, geography, and the Bible, Hamilton takes us to the Holy Land and provides a deeper understanding of the most amazing day in history. Participants are encouraged to purchase the “24 Hours that Changed the World” book and the daily devotional. The books are about $10 each and can be purchased online.
Dear Pastors and Worship Leaders,

As a member of the Presbytery’s Committee on Congregational Nurture, I wanted to take this opportunity to share with you all a new, emerging music ministry out of the First Presbyterian Church of St. Cloud called the “Lowertown Project.”

Don Fortner, the current music director at First Presbyterian Church, and Mike Karl, a Presbyterian Elder and member of 1st Pres of St. Cloud have been working hard on creating this ministry, which includes a contemporary praise and worship band with a message of encouragement and hope. They are now prepared to offer a program that could serve as either a stand-alone concert or a complete service of worship led by them, and needing only local announcements and introductions.

They are now looking to book in churches and for community events for 2022 and 2023.

Attached below is a link to a video they have just completed, and their website is below that. This will give you an idea of their work. Their cost is normally a free will offering, with a minimum of $500.00 for the full band, but they would also be open to somewhat less depending on travel necessities and the number of band members needed.

If you will take the time to watch their video, I believe you’ll be blessed, and catch a glimpse of the wonderful message through Christian music they could bring to your church or community event. I encourage you to seriously consider giving them a call soon to discuss possible booking dates on your church or community event calendar!

Mike Karl
320-267-4584 (c)
Don Fortner
News from Clearwater Forest

I’m Pat Daily and I serve as the current President of the Board of Directors for Clearwater Forest. My late husband Dar and I, our children, and grandchildren have been enjoying everything that Clearwater has to offer since the early ‘80’s.

Today I’m writing to share some big updates. Some of you have asked about the changes Clearwater is experiencing and it is one of my goals for this Board to be as transparent as possible with all of you.

At the end of last year two of our directors moved on from Clearwater Forest. Collectively they had decades of service and we thank them deeply for all they did for us and this ministry.

Their departure has given this Board an opportunity to think about the possibilities in front of us and where we can go to best serve Clearwater Forest. We started by hiring Mary Lacey Elmberg. She’s the new voice on the other end of the phone when you call the office. We’re so glad she’s on board.

We’re also pleased to introduce Dr. Angie Fay, Ed. D., as our interim Program Director. She will be helming our program ship this year as we dive into a full season of Summer Camp, Grands Camp and retreats. Please take this as another reminder to register for camp if you haven’t yet. We are excited to see you at camp this year!

The Board of Directors is actively looking at options for Clearwater Forest’s leadership structure moving forward. We have a task force in place to start this work called, appropriately, “What’s Next”. We are seeking expert guidance to gain additional insight in order to design a structure that will best serve Clearwater Forest. We look forward to sharing more updates with you soon.

This board, drawn from each of our five governing bodies, is phenomenal and has been working extremely hard over the past several months to support current staff and keep our programs and rentals running smoothly. I am privileged to volunteer alongside such talented and committed people.

Thank you for your continued support for Clearwater and we hope to see you at camp!

Pat Daily
President, Board of Directors
2022 Per Capita
$43.00 Total
$28.52 for Presbytery
$5.50 for Synod
$8.98 for GA

2022 Presbytery Meeting Dates
Tuesday, April 5 in person from 10:003:00 p.m. (location: Spicer, Hope)
Tuesday, June 7 via Zoom from 9:00 – 10:30 a.m.
Tuesday, August 16 via Zoom from 7:008:30 p.m.
Saturday, October 8 in person from 10:003:00 p.m. (location: St. Cloud)
Tuesday, December 6 via Zoom from 6:308:00 p.m.
Prayer List
  • For Rev. Dawn Carder, in hospital with pneumonia (retired pastor, formerly at First Presbyterian Church, Mankato)
  • For Rev. Brian and Tyann Jones, Hope Presbyterian Church of Spicer, on the death of Tyann's father, Gene Swaney
  • For Rev. Jeff DeYoe, undergoing cancer treatment (former pastor at Hope Presbyterian Church, Spicer)
  • 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
  • Pray for our brothers and sisters in the Occidente Presbytery of Guatemala - for their health, safety, and recovery from the effects of the Covid pandemic
Pastoral Leadership Opportunities

First Presbyterian Church of Edgerton and First Presbyterian Church of Lismore - Pastor, yoked parish
Ministry Information Form - 03781.AD0

Zion Presbyterian Church, Ellsworth, First Presbyterian and Emmanuel Presbyterian Churches, Rushmore - Pastor, yoked parish
Ministry Information Form - 09163.AF0

First Presbyterian Church, Pipestone - Pastor
Ministry Information Form - 03796.AD0

Harrison Presbyterian Church, rural Spicer - Pastor, yoked parish
Ministry Information Form - 03878.AA0

First Presbyterian Church, Winnebago - Pastor
Ministry Information Form - 03811.AA1

Ministry opportunities are posted on the Church Leadership Connection website --
Presbyterian Church USA Weekly News
Cultural, Faith & Disability Communities Covid-19 Updates
A free recorded Earth Day worship service will soon be available!

The Ministry Lab has collaborated with Lutherans Restoring Creation to offer "Listening to Nature." Rev. Dr. Carmelo Santos preaches on 2 Easter RCL texts; Vance Blackfox and friends, Tom Witt & Mary Preus, and Baird Linke provide music; and the liturgy is created by diverse folks from across the country. With stunning imagery, beautiful music, and a powerful call to listen to creation, this is a wonderful worship service to share in our second Sunday celebrating New Life - or any time!!

Register to receive the link here.