The Valley Bridge
The weekly newsletter from the
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
March 3, 2016
  The Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
We are congregations who seek to be a collective expression of the Body of Christ
joyfully participating in Christ’s on-going life and work.
  “Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, as indeed you are doing.”
(I Thessalonians 5:11)
  Approved August 4, 2015
Fellowship of Prayer/Church of the Week of March 6:
First Presbyterian Church of Kasota

Church Leadership:
Pastor: Dennis Secrease
Clerk of Session: Marleen Goettl
Organist: Anita Secrease
Care of the church: Connie Ryan

Prayer concerns: Pray for our current leaders, for our finances and new beginnings!

The Word from Rick: Living into What's Next
On Saturday, February 20, approximately forty individuals from across our presbytery gathered in Redwood Falls for the purpose of ushering in the next chapter in our common life and ministry. In the course of that day, chairpersons were re-introduced to the Mission Design and offered some initial thoughts as they began their work. Candace Adams spoke to the assembled body and encouraged us all to be “light bearers” as we move forward into this new way of being presbytery. After the group had time to reflect on the Scripture and shared in prayer, Stan Menning, John McKay, Darin Seaman, Pam Prouty, and I offered an overview of what this “new thing” is all about, and the visions and hopes that emerged from the work of the Next Pres Team.
Read more

On the Road with Rick

March 5 - Cluster 2 Meeting in Randall
March 6 – Preach at First Presbyterian Church, Mankato
March 9 - Session Meeting at First Presbyterian Church, Osakis
March 13 – Preach at First Presbyterian Church, Blue Earth
March 13 – Ordination and Installation of Tom Voigt at First Presbyterian Church, Edgerton/Lismore
March 20 – Worship Visit to First Presbyterian Church, Luverne
March 22-23 – Youth Triennium Planning Meeting in Louisville, KY
April 3 – Preach at First Presbyterian Church, Litchfield
April 7-8 – Board of Pensions Regional Benefits Consultation in San Diego, CA
April 10 - Minute for Mission at First Presbyterian Church, Willmar

Around the Presbytery

Come share our joy! The First Presbyterian Churches of Lismore and Edgerton are pleased to invite you to the Ordination and Installation Service for the Rev. Thomas J. Voigt by the Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys on Sunday, March 13 at 3:00 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church of Edgerton, Minnesota.

Communications Workshop
Conducted by the Presbyterian Mission Agency
Location: The Southwest Minnesota ELCA Synod Office
175 East Bridge Street, Redwood Falls
When: Thursday, April 21, from 9:00—3:00  
This workshop is for church leaders, church office staff and anyone interested in strengthening their congregation’s communications efforts.

What do you want your community to know about your church? Are you looking for ways to share God’s love through social media? Does your church have a well-thought-out communications plan—for both internal and external audiences? Create excitement and energy in your congregation by using simple, but powerful communications tools. You don’t have to have a huge budget or a large staff to effectively tell the story of your work inside and outside the church walls.

This free daylong workshop, conducted by communications professionals on the Presbyterian Mission Agency staff, will give you tips and techniques to better reach your audience. They’ll offer insights and guidelines on creating a communications plan for your congregation, discuss the “do’s and don’ts of media relations and “pitching” stories to your local media. You’ll learn proven techniques for using social media tools like Facebook and Twitter and leave with tips that will make your communications more effective and help increase your reach. Communications Workshop Flyer


The Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys will be well represented at the 2016 Presbyterian Youth Triennium, July 19-23, at Purdue University. We have received the registrations of 62 youth representing 15 of our congregations.

Leading the group will be “GO Team” members Jill Boeyink (Willmar), Mark Giese (Saint Cloud), and Jordan Schiefert (Fergus Falls). Adult advisors include Krista Petersen (Worthington), Julie Williams (Russell), Pam Kiersten (Renville), Karen Anderson Dent (Fergus Falls), Missy Leuthold (Spicer Hope), Jon Gubrud (Willmar), and Michael Joldersma (Litchfield).

With this group of youth, young adults, and adult advisors, our presbytery will be sending 72 – well, actually 74 -- people to this year’s event.  Rick and Sue Carus (Willmar) will be part of the Triennium staff once again this year, but will miss out on the bus ride! This is an incredible response for our “small” presbytery. Please keep our young people and these leaders in your prayers in the days and months leading up to Triennium!!


A pre-Triennium Gathering is planned for Sunday, April 17 from 2:00-5:00 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church in Redwood Falls. This gathering will be a time for all 72 participants in this year’s Triennium to gather, meet one another, get some information, and share in a time of fellowship in preparation for July’s adventure in Indiana. Rich Swartwood, from Presbyterian Clearwater Forest, will be present to facilitate the group-building and fellowship activities.

Letters of invitation will be sent to all participants in the next week or two, but the “GO Team” wants everyone in the delegation to get this one their calendars NOW! Most of our youth may not see The Valley Bridge, so it might be up to the adults in our audience to spread the word!

Time to get ready to GO!
The Presbytery of Des Moines is looking for a part-time Interim General Presbyter. Here is the Position Description . Applicants would send their PIF/resume to Mary Kes at the Synod office at and the deadline for applicants is April 1st.
March 2 issue of Synod newsletter (click picture)
World Mission News

Building peace in South Sudan

Presbyterian mission co-workers Shelvis and Nancy Smith-Mather bear witness to Christ’s reconciliation amid interethnic conflicts in South Sudan, the world’s newest country. The violence has cost thousands of lives and impeded development opportunities.

However, the Smith-Mathers and their South Sudanese colleagues at the RECONCILE Peace Institute are bringing together members of rival ethnic groups to study Christian peacemaking. After graduation, they return to their home communities to share their skills and their passion for peace. Presbyterian mission co-workers like Shelvis and Nancy are sharing Christ’s peace and love in nearly 50 countries. Without generous gifts from people like you, we will not be able to continue life-giving ministries in South Sudan and other countries. Our mission co-workers need your prayers and financial support.

Make a gift to support Shelvis and Nancy Smith-Mather and other Presbyterian mission co-workers. Double your gift’s impact by giving now!…/m…/gift-info/E132192/…

A group of our committed donors has pledged to match all gifts, up to $30,000, sent for mission co-worker support through Easter Sunday, March 27. This means your gift of $50 today will be matched with another $50 to provide $100 for Presbyterian World Mission. Or perhaps you can give $500, which will become $1,000 when matched.

We urge you to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to double the impact of your gift. When you give online, simply write “matching gift” in the comments field.

The latest news from PC(USA) (click picture)
March 2 newsletter from the Minnesota Council of Churches (click picture)
Lakeshore Center at Okoboji March newsletter (click picture)
March/April issue of Presbyterians Today highlights
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
4055 Abbott Drive
Willmar MN 56201
Valley Bridge Editor: Karen Lange
The Presbytery calendar is on the front page of our website at the bottom left.