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 4 - 13
First Presbyterian Church of Blue Earth
Moderator: Rev. Cory Germain
Clerk of Session: Cindy Peterson
Session Members: Heather Adams, Jacqui Dikken, Connie Hedland, Debby Johnson, Roy Lindokken, and Cindy Peterson
Visitation Minister: Russ Steele
Administrative Assistant/Treasurer: Connie Hedland

Mission Activities:
  • This past year we have provided St. Luke’s Lutheran Care Center with Bingo prizes and pies for an Ice Cream Social. We hope that soon we will be able to return to helping out in-person with these events when visitor restrictions are lifted.
  • Our 5th Sunday Pocket Change Mission continues to be a great way to help others. Last year we were able to make donations to the Youth For Christ Center in Blue Earth for basketballs, nets, a water cooler, and a doorbell and to provide gas cards to the Faribault County Veterans Service to be distributed to local veterans.
  • We shared in a Christmas Eve Drive-thru Luminary and Communion Event with our neighbor church, Trinity Lutheran.

Prayers for the following:
  • Our members who are experiencing health issues and those in care centers and at home who continue to battle the loneliness brought on by the pandemic.
  • That our members will remain safe and healthy as we have returned to in-person worship after another Covid19 break and some very cold temps kept us at home.

We are thankful for those who have put in extra time during the quarantine to provide email devotions, call and check on members, send cards, and send emails to keep the congregation updated.

We are grateful that we can come together to worship God and share the good news of his love with the community.
Looking for a volunteer to proof the Valley Bridge on
Wednesday afternoons. Please contact Karen Lange.
Karen will be on vacation Thursday and Friday this week.
Short Survey from Transformation & Development

The Commission on Transformation and Development is working to make sure we are serving you and your churches the best we can in this next year. In order to best serve you, we need to hear from you! Please take this brief survey so we can plan our events and opportunities to serve the greatest needs of our Presbytery.


WANTED: Youth Mission Trip ideas and information. If you wouldn't mind sharing info and ideas, please contact Randy Knuth, Pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Fulda.
Lenten Studies Available for and from our presbytery; contact Karen Lange for Zoom links
Based on the Presbyterians Today 2021 Lenten Devotional
Lenten Gathering 7:00pm Wednesdays via Zoom

Hosted by: First Presbyterian - Brewster, First Presbyterian - Iona, Bethel Evangelical Presbyterian - Reading, First Presbyterian - Round Lake and Westminster Presbyterian - Worthington

Mar 3 Shalom: The Way to the Promise of Peace
        Del Bolluyt                     John 14:15-16, 27  
Mar 10 Shalom: The Way to Healing
        Bob Bartlett
Mar 17 Shalom: The Way to Hope
        Deb Klaassen
Mar 24 Shalom: The Way to Repairing
        Jim Krapf

Contact Karen Lange for Zoom links.


VOCABULARY OF FAITH
Hosted by Darin Seaman (Saint Cloud), Mark Ford (Baxter), Michael Hartwell (Randall), Pam Prouty (Windom) and Beverly Brock (Foley)
Learning to live a Reformed faith by
REMEMBERING • RECLAIMING • REARTICULATING 
WHAT WE BELIEVE ABOUT WHO GOD IS AND WHO WE ARE SO THE PATTERNS OF OUR LIVES EMBODY THE LIBERATING LOVE AND GRACE OF JESUS CHRIST.
 
• A SIX-WEEK CURRICULUM •
WHO ARE WE Week 2 IMAGO DEI March 3
GOD IN RELATIONSHIP Week 3 COVENANT March 10
GOD WHO SAVES  Week 4 GRACE March 17
GOD OF ACTION Week 5 LOVE March 24
GOD OF BELONGING Week 6 CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY March 31
 
Videos and Discussion will be a part of the study.
 
Topic: Lenten Study
Time:
    Mar 3, 2021 06:30 PM
    Mar 10, 2021 06:30 PM
    Mar 17, 2021 06:30 PM
    Mar 24, 2021 06:30 PM
    Mar 31, 2021 06:30 PM

Contact Karen Lange for Zoom links.
The U.S. Congregational Vitality Survey

What is it?
The U.S. Congregational Vitality survey (USCVS) is designed to help you understand the attitudes, opinions, and perceptions of worshipers and leaders in your congregations. It was created through a collaboration between sociologists, theologians, and Christian educators in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). USCVS has been helping congregations measure their vitality since 2001. If you would like more detailed information you can check it out on the website: https://uscongregations.pcusa.org/

Why should we participate?
The USCVS is designed to help a congregation assess its strengths based on seven marks of congregational vitality—discipleship, outward focus, evangelism, servant leadership, worship, caring relationships, and ecclesial health. The church will receive a report that can help do future planning. As you move forward with planning, it can be helpful to know what areas need some work and where you shine. The USCVS is not a test. There are no right or wrong answers.

What happens if we sign up?
Churches involved in this survey will be sent a packet with surveys, instructions & tips. The survey can be taken in worship or online. Completed surveys will be tabulated and the resulted presented to you with a congregational vitality report and assessment. The church can use the report and resources to reflect and plan for the future.

What is the cost?
The survey costs $200 when done through the presbytery. SanDawna negotiated a discount for our presbytery. Small churches that find $200.00 a hardship may apply for a grant through Congregational Transformation and Development.

To be included in the survey:
Have approval by session and name a contact person
Send to Karen or Kathy:
  • Your church name
  • The contact person with their title or role
  • The e-mail address and phone number of contact person

In order to get this special rate, we will be sending in all the churches who are applying at one time. If you are interested, get your information in by April 1st.
The Next Virtual Journey to Guatemala
“After the Storms:
Humanitarian Response in Times of Disaster”
March 24 at 6:30 p.m. Central Time

Because a portion of the One Great Hour of Sharing offering goes directly toward CEDEPCA’s disaster ministry in Guatemala, you will see firsthand the impact of your contribution. Speakers will include Francisco Reyna of CEDEPCA and Edwin Gonzalez-Castillo of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance. The presentation, in English, will be a mix of music, breakout room interaction, videos, and live interviews, and will explore the larger theme of helping vulnerable populations without doing long-term harm.  
 
Guatemala, because of its geographic location, is extremely vulnerable to natural disasters – earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, drought, hurricanes, floods, landslides. Last fall, while the people of Guatemala were dealing with the additional distress of a pandemic, Hurricanes Eta and Iota hit the Alta Verapaz department – taking lives, destroying roads, homes, and cropland, and displacing entire communities. 
 
A donation of $11 is suggested for each participant. All are welcome. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email about how to join the meeting.
 
This opportunity was brought to our attention by Betsey Moe, one of our mission co-workers in Guatemala.
Help People Improve Their Lives

With your donations to the One Great Hour of Sharing offering during Lent, you are a channel of Christ’s love. The more money given in our Presbytery, the more funds will be available for Self-Development of People grants in our Presbytery. Last year we were able to award a grant for just under $6000 to support education for the children of Somali refugees in St. Peter.

You can become more personally engaged by serving on our Presbytery’s SDOP Committee. There is a place for you in this ministry if you have a compassion for struggling people and value the approach of self-development, not just hand-outs. We can better serve our communities by having additional representatives from across the Presbytery. If you or someone you know would like to serve, please contact Rev. Jim Krapf, chair of the Committee, at 808 4th Ave., Worthington, MN 56187; jimcynkrapf16@gmail.com; 507-350-1662.

The majority of the committee is to be people of color; they do not have to be Presbyterian. But the majority of the committee needs to Presbyterians, including the chair. Members can serve on the committee as long as they feel called to this ministry.

Responsibilities of the members include: 1) Certification training (required every three years; we are due this year; virtual training is scheduled for April 10 from 10:00-12:00) 2) Soliciting donations to the One Great Hour of Sharing offering which funds SDOP grants  3) Soliciting applications for grants (this may include reaching out to congregations or community organizations through various means of communication--when we can, in-person informational meetings could be the best) 4) Review applications to see if they met the criteria, including conducting an on-site or virtual visit (this process may include working with the applicant to revise the application). 5) Submit the application to the national office for their approval  6) Make sure the checks are sent. 7) Review the project (usually six months later) and submit a report to the national office.
Celebrate Self-Development of People on Sunday, March 14!

With Christ our friend whom we adore,
We shall befriend and bless the poor!
Bind up the wounds of brokenness!
Bring liberation to the oppressed!
The work at hand is heaven sent;
Our mission is empowerment!
In one great hour may we share,
An offering of lasting care!

The lyrics above are from a hymn by John A. Dulles. This hymn, along with other liturgical suggestions and stories about Self-Development of People community partners, are included a Sunday Worship Resource to use on March 14 and beyond. Also includes is a sermon by Rev. Denise Anderson — Coordinator, Racial & Intercultural Justice, Compassion, Peace & Justice. Rev. Anderson was also co-moderator of the 222nd General Assembly (2016). 

You are invited to use this resource to interpret the work of SDOP’s ministry which is supported by the One Great Hour of Sharing. You can access this packet by clicking here.

Last year our Presbytery was able to award a grant for just under $6000 to support education for the children of Somali refugees in St. Peter. A short YouTube video describing this project can be accessed by linking to https://drive.google.com/file/d/1JYXqA-trAK4Eo4rWILzxub_a4Kje5dOj/view.  The video can be used as “Moment for Mission” in your worship service.

The more money given to the One Great Hour of Sharing in our Presbytery, the more funds will be available for Self-Development of People grants in our Presbytery. 

Our Presbytery’s SDOP Committee along with Rev. Alonzo Johnson, Coordinator Self-Development of People, and Margaret I. Mwale Associate for Community Development and Constituent Relations Self-Development of People, look forward to working with you in continuing to partner with groups in your community who are economically poor, oppressed, and disadvantaged. 

Rev. Dr. Johnnie Monroe, Former Vice Chairperson of the National Self-Development of People Committee, reflects on another hymn. He recalls that many years ago, gospel hymn writer Thomas Dorsey wrote a hymn that contained these words: “If we ever needed the Lord before, we sure do need him now. We need him every day and every hour.” These words are true today. People are sick. People are hungry. Cars line up for miles with people seeking food. People are depressed. People are discouraged. “If we ever needed the Lord before, we sure do need him now.”
 
Who are your neighbors, particularly those impacted by the pandemic, who could benefit from the SDOP ministry in 2021 and beyond? Here is a way to love them.
Minnesota Department of Health Coronavirus Resources

Updated faith related guidance documents have been posted. Anything you can do virtually, you should do virtually at this time.
Relevant documents are
Beginning January 1, 2021 the standard mileage rates are:
56 cents per mile for business use
16 cents per mile for medical, or moving purposes
14 cents per mile for service of charitable organizations
2021 Per Capita
$43.00 Total
$28.52 for Presbytery
$5.50 for Synod
$8.98 for GA
Worship Opportunities

If you are interested in having someone new give a Sunday Message via Zoom or have something recorded to show, here are some PCUSA mission co-workers currently in the states who would be willing to do a sermon or talk about mission on Sunday or another time. They are open to share their stories with anyone interested.

Any groups that might like to have a guest, please contact one of these folks. Do you have a Bible Study group or maybe your Presbyterian Women's group? Think about it!

This might even be a good idea for Lenten services. Please consider using this wonderful resource available to your congregation. 

In this time when we are home a lot and not traveling around, wouldn't it be fun to travel virtually and learn about the world through the eyes of these wonderful people. Please consider using them and their information. They are so willing and anxious to connect with you. Let your congregation be blessed by them.

Kathy Terpstra


Eliane Menezes
Eliane Menezes: Mission co-worker in Guatemala, Serving with the National Union of Presbyterian Women of the National Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Guatemala (IENPG)
Contact: Eliane Menezes (eliane.menezes@pcusa.org)
 
Tyler Holm
Mission Co-worker in Malawi since 2013, Serving at the University of Livingstonia, College of Theology

Betsey and Eric Moe
Mission co-workers in Guatemala
Serving with the Presbyterian World Mission and CEDEPCA
Contact Betsey Moe (Betsey.Moe@pcusa.org)
 
Jose Jones
Mission co-worker in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.
Serving at the Presbyterian Community of Kinshasa (CPK) Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.
Contact Jose Jones (Jose.Jones@pcusa.org)

Cheryl Barnes, Malawi
My name is Rev. Cheryl H. Barnes. I am currently serving in Malawi, Africa as an Education Facilitator.  I would like to forward a taped update of my work for use to Facebook or Lenten services. Please let me know the procedure for getting this update to you. My email address is Cheryl.barnes@pcusa.org.

Ryan and Alethia White - Iran
Your kind invitation to Mission Coworkers to contribute to congregations within your presbytery was passed on to us through Louisville and we would be happy to be involved! If that is something that you are still looking for, please let us know how we can best help. We are very comfortable either creating video messages to send to congregations or joining a church live online, having done both often enough especially in the past year. Our family has been living in Berlin, Germany since 2014 and working with the Iranian Presbyterian Church here in the city. Our work now includes various projects and partners in Berlin and Germany, mostly based on migration practices and the role of the church. We are also expanding our work to include partners across Europe around the issues of migration and racism, although this is still relatively new.
Below our signature is a link to our PCUSA web page in case that is helpful. Please feel free to be in touch with any questions or ideas! 

Rev. Ryan and Alethia White
Iranische Presbyterianische Gemeinde Berlin
Richardstr 97
12043, Berlin
Deutschland/Germany
TEL: +49 176 280 379 69
Presbyterian Church (USA) Mission Co-workers
To subscribe to our letters click here
 
Elmarie and Scot Parker, Lebanon
My husband, Rev. Scott Parker, and I are based in Beirut, Lebanon serving with partners in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. We are very interested in discussing with you how we may be of service to you all at this time. We do have some internet limitations, but we have found some good work-arounds that we can discuss as we see what interests a church might have for our involvement in worship.
We look forward to hearing from you! 
In Christ’s Peace,
Elmarie
Rev. Elmarie E.R. Parker
PCUSA Regional Liaison to Iraq, Syria, Lebanon
Lebanon Mobile/WhatsApp: +961 76-375-823
USA Mobile  (for Spring 2020): +1 971-888-2590
Skype: elmarie.parker
Skype Phone #: 503-213-3532
Lebanon Mailing Address:
The National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon
Att: Rev. Elmarie Parker
P.O. Box 70/890
Antelias – Lebanon 
USA Mailing Address:
1015 Oak St. #63
Silverton, OR 97381 

Melissa Johnson - Zambia
Mary Nebelsick let me know that the Presbytery of Minnesota was looking for mission co-workers to connect with your congregations. I would love to participate! I already have a YouTube moment for mission ready to go or I would be happy to discuss any other options. I am including the link to the presentation so you can take a look and decide if you would like to share it with some of your congregations. https://youtu.be/P7q7sf3axUU

I look forward to hearing from you. 
Blessings,
Melissa Johnson
+260 97 7969328 (Zambia)
+1-210-218-9847 (U.S.)

Betsey Moe - Guatemala
My name is Betsey Moe, and my husband and I are (fairly) new mission co-workers with CEDEPCA in Guatemala. We are currently residing in Spokane, WA. Thank you for reaching out to mission co-workers in the PC(USA)! I'd love to talk with you about opportunities for virtual sharing in your presbytery. I'm open to preaching, a minute for mission, informal Zoom coffee hour, etc. A few of my co-workers at CEDEPCA are fully bilingual and would be open to participating as well -- if congregations would like to hear firsthand about what is going on in the aftermath of the hurricanes, for example.

One idea is that I am already preaching for a congregation in Denver on Transfiguration Sunday and would be happy to record that same sermon for another congregation. 

I have a YouTube channel that shows a sampling of what we could do. If you go to "playlists," there are also links to CEDEPCA videos that may be shown in congregations.

I look forward to talking more with you!
Betsey Moe
(509) 951-7837

Jose LaMont Jones - Congo
I am available and am at your disposal. I am (pandemic permitting) on my way to the Democratic Republic of Congo to work with the schools of the Presbyterian Community of Kinshasa. We are in the throws of our Congo Mission Network Virtual Conference and I also include a link to a video presentation I put together a couple weeks ago to give you an idea of what I do (will do) and with whom I will work when I get to the DRC. The link is:



Mark and Miriam Adams US/Mexico Border
My spouse Miriam Maldonado and I serve as Mission Co-workers on the US/Mexico border in Agua Prieta, Sonora and Douglas, AZ.

Mary Nebelsick of PCUSA World Mission shared your invitation to Mission Co-workers to join some of the congregations in the Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys to provide worship leadership via a recorded message, a sermon, or a talk highlighting their mission work etc.  

Check out this video by Steve Jeeter of National Community Church in Washington DC

We would be honored to participate.

Mark S. Adams
PCUSA Mission Co-worker
Serving with Frontera de Cristo


Rachel and Michael Ludwig, Niger
We heard that you are looking for videos to offer to the churches for worship. We have some available, if they are helpful for your worship services, please use them. 

It is a little helpful to know when they are used so that we know where connection has been made with a congregation. It is not absolutely necessary though. 
Sermon - with Scripture reading from Romans 12:1-8 (Theme: Offering ourselves to God in worship with perspectives from Niger)
Children’s sermon to go with the above sermon - 4 mins.
Learning from our neighbors - local ways of using scraps for toys (4 mins)
Learning from locals - local ideas for practical handwashing (4 min)
Recent Sermon - based on John 4:5-26 and Proverbs 25:25 (Theme: Being open for mission means being vulnerable and listening)
Peace be with you,
Rachel and Michael Ludwig
Prayer List

  • For Rev. Hank Campbell, First Presbyterian Church of Lake Crystal
  • For Rev. Lynne Matthews, First Presbyterian Church of Holland
  • 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 Occidente Partners in Guatemala
  • For the families of the three Occidente pastors that have recently died
  • For those who have contracted the Covid virus
  • For the "Men in the Mirror" program. Men from Occidente that MVP supported financially to attend the classes are sharing the information they gained with different churches in the eastern and central parts of Guatemala. They, along with the chaplains of the national Presbyterian church, are training Christian policemen in what they learned from "Men in the Mirror."
Pastoral Leadership Opportunities

First Presbyterian Church, Lake Crystal; First Presbyterian Church, Kasota - Pastor, yoked parish
Ministry Information Form - 03709.AB1

Maine Presbyterian Church, rural Underwood - Solo Pastor
Ministry Information Form - 03870.AB0

Faith Presbyterian Church, Silver Lake - Solo Pastor
Ministry Information Form - 03851.AD0

First Presbyterian Church, Slayton - Pastor
Ministry Information Form - 03805.AB0

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

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

Ministry opportunities are posted on the Church Leadership Connection website -- http://oga.pcusa.org/section/mid-council-ministries/clc/
40th Annual Ecumenical Rural Ministry Conference
“Engaging and Ministry with Cultural Traditionalists”
THIS EVENT IS CO-SPONSORED BY WARTBURG THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY AND THE UNIVERSITY OF DUBUQUE THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY

The 40th Rural Ministry Conference will be held via Zoom on Monday, March 8, 2021. For further information:
Living Well, Leading Well

A monthly series of virtual workshops sponsored by Mount Olivet Conference & Retreat Center promoting wholeness, wellbeing, and renewal in our personal and professional lives. Each workshop will be taught by specialists in the areas of counseling, biblical studies, peace-making, and pastoral ministry.

PURSUING JUSTICE
Thursday March 11, 6:30-8:30pm | $20 Register here.
Formation for Mission: Dipping into the Well of PC(USA) Resources

A Spring Learning Opportunity for Presbyterians

March 13-14
This weekend class offers participants the opportunity to learn more about the breadth and depth of resources available for Presbyterian church leaders. This course provides the opportunity to interact with a number of national staff people for the PC(USA) and to become acquainted with the resources their offices offer to aid and further the ministry of local congregations. 

How do I register or find more information?