The Valley Bridge
The weekly newsletter from the
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
March 8, 2017
 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: March 12-18
First Presbyterian Church of Foley
Pastor: Al Jergenson
Secretary/Treasurer: Lisa Bowland
Financial Secretary: Diane Thorsten
Assistant Financial Secretary: Joyce Kardell
Clerk of Session: Deb Cross
Elders: Roxie Brede, Deb Corrigan, Nancy Kampa, Paul Seaton, Gloria Vande Brake, Jamie Emslander, Adam Foss, Mike Schwarzkopf
Deacons: Bob Cross, Janita Dieger, Jan Matvick, Joyce Rife, April Warmbold
Trustees: Jason Craft, Neil DeZeller, Dean Emslander, Lonny Kiekow, Torrey Lewandowski, Brian Malikowski

Prayer Concerns:
Keep Mindy Vande Brake in our prayers as she completes her year as a Young Adult Volunteer in Mission in New York City at the United Nations; Paul Both, as he reaches out in mission ministry in South Sudan; our newly-commissioned church leaders, as they bring new insights and energy to our various initiatives in mission and ministry; for our members working with the Foley Area CARE Program, helping seniors to be able to continue to live as long as possible in their own homes, and for our church's support of the local food shelf and clothes closet, the CROSS Center and its ongoing ministry (Christians Reaching Out in Social Service).
The Word from Rick: Zooming Ahead!

The leadership of our presbytery has made a renewed commitment to be better stewards of our peoples' time, talents, and energies, as well as better stewards of the per capita and mission resources that come from our fifty-four congregations. One of the ways that we have chosen to do that has been to make increasingly more frequent use of technology to do the work of the ministry entrusted to us. Last fall, we began trying out an online communication resource tool called Zoom. Following a few successful trials, our ministry teams - commissions, committee, task groups, etc. - have chosen to make Zoom a regular part of their ministry plan.
Zoom allows us to gather team members together for face-to-face meetings, while each person is in their "home" setting, or even out on the road somewhere (I did one of our first Zoom meetings from San Francisco). Because of Zoom, many of our ministry teams are meeting more frequently, and team members aren't travelling 3-5 hours or more to get to Willmar or other locations. Because the teams are meeting more often, meetings are tending to be shorter and more focused, and our commissions and committees have been able to deal with matters in a reasonable time frame. It is proving easier to get our people involved because the meetings are usually about one hour, and definitely no more than two.
While I am "old school" and prefer the in-person meetings, I have found Zoom to be very useful for our work in Minnesota Valleys. We still get to see each other - at least those of us whose computers have cameras - and feel much more connected than when we did telephone conference calls. I think that the best part of the deal for us is that the cost of meetings is decreasing, and over time, we think that it will free up our per capita and mission resources to do more in mission and ministry.
On Monday morning, eleven members of the presbytery were together for a leadership call. If the 10 out-of-town folks had driven to Willmar, they would have averaged about 175-220 miles for the round trip, plus there would most likely would have been a meal involved. This one meeting would have cost $700 or more. If we had done our usual telephone conference call, it would have cost us between $60-70 for the call. Our plan with Zoom right now is about $15.00/month, and this month there will be at least six Zoom meetings conducted on that $15.
It will probably take a whole year for us to learn of Zoom's effectiveness, and to see if it is the truly the bargain that it appears to be. As the Finance Team plans for the future, they will monitor, along with the five primary ministry teams, to find places where monies that have been spent on meetings can be used to increase the mission and ministry aspects of our work as a presbytery.
For the present, we are looking for ways to be more effective in how we do our work and serve the congregations of this presbytery. We are Zooming ahead, confident that we are on a good path as we seek to faithfully live out our call. 

Grace and Peace,
On the Road with Rick: The Pre-Retirement Tour
The list is getting shorter each week!
March 5 - Preach at the Crosslake Presbyterian Church, Crosslake
March 7 - Session Meeting, First Presbyterian Church, Osakis
March 12 - Worship and Congregational Meeting, First Presbyterian Church, Osakis
March 19 - Moment for Mission, First Presbyterian Church, Willmar
March 21 - Session Meeting, First Presbyterian Church, Foley
March 26 - Worship Visit, First Presbyterian Church, Redwood Falls

by Jim Krapf

This is the third in a series of three articles describing connections with our Occidente partners. Our partners are celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Pastors are preaching on topics such as the five "solas"-we are saved by grace alone, offered by Christ alone, received by faith alone, on the authority of scripture alone, for the glory of God alone. In my sermon at the Bethel Presbyterian Church in Huehuetenango, I affirmed that as we live out these "solas" in our relationships, including our partnership, we offer hope and healing in a hurting world.

We visited with young adults who are leaders in Occidente Presbytery's Youth Organization. Their stories reveal an eagerness to know and share the basics of their Reformed faith. They shared their outreach plans for new mothers and babies in hospitals, children in orphanages, the elderly in nursing homes, and for a new church plant in Solola. They invited our youth to join them. They realize they have something unique to offer as Presbyterians in a culture dominated by Roman Catholics, Pentecostals, and Mayan 

spiritualists. You may soon read their testimonials published in the Valley Bridge.

Further discussion of our shared faith will be offered by two other delegates coming in May. Jairo, an elder from Quetzaltenango and our van driver, is eager to share why his faith is important to him. If possible Aurelio Carcamo Lopez will also join us. He is an Occidente pastor and the current moderator of the General Assembly of the Guatemalan Presbyterian Church. He can provide further inspiration for the unique benefits of the faith we can proclaim in our communities.
2017 Presbytery/Occidente Partnership PW Project
Colette Meidinger - First Presbyterian Church Winnebago

by Colette Meidinger

In 2015 I was a member of the Occidente Task Force that visited Xela and met with many committees within the Occidente Partnership. When meeting with the PW group and after sharing what each of us do within our local PW groups, they expressed an interest in medical care and quilting for projects during a return trip.

Our 2017 team gathered information in the areas of their expertise; Jim and LeRoy are always valuable during the actual meetings of the Task Force and committees with their knowledge and yearly commitment. We relied on Edith for interpretation during meetings and during our projects with the PW. We also relied on Claudia Juarez to help in interpretation (especially the day Edith and Kathy were ill). Kathy and Shirley drew on their nursing knowledge for informational classes for the PW. Dennis and I coordinated the demonstration of quilting and use of the quilting tools.

Saturday morning we met the PW delegation at the San Francisco fabric store to purchase fabrics to use for our quilting projects. It was truly an enjoyable time with people of different backgrounds but with the same love of sewing and quilting. The one thing our Minnesota group noticed was that all the clerks were men. Then, that evening Dennis, Kathy and I sorted fabric and supplies for each church we would be visiting. This was quite a job as Dennis had brought 50 pounds of fabric with him and Kathy had brought almost the same amount from her church that was disbanding their quilting group.

Monday after a night in Huehuetenango, we spent the day at Lirio de los Valles Church in Cambote. We had about 25 women from five different churches.  Our second day we were hosted by the Emmaus Church in Nuevo Palmar with 25 to 30 women representing seven different churches. The last and third day we were hosted by the Jesus el Buen Church in Olintepeque, Xela again with about 30 plus women from nine churches. 

Picture a craft or sewing center with 25 of your closest friends and a day to enjoy fellowship, laughter, information and good food. That is what these three days were like. Dennis and I with the help of other team members demonstrated the use of the cutting mats, rotary cutters, rulers and shortcuts to making and finishing a quilt. Three hours is just enough time to demonstrate and let everyone have a chance to try the equipment and tools. Each church representative had a chance to use the rotary cutter and ruler, work with some of the donated fabric to piece together nine patches and try their hand at sewing. Our Minnesota Valleys Presbytery donated a small Singer machine for the training and it was definitely the machine of choice. But those ladies can really sew up a storm on the machine of our mothers (the treadle machine.) Each day was like handing out the loaves and fishes. We expected and planned gift bags for a certain number of churches and then had more church groups in attendance. It is with awe that we thank Dennis for always having the right number of packages of material and some extra supplies for each church in attendance by the end of the day.

After a delicious lunch, Shirley presented short talks on diabetes, women's health, menopause, foot care and handwashing (when time permitted). Kathy talked about the Zika virus and the illnesses children could have, the symptoms to recognize and when it becomes important to stop home treatment and seek medical care at a clinic. There were many questions, stories and discussion after most sessions.

At the end of each day we felt like we were a part of that church's PW group as we were joined together in sharing laughter, sewing, fellowship and language interpretation throughout the day.
First quilting day - Dennis Peterson and Colette Meidinger giving cutting instructions
Shirley giving a presentation

Kathy Gilbert giving a presentation
A Special Invitation to FPC Redwood Falls

On Sunday, March 26th the First Presbyterian Church in Redwood Falls will be celebrating its 150th Anniversary at 10:15 a.m. The guest preacher on that day will be the Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson, our Stated Clerk of General Assembly. He is known to be one of the best preachers in the Presbyterian denomination. Our Synod Executive Elona Street-Stewart will be greeting the congregation on behalf of the Synod of Lakes and Prairies. Our Transitional Executive Presbyter the Rev. Rick Carus will be greeting the congregation on behalf of the Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys as one his last official acts before he retires. The Chancel Choir and Youth Choir will be singing. Those that have been members of the Redwood Church for fifty years or longer will be honored. Following the service a group picture will be taken of everyone that is there. Then there will be a catered roast beef dinner, followed by a cake reception from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. 

I realize you all have your own worship services on Sunday morning but you are welcome to come to our cake reception to have fellowship and meet J. Herbert Nelson. If you are able to come on Sunday morning please let us know by March 20th so we order enough catered meals. Everyone is welcome. 

Pastor Scott Prouty


Save the Date!
June 17-18, 2017
Centennial celebration for First Presbyterian Church of Edgerton

We invite friends and family to help celebrate 100 years of service to the Lord! Information is on the church's website: or contact Wendy Evink at 507-442-5061.
Resourcing the Presbytery: Sharing Some "Goodies"

At the recent Annual Event of the Association of Presbyterian Church Educators (APCE) in Denver, the Rev. Roberta Dodds-Ingersoll of Libertyville, Illinois, offered a workshop that introduced On-Line Resources for Christian Formation. Over the next few week, portions of a curated list of resources will be shared here in the Valley Bridge. We invite you to check out these resources, and encourage you to share other resources that you have found helpful in your congregation.

This week's goodies --
Prayer and Devotion:
  • d365 - Devotionals 365 Days a Year -
    • Geared primarily toward students (Back2School Series/Advent/Lent
    • Format: "Pause . . . Listen . . .  Think . . . Pray . . . Go
    • Presbytery Mission Agency is one of three partners in this venture
  • 3 Minute Retreat -
    • English and Spanish versions
    • Produced by the Loyola Press/Jesuit Ministry
  • Pray As You Go -
    • Designed for portable MP3 players
    • 10-13 minutes - music, scripture, and questions for reflection
    • Jesuit Media Initiatives
  Ministry with children:
  • Story Path -
    • Connecting chidlren's literature with our faith story
    • From Union Presbyterian Semianry
Next week - Resources for Learning.
Coming Soon: The Academy

Simply put, it is a series of 11 courses designed to develop well equipped, thoughtful people to better serve councils in a variety of capacities. For some this may lead to becoming commissioned ruling elders (CREs) while others delight in learning and growing as a leader.  We are lining up some of the finest instructors we can find! The brochure
Pastoral Leadership Opportunities

The following congregations within the bounds of our presbytery are currently seeking pastoral leadership:

Randall Presbyterian Church, Randall, Minnesota  - Pastor
   Ministry Information Form - 03892.AC
Crosslake Presbyterian Church, Crosslake, Minnesota  - Interim Pastor
   Ministry Information Form - 11950.AC0

The Ministry Information Forms for these opportunities are posted on the Church Leadership Connection web site --
Register Now!
for the
Healthy Congregations Workshop
from Lombard Mennonite Peace Center
hosted by
First Presbyterian Church
St. James, MN
March 24-25, 2017
Registration deadline - March 12
Follow the link below for a brochure and registration information.

Note:  there is a Super 8 Motel in St. James for people who want to make overnight arrangements. They do fill up, so it is good to make reservations early. They will honor a church's tax free ID for folks to save a little money. Call 507-375-4708 for reservations.
Guatemala Young Adult Mission Trip
June 26th-July 8th
Sign-Up Bonus
Send in $250 and this registration and a  matching $250 will be credited to your cost
Estimated Cost $1500
Sign Up Deadline-March 15
(special offer only for the first 9 who send deposit)
Grants Available!

The Mission Redevelopment Committee of First Presbyterian Church, Madelia is seeking applications to receive grants. Qualifying projects may include:
  • Development, formation, or redevelopment of Presbyterian churches
  • Evangelism or recruitment of new members
  • New building construction
  • Renovations or capital improvements
  • Presbyterian-sponsored mission projects
A written letter of application describing the project and the amount of grant being requested should be submitted to the Mission Redevelopment Committee and postmarked by March 31, 2017. Grants will be selected and distributed in April.
Mission Redevelopment Committee
PO Box 156
Madelia MN 56062
Summer Youth Mission Opportunities

The Rocky Mountain Mission program

The Rocky Mountain Mission program began in July 2014 and is offering six weeks of service opportunities for youth again this summer. Youth who travel to Nederland, Colorado, will have the chance to share in a few different projects that might include working on homes in need of repairs, helping with VBS, providing outreach to the homeless community, adopting the local cemetery, continuing recovery following floods and fires, and more.
For information, visit , or call Pastor Hansen Wendlandt at 303.258.3579.


Lakeview Agape Mission Project

I am Patrick Long the Mission Coordinator of LAMP, Lakeview Agape Mission Project, a Mission Project in New Orleans, Louisiana. I am looking for church groups to come and participate in LAMP this summer.
LAMP is a week long mission program in the great city of New Orleans. This week-long mission combines education with implementation. Groups not only hear and discuss social justice, but work hands-on through mission. Working with a number of ministries throughout the city, we can become one step closer to bringing God's kingdom to the earth.  
Groups would stay at Lakeview Presbyterian Church. Lakeview can host up to 25 people. Lakeview Church has sleeping areas, showers and bathroom facilities for men and women, WiFi, and a large and equipped kitchen.
LAMP runs from May to July. Group members must be 14 years of age or older with at least one adult over the age of 21 for every four Group members under the age of 18.  LAMP cost $250 a person and that includes Meals, lodging, volunteer cost, LAMP t-shirt, and a trip to Katrina Museum. 
For more information about LAMP contact me at or call (504) 482-7892 and ask for the YAV Office.
Peace be with you,
Patrick Long
2017 Church Growth Leadership Summit
April 24-25
Westminster Presbyterian Church
21110 Sheridan Blvd
Lincoln NE 68502

Join a two-day summit to discover practical strategies to grow your church! How do churches grow? There is no "one size fits all" answer. 

A diverse group of successful church leaders will share a variety of strategies. Come, listen to these leaders, listen to other engaged churches, and listen for the Spirit to move! Your church can grow!
Featured speakers include: Susan Forshey, Ross Thompson, and Richard Brown.

You are invited to attend 
the 2017 Great Plains Wee Kirk Conference
May 1-3, 2017
at Calvin Crest Camp and Conference Retreat Center
Fremont, Nebraska
Grace to you and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: 
Do you need to be encouraged?
Do you desire to worship the Lord?
Do you long to have your soul fed?
Then this invitation is for you. And all those with whom you minister. This invitation is for Pastors/Teaching Elders, Commissioned Ruling Elders, Spouses, Ruling Elders, Deacons, Lay Leaders, Members, Friends. Anyone who loves and serves the Lord.
Come, be encouraged.
Come, worship the Lord.
Come, have your soul fed.
Grace and Peace,
Kim Nofel & Newell Krogmann
Great Plains Wee Kirk Ministries
Confirmation: Equipping children, parents and congregations for the journey of faith

A LIVE 90-minute webinar presented by Rebecca Kirkpatrick
Tuesday, March 28, 2017 at 1 p.m. CT
Webinar (with on-demand replay) - $29.95 (1-6 participants)

In the majority of our congregations, we continue to value the study and celebration that accompany confirmation as a significant rite of passage for young people, even as Sunday school attendance numbers fluctuate.  This webinar will examine our expectations for confirmation classes and why it feels like more and more students are coming to this pivotal year unprepared to have the experience we want them to have. Should confirmation be an introduction to the Christian faith and life for young people, or a moment when their faith is transformed into something new?

Together we will look at specific examples of how foundational biblical stories, liturgies or congregational traditions can be expanded into confirmation conversations. We'll explore how we can best equip and inspire parents and grandparents to take a more active role in teaching the basics of the Bible and the Christian faith to children. Drawing from " 100 Things Every Child Should Know Before Confirmation," we'll explore the building blocks that help youth get the most out of their confirmation experience. Participants will be encouraged to think creatively about how to examine and even tweak the curriculum we are using to best serve the long-term goals of Sunday school and confirmation from preschool through high school.
Participants will be able to:
  • Talk more openly and honestly with parents about how they can be partners in their child's Christian nurture;
  • Give parents simple tips and techniques to initiate good habits of Bible reading and conversation at home;
  • Work with Christian education committees and Sunday school teachers to shape curriculum to fit confirmation goals;
  • Think more creatively about students' confirmation experience.
Who should attend? This webinar will be especially helpful to pastors, Christian educators, Sunday school teachers and Christian education committee members.

REBECCA KIRKPATRICK is associate pastor for mission and adult education at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Rebecca is the author of " 100 Things Every Child Should Know Before Confirmation: A Guide for Parents and Youth Leaders." She served for 10 years as associate pastor at Sunnyside Presbyterian Church in South Bend, Indiana, where she focused on ministry with children and youth. Rebecca blogs at

Purchase the Webinar
If you have a group larger than 6, please contact  Jana Blazek  for group pricing.
Twenty-five scholarships for this webinar have been generously provided by the Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation. If a scholarship would be helpful to you or your church and you live in the following states: Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin and Wyoming, please contact

Purchase the webinar
 Six New Things: March 7
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