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 May 5 - 11
First Presbyterian Church of Holland
Pastor - Rev. S. Lynne Matthews
Clerk of Session - Lou Perli
President of Trustees - Kyle Minett
Christian Education Director - Barbara Winsel
Music Director - Judy Oldemeyer
Audio-Visual Director - Deb Wolfswinkle

Prayer concerns:
  • Please pray for warm, dry weather so that our farmers may begin field work and that water in the church basement would dry up.
  • Healing for many in our congregation.
  • Wisdom as we reach out to our surrounding communities with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
  • Our Vacation Bible School will be June 2-6: please pray for adequate staffing and for God to bring the children who God wants to be in attendance. We are excited for this ministry to children and parents of the area.
Resurrection Reflections
A funny thing happened on the way to church. As I was driving through Marshall making my way to Holland, a church sign read “Life is your first privilege.” Who could imagine that there would be a message from God to remind me and those passing by that the Resurrection is about living in the here and now. After clearly receiving the confirmation my message was on the right track, I shared with the Holland Church the message “Envision A Future.” The text was based on Revelation 1:4-8. Admittedly, Revelation is not a popular text for the Sunday after Easter. However, the words “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty” caught my attention.

We talk about Jesus in this way throughout the year. In adoration, we name Him the Rose of Sharon, the Great I Am, the Lily of the Valley, the Lion of Judah, the Bright and morning star, the faithful witness, the firstborn of the dead, the ruler of the kings of the earth and the many other names that speak to Jesus’ work of righting life and bringing us back into relationship with God and one another. When John wrote that Jesus was the author and finisher of our faith, he spoke specifically about those who would live following Jesus’ return to heaven. John did not write to the church of the future, most likely he was thinking just of the people of his day. Most Christians at that time expected Jesus’ return to be swift. Nonetheless, the Church Fathers included Revelation with its many symbols into the Canon of the Bible for a reason. The book is about hope. As it was then, today, hope is an important foundation for the church. Whether we have hope or not speaks to whether we are people of faith or individuals that cannot believe beyond the daily ups and downs in life. Jesus clearly taught that living with life abundant is a spiritual gift. The gift is knowing that God stepped back and assessed Creation and called it good. God wills that we find fortitude to live life in new terms from the places of wholeness, peace, empathy, grace and compassion.

We only have to look around us to know that people are struggling to live. Very few, including Christians, have joy...I mean a peace deep within that is not dependent upon circumstances. While the economy is good for some, many in our region nervously wait for fields to dry and the planting season to begin. Others are restoring, yet again, flooded basements and roads damaged by the harsh winter. No one is looking forward to the political circus that happens in election years. Graduating seniors from high school and college hope that moving into adulthood will bring opportunities to fulfill dreams of adventure, learning, new identities and sharing gifts with the world. For others, they desperately seek to catch their breath and find the living water Jesus taught about.

I invite you to consider Richard Rohr’s concept of Eternal Now. Although Jesus spoke of a celestial heaven, he also spoke of living now. “I come that you might have life and it more abundantly” (John 10:10). According to Rohr we are called to “Nondual knowing, learning how to live satisfied in the naked now, also called the sacrament of the present moment. This consciousness will teach us how to actually experience our experiences, whether good, bad, or ugly, and how to let them transform us. Words by themselves divide and judge the moment; pure presence lets it be what it is, as it is.” (T he Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See , The Crossroad Publishing Company: 2009).

Let me conclude with this poem:
thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes 
(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth) 
how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any—lifted from the no
of all nothing—human merely being
doubt unimaginable You? (E. E. Cummings, “i thank You God for most this amazing).

We offer special prayers for the farmers in our region and for those putting things back together again one more time. May spring come soon to Minnesota! To all things in God’s perfect timing.

Grace for the journey,
Presbytery Meeting Update & Mission Project

The May 21 Presbytery Meeting being held at First Presbyterian Church in Willmar will be a hybrid meeting. Registration will begin at 9:00 a.m. and meetings of the commissions/committee of the Presbytery will begin at 10:00 a.m. Those church commissioners and pastors who are not yet serving on a Presbytery commissions will be putting together hygiene kits for the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance program while the Presbytery commissions are meeting. Presbytery Life is providing materials to put together a few kits, but we are asking churches to also send items from the list below (or money) with your commissioner/pastor so that we can complete as many kits as possible. Please invite members of your church to collect the following items and bring them to the May 21st Presbytery meeting. Please contact Presbytery Moderator Mark Ford at or 218-232-8131 if you have questions.   
Hygiene Kit
(Value $15)
1 — hand towel (approximately 16" x 28", no fingertip or bath towels)
1 — washcloth
1 — wide-tooth comb (remove from package)
1 — nail clipper (UPDATE: nail clippers with metal files or emery boards attached are now accepted; remove from package)
1 — bar of soap (bath size in wrapper)
1 — toothbrush (in original packaging)
10 — Band-Aids® or other adhesive bandage strips

Please do not add toothpaste to the Hygiene Kit. Toothpaste which has an extended expiration date will be added to international Hygiene Kit shipments just prior to shipment. Seal all items in a one-gallon plastic bag with a zipper closure.
Prayer List

Rev. Araceli Itzep from the Occidente Presbytery
Sue Thompson, Clerk of Session at First Presbyterian Church, Maynard
Grant Applications Sought

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, other funds available for the project, and the amount of grant requested should be submitted to the Mission Redevelopment Committee and postmarked by May 1, 2019. Grants will be selected and distributed by May 31, 2019.
Mission Redevelopment Committee
PO Box 156
Madelia MN 56062

27th Festival of Homiletics - 2019 Minneapolis
"Preaching as Moral Imagination"

Once upon a time, preachers and churches had a primary role in shaping the moral imagination of a community, a society, even a nation. What happened? “Preaching As Moral Imagination” will inspire and encourage preachers to embrace, once again, their identity as those called to give voice to God’s vision of goodness and mercy, to recover and re-imagine leadership in the church that seeks justice for all. Be inspired by God’s Word proclaimed by some of the nation’s finest ministers and teachers. Experience the fellowship of hundreds of preachers. Learn and worship in an atmosphere that’s dynamic, friendly, nurturing, and prophetic. Come renew, refresh, and recharge your spirit. Come and tap into God’s moral imagination for the sake of the world God loves.
For Clerks of Session and Treasurers

This year, the treasurers will receive financial training from Presbytery Business Consultant Bea Ourada while the clerks of session are reading session records. So send your clerk and your treasurer (and/or anyone interested in learning more about church finance) to one of the following trainings in June:
Monday, June 3 from 2:00-4:00 at the presbytery office in Willmar
Monday, June 10 from 4:00-6:00 at the First Presbyterian Church of Osakis
Monday, June 24 from 4:00-6:00 at the First Presbyterian Church of Windom
Spread the word to young adults (ages 19-30) that JUNE 1 is the FINAL date to apply to the 2019-20  Young Adult Volunteer  year ! National sites are available. Learn more online and  APPLY !!


Tuesday, June 4, 2019
Registration beginning at 8:30

Faith Presbyterian Church
108 W Main Street
PO Box 307
Silver Lake MN

The theme for this event will be: “What’s On Our Horizon?” Mrs. Louella Voigt from Luverne, MN will be our speaker for the day. Last fall she and her husband attended a seminar on “Faith and Addiction” which was held in Minneapolis, MN.

She will share with us some ideas of how we as a community of Christians are called to understand and support families and individuals that struggle with many forms of substance abuse.

During this meeting, we will also share opportunities PW have to do mission, to grow in our own spirituality, as we continue to do the work of Presbyterian Women in our communities, in our churches and with Presbyterian women Churchwide. All women are invited. PW members, women who are not a part of PW – ALL INTERESTED WOMEN.

We would appreciate your registration for this event. Please fill in the form below and send to the person and address listed. Please make reservations by May 28 th .
REGISTRATION FORM (feel free to copy and paste to a new document to mail in) :
Registration begins at 8:30 with Coffee and Fellowship.
Name of Church: ______________________________No. of people _________
Lunch Reservations: ($8.00 each) (Enclosed)$ ________ (At the door) $_______
Please send to Dorothy Merrill at the address, or phone below, by May 28. 
            Faith Presbyterian Church                   Dorothy Merrill
           Attn: Dorothy Merrill                 or       Phone: H 320-327-2783
           PO Box 397                                                   C 320-224-1375
           Silver Lake MN 55381                        E-Mail:
Synod Gathering for Presbyterian Women in the Synod of the Lakes and Prairies
June 20-23, 2019

Gateway Hotel & Conference Center
2100 Green Hills Dr
Ames, Iowa

Full registration is $200 and includes meals and programming.

Link to Flyer
Join the movement of Presbyterians in Baltimore for a Big Tent like no other.

The theme, Called to a Movement beyond Institution, will emphasize our hope of the Gospel and its power to challenge institutional conventions. The goal is to come together and live in this moment, immersed in our current cultural context of racial division, gender inequality, and economic disparity to be renewed, refreshed and reformed, so that we may be sent out to affect change in our own communities. Big Tent will provide a place where our Presbyterian polity and identity is the foothold by which we proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ in action and answer the call to discern the will of God together.

Through worship, Bible study, learning opportunities, and active engagement with one another and the community, attendees will encounter the Church participating in God’s mission for the transformation of creation and humanity. 

Organizers for this year’s Big Tent celebration have lined up the guest preachers and leaders for the three-day gathering in Baltimore this summer. The Rev. Dr. Soong-Chan Rah will be the featured speaker at the opening plenary on Thursday, Aug. 1.

“Conversations are taking place about the changes that are occurring in our society, especially in terms of our demographics. Churches are experiencing change, including decline and diversity,” said Rah. “I will touch on those, but I really want to touch base on what the appropriate response to these changes should be.”

The FPC Mankato would LOVE the opportunity invite whoever might be interested hear Mission Co-Workers in August

Charles and Melissa Johnson, mission co-workers in Zambia, are visiting First Presbyterian Church of Mankato on Wednesday, August 14th. The event will be from 5:00-8:00pm. We're going to have a potluck supper and will enjoy time with Charles and Melissa as they share about God's mission happening in Zambia, how they were called into mission partnership, and how churches might hear their call into mission partnership.
Save the date for Boundary Training
Tuesday, October 8 from 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
First Presbyterian Church of Redwood Falls
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.
Church Staff: Schedule a Day with Karen

Associate for Administration Karen Lange is available to spend a day with church office folks 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.
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 --