The Valley Bridge
The weekly newsletter from the
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
May 10, 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: May 14-20
First Presbyterian Church of Luverne
  Session members
Becky Eeten, Brian Schoneman, Janet Sudenga, Karen Wohnoutka, Mark Robinson, Anna Ahrendt, Verlyn Hoff, Kari Lais, Brett Stegenga, Larry Frey, Brett Miller, Brenda Wessels, Staci Zwaan
Carol Boelman, Deb Iveland, Buck Underwood, Emma Verbrugge, Travis Pierce, Mike Olson, Barbara Schiebout, Sarah DeBeer, Gloria Rust, Evan Verbrugge
Pastor: Rev. Dr. Jason Cunningham
Administrative Assistant: Becky Sehr
Financial Treasurer: Becky Sehr
Custodian: Renee Sawtelle
Youth Activity Director: Travis Pierce  
Newsletter Editor: Annalisa Cunningham
Financial Secretaries: Gloria Rust & Shirley Christianson
Organists: Betty Mann, Denice Dirks, Colleen Cragoe, Diane Boyenga
Director of Music: Barb Antoine 

  Prayer requests:
  • We have several people recovering after significant surgical procedures. Pray for a smooth recovery process and restoration of health.
  • For those who are sick.
  • For those who have recently had family members or close friends pass on.
  • For our six recently confirmed young people, that they will faithfully live out their public profession of faith in Jesus Christ and commitment to active church membership.
  • For our graduating high school seniors, that they will look for God's guidance and wisdom as they more forward into the future.
  • For the safety of our many farmers as they are working in the fields.
  • For our Elders and Deacons as they seek to faithfully perform the ministries of governance and care.
  • For our Presbytery at this time of transition to a new Executive Director of Presbytery Mission.
Something New
First-Time Commissioner Briefing

The May 16 Presbytery meeting in Worthington will be what we have been referring to as a "hybrid" meeting. By that we mean that we will be combining two functions into one meeting. The morning session will consist of commission/committee meetings and a forum on immigration with the business meeting/worship taking place in the afternoon. In order to save some time we want to try providing the first-time commissioner briefing on Monday, May 15 at 7:00 PM via ZOOM. ZOOM is the video conferencing tool we have been using for a number of our meetings. Churches sending a first time commissioner will be asked to send Karen the name and email address of that person so she can send the link to participate in the meeting. It is recommended that the person have the presbytery meeting packet in hand so they can follow along with the agenda. While this briefing is designed for first time commissioners, anyone would be welcome to sit in. 
Morning Forum Option at the May Presbytery Meeting

by Jim Krapf

"Immigration connects us," declared Amanda Craft at the Network Meeting of Guatemalan and U.S. partners in January. Amanda is previously one our mission co-workers in Mexico and Guatemala. She is now the advocacy leader for our office on immigration at General Assembly headquarters. 

You are invited to attend a forum on immigrants during the morning of our May 16 Presbytery meeting in Worthington. You will be supplied with resources from Amanda.  You will hear presentations from and have opportunity to dialogue with local people.  Participating along with the delegate visiting from our sister presbytery of Occidente, will be our police chief, an immigration attorney, director of economic development, school staff, priest from the Catholic Church, and representatives of Familias Juntas and Manos Unidas (local advocacy groups).

If time and numbers permit, there will also be opportunity to tour the food pantry (located in Westminster) and a citizenship and English classes (located in a center a half-block away.)

The objective of the forum will be for you to strengthen faithful connections by addressing fears, challenging naïve perspectives, and releasing your compassion as a follower of Jesus Christ.
Presbytery office hours are 7:30 - 3:30 Monday - Friday.
May Ordination Anniversaries

  05/21/1978  Robert Springer
  05/24/2006  Stephanie Guzman
  05/27/1973  Rollin Haynes
A Snap of My Trip to Ethiopia 
March 22-April 10, 2017
by Owar Ojulu

My thirst for visiting Ethiopia began about nine years ago when I decided to come to America in 2008. I was a recent graduate from seminary and took over a leadership role as a director for Mission and Theology Office at the Ethiopian Evangelical Church, Mekane Yesus, East Gambella Bethel Synod. In the summer of 2017, I filled out an internet application not knowing that it would open a door for a visa process to come to America. In the spring of 2008 I got a letter from the US State Department; that I was being chosen among thousands of applicants in Ethiopia; that I should now acquire a visa from the US embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. In addition to looking for visa processing money and collecting all required documents for an interview, I was in constant debate with myself. Should leave behind my family, the church, and the people I had known only to come to America? It was the best choice after all!

Read more
Celebrating Pastor Al's Ministry and Wishing Him Well on His Retirement

The congregation at First Presbyterian Church of Foley are planning a retirement party for Pastor Al Jergenson on Sunday, June 25 at 2:00 p.m. The celebration will be held in our church's fellowship hall.
PC(USA) pastors and commissioned lay pastors encouraged to apply for matching funds to attend financial literacy and leadership events and training

The Presbyterian Foundation is accepting applications for a newly established Church Financial Leadership Grant. Grant applicants must be a pastor, commissioned lay pastor (CLP), or leader of a 1001 New Worshiping Community within the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Funds are available for those pastoral leaders seeking to gain a better understanding of church financial vitality and management of their congregations.

The application deadline is June 30. More info
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 congregation within the bounds of our presbytery is 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 --

Additionally, there will be other opportunities arising in the near future. Please keep your eyes open as Fulda begins a pastoral search and Foley will begin seeking an Interim Pastor. 
Shalom Hill Farm Ministries Looking for Executive Director
Six New Things
Big Tent - July 6-8 - Saint Louis - More info
Synod School 2017 - July 23-28 - Storm Lake, Iowa
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