The Valley Bridge
The weekly newsletter from the
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
May 16, 2018
 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)
Mission Initiative Scheduled for the May Presbytery Meeting

Submitted by Mark Ford

The Commission on Presbytery Life is asking all congregations to share their mission activities at the Tuesday, May 22 Presbytery meeting at Ebenezer Presbyterian Church in Renville. The focus of the meeting of the Presbytery is on the mission activities of the churches within our Presbytery. Each church is asked to display their mission activities and to highlight one special mission activity. Since space is limited, please bring a small table.

We would like to have everyone share again their mission projects so that others may be inspired (or led by the S pirit) to see other opportunities for doing mission. Dora the Explorer will be the theme to encourage everyone to bring their mission information and to view the mission work of other churches. Each church that has a display will have a Dora sign and those who visit booths will get their mission passport stamped or marked. At the end of the Presbytery meeting, there will be a random drawing for door prizes for those who complete their mission passport. Door prizes are inspired by our Occidente partners and by Dora, who is from Central America.

More about the May Presbytery Meeting

Rhonda Kruse, Mission Engagement Advisor from the Presbyterian Mission Agency, will be leading a pre-presbytery forum on mission at 10:00 a.m. Visitors and Presbytery Commissioners are invited to attend.

Pentecost Offering at the Presbytery meeting

A gift to the Pentecost Offering helps the church encourage, develop, and support its young people, and also address the needs of at-risk children. 40% of the Pentecost offering can be retained by individual congregations wanting to make an impact in the lives of young people within their own community. The Presbytery uses its 40% to fund transportation to the Presbyterian Youth Triennium. The remaining 60% is used to support ministries of the Presbyterian Mission Agency:

Special Offering at General Assembly, and at the Minnesota Valleys Presbytery meeting in May

Submitted by Scott Prouty

During General Assembly, our Stated Clerk, the Rev. Dr. J. Herbert Nelson II, will be leading General Assembly participants in a march to the downtown jail in St. Louis to release prisoners. These people have been imprisoned for petty crimes because they could not afford to pay the $200 fine at the time of their arraignment. They have been put in jail and forgotten. These folks end up losing their jobs and they become disconnected from their families all because they did not have $200. They can sit in jail for several years. This tends to only happen to people of color. 
We are going to take a special collection at General Assembly to release people from jail but I asked the Stated Clerk while I was down in Louisville for committee leadership training if we could bring money from our presbyteries and churches and of course he said, "yes" with enthusiasm.
There are currently sixty people to release in St. Louis that have been sitting there for years, but others will be released in other cities with the funds that are collected. 
The timing of this release of prisoners will make the nightly news in St. Louis and may be picked up nationally as to what the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. is doing. We will be releasing people from jail that have long paid their dues. 
We will be taking a special offering at our presbytery meeting to help in this worthwhile cause. Please join us in bringing some justice to the world to some people that have been locked up for years for spitting on the sidewalk or urinating in an alley. 
Please pray that this act during General Assembly sends a powerful message of love, hope and justice to our whole  nation in the name of Jesus of Christ. 
Congregation of the week of May 20-26
First Presbyterian Church of Jackson
Pastor: Eunice Woodberry, the called pastor at the Salem Lutheran Church of Jackson that we share with them and Belmont Lutheran of Jackson.
Treasurer: Dean Albrecht
Secretary: Troy Christensen
Clark of Session: Diane Frodermann
Elders: Diane Frodermann, Chuck Lucht, Dean Albrecht, Denny Hample, Troy Christensen, Tim Hecht
Deacons: Jenny Brooks, Audrey Fisk, Wayne Fisk, Terrie Hlavac, Brenda Janning, Dani Janning

Cares & Prayer Concerns:
  • For all those serving in the military and their families.
  • The unemployed/under employed.
  • Those persecuted in the name of Christ.
  • Our members recovering from surgery. Members who are facing on-going medical treatments.
  • Our family members in nursing homes and assistant living facilities. 
  • The youth of our community, we pray that they may know and trust Jesus.
  • The prayer concerns of the First Presbyterian Church of Blue Earth.
Two Things

This week the universal church celebrates two events the Coming of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the Christian Church. As you gather, I would imagine these themes will be described in detail. In John chapters 15-18, Jesus calls the third person of the Trinity our Comforter, Advocate, Guide, and Teacher. The nervous disciples, somewhat confused by Jesus' preparation to leave messages, needed reassurance that there were next steps in this new movement. On Ascension Day and Pentecost, the next chapters in the church's life became clearer. The timid disciples received the gift of the Spirit and were empowered for ministry in ways they could not imagine. The first church is birthed interestingly with people of different tongues and many cultures. The church grew as the apostles retold again and again the story of Jesus. The young church struggled with church governance and also the proper use of the gifts of the Spirit. With growing passion for being faithful to their calling, the new body of believers lived into the vision of God for their lives. Church thinkers often ask us to go back and consider the origins of who we are and to review our purpose again. What is your church's DNA? Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is the hereditary material in humans and almost all other organisms that made up who we are. Church Growth theorist state that the life cycle of congregations is formed and shaped as the church nurtures and forms into a body that represents God in the world. As the church moves from its infant state to stability, the DNA of the congregation establishes core values of what we believe, our mission and how we relate to our neighbors. What can you learn from your congregation's DNA?

I believe there is something significant about the formation of communities, families, and congregations. The early elements of our lives do not bind us. However, our beginnings are substantial parts of our futures. The disciples found that the origin of the Church was a show of power, equity, inclusion, and grace. God was indeed with the early Church, and God is with the Church today. I hope we will always see that we were shaped and empowered by the Holy Spirit to do the "greater works" in Jesus name. The Church was and is empowered to change the world around us. God has gifted us with the right resources people and otherwise to do the ministries in which we are called. In our baptisms, we were gifted with spiritual talents that must be cultivated and used in service to the world. In Creation, God looked at what was created and called it good, and so we are.

Mark Your Calendars for September 15

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) is a Presbyterian Church ministries funded in part from One Great Hour of Sharing. It is one of the most visible mission arms of the church. Volunteers in blue shirts show up to give aid and comfort for those suffering from natural and man-made disasters both in the US and abroad.

To find out more mark your calendar for September 15th, when team members from the national office will be with us for a day to talk about their work, ways we can help and what PDA can do for us when we are in need.

Watch the Valley Bridge for more details.
Pastors Gathering

The Presbytery office is hosting an informal Pastors Gathering on Tuesday, June 12, from 10:00 - 3:00. Lunch will be provided. The purpose of this gathering of pastors, especially those serving congregations, is for conversation and connection. We can talk about pastoral needs, current conditions and the future. Please let Karen know your attendance plans.
General Assembly Resources

GA223 Website is Live!
Get the latest information for the 223rd General Assembly (June 16-23, 2018) in St. Louis, MO. 

40 Days of Prayer

Submitted by Stan Menning

As we continue our prayer journey, it occurred to me that some might not know what General Assembly is or does. I have copied the next paragraphs from the website of the Office of the General Assembly to give a brief description.

The General Assembly consists of commissioners elected by presbyteries. Half of the commissioners will be Teaching Elders and half will be Ruling Elders. Few will ever have been commissioners to the General Assembly before, but most will have served in one of the other governing bodies of our church: the session, which provides care and oversight of a local congregation; the presbytery, which provides care and oversight of a group of congregations; or the synod which provides care and oversight of several presbyteries.
It reviews the work of synods, resolves controversies in the church, is responsible for matters of common concern for the whole church, and serves as a symbol of unity for the church.

The General Assembly has several specific responsibilities outlined in Chapter 3 of the Book of Order. The assembly seeks to protect our church from errors in faith and practice, is responsible for assuring that the expression of our theology remains true to the biblical standards in our historic confessions. The General Assembly presents a witness for truth and justice in our community and in the world community. It sets priorities for the church and establishes relationships with other churches or ecumenical bodies.

This week we will continue to pray for committees of the General Assembly. You will find the committee name in bold followed by a brief description of their responsibility and their primary staff. If you save this you will be able to use it to pray for the work of the committees and plenary sessions the week of G.A.

Prayer Suggestions

Monday May 21  Mid Councils Issues: Consider matters related to: in order to ensure that the responsibilities listed in G-3.0502 are fulfilled, establish a "committee on Mid Councils" and charge it to engage in a process for the ongoing strengthening and nurturing of the mid councils of the PCUSA, with particular emphasis on collaborating with the synods of the PCUA to support clarity as to the ecclesial and missional identity, purpose, structure and strategies..."{GA 222} Review of Synod minutes {Review for comment provisional work of Revision of Rules of Discipline?} Moderator; Moon Lee, Vice-moderator; Bear Ride, Committee Assistant Carol McDonald, Parliamentarian; Maureen Wright. There are 40 commissioner members, 11 YAADs and 1 TSADs, and 1 MAD (Missionary Advisory Delegate) They have 7 items of business to consider.

Tuesday May 22   Church Polity and Ordered Ministry: Consider matters related to: amendments to Foundations of Presbyterian Polity (chapters 1 and 3), Form of Government chapters I-IV, VI with Advisory Committee on the Constitution advice; request for interpretation; amendments to the Rules of Discipline with Advisory Committee on the Constitution advice. Advisory Committee on Litigation; Advisory Committee on the Constitution. Moderator; Ruth Huff, Vice-Moderator Melinda Hunt, Committee Assistant; Emily Anderson, Parliamentarian; Therese Howell. There are 40  Commissioner members, 12 YAADs and 2 TSADs. They have 24 items of business to consider.

Wednesday May 23   Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations: Consider matters related to amendments to Chapter V of the Form of Government with Advisory Committee on the Constitution advice, requests for interpretation, matters dealing with relationships with, and attitudes toward, other religious movements or bodies, conversations with other Presbyterian denominations, nominations for ecumenical advisory delegates; nominations for delegations to corresponding churches, reports of corresponding bodies. Moderator; Scott Prouty, Vice-Moderator Susan Etherton, Committee Assistant; Mary-Gene Boteler, Parliamentarian; Barbara Bundick There are 40 commissioner members, 12 YAADs, 1 TSAD and 1 Missionary Advisory Delegate on this committee and 1 Ecumenical Advisory Delegate. They have 7 items of business to consider.

Thursday May 24   Environmental Issues: Consider matters related to: the churches response to and issues related to carbon fuels, food sovereignty and the environment. Moderator: Michael Kirby, Vice-Moderator; Wilma Quinonez-Cubero, Committee Assistant; Rick Nutt, Parliamentarian; Carson Rhyme. There are 40 commissioner members, 1 YAADS, 1 TSAD and 1 MAD. They have 12 items of business to consider.

Friday May 25   Peacemaking, Immigration and International Issues: Consider matters related to Peacemaking, international military affairs, and the arms race excluding matters involving the Middle East; international matters; human rights, international economic justice, and the church's response to US immigration policies and related issues. Moderator; Luci Duckson-Bramble, Vice-Moderator Amir Tawandrous, Committee Assistant; Theresa Cho, Parliamentarian, Andy James. There are 46 commissioner members, 12 YAADs, 1 TSADs and 2 Missionary Advisory Delegates and 1 Ecumenical Advisory Delegate. They have 10 items of business to consider.

Saturday May 26   Mission Coordination: Consider matters related to: Mission programs authorized by General Assembly, PC(USA) vision and mission goals, Organization for Mission and General Assembly Mission Council Manual of Operations; mission budget; audits; churchwide compensation; initiatives on church growth and the 1001 Worshiping Communities program. Moderator; Walter Rockenstein ll, Vice-Moderator Sunny Kang, Committee Assistant; James Tse, Parliamentarian; Diane Curtis. There are 40 commissioner members, 11 YAADs and 1 TSADs on this committee. They have 16 items of business to consider.

Sunday, May 27    General Assembly
You are invited

Harrison Community Presbyterian Church , 14110 105th Ave NE, Spicer, MN will celebrate their 150th Anniversary on Sunday, May 20. The program and open house are from 1:30 - 3:00. For more info, contact Lori Dietz at  or 320-894-8589.

Westminster Presbyterian Church of Worthington will celebrate their 145th Anniversary on May 20 with Worship at 10:00 a.m. 

The Executive Director Search Committee has unanimously recommended the Rev. Dr. Diane Moffett as the new president and executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. The vote is expected shortly.

Now is the time

May 19 - 1001 New Worshiping Communities:

May 20 - Pentecost Offering:

Attention Clerks!
Clerk training will be held on Thursday, June 7 from 2:00 - 5:00 p.m. followed by a light supper at the presbytery office. Lynn Olson, clerk extraordinaire, will lead training; and following the training we will have the annual record review. I'm excited about all the clerks coming together in one place for training, record review and fellowship. I hope that most of you will be able to make this work. If you have questions/concerns, please contact Stated Clerk Pam Prouty.
Elder and Deacon Training scheduled

Ruling Elder and Deacon training will on Wednesday, June 6 at the First Presbyterian Church of Windom. We'll start with a light supper at 5:30, and the training will be from 6:00- 7:30. Please let Karen know at the Presbytery office your attendance plans so we can plan meals accordingly. We will try to schedule another training further north also.
Outdoor Cross Available

First Presbyterian Church, St. Cloud, is about to begin demolition of our most utilized entrance. Construction of a new ground-entrance with elevator will take place over the summer. We anticipate completion by September, 2018. We have a cross that is affixed to the soon-to-be-torn-down entrance. We are now seeking to donate this cross to a current ministry. Delivery of this cross to its new location is possible. See picture attached. It is approximately 15' in height, and 4' in width. Weight is unknown. Material is (painted) tubular steel with no sign of rust. Mounting brackets come with it, or could be removed for in-ground installation. 

PWP Spring Gathering

Submitted by Betty Thorson

PWP Spring Gathering will be held on June 5th, 2018 at the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Worthington. All are invited whether you have a PW or not. Our speaker will be Sue Ingels from Iowa. She was on the Indonesia Mission trip. Meal is $8.00. Need to send reservation to Darlene O'Neil 32505 300th St, Worthington, MN 56187. Tell her from what Church and how many. Send check or let her know you will pay when you get there. Starts with registration at 8:30 am and meeting starts at 9:20. Hope to see many of you there. Need to be registered by the middle of May so they can plan their meal.
Steering Congregations to Formational Resources

The Commission on Congregational Transformation and Development exists to resource congregations. We have identified six critical areas: discipleship, evangelism, mission, spiritual leadership, stewardship and worship. Each area has one or two individuals who serve as point persons. The point person's goal is to steer you in the right direction toward valuable resource. Please let us know how we can come alongside of your congregation.

DiscipleshipAnne Veldhuisen,, 507-215-5617
Evangelism: Randy Knuth,, 712-540-8243
Evangelism :  Darlene Scherbing,, 320-292-2610
Mission: Richard Lawrence, , 320-260-9639
Mission: Kathy Terpstra,, 320-815-8158
Spiritual Leadership: Tom Voigt, , 612-875-6398
Stewardship: Rick Hauge, , 507-829-5227
Worship: Darin Seaman, , 320-251-8277
Randall Presbyterian Calls Pastor

The Rev. Dr. Michael Hartwell has accepted a Call as f ull-time pastor at the Randall Presbyterian Church,  with a July 1, 2018 starting date. He is currently a  member of the Grand Canyon Presbytery (Phoenix).
Pastoral Leadership Opportunities

The following congregation within the bounds of our presbytery is currently seeking pastoral leadership:

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

First Presbyterian Church, Mankato - Full-time Solo Pastor
   Ministry Information Form - 03792.AEO

The Ministry Information Forms for these opportunities are posted on the Church Leadership Connection web site --

*New* First Presbyterian Church, Lake Crystal - Interim Pastor, 3/4 time
                Link to position description
Six New Things
Clearwater Forest Friends and Neighbors Day - July 14, 2018

Join us on Saturday, July 14, 2018 for the annual Friends and Neighbors Day, our celebration of Clearwater Forest and the communities of supporters that make it great. On this day, we open the doors to showcase our beautiful, historic buildings, our exciting programming, and God's amazing wilderness. You will have the opportunity to be part of the annual Lake 2 Lake bike ride to raise scholarship funds, tour the grounds and buildings, and participate in activities on land and on water. A picnic lunch, celebration program, and campfire singing will round out the day. Registration and more information are available at or by calling 218-678-2325. This event is free and open to the public, but an RSVP is strongly encouraged to aid our planning.
See what's happening on our Facebook site:
Like us on Facebook