The Valley Bridge
The weekly newsletter from the
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
May 18, 2016
 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 22-28:
First Presbyterian Church of Mountain Lake

Church Staff:
  Linda Becken, CRE
  Steve Peters, Custodian
  Julie Johnson, Secretary
  Char Peters, Treasurer
  Julie Johnson, Clerk of Session
  Steve Peters
  Jay Scheid
  Sandy Melheim
  Jean Haberman
Prayer Concerns: 
  For the health of our congregation
  For all seniors as they graduate and begin a new journey
  For discernment on how our congregation can reach out to the community
The Word from Rick: Looking ahead to General Assembly

The 222nd  General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) convenes in Portland, Oregon, one month from today. Last Tuesday, we co mmissioned those who will be making the journey to Portland in order to serve as our commissioners, advisory delegates, and alternates.
Teaching Elder and Presbytery Moderator Andy Davis (Union, Saint Peter) will be our Teaching Elder Commissioner, while our Ruling Elder Commissioner will be Chuck Moore (Westminster, Worthington). Our third person on the floor of the Assembly will be our Young Adult Advisory Delegate, Elizabeth Prouty (First, Redwood Falls). In addition to these three people, we will have two alternate commissioners in attendance - Leanne Thompson (First, Willmar) will be our Teaching Elder Alternate Commissioner, while our Ruling Elder Alternate Commissioner will be our Presbytery's Vice-Moderator, Deb Hess (First, Redwood Falls). Leanne and Deb will be observers and interpreters of the proceedings in Portland, and will seek to be supportive of our commissioners and our YAAD.
Between now and June 18, all General Assembly Commissioners will be inundated with volumes of reading and preparation. As of this writing, 77 overtures have been submitted for consideration by the Assembly, along with nearly forty other items of business. Thirteen committees have been appointed to handle the consideration of all this business, along with anything else the might arise in the days before the Assembly. Andy Davis will be serving on the Theological Issues and Institutions Committee, Chuck Moore will serve on the Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations Committee, and Elizabeth Prouty has drawn the assignment of being on the Social Justice Issues Committee.
This year will see a new dimension to on the Moderator's election, as there will be two sets of Co-Moderator candidates standing for election to this office. Teaching Elders Denise Anderson (National Capital Presbytery) and Jan Edmiston (Chicago Presbytery) will be one of candidate pairs, while Ruling Elder David Parker (Salem Presbytery) and Teaching Elder Adan Mairena (Philadelphia Presbytery) form the other candidate pair. Information about these four individuals can be found on the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) web site.
For individuals who might be interested in following the activity, and even checking out the business that is coming before the General Assembly, I would encourage you to check out PCBiz. There is a listing of the overtures and other business that will be handled by the Assembly, as well as other links that might prove helpful to following the 222nd General Assembly.
This is an important time in the life of this denomination, and I encourage all members of our congregations of our presbytery to be in prayer, not only for our commissioners, alternates, and staff as they prepare for Portland, but also for the moderator candidates and all who will be participating in this gathering.
Grace and Peace,

On the Road with Rick
May 22 - Preach at First Presbyterian Church, Holland
June 12 - Preach at First Presbyterian Church, Randall
June 14 - Session Meeting at First Presbyterian Church, Osakis
June 17-26 - General Assembly - Portland, Oregon
It's On: Retired Pastors and Spouses Lunch Coming This Summer!

A luncheon for retired pastors and their spouses is being planned at the Green Mill in Willmar on Monday, August 8, from 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Edward Thompson, our Regional Representative for the Board of Pensions, will host that gathering, and invitations will be coming from his office in the next few weeks.
Prayers for Terry Morse

Retired Pastor Terry Morse sustained a stroke while visiting his daughter in California. For now, he is recovering and doing rehab there. Cards for Terry and Martha Morse can be sent to their daughter's address: 
     Alyssa Bond
     11391 Eastview Pt
     San Diego CA 92131-3550
Around the Presbytery

The Health Ministry at First Presbyterian Church of Saint James is sponsoring a new event - "An Evening Out" the third Tuesday of each month beginning May 17 at 5:00 p.m. The evening begins with a light supper followed by games or entertainment. The first event was sharing travel slides and stories from the well-traveled Maggie Maire, who has experienced, among other experiences, diving in cages, photographing great white sharks, and viewing polar bears and the Northern lights.

The Baby Bottle Campaign at First Presbyterian Church of Fulda began on Mother's Day and ends on Father's Day. Folks are invited to pick up baby bottles at church, fill them with spare change or bills to benefit Helping Hand Pregnancy Center in Worthington.

Check out Rev. Scott Prouty of First Presbyterian Church of Redwood Falls recent adventures as shared in the May issue of the church newsletter:

The "quiet bags" at First Presbyterian Church of Willmar received a makeover from Abigail Thompson. The bags are all new and feature Abigail's artwork on the front. Each bag is unique, no two are the same, but they are all equally inviting and include a variety of new things to keep the children's imagination active as they quietly play during the worship service.

The fifth Sunday of the month are designated as "Pocket Change Mission Offering" days at First Presbyterian Church of Blue Earth. The Mission Committee has chosen Natalie Huntley as the recipient of this month's funds to purchase needed supplies for students. Natalie left earlier this year for two years in the Peace Corps, teaching English in P íojo, Columbia.

And finally, a history of the First Presbyterian Church of Round Lake, written by Don Mitchell in 1976: "And That Is the Way It Was"

Back in 1915 when I was a boy of ten, I remember Sunday as a day of rest and a day when we always went to church and Sunday School. We didn't have a car, I don't think any of our neighbors had one either so it didn't matter so much. We went to town with a team of horses hitched to a two-seated buggy. In the winter we put the horses in the church barn which many years later I bought for $25.00 and took home and made into a chicken house on the farm.

Most everybody stayed for Sunday School in those days. I remember church often lasted one and a half to two hours. In the summer the church was hot with no basement, and in the winter it was often pretty cold when you were more than a few feet from the big pot-bellied stove.

Sunday School classes were held in church pews with a couple spaces between each class. It was rather noisy with everyone talking. We were expected to have our lesson prepared and often had a test. Our parents were there also, so we gave a report of the lesson to the teacher and then we had a get-together of all the classes, and the superintendent asked us questions about the day's lesson.

We had a pump organ that several of the ladies could play, and a choir of six to eight members as I remember. The ministers were very conservative, preaching mostly from the Bible. They were poorly paid and generally had one of the least-wanted houses in town. People often brought gifts of food, meat, chicken, and other produce from the farm. The preacher did more calling in those days. We often went home with some neighbor for Sunday dinner. There were some good cooks around.

I distinctly remember one pastor who preached when our pulpit was vacant. He was told he could have the day's offering for his wages. One time the offering was over five dollars, so the session met and set a limit of five dollars per Sunday.
Two Quick Announcements

Presbyterian Youth Triennium - Room for Two More
Two spaces have become available in our delegation to the Presbyterian Youth Triennium, but you must act fast in order to claim them! The spaces are available on a "First-Come, First-Served" basis. One space is for a female participant and one space is for a male applicant. The cost of the Triennium is $595.00. Registrations must be made and fees paid no later than Wednesday, May 25. If there are youth in the presbytery who wish to be a part of this event, this is the last chance to act. Contact Rick Carus at the presbytery office for details!

News from PDA
A member of our presbytery, the Rev. Richard Underdahl-Peirce, H.R., has been appointed to serve on the National Response Team for Presbyterian Disaster Assistance. Richard will be available to be deployed on behalf of PDA as disaster or crisis situations arise across the nation. We are asked, as a presbytery, to keep Richard in our thoughts and prayers as he engages in this very significant service. 
Ministry Opportunities

The First Presbyterian Church Osakis is seeking a Pastor to lead them as they live out the visions that have been generated by their New Beginning conversations. If you or someone you know has a passion for small towns and energetic small-member congregations, please encourage consideration of this opportunity! The Ministry Information Form for this opportunity is posted on the Church Leadership Connection web site. It is MIF#: 03890.AC0. For more information, please contact PNC Chairperson, Shari Maloney, at 320.859.3098 or by e-mail - ; or Transitional Executive Presbyter Rick Carus at the presbytery office.
First Presbyterian Church, Mankato is beginning a search for a well-trained intentional Interim Pastor, who will guide the congregation through its pastoral transition. The Ministry Information Form for this position - MIF# 03792.AD0 -- is now on-line. If you cannot access it through the Church Leadership Connection, please contact Rick Carus at the presbytery office ( and he can send you a copy of the form. If you or some you know would be the right person for this opportunity, please have them contact Rick or the Clerk of Session Doug Otopalik - . Please help us spread the word!
The Art of Protest
Summer Institute in Spirituality and the Arts
June 20-24: United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities

The Summer Institute in Spirituality and the Arts is an annual, four-day mini-retreat for 1) clergy and church leaders to vitalize creative ministries and 2) artists and community members to experience the sacred in their work. Prepare for new awakenings.

Workshops, led by accomplished artists and leaders in their field, meet Tuesday-Friday, where participants learn to:
*  Experience the connection between the arts & spiritual life
*  Expand worship to include different art forms
*  Engage in empowering conversations and connections

Click here for more information
2016-2017 Presbyterian Planning Calendar

This 19-month, official PC(USA) calendar (June 2016-December 2017) is an outstanding and well-loved resource for pastors, church leaders, and everyone interested in the life and mission of the church. It features monthly planning and worship suggestions, lectionary readings, a liturgical color guide, foldout synod, presbytery and world maps, plus directories of PC(USA) staff, offices, synods and presbyteries. The wirebound calendar measures 8-1/2 x 11" and is punched to fit a standard binder.

Order copies today!  Individual calendars are $14.95 each; $12.50 each for 10-49; $8.50 each for 50 or more. Shipping is additional. When you order, ask for ISBN 978-0-9858964-8-5. Order online or call (800) 524-2612.

The calendars we ordered at the presbytery office for churches have all been sold, so this is the option if you still would like to buy a Presbyterian Planning Calendar.
POAMN Offers Conference Scholarships
If you are attending the POAMN (Presbyterian Older Adult Ministry Network) Conference in Richmond, October 11-14, 2016, for the first time, or attend a small church (defined as 500 or less in worship on average), you are eligible for partial scholarships to help defer some of the cost to attend. Applications for each scholarship are attached and can also be found at

Hurry and apply, as scholarships are awarded on a first come first serve basis and are limited to 4 first timers and 12 small church scholarships.

Bulletin inserts, Moderator Heath Rada webinar
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