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 23-29
Federated Church of Fergus Falls
Church Staff:
Director of Christian Education: The Rev. Karen Anderson
Administrative Assistant: Brianna Schneeberger
Custodian: Pete Konrad
Pastoral Care: Rebekah Meder
Bookkeeper: Adam Baker
Clerk: Jean Bowman
Treasurer: Mark Rodning
Music: Vivian Whipple
Soundboard: Bill Nead, Mary Ann Nead, Natalie Vogel, Madalyn Dent
Pastor: Douglas Dent

Prayers:
  • For many members with dementia and for their caregivers
  • For members with cancer
  • For health workers who continue to serve the public
  • For small businesses hard hit by the pandemic
  • For signs of spring
  • For the promise of being together again soon
Stated Presbytery Meeting Highlights

  • Thanks to all of the attendees and leaders at the presbytery meeting by Zoom on May 18!
  • Bev Crute shared the story of the Keeper of the Spring in her sermon.
  • We said our farewell to the church in Jackson. Mary Jo Lutz spoke movingly about the history of the Jackson church.
  • We heard from Dan Duggan, a new pastor to our presbytery, who introduced himself and shared a little of his history. He is a chaplain and CRE supervisor at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Saint Cloud, and has written the book, Men, Grief, And Solitude: A Different Perspective. Dan recommended an upcoming extended unit of CPE October 12 - April 22, which will include group time, service at the VA, and supervised ministry in a parish setting. Contact Dan for details.
  • Clerk Review, Training for Treasurers/Finance People, Commission on Leadership and Personnel Committees will be at the Willmar church on Saturday, October 23 from 10:00 - 2:00. Pam recognized those pastors who have celebrated ordination anniversaries since the last meeting.
  • We elected Jim Krapf to the Commission on Presbytery Life, Rollin Haynes and Steve Anderson to the Commission on Congregational Transformation, and John Williamson to the Budget and Finance Committee side of the Commission on Operations.
  • We approved the following action: grant permission to the Commission on Operations to sell the Presbytery office for at least $170,000 and to grant permission to enter into a rental agreement with the First Presbyterian Church, Willmar for the Presbytery Office. Following are the specifics: The Presbytery will rent what is known right now as the library and the small board room (550 square feet) exclusively. We will also have access to other space within the church building for meetings. The church will charge $1,192.50/month for rent which will include basic utilities, janitorial services and internet services. The Presbytery will pay for their own phone line and pay per copy rates of .15/black and white and .20/color. Rationale: Over the years, the Presbytery has researched finding a smaller space for our Presbytery office. The pandemic has helped us to realize that we no longer have a need for such a large space for the Presbytery office. Entering into a rental agreement with the Willmar church feels like a good stewardship decision
  • Kyle Nolan, Presbyterian Foundation, brought greetings. They have resources in addition to investments, such as the following. The Foundation offers online giving services to churches. Stewardship Navigator is a helpful tool to build a narrative budget. They continue to add new videos to the Church Financial Leadership Academy. Use code pcusa sign up. Stewardship Kaleidoscope is scheduled for September 13-15. There are scholarship grants from the Foundation for this.
  • David Lick led the installation of Kathy Terpstra as Gap Executive Presbyter of Minnesota Valleys Presbytery.
  • Kathy Terpstra talked about the fantastic leadership we have in our presbytery. We have much to do, and are working on meeting the challenge of many churches without pastoral leadership. She is excited about some of the new visions: the presbytery office move, grants for student loans to attract new pastors, working with Dubuque Seminary for looking at new ministry in Jackson, meeting with a group exploring inventive ministries and new ways to do worship. For those churches without pastors, talk to Kathy for support, prayer and a pep talk.
  • Bev Brock talked about encouraging those you see with leadership skills. Affirm the call you see in others. Or yourself!
  • We now have an Executive Presbyter Search Committee: Doug Dent, John McKay, Le Roy Ennenga, Leanne Thompson and Terry Coffin.
  • Doug Snaza, Clearwater Forest, and Cassie Gabe, Lakeshore Center at Okoboji, brought us up to date on what's happening at the camps. Both camps are renovating, look great, and are excited for the arrival of campers and guests!
  • Mark Ford shared the Synod's new logo and website, and shared a personal family history story about systemic racism.
  • The Commission on Transformation and Development is putting together a couple of task forces: one to head up an online confirmation program, and another to work with the University of Dubuque for new PCUSA ministry in the Jackson area. Talk to Randy Knuth.
  • Mark Giese and Jill Boeyink invited all who plan ministry for children and youth to the Plan-It Event by Zoom on Wednesday, June 9, and a reminded us of the Youth Triennium coming next year. See separate pieces below.
  • Ken Green, Board of Pensions (Home - The Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)), brought some news and greetings from the Board.
Stated Presbytery Meeting, May 18
Karen Lange is normally available Monday through Friday from 7:30 - 3:30, checking emails until 4:00 or 5:00 (except after 2:00 on Thursday afternoons for banking).
Transitional Ministry Education for All Pastors—A message from TMEC (Transitional Ministry Education Consortium)

Change happens. Transition is how we adapt to change.

As we look beyond the Covid-19 pandemic, it is obvious that our communities and the world are not the same as they were in 2019. Even the church has changed, adopting technologies and practices that we may not have considered without the impetus of Covid. In such a time as this, church leaders require special skills and understanding. Transitional Ministry Education, once regarded as training for interim pastors, has become a vital resource for all church leaders.

Did you know that other denominations have looked to the PC(USA) for leadership in managing transitions for more than 25 years? Our Transitional Ministry Education Consortium (TMEC) has offered outstanding continuing education programs since the 1990s, attracting both U.S. and international participants to eleven sites (seminaries and conference centers). Some programs have been interrupted by the pandemic, but TMEC is working to restore as many opportunities as possible this year.

Updated information is available on the TMEC website; please share with your COM and pastors who might benefit from this timely continuing education opportunity. There are currently six opportunities listed, in a variety of locations or online. We’ve also had word of an event sponsored by the Synod of Mid-America, October 18–21. In addition, Transitional Ministry Workshops has a fall online workshop in the planning stages; check back for dates and other specifics.
Reading the Bible With New Eyes: TODAY AT 6:30 Central
Learning and Practicing Life-Giving Faith in Guatemala

At this Virtual Journey, learn about how a theology based in the love and justice of Jesus Christ is transforming the lives and communities of people in Central America. You will hear testimonies from pastors and laypeople in CEDEPCA's Biblical and Theological Formation program and be led through an eye-opening study of scripture by Dr. Paulo Ueti, Anglican theologian, New Testament scholar, and friend of CEDEPCA.
 
Wednesday May 19, 2021
4:30 pm Pacific / 5:30 pm Mountain / 6:30 pm Central / 7:30 pm Eastern
Suggested donation $11
 
Register in advance for this meeting:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
More News regarding climate

by Earl O. Knutson, First Presbyterian Church of Willmar

Previous notes (Sep 23 & Oct 21, 2020) called attention to our group, Presbyterian Action Team (PAT) aka Presbyterians for Carbon Dividends (P4CD). (PAT emphasizes our affiliation with the Citizens Climate Lobby, while P4CD emphasizes our affiliation with Presbyterians for Earth Care.) These connections were further explained in a recent mailing to the 52 churches in the Presbytery.

The present note presents an initiative of the PC(USA) Office of Public Witness, namely a convenient method to support a particular climate legislation. This bill, House Resolution 2307, closely matches previous legislation that was endorsed by PC(USA) at the 2018 General Assembly. Presbyterians are invited to visit tinyurl.com/cr26b5hb, which will bring up a statement from the Office of Public Witness AND a fill-in form to send a message to their US Representative. OPW will send that form to the named representative on PC(USA) letterhead.

Final note: as churches begin to plan Adult Sunday School sessions, they are invited to visit tinyurl.com/29tykdwb which brings up an offer by two P4CD members to present a 45 minute zoom lesson about the need for action regarding climate and the PC(USA)-endorsed strategy.
The Joint Religious Legislative Coalition (JRLC) is a statewide interfaith legislative advocacy coalition of Christians, Jews and Muslims working to advance opportunities for economic and housing security and social and racial justice for all Minnesotans. The MN Council of Churches is the Protestant partner.

A key 2021 legislative priority seeks support of the provisions in HF336/SF432 that would stop the current practice of suspending a person’s driver’s license for nonpayment of a fine. Far too many Minnesotans have their licenses suspended because they are unable to pay a ticket - not because they are dangerous drivers.

In our faith communities, we see the financial challenges many individuals and families face: struggling to make it, to buy healthy food, to meet basic needs and to pay overdue bills. An unexpected ticket can be insurmountable for low-income Minnesotans. See this excellent Star Tribune article, Minnesota's criminal justice fees often fall hardest on poor - StarTribune.com

The Gospel calls us to pursue justice, and we appreciate your commitment to this same vision. Stated simply, current law isn’t just – it is unfairly punitive and has a significant and disproportionate impact on low-income Minnesotans and Black, Indigenous and other Minnesotans of color. Please consider calling your state Representative and Senator and urge their support of HF336/SF432 in the Judiciary and Public Safety Conference Committee. And consider being a part of the JRLC legislative network. You can see their 2021 legislative agenda here. For more information, contact Joan Miltenberger at the JRLC - jmiltenberger@jrlc.org, 612-230-3232.
Pastors, Christian Educators, Youth Workers, 
Sunday School teachers and Youth Committee volunteers 

IF YOU COULD
Sharpen your faith-formation ministry’s vision and purpose
Be more efficient in your time devoted to youth ministry
Plan your calendar 12 to 18 months ahead
WOULD YOU SIGN UP FOR THAT?

Announcing: “Plan-It”  Wednesday, June 9th
Join us for PLAN-IT - a one-day ZOOM (10:00am-4:00pm) guided planning experience for those responsible for your faith formation ministries. Register as a team or individual. 

Pastors – invite key volunteers in your setting to join you! 
Children’s Ministry and Youth Workers – recruit your Pastor to join 
They will thank you for it!

The June 9th Plan-It event is a Zoom video call
In fact, 3 separate Zoom sessions, scattered throughout the day
Each Zoom session is facilitated by Lyle Griner
individual/team planning time between Zoom sessions
individual/team coaching by Lyle Griner is available that day
Cost: $39 per church* (*see below for Minnesota Valleys discount code)
REGISTRATION is now live. Click here to register

Minnesota Valleys Presbytery congregations only, choose this option ↴
WED JUN 9, 2021 with an added copy of the book PLAN IT
Then, use the coupon code MINNESOTAVALLEYS for a $25 discount and a free digital copy of Lyle’s book, Plan It, which contains an abundance of tips and tricks for planning your year. 
With the coupon code, that lowers your registration cost to $28.95
THANK YOU Minnesota Valleys Presbytery Commission on Congregational Transformation & Development for the discount!

Facilitator: Lyle Griner, peerministry.org (click for a Plan-It introduction)
With Lyle and friends, we will review common and best-practice faith formation lenses, planning tools, and potential templates that may work in your setting. Through group Zoom sessions, and some planning time in between Zoom sessions, participants will design a well-balanced, intentional, nine-months-to-a-year framework. 

Sounds awesome, right? 
You could have your Children’s & Youth Ministry planned for
the entire 2021-2022 year...in JUNE!

For more info, contact:
Mark Giese First Presbyterian, Saint Cloud mark@fpcstcloud.org
Jill Boeyink First Presbyterian, Willmar jill.fpcwillmar@gmail.com
From Transformation & Development

The Commission on Transformation and Development is working to make sure we are serving you and your churches the best we can in this next year.

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. Please feel free to contact any of the members of the Commission on Congregational Transformation and Development as to what might be areas that you may be seeking assistance with locating valuable resources. Those currently serving on the Commission on Congregational Transformation and Development are: Randy Knuth, chair, Anne Veldhuisen, Michael Hartwell, Darlene Scherbing, Barb Wawrzyniak, Gerri Mitchell, Lindsay Jacaruso. Please let us know how we can come alongside of your congregation.  Please contact Randy Knuth, the chair, at 712-540-8243 or via email at knuthr758@gmail.com.


Having a difficult time finding pulpit supply? Have you considered a virtual sermon?
A Sermon for Every Sunday (asermonforeverysunday.com) is a website that provides lectionary-based video sermons by America’s best preachers for use in worship, bible study, small groups, Sunday school classes, or individual use. All you do is push the button. If you have a computer and a projector, these professionally recorded sermons can be downloaded and viewed on Sunday mornings. The site features nationally known preachers from multiple denominations. Although donations are accepted, the sermons are free. Check out asermonforeverysunday.com.

Technology Grant
The Commission on Congregational Transformation and Development has the privilege of awarding matching Technology Grants of up to $500. However, because of the demand, churches or other entities will not be able to receive grants in two consecutive years. Grants have been used for updating office equipment, purchases to buy or replace computers, or updating audio video equipment. If your church has not received a grant this year or last, take advantage of this grant. Please use the new form which is specific for the Technology Grant.

The above resources are shared by the Commission on Congregational Transformation and Development
Registration links


Synod School July 25-30
2022 EVENTS - SAVE THE DATE

2022 PW SUMMER SYNOD GATHERING
Thursday June 16, 4:00 PM - Sunday, June 19, 11:00 AM
Theme: PW BETTER TOGETHER
Place: Hilton Garden Inn, Sioux City Riverfront, Sioux City IA
Final details will be available this Fall. Registration will start in January 2022.
More details to follow.


2022 Presbyterian Youth Triennium
Minnesota Department of Health Coronavirus Resources



There is help with funeral expenses for people who have lost loved ones to Covid19. The following link gives the information: https://www.fema.gov/disasters/coronavirus/economic/funeral-assistance
Matthew 25 Hymn
Prayer List
  • For Rev. Mark Chamberlain, retired pastor, Willmar
  • For Rev. Bob Bartlett, First Presbyterian Churches of Brewster & Round Lake
  • For Rev. Michael Roys, retired pastor, Winnebago
  • Pray for our brothers and sisters in the Occidente Presbytery of Guatemala - for their health, safety, and recovery from the effects of the Covid pandemic
Pastoral Leadership Opportunities

First Presbyterian Church, Lake Crystal; First Presbyterian Church, Kasota - Pastor, yoked parish
Ministry Information Form - 03709.AB1

Maine Presbyterian Church, rural Underwood - Solo Pastor
Ministry Information Form - 03870.AB0

Faith Presbyterian Church, Silver Lake - Solo Pastor
Ministry Information Form - 03851.AD0

First Presbyterian Church, Slayton - Pastor
Ministry Information Form - 03805.AB0

Hope Presbyterian Church, Spicer - Solo Pastor
Ministry Information Form - 09565.ADO

First Presbyterian Church, Winnebago - Interim Pastor
Ministry Information Form - 03811.AA1

Ministry opportunities are posted on the Church Leadership Connection website -- http://oga.pcusa.org/section/mid-council-ministries/clc/
Mount Olivet Conference & Retreat Center’s Living Well, Leading Well series continues in April and May with a focus on health and healing as we transition to the next phase of the pandemic. On May 22, Professor Deborah Hunsinger (Princeton Seminary) will present Healing Collective Trauma. She will share psychological and spiritual tools for increasing resilience and finding hope and joy in our life together. Click on the links above to learn more and register.  
Deborah Hunsinger
The Ministry Lab invites congregational leaders of all kinds from all kinds of settings to join monthly Round Table discussions tackling the numerous and fluctuating joys and challenges of emerging from Covid into a more just and sustainable future. Avoid going back to a "normal" that wasn't working: get inspired and inspire others with your great ideas; network and find collegial support. For more information or to sign up, go to our website: https://theministrylab.org/portfolio-item/round-tables/