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 31 - June 6
First Presbyterian Church of Iona
Clerk of Session: Grace Hart
Treasurer: Betty Rosenberg
Elders: Lexy Fransen, Jim Peterson, Butch Veld, Betty Rosenberg, Grace Hart
Secretary: Suzie Gengler
Custodian: Valerie Veld
Pianists: Cheri Paulsen and Linda Reasonover
Pastor: Deb Klaassen

Our congregation actively supports missions such as the Murray County Food Shelf, LAMB, New Life Treatment Center, Hospice, McAngels, Hearts 'n Hands, church camp for our kids, Helping Hands Pregnancy Center, mission person Michelle Ellefson, worship services at local nursing homes and assisted living facilities and helping in times of need throughout our community as various needs arise.

Prayer Concerns: 
  • For our world, our nation, and our state that as we re-open, Covid19 does not worsen. We also pray for a cure and a vaccine.
  • For all who are fighting illnesses and diseases, those who are hospitalized, those recovering from surgeries and we especially remember a member of our congregation who is fighting cancer.
  • For those in care facilities who are quarantined to their facility.
  • For those who are jobless, hungry, scared and uncertain about what lies ahead for them.
  • For those who work in our health care systems, first responders, firefighters, teachers, volunteers and so many others who go unnoticed.
  • For farmers and livestock producers and those involved in the agriculture picture that things may improve for them economically.
  • For the elderly as a whole as they struggle with issues confronting their every day life.
  • And we pray for the continued power of the Holy Spirit in all of our lives as well as our churches as we pray that nothing will stop us from being the church we are called to be right now, in this moment, and that we can do it in a way that ensures the safety of our people. Amen.
Register for the PDA Webinar: Pastor Resilience and Support
June 2 at 10:00 AM

You are invited to a Zoom webinar.
When: Jun 2, 2020 10:00 AM Central Time (US and Canada)
Topic: Minnesota Valleys Presbytery Pastor Resilience and Support
Register in advance for this webinar:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

This webinar, presented by Presbyterian Disaster Assistance, will focus on resilience
and self-care for faith leaders in the continuing season of COVID-19. We will address
how to understand our own signs of stress and will offer in-the-moment tools to
become more relaxed in body and mind. We will consider the need for continued
attention to our own emotional and spiritual wellbeing in the midst of the
challenges and joys of ministry in the midst of this pandemic. We will also share
information and ideas about timelines and processes related to living through and
recovering from times of trauma and disaster.

Pentecost and Justice
In Christian history the Holy Spirit took fearful men, Peter, James, John, Thomas, Bartholomew, Thaddeus, Andrew, Phillip, Matthias, Matthew, Judas, and Luke and made them those who turned the world upside down. The Holy Spirit took women Dorcas, Anna, Mary, Susana, Lydia, Eudicene, Priscilla and made them benefactors and leaders in a culture that did not respect women. After Pentecost, there were many unnamed individuals who found courage to do miraculous things in the name of God. If I were preaching a sermon today, my title would be a question, “What do Spiritual Gifts have to do with justice?”
If you begin reading in Genesis, then continue through Judges, stop by Samaria and listen to the prophet Micah, visit a little while with Amos, Habakkuk, and Hosea. Next, walk by the sea of Galilee and listen to the words of Jesus; you will come to understand that Spiritual Gifts have everything to do with justice. Justice making the term used for righting wrongs has always been a passion of God’s. In Scripture we hear:
Look at the poor,
Care for the widow,
Give to those who do not have,
Provide a sanctuary for the outcast,
Be a parent to the orphaned,
Provide loans without interest,
End high taxation,
Speak out against unfair governments,
Defend the falsely accused
Do not oppress people with laws too heavy to carry
Love thy neighbor as you love yourself
Treat others as you wish to be treated.

Before there were government programs Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Women, Infants and Children (WIC), Child’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Medicaid, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and Farm Assist the Church was the lead resource for those in need. Church buildings were sanctuaries and respected landmarks for justice. The tall steeples stood high like water towers announcing towns. The sign of a church lowered anxiety and brought about hope. However, at times, the Church fulfilled the role of sanctuaries and at other times, it has been a co-conspirator in injustice.

Pentecost continues to be the event that emboldens believers through gifts to do extraordinary feats in God’s name. Our message of hope intersects with the pangs of the world...COVID19, racism, poverty, injustice, distrust, hopelessness, and violence. As a confessional denomination, we know that each time a Confession was written, it served the purpose of making a public declaration amid the crisis of the time. We are fully aware that we cannot past on doing something to resolve the problems of today.

Although, some government programs bring relief to those in need, empathy and compassion cannot be legislated. We live with the polarities that profit, advantage and injustice has a market. In every century going above the law, abusing power, greed, playing by a different set of rules, climbing the corporate ladder at any cost, oppressing the underdog for sport, heavy taxation, slavery, trafficking, restricting services, having disposable people, war, violence, prejudice, and partiality have all been the product of the fabric of society. These are the systems at work that underpin the wrongdoings that we hear of daily.

Even so, the Church has an opportunity and duty. We are given Spiritual gifts for the common good wisdom, knowledge, the gifts of healing, tongues, discernment of spirits, and interpretation. These gifts are manifested to edify the church and also to assist the Church in being agents of social change. Consider these two quotes: Abraham Lincoln once said, “Nearly all men can stand adversity but if you want to test a man’s character give him power.” Martin Luther King said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in the moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.” In my opinion, these quotes deal with the actions of people and specifically the actions of spiritual people.

I believe Jesus would ask the question what good is a gift if you only use it for yourself? Similarly, Christ asked what good is love if you only love your kin and those in your circle? Spiritual gifts come from heaven they are loan to us for specific task. To some God gives wisdom insight wherewithal to resolve issues. Others have the ability to marshal support. To others the ability to heal and claim situations, to become physicians to society. To others God gives strength and courage to speak truth to power. Others will, through love, remove the years of pain.

Spiritual gifts assist in bringing about peace. Blessed are the peacemakers for they will be called the children of God. So often peace is a hard fault reality it comes with the price of conflict. Are we willing to stand moments of uncomfortableness in order to reach a place of placidity? Spiritual gifts make us builders and not those who tear down. In Isaiah 62:10 says, “Go through, go through the gates, prepare the way for the people, build up, build the highway clear it of stones lift up an ensign over the people and proclaim the earth is the Lord’s.”

How does the 2000-year-old story about a carpenter who died on a cross motivate us to take action? I believe it was his words of peace and justice. The Gospel of Jesus is a Social Gospel reconciling us with God and in turn reconciling life in general. Jesus died to reform all aspects of life. He died to right the wrongs of society and to free people from oppression. He lived to give people a sense of dignity reminding them that they were children of God, Imago Dei (the image of God).

Those who do great things are inspired by God. The Holy Spirit enables, empowers, and assist available men and women for tasks that change history and the world. Pentecost has empowered us to pray and act. “Until violence cease on our streets our work is not done and our prayers cannot cease. Until prejudice cease, and men and women are not judged by the color of their skin, the Church must act and pray. Until the roads of poverty lead some into the suburbs and the hills and until the courtroom lead some into the boardroom, the Church must act and pray. Until the road to nowhere actually leads somewhere, the Church must act, the Church must pray” (adapted from an unknown author).

The Holy Spirit teaches us how to pray and then how to act. We are world changers. Let us start with small initiatives of grace within our networks of influence. The Scriptures state that light cannot be over powered by darkness (John 1:5). The Church will succeed at justice making if it tries. We will make a difference if it is our desire. Spiritual Gifts come with an extra dose of power; they are from heaven sent to do an earthly work. As we celebrate Pentecost I pray, that the fire of the Holy Spirit ignite in us the flames of justice and love.

First Presbyterian Church of Mankato offers space for homeless shelter
Paycheck Protection Program Forgiveness Application
General Assembly bulletin inserts – GA224 in 2020

What’s coming to the 2020 General Assembly? How will you explain the actions of GA to the congregation?

The 224th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) meeting in June 2020 is shaping up to be an assembly like no other. For the first time, GA will be held virtually.
This year’s assembly will consider critical business and elect a new team of moderators (co-moderators or moderator/vice moderator).

Help your congregation know what’s coming to GA and give your church members a fast, accurate and fair account of what happened after the votes are taken. We know many congregations are facing unprecedented financial challenges this year. So, we are offering our balanced, trusted GA bulletin inserts for a special price. You will receive both the pre-GA and post-GA inserts for the price of one in a full-color, easy to read format that you can easily email to all members of the congregation. Only $20 for congregations of less than 200 members and $30.00 for churches greater than 200 members. You download a PDF file of a master, prepared by the award-winning staff of The Presbyterian Outlook, and then email them to the congregation.

Pre-GA bulletin inserts will be available June 12.
Post-GA bulletin inserts will be available June 27. (late evening, after the assembly concludes)

Order now!
Churches with membership less than 200 =  Order for $20
Churches with membership of 300 or more =  Order for $30
Presbyteries are invited to order for all of their congregations for 1 cent per member. Call George Whipple to order: (800) 446-6008 ext. 756.

General Assembly Docket Link
How to Lead When You Don't Know Where You're Going
New presbytery book study: How to Lead When You Don’t Know Where You’re Going: Leading in a Liminal Season by Susan Beaumont speaks to where we are today. We will discuss on June 30 at 11:00 AM by Zoom.

How do you lead an organization stuck between an ending and a new beginning—when the old way of doing things no longer works but a way forward is not yet clear? Beaumont calls such in-between times liminal seasons—threshold times when the continuity of tradition disintegrates and uncertainty about the future fuels doubt and chaos. In a liminal season it simply is not helpful to pretend we understand what needs to happen next. But leaders can still lead.
Online worship opportunities in our presbytery

Amboy: Weekly video devotions available on Facebook at First Presbyterian Church of Amboy or on YouTube at Pastor Amboy

Baxter: Meeting ID: 232 179 218; worship at 10:15

Edgerton: 10:30 Sunday mornings  Worship on church Facebook Page, and 11:30 Sunday mornings  Worship Audio Version available on church website

Ellsworth Zion, and Rushmore Emmanuel and First are worshiping using Facebook Live at 9:05 a.m. on Sunday mornings. We also have a conference call set up for those who do not have Facebook. We are using Start Meeting for the conference calls.

Fergus Falls: our sermon available on our website ( ) and our YouTube channel ( FF Federated Church ) Friday afternoons. We will also post a devotion video in the middle of the week.

Jackson: Facebook Live - Facebook site is Salem Lutheran Church, Jackson, MN
Sunday 9:30 a.m., Wednesday 5:30 p.m., Holy Week - daily devotions, MT and GF 5:30 p.m.

Lake Crystal: Our church is sending Worship bulletin content and sermon via email and regular mail to our membership for each Sunday.  Also recording a service from Sanctuary of myself and musician to be accessed on You Tube on the Friday before the given Sunday.

Lismore: 9:00 Sunday mornings - Worship on church Facebook Page

Litchfield: 10:00 am Sunday mornings and Tuesday morning Bible study by Zoom. Contact Gordy Pennertz for instructions.

Luverne: 10:15 am Sunday mornings on Facebook Live. Also carried by local cable company.

Maine: Services available at 

Mankato: - archive of all resources listed below
SUNDAYS on Facebook 
10AM sermon/prayer with Pastor Lindsay
10:20 (ish) Children's Time with Bailey DeVetter
10:30 (ish) Music Selection by Ben Marti posted

Osakis: Our COVID 19 worship is accessible via our church's Facebook page Osakis Presbyterian Church.

Randall: 10:00 am Sunday worship service is on Facebook and webpage

Redwood Falls: 10:15 am worship on Facebook Live on First Presbyterian Redwood Falls page and 6:30 pm Wednesday Witness with Pastor Pam (same) 

Saint Cloud: Services available online at  

Saint James: Facebook Live worship @ 10:15

Slayton: Uploaded to their YouTube channel:

Spicer Hope: Facebook live at 10:00 link on Hope Presbyterian Church website Also services are uploaded there later in the day.

Willmar: Facebook Live at 10:00 am Sunday mornings
Coronavirus/COVID-19 Resources for Congregations and Members

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?—Psalm 27:1
Along with our brothers and sisters all around the world, we’re now coming to terms with the “new normal” brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. It is our hope and goal to equip churches and worshipers with useful information and resources during these trying times. Please check back often for updated information. If you have ideas or resources that might be of interest to the wider church, we invite you to email them to us at .
Guidance for Faith-Based Communities from the MN Department of Health Link to guide
From Presbyterian Outlook When grief moves in: Pastoral care for grief and COVID-19 through stories
Live webinar with on-demand replay — $29.95 (1-6 participants from the same church)
Live webinar with on-demand replay — $39.95 (7-12 participants from the same church)
From FPC Litchfield: Due to the uncertainties of the COVID-19 Pandemic, First Presbyterian Church of Litchfield has postponed our 150th Anniversary celebration until next summer. Details and invitations will be shared next spring.
June Ordination Anniversaries

06/04/1974 Terry Olthoff
06/08/1956 Charles Reid
06/13/1971 Bob Maharry
06/20/1982 Ed Morgan
06/20/1981 Michael Roys
06/21/1998 Les Winters
06/22/1980 Bonnie Sue Roys
06/27/2009 Tony Oltmann
06/29/1953 Merle Elrod
06/29/1989 Marcia Sylvester
Prayer List

  • For Rev. John Lindholm, retired pastor, Fergus Falls
  • 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
  • For Rev. Elaine and Kent Boyd at First Presbyterian Church of Amboy
  • Rev. Araceli Itzep from the Occidente Presbytery
  • For Bety Cifuentes, the treasurer of the Partnership Committee, who is beginning chemotherapy
  • For the "Men in the Mirror" program. Men from Occidente that MVP supported financially to attend the classes a couple of years ago are going to share the information they gained with different churches in the eastern and central parts of Guatemala. They, along with the chaplains of the national Presbyterian church, will also be training Christian policemen in what they learned from "Men in the Mirror."
Presbyterian Women: Opportunity is Knocking at Your Heart

Our PW Presbyterian Women are hoping to have some more women join our Coordinating Team. We usually meet twice a year, once in the Spring and once in the Fall. We also have a Spring Gathering, a day for all Minnesota Valleys Presbyterian Women to meet together for fellowship, food, fun, interesting speakers, SERRV vendors, and much more, usually in June. With the virus this year it is very possible that our Spring Gathering will become a Fall Gathering!

Our CT has members that have been on this team for many years and would like some new faces, ideas, etc. We do need a Treasurer, if you enjoy working with numbers. This might be just the thing for you! We have committees too: Communications, Mission/Issues, Search. Please consider this opportunity as we continue to fulfill the Presbyterian Women Purpose

If you have any questions or concerns about this opportunity, please contact me at:
Gloria Rust, Moderator
H) 507-283-4975
C) 507-227-7393

Blessings to all as we work together to praise God, knowing that all things are in his hands!
Four Students from Dubuque Seminary Looking for Summer Internship

Are you open to serving as a ministry learning site? If so, students from Dubuque Seminary are looking for summer placements. Congregations will provide housing and a monthly stipend. Summer internships are paid at the rate of $1,000 a month. The work-week includes 40 hours, Sunday and mid-week worship leadership, mission engagement and mentor conversations. Students will receive training in pastoral ministry, sit on the session with voice, participate in the presbytery, be assigned to a presbytery commission, engage in community outreach, and participate in the presbytery transformation training. Additionally, interns will receive a mentor.
A successful internship will include a learning experience that prepares new leaders to serve the church with a greater sense of vocational clarity. Interns will gain cultural competence, develop skill in adaptive leadership, and grow in their pastoral identity.

For More Information:
Rev. Dr. SanDawna Gaulman Ashley
Executive Presbyter
An Invitation to Spiritual Leaders

This is your invitation to submit a short video of yourself offering a meditation of your favorite passage from the Bible for the Presbytery YouTube channel. If you are interested, please contact Steve Tyykila ( or Andy Davis ( ). We'll give you more parameters and information, but we are looking for informal (not from the pulpit), personal, short (less than five minutes) videos on your favorite passage that you can record from your phone or computer. Thanks!
Pastoral Leadership Opportunities

Zion Presbyterian Church, Ellsworth; Emmanuel Presbyterian Church, Rushmore; First Presbyterian Church, Rushmore
Interim Pastor  Description

First Presbyterian Church, Fulda  - Solo Pastor
Ministry Information Form -  03782.AD1

First Presbyterian Church, Lake Crystal; First Presbyterian Church, Kasota - Pastor, yoked parish
Ministry Information Form - 03709.AB0

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

Faith Presbyterian Church, Silver Lake  - Solo Pastor
Ministry Information Form -   03851.AC3

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

First Presbyterian Church, Winnebago - Interim Pastor

Ministry opportunities are posted on the Church Leadership Connection website --