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 9-15
First Presbyterian Church of Edgerton
Current ruling elders: Susan Fraser (clerk of session), Debbie Johnson, Kristin Schultz, Kent Van’t Hof, Lloyd Zwart, Max Zwart
Treasurer: Sandy Klingenberg  

The past year has forced us to find new ways to worship together, when we could not actually be together, and we have found that we can reach many of our members and friends through our live-streamed services. We encourage all of you to join us on Facebook on Sunday mornings at 10:30 a.m.  

Please keep us in prayer as we wish Pastor Tom Voigt well on his new call, and begin our search for a new pastor.  
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).
Genesis 4:9 and Covid-19

Mary Higgins from the Minnesota Department of Health was on the call with the Minnesota Council of Churches today. She gave the group a Covid-19 update. I know we are all getting so tired of Covid and Covid restrictions. Many of us have been vaccinated and feel like we are safe now, so let’s just get on with “normal” things.

Those of us who are at least a couple of weeks past their second shot (or one if Johnson & Johnson) are protected from a serious case of Covid-19. Yet the pandemic isn’t over. In the last 2 weeks, Minnesota has averaged 1500 new cases a day and there have been 150 deaths. The death rates are lower because younger, healthier people are catching the disease, the majority being ages 15-59 with the biggest group between 20-24.

Those who have had the disease or who have been vaccinated can still be carriers without knowing it. They are also finding new variants that are more contagious and affect younger people, even children. You may have heard that a previously healthy first grader died of Covid-19 in Marshall last week.

Why is this important? It is a theological issue. The first question anyone ever asked God was from Genesis 4:9. Cain asks God, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Even though God doesn’t give him a direct answer the rest of the Bible answers the question with a resounding “YES, YOU ARE!”

So, as we look out for each other and those who are vulnerable, be careful. Not for yourself alone but for all our siblings.

Also, with love, please encourage anyone who is not vaccinated to get their shots. Even if they have had the disease, their immunity maybe very short lived. Those who are worried about the safety of the vaccine, remember this: In the United States 578,000 people have died of Covid19, 0 have died from the vaccine. I don’t need a science degree to understand that.

Many blessings,
Kathy
Stated Presbytery Meeting is May 18

Presbytery’s next stated meeting on Tuesday, May 18, via Zoom beginning at 9:30 a.m. with fellowship groups and worship beginning at 10:00 a.m. The day will include communion, so please have communion elements ready.
 
Commissioners, please call or email Karen at the presbytery office by Monday, May 17 to indicate:
•If you will be in attendance
•If you request to be excused
Reading the Bible With New Eyes
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.
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.

Churches and Copyright: How To Be a Weekend Publisher/Broadcaster Without Going to Prison, Thursday, April 29, 1:00 - 2:00 PM Eastern. Offered by Practical Resources for Churches. Registration link: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_HlzYtgQETdaD7gsECAQMtQ

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 FOR SUMMER CAMP
Summer camp programs at Clearwater Forest are expected to resume in 2021 with new regulations in place to ensure the safety of our entire community.

At Clearwater Forest each session of camp for children, youth, adults and families is rich in a variety of activities, fresh air, engaging worship, and connection building. The loving, enthusiastic and dedicated summer staff provide guidance and support for campers to take healthy risks through fun, challenging and adventurous activities. Whether its learning to paddle a sea kayak or completing the high ropes course, these activities help any camper stretch and grow in a safe Christian community. Leadership opportunities abound for all ages – from choosing daily activities, participating in planning and leading worship, to leading a cabin or quest group through the various daily activities.

RENTAL DISCOUNT!
We are offering rooms in Leaning Tree Lodge, Eagle Lodge and the Carriage House for a discounted price! Renting at 25% occupancy. Contact the office for more information: office@clearwaterforest.org or (218) 678-2325.

STATEMENT ON RACIAL JUSTICE
Clearwater Forest stands firm in our Christian beliefs that each Black life is created in God’s image, because every human is created in God’s image. We commit to using our shared voices to speak against systemic injustice.

Visit http://clearwaterforest.org/summer-camp/ to register online for camp!
Lakeshore Center at Okoboji is located in a secluded setting of 55 acres on the west shore of West Lake Okoboji, with 600 feet of sand beach, complete with a canopy of large oak trees. It is located away from the centers of activity in the Lakes Area, resulting in a tranquil setting. It is an ideal location for family reunions, church retreats, youth group events, choir retreats, church leadership retreats, quilting retreats, summer camp, business meetings, and much more! 

​Contact us today to learn how Lakeshore can meet your needs for your next event! Call 712-337-3313 or email here.

Register for summer camp below: 
2021 Synod School
July 25-30

Registration is open 


2021 Theme: Called Out
Just as God called Lazarus out of the tomb, God calls us out of our slumber, out of our sleep, out of our complacency, out of our grief, out of our past, out of our comfort, out of our quarantines and more. God has plans for us and never stops calling us. Join us as we embrace the newness 2021 brings and what it means to faithfully wake up, rise, and respond to God’s call. “Sleeper, awake. Rise from the dead. And Christ will shine on you.”
Ephesians 5:14, NRSV
UPDATES
The Synod School Committee made the decision to move ahead with holding Synod School at Buena Vista University with some online options for those who are unable, for whatever reason, to join us in person this year. The first two columns of the linked document show you whether a class will be held online or in person (or both).

We will post regular updates on the Synod website as other decisions are made. We have four subcommittees working on details and want to make sure you have the information to make the decisions you need to make.

Sincerely,
Hope Presbyterian Church of Spicer seeks CE Director

Hope Presbyterian is seeking a Christian Education Director. The position's salary will be a minimum of $12.50 per hour dependent upon qualifications (education and experience), for 10-15 hours per week. Applicants, please send a cover letter and resume to the attention of the Personnel Committee at our church address, 7730 N Shore Dr, Spicer MN 56288. Link to the job description.
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.
Minnesota Department of Health Coronavirus Resources

Cultural, Faith, and Disability Communities COVID-19 Updates -April 26
Relevant documents are at Places of Worship Entities / StaySafeMN


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: Dismantling Structural Racism
Prayer List
  • For Rev. Randy Knuth, First Presbyterian Church of Fulda
  • 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 brother 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/
Worship and Music Conference

June 20-25 - in person at Montreat
June 27 - July 2 - online
This intergenerational conference is for children, youth, adults, pastors, directors, organists, pianists, guitarists, percussionists, ringers, worship leaders, choir members, and anyone who loves and takes part in the worship and music of the church.


Conference Highlights
  • *NEW* Multi-generational Hymn Festival Choir led by Tom Trenney
  • Daily Worship Reflections focused on collaborative worship planning for congregations of ALL sizes
  • A variety of practical offerings to explore the cultivation of inspirational worship
  • Living SCRIPTure: Biblical Storytelling for Middler and Senior High conferees
  • A select number of programs will be streamed and available virtually – join us from anywhere!

General Information
In celebration of the diversity that is drawn into community in the Christian understanding of Pentecost, The Ministry Lab is compiling diverse voices reading Acts 2:1-21 as a worship resource for our member congregations.
You are invited to share a video of yourself reading Acts 2:1-21 in the language of your heart. We will compile submitted videos into a single montage of readers - as depicted in the story being read - expressive of and in celebration of - the diversity of our community.

Videos must be received no later than Thursday, May 13. Submit videos directly to ministrylab@unitedseminary.edu.

Please complete a submission form to ensure proper credit and representation.
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