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 10-16
First Presbyterian Church of Foley
Leadership list
Clerk of Session: Bill Brauen
Chair of Deacons: Joyce Rife
Youth Elder: Austin Malikowski
Youth Deacon: Gavin Emery
Sunday School Superintendent: Melody Henry
Pastor: Beverly Brock

Like everyone else, First Presbyterian of Foley is doing the best we can through the pandemic Safety at Home. Worship services are being taped and aired via Facebook and YouTube. We are also mourning the loss of life-long Presbyterian and long-time member Carol Stiles who passed away on Good Friday. Prayers for all and remember time and time in scripture the Lord tells us "Do not be afraid."
What We Can Learn from Our Mothers
Each year when Mothers’ Day comes around, I am keenly aware that some who worship Sunday will not be able to appreciate all the sentiments about a mother’s love. Nonetheless, I feel especially compelled today to speak about mothers and highlight the attributes of those who have taught us about life, who have loved us unconditionally, cared for the community and have been examples of godliness.

I cannot think about mothers without thinking about my mother, Dorothy Marie Brown Gaulman and my grandmother Sadie McKnight. Dorothy did not live long, but in her short life, she left a heritage of grace, beauty, and love. She was a nurse and Military wife raising her children in four different states in the U.S. and overseas in Germany. She left for her children culture, education, a strong sense of family, and the Roman Catholic faith. Sadie lived to be 87, and her life-story includes faith, caring for children, cooking meals, teaching her daughters how to care for home and husbands, and missionary work. As a pre-teenager, I remember accompanying my grandmother as she visited the homebound and the mentally ill. She would deliver meals, visit for a while, and then we would be on our way. Church was every Sunday without question. She was a woman of style and class. She worked in New York City before returning to the South. Her wardrobe always included a hat, matching purse and shoes, and a beautiful dress ordered from a catalog. She wrote letters, managed family members' affairs, and sang each Sunday in the choir. I am not sure what time she rose in the morning, but we were cooked three meals a day except on Friday when we were able to order fish from a local restaurant. However, she usually prepared the side dishes. She baked cakes, frequented the halls of our schools, and rejoiced in our accomplishments.

We can learn many things from our mothers. It goes without saying what mothers teach or do not teach makes a significant difference in a person’s life. Paul encourages Timothy, a new pastor, during a difficult time to remember the faith of his grandmother Lois and mother Eunice. In this brief reference to them, we learn they taught him perseverance, how to believe in the impossible, wisdom to deal with difficult situations, and trust in God. Timothy, “go deep within and stir up the gift that you were given and use it to get you through this situation” echoes through history. One artist said her mother would often say during trying times, “you were not made to break.” You only need just enough grace to make it each day. I have vivid memories of the mothers on North 15th Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and those of Eastway Park in Columbia, South Carolina … proud, strong women who knew a lot about life. Alice Walker describes women she grew up with in a poem entitled Women :
They were women then
My mama’s generation
Husky of voice---stout of
Step
With fists as well as
hands
How they battered down
doors
And ironed
Starched white
shirts
How they led
Armies
headragged generals
Across mined
fields
booby-trapped
ditches
To discover
books
desks
a place for us
How they knew what
we
Must know
without knowing a page
of it
themselves.

The recognition of mothers in our country was a work in progress. The day began as a Women's Peace Group meeting held to encourage and support mothers whose sons fought and died on opposite sides of the Civil War. In 1868, Ann Jarvis established Mother's Friendship Day. The movement began in West Virginia and had a strong political agenda, bringing families back together, sanitation conditions, and combating infant mortality rates. Jarvis had 13 children but only saw four of them reach adulthood. Following Jarvis, Julia Ward Howe took up the mission. She declared Mothers' Peace Day and made the case that "war is a preventable evil and mothers have the sacred duty to protect their sons." In 1873, the day was inaugurated on the second Sunday of May, the day of Ann Jarvis' death. The work of mothers changes generations.
 
Beginning with Eve, whose name meant "alive," motherhood is the call to birth, nurture, and bring to life many things. Struggle and motherhood seem synonymous. Do you remember the Old Testament story of a mother fighting to keep her sons from becoming bond slaves? A recent widow, the spouse of one of Elisha's prophets, was a mother left with a family to provide for and insurmountable debt. Although this story is centuries old, we could be talking about many women today. In October 2019, statistics showed that women head 40 percent of households in our country. The plight of women is often burdened with lower salaries, raising children alone, and responsibilities for caring for their immediate families and others. The example from Scripture is a mother amid a devastating situation fighting for the well-being of her family. She seeks help from God by appealing to Elisha. Faith is a core value for many women. Among women ages 20 and older, 83.4% of women across 192 countries and territories are religiously affiliated, accordingly the Pew Research Center. When we take into consideration the plight of women, especially mothers living without faith, it is not a viable option. Faith is the engine that keeps most mothers going.
 
Additionally, asking for help is sometimes hard to do. We live with the sayings "We don't take charity. It's a sign of weakness if we need to depend on others." By in large, women are more willing to accept assistance, especially when the welfare of their families is at stake. Mothers also are the first to reciprocate support, advocate for others, and show compassion. Making much out of little, resourcefulness is an attribute of a mother worthy of praise. During the COVID19 crisis, making home a place of safety, peace, and rest is high on my priority list. This is true for many people. One positive of this crisis is our reevaluation of core values. We are looking at history recalling how our foremothers managed years of scarcity and trouble. How did they survive? What was their secret to making things feel all right when they were moments from falling apart? On Sunday, we will honor women of resiliency. Women with out-of-this-world strength.
 
All mothers, whether birth mothers or those who are mothers through relationship are women who point us Godward. Their stillness of soul carries on through generations of children who mature to be ethical, justice-minded, responsible human beings. So often, when we imagine what God is like, the love of a mother is our closest example. The feminine side of God describes tenderness, compassion, protection, wisdom (Sophia), unconditional love. Even so, we are reminded that God is Spirit and cannot be fully defined by gender. The attributes generosity, courage, compassion, and sacrifice are the mothers I grew up with, not perfect, only human. Beautiful, bold, intelligent, resourceful, funny, charming, phenomenal woman are, for me, a reflection of the Divine. Not all birth mothers fit the description above; however, God promises not to leave us motherless. I believe that along the road of life, each person finds a mother figure who will love him or her as if they were their own. We give thanks today for mothers and the gifts they have given us. Speak the names of those women in your life.

Blessings and Peace,
SanDawna Theresa Gaulman Ashley
A special presbytery meeting is being planned for May 12 at 1:00 p.m. via Zoom. Email Karen Lange the names and email addresses of the commissioners planning to attend this Zoom, and instructions will be emailed before the meeting.
From Ministry Lab: Do you know what you're doing this summer?
Webinar is May 14 at noon

The Ministry Lab  encourages clergy and faith formation leaders from MN's UCC, UMC and Presbyterian congregations to join Rev. Kevin Brown, Associate Conference Minister of Faith Formation for Children & Youth of the MN Conf. UCC, for a supplemental Co-Lab Webinar /Faith Formation Leader's Bi-weekly Gathering: "Do You Know What You're Doing This Summer...??" on Thursday, May 14, from 12:00-1:00 CST . Concerned with how to replace VBS/Day Camp? Not sure what to do instead of camp or a mission trip? Share ideas and challenges, get inspired, and be empowered to innovate your way through a fantastic, faith-filled summer. To register, contact Ministry Lab Director Rev. Emily Meyer: ministrylab@unitedseminary.edu by 11:30 AM on Thursday, May 14.
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



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 ( www.federatedff.org ) 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. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSDuL79Bte0CjYxgTVor1ng

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 https://youtu.be/iiBy9u-Dt_c 

Mankato: www.fpcmankato.org - 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.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9d9oyHSavI&feature=youtu.be&fbclid=IwAR3CZG_P05n-n9runLFEk7y8i-1Ys6dyHtNfeuSxwdABAPRKvrnHWGI9uVE

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 Lenten Service (same) 

Saint Cloud: Services available online at www.fpcstcloud.org  

Saint James: Facebook Live worship @ 10:15 facebook.com/fpcstjames/



Slayton: Uploaded to their YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6o_vug3Us-sRQfEGbLDqJw

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  connected@pcusa.org .
Resources from Theology, Formation, and Evangelism

End-of-Life pastoral care resources / Resources at the time of death. The PC(USA) Office of Theology and Worship has developed resources for prayer at the time of death in situations where patients are quarantined, pastors or loved ones are not permitted to be present, and medical personnel may be seeking to offer spiritual care. Two documents are provided, each in two versions:  Prayer at the Time of Death ( booklet larger print ) and  Comforting the Bereaved  ( booklet ,   larger print ). These materials are based on the   Book of Common Worship   © 2018. Adapted with permission of Westminster John Knox Press. All rights reserved. – April 13, 2020
Guidance for Faith-Based Communities from the MN Department of Health Link to guide
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Emotional and Spiritual Care
Resources in response to COVID-19

Building Resilience Webinar for Faith Leaders
This one-hour program is designed to increase participants’ understanding of their own signs of stress and to teach in-the-moment tools to engage the relaxation response in body and mind. This webinar is designed for faith leaders in this season of COVID-19 and will engage participants in responding to questions and prompts to help create a personalized self- care and resilience-building plan, with attention to the particular issues facing faith leaders and awareness of the importance of the spiritual life which guides us all. Those attending will build on their experience while practicing new tools that have been shown to be effective in sustaining our capacity to serve in the midst of challenging circumstances. 

Building Resilience Webinar for General Audiences
This one-hour program is designed to increase participants’ understanding of their own signs of stress and to teach in-the-moment tools to engage the relaxation response in body and mind. This webinar is designed for anyone who is responding to the COVID-19 situation and will engage participants in responding to questions and prompts to help create a personalized self- care and resilience-building plan. Those attending will build on their experience while practicing new tools that have been shown to be effective in sustaining our capacity to serve in the midst of challenging circumstances.

Presbyterian Disaster Assistance can offer either of these one-hour webinars live to groups upon request.

These webinars have been recorded and are available at www.bit.ly/PDAESCwebinar . Anyone wishing to view this webinar should also download and print out the accompanying handout, which participants will use as they participate in the webinar.

Live Faith Leader Support Webinars
In addition to the B uilding Resilience webinar, Presbyterian Disaster Assistance can offer a live webinar to groups upon request. These webinars can be tailored to the group’s needs, with PDA offering a panel of presenters to respond to issues that may include self-care, changing needs of ministry in this time, and responding in times of stress, trauma and bereavement.

Please contact Kathy Riley, PDA national staff and Team Lead for Emotional and Spiritual Care at Kathryn.Riley@pcusa.org
Prayer List

  • For the family of Carol Stiles, ruling elder and former presbytery moderator from First Presbyterian Church of Foley, who passed away on April 10 Obituary
  • From Rev. Steve Boots: For Betty’s recovery.
  • 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

The Minnesota Valley PW Spring Gathering that was scheduled for June 2, in Renville has been postponed for now. Please watch for future announcements!

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 MN Valley 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 ( styykila@gmail.com or Andy Davis ( revrn1973@gmail.com ). 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 --  http://oga.pcusa.org/section/mid-council-ministries/clc/