The Valley Bridge
The weekly newsletter from the
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
November 1, 2017
 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)
Regular Presbytery office hours are 8:00 - 5:00 Monday - Friday
Congregation of the week: November 5-11
United Presbyterian Church of Westbrook
Pastor: Keith A. Carey
Clerk of Session: Lois Reynolds
Treasurer: Marilyn K. Carey
Prayer Concerns: 
Marilyn K. Carey for continued recovery from broken bone and leg infection. She parked her walker for first time since Oct 18, 2016.
Denise is coming! Denise is coming!

We are so excited to announce that General Assembly Co-Moderator Denise Anderson will be at our Nov. 4 presbytery meeting in Redwood Falls to lead worship, officiate at communion and share with us news from General Assembly and answer questions you might have. Come join in the excitement - All are welcome!
November Presbytery Meeting

WHERE: First Presbyterian Church
              235 E 4th St
              Redwood Falls MN 56283
WHEN: Saturday, November 4 at 10:00 
Registration begins at 9:00

November Teaching Elder Ordination Anniversaries

11/12/2000    Beverly Brock
11/14/1999    Jon Armajani
11/18/1986    Norma Spurgin
11/24/2012    Steve Tyykila
Giveaway:  First Presbyterian Church of Willmar is giving away plastic handbell stands. Call 320-235-1263 with questions.
Hurricane Cleanup Buckets: update from Mark Giese

The response for this project has been amazing, and overwhelming. We have received donations from so many among our Presbytery (Lake Crystal, Fergus Falls, Windom, Brainerd, Spicer, St. Cloud, Randall, Underwood, and Ashby). We've even received donations from out of state! As of this publication, we have over 250 buckets packed and ready for shipment! Thank you for all of the support and efforts in your communities.
Send us pictures!

We would love to use pictures from our congregations during presbytery meetings, on our website, and in the newsletter. Do you have some great stained glass windows, unique symbols or art in your church? Some great action shots of congregation members, children and youth? If you are out and about and see some great images, send those too. Please email these high quality png or jpg images to Karen Lange. If sending pictures of children or youth for our use, please get permission from their parents.
What an educational bargain!
by Edith Alvarez
For just $250 a year you, your family, your church, your organization could educate the child of a pastor in our sister Occidente Presbytery, Guatemala. This would include enough money to buy a uniform, a pair of shoes, books, and other school supplies and might mean the difference between a child's being able to attend school or not. Pastors in Guatemala earn very little money and are often forced to hold one or two jobs other than preaching to provide for their family. The Occidente Committee on Ministry selects which children receive scholarships based on need.

The school year in Guatemala begins in January. If you would like to help, money should be sent to the Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys, 4055 Abbott Drive, Willmar, MN 56201 by November 4. Indicate that it is for a Guatemalan scholarship. We do not reveal who the donors are to the recipients to avoid further requests for financial assistance, but we do try to provide you with a photo, academic record and thank you note of a recipient.
Tracee Ford's Reflections as a young adult chaperone to Occidente
Tracee Ford, Mark Ford, and the iconic iguana at Hotel Ixblanque, Guatemala City
God's Eye craft project for the young women group home

This summer I had the opportunity to travel to Guatemala with Pastor Mark Ford and four young women from his area.  It was the girls and my first trip to Guatemala, so we were comforted that we had Pastor Mark (7th trip) to guide us.
I have had the opportunity to travel in the past, but none of my trips have been so meaningful.  We visited several churches and stayed in church members' homes. We were able to get to know "real people" and their families. 
Sharing the Word of God in the park and on the streets was a new experience for me.  It pushed me outside of my comfort zone.  After a brief introduction and a few minutes of chatting in Spanish, I was happy to pass my new friend over to the church member who accompanied me to continue on with the message. (This was street evangelism in Solola)
I discovered that the people that had so little to give were the most generous people I have ever met. I found that you had to be careful about giving compliments because if I said I like a glass, the tea, the sugar, or the flowers, that they were given as parting gifts.
The trip to the young women's home was difficult for me.  Although it was a pleasure to see the excited faces as the girls learned how to make a God's Eye, helping the girls to succeed that wanted to give up or not try at all meant the most.  With the challenging futures that lay ahead of them, it was important for me to guide them to complete their projects by handling their frustrations, and by developing tenacity and grit to follow through. (The young women's home was a shared ministry with several Presbyterian Churches in Xela. It was funded by the government, but churches are allowed to do mission and ministry work there. The young women were below the age of 18--some had babies or had been victims of rape. We were not allowed to take pictures there due to confidentiality and safety of the residents.)
As a mother of five, it was difficult to leave the girls behind.  One little girl made a bracelet for me as a gift.  She will never know how much it meant to me.  If I could have signed adoption papers on the spot, I would have brought four more daughters home to raise.
This trip was a one-of-a-kind experience for me.  I would like to thank all the folks that made the trip possible and also those who offered financial support.
I truly met some kindred spirits and special people who will always remain with me.
Thank you!
Tracee Ford
Cody, Nebraska
(Mark Ford's sister-in-law)

Steering Congregations to Formational Resources

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. Each area has one or two individuals who serve as point persons. The point person's goal is to steer you in the right direction toward valuable resource. Please let us know how we can come alongside of your congregation.

Discipleship: Pam Bush, , 507-823-4697
EvangelismAnne Veldhuisen,, 507-215-5617
Mission: Richard Lawrence, , 320-260-9639
Mission: Darlene Scherbing, , 320-292-2610
Spiritual Leadership: Tom Voigt, , 612-875-6398
Stewardship: Rick Hauge, , 507-829-5227
Worship: Darin Seaman, , 320-251-8277
Pastoral Leadership Opportunities

The following congregation within the bounds of our presbytery is currently seeking pastoral leadership:

Randall Presbyterian Church, Randall
- Pastor
   Ministry Information Form - 03892.AC

First Presbyterian Church, Fulda - Solo Pastor, 3/4 time
   Ministry Information Form - 03782.AD

Hope Presbyterian Church, Spicer - Interim Pastor
   Ministry Information Form - 09565.AC

The Ministry Information Forms for these opportunities are posted on the Church Leadership Connection web site --
2018 Per Capita is $40.13

$27.00 for Presbytery
   5.40 for Synod
   7.73 for GA
$40.13 Total
Mosaic of Peace Conference

Witnessing for Peace and Wholeness in a Land called 'Holy'
A Presbyterian Peacemaking Conference in Israel/Palestine
April 29-May 12, 2018

For more information, including a sample conference schedule and information from past conferences, visit or contact the Presbyterian Peacemaking Program at 800-728-7228 x5805 or 502-569-5805.

Seeking Director of Music Ministry - Wheaton, IL

First Presbyterian Church of Wheaton, Illinois, is seeking a talented and enthusiastic Director of Music Ministry, who is committed to growth both individually and collectively. This is a full time position responsible for leading our Music Ministry in collaboration with the Senior Pastor/Head of Staff. The ideal candidate will have a vision for music ministry that connects our souls with God in a profound and dramatic way in worship. First Pres is open to a variety of musical styles from those that are rich in tradition to those which are newly inspired.
If you are a dynamic, creative person who is looking to celebrate, journey and serve with us, we look forward to hearing from you. Please send a cover letter and resume to Jan Buscher, Church Administrator.  A complete job description can be downloaded here .
Jan Buscher, CCA,  Church Administrator
First Presbyterian Church of Wheaton
715 N. Carlton
Wheaton, IL 60187
(630) 668-5147 x19

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