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 November 17-23
Faith Presbyterian Church of Silver Lake
Interim Pastor: Rev. Murphy Ashley, Jr
Clerk of Session: Deb Jensen
Elders: Brittany Jensen, Mark Krcil, Jerry Quast, Dorothy Merrill, Doris Jerabek, Jerry Brooks, Bruce Svanda, and Laura Pieper

Prayer concerns for our congregation: Safety for our farmers as they work to get the crops out this fall, prayers for our shut-ins and those dealing with health issues, prayers for Rev. Ashley for a speedy recovery from surgery, and prayers for our PNC as we work to find the right person to be our new pastor.
Congregations can get up to $50k to help their pastors find renewal: Applications available for the Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Program

from the Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Program | Special to Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE — Congregations seeking renewal for their pastor are invited to apply for the  Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Program  at  Christian Theological Seminary  in Indianapolis, Indiana.

According to a news release from the program, congregations may apply for grants of up to $50,000 to underwrite a renewal program for their pastor and for the pastor’s family. Up to $15,000 of the funds are available to the congregation to help cover costs for ministerial supply while the pastor is away.

Through its religion grantmaking, Lilly Endowment, an Indianapolis-based, private philanthropic foundation, seeks to deepen and enrich the lives of American Christians. It does this largely through initiatives to enhance and sustain the quality of ministry in American congregations and parishes.

To this end, National and Indiana Clergy Renewal Programs provide an opportunity for pastors to step away briefly from the persistent obligations of daily parish life and to engage in a period of renewal and reflection. Renewal periods are not vacations but times for intentional exploration and reflection, for drinking again from God’s life-giving waters and for regaining enthusiasm and creativity for ministry.

Details and application materials for the 2020 programs are now available. In the 2020 Lilly Endowment  National Clergy Renewal Program  and the 2020 Lilly Endowment  Clergy Renewal Program for Indiana Congregations , eligible congregations will be able to apply for grants of up to $50,000 each to support a renewal program for their pastor. Up to $15,000 of the grant may be used for congregational expenses associated with the renewal program.

There is no cost for congregations or pastors to apply. The application deadline is April 1, 2020. Congregations will be notified as to whether their proposals are to be funded or not by the end of August 2020. Activities funded by a 2020 grant in the clergy renewal programs may begin anytime in 2021.
Learn more by clicking  here .
Committee on Representation wants you to help us be the best presbytery we can be!

We have been busy these last few weeks finding folks to serve the presbytery on several commissions, and we are still looking for:

Commission on Presbytery Life
1 ruling elder to serve a one-year term

Committee on Congregational Nurture
1 ruling elder to serve a three-year term
1 ruling elder to serve a one-year term

General Assembly
1 ruling elder to serve as an alternate

Please, if you feel called, or know of someone who would be great on one of these commissions, contact Audrey Knuth at 507-830-0520 or David Lick at 414-334-9385.
Prayer List

  • For the family of Sara McKay, Chair of the Committee on Representation
  • For Rev. Michael Roys, pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Winnebago
  • For Rev. Elaine and Kent Boyd at First Presbyterian Church of Amboy
  • Sue Thompson, Clerk of Session at First Presbyterian Church, Maynard
  • Rev. Araceli Itzep from the Occidente Presbytery; surgery scheduled for Oct 23
  • For Beatriz (Betty/Beti) 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."
Join the mission trip to Occidente

An opportunity to "do it to the least of these" is open to you. In these relationships, an encounter with Jesus will be experienced by you. Our presbytery's commitment to be a part of a Matthew 25 church can be advanced by you.

How? Participating in the mission trip to Occidente, our sister presbytery, and in the Guatemalan Network Meeting will give you the opportunity to:
  1. Minister with struggling people including projects that increase income and decrease the urgency to migrate.
  2. Be blessed by their faith and joyful worship.
  3. Understand the threats that do motivate migration.
  4. Reflect on a shared ministry that implements the biblical call to resist greed and to pursue the common good in our communities.
  5. Learn best practices from other partnerships
Please click on the link for further information and an application form.
Leadership Training for Elders, Deacons, and those serving on Presbytery Commissions

On Saturday January 11, 2020 at the First Presbyterian Church, Willmar we will be hosting a training event for Ruling Elder, Deacons and Presbytery Commission/committee members. Registration will start at 9:30. The morning will start with devotions and a plenary on 2020 Leadership by the Rev. Corey Schlosser-Hall, Executive Presbyter of the Presbytery of NW Coast. Following lunch, which is provided, Presbytery Commission and Committees will meet to set 2020 goals, meeting dates and other business. At the same time Ruling Elder training led by Stated Clerk Pam Prouty and Deacon training led by the Rev. Leanne Thompson will be held. The day will end by 4:00 p.m. Plan to attend and bring a car full. This event has had positive feedback for the past two years.
Advent Resources
From the Presbyterian Outlook:
Bulletin Inserts: Are you looking for theologically sound, inspiring and affordable Advent devotions for the congregation? 

The Presbyterian Outlook has you covered. Download the PDF, print as many as you need and insert them into your weekly worship bulletin. Written by Outlook editor Jill Duffield, each week includes a reflection, daily Scripture readings, suggestions for living out the Bible reading and a short prayer for each day. 

Hymns for Advent and Christmas: Beloved Presbyterian hymn writer, Carolyn Winfrey Gillette, has composed hymns set to familiar Christmas tunes and well-loved hymn melodies. 
Hymns for each Sunday of Advent and Christmas use the lectionary Scriptures to enhance your worship.

And, " The Candle of Hope " follows the themes of each of the Sundays in Advent (Hope, Peace, Love and Joy). If you light Advent candles as part of your worship during the season, this hymn is ideal!

Pastoral Leadership Opportunities

First Presbyterian Church, Ashby - Pastor, yoked parish
Ministry Information Form - 12363.ABO

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

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

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

The Ministry Information Forms for these opportunities are posted on the Church Leadership Connection web site --
From the Presbyterian Historical Society

Preserve vital church records for free at the Presbyterian Historical Society. Order digital copies at a PC(USA) discount. Join our Church Membership Program and receive further digitization savings. Find out more at, email or call 215-627-1852