The Valley Bridge
The weekly newsletter from the
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
November 14, 2018
 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 18-24
Harrison Presbyterian Church of Spicer
Our New Pastors: Galen and Marcia Sylvester
Elders: Sandy Christensen, Alan Dietz,  Kenneth Dahlberg, Arlyss Engelson, Dennis Peterson, Daniel Williamson
Clerk of Session: Dennis Peterson
Organist: Cheri Ladwig
Secretary: Lori Dietz
Treasurer: Sandy Christensen
PW-H Moderator: Judy Nelson
Sunday School Superintendent: Donnel Williamson
Prayers for our new pastors, lay pastors and leadership that will help build the future of our church;  harvest that has been completed, members who have health issues, members in care facilities, season of Thanksgiving.
Moving Toward Transformation

In April, we began a presbytery-wide process of moving toward transformation. In 2019, we will continue the process. Every pastor and all church leaders, ordained and not ordained, are asked to join the presbytery in learning together. Many times over the last few years, we have heard the world has changed and religion has less effect on people today. Or we have assumed that the Church is dying a slow death, or at least the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) is drying up. The statistics tell us that all mainline denominations and those without denominational affiliation are experiencing decline. The truth is, there is no lack of individuals wanting to know God. There is, however, a lack of desire to be a part of church in the ways church is presented in many of our congregations. This hard truth is uncomfortable to hear because church as we know it has nurtured us spiritually for years. It is a precious way of living and being in relationship with others. It is not my attempt by my comments to join the critics of the church in pointing out a message of doom. I share in your pain and disbelief that tried and true ways of being church is less appealing to the young and others.
It is not God or our trinitarian faith that people have become indifferent to, it is tired methods, closed systems, stale sermons, mission for instead of mission with, dull worship, the ineffective use of technology, protocol that prohibits instead of inspires, inauthentic spaces, fear of embracing difference, homogeneous congregations that do not reflect the many people of the communities in which our churches are housed. The most challenging issue for those outside the church is the contradictions between what we say we believe our social actions.
In the most recent Pew Research Report, one-third of the people surveyed no longer believe in the God of the Bible, although, they believe in God or a higher power. I encourage each session to take time to review and discuss The Religious Typography Report found at . What can you learn from its findings as you plan ministry in 2019?
I also encourage you to join the conversation as we seek to be faithful together discovering what it means to be Church in the 21st Century. Mark your calendars and plan to participate in the 2019 learning opportunities.
Learning together, truly seeing and listening are keys to future success in ministry. God is still speaking. God is still actively working. God still answers prayers. God's love abounds. Our faithfulness will payoff. We are being reformed and shaped for what's next.
May God give us grace for the journey.
Leadership Development and Educational Training
All pastors and congregational leaders are invited

Hopeful Conversations About Human to Human Relationships:
Moving beyond hatemongering, fear, scarcity, and miseducation

January 22, 2019 -  9:30 - 3:00

Speaker: The Rev. Samuel Son, Manager for Diversity and Reconciliation, the Presbyterian Mission Agency

Religious, community, and education leaders are invited to a conversation about human to human relationships hosted by the Minnesota Valleys Presbytery and the Presbyterian Mission Agency PC(USA). Participants can expect a safe place to dialogue around issues on how we see and hear the other. The day-long event will work to equip participants to return to their communities tooled with enhanced listening attitudes and better equipped to positively enhance relationships in our diversifying communities.
Reservation Fee: $15.00 lunch
Location: Willmar, MN
Registration Opens: December 3, 2018
Commissioner, Ruling Elder, Deacon Training

On January 12th the presbytery will hold a joint Presbytery Commission/Committee member and New Ruling Elders and Deacons training event at the Hope Presbyterian Church of  Spicer from 9:30 - 4:00. All commission members are asked to attend the January 12th full day training.
Presbyterians Today publishes 'God Lifts the Lowly' based on Mary's Song of Praise

The presbytery office will order these Advent devotionals in bulk for interested congregations. Please order from  Karen  at the presbytery office by November 16. If our order reaches at least 100, we'll place the order, and the cost will be $2.00 per copy, plus any shipping to each church.
Free Advent Devotional
Each year I craft an Advent devotional for my two presbyteries. If you would like to make it available to your congregations, (free of charge of course!), you will find it linked. Feel free to share with any, all, or none as you wish. The PDF prints as a booklet.
My only request is that there be no charge for the document. Congregations who wish to make hard copies will have to pay paper and copying cost to distribute it to their people, which is enough of an expense.

Brad Monroe
Pastor to the Presbytery
Grand Canyon and de Cristo presbyteries
2019 Per Capita  - $41.35 Total
$27.00 for Presbytery
$5.40 for Synod
$8.95 for GA

The notices of apportionment for each congregation were either handed out at the presbytery meeting or mailed out November 5, and the CORRECTED statements were emailed out on Monday, November 12. Please email Karen or call her at the presbytery office if you have any questions about the notices of apportionment.
November Book Read: Rebuilding the Foundations

Join the Presbytery in a book study of Rebuilding the Foundations: Social Relationships in Ancient Scripture and the Contemporary Culture by John Brueggemann and Walter Brueggemann, Westminster John Knox Press. The Zoom discussion on the introduction and first two chapters will be on Thursday, November 29, at 11:00 am and 6:30 pm. Zoom instructions will be in the newsletter closer to that date.
Board of Pensions News and Deadlines

Elect your 2019 benefits by Friday, November 16

Log on to Benefits Connect to see your choices and costs and elect coverage for 2019. Even if you want to keep the coverage you have now, it's important to take action to make sure you'll have the coverage you want effective January 1.

  • an annual enrollment Quick Start Guide;
  • Guide to Your Healthcare Benefits 2019;
  • Key Provisions of the 2019 medical options; and
  • the Benefits Plan at a Glance 2019 booklet.
Annual enrollment is your only chance to make changes or elect benefits coverage for 2019, unless you have a qualifying life event during the year (such as getting married or adopting a child).

Don't miss out - make your elections by November 16!
Christmas Open House - Dec 3

Come to the presbytery office on Monday, December 3, to our Christmas Open House from 11:30-2:00. The staff will make lunch; we will visit, maybe sing some carols, listen to Christmas music.
Join us!
Mid Council Financial Network - Sharing Resources

November 6-9, Karen attended the Mid Council Financial Network meeting in Austin TX, and shares here some of the resources from that event.

For your Session, Personnel & Budget Committees:
Your Church: Employer & Small Business -  provides basic guidance regarding your church's obligations as an employer and a business. It includes information about employment and governance along with valuable links to resources on taxes and labor law. From the Insurance Board.
Per Capita - The General Assembly Per Capita Budget
Inspiring Generosity - Texas Presbyterian Foundation - A guide available on their site with five keys to inspiring generosity - hard copies available to order on their site.

For Church Treasurers:
Church Treasurer's Manual - put together by the people from the Presbytery of San Jose. They will also be coming out with a shorter manual for small churches.
Payment Fraud Controls - from PNC Financial Services

Legal Issues:
Update from Legal Counsel - Cory Halliburton. Includes sample policy regarding sexual harassment.

Thank You Lens of Stewardship - Rosemary Mitchell - Presbyterian Mission Agency

Theological Education:
Theological Funds Development - Lee Hinson-Hasty - As the baby boomers retire, there will be an even greater need for pastors. Giving to the Theological Education Fund will decrease these pastors' student debt load.

Cyber Security:
Cyber Security Threats - David Dinkel. Top learnings - Never click on attachments or links from unknown senders AND be careful even with businesses you know. Call the sender before acting on any asked-for payment that you don't recognize, especially if it's not the address you have on file for that business. Upgrade/update devices regularly and backup daily.

2019 Presbyterian
Youth Triennium

Get Ready  for the 2019 Presbyterian Youth Triennium - a gathering held every three years for high school age students in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. Youth from all churches (across sponsoring denominations) come together for this life changing, life giving, faith growing gathering! Five days that help form a younger generation of active Presbyterians. Five days that shape the leadership gifts and deepen the discipleship awareness for a generation who are already achieving a strong presence in this church and in this world!

Event Essentials

DATES:                      Monday, July 15th - Sunday, July 21st (includes travel days)
LOCATION:                Purdue University - West Lafayette, IN
AUDIENCE:                High School Age youth entering freshman through graduated seniors
THEME:                    "Here's My Heart"
REGISTRATION FEES: Anticipated Cost - $625.00 to $650.00
                                (Registration fee includes all programming, food, lodging and travel)  


DECEMBER 1ST:   Congregation RSVP Forms Due with $100 deposit per participant to reserve spot
JANUARY 7TH:    Registrations Forms Available (Presbytery Website)
FEBRUARY 4TH:   Registrations due, along with $250.00 payment for each participant
MAY 6TH:            Final Payment Due

Contact Mark Giese: ∙  320-251-8277 (church) ∙ 320-493-8272 (cell)

Young Adult Volunteers Sought
Spread the word! Applications for the 2019-20  Young Adult Volunteer (YAV) program open Oct. 1. All  sites  available.  
The YAV program is an ecumenical, faith-based year of service for young people, ages 19-30. Volunteers accompany local agencies faithfully working to address root causes of poverty and reconciliation. YAVs serve during the academic year, August to July.
Help plants seeds of service and share!

Planning Calendars  Order from Karen Lange at $9 each. You can pick them up at the presbytery office, or if you would like yours mailed to you, we ask that you would pay the postage.
Per Capita and Mission Dollars

The Commission on Operations is asking congregations to henceforth send their per capita and mission dollars directly to the presbytery office - 4055 Abbott Drive, Willmar MN 56201. If checks have already been sent to the Synod, that is just fine.
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.

DiscipleshipAnne Veldhuisen,, 507-215-5617
Evangelism: Randy Knuth,, 712-540-8243
Evangelism :  Darlene Scherbing,, 320-292-2610
Mission: Richard Lawrence, , 320-260-9639
Mission: Kathy Terpstra,, 320-815-8158
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:

Crosslake Presbyterian Church, Crosslake - Pastor (for a designated term)
   Ministry Information Form -  11950.AD0

First Presbyterian Church, Fulda - Solo Pastor, 3/4 time up to full-time
   Ministry Information Form -  03782.AD1

Faith Presbyterian Church, Silver Lake - Part-time Solo Pastor
   Ministry Information Form -  03851.ACO

The Ministry Information Forms for these opportunities are posted on the Church Leadership Connection web site --
Large Cross to Give Away

Western Presbyterian of rural Fergus Falls has a cross, approximately 8 feet by 4 feet, that was used in our sanctuary. Is anyone interested in this cross?
Contact John Lindholm at
Six New Things
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