The Valley Bridge
The weekly newsletter from the
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
November 2, 2016
 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 6-12
First Presbyterian Church of Ashby

First Presbyterian Church in Ashby participates in a shared ministry with Our Savior's-Ten Mile Lake Lutheran Church in Dalton, MN. This unique arrangement allows them to share pastoral leadership, some administrative tasks, and in fellowship and shared mission. First Presbyterian is pastored by Matthew Zelie, and Barbara Dewey is the Clerk of Session. Our prayer list includes: Delores Bullis, Marge Boren, Whitney Gramm, and Jim Karl. 
The Word from Rick: Saint Peter Will Be a Happening Place ... Don't Miss It!

This coming Saturday will be our final presbytery gathering for 2016, and as has become our practice, we will be gathering at the Union Presbyterian Church in Saint Peter, the home church of our out-going Presbytery Moderator, Andy Davis.
In planning for this meeting, the presbytery planning team determined that the "equipping the saints" portion of our time together would focus on music in worship, and has invited William McConnell to be our guest presenter on Saturday. William has been serving as the Executive Director of the Presbyterian Association of Musicians and was part of the team that created the Glory to God hymnal. We learned last week that, starting on December 1, he will be taking on a new responsibility as a Mission Engagement Advisor with the Presbyterian Mission Agency; so, life in his world will be changing!
In the morning, William will have the opportunity to address the entire body, while in the afternoon he will be leading a special workshop for congregational musicians and worship leaders. William and Andy have also been working together to plan Saturday's worship, which will include a celebration of the Lord's Supper. We will finally get to use the communion ware from the 2010 General Assembly! We strongly encourage you to bring a carload of church friends to Saint Peter on Saturday, travelling is always more fun when you have travelling companions!
On Saturday, we will elect and install our Presbytery Moderator and Vice-Moderator for 2017. We guarantee that the campaign will be very short -- no flyers in the mail and no television spots -- and the election will not be contentious. In fact, we could very well have an early projection on the winner!
In addition to this moderator/vice-moderator election, we will also elect people to serve on presbytery commissions and committees in the Class of 2019, as well as in other positions of service to this presbytery and the greater church. The Committee on Representation, which serves as our presbytery's Nominating Committee, has been diligent in its work and will have nearly a complete slate of individuals to present. They are hopeful that presbyters attending will offer nominees that will help us fill all the places of service.
The presbytery will also act on extending its covenant of partnership with the Occidente Presbytery in the National Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Guatemala (IENPG). This is a partnership that was established back in the early 1990s and is renewed every four years. Another team of folks from our presbytery will be travelling to Guatemala in late January, while a group from our partner denomination will be present with us at the May presbytery meeting. Expect to hear about those adventures as well!
The final big ticket item on our agenda will be the 2017 Presbytery Budget. In an effort to tell the larger story of our finances, the Budget and Finance Team of the Commission on Presbytery Operations will be presenting an expense budget that shows the funding streams that support the work that we do as a presbytery. It shows what gets funded by per capita, by congregational mission giving, interest, synod support, and other sources. They are wanting the presbytery to be more knowledgeable about how resources are being used. You are encouraged to read the budget, but because it requires bigger paper - don't print it out - we will have copies in Saint Peter.
Saturday should be a high-energy day, and we look forward to sharing it with the saints from across this wide expanse of territory known as the Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys. Until Saturday,

Grace and Peace,
For Church Musicians

Please invite your church musicians (choir directors, organists, pianists, etc.) to a workshop on November 5 at 1:00 p.m. at Union Presbyterian Church, 730 S. 3rd St., Saint Peter.
William McConnell will be our special music guest at the presbytery meeting. He will give a presentation to the presbytery on Saturday morning and a special workshop for church musicians that afternoon. He is the executive director of the Presbyterian Association of Musicians and is a pianist. He was an ex-officio member of the committee that produced the "Glory to God" hymnal.
Pastoral Concern

We extend our sympathy to Rev. Tom Gard and family on the death of Tom's wife, Laurel, on Monday.  The visitation will be from 5:00-7:00 pm on Thursday, with a 6:30 prayer service at Glende-Nilson Funeral Home in Fergus Falls, and one hour prior to services at the funeral home. The funeral service will be 1:00 pm on Friday, November 4, at Glende-Nilson Funeral Home in Fergus Falls.

Here is the link to her obituary:

Cards may be sent to:
Rev Thomas Gard
23234 County Highway 1
Fergus Falls MN 56537
Check It Out!

When you get a chance, check out the Presbyterian Mission Agency's website at This is not only a great resource for your congregation, but currently, if you scroll down the page, you may still get to see the face of someone that many of you all know, our very own  Pastor Scott Prouty. Scott and Dr. Sayyid Syeed are featured in one of the current stories on the PMA site.
If Scott and Dr. Syeed disappear from that page, you may be able to locate Duane Sweep's story at this link:
On the Road with Rick
November 5 - Presbytery Meeting at Union Presbyterian Church, Saint Peter
November 6 - Preach at First Presbyterian Church, Osakis
November 13 - Preach at Emmanuel Presbyterian Church, Rushmore and Zion Presbyterian Church, Ellsworth
December 4 - Preach at First Presbyterian Church, Blue Earth
December 4-10 - Winter All Staff Conference, Mercy Center, Burlingame, California
December 18 - Preach at First Presbyterian Church, Brainerd
December 24 - Christmas Eve Worship at First Presbyterian Church, Fulda
Scenes from the Road

Sunday, October 30, Rick was in Maine! No, not the state of Maine, but the community of Maine, in Otter Tail Country. It was a great day of music, worship, and fellowship. Here are two photos - one of the church building, and one of the choir as they rehearsed for the morning worship.

Around the Presbytery

On Wednesday, November 2, at 5:00pm, members and friends of First Presbyterian Church of Maynard will  gather for supper at the church. MENU: Pizza and Presbyterian History. What a great combination - to enjoy pizza as we learn more about our "Saints of the Reformation," who they were, where they stood on issues of the day and why they needed to re-form the church of their day.  As we learn about Calvin, Knox, Zwingli, Cranmer, Luther and some of the doctrines that emerged from this Protestant revolt, we enjoy pizza, fellowship and a delicious mysterious dessert. Who said Church History wasn't all that exciting?

The Advent Bible Study at First Presbyterian Church of Windom will be looking at Max Lucado's "Because of Bethlehem: Love Is Born, Hope Is Here."

The First Presbyterian Church of Willmar will be participating in the Holidaze Parade at 6:30pm on November 19 with a horse float, and they will also serve hot cocoa and cookies following the parade.

On Sunday, November 13, First Presbyterian Church of Blue Earth will host a special Mission Sunday which will include honoring veterans. David Hanson, Faribault County Veterans Service Officer, will speak about his experiences in the Middle East, his job, and the needs of veterans in the county. That Sunday's bulletin will also include the names of veterans who are members/friends of the church.

Ebenezer Presbyterian Church of Renville's newsletter includes a 30 days of gratitude chart for November, with prompts such as, "What in nature are you grateful for?" and "What small thing that happened today are you grateful for?"

Sunday, November 20, is the Annual Thanksgiving Harvest Exchange at Union Presbyterian Church of Saint Peter. Folks bring homemade bread, pie, cookies, jam, a harvest-related item (or a purchased bakery goodie if short on time), attaching their name and contact information so that the receiver of the treat can send thanks. In turn, they take home another person's treat and are encouraged to contact the provider of that treat to offer thanks and wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving.

On Sunday, November 13, the congregation at First Presbyterian Church of Madelia is invited to bring mementos of loved ones who have died and share the stories behind them.
George Buchin's new address

Rev. George Buchin has moved, and Lois says George would love to hear from folks.  She is still living at their residence.
Rev. George Buchin
Woodland Good Samaritan
2509 Greenwood St.  Room 141
Brainerd MN 56401
Ministry Opportunities

The First Presbyterian Church of Osakis is seeking a Pastor to lead them as they live out the visions that have been generated by their New Beginning conversations. They are very much open to the possibility of being served by a bi-vocational pastor. If you, or someone you know, has a passion for small towns and energetic small-member congregations, please encourage consideration of this opportunity!  The Ministry Information Form for this opportunity is posted on the Church Leadership Connection web site. It is MIF#: 03890.AC4. For more information, please contact PNC Chairperson, Shari Maloney, at 320.859.3098 or by e-mail -
Useful Link for Church Treasurers: 
To the Leaders of the Minnesota Valleys Presbytery,

Greetings from the Resource Center for Churches in Minneapolis!

Every church of the Synod of Lakes and Prairies is a member of the RCC. We want to make sure you know how to reach us and what we offer.

Here's our FAQ.

Contact us to consult on any question about ministry resources:

Check our weekly post, Six New Things, to find current resources and spark ideas. See it on our website,
subscribe in the margin here,
or like us on Facebook.

And here's our growing list of New and Notable Resources for Advent and Christmas.

Finally, we email a list of new faith formation resources to Presbyterian educators who minister with children and families in the Twin Cities Area every month of the program year.  Please let me know if you or others from your church would like to be on this list.  

Thank you!  Peace!
Lizabeth Bougie, Director
Resource Center for Churches
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