The Valley Bridge
The weekly newsletter from the
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
November 29, 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 of November 26 - December 2
Westminster Presbyterian Church of Worthington
Leadership and Staff
Clerk of Session: LeRoy Ennenga
Ruling Elders: Garnet Burns, Norma Cook, Kim Johnson, Kim Kuechenmeister, Henry Luitjens Wayne McCuen, Jeff Nelson, Dan Rautenkranz, Dick Robinson
Custodian: Lidia Heredia
Financial Secretary: Holly McCuen
Administrative Assistant: Diana Vallego
Youth Director: Krista Petersen
Accompanists: Nancy Hofstee, Darlene Rautenkranz
Pastor: Galen Smith
Krista Petersen spearheaded a mission project to help a family in our community. Westminster donated the funds and a lot of the work was done by our members.
Here is the link to the story about it that was published last week in the Globe (the Worthington newspaper).

Prayer concerns:
  • The usual prayers for people with health issues, surgeries and rehab.
  • Prayers for our community as we debate a pending school bond issue. Also for continued guidance as the community grapples with drug issues, burglaries, intercultural issues and policing issues.
  • The congregation as we explore a vision to help guide us in our ministry and outreach. Also as we address issues with budget and finances.
Christmas Open House - December 11
Come to the presbytery office on Monday, December 11, to our Christmas Open House from 11:00-2:00. The staff will make lunch. We will visit, sing some carols, and Lynn Miller from Saint Cloud will share some lovely harp music.
Sharing God Chat Apps Survey 
by Deb Hess

Please share one idea or thought you are taking home to put into practice:
  • Prayer doesn't have to be formal.
  • Talk to God like a friend.
  • Learning Contemplative Prayer
  • Recommit to prayer life
  • I thought this day was very worthwhile
  • God is present to us in every activity of life. The challenge is to offer ourselves to God in every activity of life.
  • New ways to pray. A new way to look at everything in the world. Whenever I am having a bad to just pray.
  • Incorporating devotion and prayer as I do yoga.
  • Doing yoga
  • Being with other Christians is super!
  • Prayer apps for young people
  • Loved Kara's ideas on congregation members giving a $100 away and sharing stories.
  • Insights from time in Labyrinth.
  • Do more contemplative reading
  • Use a tone in breathing or physical movement to clear my mind and get into a prayerful state.
  • Cell phone liturgy
  • So helpful. Be more like a child in prayer. Be real.
  • Show up!
  • I will be incorporating many of the techniques shared in the yoga class.
  • Slow down. Take a break - for ceaseless prayer - to spend time with God - mostly "being still" and listening - reflecting.
  • I want to use the prayer apps
  • To pray more often and pray for other people and not just ourselves
Do you have any suggestions for future Equipping Day workshops, speakers, session and/or ways to improve your faith walk with our Triune God?
  • Creative ways to equip church leaders for effective leadership as Deacons, Elders, Pastors and active members.
  • I had a great time! So I don't think you should do anything different.
  • Thank you!  This was a great day of refocusing my life on prayer and God.
  • No
  • Sunday school/Christian Ed. Intergenerational ideas that work in small churches.
  • Stewardship
  • It would be nice to have quarterly spiritual retreats.
  • Thank you ----
  • I'll think on, reflect on that....
  • Do some different prayer stations
  • No
FPC Brainerd installs little free library

by Edith Alvarez

First Presbyterian Church of Brainerd has installed a Little Free Library that is available to the neighborhood and the community. Anyone can take a book - or more - and/or leave a book for others to read. Pictured in the photo are Pastor Mark Ford (on the right) and Bud Larsen, the creator of the library made to resemble the church building. First Presbyterian is located at 512 South 8th Street, "kitty-corner" to Tornstrom Auditorium.

Free Advent Devotional from
Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
Hurricane Cleanup Buckets:    

a final update from Mark Giese, First Presbyterian Church - St. Cloud

This has been an incredible journey. While we didn't fill a truck, and didn't ship them sooner... Hear the good news! When we first set out to respond, we had a $700 starter gift and I - dreamer that I am - hoped for filling an entire pallet (36 buckets)!  Oh what God can do with 2 little fishes and 5 loaves of bread! We are equipping the PDA with 360 buckets that are already packed and can go on a relief truck asap, or when the next disaster strikes - and the PDA folks are extremely glad of our response.
  • 360 buckets, packed and shipped to Ferncliff Presbyterian Disaster Assistance center - located just outside of Little Rock, Arkansas. Now they are in PDA and Church World Services hands
  • 360 buckets = 10 pallets
  • Over $7,000 raised & used for cleanup buckets (Gift of the Heart kits)
Special Thanks to these St. Cloud area Businesses and connections:
  • Dave's Pallets, Cold Spring (cash)
  • Royal Tire, St. Cloud (warehouse storage & pallets)
  • Brenny Transportation and Brenny Specialized, St. Cloud (transport to Arkansas)
  • Christiansen Group (financial), Eden Prairie (cash)
Special Thanks to the following churches from MN Valleys for gifts of cash and/or packed buckets:  
  • First Presbyterian, Windom
  • Hope Presbyterian, Spicer
  • First Presbyterian, Lake Crystal
  • Federated Church, Fergus Falls
  • First Presbyterian, Randall
  • First Presbyterian, Ashby
  • Iona Presbyterian, Iona
  • St. Francis Xavier, St. Cloud
  • First Presbyterian, St. Cloud
  • Osakis Presbyterian, Osakis
  • Maine Presbyterian, Underwood
If I have missed your congregation, it is because of an error on my part! Please contact me and I will update this list. I have tried to keep track as donations showed up - but sometimes items or cash was processed before I knew about the gift! Please contact me at First Presbyterian Church, St. Cloud via email:   

Follow this link to view a few photos . Also, please email me (or Karen Lange) any photos you might have from packing buckets at your church.
Seeking Nominations for Women of Faith Award
2018 Theme: Clergywomen Who Challenge Racism and Injustice

Basis for the Theme: Many of us are blessed to know clergywomen who have been advocates for racial and intercultural justice, with a respectful awareness and appreciation for each other's different races, ethnicities, cultures and languages. At the Women of Faith breakfast, we will show gratitude and recognize clergywomen who are "woke" and who challenge systemic racism and oppression.

Purpose of award: This award recognizes clergywomen who challenge racism and injustice.

Save the Date

We are holding the annual Commission/Committee/Task Force Orientation and Initial Work Day on Saturday, January 13, at the First Presbyterian Church in Willmar. All those serving on presbytery commissions, committees and task forces are invited. More info coming later.
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.
The University of Dubuque Theological Seminary is pleased to announce that we will be offering eight online courses for Commissioned Ruling Elders in our CLP/CRE lay ministry program.  The spring term is scheduled from January 29 to May 12, 2018.  We would appreciate it if you would pass on this information within your presbytery/church and advertise it in your newsletter or other publications. 
  • Introduction to Old Testament - Rev. Stephanie Schlimm
  • Introduction to New Testament - Kathleen Rupert, MDiv
  • Christian Education - Dr. Susan Forshey
  • Pastoral Care - Dr. Beth McCaw
  • Introduction to Preaching - Dr. Lyle Vander Broek
  • Presbyterian Polity - Dr. Gary Eller
  • Reformed Theology -  Dr. David Congdon
  • Reformed Worship & Sacraments - Dr. Richard Shaffer
The tuition rate is $390.00 per course.  As always, current students can register by going online and paying via PayPal at  or by contacting me ( or 563-589-3630 / 1-888-207-8218), to pay by credit card or check.  We would also ask you to pass this email on and encourage anyone you may know with gifts for ministry to consider exploring their call through our CRE lay ministry program.  Application, program information and details regarding our Certificate in Congregational Leadership can be found at the above link in the green box titled "Quick Links".  We review applications on a rolling basis each semester and all new applicants are required to take the Online Learning Course as an introduction to distance education. 
Please feel free to call or email me or Dr. Annette Huizenga, Dean of the Seminary ( ahuizenga@dbq.eduĂ‚  or 563-589-3858), with any questions or comments.
Thanksgiving blessings from UDTS!
Carla Gibbons
Coordinator of Lay Education
University of Dubuque Theological Seminary
2000 University Avenue, Dubuque, IA  52001

Six New Things
See what's happening on our Facebook site:
Like us on Facebook