The Valley Bridge
The weekly newsletter from the
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
November 7, 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 11-17
First Presbyterian Church of Slayton
Pastor: David Hollis
Secretary\Treasurer: Jannette Carlson
Clerk of Session: Nola Aanenson
Session: Ron Behrends, Luann Parker, Rich Wajer, Gail Johnson, Branch Haken, Phil Swenson
Trustees: Dale Bergman, Rick Parker, Cindy Kleve, Randy Boeve
Motto: "Honor God by loving others, one person at a time."
Pray for our congregation as we go through the process of beginning a search for a new pastor when our pastor retires in a year. We offer prayers of thanksgiving that Dave answered the call to serve us.
Pray for the families that receive gift certificates from our congregation during the holidays that they will feel God's love in their difficult circumstances.
Prayers for the many other missions that we support: Murray County Food Shelf. overseas missions, The Banquet in Sioux Falls, Feed My Lambs, annual toy drive, Hospice of Murray County, and Early Childhood's annual fund raiser. Pray that people may be touched by the Lord and will turn to him for guidance.
We are thankful for the generosity of our congregation and for the committees who work diligently to carry out their tasks.
He answered, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind" and, "Love your neighbor as yourself."  Matthew 22:37-39
November Presbytery Meeting

One of the gnomes
Pam Bush - Grace First Parish - Russell
Moderator Stan Menning anoints the hands
of Hank Campbell for service
Stated Clerk Pamela Prouty talks about retiring CRE Keith Carey's service to the presbytery
The Dawson Choir                                            Mark Ford becomes new moderator, Anna
                                                                       Williamson, vice-moderator

There was a moving skit about domestic violence

The Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys met recently at the First Presbyterian Church in Dawson, MN. It was a rainy, cold day outside but inside the church we were greeted with warmth and gnomes! Dawson is known throughout MN as "gnometown;" special people of Dawson are honored with their very own likeness as a gnome which are displayed at a park.

The Presbytery meeting included reports from the Stated Clerk, Executive Presbyter and commissions. In the morning we had an open forum where we broke into three groups around the topics of alternative building use, stewardship and spiritual formation. These conversations were rich and useful for all of us in our ministry settings. The Presbytery is looking into ways to keep these conversations going.

During the business meeting we welcomed new interim pastor, the Rev. Hank Campbell at Lake Crystal. The retirement of commissioned ruling elder, Keith Carey was honored and we voted to dissolve the United Presbyterian Church, Westbrook. We heard from Pam Bush about Grace First Parish of Russell. Kathy Blair spoke on "What Jesus Means to Me." New Commission members and officers were elected. The Rev. Mark Ford was installed as Presbytery Moderator while the Rev. Anna Williamson was installed as vice-moderator.

The meeting ended with worship where the Dawson choir shared several pieces, and outgoing Presbytery Moderator Stan Menning delivered a message, "Singing the Lord's Song in a Foreign Land."

Many thanks to the Dawson church for hosting us and to all those who attended. For more information about the meeting, look for the minutes on the Presbytery website.
Rural realities: White, straight no more

By Donna Frischknecht Jackson | Presbyterians Today  | Sept 20, 2018
Racial and gender diversity, drugs, hunger - big-city challenges have come to Main Street U.S.A. Presbyterians Today is launching a three-part series, "Rural Realities," to explore the challenges and blessings for today's rural churches as they navigate a new reality. In the first installment, PT talks to pastors about the racial diversity and gender identification issues in their small communities.

In one rural community, the Rev. Dr. Richard (Skip) Shaffer Jr. began his first day in a new call as most pastors do - unpacking many boxes of theological books and praying fervently that he had sufficient shelf space in his new office. The mundaneness of move-in day, though, was broken with a gentle tap on his door. Shaffer had his first visitor: Moses.

"I thought it was a joke when the secretary told me who was here to see me," Shaffer said, laughing. But it wasn't playful church hazing on behalf of the congregation. It was indeed a man named Moses, a 7-foot-tall immigrant from South Sudan, who reached out his hand to the pastor and said, "We've been waiting for you."

It was in that moment of white and black hands joining together in a hearty shake that Shaffer's ministry changed course even before it set sail. The predominantly all-white congregation of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Worthington, Minnesota, would become the place of radical welcome and - finally - diversity.

Link to article
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.
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 

Annual enrollment - your chance to make changes or elect benefits coverage for 2019 -  ends 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!

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 --
Clearwater Forest seeks Director of Outreach and Programs

Applications are being received until October 30 or until filled. The position is full-time, year-round.
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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