The Valley Bridge
The weekly newsletter from the
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
November 9, 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 13-19
First Presbyterian Church of Beaver Creek

Commissioned Ruling Elder: Michael Blank

Please pray for:
  • Our congregation, and our ministry in the area
  • Those suffering with health concerns
  • Our upcoming congregational meeting, that the spirit will raise up a new generation of leaders for the church
  • For our children that attended summer camp
The Word from Rick: A Little Bit Longer

At Saturday's presbytery meeting, the Director of Presbytery Mission Search Team, through its chairperson, Darin Seaman, reported that the search for our new presbytery leader would take a little bit longer than expected and asked the presbytery for its continued prayers as the Search Team continues its work during the weeks ahead.
Darin's report led inquiring minds to ask, what does this mean for the presbytery going forward? What is the leadership plan for us starting on January 1, 2017? Stan Menning, one of the co-chairs of the Commission on Presbytery Life, indicated that his commission had a task group working to prepare an answer for that question and a transition plan that would enable things to proceed smoothly.  The first part of that plan was to determine who would be in charge and sitting in "the big chair" at 4055 Abbott Drive in Willmar following the Christmas break. It was determined to "go with what you know" and that it would be Rick Carus.
The Commission on Presbytery Life shared with the presbytery on Saturday that it has voted to extend my contract to serve this presbytery for up to three additional months and I have accepted this invitation. This will allow me to work with y'all a little bit longer as we enter the first transition since the implementation of our new mission design in March 2016.
Since March, we have spent a great deal of time and effort living into the vision that the Next Pres Team created and that you all agreed to adopt. As I indicated on Saturday, we don't have it all figured out yet. I know that we have had some frustrations in making this design work and there have been bumps in the road, but each of the commissions and committees have had some successes in the past year, and we feel that we are moving in the right direction. I am so appreciative of each person who has stepped in and helped us to move this forward. We have a good number of patient and committed teaching elders and ruling elders in this presbytery, and they are making it happen. We are living into our different way of being, and I am excited to have the chance to help close the books on 2016 and launch us into the new year.
On Saturday afternoon, we elected folks to join us in the Class of 2019 on the commissions and committees of presbytery. We still have two important vacancies to fill, but we are confident that we will have the right folks on board in the next week or so. Many of the folks who took short terms to start us out are now jumping on for a full three-year ride, and we have some new folks who are finding a place to try out their gifts. It is all still coming into shape, but your response has been so supportive! Thank you.
We will launch into Year 2 of our new design on Saturday, January 21 at First Presbyterian Church in Willmar. On that day, all the commissions and committees will gather for worship, fellowship, and work. This will be the time for each team to get oriented and organized, to set their goals and their calendars, and to start work on the year's agenda! Everyone who is part of a committee or commission is asked to save that day to be with us in Willmar. It will be a most important day!
I know some of you are asking, "what happened to Rick's retirement"? It is still going to happen, but just a wee bit later than planned. The papers for the Board of Pensions hadn't been finished, so it was easy to make that shift - instead of filing retirement papers, I went on line and updated my benefits profile for 2017 (something that all pastors need to make sure they do by Friday). Also, my counselor at Social Security was so understanding - she acknowledged that sometimes God has another plan for us and to call her down the road when God and I get this retirement thing figured out. So, the journey with this presbytery will continue a little while longer!  Let's make the most of it, together!

Grace and Peace,
On the Road with Rick
November 13 - Preach at Emmanuel Presbyterian Church, Rushmore and Zion Presbyterian Church, Ellsworth
November 15 - Session Meeting, First Presbyterian Church, Osakis
November 28 - "Hanging of the Greens" - Presbytery Office
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
January 21 - Presbytery Orientation and Organization Gathering, First Presbyterian Church, Willmar
January 24-31 - Association of Presbyterian Church Educators Annual Event, Denver
February 4 - Presbytery Meeting, First Presbyterian Church, Saint Cloud
A few pictures from the presbytery meeting

Andy's final presbytery meeting as moderator
Bill McConnell inspired us to be creative with music in worship!
Union's very talented choir
Pam at the communion table
Deb Hess and Stan Menning being installed as the new presbytery moderator and vice moderator.
Andy Davis presents Deb Hess with the moderator's stole

Around the Presbytery

Annual Fall Dinner/Silent Auction at  First Presbyterian Church of Lismore on Sunday, November 13, at the Lismore Legion.  Serving 3 soups and assorted desserts, starting at 11:00.  Freewill donation, part of the proceeds go to the Youth Fund.  Country store (opens at 10:30) includes a cookie walk.  Silent auction has many items suitable for gifts.  Come and join us!
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 -
Positions available at the Presbyteries of Prospect Hill and North Central Iowa

Position:  Full time Administrative Assistant 
The Presbyteries of North Central Iowa and Prospect Hill are seeking applicants for a full time Administrative Assistant. Qualified applicants will have an educational background/experience in Office Operations/Management; computer proficiency with word processing, spreadsheets, database management, electronic communication, Publisher, FrontPage, and church software experience helpful; have the ability to maintain confidentiality; be a self-directed worker as well as the ability to work as part of a team. The job requires the ability to multi-task, relate well and serve the public. Submit a letter and resume to Lakeshore Center at Okoboji, Attn: Rev. David Feltman, 1864 Hwy 86, Milford, IA  51351 or by email to by November 25, 2016.
Position:  Part time Finance Manager
The Presbyteries of North Central Iowa and Prospect Hill and Lakeshore Center at Okoboji are seeking applicants for a part time Finance Manager. Qualified applicants will have an educational background in bookkeeping or Accounting and office operations; computer proficiency with QuickBooks or other financial software, Excel, word processing, database management, and electronic communication; experience in bookkeeping or accounting; be detail oriented; relate well and serve the public with ease; ability to meet deadlines and interpret financial reports to others. Submit a letter and resume to Lakeshore Center at Okoboji, Attn: Beth Ehlers, 1864 Hwy 86, Milford, IA 51351 or by email to  by November 25, 2016.
Position: Part time Stated Clerk
The Presbyteries of North Central Iowa and Prospect Hill are seeking applicants for a part time Stated Clerk. The Clerk will be elected by both presbyteries and be responsible for all State Clerk duties as dictated by the BOOK OF ORDER. Submit a letter and resume to Lakeshore Center at Okoboji, Attn:  Rev. David Feltman, 1864 Hwy 86, Milford, IA  51351 or by email to by November 25, 2016.

Application for Remaining Special Committees and Commissions
Dear Colleagues in Ministry, I hope that this email finds you well. Thank you for your assistance in encouraging persons to apply for the Way Forward Commission and 2020 Vision Team.  As you know, the Moderators have appointed those entities.  The membership of these entities can be found here - and
There are four remaining entities which were created by the General Assembly and which will be appointed in the weeks ahead.  They are:
Application Due on November 15, 2016
  • #8226 Rules of Discipline Task Force - Item 06-14 - 222nd General Assembly (2016)
Applications Due on November 28, 2016
  • #8226 Racism Truth and Reconciliation Commission of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) - Item 11-12 - 222nd General Assembly (2016)
  • #8226 Special Committee to Study the Reformed Perspective of Christian Education in the 21st Century - Item 14-12 - 222nd General Assembly (2016)
  • #8226 Task Force on Implementing Child/Youth/Vulnerable Adult Protection Policies - Item 3-NB - 222nd General Assembly (2016)
The Co-Moderators of the General Assembl y wi ll appoint the Rules of Discipline Task Force, Racism Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the Special Committee to Study the Reformed Perspective of Christian Education.  The Committee on the Office of the General Assembly will appoint the Task Force on Implementing Child/Youth/Vulnerable Adult Protection Policies.
Persons who wish to be considered for appointment must complete an application form and provide three references.  The online application form can be found at and persons who have not already applied using the GA Nominations Portal must create a new account. Thank you for your assistance in sharing this link widely. Additional information about the nomination process and sample application forms for the special entities can be found at


Valerie Kiriishi Small (Ruling Elder)
Assistant Stated Clerk, Manager for GA Nominations
Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) 
Office of the General Assembly
100 Witherspoon Street, Room 4423
Louisville, KY  40202-1396
Useful Link for Church Treasurers: 
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