The Valley Bridge
The weekly newsletter from the
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
October 10, 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 October 14-20
First Presbyterian Church of Saint Cloud
Prayers of thanksgiving for our most recent Capital Campaign.
Prayers of thanks for those who serve Jesus Christ in this place.
Prayers for:
-Our custodian's family upon the death of her daughter.
-The safety of contractors working here.
-Those facing cancer.
-Discipleship ministries.
-The South Sudanese ministries in St. Cloud.
-Mission coworkers of the PC(USA).

Denise Bausal, Custodian
Dr. Andrew Edwards, Children's Ministry Coordinator
Don Fortner, Director of Music
Mark Giese, Youth and Campus Ministry Director
Mary Nothnagel, Administrative Assistant
Adam Rouland, Pianist
Darin Seaman, Pastor
Dr. Marcelyn Smale, Organist
Scott Varner, Facilities
Lynne Osteraas, Clerk of Session
Lonny Wild, Treasurer
Contribute to  Disaster Relief-Hurricane Florence (DR000169)
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

PADVN Annual Congregational Awareness and Worship Resource packets
In every congregation of every faith, victims, survivors and abusers sit in our pews. Some are listening for words of recognition, understanding, comfort and healing, hoping to hear that the church stands with them and wants them to choose life. All need to hear a clear message that violence in our homes is against the will of God. Our silence makes us complicit to the suffering.

Presbyterians Against Domestic Violence Network (PADVN) invites you to make your church a place where the gospel of wholeness is heard and lived out. We offer the following resources to aid you in that journey.
  • Ten Things Your Congregation Can Do About Domestic Violence | Download
  • 2016 Resources:  What Can Your Congregation do? | Download
  • 2015 Resources: Take Back the Night, Clothesline Project, Silent Witness Initiative, Empty Place at the Table | Download
  • 2014 Resources: Breaking the Silence; Introducing Men In The Mirror curriculum |  Download
  • 2013 Resources: Stories of Hope and Restoration | Download
  • 2012 Resources: Entering the Brokenness | Download
  • 2011 Resources: Human Trafficking and the Intersect with Domestic Violence | Download
  • 2010 Resources: Parent/Youth Relationships | Download

Turn Mourning Into Dancing! A Policy Statement on Healing Domestic Violence

The 213th General Assembly (2001) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), in reliance upon God under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and in exercise of its responsibility to witness to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in every dimension of life, has approved this policy statement "Turn Mourning Into Dancing! A Policy Statement on Healing Domestic Violence." It is presented for the guidance and edification of the whole Christian Church and the society to which its ministers; and will determine  procedures and program for the Ministries Divisions and staff of the General Assembly. This policy statement is recommended for consideration and study by other governing bodies (sessions, presbyteries, and synods). It is commended to the free Christian conscience of all congregations and the members of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) for prayerful study, dialogue, and action.

This policy statement is the result of a development process that included wide consultation and participation throughout the church, drawing upon biblical sources and insights from the Reformed tradition in giving renewed definition to Presbyterian understandings concerning the root causes of domestic violence and the church's complicity and response to the problem. The term "domestic violence" in this policy statement and its rationale is used as an inclusive term to broadly encompass the abuse found in child/child, parent/child, spouse/spouse, partner/partner, adult child/aging parent relationships, as well as violence that occurs in sibling and dating relationships.

Presbyterians Today publishes 'God Lifts the Lowly' based on Mary's Song of Praise

LOUISVILLE - As a pastor, I am reminded weekly during Sunday's prayers of people that life is not easy. I listen as those in the pew ask for comfort, guidance, healing and hope. I listen, and then I pray for our laments to turn into songs of praise.
Mary had a song of praise - one that thanked God for looking favorably upon her and the plight of her people - and so in planning this year's Advent devotional, I thought it was fitting to hear from Mary and to be reminded once again that God sees us, hears us and is with us always. 

Presbyterians Today's new Advent devotional for 2018 is based on verse 52 from Mary's Song of Praise - also known as The Magnificat -found in Luke 1: He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly.

After reading verse 52, I began thinking about my low moments in life and how God raised me up out of the muck. I began thinking about all those who have gifted me with their songs of praise - beautiful notes of God looking on them with mercy. I especially began thinking about the special-needs saints God has brought into my life, and how their songs of praise, sung amid adversity, made me realize God has a song for us all. It doesn't matter who we are or what our circumstances or challenges might be. Songs of praise can come from our lips.

Just ask Andrew Weatherly, who wrote the poems and created the original oil paintings for this devotional. Andrew was in my Sunday school class while I was a seminary intern at South Presbyterian Church in Bergenfield, New Jersey. Born with Down syndrome, Andrew hasn't let anything stop him, and he now uses his art to raise awareness of the capabilities of those with special needs. Recently, Andrew was inducted into Closter, New Jersey's Hall of Fame. His name now displayed on a wall in the library next to the names of professional athletes, actors, scientists, doctors, professors and other artists.

Kris Van Tatenhove joins me in writing this devotional. The father of a special-needs son, Krin knows what it is like to fight "the system" so that his son can have the same opportunities as those who are labeled "normal." Krin and I have spoken about the challenges and blessings of those who are called "different" and we find ourselves often wondering who can define "normal."

As for me, this project is close to my heart. I have a special-needs brother who struggles to find his place in the world. Born in the 1960s at a time when doctors, teachers, social workers, even my parents, didn't know what do with him, his time of Advent waiting seems endless. It's hard at times to keep the faith that God is working on my brother's song of praise. But isn't that what the season of Advent invites us to do - to trust God even in our darkest days?

May this devotional, inspired by Mary's song, be an Advent blessing to you. May it be the reminder we need that no matter what, God lifts us up. And so, get ready to sing a song of praise!

Donna Frischknecht Jackson is editor of Presbyterians Today and a rural ministry networker in Washington County, New York.

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.
Board of Pensions News and Deadlines

Sessions, it is time to begin building your Board of Pensions employee contracts. See the BOP site for new benefits videos, calculators to estimate cost and much more.
  • October 12: This is the last day to submit your final 2019 Employer Agreement on Benefits Connect.
  • October 29-November 16: Annual enrollment is open for employees to elect 2019 benefits.
Selecting 2019 Benefits page link: 
Don't miss the video at the bottom of their page to view the "What's New for 2019" video/slideshow.

Downloadable guide:  Guide to Selecting 2019 Benefits
Thank You for Your Service to the Presbytery!
October is Pastor Appreciation Month, and currently serving Commissioned Ruling Elders and Teaching Elders of churches are invited to a Pastor's Appreciation Day at the Green Lake Bible Camp in Spicer on Monday, October 22 from 11:00 - 3:00. Lunch will be provided. Please let Karen know your attendance plans.
Minnesota Valleys Presbytery Receives Grant from Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation

We are happy to announce that our request for funding the "Going Beyond Change, Part II" event was approved for 2019. The grant application was approved in the amount of $3,000.
Sad News

Rev. Dennis Secrease passed away on Friday. He had served as pastor at the First Presbyterian Church of Kasota. Please keep the Secrease family in your prayers. The memorial service was this morning at the First Congregational United Church of Christ, 150 Stadium Court, Mankato.
Cards may be sent to his wife, Anita, at 15 Hoover Court, North Mankato MN 56003.

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!

Youth Retreat at Clearwater

What: Clearwater's Annual Fall Youth Retreat
Who: Junior and Senior High Youth
When: November 2 - 4, 2018
This year's theme is " The Missing Peace"
Activities and discussions will revolve around problem solving, individuality, inclusion, cooperation, and peace.

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

First Presbyterian Church, Mankato - Full-time Solo Pastor
   Ministry Information Form - 03792.AEO

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 --

Also: First Presbyterian Church, Lake Crystal - Interim Pastor, 3/4 time
                Link to position description
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
Spaghetti Supper in Pipestone

First Presbyterian Church of Pipestone invites you to their Community Meal Spaghetti Supper on Thursday, October 25, from 5:00 - 7:00 pm with takeout available. Cost: $8.00 for adults, $4.00 for ages 6-19, Free for children 5 and under, $20.00 for a family.
Six New Things
Build empathy over Enbridge
Donate adult winter coats
Churches kids become happy grown-ups
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