The Valley Bridge
The weekly newsletter from the
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
October 18, 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: October 22-28
Union Presbyterian Church of Saint Peter
Prayers for Union's staff: Andy Davis, Kathy Gumbel, Jean and Bob Passon, Sara McKay, Holly Havemeier, and Todd Ruble. We especially pray for Bob as he recovers from heart surgery and for Sara on her last year as choir director after decades of exemplary service.
Prayers for our efforts to invite musicians to give music lessons in the church building. Our goal is to become a place of music education for many children.
Mid Council Meeting Highlights

Stan Manning (moderator elect), Pam Prouty (stated clerk) and I met in St. Louis with 300 other mid council leaders October 13-17th. The meeting was the first Office of the General Assembly and the Board of Pension joint polity venture. Participants were led in discussion of the Changing Nature of the Church and discerning the PC (USA) common life together. Here's a brief synopsis of the special task forces and commissions reports:
  • The Way Forward Commission provided feedback on the five question survey sent to presbyteries and synods.Their key areas of focus are congregations, mission priority, diversity and leadership, mid council relationships, functioning as "church," re-conceptualized administrative support, and effective communication.
  • The All Agency Review group ultimately decided not to merge the OGA and PMA. They will continue to focus their attention on the administration of shared services and the place of the PMA Corporation in the denomination.
  • The 20/20 Vision Task Force indicated they are working to develop a national mission statement that can be adopted by all congregations or posted as a general vision for the denomination.
See ( for a full report of the special task force groups.
In addition, participants were provided training in adaptive change, rethinking decline and living with resurrection hope. We were reminded that although our resources are less than they were in years past...we are not a poor church. We have adequate resources to do the ministries to which we are called.
I experienced the conference as a jump start for what we do here in Minnesota Valleys Presbytery. Our challenges are similar to most councils and congregations today across denominations, and so are our opportunities. God is our hope for the future, and we are adequately equipped with gifted people and all other resources needed to do the ministries to which we are called. Hope is contagious; and the more hopeful we are in the possibilities of God, the more we will be open to transformation. With this said, the task before us is to discern strategically how we are called to bear witness to the grace of God today. What do we need to leave behind in order to move forward? What things do will take forward into the future? Let's continue to discuss these questions as when gather in Christ's name. Also, let us trust that we are up to the task. Through the Spirit of God we can do all things through Christ Jesus, our help and strength.

Reformation Sunday: Oct 29
and Luther's Bible

This year Presbyterians celebrate the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther's 95 Theses. The theses, which criticized the sale of indulgences by church officials, are considered the opening salvo in the Protestant Reformation--a movement that emphasized individual relationships with God and salvation through faith alone. Luther is also celebrated for a second piece of writing: his translation of the Bible into German. After Pope Leo X excommunicated Luther in 1521, the reformer took refuge inside Wartburg Castle. There he completed his translation of the New Testament, based on Erasmus's 1516 Bible text. First printed in September 1522, the "September Testament" does not include Luther's name on the title page, an elision meant to limit church reprisals

Send us pictures!

We would love to use pictures from our congregations during presbytery meetings, on our website, and in the newsletter. Do you have some great stained glass windows, unique symbols or art in your church? Some great action shots of congregation members, children and youth? If you are out and about and see some great images, send those too. Please email these high quality png or jpg images to Karen Lange. If sending pictures of children or youth for our use, please get permission from their parents.
What an educational bargain!
by Edith Alvarez
For just $250 a year you, your family, your church, your organization could educate the child of a pastor in our sister Occidente Presbytery, Guatemala. This would include enough money to buy a uniform, a pair of shoes, books, and other school supplies and might mean the difference between a child's being able to attend school or not. Pastors in Guatemala earn very little money and are often forced to hold one or two jobs other than preaching to provide for their family. The Occidente Committee on Ministry selects which children receive scholarships based on need.

The school year in Guatemala begins in January. If you would like to help, money should be sent to the Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys, 4055 Abbott Drive, Willmar, MN 56201 by November 4. Indicate that it is for a Guatemalan scholarship. We do not reveal who the donors are to the recipients to avoid further requests for financial assistance, but we do try to provide you with a photo, academic record and thank you note of a recipient.
First Presbyterian Church of Foley is hosting a welcome for their new interim pastor, Rev. Beverly Brock at 11:45 am on Sunday, Oct 29th in their Fellowship Hall.  Everyone is invited to attend.  

Hurricane Buckets Project (update)
First Presbyterian Church, St. Cloud

We are wrapping up the donations phase of the cleanup buckets project. If you or someone you know are planning to deliver or pack more buckets - please be in touch with us asap as we are now transitioning to the preparing-to-ship phase. Call the church, 320-251-8277, or Email Mark Giese, We will share photos & stories soon, but please know how grateful we are, and that we are inspired by all of the participation from our MN Valleys Presbytery. To date, over 250 buckets have been packed for flood relief! 
Claim these donated books

We recently received a generous donation of books for giveaway. Those in the Lay Academy may find them especially helpful. Please contact Karen at the presbytery office to claim yours and arrange for pickup or shipping (at your cost).
  • Companion to the Constitution: Polity for the Local Church, Presbyterian Church (USA), 1999
  • The Book of Confessions, 1996, Presbyterian Church (USA)
  • Practicing Our Faith, by Dorothy C. Bass
  • A History of Israel, by John Bright
  • Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew, by Bart D. Ehrman
  • Presbyterian Polity for Church Officers, Third Edition, by Joan S. Gray, Joyce C. Tucker
  • The Evolution of God, by Robert Wright
Seeking General Assembly ruling elder alternate
The Commission on Representation (COR) is reviewing applications received to be a General Assembly Teaching/Ruling Elder commissioner, alternate or Young Adult Advisory Delegate. The ruling elder alternate opening is still available. 

Also Seeking Commission Members

Commission on Presbytery Life - 1 position open
Commission on Congregational Transformation & Development - 1 position
Committee on Congregational Nurture - 1 position
Commission on Leadership - 3 positions
Permanent Judicial Commission - 1 position open
If you are interested, please fill out the personal information form or the application for GA. If you have questions about any of the positions, please talk with Stated Clerk Pam Prouty or Sara McKay, chair of the COR.
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
Lakeshore Center at Okoboji,  October 13
Pastors and CREs: Here is a great opportunity for you to spend a day with preacher/teacher/author Tom Long.  He will be in the area to teach a class for the new Academy and will be doing this day long workshop at the Lakeshore Center at Okoboji on Friday, October 13
Teaching Fish to Walk: Church Systems and Adaptive Challenge
featuring Dr. Peter L. Steinke

Today's culture offers us both great challenges and opportunities for ministry. Easy answers won't cut it; we need to change and adapt. That's hard work. But there are people who can guide us.

"Teaching Fish to Walk: Church Systems and Adaptive Challenge," will draw on the deep and long experience of Dr. Peter L. Steinke, author and internationally respected church consultant. The workshop will begin with lunch at 12:00 noon on Monday, November 13, and conclude at 12:00 noon, Tuesday, November 14, at Mt. Olivet Conference and Retreat Center in Farmington, Minnesota.

This lifelong learning event will support and equip congregations in their exploration of faithful means to follow the Holy Spirit into a changing world. Clergy, Commissioned Pastors, and lay leaders are encouraged to attend as individuals or by forming a small team from a congregation. Through support from the Presbytery of Twin Cities Area and the Omaha Presbyterian Seminary Foundation, we are able to keep the cost reasonable.


  • $100 ... Resident Rate
Five sessions with Peter Steinke, lodging on-site (double-room), three meals (lunch and dinner Monday, breakfast Tuesday), and all workshop materials.
All rooms are double rooms, in order to maximize on-site participation. You will be assigned a roommate unless both you and your desired roommate list each other on your registration form.
  • $80 ... Non-Resident Rate
Five sessions with Peter Steinke, two meals (lunch and dinner Monday), and all workshop materials.

Contact Jeff Japinga, executive presbyter, PTCA:, 651-357-1150. 
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 --
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 Giving Magazine

This magazine has become a premier stewardship resource for churches and denominations throughout North America. Each magazine is packed with resources to support stewardship in the local church. Articles explore the intersection of faith and giving, offer practical information on Christian stewardship for all generations, and critique the newest resources on stewardship.  Click here for more information.

Link to Pastor's Tool Box for Stewardship:
Presbytery of Detroit invites Mission Work Groups
Six New Things
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