The Valley Bridge
The weekly newsletter from the
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
October 26, 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 October 30 - November 5
First Presbyterian Church of Amboy

Pastor: Elaine Boyd
Clerk of Session:   Nancy Runge
Treasurer: Shirley Rose
Administrative Assistant: Rhonda Martin
Choir director: Ruth Lemmon
Organists: Ruth Lemmon, Nancy Runge and Cindy Boesch
Session: Rod Boesch, Dean Caldwell, Jack Ritter, Nona Pederson, Kelly Burton, Jody Tenold, Nancy Runge, Don Grover, Jill Hendrickson
Prayer concerns:
Safe and productive harvest
Safe travel for "snowbirds"
Encouragement for mentors and youth in "Exploring Faith"
Discernment as we nominate officers and decide next year's budget

The Word from Rick: The Answer Is in the Music

Driving around Willmar, I keep my radio tuned to 106FM - "The Train." As a product of the 60s and 70s, it plays "my kind of music" - primarily rock music from the 1960s through the 1980s. Like some of our church folks who believe that there have been no good hymns or church music written since the 1800s, I sometimes feel that there has not been a whole lot of good music written since the 80s. Of course, I don't believe either statement to be true, one needs to take an open-minded look at our new "Glory to God" hymnal or listen to the works of many creative musicians of our era, to see that there is good music all around, and that we might even like some of it!
As I was driving to the Men's Bible Study at First Pres in Willmar this morning, the announcer spoke of the music that "The Train" played as the "music you grew up with" and the "soundtrack of your life." It reminded me of sermons that I heard last Advent in Round Lake and this summer in Willmar, and it got me thinking about what I might wish to write this week.
At Bible Study, Pastor Scott had us begin by looking at Psalm 150. He used it as a lead in to our morning's video presentation. For the last five weeks, we have been watching a series of videos entitled, "Why Christian?", in which several women pastors and church leaders have been sharing their personal responses to that very question. This morning, Rev. Tiffany Thomas, a Baptist pastor serving an inner-city Methodist congregation in Charlotte, shared her faith journey and how music has been so instrumental in her life as she responses to the challenges that come with her ministry. She said,  "There is deliverance in the music, there is healing in the music, there is love-there is love- in the music!" She told us that "the answer is in the music."
As I reflected on her words, I felt that she was right on target. We, as Presbyterians, have always tended to be a little bit more on the cerebral side, and that shows up in the ways that we do our worship and the ways that we teach and learn . . . and that isn't all bad, but our "head trip" does not always bring that healing, deliverance, or love. These are things that must be felt and experienced. There is more to the experience of life and faith than just the "head trip." It must also be a "heart trip." Our faith is a spirit-filled adventure, and when the head does not connect to the emotional and spiritual level, we need something that will engage our whole being, and nothing seems to engage our heart and our very soul like music does. Music touches our emotions and stirs our soul. Certain music, whether it be a great hymn of the church, a patriotic sound, a rock classic, or something that emerges from our everyday world and expresses our feelings in ways that sometimes our own words are incapable of expressing. Yes, I do think that "the answer" may well be in the music, and maybe even more.
I would venture a guess that many of us probably have a "playlist" of songs that provides the "soundtrack" of our lives - songs that has offered, and still offer us an answer, comfort, healing, or encouragement, as well as songs that voice our frustrations, celebrations, or greatest hopes. I would venture that some of us have music in our playlist that is purely instrumental, with no words at all, and that such music lifts us up and helps us to soar, tempers our anger, or calms our anxieties. 
As I crisscross the territory that we know as our presbytery, I find that I can't take "The Train" with me, as its broadcast range is limited. So, instead of playing radio roulette, I rely on the music app on my iPhone. It contains the "soundtrack" of my life, which is a rather eclectic mix of pieces. Depending on my mood, or what I am headed off to do, there is always something in that "app" that provides what I need for the adventures that awaits. At the same time, there is in that "soundtrack" a handful of songs - a "playlist" that express the deepest sense of who I am and what I believe. This summer, Sue and I had time to talk about what our "playlists" might include. Someday, I will share it with y'all. In the meantime, what is the "soundtrack" of your life? Where in the music do you find the answers, the challenges, the healing, and the hope? Where do you find your story? Let's compare notes!

Grace and Peace,
For Church Musicians

Please invite your church musicians (choir directors, organists, pianists, etc.) to a workshop on November 5 at 1:00 p.m. at Union Presbyterian Church, 730 S. 3rd St., Saint Peter.
William McConnell will be our special music guest at the presbytery meeting. He will give a presentation to the presbytery on Saturday morning and a special workshop for church musicians that afternoon. He is the executive director of the Presbyterian Association of Musicians and is a pianist. He was an ex-officio member of the committee that produced the "Glory to God" hymnal.
Opportunities to Serve in the Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys

The Committee on Representation, which serves as the Nominating Committee is close to concluding its work for this year. There are four vacancies that the committee is working to fill as we prepare for our upcoming presbytery meeting.
From our committee:
  • Thank you in advance to everyone who has agreed to serve the presbytery beginning in 2017. We are excited to welcome some new faces into our work, as well as welcome back those of you who are continuing in your service.
  • It is possible that we could use a few more nominees on November 5. If you believe that God might be calling you to serve, or if you know someone in your congregation who might be just the person we are looking, please share that information with us, immediately. Our Chairperson, Rev. Bill Yueill, would love to hear from you.  He can be reached at
Trusting in Progress

by Mindy Vande Brake, Young Adult Volunteer

Going in to my second YAV year I was so excited to find out that I would be working with the Presbyterian Ministry of the United Nations. I dreamed of all the ambassadors and delegates I would see from countries all across the world. I even dreamed that maybe if I was lucky enough, I could even see President Obama. But I knew that would be a really far fetch  for me, because I'm just a Young Adult Volunteer trying to learn the ropes within the United Nations.

Well today that dream actually came true. Today was the first day where heads of state spoke at the United Nations General Assembly. At today's meeting I heard from the Secretary General of the United Nations, the heads of states from both Brazil and Chad, and finally the the President of the United States himself, Mr. Barack Obama. It would also be the last time Obama would address the UN as president.

President Obama began by stating, "I want to suggest to you today that we must go forward, and not backward. I believe that as imperfect as they are, the principles of open markets and accountable governance, of democracy and human rights and international law that we have forged remain the firmest foundation for human progress in this century." These words ring so true in our society today. We are in a time of an overwhelming amount of changes happening; like the High Level Summit to Address Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants that was held yesterday, the Black Lives Matter movement, wars and conflicts are happening all across the globe, and many other issues too. These words remind us to not be afraid of what will come next, but to stand up and play a defining role in these changes. We, both as individuals and the Church, cannot be silent, for silence leaves us in the dust.

So far most of my time here at the United Nations has been mostly attending, listening, and learning from meetings ranging on topics anywhere from refugees and migrants, women, peacemaking, and even the death penalty. Most of my work has been related to human rights. President Obama mentioned this in his speech stating that "We need to be investing in people: their skills, their education, and their human rights." What I have learned so far shocks me to the core: How is it that we are in the year 2016 and the basic needs so many peoples around the world needs have not been met?  Well this is just one of the many questions that the UN struggles to solve on a daily basis. But I don't believe that there is just one clear or obvious answer to this question.

President Obama next quoted the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. "Human progress never rolls on the wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men [and women] willing to be co-workers with God."  Well this quote speaks to me, it is a constant reminder of the work that I and all my fellow YAVs do across the United States of America and the world. President Obama went on to say "I have seen that spirit in our young people, who are more educated and more tolerant, and more inclusive and more diverse, and more creative than our generation; who are more empathetic and compassionate towards their fellow human beings than previous generations." These words define the generation of youth today; who cares more about service, human rights, and grass roots movements than politics and capitalism. Change is a vital step in our journey forward, and from my experience with the ideas and actions of my generation. I believe that we can do so much to make a difference in the world, especially when it comes to human rights. From all of my experiences so far I'm proud to be a part of all the influential work here at the Presbyterian Ministry of the United Nations.

Jeremiah 29:11:  For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
On the Road with Rick
October 30 - Preach at Maine Presbyterian Church
November 5 - Presbytery Meeting at Union Presbyterian Church, Saint Peter
November 6 - Preach at First Presbyterian Church, Osakis
November 13 - Preach at Emmanuel Presbyterian Church, Rushmore and Zion Presbyterian Church, Ellsworth
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
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 -

The First Presbyterian Church of Randall is currently developing its Ministry Information Form in preparation for a pastoral search, it should be ready in the next week or so. Details are on their way.

Useful Link for Church Treasurers: 
Worship Chairs for Sale

Submitted by Steve Tyykila

The Canby ministerial association's after school program was recently given the building and contents of an LCMC church that dissolved. Included in that was a wooden lector stand/pulpit, communion table, and baptismal font we want to give away. We also have 80 almost new worship chairs that hook together, many of them with racks for Bibles and hymnbooks. We would like to sell them for $40 apiece.  Link to pictures

Interested? Contact Pastor Levi Bollerus, Our Savior's Lutheran Church, 507-223-7072.
News for the Common Good: Campaign for empathy--Religion writers on Bob Dylan--
Bad outlook on race relations a good thing?

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