The Valley Bridge
The weekly newsletter from the
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
September 12, 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)

The PDA events scheduled for this weekend have been canceled.
Congregation of the week of September 16-22
First Presbyterian Church of Round Lake
Ruling Elders:  Wally Habben, Patty Habeck, Heidi Ruesch, Reinard Bosma, Susan Kruger,  Gail Widman, Ronda Sammons, Arnold Meyer, and Brenda Vogelaar
Clerk of Session:  Brenda Vogelaar
Church Secretary, Treasurer and Organist:  Becky DeJong
Church Co-Treasurer and Financial Secretary:  LaRae Wood
Multi-Media Coordinator:  Jerry Wood
White House and Grounds Caretaker:  Donna Watje
Christian Education Committee:  Lori Morrison, Beth DeRoo, Jennifer Rehnelt
Memorial Committee:  Mary Ann Sather, Jolene Thomsen, Linda Koning
Concerned Christians Committee:  Sandy Sather, Bob Widman, Jon Untiedt
Ministers:  Members of the Congregation and our Church Family
Pastor:  The Rev. Robert D. Bartlett
We pray for our ministries:
  • Monthly financial support of the Helping Hands Pregnancy Center and the Manna Food Pantry in Worthington
  • Monthly support of the Lakeside Center at Okoboji
  • Monthly support for the construction of storm resistant housing in the Caribbean
  • Annual serving of a meal at The Banquet in Sioux Falls, SD
  • Sharing in worship, fellowship, ministry, as well as sharing the pastoral services of our pastor, with our sisters and brothers in the Brewster Presbytery Church
  • Ministry of hospitality to those who receive lodging in our Parish House when visiting family and friends in Round Lake
  • Provide full camp scholarships for children attending Summer Church Camp
  • Packing and providing food baskets/gift certificates to local residents in need (including gifts for their children) during the Christmas Season
  • Annual participation in the Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child
  • Supporting and encouraging our pastor as he ministers on our behalf through his service to the Presbytery
We remember in prayer:  
  • The congregations, pastoral leadership, staff and other faithful servants of the Presbytery
  • Those who are facing the destructive forces of Hurricane Florence
  • All victims of natural disasters and personal tragedies
  • Those dealing with health issues of every kind as well as wrestling with their griefs and sorrows
  • Those who are struggling with the burden placed upon them by the events of 9-11 and the ensuing war against terrorism
  • Members of law enforcement, firefighters, EMTs, and members of the military services and their families
  • The faithful ministries and for the future of each small, rural congregation

This week we remember 9/11, and we await Hurricane Florence.  Our country continues to brace itself among crises that continue week to week. Below are prayers that I hope will give you comfort. The authors are cited below.

In Troubled Times

We turn to you in troubled times, God of all Creation. Daily in the newspapers we read of hatred and violence, war and crime, greed and injustice.  We know that humankind was made for better life than this, and wanting to change the world, we find ourselves frustrated at every turn. Being frustrated, we grow anxious; and grown anxious, we become restive and fretful and bitter. So much in our world needs correction. We need correction. We want to help but we know not how. So we turn to you as little children, asking you to help us in our helplessness.

Grant that we may hold fast our sense of perspective, for through we are living in tumultuous days, we need to remember the centuries of tumult that preceded our generation and that doubtless will follow it.  Keep us from being so upset about everything that we fasten on anything as the scapegoat, and save us from accusations having no other ground than our weakness and from resentments with no other source than our envy.  Grant us that in any time of disagreement we speak as in your presence, and calm us until in strife we seek not so much to conquer the one with whom we stand at odds as to let your will control the struggle and give you charge of what we say and do.

Encourage us, we pray to believe what we say we believe, to put in you the trust not only of words but also of bodies and souls and to find in your Son not simply someone nice enough for children to become acquainted with but also Him who judges all we are and all we do.  We know we need you and ask you to fill the need we know and if we do not know we need you, we urge you to disconcert us until we do. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen (adapted from Roy Pearson)

Call to Prayer in the Wake of Hurricanes

God of our life, whose presence sustains us in every circumstance, in the aftermath of storm and distress, we welcome the restoring power of your love and compassion.
We open our hearts in sorrow, gratitude, and hope: that those who have been spared nature's fury as well as those whose lives are changed forever by ravages of wind and water 
may find solace, sustenance, and strength in the days of recovery and reflection that come.
We are thankful for the generous grace of days of preparation;  for the wise counsel of experts and the generous collaboration of so many communities,  that in the face of the storm kept many out of harm's way, and lessened the effects of wind and water on others. 
We are grateful that dire predictions did not result in the worst case scenario for all,
yet still served to support our best efforts at preparation and immediate relief.  At the same time, we open ourselves to the stories of those for whom the Hurricane was not a near miss:
communities deeply affected, whose livelihood, homes and stability has been destroyed. 
We pray in grief, remembering the lives that have been lost.
We lift our voices in sorrow and compassion for families who have lost loved ones, homes, or livelihood.
We ask for sustaining courage for those who are suffering;  wisdom and diligence among agencies and individuals assessing damage and directing relief efforts; and for generosity to flow as powerfully as rivers and streams,  as we, your people, respond to the deep human needs beginning to emerge in the wake of the storm.
In these days of relief, assessment and response, open our eyes, our hearts, and our hands to the needs of your children and the movements of your Spirit, who flows in us like the river whose streams makes glad the city of God, and the hearts of all who dwell in it, and in You.
In the name of Christ the Healer we pray.

Prayer written by the Rev. Dr. Laurie Ann Kraus, National Response Team of Presbyterian Disaster Assistance
In the name of Christ who is God of today and every tomorrow.

Prayer Concern

We ask for prayers for Jim and Cynthia Krapf and family and for Jim's mother following her stroke this past weekend.
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
October is Pastor Appreciation Month

Minnesota Valleys pastors actively serving congregations are invited to a Pastor's Appreciation Day at 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.

Pastor Appreciation Ideas
  • Words of Affirmation. Make copies of notecards for everyone in the congregation to fill out and present to the pastor, spouse and family.
  • A night out. Give clergy families a night out to a local restaurant.
  • PrayerOrganize a prayer calendar so each pastor is prayed for every day of the month.
  • Daily Gift for the Month. Each day one member delivers a gift to the pastor. Choose something of special interest to the pastor such as a bag of their favorite candy, fishing lure, tickets, etc.     
  • Sabbath Retreat. Time for the pastor to attend a spiritual retreat for their own spiritual well-being.
  • New Equipment. Some examples include: Ipad, laptop, cell phone.
  • Library Addition. Provide a gift card for the pastor to choose what is needed for his/her library.
  • Continuing Education. Offer financial assistance to further the pastor's education.
  • Fitness Tracker. A great idea for helping your pastor maintain physical health by tracking anything from steps, heart rate, sleep, calories, and more.
  • House Cleaning. Go as a group or hire a professional to care for the house inside and out. Consider a house washing, vehicle detailing, lawn maintenance, window cleaning and more.
  • Pay for a gym membership. Gym memberships might be out of the range of many pastors. The gift of a gym membership can lead to greater health, vitality, and community connection.
What's Good About The Good News? Rethinking Evangelism

Focused on the Sarasota Statement (2017), this retreat and workshop for pastors and elders will provide an opportunity to re-think evangelism in a post-Christian world. From dinner on Friday night through lunch on Saturday we will delve deeply into not just how-to-bring-in-new-members, but why we make the effort to enlarge our circle of faith.


Friday Sept 28
Dinner: 5:30 pm
Worship: 6:30 pm
Evening Discussion: 7:15 pm, The Sarasota Statement as an Evangelical Document

Saturday Sept 29
Breakfast: 8:00 am
Worship: 9:00 am
Presentation: 9:45 am, A History of Evangelism and the Term "Evangelical" in the American Church
Discussion: 11:00 am, The Sarasota Statement, Prophetic Witness, and Intentional Evangelism 
Lunch: 12:30 pm
Concluding Session: 1:30 pm, Reclaiming Evangelism as Good News for All


Clearwater Forest
16595 Crooked Lake Road
Deerwood MN 56444

Hosted by the Committee on Congregational Vitality of the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area, we encourage Teaching and Ruling Elders within the PTCA to attend. Cost is 50.00 dollars per person for PTCA members and members of churches within the PTCA. Scholarships are available. 

It is our pleasure to welcome the Reverend Dr. SanDawna Ashley as facilitator for our discussions.
All are welcome to attend Safety Training Event in Mankato

Thursday, October 11
9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Bethany Lutheran College
700 Luther Drive
Mankato MN 56001

Church Mutual is proud to partner with ALICE, a leading active shooter response training organization, to help you act in the face of violence and save lives.
Snacks and hors d'oeuvres will be provided by Church Mutual Insurance Company

9:00 - 9:05    Welcome and Intro 
Tim Marks, Church Mutual Insurance Company
9:05 - 10:40   Premises Security and ALICE Training Overview 
John Aunan, Risk Control Consultant, Church Mutual Insurance Company. Mike Christianson, Department of Homeland Security. Justin Neumann and Chris Baukol, Mankato Police Department
10:40 - 10:45  Break
10:45 - 11:15  Legal Aspects of Security Programs 
Virginia Cronin, Henningson & Snoxell, Ltd
11:15 - 11:45  Introduction to Background Checks and Employee and Volunteer Screening 
Lori Lord, Trusted Employees
11:45 - 12:00  Questions for the Panel

On the day of the event, use the main entrance to the Bethany Lutheran College campus, and follow the signs posted to be directed to the location of the event.

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)

Support Education for Children in Our Sister Presbytery in Guatemala
by Jim Krapf
Education yields opportunities. You can support this possibility for children in our sister presbytery of Occidente. Donating $250 scholarships provides funds for a student's required uniforms, books, and other expenses for a year.

Their next school year begins in January. We send the scholarships in late October.  You can mail your checks made out to the Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys to the presbytery office. Any amount is appreciated; but $250 per student is the goal. You may consider making this more than a one year commitment.

This support would be in addition to the six scholarships that are provided through our presbytery's Occidente Partners budget. Keeping our donations at current levels could support more children beyond elementary into middle and high school.

Donors will receive photographs, academic reports, and thank you notes from children and/or their parents. We do not reveal the donors to the recipients to avoid further requests for assistance. We have found presbytery-to-presbytery arrangements are a fairer more manageable way to offer assistance. Occidente's Committee on Ministry will continue to select the recipients from among their now 20 churches.
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.
Leadership on the Line

Join the Presbytery in a book study of
Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Change
by Ronald Heifetz, Marty Linsky
Pastors, sessions and church leaders are invited to read along with other co-learners as we take the transformation conversation one step further.  During our Zoom and in-person discussions, we will explore the topics of productive change, lowering the risk of change agents, avoiding leadership traps, and answering the question-What does it mean to see new chapters in ministry. These are just a few of the themes we will discuss. Leadership on the Line is a Harvard Business book commonly used by religious organizations. The book includes religious themes easily adaptable for the church context. The remaining Zoom book discussion will take place on  
September 20 - Chapters 8-11
The discussion will be at 11:00 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., choose the time that works for your schedule. Zoom instructions will be in the Valley Bridge the week of the discussion.
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.
What can the church do about the growing addiction crisis?

There is an opioid addiction crisis sweeping the nation and there is no distinction between urban and rural areas. A June 2017 article in The New York Times identified drug overdose as "the leading cause of death among Americans under 50, with two-thirds of those deaths from opioids." Churches want to help people find recovery, but critical knowledge and resources to address the crisis are just not consistently available across our region.
Those who struggle with addiction and those who care about them often look to the church but find little help because they are under equipped even if they are an ideal place to provide hope and healing.
The Synod of Lakes and Prairies has found a way to help churches fill that vital role and take steps to address the crisis by participating in the Faith & Addiction Conference, planned September 28-30, at the DoubleTree Hilton in Bloomington. The event is designed to help congregations, clergy and care givers address the opioid crisis. Hosted by  the Fellowship of Recovering Lutheran Clergy (FRLC), the scheduled speakers include Nadia Bolz-Weber, Omar Manegwala and Anne Wilson Shaef and will feature interactive workshops and breakout sessions.
The synod encourages presbyteries to identify interested persons to attend. The synod will cover 20 registrations and invites not more than two per presbytery to apply for a scholarship. Attendees will be responsible for their own transportation and lodging costs.  Priority will be for persons engaged in or representing existing addiction support collaborations, especially in urban areas, tribal communities, rural regions and marginalized populations. Those who receive a synod-paid registration will be expected to reconvene for a daylong session to share their experiences and resources to provide support at the synod level that could be offered across the region.  
The Addiction and Faith Conference closes on Sunday morning. Commissioners and presbytery leaders attending the Fall Synod meeting, September 30 - October 2, 2018, should note that the conference closes on Sunday morning prior to the evening opening of the synod meeting out at Mt Olivet Conference Center in Farmington, Minnesota. Please contact Elona Street-Stewart, synod executive, at 651-357-1149 for more information. Applications are available.
The Addiction and Faith conference is open to anyone interested in exploring the devastation of addiction and the remarkable healing process of faith. CEUs are available for health care professionals. The event will offer knowledge about addiction recovery, stories of learning and hope, and a celebration of God's abiding grace.

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
Scholarship Funds for Racial Ethnic Students available from Synod of Lakes and Prairies

The Student Scholarship Fund is an educational assistance program designed to encourage racial ethnic students in their preparation for academic success in higher education. Students must have a permanent residence within the Synod of Lakes and Prairies and be active members in a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) congregation. The synod is committed to partner with students and schools for leadership development and quality instruction of clergy and lay persons for lifelong service. Application awards are based on personal achievement, financial need and recommendation from a teacher and pastor. Completed applications are due September 30 and must include an official transcript and financial aid statement.

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Backpacks for refugee students
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