The Valley Bridge
The weekly newsletter from the
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
September 13, 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.
Karen is out of the office this Thursday and Friday.
Congregation of the week: September 17-23
First Presbyterian Church of Slayton
  9:00 am Sunday school
  9:30 am Fellowship Coffee
10:00 am Worship Service
Shannon Pederson              Branch Haken                       Luann Parker
Gail Johnson                      Rich Wajer                           Phil Swenson
Commissioned Ruling Elder: David Hollis

Clerk of Session: Nola Aanenson

Sec/Treasurer:   Jannette Carlson
Trustees :
Bruce Haken              Cindy Kleve                          
Rick Parker                Dale Bergman
Getting Back to Normal

It is September, and getting back to normal is the order of the day. However, just the sound of the words brings both anxiety and relief. What is normal? The answer is greatly debated because normal looks different for everyone. For me, normal is getting in rhythm: getting to bed on time, lying out clothes the night before for the next day, waking up in time to have my devotions and prayer, making my way to the gym three days a week, walking Joy, checking and returning emails, reading, writing, listening, coordinating trips to the airport to pick up Murphy, planning meals so I do not totally blow my calories for the day - reversing all the good the workout did, and waiting on God. I am almost exhausted just thinking about all of this.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 speaks about getting back to normal. "There is a time and season for everything under the sun." This text reminds us that time must be balanced with wisdom.  Normalcy comes when we learn what's important and what's not. Most of us do not learn this great life lesson until sickness comes, tragedy strikes, stress overtakes us or a loved one sits us down for real heart to heart.

As we move from the hot summer heat to the cooler days of fall, the question to be asked in our effort to get back to normal is, "What does God want for my life?" Once we have the answer to this question, we can start prioritizing downward. Getting back to normal takes practice, intentionality, and, for me, much prayer. The demands on life seem to be limitless, yet we as Christians must model a practice learned from Howard Thurman "How to Center-down."
To sit quietly and see one's self pass by!
The streets of our minds seethe with endless traffic; our spirits resound
with clashings, with noisy silences, while something deep within hungers
and thirsts for the still moment and the resting calm.
With full intensity we seek, ere the quiet passes, a fresh sense of order in our living;
A direction, a strong sure purpose that will structure our confusion and bring meaning
in our chaos. We look at ourselves in this waiting moment-the kinds of people we are. The questions persist: what are we doing with our lives?  What are the motives that
order our days?  What is the end of our doing?  Where are we trying to go?
Where do we put the emphasis and where are our values focused?
For what end do we make sacrifices? Where is my treasure and
what do I love most in life?  What do I hate most in life and to what am I true?
Over and over again the questions beat in upon the waiting moment.  As we listen, floating up through all the jangling echoes or turbulence, there is a sound of another kind-a deeper note which only the stillness of the heart makes clear.  It moves directly to the
core of our being.  Our questions are answered, our spirits refreshed and we move back into the traffic of our daily round with the peace of the Eternal in our steps.
(Thurman "Meditations of the Heart")
I invite you to test this practice this fall. Let us also continue to pray for those whose lives have been disrupted by natural disasters that in the midst of tragedy they might find normal days. Attending regular worship, participating in prayer groups, journaling, sitting in silence, studying Scripture will help us return to normal or a new normal for the people of God.
      • Rev. Ashley
Veda Gill and Lynn Miller share about education in Pakistan
Left to right: Karen Lange, Veda Gill, Lynn Miller, SanDawna Ashley, Pamela Prouty. Photographer: Shari Maloney

SanDawna, Pam and Karen were thrilled to welcome Veda Gill and Lynn Miller to the presbytery office, where we heard stories about the impact that the Presbyterian Education Board (PEB) is having in Pakistan. Friends of PEB is a group that supports and promotes the educational purposes and fund development of the Presbyterian Education Board of Pakistan. Financial gifts make a real difference in the lives of the students, whose families could not afford their education otherwise.

For information:
Coffee and Rolls with SanDawna

Newly-installed Executive Director of Presbytery Mission SanDawna Ashley would like to hold coffee fellowship gatherings in Alexandria and Windom in September. All teaching elders and commissioned ruling elders are cordially invited.

10:00 a.m. Thursday, September 14 
Traveler's Inn Restaurant
511 Broadway Street

10:00 a.m. Tuesday, September 19 
River City Eatery
344 10th Street
SanDawna is looking forward to getting to know the folks in our presbytery. Pastors, please let Karen know your attendance plans.
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, 2017, 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.
Registration for Presbyterian Church USA teaching elders and leaders opens Wednesday, September 20.
If there are open slots, other denominational clergy and leaders will be invited to register beginning Monday, September 25, 2017.

Contact Jeff Japinga, executive presbyter, PTCA:, 651-357-1150. 
New Books of Order Are Here!

The 2017-2019 Books of Order have arrived. If you would like to order one, please let Karen at the Presbytery office know; the cost is $9. This Book of Order is the most recent up-to-date copy; it is important for every congregation to have at least one copy of the newest Books of Order. It is also available on the website. If you have questions, please ask.

Commission/Committee Members and General Assembly Commissioners, alternate and YAADS sought
The Commission on Representation (COR) will be meeting in late September to begin their work to fill all the presbytery commissions and committees. Also they will be reviewing applications received to be a General Assembly Teaching/Ruling Elder commissioner, alternate or Young Adult Advisory Delegate. If you are interested in any of this, 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.
Getting the Word Out

We are a big Presbyterian family, and we want to support each other in good and bad times. Please include the presbytery office when communicating big news about pastors and members of presbytery. Thank you.
God Chat Apps: A Life of Prayer
Saturday, October 7, 2017
9:00 - 3:30
Hope Presbyterian Church

Come to deepen and strengthen your prayer life!
Luke 11:1 One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his
disciples said to him, "Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples."
Don't miss this multigenerational event - it will be a full day of learning about living a life of prayer.
Your ticket ($10) covers the full cost of your participation for the event. It includes our fabulous  speakers, coffee and snack at registration, lunch, and a snack for the ride home.
The church is hosting their annual bazaar that day - feel free to shop!
Sessions and speakers
Prayer and the Presence of God. Kara Root. Plenary speaker
Why Pray? In the valley, on the mountaintop and everywhere in between. Robin Hasslen
Centering Prayer. Sr. Katherine Howard
Aids to Contemplation: Tools and Resources for the Journey. Nathan Lamb
Yoga, Meditation and Devotion. Angie Ray
Let's Talk: The Basics of Prayer. Leanne Thompson
Personal Prayer for Everyone on Earth: How prayer apps help us fulfill the Great Commission. Chris Lim 

Contact Karen Lange to register

Final Promo
Final Promo

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
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, Saint James - Solo Pastor
   Ministry Information Form - 03802.AD

First Presbyterian Church, Fulda - Solo Pastor, 3/4 time
   Ministry Information Form - 03782.AD

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:
Six New Things
Ecumenical Stewardship Center September 2017
NEWS about stewardship resources, Generosity NEXT and more
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