The Valley Bridge
The weekly newsletter from the
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
September 14, 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 September 18-24
Union Presbyterian Church of Saint Peter


We give thanks for Charles Eggert as he retires from the organ after many years of outstanding service.
We give thanks for the many leaders at Union who work with dedication and imagination to make church a good place to be. We offer thanks for Claude, Kate, John, Bob, Debbie, Dawn, Dean, Todd, Sara, Hayden, Craig, Marge, Marilyn, Deanne, Sandy, Linda, Mary, Kathy, and Andy.
We pray for couples who are experiencing difficulty having children.
The Word from Rick: Cosmic Flirts and God Signs

As I returned home from our eleven-day vacation, I was quickly reminded that my time in the leadership chair of this presbytery is getting shorter with each passing day. No, I do not have one of those countdown apps on my phone, nor do I have a wall calendar upon which I intend to dutifully check off each passing day. My trusty Presbyterian Planning Calendar, a constant companion for 42 years - only lost it once - tells me everything I need to know, and that December 31 is lurking, and there is still a good bit to accomplish in our time together.
I have been your presbytery leader for nearly three years. This has been a truly wonderful experience for me and I sincerely hope that I have been more than a place-holder as we worked together to determine what type of mission design and leader would be most helpful in leading this presbytery and its member congregations forward into God's future.
As part of my being here, the presbytery invested some reserve funds so that I could participate in our denomination's Presbytery Leader Formation Program. This program allowed me to learn from experienced presbytery leaders about how to be a more competent and confident leader. It also gave me a valued cohort of colleagues with whom to reflect about the challenges of our ministry. Most especially, it gave me a coach with whom I could share ideas and visions before I tried them out on you all. She has been someone to whom I could be accountable, and she has held me in check when I got too outlandish with my thinking. My monthly conversations with my coach have been most enlightening and have served me well!
Several months ago, Margaret (my coach) introduced me to the notion of "cosmic flirts." She noted that "cosmic flirts" are those little pokes and prods that come to us in our lives, often unexpectedly, and that give us ideas to ponder, or that plant seeds in our mind. She encouraged me, not only as I seek to be a competent presbytery leader, but also as a person contemplating retirement, to pay attention to the "cosmic flirts" that were certain to come at me. She said that these "flirts" were more than random happenings, and definitely not capricious; that they were "God signs," somewhat playful, but definitely serious indications that God through the Holy Spirit was giving me clues, or perhaps cues, as to where God is leading me, both in my final months here, as well as in my retirement.  
Needless to say, my radar has been on high alert since April when we first talked about the "cosmic flirts." My trips to General Assembly, Synod School, Triennium, and the East Coast, as well as all the times in between, have provided me with a wide and somewhat dizzying assortment of pokes and prods from God. Some of them have been directed at how I need to finish my time with you and prepare you all for the road ahead. Others have become the topic of conversation with my family as I seek to determine what retirement might look like.
Sue, CJ, and I had some good talks during our time in Vermont and New York. "Cosmic flirts/God signs" were abundant. Were any retirement decisions made, I don't really think so. In fact, there are probably many more questions before me than there are answers, but we will work them out, more in the realm of God's time than my own. The important thing is that we have work to do here! I want to do my very best to complete my commitments to this presbytery and conclude my time here on a good, hopeful note. I will pay attention to the ways that God pokes and prods me during these last three-plus months, and -- here comes the Olympics reference -- seek to finish my lap of this relay strong. I will do what I can do to not drop the baton as this presbytery moves forward.
Here's to a great fall season together as servants of Christ in this place!
Grace and Peace,

Boundary Training 2016 
Hope Presbyterian, Spicer
Pictures by Rick Carus

For those who were unable to attend the training, there will be an alternate assignment.

It's a girl!

We are happy to share that Rev. Andrew and Melissa Turner welcomed their new baby, Pepper, on August 19. Two-year-old Maggie is now a big sister.
Opportunities to Serve in the Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys

The Committee on Representation will be nominating individuals to serve in the following areas of our presbytery's ministry:
  • The Commission on Leadership
  • The Commission on Presbytery Life
  • The Commission on Presbytery Operations
  • The Commission on Congregational Transformation and Development
  • The Committee on Congregational Nurture
  • Vice-Moderator of Presbytery
  • The Committee on the Self-Development of People
Descriptions of these groups and their ministries can be found on the Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys website, using the Commissions/Committees tab -

On the Road with Rick: August and September
September 18 - Preach at First Presbyterian Church, Saint James
September 19 - Session Meeting at Faith Presbyterian Church, Silver Lake
October 2 - Preach at First Presbyterian Church, Osakis
October 2-4 - Synod of Lakes and Prairies Meeting, Mount Olivet
October 4-5 - Synod Presbyters' Forum, Mount Olivet
October 15 - "Building Interfaith Bridges," First Presbyterian Church, Redwood Falls
October 16 - Worship at First Presbyterian Church, Redwood Falls
October 23 - Preach at Hope Presbyterian Church, Spicer
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
Please note: these are the Rick's available Sundays between now and the end of the year:  November 13, December 4, December 11, and December 18. Rick would love to be invited for a Sunday worship, a special event, or even to preach! Just give him a call at the presbytery office, or e-mail him at
Send Us Your Congregation's Mission Activities!
One of the goals of the redesign of the Presbytery is to enhance relationships between the churches of the presbytery. At the July meeting of the Commission of Presbytery Life, we discussed ways to accomplish that goal. We need your help in this first attempt.
Here is what we intend to do. We will work with our staff to add a new category in the black bar across the top of the presbytery's web page. It will be entitled churches/mission. This will not be password protected. This link will bring you to a church directory that is similar to the one under directories except it will not have any personal staff information. Instead it will list the mission activities of the church.
This is where we need your help. Please send Karen a list of any mission activities that your church is participating in. We will let you define mission. Karen will add this list to your church listing in the new directory.
What do we hope to accomplish by doing this? Any one in any of our churches will be able to scan this information to look for mission ideas to use in their congregation. They will also be able to contact that church to solicit help in beginning and sustaining that mission. They might also be able to find a mission that they are interested in but not able to accomplish by themselves. They could then collaborate with the church that is already involved in that mission.
Our hope is that everyone will participate. Please contact Karen with the information requested and as your mission program changes, keep Karen informed so she can update the information on the website and keep it accurate. We will give you a couple of weeks to get the information to her, and then we will start contacting those who have not responded. 

Ministry Opportunities

The First Presbyterian Church of Pipestone  is seeking a Designated Pastor to lead them as they seek to grow and develop active disciples. First Presbyterian Church desires to be a congregation that will embrace new ideas that will lead them into a new and exciting future. 
If you, or someone you know, might be the dynamic, committed pastoral leader that FPC-Pipestone needs, please take a serious look at this opportunity! The Ministry Information Form is posted on the Church Leadership Connection web site -- It is MIF ID#03796.AC0. For more information, contact Rick Carus at the presbytery office - 320.235.7910 or .

The First Presbyterian Church Osakis is continuing its search for a Pastor to lead them as they live out the visions that have been generated by their New Beginning conversations. 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.AC1. 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. As soon as this document is posted, we will make an announcement through the Valley Bridge.
Be a Courageous Congregation!

Would your church like to be a "Courageous Congregation," working to stop gender-based violence?

Presbyterian Women and Presbyterian World Mission are working together to resource churches that want to act as "Courageous Congregations" during the month of October. Learn more at
Useful Link for Church Treasurers: 

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