The Valley Bridge
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 20-26
Randall Presbyterian Church of Randall
Pastor: Michael Hartwell
Clerk of Session: Terry Coffin
Treasurer: Angie Magee
Session Members: Chris Magee, Jim Skoog, Mary, Skoog, Jake Farrow, Michael Lashinski, Angie Magee, Christi Hartwell
 
Like many churches, since early March Randall Presbyterian Church has been worshiping online. The church has been pre-recording services where they can be watched on Facebook, YouTube or on the church’s website. Beginning September 13, the church is also offering an onsite worship. Currently the service is outdoors, but when the weather gets cooler, the congregation will move indoors for the first time in over six months.

The people of Randall are involved in several mission programs. Members help serve monthly at the Morrison County Food Shelf in Little Falls and annually at the Little Falls Care Center. The church supports One Great Hour of Sharing, Pentecost Peace offering, Christmas Joy and Habitat for Humanity. Individually, members serve in Meals on Wheels, Kinship and Relay for Life.
 
Our main prayer concerns are those who feel alone and isolated during this pandemic, and that the church can return to in-person worship safely. Locally, we pray for students and staffs as they return to school. We join with the Presbytery and denomination as we pray for reconciliation of the divisions in our country and racial justice.
News from the Board of Pensions and the Commission on Leadership

The Commission on Leadership invited our Board of Pensions Church Consultant, Kenneth Green, to our meeting to discuss some of the new options for participants for 2021. The good news is that the Board of Pensions (BOP) program for installed full-time pastors remains the same, though the percentages for a couple of the components have changed. BOP dues is 37 percent of Effective Salary. New Cafeteria options are available for those who are in temporary pastoral relationships. You can find First Call Pastor benefit options on pensions.org.

The bigger news is the addition of Temporary Disability coverage. That and a new bundle of benefits for Pastors without the medical coverage, “Minister’s Choice” is being introduced as well.

Here are some highlights - the links take you to the pages within the Board of Pension website:
  • Minister’s Choice. provides a new benefit package designed for those not in an installed position and not covered under the Pastor’s Participation. New. Watch the video.
  • Pastor’s Participation Plan. Beginning January 1, 2021, ministers enrolled in Pastor's Participation will be provided with a new benefit as part of this package. The Temporary Disability Plan provides financial protection in the event of short-term disability for up to 90 days after a 14-day waiting period.
  • Temporary Disability Plan. In the event of a short-term disability, this financial protection benefit provides employees with a partial income for up to 90 days after a 14-day waiting period. This plan will be included in the Pastor’s Participation and the new Minister's Choice benefits packages. Watch the video.
  • Long Term Disability Plan. This benefit offers financial protection for employees with a long-term disability that extends beyond 90 days, providing them with a partial income throughout their disability. Employers may provide this plan to employees who are not enrolled in the Death and Disability Plan. Watch the video.
  • Employee Assistance Program. The Employee Assistance Plan (EAP) is a confidential resource provided at no cost to employees enrolled in medical coverage through the Board of Pensions or the Pastor's Participation or Minister's Choice benefits package. Through the EAP, employees have access to counseling sessions, financial and legal assistance, resources for child and elder care, and more. 

We highly encourage session members and ministers to check out this page:
to learn about the theology behind the decision making process for The Board of Pensions of the PC(USA).

The deadline for submitting your Employer Agreement is October 9. You can submit Agreements as often as you want before October 9. The last Agreement submitted by October 9 will determine the benefits you'll offer during annual enrollment beginning October 26.

Christ's blessings!
Bev Brock and Deb Hess
Commission on Leadership, Co-chairs
Are you called to serve?

The Committee on Representation has the responsibility to prayerfully consider the needs of the presbytery and the gifts of those who desire to serve the church through the presbytery. Below is a link to the Personal Interest Form. Please check those areas where you would feel called to serve in the ministries of our presbytery, and at the end of the form, list the gifts and interest you bring to those areas. For more info on each commission or committee, see the appropriate page on our website. Also see the Committee on Representation page at www.minnesotavalleys.org for info on skills needed and time commitment for each.

Link to form
Race and Christianity

Join us for the next conversation on Race and Christianity with Sarah Ruble on Wednesday, Sept 30 at 11:00 AM. In the meantime, watch Episodes 1-4 at sarahruble.com on Race and Christianity in the United States in preparation for the next webinar. Here is the link to Sarah's Sept 9 webinar: https://youtu.be/4nQ7clv5-Z8
New Robert’s Rules of Order Edition

“Meetings shall be conducted in accordance with the most recent edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised, except when it is in contradiction to this Constitution” (Book of Order, G-3.0105). Link to document regarding changes.
Support Education for Children in Our Sister Presbytery in Guatemala

by Jim Krapf

Education yields opportunities. We are grateful for your support of 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. It makes a difference for that child’s future.

Their next school year begins in January. You can mail your checks made out to the Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys and noted for scholarships 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.

You might also added 22% of your donated amount. Five percent is given to the national office of the Presbyterian Church in Guatemala as a part of our partnership agreement. This money assists in paying their administrative and program cost at the national level. Seventeen percent is given to our national office of the PCUSA, to pay for promotional efforts and to ensure the funds are used as intended.

Your donations will be in addition to the six scholarships that are provided through our presbytery’s Occidente Partners budget. Our goal for several years has been a total of $4000, providing 16 children with $250 each. Keeping our donations at this level can support more children beyond elementary into middle and high school.

After their school year ends in December, donors will receive photographs, academic reports, and thank you notes from the children and/or their parents. Many churches display these to express appreciation and promote further contributions. Examples will be on exhibit at the next Presbytery meeting. We do not reveal the names of 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.

Thank you in advance
Shia Islam and Politics: Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon
September 22, 2020, 4:30 PM - 5:30 PM

A description of and link to join this webinar, as well as information about Dr. Armajani’s scholarly work, including his new book, can be found on the webpage for this event
Registration link: http://bit.ly/PMHNsept30
Books to Give Away

Linked is a list of books Bev Raske is giving away. Most are from taking the Lay Pastor training. She will ship. Email Bev to arrange delivery.
From the Minnesota Department of Health

We wanted to make you aware of updates to the Faith-based Guidance under the Governor’s Stay Safe MN Phase III plan.


Thank you for your adherence to these guidelines and commitment to protection of our communities as you make decisions about how to support your members and the larger community.
Minnesota Grant to improve safety and air quality

Please go to this link for more information about this program:
ZOOM presentation on COVID 19 by Presbytery of Boston/Northern New England

This was provided for the Presbyteries of Boston and Northern New England, with people joining in from across the country. It’s available both on the Presbytery of Boston Facebook page and here as an uploaded video: https://youtu.be/M9P0gOSqwn0 
COVID-19 FUNDING

By Rev. Jim Krapf, SDOP Chair

Alonzo Johnson and Margaret Mwale of our national Self Development of People staff hosted a zoom meeting with Mid Council SDOP Committee chairs on Monday, August 31. I attended to represent our interests as Minnesota Valleys Presbytery.

Much of the discussion centered on how we are responding to needs resulting from the corona virus pandemic. SDOP is indeed a valued ministry most needed in these difficult times. What we do with the $5966.93 funds available to us can enable us to be a Matthew 25 church with the goals of building congregational vitality, dismantling structural racism, and eradicating systemic poverty.

National staff and chairpersons from across the country described possible projects in two crucial areas. One, communities working on policing issues and creating safe communities for everyone. Two, organizing people to help themselves deal with unemployment, evictions, and domestic abuse resulting from the pandemic. In this latter area, families and teachers are considering ways to tutor students and assure Wi-Fi access at home.

I share these possibilities as a catalyst for you to consider the needs in your community and how SDOP funds could improve lives.  You can download the Grant Application Packet by going to https://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministires/sdop/for-synods-and-presbyteries/ You can also find the funding criteria at this site. The applications must be reviewed (including a zoom site visit) and be approved by our presbytery’s committee and submitted to the national office by the November 1 deadline. So I would encourage you to act now. If you have questions, please contact me at jimcynkrapf16@gmail.com or 507-350-1662.

Our Committee members include Dick Andzenge, Thijin Gatwech and Paula Tift from St. Cloud and myself from Worthington. We have one potential member from St. Peter. We could benefit from broader representation from across the presbytery. To have an authorized committee, we need to have at least three people of color who may or may not be Presbyterians. We currently have two. Please contact me if you or someone you know would be interested in serving.
Presbyterian Women News

PW's 2021 Churchwide Gathering is August 5-8, 2021. The PW Churchwide Gathering is now less than a year away! WOOHOO! St. Louis, MO is the place to be to be inspired, energized, and challenged; to grow in one’s faith and to learn from the many knowledgeable speakers. Events will be held at the Grand Marriott and St. Louis Convention Center. Registration books will be available in the next few weeks and registration begins in January 2021! Continue to dream and make plans to attend!

The Board approved 125 grants at $450 each (cost of registration) for financial support to attend the 2021 Churchwide Gathering in St. Louis. A grant application form and three reference letters must be submitted to Churchwide by May 2021.

The Board approved gift cards as a mission project for the Churchwide Gathering. The cards will support work in three areas:
  • PW disaster recovery efforts in Puerto Rico
  • USA Mission Experience to the Finger Lakes Region in New York
  • Women’s health in the St. Louis area.

Register today to join a book study . . .
A Warrior of the People:
How Susan LaFlesche Overcame Racial and Gender
Inequality to Become America’s First Indian Doctor
by Joe Starita

This book study is sponsored by Presbyterian Women in the Synod of Lakes and Prairies and led by members of the PWS Native American Concerns Committee. It is open to interested women and men across the synod, via Zoom teleconferencing (using computer or phone) There is no charge to participate nor to use Zoom, yet registration is required.

Daytime study begins: Monday, September 28, 2020 at 1:30-2:30 PM (CST)
Evening study begins: Monday, September 28, 2020 at 6:30-7:30 PM (CST)
Groups will meet every two weeks for four sessions

Synopsis: “On March 14, 1889, Susan LaFlesche received her medical degree becoming the first Native American doctor in U.S. history. She earned her degree thirty-one years before women could vote and thirty-five years before Indians could become citizens in their own country. By age twenty-six, this fragile but indomitable Indian woman became the doctor to her tribe. Overnight, she acquired 1,244 patients scattered across 1,350 square miles of rolling countryside with few roads. Her patients often were desperately poor and desperately sick with tuberculosis, small pox, measles, and influenza, families scattered miles apart, whose last hope was a young woman who spoke their language and knew their customs, This is the story of an Indian woman who effectively became the chief of an entrenched patriarchal tribe, the story of a woman who crashed through thick walls of ethnic, racial and gender prejudice, then spent the rest of her life using a unique bicultural identity to improve the lot of her people physically, emotionally, politically and spiritually. A Warrior of the People is the moving biography of Susan LaFlesche’s inspirational life, and it will finally shine a light on her numerous accomplishments. The author will donate all royalties from this book to a college scholarship fund he has established for Native American high school graduates.

Register by contacting Marilyn Stone at mmstone52@att.net and provide the following information: Name, Email address, Phone number, Presbytery, Afternoon or evening study preference

Another Book Study: Justice and Peace Book Study Group (aka Book Club)
Read a book every two months
Receive study guide or questions for each gook to inform your reading
Meet via Zoom for a two-hour discussion

2020-2021 Proposed Books are Waking Up White by Debby Irving, A Good Provider Is One Who Leaves by Jason DeParle, Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, Climate Justice by Mary Robinson, The White Devil's Daughters by Julia Flynn Siler, and The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein.

This Book Club will meet by Zoom on October 19 at 12:30-2:30 and 6:30-8:30PM to discuss Waking Up White. Register by contacting Kathleen Keefer at kathleenkeefer20@gmail.com. Read the books which interest you and register for each separately. You don't have to read all of them to be in the book club. The book club is open to EVERYONE.
Online worship opportunities in our presbytery

Amboy: Weekly video devotions available on Facebook at First Presbyterian Church of Amboy or on YouTube at Pastor Amboy

Baxter: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/88200423294; worship at 10:15

Browns Valley: 11:00 Sunday mornings online: www.facebook.com/UMPCBV



Edgerton: 10:30 Sunday mornings  Worship on church Facebook Page, and 11:30 Sunday mornings  Worship Audio Version available on church website

Fergus Falls: our sermon available on our website (www.federatedff.org) and our YouTube channel (FF Federated Church).

Holland: uploaded weekly to their YouTube channel

Jackson: Facebook Live - Facebook site is Salem Lutheran Church, Jackson, MN
Sunday 9:30 a.m., Wednesday 5:30 p.m., Holy Week - daily devotions, MT and GF 5:30 p.m.

Lake Crystal: Our church is sending Worship bulletin content and sermon via email and regular mail to our membership for each Sunday.  Also recording a service from Sanctuary of myself and musician to be accessed on You Tube on the Friday before the given Sunday. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSDuL79Bte0CjYxgTVor1ng

Lismore: 9:00 Sunday mornings - Worship on church Facebook Page

Litchfield: 10:00 am Sunday mornings and Tuesday morning Bible study by Zoom. Contact Gordy Pennertz for instructions.

Luverne: 10:15 am Sunday mornings on Facebook Live. Also carried by local cable company.

Maine: Services available at https://youtu.be/iiBy9u-Dt_c 

Mankato: www.fpcmankato.org - archive of all resources listed below
SUNDAYS on Facebook 
10AM sermon/prayer with Pastor Lindsay
10:20 (ish) Children's Time with Bailey DeVetter
10:30 (ish) Music Selection by Ben Marti posted

Randall: 10:00 am Sunday worship service is on Facebook and webpage

Redwood Falls: 10:15 am worship on Facebook Live on First Presbyterian Redwood Falls page

Saint Cloud: Services available online at www.fpcstcloud.org 

Saint James: Facebook Live worship @ 9:30 facebook.com/fpcstjames/


Slayton: Uploaded to their YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6o_vug3Us-sRQfEGbLDqJw

Spicer Hope: Facebook live at 10:00, link on Hope Presbyterian Church websiteAlso services are uploaded there later in the day.

Willmar: Facebook Live at 10:00 am Sunday mornings and at noon Wednesdays


Worthington: online worship services via Facebook Live Sunday at 10:00 am. Go to https://www.facebook.com/WestminsterPresby/live/
Coronavirus/COVID-19 Resources for Congregations and Members

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?—Psalm 27:1
Along with our brothers and sisters all around the world, we’re now coming to terms with the “new normal” brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. It is our hope and goal to equip churches and worshipers with useful information and resources during these trying times. Please check back often for updated information. If you have ideas or resources that might be of interest to the wider church, we invite you to email them to us at connected@pcusa.org.
Guidance for Faith-Based Communities from the MN Department of Health Link to guide
Stewardship Kaleidoscope is moving online!

This year Kaleidoscope will offer learning over three weeks in the fall to help you respond to the needs of your community, adapt to change, and think about how to engage as a church in new ways. We hope you can join us on three consecutive Tuesdays: September 22, September 29, and October 6 at 11:30am central time.

On September 22nd hear from Eric Barreto of Princeton Theological Seminary on the Acts of the Apostles in the 21st century - imagination, vision, and creativity in responding to our call;

September 29th we will learn with consultant Bonnie Ives Marden about the ways in which faith shapes our financial health, and get practical tools for church financial management;

October 6th Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow will provide perspectives on engaging congregations
across generations, cultures, and ethnicity to imagine building the church for forward thinking funding and functioning.

Registration is $45.00. See more at StewardshipKaleidoscope.org
Prayer List

  • For Rev. Al Jergenson and family, on the death of his mother
  • For Rev. Bill Yueill, retired pastor, Zimmerman
  • For Rev. John Lindholm, retired pastor, Fergus Falls
  • For Rev. Mark Chamberlain, retired pastor, Willmar
  • For Rev. Bob Bartlett, First Presbyterian Churches of Brewster & Round Lake
  • For Rev. Michael Roys, retired pastor, Winnebago
  • For Rev. Elaine and Kent Boyd at First Presbyterian Church of Amboy

Pray for Our Occidente Partners in Guatemala
  • For the families of the three Occidente pastors that have recently died
  • For those who have contracted the Covid virus
  • For Bety Cifuentes, the treasurer of the Partnership Committee, undergoing chemotherapy
  • For the "Men in the Mirror" program. Men from Occidente that MVP supported financially to attend the classes are sharing the information they gained with different churches in the eastern and central parts of Guatemala. They, along with the chaplains of the national Presbyterian church, are training Christian policemen in what they learned from "Men in the Mirror."
Pastoral Leadership Opportunities

Zion Presbyterian Church, Ellsworth; Emmanuel Presbyterian Church, Rushmore; First Presbyterian Church, Rushmore - Interim Pastor
Ministry Information Form - 09163.AE0

First Presbyterian Church, Lake Crystal; First Presbyterian Church, Kasota - Pastor, yoked parish
Ministry Information Form - 03709.AB1

Maine Presbyterian Church, rural Underwood - Solo Pastor
Ministry Information Form - 03870.AB0

Faith Presbyterian Church, Silver Lake - Solo Pastor
Ministry Information Form - 03851.AC3

Hope Presbyterian Church, Spicer - Solo Pastor
Ministry Information Form - 09565.ADO

First Presbyterian Church, Winnebago - Interim Pastor
Ministry Information Form - 03811.AA1

Ministry opportunities are posted on the Church Leadership Connection website -- http://oga.pcusa.org/section/mid-council-ministries/clc/
From Mount Olivet Conference & Retreat Center

Mount Olivet Conference & Retreat Center is a ministry affiliate of Mount Olivet Lutheran Church (Minneapolis). Just as so many communities of faith and nonprofits are adjusting their outreach in different ways due to the pandemic, we are also thinking creatively about how we continue to foster and encourage individuals and groups to retreat. In addition to now once again welcoming pastors and small church and nonprofit groups for in person retreats, we are also offering online workshops, classes and retreats. Links to upcoming virtual offerings and our complimentary retreat offerings for those who are doing racial equity and justice work to pastors and faith communities.