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 6-12
First Presbyterian Church of Osakis
Church officers:
  • Shari Maloney, Clerk of Session
  • Shirley Helberg, Treasurer
  • Keven Withers, Building and Grounds
  • Pastor Randall Knuth, Pastor

Missional Activities;
  • Our excitement for the year 2020 has been before COVID19 pandemic hit, we were able to baptize six people in February.
  • This coming Sunday, three of those people will be joining us as members.
  • During this unprecedented time, we have been attempting to carry on our ministry as best as we can.
  • Our pastor, Randall Knuth, has accepted the call to serve the First Presbyterian Church, Fulda in October; so we, as well as he, are going through a transition during this difficult time.  
  • God will make a way for us through these transitions into a "new" normal and so we seek the Presbytery's prayers as we go forward. 
  • In spite of the challenges of life with this pandemic, we have proceeded forward with the Osakis Backpack Attack/Hunger Coalition program participation in conjunction with United Way of Douglas and Pope Counties – provides bags of supplemental food to students in need through Osakis Public Schools.
  • We have hopes of restarting our monthly "community/Friendship" table meals, but at this time we are not sure when that might be. Hopefully by Thanksgiving, because it has become a vast success over the years. This past year we served over 120 people.
Upcoming Webinar Series on Race and Christianity
First webinar is Wednesday, September 9, at 11:00 AM
Led by Sarah Ruble
From Sarah: I am an associate professor of religion at Gustavus Adolphus College. In addition to teaching (some of the world’s most wonderful) undergraduate students, I lecture in churches and to life-long learning groups. All of that means that I spend a lot of time thinking about how to make the past accessible without making it simplistic. As both a Christian and a historian, I’m always learning, trying to figure out how to make sense of our past and what it means for us today.
Webinar 1: Why Talk About the History of Race and Christianity in the United States
One-hour webinar:
  • An introduction to the series, including some suggestions about how to use history in thinking theologically about current issues related to race.
  • A brief introduction to some of my own experiences with learning about race and Christianity and how that has affected me as a white person and a Christian.
  • Some guided exercises (based on the curriculum) to help people think about what they are bringing to the series.
  • Time for questions.

To register, email karen@minnesotavalleys.org
'Tis the Season

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
From the Presbytery of East Iowa: Deracho Relief

We have been contacted by several people and churches who are interested in how to pass along donations for deracho relief the quickest and most efficient way. The Presbytery of East Iowa (PEIA) has established a disaster fund. Please go to this website for disaster assistance information: https://peia.org/disaster-assistance-information/
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.
September 15 at 1:00 PM Central Time
In Case You Missed it ...
The Church Financial Leadership Academy is Here!

We are pleased to announce the launch of the Church Financial Leadership Academy (CFLA). The CFLA is an E-learning platform designed to help pastors institute best practices for church financial leadership, introduce them to new models of giving and stewardship, and offer new ways to talk about money and form generous disciples within their congregation.

The CFLA will enable you to:
  • Complete the courses at your own pace
  • Use the courses as a resource later
  • Share your playlist with other congregational staff
  • Access courses and resources at no cost to you

Experience the interactive online educational tool for pastors today. Simply visit Churchfla.org and create an account using the registration code: PCUSA
If you have questions or comments feel free to contact us at serving@presbyterianfoundation.org, or 800-858-6127 ext. 5904.

Paycheck Protection Program Forgiveness Application
Neighborhood Church: Transforming Your Congregation into a Powerhouse for Mission
Inviting and mentoring new church leaders is a process of "withness": God with us, and each of us with each other. 
-–E. Stanley Ott
The Joy of Discipling

Submitted and Recommended by the Commission on Congregational Transformation and Development
Krin Van Tatenhove and Rob Mueller focus on mentoring church leaders in the second part of Chapter 5 ("Sustaining the Vision"). They admit that mentoring is one of the most difficult but also perhaps the most important tasks of church ministry. Church members who grow into positions of leadership are one of the most valuable assets of ministry. Their influence can be enormous in sustaining the church's vision for years to come.

The authors emphasize that church leaders must "share the church's unique traditions, but we do not want conformists as future leaders. We want visionaries, creatively tuned in to their own gifts and the corporate gifts of our churches. We want listeners eager for partnership, emboldened by the Holy Spirit" (pp. 108-9).

That's a high expectation and idealistic vision of church leaders, we agree! …and so do the authors, admitting that "mentorship is not easy." We are reminded however that most of us are exceeding our own expectations as church leaders. E. Stanley Ott reminds us of the recurring words in Scripture in which God said: "Do not fear, for I will be with you."

The authors write that a church that is intentional about mentoring new leaders will built into its culture some important realities:

  1. An Eye for Emerging Leaders.  Keep our eyes focused outward at potential new leaders, both long-time members and first-time visitors. Believe that God will bring to the congregation the persons needed to carry on the church's vision for the future.
  2. A Mandate to Include and Invite. Existing leaders will intentionally include and invite others into relationship with them.
  3. A High Value on Personal Transparency. Leaders mentoring new leaders is not about wielding authority; it is about humility and serviceWe share both our successes and failures with one another. We invite others to walk alongside us in the messy journey of our lives.

Together we seek, encourage, and mentor others in joining together with us in our church ministry—knowing that God is with us.
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 Zoom and Facebook live Sunday at 10:00 am. The link for Zoom is on our website. For Facebook go to @WestminsterPresby
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. 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
  • Rev. Araceli Itzep from the Occidente Presbytery
  • 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."
  • The Executive Committee met in April, but has not been able to meet since as folks in Guatemala cannot travel between cities. Occidente Presbytery has not met; the projected purchase/buying of buildings is on hold; pastoral elections are on hold; they do hold services via Zoom; the economy is very bad.
  • They continue praying for us and ask that we continue to pray for them and for all of the things they cannot get to, and for their living conditions that get more complicated every day.
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, Fulda - Solo Pastor
Ministry Information Form - 03782.AD1

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.
First Fridays at First Presbyterian Church of Mankato
September 4 at noon on Zoom
ISAIAH organizes people of faith and shared values towards racial, economic, and climate justice in Minnesota.

Join Southern MN Organizer Kathryn Lozada for this FREE conversation on powerfully shaping this election in order to build the multiracial, multifaith beloved community and caring economy we all need to thrive.

We know the politics of fear and division will be even more amplified this year, but we also know that intentional conversations with our loved ones and neighbors are the most effective way to both protect our democracy and strengthen our communities going forward.
Learn more about ISAIAH here.
Zoom Link:
Click HERE on Friday at noon to join the Zoom meeting!
OR enter in the following Meeting ID and Passcode:
Meeting ID: 881 1284 9551
Passcode: 745610