The Valley Bridge
The weekly newsletter from the
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
September 26, 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)
Congregation of the week of September 30 - October 6
First Presbyterian Church of Rushmore
Elders: Arla Engelkes, Vicki Groenewold, Brenda Krull and Eunice Ailts
Deacons: Gary Ailts, Travis Ailts, Charlotte Dammer, Corrine Hausman, Dennis Frazier and Gary Wagley
Clerk of session: Eunice Ailts
Church Treasurer: Brenda Krull

Prayer Concerns:
  • Pray for families that are mourning the loss of loved ones.
  • Pray for healing for those fighting diseases and health issues.
  • Pray for elderly that are home-bound or in nursing homes
  • Thank God for a great Vacation Bible School again this year.
Contribute to  Disaster Relief-Hurricane Florence (DR000169)
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
Ending Racism Conference

The synod is offering the presbytery one registration scholarship to the 10th annual Overcoming Racism Conference: Overcoming Racism In Spite Of... , November 2-3, 2018 at the Metropolitan State University in St. Paul . If you are interested in attending contact the presbytery office. For conference information see:
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.
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.
Church Websites

As the church and the rest of the world become more accessible and more connected-thanks in large part to the web, social media, and mobile devices-it's more important than ever that our churches use informative, easy-to-navigate websites. But where does a congregation start? The idea of creating a new website or updating an existing site can be overwhelming-but it doesn't have to be. Here are some tips:

Where Should We Start?
When creating or updating your church website, think first about what you're trying to achieve with it. Is the site primarily focused on educating readers? If so, emphasize key issues they're facing and the information and resources they need to address those issues. Is the goal of the site to raise funds? If so, focus on sharing stories of impact and inspiring readers to provide financial support. The content of the website should be focused to reflect your goal.

What's Next?
Once you've established the goal for your website, start thinking about the kind of content you'll share. To get started with content development, consider the following:

Who is your audience? This should tie in closely with the goal of your website. Are you providing content for current members of the congregation? Are you providing content for those you seek to draw in to your congregation?

Keep content short and easy to understand. The web is international, and people around the world can find your site. So keep insider language to a minimum, avoid slang and acronyms, and write at a level that can be easily understood.

Write stories and updates in an "inverted pyramid" style. Put the most important information at the top of your story and then provide additional details for readers as the article progresses.

Provide content, not fluff. Provide value on every page of your site. If you're valuable to your readers, they'll keep coming back.

Use images strategically. Select images that enhance the text or compel your reader to click to read more. The images should be relevant to your audience and to the text. Use images that depict what your church environment and congregation are actually like; avoid using stock photos or generic images. The best photos will be candid "action" shots, not posed group photos.

Five Things All Church Websites Should Include:
  1. Building address
  2. Worship service time(s)
  3. Contact person (name, phone number, and email address)
  4. Overview of your congregation and your beliefs
  5. Information about upcoming events

Additional Details to Consider for Church Websites

  • Use color to highlight key features of your site.
  • Select a font that's easy to read. Arial, Times, and Verdana are three good choices. Set type large enough for most readers to see. Size 10 font is typical for websites.
  • Use meaningful graphics and good-quality photos.
  • Keep your layout simple.

  • Be sure that all pages load properly and any flash components or videos work correctly.
  • Check text to make sure it's error-free and up-to-date.
  • Keep pages simple and easy to navigate.
  • Make sure that pages load quickly.
  • Keep pages short, so that readers won't have to spend lots of time scrolling.
  • Use consistent layout from page to page.
  • Provide a bit of context when sharing links, so that readers know what to expect when they click.
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.
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
Clearwater Forest seeks Director of Outreach and Programs

Applications are being received until October 30 or until filled. The position is full-time, year-round.
Large Cross to Give Away

Western Presbyterian of rural Fergus Falls has a cross, approximately 8 feet by 4 feet, that was used in our sanctuary. Is anyone interested in this cross?
Contact John Lindholm at
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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