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)
Tuesday, September 10 10:00am Webinar
Making the “ask,” stewardship, funds development and talking about money
Speaker: Shirley Carter
Shirley D. Carter has a deep passion for service and leadership for the public good. She began fundraising in her late teens, as president of the Young Adult Fellowship and later became the youngest trustee of a multi-million-dollar trust administered by her local United Methodist Church.
She has led two hospital foundations for the last 13 years. Prior to that, she held leadership positions at two other hospitals and a global humanitarian organization. 

Shirley and her husband Joel have three young adult children. She is active in her local Church and volunteers on the Kandiyohi County Area YMCA and Lutheran Social Services of MN boards of directors. She is also actively involved in a philanthropic education organization.

Shirley holds a Master of Business Administration degree with emphasis in healthcare and is a Certified Fund Raising Executive. She is the current Executive Director of Rice Health Foundation at Rice Memorial Hospital - Carris Health.   

Making the Ask: This course will provide insights into creating a culture of philanthropy in congregations, by connecting the Church’s purpose with opportunities for giving. Participants will learn how age and gender impact giving, and ways pastors can feel comfortable about asking. 

Email Karen Lange to register. We are looking at making this a Facebook Live event and also invite folks to come to the presbytery office if they would like to experience this training in person.
Congregation of the Week of September 8-14
First Presbyterian Church of Redwood Falls
Staff & Leaders
Pastor: Rev. Scott Prouty
Parish Associate: Rev. Pamela Prouty
Administrative Assistant: Christina Halvorson
Custodian: Nathan Zimmerman
Organist: Elaine Hagen
Choir Director: Peggy Dolezal
Sunday School Coordinator: Rev. Pamela Prouty
Youth Club Team: Ann Tiffany & Rev. Pamela Prouty
Youth Faith & Action Leaders: Laura Kohler & Rev. Scott Prouty
Confirmation Instruction: Rev. Scott Prouty
Clerk of Session: Sonya Alexander
Treasurer: Richard Aakre
Deacon Moderator: Leon King

Ruling Elders: Richard Aakre, Becky Bruns, Rick Hauge, Sonya Alexander, Deb Hess, Claire Meyers, Sue Osborne, Adrienne Danielson, Scott Kohler

Deacons: Leon King, Sharon King, Joyce McKay, Lynn Juell, Kathy Peterson, Dan Tiffany, Julie Reinstra, Julie Fiala, Joleen MacHolda, Nathan Stephens, Scott Goodyear, Lois Davis

Prayer Concerns:
Church members fighting cancer Maynard Nolting & Alexis Martin, fighting lupus Shellie Mammen, fighting multiple sclerosis Corrine Gertsema, fighting Parkinson's Disease Wayne Bennett, receiving care at Minneapolis Children's Hospital Easton Highland. Also Raffia Syeed who came here for a presbytery event in 2016 with her husband Dr. Sayid Syeed has suffered a major stroke so keep her in your prayers too. 

Mission Activities: We are a tithing congregation so we give ten percent of every offering to a local, regional, national or international mission project. 

Our standing "hands on" mission projects include Ruby's Pantry (a pop up food pantry) which we host the third Tuesday of each month at the National Guard Armory in Redwood Falls. We also do a backpack program with the Methodist Church in town. Every other week we fill back packs with food for children from low income families that normally do not get to eat at home on the weekend. We do a back to school backpack filled with school supplies for low income families Kindergarten through 8th grade. We have a very active quilting group called the Piecemakers that give quilts to people that have been in the hospital or have had some tragedy. They give quilts locally and afar. Our Youth Faith and Action group does a local mission project each Wednesday night to help someone in need in the community. We have two standing mission trips that we do, an Urban Plunge trip to Omaha and a trip to Roblealto Bible Home in Costa Rica every other year with the ELCA Lutheran Church in town. 
What I learned from a potter
Many years ago at Stony Point Conference Center, a potter participated in our planning meeting. As the potter worked at her wheel, she recited Jeremiah 18. Between my amazement of the craft of throwing clay and taking in the reading, I heard God. The visual illustration of the clay vessel seemingly pulled out of the air and also the process of smashing it and making something new is etched in my memory. This week, as the Christian education year begins, are you feeling emboldened to reshape, rework and make something new? Over the summer, I’ve attended several meetings in which the call for the Church to do something different was spoken loud and clear. I heard the call for the Church to reassess its values. Pastors were encouraged to embrace public ministry through active engagement...simply getting out of the building, being a part of the community, using their power and influence to impact economic and social change. Church members were asked to find their place using their spiritual gifts to work for justice, reconciliation, and peace. These are not knew expectations of what it means to be Presbyterian. The Great Ends of the Church are:
The proclamation of the gospel for the salvation of humankind
The shelter, nurture and spiritual fellowship of the children of God
The maintenance of divine worship
The preservation of the truth
The promotion of social righteousness
The exhibition of the kingdom of heaven to the world

As you plan ministry this fall, keep in mind these core principles of our Reformed faith. Tap into what ignites in your spirit when you hear these words. We are living in the era of the postmodern Church. However, I believe the Gospel is as relevant today as at anytime. Just because fewer people attend church on Sundays, it does not mean fewer people are searching for answers to life. Or that fewer people need peace, want community, need forgiveness, love or grace, or want to know God. A part of making something new is to discover how we might reshape our work so that more people can find the road of life through the Church.

Consider again the call to reshape something new. Creating something new means taking on a new consciousness. It means being comfortable with the unfamiliar, and it may mean failing forward. In the vision of Jeremiah 18, the prophet was invited to learn how things work in the life of Faith, nothing is a loss in God’s economy, and most things are not beyond redemption. How are these principles central to what we teach about God? Sitting with these questions is a helpful practice as you shape ministry this fall.

Blessings and Peace,
Prayer List

  • For Rev. Michael Roys, pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Winnebago
  • For Rev. Elaine and Kent Boyd at First Presbyterian Church of Amboy
  • For the family of Rev. Don Crissinger-Clark, who passed away July 24.
  • For Rev. David Poppen, who had a motorcycle accident on July 21. He has served churches in Ellsworth, Rushmore Emmanuel, Slayton and Iona.
  • Sue Thompson, Clerk of Session at First Presbyterian Church, Maynard
  • Rev. Araceli Itzep from the Occidente Presbytery
  • For Beatriz (Betty/Beti) Cifuentes, the treasurer of the Partnership Committee, who is beginning chemotherapy.)
  • For the "Men in the Mirror" program. Men from Occidente that MVP supported financially to attend the classes a couple of years ago are going to share 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, will also be training Christian policemen in what they learned from "Men in the Mirror."
Upcoming events at a glance

Sept 10: "Making the Ask" webinar by Shirley Carter begins at 10:00 (email Karen Lange to register)
Oct 3: "Preaching in Times of Transition" webinar by Gerald Lui begins at 10:00
Oct 15: Boundary Training at FPC Redwood Falls
Nov 2: Presbytery meeting at FPC Redwood Falls
Nov 11-13: Pastor Retreat at Presbyterian Clearwater Forest
About the Matthew 25 mark

The circular shape represents unity and equality. Like God, a circle has no beginning and no end, and it symbolizes our continuing effort to help one another. The shape also suggests a globe that points to our engagement with the world.

The three interlocking figures represent the equality of all people without gender or race bias. They have their arms around each other, symbolizing friendship, protection and service. The number three suggests the three focus areas of congregational vitality, structural racism and systematic poverty, as well as the Trinity.
The color palette is bright, lively, friendly and energetic — suggestive of our active commitment.

Finally, the legend “Matthew 25” below the symbol is the literal identification of the mark. We use a handwritten font to make the point that active engagement in the world requires human effort.
U = University    
Kirk = Scottish for Church
First Presbyterian Church in St. Cloud would like to extend an invitation to all Minnesota Valleys congregations: Please connect your Young Adults with us if you know of any who will be returning to St. Cloud, or headed here for their first semester of college. We will strive to be their University Church while they are in our community. We offer times for worship, fellowship, and volunteering. If you have a young person to connect, please contact:
Mark Giese, Director of Youth & Campus Ministry
First Presbyterian Church
340 5 th Avenue South
St. Cloud, MN
Ph. 320-251-8277
Worship : Sunday mornings at 10:00am
Fellowship & Service for students : tba
Books of Order now available

The PDF of the 2019-2021 Book of Order has been added to the PCUSA Store website and is available for free download

The Presbytery has ordered Books of Order for congregations at a cost of $8.50 each. We will ask for postage reimbursement if we mail them out.

Planning Calendar Orders

The PC(USA) Store will ship out Presbyterian Planning Calendars in August, and we have ordered calendars for congregations for $9.50 each. This 16-month calendar will begin in September and end December 2020. We will ask for postage reimbursement if we mail them to congregations. They have not arrived yet as of today, August 28.

Results from the GA amendments

Here is a link to the Presbyterian Outlook’s article on the General Assembly amendments:
The Synod of Lakes and Prairies Presents
The Art of Transitional Leadership
Learning Ministry Skills for Today’s and Tomorrow’s Church
Pastors, Staff, COMs and Congregational Leaders
September 16-20, 2019
Christ the King Retreat Center in Buffalo, Minnesota
Track 1: September 16-20, 2019
Whether it is a change in leadership or a changing community, leading a congregation through change is both challenging and rewarding.It takes knowledge, skill, resilience and spiritual strength to navigate the waters of change in a way that leaders and congregations thrive. This training is for individuals who are considering ministry in temporary settings (as an interim, transitional or designated pastor) or are experiencing ministry in these transitional times. Materials presented will include the basics of transitional ministry and will be of value to all congregational pastors regardless of their ministry setting. Best practices in transitional ministry include ways to enter the congregation and community, how to analyze a congregation’s strength and growing edges, and how to assist a congregation in moving toward a vibrant future. This training will delve into navigating change, the pastor as a spiritual interpreter of transition, family systems, mission focus ministry, conflict mediation, and building resiliency.

Track 2: September 18-20, 2019
Congregational leaders seeking to serve God faithfully are invited to Part Two of the Art of Transitional Ministry Event. The Wednesday–Friday training is for ruling elders, deacons, and other congregational leaders. Workshops for this group will focus on the vital role you play in collaborating with pastors to lead congregations through ministry transitions. Participants can expect to learn about core value mission planning, leadership development, congregational systems, stewardship, and creating spiritual energy in congregations.

The Synod is also offering scholarships for half of the registration fee. Please contact Deb DeMeester at the synod office.
Save the date for Boundary Training
Tuesday, October 15 from 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
First Presbyterian Church of Redwood Falls
Boundary Training is required for all minister/teaching elder presbytery members and commissioned ruling elders. The Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys will be holding a boundary training on Tuesday, October 15 from 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church in Redwood Falls. The Rev. Mark Sundby from Leaderwise will be leading the boundary training. The training will focus on a holistic approach to boundaries, looking at overall resilience and well-being as the best prevention against impaired decision making and boundaries violations. More information will be coming.
Save the Date :
Pastors’ Retreat
November 11-13, 2019

Leaning Tree Lodge
Presbyterian Clearwater Forest
16595 Crooked Lake Rd
Deerwood MN 56444
Begins with lunch on Monday and ends before lunch on Wednesday.
Cost: $40, includes meals and lodging

Please email Karen Lange your attendance plans by September 30.

Come and enjoy the fall beauty of Presbyterian Clearwater Forest and spend time with presbytery colleagues. We will reflect on the year of transformation and take a deep breath. The retreat is in the planning stages, but mark your calendars to attend.

Retreat Speaker Rev. Jennifer Hope Kottler is a spiritual director/certified life and leadership coach and yoga teacher in private practice in Florence, SC. An ordained pastor in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) with standing in the United Church of Christ, Jen serves clergy and lay leaders who want to deepen their own spirituality and lead their communities with intentionality and grace. Jen facilitates retreats and events for congregations, non-profit organizations, and church leaders. In all her work, Jen incorporates ancient spiritual practices with modern techniques including Energy Leadership Coaching and Conversational Intelligence®. Jen is married to Rev. Gavin Meek, Transitional Executive Presbyter and Stated Clerk in New Harmony Presbytery (NE South Carolina) and she enjoys hiking, tennis, cooking for family and friends, and traveling with Gavin.
Church Staff: Schedule a Day with Karen

Associate for Administration Karen Lange is available to spend a day with church office folks to share tips on setting up bulletins, newsletters, making a Facebook page or to help with any general questions. The cost is Karen’s mileage to and from the church plus providing lunch. Please email Karen to schedule.
Pastoral Leadership Opportunities

First Presbyterian Church, Fulda - Solo Pastor
  Ministry Information Form -  03782.AD1

Faith Presbyterian Church, Silver Lake - Part-time Solo Pastor
  Ministry Information Form -  03851.ACO

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

The Ministry Information Forms for these opportunities are posted on the Church Leadership Connection web site --