The Valley Bridge
The weekly newsletter from the
Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys
September 5, 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)

You are invited to attend the Training and Information Event
Saturday, September 15, from  10:00 - 3:00
First Presbyterian Church of Redwood Falls

Presenters will be: Laurie Kraus - PDA Director
James Kirk, Associate for Disaster Response
S usan Krehbeil, Refugee and Asylum Catalyst
Rhonda Kruse, Mission Engagement Advisor, Midwest Region.
Our Presbytery is honored to have these individuals with us. Please make it a priority for you church to send representatives to this event. Email Karen with your attendance plans.

What do these things have in common?

California wildfires
Puerto Rico hurricane Maria
Houston flooding
School shootings in Parkland Florida
Immigrant distress at the southern border
They are all places where Presbyterian Disaster Assistance was on the scene to work with local churches to help those who are in need.
Find out more about Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA). Hear stories about the ways that they serve and also learn what you and your church can do to be more prepared for an emergency.
Congregation of the week of September 9-15
Ebenezer Presbyterian Church of Renville
Staff - Rev. Anna Williamson, Lila Jacobsen, LouAnn Ahrens, Stacy Broberg, Pam Kjersten 

Elders - Tom Bakker, Wendell Bakker, Tim Beekman, Todd Broberg, Dennis Bruns, Doug Bruns, Randy Freiborg, Joyce Swanson, Kraig Winzenburg
Clerk of Session - Carol Beekman
Prayer Concerns -
  1. Prayers for students, teachers and staff for the upcoming school year
  2. Prayers for members that have health issues
  3. Prayers for those who are grieving
  4. Prayers for those in Meadows on Main / Renvilla / East Ridge Court
Ongoing Mission Projects --
  1. Dresses for Orphans
  2. Circle in Renville
  3. Soles4Souls
  4. Renville County Food Shelf
The Church as an Organism

Last week I spent three days in Continuing Education with Peter Steinke and congregational leaders from across the country. The training focused on processes for achieving clarity, direction, and action within congregations and organizations. Upon completion of the training, I joined a group of BridgeBuilders trained to consult with congregations and judicatories. Steinke, a prolific author, writes about the Church as an emotional system. We learned about anxiety triggers within congregations. Trained leaders look for the foundation of congregational anxiety. How did we get here? How might the anxiety be lowered? For some, this might sound technical and unspiritual. Looking at the church as a system, and an organism is asking us to think of church and all the interdependent parts in ways that might be unusual. Steinke, a Lutheran minister and therapist, invites leaders to think about how the church functions. Are we highly anxious? Are there noticeable stances of separation or closeness within groups? Is the congregation in a healthy place? Signs of health:
  • Less automatic reaction
  • More clarity about one's direction
  • More responsibility is taken for one's own emotional being
  • Playfulness
  • Ambiguity is tolerated
  • Differentiation between thoughts and feelings
  • Awareness of what's happening
  • Empowerment of self without de-selfing others
  • Resiliency
  • Self-regulation
These are just a few signs of health in leaders we discussed. We also discussed the lower brain, the "little brain," Cerebellum, Limbic System--that is primitive, reactionary, defensive, and immature. The higher brain, the frontal lobe, motivates mature thinking, reason, our humanity, connection, gratitude, and joy. Leaders best serve congregations with a mature presence; simply, these individuals have the mental capacity to move from reactionary leadership to calm reflectiveness (spiritual depth, wisdom, self-regulating, empathy, and compassion).

This fall we will continue discussions around building a healthy immune system within congregations. As we think about this topic, think of all the leaders in the church.

Let's keep the conversation going.
What's Good About The Good News? Rethinking Evangelism

Focused on the Sarasota Statement (2017), this retreat and workshop for pastors and elders will provide an opportunity to re-think evangelism in a post-Christian world. From dinner on Friday night through lunch on Saturday we will delve deeply into not just how-to-bring-in-new-members, but why we make the effort to enlarge our circle of faith.


Friday Sept 28
Dinner: 5:30 pm
Worship: 6:30 pm
Evening Discussion: 7:15 pm, The Sarasota Statement as an Evangelical Document

Saturday Sept 29
Breakfast: 8:00 am
Worship: 9:00 am
Presentation: 9:45 am, A History of Evangelism and the Term "Evangelical" in the American Church
Discussion: 11:00 am, The Sarasota Statement, Prophetic Witness, and Intentional Evangelism 
Lunch: 12:30 pm
Concluding Session: 1:30 pm, Reclaiming Evangelism as Good News for All


Clearwater Forest
16595 Crooked Lake Road
Deerwood MN 56444

Hosted by the Committee on Congregational Vitality of the Presbytery of the Twin Cities Area, we encourage Teaching and Ruling Elders within the PTCA to attend. Cost is 50.00 dollars per person for PTCA members and members of churches within the PTCA. Scholarships are available. 

It is our pleasure to welcome the Reverend Dr. SanDawna Ashley as facilitator for our discussions.
Contact info for Rev Charlie Reid

His residence is 3712 Damon St, Eau Claire WI 54701

Mail for Charlie can be sent to:
Charles Reid
c/o Kathy Reid Walker
3310 McElroy St
Eau Clair WI 54701
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 bring your checks made out to the Presbytery of Minnesota Valleys to the August 21 Presbytery meeting in Brainerd. Or you can mail them 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. Some of these will be on display at the next Presbytery meeting. 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
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.
Western Presbyterian Church, rural Fergus Falls, has a pulpit, three traditional high backed chancel chairs and two extra large coffee urns looking for a new church home. Contact Joel Borowski at 218-739-6549 or John Lindholm at 218-739-3260. All you do is come and get them if still available.
Leadership on the Line

Join the Presbytery in a book study of
Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive Through the Dangers of Change
by Ronald Heifetz, Marty Linsky
Pastors, sessions and church leaders are invited to read along with other co-learners as we take the transformation conversation one step further.  During our Zoom and in-person discussions, we will explore the topics of productive change, lowering the risk of change agents, avoiding leadership traps, and answering the question-What does it mean to see new chapters in ministry. These are just a few of the themes we will discuss. Leadership on the Line is a Harvard Business book commonly used by religious organizations. The book includes religious themes easily adaptable for the church context. The remaining Zoom book discussion will take place on  
September 20 - Chapters 8-11
The discussion will be at 11:00 a.m. and 6:30 p.m., choose the time that works for your schedule. Zoom instructions will be in the Valley Bridge the week of the discussion.
What does it mean to be a Presbyterian?
The National Capitol Presbytery, in responses to the 223rd General Assembly, invites mid-councils and churches to discern your answers to the question, "What does it mean to be Presbyterian" through the unique and consequential ministry of Rev. Henry Highland Garnet. Responses to the question will be used to republish a contemporary and practical reprinting of A Memorial Discourse, three messages from Rev. Garnet between 1843 and 1865, culminating in the memorial address on the occasion of the passage of the 13th Amendment. Garnet was the first African-American to give a speech in the U.S. Capitol. Had Rev. Garnet not been ordained by the Presbytery of Troy, called by Shiloh Presbyterian of New York City and again by 15th Street Presbyterian, that moment of deliverance may not have happened.
In 2019, the 400th anniversary of the first ship carrying kidnapped Africans to land in Virginia will occur. Our churches will have the opportunity to interpret how God moved through history to carry out Scripture through a prophet like Rev. Garnet. By participating, you can engage the format and content of this new resources for worship and study; organize your own observances and re-enactments of Rev. Garnet's extensive library. Contact the Overture Advocate, RE John William Templeton at or 415-240-3537 or Dr. Perzavia Praylow, pastor of 15th Street Presbyterian Church at for more information.
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.
What can the church do about the growing addiction crisis?

There is an opioid addiction crisis sweeping the nation and there is no distinction between urban and rural areas. A June 2017 article in The New York Times identified drug overdose as "the leading cause of death among Americans under 50, with two-thirds of those deaths from opioids." Churches want to help people find recovery, but critical knowledge and resources to address the crisis are just not consistently available across our region.
Those who struggle with addiction and those who care about them often look to the church but find little help because they are under equipped even if they are an ideal place to provide hope and healing.
The Synod of Lakes and Prairies has found a way to help churches fill that vital role and take steps to address the crisis by participating in the Faith & Addiction Conference, planned September 28-30, at the DoubleTree Hilton in Bloomington, Minnesota. The event is designed to help congregations, clergy and care givers address the opioid crisis. Hosted by  the Fellowship of Recovering Lutheran Clergy (FRLC), the scheduled speakers include Nadia Bolz-Weber, Omar Manegwala and Anne Wilson Shaef and will feature interactive workshops and breakout sessions.
The synod encourages presbyteries to identify interested persons to attend. The synod will cover 20 registrations and invites not more than two per presbytery to apply for a scholarship. Attendees will be responsible for their own transportation and lodging costs.  Priority will be for persons engaged in or representing existing addiction support collaborations, especially in urban areas, tribal communities, rural regions and marginalized populations. Those who receive a synod-paid registration will be expected to reconvene for a daylong session to share their experiences and resources to provide support at the synod level that could be offered across the region.  
The Addiction and Faith Conference closes on Sunday morning. Commissioners and presbytery leaders attending the Fall Synod meeting, September 30-October 2, 2018, should note that the conference closes on Sunday morning prior to the evening opening of the synod meeting out at Mt Olivet Conference Center in Farmington, Minnesota. Please contact Elona Street-Stewart, synod executive, at 651-357-1149 for more information. Applications are available.
The Addiction and Faith conference is open to anyone interested in exploring the devastation of addiction and the remarkable healing process of faith. CEUs are available for health care professionals. The event will offer knowledge about addiction recovery, stories of learning and hope, and a celebration of God's abiding grace.

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
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.

When: October 1-5, 2018
Where: Minnetonka United Methodist Church (Twin Cities area)
Who:  Clergy and all persons in positions of church leadership who are interested in learning skills that will equip them to deal effectively with interpersonal, congregational, and other forms of church conflict 
Participants are eligible for up to 32 hours of continuing education.  If they register no later than September 10, 2018, they are also eligible for a $200 tuition discount!

The Mediation Skills Training Institute is designed to equip church leaders with the skills necessary to deal effectively with interpersonal, congregational, and other forms of group conflict. The five-day institute also includes a component on congregational mediation and consultation, placed within the context of family systems theory.

Although focused primarily on the church setting, the skills learned are directly transferable to other settings. Thus, managers in business, attorneys, experienced mediators, and others in leadership will be enriched by the training as well.

Tuition is $695 when paid by September 10, 2018; or $895 after that date. Participants receive a training manual and other materials upon arrival. Cancellation Policy: All refunds subject to approval. Please contact LMPC at 630-627-0507
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