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 13-19
First Presbyterian Church of Pipestone
Nathan Lamb – Pastor
Jenn Lamb -Youth Group Leader
Laura Wurster - Administrative Assistant
Heather Swinea - Custodian
Session-Board of Elders: Emily Speer, Toni Kruger, John McCallum, Tony Koenders, Gary VandeVoort, Lee Gorter, Gerri Mitchell, Shelly Hennager, Duane Schelhaas
What’s happening at First Presbyterian Church:
  • Next week we will be going back to in-person worship in our sanctuary. FPC will continue to stream services held in-person to accommodate all members.
  • We have begun working on organizing the children/youth classrooms for when they will be filled with our kids again.
  • We recently put together baskets for a silent auction for the Relay for Life.
  • We are blessed to have a new custodian, Heather Swinea and administrative assistant, Laura Wurster!
  • Each virtual church service prior to the church since the pandemic began; we have been hosting a “Worship Pre-show with the Lambs” via Zoom so our congregation can connect.
  • Every other month, our members work at the Local Food Shelf, helping distribute food to those in need in our community. We actively give to the organization regularly as well.
  • Two years ago, we teamed with local churches Peace Methodist Church and First Lutheran Church, for our JAMS (Jesus and Me) every Wednesday. With the location of the event changing monthly, children age 3 up to grade 5 got together and learned about Jesus through arts and crafts, songs, activities and books. Typically, we filled our rooms with over 60 kids. Although we are not meeting at this team, we are getting our rooms ready for children again.
  • Our PML youth group is collaboration with the local UMC and ELCA churches (PML stands for Presbyterian, Methodist, Lutheran) and consists of grades 6-12 and involves monthly service projects or activity focused on Matthew 25:35-40. Some of the recent activities, prior to Covid, were a scavenger hunt for the food pantry; making Christmas cards for shut-ins and those in care facilities. Each month we have a game night and a movie night. Covid greatly affected our spring and though we stayed in contact through Facebook and snapshot in doing photo challenges. We continue to look at outdoor meetings in the near future.
  • Our congregation sends youth to the Lakeshore Center at Okoboji every summer. From elementary students to high school students, we support our youth as they attend the camp building on their relationships with Christ.
  • Our members support a local book drive for our elementary students, featuring one of our very own, as she helps send the positive message of literacy.
  • Last month a walking group started up again called the Following in the Footsteps of Jesus Walking Group

Cares & Prayer Concerns:
  • Our congregation as we begin in-person services.
  • All those dealing with the Covid 19 virus.
  • Our members in nursing homes and assisted living facilities; Adeline Krusemark, Lue Mundahl, Judy Fellows, Opal Barron, Gerrit Wabeke, Janice Anderson, Helen Huibretgse, Beverlee Kennedy, Maggie Davids, Daisy Asplund, Arlene Lerdal, Boyd & Pearl Nelson and Edy the Monk.
  • The youth of our community, as they go back to school. That they will always walk with Christ.
  • For all those serving in the military and their families.
Are you grounded?
Many years ago, while serving in Delaware, lightning hit a transformer box near the church. I was in the pastor's study, and the sound was so loud that I thought it was a bomb. Fortunately, I had just stood up from my computer to look at our dog Rocky's photo, who died the week before. When the firemen arrived, they asked repeatedly, were you standing on the computer mat. I was, and we all believed the rubber mat grounded the electricity. The walls in the study were burnt. My keyboard exploded, and the lightning burned the telephone wires and left marks on the building walls. I did not know it, but that day a rubber mat saved me from great injury.

When I think about what it means to be grounded today, I cannot think of rubber computer mats. It is a more spiritual matter. To be grounded, spiritually speaks of how a person centers themselves in the world. One person said to be grounded is "to be present in your body and connected with the earth." Michael Daniels refers to groundedness as "a sense of being fully embodied, whole, centered, and balanced in ourselves and your relationships. It is the deep connection to the authentic self." Through groundedness with live with "rightness and harmony." Jesus demonstrated groundedness through the regular practice of prayer and retreating to places of tranquility. He was grounded in the sense of purpose, hope, love, and perseverance. In the Psalms, David did self-talk, "Why are you cast down, oh my soul, hope in the Lord."

I started today listening to music. Following, I read the Daily Lectionary and offered a prayer of thanks. I prayed for grace, just enough for this day…Christ give us our daily bread. I trust that this ritual will give me the strength needed to embrace the day come what may fully.

Are you grounded?
Tell me about your sure footing?
Stay at peace. Stay blessed. Be a Blessing.

09/09/1995 Pam Prouty
09/18/1988 Edward Mark Godshall
09/21/1975 Bob Bartlett
09/26/1962 Roger Grussing
09/29/1985 Donald Ottenhoff
Celebrating with First Presbyterian Church of Osakis
Sunday, September 6th, 2020 we celebrated at First Presbyterian Church, Osakis as we publicly received 3 people by affirmation of faith. It was great day of many blessings.
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 for info on skills needed and time commitment for each.

Link to form
Sarah Ruble began the Presbytery’s webinar series on Race and Christianity with the above questions. How would you answer these questions ? Join us for the next conversation on Wednesday, Sept 30 at 11:00 AM. In the meantime, watch Episodes 1-4 at on Race and Christianity in the United States in preparation for the next webinar. Here is the link to Sarah's Sept 9 webinar:
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
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: 

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 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 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
Neighborhood Church: Transforming Your Congregation into a Powerhouse for Mission
Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. –Jesus of Nazareth

Submitted and Recommended by the Commission on Congregational Transformation and Development
Summary and Conclusion – The authors of Neighborhood Church make it clear why they wrote this book. In the Conclusion they write "the evidence is everywhere: shrinking rolls, declining budgets, empty classrooms, missing generations, so much gray hair in the pews that people joke by saying, "There's a lot of snow on the roof!" A sign of the church's current struggles are the numerous books published lately on "how to save the church." 

Pastors Krin and Rob admit they are not offering easy answers here. Their overarching message is that "mission comes first, and… if we incarnate the way God has called us, the future of the church will be what it will be. God will have God's way" (p. 117).

In this concluding note on Neighborhood Church, here is our brief review of the best practices that can help your church develop and become transformed in its mission in your community. An effective "neighborhood church" will attend to the following:
  • Communal conversion
  • The DNA of listening
  • Transforming partnership
  • Integrating our space
  • Sustaining the vision (pp. 120-121).

We have developed a Discussion Guide to assist church leaders and Christian Educators in reading and discussing this book. It is designed for three (3) sessions or classes that cover the five chapters and conclusion of the book.  Please contact Karen in the Presbytery Office if you would like to receive a copy of this Discussion Guide. 
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:; worship at 10:15

Browns Valley: 11:00 Sunday mornings online:

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 ( 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.

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 

Mankato: - 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 

Saint James: Facebook Live worship @ 9:30

Slayton: Uploaded to their YouTube channel:

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
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
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, 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 --
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.