Rector’s Reflection 4.8

Beloved St. John’s community, Happy Easter! It was so beautiful to see so many of you in person last Sunday – carefully, socially distanced, and celebrating with all our might that Easter always follows Lent. Spring always follows winter, and one day, this pandemic will be over. Each day, the sprouts of Beloved Community are[…]

Book Discussion

The title for Easter Season Thursday evening book discussion is Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer.  This book was suggested by Earth Matters Committee. “Robin Wall Kimmerer is writer of rare grace. She writes about the natural world from a place of such abundant passion that one can never quite see the world the same[…]

Rector’s Reflection 4.1

Beloved St. John’s community, Today is Maundy Thursday—the first of the great three days before Easter. This is the time of descent with Jesus into his last supper with his disciples, his betrayal, time in Gethsemane, arrest, trial, and crucifixion. Since we all know the end of the story, it might be tempting to skip[…]

Rector’s Reflection 3.25

Beloved St. John’s community, Lent is drawing to a close. This coming Sunday is Palm Sunday, which inaugurates what we call Holy Week—the week when we journey through the whiplash of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, when so many lauded and welcomed him, to the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday four days later, and then[…]

Gathering In Person Again

COVID UPDATE UPDATE: Thursday, June 10, 2021 As cases continue to decline and restrictions are lifted in many contexts in Minnesota, St. John’s will also begin to lift some of our restrictions. Because children under age 12 cannot yet be immunized, we do not believe it is wise to suspend the mask wearing requirement for[…]

Rector’s Reflection 3.18

Beloved St. John’s community, According to people who know how to measure these things, this year the spring equinox in the Northern Hemisphere will occur at 2:37am on Saturday March 20 – two days from now! As of that time, there will be more light than dark each day. Because of that sunlight, the earth[…]

Rector’s Reflection 3.11

Beloved St. John’s community, The world is watching Minneapolis as Derek Chauvin’s trial begins this week. This trial seems to have become a referendum on the state of systemic racism in our country. Will anything like justice prevail? There is much that is at stake. There is the critical question of whether our country can[…]

Rector’s Reflection 3.4

Beloved St. John’s community, What place do anger and rage have, if any, in Jesus’ Way of Love? I’m asking because this coming Sunday’s gospel reading is about Jesus making a whip and driving the animals out of the Temple, and overturning the moneychangers’ tables, in what surely does look like a display of anger—even[…]

Church Service Update

Tuesday, March 2, 2021 Dear people of St John’s, As we approach the one year anniversary of our COVID-19 closing, we may be seeing a little light at the end of the tunnel. This update will provide some details of what’s to come, including our current Easter service plans – and what we have yet[…]

Rector’s Reflection 2.25

Beloved St. John’s community, It’s almost impossible to believe, but we have been in this pandemic for nearly one full year now. All initial imagination of what this would be, how long it would last, and what the impact would be have long since been shattered. It’s as if we are running an ultramarathon, in[…]

Rector’s Reflection 2.18

Beloved St. John’s community, We have now entered into Lent, that yearly season of the church year in which we take a courageous look at our lives, to see what might need adjusting. It’s a spiritual spring cleaning, if you will, or a church-wide fourth step (for those of you who are familiar with twelve[…]

Telling our Stories

During Lent, click below for a storytelling podcast from a member of St. John’s. Then come Sundays at 10am to talk more about what we heard. Click here for more. Week 5 conversation with Rie Gilsdorf Week 4 conversation with Tom Lutes Week 3 conversation with Susan Swann Week 2 conversation with Heidi Joos Week[…]

Rector’s Reflection 2.11

Beloved St. John’s community, As you know, “rest” is a spiritual practice—not just any practice, but one of the seven pillars of Christian faith and tradition. Even God had to rest after six days of creating the world! Since I’m away for ten days to tend to family medical needs, I’m taking this week as[…]

In art “sacra conversazione” (or sacred conversation) refers to depictions in paintings of the saints, Jesus and Mary, on the same picture plane as though they are in dialogue. There is something deep about this in the history of Christianity. Historians of our faith have argued that among the many factors the led to Christianity[…]

Rector’s Reflection 2.4

Beloved St. John’s community, This past weekend we had our annual clergy conference. Its theme was “praying in the dark.” Believe it or not, even clergy often feel as if they don’t  have time to pray. Prayer can become a part of one’s “job” instead of a deep part of one’s inner life. But As[…]

Rector’s Reflection 1.28

Beloved St. John’s community, Have you ever noticed that people tend to live up to your expectations – whatever they are? Have you ever noticed that your own words, behavior and even demeanor can subtly change based on whom you are with how you perceive them to see you? The gospels tell us that Jesus[…]

Rector’s Reflection 1.21

Beloved St. John’s community, There is much that is confusing in this world, much that is nuanced, much that one cannot say for certain: this is how things are and there is no other way. Yet there are a few things that are sure. One of them is this: things can change. Another is this:[…]

Rector’s Reflection 1.14

Beloved St. John’s community, About the only thing most Americans agree about is that the January 6 violent events at the Capitol were outrageous and horrifying. What should be done about them remains a subject of debate among members of our Congress and political parties and electorate. Who the Church is called to be in[…]

Rector’s Reflection 1.7

Beloved St. John’s community, Yesterday was the Epiphany, one of the seven great feasts of the church year alongside Christmas, Easter and Pentecost, in which we celebrate the light of Christ that both shines in the darkness and also illuminates how we perceive everything that exists. Yesterday was also a terrible day in the life[…]

Report on In-reach

During October and November, 16 members of St. John’s volunteered to take on a big task — to reach out to everyone in the St. John’s community to check in with them, ask how they are doing, and to get a sense of what they need from St. John’s during these challenging times. The people[…]

Rector’s Reflection 12.31

Beloved St. John’s community, The year 2020 is finally drawing to a close. During this week, I am taking some much-needed vacation time (it’s a staycation with my lovely family, Jeff and Carly)—in fact, I’m engaging the spiritual practice “rest”! I encourage all of you to find rhythms of rest, also, that honor what God[…]

Family Advent Challenge

Part 1:  Color A Smile: Print these seasonal coloring pages or create your own art and spend cozy family time coloring. Then send your cheerful  pictures to Color-a-Smile to be distributed to deployed soldiers, nursing homes, and hospitals. Color A Smile,  PO Box 151, Morristown NJ, 07962-1516   Part 2: Buy and Donate Supplies: Safe House[…]

Annual Meeting

Annual Meeting Sunday, January 24th, 10:00am over Zoom Please make a special effort to join the whole congregation for our Annual Meeting. A quorum of 50 people is required. On this day we will have a 9:00am Zoom watch party of our Sunday morning service (which can also be watched independently at a time convenient[…]

Rector’s Reflection 12.17

Beloved St. John’s community, Our staff meets every week, even during the pandemic over zoom, to connect with each other, pray, listen to God and each other, and support each other. During this meeting we always do a practice called “Gospel Based Discipleship” – which is an imaginative way to listen to scripture and share[…]

Annual Meeting Election Bios

Every year we elect new members to the vestry – our church’s governing body or board of directors – to replace members’ whose terms are expiring. Serving on vestry is an important way to give back to our community by providing leadership after engaging in other aspects of St. John’s community life. This year we[…]

Rector’s Reflection 12.10

Beloved St. John’s community, With Advent, the Church’s new year, we launched two new small groups: (1) Spiritual Bootcamp in the Wilderness; and (2) Sacred Ground, a film-based dialogue series inviting transformational conversations about race and faith. During both of these groups, we are doing the deep work of metanoia – traditionally translated “repentance,” which[…]

Rector’s Reflection 12.3

Now to the one who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to God be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. – Ephesians 3:20-21 Beloved St. John’s community, Many of you are[…]

Haiti Advent Fundraiser

To everyone who has donated to our Haiti Partnership, thank you so much. We know that these are difficult times for everyone, and your sacrificial giving will make a world of difference to the teachers and students at St Philippe et St Jacques. Not surprisingly, we are behind in our fundraising this year. If you[…]

Offerings comes to a close

“Veni Sancte Spiritus, et emitte caelitus lucis tuae radium. Come, Holy Spirit, send forth the heavenly radiance of your light.” (Veni Sancte Spiritus, probably composed in the thirteenth century, is a sequence prescribed in the Roman Liturgy for the Masses of Pentecost.) Back in June at the beginning of Pentecost, we began publishing “Offerings From[…]

Support our Partner

St. Nicholas, an Episcopal Church in Richfield with whom we partner, has reached out for help. They have a Spanish speaking service, and the economic fallout from the pandemic has left many of their Spanish speaking members in need of support. These members need food, toiletries, and other essential items for themselves and their families.[…]

Rector’s Reflection 11.26

Beloved St. John’s community, On this Thanksgiving Day, which is unlike any other most of us have experienced in our lifetimes, what is the root of true gratitude? In the end, gratitude is experiencing people, blessings, life itself—as a gift. Not as something owed to you, to which you are entitled, or the way things[…]

Hope

HOPE In the shadow of a divisive election, a surging pandemic, and the searing video of George Floyd’s death, how are we to discern our way as a faith community? As St. Paul wrote in his second letter to the Corinthians (4: 8-9), “We are hard-pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not[…]

Financial Update

Continued thanks to all who have pledged to this year’s stewardship campaign, Strengthening Our Connections! We have currently received $452,866 in pledges. At this time last year we had received $507,881 in pledges of a total of about $550,000—so we have a way to go. Please make your pledge today! Of course we understand that[…]

Rector’s Reflection 11.19

Beloved St. John’s community, When we were teenagers, my brother and I sometimes accused my mom of giving us “guilt trips.” And she would always say: “If the guilt fits, wear it.” The guilt probably did fit! But still, she never convinced us from the heart to change our behavior in this way. In the[…]

Thanksgiving Baskets 2020

This year the St. Johns/Urban Homeworks Thanksgiving Basket event is like everything else in 2020 – digital. Like many other traditions this year, the selection of just the right family and then generously overfilling a festively decorated laundry basket with household supplies will take a pause. For everyone’s safety, UHW has launched the Urban Homeworks[…]

There are two opportunities approaching for small group learning, prayer and practice: (1) Lisa’s “Spiritual Bootcamp in the Wilderness” and (2) Sacred Ground: A Film-Based Dialog Circle on Race. The first, a 10-week “Spiritual Bootcamp in the Wilderness: Walking Jesus’ Way of Love,” will be a weekly early morning session with Lisa in which we[…]

An Update from St. John’s

An Update about St. John’s Finances and Stewardship Campaign Thanks so much to those who have made their 2021 pledges! These have totaled $407,958 thus far. Our pledge base for 2020 was about $550,000, so we still have a long way to go. Please make your pledge here! If you prefer, you can email your[…]

Meditation Lessons

Heather Miller (our new Minister of Children, Youth & Familes) shares some thoughts on meditation as a practice About one year ago I started meditating. My sessions last exactly ten minutes and are not as frequent as I would like them to be. I wiggle and scratch my nose. I let my thoughts wander way[…]

Rector’s Reflection 11.12

Beloved St. John’s community, Most of you know that I live in an interfaith household. My husband Jeff was born, baptized and confirmed in the Lutheran church, but never felt connected to Christian culture, theology or practice, so he left the church and eventually adopted traditional yoga as his spiritual path. He now experiences much[…]

Rector’s Reflection 11.5

Beloved St. John’s community, As I write this on Thursday morning, the election is close, but not certain, and could still go either way. Perhaps by the time you read this this afternoon, things will have shifted again. While we are waiting, what is it that God’s Spirit is whispering to us even now? What[…]

Garden Harvest

One of the reasons we started Offerings in Exile was to provide St. Johns’ members with an opportunity share their creativity in this time apart.  Lois Neve has with great love and discipline cultivated a garden this year.  In “Garden Harvest 2020,” she shares the fruits (and vegetables!) of her labors, including elegant presentations at[…]

COVID-19 Update on building use

October 29, 2020 Beloved St. John’s community, I know it’s been a long time since I’ve updated you on St. John’s COVID-19 building use guidelines and plans. Because of this, I wanted to remind you what we are currently doing and when that might shift. Occasionally some of you have asked whether a group might[…]

Pledge Thank You

Dear St. John’s community, On behalf of the Stewardship Committee, I want to give you heartfelt thanks for your generous outpouring of support for the St. John’s community through your pledges, and our efforts to Strengthen Our Connections despite all that divides us in today’s world. Many of you were able to maintain or even[…]

Rector’s Reflection 10.29

Beloved St. John’s community, In these very challenging times, on the eve of the national election, I have said I believe with all my heart that we are called to “throw ourselves into the arms of God.” We cannot become people of healing for the world unless we ourselves are healed. There is tremendous hope[…]

Wreath Sales

The Annual Christmas Wreath Fundraiser for the Pilgrim’s trip is now taking pre orders!  You can order your wreath and/or greens before 11/2. After 11/2 we will change the sign up genius to reflect what options we have for purchase and you can order wreaths as long as they are in stock via the[…]

Rector’s Reflection 10.22

Beloved St. John’s community, As our nation approaches the national election in less than two weeks, we are living through times that may be looked back upon as truly significant in history. In the middle of these momentous times, as you read this, you may be standing in line at the grocery store checking email[…]

Rector’s Reflection 10.15

Beloved St. John’s community, Sunday, October 18 is the Feast of St. Luke, the healer. St. Luke is said to have written the Gospel of Luke, in which Jesus states his mission is “to bring good news to the poor, release to the captives, recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go[…]

Home Altars

During this extended time of pandemic, we know we need time for quiet, for prayer, and for connection with God. And we know that it’s more important than ever to be experiencing and sharing the transformation God offers us in our Monday – Saturday lives. With that in mind, we’re offering a “worship box” —[…]

Rector’s Reflection 10.8

Beloved St. John’s community, This past Sunday was such an incredibly beautiful, moving, and meaningful time together at Beard’s Plaisance! One hundred and twenty-five people came to celebrate Holy Eucharist and four baptisms. We took many, many extra precautions to minimize risk, the most important of which were that everyone wore masks at all times,[…]

Rector’s Reflection 10.1

Beloved St. John’s community, My parents grew up very poor. Both of my grandfathers were preachers. At one point my mother’s family was living in a small town in New Mexico, quite literally in an adobe home with no running water or electricity. When my mother went to college she did not have enough money[…]