Spotlight on Kids 5.12.22

I love to plan for summer in January and February! The thoughts of all the possibilities, trips and camps are fun to ponder in the frigid winter months. However, with the onset of warm (finally) weather and as I stare down the end of the 2021-2022 school year, summer seems too close to handle. I[…]

Deacon’s Column 5.12.22

Linda and I just returned from a vacation to the west coast to visit good friends, visit Portland, and unplug. We in fact did take the train, along with an unplanned stop stuck on the tracks in Western North Dakota for about 7 hours…. I intentionally listened repeatedly to poet Bob Dylan’s Dream…. While riding[…]

Reflection 5.5.22

One of my favorite poets, whose work I often turn to in moments of both joy and sorrow, is Hafiz. A Persian poet who lived in the 1300s, Hafiz was a Sufi writer and mystic. Though not much is known about his life, his work has endured and is now the source of inspiration for[…]

Update on Afghan Family Support

St. John’s, St. Luke’s/St. James, and St. Paul’s have partnered since early February to assist the Minnesota Council of Churches (MCC) in resettling an Afghan family of eight (six children ages 7-19) in NE Minneapolis.  MCC is funding the family through July for rent/utilities and groceries.  The family’s case worker has been working very hard[…]

Rector’s Reflection 4.21.22

Beloved St. John’s community, Every spiritual path has its unique genius, and Jesus’ Way of Love Is no exception. At the heart of our faith is what we call the “paschal mystery”—that insistence that in the death and resurrection of Jesus, hope, new life, love and connection will ultimately triumph over despair, death, violence and[…]

Holy Week

Beloved people of St. John’s: Welcome to Holy Week, the days when we retell, remember, and make meaning of the final days of Jesus’ life and his resurrection. I’m struck this year by how full this time feels, and what an expansive range of stories and emotions we are invited into over the course of just a few short days. On[…]

Spotlight on Pilgrims 3.24.22

St. John’s is so blessed to have a congregation that greatly values its children and youth. The Pilgrimage is a huge undertaking for the entire church. From the parents who commit to keeping their children engaged to the volunteers who connect with the pilgrims for two plus years, to the church members who cheer the[…]

Deacon’s Column 3.17.22

Poetic Musings, riding on the bus, and Christian Warning Signs…. Rex McKee, Deacon Some of you have watched with me the video of ‘Shake the Dust’ by contemporary poet Anis Mojgani, 44-year-old Poet Laureate of Oregon. Anis is one of the most significant poets of our time, in my humble opinion. You can watch it[…]

Rector’s Reflection 3.10.22

Beloved St. John’s community, In last week’s Rector’s Reflection and in my Sunday sermon, I invited us to use this lent to focus on joy and gratitude, even though that might seem counterintuitive, tone-deaf or plain wrong given all that is hurt and sick in the world. But in this introspective time that is lent,[…]

Rector’s Reflection 3.3.22

Beloved St. John’s community, This lent, which began yesterday, we at St. John’s are going to focus on joy and gratitude. What?! You may be thinking. Isn’t that—counterintuitive, tone-deaf, completely not.getting.the.memo.about.lent, wrong in face of all the urgent things that need doing in our world, or just denial? No, dear ones. In essence, this is[…]

ECMN Priority: Vitality

Beloved St. John’s community, Today I want to share with you about how St. John’s is exploring one of the four priorities in our statewide Episcopal Church community: vitality. When our no-longer-quite-new Bishop Craig Loya first joined us in June 2020, he arrived saying that he had heard Minnesota Episcopalians express four consistent longings and[…]

Spotlight on Kids

In my world and I believe many parents’ worlds, February is a planning season for what lies ahead. Summer activities for the kids need to be booked and time off planned. What will we do with the kids during spring break? Sports seasons are switching and calendars need to be rearranged. The end of the[…]

Deacon’s Column 2.10.22

Fragments… Once again, we are struck with irrational violence in our community. Gun violence in our schools, murder by police, and an undeclared civil war in our country. I am reminded of a Daniel Berrigan quote, “We cry peace and cry peace, and there is no peace. There is no peace because there are no[…]

Outside Our Walls

As you know, under Rex McKee’s leadership, St. John’s has made the decision to partner with other Episcopal churches and the Minnesota Council of Churches (“MCC”) to help resettle families fleeing Afghanistan. Tim and I decided to volunteer to be the point people in St. John’s work on refugee resettlement with Sts. Luke and James and[…]

Rector’s Reflection 1.20.22

Beloved St. John’s community, This Sunday, January 23, we will have our second annual meeting entirely online (at 11am after the 10am morning service). Last January when I was preparing to write my report about the previous year, in a way it was easy. There were two giant and new things to talk about: the[…]

COVID-19 UPDATES UPDATE: Thursday, March 31, 2022 Beloved St. John’s community, As our city and nation continues to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic becoming endemic, we are seeking to honor the important spiritual, social and emotional needs that have been hard to meet as we prioritized physical safety for ourselves and our neighbors. As we[…]

Deacon’s Column 1.6.22

Last week, we mourned the death and celebrated the life of Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Undoubtedly, he will, in good time, be added to our calendar of Holy Women and Holy Men and given a feast day in the Anglican / Episcopal tradition (at the very least). I have taken time to reread Tutu’s books, particularly[…]

Deacon’s Column 12.9.21

For centuries, Jesus was depicted in images taken from the dominant group that worshiped him. In Europe, images of Jesus presented a white Christ that bore the features of European Christians and their rulers. African American theologian James Cone presented his argument that Christ is black. His point was not that all Christians should shape[…]

Reflection 12.2.21

My friend Neil Elliott, priest and Pauline Scholar (you should read his books), wrote a Facebook post this past week.  I made a copy and meditate with it several times a day… All the Christian bluster about “waiting” for Christ to be born at Christmas is nonsensical. Waiting for the past means you missed your[…]

Rector’s Reflection 11.25.21

Beloved St. John’s community, This coming Sunday our church begins its liturgical year all over again—the first Sunday of Advent, which is always a time of hopeful waiting and expectancy. It is no accident that this hopeful waiting is precisely timed when the year is darkest. As the days grow shorter, and the nights longer,[…]

ECMN Focus Area: Innovation

A number of years ago I did some door knocking to collect signatures from people in support of legislation that would ensure sick time off for all workers in Minnesota. As I knocked on doors and talked to people, an odd pattern began to emerge. People who had access to sick days were very likely[…]

Spotlight on Kids’ Music

What is happening on Wednesday nights at St. John’s? The short story is…there is a gathering of children and their families for the purpose of making music through singing and chiming. Children pre-school age up through adult meet for organized periods of time to learn music theory, the mechanics of singing and chiming, the importance[…]

Deacon’s Column

Verna Dozier, African-American Educator, and Episcopal Leader, spoke at a total ministry conference in 1985 and challenged the church with the following: Jesus called all of us to do greater things than he did, and then asked us why have we been so slow to be about it? She suggested that there were three stumbling[…]

Behind the Scenes 10.28.21

Every once in a while, it’s important to highlight the incredibly generous work of St. John’s members and volunteers. Since this is stewardship season, it seems especially appropriate to thank two people who have shepherded St. John’s finances in extraordinary ways: Michael Morrow and Kathy Schweikart. Michael Morrow was St. John’s Treasurer for years—much longer[…]

Rector’s Reflection 10.21.21

Beloved St. John’s community, Our Episcopal Church is the daughter of the Church of England, one of the many churches that was created during the British Empire’s vast colonial expansion. But the Christian church in England was much older than that. It was established in the early years after the life of Jesus, even before[…]

Guide My Feet, Lord, While I Run this Race:  Reflections on 2021 Justice and Service at St. Johns How many of you practice a sport that requires not just one burst of energy and strength, like weightlifting, but intense, sustained effort?  Perhaps you’re a middle-distance runner, a marathoner, a cross-country skier, or a cyclist.  I[…]

Spotlight on Kids

How are the children? Kasserian ingera? All the children are well! Sapati ingera! This traditional Masai greeting shows the priority placed by this tribe on the well-being and safety of the most vulnerable in society. If the children are well, there is peace and stability. By monitoring their children’s well-being, they can determine the health[…]

Faith Formation

Where and how did you learn about God? Jesus? The Bible? What has formed you as a person of faith? A Christian? An Episcopalian? What has transformed your beliefs and ideas as you’ve grown and changed? These are the kinds of questions a group of St. John’s members, staff, and clergy started with as we[…]

Deacon’s Column 9.23

One of my favorite contemporary poems is Shake the Dust, by Iranian-American Anis Mojgani. You can watch the entire poem on YouTube here. The poem which was introduced to me by Bishop Prior speaks I believe to the passages from the Gospel of being sent into the world, sharing your peace, and if your peace[…]

Behind the Scenes 9.16.21

This new occasional column is to highlight those fabulous St. John’s members who do SO MUCH behind the scenes to keep this place a vibrant, functioning community that follows Jesus’ Way of Love! To kick this off, although I could thank literally hundreds of you, I’d like to start with the following two: Mary Corlett[…]

Rector’s Reflection 9.9.21

Beloved St. John’s community, I can hardly believe another program year is beginning—the third since I joined you, as the world has utterly shifted around us with a pandemic, race crisis, and change in administration in Washington. Your relationship with church may also have shifted—perhaps you have found it difficult to be part of the[…]

Deacon’s Blog 7.15

Blessings and Peace to the Saint John’s Community. Lisa is off on vacation, rest, and re-creation. This past couple of weeks I have finished reading two new release books from the greater Episcopal Church Community. I highly recommend both of them. The first, The Church Cracked Open, by the Reverend Stephanie Spellers who serves on the Presiding[…]

Rector’s Reflection 7.8

Beloved St. John’s community, Sunday July 11 is the traditional feast day of St. Benedict of Nursia. He founded one of the oldest and most steadfast forms of Western Christian contemplative life, Benedictine monasticism.  He was born at about 480 in Italy and was educated in Rome. But Rome was quite a bit past its[…]

Rector’s Reflection 7.1

Beloved St. John’s community, If you haven’t gotten to know our new Bishop the Rt. Rev. Craig Loya yet, you should. He is warm, pastoral, compassionately oriented toward justice, and an excellent preacher and writer. So much so that, in lieu of my own thoughts this week, I’d like to share with you his writings[…]

Rector’s Reflection 6.24

Beloved St. John’s community, Today is the feast day of our patron saint, St. John the Baptist. We celebrated his birth this past Sunday at church. We were so joyful to be together again. We baptized a beautiful baby boy, Simon Jones; welcomed a new member, Alex Musial; and celebrated the ordination of our own[…]

Rector’s Reflection 6.17

Beloved St. John’s community, This coming Saturday is “Juneteenth”, the day African Americans and their allies have celebrated the emancipation of slaves in the United States. We celebrate it because it was the day in 1865 when Major General Gordan Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas to declare the emancipation of slaves (which had actually occurred[…]

Rector’s Reflection 6.10

Beloved St. John’s community, In today’s daily office reading from 2 Corinthians 12, the Apostle Paul talks about having had both incredible visions and experiences of God, and also great struggles, what he calls a “thorn in the flesh”—some kind of chronic issue that tormented him, from which he begged God for relief. He describes[…]

Rector’s Reflection 6.3

Beloved St. John’s community, After church Sunday I drove north to Ely to spend a wonderful 36 hours of rest and rejuvenation in the breathtaking beauty that is the northern woods. While I was there, I did a brief tour of Sigurd Olson’s cabin on the shore of Burntside Lake where he came to rest[…]

Rector’s Reflection 5.27

Beloved St. John’s community, Since the beginning of his time as our Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry has called the Episcopal Church to simply follow Jesus’ Way of Love. We can do that through seven simple practices: turn, learn, pray, worship, bless, go and rest. Each one of these practices, alone, is not sustainable. But all[…]

Rector’s Reflection 5.20

Beloved St. John’s community, Some of you may be familiar with Sufism, which some would call the mystical branch of Islam. Some of my favorite poets are Sufis: Rumi, Hafiz, Kabir. They were medieval Muslims whose hearts were exploded open, who saw love everywhere they went. One of them wrote this poem, entitled “What Should[…]

Rector’s Reflection 5.13

Beloved St. John’s community, Years ago when I was in college, I was lucky enough to spend four months in the Middle East studying the Arab-Israeli conflict. During part of that time, a group of us spent a few weeks on an Israeli kibbutz within sight of the Dead Sea, in the vast heat of[…]

Rector’s Reflection 5.6

Beloved St. John’s community, If you were to distill a primary message you got from church about who you are, what would it be? Now, I’m not just talking about what you were literally told – though that for sure is important.  I’m talking about the millions of unspoken implications from what we do and[…]

Rector’s Reflection 4.29

Beloved St. John’s community, Words on a page can’t always delve more deeply than the mental surface of things. But poems and imagination and the living words of the Holy Spirit can, sometimes. I hope you will read what I have written, below, in the spirit of the latter, and not the former. God bless[…]

Rector’s Reflection 4.22

Beloved St. John’s community, Today is Earth Day, the day we celebrate with awe and humility the breathtaking beauty of the natural world.  It’s two days after Officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty, on all counts, of the murder of George Floyd—the first time a white police officer has ever been convicted of killing a[…]

Rector’s Reflection 4.15

Beloved St. John’s community, Throughout the city and the nation, leaders and companies and groups of every kind have been speaking out this week to decry and lament and protest the killing of 20-year-old Daunte Wright, precious child of God, at the hands of the police. When I saw the news on Monday morning I[…]

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[…]

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[…]

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[…]