Spotlight on Children 9.29.22

Back to school season is full of anticipation, excitement, school supplies and stress! In year three of the pandemic, we have all been made acutely aware of how important having in person classes and activities are to children’s (and parents’) mental health and wellbeing. Last year, schools were hit with a lot of confusion over[…]

Beloved St. John’s community, In this past Sunday’s reading from the book of Hebrews, following Jesus is compared to running a race—with a “great cloud of witnesses,” our spiritual ancestors in faith, cheering like spectators at a marathon they themselves have already finished. As a runner myself, I know how much it means to have[…]

Deacon’s Column 8.4.22

Apprehend God in all things, for God is in all things. Every single creature is Full of God, and is a book about God Every Creature is a word of God… Amen. Meister Eckhart A challenge from the Book of Isaiah 1:1:13 Quit your worship charades. I can’t stand your trivial religious games: Monthly conferences,[…]

Friday July 22, is the anniversary of my ordination on the feast day of Saint Mary Magdalen. My ordination date was a factor of scheduling, and probably without divine intervention, the experience that I have had these 18 years to meditate with Mary Magdalen has been a blessing.  Mary’s narrative in both scripture and legend,[…]

Donate Here Friends, You may recall that St. John’s has been working with the Minnesota Council of Churches, Sts. Luke and James, and Saint Paul’s to help the Mirzada family transition to their new life in Minnesota after arriving via airlift from Afghanistan last year. The Mirzadas will be moving to the Ostego area at[…]

Beloved St. John’s community, As some of you are aware, I went to London in June for a ten-day class called “Learning From London” about church innovation. This class is run by Bexley Seabury, an Episcopal Seminary, and has been brought to ECMN by Blair Pogue, our new Missioner for Innovation and Vitality. Along with[…]

Tuesday, July 19 6pm Gathering & Food \ 7pm Presentation in St. John’s Parish Hall Joseph Mallard (aka Sunshine Joe) and Janet Hagberg have an uncommon friendship. Janet is white and Joseph is black. They have very different backgrounds and live in different parts of the country. Yet they share a passion for expressing themselves[…]

Spotlight on Pilgrims

Ireland’s ancient history, Celtic Christianity and stunning landscapes were just a few of the reasons the 2022 Pilgrims chose to visit this destination for their St. John’s Pilgrimage. The country did not disappoint! We hiked a section of St. Kevin’s Way in Glendalough, studied Celtic Christianity in Armagh with expert Gracie Clunie and learned about[…]

Deacon’s Column 6.16.22

All three of the synoptic gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke share instructions for the journey into mission field…. Matthew and Mark tend to focus on healing, Luke on evangelizing… they all wrote of both of Jesus directives. The gospels are wrapped in the stories of calling, forming, and sending… we use those terms often ….[…]

Friends – Happy summer to you!  In addition to seasonal salutations, we write to share with you important doings of the Vestry.  For the first time in over two years, the Vestry was able to meet face to face for its annual retreat.  The retreat is a natural time for the group to get to[…]

Reflection 6.2.22

Beloved St. John’s community, Sunday is Pentecost, which some call the “Church’s Birthday.” At Pentecost, we celebrate the story of the Holy Spirit descending upon a group of grieving, terrified disciples and causing them to express in different languages what they had seen of “God’s deeds of power.” They were not “speaking in tongues” as[…]

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/MASK WEARING UPDATES UPDATE: Thursday, September 8, 2022 Beloved St. John’s community, St. John’s is now making mask wearing optional for vaccinated persons for all events, including church services, beginning this coming Sunday, September 11. Nearly all other locations, including other local churches and schools, have made mask wearing optional, and vaccinations are now available[…]

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[…]