Beloved St John’s community,
I write with great joy to let you know that St. John’s has hired our new Minister of Children, Youth & Families, Heather Miller, who begins her ministry at St. John’s on August 29. Heather comes to us with ten years of experience as a full time Children’s Minister at Good Samaritan United Methodist Church in Edina, and before that she was an elementary school teacher. She is also passionately committed to an expansive Christian faith—following Jesus’ Way of Love through creative practice, and learning to find our stories within God’s Great Story. Our Search Team (Heidi Weaver, Amy McGrew, Avery Schaefer, Mike Walters, Lynnell Mickelson, Kari Rusch-Curl and Leah Guy) interviewed multiple candidates and unanimously agreed that Heather had all the right gifts, charisma, and experience to be a great fit at St. John’s. Members of the Vestry and staff also met with her and endorsed her with great enthusiasm.
We created our job description based on the values identified in the Transition Task Force’s work with the entire congregation this past spring, and we believe Heather has what it takes to fulfill all these values, and to keep our children, youth & family ministry front and center of St. John’s congregational life. We hired Heather at 3/4 time for now given this pandemic. Our hope and intention, is to increase her to full time as soon as we responsibly can, and we encourage St. John’s members to remain the faithful and generous pledgers you have always been to make this possible.
Heather is warm, fun, energetic, creative, and experienced. She has great boundaries, is pastoral, and is an excellent communicator. She plans far in advance and deeply loves the children & youth in her care. Most of all, she wants them to know and experience that Jesus’ Way of Love can impact every part of their lives. Based on an expansive relationship with God in Christ, she will give them the chance to wrestle with faith, live generously, strive for justice and peace, and to engage God’s mission to create the Beloved Community.
I hope you will welcome Heather Miller and her family with the open arms and warmth St. John’s has always shown newcomers. During this pandemic, it will be up to us to find creative ways to express our joy and welcome—and I have no doubt that we will do just that. Stay tuned for a myriad of ways we will offer everyone the chance to meet Heather and embrace her with St. John’s warmth. With all my heart, welcome to St. John’s, Heather!
Rector, St. John’s Episcopal Church
Hello! My name is Heather Miller and I’m excited to be joining the team at St. John’s as the new Minister of Children, Youth & Families. I wanted to share a little about myself and some ideas for the upcoming program year. First, about me. While not a Minnesota native, I’ve been living here in Minneapolis for 20 years. My husband, Chris Johnstone, is a professor at the University of Minnesota in the Department of Education. We have two teenagers, Acacia, 16, and Evan, 14. For the past several years, I served as the Director of Families with Children at Good Samaritan United Methodist Church in Edina. I love to travel, and I have led multigenerational trips to South Africa and Lesotho for the past 10 years. The purpose of these trips was to gain a greater understanding of the socioeconomic realities many people face while learning about new cultures and perspectives. While the coronavirus has put travel on hold, I hope I can offer members of St. John’s the opportunity to travel together in the future.
Prior to my work in the church, I taught elementary school for 10 years. My background in teaching allows me to write curriculum and design activities which are appropriate for a variety of ages and learning styles while being fun and engaging for children and youth. I love teaching, and I’m looking forward to getting to know the kids, teenagers and families of St. John’s. We’re still online for a while, but there’s a lot we can do on Zoom! From virtual Sunday School to youth meetup spaces to Children’s Chapel, I’m committed to finding innovative ways to reach children and teens in this new environment so that they feel loved and connected. We can also send activities home and provide faith-based “challenges” for kids. Youth gatherings can be organized for social activities like game nights or to process together through a faith lens some of the political and social upheaval we’re facing as a city and country. Soon enough we’ll be in person again, but until then I will look for opportunities to help the children and families at St. John’s build relationships, nurture their faith, and live out our call to be disciples, reaching out in love to the world around us. Please feel free to be in touch to learn more about me and to share any ideas you have for our ministry together.