December Message from Pastor Mark

God is calling us into something new. The blessed part about this is that God still has purpose and meaning for us. The hard part about this is that something new means something different, which means change. And change can be really hard on us. We know that we cannot continue to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result. And we cannot implement change just for the sake of change, either. So now what? Well, here’s what I believe: I believe that I am called to serve you, serve with you, shepherd you, and [...]

December 9th, 2016|

November Message from the Pastor

"In everything give thanks, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:18 November conjures within me warm memories and a deep nostalgia:the smell of baked goods and a turkey in the oven, stuffing, cranberries stubbornly exhumed out of cans (those are the best kind), blenders whipping the real mashed potatoes, grandmothers with musty perfume, grandfathers in suits, and our home warmed with so many family members gathered. The cousins would be all seated together at the designated kids’ table set kid-friendly, fancy accoutrement in the next room; and with no apparent immediate parental supervision, we [...]

November 8th, 2016|

A Message from the Pastor — October 2016

October 2016: Already within the first month of our new program year focusing on Growing:  our relationships with Christ; aka our faith,  our relationships with our Church Family, aka fellowship,  our relationships with our Neighbors; aka our friendships, backpacks of food for Ramsey Middle School families have already been filled once, St. John’s Youth have already met twice, Missionary Circle has convened; the building is humming all the time with the sounds of children laughing, singing (and crying too especially when they wake from the naps), choirs, brass, and hand bells rehearsals; and as October arrives the [...]

October 14th, 2016|

A Message from the Pastor — September 2016

September is a month of transitions and juxtapositions. On the one hand, it is the time of year when tree leaves change color, evenings become a little cooler, and days are noticeably shorter. On the other hand, it is the time of year when school resumes, classes refill, excitement about new things is palpable. This month is the commencement of a new ‘program year;’ a time when Sunday School restarts (9:00 AM each Sunday this year), Confirmation reconvenes, choirs and hand bells and brass restart their regular routine, and relationships are rekindled (remember to sign up for the Progressive Dinner [...]

September 4th, 2016|

A Message from the Pastor – August 2016

DURING THE PAST CALENDER YEAR, I was asked a couple of times about the readings for Sunday morning. Though I did mention it at Council and at my Bible Studies, I am sorry that I did not do more work upfront to get the word out on the changes I was making. Some of you were keenly aware that St. John’s has a beautiful, long-standing tradition of using the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) during worship. What is that? It is a three-year cycle of Bible readings for each Sunday morning and lesser festivals throughout the church year. There are several [...]

August 4th, 2016|

I Believe…

Together we have been in a two-year process of finding out who we are and whom we shall serve. Together we have worked hard at articulating and claiming our four congregational values of Worshiping, Welcoming, Growing and Serving. Over the past nine months we together set out to find more clarity on whom it is we are called to serve and found laser focus on Serving the children who are adversely affected by the injustices of Hunger and Housing insecurity. I think it is correct to say that 2015-2016 was a Year of Serving. Now, for the year of 2016-2017, [...]

June 6th, 2016|

A Word from the Pastor

Changes… At the very end of the final High School Band and Orchestra concert a screen came down from the ceiling, and everyone watched as pictures of the graduating seniors appeared on screen. The fun was that the baby picture came first, then the name of the student, followed by their senior picture, and everyone would “ooh,” “ahh,” or giggle or cheer. Well, that day is almost upon Connie and me. We have spent HOURS looking through our photo albums and computer photos, which has put Connie and me in a rather nostalgic mood. Isn’t it remarkable to watch young [...]

May 13th, 2016|


Christ is RISEN! He is risen indeed! Alleluia! This is an astonishing claim. If the astonishment has worn off on you, then receive this reminder as a gift: you are a baptized child of God and therefore a member of Christ’s Holy Church- the Body of Christ in the world. As a member of the Body of Christ you have been joined to the people of God at St. John’s Lutheran Church, which is ONE member congregation of the 154 other congregations which constitute the Minneapolis Area Synod, which is ONE synod of 65 synods comprising the Evangelical Lutheran Church [...]

April 8th, 2016|

A Word from the Pastor

For many followers of Jesus, the liturgical year is the most meaningful during the seasons of Lent and Holy Week. The 40 days of Lent mirror Christ’s 40 days in the wilderness after being baptized by John. Because Christ fasted those 40 days, Christ’s followers have adopted practices of “going without,” and during the season of Lent will fast (abstain) from eating or drinking something. A new fast I heard of this year was a person who abstained from driving! Then there are those who choose a different type of “fasting” by adding a ritual or faith-practice to their daily [...]

March 9th, 2016|

A Word from the Pastor — February

February has arrived and the season of Lent will soon be upon us. The season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday with a reminder of our finitude and frailties. We are called to remember that we are dust and to dust we shall return, but did you know that the word Lent actually comes from the Old English word ‘Lecten” which means springtime, or spring? Perhaps during the season of Lent this year we might counterbalance the intentional remembrance of our mortality on Ash Wednesday with a sense of rebirth and joy in whose we have become. Instead of refraining [...]

February 2nd, 2016|