Summer Sermon Series - Meaningful Books of our Community

This summer our community submitted books that have been influential in their lives. Here is the list of who submitted books, which book was submitted, and the author. Click any book for a more detailed look at each offering.

Pam Gustafson:  A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

Carol Allis:  Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Katie Williams:  The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes  by Du Bose Heyward  1939

Kenton Clymer:  Moral Man and Immoral Society by Reinhold Niebuhr

Peter Frederick:  The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Jamie Manning:  Stones from the River by Ursula Hegi

Janet Kramer-Barr:  The Sion Grail by Janet Kramer

Anne Deuring:  Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

Chris Sullivan:  The Yearling by Marjorie Rawlings

Connie Ryks:  Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario

Judy Gregg:  Poem from God Whispers: Stories of the Soul, Lessons of the Heart by Rabbi Karyn Kedar

Jill Engeswick:  Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters by Barack Obama (2011)

Adele Sullivan:  White Fragility by Robin Diangelo

Lori Cocking: Revolution From Within by Gloria Steinem 

Lori Cocking:  Neither Wolf Nor Dog by Kent Nerburn

Dyke Williams:  The Stranger and The Plague both by Albert Camus

Evelyn Headen:  Minding the Body, Mending the Mind by Joan Borysenko, PH.D.

Peg Keenan:  Material World:  A Global Family Portrait by Peter Menzel

Julie Mall:  Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time by Marcus Borg

Tamara Rogers:  The Hillsboro Story: a kaleidoscope history of an integration battle in my hometown by Susan Grace Banyas 

Connie Bell:  Winnie the Pooh, The House at Pooh Corner, When We Were Very Young, and Now We Are Six by A.A. Milne

Linda Thomson:  The Nightingale by Kristin Hannan

Nancy Rademacher:  The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg

Janie Warner:  Becoming Nicole by Amy Ellis Nutt

Mike Breckenridge:  A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Elizabeth Paulson:  Surprised by God by Robert K. Hudnut

Endless Summer Camp

It just wouldn’t be summer without a week away at Clearwater Forest Camp! Several of our youth and children, from elementary through high school, spent the week up north doing all the fun camp stuff, while also being in compassionate and intentional community with each other. Each day they would all eat together, play together, engage with their faith tradition, and explore their spirtuality. International counselors ensured the campers had a life-giving experience, filled with joy.

Presbyterian Youth Triennium 2019

This summer our Associate Pastor and five of our youth were some of the thirty-five delegates representing the Twin Cities Presbytery at the national Presbyterian Youth Triennium, held at Perdue University, in Indiana. This event held every three years gave delegates five sabbath days, driven by the invitation to say to God, “here is my heart.”

They worshipped everyday with 5,000 other youth and our own youth elder even got the opportunity to serve communion to our delegation and many others during one of the nights. Additionally, they were able to engage with art-based service opportunities such as decorating pillowcases for a faith camp in Puerto Rico, named Guacio, as well as using arts and crafts to explore their spirituality and proclaim their faith.

Though the heat and humidity were intense (and they didn’t have air conditioning in their dorms), life-long friendships were forged. Our delegation was from many different churches in the presbytery, but after this trip, the distance between our churches feels much smaller. The sacred conversations and life-giving faith experiences our youth had on this trip will be with them for the rest of their lives. The fount of every blessing was poured out on our youth, and for that we give great thanks and praise.

Youth Sunday

“Parent’s Time” - reflecting on impactful lessons learned that we try to pass to our children

“Parent’s Time” - reflecting on impactful lessons learned that we try to pass to our children

Pastor Colin challenged our youth to create and lead a worship service of their very own. After getting into the whats, whys, and hows, of worship, the youth constructed a service dedicated to honoring parents and mentors.

What a treat it was to have our Children’s Time message turned into a Parent’s Time, led by two of our youth. Another youth wrote and gave a sermon that was meaningful, heartwarming, and endearing, which you can listen to here. They closed with a communal blessing, based in gratitude, for the lessons they have learned.

Be sure to join us next year on Mother’s day as we plan to make this an annual tradition.

Missa Gaia Earth Mass


The St. Luke community rose to its energetic best on Sunday morning, May 19, when a large congregation was present to see, hear and participate in MISSA GAIA, our intergenerational festival of sight and sound celebrating Mother Earth and her inhabitants.  Eight young people (plus a couple pastors) portrayed wind, birds, wolves, and a whale. Six adults danced, nine instrumentalists played, including a guest soprano soloist and twenty-seven members of the St. Luke Choir all joining forces under David Lohman’s musical direction to present thrilling music by Paul Winter, Paul Halley and others. The singing ranged through texts ancient and modern, one of them urging our sense of personal connection to the encompassing mystery of existence: “Oh, grant that I may feel you always in everything.” It was a truly joyful St. Luke morning! But don’t take our word for it… Wolf Howls Join Worship Hymns - Star Tribune

Gender 101 & 102

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Through a series of Adult Ed forums, our congregation took a deeper look at gender identity and human sexuality.

Led by Rev. Elliott, the Gender 101 forum explained the different aspects of human sexuality as being: sex (assigned at birth), gender (how the person identifies), orientation (who the person is attracted to), and expression (how the person expresses their gender identity).

For the Gender 102 session, we welcomed a panel of non-heteronormative guests who talked about their life experiences and answered questions from the people gathered.

The Favorable Economics of Solving Climate Change

The solution is cheaper than doing nothing.

On Thursday, March 14 Professor Jay Coggins, Distinguished Professor of Applied Economics at the University of Minnesota, shared research showing that addressing climate change by switching to renewables is a winner on straight economic grounds, with the expansion of renewable energy creating jobs and business opportunities, as well as avoiding huge costs from negative impacts of climate disruption. You can listen here:

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The Stories that Shape Us


The Worship hour at St. Luke on January 27 represented a chance to get to know three important leaders from our long-time partners, the Division of Indian Work:

  • Louise Matson from the White Earth band of Ojibwe, and Executive Director at DIW

  • Takayla LIghfield from the Cheyenne River Sioux tribe, Mnicoujou Lakota, and Health Educator with the Family Spirit Home visiting program at DIW

  • Marissa Carr, from the Turtle Mountain Ojibwe, and Live it! Coordinator at DIW

 Minnesota (or cloud reflection on water) is the homeland of the Dakota people, but most Indian people who live in Minnesota are Ojibwe. There are 11 reservations in Minnesota, 7 Ojibwe and 4 Dakota. It was wild rice that brought the Ojibwe people here from Canada. The devastating Dakota War in 1862 drove out the Dakota people after the largest mass execution in US history. Matson pointed out that there is still a law saying it is illegal for Dakota people to be in Minnesota.

How do we, as privileged white people, understand, support and work together with Indian people? How do we overcome (or utilize) our inherited shame and guilt in ways that help us to affirm and respond to our native neighbors? One key for learning, listening, and finding hope is to LISTEN FOR THE TRUTH -

  • There is danger in buying into the story/stories we think we know

  • News stories focus on struggles in the native communities, but Indian people are diverse, thriving, hardworking individuals

  • ERASURE is the greatest issue

    • Exploitative narrative of poverty and tragedy are one-sided and take away “agency,” the Indian people’s ability and right to tell their own stories.

    • Mainstream news does not reflect the reality and diversity of native people.

    • Indigenous people are reclaiming their truth and their stories, embracing the beauty of the communities.

  • Look for QUALITATIVE information (or stories) in or amidst QUANTITATIVE data

  • Suggested sources for truth in reporting include:

    • The Circle News

    • KFAI radio

    • Indian Country News

Remember that you are always on Native Land - anywhere on this continent. Ask what that means, to live on this land. What are our responsibilities to this land? What are our responsibilities to the people this land belongs to?


Empowering Women, Empowering All


The cold January 27 morning began with a panel discussion by three members of the Minnesota state legislature. Rep Patty Acomb, Rep Cheryl Youakim, and Rep Laurie Pryor gathered to help us understand the climate in our legislature, as it relates to both state and national priorities, and to help St. Lukers think about ways we might affect change. The Representatives described our opportunity (and challenge) here in Minnesota, with the only divided state legislature in the country (a Republican Senate and a Democratic House). Minnesota is a mirror of the United States Congress, and it is our chance to demonstrate how people can work together.

 While the 3 leaders recognize the divisions and partisan politics that plague us both nationally and at the state and local levels, they point to signs of hope.

  • People are showing up

    • There were more voters at the polls in November than ever before

    • Crowds like the one today at St. Luke (as well as the work St. Luke is doing) indicate higher levels of involvement on a variety of fronts

  • The Minnesota House of Representatives has 35 new members and begins to look a lot more like the population of Minnesota.

    • There are more women representatives than ever (nearly 50/50)

    • 15 representatives are people of color

  • Gender roles, and other constraining stereotypes are softening.

    • Younger folks, in the general public as well as in the legislature, seem less driven by the stereotypes of men as arrogant and women as more willing to compromise

    • House Speaker Melissa Hortman is committed to everyone having equal abilities to caucus and to provide leadership on issues they are passionate about.

    • Efforts among legislators to talk, one to one, to welcome and get to know each other’s personalities, go a long way toward compassionate, positive change.


Marilyn Summers Cool: A Life in Art

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At St. Luke, we celebrate the artists among us.  An exciting new exhibit, Marilyn Summers Cool:  A Life in Art, now graces our entryway, garden court, and sanctuary.

A long-time St. Luke member, Marilyn Summers Cool was born an artist.  She has worked hard all of her life to carve out a space for that artist to thrive – inspiring, mentoring, and teaching along the way.  Driven to create, Marilyn strained against the limits of ordinary life. A painter, sculptor, and printmaker for more than fifty years, Marilyn understands the spiritual power of art.

St. Luke commissioned the large painting near the sanctuary doors to honor our experience as a sanctuary church.  Prints and paintings on loan from congregation members will be on display through December.


Protesting Line 3

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From St. Luke member and ruling elder, Judy Gregg: 

“I put my foot down on Line 3 last Saturday. As I stood on it, I thought about what was flowing under my foot…through treaty territory, carrying the dirtiest, most carbon intensive fuel on the planet threatening our lakes, rivers and wildlife. On Sunday, at the headwaters of the Mississippi, led by indigenous men and women, we people of many faiths blessed these life-giving waters and pledged to protect them for current and future generations. If you want to “put your foot down on Line 3”, call governor Dayton’s administration today and urge him to stand with the Anishinaabe people, the water and our climate, and stop Line 3: 651-201-3400”

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Gun Safety Advocacy

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St. Luke Presbyterian Church has a strong interest in updating our state laws concerning gun reform. In March more than a dozen St. Luke members participated in the March for Our Lives at the state Capitol. On April 18th a dozen St. luke members attended the Moms Demand Action training and lobby day at the Capitol. We have encouraged people to make their voices heard by contacting their legislators. 

A strong action that can be taken before the mid-term elections is to go to the League of Women Voters website,, enter your zip code in the “Find your league” space, and access your local league where you can find dates to volunteer to help with voter registration and find candidate forums. We all can make a difference.