» Holiday Giving Partnerships

Posted on: December 3, 2020

This year, since we cannot physically choose tags from a Giving Tree, we are taking it virtual. St John’s is providing you various options with some of our partners, to give to those who need a little bit or a lot of help celebrating the season.

Hallie Q Brown Community Center:

Adopt a Family: Choose one family and purchase the items on their Christmas wishlist. Drop the items off directly at Hallie Q, where they will be wrapped and delivered to the families. You can join up with your extended family or other St. John’s families to complete one wishlist. To take part, contact Sue Cadwell at susie46buffy@gmail.com. Please drop your items off by December 16.

Give Winter Gear: Hallie Q Brown is accepting winter coats, hats, snow pants, gloves and mittens for all family members. You may purchase new or donate gently used items (remember, if you wouldn’t give it to a family member, please don’t donate it.) Deliver to Hallie Q Brown Center.

Support the Food Shelf: To keep others safe during COVID, rather than collect food items, we are accepting monetary donations through the December Mustard Seed offering. It will be forwarded to Hallie Q for use toward the food needs of 750 families. (Due to Hallie Q’s purchasing power, monetary donations also buy much more food than we can buy with the same money as parishioners!) Click here to give and choose “Mustard Seed” in the fund drop-down.

Note: You can drop off items at the center, located at 270 Kent Street North, anytime between 9am-5pm, Monday-Friday. Simply park in front the entrance and call the phone number on the sign. Someone will meet you at your car to accept your donations. 

Project Home & Other Partners:

Red Balloon Book Drive: The Dignity Store offers Project Home families, who are experiencing homelessness, a place to “shop” for gifts for their kids, ages birth to 18. Help support Project Home’s Dignity Store by purchasing a book from the virtual book drive at Red Balloon Bookshop.  Red Balloon is offering the St John’s community a 20% discount on all purchases. They will deliver those books to Project Home; once their needs are met, any further donations will be given to other partner organizations.

Here’s how it works:
1. Select a book from the Project Home Dignity Store Wish List and / or purchase any of your other favorites from Red Balloon Bookshop.
2. Add Coupon Code  SJE to your order.  This will give you a 20% discount on your purchase and will also flag your order for the Dignity Store. You can also call in your order to the bookshop at 651-224-8320 or email Holly@redballoonbookshop.com.

We hope your family is able to find an option that works with your celebration and helps another family.  In this way, we can help kids not feel isolated or left-out because their parents cannot afford to give them gifts like their classmates are getting. We can help people stay warm in the cold, whether waiting for a bus to get to work or staying out longer to make snowmen with their children. We can expand kids’ imaginations with books and fill their stomachs with nourishing food. And most of all, we can remind our neighbors that people out there care about them, and that God is watching over them even in difficult times.

» Important: COVID-19 Exposure and Building Use Change

Posted on: December 3, 2020

  • Several staff and volunteers were inadvertently exposed to COVID-19 at the church between Friday, November 20 and Monday, November 23.
  • In response we are implementing tightened restrictions for the use of the building. From now to December 18, only one individual (or household) will be allowed in the building at a time.
Please read Jered’s letter below for a full explanation and all details. Feel free to contact him at jered.weberjohnson@stjohnsstpaul.org with any questions or concerns.

Dear Friends in Christ,

I write to inform you about a recent exposure of several staff and volunteers to the Covid-19 virus that occurred inside the Saint John’s buildings between Friday, November 20th and Monday, November 23, when an infected staff member inadvertently brought the virus into the building over that weekend. This happened as a result of a break in our Covid-19 protocols, and I am working with all our staff to ensure that this does not happen again.

While other protocols were observed and kept by all involved, (masks, distancing, hand washing, and contact tracing) my wife Erin has developed the symptoms of Covid-19 and in consultation with her doctors we are quarantining and taking steps to ensure there is no further spread. All of this is a very personal reminder of just how serious this pandemic is and how easy it can be to accidentally pass this infection along even under the best conditions. In an effort to maintain transparency with our whole faith community, our wardens (Lynn Hertz and Holly Weinkauf) will continue to keep you updated as we learn more about all those exposed or infected. I am also taking additional steps to ensure that St. John’s limits our risk of transmitting the virus to others.

Currently the State of Minnesota, like much of the country, is experiencing a serious spike in infections. Hospitals report being full to capacity, and our Governor has tightened restrictions, encouraging Minnesotans to stay home as much as possible to slow the spread of the virus and to help flatten the curve. While churches are somewhat exempt from these tightened restrictions, we are not exempt, by mandate of the gospel, from the call to love our neighbor. Right now, we love our neighbor by keeping him or her safe from infection, to the best of our ability.

Since the beginning of this pandemic, Saint John’s has tried to model that neighbor love by putting in place policies and practices that seek first to minimize as much as possible, the risk of spreading the infection through the ministries of our church. Even when permissions by the bishop and the government have allowed greater freedom to gather, we have opted instead to continue worship from our homes, only streaming from the church in recent months, and we have limited access to our building and only offered small, distanced, and masked gatherings outdoors over the summer. In the coming weeks, in response to the increased risk and in renewed commitment to our guiding principle to love our neighbor by not spreading this deadly disease to our neighbors, I am implementing a set of tightened restrictions for the use of our building.

Until December 18th access to the building will be one household at a time or one individual at a time. All access for staff will be granted after a negative Covid test. All use of building will need to be scheduled through the Parish Office so as to ensure only one person or household is in the building at a time. On December 18 we will revisit this decision to see if these restrictions need to be extended or whether infections are dropping and the risk is deemed low enough to begin allowing more than one person access to the building at a time. 

This will impact our streaming worship. For the remainder of this time we will not see live camera feeds from the church as to do so requires both an operator and a minister. Christmas liturgies (including Lessons and Carols) will be pre-recorded using photos, video, and previously recorded music, some of which includes interior views of the church.

We know that everyone is tired of this pandemic, exhausted by the limits that it places on our common life, and yearning to be together in the flesh. I join you in these feelings and also in a renewed commitment to do my best to keep you safe, to protect our staff and volunteers, and to provide you with the best liturgical, pastoral, and spiritual ministry possible with the tools at our disposal.

If you have any questions or concerns about these decisions, please do not hesitate to reach out to me directly. I pray that each of you is experiencing some sense of God’s nearness in this season of expectation and hope, and that as we all yearn to be together, that our yearning would focus on the coming of Jesus, the one who came into our lives that we might have abundant life.


» Advent at St. John’s

Posted on: November 19, 2020


Worshipping in a New Way
November 29; December 6, 13, 20
For the four Sundays in Advent, St. John’s will shift from the Spiritual Communion, which we’ve used since the beginning of the pandemic, to that mainstay of Anglican liturgical and spiritual life, the Daily Office.  We will celebrate Morning Prayer with slight modification for use on the Lord’s Day.  During our long absence from the central sacrament of Eucharist, pausing even the offering of “Spiritual Communion” will create a full and complete break from the idea of communion in our liturgies. Obviously this will heighten and deepen our sense of longing for Eucharist. This, coupled with our Formation in Advent focusing on Eucharist (see below), might give us real insight into this important and central part of our faith life. Our rector has written a blog post delving more deeply into what this change will mean and what it could engender in us; click here to give it a read.

Faith Formation

Advent Reads
As Jered discusses in his recent article in The Evangelist, we will undertake three separate but deeply important looks at the meanings of Holy Eucharist, Advent, and Incarnation through the lenses of three distinct books by three diverse authors:

St. John’s households with young children will receive a complementary copy of the Rev. Anna Ostenso Moore’s book. All members of the parish are encouraged to support local bookstores like Red Balloon Bookshop by purchasing copies of these three excellent books so that we can delve deep into this year’s Advent Reads together and support our neighborhood bookshops.

We never want anyone to be prohibited from participating in faith formation due to cost. A fund is available to help anyone with purchasing the books. If you need financial assistance, simply email Craig Lemming at craig.lemming@stjohnsstpaul.org. If you would like to contribute to the fund, make an online contribution (select the fund “Non-Pledged Donation” and put “Financial Assistance: Advent Read” in the memo line) or mail in a check.

Faith Formation Advent Authors Series: Exploring the Holy Eucharist, Advent, and Incarnation
Come and meet the Rev. Anna Ostenso Moorethe Rev. Emily M.D. Scott, and the Rev. Dr. James W. Farwell in this Zoom series that will engage our faith community in rich conversations with the authors of the three books our faith community will be studying this Advent!  In a series exploring Yearning & The Eucharist, authors will join us on Thursday nights at 5pm to discuss the theology of their books, and on Sunday mornings at 9am to discuss how their books and Advent intersect.
  Sunday Mornings Zoom Link
December 3 at 5pm & December 6 at 9am: The Rev. Anna Ostenso Moore discusses “We Gather at this Table”

December 10 at 5pm & December 13 at 9am: The Rev. Emily M.D. Scott discusses “For All Who Hunger”
December 17 at 5pm & December 20 at 9am: The Rev. Dr. James W. Farwell discusses “The Liturgy Explained” and portions of his forthcoming book, “The Eucharist: Understanding Christianity Through Its Ritual.”


Lectio Divina
This Advent, we invite you to connect with each other, with Scripture, and with God — through words and through silence. Lectio Divina is a form of prayer in which a group silently contemplates a sacred reading together. We will be holding three sessions via Zoom on Wednesdays in Advent. There is no need to register in advance. Everyone is invited to attend!
Click Here for Lectio Divina Zoom Room
Wednesday, December 2 at 10am
Wednesday, December 9 at 2pm
Wednesday, December 16 at 6pm

Experiencing Advent in Your Home
There are several multimedia resources available to deepen your spiritual practices this season. Check out ECMN’s Advent at Home resource or follow along every day with #AdventWord.



Advent Music Meditations
An organ meditation followed by an Advent carol, every Thursday evening at 6:50pm live on Facebook and later uploaded to YouTube. Come to these weekly musical meditations in December where together we will pray, meditate, listen, and reflect on this season of waiting that is Advent. Come share in beautiful Advent hymn texts that help us to understand this season through music as we await the coming of the Christ child.
Thursdays, December 3, 10, & 17 at 6:50pm

Lessons & Carols
Join us live on Facebook this year as we worship together for our annual Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols in the Kings’ College tradition! The service will feature music by various soloists, a virtual choir recording, and brass and organ festive carol arrangements. The lessons of scripture will be delivered by St. John’s parishioners and clergy.
Sunday, December 20 at 4pm


Children, Youth, and Families

Children’s Storytime with the Reverend Anna!
Wednesday, December 2 at 4pm
Kids and their parents, grandparents, and caregivers are invited to gather on Zoom where the Rev. Anna Ostenso Moore will read her book We Gather At This Table.

Children's Storytime Zoom Meeting Room

Family Wreath Making
Wreath kits will be available for all parish families. Please come pick up a box to create your own wreaths for the Advent and Christmas season. We would love to display the creative wreaths you all make. If you would like us to hang them at the church we will have two drop-off times available. Your beautiful customized wreaths will be hung side by side as a symbolic reminder of who we are together as St. John’s even though we cannot be side by side in person.
Pickup: Saturday, December 12 from 11am-12pm
Dropoff: Tuesday December 15 from 3:30-5pm or Wednesday December 16 from 6:30-8pm



Christmas Memorials
Honor a friend or family member, give in memory of a departed loved one, or in thanksgiving for a special event, with a gift towards the cost of the Christmas Greens. This year we will decorate the outside of our beautiful buildings so everyone can see it adorned for the season. We will tie ribbons with events and names of those being recognized on the greens and wreaths. Click here to donate.
To have a ribbon made, please make your donation by December 17.


» Try the St. John’s mobile app!

Posted on: November 14, 2020

This week, we’re excited to introduce another way to stay connected at St. John’s: our very own mobile app! Features include:

  • Online giving directly from your phone
  • Sign in to view your giving history
  • View all our videos and sermons
  • Access event signup and order forms (like Safe Church registration and altar flowers donations)
  • Contact the church
  • Submit a prayer request

Click to download for iPhone or Android:


Or you can search for “Church by MinistryOne” in your phone’s app store. When you first start up the app it will ask you to find your church; the easiest way is to enter St. John’s zip code (55102).

Your family at St. John’s is always with you in spirit, and now we can be with you on your smartphone too. Give it a try!

» Order Your Chili Now!

Posted on: November 10, 2020

First, our profound apologies for all the confusion surrounding the Zoom room link for Sunday’s Hearts to Homes Chili Auction. The wrong link was initially sent out in many communications, and this led to a number of people not being able to get in. If you weren’t able to participate due to our error, please know how sorry we are, and how much your presence was missed. 

Despite the technical difficulties, the auction of chef Kevin Russ’s braised brisket chili did proceed! After a hot (no pun intended) bidding war, Kevin offered a second pot of the famous chili if the bids reached $300 apiece. Congratulations to Rae and Holly, our two lucky and generous winners! The proceeds of $600 will be going directly to support our Hearts to Homes ministry. Thank you to everyone who joined in the bidding and the fellowship!


And there’s more chili left to buy!

Click this link for an order form to purchase quarts of red, white, and/or vegan chili for $15/quart, prepared by past Chili Cookoff stars (including Jennifer Kinkead, Jill Thompson, Ed Stieve, Jude Weber-Johnson, and more).

  1. You can click Sign In at the top if you already have an account for online giving, or simply fill out the form directly.
  2. You can buy up to 2 quarts each of red, white, and vegan chili.
  3. You can make a monetary donation to Hearts To Homes (in addition to or instead of a chili purchase).
  4. If buying chili, choose a date for pickup or enter your delivery information.
  5. Fill in your payment information and you’re all set!

You can order it for yourself or a fellow parishioner. SALES ARE GOING FAST so don’t delay too long on your order!

You can also get a taste of Kevin Russ’s braised brisket chili at home. Check out his video cooking lesson and recipe below.

Once again, our thanks to everyone for their patience in this endeavor—for their participation if they were able to join in and for their pardon if they weren’t. Your support of our ministries is deeply appreciated.



Chef Kevin’s Braised Brisket Chili


Day 1: Brisket

3 onions, roughly chopped
3 carrots, roughly chopped
3 stalks celery, roughly chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, smashed
3 lbs beef brisket, cleaned, cut into large pieces for braising
2-3T oil (canola or grapeseed)
2T unsalted butter
2c red wine
2c beef stock
3 Ancho chilies
3 bay leaves
Fresh thyme

• Generously season both sides of meat with salt and pepper
• Heat oil and butter in large pan over high heat.
• When butter stops singing, place seasoned brisket in pan, being careful not to crowd the pan (may sear in batches).
• When meat is seared (caramelized) on both sides, transfer meat to oven-safe baking dish with high sides.
• Place chopped veggies in pan that meat was just taken from. Cook until veggies have some caramelization, then add to baking dish along with any liquid remaining in pan.
• Add 2c red wine to pan, deglaze. When wine is reduced to about 1c, pour liquid over meat and veggies in baking dish.
• Nestle 2-3 ancho chilies (dried poblano peppers) and 3 bay leaves into liquid around meat in baking dish. Add generous amount of thyme.
• Add 2c of beef stock to baking dish (enough to cover meat about ¾).
• Cover with parchment paper and aluminum foil, bake in 350F oven for about 5hrs.
• When meat is tender, take meat and peppers from braising dish and place in large bowl. Strain braising jus into bowl over meat and peppers. Place bowl in refrigerator overnight.

Day 2: Chili

3 onions, ¼” dice
4 stalks celery, ¼” dice
5 cloves garlic, minced
2T oil (canola or grapeseed)
3T chili powder
3T cumin
2T smoked paprika
1.5T ground coriander
2 28oz cans chopped tomatoes in juice
2 14oz cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2-3 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick

• Add oil to stockpot, add veggies when oil is hot.
• When onions are turning translucent (2-3 min), add spices to pot.
• When spices are toasty, add tomatoes and their juice. Refill tomato cans with water; add to pot.
• Add kidney beans, bay leaves, cinnamon stick. Season with salt; stir to combine.
• Remove fat from brisket (reserving braising jus and peppers); cut brisket into bite-sized chunks, add to pot.
• Scrape flesh from skin of peppers, discard skins, puree pepper pulp with reserved braising jus, add puree to pot.
• Cover pot, reduce heat, simmer for around 2 hours
• Serve chili with accompaniments (cheese, onions, sour cream, etc).