» May-June Issue of The Evangelist

Posted on: April 30, 2020

We are in a season of adaptability and adapt we will! The May-June issue of The Evangelist, St. John’s bi-monthly magazine, is being offered in PDF format. The interaction we lose in touch and feel we gain with added features of clickable links and music. Read and share the good news from St. John’s.

For those looking for daily inspirational meditations, we have left copies of the May-July Forward Day by Day booklet in the Little Free Library outside the parish offices on Kent Street. Please stop by as you are able and take what you need.

» Thanks and Important Tax Information

Posted on: April 27, 2020

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. – Colossians 3:15

We are indeed incredibly thankful for this Body of Christ at St. John’s and your continued support and care of each other and our wider community. While the current pandemic is creating tough economic times for some of our members, many are still able and eager to give. In the face of this tremendous generosity we want to make sure you know about tax benefits included in the CARES Act.

New charitable deduction for taxpayers who do not itemize. Beginning in 2020, individuals can deduct $300 in charitable contributions from their gross income even if they do not itemize their deductions. Donations must be made by cash, check, or credit card to a charity.

No cap on charitable deductions for taxpayers who do itemize. Donors who itemize their deductions can usually deduct cash contributions up to 60% of their adjusted gross income. For 2020, that cap is lifted, and donors contributing to charity may deduct up to 100% of their income, a significant tax savings for anyone able to contribute larger amounts.

No required minimum distributions, but qualified charitable distributions still possible. The CARES Act eliminates required minimum distributions (RMDs) from many retirement plans in 2020. Some donors have been using their RMDs for tax-advantaged charitable gifts by making a qualified charitable distribution (QCD) directly to charity. Under the CARES Act it is still possible for donors who are 70½ or over to contribute up to $100,000 directly to a charity without paying tax on the distribution. This remains a beneficial way for donors to make gifts.

The CARES Act is a complex new law. This email is intended only as a summary of provisions that may be advantageous to those seeking opportunities to give at this time of need. Please consult with your own professional advisors before making a significant gift. For questions about giving at St. John’s speak with myself or our treasurer, Rick Rinkoff.

God has fashioned us for life together, equipped us with gifts to share that we might thrive together, and has promised to be with us and for us, now and always.

Yours in Christ,
Sarah Dull
Executive Administrator

» Virtual Gathering to Meet Bishop Elect

Posted on: April 23, 2020

With events and vacations and conferences canceled, it’s been hard for all of us to envision the best avenue in which we could alter our plans without canceling them too. One of those plans is the East Metro Mission Area gathering in ECMN. While last year focused on searching for Bishop X, the theme and focus this year was to get to know our bishop-elect and give him the opportunity to know what east metro mission area is all about. The plan was to come together and share a meal of diverse foods, and have presentations from some of the faith communities, while others would set up booths to showcase their church’s uniqueness. All that has changed.

While we are not able to physically come together, thanks be to God that technology allows us to virtually get together and still be able to connect and get to know one another.

Because East Metro is so big, the 19 faith communities have been split into three different groups allowing for separate and smaller gatherings so that YOU will have a better opportunity to converse and get to know our Bishop-Elect on a more personal level.

Saint John’s community is invited to meet The Rev. Craig Loya (virtually) this Saturday, April 25 from 1:30-2:30pm.

You will need to register to attend this event. Please click and follow the link to sign up and to confirm your attendance. Once you register, you will receive the login information for this meeting in your inbox.

» StoryCorps: Parishioner’s Faith Stories

Posted on: April 22, 2020

Saint John’s launched a series of StoryCorps stories featuring members of the Saint John’s community sharing their faith story back in December 2019. By sharing and listening to each other’s stories, we remind one another of our shared humanity, we strengthen and build connections between people, we teach the value of listening, and we promote the understanding that everyone’s story matters.

Every Wednesday for the last five weeks, we have revisited those stories we first started to share in December, and have had the opportunity to hear new ones as well.

With our review of the interviews at an end, parishioner Aimee Baxter has shared some thoughts with us on the project as a whole. Click here to watch her short video reflection about the interviews, the role of stories in her life, and the role they might play in yours. The interviews themselves will also remain available for you to listen to on our StoryCorps page.

» Earth Day 2020

Posted on: April 15, 2020

This moment of pandemic reminds us how deeply connected we are to each other and to the earth. We know that many of us are suffering, and we are finding new ways to care for one another and for our planet. Wednesday, April 22 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day. Join Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light (MNIPL) at 1:00pm via Zoom for a virtual gathering of prayer, storytelling, art, and wisdom from our diverse spiritual teachings that speak to this current moment of crisis. Luisa Van Oss will be speaking at this MNIPL Earth Day Event.

Click here to register for the Earth Day Multi-Faith Livestream.

MNIPL also encourages you to submit a selfie with a picture of why you stand for climate justice. Click here to email a photo to Devon at MNIPL.

Eric Odney, member of St. John’s Creation Care group, says “People of St. John’s should be good – even great – stewards of God’s gift to us, our earthly home. St. John’s Faith Community should care because creation care affects our neighbors, like the poor and disenfranchised folks utilizing Hallie Q. Brown. Love God, Love Neighbor. Our farmer friends depend on clean air, clean water, and good soil to provide produce to First Nations Kitchen. Our colleagues with Give Us Wings and Kayoro Clinic in Uganda depend on growing their food and raising their animals in a particularly ecologically hostile environment, which includes the scarcity of potable water, drought, and this year, locust invasions.”

He asks “How would you complete this statement? ‘For love of ________, I stand for climate justice.'”

On this Earth Day, we invite you to connect with and support one another as we navigate this difficult time, and to send a powerful message to decision-makers that climate justice is a top priority.