In a community, service is both internal and external; we serve the members of our community, and we serve our neighbors more broadly. Below are a few programs that we work on together, but we also serve in our community as individuals. You'll find our people engaged in political action, pro-bono legal work, justice initiatives, and creation care. The Sts. Luke & James community is a place of synergy where we "catch" each other's passions.
Since 2008, we have been honored to join with All Saints Episcopal Indian Mission in Minneapolis on Sunday evenings to cook and serve healthy, organic, traditional food. While all are welcome at the table, First Nations Kitchen serves primarily Indigenous people in the Twin Cities, particularly residents of nearby Little Earth of the United Tribes, the largest Indigenous urban housing community in the United States.
First Nations Kitchen models environmentally sustainable practices in all aspects of its program. Dinners are based on an ancestral diet of First Nations people: buffalo, elk, fish, deer, turkey, wild rice, and as well as fresh fruits and vegetables. Composting and recycling practices assure a minimal waste of natural resources.
Over the decades, our children and youth have thrived in their volunteer work with First Nations Kitchen — choosing to set tables, serve meals, washing dishes and sweeping floors.
Watch the calendar to hear about opportunities for several shifts starting in the mid-afternoon: set-up, cooking, serving and clean-up.
Our program of Pastoral Care seeks to ensure that one-to-one Christian care is provided to those who are facing a crisis or life challenge, such as the hospitalized, the terminally ill and their families, those who are home-bound or in a care facility, the aging and elderly. This Christian care is the ministry of a dedicated group of lay caregivers and the clergy and is grounded in Jesus’ commandment to “love one another as I have loved you.” Through this ministry we believe that Sts. Luke & James becomes the loving and nurturing community of faith that God calls us to be. We take our call to care for those in need very seriously. Please contact us if we can provide pastoral support in times of need and times of celebration. Please contact the office at email@example.com or by calling 612-824-2697.
Part of our Sunday Eucharist includes a ‘sending’ of lay visitors trained to share the Sacrament with members of the faith community who were unable to be present at the celebration because of illness or infirmity. If you know of someone who wishes to have a visit, or if you are interested in participating in this ministry, please contact the the office.
Sts. Luke & James' healing ministry began many years ago on Sunday mornings with Father Alan Grant’s prayers and laying on of hands during communion. Father Ed Barnett expanded the ministry as a chapter of the Order of St. Luke. Monthly healing services (second Tuesday of each month at 7PM) began, open to the community, and Sunday prayers (offered during our morning worship service) continue. Parishioners are invited to add loved ones to our ongoing prayer list. Healing ministers also serve seniors at Episcopal Homes in St. Paul. Our current OSL chaplain is Reverend Mary Gustafson and our lay leader is Sarah Sivright. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
For almost 50 years our parish has teamed up with other area churches to serve and empower our neighbors. TRUST (Toward Renewed Unity and Service Together) runs a Meals on Wheels service, and provides a variety of other mobility and errand-running assistance programs. TRUST focuses on community-building and social justice right here in our neighborhood.
Joining the Spirit in new ways to proclaim and live out the Gospel is a key priority for the Episcopal Church in Minnesota (ECMN). Turning toward what the Spirit is doing in our neighborhoods and building the muscle memory of trust in God, these are things our bishop and diocesan leaders are inviting ECMN congregations to do, not as a side project, but in all aspects of our life as church together.
Sts. Luke & James has been leaning into this kind of approach for years thanks to the Dream Team. Started in 2018 with a grant and coaching from the Riverside Innovation Hub, members of the Dream Team spent the first year learning the spiritual practice of listening and imagining our way to writing a grant proposal. The proceeds of the grant were used for the development of the space under the linden tree as our Front Porch, a space intended to be a listening post to hear the stories of our neighbors.
More experiments came from that first one: Ice Cream Sundays quickly became our invitation to our neighbors to spend a moment under the tree and a way for us to connect; Read in Color, a Little Free Library (LFL); Advent Giving Trees; the sanctuary labyrinth and the Neighborhood Peace Day Walk and Event were also part of our grant.
“A gospel that longs for heaven to come to earth, that is built on mutual solidarity, that discovers gifts in the stranger, and seeks to be a blessing to the whole society, is offering the world what it most desperately needs.” – Sam Wells, A Future That’s Bigger Than The Past
Onè! Respe! A traditional Haitian greeting meaning Honor! Respect!
Since 2008 we have walked in partnership with the people of Haiti. Our goals:
Educate ourselves about Haiti. Build relationships with Haiti. Partner with Bonne Nouvelle church and school in the mountain village of Bigonet. Build community with other Minnesota churches participating in Haiti. See where the Spirit leads us.
Partnership with Haiti has meant, first and foremost, our need to educate ourselves, about our own historical role in Haiti’s extraordinary poverty and governmental instability.
Often we hear that Haiti is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. Rarely do we learn of the role of colonization and slavery, and the intersections with Minnesota’s national statehood.
Haiti’s Taino Indians first met Europeans in 1492 when Christopher Columbus’ ship, the Santa Maria, wrecked on the island then known as Hispaniola. Spain leapt at the chance to colonize the region, and in the next fifty years annihilated an estimated 4-5 million Taino Indians by the hard labor required to mine gold and other rich resources. 4 million? 50 years? 365 days each year? One must do the calculation to understand that an average of more than 200 indigenous people died every single day for 50 years.
Eventually losing interest, in 1697 Spain abandoned to France the western portion of the island, now known as Haiti.
The richest of all France’s colonies, Haiti offered products much-coveted by the western world: including indigo, mahogany and sugar. To harvest these labor-intensive resources, France entered the cross-Atlantic slave trade, developing an especially cruel system of human trafficking. Records show that the estimated 700,000 men and women shipped to Haiti from western Africa could be expected to live little more than seven years before they died of exhaustion, starvation, or direct violence inflicted by plantation owners.
A complicated overlap of European insurgents, Napoleonic incursions and a slave rebellion, in 1804, led Haiti to become the world’s first black republic. One footnote of history is that Napoleon’s need for money to fight Haiti’s slaves fueled his sale of the Louisiana Purchase to U.S. President Thomas Jefferson. This expansion of our country encompassed fifteen present U.S. states (including Minnesota) and small portions of two Canadian provinces.
Many years of internal and international power struggles that followed — too long and complex to include in this brief history — rarely gave regard to the well being of Haitian people. But one cannot escape the fact that In Haiti, not an ounce of gold would have been stolen, a single mountain laid bare, nor any Indians or Africans enslaved if people in countries with technological might and cultural practices of dominance had not wanted to build houses, live luxuriously and ground their identities ever-more deeply in what they owned.
One obligation of our partnership is to understand what changes in our own behavior are demanded, to mold a relationship of shared dignity, respect, commitment and responsibility.
So, too, do we educate ourselves — indeed, experience first hand — the generosity of spirit of the people of Bigonet.
Minnesota visitors to Bigonet describe Bonne Nouvelle’s generosity as “off the charts,” non-stop gestures of welcome and friendship. Giving up their beds for the comfort of visitors. Offering gifts of song, almonds, and skillfully-crafted sculptures. Teaching us to cook. Students in the sewing class, designing and making skirts for their guests.
Teen visitors to Bigonet have been especially moved by the generosity of spirit that pervades Bigonet’s village life. They talk of a sense of community unlike any they’ve experienced before — daily interactions in which people know one another, welcome one another into their homes, attend to one another’s needs.
Prior to consolidation with St. Luke’s, the people of St. James faced life-changing decisions re the future of our parish, the people of Bonne Nouvelle walked side by side with us, teaching us to trust in God’s love — to be confident in God’s will for our future.
In 2008, at the beginning of our partnership little did we anticipate the meaning of our stated goal, “See where the Spirit leads us.”
In fact, the work of the Spirt has sometimes left us breathless.
We’ve shared food and friendship, births and deaths. Together, we’ve faced-down Hurricane Matthew — raising money and tilling the soil to re-build farms and livelihoods. We’ve prayed with one another; sung songs of praise and thanksgiving; shared baptisms, pageants, even a wedding. We feared for the safety of friends following earthquake. Together have celebrated the success of children in school, the beauty of artists creations. Together we’ve suffered disappointment — grants not received, travel visas denied, opportunities lost.
We’ve celebrated the expansion of “we” — as others have joined our partnership, shared in our joy, done the work together. Trinity Lutheran Church in Hovland, Minnesota. Anwatin Middle School and Kenwood Retirement Community in Minneapolis. St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in St. Paul: these organizations and others have joined in the work and rewards of friendship and shared goals.
The people of Bonne Nouvelle walked with the people of St. James on the Parkway as we walked into years of uncertainty in closing our building — they celebrate with us as we joined in consolidation with St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.
Together we walk bravely, to see where the Spirit leads us.
Eglise Episcopal Bonne Nouvelle (Episcopal Church of Bonne Nouvelle) in Bigonet is one of the first Episcopal churches in Haiti, established under the leadership of African-American Bishop James Holly, in the late 1800s.
Bigonet is a village — more accurately, a zone — in the mountains southwest of Haiti’s capitol city of Port au Prince. Bonne Nouvelle is a church, a school ( ± 300 students, preK through 9th grade) and the central gathering place for civic activity for the region. The partnership of Bonne Nouvelle and Sts. Luke and James has mutually enriched our lives — in Haiti and Minnesota.
Haiti’s government provides no funds for rural education. So, a central theme of our partnership is assurance: for every family that their children can attend school, for every teacher that they will be paid for their work. Together, we’ve purchased computers for teachers and classrooms, equipped and staffed sewing and music programs, built an area for soccer and other play, maintained regular internet connections, and much more. Our partnership takes collective pleasure in Bonne Nouvelle’s 90 - 100% yearly pass-rates on Haiti’s national exams.
In January 2010, within 40 seconds, earthquake destroyed everything in Bigonet. Homes. Church. School. Clothing. Cooking pots, Livelihoods. For some, even confidence in the earth itself.
But, not everything. The people of Bigonet never lost their commitment to one another and to the well-being of their community, and through the years that followed they re-built their school and their homes. In this village where average yearly incomes are less than $500, the church took a monthly collection to, someday, rebuild their church. In 2018 they reached their goal of $800. They hired an engineer and laid a cornerstone — a symbol of hope.
In mid-2020, the walls have risen and the roof nears completion — the result of skilled research, hundreds of hours of volunteer labor, and careful stewardship of money raised, in both Minnesota and Haiti.
The goal: by year’s end to complete the roof, thereby allowing the people once again to worship together in their church. Someday Bonne Nouvelle hopes to have a floor. Maybe new pews. Maybe other comforts of worship. For now, it will be enough to have a roof.