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Past Journey of Faith Events

Although our Journey of Faith program has been in place since 2008, this archive dates back to August 2012, when we launched our website. 


December 2  |  What Is Lament?  |  Lament is a biblical expression of grief or mourning. We dived into its biblical backgrounds, their meanings, and how this spiritual practice has been vacant from church for too long. We looked at both the Old and New Testaments to see where laments are found, as well as having time to create our own. Brien Aadland led us in these explorations.

December 9  |  Adam and Eve: The Fall, or Were They Pushed?  |  Bob Walker offered some alternative interpretations of Genesis 2: 24 and of the punishments of Adam and Eve. 

December 16  |  Approaching the Bible with Heart and Mind: Session #3 — Christmas Pageant Pandemonium  |  Shepherds and Magi often traipse nearly side-by-side down church aisles in Christmas pageant cuteness. Some wee kids become angels underneath shiny halos while another child gets to be “the” glittery Christmas Star. But in truth, Mark skips Christmas altogether. And John goes all out “cosmic” over it. Meanwhile, Matthew and Luke, whose images we blend together in our Christmas pageants, each offer their own distinctive Christmas story. And by untangling these yuletide tales, we also untame them — releasing the world-challenging power of the God who is still speaking … and who longs to be born in our lives today. This is Christmas wonder made most real. Led by David Weiss. 

NOVEMBER 2020  |  Programs presented via Zoom

November 4  |  Dealing with Election Fatigue  |  We shared experiences and our feelings following the campaign part of the election season, considering how we might move forward — as a community and as members of family and friend circles where there may be deep divides over political issues. We met in small groups to share our thoughts and feelings in an "all viewpoints are welcomed and honored" time.

November 11  |  We opened the session with music by a local teenage musician, Simeon “Sim” Hammick, who wrote a rap, “B.L.M,” after the killing of George Floyd. Our main speaker was Rev. Scotty Williams, speaking on White Blessing? – The Real Story of Africa Before Colonization. While acknowledging the negative effects of European colonization in Africa, many people point out certain “positives” within it as a form of consolation. We learned that many of the blessings colonialism claimed to give (e.g., democracy, gender equality, education) had already been present there. We also learned practical ways to share this story with others and be agents of healing for the rising racial tensions in the world today.

November 18  |  Recovery Ministry and Being Welcoming to Persons with Addictions  |  Rev. Martha Postlethwaite, pastor at The Recovery Church in Saint Paul, was our guest. Martha has spent her professional life listening to and sharing stories in numerous settings, including as a seminary chaplain and in congregations. A United Methodist pastor, she is trained in counseling psychology and spiritual direction. After 22 years in theological education, Martha became pastor of The Recovery Church in 2014. She talked about recovery ministry and how to be more welcoming to persons who live with the brain disorder of addiction. 

OCTOBER 2020  |  Programs presented via Zoom

September 30 & October 7  |  Approaching the Bible with Heart and Mind: An introduction to Scripture for those who affirm that “God is Still Speaking”  |  David Weiss (active in our congregation) is a theologian, writer, poet, and hymnist, doing public theology around climate crisis, sexuality, justice, diversity, and peace. David’s Journey of Faith sessions are supported by a grant from the Steve & Christine Clemens Foundation for Social Justice.

September 30  |  Heart & Mind #1 – First Things First  |  How do progressive Christians approach the Bible as a written text that bears witness to the God who is still speaking? David used origami (Japanese paper-folding) as an image for the multitude of things we need to keep in mind and hold in our hearts. Our first “folds” included: Scripture as interpretative act, genres, sources, history, lenses, and why calling the Bible the Word of God says both too little and too much.

October 7  |  Heart & Mind #2 – On Eagle’s Wings: A Bird’s Eye View of the Biblical Tale  |  The narrative sweep of the biblical story from Genesis through Revelation: Buckle up for a whirlwind tour of the ancient journey of these people and this God … pathos and passion still at play today.  

October 14  |  Our Faith, Our Vote  |  Engagement in the political sphere and advocacy is part of how we live out our call to love our neighbor, and Our Faith Our Vote is a great way to get involved. We learned how people of faith could engage in the upcoming election, learning about the issues, getting folks registered to vote, and making a voter plan. Guest presenter: Katie Adams, Domestic Policy Advocate for the United Church of Christ.

October 21  |  Addressing Youth Homelessness Through a Racial Equity Lens  |  Minnesota is home to some of the worst racial disparities in the country — a pattern that also, unfortunately, holds for youth and young adult homelessness. Three-fourths of young people facing homelessness in our state are BIPOC (Black, Indienous, People of Color), compared to only one-fourth in our general population. How can we meet this challenge without falling back on a White Savior model? How can we look at the youths' own often-underestimated and under-resourced BIPOC communities with fresh eyes so we can start seeing helpful possibilities instead of deficits? Guest presenter: Jacqueline White, founder and executive director of CloseKnit, a nonprofit that champions system changes to prioritize the needs that youth facing homelessness have for ongoing connection and belonging. 

October 28  |  Sustaining Our Mental Health During Pandemic  |  St. Paul's UCC member Becky Sanders Lindquist is a Psychotherapist (LPCC) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy Associate Program Director at Nystrom & Associates, Ltd. She specializes in suicidality, self-injurious behaviors, and trauma. She works with both teens and adults. Becky shared her perspective as well as ideas for sustaining our mental health during this difficult time our world is currently facing, through the use of mindfulness and skills practice. 

SEPTEMBER 2020  |  Programs presented via Zoom

September 9  |  Celebrating You, SPUCC, and Our Wider Church  |  We'll gather via Zoom to celebrate new beginnings, growths, and life-giving efforts engaged in while in the midst of this challenging time of pandemic, hearing personal examples from individual members of our congregation.

September 16   |  The Time for Restoring All Things  |  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, described as the American religion par excellence, has generated more scholarly literature than any religious movement in America except the Puritans. Our guest John Gustav-Wrathall shared his perspective on the LDS church as both a believer and a scholar, and as an active though excommunicated gay member.

September 23  |  Faith & Our Multiracial Democracy  |  People of faith have a particular role in ensuring that everyone is represented in the multiracial democracy that’s being created to provide humanity with agency, dignity, and the ability to thrive. Christians answer the call of building a beloved community of justice, love, and equity. We discussed effective ways to encourage people to be voters, to be early voters, and to vote with the shared values of community, justice, and love in mind. and concrete ways to engage others. Minister JaNaé Bates, communications director for ISAIAH and Faith in Minnesota, was our guest.

AUGUST 2020  |  On break

JULY 2020  |  Programs presented via Zoom

July 1  |  Learning More About Quakers  |  A brief history of Quakerism from its founding to the modern day, with a look at how Quakers' core beliefs and values such as simplicity, peace/nonviolence, integrity, community, and equality shape their faith and practice. We explored the nature of silent meetings for worship and how these are distinct from a meditation practice or traditional Christian church. 

July 8 | Food Insecurity: Global and Local
Hunger in Developing Countries  |  Feed My Starving Children is a Christian nonprofit that provides nutritionally complete meals formulated specifically for malnourished children. The approach is simple: Donors fund the meal ingredients. Volunteers hand-pack the meals. Meals are donated to FMSC partners around the world, where kids are fed and lives are saved.
Hunger in Our Own Community  |  Insights into working at a food shelf and who uses the services. 

July 15 | Eating: Disordered, Intuitive, and Everything in Between  |  We eat for many reasons including nourishment, distraction, soothing, and enjoyment. While no one's relationship with food is perfectly balanced, sometimes eating behaviors become so extreme that they dominate or even threaten one's life. This session included information about various eating disorders. We also explored our personal relationships with food and the ways they serve or don't serve us. 

July 22 | Cool Beans: Cooking with a Staple  |  During the “Stay at Home” orders, many home cooks have been relying on basic pantry staples. One of the most versatile is beans. Dry or canned, they come in many varieties and, combined with rice, pasta, eggs, or other common ingredients, they provide protein, flavor, and simple good eating. Learn an easy method of cooking gas-free dry beans. Prize-winning chef Bruce Tyler showed us how to use beans creatively in several soups, salads, and main dishes.

July 29 | Youth Talent and Interest Showcase  |  Young members of our community shared their talents and special interests in this very special Journey of Faith.

JUNE 2020  |  Programs presented via Zoom

June 3   |  Murder, Protest, Fire, Cleanup, Grief: Checking in with one another  |  JWe came together to share what we experienced in the wake of George Floyd's death and in the midst of ongoing upheaval in our Twin Cities. We didn't set end time, exercising the courage and grace needed to hold space for a variety of experiences and perspectives.

June 10 & 17   |  Climate Changed: Facing our future  |  In September 2019, Gustavus Adolphus College hosted their annual Nobel Conference. The topic: Climate Changed: Facing our future. The 2-day conference brought in Nobel-laureate scientists and activists for a public conversation around the climate science — and the human values — that will guide us as we face the future. Three SPUCC members who attended the conference — Deb George, Tracy Kugler, and David Weiss — shared their experience.

June 24 | Chair Yoga: Moving toward mindfulness | In the West, yoga is often seen as just another workout. But the real goal is to prepare for meditation by calming the nervous system and fostering body awareness. We explored the mind-body connection through gentle, mindful movement, sitting in a chair or standing and using the chair for support. We concluded with a focus on breath and a brief meditation. Workshop leader Nancy Giguere is a registered yoga teacher. She has studied yoga since 2003 and began teaching in 2011 after completing 500 hours of training. She also has additional training in somatics and is a student of Pilates and the Alexander Technique.

MAY 2020  |  Programs presented via Zoom 

May 6  |  Creating Your Power Prayer: Enhance your Spiritual Practices by Crafting a Prayer  |  The process itself is a spiritual practice and yields a deeply personal prayer designed to evolve with you; a beautiful, living offering to strengthen, comfort, and uplift you on your life and faith journey. Designed for all levels of writers and seekers at any place in their faith journey, this workshop helped us gain inspiration from a simple process and begin the first draft of your prayer. The intention was to create a prayer that connects you deeply to yourself, to God, to your values, your questions, and your longings. SPUCC member Karin Galloway Egge led the workshop.

May 13  |  A conversation with Tomie, a trans woman in our wider community  |  Almost 10 years ago Tomie (she does not use a last name) figured out she’d been using the wrong pronouns for about half her life. Since then, things have become much better — and a little more complicated. Better includes an openness to lots more living, becoming active in creation-care advocacy, and receiving answers to prayer about her spiritual life. She shared some of her story as well as hints for how we can be loving and thoughtful allies to transgender people in our own circles. 

May 20  |  Being a Trans Queer Christian  |  A conversation with Eli’jah Carroll  |  Around the same time Eli’jah came out as trans, he also came out as Christian. For Eli’jah, his gender identity is heavily linked to his faith. He works now at a progressive church in south Minneapolis. The ways he relates to the Bible and thinks about his walk as a queer person are inseparable from his Christian identity. Eli’jah engaged us in converastion on what it means to rely on faith to reconcile being both trans queer and Christian, two identities many still see as incompatible.

May 27  |  “Survey Says”: A presentation of the Lead Minister survey results  |  Our Transition Team/Search Committee asked what we wanted in a settled Lead Minister, and we answered. Members of the Transition Team presented the survey results. amd we learned about how this input from SPUCC members helps guide the search. 

APRIL 2020  |  Programs presented via Zoom 

April 15  |  Tom & Monica Liddle, UCC mission workers in East Timor  |  The Liddles recently returned from East Timor, where Tom worked as pastor at Immanuel Church in Lospalos and as a resource person for the continuing education of pastors and lay leaders and Monica served as a doctor. Monica provided direct patient care at Clinic Immanuel Lospalos and oversaw all aspects of clinic management. She also taught clinical skills to the staff with a special focus on maternity, tuberculosis, nutrition, and preventive care.

April 22  |  Earth Day Celebration  |  Our Earthwise Committee led a brief worship service about the importance of Earth Day and creation care. The service was posted on our YouTube channel. Discussion followed via Zoom. 

April 29  |  Hunger and other issues facing Native people  |  Guest speaker Louise Matson, Executive Director of the Division of Indian Work in Minneapolis shared some of the unique issues facing Native people at this time, with special emphasis on the urban Native population that DIW serves. 

LENT 2020

Lenten book study  |  On Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings in Lent, groups met to discuss Mudhouse Sabbath by Lauren Winner. A convert to Christianity, Winner presents Jewish practices that can inform how Christians interact with the world. 


February 5 & 12  |  Jewish Mysticism and Biblical Interpretation  |  These discussions gave an understanding of Jewish Mysticism and how it can enlighten our understanding of Hebrew and Christian scriptures. The first discussion was on the History of Jewish Mysticism, terminology, concepts, historical texts, and theological implications. The second looked at those concepts and terms with a Christian biblical perspective, examining the creation account, Old Testament prophets, and the idea of a Messiah. 

February 19  |  What's Up at UTS  |  Dr. Kyle Roberts, VP of Academic Affairs and Dean of United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities, Schilling Professor of Public Theology and Church and Economic Life, led a discussion on the state of United Seminary and the transition from New Brighton to the seminary's new space in Saint Paul. He also spoke on the ebb and flow and trajectory of seminary and how seminary is changing nationally . 


January 8  |  Steps on Our Journey Forward, Part 4 |  The Transition Team/Search Committee guided us on the final leg of our visioning process. We developed a ministry plan of action for the ongoing mission of St. Paul’s UCC based on our core values, looking three to five years ahead. 

January 15  |  Transition Together Event: Identifying our expectations of clergy who serve as Partners in Ministry with us  |  Interim Lead Minister Cindy Mueller, along with the Transition Team/Search Committee, facilitated a conversation around this topic so that we might more clearly articulate our expectations of a new Lead Minister and our current Associate Minister. How might we be in partnership with them? How might we partner with them in ways that enrich this beloved community? 

January 22  |  Pursuit of a Call from Traditional to Humanitarian Medicine  |  Dr. Aidan Gromoll — a pediatrician from Wisconsin, Associate Minister Clare Gromoll’s sister, and a friend of St. Paul's UCC — spoke about her journey from traditional medicine in the US to the humanitarian field. After completing her residency, she worked as a pediatrician in Illinois until 2013, when she opted to leave her position to volunteer in settings that are resource-poor. She initially participated in several short-term missions in Haiti. She’s spent the past four years providing care for refugees and internally displaced persons in Germany, Greece (six times), Turkey, Serbia, Bosnia, Iraqi Kurdistan (twice), Bangladesh (four times), Lebanon (twice), and Honduras. Aidan discussed motivation, challenges, rewards, practical issues, and future plans. 

January 29  |  Forces Driving Guatemalans to Emigrate, Impediments Being Built to Stop Them  |  In July 2019, guest speaker Wayne Bjorlie traveled for a week in Guatemala with a group under the auspices of Mayflower UCC. Their core objective is always to observe first-hand the effects on the indigenous population of racism and government-sponsored discrimination. For many, this was not their first trip. Their journey together was aimed at illuminating some of the causes of migration to the U.S., since the issue was then front-page news here. Wayne showed slides and discussed some of the group’s observations.  


December 4  |  Caring for Yourself through Holiday Stress  |  Lori Peiffer guided our conversation. Lori is a clinical psychologist, active member of our congregation, and parent of high school- and college-age sons. The holidays are a busy time and might not always be “the most wonderful time of the year.” We considered what can make the holidays stressful. We also took time to identify specific challenges we face in this season and discuss specific ways of caring for ourselves as we move with intentionality through what can be a stressful time.

December 11 |  Steps on Our Journey Forward, Part 3  |  As we work together to transition toward calling our next Lead Minister, we move into the phase of discovery that we call Visioning. During this important time, we gather to understand where we have been and what experiences we’ve shared on our way. 

December 18  |  The Lifesaving Church: Faith communities and suicide prevention  |  We gathered with guest facilitator Dr. Rachael Keefe to talk about how to be a Lifesaving Church, reviewing the risk factors and warning signs for suicide as well as what to do when we encounter someone who might be suicidal. Participants were encouraged to examine their own theology around suicide and decide if changes are needed. 


November 6  |  In-reach: Envisioning our Congregational Care Ministry  |  We are growing in faith, working for justice, and offering radical hospitality. We also aim to embody love by caring for one another. This program was part of our program to organize our continued and new Congregational Care efforts: care companion visits to homebound members, meal trains, cards to match our prayers for wellbeing, ride-sharing for those in need and to be more Earthwise. Rev. Clare Gromoll co-facilitated a conversation with guest Carolyn Swenson. Carol is volunteer manager for Help at Your Door and has focused her career on nonprofit work, specifically with the senior population. 

November 13  |  Finding Grace: A conversation with Jay Bakker  |  Jay Bakker is the son of Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, televangelists at the height of their popularity in the 1980s. As a teenager, Jay witnessed the backlash against his parents when their ministry ended in scandal. Jay now lives in Minneapolis, where he is pastor of a progressive Christian community called Revolution (“a community of grace and provocation”) that meets in a bowling alley and has a worldwide online audience. A published author, Jay speaks to congregations and other groups all over the country about faith, grace, and his experiences with the underbelly of life and Christianity. 

November 20 & 24  |  Transition Together: Who are we?  |  Transition Together events allow space for members to be in conversation about all that is transpiring here at St. Paul’s UCC and looking to our future together in a 3-part series. We spent time identifying who we are, what strengths we possess, and what challenges we face as we come to better understand our core values. 


October 2  |  All-Church Movie Night: It’s a Wonderful Life  |  We watched this classic Jimmy Stewart film, which we revisited in worship throughout the month and in book study groups on October 9, 16 & 23.

October 9, 16 & 23  |  Book study  |  Integrating Money and Meaning: Practices for a Heart-Centered Life  |  Money touches all parts of our lives — biological, psychological, and spiritual. It does so in positive and negative ways, and mostly in ways that live in the murky area in between. The trick is not to deny any of them. Examining our relationship with money and aligning our money lives with our spiritual lives is crucial work. We delved into this topic at Journey of Faith as we reflected together on the book Integrating Money and Meaning: Practices for a Heart-Centered Life, which examines characters from It’s a Wonderful Life. 

October 30  |  Transition Together: What does the “size” of a church tell us about a particular congregation?  |  Throughout our history, we’ve been more than one size church. How have things changed as a result of those transitions? What type of church did you grow up in? How do congregations of different sizes organize themselves? Do the members of these different-sized churches “look” different? Do the minister and members have different roles in each? 


September 4  |  “Why Not Just Search for a New Lead Minister?”: The rationale behind having an intentional interim period between settled ministers  |  Rev. Cindy Mueller, our Interim Lead Minister, explained why we do what we do during an interim time while also helping us better understand some of what to expect throughout the interim period. 

September 11  |  Immigration  |  At its 2016 Annual Meeting, the Minnesota Conference United Church of Christ voted to become an Immigrant Welcoming Community. In that resolution, all local UCC churches were invited to become Immigrant Welcoming Congregations. At the 2019 Annual Meeting, a resolution was passed calling the Conference and its local congregations to urge the State Legislature and the Governor to pass a law designating Minnesota as a Sanctuary State. Susie George led us in a discussion about how we can be a church with open arms and a faith community who will advocate for immigrants.

September 25  |  Reparations  |  At the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Minnesota Conference United Church of Christ, we passed a resolution that says the Conference will work toward seeing reparations given to the Native American and African-American communities by establishing a designated fund to support efforts that work toward this goal to enhance racial justice. Guest speakers Moussa Foster and Gary Kwong led us in conversation.


July 10 & 17  |  The Animate series  |  On July 10, our topic was Community; on July 17, Prayer. 

July 10 through August 21  |  Book study: Active Hope, by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone  |  How do we call forth our best gifts for the healing of the world? Large-scale problems like the climate crisis, massive inequalities and injustices, mass extinctions, rampant consumerism and waste can seem impossible to solve, leaving us feeling powerless. Macy and Johnstone invite us to live an alternative story, one of gratitude, grief, interconnectedness, and ultimately, “active hope.” Such hope has roots deep in our souls and connects us to one another in a “commitment to act for the sake of life on earth.” Active hope just might change the world — and will almost certainly change you.

Other Wednesdays

July 24  |  Understanding & Exploring Church 3.0  |  How are church and community done outside the four walls of the building? Led by Brien Aadland.

August 28  |  All-Church Cookout at Lake Josephine  |  Our annual congregational picnic at this park. A fun evening outdoors for all!

JUNE 2019

June 5  |  Getting All-Out Dirty About Being Green  |  United Methodist pastor Rev. Tyler Sit shared his vision for New City Church (Minneapolis), which he founded in 2015 as a faith community centered in environmental justice — from the ground up. New City Church seeks to be good news both for the people in its multiracial and multi-ethnic neighborhood and also for the Earth, which it nurtures through a network of backyard farms.

June 12  |  We Are a Global Mission Church!  |  We explored the global ministries outreach of the United Church of Christ, done in partnership with the Christian Church Disciples of Christ, learning where we have ministries and why our work is different from traditional missionary efforts. Specific focus was given to the work of Minnesotans Tom & Monica Liddle in East Timor. Led by Anita Bradshaw, Designated Associate Conference Minister of the Minnesota Conference of the UCC.

June 19  |  Poverty Simulation  |  How would you live on $1,500 a month for a family of four? What painful choices might you have to make? We touched on the statistics of poverty in Minnesota and then participated in an experiential learning exercise to get some sense of what it’s like to live on a poverty income. 

June 26  |  Dodge Nature Center All-Church Potluck Picnic  |  People of all ages gathered for this annual event at Dodge Nature Center. We enjoyed each other’s company in a beautiful setting.

APRIL & MAY 2019

April 24  |  Climate Conversation  |  Julia Nerbonne of Interfaith Power & Light led us in a discussion on climate change that engaged participants by sharing stories of connection. Such conversations have sparked local action in communities across Minnesota, led by dedicated volunteers using a heart-based, values-based conversation model that opens up dialogue and exploration and can deepen a community's connection.

May 1, 8 & 15  |  The Seasons of Grief: Predictable and unpredictable losses, a three-part series led by educator and writer Ted Bowman.

May 1  |  Disruptive Changes and Their Impacts  |  Disruptive changes related to a range of losses (death, diagnosis, dismissal, divorce, and disaster) and the grief that accompanies them will be our focus. What is helpful when disruptive changes occur?

May 8  |  Supportive Care for Grieving People: Care for Self, Family, and Others  |  Everyone grieves. But everyone does their grieving a little differently. In this practical session, three concepts will be presented, discussed, and practiced: comfort, confidence, and competence.

May 15  |  Honest Hope Even While Grieving Losses  |  Holding onto hope when grieving is not easy. Honest and reasonable hope is, however, achievable and easily accessible. Resources for hope promotion will be included.

LENT 2019

Book Study: Gifts of the Dark Wood: Seven Blessings for Soulful Skeptics (and Other Wanderers) by Eric Elnes

At some point, most of us find ourselves wandering in the Dark Wood, feeling unsure and filled with doubt. Though commonly feared and avoided, these feelings can lead us to probe, question, and discover. Elnes demystifies seven gifts bestowed in the Dark Wood: uncertainty, emptiness, being thunderstruck, getting lost, temptation, disappearing, and the gift of misfits. 


February 6  |  Documents as We Age: Health Care Directives, Power of Attorney, and Wills  |  It’s not about the piece of paper — it’s about the peace of mind! Start the process of creating these legal documents so you can have important conversations with family and friends and be as ready as possible for the future. Led by Catherine Engstrom, LICSW, a social worker and caregiver consultant at the Wilder Foundation.

February 13  |  Social-Emotional Aspects of Planning & Easing into Retirement  |  You’ve heard about financial planning for retirement, but social and emotional retirement planning is just as important! We discussed how to prepare for and manage the changes that happen when we retire. Also led by Catherine Engstrom.

February 20  |  Building Community Around Climate Change  |  Devon Cupery volunteers with Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light, a community working to build the interfaith climate movement. Devon coordinated a values-led conversation on climate change. We followed a heart-based conversation model that opens up dialogue, exploration, and deepening community connections. Participants were encouraged to share stories of connection while learning more about the realities of climate change. We also connected with what we care about most as we discovered ways to take action.

February 27  |  Transitioning Together Toward a Carbon-Free Future  |  The Transition Movement reflects the call to love our neighbors, children, and creation. It recognizes the enormity and urgency of the climate crisis and responds with a positive vision for a thriving post-carbon world. Leslie MacKenzie, coordinator.


January 9  |  Caregiving: Claiming and Sustaining Our Work as Caregivers  |  What does caregiving look like in your life? What might it look like in the future? Our conversation helped us set ourselves up for success while caregiving. Led by Catherine Engstrom, LICSW, a social worker and caregiver consultant at the Wilder Foundation.

January 16  |  Housing as We Age: Aging in Place and Other Options  |  Where do you want to live in 10 years? in 20 years? We discussed the available options and what to consider when planning for the care we might need in the future. Also led by Catherine Engstrom

January 23  |  Dementia Friends: How to Take Practical Action to Help People Living with Dementia  |  Dementia Friends is a global movement that is changing the way people think, act, and talk about dementia. We learned what dementia is, what it’s like to live with the disease, and some tips for communicating with people who have dementia. Led by Colleen Fritsch and Rachel Von Ruden, volunteer Dementia Champions from the Metropolitan Area Agency on Aging. 


December 5  |  Enter Advent, Enter the Circle of the Church Year   

December 12  |  Mary’s Magnificat: An Advent Hymn 
In October and November, we focused on some of the best-known parables of Jesus. In her stimulating six-week video series Short Stories by Jesus, Amy-Jill Levine, a Jewish scholar of the New Testament at Vanderbilt University, asks two main questions: How do we hear the parables through an imagined set of first-century Jewish ears? And how do we translate them so that they can be heard still speaking?
October 3  |  Lost Sheep, Lost Coin, Lost Son 
October 10  |  The Good Samaritan 

October 17  |  The Pearl of Great Price 

November 7  |  The Mustard Seed 

November 14  |  The Laborers in the Vineyard 

November 28  |  The Widow and the Judge 


September 5  |  From the Auction Block to the Mic Drop 

September 12  |  Hinduism 101: What You Really Need to Know 

September 19  |  Buddhism: A Non-Theistic Religion (isn’t that an oxymoron?) 

September 26  |  One Baha'i's Journey of Faith 


August 1  |  Decluttering as a Spiritual Practice 

August 8  |  Two Special Prayer Practices & Chant 

August 15  |  Exploring the Labyrinth: Walking Meditation 

August 22  |  Remember the Sabbath: A Counter-Cultural Spiritual Practice 

JUNE & JULY 2018

We used the Living the Questions 2.0 DVD series to spark reflection and conversation on a range of topics. 

June 6  |  A Kingdom without Walls 

June 13  |  Social Justice: Realizing God’s Vision 

June 20  |  Incarnation: Divinely Human 

June 27  |  Prayer: Intimacy with God 

July 11  |  Compassion: The Heart of Jesus’ Ministry 

July 18  |  Creative Transformation 

July 25  |  Embracing Mystery 

MAY 2018

May 2 & 9  |  A Journey to India 

May 16  |  Behind the scenes at Feed My Starving Children: Moving beyond "the single story" 

APRIL 2018

April 4  |  Healthy Relationships!  

April 11  |  Judaism 101  

April 18 & 25  |  An Inconvenient Journey of Faith  |  With David Weiss, we watched clips from An Inconvenient Sequel and unpacked the movie’s message in conversation with the Bible, our faith, and each other.


About 45 members and friends participated in small groups, reading and discussing Marcus Borg’s Convictions: How I Learned What Matters Most


January 10  |  Reformed Grace, Deformed Church: An Introduction to the Reformation  | With guest speaker Phillip Romine, Director of Admissions at United Theological Seminary

January 17  |  The Reformation, part 2: The basics 

January 24  |  The Reformation, part 3: The Bible

January 31  |  The Reformation, part 4: Hot buttons 

February 7  |  The Reformation, part 5: Summing up 


December 6 & 13  |  “Watch: Exploring Advent Devotionals”


November 8  |  Bible: A Book Like No Other (animate: faith video series)

November 15  |  Introduction to the Enneagram  |  With guest speaker Rev. Leslie Neugent of Wayzata Community Church

November 29  |  28 Days of Advent  |  With guest speaker and author Martha Wegner 


October 4  |  The Legacy: How we have come to be who we are. How we can come to be who we wish to be  |  Guest presenter Okogyeamon, co-founder of ASDIC Metamorphosis (short for Antiracism Study Dialogue Circles).

October 11  |  Mindfulness Experience  |  Speaker: psychologist Elizabeth Hayes. 

October 18  |  Visiting and Supporting Immigrants in Detention

October 25  |  It's Just Us: Chapter 2  |  With psychologist Irene Harris. 

SEPTEMBER 2017  |  Taking another look at the Ten Commandments

September 13  |  We considered the back story of the Ten Commandments: Who was Moses, and why was he in Egypt anyway? How did God communicate with him? Why are there two versions of the Ten Commandments in the Torah? Why do they matter to us? We also discussed the first commandment: “I, the Lord, am your God. You shall not have other gods besides me.” 

September 20  |  We looked at the second commandment (“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain”) and the third (“Remember to keep holy the sabbath day”). 

September 27  |  We reflected on the fourth and fifth commandments: “Honor your father and your mother” and “You shall not kill.” 


August 2  |  Sulfide Mining: Threat to Minnesota’s Clean Water and Moral Values  |  With guest speaker Paula Maccabee, Advocacy Director and Counsel for WaterLegacy.

August 9  |  Medical Foster Homes for Veterans   

August 16  |  A Poem and a Podcast: Ways We Tend the Spirit  |  With guest speaker Lizabeth Bougie, Director of the Resource Center for Churches.

JULY 2017 was movie month for Journey of Faith.  

July 12  |  Tender Mercies 

July 19  |  Sullivan’s Travels 

July 26  |  Before the Flood 

JUNE 2017

June 7  |  Since God is Still Speaking, What is God Saying about Immigration?  |  With guest speaker Diane Haines, chair of the Minnesota Conference Immigration Team.

June 14  |  The Christian Mysticism of Julian of Norwich

June 21  |  Embracing God’s Promise: News from the Minnesota Conference UCC Annual Meeting

June 28  |  Ojibwe Spirit  |  Speaker Rich Cornell, author of The Chippewa: Biography of a Wisconsin Waterway.

MAY 2017

Ancient Stones and Living Stones  |  A two-part series led by two SPUCC members who had recetly traveled to Israel and Palestine.

May 17  |  Ancient Stones of Israel and Palestine  

May 24  |  Living Stones of Israel and Palestine  

APRIL 2017

Food Ethics  |  A two-part series by the Earthwise Committee.

April 26  |  Food and Spirituality: Centering the future of agriculture on regenerative design 

May 3  |  Food, Inc. 

LENT 2017

Several groups read and discussed Lillian Daniel’s Tired of Apologizing for a Church I Don’t Belong to.  


February 1  |  Arts and the Spiritual Journey  |  With guest speaker Wilson Yates. 

February 8  |  Church: An Imperfect Family (animate: faith video series) 

February 15  |  Altering Expectations: Changing stigma associated with mental health challenges  |  With psychologist and St. Paul’s UCC congregant Irene Harris.

February 22  |  Building an Infrastructure of Opportunity  |  Guest speaker Randi Roth, Executive Director of Interfaith Action of Greater Saint Paul.


January 11  |  My Trans Faith  |  With guest speaker Rev. Lawrence T. Richardson.

January 18  |  Following My Call: The life of a seminary student  |  With Peggy Ludlow. 

January 25 |  My Journey: A Calling into Ministry  |  With Brien Aadland.  


November 30  |  A Good Place to be Depressed: How our church can be a healing place for those living with depression  |  With guest speaker Rev. Bob Griggs.

December 7  |  A Brief History of Christmas

December 14  |  Meditation: A way of Christian prayer

December 21  |  A Light in the Darkness  |  A beautiful meditative Christmas service on the longest night. 


November 2  |  El Día de los Muertos 

November 9  |  A Celtic Pilgrimage 

November 16  |  Ojibwe Tales 


October 5  |  Doing Justice: Moving from issue education to strategic impact 

October 12  |  On the Camino: Life Lessons from the Way of St. James 

October 19  |  Keep Calm with Tai Chi 

October 26  |  Feed My Starving Children (intergenerational)


September 7, 14 & 21  |  Embracing Spiritual Awakening  |  This summer we held two sessions featuring Diana Butler Bass, hearing of past Religious Awakenings and the current one we're witnessing. In September, we discussed how behaving, belonging, and awakening will very likely add new shapes to religion in America in the coming decades.

September 7  |  We define our behavior by deciding what practices we’ll engage in. As Christians, we aim to practice love of God (devotion) and love of neighbor (ethics) in concert with the greatest commandments. But do we take the time to ask Why? and How? Is it possible that practice is more like a craft than a program?

September 14  |  What does it mean to belong? In our youth we might think of belonging by answering, “Whose am I?” As we grow older, we often change that question to “Who am I?” And if we consider faith journeys, we might ask, “Where am I?” We considered how we construct ourselves by relating to other people and to God.

September 21  |  There have been three previous periods of great religious and spiritual awakenings in America. These occurred right before the American Revolution, in the early decades of our new republic, and around World War I as the US became an industrial world power. We are now in the midst of a fourth awakening that encompasses technology, diversity, and interfaith relationships. Do we as individuals and as a church embrace this awakening, reject it, or simply watch from the sidelines?

September 28  |  Protecting Minnesota’s Waters from Sulfide Mining Pollution | With guest speaker Paula Maccabee, advocacy director and general counsel for WaterLegacy, a grassroots citizens group formed in response to the threat of sulfide mining in Minnesota.

MAY 2016  |  Stories of Resiliency  |  Coordinated by our Health & Wholeness Committee.

APRIL 2016 | Stories of Food & Faith

April 6  |  Food and the Environment 

April 13  |  Food and Water as Environmental/Social Justice

April 20  |  Just Eating: Practicing our faith at the table 

April 27  |  Intergenerational trip to Feed My Starving Children

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2016  |  Lenten Book Study

Through five weeks of Lent, we met in small groups to discuss Rabbi Harold Kushner's Nine Essential Things I’ve Learned About Life. 

JANUARY 2016  |  Deepening Understandings of Islam

January 13  |  With guest speaker: Zafar Siddiqui of the Islamic Resource Group. The IRG builds bridges of understanding between Minnesota Muslims and the broader Minnesota community. 

January 20  |  Meeting our Muslim Neighbors

January 27  |  Islamophobia Funding. With guest speaker Gail Anderson, United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities Director of Interfaith and Intercultural Initiatives, offered an overview of the forces funding Islamophobia.

February 3  |  Toward Interfaith Justice and Inclusivity


December 2 & 9  |  Our UCC Involvement in Global Ministries

December 2  |  East Timor  

December 9  |  Turkey 

December 16  |  Advent Ponderings

NOVEMBER 2015  |  Spiritual Caregiving & Ambiguous Loss

November 4  |  Chaplaincy as Spiritual Caregiving 

November 11  |  Specialized Ministries: Pastoral visitation and the UCC’s Council for Health and Human Service Ministries 

November 18  |  Unclear (Ambiguous) Loss and the Myth of Closure  |  With special guest Pauline Boss, PhD.  

OCTOBER 2015  |  Ecojustice & Faith

October 7, 14 & 21  |  Renewal: Stories from America's religious environmental movement 

October 28  |  Feed My Starving Children (intergenerational) 


The video series Living the Questions 2.0 deals with questions of Christian faith in an accessible, appealing manner. Theologians, pastors, and lay people explore faith questions and draw connections between our own time and that of Jesus and his disciples. At each gathering, we viewed two videos and briefly discussed them in small groups.

September 16  |  Invitation to Journey 

September 23  |  Thinking Theologically 

September 30  |  Lives of Jesus   


Our guest on July 8 & 15 was John Noltner, photographer and peace activist. For 20 years John has told stories with his images, producing work for national publications and Fortune 500 Companies. In 2009, he began A Peace of My Mind, a project that explores the meaning of peace through portraits and personal stories. More info at

July 8  |  A Peace of My Mind: The calling

July 15  |  A Peace of My Mind: The conversation

July 22  |  The New Interfaith Reality: The opportunities and the challenges  

July 29 & August 5  |  Lynn Scott, Operations Manager at ARC Retreat Center of Stanchfield, MN, led us in a 2-part series on Christian mysticism, looking at the broader theme and focusing on influential mystics such as Meister Eckhart, Julian of Norwich, Hildegard of Bingen, and Thomas Merton. 

August 12 & 19  |  Jesus and Buddha: Practicing across traditions 

JUNE 2015

June 3  |  Yoga as physical mindfulness

June 10  |  The 8 limbs of yoga: An overview

June 17  |  Bringing Compassion to All Parts of Ourselves  

June 24  |  Expanding Internal Calm and Deepening Spiritually with a Practice of Self-Compassion 

MAY 2015  |  Cracking the Codes: The system of racial inequity

We took a deep and challenging look at racial inequity, watching and discussing this film. Learn more about the film at

Topics for each week:

May 6  |  History, Culture & Unconscious Bias

May 13  |  Racial Privilege & Interpersonal Relations

May 20 | Institutional & Structural Racism

APRIL 2015

April 8 & 15  |  Earth: The Operator’s Manual

April 29  |  Feed My Starving Children (intergenerational) 


February 4  |  Feed My Starving Children (intergenerational)

February 11  |  Introduction to Godly Play

February 18  |  Ash Wednesday service

February 25 to March 29  |  An Altar in the World: A Lenten small group book study 


January 7  |  The Beatitudes: An introduction

January 14  |  The Beatitudes according to Luke

January 21  |  The Beatitudes according to Matthew

January 28  |  Radical Inclusivity: Empowering the special needs community through worship


December 3  |  Disturbing Complacency: Money, our Mustard Seed  |  With guest speaker Rev. Lisa Bodenheim, pastor at Clark Memorial UCC in Mendota Heights. Session 1 of 2.

December 10  |  Film: Charting Christmas.

December 17  |  Disturbing Complacency: Resistance, Removing our Blinders. Session 2.


Rev. Dr. Clyde J. Steckel was our guest speaker. Our topic: A Shared United Church of Christ Faith: Then and Now.

November 5   |  The Beginnings of a Shared UCC Faith

November 12  |  The Preamble and the UCC Statement of Faith

November 19  |  A Shared UCC Faith Today 


October 1  |  Jesus: The revolution of love (animate: faith video series)

October 8  |  Salvation: Abundant life now (animate: faith video series)

October 15  |  The Cross: Where God is (animate: faith video series)

October 22  |  Project Home, Saint Paul Area Council of Churches

October 29  |  Joint Religious Legislative Coalition


Music & Church History 101  |  Our organist, Geoff Olson, shared the journey of sacred music and church history for three Wednesday evenings. This was a continuation of his 2-part series in August.


On the four Sundays in July, we explored the Gospel According to Matthew and its particular perspective. 


June 4  |  Exploring Spiritual Practices: Chant, Lectio Divina, and Examen

June 11  |  Labyrinths: Peaceful Paths of Prayer

June 18  |  Film: The Atheism Tapes: Interview with playwright Arthur Miller

June 25 & July 9  |  Creativity Abounds (intergenerational)

July 16  |  Film: Chasing Ice

July 23  |  Film: Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

July 30  |  Feed My Starving Children (intergenerational)

August 6 & 20  |  A History of Music & the Church: Plato to Martin Luther

August 13  |  Film: Joseph Campbell and the Power of Myth

MAY 2014  |  Earth Stewardship

May 7  |  Reflections on the holiness of mindful eating

May 14  |  Minnesota Interfaith Power & Light 

May 21  |  Film: Carbon Nation

LENT 2014  |  The Way of the Cross: The Path to New Life

We reflected on how Jesus’ journey toward and beyond the cross intersects with our own journeys. Joan Chittister’s book The Way of the Cross: The Path to New Life spurred our discussion.

IN JANUARY AND FEBRUARY 2014 we delved into the Living the Questions DVD series Painting the Stars: Science, religion, and an evolving faith, which celebrates the communion of science and faith. 

February 5  |  Evolutionary Christianity

February 12  |  Imagining a Future

February 19  |  An Evolving Spirituality: Mysticism

We also offered the Painting the Stars series on Sunday mornings from 9:00 to 9:45.  

February 26  |  Faith Isn’t Just for Sundays: Practicing our faith at home

DECEMBER 2013  |  The Nativity Story

We met three Wednesday evenings to view and discuss The Nativity Story (New Line Cinema, 2006).  

NOVEMBER 2103  |  The history and futire of the United Church of Christ and St. Paul's UCC

Rev. Dr. Clyde J. Steckel, Emeritus Professor of Theology, was our guest speaker.

November 6  |  The First 50 Years of the United Church of Christ

November 13  |  The Next 50 Years of the United Church of Christ

November 20  |  St. Paul’s UCC in the Context of 56+ years of the UCC


October 2  |  UCC Coffee Project & CROP Hunger Walk

October 9  |  Film: Gold Fever  

October 16  |  God | Faith Is a Quest (animate: faith video series)

October 23  |  Religion: Spirituality is not enough (animate: faith video series)

October 30  |  Feed My Starving Children (intergenerational)    

More than Money Matters  |  A free workshop on Sunday mornings

In October we also offered More than Money Matters, an interactive, values-based money management workshop developed by Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. This free workshop was designed to help participants reach goals and manage personal financial resources in accordance with their values. 

October 13  |  Stewardship and Values

October 20  |  Setting Goals

October 27  |  Credit and Debt

November 3  |  Finding Money to Save

SEPTEMBER 2013  |  Three Simple Questions

During September we drew on the compelling study series Three Simple Questions: Knowing the God of Love, Hope, and Purpose, based on the work of retired United Methodist Bishop Rueben Job.  Our time together included spiritual practices, video clips, discussion, and accessible creative practices.  

September 11  |  Who Is God?

September 18  |  Who Am I? Who Are We Together?

September 25  |  Praying and Living the Questions 


August 7  |  Creativity Abounds! (intergenerational)

August 14  |  Being UCC in a Wider Context: 2013 General Synod Gathering

August 21  |  Creativity Abounds! (intergenerational)  

JULY 2013

July 10  |  Empty Hands, Open Hearts: An immersion experience in Kenya (intergenerational)

July 17  |  Earth Stewardship

July 24  |  The Lorax (intergenerational)

July 31  |  Feed My Starving Children (intergenerational)

JUNE 2013  |  Our Relationship to the Land

June 5  |  Veggie Adventure! What is Community Supported Agriculture? 

June 12  |  Symphony of the Soil (intergenerational)

June 19  |  Iona, Ancient Threads of a Bright Love

June 26  |  Iona, a Spirituality from the Fringes

MAY 2013

May 1  |  Mental Health and Spirituality 

May 8  |  Feed My Starving Children (intergenerational)

May 15  |  Preparing for Our Sabbatical

APRIL 2013

April 3  |  Visitors from Pilgrim Point Camp 

April 10  |  Our Whole Lives: An Overview

April 17  |  Strategic Plan and Sabbatical Leave Updates

April 24  |  Welcoming Neighbors Who Handle Mental Health Concerns

MARCH 2013  |  Continuation of our "Final Gifts" small-group book sessions (see February 2013 below for more information)

March 6  |  Final Gifts  |  Week 3 of 5

March 13  |  Final Gifts  |  Week 4

March 20  |  Final Gifts  |  Week 5 


February 6  |  Beyond Pretzel Poses: Yoga’s 8-fold spiritual path

February 13  |  Intergenerational Ash Wednesday Worship Service 

February 20  |  Final Gifts  |  Week 1 of 5 — During the season of Lent, adults and youth age 14 and above considered together the themes of dying, death, and new life. As we pondered the suffering, death, and new life found in Jesus, we used the book Final Gifts: Understanding the Special Awareness, Needs, and Communications of the Dying to explore our own experiences of dying and death. 

February 27  |  Final Gifts  |  Week 2 


January 9  |  Feed My Starving Children

January 16 & 23  |  Letting Your Life Speak: Renewing your sense of purpose in the world

January 30  |  Exploring Emerging Church Themes


December 5  |  The Promissory Language that Breaks Dispair

December 12  |  Exploring the Season of Advent


November 7  |  Post-Election Prayer Service

November 14  |  ARC Retreat Center

November 28  |  Grief of Loss as Divine Judgement

OCTOBER 2012  |  A series based on Walter Breuggemann's Embracing the Prophets in Contemporary Culture.

October 3  |  Moses, Pharoah, the Prophets, and Us

October 10  |  The Prophets as Uncredentialed Purveyors of Covenant

October 17  |  Moral Coherence in a World of Power, Money, and Violence

October 24  |  The Shrill Rhetoric That Breaks Denial


September 12  |  Switzerland 

September 19  |  Antibiotics/Livestock & The Common Good 

September 22  |  Visit to Feed My Starving Children in Eagan.

September 29  |  Prophets and the Prophetic Voice 

AUGUST 2012  |  Ethics and Amendments  |  A series exploring the state constitutional amendments that would be on the ballot in November.

August 1  |  The Marriage Amendment

August 8  |  "In Sickness and in Health," a film following several same-sex couples who sued the State of New Jersey for the right to marry.

August 15  |  The Voter ID Amendment

Worship Times

Sunday Morning

To help prevent the spread
of the coronavirus,
we're worshiping online
for the time being.
We invite you to join
our live-streamed service.

We look forward
to returning to
our normal schedule,
and we're saving
a place for you!

Our regular schedule
10:30 am
Nursery and toddler care provided
Sunday School for children
11:30 Fair Trade Coffee Hour

Evensong Service 
with Folk Ensemble

To help prevent
the spread of COVID,
Evensong is canceled
for the time being.

We look forward
to returning to
our normal schedule,
and we're saving
a place for you!

Our regular schedule
3rd Sundays @ 5:15 pm,
September through May.

Where to find us

900 Summit Avenue
Saint Paul, MN 55105

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Office Calendar

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St. Paul's UCC | Journeying together toward deeper faith, justice, and love for all   

900 Summit Ave, Saint Paul, MN 55105  |  651-224-5809  |  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  |  Our Facebook Page

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