Jesus does not prefer political parties; Jesus does choose sides


Recently, we were appalled to learn that the former chair of the Hastings school board and her family were forced to move to another city following vicious social media attacks--attacks originated by adults--against one of her children. The attacks were launched in an attempt to unseat the mother from the school board.

When Bishop Craig Loya learned of this story, he was moved to respond with a powerful and compassionate op-ed letter to the Hastings Star Gazette. We commend his letter to you as a witness to the power of Christ's unremitting love in the face of unwarranted abuse and cruelty against one of God's beloved children.
Opinion letter published December 10, 2021 in the Hastings Star Gazette

I was saddened to hear recently from the Episcopal congregations in your community, St. Luke’s on Vermillion Street and St. Mary’s in Afton, that Hastings has recently become the latest flashpoint in the painful and highly charged division that characterizes so much of our public life these days.

I was heartbroken to learn that at the center of the controversy was a child and that child’s treatment at the hands of adults in the community.

I have the honor of serving as the 10th bishop of the Episcopal Church in Minnesota. In that role I am called, first and foremost, to follow and emulate the One who came not to be served but to serve; to, with God’s help, reflect and embody the love of Jesus in a world that is starving for it.

I know that many in our country believe, with good reason, that those who call themselves Christian are aligned first and foremost with the powerful, with white nationalism, with anti-democratic movements in our midst, with intolerance, and with violence.

The Episcopal Church has its own sinful history of perpetuating oppression. However, as a follower of Jesus, my allegiance is always to those whom Jesus came to love and to serve. Make no mistake: while Jesus does not prefer political parties, Jesus does choose sides.

The politics of Jesus are about embracing the poor, loving our enemies, feeding the hungry, lifting up the oppressed, reforming the unjust structures in society, seeking good for the other instead of insisting on our own way, disregarding the boundaries of social exclusion, calling out our own self-interested hypocrisy and that of our religious and civic leaders, making room at the center for those who have been pushed to the margins. Those are the things that Jesus actually did. These are the marks of what it means to be his followers in the world.

The Episcopal way of following Jesus is unequivocal in affirming that all of God’s children, including our trans siblings and including those with whom we ardently disagree, are beloved, accepted, worthy of dignity and welcome to fully participate in the life of the church.

We as a people are better when our churches, and all our public spaces, both affirm and reflect the wonderful diversity of humanity, which together more fully reflects the very image of God.

The Rt. Rev. Craig W. Loya, X Bishop, Episcopal Church in Minnesota

Don’t count out small, rural churches

Studies show small, rural churches can still thrive if they focus on the needs of their community.

• Small, rural churches can still thrive if they focus on the needs of their community.

 • Fixation on youth, contributions and attendance can be counterproductive.

 • Rural churches have a better chance if they work from a sense of possibility rather than fear.

Read more…

Mainline Protestantism Rises As Evangelicalism Declines

The percentage of white mainline Protestants in the general population is HIGHER than the percentage of white evangelicals.

I don’t have the exact numbers at hand, but I am fairly certain that there hasn’t been a time since 1980 when the percentage of white mainline Protestants in the general population was HIGHER than the percentage of white evangelicals. That’s at least four decades – maybe longer. But this is a genuine shift away from white evangelicalism toward mainline Protestantism. | Diana Butler Bass

Read more…

Worship on Wednesday

Fr. Scott is hosting Wednesday Morning Worship and Kaffeeklatsch at 9:30 each week.

Fr. Scott is hosting Wednesday Morning Worship and Kaffeeklatsch at 9:30 each week. We’ll gather for a simple service of Holy Communion followed by coffee and conversation. Topics will include current events, Bible study, local happenings, or anything else we decide to bring up. Stop by and join us when you can!

Bishop Loya to Visit June 20th

The Rt. Rev. Craig Loya, Bishop of Minnesota

Bishop Craig Loya will visit St. Mary’s on Sunday, June 20th. Bring your lawn chair for a special baptismal liturgy in the Memorial Garden at 9:30 AM to welcome him. The Bishop will host a town hall style conversation at a reception following the service. Join us to give Bishop Craig a genuine St. Mary’s welcome!

St. Mary’s Is Open!

We are following a plan to safely reopen our doors and worship in person.

Welcome back to indoor worship!

We are following a plan to safely reopen our doors and worship in person. Our first priority remains the spiritual and physical wellbeing of our parish community. We are confident that, as Bishop Craig Loya has said, we are “learning to negotiate risk with love.”

Masks are recommended for all worshipers regardless of vaccination status. We encourage worshipers to use personal discretion and to respect the space and choices of those around them. People who are sick or have been exposed to someone with Covid-19 should stay home.

We recognize that everyone is not yet ready to resume indoor activities. For those choosing to stay safe at home or are otherwise unable to attend, we will continue to livestream the service on our YouTube Channel each Sunday.

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