“The mission of the Church is to restore all people to unity with God and each other in Christ.” – Book of Common Prayer
The people of St. George’s strive to fulfill this universal mission of our Church by supporting one another on our faith journeys and through personal transformation, engaging individuals and communities in the message of reconciliation and hope.
Worship and Faith Practices
8:00 a.m.: Rite I – contemplative service
10:30 a.m.: Rite II – with choir and music
Music is an important way for us to express and be moved by our faith and St. George’s has a strong music program. We also engage in Gospel-Based Discipleship in many different situations to strengthen our understanding of God’s call to us individually and as a community of faith.
Our Faith Community
At St. George’s, you’ll find a cross section of America, striving to live in harmony with God and with each other. We vary by race, sexual orientation, economic circumstance, and political perspective.
In this diversity, we strive to defy polarization and social tribalism. We’re committed to actively engaging with each other and with Christ’s teachings, living together in love. We don’t ignore our differences, but try to reach deep into our faith and scripture to respectfully and joyfully travel together in God’s kingdom.
Here are congregational characteristics that bubbled to the top in personal interviews with dozens of members during the fall of 2016:
- Comfortable and caring relationships
- A passion for our Eucharistic liturgy and music
- A strong commitment to spiritual journey and depth
- An affinity for small group interactions
Although we have several ongoing outreach efforts—including our youth group’s connection with the Rosebud Indian Reservation—St. George’s has focused our outreach activities on growing two strong local community relationships: Perspectives and STEP.
Perspectives, Inc., based in St. Louis Park, is devoted to women and their children suffering from addictions, mental illness, and poverty. One evening each month, parishioners staff Kid’s Café under the direction of Perspectives’ Chef Dan. Six to eight of us work side-by-side with elementary-age students to cook a healthy, tasty supper. Then about 50 parents, kids, and volunteers sit down to share it together. In summers we also help staff for Basketball in the Park, sponsored by Perspectives and the St. Louis Park Police.
St. George’s also collects food donations weekly and cash donations monthly for STEP, the St. Louis Park Emergency Program. In addition, St. George’s helps STEP with their Christmas toy drive and their school supplies drive by providing hundreds of filled backpacks for children in our community.
These relationships represent a careful journey into becoming a more “missional” faith community. Our parishioners gain as much as they give in their person-to-person interactions at Kid’s Café and Basketball in the Park. These activities help us all build our faith, our Christian commitment, and our personal connection to those outside our faith community.
Faith Formation for All Ages
Children and young people are fully engaged in the worship and prayer life of the church, with educational opportunities that do not separate them unnecessarily from full participation with the rest of the congregation.
We offer Children’s Chapel to our younger children during the first part of the 10:30 service featuring an age-appropriate approach to the readings for the day. Children join the rest of the congregation in the sanctuary after the sermon. Younger children also have regular roles in the service, bringing up the congregation’s weekly offering of food and household goods and taking up a monthly cash collection, both for the St. Louis Park Emergency Program (STEP).
Older children and youth participate in the full Eucharistic service and as acolytes serving at the altar. Youth members also participate in group activities and classes together and with youths from neighboring congregations, especially in preparation for Confirmation or for projects and mission activities.
Adults take part every week in the Sunday Forum, offered from 9:15 to 10:00 am, and have regular opportunities to participate in other faith formation activities, such as Gospel-Based Discipleship.
Like most metropolitan churches today, St. George’s has members that come many miles to participate in worship and church activities. We’re blessed, though, that so many of our members reside in or very near our home city of St. Louis Park. This includes several of our newest members.
There are about 121,000 people within a three-mile radius of our building. This area contains all of St. Louis Park, but also includes the Harriet-Calhoun-Isles-Cedar Lakes neighborhood of Minneapolis and parts of Golden Valley, Edina, and Hopkins.
This area is culturally and socioeconomically diverse. Although the average household income is $103,000, about 22% of households have incomes under $35,000.
St. George’s began its journey right after World War II, with a petition to the Bishop from about 50 households in the “Village” of St. Louis Park. After a first organizational meeting on December 6, 1945, the congregation began meeting and praying in individual homes and a local Legion Hall.
By the end of 1946, they’d hired Fr. Roger Schmuck as their first pastor and settled on a spot for their new church home. They moved into a Quonset hut on that property, which served both as a worship space and a gym for the children and surrounding community.
In the 1960s the facilities expanded as the community expanded, with a new A-frame worship space and an adjoining Education building. But you can still see the mark of our post-war history in our Quonset-shaped Parish Hall.
Our congregation—like so many others—is now smaller than it was in the 60s, with about 93 participants at Sunday worship each week. Many in our congregation are “mature,” but our membership isn’t static. About a third of our active parishioners have been members for five years or less. Many of these newer members come from our local neighborhood.
St. George’s has cash, investments, and physical assets (buildings and grounds) valued at about $1.9 million. Cash, savings, and endowment add up to about $500,000. During 2016, our income totaled $251,592 and expenses were $253,856, for a deficit of $2,264 (about 1%).
In a church with 93 average Sunday attendance, almost all of our active members pledge: 74 pledges for 2017. This includes five new pledging members for 2017. Unfortunately, we lost an unprecedented number of faithful and generous members during 2016 through family moves, deaths, and old age transitions. This has left us with a financial challenge to address in 2017.
Our Next Rector
The ministers of the Church are lay persons, bishops, priests, and deacons. – Book of Common Prayer
St. George’s is currently seeking a new rector. Some congregations in transition are tempted to look for a pastor who they think can address their most critical needs personally, perhaps as a marketing guru, a youth leader, or a strategic planner. That blocks lay members, though, from using their individual gifts as ministers and impedes the mission of the Church.
Jesus’ direction to Peter (as a pastor of the Church-to-be) was simpler and more focused than “do everything”:
…Feed my lambs…Tend my sheep…Feed my sheep…Follow me…Follow me! (John 21:15-22)
What are our key goals for this congregation and its mission?
Our top goals build on areas of strength and tend to areas of concern:
- Increase spiritual vitality.
- Sustain and grow membership.
- Take our hospitality out into the neighborhood.
What do we need to do, as ministers of the Church, to support these goals?
- Focus on the discipleship of all members.
- Increase educational (faith formation) opportunities.
- Nurture opportunities for personal belonging, engagement, and mission.
- Experiment with change while respecting Anglican tradition.
What do we need from our next rector? Someone who:
- has a deep personal faith practice—talking and walking the faith
- is a strong preacher and teacher
- has a pastoral disposition—personal caring
- collaborates with and empowers the “ministers of the church”
- is open to experimentation and risk, but respects Anglican tradition
- is engaged in the “missional church” conversation
Or, more concisely, we’re looking for a rector who will:
- follow Jesus
- feed and tend our flock