Humble Walk Lutheran Church: A Faith Community | 8.11

Humble Walk Lutheran Church: A Faith Community [IMAGE]


On Sunday afternoons for the past two years the Pilney Building has been the venue for Humble Walk Lutheran Church — a community of 100 friends and neighbors, about half from the West End, who have come together as an organization to worship under Rev. Jodi Houge’s leadership.

Humble Walk belongs to the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA), a branch that was formed in the 1980s by the merger of three churches. Its roots are more Scandinavian, compared to the Missouri Synod’s German foundation. Its progressive practices are reflected in the ordination of women like Jodi, who spent a decade in youth work before starting at Luther Seminary, where she completed her Masters of Divinity three years ago. She has lived in the West End for eleven years, is married to a musician, and has two small girls.

About three years ago, Rev. Houge invited friends, neighbors and fellow seminarians to begin worshiping together — they began at Fresh Grounds. She saw that people were looking for a faith community, and used the Internet and Facebook as means of communicating. Families were attracted when they learned that their children were welcome and that sharing meals together was an important part of the meetings.

The group has been very happy at the Pilney Building. Its public location and openness to the street reflect Humble Walk’s desire to be a real part of the community. Now, however, that space is being redesigned by deZinnia, Inc., the Pilney’s owner, to become part of their company work space, and Humble Walk is actively looking for a new place. Rev. Houge and the group want to stay in the West End and are exploring some good leads at the moment.

Besides the regular Sunday meetings, the group has a few other regular, community-oriented activities. A monthly “Theology on Tap” brings in guest theologians, Luther Seminary staff, area pastors and others for group discussion. They have been meeting at Skinner’s on Monday evenings but have outgrown the space, and will move to Shamrock’s in September.

On Friday mornings, the group has been offering people coffee and donuts at the West Seventh/Randolph bus stop — “operation caffeination” now has many regulars they are getting to know.

“Humble Walk’s theology,” says Rev. Houge, “gives us all sorts of space for conversation and dialogue with people. Ask, wonder, be curious — everyone is welcome to take part.”

“Our members want to put their theology to work in the world,” she adds. As a result, a weekend of service was started in the West End in 2010 and continued this year. A small grant from the St. Paul Area Synod of the ELCA helped the group to offer painting, minor repairs, cleanup and hauling for six families in the area.

When Rev. Houge looks ahead, she sees Humble Walk growing naturally and organically to a modest degree. They are considered a “mission start” by the Synod and receive guidance and some financial support. Meanwhile, Rev. Houge does some pulpit service with other ELCA congregations, some of which also have chosen not to make a building their most important priority. One Humble Walk member sums it up: “One of the things I appreciate most about Humble Walk is our lack of attachment to stuff. . . . The gifts that we give Humble Walk do not go toward acquiring or maintaining stuff. They go toward actions that make God’s love know to those around us.”

To learn about Humble Walk Lutheran Church see

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Divine Design: Bible Study for Spiritual Makeover. First Saturday. Fellowship, 8:30 am; Bible Study, 9-10 am. Donation: $7. St. Peter’s Lutheran Church, 530 Victoria St. S. Reservations: 651-228-1482.

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Humble Walk Lutheran Church
: Worship on Sundays at 4:30 p.m. at Acme Academy of Arts, 941 West Seventh.

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