W A T C H   L I V E   O N L I N E

Online Worship Only This Weekend

9:00a Sunday


Dear Friends,

Lake Harriet UMC cares about you, our community and our world. Please be advised of the following changes and cancellations in order to comply with the guidelines put out today by Governor Walz and the Minnesota Department of Health.

  1. Sunday – No “in person” worship. Please join worship via Live Stream.  We will stream one worship service at 9:00a. A recording of the service will also be available to watch later. Go to the church website, click on the “Media” button at the top of the page and scroll down to “Live Stream.” https://www.lakeharrietumc.org/stream/   There is always a “Live Stream” reminder post on Facebook on Sunday mornings that will direct you to the live stream too.
  2. All in-person ministries of the church are shut down until further notice, with the exception of the Lake Harriet Preschool, which will still be in session. Keeping the number of people in the building to an absolute minimum will help prevent the spread of illness.
  • No Wednesday dinner or activities until further notice. The Health Department guidelines require a six-foot space between people, which would make having a meal together, singing in a choir or playing bells really tough!
  • Godly Play, Youth groups, adult small groups and team meetings, are also on hold until further notice.
  • Activities of outside groups that meet in the building is also on hold.


While we are “social isolating” ourselves to help prevent the spread of illness, this does not mean that we will be socially isolated.  The staff is working on creative ways to bring worship, and other spiritual enrichment opportunities to you using technology.  I am still blogging the “Running with Mark” series so every day there is a new devotional reading which can be found on the church website and on Facebook. There are virtual meeting websites that can allow us to do discussions/Bible study and may also be accessed by ministry teams that need to meet. 

What can you do?

  1. Pray for the containment of this virus. Pray for health care workers and public health workers. Pray for those who are ill.
  2. Reach out to members of the congregation by phone or email. Make it a point to reach out to our folks who live alone.
  3. Your continued generosity in supporting the church will help us weather this storm. https://www.lakeharrietumc.org/give-pay-pledge/
  4. Remember the clients who use the Joyce Uptown Foodshelf. These folks are perhaps the most vulnerable. Lorrie Sandelin, Director of the Foodshelf suggests cash donations are the most helpful at this time. We will bring the milk products we have been collecting to them at a later date. Consider making a donation to Joyce at joyceuptownfoodshelf.org. Click on the donate button. There may also be serving opportunities at the food shelf as a new method of food distribution is implemented (pre-packaged food boxes) to mitigate the spread. Watch for specific ways you can help.


Friends, I know that this is an uncertain and perhaps scary time. If you would like to talk and pray (by phone, online etc.) please know that I am available. Reach out to me at karen.bruins@lakeharrietumc.org 


This situation is fluid so please do check the website and social media for updates.


Trust in God. Hear these words from Isaiah 41:10, “Fear not, for I am with you, do not be afraid for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you.”


Grace and peace,

Pastor Karen Bruins



  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
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Be the hands and feet of God in the world in and through Lake Harriet UMC. There are volunteer opportunities for people of all ages, interests, and abilities! And, you don’t need to be a member to volunteer!
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Welcome and thanks for visiting! Please take a few minutes to explore the site and get a sense of what the LHUMC community has to offer. We also hope you’ll come visit us for worship or an upcoming event. We look forward to connecting with you and going deeper in our faith together. You are welcome here!

Rev. Karen Bruins

Lead Pastor
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Recent Sermons

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Recent Blog Posts

Running with Mark 98


Day 98 – April 4th, 2020



Mark 15:6-15 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Pilate Hands Jesus over to Be Crucified

Now at the festival he used to release a prisoner for them, anyone for whom they asked. Now a man called Barabbas was in prison with the rebels who had committed murder during the insurrection. So the crowd came and began to ask Pilate to do for them according to his custom. Then he answered them, “Do you want me to release for you the King of the Jews?” 10 For he realized that it was out of jealousy that the chief priests had handed him over. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas for them instead. 12 Pilate spoke to them again, “Then what do you wish me to do with the man you call the King of the Jews?” 13 They shouted back, “Crucify him!” 14 Pilate asked them, “Why, what evil has he done?” But they shouted all the more, “Crucify him!” 15 So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified.


Who was Barabbas?  He was in prison for being part of an insurrection in which people were killed. 


The name Barabbas drips with meaning.  Bar means son.  Abba means father.  He is the Son of the Father.  Bat is the Hebrew word for daughter.  You and I are all bar abba or bat abba, sons and daughters of God. 

Brabbas represents all of us.  Like him, we have all sinned.  We have all failed to live into Christ likeness and fullness of grace.


Matthew’s gospel makes his name even more significant.  In Matthew he is known as Jesus Barabbas.  The crowd could choose to follow Jesus Barabbas or, as Pilate calls him sarcastically, Jesus the King of the Jew

Why would they have chosen Barabbas to be released instead of Jesus?  As a Zealot, he had fought against the Roman oppression and this would have made him popular with the Jewish people. 


Pilate is in a very awkward spot.  He realizes that the High Priest was jealous of Jesus and wants him crucified, but Pilate doesn’t like being manipulated.  There is a battalion of soldiers in Jerusalem to keep the peace during this Holy Week.  Pilate doesn’t want the crowd to get out of control.  To placate the crowd, he hands Jesus over to be flogged and crucified.




“Behold the Man” by Antonio Ciseri



A God Like You – Kirk Franklin     A great hip-hop style song.



Prayer Focus:

Talk to God about what it means to be bar abba (Son of the father) or bat abba (daughter of God).  How does Barabbas represent you?


Grace and peace,
Pastor Karen Bruins

Read more

Running with Mark 97


Day 97 – April 3rd, 2020



Mark 15:1-5 New Revised Standard Version

Jesus before Pilate

15 As soon as it was morning, the chief priests held a consultation with the elders and scribes and the whole council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate. Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” He answered him, “You say so.” Then the chief priests accused him of many things. Pilate asked him again, “Have you no answer? See how many charges they bring against you.” But Jesus made no further reply, so that Pilate was amazed.


This event took place on Saturday morning. 

  • On Thursday Jesus had celebrated the Last Supper with the disciples.
  • On Friday he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane.

He was arrested in the Garden, with Judas identifying Jesus by kissing him.  From there he was taken before the High Priest, the elders and the scribes. 

  • On Saturday morning Jesus was taken to Pilate who hands him over to be crucified.

Here is a map of the events that took place over those days.  Jesus was moved again and again through the city, always under heavy Roman guard.  Did they do it to show the public who was in charge, to show just who the real king was?


Spend some time with your Bible.  Read chapters 14 and 15 of Mark.   Find the places mentioned on the map.



King of Heaven – Paul Baloche


Prayer Focus:

Spirituality in the Ignatian tradition uses imagination.  Imagine that you were a bystander watching Jesus be brought before the Chief Priest, scribes and the elders.  What do you hear?  What do you see? 


Grace and peace,
Pastor Karen Bruins

Read more

Running with Mark 95


Day 95 – April 1st, 2020


Read: Mark 14:1-2

The Plot to Kill Jesus

14 It was two days before the Passover and the festival of Unleavened Bread. The chief priests and the scribes were looking for a way to arrest Jesus by stealth and kill him; for they said, “Not during the festival, or there may be a riot among the people.”


I have something to admit to you friends.  I have spent days trying to write today’s Running with Mark.  Every time I come to it, I find my mind drifting to the events of the world.  Maybe that’s where God needs me to be for now, sitting with the fear and anxiety with which we are all dealing.


This is a time when people’s true colors are seen. 


Maybe that is where Jesus would be in this passage too.  He was able to see all that was happening in the disciples, in the Romans and in the religious leaders.  He sees what’s happening today.  Here are some parallels I see:

  • Governmental leaders who are like Herod, puffed up and wanting to appear that they have all the answers. Herod was always worried that the attention would be drawn away from him.
  • Religious leaders like the pastor in Florida who refused to comply with the Stay-at-Home order and held religious services, putting hundreds of people at risk. His reply was that they would “lay hands on the sick and heal them” which is taking a Biblical imperative way out of context. 


Yet I also see things that Jesus also saw:

  • People leading with grace and humility, like our own Governor
  • Medical professionals putting their own lives on the line to love and serve their neighbor in need
  • Acts of compassion practiced by ordinary citizens


It is indeed a strange Lent this year.  To be stuck inside most of the day, when the sun is shining, and early spring flowers are starting to pop up through the soil.
We worship the God who, for three days, was contained in a dark, cold tomb. Yet, the tomb could not contain him.  Glorious life burst forth from that grave.  
We may feel like we are stuck in the dark, stone, tomb.  Yet, even there, God is present.  We are not alone.  Thanks be to God!


How is it with your soul?  I’d love to hear from you. karen.bruins@lakeharrietumc.org

If you want music on today’s Scripture passage, check out this scene from Jesus Christ Superstar.  If you need something calling out your best self, click on the True Colors video.

This Jesus Must Die – Jesus Christ Superstar 2000 –   

True Colors





Prayer Focus:

I will speak for myself only here.  I need to work on praying for the leaders of government both the ones with which I agree, and those I do not.  What about you?


Grace and peace,
Pastor Karen Bruins

Read more

W H A T ‘ S   N E W

Lake Harriet News: March 

Lake Harriet United Methodist Church is a vibrant, active, inclusive congregation whose mission is to welcome, inspire, and nourish its members and community to be the hands and feet of God in the world.

Lake Harriet News is our monthly print newsletter for sharing the church’s programs, services, and abundant opportunities to participate in community ministries. We invite you to click on the image, read the document, and explore the opportunities to live out our mission in your daily life in and through the church.


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Contact Info

Address: 4901 Chowen Ave S.,
Minneapolis, MN 55410
Phone: 612-926-7645