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.
T H E   C H U R C H

We are a church that believes all people are children of God, unconditionally loved by our Creator whatever their age, race, nationality, sexual orientation, gender identity, economic status, marital status, physical or mental ability.

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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!
A L L   A R E   W E L C O M E   H E R E !
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 Blog Posts

Running with Mark – 85


Day 85 – March 22, 2020  

Today’s blog comes from guest blogger Rev. Chris Carr. Chris is the preacher for Sunday, March 22, 2020.




Mark 12: 28-34 (inclusive Version)

28 One of the religious scholars who had listened to them debating and had observed how well Jesus had answered them, now came up and put a question to him: “Which is the foremost of all the commandments?” 29 Jesus replied, “This is the foremost: ‘Hear, O Israel, God, our God, is one. 30 You must love the Most High God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” 32 The scholar said to Jesus, “Well spoken, Teacher! What you have said is true: the Most High is one and there is no other. 33 To love God with all your heart, with all your understanding and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself—this is far more important than any burnt offering or sacrifice.” 34 Jesus, seeing how wisely this scholar had spoken, said, “You are not far from the kindom of God.” And after that no one dared to question Jesus any more.


This seems as important a time to understand to heed Jesus’ call to Love God and Love our neighbor.    


Right now, it feels hard to see God, let alone love God.  In this season of a pandemic, there are a lot of questions, and the answers are unclear.  We are spending a lot of time looking out of windows, to keep separation and keep people safe.  People are either stuck inside, away from family and friends, out of school.  We had to make the tough decision to reschedule REYOUNITE youth event, where we had JJ Warren, Jennifer Knapp, and others coming for an amazing weekend.  It was a really hard decision.  We had a great Youth Group time online on Wednesday and the questions raised were mostly about this sense of the length of time this will continue.  How long will we be out of school?  How does God let this happen?  It feels like there is a lot obstructing our view of the Holy.  Fear does that.  We get tunnel vision and close off.  We are trying to look through a window to see God, but the curtains of Covid-19 are blocking our view.     


We don’t know when things that have ceased or been cancelled will be able to happen.  But we do know that when we commit into relationship with that which connects us beyond physical contact, we are able to throw back the curtains that obstruct our view and see with greater clarity, and when we do, our actions, whether they are in our home, or in the world of live-streams, can tell our neighbor they are loved.                     


Please read 1 Corinthians 13 to see what Paul, the apostle whose writings make up a lot of the New Testament, had to say about love.                                                                                                                               







“Feeling Low”



When i’m feeling low

and my heart is weak

i know you have the strength

 to carry me

When i’m broken down

and i’m filled with grief

 i know you’re far beyond

what my mind conceives


As I look beyond the cares of life

I can feel your heart

Through the pain and strife

 As I look beyond the cares of life

I can feel your heart

feel you wash my sight

i can feel your heart

feel you offer life


you lead me to the water, sweet water

the water of life

when i am sinking,

you lift me up out of the night


how can it be hallelujah

i feel this love overtake me 




God, we bring our cries, we bring our questions, we bring our fears.  In this uncertain time, help us seek clearing our vision out the window, to push back the blinds and feel your love, and be in relationships that magnify Your love into the world.




Peace and Love in Faith,









Prayer Focus:



Grace and peace,
Pastor Karen Bruins

Read more

Running with Mark 84


Day 84 – March 21, 2020  



Hebrews 1:1-4 New Revised Standard Version


Here is the same reading from The Inclusive Bible.

 In  times past , god spoke in fragmentary and varied ways to our ancestors through the prophets; 2  in these final days, God has spoken to us through the only begotten, who has been made heir of all things and through whom the universe was first created. 3  Christ is the reflection of God’s glory, the exact representation of God’s being; all things are sustained by God’s powerful word. Having cleansed us from our sins, Jesus Christ sat down at the right hand of the Glory of heaven— 4  as far superior to the angels as the name Christ has inherited is superior to theirs.


Professor of New Testament at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Dr. Craig R. Koester writes:

The author begins by focusing on God’s methods of communication. God has spoken in many various ways through Israel’s prophets, but things take a radical turn when God communicates through an embodied Word: the Son. The writer’s opening lines encompass the Son’s inheritance of all things and his activity at creation. The writer will not let the readers’ imaginations remain impoverished with a Christ who is too small. The writer uses words like “radiance” to evoke a sense of divine light entering human sight. He speaks of “exact imprint,” using a term that could refer to the image on a coin. The imprint made visible the very being of God, which was otherwise invisible.

Then the writer sketches out a journey. He follows Jesus from death to glorious life. He goes from making purification for sins through his suffering and death, and to a place above the angels. For a moment readers are taken out of the ordinariness of their situation, as they follow Christ into the presence of God. As readers then and now are drawn into the presence of God in worship, they too go on a journey. It reorients their perception of the situation in which life is lived[1].


Where do you see God’s radiance breaking into our world?



Christ Whose Glory FIlls the Sky –Charles Wesley

Notice the images of light and radiance in this hymn.

1 Christ, whose glory fills the skies,
Christ, the true, the only Light,
Sun of Righteousness, arise,
triumph o’er the shades of night;
Dayspring from on high, be near;
Daystar, in my heart appear.


2 Dark and cheerless is the morn
unaccompanied by thee;
joyless is the day’s return
’til thy mercy’s beams I see;
’til they inward light impart,
glad my eyes, and warm my heart.


3 Visit, then, this soul of mine;
pierce the gloom of sin and grief;
fill me, Radiancy divine;
scatter all my unbelief;
more and more thyself display,
shining to the perfect day.

Source: Trinity Psalter Hymnal #156



Prayer Focus:

Pray for God’s light to break through in your life and in our world.


Grace and peace,
Pastor Karen Bruins

[1] https://www.workingpreacher.org/preaching.aspx?commentary_id=2479


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Running with Mark 83


Day 83 – March 20, 2020  



Psalm 121

Mountains are my sacred space.  There’s no vacation I enjoy more than time in a national park with great big mountains. 


Our family has traveled to Alaska three times.  The first time was with all our boys when they were high school and college aged.  We spent time in Denali National Park which was amazing.  Everyday we looked for Denali, the big mountain, but it was always covered with clouds.  We thought seeing Denali was just a myth meant to lure tourists.


The second time we went to Denali, we didn’t see the mountain either.  But…..as we were driving back to Anchorage, suddenly the clouds cleared and the mountain was visible in the rearview mirror.  We quickly pulled over to the side of the road to see it and take pictures.


I think God is like Denali.  God is always there, but sometimes it is cloudy and I can’t see God.  Sometimes the clouds are of my own making, like when I am too busy and not making time to spend with God.  Later I see God in the rearview mirror and say, “Oh, there you are.  You were there all along!


Sometimes the clouds are things the world throws at us, like a pandemic, it can be hard to see God.  The mountain is so big, and it looks so cloudy.  But, when we really look, if we open our eyes, we will see God and God’s people at work.  Mr. Rogers used to counsel people to look to the helpers at a time of crisis.  Goodness the helpers are everywhere.

  • doctors, nurses, medical personnel helping the sick
  • grocers who are working so hard to keep food on the shelves
  • truck drivers who are delivering needed supplies
  • nursing home staff caring for vulnerable adults while under quarantine
  • first responders
  • neighbors who are checking on their neighbors and offering help with groceries etc.
  • schools and organizations that are finding creative ways to feed people

Personally, I’m so very proud of our church community and the way you are pulling together.   We have a team of volunteers who will be calling all of our members who are age 75+.  There is another team of people ready to help with whatever our elders may need.  The staff is working on all kinds of creative ways to connect.  People have been supportive and patient during technical glitches during live streaming because of so many new churches and people watching online.  Others have reached out to fund the pastor’s discretionary fund so that I will be able to help people who have needs or may have lost hours or their jobs.  Ministry teams are checking in and doing their work.  Some adult small groups have been meeting online!  In the midst of this challenging time, we are learning how to be the church in a new way.


May the words of Psalm 121 bring you courage and hope today.

I lift up my eyes to the hills—
    from where will my help come?
My help comes from the Lord,
    who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved;
    he who keeps you will not slumber.
He who keeps Israel
    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper;
    the Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day,
    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all evil;
    he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep
    your going out and your coming in
    from this time on and forevermore.



Immortal Invisible God Only Wise – Tommy Walker

This is a fun, upbeat version of the hymn done be a big inter-generational chorus.


Prayer Focus:

Pray that God, the mountain, would be revealed.


Grace and peace,
Pastor Karen Bruins

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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