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 9


Day Nine – January 6, 2020

Read: Psalm 103:1-5 New Revised Standard Version


Psalms are meant to be prayed.  Here is Nan Merrill’s version of Psalm 103 from her book Psalms for Praying – An Invitation to Wholeness.  Read it through several times.  Notice what words, images or phrases speak to you.  Merrill uses lots of different images and names for God: The Beloved, Love, Mercy, the Way, Awaken, Promises, Voice, Voice of Love, Creation and more.  Is one of these images new to you?  Does one speak to you? You may wish to journal about those words.


Bless the Beloved, O my soul,

and all that is within me;

I bless your Holy Name!

Bless the Beloved, O my soul,

and remember the goodness

of Love.

You forgive our stubbornness,

You heal our disease,

You save us from the snares

of fear,

You crown us with steadfast
Love and Mercy,

You satisfy our every need and

renews our spirit like

the eagle’s.


Through You comes peace and

justice for all who are oppressed.

You make known the pathway of


and guide us on the Way.


You are merciful and gracious,

quelling our anger with your

patient Love.

You love us more than we can ask

or imagine;

in truth, we belong to you.

For You understand us,

requiting us not according to our

ignorance and error.

As far as the heavens are high above

the earth,

so great is your loving response

toward those who are humble;

So far does your enduring strength

uphold those who face the

darkness within.

As parents are concerned for their


so You come to those

who reach out in faith.

For our ways are known, our weaknesses

seen with compassion.


As for humanity, our days are like

the grass;

we flourish like a flower of

the field; When the wind passes over,

it is gone,

and that place knows it no more.

Yet the steadfast Love of the Beloved

is from everlasting to everlasting

to those who Awaken,

and justice to all generations,

To those who remember your Promises,

and follow your Voice.


The Beloved’s home is in our hearts,

as we discover in the Silence.

Bless the Beloved, O you angels,

you faith-filled ones who hear

the Word,

following the Voice of Love!

Bless the Beloved, all you people,

those who abandon themselves

into Love’s hands!

Praise the Beloved, praise all of Creation!

Praise the Beloved, O my soul!



I Am Loved



Prayer Focus:

Lord help me to listen, hear and follow the Voice of Love! Amen.


Grace and peace,
Pastor Karen Bruins


Read more

Running With Mark 8

Day Eight – January 5, 2020

Read: Sunday, Mark 1:21-45, Jesus’ Ministry Begun

Visual Liturgy: https://www.theworkofthepeople.com/casting-out-evil-spirits

Mark 1:21 – Casting Out Evil Spirits


In Mark’s gospel things move quickly. We are still in the first chapter and already Jesus is teaching and performing miracles. Already we see large crowds of people surrounding Jesus, wanting to hear from him.  Gospel writers sometimes used hyperbole to make their point as in Mark 1:33 where it says the whole town gathered at the door.  It may not have been the whole town, but Mark is clearly letting us know that this wasn’t just a handful of people wanting to hear from this Jewish Rabbi from Nazareth.


In this passage there are few interesting things to notice. 

  • One of Mark’s theme is the identity of Jesus. The people don’t yet understand who he is, but the impure spirit in the man at the synagogue says, “I know who you are – the Holy One of God!”.  
  • A second theme in Mark is Jesus controlling the message of who he is. More than once you will hear him say to someone who has grasped the fullness of who he is, “Be quiet.”  Verse 34 says, “..and he would not permit the demons to speak, because they knew him.”
  • A third theme in Mark is the importance of Jesus’ time for solitude and prayer. Pay attention as we read through the gospel for the times and places where Jesus makes time and space to pray.
  • We can presume that both men and women were following Jesus, but no woman is specifically mentioned until the healing of Simon Peter’s mother-in-law. Feminist theologians are not of one mind about verse 31 saying, “Then the fever left her and she began to serve them.” Some read this service to mean that she becomes a disciple, perhaps even forming a house church in her home. Other scholars think that “serve” means that she reverted to the patriarchal role of women in that society.
  • In Mark 1:40-45, Mark tells of the healing of a man with leprosy. Leprosy may have been what today is known as Hansen’s Disease, or it may have been any number of skin conditions.  There was a great fear of skin diseases that led people to be socially, spiritually and relationally isolated from others.  When they saw someone approaching, they were to shout out, “Unclean! Unclean!”.  They were not permitted to work, or to attend religious services.  They often resorted to begging.


Note that the man with leprosy comes to Jesus in faith, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”  Jesus replies, “I am willing.  Be clean!”  Mark 1: 40-41 (New International Version) I find the New Revised Standard Version to be more dynamic, “If you choose, you can make me clean.”  Jesus says, “I do choose. Be made clean.” 


Notice in verse 42 the word immediately once again, this time to signal the immediacy with which the man was made “clean”.  Not only would he now be physically well, he would also be restored to community.


I believe God always chooses for us to be made whole.  In Hebrew the word for wholeness is Shalom.  The word is also translated as peace.   Wholeness to me, means experiencing the unconditional love of God that restores, redeems and renews us emotionally, relationally and spiritually.  It may or not mean restores us to physical health.  Over my years in ministry I can say, with true humility, that some of the most “whole” people I have ever known, were people who were very ill or approaching death.  Sometimes the greatest gift of wholeness or healing God gives, is when we are set free from a body that is no longer able to sustain life.


A few questions to ponder:

  • What does it mean to you that Jesus “chooses”? Chooses what? Whom? When? How?
  • What was it about Jesus that compelled people to seek him out?


Music: Kanye West has recently undergone a conversion experience.  I’ve been curious to learn more about what this change means for him.  One of the things he has done is to create worship experiences.  This track, “Jesus Walks” features a cool gospel choir and some rapping by Kanye.    I’ll post some on the blog from time to time.

Sunday Service Choir sings “Jesus Walks”


Prayer Focus:

Spend some time with God talking about and listening for what it means to be whole.  Where are the places in your life that need healing and wholeness?


Grace and peace,
Pastor Karen Bruins


Read more

Running With Mark 7

Day Seven – January 4, 2020

Read: Isaiah 42:1-9, The Servant a Light to the Nations

Visual Liturgy: Isaiah 42


I am struck by the verse 4 that says,  “He will not grow faint or be crushed until he has established justice in the earth”.  It feels like there is so much justice work that needs to be done in the world.  There are hungry children, the climate crisis, diseases to be fought, poverty, racism, homophobia, xenophobia, sexism, nationalism, religious bigotry and more.  How do we not grow faint or be crushed in spirit as we face these seemingly daunting challenges?


I believe that one of the most important things we must do is to care for our souls.  We cannot give what we do not have.  If we do not have peace within ourselves, we will not be able to offer peace to the world.  What spiritual practices do you have that help you not grow weary?  How can you make those things a priority in your life?


Part of the power of the Civil Rights movement came from the songs.  Singing the songs, especially in worship and in groups, gave people courage.  Take some time to listen to some of these powerful songs from that era. 

Lift Every Voice and Sing

“Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around” – The Roots

A Change is Gonna Come

Eyes on the Prize

We Shall Overcome


Prayer Focus:

Pray for people around the world who are working for justice.


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