Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Easter Baskets

Our last Wednesday evening Lenten dinner and service project was tonight - and with a crowd of helpers!

We enjoyed one last spectacular dinner, provided by the Baker family...

We assembled Easter baskets for the kids at Lewis House...
(This is only half the baskets!  We had so many donations of items, we were able to do another 15 baskets!  We had 37 people stop in for dinner and the project...  So baskets will be delivered to the Eagan Lewis House AND the Hastings Lewis House!)

And we laughed, and talked, and prayed for the blessings in our life - and the many ways we can share those blessings with others!

Lent has been a time of sharing "God's love in a practical way" this year - through all our small actions, we hope others will know that they are loved, by us and God.

Thanks for all your help, St. Paul's!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

In the News!

Spring-Cleaning Redux: Unload Extra Stuff with Mendota Heights-Area Charities, Sales and Sites
Part two of this three-part series tackles what to do with your unwanted items after spring cleaning.

This series is meant to psych you up, spur some action and help you come to terms with your new, clean space.
Once you’ve gained the motivation to part with your items, you have to decide what exactly it is that you’d like to do with them.

The Money Hungry:

If you’re feeling the need to get paid for your efforts (or just need some money to buy new stuff) you can choose to get rid of individual or lot items on Craigslist, eBay or Amazon. While it’s free to post items on Craiglist, there are fees for selling items on eBay and Amazon. However, for antiques or big-ticket items, a posting on those sites is likely to yield a larger audience.

If you’re in need of a major purge, holding a garage or yard sale can be just the ticket. According to a survey of over 3,000 people conducted by, over 75 percent of people walk away with more than $100 after from their sales.
Nancy Kane, of Mendota Heights, is more experienced in secondhand sales than most. She’s been in charge of the twice-yearly rummage sale for St. Paul’s Methodist Church for 30 years. According to Kane, the best-selling items at their sales are vases, dishes, books, children’s toys and items that look like they might be antique (for the treasure hunters among us). At the spring rummage sale last weekend, the line of people ready to purchase stretched around the building before the doors had even opened.

The most successful garage sales all have traits in common. They’re held during prime season: April through September. At the St. Paul’s Methodist Church rummage sale, Kane guessed that the good turnout was impacted by the early date. Right now shoppers are still excited at the prospect of secondhand goodies, whereas in the fall, folks can get a little garage sale-weary after seeing the orange signs all spring and summer. Garage sales should start early in the day, beginning at six or seven in the morning. Afternoon sales should be accompanied by “everything must go!” discounts. Finally, all successful sales are preceded by successful advertising. Craiglist, and your local Patch event calendar are all easy places to reach your target audience.

The Karma Hungry:

If you’re not concerned with the potential financial capital from your spring cleaning, perhaps you’d benefit from the good karma acquired from donating your items to those in need.

“If it’s just sitting and not being used, someone could use it. Think about it that way. Especially in our society with the number of people who don’t have jobs, there are a lot of people in need,” said Kane.

Items can be dropped off at local charities, such as Neighbors, Inc. in South St. Paul. Other charities, such as the Courage Center, Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota and The Salvation Army can arrange for curbside pickup of your donated items, saving you energy and time.

Freecycle allows you to post individual items for people nearby to claim and pick up. You aren’t allowed to put a price tag on these items, but can easily find an appreciative new owner for old things.*

The Leftovers:

Items that no longer work, are not worth donating or are just trash must be disposed of. As you sort out which items should be thrown, recycled or brought to the Dakota County Recycling Zone in Eagan, Environmental Specialist Renee Burman has a couple of recommendations to ensure that you’re properly chucking your unwanted items. “For those people not sure what belongs in the trash and what can be recycled or reused, the county offers a great online resource—the Recycling and Disposal Guide. It’s easy to find—just go to the Dakota County website, and search Recycling and Disposal Guide.

For those without access to the internet, they can call their city or Dakota County at 952-891-7000 with their recycling questions, according to Burman.

*The original version of this story included The Twin Cities Free Market as a resource, however, residents from Dakota County may not post items on this site.

This article is courtesy of, and author Nix Wurdak

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Lenten Wednesdays

We are having such a fun Lent at St. Paul's Church showing God's love to others in practical ways!

Our first Lenten Wednesday, we assembled and packaged 300 sandwiches to take to Simpson Homeless Shelter - a lunch for their clients to take with them for their day.

Our second Wednesday was snowed out...

Our third, we made 62 care packages for the teachers of Garlough School (a local magnet school that is known to have more needs than some of the other nearby schools).  We thought with all that is going on in politics, government, and the media - these teachers needed to be reminded of how much we appreciate what they do!

And last night our Lenten service project was filling gift bags with the things that make for a good birthday party: balloons, cake mix, frosting, candles, plates, invitations, banners, noisemakers, a card, and Target gift cards!

We filled over 20 bags and will be donating them to Emma's Place (Emma's place offers permanent, affordable housing for homeless, low-income families. It has thirteen three- and four-bedroom townhomes for single parents with three or more children.) for kids who may not get a birthday party otherwise...
We had 30 people come share dinner, a devotional, and put together the bags - and all with laughter and joy at being together and sharing our blessings with others.

What a great way to end a busy day!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

"Feed My Sheep"

March was Minnesota Food Share Month - a month organized by the Greater Minneapolis Council of Churches.  It is an opportunity to be more than generous, as every pound of food we contribute and every dollar we offer is multiplied by the generous contributions of Minnesota corporations.

It is our chance to be part of a miracle, much like the 5 loaves and 2 fish that was multiplied to feed thousands!  It is a chance to "feed God's sheep."

Jesus says, "I was hungry and you fed me."  To which someone asked when had they ever seen him hungry?  He answered, "Whenever you feed the hungry, you are feeding me." 

Jesus is hungry in Minnesota today, tomorrow, and into the foreseeable future.  Please be as generous as you can be, so those in whom Jesus lives and those whom Jesus loves can have something to eat.

Miracles can happen.  A spirit of generosity can grow.  There is enough for all of us, if we have faith.

Minnesota Food Share month has come and gone - and our church donated 222 lbs of food!  Let's keep the generosity flowing - today, tomorrow, and always!

Most of this article was quoted from "A Note from Grant" in the March edition of "Faith Works," published by the St. Paul Area Council of Churches.