REFLECTIONS FROM PASTOR AMY JO
This spring and summer will hold a new look for the outdoor areas of our property at St. Paul’s UMC. The long-awaited hike and bike trail is scheduled to be installed on our property this summer. This portion of the trail will connect with the existing trails at The Village and Marie Ave., taking community pedestrians right through our church yard. The riprap will be removed from the ditch on Dodd Rd. (making it easier to maintain!), and the new path will run near Dodd. All of this is a city project, occurring on St. Paul’s
There will also be some road resurfacing near the church. As part of that project, the City of Mendota Heights has met with the St. Paul’s UMC trustees to discuss the possibility of installing rain gardens on church grounds. These would be areas of hardy perennial flowers and decorative grasses designed to filter run-off water from the road. The curbs would be engineered to include curb-cuts into the rain gardens to guide the water run-off. Rain gardens improve the overall water quality in the area. They are designed to drain in less than 48 hours to prevent mosquito hatching. Some United Methodist congregations have made care of creation part of their regular mission work, and recently, the United Methodist Church has added a new class of missionaries for
exactly this reason: they are called “earth keepers.” The trustees of St. Paul’s UMC are considering whether or not maintenance of the rain gardens fits within St. Paul’s UMC’s mission to be a welcoming community sharing Christ’s love in service through relationships. Isn’t it interesting– all of the different ways that our gifts, talents, and
interests can be used for the common good?
Finally, you have probably already noticed the beautiful new urns filled with flowers and pussy willows at the doors to the church building. These are the first signs of a memorial gift, in memory of Dorothy Grinager, to be used for outdoor hospitality
and improvements at St. Paul’s UMC. This donation is very timely for two reasons: First, the new city walking trail will bring friends and neighbors through our church yard, and this gift will help us to show hospitality to those neighbors. And second, one of our
Healthy Church Initiative recommendations was to improve guest readiness, including our building, grounds, and website, so we are planning on attending to that. As we determine how to improve guest readiness, we can give attention to outdoor hospitality and those guests that may come to us through the new hike and bike trail.
As spring arrives, we see the flowers, trees, and plants near our building beginning to show signs of new life. What a joy to consider all the new possibilities of change that have to do with blooming plants, beauty, and hospitality! Welcome neighbors; welcome spring!