The Pastor Next Door
“What if we could be the church that goes to where people already are?”
This is the question that Pastor Jodi Houge ’95 asked herself when she started Humble Walk Lutheran Church in St. Paul, Minn.
Humble Walk grew out of a strong call for Houge to serve in her own neighborhood. While there were many churches nearby, Houge noticed that none of her neighbors were connected to a faith community. For one reason or another, the established churches weren’t meeting their needs.
In her last semester of attending Luther Seminary, Houge hosted a small, informal worship gathering at a local coffee shop. Afterward, her neighbors and friends told Houge that although they weren’t really looking to join a church, they would if she started one.
So Houge began holding regular worship with a small group of her neighbors and artist friends. They met at the coffee shop, homes, storefronts, parks, art galleries, a Jewish long-term care facility, and even local pubs.
It was important to meet in places that people were already hanging out and felt comfortable. Houge said they began meeting in bars “because every night of the week, that bar is full of people, and we want to be where the people are.”
Now, Humble Walk gathers for worship weekly at Art House North, an old church building that is now a community art space. During the summer, they hold art-making events in the park and, for the last five years, they have been hosting monthly Beer and Hymns at Shamrocks pub in St. Paul.