When anyone is looking for a church to visit or call home, people want to know what expect when they reach the doors of the church. Here are a few pointers:
We are a small, intimate faith community. There are many large churches within a few miles of First. We are not one of them. We are a small group of committed followers of Jesus Christ. If you are looking for a large congregation, you might want to visit those other congregations. Small isn't a bad thing. Small is just small. We are a tiny community that is family to each other; sharing our joys and our sorrows together. If you want to be part of a community like that, please come visit us; we would love to have you!
We are not the church for everyone. No church can do that. But we are the church for someone, someone looking for small gathering of believers who want to do God’s work in the world. This is the church that loves hosting a monthly potluck. It’s a church that continues to be church even if only five people show up on a Sunday morning. We are the church that goes and does mission projects, punching above our weight in being a faithful presence in the world today. We aren’t the church for everyone, but we maybe the church for you.
Progressive or Conservative? That’s an interesting question. Some might look at our openness to LGBTQ folk and think we are progressive. Others might hear a sermon and think we are more conservative or evangelical. The best way to describe us is that we are a congregation that is orthodox in belief and progressive in practice. You can learn about us more to get a better flavor of the church.
We've been around for 130 years. First Christian can trace its beginnings to 1882 . For most of that time, we were located near downtown St. Paul, doing mission and ministry- including a ministry to Southeast Asians (Vietnamese, Cambodian, Hmong). Like a lot of urban churches, our congregation shrank in size and it became a challenge to maintain the building. In 1996, we sold our building located on Marshall Avenue and moved to Mahtomedi, a small suburb 10 miles north of St. Paul. Which leads us to this...
We are diverse. Our congregation is racially and ethnically diverse. We voted to become openly welcoming to LGBT persons in 2015. The church has a history of welcoming immigrants and refugees, especially from Southeast Asia .
In a time when people are singling out various groups to blame society’s ills, we try our best to live out the inclusiveness that Jesus and the early followers lived out.
We are in mission. Church doesn't just happen in a church building. No, we are work to be a faithful presence in our communities. We collect for food pantries, shelter the homeless and care for children. In the past we volunteered with a tutoring program which is in conjunction with East Metro Women’s Center. (EMWC, now called Solid Ground, is an agency that provides programs and services to meet the physical and emotional needs of women and children who are homeless or in need of hope.) Starting in the 1970s, we welcomed refugees from Southeast Asia as they escaped the spectre of war in their homelands.
Today, we are working to establish new mission opportunities with partners like Feed My Starving Children and Hope for the Journey Family Shelter. Every fourth Sunday is Mission Sunday where we donate our loose change to a Mission Partner.
At First, we are engaged in mission not because it is a nice thing to do. We join in mission to follow what Christ did on earth and what God calls each one of us to do: to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with God.
You don't have to dress up. Like a growing number of churches, you don't have to wear your Sunday best at First. Jeans are okay. Of course, if you want to dress formal you can do that too.
We start at 10:00AM. We have one worship service on Sunday at 10:00AM.
We have communion every Sunday. If there is something that defines Disciples, it's the fact that we have communion every Sunday. On most Sundays, a tray with bread and another with grape juice will be passed down the rows. On certain Sunday's we do communion by intinction. Simply come forward and tear off a piece of bread and dip it in the juice.
We are in the suburbs for good. We are a suburban congregation and have been for 20 years. Suburban ministry isn’t urban ministry and it isn’t rural ministry. It is a ministry of its own. We are working to be a faithful presence in the White Bear Lake-Mahtomedi-Oakdale area and learning what it means to be witness in the ‘burbs. Join us in the process of discovery.
Mahto-what? Yeah, the name of the town. Lot's of people have trouble figuring out how to pronounce it, let alone know where it is. First off, it's pronounced MAH-TOW-MEED-EYE. It's located on the shore of White Bear Lake and next door to the White Bear Lake (the town). Mahtomedi is a word in the Dakota language. It means, "Bear Lake."
Do you have anything for children? Yes we do. After the pastor gives a children's sermon during worship, the kids go downstairs for Children's Sunday School. It lasts from about 10:15AM to 10:30AM or so. The kids are back in the sanctuary for communion. We also have Play and Pray, an area for kids in the back of the sanctuary where they can play and draw. Feel free to bring your little one to the Play and Pray Area during the service.
Who are the Disciples? First Christian is affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). The Disciples is the largest denomination founded in the United States. You can learn more about us by going to www.disciples.org.
How do I contact you? Well, you can contact us here on our Facebook Page or send us an email at or chat with us via Twitter. Take some time to see our website. You can find contact and directions at our Contact Us page.